Monday Nitro – January 25, 1999

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Monday
Nitro #173
Date:
January 25, 1999
Location:
Reunion Arena, Dallas, Texas
Attendance:
15,103
Commentators:
Mike Tenay, Tony Schiavone, Larry Zbyszko, Bobby Heenan
Reviewed by Tommy Hall
Man
this month is flying by. The main story last week was WCW actually
having a good episode of Nitro for a change. Things are actually
looking interesting going into SuperBrawl, but there are still four
episodes of Nitro for them to screw things up. We should be getting
more on the latest NWO civil war, despite the last one being dropped
for reasons that have yet to be and likely never will be explained.
Let’s get to it.

We
open with a recap of Vincent changing his name to Vince, which is
probably some joke about McMahon that most people don’t care about at
all. He’s a member of the Red and Black but is taking over the Black
and White. The Red and Black was watching him on a hidden camera and
didn’t approve of him for reasons of him being Vince. Why a hidden
camera was used when there was a camera filming everything all night
and the footage was shown on TV all night isn’t clear either.
The
announcers discuss the events of Thunder because someone has to,
before throwing us to a local airport earlier today. Hennig and
Stevie Ray formed a secret alliance two feet away from the rest of
the Black and White. Stevie is ready to revolt
when the Red and Black arrives. Vince, in Black and White again,
says they’re here.
Flair
has Bischoff selling merchandise this week. I guess we’re back to
this after a week of serious Ric. Instead of selling at a stand,
Bischoff will be out among the people selling.
Nitro
Girls.
Opening
sequence.
Stevie
Ray and his Rock style shirt is ready to meet with the NWO brass.
Disco
Inferno vs. Al Green
Al
has a bandage over his left eye and gets clotheslined outside in a
surprise power display from Disco. A forearm to the back sends Green
into the barricade as Disco is in full control. Green comes back
with a back elbow as the fans are actually way into this. Disco’s
running neckbreaker puts Green down again and the middle rope elbow
gets two. The louder these reactions get, the more I think WCW has
the really sweet canned stuff going tonight. Green suplexes Disco
down but misses a charge into the corner, setting up the Chartbuster
to give Disco the pin. Sweetened
crowd or not, Disco looked good this time.
The
Black and White argue over their cars to get to the arena. The Red
and Black are shown watching from the plane and laughing. Now they
get off the plane with Hall talking about trimming fat. Hogan is in
a Black and White shirt as Stevie runs his mouth about all of the
issues. Stevie says it’s a $500 shirt so I guess it’s
mocking/parodying Rock somehow? Anyway the Red and Black destroys
Curt Hennig as Hogan has his arm around Vince. Hogan never did have
the best eye for talent. Stevie
still doesn’t get to leave with the Red and Black.
Hogan
and Nash (with matching fanny packs) leads the whole NWO into the
building and the camera is actually allowed into the dressing room.
Stevie is given a Black and White shirt but he’s not happy.
As
this continues to go on, we go split screen to see Bigelow bringing a
ladder down to the ring. Now
it’s Bigelow on the full screen and he’s not happy with what Scott
Hall did to him with the tazer. Hall may claim to be the king of the
ladder match, but Bigelow has been hardcore and extreme in places
that Hall would never dare to go. Bigelow wants another tazer ladder
match against Hall. We go split screen again and Hall doesn’t seem
to care one way or another.
Bischoff
tries to rip off a customer at the stand but Doug Dillinger
intervenes. I’ll give them
this: yeah these segments are going on too long and are too frequent,
but they’re actually making it look like Bischoff is being punished,
which is the point of the things.
Here’s
Ric Flair to list off all
his catchphrases about his match with Hogan. He calls Horace
Hollywood’s cousin and nephew and says the Horsemen could have killed
him on Thursday but gave him a break instead. As for Bret Hart, he’s
defending the World Title (Bret is US Champion) against an opponent
to be named. Tonight Bret has Booker T. (already announced earlier
in the show). Next,
Nash isn’t allowed to interfere in the tournament match later because
it’s going to be a lumberjack match. Finally,
Hogan can find two partners to face Flair/Mongo/Benoit later tonight.
A
very stoic Scott Dickinson
is shown in the front row.
We
see a clip from Souled Out with Hall shocking Goldberg and Bigelow.
Here
are Hall and Disco with a ladder and the tazer. They stand the
ladder up in the aisle and pose on top of it for a bit before Hall
says the match with Bigelow is on.
Scott
Hall vs. Bam Bam Bigelow
Bigelow
punches him down to start but Hall punches him into the corner for
the loudest spot call I can remember in a long time. More slugging
out ensues until Disco trips Bigelow, earning him an ejection. Hall
sends Bigelow into the ladder but Bam Bam drops it over Hall’s back,
only to be sent face first into it again. They
get inside for some ladder shots to Bigelow’s ribs but he runs Hall
over with some brute force.
Hall nails him with the ladder again and stomps it onto Bigelow’s
back as we take a break.
Back
with Bigelow being whipped into the ladder in the corner before a
suplex puts him down again. Hall rides the ladder down onto Bigelow
ala Shawn in 1994. The ladder is finally set up and Scott goes for a
climb but Bigelow makes an easy save. Now Bigelow climbs to drop a
headbutt, knocking both guys out for a few seconds. It’s
Hall up first with a legdrop between Bigelow’s legs, setting up an
elbow drop off the ladder. Bigelow suplexes Hall off the ladder but
Scott gets up and dropkicks the ladder out from under Bam Bam.
Scott
crosses himself before going up again but apparently missed a few
Hail Marys because Bigelow moves the ladder from underneath him.
Bigelow goes up and gets the taser, only to be low blowed
immediately. Disco brings Hall another taser and leaves, walking
into a spear from Goldberg. Hall and Bigelow circle each other with
the tasers until Goldberg nails and shocks them both for the no
contest.
Rating:
C+. This was about a million
times better than the Souled Out match because they mixed things up a
bit. Instead of just doing the same spot over and over again, we
actually got some different things for a change and it made the match
so much easier to sit through. Good stuff here.
Scott
Norton, Goldberg’s opponent later tonight, jumps him from behind so
Scott Hall can escape.
Chuck
Norris is here.
Gene
is in the back with Bret Hart and asks him about his title match at
SuperBrawl. Bret says Flair just has it out for him and wants to
know what Booker T. has done to deserve to be in the ring with the US
Champion. Bret wants to ax (his word) Booker a question: does he
want the fans to see him get decimated and ripped to pieces?
Gene
asks Bret who he should give a title shot to and Bret says he’s had
his eye on someone. El Dandy is a heck of a wrestler and deserves a
shot at the US Title. Gene doesn’t think much of El Dandy, setting
up one of the most quoted lines in wrestling history. Bret: “Who
are you to doubt El Dandy?”
Bret
was going to give Dean Malenko a title shot but he’s conveniently
injured. Gene and Bret argue about injuries until Bret says he’ll
deal with Flair and his petty grudge, starting tonight. My favorite
part about this whole thing is Gene dismissing the idea of a
cruiserweight getting a shot at the US Title like a crazy thought.
Little things like that only reenforce a lot of the complaints about
WCW.
Tag
Team Title Tournament First Round: Faces of Fear vs. Fit Finlay/Dave
Taylor
Lumberjack
match with a lot of lower card guys plus Rey Mysterio Jr. surrounding
the ring. Remember that it’s a double elimination tournament.
Finlay and Barbarian start things off with Finlay nailing an uppercut
and putting on an early nerve hold. Barbarian presses out of a cover
and sends Finlay to the floor. That goes nowhere so Finlay comes
back in for some more uppercuts.
Barbarian
slams Finlay down and it’s off to Meng for some clubbering. Taylor
gets the tag and the Europeans clothesline Meng down. Meng and
Taylor chop it out with the monster getting the better of it and
bringing Barbarian back in to pick the bones. After a beating from
both monsters, Taylor is allowed to tag Finlay back in for a brawl
with Meng. Finlay gets in a few shots to the ribs but makes the
mistake of going after Meng’s head.
Fit
is sent outside again for nothing from the lumberjacks as the crowd
still has nothing to care about. The rolling fireman’s carry has
Barbarian in trouble but Meng breaks up Taylor’s butterfly suplex. A
double headbutt gets two on Taylor as everything breaks down. Meng
backdrops Taylor into a sitout powerbomb from Barbarian (not as
smooth as it sounds) gives the Faces of Fear the win.
Rating:
D+. Not a horrible match but it
was really dull stuff. That’s the problem with a lot of tournaments:
you have to sit through matches like these with teams that people
don’t care about and only limited chemistry to make the match work at
all. It was watchable from a technical standpoint but nothing more
than that.
Hugh
Morrus gets in the ring to celebrate as the newest member of the
First Family.
We
look at the other tournament match from Thunder.
Nitro
Girls.
Norman
Smiley vs. Perry Saturn
Saturn,
still in a dress, on the way to the ring: “Smiley, you’re not
getting jiggy with me.” Heenan: “Once again, he’s braless.”
Norman gets headlocked to start before a double arm suplex sends him
out to the floor. The announcers get into their usual argument over
how to pronounce Smiley’s name as he stomps away at Saturn back
inside. It’s not quite Big Wiggle time yet and Tenay says he’s a fan
of the dance.
Both
guys miss some strikes before Smiley gets two off a powerslam. We
hit the chinlock on Perry and take a break. Back with Norman
suplexing out of a headlock and hitting the spinning slam. Saturn
gets two of his own off a rollup but Norman decks him with a
clothesline. Saturn legsweeps him down, only to hit knees off a
springboard Vader Bomb.
There’s
the Big Wiggle to another good reaction but Norman isn’t done. In
what might be a bit too far, Saturn is draped throat first over the
middle rope and Norman lifts up the back of the dress for another Big
Wiggle. After that disturbing image, Saturn freaks out and kicks
Norman in the head, followed by a top knee elbow. Saturn does a
dance of his own and hits the Death Valley Driver for the pin.
Rating:
C+. Smiley is getting over
despite being treated like a goon and losing every bigger match that
he has. That’s usually a reason to push someone but given that this
is WCW, it’s probably grounds for being off TV very soon. The dress
was at least used for some more stuff than it was on Thursday so
that’s an improvement……maybe?
Gene
goes to talk to Scott Dickinson, who claims the suspension is unfair
because he had no due process. JJ Dillon has a double standard and
only wants to get over with Ric Flair.
Scott storms off because referees are treated badly.
They’re really wasting time on this story?
Herschel
Walker is here.
We
look at Flair’s speech again.
Booker
T. vs. Bret Hart
Non-title.
Thankfully Tenay brings up
Bret injuring Booker’s knee last summer to give us some coninuity.
Bret bails to the floor to start, comes in to get nailed in the
face, then leaves again. More stalling ensues until Bret comes back
in for a test of strength. Hart goes down but pokes Booker in the
eyes to take over for the first time. A double arm DDT of all things
drops Booker and Bret rakes his eyes across the ropes.
They
head outside with Booker being sent into the barricade. Hart gives
Booker a long time to recover for some reason before taking him back
inside where Booker gets two off a small package. Booker
nails the spinning kick to the face for two more but Bret nails the
Russian legsweep to take control again. It’s time to go after T.’s
knee with a cannonball and a wrap around the ropes. There’s a Figure
Four but Booker finally turns it over as we take a break.
Back
with Bret holding the Figure
Four again but having to go to the ropes when Booker turns it. Bret
stays on the leg but Booker nails a forearm out of nowhere. The
series of kicks looks to set up the Harlem Hangover but Hart is out
of the way. Bret goes outside and gets the title belt for a shot
from the middle rope.
Booker
is ready for him though and knocks Bret out of the air before
superkicking him down. Back to the floor for a hot shot to send Bret
into the barricade, followed by some choking with the camera cable.
Booker throws him back inside and brings the cable with him. Randy
Anderson takes awhile getting it out, allowing Bret to nail Booker
with the belt for the pin.
Rating:
B. Star making performance by
Booker here as he easily hung in there with Bret for nearly fifteen
minutes. The ending was a bit cheap but it plays up Bret being a
champion that will do whatever he wants to win anymore instead of
being the hero that he was for years. It’s nice to see him actually
wrestle for a change.
Clips
of Scott Steiner harassing the Nitro Girls last week.
Bischoff
is selling foam fingers and seems to have a toupee on under his hat.
Scott
Norton vs. Goldberg
Norton
fires off chops to start but gets caught in something resembling an
AA. A cross armbreaker doesn’t do much for Goldberg but a powerslam
has some more success. Norton grabs a powerslam of his own and it’s
completely no sold. Goldberg kicks Scott out to the floor but gets
sent into the apron and barricade.
Norton
can’t post him though and is sent face first in instead. They keep
brawling on the floor with Norton nailing a hard clothesline to take
over. Back in and a shoulder gets one on Goldberg followed by
another clothesline. The powerbomb is countered and it’s the spear
and Jackhammer to give Goldberg the win.
Rating:
C+. Take two monsters and let
them beat on each other for five minutes until one hits their
finishers for the pin. This is what Norton should have been built up
for several months ago and that’s what they did…..with several
months of inactivity in between. Fun match even though there was
nothing to it.
The
NWO runs in and gets beaten up post match. The celebrities mentioned
earlier plus Brett Hull of the NHL and Jean-Claude Van Damme get in
to celebrate with Goldberg. Not exactly Mike Tyson but that’s a good
visual.
Nitro
Girls. Scott Steiner takes over the broadcast booth to ogle them
during their routine.
Hollywood
Hogan/Scott Steiner/Kevin Nash vs. Horsemen
This
has A LOT of time, as in nearly
half an hour. Hogan
is still listed as a Presidential candidate. Before
the match, Nash gets a cheap pop and Steiner says that Kimberly has
been flirting with him out back. If she wants to tease him, she
better be ready to please him. Hogan is glad that there aren’t any
WCW or Ric Flair fans out here because they stink very badly. He’ll
take care of Ric at SuperBrawl because Flair is the first one being
hunted by the Pack.
After
a break we get the Horsemen’s entrance and the opening bell. It’s
a brawl to start of course and Benoit gets to beat up Hogan in one of
the only times they ever had contact. Flair goes after Hogan but
Nash makes the save. The NWO clears the ring to start as the
announcers bring up Sting for the second or third time tonight.
It’ll be nice to have him back. This
turns into a discussion of Alex Wright no showing the show tonight.
Benoit
and Steiner get things going with the power man running him over and
kicking Benoit in the head. Scott
runs into a boot in the corner though and Benoit fires off more right
hands. A dropkick sends Steiner outside and Benoit holds up the
fingers to Nash and Hogan. Kevin
comes in for a knee to the ribs but Benoit runs him into the corner
and chops away.
Off
to McMichael for a slam, setting up the Swan Dive but Hogan makes a
save. Steiner gets in a shot from the apron and Nash hits the big
boot to take over. Hogan comes in and man alive is it strange to see
him in there against Benoit. It
doesn’t last long though as Hogan clotheslines Benoit down and
suckers Flair in before hiding behind Steiner. A non-existent tag
brings in Steiner for a belly to belly and two on Chris. Nash
comes back in for the side slam and it’s back to Hogan with a belly
to back suplex.
We
take a break and come back with Hogan
still on Benoit. Again he suckers Flair in but tags Scott to get in
a few shots on the Canadian. The
fans want Flair as Nash slams Benoit and elbows Ric in the face.
Everything breaks down and
Benoit gets caught in the Tree of Woe for some choking by Nash.
Hogan whips Benoit with the
weightlifting belt and suplexes him for another two count.
Choking
ensues and it’s back to Nash for the foot choke in the corner. Nash
misses a big boot in the corner but Steiner breaks up a hot tag
attempt. We hit the bearhug on Benoit and he seems to pass out.
Hogan wants the pin but can only get two. An elbow gets the same but
the legdrop misses, allowing Benoit to FINALLY tag Flair. Everything
breaks down and Bischoff comes in with a foam finger wrapped around a
2×4. Flair gets Hogan in the Figure Four but Nash nails him with the
board for the DQ.
Rating:
B-. This was the six man
formula done very well and the match was very good as a result.
Benoit is an excellent face in peril and he had the crowd going nuts
for the tag to Flair. I’m fine with a messy finish here as you don’t
want to have a champion do a job before a pay per view. If WWE could
get that through their heads, a lot of my headaches would go away.
Bischoff
pulls out some clippers but the lumberjacks from earlier make the
save, for the 459th
show of unity that WCW has needed against the NWO. The NWO bails but
runs into Goldberg who cleans house to end the show.
Overall
Rating:
B. This was the best
Nitro in probably a year at least. They actually slowed down and
took their time for once while delivering some pretty good matches.
Flair vs. Hogan has a good story to it and the other feuds aren’t bad
at all. Unfortunately this was one of the shows where if you don’t
like the main story you’re not going to like the show. Luckily they
got it right for once and had a fast moving and entertaining show.
Good stuff.
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