On September 4th, 1995 the Monday night wars officially started as WCW’s Monday Nitro hit the air waves, live from the Mall of America in Bloomington, Minnesota, for the first time.
The one-hour broadcast featured Brian Pillman versus Jushin Liger, Ric Flair versus Sting, and WCW World Heavyweight Champion Hulk Hogan taking on Big Bubba Rogers. However, the biggest highlight was the return of Lex Luger to WCW after having spent the previous few years wrestling for the WWF, where he had been one of the promotion’s top stars. Luger’s appearance was particularly jarring because he had just wrestled a match for the WWF the previous evening; the match was his final contractual obligation with the company, and Luger signed with WCW the morning of his appearance. The event set the tone for Nitro’s “anything can happen” atmosphere.
Kevin Nash debuts as the second outsider on WCW Monday Nitro: June 10, 1996
Nash’s surprise debut signaled that anything could happen on Monday Nitro. WCW handled the outsider gimmick better than any U.S. promotion that I can recall. WWE has had numerous opportunities (signing Ric Flair, buying WCW, introducing Nexus, exiting CM Punk, and rehiring Brock Lesnar) but never capitalized on them in the same way that World Championship Wrestling did. It’s a shame, too.
Outrageously priced vintage wrestling item of the week: The Ultimate Warrior’s duster
Who didn’t want to dress up as the Ultimate Warrior as a kid? How about as an adult? Eh, no one?
For the little (and big) Warriors still living the dream there’s this eBay auction of an autographed Warrior duster. This appears to be from Warrior’s stint in WCW (note the tombstone with “NWO” on it). Could this be Warrior’s cloak of invisibility that allowed him to magically appear in Hulk Hogan’s mirror on the October 5, 1998, edition of Nitro? I can’t tell from the video (after the jump).
The duster is on sale (25 percent off!) for the next seven days and can be had for $5,624.99 (regular price $7,499.99).
Kurt Angle retains the WWE Championship against Brock Lesnar at SummerSlam: August 24, 2003
Not even Mr. McMahon, a steel chair and an F-5 could help Brock Lesnar defeat Kurt Angle. The battle of former amateur wrestlers saw the two toss each other around … a lot. But in the end, Angle managed to get the ankle lock on Lesnar, who tapped out.
In the Elimination Chamber match for the World Heavyweight Championship, the unexpected occurred: really good technical wrestling. But really, what would you expect from Shawn Michaels and Chris Jericho. The two exchanged several near falls until Randy Orton and Kevin Nash entered the fray. Sweet Chin Music led to Big Daddy Cool’s demise (Y2J stole the pin). Who was next? Goldberg joined the match, buzz sawing through Orton, Jericho and Michaels. And the man appeared on his way to victory, but Triple H and his sledgehammer ended Goldberg’s run in brutal and bloody fashion. The night belonged to the leader of Legacy.
No Way Out 2003 looks like a huge card in retrospect. The Rock vs. Hulk Hogan in a rematch of their WrestleMania main event. The return of “Stone Cold” Steve Austin to beat up Eric Bischoff. And Scott Steiner challenging Triple H for the WWE Championship. Makes Sunday’s card look inferior.