Throwback Thursday: WCW Nitro (September 11, 1995)

It’s about that time again, your weekly dose of wrestling’s past: Throwback Thursday. September 11 is filled with much notable history, from the birth of one of wrestling’s greatest faces in Paul Heyman, to the two irreplaceable legends of Bruno Sammartino and Gorilla Monsoon fighting each other to a stalemate, to the Terry Funk promoted Wrestlefest featuring ECW and WWF World Champions, to TNA’s 2005 edition of Unbreakable featuring arguably the best match in the company’s history, Christopher Daniels defending his X-Division Championship against Samoa Joe and the eventual winner, AJ Styles.

However, of all the potentially great visual moments from those listed—maybe not Paul Heyman’s birthing so much—we turn our attention to WCW Monday Nitro. There were, in fact, two episodes that ran on this day, but I don’t think I really feel like talking about the 2000 edition featuring Vito losing a stickball on a pole match, and a main event with Kevin Nash facing Scott Steiner. What we will discuss is the one that ran in 1995.

The quick results are as follows: “Das Wunderkind” Alex Wright defeated “Das Uber Gehypten” Sabu by disqualification; WCW United States Heavyweight Champion Sting defeated thinly veiled McMahon-DiBiase rip-off VK Wallstreet; “Macho Man” Randy Savage defeated “Machoer Man” Scott Norton; and WCW World Heavyweight Champion Hulk Hogan defeated “The Total Package” Lex Luger by disqualification in a championship/no-sell match.

For me, this was a really weird experience. It was a good experience, but a strange one. I had heard the history of how WCW would spoil WWE’s Monday Night Raw, and I had seen the footage of Tony Schiavone’s “butts in the seats” spoiler of Mick Foley winning the WWE Championship, but I had never really experienced it outside of that. In this episode, the first official night of the Monday Night Wars, Eric Bischoff would spoil the main event of Raw which saw Shawn Michaels defeat Sid Vicious with a “superkick”. Not Sweet Chin Music, just a superkick.

If I had to choose between the two shows back in the day, I would have stayed with WCW. Firstly, they were already putting on an entertaining show (although Mongo could have left without anybody shedding a tear). Secondly, we now knew the show’s results. Thirdly, it was said with such nonchalance that it genuinely made WWE sound like a second-rate promotion. And fourthly, the mentioning of the contemporaneous WWE Champion, Diesel, not even being able to make it past WCW’s mid-card in his first WCW stint seemed to make WCW that much more impressive.

The event was also built with clear direction in mind. Even though Vader’s removal from WCW threw a wrench in the works, a storyline was built around the fact which only built on the impending War Games match between Hogan’s team (ultimately Hogan, Savage, Sting, and Luger) and The Dungeon of Doom.

We all know that the excess star power and the lack of fresh meat and sensible stories would be the demise of WCW, but it truly was a great experience to see some solid matches between solid performers from a company whose sole desire was to be the best in the industry. It’s no shock that with shows such as this, it was WCW who was first out of the gate in the Monday Night Wars.