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Monday Nitro – February 1, 1999

Monday
Nitro #174
Date:
February 1, 1999
Location:
Target Center, Minneapolis, Minnesota
Attendance:
17,259
Commentators:
Larry Zbyszko, Mike Tenay, Tony Schiavone, Bobby Heenan
Reviewed by Tommy Hall
The
build to SuperBrawl continues and hopefully WCW’s hot streak does as
well. Things have been going strong for WCW over the last few weeks
which isn’t what I was expecting coming into a year known for being
such a disaster. The main story is Flair hunting Hogan and the title
and wanting to get more revenge on Bischoff. Let’s get to it.

We open with
a shot of Curt Hennig and Barry Windham arriving earlier and saying
they can win the Tag Team Titles. Hennig wants a piece of Hall and
Nash.
Earlier today
Scott Steiner went after the Nitro Girls again, this time causing
Kimberly to fall over and hit her head.
Gene is in
the ring and brings in Konnan and Rey Mysterio Jr. Rey says the NWO
is coming for his mask for some reason. He grew up watching Luger
and Nash but now they’re making a big mistake. The two of them
dropped all of their knowledge go Konnan, and Rey will use that
knowledge to beat Luger and earn his respect. Konnan says the NWO is
coming for Rey to get back at him before going into a confusing
metaphor about robbing a bank and shooting a teller in a wheelchair.
The end result is a mask vs. hair match at SuperBrawl. Rey mentions
it being in a cage if that’s how they want it.
The Black and
White is at what looks like an airport when Vince says there are no
cars or reservations for cars. Stevie is ticked off so Vince goes to
see what he can do. That goes nowhere so Stevie talks to someone and
has gotten them hooked up. There’s a limo waiting on them but Vince
isn’t allowed to get in. Vince calls Kevin Nash and asks for a ride.
The Wolfpack’s limo is literally there before he gets off the phone.
Opening
sequence.
Nitro Girls.
Flair puts
Bischoff in a dunk tank for the employees’ amusement. This takes
about five minutes to set up.
The
announcers talk for a bit.
We look at
Curt Hennig getting thrown out of the NWO last week.
Tag Team
Title Tournament First Round: Curt Hennig/Barry Windham vs. Chris
Benoit/Dean Malenko
The winner of
this gets the Outsiders, so apparently the match on Thunder was a
tournament match. They stare each other down for awhile to start
until Hennig vs. Benoit gets things going. Larry brings up that this
is current Horsemen vs. former Horsemen. Benoit gets the early
advantage with a quick drop toehold and some kicks to the ribs until
Hennig pokes him in the eye. Chris kicks the leg and brings in Dean
to hammer away in the corner.
Dean goes off
on Curt with shots to the back of the head and even knocks Barry off
the apron for good measure. Back to Benoit for the snap suplex and
we take a break. We come back with a four way brawl in the aisle
with the Horsemen getting the better of it. Scott Dickinson is
watching from the front row again. Benoit misses a baseball slide
and gets chopped by Hennig before it’s off to Windham for a running
lariat.
Some chops in
the corner put Benoit down again and Curt adds in some shots of his
own. Benoit gets sent to the floor and rammed into a chair before
Hennig hammers away back inside. Chris charges into a boot in the
corner but snaps on the Crossface, only to have Barry make a quick
save. A double tag brings in Dean to fight both veterans at once
before Benoit kicks Barry into a tag to Hennig. Everything breaks
down and Barry superplexes Dean but Benoit’s Swan Dive breaks it up.
The PerfectPlex gets the pin on Benoit.
Rating:
C+. This is a match where there
was no way it could have been bad. Hennig and Windham were way past
their primes but this point but they were talented enough that even
this version of them was still pretty good. It’s also nice to see
Dean back in the ring after being out a few weeks with an injury.
JJ
Dillon and some luchadores dunk Bischoff.
The
NWO arrives at the building and Stevie complains to Nash about the
limo situation. Everything seems to be smoothed over though.
Back
from a break with the Black and White complaining about the lack of
accomodations. They walk into their dressing room to find some good
looking women. The complains quickly stop.
Gene
brings out Flair for a chat. Flair
says Bischoff abused his power a lot of the time, so tonight Bischoff
gets to be soaked in the 28 degree weather.
Gene asks about Benoit’s status after last week, despite seeing him
wrestle a fairly long match just a few minutes ago. Ric completely
ignores the question and says Hogan not being here tonight is proof
that the NWO is falling apart.
He goes on about Virgil (his word) and the rest of the Black and
White having issues and there goes the jacket.
Flair
talks about the match at SuperBrawl and says Hogan doesn’t deserve to
be a champion. The title belt was presented to Flair in 1988 because
he earned it. This leads us to the required list of old wrestling
names that Flair brings up in every promo. As this is being said, a
sign can be seen in the crowd saying “Shut up and wrestle.”
Flair
says he’ll do or die at SuperBrawl before switching over to Bret
Hart. He’s tired of hearing about documentaries because Bret is
going to wrestle Chris Benoit for the US Title at SuperBrawl. This
brings out Scott Hall and the Disco Inferno for some reason so Flair
does Too Sweet with Gene.
Hall
says Flair can boss Bischoff around but he doesn’t tell Scott Hall
what to do. Did Benoit get the US Title shot because he washes
Flair’s car? Hall is the guy that took the belt off Goldberg and
beat Bam Bam Bigelow. Flair calls Hall half of a fantasy world so
Scott wants to fight Benoit. Chris comes down the aisle and the
fight is quickly on with the Horsemen clearing the ring. Ric
makes Benoit vs. Hall for tonight. This
was long and felt really scripted.
Kenny
Kaos vs. Van Hammer
Kaos
scores with a jumping back elbow to the jaw as Tenay talks about
Giant Baba passing away the previous night. Scott
Dickinson gets up and walks out. A running clothesline in the corner
has Hammer in more trouble but Kaos charges into a boot. It doesn’t
have much effect as he comes back with a springboard missile dropkick
for two….and here’s the guy named Jim from the Raven vignettes
wrapped in barbed wire over
regular clothes and carrying
a kendo stick. Van Hammer hits the Flashback (snap spinebuster) for
a fast pin.
Jim
beats on Hammer with the stick and does the Sandman pose. He says
he’s tired of people coming to WCW and taking credit for his work. A
lot of people call themselves hardcore, but let’s see them wrapped up
in barbed wire. He’s the first man to wrap barbed wire around
himself and dive through a table. Jim wants Bam Bam Bigelow out here
right now.
Jim
vs. Bam Bam Bigelow
Bigelow
comes out after a break and
the brawl is on with Jim hitting him in the back with the stick.
He’s taken off the barbed wire and is wrestling in street clothes. A
baseball slide puts Bigelow on the floor but he catches Jim’s dive
and rams him into the post.
Jim comes back in with a chair but goes for the stick instead.
Bigelow clocks Jim
in the head with a chair before superkicking him down.
Another
chair shot over the back doesn’t draw a DQ for some reason and Jim
comes back with a bulldog onto the chair. He wraps the barbed wire
around the corner but has to nail Bigelow to stop an Irish whip. A
kendo stick shot to the throat drops Bigelow and follows up with a
slingshot legdrop. Bigelow DDTs him onto the chair and sends him
into the barbed wire before following it up with a splash. The top
rope headbutt and Greetings From Asbury Park “on” the chair are
good for the pin.
Rating: D.
I’m not a fan of the hardcore stuff but at least it was something
fresh in WCW at this point. Jim, never called that by the
announcers, even though he’s been referred to by that name in several
of the Raven videos, was his usual self here, meaning it’s all spots
and very little wrestling.
A
cameraman dunks Bischoff after a few misses.
An
old school NWO promo has Luger and Liz talking about reforming the
team. Lex praises Liz for
her performance at the police station, even though she screwed it up.
He brags about taking out
Goldberg and putting him in his place. You
would think this sets up Luger vs. Goldberg wouldn’t you?
Nitro
Girls.
Scott
Dickinson dunks Bischoff.
Diamond
Dallas Page arrives and Kidman tells him what happened to Kimberly.
No one called him earlier? He
goes to the Red and Black locker room and slams the door. Luckily
there’s a camera waiting inside and the four guys don’t jump him as
soon as he comes through the door. Page is
looking for Steiner and says
they better pray Kimberly is ok. He
leaves and Steiner comes out of another room, holding what he implies
is Kimberly’s outfit. Female hands come out of the door to rub his
chest. Vince is told to tell Page that the match with Steiner is on
and to slap Page when he tells him.
After
a break, Vince tells Disco to give the message and slap to Page. The
slap is the signal for the NWO to rush the ring.
A
livid Page comes to the ring and calls out Steiner. He gets Disco
instead, saying that Steiner accepts the match for SuperBrawl. Disco
slaps him and gets laid out with no one coming to help. In
the NWO dressing room, Nash calls Vince smart for what he did.
Page
gets in his car and leaves.
Cruiserweight
Title: Lash LeRoux vs.
Kidman
For
some reason Heenan isn’t here so Larry stays on commentary. Lash
has been jobbing on Saturday Night a bit but this is his big show
debut. A quick headscissors
puts LeRoux down but he comes back with one of his own to put Kidman
on the floor. Lash follows up with a hurricanrana off the apron
before diving off the steps to drive the champion into the barricade.
Kidman nails a charge of
his own and they head into the crowd.
That
only lasts a few seconds before it’s back into the ring with Kidman
hitting a crossbody
for two. A kind of powerbomb puts Kidman down but he comes back with
right hands to the head. Lash does the splits to avoid Kidman before
pulling him down into a chinlock. Kidman
comes back with a slam but misses a top rope splash.
Off
to a double arm crank followed by a belly to belly for two. They
trade near falls until Leroux hits something resembling a Michinoku
Driver for two more. Kidman
comes back with a bulldog out of the corner but Lash slams him to the
mat. He takes too long posing though and misses a legdrop, allowing
Kidman to hit the Shooting Star to retain.
Rating: C.
This was a nice back and forth match, even though LeRoux never was
anything special in the ring. He would be around for the remainder
of WCW’s time but I always liked him for some reason. Kidman was his
usual good self, but we need to get to the showdown with Mysterio
already.
Heenan
is at the dunking booth but says he was forced to come out here. He
tries to hand the baseballs to Bischoff but trips into the button,
dunking Eric again.
Hogan
is in a limo with some guy and talking about how Flair is whining
about his son.
Booker
T. is excited to be back and
to fight Disco Inferno at
SuperBrawl and sets a record
for saying “you know” the most times in a two minute span.
Scott
Steiner vs. Chris Jericho
Non-title
and Heenan is now on commentary. Before
the match Scott says he’ll take on all comers, including white trash
like Page. He implies that
he’s sleeping with Kimberly. Jericho
sends Ralphus to the back for some reason. Steiner
easily shoves him down to start before putting on a hard chinlock. A
gorilla press sends Jericho flying again but Jericho comes back with
a spinwheel kick and the springboard dropkick to send Scott outside.

Jericho
follows him but Buff gets in a cheap shot to give Steiner control
again. Steiner gets in a
chair shot to the head, only
to have Jericho snap his throat across the top rope. A top rope back
elbow to the jaw drops Steiner again. Jericho’s momentum doesn’t
last long though as Steiner uses an amateur takedown and hammers away
in the corner. Steiner puts
him in the Tree of Woe and wraps Jericho’s leg around the ropes.
Chris
starts to fight back but Steiner takes him down with a small package
of all things. Jericho grabs a rollup and cranks on Steiner’s arms
to little effect. A dropkick knocks Bagwell off the apron and walks
into a belly to belly, allowing Steiner to use an Arrogant Cover for
two. Chris nails a quick jawbrekaer and the Lionsault gets two. A
superkick drops Steiner again but Jericho goes outside. Saturn comes
out in the dress and stops Jericho in the aisle (who was apparently
leaving for no apparent reason), sending him back inside where the
Recliner gets the submission.
Rating: C.
That was an oddly booked ending. Jericho was wrestling like a face
(which makes sense against a bigger heel in Steiner) but then he
walked out despite being in control. Saturn sending Jericho back in
makes sense as he wants revenge, but it doesn’t answer why Jericho
was trying to leave. Just odd all around and I don’t see why Steiner
was picked as Jericho’s opponent in the first place.
Bret
Hart was on MADtv and put Will Sasso in the Sharpshooter.
Nitro
Girls.
Here
are Luger, Liz and Nash with something to say. Nash
addresses the challenge from Konnan and Mysterio and accepts the
challenge, while putting Liz’s hair on the line against
Rey’s mask. She’s remarkably cool with this.
Ernest
Miller comes out and has ring announcer Dave Penzer declare him the
greatest of all time. He issues an open challenge and is annoyed
that no one accepts it. The
fans chant for Goldberg but we cut to the NWO locker room where Nash
tells Norton that Cat just called him out.
Scott
Norton vs. Ernest Miller
Norton
is a hometown boy so the fans are actually into this a little bit.
Scott no sells a kick to the
chest and runs Miller over with a clothesline. A
hard chops knocks Miller to the floor but he comes back in with some
kicks to the knee. That’s
fine with Norton though as he catches a spinning kick and slams
Miller down. A low blow has almost no effect on Norton and a
superkick has about the same result.
Miller
comes back with a jawbreaker and some chops in the corner. This has
been really physical. Norton pounds him down with elbows to the back
of the head as we cut to Sonny Onoo yelling at fans. Sonny is
dragged in and Miller kicks Norton’s head off to put him on one knee.
More kicks are no sold and Norton powerbombs him for the pin and a
nice pop.
Rating:
C-. This was LONG and could
have done the same thing in about half the time. I get the idea of
wanting to give the live fans a nice moment but did we need a ten
minute segment to get to that point? It was a physical match, but
I’m not going to be interested in a long match with these two in
there.
Quick
sidebar: can we stop this bad trend of the referees allowing illegal
stuff like low blows and chair shots? If they’re just going to allow
those thing to happen, it takes away their impact when someone uses
it to cheat. That’s one of the things about the Attitude Era that
I’m glad is gone, as it takes me out of a match when you have people
cheating over and over again right in front of the referee with no
reprecussions at all.
Nitro
Girls.
Gene
brings out Goldberg for a chat. As
is usually the case with Goldberg, he doesn’t have much to say but
Bam Bam is next. Bigelow is
referred to as an extremist over and over. Why
isn’t Luger next, especially after Luger’s video about Goldberg
earlier? The video makes
even less sense when Luger was already in a story with Mysterio.
It’s almost like this
company doesn’t think things through so they make sense.
Malenko
and Flair dunk Bischoff.
Chris
Benoit vs. Scott Hall
Buffer
does the introductions and says Benoit is from a famous wrestling
family. A member of, trained by, same thing. The
winner gets the title shot against “Bret Hitman Clark” at
SuperBrawl. Benoit takes
Hall down with a quick armdrag and Bret Hart comes out to do
commentary. Hall offers a
test of strength so Benoit empties his nose on him. Benoit knocks
him to the floor and Hall looks to be limping a bit.
Back
in and Benoit goes after the leg before dropkicking Hall into Disco.
The Crossface is broken up by the dancing enthusiast so here’s Mongo
to take Disco to the back. With the match going on, we see Mongo
throwing Disco into a locker room where Arn Anderson is waiting with
a tire iron.
We
take a break and come back with Hall putting on a sleeper. Benoit
gets dropped throat first on the ropes and a clothesline gets two for
Hall. Hart is off commentary. We hit the abdominal stretch on
Benoit but he quickly fights out and wins a chop off. A snap suplex
puts Hall down and a backbreaker looks to set up the Swan Dive but
Nash comes in for a distraction. Not a DQ of course because those
things don’t exist in WCW anymore. Benoit goes up but gets crotched,
setting up the Outsider’s Edge for the pin.
Rating: C.
So we’re setting up heel vs. heel at SuperBrawl? Well of course we
are because Benoit had to lose twice in a single night. This
was a fairly odd match as Benoit was thrown into the title match and
is now out of it two hours later. Hall getting a singles push is
fine, but it’s a strange way to get there.
Hogan
and the other guy are in Charlotte waiting on David Flair. A livid
Ric Flair is shown watching as
the other guy, apparently a biker of some fame, says maybe we
shouldn’t film this to end the show.
Overall
Rating:
C-. The
show wasn’t bad but it felt like it was written by about ten
different people who weren’t in the same room. Between
the matches going longer than usual (not a bad thing) to the segments
starting in the first hour and being changed later in the night, this
show was going in a bunch of different directions. It’s
like they have no idea where they’re going except for Flair vs.
Hogan, which makes the shows very hit or miss. This wasn’t as good
as the past few weeks but they’re walking a very thin line.
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