The Geeks Come Out At Night: Remembering the WCW All Nighter Specials

Brian Damage

After Ted Turner purchased Jim Crockett’s promotion and rechristened it World Championship Wrestling, the company looked for new and different ways to garner interest into the promotion. One of those ideas was to air a bunch of old matches from both the NWA and WCW late at night. Add a few hosts like Tony Schiavone, Bobby ‘The Brain’ Heenan and ‘Mean’ Gene Okerlund and you’ve got a show. It was an insomniac wrestling fan’s ultimate dream. The show was called ‘WCW All Nighter.’

The late night marathon of wrestling took place twice…once in 1994 and again in 1995. While some recall the shows as airing on New Year’s Eve, they actually aired late in January and once in early March. Some of the matches were indeed classics like Sting vs Ric Flair at the first Clash of Champions, Ric Flair vs. Ricky Steamboat in 2 out of 3 Falls, Ric Flair vs. Terry Funk in an ‘I Quit’ match and Sting vs Lex Luger. They even aired the classic match between the Gladiators and the Mulkey Brothers. What really made the six hour marathons cult classics, was the banter and interaction between the hosts between matches.

The hosts were all hanging out in their street clothes and or pajamas. The first All Nighter was filmed supposedly from Schiavone’s basement while the second was in a hotel suite at the Omni Hotel in Atlanta, Georgia. Bobby Heenan, as expected, was the comedic foil to the rest of the crew. For instance, Heenan fell asleep during the marathon and the others drew on his face. Other WCW on air talent like Eric Bischoff, Dusty Rhodes, Larry Zbyszko, Gordon Solie and Chris Cruise also stopped by to add to the levity.

It looked like Chris Cruise and Gordon Solie were miserable the whole time filming the in between match segments. Maybe it was because Solie couldn’t smoke in the hotel room or wasn’t allowed to partake in a few cocktails in Schiavone’s basement. Despite that, the two shows were a lot of fun to watch and Cruise/Solie added a great deal to both of them.

Ric Flair popped in during an All Nighter, as did former NWA announcer David Crockett. As good as these shows were, I can’t help but think how much better they would have been if Gorilla Monsoon was paired with Heenan doing them. Nothing against Tony Schiavone or Gene Okerlund…but Monsoon knew how to play off Heenan’s comedic skills better than anyone else. Regardless, on those two specials on TBS from 12:05am to 6:05am, wrestling fans were treated to classic matches and an overall entertaining couple of shows.

5 thoughts on “The Geeks Come Out At Night: Remembering the WCW All Nighter Specials

  1. I like to think of myself as having a fair bit of wrestling knowledge, but I’ll admit I’ve never heard of these! They sound awesome, somebody should recycle this idea and bring it back. Although with 24 hours of programming a day on the WWE Network, I guess you wouldn’t really need to. Thanks for this!

    Liked by 2 people

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