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Monday Nitro – March 22, 1999

Monday
Nitro #181
Date:
March 22, 1999
Location:
Club LeVela, Panama City, Florida
Commentators:
Bobby Heenan, Mike Tenay, Larry Zbyszko, Tony Schiavone
Reviewed by Tommy Hall
It’s
Spring Break Out and things are kind of fresh for me as well. I did
every show so far this month in the span of a week so this is my
first WCW in weeks. That might be the best thing possible as WCW is
getting harder and harder to take. However, it seems like we’re
setting up a fourway between Flair, Goldberg, Hogan and Nash, which
sounds pretty awesome actually. Let’s get to it.

We
open with a recap of Flair ranting about how awesome he is as
champion and boss, affirming his heel turn and setting up the four
way standoff from last week. It still doesn’t look like Flair walked
out.
The
pool setting is always cool.
We
see clips of the threeway hardcore match at Uncensored. I have no
idea why as it has nothing to do with the opening match.
Bull
Payne vs. Van Hammer
Payne
is a bald guy in leather and Hammer is a hippie. Hammer takes him
into the corner to start and we’re already getting a BORING chant. A
shoulder block and baseball slide put Bull on the floor and they try
to throw each other in the water. Back in and Payne headbutts Hammer
a few times as Tenay shills his Hotline. A double clothesline puts
both guys down before Hammer is sent to the floor for another
clothesline. Payne gets two off a frog splash but walks into a cobra
clutch slam and the Flashback (whip spinebuster) for the pin.
Rating:
D. Again, this is how they
decided to use their hour advantage on Raw. The match was really
dull stuff too as I have no idea who Payne was and I have almost no
reason to care about Hammer. This was a Saturday Night match but
instead it’s the opening contest on Nitro. It’s becoming more and
more obvious why this company is falling through the floor.
Video
of Mysterio winning the Cruiserweight Title last week in a great
match.
Mysterio
is here live and talks about how much he loves this party town.
Kidman can have a rematch at
Spring Stampede.
Clip
of the Miss Nitro contest. Buff Bagwell and Saturn are judges.
Music
video on the beach stuff.
Disco
Inferno, in an intertube, doesn’t like this town because a girl in a
wet t-shirt contest was heavier than he was. The interviewer (Ricky
Rachman, the guy doing all the Spring Break stuff tonight) doesn’t
care for Disco’s video so here it is again. A match is made for
Spring Stampede.
Video
on Scott Steiner and Buff Bagwell splitting up.
Finlay
goes to see Rick Steiner and they want to fight tonight. This lasted
eight seconds.
Video
on the four way staredown and main event tag match from last week.
Goldberg
did some stuff with NASCAR this week.
Hak
interrupts the Goldberg package and wants to be known as “Hardcore
Hak: the King of Extreme.” If the fans think Goldberg is extreme,
he’ll show you extreme tonight.
60
seconds with Goldberg.
WCW
is returning to QVC (home shopping network) with special guest Sting.
Psychosis/Silver
King/El Dandy/La Cucharacha vs. La Parka/Damien/Lizmark Jr./Super
Calo
Tenay
isn’t sure who Cucharacha is, though he’s in a Konnan flannel shirt.
I think you can figure it out from here. Cucharacaha starts with La
Parka and everything breaks down just a few seconds in. Dandy and
Silver King nail a double dropkick before it’s off to Psychosis for a
guillotine legdrop and two. La Parka comes back with a tilt-a-whirl
backbreaker and everything breaks down again. We wind up with Damien
throwing Dandy around until it’s a standoff.
Back
to Cucharacha vs. Calo with the newcomer getting kicked in the face.
Lizmark comes in and misses a splash in the corner, allowing King to
chop him over and over. Lizmark misses a moonsault and gets
superkicked as Tony says they’re missing a lot of their moves. King
is knocked outside for a big plancha from Lizmark. La Parka and
Psychosis throw themselves to the floor and Calo dives onto Psychosis
for good measure. Back in and literally everyone but La Cucharacha
misses a dive until La Cucharacha Stuns all of his opponents and pins
Damien.
Rating:
D+. This was odd indeed with
the missing sequence being the big moment at the end. Why in the
world would you have a bunch of guys look inept for the sake of a
comedy angle? I’m sure you
can guess who was under the mask but why do that when he’s already
got a story going on?
It’s
Disco Inferno if that wasn’t clear.
Video
on the Mr. Nitro competition.
Regular
opening for hour #2.
Nitro
Girls.
Flair
and JJ were outside earlier today and Flair wants to wrestle tonight.
He’s going to challenge the entire company in a lottery style
drawing. Ric whispers to JJ
to put in a lot of cruiserweights.
Dusty
Rhodes is now a consultant and doesn’t think much of Flair’s recent
actions. After the issues with Bischoff, Flair promised to make
Dusty Rhodes the Commissioner of WCW. Then it became him replacing
Larry Zbyszko but that didn’t happen either. Maybe Dusty should have
replaced Mike Tenay, but that was another oversight. Dusty
calls himself a rap master and says Flair is eating off a table that
Dusty set. Flair may be commissioner, but Dusty is still the bull of
the woods.
Gene
brings out Flair but before the champion can get anywhere, Raven of
all people interrupts and asks for a title shot. Flair
almost immediately grants a title shot, but makes it Raven/Kanyon vs.
Benoit/Malenko for the Tag Team Titles. Kanyon isn’t here tonight so
Raven says he’ll beat them himself. That was very abrupt. Flair
keeps going and says he’ll put everyone’s name in a hat and draw out
a name for a World Title shot.
The
announcers recap the top stories.
Rick
Steiner vs. Fit Finlay
I
believe this was supposed to be hardcore but it isn’t announced as
such. They fight up against the ropes to start with Finlay nailing
him with some uppercuts. Steiner takes him down to the mat with ease
and tries to wrap Finlay up, only to have Fit roll to the ropes. A
nerve hold has Rick in trouble and we take a break. Back with a slow
motion slugout until Finlay cranks on Rick’s arms. Rick is sent to
the floor and pounded in the chest, followed by a top rope ax handle
back in the ring. There’s almost no effect though as Rick comes back
with a Steiner Line and a belly to belly, followed by the Steiner
Bulldog for the pin.
Rating:
C-. Better match than I was
expecting here but nothing all that great. At the end of the day,
this had the same problems that Nitro had with almost every show has
at some point or another: why should I care? They built this up with
both guys saying they were tougher and then we see them fight for
four minutes in a nothing match. That’s the best they can do? I see
no reason to care about this and the match was nothing all that
special.
Nitro
Girls.
Vampiro
vs. Juventud Guerrera
Juvy
chops away to start before nailing a nice headscissor takeover.
Something like an AA takes Juvy down and a powerbomb out of the
corner gets two. Guerrera sends him out to the floor and we take a
break. Back to this very slow match with Vampiro chopping in the
corner and backdropping him out to the floor. A belly to belly gets
two on Juvy and Vampiro cranks on his leg for a bit to no effect.
Vampiro
hits a nice helicopter bomb but misses a twisting moonsault instead
of covering. Juvy misses a springboard legdrop but pops up and slams
Vampiro down. Vampiro crotches him to break up the 450, setting up a
gutwrench superplex for two. It doesn’t matter all that much as Juvy
nails a wicked Juvy Driver for the pin.
Rating:
D+. The more I see of Vampiro
the more I wonder what I was thinking back in the day. He doesn’t
hold up and seems to not care in the ring for the most part. It
takes a lot to drag Guerrera down at this point but Vampiro did it.
Maybe he’ll get better when he gets some mic time, but this really
didn’t do it for me.
Rachman
brings out the winner of Miss Nitro: Julie Williams, some college
chick who isn’t all that great looking. She
doesn’t know how to talk but the NWO comes out with its own army of
women in swimsuits. They chase Rachman off and say it’s time for the
NWO Miss Spring Break contest. There’s
a woman missing so Hogan does some counting. The fans want tops
removed, but Nash says he can’t because it’s too cold. He asks for
the eighth woman to come out and here are David Flair and Samantha.
She
takes off her dress and of course blows
away every other girl in the
ring. Rachman is brought back in and introduces Miss Nitro again,
but Nash wants him to announce a Miss NWO. When he won’t Nash loads
him up for the Jackknife but gives him one more chance. Rachman
immediately picks Samantha (Nash: “Sable eat your heart out.”)
and this finally ends.
Goldberg
vs. Hardcore Hak
Hak
hammers him out to the floor to start but Goldberg no sells left
hands back inside. Another leverage move sends Goldberg outside
again for more punching but Goldberg slaps on a cross armbreaker back
in the ring. That goes nowhere so Hak brings in the weapons, which
only seem to tick Goldberg off. The Russian legsweep is easily
countered and it’s the spear and Jackhammer for the easy pin. This
was typical Goldberg.
Gene
brings out Bret Hart for a chat. Bret talks about being upset over
losing his reputation. He’s been here over a year and he’s already
sick and tired of people like Flair sticking his nose in Bret’s
business. Okerlund brings up a possible match with Hogan but Bret
doesn’t think it’s ever going to happen.
Gene
tries Kevin Nash instead, but Bret says he’s proven he can beat Nash
for years now. With those names going nowhere, Gene suggests
Goldberg. Bret accuses Goldberg of never being in the ring with a
real technical wrestler. He wants Goldberg to get in the ring with
him one time and says he could beat Goldberg in five minutes. This
is already more interesting than anything else Bret has done in WCW.
Nitro
Girls, dressed as male wrestlers for some reason.
Horace
vs. Vincent
From
what I can tell, Raw was airing Rock vs. Mankind at this time.
Vincent says Horace is just a nephew, earning him a forearm to the
face. Horace hiptosses him out to the floor and a big boot puts him
right back outside again. Back in and Vincent grabs a quick
neckbreaker for two, only to walk into another big boot. Stevie Ray
comes out as Vincent and Horace ram heads. Ray shoves Horace into a
small package, giving Vincent the pin.
Rating:
D-. This story was fun for
awhile but now it’s just another boring string of matches that keeps
going with no end in sight. Stevie won the bad match at Uncensored
to become the boss and now that just doesn’t mean anything. This
isn’t entertaining anymore. Now it’s just one more reason to change
the channel to Raw.
Brian
Adams comes out and yells at Ray post match.
It’s
time for the drawing for the World Title shot later in the night.
The wrestlers are around the pool with numbered cards. JJ pulls out
#23 and it’s that jam up guy El Dandy. However, Dandy is hurt so he
gives his card to Rey Mysterio Jr. Flair
says Rey isn’t in this because he’s a champion and yells at JJ for
screwing up. Rey won’t
leave so Flair says this is at his own risk. Mysterio will get a
shot later tonight.
Video
on the Horsemen, set to the Hardcore Holly’s music. I’ve
heard that in several packages before so it must be public domain.
Tag
Team Titles: Raven vs. Chris Benoit/Dean Malenko
Raven
is going this alone. Thankfully
the Horsemen didn’t leave after being in the ring before the
commercial and stomp Raven as he comes in. It’s
officially Benoit starting but Malenko quickly comes in for a double
spinebuster. Dean puts on the Cloverleaf in the middle of the ring
but lets it go for no apparent reason. Benoit
comes back in and hooks the Crossface but lets it go as well.
A
powerbomb/top rope
clothesline combo knocks Raven senseless but Saturn walks down to the
ring and gets in the
champions’ faces. He
suplexes Benoit and Malenko but Benoit breaks up the Rings of Saturn.
Things settle down with
Dean nailing a leg lariat on Saturn before bringing Benoit in for
some chops. The Horsemen keep control with a snap suplex from Benoit
and a chinlock from Dean.
A
double back elbow drops Saturn but Raven gets up and starts cleaning
house. Everything breaks down and Saturn rolls through the Crossface
into the Rings of Saturn, drawing in Dean with a belt, but Raven
nails him with the other belt. The bell rings and the fans think
it’s a submission but the referee says it’s a DQ for the belt shot.
Rating:
C-. The match was entertaining
but it really doesn’t make the new champions look all that great.
Then again this is WCW where they turned the World Champion and Tag
Team Champions heel about a month after they were the hottest acts in
the company because….why did they do that again? Anyway this
should set up a rematch at Spring Stampede.
We
recap the Miss NWO contest earlier and I can’t complain about
Samantha in a swimsuit.
Video
of Flair stripping Scott Hall of the US Title and
announcing a tournament. We
also get clips of Meng beating Bam Bam Bigelow in the first match on
Thunder.
US
Title Tournament First Round: Scott Steiner vs. Chris Jericho
This
has potential even though it’s heel vs. heel. Jericho
comes out wearing a sash with Japanese writing on it. Steiner shoves
him around with ease to start before dropping to his knees to pose.
He takes too long though as
Jericho pops up and springboard dropkicks Steiner out to the floor.
Jericho
goes outside though and is sent into the steps for his efforts to
give Steiner control again. Back
in and another missile dropkick puts Steiner down for two. Jericho
gets the same off a middle rope back elbow followed by the Lionsault
for the third straight two. Steiner
easily counters the Liontamer and hits Jericho low, setting up the
Recliner for the submission.
Rating:
C-. Much better match than I
was expecting, even though it was clear Jericho’s soul died about two
months ago. I can’t blame him for leaving when he did as WCW wasn’t
going to do anything with him. Steiner didn’t seem particularly
motivated here either, but the action wasn’t half bad.
WCW
World Title: Rey Mysterio Jr. vs. Ric Flair
I’ll
only refer to Flair as champion. Rey
offers a handshake but Flair tells him to get out of here. Feeling
out process to start until Rey trips him up and nails a legdrop
before sending Flair into the corner. There’s
the Flair Flop but Ric throwing Rey out to the floor. That goes
nowhere as Rey comes back in with a dropkick and a bad looking
springboard seated senton for two.
We
get a chase on the floor with Arn Anderson nailing a clothesline to
give Flair control. A knee
drop has Rey in trouble and Flair grabs a leg for two. Rey
gets two of his own off a quick rollup but Flair stomps him down in
the corner. A big elbow drop sets up some right hands to Rey’s
unmasked face. Rey fights back again and hits a dropkick, followed
by the top rope hurricanrana, only to have Anderson pull the referee
out to the floor for the DQ.
Rating:
D+. This was another nothing
match with the guys going through the motions for about seven minutes
before the lame ending. Mysterio clearly wasn’t going to win the
title and Flair didn’t even go after the leg. It fits in perfectly
with the theme of the night: a watchable match that meant nothing.
Flair
is sent into the pool to end the show.
Overall
Rating:
D. The show was
watchable in spite of itself. As I said in the main event, there was
no effort or energy put in all night. Everything interesting that
happened last week was absent here in favor of one off matches that
didn’t set up anything. Goldberg vs. Hart coming sounds good, but
the rest of the show was meaningless, although not horrible.

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