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Monday Nitro – April 19, 1999

Monday Nitro #185
Date: April 19, 1999
Location:
O’Connell Center, Gainsville, Florida
Attendance: 8,567
Commentators: Tony
Schiavone, Bobby Heenan
Reviewed by Tommy Hall
We’re getting closer to
Slamboree and the main event is set with Page defending against Nash.
Other than that we have the further exploits of the NWO as things
fall apart with Hogan nowhere in sight. Savage and Sting are still
running around and feuding with Flair so it’s hard to say what’s
coming tonight. Let’s get to it.

We open with Goldberg
arriving and carrying a briefcase. He says it’s him vs. Page for the
title tonight.
Ricki
Rachman and DJ Ran do their thing.
Nitro Girls.
Scott
Armstrong/Steve Armstrong vs. Dean Malenko/Chris Benoit
This
should be good. Benoit and Scott get things going and of course
Charles Robinson is referee. They speed things up to start with
Scott ducking a chop but getting taken down with a very crisp
armdrag. A quick tag brings in Steve who cleans house and stomps
away on Benoit. The Horsemen get Steve out to the floor though and
the triple teaming is on. Back in and Malenko nails a low dropkick
to the side of Steve’s head and the stomping continues.
Benoit
takes his head off with a clothesline for two as a LOUD Goldberg
chant starts up. Malenko comes back in and hammers away in the
corner before Anderson helps with even more cheating. Robinson
allows the Horsemen to change without a tag to Arn’s approval.
Benoit finally charges into a boot but still won’t allow the tag off
to Scott. Dean comes back in but walks into a double clothesline,
finally setting up the hot tag. Scott comes in and everything breaks
down. Dean jumps over Scott in the corner and powerbombs him down
into the Cloverleaf for the submission.
Rating:
C+.
This was the best opening match they’ve had in a good while. The
Armstrongs are guys that can wrestle with anyone so if you give them
a pair of technicians like Malenko and Benoit it’s bound to be good.
More importantly than that though, the brothers kept working the
whole time they were getting squashed. It’s so annoying to see
someone just laying on the mat instead of trying to get the tag or
doing anything other than just laying around.
Georgia, the woman that
gave Flair papers that he signed without looking at them on Thunder,
gives them to Piper. Roddy looks very pleased.
Opening sequence.
Savage
and Gorgeous George arrive but Doug Dillinger won’t let them in.
Piper comes up and says he’s the Commissioner so they need to be let
in. Dillinger reluctantly agrees.
Gene
brings out DDP for a chat. Page starts by wishing Hogan the best
with his knee surgery. The fans are already chanting for Goldberg.
Page says Goldberg needs to get focused like he’s been. Both guys
know what it’s like to grab the brass ring because Page is World
Champion right now.
Page
sees a lot of Goldberg in himself and there’s nothing he would like
more than to put the title on the line tonight….but that’s not
going to happen. This brings out Goldberg who gets right in Page’s
face. Apparently Page agrees to put the title on the line tonight.
Goldberg’s music hit and he was out of the ring in less than a
minute. So why did Page say no in the first place if he would agree
that fast?
Piper is in the back
with David Flair and says Ric needs help. They talk about him being
put under observation for 72 hours and David agrees before signing
the papers Piper was given earlier.
Page
comes up to Gene in the back and confirms the title is on the line.
Gene isn’t done yet though and shows us the clip from Spring Stampede
of Page injuring Hogan. We don’t actually see Page’s reaction to it
or anything, but why would that be interesting?
Cruiserweight Title:
Psychosis vs. Rey Mysterio Jr. vs. Kidman vs. Blitzkrieg
Mysterio
is defending and this is one fall to a finish. The fans really odn’t
seem to like Psychosis or Blitzkrieg. We cut to the front row and
see a man all in black with a mohawk hair cut and jewelery on his
fingers that look like claws. Tony recognizes him as Alex Wright,
which is very impressive detective work on his part as Wright looks
completely different and is wearing big sunglasses.
It’s a big brawl to
start with only Juvy and Psychosis left standing. Blitzkrieg avoids
a charge to send Psychosis hard into the post. Juvy loads up a
powerbomb on Psychosis for a springboard seated senton from Rey.
Guerrera backdrops Mysterio out to the floor and holds up Blitzkrieg
for a missile dropkick from Psychosis. Blitzkrieg escapes another
powerbomb attempt and causes Juvy to accidentally hit a top rope
Fameasser on Psychosis.
Rey
is back in with a split legged moonsault to Juvy but Psychosis takes
over and throw Guerrera into the air for a big crash. Blitzkrieg and
Rey knock the other two to the floor before hitting a pair of Asai
moonsaults. Back in and Blitzkrieg hits some standing flips onto Rey
for two as Juvy and Psychosis are trying to get back in. Guerrera is
back up first with a springboard missile dropkick to Blitzkrieg’s
back, leaving him alone with Rey.
A
quick hurricanrana puts Guerrera down and a slingshot splash gets
two. Psychosis and Rey take turns breaking up pins by hitting each
other in the face. Things settle down with Juvy bulldogging Rey for
two before calling for the Juvy Driver. Instead it’s a kind of
reverse DDT but Psychosis comes in with a top rope splash for two on
the champion. Mysterio’s top rope bulldog puts Psychosis down and we
have to take a break.
Back
with Juvy hitting a huge dive onto Blitzkrieg and Psychosis. Rey
goes outside as well but Psychosis pops up and dives onto all three
of them. Back in and Rey powerbombs Juvy for two but Psychosis makes
a save. Blitzkrieg busts out a very quick Figure Four to Psychosis,
only to have Juvy make the save and drop a guillotine legdrop on
Psychosis for two. Juvy powerbombs Blitzkrieg but Rey gets the cover
for two. Mysterio hurricanranas Juvy off the top and Psychosis
steals two of his own.
Blitzkrieg can’t get a
jawbreaker on Juvy so Rey dropkicks Guerrera to the floor instead.
Rey makes the mistake of posing instead of covering, allowing Juvy to
try a powerbomb out of the corner. That’s fine with Rey as he
hurricanranas Guerrera again. Juvy pops back up and snaps Mysterio
across the top for two more. Psychosis clotheslines Juvy to the
floor but Blitzkrieg kicks him in the face.
A
slam sets up the Phoenix Splash for two on Psychosis but this time
it’s Juvy making the save and Juvy Drivering Blitzkrieg for two. Rey
comes back in and hurricanranas Guerrera out to the floor. Psychosis
breaks up a Blitzkrieg superplex attempt and drops the guillotine
legdrop for the pin and the title in a shocker.
Rating:
B+.
WHAT A MATCH! I don’t ever remember a cruiserweight match going this
long (over twenty one minutes) and there is something going on for
the entirety of the time. Usually there’s the period where things
cool down but they never reached that point here. Psychosis winning
is a big surprise and the match was very entertaining. Great stuff.
Gene
brings out Flair for a chat. Ric, in a University of Florida shirt,
seems very happy to be in Gainesville. He talks about students
thinking they can out drink him and offers to buy each one of them a
drink. Before he can get any further he’s interrupted by Roddy
Piper. Ric wants to know why Piper always has to ruin his good time
but Piper cuts him off and says Flair is becoming the Dennis Rodman
of WCW.
He
brings up Flair signing papers and offering to buy kids drinks.
Somehow this makes him insane and unfit to be President of WCW.
Piper is treating this like something serious instead of over the top
like it should be. Flair starts dancing and throws his shoes into
the crowd. Roddy brings up Flair handcuffing himself to the ropes to
fight Bischoff from a few months back so Flair strips off his clothes
to reveal Florida boxers.
Ric
says his first crazy thing and says he’s President of the United
States. Robinson brings out Flair’s robe as Piper has Gene read the
papers. Basically they say Flair is nuts and that he’s out of office
pending a review of his competence. Flair fires Piper and gives
Florida the National Championship from Tennessee.
It’s
time for more dancing so Piper says that the paper Flair signed last
week made Flair vs. Nash (who went to the University of Tennessee in
a nice touch) tonight. So he’s crazy but allowed to wrestle?
Anderson faints in the corner for a few seconds but Flair makes
himself vs. Piper for the Presidency at Slamboree and if Piper loses
he’s fired.
This
segment was a mess and really doesn’t make sense. The problem comes
down to Flair not being insane until just now, and it’s a stretch
even at this point. Anderson and Heenan made it clear that Flair
taking off his clothes and spending a fortune is Flair being himself.
That’s very true and we’ve seen him do exactly that for well over
ten years.
Yeah
Flair has been a bit out there with stuff like signing papers without
looking, but going from that to having him committed in four days is
a really big jump for this story. It makes the whole thing seem
stupid and they could have gotten to the Piper vs. Flair match for
control without it. The fact that this is setting up Roddy Piper vs.
Ric Flair in a major match on PPV makes things even worse as you can
almost hear the fans groan when Piper is mentioned anymore.
The
Black and White tells Konnan they’re looking for Nash but Konnan says
he has nothing to do with Nash anymore. This earns him a beatdown.
Konnan was scheduled to fight for the US Title later in the night.
DJ Ran and Nitro Girls.
The announcers hype up
the World Title match and they actually have a graphic for it. The
shot of the belt on Page’s shoulder looks horrible as he’s not even
touching it.
Brian
Knobbs vs. Hardcore Hak
This
is a garbage can match or something like that. Brian hammers Hak
with a can as he comes in but Chastity slides in some extra weapons
for them to use. We get a Pit Stop for old times’ sake and Hak is
sent out to the floor. Hak sends him into the post and a cameraman
goes down. It’s already table time but Knobbs nails him in the back
with a chair.
Hak
comes back with a ladder as you can barely see the mat at this point.
There’s no wrestling in between these spots. Hak bulldogs him onto
the ladder and sets up the table in the middle of the ring. He
misses a Swanton though and mostly breaks the table to give Brian a
two count. We get the Terry Funk spinning ladder spot to put Hak
down but Chasitity takes Knobbs’ kendo stick away. Not that it
matters as a pair of trashcan shots is enough to pin Hak.
Rating:
D-.
Remember the good tag match and the really good four way? This was
nothing like those matches. As is usually the case with these
things, the best part of it was it only ran about seven minutes. On
the other hand, I could have spent those seven minutes doing
something more constructive, like ripping my fingernails out with
rusty pliers.
More DJ Ran because WCW
doesn’t understand wrestling fans.
Nitro Girls.
Randy Savage has a
present for Gorgeous George: Madusa, who is here to train her for
Slamboree.
Nash
comes in to see the Black and White and ask about what happened with
Konnan. Stevie says they know what Nash has been doing and won’t be
taking it anymore. Nash leaves, saying the team doesn’t want this.
They’re going to send Norton to take care of Steiner tonight.
Buff
Bagwell vs. Disco Inferno
Buff
talks about how bad Scott Steiner thinks he is and rips off his
catchphrases. Disco stomps him down in the corner to start but gets
caught by a clothesline. Bagwell chokes Disco with his own shirt
before working on a wristlock. A dropkick puts Inferno on the floor
and Buff does his strut.
Disco
comes back in and is quickly hiptossed right back to the floor. He
tries to get back in again and actually shows some intelligence by
snapping Buff’s throat across the top rope. Disco starts going after
the neck as we stop to look at Alex Wright again. Bagwell avoids a
middle rope elbow and makes his quick comeback, only to get crotched
on the top. The Last Dance is countered and Buff tries (and fails) a
running Blockbuster for the pin.
Rating:
D+.
This was another good win for Bagwell as they actually seem to be
building up a young guy for a change. I can’t imagine it’s for
anything more than feeding him to Steiner but it’s nice while it
lasts. Bagwell really needs to stick with the middle rope version of
the Blockbuster though as it looks about 8000% better.
Here’s
Scott Steiner with a group of women because Godfather was a hot act
around this time. After some catchphrases, Steiner gets right to it
with talking down Bagwell and mentioning Buff’s history as a male
stripper. He goes on about it for awhile and says the NWO made
Bagwell. The fans chant steroids and there’s no Norton as promised
by the Black and White. Not only are the boring and losers, but they
can’t tell the truth about their sneak attacks announced on national
TV. What is the world coming to?
Video
on Gorgeous George vs. Charles Robinson.
Nitro Girls.
DJ Ran for the third or
so time tonight.
Recap of the
Flair/Piper stuff from earlier.
Kidman vs. Raven
Raven
starts off aggressively but gets taken down by a headscissors. He
pops back up and suddenly feels like trying a powerbomb. Kidman is
lucky that his opponents always want to use that move even though
they never do otherwise. After the faceplant, Raven sends Kidman out
to the floor and throws in a chair. The drop toehold sends Kidman
face first into the steel and Raven drops a leg onto the chair onto
Kidman’s head for good measure. Kidman shoves Raven off the top but
the Shooting Star hits the chair. The Horsemen come in for the DQ,
even though Raven matches are supposed to be non-title.
Mysterio
makes the save for his partner and the Horsemen run. Saturn decks
Mysterio but gets sent down with a headscissors. Rey gets
superkicked but Kidman powerbombs Saturn down. Raven Evenflows
Kidman but the Horsemen run back in for the big beatdown.
More of Piper/Flair.
US Title: Scott
Steiner vs. Scott Norton
So
apparently the Black and White can just make US Title matches at
their whim. Steiner is defending of course. After the champion
finishes posing, the battle of clubbing forearms begin. Norton runs
the champ down with some shoulders and a big clothesline sends him
outside. More stalling ensues until Norton drags him back into the
ring for some right hands in the corner. Steiner finally sends him
to the floor and then into the barricade.
Back
in and Steiner gets his required steroids chant. Steiner charges
into a boot in the corner and Norton hammers away before getting two
off a side slam. Norton loads up the shoulder breaker but the
referee gets bumped. A low blow and belly to belly suplex retain
Steiner’s title. Steiner’s feet on the ropes helped too.
Rating:
D.
I had a feeling this wasn’t going to be much of a power brawl.
Norton was wrestling like a face here and it worked on a kind of
weird level. Steiner’s mega push continues as his in ring ability
continues to deteriorate every single week. Granted putting him in
there with a one dimensional guy like Norton wasn’t the best idea.
DJ
Ran AGAIN. We get it already.
Kevin Nash vs. Ric
Flair
Before
the match, Nash promises to get revenge on Page for Hogan. Naturally
Robinson, with what looks like a Horsemen sticker on his shirt, is
refereeing. Nash shoves Flair down before the bell and Flair is
ready to go. Flair tries some shoulder blocks to as much success as
you would expect. Back up and Nash knees him into the corner and
nails the backdrop. Nash even mocks Flair slicking back his hair as
Ric bails to the floor.
Naitch
slows things down a bit so Nash busts out a headlock of all things.
They trade shots in the corner and there’s another backdrop to Flair.
A big shot in the corner gives us the Flair Flop and there’s the
framed elbow. Anderson finally gets involved by tripping up Nash and
helping Flair crotch him against the post. Back in and Anderson just
gets in the ring to help Flair double team. We get the old “how
much time” bit from Flair and Nash goes down to a low blow.
Flair
hammers away in the corner while calling Nash Tennessee. Anderson
interferes again but Nash comes back with a right hand and the side
slam. Flair heads to the apron and gets clotheslined out to the
floor. For some reason he tries to come back in off the top and you
know what’s coming. Anderson tries to come in but gets kicked in the
face for his efforts. There go the straps and Flair gets
powerbombed, sending Robinson to the floor instead of counting.
Gorgeous George comes out and takes his referee shirt to count the
pin on Flair. Because that’s how WCW works anymore.
Rating:
C-.
It was Flair vs. Nash so you knew it was going to be at least
watchable. The overbooking made sense here and Robinson just walking
out was a nice touch. The ending on the other hand was stupid but
exactly what you would expect from WCW at this point: someone just
deciding they’re a referee and having their pin count. I mean,
people can make US Title matches so why not this?
Post
match Flair is taken out on a stretcher by people in white coats.
Yep, they’re really doing this. Piper shows up to talk some trash as
Flair is loaded into the van. Somehow Anderson doesn’t get what’s
going on.
Dusty
Rhodes joins commentary for no apparent reason.
WCW World Title:
Diamond Dallas Page vs. Goldberg
Page
is defending of course. The referee gets shoved down and we’re ready
to go. Page charges at Goldberg and gets shoved down as well. Back
up and Page is thrown to the floor where he stops to take a breather.
He gets back in and tries the Diamond Cutter but is quickly sent
back to the floor. A leg trip doesn’t even get one on Goldberg who
hits a kind of AA into a cross armbreaker, sending Page into the
ropes.
Page’s
shoulder block has no effect and the spear connects out of nowhere.
He goes to pick Page up for the Jackhammer but the champ sends him
face first into the middle buckle instead. A swinging neckbreaker
gets two for Page and a belly to belly suplex gets the same.
Goldberg gets caught in a front facelock but he powers up into a kind
of powerslam for two. Another Diamond Cutter attempt is countered
into another powerslam and Goldberg is getting frustrated.
Page
neckbreakers him for two but misses the discus lariat. A superkick
puts Page into the corner and Goldberg loads up the spear but the
champ is smart enough to just stay right where he is. Goldberg tries
the spear anyway and hits the buckle. The Diamond Cutter connects
but Goldberg kicks him off hard enough to send him onto the referee.
Page loads up a foreign object but stops to use the referee as a
shield for the spear.
The
Jackhammer connects but there’s no referee. Page gets up and nails
Goldberg with the foreign object to knock him out to the floor. He
loads up the steps next to Goldberg and crushes the ankle with a
chair. The referee wakes up and tries to stop Page, earning him a
right hand to the face. Page loads up the Figure Four around the
post but Nash makes the save for no apparent reason other than the
script says so. He helps Goldberg into the ring but Page nails Nash
with the belt to end the show.
Rating:
C+.
This was actually a good match until the screwy ending. These two
have some solid chemistry together and can put on a good match with
the right amount of time. Goldberg kicking out of the Diamond Cutter
as strong as he did was a surprise and the ending was…..well I’ll
get back to that. The match was good though.
Overall
Rating:
C+.
You know if you just go by the wrestling, this was one of the best
Nitros in a very long time. The Cruiserweight Title match was
outstanding and the main event was solid too. You couple that with
some other good to watchable stuff in between and write off the
non-wrestling that was Hak vs. Knobbs and you have one heck of a
show.
Unfortunately
this heck of a show has an 800lb gorilla right in the middle of it
and a 300lb orangutan at the end. We’ll start with the slightly
better one first. Page and Nash’s double turn is acceptable as Nash
has basically been a face for months now and Page….yeah it really
doesn’t work. Much like the Flair stuff, it was just setting down
its roots when they jumped it forward to the end goal.
One
of WCW’s biggest problems at the moment is its lack of top faces.
There’s Sting, Nash, Piper (oh joy) and in theory Savage, though he’s
just a glorified manager right now. Nash becoming the top guy is
fine enough, but it brings up the obvious question: if he wins the
title, why should I believe he’s going to hang onto it? It may sound
like a stupid question but the Fingerpoke was less than four months
prior to this. It’s not out of the question.
That
leaves us with the big problem with this show: Ric Flair, the
fourteen time World Heavyweight Champion and the President of WCW was
put in a white van and taken away to a mental hospital after
apparently thinking he was President of the United States due to what
could easily be written off as a slip of the tongue. Aside from what
was just mentioned, the fact that it sets up Piper vs. Flair in 1999,
how out of character it is for Flair and how much of a stretch this
is, it’s not even a well told story.
From
what we can tell, David Flair and Piper decided to have Flair
institutionalized because he signed a single contract for a match
without looking at it. Yeah it’s stupid but it’s not really grounds
for being institutionalized. Just writing that and reading it back
makes me realize it’s even worse. Ric Flair is being put in a mental
hospital. Let it sink in for a second. This is a really bad idea
and unfortunately it’s the first step off a cliff for WCW. Things
were getting stupid before, but now they’re flying into the abyss.
Somehow
though, the show was actually good for the most part. The
Flair/Piper stuff is horrible but it’s only a part of what is
otherwise a really good show. That’s what makes WCW so frustrating:
they have the tools and ability to have a good product, but they do
things like have a DJ in the arena (because I guess a professional
wrestling show just isn’t entertaining enough) and the hardcore
nonsense drags all the good stuff down.
Remember to check out my website at kbwrestlingreviews.com and head over to my Amazon author page with wrestling books for under $4 at: 
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