WCW World War III 1996 11/24/1996
Written By: Matt Peddycord
WCW World War 3
November 24, 1996
The current WCW champs were as follows:
WCW World Champion: Hollywood Hogan (8/10/1996)
WCW U.S. Champion: Ric Flair (7/7/1996)
WCW World Tag Team Champions: The Outsiders (10/27/1996)
WCW World Television Champion: Lord Steven Regal (8/20/1996)
WCW World Cruiserweight Champion: Dean Malenko (10/27/1996)
Your hosts are Tony Schiavone, Bobby Heenan, and Dusty Rhodes.
J-Crown Champion Ultimo Dragon (w/Sonny Oono) vs. Rey Mysterio
For those unaware, the J-Crown is EIGHT lightweight championships combined from promotions all around the world. The funny part is and possibly the most annoying for the champion is that he’s got to carry around all those eight titles instead of having just one belt to represent all the belts. Needless to say, the J-Crown championship was short-lived and when the WWF came calling for their light heavyweight championship all of a sudden (which was one of the eight championships) in the fall of 1997, the J-Crown status was absolved and all the belts returned to be defended in their particular promotion. Anyways, this is match #2 in the three part series of the Mysterio-Dragon PPV matches. Mysterio won the first match at Hog Wild in Dragon’s debut and now that he’s got a boost of confidence in winning all those belts, maybe he can pick up the win here especially now that Rey has just lost the cruiserweight belt four weeks ago at Halloween Havoc. Alright that’s enough set up talk, let’s get to the match.
After a short feeling out process, they flip around to come to a stalemate. Enough of that, Dragon puts Rey down with his famous kick combo and corners him for some chops. Rey lands on the apron and looks for a springboard, but Dragon stops that with a springboard dropkick to put Rey on the floor. Awesome! Dragon hits a German suplex and then puts Mysterio in a lucha backbreaker rack drop. Rey outlasts a half crab, but then Dragon powerbombs him and lifts him back up for a hotshot! WHAT. Cover, 1-2-NO! Dragon gives Rey the Giant Swing! After so many spins, Dragon ends up making himself dizzy too. Fisherman buster gets two. Brainbuster gets another two. Tombstone piledriver gets a THIRD nearfall in a row! They go to the floor where Dragon drops Rey with ANOTHER tombstone! While Mysterio’s laid out, Dragon gives him a slingshot splash! Back inside, he hits the DRAGONSTEINER for 1-2-NO! RUNNING LIGERBOMB gets 1-2-NO! Mysterio catches Dragon charging in the corner and follows up with a springboard split-legged moonsault for 1-2-NO! Rey flips out to the apron off a whip and springboard dropkicks Dragon to the floor. He continues with the offense and wipes out Dragon with a springboard somersault plancha! Incredible. In the ring, Rey delivers a springboard sunset flip for 1-2-NO! Awesome cartwheel into a spinning hurracanrana gets 1-2-NO! Dragon comes back with a Dragon Suplex right on Rey’s head for 1-2-NO! He tries another Running Ligerbomb, but Rey sunset flips out for 1-2-NO! WHOA. So many convincing nearfalls. Rey calls for the SPRINGBOARD HURRACANRANA which always wins, but this time Dragon catches him in mid-air and bounces him off the rope into a powerbomb for 1-2-3! (13:47) Wow just an absolutely awesome match. I LOVE that finish too. A slingshot powerbomb? Who thinks of this stuff? Just incredible. Easily a MOTYC here. Next month, Dragon wants Malenko and his Cruiserweight belt. At the time, Ultimo Dragon held NINE total championships – that’s one other belt outside of the J-Crown. The cruiserweight belt would make a ridiculous ten championships at once. That’s insanity. But hey, when you’re a champ, you’re a champ all the way. ****½
In the back, DDP avoids Gene’s question about whether or not he’s got anything to do with Eric Bischoff since he’s his next door neighbor and all. You know what Gene, Page does in fact owe his great hair to Head & Shoulders. Don’t be jealous. BANG!
Chris Jericho (w/Teddy Long) vs. Nick Patrick
For this match, Jericho has to wrestle Patrick with one arm tied behind his back. Nick Patrick comes out looks all sleazy. He wrestles in a sleeveless zebra shirt, black pants, white boots, and one of those soft collars. Jericho shoulderblocks and hiptosses Patrick around to start. He stalls and gets in Teddy Long’s face for a moment. Back inside, he slaps Jericho and then takes a slap to send him flying to the floor. Patrick finally gains an advantage when Jericho misses a clothesline up against the ringpost. Back in again, Patrick punches Jericho around in the corner, but charges into a boot and takes a bunch of turnbuckle smashes. Patrick leads Jericho in and out of the ring to stomp him on his way back inside, but then he gets slammed off the top (WOO!) and eats a superkick for the 1-2-3. (8:02) I know Nick Patrick used to be a wrestler before he hurt himself and became a referee, but he did pretty darn good since that was about fifteen years ago. Tony tells Patrick to go home to daddy. In case you don’t get the inside joke, his daddy is the Assassin who RULED the southern territories as a masked heel back in the day and in 1996, he ran the WCW Power Plant. Actually not that bad to sit through and it’s certainly satisfying to see Patrick get owned if you can forget about referees usually getting merely bumped and knocked out for five minutes. They’re usually so feeble! *½
Gene Okerlund brings out a rehabilitating Ric Flair. While this crowd was already molten hot, Flair comes out to help them become a little hotter. He promises the wrestling public that before it’s all said and done, he will dance all night and dance a little longer, stay all night and stay a little longer. Oh yeah and the new World order will belong to the WCW. WOO! Wait, what?
The Giant vs. Jeff Jarrett
Giant wears the US belt with him to the ring. Schiavone says that Flair is no longer the champ because of not defending the belt in 30 days. Jarrett spends the whole match trying to knock Giant off his feet. When he fails, Giant takes over and chokes and chops on him. Wait a minute, here comes STING! Meanwhile, Giant misses a pump splash (yep, even back then) and Jarrett takes him off his feet with a flying bodypress for 1-2-NO! As Sting jumps the rail, Giant gets dumped. Jarrett doesn’t notice anything and takes this opportunity to do the Fargo Strut. While the ref is counting on Giant, Sting hops in the ring and gives Jarrett the SCORPION DEATH DROP! Once Sting leaves, Giant waits for Jarrett to stagger up to his feet and delivers the CHOKESLAM for the academic 1-2-3. (6:52) This achieved a couple things. It continues Sting punishing Jarrett for waltzing in here all of a sudden and demanding that he stop being a loser and become the leader for WCW against the nWo. Secondly it allowed Giant to finally chokeslam Jarrett when he said he couldn’t do it. And yeah, that pretty much ends Giant’s feud with the Horsemen. ¾*
It’s time for a contract signing! There’s a table with a plaid cover ready in the ring and Roddy Piper comes out with the contract in hand. Get out here, Hogan. Instead of seeing Hogan, Eric Bischoff comes out wearing an nWo t-shirt, Ted DiBiase, and Vincent. Bischoff says that Hollywood isn’t coming out to sign this because he’s a little busy looking over some scripts and has made Bischoff his power of attorney, so he can sign the contract in his place. First of all, Piper reminds Vincent that he taught him how to fight, so he better back off. Piper handles these three by being able to talk over all them. He doesn’t care about no WCW or nWo. To Piper, nWo means ‘no way out’. And somewhere Vince is thinking that might not be a bad name for a PPV. When Piper gets up in Bischoff’s face, Bischoff reminds him that he can fine Piper for whatever it is he’s about to do. O RLY? How much would it cost him? Piper gets a little off track and then tells Bischoff that this match against Hogan is no-DQ, no countouts – there must be a winner to find out who the real icon is. Piper doesn’t want to look at Bischoff anymore, he calls Hogan out again. And here comes Hollywood along with the rest of the new World order. First of all, Hollywood says he’ll sign the contract, but then he brings up Piper’s hip replacement. Show everybody the scar, Roddy! Hogan proceeds to call Piper a cripple and “Pegged Leg Pete”. Piper finally has enough and slaps Hogan away. Big mistake. The nWo swarms on him while Hogan blasts his scar with a chair and then spray paints the nWo letters across his hip! Before the nWo leaves, Piper gets to his feet and turns the table over to prove a point. He WILL NOT DIE! While the build towards this match is pretty awesome, it’s a shame that it can’t live up to it.
Harlem Heat (w/Sister Sherri) vs. The Amazing French Canadians (w/Col. Robert Parker)
If the Heat win, Sherri gets five minutes with Col. Parker. Hopefully this time she won’t bump her head and fall in love with him. During the Canadian national anthem, Sherri wonders if the AFC think they’re at the MTV music awards. SUH-NAP! Jacques kips up after a shoulderblock and nails Booker with a dropkick, but then eats a Hook Kick. Tag to Stevie Ray for a double clothesline. Jacques catches Stevie Ray with a jumping back elbow, but has to tag in Oulette to put him down with a clothesline. Stevie Ray nails Oulette with a back suplex and Bicycle Kicks him down for two. Oulette gets stuck in the Heat corner for a while. Scissors Kick connects. Booker misses an elbow and SPINAROONIES up into a Jumping Leg Lariat. Jacques pulls the top rope down on Booker to send him flying to the floor. Back in, Jacques slams Oulette on top of Booker and continues the double teams with a double hotshot. Boston crab/flying legdrop on Booker gets two. Stevie Ray gets a hot tag and press slams Rougeau on top of Oulette. It breaks down into a pier-six brawl and the ref gets sandwiched in the corner. Booker misses a Jumping Leg Lariat and gets crotched and falls to the floor. That leaves Stevie Ray alone with the AFC for a SPIKE PILEDRIVER! With the Heat all down and out, Oulette makes a scaffold in the corner with a table and then puts the ring steps on top of the table. He puts another bundle of steps down on the mat to make for a SUPER QUEBECER CRASH! OH MY GOSH! Too bad it completely misses. I mean it took all of a whole minute to set up. Jacques gets kicked to the floor while Booker delivers the HARLEM HANGOVER to Oulette for the 1-2-3. (9:15) Standard formula tag with a silly finish. Kind of cool, but kind of silly too. I mean, really guys? Afterwards, Sherri gets her alone time with Parker and beats him to the back after about a minute or two. About what we expected with that. **
Tony Schiavone is wiping away the TEARS of laughter. Yes, TEARS.
On the WCW Hotline, Gene says he’ll tell you who the latest superstar is that will be coming to WCW! Well whoever he is, I’ll bet he’ll be just perfect for WCW.
WCW World Cruiserweight Champion Dean Malenko vs. Psychosis
Malenko stretches Psychosis down on the mat to start. During the mat work, somebody apparently is getting kicked out of the building. Who knows. Finally, it picks up a little as Psychosis takes Malenko to the floor, but then he misses a leap to the floor and slams his face on the guardrail. Oww? Back in, Malenko returns to the mat with a headscissors. He changes over to a nasty vertical half crab and then levels Psychosis with a butterfly powerbomb into a TEXAS CLOVERLEAF, but Psychosis is in the ropes. They fight to the floor while Malenko cranks on the knee. Psychosis mounts a comeback with a pumphandle backbreaker and then NAILS Malenko with a corkscrew senton on the floor! WHAT. Back in, Psychosis delivers a GUILLOTINE LEGDROP for 1-2-NO! Malenko avoids a charge, but gets caught up top and takes a rana to the mat for 1-2-NO! Whoa, Psychosis catches Malenko with a rolling Koppou kick. We see a DOUBLE REVERSAL on a tombstone piledriver which Dean wins. Cover, 1-2-NO! Malenko eats a boot off a corner charge, but avoids a leapfrog and gets the rolling clutch into a bridge for the 1-2-3. (14:34) Took too long to get where it was going to be great. However it did include quite a few awesome nearfalls. Certainly not as great as the Dragon-Rey match, but still a very good match. ***½
WCW World Tag Team Champions The Outsiders vs. The Nasty Boys vs. The Faces of Fear (w/Jimmy Hart)
I do believe this is the final WCW PPV for the Nasty Boys. While Knobbs would wrestle on his own later in WCW, I know this is certainly the end of PPVs for Jerry Sags. Anyways, they clean house on the Outsiders before the Faces of Fear even make it to the ring. Once the Faces of Fear make it to the ring, the Outsiders stand back while the other two teams beat the crap out of each other. As you might expect, there’s a lot of CLUBBERIN’. Knobbs gets cornered in the champs corner for a while. Hall kicks Barbarian in the head a bunch and that wakes him up. The Faces of Fear slug him around until the Nasties take over. Sags hits a PILEDRIVER on Barbarian and gets two. Nash lays out Barbarian with the Side Slam. In comes Hall, the Faces of Fear have some more fun with him. Back over to the Nasties, they concentrate on Barbarian some more. Eventually, Knobbs and Meng decide to stop fighting each other and they tag in both Hall and Nash. They think they are brilliant for making these two fight, but all they have to do is pin each other to regain the tag belts, says Tony. They hype the crowd up into a frenzy making them think they’re going to really fight, but then Nash lays down for Hall and they get a two count off that. Does that remind anybody of a certain Monday night in January of 1999? Just saying. The match breaks down with the Faces of Fear heading to the floor to beat up Sags. Meanwhile, Hall gets Jimmy’s megaphone and blasts Knobbs in the back of the head so Nash can give him the JACKKNIFE POWERBOMB for the 1-2-3. (16:11) I don’t normally like tag team triangle matches because they’re usually just a huge mess, but this felt like a good fight. The Nasties and the Faces of Fear are known for being tough dudes, but the Outsiders proved to be the smartest. In this case, being the smartest won them the match. **¼
60-Man Battle Royal – Winner Gets The Next WCW World Title Shot
The participants: Lex Luger, Eddie Guerrero, ‘Boston Bad Boy’ Tony Rumble, Diamond Dallas Page, Kaos, Rage, M. Wallstreet, Marcus Bagwell, Scotty Riggs, Sgt. Craig Pittman, Booker T, Stevie Ray, Big Bubba, Hugh Morrus, Konnan, Ron Studd, Lord Steven Regal, La Parka, Pez Whatley, Steve McMichael, Disco Inferno, Renegade, Joe Gomez, Meng, Barbarian, Bunkhouse Buck, Arn Anderson, Johnny Grunge, Ciclope, Galaxy, Syxx, Scott Hall, Kevin Nash, The Giant, Scott Norton, Ultimo Dragon, Jimmy Graffiti, Mike Enos, Rey Mysterio Jr., Roadblock, Ice Train, Jack Boot, Jim Duggan, Chris Benoit, Juventud Guerrera, Jacques Rougeau, Carl Oulette, Prince Iaukea, Dean Malenko, Jeff Jarrett, Bobby Eaton, Jim Powers, Squire David Taylor, Chris Jericho, Alex Wright, Mark Starr, Mr. JL, Villano IV, Rick Steiner, and Kevin Sullivan. Our commentators for ring one – Mike Tenay and Dusty Rhodes; ring two – Tony Schiavone and Bobby Heenan; ring three – Lee Marshall and Larry Zbyszko.
A black-eyed and bruised Benoit meets Sullivan in the aisleway as he comes to the ring. They had a rematch from the Great American Bash in Baltimore the night before. A Horsemen/Dungeon battle ensues on the floor. Benoit and Sullivan fight into the crowd. Bubba tries to help out, but he gets beaten down the steps. Hard to tell if any eliminations are happening even with the three-way split screen because the commentators are all talking about the Horsemen/Dungeon fight. Somehow Lee Marshall gets swept up into the brawl. HA. Apparently everybody involved in the fight is disqualified from the battle royal. The jobbers and the luchadores slowly get weeded out. That excludes Rey Mysterio Jr. The new World order people are just standing around picking their shots. Giant gets into it with Roadblock and clotheslines him out. In one ring, everybody clotheslines Ron Studd in the corner. Once he’s down, they all dog pile on top of him for some reason. While the Amazing French Canadians have their problems with Duggan after they eliminated, Eddie Guerrero pescados out on top of Regal. Off-camera, it looks like Bagwell eliminated Riggs to further their problems with Wallstreet coming up behind Bagwell to send him to the showers. It’ll all become clear tomorrow on Nitro. In another ring, the nWo pretty much stand back and watch while Rey and Dragon make a little match. I thought Eddie was eliminated when he launched himself out on Regal, but he’s still at ringside beating up DDP. Eventually, everybody congregates into the same ring. Jack Boot, better known as Sgt. Buddy Lee Parker, gets tossed out. I know everybody was DYING to know what happened to him. Luger tries to punch away on the Giant, but he can’t stay there forever with the nWo standing in his way protecting their own. Luger does manage to toss out a different giant in Ron Studd though. Now the midcarders like Rick Steiner and Chris Jericho get sent out. How is Regal still in the match? Finally when there’s nine people left, WCW stops fighting each other momentarily. Luger and Jarrett go after Hall and Nash while Regal, Mysterio, DDP, and Eddie continue beating on one another. I’ve seen everybody left from WCW on the floor at some point during this match. Regal backdrops Eddie out for a crazy bump. Rey charges Giant and gets hoisted up with ONE HAND. He pitches Rey on top of Eddie. That’s just ridiculous. Hall goes to give Jarrett the OUTSIDERS EDGE when Regal makes the save! Nevertheless, Nash clotheslines Jarrett out. DDP charges Regal and misses to crash and burn on the floor. Now that Regal is on fire, Nash and Giant swarms the guy and dumps him out.
We’re down to Syxx, Nash, Hall, and the Giant left to take on Luger. The crowd gets to their feet. Luger goes on the move and starts taking everybody down with clotheslines. All except the Giant. He whips Luger across and misses an avalanche to land himself up on the top turnbuckle. Lex gets Giant up on his shoulders to get rid of him, but Syxx kicks Luger in the gut. Hall kicks Luger for the OUTSIDERS EDGE, but Luger backdrops him out to the floor. Lex presses Syxx and throws him out onto Hall! Luger ducks a clothesline from Nash and gets nailed coming back around with a running elbow! With Nash staggered, Luger lifts him up in the TORTURE RACK! As he moves over to the ropes to dump him out, Giant comes over and shoves them both out to win the match. (28:23) This actually turns out for the best because it creates an opportunity to weaken the nWo just a little bit. They were getting a tad too strong. Since Giant is part of the new World order and Hogan’s the champ, to ask for the guaranteed title shot for winning World War 3 would mean absolute treason. And boy, this should get a little interesting in the weeks to come.
Final Thoughts: What a fun PPV. Apart from who won at least from a booking standpoint, I’m not a big fan of the main event. It’s usually just a nasty cluster of a match, but the hot ending was just spectacular. Most people hate the undercard on this show aside from the cruiserweight stuff. I didn’t mind it and found those matches to be enjoyable. World War 3 ‘96 will get an easy thumbs up from me. November 1996 was just a great month for PPVs. For an interesting time in WCW, go and check this out however you can.