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Sting/Luger v Anderson/Pillman, Flair v Savage


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Sting & Lex Luger v Arn Anderson & Brian Pillman - WCW Monday Nitro 11/27/95

 

The storyline is so off-kilter at this point that it's impossible to work a face/heel Southern tag off of it, but they managed to do a very short one with virtually no suspense at all. Lex Luger is a heel because he turned on Hulk Hogan at Halloween Havoc, but he remains Sting's friend. There's not really an opening babyface housecleaning, which usually takes place, as they segue right into the cheating from Arn and Pillman, with Sting working face in peril. Luger proceeds to destroy both of them in some admittedly fun spots -- my favorite of which is Arn and Pillman trying a double clothesline while Pillman is still on the apron and Luger coming back and knocking them both down. They do enough to advance what's going on with Luger, as Sting has Arn in the scorpion deathlock, and Pillman is jumping off the top rope to attack Sting from behind, but Luger pushes him off. Strangely, he still goes crashing right into Sting as the announcers speculate what his intentions are. Luger eventually comes in to make the save without even getting the hot tag, and they have nary a moment to celebrate Sting's pinfall victory before Flair is out there wreaking havoc and destroying them both. This brings Hulk Hogan out to make the save, which the crowd boos heavily, as they're in Virginia. Flair coming in to get his shots in on everyone is more fun than the match itself. WCW was actually running some intriguing storylines on top at this point, if you factor Hulk Hogan out of the equation, but everything they were doing got shitcanned when the NWO angle finally started.

 

Ric Flair v Randy Savage - WCW Monday Nitro 08/12/96

 

The one thing they definitely both do right is bring the intensity and hate, but I wish they could have channeled that into some type of match with some type of narrative. As it stands, it's all "my turn, your turn" with a few awkward spots mixed in with some decent leg work, which is no-sold when Savage makes his comeback anyway. The finish sees Hulk Hogan give a chairshot to Randy Savage from behind, leaving Flair to come in and pin him with his feet on the ropes. Flair never saw Hogan come in, and Hogan never touches him, so the announcers immediately speculate that Flair has joined the NWO. Every single top star in the company was a suspect at the time, which is what made the angle work so beautifully.

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There's not really an opening babyface housecleaning, which usually takes place, as they segue right into the cheating from Arn and Pillman, with Sting working face in peril.

Raven mentions this in his Secrets of the Ring interview. There is the basic match structure of Putting on the shine (Babyface strong in the beginning), heel control, comeback, finishing sequence. If you are presed for time, Raven feels that the first portion is the leas important and should be the portion that is cut first.

 

WCW was actually running some intriguing storylines on top at this point, if you factor Hulk Hogan out of the equation, but everything they were doing got shitcanned when the NWO angle finally started.

What were some of the angles that you liked from this time period?

 

but I wish they could have channeled that into some type of match with some type of narrative. As it stands, it's all "my turn, your turn" with a few awkward spots mixed in

This describes almost every Randy Savage match in WCW. All of that work that I praised from WWF is missing in Ted Turner's macho Man.

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There's not really an opening babyface housecleaning, which usually takes place, as they segue right into the cheating from Arn and Pillman, with Sting working face in peril.

Raven mentions this in his Secrets of the Ring interview. There is the basic match structure of Putting on the shine (Babyface strong in the beginning), heel control, comeback, finishing sequence. If you are presed for time, Raven feels that the first portion is the leas important and should be the portion that is cut first.

In this match, it worked, but like most short TV matches, it had the potential to be better than it was. Sting/Luger v Arn/Pillman, in 1995, given 15 minutes, probably could have hit *** or better. This is a strange match to watch, because for the short time it goes, Luger outworks Pillman. But I guess that wrestling is a marathon, not a sprint, and that's why Pillman is superior to Lex overall.

 

WCW was actually running some intriguing storylines on top at this point, if you factor Hulk Hogan out of the equation, but everything they were doing got shitcanned when the NWO angle finally started.

What were some of the angles that you liked from this time period?

They teased a Flair/Eddy feud, but never really delivered. Flair was scheduled to face him twice on TV, and refused to get in the ring with him, both times, feeling that Eddy was "beneath" him and he had better things to do. Pillman would take his place, and Eddy would beat him. I'll be getting to at least one of those matches eventually. When they finally met, Flair won the match, but it was extremely hard-fought and competitive, and Eddy came out looking very good, but I don't think they ever milked this feud for all it was worth. They were given just as much time on the 05/20/96 Nitro as they were at Hog Wild '96, and the Nitro match is much, much better. They actually conducted an audience survey around the first half of '96 to see who their most likeable wrestler was, expecting Hogan or Sting to be the most common response. Eddy actually was more likeable than both Hogan and Sting, according to the survey results.

 

There was also the Benoit/Guerrero series, as they were wrestling almost every week during this time and totally carrying whatever B-show they ended up wrestling on.

 

Flair/Savage started the house show resurgence before the NWO came in, and it was done well, with Liz turning on Savage in the big match at Superbrawl. Because the audience wasn't numb to shocking turns by that time, it was a huge swerve at the time, and they had Flair and Liz going around town spending Savage's money and throwing it into the crowd and stuff.

 

The DDP/Johnny B. Badd feud was surprisingly good. I did a write-up of it that I put in this folder. You should find it.

 

Brian Pillman started his "loose cannon" gimmick around this time and you never knew what he was going to say or do. Arn Anderson had to slap him in the face during an interview once to calm him down, and it rocked.

 

There was also Luger's split personality disorder, where he'd heel it up when Sting wasn't around and play a total babyface whenever Sting was looking. Sting was constantly skeptical, but he always gave Luger the benefit of the doubt. There was a hilarious moment in one of their matches when they were walking to the ring once when Luger was making disgusting faces at fans and trying not to touch them. Sting turned around and Luger immediately started high-fiving and smiling, acting like he loved the fans. He'd sneak in cheating tactics to win their tag matches behind Sting's back, and he'd end up getting Sting into these horrible situations on a regular basis.

 

The Regal/Finlay feud was also in effect around this time, and they had their parking lot brawl that you kinda had to see to believe, just because it was so brutal. I wish I had it on tape, but I don't.

 

but I wish they could have channeled that into some type of match with some type of narrative. As it stands, it's all "my turn, your turn" with a few awkward spots mixed in

This describes almost every Randy Savage match in WCW. All of that work that I praised from WWF is missing in Ted Turner's macho Man.

Savage seemed like a buffoon when he was constantly outsmarted by babyfaces. WCW didn't use him nearly as well as the WWF, and he was mostly washed up by the time he jumped ship anyway.

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