Continuing with Into the Vault 1996, we’re diving into WCW World War 3 1996! This show took place at the Norfolk Scope in Norfolk, Virginia on November 24—the second time the event took place from the venue.
The Giant vs. Jeff Jarrett wasn’t a dreadful match but wasn’t good either. This just wasn’t a match worth hyping. At this point in his career, Big Show was still pretty green but you could see that wrestling was clicking with him.
However, his selling point was how impressive he looked and how menacing he was. If you had a smaller babyface and really wanted to make them look like the ultimate white meat babyface get yourself a monster.
The biggest most consistent monster in WCW was The Giant. Kevin Nash had too much charisma and was just too sweeeeet to be this big, snarling, hyper–devastating beast.
Jarrett was fine I’m the match. He’s like wrestling tofu where he’s not going to tank a match with his performance and will work around most opponents.
Perfect length for these two with The Giant getting the duke.
Sister Sherri taking on Col. Robert Parker just wasn’t enjoyable but necessary since WCW invested so much into the feud. I mean, their teams faced off the match before this one and that should’ve been enough but here we are.
Sherri picks up the win at a minute and a half. It’s a double-edged bout since it could’ve been left off entirely but it’s so short you might as well just leave it on the card.
Nick Patrick had fangled the bout with the stipulation of Jericho having a hand behind his back. Even with the handicap, Lionheart was able to stay on referee Nick Patrick’s ass and defeat him.
This wasn’t a bad match at all. Lots of heelish stalling from Nick Patrick. Babyface Chris Jericho was getting some love from the crowd but his best work in WCW was still to come.
My main complaint about this is that it ran a little too long. Even though Patrick is a wrestler—he wasn’t at the time—Jericho was a peak condition wrestler at this time. Nick Patrick should’ve been out cold after a hit as referees tend to be on ref bumps.
As a matter of fact, they tend to be out long enough for a King Kong Bundy five-count. The triple threat match featured WCW Tag Team Champions The Outsiders defending their titles against Faces of Fear and The Nasty Boys.
Again, not bad at all but sixteen minutes was excessive. It could’ve been shortened to ten or twelves and the remaining four minutes split between the J-Crown bout and the Cruiserweight title bout.
Hell, I probably would’ve given the other tag match on this card two more minutes but this didn’t need sixteen whole minutes. The World War 3 main event battle royal continues to be a convoluted mess with 60 men going at it for a shot at the World title.
I will say that it was the best of the mid-tier. With all the humanity in the ring, there were no concerns about it just being a boring, boggy battle royal. They all start in the ring, duke it out, and move to one ring as the numbers get down to something manageable.
The Giant picks up the win as he should’ve since giants tend to dominate in these things. Sometimes you shouldn’t have them in battle royals but it adds to the spectacle of the match. Andre Jr’s title match against Hogan would come at nWo Souled Out in January.
Ultimo Dragon defended his J-Crown against Rey Misterio Jr in a good bout. Between this and Dean Malenko vs. Psychosis for Malenko’s WCW Cruiserweight it was hard to pick a favorite but Malenko vs. Psychosis was much more even than Ultimo vs. Rey.
Both of these bouts really lifted the show and are trademark of WCW using the major, big name talents to sell the show and the up-and-coming mid-card wrestlers to give the show some exciting and match quality.
That isn’t to say that none of the big names could deliver quality matches—just wait until the Savage vs. DDP feud—however, they could be extremely hit or miss depending on who it is, who they are paired with, and how their story is going.
While these two matches are the obvious picks for Match of the Night, there’s a third match that was good even though it wasn’t as good—definitely better than mid-tier—and that’s Harlem Heat vs. The Amazing French-Canadians.
Both teams are very good and put on a decent match that had a really strong ending. Actually, while the J-Crown showdown and the Cruiserweight title bout both had good action throughout, the endings were pretty much expected.
It’s a shame that the French-Canadians (Jacques Rougeau and Carl Oulette) didn’t stay in WCW longer but I could see them becoming tag team fodder very quickly.
In reality, both could’ve been split and been parts of the TV title scene and flirt with the U.S title picture here and there but even then, they probably would’ve ended up as WCW Saturday Night regulars and fodder on Nitro since the roster was so bulky.
WCW World War 3 1996 Verdict: Mid-Tier (6/10)
The show wasn’t poorly paced so a bonus point for that. There was some stuff here and there that could’ve been done better such as less time for the wrestler vs. referee and the Tag Team title matches and more for the two other title bouts.
Also, I’m on the fence about whether the manager vs. manager should’ve even been the show or just held on Nitro. Like, I just don’t know about that match.
The battle royal wasn’t anything special but I enjoyed it partially because of the action but also because the production team and the commentators were having a little trouble keeping up the action.
I get trying to out-big WWE at this time but they honestly could’ve done that with two rings and 40 men. The matches of the night at WCW World War 3 1996 were Ultimo Dragon vs. Rey Misterio Jr and Dean Malenko vs. Psychosis.
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