Wrestling in the Clinton Years: When Ric Flair says “Space Mountain”, he’s really saying “Penis”.

By Martin Dixon (@BunnySuicida)

Hello and welcome to another Wrestling in the Clinton Years, where egomania is running wild! This time out Nitro is emanating from Tampa, Florida and the Florida State Fair and in the shadow of Superbrawl 6 held the night before. Bischoff, Heenan, Mongo and Pepe the Chihuahua (dressed in sunglasses, neckerchief and adorable doggy-sized headphones) recap the major events of the PPV. In the most shocking twist, Miss Elizabeth turned on Randy Savage, handing Ric Flair a shoe to aid him regaining the WCW World Heavyweight Championship. Heenan once again says that women can’t be trusted to continue WCW’s “war on women” (Credit to the guys at the New Blood Rising podcast for that title). Attention is also given to Brian Pillman leaving the strap match at the ppv after only a handful of minutes and seemingly walking out of the company. The Brian Pillman saga makes for fascinating reading and if you’re unfamiliar I urge you to read up on Pillman and his bizarre warping of kayfabe after finishing this. In an entirely predictable move, Hulk Hogan also defeated the entire Dungeon of Doom in his cage match with the Giant before being confronted by the massive Loch Ness who will appear later on the show.

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Their present to their mother was not letting her go to this Nitro taping. That’s the best present they could’ve given her.

With the recaps out of the way it’s time for the first match as the betrayed and angry Randy Savage (here forgoing his trademark hat, glasses and fringed jacket for a tattered shirt and bandana) takes on Hugh Morrus of the Dungeon of Doom. Morrus enters first and takes forever to get to the ring, so slow is Morrus that he makes Randy Orton’s entrances look brief.

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Morrus attacks Savage as he slides into the ring but the crazed Savage, running on anger & adrenalin from his betrayal the night before grabs Morrus’ leg,dragging him down to the canvas and claws at his face. The two struggle until Morrus backs Savage into a corner and drives his massive frame into Savage’s gut before whipping Savage to an opposite corner and rocks him with a running clothesline. The impact causes Savage to drop to a knee but he soon fights back to his feet, ramming Morrus’ head into a turnbuckle and drags his face across the top rope. Savage’s time on top is short-lived as Morrus trips Savage and levels him with a chop to the throat. Morrus then proceeds to beat Savage up with a near endless procession of clubbing blows until Savage manages to raise his foot so that a charging Morrus can run into it. Back in control Savage levels Morrus with a double axe handle to the back of Morrus’ head and in a very unheroic move, chokes Morrus as he lies on the canvas.

Savage manages to throw Morrus out of the ring where he rams “The Laughing Man”’s head into the metal ring post before the pair roll into the ring once again. Savage tries a suplex but the much more powerful Morrus easily reverses it and chokes Savage in receipt for earlier.

After some very lacklustre action where the two opponents trade eye rakes Morrus tries for his signature moonsault but misses as Savage rolls out of the way. Savage then seizes the opportunity to hit not one but two top rope elbow drops before pinning Morrus and winning the match. After the bell Savage tries for a third elbow drop but the referee stands between Savage and Morrus, allowing the latter to escape. Savage grabs a mic and gets in the ref’s face, demanding a match against Ric Flair then takes his own leave. Why Savage thought that the referee has match making powers is beyond me.

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Yo! Back up now & give a brother room. the fuse is lit & I’m about to go BOOM!

This was deathly dull. Morrus is a very boring performer with a moveset that seems entirely composed of clubs to the back. Even Savage seemed disinterested, showing none of the passion he displayed against Chris Benoit the week prior this all conspired to make the match an awful, plodding affair.

After this Mean Gene Okerlund grabs a few words with Steve Grissom, the driver of the WCW NASCAR racer about the upcoming race at Daytona. That’s really about it as Mr Grissom exudes what can only be described as “Anti-Charisma” and the only entertainment I gleamed from this was the tangential connection to Daytona USA, one of my favourite Sega videogames.

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After a sea of dullness, the opening strains of the American Males theme were a welcome respite as at last I could have some ironic fun at their expense. There’s a huge imbalance in the Males’ fortunes as last week Marcus Bagwell looked great opposing Ric Flair on Flair’s way to a 13th World title. This week, partner Scotty Riggs has the “honour” of facing the Loch Ness Monster (better known as Giant Haystacks, a legendary name among British wrestling’s “world of sport” era and rival of “Big Daddy” Shirley Crabtree) in Ness’ Nitro debut. Having seeng the 600 plus pound Loch Ness wrestle I’m inclined to forego my usual bias towards British wrestlers in foreign promotions and was willing Riggs onto an upset victory but no such luck I’m afraid. Riggs starts with a series of punches and a dropkick that fail to move the barely mobile giant, neither does a missile dropkick from the second rope. Riggs climbs to the top rope for a dive that Ness fails to catch Riggs from as he flies, causing Riggs to crash on the canvas with a toppling Ness crashing onto his knees. Ness hits a pair of elbow drops to finish Riggs off & end the match. An utterly atrocious “match”.

After that Mean Gene is back to talk to a bed. No really, Woman and Elizabeth wheel on a hospital bed containing the new World Champion Ric Flair, who Liz intimates in a thinly veiled innuendo says is exhausted from all the sex her, Woman and Flair had with Flair after the PPV. I really hope there’s a subtext of this all being lip service to get under Savage’s skin because if not, WCW’s treatment of Elizabeth is disgusting. Flair soon resurrects and takes the mic, free-flowing and ranting in classic Flair fashion and saves this show with it’s only highlight. Hilariously Okerlund is unaware of Space Mountain and it’s place in Flair’s lexicon. Elizabeth forgets her lines to end the segment and Flair “Woo”s to end the segment.

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He died as he lived: being the only highlight of a crappy Nitro.

Next up it’s a double debut as Dangerous Devon Storm takes on Konnan, the current United States Champion. Storm, the future Crowbar looks like an absolute clown in his neon green on black outfit and Konnan (or Konan according to his nameplate, despite the spelling on his jacket) looks like an illegal race from the early 90s brought to life with blue entrance mask and hot pink puffy shirt.

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This fashion disaster of a match starts quickly as Storm blasts Konnan with a dropkick to the back as the bell rings and follows up with a baseball slide through the ropes. Storm then grabs a chair from under the ring and employs it in a Sabu like fashion as he vaults the chair as he sails over the ropes, landing on Konnan outside the ring with a plancha. Storm follows this with a dropkick from the apron to the floor.

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The chair comes back into play as Storm sits Konnan down on it and sets up the ring steps in front of him. Storm runs up the steps and leaps at Konnan who stands up and catches Storm, planting him with a horrible looking powerbomb on the floor.

The two finally get back in the ring where Konnan batters Storm with punches and a hard clothesline before flipping over the ropes with a sloppy looking headscissors on Storm. Konnan keeps control of the match by hitting a German suplex and a T-bone suplex before locking Storm in some kind of inverted figure four as we see some man called George Steinbrenner sat in the crowd.

Cutting to George means that we miss Storm escaping the hold but we do see him limply lurching for Konnan’s leg, tripping him and grabbing Konnan’s foot in an ankle lock for a few seconds before Konnan reverses the move and escapes. Later on Storm tries a sunset flip to the outside of the ring but Konnan manages to turn it into an impromptu huracanrana. Hilariously on commentary, Bischoff apologises for intimating that the WWF was behind the powercut that curtailed last weeks Nitro.

The finish of the match comes as Storm tries a top rope huracanrana on Konnan that is turned into a thunderous powerbomb that gives Konnan the victory. Sadly this match ran out of steam as soon as all the feng-shui furniture rearranging ended and devolved into a very lacklustre and clumsy looking match.

And in the last match Hulk Hogan takes on Arn Anderson (announced by ring announcer David Penzer as “representing the Dungeon of Doom” instead of the Four Horsemen) in the main event. Despite Hogan having one eye obscured by a huge plaster (band-aid to my American readers) he makes the legendarily tough Anderson look like an absolute joke, refusing to sell his offence and battering him for almost the entire match. Hogan shatters the notion of being a hero as he mercilessly chokes Anderson with wrist tape and a thousand back rakes before choking him in front of the referee. The only highlight of this was Hogan blasting Arn with his old Axe Bomber finisher in a nostalgic moment from Hogan’s time wrestling in Japan.

Arn manages to get a modicum of offence as Flair and Elizabeth make their way to ringside to join Woman who had accompanied Arn to the ring. Arn hits his beautiful spinebuster on Hogan for a 2 count but Hogan hulks up and murders Anderson with a big boot. Instead of delivering the coup-de-grace legdrop and ending the match Hogan opts to mock Flair at ringside with a strut before clumsily locking Arn in a figure four leglock, like a true hero. As referee Nick Patrick closely checks on Arn (really, really closely to avoid seeing what happens next), Flair enters to ring to attack Hogan but as he still has Arn trapped in the figure four, Hogan somehow traps Flair in a fisherman’s pin hold, making both Horsemen (one being the world champion) look like absolute jokes. Everyone escapes this odd tableau as Hogan punches Flair out of the ring (to no DQ) as Woman prepares some powder in her hand that she throws in Hogan’s eyes (Hogan took the plaster off his bad eye earlier in the match for no other reason than this) as Elizabeth hands Arn a high-heeled shoe. Anderson blasts Hogan in the eye with the heel ice more and pins Hogan to win the match. This seems like a big deal as Arn gets a win over Hogan but it’s quickly rendered moot as Hogan is soon back on his feet, showing no signs of neither the powder or shoe attacks and rams Flair’s and Anderson’s heads together. Savage joins the fray with a chair, chasing Flair and Anderson from the ring and to the announce booth where an irate Flair steals Bischoff’s headset and rants about how they “Kicked Hogan’s ass” as the announce team scatters. Hogan and Savage chase the villains from the booth and grab mics themselves. Hogan calls Flair out for no reason as Gene appears to try to salvage some kind of point to all this. Macho steps up to speak but can only really utter “Helter-Skelter, yeah!” before Hogan calls Flair “Pee-Wee Herman” and proclaims himself the Enforcer of WCW in a garbled mess of a promo. We learn that Flair & Savage will have a rematch for the title next week and Hogan accepts a rematch with Anderson that Arn never offered. Hogan lastly gets Savage’s name wrong, saying “With Mongo as my witness” as he points to Savage and promises “no more Mr. nice guy” as the show fades to black.

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Still a better announcer than Taz(z)

The match was awful, the cluster ending was to type and still awful and the chaotic and rambling ending was utterly terrible. The only thing this episode had going for it was the crazy Flair interview. All of the matches were dull or just plain bad in the case of Loch Ness vs Scotty Riggs. This was easily the worst episode I’ve seen so far as at least other episodes have had good matches or character work. I can’t believe I’m saying this but this show really could’ve used some Lex Luger to liven things up with his secret heel schtick.

And on that bombshell, thanks for reading and goodbye until next time. Now ladies & gentlemen, Mr Takenobu Mitsuyoshi has a song for you all.

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