(All screen captures are the property of World Wrestling Entertainment)
December 27, 1995
Nashville Municipal Auditorium
News & Notes: After World War 3, Hulk Hogan tried proving he wasn’t eliminated from the Battle Royal. They aired the footage on Nitro, but it cut to static. Someone tampered with the tape. The Dungeon of Doom attacked Hogan and Savage on multiple occasions. Hogan went ballistic. He used chairs on the Dungeon and even WCW officials. WCW decided he was out of control and suspended Hogan for the remainder of the year. They did this to give Hogan time off to do some filming. Hulk isn’t booked on Starrcade. Instead, Randy Savage defends his title against the winner of a Triangle Match between Sting, Lex Luger, and Ric Flair. They added intrigue to the Triangle Match through the continued friendship of Sting and Lex Luger. Lex helped Sting on a few occasions, but he continued attacking Hogan and Savage. This only fueled Hulk and Randy’s suspicions and paranoia. Was Sting on their side? Could they trust him? Who destroyed the footage from World War 3? They answer some of those questions, but this is WCW. Don’t expect answers to everything.
On the other side of the Triangle Match, you have the Four Horsemen. The reunited group ran amok, especially Brian Pillman. He went into business for himself and pissed off both the Dungeon of Doom and Paul Orndorff. Brian said and did what he wanted, which got him in trouble. The commentators referred to him as a loose cannon. One incident led to the Horsemen giving Orndorff a spike piledriver on the concrete. This was WCW’s way of ending Orndorff’s career. His body was too battered to continue, so they used this to explain his retirement.
Meanwhile, WCW stepped in and put the kibosh on Bobby Heenan’s shady business dealings. He sold half of WCW Pro to Sonny Onoo. He used it to showcase NJPW talent. Heenan didn’t have that authority, so WCW created a compromise. They booked a World Cup of Wrestling for Starrcade. WCW faces NJPW in a best of seven series. Eric Bischoff created the idea after a few tours of Japan. He wanted better relations with NJPW after things soured over the years. While in Japan, Bischoff also witnessed a storyline that would later change WCW’s fate. NJPW worked with a rival promotion named the UWF-i. The storyline was the UWF-i invaded the company to destroy them from within. Bischoff liked this idea so much, he developed a way to incorporate it into WCW. But, we will get to that soon enough.
Chris Cruise tells us WCW faces NJPW in a best of seven battle for the World Cup of Wrestling! He yells about all the match participants, including Torture Master Masa Saito! That sounds kinky. Chris calls it an epic contest of global proportions at Starrcade ’95. Oh, and Randy Savage will defend his WCW Title against the winner of a Triangle Match. But, Chris doesn’t mention that. I guess it slipped his mind.
Tony Schiavone welcomes everyone to Nashville and Starrcade ’95. He calls it the Granddaddy of them All, as he introduces his co-hosts. Tony is with Bobby Heenan and Dusty Rhodes. Dusty must not have realized they would shoot him from the waist down. He wore jeans with his tuxedo. Tony claims the Japanese are trying to take over WCW. Dusty says the magnitude is unmentionable. Why did he mention it then? Dusty also promises clubbering and hiney-kicking. Then, everyone talks about the Triangle Match. Heenan thinks Savage is injured and in trouble. Heenan must have read that rag sheet, brother! (Since Dusty is on commentary again, I’ll provide some highlights of the Dustyisms we get on this show.)
Jushin Thunder Liger (w/ Sonny Onoo) vs. Chris Benoit
Notes: Most of the matches don’t have a build other than the World Cup storyline. I will introduce the newer faces in the notes section. Liger appeared on this blog a few times, so I won’t go into detail about him. Sonny Onoo accompanies all the Japanese stars tonight. He carries a Japanese flag, which Tony says they earned. I didn’t know you had to earn a flag. Also, Tony accuses Heenan of selling out to Japan. Bobby stumbles over himself to deny it.
Dusty Highlights: He calls Sonny Onoo, Sonny Bono. Heenan corrects him, but Dusty doesn’t care. Then, Liger fakes out Benoit. Dusty says he did a tipsy-toe. He was teetering on tottering. Also, Dusty calls submissions an uncling situation. They want their opponent to say uncle.
The Match: They trade holds and takedowns until it spills to the floor. Liger does a somersault plancha off the apron. Back in the ring, Liger gives Benoit a head scissors and a rolling kick. Benoit answers with a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker, but Liger makes him regroup with more takedowns. Then, Benoit rallies with suplexes and clotheslines before using a Lion Tamer. Liger says two can play at that game and puts Benoit in a surfboard stretch and a camel clutch. Chris turns it into an electric chair drop before they reverse through a Tombstone. Benoit then lands a superplex, but he misses a flying headbutt. Liger takes advantage with a powerbomb and a brainbuster. Benoit recovers and performs rolling German suplexes. He also returns the powerbomb favor. However, Kevin Sullivan appears and distracts Chris. Liger uses the opening to pin Benoit with a hurricanrana.
Thoughts: This was a strong opening match. It was hard-hitting and had great moves. I wanted to see a longer match between these two. However, I’m not a big fan of the finish. Kevin Sullivan interfered because he took exception to the recent comments and behavior of Brian Pillman. Sullivan had beef with the Horsemen.
Winner: Jushin Liger (10:29) (NJPW leads 1-0)
Gene is with Eddie Guerrero. The end of the previous bout didn’t sit well with Eddie. He says Sullivan should have kept his nose out of Benoit’s business. Gene says WCW is down 0-1 and asks Eddie to size up his match with Otani. Eddie is a bit awkward as he calls it an honor to represent WCW. It doesn’t help that someone opens the door in the middle of his promo. The person realizes there’s an interview and closes the door again. Eddie says he’s happy and proud to be there. He had to be on top of his game in the ring and the gym. Eddie promises to give it his best and be a winner. Gene says he watched Eddie do push-ups. Why is Gene standing around watching people exercise? No wonder Eddie was nervous during this promo. He becomes better over the years, but this was bland and messy. I felt kind of bad for him.
Koji Kanemoto (w/ Sonny Onoo) vs. Alex Wright
Notes: Kanemoto is a former Judo champion. He became a wrestler in the early 90s and wrestled under the Tiger Mask gimmick. Koji wrestles a high-flying style, but injuries later force him to adopt a ground-based attack. He becomes famous for hard kicks and the facewash where he raked his boot across his opponent’s face numerous times. He is also the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Champion. Koji brings the belt with him.
Dusty Highlights: Dusty claims he went dancing the previous night. He says he tripped the light fandango. He also talks about doing filibusters and soliloquies. I don’t think he’s using those words correctly.
The Match: They grapple and trade holds. Koji uses some agile takedowns and attacks Alex’s leg. Wright answers with uppercuts until they spill over the ropes on a crossbody. Wright then dives onto Kanemoto, but he lets him recover. Koji answers with stiff kicks and dropkicks Wright out of the ring. He then nails Alex with a slingshot crossbody. But, Wright reverses Koji into the rail. They meet at the apron where Kanemoto reverses a suplex. He turns it into a Tiger Suplex and lands a moonsault. Koji stops the pin, so Alex recovers and uses a German suplex. He also hits a slingshot splash. Then, both men take turns dropkicking each other out of the air. Alex continues with a missile dropkick and a superplex. However, Koji catches him with a Snake Eyes and wins with a jackknife pin.
Thoughts: It wasn’t outstanding, but it was solid. I liked the story of both men trying to one-up each other’s moves. It was also a bit stiff. You could tell it annoyed Alex. The language barrier probably attributed to the slight awkwardness. I still enjoyed this match.
Winner: Koji Kanemoto (11:44) (NJPW leads 2-0)
The commentators talk about WCW being down 2-0. Dusty compares it to the World Series. He says WCW has some big cannons coming. Meanwhile, Heenan shows off a gift from Sonny Onoo. It’s a little stand with Japanese and American flags on it.
Gene plugs the hotline. He says someone offered lots of money to a superstar. Gene promises Mark Madden has the scoop. Then, he welcomes Sonny Onoo. Sonny laughs about NJPW’s lead and threatens to buy WCW if they win. He also wants to buy Iowa. Gene says WCW isn’t for sale, but Iowa is possible. He also says, “You Japanese people would know.” Easy, Gene! Sonny then claims they have friends in the Dungeon of Doom because of what happened in the first match. Gene asks if Sonny paid off someone, but Onoo feigns confusion to avoid the question. Heenan makes more jokes about the Japanese owning everything. He implies they own Texas, which angers Dusty.
Lex Luger (w/ Jimmy Hart) vs. Masahiro Chono (w/ Sonny Onoo)
Notes: We saw Chono on this blog before, but he rose through the ranks and changed since then. Chono won the G1 Climax and held the IWGP Championship. He also recovered from a broken neck. Steve Austin injured him with a botched sit-down Tombstone. (Remember that. It becomes ironic in a couple of years.) Chono then adopted a mafia gimmick. They imply he’s a member of the Yakuza. He has a much cooler look than when we last saw him. Chono uses the STF, which Tony calls the most feared move in the sport.
Dusty Highlights: Dusty grows tired of Tony calling moves by their name. He doesn’t understand why it’s a Mafia Kick or a German Suplex. He tells Tony it’s a kick to the head. I like Dusty, but this annoyed me. It’s called doing your homework on the moves, Dusty!
The Match: Luger uses headlocks and shoulder blocks before press slamming Chono. Masahiro answers with forearms and kicks, but Luger regroups. Lex then teases a test of strength before ramming Chono into the corners. Chono rallies with a suplex and more kicks. He also uses a sleeper hold and puts Lex in the STF. Luger reaches the ropes, so Chono nails a Mafia Kick. He then attempts a flying axehandle, but Luger elbows him out of the air. Then, Lex puts Chono in the Torture Rack, and he submits.
Thoughts: I don’t mind a shorter Luger match, but this one was going well until the abrupt finish. If one match had to be short, this was the correct one. But, I was enjoying it while it lasted. It wasn’t too bad for what we got. I get WCW wants Luger looking strong and Chono has enough clout to not look weak in defeat. This was probably the best way to approach the match.
Winner: Lex Luger (6:41) (NJPW leads 2-1)
Gene is with Sting. He says it’s good news WCW is only down 2-1. Sting agrees and is nice enough to plug Johnny B. Badd’s upcoming match. Gene brings up Kensuke Sasaki beating Sting in Japan. This annoys Sting. The U.S. Title isn’t up for grabs tonight, but pride is. Sting forgets Sonny Onoo’s name but tells him he will buy WCW over Sting’s dead body. Gene then mentions the Triangle Match. Sting knows the inevitable Luger question is coming. He says he is friends with Luger and he’s trying to fix things with Macho, but it got edgy. Sting says he loves Luger, but they will do what they got to do. He also claims he will never forgive Flair. Next, Sting tells Macho he wants him so bad he can taste him. (Oh, my!) I bet Savage tastes like Slim Jims.
Johnny B. Badd (w/ Kimberly) vs. Masa Saito (w/ Sonny Onoo)
Notes: We saw Saito a few times on this blog. It’s amazing to think he was in his 50s here. He would wrestle another few years before retiring. Masa faces Johnny B. Badd in this match. Johnny has Kimberly with him. She agreed to be his manager. Kimberly dresses like an NFL cheerleader and does a cartwheel. It makes Heenan drop his headset, and Tony loses his train of thought. Dusty is so distracted he calls Heenan baby by accident. Sonny Onoo grabs a mic and tells Kimberly she should be home doing dishes. Kim takes the mic and tells him it’s not a Japanese bathhouse and she’s no geisha girl. She also insults Sonny’s manhood.
Dusty Highlights: He says Kimberly is volatable. Tony is confused, so Heenan explains she’s running off at the mouth. Dusty also gives Tony more crap for calling a Russian leg sweep. Dusty and Bobby joke Tony gets frequent flier miles for name dropping countries.
The Match: Saito takes Badd to the mat with holds before they trade chops. They grow in intensity until Masa hits Johnny in the throat. Onoo also chokes Badd with his flag, and Masa gives Badd a Saito Suplex. He then chokes Johnny and Onoo interferes some more. Badd responds with a knee-lift and a flying axehandle. He then uses a flying sunset flip, but it only gets two. Badd continues until Onoo climbs on the apron. He grabs Sonny, so Saito attacks him. But, Saito dumps Badd over the ropes. The ref calls for a disqualification.
Thoughts: This was building to something good. It was hard-hitting and had some good moves. But, that finish ruined it. I hate over the top rope disqualifications. That was a cheap way to end an otherwise good bout. I wanted more from these two.
Winner: Johnny B. Badd (by DQ) (5:52) (Tied 2-2)
After the match, Saito threatens Kimberly. Badd stops him with some punches and dropkicks. He then grazes Saito with the Badd Day, so Saito and Onoo leave. Heenan roots for an NJPW win. Both Tony and Dusty are disgusted. Dusty even implies he wants to hang Bobby. Tony distracts us from that disturbing comment by plugging SuperBrawl VI.
Gene is with Jimmy Hart and a flexing Lex Luger. He asks Jimmy about his deal with Kevin Sullivan. Hart says Kevin interfered earlier because he has a short fuse. Gene says, “Hey! How do you know that?” Oh, Gene. You dirty dog! Hart questions Gene’s comedic abilities and tells the Horsemen they’re in trouble. Gene then asks Luger about the Triangle Match. Lex says that’s what the sport is all about. He claims he, Sting, and Flair are synonymous with superiority. They all want Savage’s title. He also says he owns Savage and calls him a pathetic one-armed champion. He would have torn Savage’s arm out if its socket if it weren’t for Sting. Then, Luger tells Jimmy Hart he has to go alone into the Triangle Match. Gene doesn’t believe it, but Jimmy says they already agreed. Hart says he’s there for a long time, not a good time. He manages champions, so he wants Lex to bring home the gold. Gene mocks Hart for being cliché. Luger then says if he and Sting face each other, may the best man win. Luger promises to reign supreme, but Gene talks over him. Luger didn’t use cue cards this time. It surprised me. Don’t worry. They will return.
Shinjiro Otani (w/ Sonny Onoo) vs. Eddie Guerrero
Notes: Otani has an interesting backstory. He trained as a wrestler while being homeless. His parents kicked him out for pursuing a wrestling career. He paid for his training by working in a liquor store. Otani competed in the Junior Heavyweight division and joins the early Cruiserweight division in WCW. Plus, he participated in the NJPW/UWF-i storyline. Tony says Otani represents the new generation of NJPW while Guerrero represents the new generation of WCW. I hope Vince McMahon doesn’t hear him using that phrase. Tony also mentions Otani got noticed by dressing like Liger at NJPW shows. I thought that was a cool story.
Dusty Highlights: He calls it a pivotable situation because it’s a 2-2 tie. Tony questions the word, so Dusty calls it a Rhodesism. Dusty also references rickshaws. It’s his word of the night. He must have ridden in one before the show. Also, Dusty claims a brainbuster rings your belly. It confuses Heenan, so Dusty explains he means a bell.
The Match: Otani keeps taking Eddie down by the hair and locks him in holds. Then, they reverse through some mat wrestling until Otani regroups. Eddie nails him with a slingshot senton and puts Otani in a Boston Crab. He reaches the ropes, so Eddie uses a powerbomb and a brainbuster. But, Otani rallies and nails springboard moves in and out of the ring. Otani returns to mat holds until Eddie counters with a suplex. Otani answers with a springboard wheel kick. They fight to the top rope, where Eddie performs a super frankensteiner. He follows that with a Splash Mountain Bomb. They fight in and out of the ring and Otani reverses an apron suplex. He then nails Eddie with a springboard dropkick, but Otani busts open his own nose in the process. Then, both men reverse through a series of pin attempts until Otani gets the three.
Thoughts: This was great. It was a good mix of high-flying and high-impact moves. Plus, I loved that finish. This was a taste of what is to come with the Cruiserweight Division. I wish it was longer. They packed quite a bit into the time they had.
Winner: Shinjiro Otani (13:43) (NJPW leads 3-2)
Gene is with Randy Savage. He says NJPW is up 3-2, so it’s on Savage and Sting to win. Gene also mentions the Triangle Match, but Savage doesn’t want to discuss that. Randy then proves he watched Toy Story by saying, “To infinity and beyond!” Randy says he likes being the underdog. He sings the praises of Sting and even Luger. Savage repeats he’s going to infinity and beyond and breaking through to the other side. He appears to be done, but Gene says he talked to Hogan on the phone. Savage asks what he said. Hogan inquired about Randy’s state of mind. Savage says, “Tell him I’m in the zone! He knows what the zone’s all about!” Savage promises to win and tells Sting to get in there for the USA. Then, Savage claims he’s done because he can’t say another word. That’s a lie. He says, “OH YEAH!”
Macho Man Randy Savage vs. Hiroyoshi Tenzan (w/ Sonny Onoo)
Notes: Tenzan started wrestling in 1991. NJPW sent him on an excursion to Europe where he wrestled for the Catch Wrestling Association. He defeated Lance Storm to become Junior Heavyweight Champion. Tenzan also returned to Japan and teamed with Chono as Team Wolf. He took the name Tenzan as a reference to the Tien Shan mountains. WCW spells it Tensan, but Tony pronounces it right. He wears a horned mask to the ring, but he removes it before the match. He also wears a robe with his real name on it. That’s odd.
The Match: They grapple around the ring until the ref separates them. Then, Tenzan nails Randy with chops and kicks. He also uses clubbing forearms and clotheslines. Savage rams Tenzan into the corner, but he shakes off the attack in amusing fashion. Randy even uses a face rake, but Tenzan lands a wheel kick. He continues attacking Savage with headbutts and chops until they brawl to the floor. Tenzan drops Randy on the rail and returns him to the ring. There, Tenzan hits a Samoan Drop and a flying headbutt. But, he misses a moonsault. Savage attempts an apron suplex and drops him on the ropes. He then follows that with a flying elbow for the win.
Thoughts: There wasn’t a lot to this match. It was mostly brawling, and Tenzan controlled most of it. I understand a short match was necessary. Savage has to wrestle again. But, this wasn’t great. Tenzan’s strikes looked good. They just weren’t interesting. I will give Savage credit for being a giving performer, but he might be too giving. He looked weak throughout this title reign.
Winner: Randy Savage (6:55) (Tied 3-3)
The commentators talk about the remaining matches, but Heenan faces the wrong direction. Dusty says not to bother Heenan because he is distrunct. What does that mean!? Bobby fumbles around and drops everything while trying to turn to the camera. It makes both Tony and Dusty laugh.
Gene laughs too before saying there’s a gigantic meltdown happening, but not in WCW. Call the hotline for more! He says the score is 3-3, but Ric Flair is sitting back and watching all of it. Ric calls the World Cup a great conception, but the WCW Title is the most coveted trophy in all of sports. He promises to style and profile and tells Sting and Luger they have to beat the man to be the man. Flair says he will be fresh and reinvigorated. Ric also claims he will celebrate with Dolly Parton and some other woman at his side. He keeps wooing while Gene wraps up the segment.
Sting vs. Kensuke Sasaki (w/ Sonny Onoo)
Notes: This is the only bout with some backstory. Sasaki defeated Sting for the U.S. Title, but it’s not on the line. This is for the World Cup. The score is tied, and the winner will bring home the trophy. Sting carries an American flag to the ring. Heenan says it got all the hillbillies off their feet. Dusty takes exception and calls Bobby an ignoramus. Heenan says, “My name isn’t Amos!” While they argue, Sasaki attacks Sting.
The Match: Kensuke clubs Sting and rams him into the corners. Sting answers with forearms and nails a Stinger Splash. Sasaki fires back with a facebuster and they brawl to the floor. Then, they fight at the apron. Kensuke suplexes Sting and gives him a powerslam. He follows that with a Northern Lights Buster, but he doesn’t cover Sting. Sasaki uses some submissions, including Sting’s own Scorpion Deathlock! Sting escapes, but Sasaki continues attacking the leg. But, Sting rallies with a clothesline and a facebuster. He places Kensuke in the Scorpion Deathlock and moves him to the middle of the ring. Sasaki has no choice but to submit.
Thoughts: They kept it short because Sting has to wrestle again, but it was exciting. It did what it needed to for a brief bout. The fans reacted well to the finish. I liked the idea of having Sasaki use Sting’s own hold on him. It made Sasaki look arrogant. Plus, Sting gets revenge on Kensuke. However, Sting won’t take the U.S. Title from him. Sasaki loses the belt in a dark match after this show. His future was uncertain, so WCW took the title off him. Kensuke faced One Man Gang. The match had a controversial finish, so they restarted it. If Sasaki didn’t sign with WCW, they would edit the restart out and air the original finish on TV. He didn’t sign, so One Man Gang became the new champion.
Winner: Sting (6:52) (WCW wins 4-3)
Savage, Guerrero, Benoit, Wright, Badd, and even Luger join Sting for the celebration. Gene says the fans are chanting USA for the victory. I’m sure Benoit and Wright appreciated that. Shouldn’t they chant WCW? Gene then says he wants to fill the trophy with champagne and celebrate on the town. Geez, Gene! Take it easy on the drinking. Gene also mentions Sting still has work to do. Sting agrees, but he has one thing to say, “U-S-A!” Again, I don’t think Benoit and Wright agree with that sentiment. Luger and Sting then raise the cup while Gene calls it a memorable moment.
Heenan looks disappointed, but Tony and Dusty are happy. Heenan asks if he has to give back his Lexus. Dusty says yes and the rickshaw. What is Dusty’s obsession with rickshaws?
Next, they recap what led to the Triangle Match. Three men will fight to face Randy Savage. Randy became champion at World War 3 by being the last man in the ring. Or, was he? A replay error prevented them from knowing for sure. I’m pretty sure there were witnesses. Plus, WCW has a master tape. The narrator then talks about Luger’s quest for the title. He calls Luger’s actions bizarre and questions Sting’s loyalty. Hogan wants to know what side Sting is on. The narrator also says Flair has an advantage because he’s fresh. In the match, a coin-toss will determine who starts. Anyone can tag in at any time. But, Sting’s hatred for Flair could cause problems.
#1 Contender Triangle Match: Ric Flair vs. Lex Luger vs. Sting
Notes: I wish they did this match under Triple Threat rules. I don’t like the idea of people tagging. Why would anyone tag out of the match? During the entrances, Tony talks about Flair’s previous title victories at Starrcade. Dusty sits in silence while Tony mentions Dusty losing to Flair. Dusty counters by joking he had a Triangle Match with Tony. They claim there is a coin-toss, but I didn’t see one. Even Tony acknowledges this. Sting and Flair begin the match.
Dusty Highlights: He hears Tony say rush of adrenaline and thinks he said Russian adrenaline. Heenan asks if Tony works for Rand McNally. Dusty also doesn’t understand the concept of playing opossum. He asks if you run up a tree and say, “I’m a possum! I’m a possum!”
The Match: Sting teases a Scorpion Deathlock early before making Ric regroup. Sting absorbs many of Flair’s attacks, so Flair retreats. Ric then taunts Luger to cause a ref distraction. Flair attacks Sting’s leg and makes numerous pin attempts. Sting rallies and lands a superplex, but Luger tries stopping the count. Sting questions what Lex is doing. Luger uses the opening to tag himself into the match. Luger puts Ric on the run again until Flair employs cheap shots and ref distractions. He also attacks Luger’s leg and hits it with a chair. But, Luger fights back and slams Ric off the top rope. Flair has enough, so he tags Sting and makes him fight Luger.
They feel each other out and try a test of strength, but Luger kicks Sting. Then, they take turns ramming each other into the turnbuckles. Both men also trade clotheslines before Luger begins choking him. Luger’s cheap tactics surprise the commentators. He even low-blows Sting to prevent a Scorpion Deathlock. They fight back and forth until Sting misses a Stinger Splash. Luger puts Sting in the Torture Rack, but Sting’s foot clips the ref. Flair uses the opening to attack both men and dump them over the ropes. He revives the ref and tells him to count. Sting almost enters the ring, but Luger grabs him at the last second. Flair wins by count-out.
Thoughts: This was a good match, but they could have shaved ten minutes off of it. I liked the stories they told. However, it kind of dragged. The finish was nice. It added intrigue to the Sting/Luger storyline. Plus, it made Flair look crafty. I liked the match well enough, but it should have been shorter.
Winner: Ric Flair (by Count-Out) (28:03)
After the match, Luger claims he was asking Sting for help. Lex says he hurt his knee. Sting doesn’t buy it. He looks at Luger with disappointment. Meanwhile, Jimmy Hart arrives and talks with Flair. He ignored Luger. This confuses the commentators. Hart offers his services to Flair for this match.
Tony, Bobby, and Dusty talk about the main event. Tony mentions the history between Flair and Savage. Heenan believes Flair will win the title for the twelfth time.
WCW Title Match: Ric Flair (w/ Jimmy Hart) vs. Macho Man Randy Savage (c)
Notes: Savage enters the arena while Tony questions if Michael Buffer will do the introductions. Savage threatens Flair before handing the belt to the ref. Randy then steals the mic from Buffer to say, “OH YEAH!” He gives the mic back to Michael, who does his shtick. I hoped Savage would keep it. Buffer calls Savage the king of the flying elbow. Does that make him the Macho King again? Savage doesn’t even remove his shirt or bandanna before starting the match. On a side note, Paul Orndorff appears during the bout. He’s wearing a neck brace and stares at Flair. The officials make him leave.
The Match: Savage surprises Ric with a backslide before they trade chops and punches. They fight back and forth until Randy whips Flair into a Flair Flip. But, Ric punches Savage on a flying axehandle attempt. He then rams Randy into the rail and Jimmy Hart attacks Savage. Ric focuses his offense on Savage’s injured arm. Randy answers with punches, but Ric grabs a sleeper hold. Savage breaks free and rallies until Hart distracts the ref. Jimmy throws the megaphone to Flair only for Savage to intercept it. He clocks Ric and Savage blatantly blades Flair. You can see him do it. Savage nails the flying elbow, but Pillman and Benoit arrive. Randy throws Pillman onto Benoit. But, Arn Anderson enters the ring and punches Savage with brass knuckles. Flair covers Savage for the win.
Thoughts: I thought this was a decent match, but they had to keep it short due to fatigue. Both men already wrestled. They did what they needed to in that time. I wasn’t a big fan of the overbooked finish, but I’m glad to see Flair win. He was on a roll at the end of ’95. The rumor about this match is Savage bladed Flair without asking. It’s odd to see someone blade another wrestler. I guess Savage wanted to one-up the WWF for their bloody main event at In Your House 5. He got him good because Ric’s face was covered in blood.
Winner: Ric Flair (New Champion) (8:41)
After the bell, Pillman goes nuts. He spits in the camera and begins whipping Savage with the belt. He lays in some hard strikes. I bet Randy was pissed. Tony says Gene was going to interview Flair, but they call it off because he’s bleeding. Buffer announces Flair as the winner while the camera pulls to a wide shot. They don’t want to show a close up of the blood. The Horsemen and Jimmy Hart celebrate the win. Heenan says it’s a great way to end the year.
Heenan continues laughing, so Tony asks him if he likes it. Heenan says Flair went out there and defeated Savage. He doesn’t care if anyone likes it. Tony and Dusty say it was thanks to Arn Anderson. Dusty says the Horsemen electrified the world. Tony then congratulates WCW on winning the World Cup. He also talks about Sting and Luger and plugs Hogan’s return in 1996. The show ends with Heenan talking about partying through the night.
Guerrero/Otani was awesome.
Benoit/Liger was good.
Koji/Wright was solid.
Savage’s promo was entertaining as usual.
The finish of Badd/Saito
The Triangle Match went a bit long.
Performer of the Night:
I’m giving it to Eddie Guerrero. He was impressive in his match. The promo wasn’t good, but he more than made up for it in the ring.
I thought this was a pretty good show, but it wasn’t outstanding. It was hurt by a lack of crowd heat for most of the matches. The bouts were good, but the crowd didn’t fully care about the World Cup. I would call this event solid but unremarkable. However, it was a decent way to finish the year. It was also refreshing not to have Hogan at the event.
Thank you for reading. Next week begins a double-shot of ECW with Holiday Hell ’95. Look for my review next Sunday!
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