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Let's watch the Monday Night Wars all over again...

Dead Crow

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It's quite conceivable that TWO will soon be attracting members to this site who were too young (or not even alive) to remember the greatest period in wrestling history: the Monday Night Wars. So, for my own amusement and hopefully for yours too, let's relive the WCW vs. WWF battle from the beginning. Not as a whole - just as a visual snippet of the wonders that occurred in the 90s.





So WWF was living in a post-Hogan world. It's 1995 and Monday Night Raw is dominating the evening slot on the USA Network with Bret Hart, Shawn Michaels, Diesel, Razor Ramon and The Undertaker. Not too shabby a line-up, in hindsight. After a lifetime of syndicated shows that were used to drive up house show business, Raw prided itself as a revolutionary concept: promote competitive, top quality matches on television to build to a pay-per-view card (at the start of 1995, WWF had 5 - Royal Rumble, Wrestlemania, King of the Ring, Summerslam and Survivor Series. In May, they debuted the In Your House concept which expanded the PPV numbers to 12 per year, with IYH shows being an hour shorter and $5 cheaper). Business isn't booming, especially with Big Daddy Cool holding the belt, but Hart and Michaels are carrying the fort as best they can.


With a roster still comprised of cartoon characters and gimmicks, Raw had suffered in the quality stakes of late. Sure, anything involving the Kliq was going to be good, and midcarders such as Jeff Jarrett were able to make the most of what they had, but it wasn't unheard of to be punished for your fandom with matches such as Doink vs. Waylon Mercy:





Over in Atlanta, Georgia, a new sheriff is making ground. Eric Bischoff, an announcer for the AWA, was instilled into the WCW hierarchy as executive vice president. His task was simple: stop losing money. 'Easy E' not only stopped the bleeding slightly, but brought in a number of big name stars such as Hulk Hogan, Randy Savage and Bobby 'The Brain' Heenan. Their presence helped WCW PPV buyrates, at least in the short term, as Hogan feuded with legendary NWA poster boy, Ric Flair amongst others.




Sadly, the success did not hold up and Hogan is fast becoming more of a hindrance than a helping hand. Perplexed at WCW's inability to compete with Vince McMahon, company owner Ted Turner calls Bischoff into a meeting and asks how they could compete. Without considering his options, Bischoff suggests a head-on war with WWF on Monday nights, thinking that his boss will simply come up with a better idea himself. Instead, Turner instructs his staff to give Bischoff a prime time slot on TNT, every Monday night. Monday Nitro is born and the war is officially on.

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From here on in, don't be alarmed if I bounce between past and present tense. I can't keep up any more!




September 1995 - WCW


With Raw preempted (not airing) for a week, WCW seized the opportunity and debuted the hour-long LIVE Monday Nitro on September 4th 1995 from the Mall of America in Minneapolis, MN.




Eric Bischoff is play-by-play announcer with Bobby Heenan and former NFL Super Bowl-winning defensive tackle Steve 'Mongo' McMichael taking the color role. Two of these men suck a big one (poor Bobby, stuck in the middle of this sh*t sandwich), but if Vince could do it with Rob Bartlett then why the hell not? The opener sees Brian Pillman defeat Jushin Liger, whilst the big news came during the Sting/Flair match in which Lex Luger appeared in the building. Luger had worked a WWF house show the night before, but his contract had expired and he was free to appear wherever he wished. Later on in the night, after Hogan - WCW champion, no less - defeats Big Bubba (Big Boss Man), Luger confronts the champ and stakes his claim for the title:




The following week after Alex Wright, Sting and Randy Savage defeated Sabu, V.K. Wallstreet and Scott Norton respectively, Luger gets his promised match against Hogan:




Yes, the feud between Hogan and the Dungeon of Doom MUST continue.


Still, as you can see, Bischoff was taking a gun into a knife fight as he moved away from the MGM Studios and put Nitro in the big arenas, making use of the fiery intros and twisted steel that became a huge part of the visual design within pro wrestling for years to come. More on that in the future.


You may also have heard Bischoff say 'WWF' by name when discussing Lex Luger. The key to all of this was that Nitro was live for an hour every single week. Raw, despite its early live run, moved to alternate weeks: a live show would broadcast on Monday, with another show being taped on Tuesday to air the following week. This gave Bischoff the chance to bury the opposition and counter-programme. If WWF went into a commercial break, Bischoff could assume that fans were tuning into Nitro and thus would use the time to give away taped show results of Raw and book something interesting to happen on Nitro that would keep the viewers from tuning back to the USA Network.




This was totally unheard of at the time, but showed just how far Eric Bischoff was willing to go to make Nitro the number one show on cable television.


The rest of September was more or less uneventful. New tag team champions, anyone?




This month's PPV: Fall Brawl




WCW had very few legendary gimmick matches to its name, but War Games was a hell of a match. Usually. The quality of the matches decreased year on year, and '95 was one of the lesser attempts, although still not as bad as those which came later on. Still, much like even the worst Royal Rumbles, you simply couldn't help but get excited by the prospect of seeing a steel cage surrounding two rings with interval entrances and the possibility of blood and gore.


In this instance, Hogan's team defeated the Dungeon of Doom and got 5 minutes alone with the Taskmaster. The Giant (Big Show) interfered though, twisting Hogan's neck in the most OTT 80s cartoon manner possible. This was to lead to a title match at Halloween Havoc the following month: Hogan vs. The Giant. It would also give us one of the greatest joys of the year: a monster truck match! If you've never seen this before, you're in for one hell of a treat.


Elsewhere down the card, in a lesser known feud that formed a prelude to the resurrection of the Four Horsemen, Arn Anderson defeated Ric Flair. It was actually a hell of a match.



The rest of the card featured Johnny B. Badd and The Renegade. We really don't need to go into it.

Edited by DraVen
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September 1995 - WWF


After a two week break, Monday Night Raw returned. Pre-taped, no less, with a brand new open.




Hey, some of those clips look strangely familiar. We'll have to revisit that in around 26 posts time...


So anyway, Diesel was WWF champion whilst his buddy Shawn Michaels had possession of the Intercontinental title, fresh from his iconic Ladder match with Razor Ramon at Summerslam. The two friends were locked in a feud with the tag team champions, Yokozuna and Owen Hart, all leading to a tag team match at the upcoming PPV which would see all titles on the line.


In the meantime, though:




On the same show, tension between Razor and the 123 Kid escalated during a match between the former and Davey Boy Smith.




And elsewhere?




Yeah, not much.




This month's PPV: In Your House 3: Triple Header


A relatively tame and unremarkable show, IYH3 saw Dean Douglas defeat Razor Ramon and Bret Hart defeat Jean-Pierre Lafitte. Although his debut televised match came a month later, Goldust wrestled a dark match against Bob Holly.


As noted earlier, the USP of this show was the main event. The world champion (Diesel) teamed with the Intercontinental champion (Shawn Michaels) to face the tag team champions (Yokozuna and Owen Hart) with ALL of the titles on the line. Owen Hart was replaced by the British Bulldog as, supposedly, his wife was giving birth to their child at the time. As this is wrestling though, you can only believe half of what you're told:



Diesel and Shawn won the tag team titles... for all of a night. Since Owen was not the legal man in the match, his manager Jim Cornette introduced lawyer Clarence Mason, who got the decision reversed and the title belts returned to their rightful owners.


Of course, this being the WWF, nothing was ever simple. As a result of this Dusty finish, president Gorilla Monsoon made a title match the following night on Raw: the champions defending against The Smoking Gunns:




September ended with new tag team champions, the same singles champions, and The Undertaker wondering what wrongs he had committed in his life to be feuding with King Mabel.


Oh, and Marty Jannetty came back. Joy.

Edited by DraVen
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October 1995 - WCW


So to recap: Nitro debuted with a continuation of the Hulk Hogan/Randy Savage vs. The Dungeon of Doom feud, inserting newly acquired Lex Luger into the fold. This was to build to Hogan vs. The Giant, so called because he was, in fact, a giant. The implication was that Andre The Giant was his dad, hence feuding with the Hulkster.


The feud was so heated that, on the first Nitro of the month, an old woman attacked ol' Hulk and shaved his moustache. YES, HIS GODDAMN MOUSTACHE! OH THE HUMANITY!!




Naturally, Kevin Sullivan didn't waste the opportunity of leaving a Hitler on his face first.


This was also the show where Dean Malenko debuted. Although there were snippets of quality matches forming on the show, it wasn't until the likes of Malenko, Benoit, Mysterio and Jericho were in full flow that the workrate in WCW picked up dramatically. One of the fun things to point out between WCW and WWF was how the former had amazing undercards with pisspoor main events, whilst WWF killed in main events but had nothing in the midcard. This wasn't quite the case in 1995, but by 1997 was as apt a description as you could get.


That's not to say that we weren't starting to get a small taste, though:




The feud between Flair and Anderson continued, and Randy Savage increasingly delved into paranoia over Lex Luger and Sting, despite being on the same team. It was all interweaving nicely into a ball of confusing sh*te.


So anyway, back to Hogan. Torn apart by the tragedy inflicted upon his facial hair, the Hulkster started dressing in all black attire, bringing out the dark side in order to fight the Dungeon. This was not to be good enough though, as the go-home show for the PPV saw Hogan once again taken out by the Taskmaster (Sullivan) and his drones...




What was that, Bischoff cried? All to be revealed.


I could leave it there, but I should mention one extra little thing. Remember when I noted that Sabu was in WCW? Somehow, he was still here. It's odd because Sabu was unlike anything seen on a national wrestling television show before and could have been a huge star. Someone in WCW disagreed, which is why he spent his time wrestling another newcomer to the ranks: Disco Inferno.



Shockingly, only one of these guys was still around at the very end of WCW's run. Hint: it wasn't Sabu (who was never seen in WCW after this match again).



This month's PPV: Halloween Havoc


Since a number of these shows were mid-month at this point, let's interject them as and when we need them.


In this case, HH was near the end of the month, and for good reason. How could we even contemplate not saving this for the end when we saw such classics as Lex Luger vs. Meng, and Randy Savage vs. Zodiac? Luger and Savage both won, by the way, which meant that both men had to face each other later on in the night (Savage won with a flying elbow).


Actually, those weren't even the main story of this show. Firstly, the Flair/Anderson feud came to an end with a tag team match: Flair begged Sting to be his partner to face Anderson and Pillman in a tag team match. Surely Flair wouldn't turn on his teammate to reform the band... surely?




Of course he did. In times of need, always reform the Four Horsemen.


But the real story was the Hogan / Giant match. Having a normal wrestling match was a little too easy for WCW, so they had a Monster Truck match on the roof of Kobo Hall instead...



People paid for this. With money.


The two were meant to have a wrestling match later on in the night, but surely an untimely death by falling off a building would gift Hogan a victory by count-out? How would The Giant ever be able to win the title now?


As it turns out, The Giant was fine. He left his dressing room and came out to wrestle. Honestly. This is what genuinely happened. After falling from the roof of Kobo Hall, The Giant just worked to the ring without a scar or a scratch and took on Hogan for the title. I should note that it was also his debut match in the business, which is important because it wasn't all that awful. In fact, for a first time thing, it was more than acceptable. Well, until this happened at the end...



Shockingly, this wasn't the last we saw of The YEH-TAY! He changed his attire and became known as The SUPER GIANT NINJA! Again, you have to believe me; I'm not making a word of this up.

Edited by DraVen
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October 1995 - WWF


WWF began October with another pre-taped Raw, this time making use of a premium rate telephone number that fans were encouraged to call to vote on whether OJ Simpson was guilty or not. 51% thought he was not guilty. The following day, OJ was acquitted. Smart WWF fans.


Somehow, Diesel was still WWF champion. His reign had been a colossal failure in every conceivable way, so surely this was the month to kill it off? Not quite. He had one last feud to take care of: a little obstacle known as the British Bulldog, Davey Boy Smith.





(If you're wondering why Shane Douglas is standing around in a suit, he is Dean Douglas the teacher, a precursor to the character Matt Striker made... y'know... kind of famous? In a way?)


So two things came out of that match: 1) King Mabel is a clumsy sponge who managed to injure The Undertaker's eye. 2) Thanks to pinning Diesel, the Bulldog was given a title shot at In Your House. Oh, and a third, lesser point: in Vince McMahon's infinite wisdom, there were only two matches on that show. The six man came first, followed by Fatu vs. Skip. Eric Bischoff practically w*nked himself to sleep that night.


The following week's Raw was a biggie. Not only was The Undertaker out with a real injury, but Mabel and Dean Douglas were kayfabe fined $7500 each for their actions. Shawn Michaels was also out for the night as this was the weekend where Shawn tried to steal the girlfriend of a soldier and got his ass handed to him by the guy and nine of his friends outside a nightclub in Syracuse. Oh, and Goldust was debuting soon. Got all of that?




This month's PPV: In Your House 4: Great White North


I'll settle on a format soon enough.


So this show was a whole bag of nothing. Diesel retained his title, obviously, and Razor and 123 Kid made their amends to challenge The Smoking Gunns for the tag team titles. They lost, but Razor did end the night as a champion, defeating newly crowned Intercontinental champion Dean Douglas after Michaels forfeited his title. Goldust finally made his debut too, defeating Marty Jannetty. We'll spend some time on Goldust soon.


I would cherry pick some matches for you, but the show is just a waste of time. So instead, here's the whole thing:




You should watch, at the very least, the beginning of that video. Most of you will only be used to modern day WWE and its UFC-style pre show, or maybe the old WWF Event Centre that Sean Mooney used to plug upcoming dates. Back in 1995, we had something even better, even cornier, even more local radio DJ-esque: TODD PETTINGILL. No matter what anybody tells you, Pettingill (of Scott and Todd infamy) was very good at what he did. It's what he did that wasn't very appealing to people. It all felt a little... cooky? I was and still am a big fan, though. Keep your Scott Stanfords and that hot canadian girl. It's all about the original Todd Squad!




So back to Raw...


Shawn Michaels, the prancing fairy of the World Wrestling Federation, spoke to Jim Ross about Syracuse, the Intercontinental title and the upcoming Survivor Series pay-per-view.




Yes, you heard: the Survivor Series main event was announced to be a wildcard Survivor Series match pitting Shawn Michaels, Ahmed Johnson, British Bulldog and Sycho Sid against Yokozuna, Owen Hart, Razor Ramon and Dean Douglas. Also announced was a WWF championship contest: Diesel defending against Bret 'The Hitman' Hart, whose name hasn't been mentioned here too much yet due to languishing in the midcard with the likes of Jerry Lawler (who at this stage was actually a hot heel) and Isaac Yankem DDS (a dentist who went on to become Kane).


Finally, as promised, let's dedicate a little time to one of the most bizarre characters in wrestling history. There have been a number of flamboyant - verging on homoerotic - personas in wrestling. Gorgeous George was a pioneer for characters in the business and made a whole load of money from it. And then came Goldust. Not the Goldust we know today - the comedic brother of Cody Rhodes who donned funny wigs and had a laugh and a giggle with Booker T. Oh no, this Goldust was the bitter, twisted son of Dusty Rhodes who modeled himself on an Oscar trophy. This Goldust was every Hollywood movie you've ever seen, because he quoted them all. This Goldust was so controversial that he royally pissed Ahmed Johnson off and caused Razor Ramon (Scott Hall) to genuinely refuse to work with him. They did feud in the end, but that is a story in and of itself.


Forget what you know about Goldust. This is the real deal:




Edited by DraVen
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November 1995 - WCW


Right, let's recap:


-- Ric Flair was feuding with Arn Anderson and Brian Pillman but turned on Sting to reform the Four Horsemen.


-- Lex Luger turned on Hulk Hogan and Randy Savage to join the Dungeon of Doom with Jimmy Hart, The Taskmaster, The Giant and The YEH-TAY!


-- Disco Inferno was happening.


So let's get into the WCW championship. You will recall The Giant defeating Hogan via disqualification at Halloween Havoc. Michael Buffer repeatedly noted to the live audience that the title cannot change hands on a disqualification. This was a lie: Jimmy Hart revealed that a clause in the match contract allowed a title change via disqualification. The Giant took the title belt, but had it revoked on Nitro. With the title vacated, a new champion would be crowned at World War 3 in the inaugural but soon to be annual signature match - a 3-ring 60-man Battle Royal.






Don't ignore the start of the video either. Lex Luger, newly turned heel, said something to Sting that made Hulk Hogan wonder if they were friends any more or not. The following week on Nitro, the Hulkster donned a mask and cape, clutching a sword, promising to get to the bottom of the Sting mystery. Soon enough, he did:




The go-home to World War 3 saw Sting and Hogan fight off the Dungeon of Doom, friends forever yet again.




This month's PPV: World War 3


Anyone for Big Bubba vs. Jim Duggan? No? What a surprise. So bar a Sting vs. Ric Flair semi-main event contest for the 647th time in their careers, and a relatively infamous promo in which Hulk Hogan burned a copy of the Wrestling Observer newsletter...




...the focus was all on the battle royal main event. Three rings, sixty men, one World heavyweight title. Confused much? You should be.





Another screwy finish from WCW. Get used to it; there's a lot more of them to come. Especially on pay-per-view.


Still, at least Bobby Heenan was still at his shining best. If we get as far as 1999, you'll get to see how drunk one man can get whilst on the air.




So anyways...


The following night on Nitro, Hogan brought video evidence that he had not been eliminated from the battle royal. The tape cut out, allowing The Giant to attack Savage.


On the plus side, at least Luger's heel turn lasted a while...




But wait a minute, where is the rest of Nitro? Where are all the other feuds and top quality matches that we remember? Well, it was 1995 so this is all you're getting.


All you're getting.






Oh go on then, you can have a treat.



Edited by DraVen
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November 1995 - WWF


1995 was such a great year for the World Wrestling Federation that most of it entails a form of motion sickness preventing me from being able to recall any of it. Take November: until this moment, I had no earthly idea that a Survivor Series match had even occurred, let alone one with Shawn Michaels et al, in a wildcard situation.


In my defence though, nothing particularly interesting happened at the beginning of the month. Want proof?




Okay, so it did have a couple of interesting moments. For instance, Razor Ramon was to defend his Intercontinental title against Psycho Sid, with 123 Kid as special referee. Before the match, Gorilla Monsoon changed his mind and made it non-title. Weird. What kind of shenanigans could possibly happen here?




But everything was building to the Survivor Series. Title contender Bret Hart had his hands full with MORE matches pitting him against Jerry Lawler and Isaac Yankem DDS, whilst Diesel... well, Diesel didn't really do anything. GIVE US YOUR MONEY NOW, FOLKS! Okay, okay, fine. They did something together. Stop pressuring me to share more videos with you.




Don't say I wasn't trying to save you.




This month's PPV: Survivor Series


After 358 days of apathy, the tide was finally about to change. Your new WWF champion: Bret 'The Hitman Hart'!




Prior to that, not one but FOUR Survivor Series matches took place - some jobbers, some women, and a Team Undertaker vs. Team Mabel match I couldn't possibly feel bothered to even attempt to look for. So you get the final match instead:






Happy now?




24 hours later...


You may or may not be familiar with the idea of a worked shoot - a scripted match, promo or event that is presented as real, even moreso than usual with pro wrestling. A worked shoot often goes a long way to prove itself as "going against the script" even when the reality is different. Most people would look to CM Punk or Brian Pillman as examples of this in wrestling, but an attempt at a worked shoot was made in November of 1995 during a Shawn Michaels v Owen Hart match.




The concussion angle was scripted to give Michaels some time away to recover from his injuries. He returned two months later.


One week on, at the final Raw of November, Bret Hart appeared on the returning Brother Love Show. He was attacked by old nemesis Bob Backlund, which led to a PPV match with... umm... The British Bulldog. It makes sense, I promise.


Also, The Undertaker faced King Mo in what historians are calling "f*cking what was that sh*t?!"




Just remember that when The Undertaker was picking up and fondling a Mr. T necklace, it was actually the remains of his famous urn which got melted by Kama Mustafa into jewelry. How did it become an urn again? Who f*cking knows!



And finally, take note: this was the final WWF showing of Alundra Blayze, WWF womens champion. Remember her: she becomes quite important in the next post.

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How's everyone finding it? Am I okay to carry on for another six months worth before I get bored and rue the day I decided to do something nice? Or have I lost the room already?


Let's do the final month of 1995 and see where we stand.



December 1995 - WCW


Did you remember Alundra Blayze? I asked you to, so you better have done. I said that she would be important and, boy, was she ever. As we touched upon a few posts ago, Eric Bischoff was obsessed with taking every possible potshot at WWF on air. In a homage to when Ric Flair appeared on WWF TV with the big gold title in 1991, Bischoff decided to take things just a little bit further.




Yet again, Bobby Heenan steals the show with a nice bit of ad-lib. How Bischoff and McMichael made it this far, I don't... oh right, Bischoff ran the show, McMichael made him feel like a celebrity big shot. Gotcha.


So somewhere along the way, Harlem Heat (Stevie Ray and Booker T) regained the WCW tag team titles.




And Randy Savage was still the heavyweight champion of the world. A defending champion, too. I'd attempt to prove it, but videos seem to be scarce, so here's the end of his match against The Giant, with subsequent Hoganocity.




But seriously, it's almost impossible to find individual matches from Nitro this month, which is such a shame. I had the best Paul Orndorff vs. Disco Inferno match that I wanted to share, but that will have to wait until another time.




This month's PPV: Starrcade


WCW's version of Wrestlemania, which actually preceded it by a year and a half, Starrcade was supposedly the culmination of a year's worth of storylines. You'd think. Except, most of the year had revolved around Hogan vs. The Dungeon of Doom, and yet the Hulkster didn't even wrestle on the show. Nor, in fact, did any member of the Dungeon. No, this show was actually really good, based on the fact that it revolved around a World Cup of Wrestling pitting WCW against New Japan Pro Wrestling.


Feast, for example, on Jushin Lyger and Chris Benoit...




(It's not embedded, but it can be accessed at the above link. Click it - it's worth it)


WCW won the cup 4-3 thanks to Sting defeating Kensuke Sasaki.


In the double main event, Ric Flair fought off Sting and Lex Luger to become the number one contender for the WCW title. That match took place... immediately after.





And that, for the most part, was that. 1995 down, 1996 to go. And what a huge year it would be for WCW, and for the *ahem* outsiders...

Edited by DraVen
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This will suffice for tonight.



December 1995 - WWF


Only three Raws to write home about this time, as the traditional Christmas special aired with a look at the WWF Championship. With that said, December opened with Mr. Backlund going crazy on a sound engineer. Not the worst way to begin any Raw. 2013 Raw should take note. This was all building to a rematch with Bret Hart for the WWF title.




Meanwhile, somewhere under the radar, Owen Hart faced a relatively young newcomer to the business. A typical jobber that you've probably never heard of. I wouldn't even bother watching this match, to be honest. Go on, do something else with your lives.




Another thing I never realised, looking back at 1995, is how much time Marty Jannetty got in the ring. Okay, so he wasn't Shawn Michaels, but there was a ridiculous amount of Marty on TV at that time.


And some stuff happened with Ahmed Johnson and Jerry Lawler. Sounds fun, NOT!




This month's PPV: In Your House 5 - Seasons Beatings.


Bret Hart, newly crowned champion at the Survivor Series, went into his first PPV defence against his brother-in-law, Davey Boy Smith. Much was made of the fact that they once wrestled in front of 80,000 people at Wembley Stadium, which seems so long ago but was only three years gone at the time. Anyway, if you love shots of Hart family faces, you'll love this match.



Jeff Jarrett received a gold disc for selling 500,000 copies of his album (back when J-E-Double F was a country and western music singer using wrestling as his ticket to stardom), Hunter Hearst Helmsley (Triple H to you) was slammed into mud and chased by real life pigs in a Hog Pen match, Balls Mahoney debuted for the company as Xanta Claus, Santa's evil brother from the South Pole, and the Undertaker/King Mabel feud mercifully ended with the signature Undertaker match - which he rarely ever won - the casket match. Six minutes, this match. Six whole, never to be regained minutes.




(Before you ask - that mask on The Undertaker's face was thanks to the real life injury sustained at the hands of Mabel, who also managed to break Diesel's back and probably scar a bunch of small children too. You think RVD is bad? This motherf*cker was ruining people LONG before the Van Daminator.



The final Raw of 1995...


...was exactly what you'd expect. Some build was made towards the Royal Rumble, Ted Dibiase appeared on the Brother Love Show, Razor Ramon refused to reveal the contents of a letter given to him by Goldust because kids were watching and, for reasons known only to nobody, Buddy Landell was around.


To end the year, someone decided that it would be a great idea to air a music video in memory of its star performer. Again, I stress with all of my heart: this is real. Vince McMahon okayed it. For television. Probably devised during a wet dream he was having. One can only wonder.



Edited by DraVen
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January 1996 - WCW


A new year, a new start. Ric Flair is WCW champion once again and boy was Randy Savage pissed. Listen out for Bischoff revealing more WWF spoilers...




Arn Anderson wasn't the only member of the Four Horsemen in action, either. No, there was a new member of the faction: Chris Benoit. Invited into the team by Ric Flair, The Crippler was a no-nonsense technical athlete who showed no mercy in tearing you limb from limb. He wasn't always a winner, mind.




(Yes, that is a young William Regal.)


So what of the Four Horsemen? Well, they were in the midst of a three way feud. Not only was Flair fighting off the threat of Savage and The Hulkster, but they were battling with the Dungeon of Doom also. Their pact of eliminating Hogan was being ruined by ego, causing fights to break out all over the place. However, that mutual hatred of Hogan would play a major role in Clash of the Champions, as Flair was signed to team with The Giant to face Hogan and Savage in a tag team main event match.


The following week, Benoit faced a relative newcomer from Germany called Alex Wright. We'll see more of him soon, but I have to share this match. It's nothing particularly special, though not bad in any way, but it's a fun little watch for two reasons: 1) keep an eye on Pillman as he becomes a major story very, very soon... and 2) Bischoff is at his smarmiest best in ripping WWF for upping their PPV prices.




In the tag team division, a familiar indy duo made their debut:




And one night before Clash of the Champions, Ric Flair gave Randy Savage a title rematch.




Your NEW WCW world heavyweight champion, the Macho Man Randy Savage. How would this affect the tag team main event at Clash of the Champions? Let's do a Waynes World Scooby Doo ending and find out. Doodle-oo doodle-oo doodle-oo...




This month's TV special: Clash of the Champions XXXII


Ah, Clash of the Champions. Rather than a pay-per-view, WCW opted to run their long-running TV special which debuted in 1988 against Wrestlemania IV, as revenge for Vince McMahon running the Survivor Series against Starrcade (forcing PPV providers to choose between the two) and the Royal Rumble on free TV to rival the Bunkhouse Stampede PPV. The COTC concept ran every year thereafter, often three or four times, not too dissimilar in format to WWF Saturday Night's Main Event. The series was a little diluted by this stage and wore out its welcome in 1997.


The new tag team champions, Sting and Lex Luger defended their titles against the Blue Bloods, and MEXICAN HEAVYWEIGHT CHAMPION Konnan made his return to WCW to defend against Psychosis. As with any Mexican battle in WCW, Mike Tenay was invited along to provide analysis. Brace yourselves: there was a day when Mike Tenay was good at his job. I swear.




It's crazy to think that Konnan was as big in Mexico as Hogan was in America. Strange country, that Mexico.


And as for the main event?


Flair and The Giant won. That's all you need to know.






Back on Nitro, the animosity between the Horsemen and the Dungeon was growing more heated as the Taskmaster told Anderson to keep Pillman in line. This led to a brawl between the two teams, which would set up an "I Respect You" strap match at Superbrawl VI.


After six years away from the company, The Road Warriors (Hawk and Animal) returned to beat Meng and The Barbarian. Sherri and Madusa started feuding over the latter ruining the former's wedding dress (Sherri had been proposed to by Col. Robert Parker).


Oh, and Hogan faced Ric Flair. AGAIN!




And in the main event... well, I'll leave our good friends at The History of WWE to explain it to you...


The Giant defeated WCW World Champion Randy Savage via disqualification at the 28-second mark when Savage came out of the crowd and attacked the challenger from behind with the title belt before putting him in a sleeper; prior to the bout, Woman, Linda Bollea, Debra McMichael, and Elizabeth appeared and waved for Savage to come out of the entranceway, with Savage then jumping the Giant from behind; after the contest, Ric Flair came ringside and assaulted Savage around ringside and knocked out the referee; Flair and the Giant then took turns double teaming Savage with the Giant dropping Savage with the chokeslam; moments later, Giant attempted the move a second time until Hulk Hogan, his eye heavily bandaged, knocked the Giant to the floor with a steel chair before fending Hugh Morrus, Meng, WCW US Champion the One Man Gang, Kevin Sullivan, and Jimmy Hart from the ring; Flair, Giant, and Jimmy Hart then appeared at the commentary table with Flair and Giant cutting a promo on their upcoming steel cage matches with Hogan and Savage at SuperBrawl; the show ended with Bischoff and Steve McMichael leaving the broadcast table while Flair put on the headset and Hogan and a referee helped Savage backstage.



Edited by DraVen
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So hopefully you can see this now that DailyMotion has been eliminated...



March 1996


So WCW and WWF were in the midst of war. Scott Hall had handed his notice to Vince McMahon and was expected to be a free agent by around May. This month, Kevin Nash did the same thing. Brian Pillman was out of WCW playing up the loose cannon gimmick, Johnny B. Badd was Stamford-bound, and WWF were making a play for Rey Mysterio Jr. How different things could have been. This was March of 1996 and the chaos was about to begin.


WCW only had three Nitros this month, but boy did they kick off in style with the shock return of Ricky and Scotty...




Yeah, so they lost. But this is a good thing because it will provide the perfect vehicle for the Steiners and the Road Warriors to rematch on pay-per-view... except Hawk and Animal lost to Sting and Booker T instead. Welcome to WCW.


All build was, however, leading towards Uncensored. Ah, Uncensored, notorious for being the worst WCW show of the year, every year. Don't believe me? Let me introduce you to the Doomsday Cage! The Doomsday Cage: Hulk Hogan and Randy Savage faced not one, not two but EIGHT men in a 2 vs. 8 triple-tiered cage. You read correctly: a cage on top of a cage on top of a cage. A wacky warehouse for wrestlers. Even better, Hogan and Savage WON! Of course they did.




Also, The Giant defeated Loch Ness. It was sh*t.


I wish I could share more Nitro matches at this point, but I can't. Not because they don't exist, but because they do and yet were so bad that you'd hate me forever. It's easy to forget how bad the quality on offer during the wars actually was at times. So let's go over to the WWF where Wrestlemania fever was... for the most part, spreading itself to a couple of women in the office but otherwise relegating you to a couple of spluttering coughs and maybe a sneeze or two. It wasn't the Wrestlemania we know today.


Everything was leading towards the 62-minute snorefest that was the Bret Hart/Shawn Michaels Iron Man match. So most of the time was spent with one of them in a match whilst the other had a cheeky w*nk, watching the monitor. Here, ol' HBK was quite a young, attractive Playgirl model and 123 Kid wasn't tainted by Chyna yet, and so they wrestled. Whilst Bret w*nked. In sunglasses.




They also trained.




And w*nked some more.




Elsewhere, some fat useless tub of goo debuted. He went on to win championship titles and is still in the company today. Good for him.




Not much else went on, so here's a clip of the 1996 Slammy Awards (a full show that aired on USA!) with Triple H giving an award to Owen Hart for sending Shawn Michaels to the hospital with a concussion. Look at how happy Owen is, in the days before





So, Wrestlemania. The granddaddy of them all. The showcase of the immortals. The event in which future Hall of Famer Triple H was utterly destroyed by the returning Ultimate Warror. The spectacle in which Roddy Piper and Goldust had a surprisingly great backlot brawl...




..and The Undertaker went 5-0 vs. Diesel. Oh, and Shawn Michaels finally won the WWF title. Here's a cliffnotes version of the match, to save you the trouble of fast-forwarding.




And that was March 1996.

Edited by DraVen
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