(All screen captures are the property of World Wrestling Entertainment)
August 10, 1996
Sturgis Motorcycle Rally
Sturgis, South Dakota
News & Notes: Eric Bischoff mixed his two great loves of motorcycles and wrestling. He struck a deal with the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally to hold a WCW PPV at the gathering. This meant WCW wouldn’t receive any gate money for the event. There were no tickets sold. To make up for this, WCW filmed Nitro at Disney/MGM Studios for a month. It was a unique venue, but it was also a cost-cutting measure. While at Disney/MGM, the New World Order continued their reign of terror. Hogan appeared in all black. He now called himself Hollywood Hogan. He even grew out a beard because he is evil! Meanwhile, The Outsiders crashed the show and draped an nWo banner over the WCW logo. The nWo then paid for advertising time on WCW TV. WCW had to play these stylized black and white commercials. They featured Hogan, Hall, & Nash mocking the company. They also made Hogan’s intentions clear. He wanted The Giant’s WCW title.
The situation escalated when the nWo attacked wrestlers backstage. They left Arn Anderson and Scotty Riggs laying. Rey Mysterio dove onto Nash. He caught Rey and threw him into the side of a trailer like a lawn dart. While the medics attended to the victims, Rey claimed he saw four men attacking. But he didn’t see the man’s face. Who was the mysterious fourth man?
Affiliate of the Week:
They begin with a helicopter tour of South Dakota. We see various landmarks, such as Mount Rushmore, the Black Hills, and the Crazy Horse memorial. Tony Schiavone talks about the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally. Then we get clips of scantly clad biker women. Tony calls it the biggest biker party on the planet. Now that WCW has joined the mix, it will truly be Hog Wild! Then they show a title card while a rip-off of “Right Now” by Van Halen plays. (WCW loved their knock-off music.)
Tony then welcomes everyone to Hog Wild. He’s with Dusty Rhodes and Bobby Heenan. The commentators look like rejects from the Village People in their biker gear. The bikers in the crowd rev their engines and honk their horns. Tony speaks about the WCW/nWo conflict. Dusty says The Giant must counter the Hulk Hogan Syndrome! Heenan has a feeling in his gut The Giant is in trouble. Tony also claims the main event is the most important match in WCW history. (Yeah, but is it the biggest night in the history of our sport?) Meanwhile, Dusty makes sure the camera sees Tony’s temporary tattoo. He finds it amusing.
Cruiserweight Title Match: Rey Mysterio Jr. (c) vs. Ultimo Dragon (w/ Sonny Onoo)
Notes: Rey Mysterio won the Cruiserweight Title from Dean Malenko. Now he defends it against a newcomer to WCW. This is Ultimo Dragon’s PPV debut. His real name is Yoshihiro Asai. If that name sounds familiar, it’s because he invented the Asai Moonsault. He started in Japan, but didn’t have much success. Dragon went to Mexico instead and honed his craft until Japan wanted him back. They initially referred to him as the last student of Bruce Lee, hence the name. The problem is, Dragon was only six years old when Lee died. The gimmick didn’t last, but he kept the moniker. WCW calls him The Ultimate Dragon, but I’ll call him Ultimo. They correct their mistake within a couple of months. (I want to point out something amusing. The crowd throws around a blow-up doll during this bout. I’ve seen beach balls, but this is new.)
The Match: They trade mat holds and reversals. Then both men try one-upping each other with some flips. Dragon takes control with kicks, a handspring elbow, and a running powerbomb. But he doesn’t cover Rey. Dragon continues with various submissions. He uses a Figure Four, a surfboard stretch, and a spinning torture rack. Rey fires back with dropkicks and a baseball slide. He sends Dragon out of the ring and off the platform. Dragon thinks he’s safe, but Rey lands a slingshot crossbody all the way to the ground! Mysterio also gives Dragon a dragonrana off the apron. However, Dragon dropkicks Rey out of the air. Ultimo then nails a crossbody and some moonsaults. He follows with another running powerbomb attempt. But Rey reverses it into a hurricanrana. Then they head to the top. Rey hits a super Frankensteiner after two attempts. It gains him the victory.
Thoughts: This was a fun match. They both showed off impressive moves. I liked the story of Dragon’s cockiness coming back to bite him. He played to the fans well. They booed him for being foreign and he ran with it. Everything was crisp and well executed. It was a solid opener. This was a great way to begin the show.
Winner: Rey Mysterio Jr. (11:35)
Next, Mean Gene plugs the hotline. If you call, he will tell you who he saw backstage. It might affect who joins the nWo. Plus, he has insight on comings and goings in wrestling and results from the PPV. Then Tony speaks more about the rally. He says there are odd people and provocative machines. Heenan also talks about the motorcycles. But he confuses them with bicycles.
Scott Norton vs. Ice Train
Notes: Fire & Ice explode! Ice Train’s mistakes cost the team matches. Scott Norton had enough and attacked his partner. Then he interfered in Ice Train’s bouts. But he didn’t attack. He helped Train. Norton said he wanted Train fresh for their fight. That way he has no excuses when he loses. Train already has a shoulder injury. It’s taped for this encounter, which makes it a target for Norton. On a side note, Teddy Long is absent from this bout. The Giant attacked Teddy after a Giant/Ice Train match.
The Match: They trade punches and chops until Norton attacks Train’s shoulder. Then they exchange headbutts and forearms before spilling to the floor. Norton rams Train’s shoulder into the post. Ice answers with a slam, but it hurts his arm. Norton pounces and continues attacking the injury. Train then tries rallying with headbutts and chops. It’s not enough. Norton drives his knee into Ice’s shoulder and leg drops it. Train rallies again with a powerslam and clotheslines. But Norton catches him with an armbreaker. He then puts Ice in an armbar for the win.
Thoughts: I hoped for a good hoss battle. But this wasn’t interesting. Norton no-sold most of Train’s offense. It was mostly punches and kicks. There were hard strikes, but it was dull. I get the story they went for. The pieces were there. But the action wasn’t great. This was disappointing. Plus, they broke up this team too soon. No one cared about watching them face each other after only a few months of teaming.
Winner: Scott Norton (5:05)
Norton is slow to release the hold. He also gives Train a few more kicks before leaving. Then they go to an interview with Ric Flair about the nWo. Flair calls them out for hurting his best friend, Arn Anderson. Ric discusses their long history. Flair thought the Horsemen and the nWo could coexist until they attacked Arn. Now it’s a whole new ballgame. Flair then says he stands up for WCW because they are his friends. It doesn’t matter how he feels about Sting & Luger. He will fight by their side if he has to. Flair says the two companies [WCW & The nWo] can’t survive together. He tells the nWo to think about that. (This was a restrained Flair promo, but I liked it. It had good intensity and told a great story.)
Tony speaks more about the rally before they plug Hog Wild merchandise. You can buy denim jackets and t-shirts for around $20! Jimmy Hart has his! Why haven’t you bought yours?
Madusa vs. Bull Nakano (w/ Sonny Onoo)
Notes: Bull Nakano is back for a battle of the bikes! Bull and Sonny have a Japanese motorcycle with the Japanese flag painted on the side. Madusa rides a hog to the ring. The winner of this match can smash their opponent’s bike with a sledgehammer. It’s a way of riling up the crowd. (Somewhere, Triple H thinks, “Hmm, a sledgehammer? I like that.”) I should also point out Nakano brought some nunchaku. She hits Madusa with them. Rhodes says, “She hit her with num-chuncks!”
The Match: Bull whips Madusa around by the hair and chokes her on the ropes. She then slams Madusa and covers her. But Madusa bridges out of the pin. Madusa counters with jumping clotheslines. Bull stops her and puts Madusa in a Scorpion Crosslock. She follows with a draping DDT and continues with more holds. Then Madusa rallies with a hurricanrana and spin kicks. But she misses a second one and Nakano clotheslines Madusa. Next, they trade pin attempts with variations of the suplex and a sunset flip. Bull uses another bridging back suplex and both women’s shoulders are down. The ref counts three, but Madusa raises her arm at the last moment.
Thoughts: This was solid but basic. They’ve had better matches. It felt like they were going through the motions. It didn’t help the finish was confusing. Sonny Onoo jumped the gun on the post-match antics. The bell didn’t ring until after he started. Neither the fans nor the commentators knew what happened. The flat finish took this from okay to disappointing.
Winner: Madusa (5:00)
Onoo takes the sledgehammer and starts hitting Madusa’s bike. He thinks Bull won. The ref tells him Madusa got her shoulder up. Madusa grabs the hammer and chases Sonny away. Then she smashes Bull’s bike. It bounces off the seat. So she smashes the headlight and mirrors instead. She also knocks off a few side pieces. The commentators figure out the finish of the match. Tony wants a replay, but he doesn’t get one.
Meanwhile, The Steiner Brothers are on some laptops. Tony thinks they’re chatting with fans on Compuserve. But Rick Steiner is playing a video game. He makes racing noises while he jabs at the keyboard. (That’s not how you play games, but it was amusing.)
Chris Benoit (w/ Woman & Miss Elizabeth) vs. Dean Malenko
Notes: Benoit and Malenko had a bout on Nitro. It seemed like a normal encounter. However, Dean started attacking Benoit over the next few weeks. He cost him matches and brawled with him. We found out Jimmy Hart and the Dungeon of Doom put a bounty on Benoit’s head. Malenko tried to collect it. Jimmy promised Dean title shots if he attacked Chris. Malenko got a Cruiserweight title opportunity out of the deal. Hart discusses business with Malenko during Dean’s entrance.
The Match: They exchange headbutts, chops, and punches. Then they trade pin attempts and bridging reversals. Both men try submission holds, but Benoit powers out of Dean’s short-arm scissors. Benoit uses snap suplexes and a flying headbutt. Dean counters by reversing a Tombstone and attempts a Texas Cloverleaf. Then they fight to the floor and Dean rams Chris into the post. But Benoit catches Dean on the top rope and lands a superplex. He also puts Dean in more holds, including a Lion Tamer! Dean regroups, so they trade more pin attempts and reversals. Next, Dean returns the superplex favor with less than a minute left. Malenko tries some pin attempts, but the time expires.
Nick Patrick declares there must be a winner. He puts them in a five-minute overtime. Benoit looks for a submission. He even puts Dean in his own Texas Cloverleaf. Dean sells the leg, so Benoit attacks it. He puts Malenko in various leg holds. They aren’t enough. Time expires again. Patrick calls for another overtime, which draws boos from the fans. Dean attacks Benoit’s leg. Malenko uses the Texas Cloverleaf and an STF. But Woman interferes. Dean pushes her away. This allows Benoit to roll up Dean for the win.
Thoughts: This was a strong technical clinic. It made both men look great. I loved it, but they lost the crowd. They booed the restarts. This was the wrong environment for this match. Any other crowd would appreciate it. They should have read the room better. It’s still a great bout either way.
Winner: Chris Benoit (26:55)
Tag Team Title Match: Harlem Heat (c) (w/ Sister Sherri & Col. Parker) vs. The Steiner Brothers
Notes: The Steiner Brothers won a number one contender match to earn a tag title opportunity. Harlem Heat recently won the tag belts when The Outsiders distracted Sting & Luger. Meanwhile, Col. Parker and Sherri are inexplicably back together. (Did she forget about Madusa? Did WCW forget?) I should also point out Harlem Heat got the loudest heat of anyone on the show. The bikers hate them, so Harlem Heat plays up to the reaction. (I don’t have to point out the obvious. We all know what’s happening here. It makes me sad, but I’ll give Harlem Heat credit for running with it.)
The Match: The Steiners fluster Harlem Heat with a Tiger Bomb, suplexes, and press slams. Rick also hands out Steinerlines. But Harlem Heat takes control when Stevie clubs Rick from behind. They double-team Rick and wear him down with holds. However, Rick catches Booker with a powerslam and tags Scott. He uses a dropkick and an STF. The Steiners continue with more holds until Harlem Heat low-bridge Rick. They ram him into the post and take Rick to the mat. Booker misses an elbow, but he recovers with a Spinaroonie. Then Stevie attacks Rick with a rib breaker and a nerve hold. This continues until Booker misses a diving knee. Scott returns and cleans house with clotheslines and suplexes. But Stevie stops a pin, and a brawl erupts. The ref is distracted, so both Parker and Sherri throw powder. Parker hits Booker by mistake, but Sherri gets Scott. Parker then breaks his cane over Scott’s head and Booker covers for a victory.
Thoughts: It dragged, but it was decent. I enjoyed it for the most part. It had more heat than most of the matches. But that was for the wrong reasons. Kudos to the performers for powering through it and playing to the raucous crowd. It made the cheating finish that much better.
Winners: Harlem Heat (17:53)
Next, they show clips of the WCW wrestlers driving to Sturgis on their motorcycles. They started the journey from the Mall of America in Minneapolis. Rick Steiner, Debra, and Kimberly are the only ones wearing helmets. (At least some of them are smart.) They also reveal more biker women in little clothing. We see some colorful characters at the rally.
U.S. Title Match: Ric Flair (c) (w/ Woman & Miss Elizabeth) vs. Eddie Guerrero
Notes: I told you we would see this match-up soon enough. These two faced each other on TV twice. They were good matches. Now Eddie gets a shot at the US Title. Dusty says opportunity is knock knock knocking on Eddie’s door. (Dusty must have listened to some Guns n’ Roses before the event.) Tony says Eddie is fighting for the honor of his family. This is because Ric faced Eddie’s nephew, Chavo. Flair put him in a Figure Four and refused to release it.
The Match: Flair keeps regrouping because nothing works. He throws chops, eye-pokes, and punches. Eddie counters with his own punches, chops, and takedowns. Then there is a shaky moment on a back suplex. Flair appears to hurt his wrist. After Flair regains his composure, Guerrero whips him into a Flair Flip and chops him into a Flair Flop. Ric responds with low-blows and more eye-pokes. But Eddie does a flying sunset flip and a Figure Four! Ric escapes, so Guerrero gives him a hurricanrana and a tornado DDT. Eddie then mocks Flair’s strut and slams Ric off the top rope. Flair tries blocking another sunset flip, but Eddie pulls the tights. We get way too much of Flair’s ass! (Dusty says he had him by a crack.) Next, Eddie returns the eye-poke favor and nails a Frog Splash. But he injures his knee. Flair capitalizes with a clothesline and puts Eddie in the Figure Four. He even uses the ropes and Woman for leverage. Eddie passes out from the pain, so the ref counts his shoulders on the mat.
Thoughts: This was a fun match. Flair stalled more than I like, but it didn’t ruin it. They have great chemistry. Flair reportedly loved working with Eddie. It showed. It also helps the fans were hot for this match. (This time for the right reasons. They cheered Eddie.) I even like the finish. Eddie didn’t look weak in defeat. He got a good amount of offense and fought hard.
Winner: Ric Flair (14:14)
Mean Gene is with The Giant and Jimmy Hart. Gene talks about the sunset. He says people claim the sun is setting on WCW because of the nWo. Jimmy says tonight is a giant step for Hulk Hogan. He tells him not to trip and fall. No one will pick him up. Gene then speaks with The Giant. Gene says The Giant idolized Hogan. He asks what’s going through his mind. The Giant says it’s betrayal. He used to be the biggest Hogan fan in the world. (Doesn’t The Giant hate Hogan? He came to WCW to avenge Andre. WCW retconned the Giant’s storyline.) Giant reveals Hogan telling fans to stick it caused him pain. But he also says he saw it coming. He recognized Hogan’s true colors before anyone else. Then The Giant claims he will be the one to stick it. (Oh, my!) He clarifies that statement. He will stick his hand around Hogan’s throat and chokeslam him. The Giant ends his promo by saying ashes to ashes and dust to dust. He will lay Hogan to rest. (I thought he was trying to rhyme, but he didn’t.)
The Outsiders vs. Sting & Lex Luger
Notes: Sting & Luger took exception to WCW airing the nWo’s paid advertisements. They stormed the production truck and asked why they showed them. The producers said the nWo paid for the ads. They had to air them. Sting gave them a counter offer. He said, “Free pot pies and Mountain Dew in my trailer!” (Who could refuse such an offer!?) I also want to point out The Outsiders debut the traditional nWo music in this bout. It sounds like something from a porno movie. We hear that theme often for the next few years. Meanwhile, Hall & Nash play Rock Paper Scissors to determine who starts the bout. Scott wins. (I should point out Heenan’s commentary. He appears to favor Hall & Nash. It angers Tony and Dusty.)
The Match: Hall controls Luger with arm holds and takedowns until Lex surprises him with a hip toss. Then Nash tags and demands Sting. Both men spit at each other. Sting sticks and moves and slams Nash after two tries. But Nash catches Sting with a snake eyes. Hall also clotheslines him and The Outsiders work over Sting in their corner. They use ref distractions and frequent tags. Nash wears down Sting with clotheslines, knees, and forearms. Hall uses a fallaway slam. They cut off Sting’s comeback attempts until Sting stumbles and falls onto Nash’s crotch. But Sting still can’t tag. Nash nails a big boot and tells Hall to give him The Edge. He tries, but Sting backdrops him and tags Luger. Lex cleans house with running clotheslines. Sting even nails a Stinger Splash. Lex continues attacking while Sting takes Nash to the floor. He puts Kevin in a Scorpion Deathlock. Meanwhile, Luger hits a powerslam and signals for the Torture Rack. He lifts Hall and clips Nick Patrick in the face. Nick stumbles and chop blocks Luger. He then does it a second time! Hall covers and Nick makes a fast three count. It shocks and confuses the commentators.
Thoughts: The match dragged. It wasn’t thrilling, but I liked the story. The Nick Patrick stuff seemed botched. It was supposed to be more subtle. But Patrick isn’t a great actor. This starts the storyline of the nWo paying him off. The slow pace and shaky finish prevented this from being good. But it served its purpose.
Winners: The Outsiders (14:36)
Tony and Dusty question Nick’s fast count. Heenan denies it was quick, despite a replay. Then the commentators talk about the thousands of people at Hog Wild. Tony also plugs Fall Brawl.
WCW Title Match: Hollywood Hogan vs. The Giant (c) (w/ Jimmy Hart)
Notes: Michael Buffer introduces the bout. The bikers redeem themselves by almost drowning him out with their engines. Buffer says the nWo want to steal the WCW title. Buffer also points out Hogan is now wearing all black instead of red and yellow. Hogan wears a custom Terminator t-shirt. (Did WCW sell that shirt? Wouldn’t they get sued?) Buffer then calls The Giant the most imposing physical specimen and most dangerous man on the planet. (Somewhere, Ken Shamrock writes that down for later use.) Also, the bikers missed the memo. They still cheer Hogan.
The Match: Hogan is reluctant to start and stalls often. His punches don’t work and The Giant flusters Hogan with shoulder blocks and a back suplex. Then they do a test of strength. The Giant wins until Hogan knees him in the gut. The Giant turns it into a wristlock, but Hogan pulls the hair to regain control. Hogan wears down The Giant with more wristlocks and a bow and arrow stretch. But The Giant returns the hair-pulling favor. Next, they fight to the floor. Hogan rams Giant into the post and rakes his back. However, The Giant reverses Hogan into the post. When they return to the ring, The Giant hits a backbreaker and a slam. He then misses an elbow and Hogan throws punches. But The Giant hulks-up! He imitates Hogan, including the finger point of doom! The Giant follows with a big boot and signals for the chokeslam. This draws out The Outsiders. Nash grabs Jimmy Hart’s megaphone, but The Giant fends off his attackers. However, Hogan uses the opening to nail The Giant with the WCW title. He covers for the win.
Thoughts: I know it’s an unpopular opinion, but I didn’t mind this match. It’s not a technical marvel. But I enjoyed Hogan’s heel work. It was the best Hogan/Giant encounter I’ve covered. I know that isn’t saying much, but I liked it. They also kept it the right length. It wasn’t too long. Hogan needed shenanigans to defeat The Giant, so Giant didn’t look weak. I also enjoyed The Giant doing Hogan’s hulk-up. That amused me.
Winner: Hollywood Hogan (New Champion) (14:56)
Hall & Nash celebrate with Hogan. The commentators call it a tainted victory. Then The Booty Man arrives with a birthday cake for Hogan. (It’s legitimately Hogan’s birthday.) Booty wears an nWo shirt, which angers Tony and Dusty. He presents the cake, and a wrapped birthday gift to Hulk. Booty also congratulates Hogan on being the new nWo World Heavyweight Champion. Dusty calls that a falsehood. Hogan responds by calling Booty his own blood. He even kisses him on both cheeks. Hogan then challenges Ric Flair to a match. He claims he will make Ted Turner look like a second-class citizen and wipe out WCW. But Hogan says they never mix business with friendship. That’s a weakness Ric Flair has. Hogan says he has a surprise for Booty Man. He tells Hall & Nash to hold him. Then Hogan attacks Booty and knocks him out with the belt. Hogan says if he’d do that to his best friend, what will he do to Flair? Next, Hogan opens the birthday gift. It’s a can of spray paint. He uses it to paint the letters nWo on the WCW title belt. It disgusts the commentators. Hogan shows off the painted belt for the camera and leaves.
Tony calls it a sickening and scary situation. Dusty is concerned. He questions where WCW was while this happened. (That’s a good point.) Then they cut to the credits, but Heenan wants them to wait. He doesn’t get his wish.
Rey/Dragon was great.
Benoit/Malenko was strong, despite the crowd.
Flair/Guerrero was fun.
I personally liked the main event.
Train/Norton was disappointing.
The crowd reaction to Harlem Heat.
The finish of Madusa/Bull.
Performer of the Night:
I’m giving it to Ultimo Dragon. It was an impressive PPV debut, and he had some great moves.
It wasn’t an outstanding show. But it had enough good action and memorable moments to be enjoyable. Plus, I loved the atmosphere. I’m a mark for unique venues and outdoor events. WCW knew how to use different settings for their shows. The complete presentation was well done. This was another PPV I owned on VHS. I watched this one often.
Thank you for reading. My next review is the WWF’s SummerSlam ’96. Look for it next Sunday!
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