It’s been over 20 years since WCW Monday Nitro debut on TNT. I was only 2 years old when Nitro first aired and wasn’t really aware of it until March 2001 when it was bought out by, what was known back then as, WWF and the merger between AOL & Time Warner. With these reviews, I want to look at them from the very beginning in 1995 when Nitro had just debuted. With that in mind, let’s take at look at the inaugural edition of WCW Monday Nitro.
We are live from The Mall of America in Bloomington, Minnesota which Eric Bischoff calls “The only building big enough to host the debut edition of WCW Monday Nitro”. We then cut to our commentary team this evening; Eric Bischoff and the newest member of the WCW announce team, Steve ‘Mongo’ McMichael. They get interrupted by Bobby Heenan who shakes Steve’s hand but gets zapped by an electric shocker thing. Eric then tells us that Hulk Hogan will be in the main event, we don’t know who against as we get the introduction of Jushin Thunder Liger
MATCH #1 – Jushin Thunder Liger vs. Brian Pillman
Out comes both men making their entrance outside “The Great Train Store” and competing outside a store that sells flags. The bell rings and Eric tells us Brian has just recovered from a broken leg. Liger throws Pillman into the corner and hits a spin kick and a chop followed by a moonsault for a two. Liger then gets Pillman in a chinlock and takes him to the corner who counters with a hunicanrana. Or as Heenan calls it “whipped him from Bloomingdales to Macy’s”. Chops in the corner by Pillman who then kicks Liger with a boot the face and a very sloppy hunicanrana for a two. Pillman then gets Liger in a submission hold as Heenan and Mongo call each other names. Drop toe hold followed by the reverse surfboard by Liger who turns it into a reverse face lock. Mongo says Heenan is too fat to surf to which Heenan replies with “I don’t surf. I let others do that for me.” Head scissors takedown by Pillman but he is quickly sent to the outside. Liger quick on the attack hits a diving flip off the apron as the ref starts his 10 count. Fans start a USA chant as Liger is suplexed to the outside. Pillman ascends the top rope and hits a cross body on Liger. He goes up again but Liger knocks him off and counters with a top rope suplex for a two. Or a “2.95” according to Eric. Liger heads to the top rope and dives but Pillman dropkicks him and gets a two. Liger then hits a powerbomb for a two. Eric tells us that Ric Flair will take on Sting later tonight and Hulk Hogan will take on Big Bubba Rogers as Liger hits a top rope hunicanrana for another two count. Liger is about to go for one more but Pillman counters with a swinging DDT for a two. Pillman then rolls up Liger for the three count at 6:52.
WINNER – Brian Pillman (6:52)
After the match, Pillman and Liger shake hands and hug showing sportsmanship as we are shown highlights from the match.
We then cut to Sting cutting a promo on Ric Flair. He says he will get Flair in the Scorpion Deathlock. Tonight’s edition of Nitro is sponsored by Slim Jim as Mean Gene tells us about the WCW Hotline.
We’re back and Eric throws to earlier today where he interviewed Hulk Hogan at Hogan’s “Pastamania”. Hogan promotes his restaurant and asks all the kids he will win tonight. He also says he will force feed Big Bubba Rogers some “Hulk-a-roos”.
MATCH #2 – WCW United States Championship – Ric Flair vs. Sting (C)
We’re back and Ric Flair makes his way to the ring. Eric says this is a main event match. Out comes Sting and the crowd explodes. Heenan says everyone needs sunglasses to look at Sting. Hold up! That’s Lex Luger! What’s he doing here? Heenan says Luger has every right to be here as we’re in a public mall. The crowd chants for Luger as Eric demands security escorts Luger away. The match finally starts with a lock-up and a Sting yell. Flair knocks Sting down but gets body slammed, not once but twice. Hip toss and a dropkick by Sting sends Flair to the outside. Eric says there is chaos in the locker room with Luger arriving. Poke to the eye by Flair followed by three chops in the corner. Sting then starts no selling chops and forearms and body slams Flair again. Both men end up outside and Flair is in control. Sting presses Flair above his head and throws him back into the ring. Sting then misses a Stinger Slash but followed up with a bulldog. But Flair counters with an elbow as we cut to a commercial.
We’re back and Flair is in control as he ascends the top rope but is thrown off by Sting. Sting body slams Flair again for a two as Arn Anderson arrives. Sting misses a splash off the top rope and Flair follows up with a suplex but Sting pops right back up and sends Flair into the corner. He follows this up with a 10-punch and a hip toss. Flair fights back and both men trade reversals. Back slide by Sting gets a two. Sting places Flair on the top rope and hits a suplex so powerful it apparently knocked Mongo’s monitor off. Sting gets distracted by Arn Anderson at ringside and Flair hits a chop block to the knee and locks in the Figure Four. Sting reverses the Figure Four but Flair gets the ropes. Arn enters the ring and ref rings for a disqualification at 8:43
WINNER – Sting (c) by DQ
Anderson and Flair starts brawling to the back as security splits the two apart. Flair leaves as Arn returns to the ring to grab his jacket. Meanwhile, Scott Norton arrives and gets face to face with Mongo but before he can do anything, he ends up face to face with Randy Savage. Savage challenges Norton to a match to take place now but security stops Norton from getting to the ring. Eric throws to a highlight package about Sabu. I think it’s a highlight package as everything is distorted and hard to see.
We’re back and Mean Gene is in the ring and congratulates Mike Hill on winning the Harley Davidson Sweepstakes and leaves. He throws to Eric who promotes the upcoming WCW Saturday Night. Matches announced are Johnny B. Badd vs. ‘Dirty’ Dick Slater as well Sting & Randy Savage vs. The Bluebloods plus an update on WCW Fall Brawl. We then throw to a promo on another new superstar, Mr. Michael Wallstreet. He says he’s as wealthy as Hulk Hogan and the I.R.S. is behind him.
MAIN EVENT – WCW World Heavyweight Championship – Big Bubba Rogers vs. Hulk Hogan (c) (w/Jimmy Hart)
It’s time for our main event. And it is for the WCW World Heavyweight Championship. The challenger, Big Bubba Rogers, makes his way to the ring first as we cut to commercial with a Randy Savage Slim Jim advert.
We’re back and here comes Hulk Hogan. Eric says Hogan has declared war with The Dungeon of Doom. Heenan says he isn’t impressed with Hogan and never has been. Eric says Scott Norton vs. Randy Savage will take place next week as the bell rings. Someone in the crowd has a whistle more annoying than Bill Alfonso’s. Hogan starts the match by shoving Bubba into the corner. Bubba gets Hogan in a headlock and is knocked into the ropes by Hogan. Bubba throws punches at Hogan followed by a splash. Heenan says Bubba is just as agile as Johnny B. Badd. Hogan fights back with punches but Bubba counters with a poke to the eye. Backbreaker by Bubba but Hogan fights back with two boots to the face. Hogan then punches Bubba but is pulled away by the hair by the referee. Bubba capitalizes and goes after Jimmy Hart removing his jacket. Hogan sees this and fights back. Jimmy Hart distracts the referee as Hogan chokes Bubba with Hart’s jacket followed by a 10-punch and a running clothesline in the corner. Scoop slam by Hogan followed by two elbow drops and by scrapping his boot across Bubba’s face. Bubba then fights back with strikes and a scoop slam of his own. Bubba misses a splash in the corner and Hogan fights back but Bubba hits a side slam for a two. Hogan starts ‘Hulking Up” and fights back with punches, a big boot and a leg drop for the three at 7:08
WINNER – Hulk Hogan (c) at 7:08
As Hogan and Hart celebrate in the ring, The Dungeon of Doom hit the ring to attack Hogan. Luger hits the ring and helps Hogan clear house. The two stare at each other and Hogan gets face to face with him but the two are pulled apart by Sting and Randy Savage. Hogan tells Luger to “go back to where you came from”. We cut to a promo about WCW Fall Brawl. The show says Randy Savage will be raising money for MDA (Muscular Dystrophy Association) during the event and Nitro is also sponsored tonight by the US Army.
We’re back from commercial and Mean Gene is in the ring to interview Hogan and Luger. Hogan asks Luger why he’s here. Luger says he came back to challenge Hogan for the WCW World Heavyweight Championship. He says he’s been to the same places and beaten the same people as Hogan and is sick of “playing with kids” and wants to “play with the big boys.” Hogan says he will be champion forever and says Luger can have a title shot next week in Miami. Savage celebrates by giving a thumbs up. Hogan and Luger shove each other as Mean Gene wraps up and throws to Eric who tells us about what is happening next week. We have the debut of both Sabu and Mr. Wallstreet, Scott Norton vs. Randy Savage and Hogan will defend the World Heavyweight Championship against Lex Luger.
Brian Pillman def. Jushin Thunder Liger (6:52) (Meltzer Recommended ***1/2)
WCW United States Championship Match – Sting (c) def. Ric Flair (DQ) (8:43) (Meltzer Recommended ***1/4)
WCW World Heavyweight Championship Match – Hulk Hogan (w/Jimmy Hart) (c) def. Big Bubba Rogers (7:08)
Venue – Mall of America
Location – Bloomington, Minnesota
TV Rating – 2.9
Commentators – Bobby Heenan, Eric Bischoff & Steve McMichael