nWo: Back in Black

nWo Back in Black

MATCH #1: Scott Hall, Kevin Nash & ??? vs. Sting, Lex Luger & “Macho Man” Randy Savage, Bash at the Beach, 7.7.96

Nash and Hall say they have enough between the two of them to take care of the three WCW guys. Hall and Luger start it off and Luger is a house afire. Things break down pretty quickly and Sting goes for a Stinger Splash on Nash but Luger was on the apron and his head got sandwiched between Sting and the ring post. That’s brilliant because with Luger’s history you have to question if the injury is legit, and the third man was such a big deal it might have even been Sting, so did he injure Luger on purpose? The match resumes with Sting and Hall in the ring, and Sting is fired up after seeing his best friend carried out on a gurney. Savage tags in and goes right up top for an ax handle but Hall punches him in the gut. Hall and Nash use their size to keep the advantage, but the noisy crowd keeps Sting and Savage fighting back. The Outsiders isolate Sting for a long period of time and work him over. Eventually Sting is able to make the hot tag and Savage is like a madman in there. Nash and Hall reclaim the advantage and look to be in control. Hulk Hogan then makes his way out and the crowd pops. Heenan questions who’s side Hogan is on. Schiavone and Dusty are convinced that Hogan is there to help WCW. Of course Hogan makes the most famous heel turn ever by dropping three legs on Savage and revealing himself as the third man. As for the match, it’s a no-contest around 16:00 in. This is a hard match to rate because of how important it is the the success of WCW and the proliferation of the Monday Night Wars that it kind of transcends any traditional flaws, a la something like Hogan versus Andre from WrestleMania III. The beginning was great, the ending was great, but the middle dragged a bit because everyone was just waiting to see who the third man was going to be. The DVD also includes the post-match promo by Hogan, his best ever.
Rating: ***

MATCH #2: War Games – Scott Hall, Kevin Nash, Hulk Hogan & fake Sting vs. Sting, Lex Luger, Arn Anderson & Ric Flair, Fall Brawl, 9.15.96

Hall and Anderson are the first two men in the match. They have five minutes one-on-one. Anderson takes the first control and the crowd loves it. Hall fights back with his superior size and power. Anderson responds by taking Hall to the mat and working on his leg. As the final minute winds down The commentators announce that the nWo won the coin toss backstage so they will get the one-man advantage. That advantage comes out in the form of Kevin Nash. Anderson doesn’t back down though, valiantly trying to fight off both Outsiders. The intervals are down to two minutes now. Lex Luger comes out to Arn Anderson’s aid, about 10 seconds early. All’s fair in Love and War Games. Luger manhandles the Outsiders and is pumped up. The Outsiders cut him off though and they have the upper hand as they’re about to regain the man advantage. Hogan is the third man for the nWo team. The original trio dominates until Ric Flair makes his way out! Hogan squares off with Flair, and the Dirtiest Player in the Game quickly pulls out brass knuckles for Hogan, and kicks both Nash and Hall south of the belt line. The fourth man for the nWo is Sting! Funny, he doesn’t quite look like Sting though. Two minutes go by and the REAL Sting makes his way out! Sting absolutely cleans house on everybody, wiping all of them out singlehandedly. His teammates earlier had accused him of being a traitor, and when they try to apologize to him, Sting walks out! That’s a huge blow to Team WCW and the nWo takes advantage. The fake Sting puts Luger in the Scorpion Deathlock and Luger gives up at 18:15. This match wasn’t as good as the heyday of War Games, but being at the beginning of the nWo era the crowd was molten hot and the Sting storyline would lead to the biggest buy rate in company history later on, so this is a very important historical match.
Rating: ***½

The brawl continues after the bell and Randy Savage makes his way out to try and get a piece of Hulk Hogan. Hall, Nash, and The Giant come to the rescue and Giant delivers a huge Chokeslam. The nWo continues the beating until Miss Elizabeth comes out to lay across her man and protect him. Hogan spray paints the nWo logo on Elizabeth’s back, and then spits on her and Savage. Man, Hogan really did embrace the heel thing didn’t he? I don’t think he gets enough credit for being such an awesome heel.

MATCH #3: WCW World Championship Match – Kevin Nash vs. Goldberg, Starrcade, 12.27.98

We’re in Washington, DC, with Tony Schiavone, Bobby Heenan, and Mike Tenay on commentary. Both men are very popular in our nation’s capital. Goldberg’s undefeated streak is on the line along with is WCW Title. Nash tries a headlock, but Goldberg hits a suplex out of it and Nash powders. Back in the ring Nash goes back on offense, until Goldberg gets tired of it and takes Nash down into a choke hold. Nash tries a cross armbreaker, which Goldberg slips out of and locks on a leglock. Is that really the match these two should be having? Nash tries a big boot but Goldberg ducks and hits the Spear! He signals for the Jackhammer, but Nash avoids it with a low blow. Oh and the match is no-disqualification. Nash hits a side suplex for two. The challenger stays on offense and gets a couple of near falls. Goldberg comes back and hits some power moves of his own for some near falls. Disco Inferno runs out and Goldberg dispatches of him. Ditto for Bam Bam Bigelow. Goldberg sets up for the Spear, but Scott Hall appears out of nowhere with a stun gun of some kind. Nash follows up with the Jackknife to win his first WCW World Title at 11:20.The match was all kinds of boring and the main event of the biggest show of the year doesn’t really need any Glenn Gilberti.
Rating: ¾*

MATCH #4: Handicap Match – The Rock & Stone Cold Steve Austin vs. Scott Hall, Kevin Nash & Hollywood Hulk Hogan, RAW, 3.11.02

I was at this show live! It was at the Joe Louis Arena in Detroit, a short two hour or so drive from Kalamazoo, where I went to college. Hall and Rock start the match exchanging punches. Rock takes the advantage and clotheslines Hall down. He gets into it with Hogan but is still able to maintain the advantage. Nash distracts Rock from the apron and Hall levels him with a clothesline for two. The seven-foot Nash tags in legally now and gets a pretty big pop. Nash hits a side suplex for two. The nWo is focused on Rock, wearing him down in their half of the ring. I can’t believe they put Hogan and Rock in the ring together six days before WrestleMania X8. Rock avoids a Nash elbow drop and makes the tag! Austin is a house afire, hitting everything that moves. He hits Nash with the Thesz Press and slams Hall with a whiplash spinebuster. Nash cuts him off with a big boot. The nWo wears Austin out now, but Hogan has yet to tag in when Austin is in. Finally Hogan does tag in and this is the only time these two have ever been in the ring together. Hall tags back in and signals for the Razor’s Edge but Austin backdrops his way out of it. Austin ties the Stunner but Hall pushes him off and Hall hits a big clothesline. Nash and Rock tag in and Rock is a Bull afire. Nash cuts him off with a hard clothesline. Hogan tags in and gloats, so Rock nips up! That gets a huge pop. Nash cuts him off and Hogan is in control. Austin has had enough and he comes in to battle Hall and Nash. Meanwhile, Hogan hits the Big Boot and the Legdrop to get the pin at 9:12. That was a good match and oozed star power. The crowd reactions certainly helped. I still think it’s crazy they did the match and that it was the only time Austin and Hogan ever faced each other.
Rating: ***¼

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About Jake Ziegler

I've been in love with the movies for almost 20 years. I follow the Oscars obsessively, and try to see as many movies a year as I can. I'll watch anything good bad or otherwise, and my life long dream job has always been to be a bona fide film critic. View all posts by Jake Ziegler

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