Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
David

The Great WWF/WCW Monday Night Wars Watch Along!

Recommended Posts

Okay, so I'm not entirely sure how much interest this will get (it could die on its arse and fade away, leaving me watching on my own and continuing to throw balls of shite at modern wrestling while waving my fist furiously at no one in particular) but I've had a sub to the network for a while now, and haven't been getting much use out of it. I've decided that i'm going to go back to the glory days of wrestling. 

Monday, September 4th 1995, to be exact, when WCW Nitro debuted from the Mall of America in Minneapolis, Minnesota. When Lex Luger appeared through the crowd wearing that shirt. There was no WWF Raw that week I believe, as they returned to our televisions the following Monday with a feud escalating between Razor Ramon and the 123 Kid, not to mention the legendary Sid being in the house.

So, what I was thinking is that we'd work through the episodes of each show every week, along with any relevant PPV's that occur in that time period, and we can obviously add the other shows that pop up as they come along, such as Smackdown and Thunder etc.

For this week we can kick things off with the debut of Nitro, and then from Monday we'll discuss the September 11th episodes of Raw and Nitro. Everyone will have from the Monday to the following Sunday to watch that weeks shows, and obviously people can dip in and out as they see fit and get involved without actually watching if they so wish.

So, who's interested? Anyone? Or am I on my own here?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Bugger. I've already started WCW from that point so I'm a "year and a bit" in front of where you would be, but I'd have been all over this...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Just now, Cod Eye said:

Bugger. I've already started WCW from that point so I'm a "year and a bit" in front of where you would be, but I'd have been all over this...

You can obviously still jump in on the convo and discussion, especially as it'll be quite fresh still. I'm gonna watch the Nitro episode tonight and hopefully we'll get the chat rolling over the next few days.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm in. I have tried this before and I lot interest quite quickly. However, it there's a strong team following along and joining in as well, I reckon I'll have a bit more incentive. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yeah I'm up to February 98 on nitro and thunder episodes... Have to say I enjoyed the pre nwo episodes.. Some of the nwo stuff is hoaky like the promos.. Etc( I'm looking and you hogan) but for the most part nitro is good and wcw overall was good up untill it turned to crap in around mid 99

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Nice, we seem to have a bit of interest. Much like yourself gmoney, I'll probably stick to it if I know that there's a team of us doing so and there's somewhere to discuss it all. 

As mentioned, I'm gonna rewatch the first Nitro tonight, but anyone who's already done so can kickstart the conversation if they want.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'll jump in tonight with you David. My Network subscription is sitting there doing sweet fuck all, so this'll give me a reason to hand over my £9.99 every month.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, David said:

You can obviously still jump in on the convo and discussion, especially as it'll be quite fresh still. I'm gonna watch the Nitro episode tonight and hopefully we'll get the chat rolling over the next few days.

Nice one, I'm in then...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

OK, I've got an important presentation to prepare for, so obviously I've watched Nitro ep 1 instead. 

First impressions, the setup is great. Having a ring in the middle of a mall doesn't sound very appealing, but the novelty of it makes it oddly exciting. The escalators are still on, so there are people constantly going up and down, that must have been a bit of a nightmare. Bischoff introduces us and he's with Steve "Mongo" McMichael and Bobby Heenan. Mongo is really annoying from the get go. He sounds like a Muppet and is full of shithouse Southern phrases that grate.

Liger vs Pillman is the first match. Liger's music is typical Japanese shite, and I'm not sure if they dubbed it in or what, but isn't his music in Japan pretty iconic? Did he have that then? It's hard not to love Liger, an iconic costume and a fun wrestler. Pillman looks the fucking business. This is good fun, but seems incredibly tame these days. At one point Eric says "This is where the best live!" Which is a terrible attempt at a catchphrase. They fuck up a huracanrana at some point. Pillman wins after reversing a German suplex attempt. Nice, energetic opener. 

We have a Hulk Hogan interview in his Pastamania restaurant as he's being mobbed by kids. He said Pastamania about a hundred times.

Sting vs Flair is next. Sweet! This would have been fucking amazing watching live on TV. Great match, they probably never had a bad one I would imagine. During the clash, Luger appears as Eric screams to get the camera off. It's such a shame Lex is wearing that God-awful collarless shirt on this show, he looks like such bellend in it. Arn Anderson turns up and attacks Flair for cheating so we get a DQ finish. The argue then begin lamping each other until Flair bails. 

Scott Norton is suddenly outside the ring, looking like the most intimidating man in the entire world. He is going mental at the announce team, so Savage appears challenges him right here and now to a match. Bischoff threatens Norton with a lifetime ban if he steps in the ring to which Flash shouts "Bullshit!" which is picked up by the mic. Nowt comes of this today, but I presume is a set up for later weeks. 

There's a hype video for Sabu. I note that they show clips from two matches here but 90% of the footage is from one of them, so I can only assume he botched everything in the other one. 

Mean Gene announces the Harley Davidson sweepstake winner. That's amazingly the only thing Gene does on this show I think? 

Michael Wallstreet introduces himself. He very optimistically puts himself in the same bracket as Hogan, Savage, Vader et al. Good on him for shooting for the top. 

Main event time. It's Hogan vs Big Bubba. I really hate Hogan's look around this time. Well, from 93 until he goes Hollywood to be more precise. He's all thin in the face, something about the slightly fluorescent shade of yellow he's adopted in his shirts is off. I don't know. He's badly due a refresh. I never liked Jimmy Hart being part of his act either. Why does Hulk need a weaselly sidekick? I can see why they chose Bubba for this match, they've got great chemistry and Bubba can still bump great here, but without the police uniform there's no magic. It's a entertaining match though, and Hogan wins with the usual. After the match the Dungeon of Doom run in, and Luger helps clean house, but in the process him and Hulk get a right nark on with each other. Sting and Macho Man pull them apart, and eventually they set up a title match for next week.   

It's a really great show. No jobber matches, fresh looking presentation, star quality up and down the card. One thing the really stood out to me is that looking back, not only is Eric Bischoff perfectly fine as a play by play announcer,compared to what we have in the modern era  - Michael Cole, Jim Ross in his current state, and Excalibur - he is genuinely very good. This flew by. 

Edited by gmoney

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Gmoney has done a good job of talking about the matches so i'll only add my own comments in on things I took note of.

 

As said the location is great and I quite enjoyed watching fans clearly riding the escalators repeatedly to get a better view. The train store sign is however a little off putting. It also feels like they used a B ring that would be house shows only. Not sure why they didn't debut the actual ring here as it wasn't really a pilot, was it?

Never realized Pillman used the moniker "Flyin Bryan" in 1995, I always assumed that died post the Blondes. 

Ric Flair looks really odd in Yellow and I was surprised to see it during the Hogan era when I assumed Yellow would be off limits.

Norton and Savage created an exciting build for a match in 30 seconds demonstrating how pointless 3 hour shows are

Another thing I never noted before was Michael Wallstreet using his actually Wallstreet gimmick in WCW in 1995, I assumed he returned as a nWo member only. 

The Sabu add was hard to watch, I guess they were using pre taped matches and trying to hide it or something. 

Hogan is all over the place on promos, I actually find him quite difficult to listen to from this time period.

Where the fuck did Mongo get that dog from, he was off putting on commentary all night but that dog took the prize. As I say that I realize how he is still preferable to listen to over today's bland commentary. Bischoff was good in the lead seat here.

Overall a fine debut for the time with 2 huge PPV main event type bouts and an exciting opener, definitely looking forward to next week

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Watched the first episode last night, fucking loved it. Some of my observations:

One of the first things I saw on screen was a Hulk Hogan posing foam finger. Absolutely loved those things as a kid.

It wasn't long before I was reminded why I hated Steve McMichael on commentary. His constantly referring to WCW as "the" WCW really does my tits in, and his overuse of the word "baby" rivals Hogans usage of "brother."

Thank goodness we have Bobby Heenan on commentary to provide some respite. His one liners are awesome. "I don't surf, I have someone do it for me." Brilliant.

The Hogan Pastamania segment was mental, and why was Jimmy Hart even there? He just got bullied out of camera shot by the kids who were there.

Sting vs Flair. I'd forgotten how much I loved classic Sting. What a look back then.

Did anyone else notice that as Luger arrives there is what seems like a small child carrying Flair's robe to the back behind him? What the fuck was the deal with that? 

Another good line from Heenan when he says that Luger "isn't just here to watch a match and do some shopping," absolutely brilliant delivery as always, meanwhile Mongo is stumbling and bumbling as usual. Was he a big deal football player back then? Is that why they put up with him being the drizzling shits? And why does he have a tiny dog with him?

Oh, and Arn Anderson in his spiffing Nike shellsuit and Nike trainers. That was all kinds of awesome.

Wallstreet looked class, and I liked how he dropped in the line about IRS. 

So, the main event. We have skinny Hogan with his thin moustache and his clobber that looks like the cheap rip off stuff you buy outside the arena, going up against Boss Man who's dressed like he's due to attend court in the 1950's. Gotta love it.

Another classic line from Mongo as he describes Hogan as a wrestling "technician." Fuck me, that's woeful stuff.

So, Hogan wins in the usual manner and Lex comes barging in wearing his good shirt only to deliver the line of the night when he says "I'm sick and tired of playing around with kids."

Nice one Lex. You'll be fine here, the only kids in WCW are the ones being used to carry the talents robes to the back before the match starts.

next week we're heading to Miami for Hogan vs Luger! What a time to be alive!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
22 hours ago, gmoney said:

Liger vs Pillman is the first match. Liger's music is typical Japanese shite, and I'm not sure if they dubbed it in or what, but isn't his music in Japan pretty iconic? Did he have that then?

Ikari no Jushin is the theme from the anime that Liger's character is based on, so I would imagine WCW would have incurred a licensing cost and I imagine that's why they didn't use it. Or, because WCW, they just couldn't be fucked. Either way as far as I know Liger never used it in WCW. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Alright, here we go. Excited to start this. Certainly a project I'm entertaining with a fresh perspective, having never really delved too deep into the whole Monday Night War time period. Going to use the tried and tested Meltzer format, where he reviews stuff chronologically, giving his thoughts on matches and segments after they occur, and summarising the whole show with a "recommendation" scale just to try and differentiate my thoughts from everyone else's somewhat. I'll also try and give the matches ratings, which I'll keep track of over on a separate Excel document which might be interesting to keep on record.

WCW Monday Nitro - Episode #1 - September 4th 1995

47 seconds in and I wanted to batter Mongo. Irritating prick. "Don't underestimate Mongo, Mr Heenan!"

The set-up looked brilliant. Such a vibrant change from the insistence on only running arena's that WWE demonstrates these days. Jushin Liger made his entrance to a backdrop of strangers being whisked down an escalator and I felt though 1995 had peaked for WCW.

I'm making the executive decision to sack off the past tense bollocks. Live thoughts all the way.

The in-fighting between Heenan and Mongo needs to die a swift death. "Bobby the stain"?

A fun opener between Liger and Pillman. Again, something missing today that makes a huge difference - colour! Not two guys moping around in all black looking like a muscular default CAW from WWE 2K19. Some of the opening minutes are really sloppy, but you can forgive that - they're obviously trying to cram as many of their "greatest hits" into a 7 minute match as possible, so the rushed movements and positioning troubles aren't game changing. Heenan does a great job in the opening 20 seconds putting Pillman over brilliantly, absolutely singing his praises. Obviously, with 2019 eyes this isn't terribly impressive in terms of movez but you can tell by how the crowd got into it this was something clearly innovative and exciting in 1995. A great opener. A nice change of pace with the finish as well, i.e. the commentator actually correctly calling the finish with Heenan remarking "he's got him!" as soon as Pillman rolls through. ***.

Playing the highlights of the match, with the music of the winner playing in the background? Quality.

Bug-eyed Sting promo. He namedrops the Deathlock being a deadly weapon. Hopefully they factor that into the match later, continuity is a nice change of pace.

Hogan is flogging pasta. I have no idea. "Hulk-a-U'S"? Me neither. Jimmy Hart on his tip toes in the background trying to peer over the head of literal children is brilliant. Pastamania gets namedropped about 400 times. Entertaining enough.

Another nice little touch by the announcer, introducing Flair as a "former world champion" - adds a little bit of prestige before the concept of championships became completely meaningless. Again, Sting decked head to toe in colour. Another babyface who isn't too "cool". Luger's out in his shirt, looking the business. He gets a great reaction as well when the crowd starts figuring out who he is. Bischoff, credit to him, does a great job with his urgency and tone regarding getting the camera away from a "WWF talent". Another smart move, having him come out alongside Sting and Flair, instantly establishing him as a big player amongst the WCW talent hierarchy. 

Sting and Flair went out, and similarly to the opener performed a condensed version of "their" match. Sting is absolutely dripping in charisma, and has the crowd eating out of his hand subsequently. He gets a bigger pop for an armdrag than modern day wrestlers do for chucking themselves onto their head. Flair is getting thrown about everywhere, but retaliates with a thumb to the eye, getting across a clear face/heel divide. Flair takes a cracking bump from a Bulldog, which you almost never see these days. That move looks sloppy and loose 99% of the time, but Flair makes it look great. It's a very samey match, with Sting pressing Flair and Flair being the cowardly heel, but the crowd is eating it up so you can't blame them. The stars keep coming, with Arn Anderson making his way to ringside. Again, within 10 seconds, the backstory of his potential motivations and relationship with both men are explained. Very basic, incredibly efficient. Arn's in for the DQ, which protects both Flair and Sting and gives us some build for Arn/Flair in the future. Another match which felt rushed, but still enjoyable. It didn't overstay it's welcome, and provided some good story development. ** 1/2.

Within 10 seconds, Scott Norton's here! I'm loving how quickly we're moving from one segment to another. It feels like a television show you have to keep concentration on, otherwise you risk missing something. Norton gets into it with Macho Man, and that's that. Another very quick segment that served a purpose.

Sabu hype vignette, which appears to have been dragged through the blur function on Photoshop.

Mike Hill wins a bike.

Wallstreet butchers his promo by constantly looking off to the side at his prompter.

Hogan is out looking small. Some twat keeps blowing on a whistle. They quickly ease into the Hogan formula, with Bubba working the heat and cutting Hogan off with eye rakes. It's formulaic. It's fairly unspired. It's every Hogan match that's ever existed - but the crowd are loving it and Hogan's work looks surprisingly tight considering. Hulk-up, big boot, leg drop and we're done. The crowd go MAD for it! * 3/4.

The Dungeon of Jobbers are out in force, and Hogan is still battering them all. Luger's out to make the save and he gets into it with Hogan! Luger tells Mean Gene he's here for Hogan in a surprisingly good promo! He's fiery and intense and believable and it comes off really well. They set up Luger vs Hogan for NEXT WEEK?! Talk about jumping the gun! Poor Dungeon of Doom. We go off air with Sting, Macho, Mean Gene, Jimmy Hart, Luger and Hogan. What a collective bunch. 

End of show.

This was excellent. They couldn't have structured this show any better if they had tried. Start off with a hot, high flying match, shift onto your well-established feud of Flair/Sting with the added dynamic of Arn Anderson, and then headline with Hogan beating a big bad heel? In 1995, that's always going to be a recipe for success. Three very different styles of wrestling, all of which got over well with the live crowd. On top of that, you've got Luger challenging Hogan, which, too early as it may seem has the crowd hyped, Norton/Savage, Wallstreet and Sabu, Hogan's issues with the Dungeon - there's so much going on and they've only had 45 minutes to establish it. It didn't feel overcrowded either. Every wrestler felt different, every character felt unique, and everyone had purpose and reason to be there.

I'd recommend this anyway due to it being such a historic show, but it really is great. It gets a strongly recommend from me.


 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...
Sign in to follow this  

×
×
  • Create New...