Welcome wrestling fans to my fourth WCW Sunday Night RetroView. This go-round, we’re taking a look at WCW World War 3. The event took place on November 24th, 1996. This was WCW’s annual November pay-per-view and featured the three-ring, 60 man Battle Royal. Much like its WWE contemporary the Royal Rumble, the winner of this Battle Royal earns a World Heavyweight Championship match. Heading into this show, there are a few key stories of note. After a shocking debut at Halloween Havoc, Rowdy Roddy Piper and Hollywood Hulk Hogan are on a collision course. On the Nitro before this show, Eric Bischoff’s allegiance to the nWo was revealed by Piper. This was the 1996 airing of World Championship Wrestling as they present WCW World War 3.
The Four Horsemen and Dungeon of Doom rivalry is at a fever pitch. Oh and WCW’s franchise player Sting is frequenting arena rafters donning a new look inspired by the movie The Crow. We open the show with our favorite WCW announcing a trio of Tony Schiavone, Dusty Rhodes, and Bobby “The Brain” Heenan. The deeper I get in this RetroView, the more I really enjoy the chemistry these three have together. The trio ponders about who will win the Battle Royal and whether Hogan will sign Piper’s contract for a fight.
WCW World War 3
J-Crown Championship Match
The Ultimo Dragon (c) vs Rey Mysterio Jr.
Mysterio Jr comes out first to a rousing ovation. It’s pretty cool to see the rise of his popularity during this time period. Ultimo Dragon comes out second and this was the time where he had eight championships in his possession. It’s really quite the sight of him with eight belts to his name. This is a rematch from Hog Wild and unlike their meeting then, their athletic display of one-upmanship receives a proper ovation from the audience.
Ultimo Dragon dominates the majority of this match but no matter what he does, he can’t keep Mysterio down. He hits him with a plethora of big moves including two tombstone pile drivers, one of which is on the ringside floor. A running powerbomb gets a near fall that makes Heenan proclaim…
“That’s got to be Clark Kent under that mask.”
Mysterio Jr gets a flurry of offense near the end of the match. Including a beautiful cartwheel up to Dragon’s shoulders where he connects on a hurricanrana for a super close false finish. Dragon gets the win when he counters Mysterio’s springboard jump off the top rope into a top rope-assisted powerbomb.
Winner – The Ultimo Dragon
We cut to the back where “Mean” Gene Okerlund is interviewing Diamond Dallas Page. Gene asks DDP about the nWo’s recruiting efforts to bring him in. Page avoids the question and talks about how him winning Battle Bowl gives him the edge for tonight’s Battle Royal.
WCW World War 3
Arm Tied Behind The Back Match
Nick Patrick vs Chris Jericho
This match stemmed from referee Nick Patrick cheating Jericho out of his match against Syxx at Halloween Havoc. Jericho has his left arm tied behind his back, but still proceeds to kick Patrick’s butt. Utilizing hip tosses, kicks, and punches Jericho even with one arm, easily dispatches Patrick with an eventual superkick.
Winner – Chris Jericho
Next up we get an interview with Ric Flair. The live audience loses their mind when the arm sling bound Flair simply utters “Mean Gene.” Flair claims that even though he temporarily incapacitated when he returns, the nWo will belong to W by God CW.
WCW World War 3
The Giant vs Jeff Jarrett
A rematch from Halloween Havoc, Jarrett jumps the nWo’s biggest member before the bell. The Giant quickly thwarts the early offensive flurry. Midway through the match Sting is shown walking the catwalk. The audience completely turns its attention to Sting as he eventually makes his way down through the crowd.
Back in the ring, Jarrett is able to get The Giant reeling to the outside. Thinking he has the advantage, Jarrett does his strut only to be taken down by a Scorpion Death Drop from Sting.
With everyone including our WCW announcing trio confused by his actions, Sting calmly and silently leaves the ring. The Giant finishes Jarrett off with a chokeslam.
Winner – The Giant
Now we’re at the meat and potatoes of this show. Rowdy Roddy Piper comes out first, contract in hand. He calls out Hollywood Hulk Hogan, but only Eric Bischoff, Ted DiBiase, and Vincent come out. Piper and Bischoff have some back and forth on the mic. Bischoff tells Piper he’s Hogan’s Power of Attorney. Piper responds with some outdated insults even for 1996, including calling Bischoff an Eddie Munster look-a-like.
Piper telling Vincent to get out of his way because he taught him how to fight elicits a loud reaction from the audience. Eventually, Piper tires talking to Bischoff and once again calls out the cowardly Hogan. With Hall, Nash, The Giant, and Syxx in tow, Hogan finally comes to the ring.
It’s quite a scene seeing Piper stand his ground in the face of the entire New World Order. After some verbal sparring, Hogan signs the contract and the fight on December 29 at WCW Starrcade is set. Hogan eventually brings up Piper’s surgically repaired hip before striking it with a chair. As the nWo leaves, Piper pulls himself up and barely able to stand he proclaims…
“On the 29th, if that’s the best you can do then you’re in trouble and there will be no retreat, no surrender.”
Harlem Heat w/ Sister Sherri vs The Amazing French Canadians w/ Col. Parker
After Col. Parker cost Harlem Heat the Tag Team Titles at Halloween Havoc, he left the pair and aligned himself with Jacques Rougeau and Carl Ouellet. The stipulation to this match was if Harlem Heat wins, Sister Sherri gets five minutes in the ring with Col. Parker.
This is a solid match with four guys who are exceptional at tag team wrestling. The end comes after the Amazing French Canadians stack two sets of stairs on a table and miss their front flip splash. Quick to take advantage, Booker T hits the Harlem Hangover for the win.
Winner – Harlem Heat
Afterward the crowd erupts when Sherri gets her hands on Parker. Dusty Rhodes’ reactions to Sherri’s flying clotheslines are pure gold. Eventually, Parker retreats to the locker room with his tail between his legs.
After this, we cut to the back where “Mean” Gene interviews Lex Luger. The odds on favorite to win the Battle Royal, Luger is asked about Sting. He tells Okerlund he isn’t sure how to react to Sting recently handing him a baseball bat before turning his back to him. Luger then proclaims he is going to win the 60 Man Battle Royal.
WCW World War 3
WCW Cruiserweight Championship Match
Dean Malenko (c) vs Psychosis
This is the first-ever meeting between these two and Malenko proves again why he eventually wins the PWI 500 top spot in 1997. The number of stellar matches he had as Cruiserweight Champion is astounding. Malenko controls the majority of the match and the announcers really sell just how good he is inside the squared circle. The Man of 1,000 holds finishes Psychosis off with a bridged roll-up.
Winner – Dean Malenko
WCW Tag Team Championship Triangle Match
The Outsiders (c) vs The Nasty Boys vs The Faces of Fear
This match is way more fun than it has any right to be. Constant tags between teams are fantastic and the wild brawling between the Nasty Boys and Faces of Fear is just good fun. Hall & Nash play their part well too, picking the opportune moments to interact. At one point Meng and Brian Knobbs tag in both Hall and Nash. At first Hall and Nash attempt to tag out, but both opposing teams avoid their efforts. Seizing their chance, Nash lays down for Hall to pin him. The three-count is interrupted by the other two teams.
Faces of Fear manager Jimmy Hart tries to intervene on behalf of his team but loses his patented megaphone. Scott Hall proceeds to strike Nobbs with it and one Jackknife Power Bomb by Nash later and the Outsiders retain their titles.
Winners – The Outsiders
WCW World War 3
60 Man, 3 Ring Battle Royal
As the contestants begin to fill the rings our three broadcast duos: Schiavone and Heenan, Rhodes and Mike Tenay, and Larry Zybsko and Lee Marshall pick their winners. Rhodes, Zybsko, and Tenay pick Luger. Marshall picks Kevin Nash, Heenan picks Dean Malenko and Schiavone predicts The Giant.
Before the bell rings Chris Benoit and Kevin Sullivan begin brawling ringside. The fight brings in the Horsemen and the Dungeon of Doom and both factions brawl to the point each member is disqualified from the contest. From here it’s somewhat hard to follow the action. A monitor for each ring makes your focus jump back and forth.
The nWo somehow ended up in the same ring and the group in one corner picking off opponents at opportune moments. Eventually, the number of competitors dwindle down in each ring. The final ten competitors are Lex Luger, Rey Mysterio Jr, DDP, Eddie Guerrero, Steven Regal, Jeff Jarrett, Kevin Nash, Scott Hall, Syxx, and The Giant. The Giant tosses Mysterio Jr out like it was nothing.
DDP eliminates Guerrero from continuing their rivalry, while Nash throws out Jarrett. Regal is able to send DDP out and is rewarded by the entire nWo contingent eliminating him. So now we’re left with Lex Luger facing off with the four nWo members.
The Giant and Luger square off and Luger is actually able to briefly get him into the Torture Rack. Hall intervenes but is back body dropped out of the contest followed by Syxx being full-body pressed out. Impressively Luger gets Nash into the rack but The Giant steps in, eliminating both men for the win.
Winner – The Giant
The show ends once again with the nWo standing tall in the ring.
So there it is folk, my fourth WCW RetroView. Join me for my fifth edition when we go back to WCW Starrcade 1996. The night where the “match of the century” takes place.