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Spotlight: Lord Steven Regal on Nitro '96-97


G. Badger

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I saw a few Steven Regal matches pop up as I was doing my Eddie Guerrero post. A 1996 Nitro match. I wanted to watch it but I'd wisely limited my little project to 1997. Here I found another cache of bouts all featuring Lord Steven Regal from WCW. Most if not all are from Nitro and all are on the 'tube. Let's see what we've:

vs Chris Benoit (01/01/96) - Very good aggressive match. Looked like more potatoes than Idaho. Regal got dumped on the German suplex, it was great! Unique finish too. 

vs Eddie Guerrero (01/08/96) - Technical but very punishing match. That is to say Regal punished Eddie - European uppercuts, knee lifts, palm strikes and an arm trap dragon sleeper to name few. Eddie doesn't quit. Despite Regal's size he took the head scissor moves and the like very well. This was a really good bout.

vs Dean Malenko (08/19/96) - Great under 10 minute technical wizard duel. I think this match was the best of the 3 Cruiserweight musketeer matches because they wrestled a faster pace. But speed isn't everything so perhaps it was the story of them both being evenly matched. Regal had size and strikes but Malenko was had a slight advantage from a technical standpoint. 

vs Chris Benoit (12/02/96) - Even stiffer and more violent than their January match. Hard way blood from shoot headbutts a couple minutes in forces the TV cameras to no longer show close-ups and even the fixed camera has to pull way back. It's a little too far back in my opinion but we can still see everything. like a clear version of a handheld match. They do not let up. It's only 6+ minutes but its pretty awesome.

vs Dean Malenko (12/23/96) - Another technical battle. Regal seems to have an advantage most of the match but Dean uses his quickness to exploit openings. Then goes apeshit with elbows in the corner. We get a time limit draw (bull shit) in the end because they need plenty time for some NWO crap no doubt...however what they did was sweet.

Psychosis vs. Lord Steven Regal (01/18/97 WCW Saturday Night) - Pretty much all Psychosis on offense and Regal does the reverse vertical suplex/brain buster and finishes the man off with the Regal Stretch.

vs Rey Mysterio Jr. (02/10/97) - Good match but a little distracted by Regal taunting the group of fans the whole match. It did make Rey's hope spots seem more plausible as you could say Regal was not paying attention like he should.. perhaps taking Mysterio lightly. Actually I choose to believe that it was all intentional and we get a neat story out of this. Time limit draw for an under 10 minute match again. Maybe its to keep Regal's heat but he seems to be doing just fine on his own.

vs Chris Jericho (03/31/97): Fucking idiots chanting U-S-A gets old watching these matches. I usually mute WCW matches since I hate 3 man commentary and WCW's especially. But I've been tempted to listen here & there especially for Tenay or Zbyszko's remarks. I guess Regal was getting heat though. Anyhow Jericho steam rolls Regal and gets the upset win. Regal then goes to town on Chris. 

vs Rey Mysterio (04/07/97): Competitive match but Regal refused to break the hold and gets DQ'd. Prince Iaukea (remember him?) comes out to make the save (he just beat Regal for the TV title) but gets stretched too. We're at the point in WCW where cruiserweight wrestling gets no time on TV.

vs Chris Benoit (04/28/97) - Short match and in their usual style. Lots of work from the Greco Roman knuckle lock. They do the shoot headbutt spot again and no blood this time but the producers had them pull the camera back again just in case. Wimps! We get outside interference and is a DQ.

vs Hector Garza (06/30/97) - Fun with Garza getting a ton of offense. I'm not sure if the top rope tornillo to the outside was a botch on Regal's part or it was more of a tope head butt thing. He should have just done a big cross body attack or double ax handle smash instead. Edit: OK sorry for my ignorance! Looks like it IS supposed to be a tornillo plan ha move but guessing Regal had no clue how to prepare for it. I watched a Nitro match with Garza vs Villano IV and it was very similar but watched some other clips and Garza hits it beautifully as a cross body move.

vs Ultimo Dragon (07/22/97): Quick but rather fiercely fought match. Dragon was really laying in his kicks. Nice little match... again very short but really enjoyable for what it was.

vs Alex Wright (09/15/97): Whoa! They actually had some time to work a match. Good wrist lock stuff, very carnival, and a nice clean finish. Fun stuff!

w/ Rey Mysterio vs Eddie Guerrero & Dean Malenko (11/03/97): Odd tag teams but we get the great action you want in a very small dose. Its more of a Rey showcase than anything but good fun.

As with most things WCW, it peters out by the end. Still, Regal and his opponents were able to work with the time given. The best stuff is from '96 with the Three Amigos. I highly recommend checking those out. Personally I liked the Malenko matches best. The time limit draw with Rey is very worthwhile too.

Thanks for reading and stay safe!

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