First Month Fire: WCW Monday Nitro #1

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We’re looking at the first few episodes of WCW Nitro for our Into the Vault: First Month Fire series this month.

Also, check out the other First Month Fire entries for the first WWE RAW and AWF Warriors of Wrestling. Lots of interesting first episodes during the 1990s.  The first WCW Nitro came to us from the Mall of America of all places on September 4, 1995.

WCW could’ve picked an iconic date and location like…any Monday in January 1995 from anywhere in Atlanta or Charlotte but what the hell, let’s run the first episode of a future flagship show from Bloomington, Minnesota. Whatever, let’s get into these three bouts. 

Mid-Tier 

WCW relied heavily on Sting and Ric Flair because they were consistent. They weren’t going to drop the ball and let it just kick it clean out of bounds and not retrieve it.  

It’s kind of tiresome for WCW to be this safe but for the first episode of a flagship show and seeing how the first RAW went down, I don’t blame any company for doing this. 

Solid, short match based around Sting defending the U.S Title. It ended as a successful defense even if it was a no contest. Good but expected action from these two. 

What wasn’t expected was how much fun Hulk Hogan facing Big Bubba—the Big Boss Man—turned out to be. This wasn’t a technical clinic, an exciting spotfest, or a bloody brawl.  

As a matter of fact, it wasn’t even a good match. It was solid but really fun. This was a back and forth monster battle that started out plodding then kicked into gear with the involvement of Jimmy Hart. 

Add in Hogan and Bubba worked well together, had several of the same matches before, the WCW World Title was on the line, and the Mall of America crowd was on fire and this was an extremely fun match. 

Exotic-Tier 

Yes, Flyin’ Brian and Jushin Thunder Liger have faced each other several times in WCW. However, each time has been good at the minimum. This one was no exception; it was the episode opener and a condensed version of their previous battles.  

That aside, Liger and Pillman worked a style that could give you great matches on a PPV or could make for an exciting TV bout if you gut the buildup pace for crash TV time restrictions. 

Easily the best bout of the episode. If it had the crowd from Hogan vs Bubba’s World Title match this would’ve been terrific. 

WCW Nitro #1 Verdict: 6.5/10 

The first WCW Nitro was almost a good show. It just needed half a point. There were fun matches, the squash match temptation was resisted, it featured one standout match, the Mall of America had a dope crowd that ate up this episode, it ran for an hour—it honestly should’ve been a 7-flat debut show. 

However, WCW did what WWE didn’t do for the RAW debut—they played it super safe. Again, you can’t blame a promotion for doing that for its first show. Actually, it’s what a booker should do. It’s conflicting because WCW did everything right here and it set the pace for how Monday Nitro would be going forward. It’s just too damn safe of an episode. 

Ah, the hell with it. The original score was a 6 but I’ll give it a 6.5 for being an enjoyable show from start to finish. 

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