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[1996-12-29-WCW-Starrcade '96] Lex Luger vs The Giant

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It doesn't look it on paper, but this is much better than you'd think. It's well worked and booked, stiff and heated. Luger's neckbreaker after almost getting The Giant off his feet gets a ginormous pop. All the run-ins were also really well done from Nick Patrick, Sting and Syxx. This was also the first NWO loss, which was played up huge on commentary, with the announcers pointing out that they only sent Nick Patrick and Syxx out to help him, but the NWO a-listers were nowhere to be found. Not a classic or anything, but worth watching.

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Solid match with an excellent finish. The babyface heat Luger gets is insane at this point. This is what they could have accomplished if they had booked the whole feud better than they ended up doing.

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Lex Luger vs The Giant - WCW Starrcade 1996

 

On a night where Benoit, Mysterio, Liger, Malenko, Dragon and Guerrero competed, my match of the night honors goes to The Total Package and The Giant. On a night where all the matches seemed to be plagued by anticlimatic, lukewarm finishes after great starts, this match started hot, stayed hot and finished hot. Luger was at the peak of his popularity during this time and really felt like the lead babyface of WCW. Yes, he was a better wrestler in that hot streak of 88-91, but he was so incredibly over here. The early tests of strength were so well done. Rather than show that Luger would be at a disadvantage they actually let Luger drive him to a standstill and Giant got frustrated. I have never thought of Luger having great worked punches, but he really had Giant reeling with them. Giant was so good really on conveying his frustration and almost shock that his natural size was not carrying the day for him. Giant smokes him with a clothesline out of the corner and punts him to the outside. Giant's work over the back is simply awesome much like a Caribbean Queen. Luger is so good at selling especially verbally as the breath evacuates his lungs he really lets you know. Giant was really smacking leather with those forearms to the back and I am always a mark for Giant stepping on people. The crowd chants for Luger and he goes for the slam and Giant falls on top of him. Awesome hope spot! Luger avoids certain doom when Giant misses a dropkick. Luger fires up with punches and forearms that whips the crowd into a frenzy. Weeble wobble, but The Giant won't fall down. Luger neckbreaker and the crowd EXPLODES~! i would have done the slam spot there since it got overshadowed by the overbooking. Syxx & Nick Patrick save The Giant from getting racked, but Sting drives them off. Sting leaves a bat in the middle of the ring may the best man get it. Giant steps on the bat while Luger just looks up at him. Ruh roh. BALLSHOT! Luger nails him with the bat a couple times and 1-2-3 and a HUGE POP!

I loved this as a Clash of the Titans spectacle. From the opening collar elbow tie up to the Sting run-in, this felt like a megamatch. They built to Luger taking The Giant off his feet so well. This was probably the Giant's best match at this point in his career. Luger looks like a huge star here, which they needed badly. This also sows the seeds for The Giant's babyface turn, which is necessary to keep a strong face/heel ratio. If there was a really strong definitive finish like a torture rack, then I would say this is truly a lost great match, but as is, it is the first among equals on a very damn good night of wrestling. ***3/4

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I don't know if they called this themselves or had help from an agent, but this match is an example of how a great layout can carry two "lesser" guys. Lex is still a smart worker when he wants to be but is pretty past his prime, and Giant is still raw despite his great athletic skills. But they work a very smart match and play the crowd like a violin, resulting in monster heat for the overbooked but still effective run-in. Luger looks like he's conquered the longest odds in the world, both from the constant Giant cut-offs during the match and the run-ins from Patrick and Syxx, all of which are masterfully set up to look like yet another NWO screwjob. The announcers have had a pretty strong showing all night but they were GREAT here, especially Schiavone selling this like the win of the decade.

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I liked this match a lot; very well laid-out David vs. Goliath (even if David himself is pretty darn big) type match. Giant does a good job selling and Luger is good as the tough underdog. Well done cluster fuck ending with a great finish. Crowd erupts and the announcers really sell it like a big deal, and Luger is put over huge.

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Can't believe this match isn't talked about more. I loved it and the story of GIant dominating and even though LUger is really strong, he is outmatched. The crowd heat was incredible and they way they kept teasing the Rack was also really smart when Luger does get his flurry and ends up winning the match. Tony puts it over huge that this is the first time NWO has lost. A great moment and a really underrated match. ***3/4 (7.5). 

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I agree - odd this moment isn’t talked about more.  Love this match and pop Luger gets at the end when he pulls out the victory.  Love this PPV. 

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