WCW Nitro: February 24, 1997

One year ago this week: Kimberly and Johnny B Badd share their last carriage ride together before he heads off for browner pastures on the 02/24 Saturday Night. Love is a fickle matter, because by the 02/26 Nitro, she traded in her Frisbee for Booty Shorts, making eyes at Ed Leslie. And, most importantly, over on the 02/26 Prime, Cobra did battle with James Earl Wright, in the war of the feds vs. the state. Click through, enjoy, I’ll still be here when you’re done.
fg76Angry about Hogan winning the way he did. Just wasn’t what it should have been. This should have been the moment the yellow and red Hogan showed up and destroyed Piper or Piper beating the weak heel Hogan. What happened was garbage and I was a Hogan fan.
While I was busy being angry about the Savage turn like it was 1997 all over again, completely lost is the fact that Piper beat Hogan clean as a sheet, in front of the watchful eyes of Mark Curtis. The WCW referees were a class of bumbling idiots, but Mark Curtis always seemed above the rest of them. The guy was exceptionally observant, and keen eyed fans could see his enthusiasm for everything he did. It is positively mind-boggling that this guy, who watched Hogan’s arms drop just 6 inches from his face, somehow let himself be manipulated into believing that hmmm, maybe Hogan’s leg WAS under the rope. I mean, wrestlers wouldn’t lie, would they? If they wanted to pull this garbage they may as well have assigned Nick Patrick to do the job. Instead, WCW looks dumber and dumber with every passing moment.

What’s left for us now? Piper, fighting for his son’s name, got completely betrayed by WCW’s ineptness. Randy Savage, the wild eyed lunatic who was as likely as anyone to put a screwdriver in Hogan’s skull is now his best friend. DDP is fantastic, but as a world title contender? To quote himself, I don’t think so. The Giant’s been done to death. Hacksaw Duggan is too busy searching for “Terry” to be bothered with Hogan. Sting got another knife in the back, so he’ll probably be wiping his tears in the rafters for another 6 months before doing anything about it. The Horsemen and Dungeon of Doom can’t stop obsessing about each other for 5 minutes. It comes back to the same person it’s always been, but that WCW seems hesitant to move on: Lex Luger. Luger has been the hottest babyface in the company for nearly a year now, and in that timeframe he’s had exactly 1 major title shot (Great American Bash). He never loses, the fans are treating him like the second coming of Hulk Hogan, and he’s the only WCW superstar in the company that they haven’t hurt with repeatedly one-sided booking. I think it’s safe to say he’s gonna be stripped of the tag-team titles tonight, and the logical route to take is to bully Bischoff into a World Title shot, with the Giant acting as his bodyguard against any potential shenanigans. Run with this through Uncensored or even Spring Stampede, and you’re printing money.
This is unless, of course, they decide put the rocket on Meng and the Barbarian, in which case I’m done with Lex Luger.
One night removed from a fantastic pay-per-view completely ruined by an awful main event, THIS is Nitro! TONY SCHIAVONE and LARRY ZBYSZKO try and get us up to speed through the popping pyro, but we have no time for Tony to even bring us a single still shot from last night’s show, because the ring is already filling with bodies.
THE PUBLIC ENEMY (4-1-0) vs. JEFF JARRETT and MONGO MCMICHAEL (with Debra McMichael)
Last night, Jarrett pinned Mongo and as a result he’s officially a Horseman, apparently. I still have no idea how the hell this came to be, or how it makes sense. Mongo’s wife is clearly in love with this guy who desperately wants to become best friends with Mongo himself, except nobody likes him, but now Mongo will put up with him because of a match stipulation. Get it? Got it? Good. Rocco starts with Mongo, and he throat punches the big man a few times. Both guys trade out, and Jarrett takes a neckbreaker from a dancing Johnny Grunge. Mongo finally has enough and blindsides Rocco when he steps a little too comfortably near the heel corner, and the Horsemen take over. Jarrett hits a drop toe hold, and Mongo follows with a legdrop. Teamwork from the mortal enemies? Debra’s got a smile so wide that I’m shocked she’s not trying to cool down with a cigarette. 3 point stance gets a big thumbs up from Jarrett, and Jeff hits a powerbomb for 2. Debra hands the Haliburton to Mongo, and he HAPPILY accepts it, immediately waffling Jarrett and the Public Enemy get the win and 4:36. Debra is livid, but Mongo happily owns his actions here. *1/2
ARN ANDERSON and RIC FLAIR join the boys in the ring with “MEAN” GENE OKERLUND. Mongo said he’s been told to treat Jarrett like family, so he’s taken him in like a little brother. And, like all annoying little brothers, he needs to be slapped around. Flair, who’s absolutely pimpin’ tonight, reminds Mongo that he promised if Jarrett could win, he was in. Being a Horseman means being a team player, so he wants these guys to remind everyone why they’re the symbol of excellence. Arn’s even more desperate, reminding us that “The Dungeon is getting stronger” (REALLY?!? THIS is where their attention is?!?), and wants a hand shake right now. Mongo smiles, and tells Jarrett that he might mess with him, but nobody else will, he promises. Fingers in the air!
GALAXY vs. JIM DUGGAN (3-0-1)
Now THIS is the kind of Worldwide match up that really gets my juices flowing! … Unfortunately this is Nitro, and this is kind of ridiculous. I dislike wasted TV time during your most popular show; and this just feels like space to talk about Macho Man, even though we have TONS of time to do that. Duggan beats Galaxy from pillar to post, including a slam on the exposed concrete. Duggan’s always been a giant cheater, and he hides behind the American flag as if to justify himself. Your thumbs up and three-letter catchphrase aren’t fooling me, Jimbo. Galaxy tries a moonsault, but misses by 12 feet, and Duggan goes into the 3 point stance. The taped fist, DIRECTLY in front of the referee is NOT called for a DQ, and Duggan screams “HOGANNNNNNNN” before issuing the punch and getting the win at 3:23. DUD
Duggan continues to carry on like, well, Roddy Piper after a week in Alcatraz, and “MEAN” GENE OKERLUND wants a word. He’s still pretty angry about “Terry”. This is the second time he’s brought this guy up, this guy must have REALLY wronged him. And now, Savage has shown he has a Black Heart. Does that come with a bigger package? Duggan vows never to come through Hogan’s back door (thank goodness for THAT), but he may just be seeing him soon.
JOE GOMEZ  (0-1-0) vs. HUGH MORRUS (7-3-0)
This was actually a dark match last night, and CRZ, who was in attendance that night, reports on what was pretty memorable action: Wikipedia says there were two dark matches which I totally don’t remember.
It’s going to be hard for them to top that kind of response tonight, but let’s see what they bring. Gomez gets completely man-handled, pounded down in the corner with nowhere to go. He eventually manages a leapfrog, and he sneaks in a small package. Larry carries on about the human game of chess being played by Kevin Sullivan. Is this like a LARP thing?
Morrus drops Gomez with a clothesline, and Larry encourages Gomez to Use His Science. Since Gomez is not a chemist, but a Desperado, he immediately falls victim to No Laughing Matter at 3:16.
LA PARKA (2-2-0) vs. ICE TRAIN (2-0-1) (with Teddy Long)
8 months ago, WCW began a series of Latino imports that changed the face of the mid-card for good. Gone were the days of trying to fill space with the never-ending Alex Wright push, and instead, we were treated to numerous high flying aerial displays the likes of which we’d never seen. And now, as highlighted with the Galaxy match earlier, we are entering the next stage of its evolution: Squashing them like bugs against plodding midcarders. Stage 3 will see the imports moved exclusively to Worldwide, to get squashed there instead. Parka throws everything he’s got at Ice Train, who stands there laughing at our favorite skeleton. Then he starts throwing powerslams and pumping his fist. Parka shocks him with a spinning heel kick off the top, but he kicks out and throws Parka across the ring to remind us He’s Much Bigger. Parka hits a jawbreaker, and follows with another pair of spinning heel kicks. Teddy takes a second to talk his man up, and Train turns around just in time to eat a 360 plancha. Back in, Parka tries a springboard Crossbody, but he gets caught, slammed and hit with the Train Wreck at 3:57. *
CHRIS JERICHO and EDDIE GUERRERO vs. THE FACES OF FEAR (4-2-1) (with Jimmy Hart)
Breathe, Chris, breathe. I’m so damn giddy I can barely control my bodily functions. The fans boo the Faces of Fear because they don’t know what’s good for them. Barbarian misses an early Kick of Fear, and Jericho, realizing the mistakes these guys make are few and far between, dropkicks the man and hammers with everything he’s got. Then he turns things over to Guerrero, because he has no desire to die. Barbarian throws Eddie in the air like a game of Angry Birds, and Guerrero crashes nose first into the mat. In comes Meng, and Eddie hilariously throws punches that causes Meng to stare at him like “you’re kidding, right?” Then he throws a man-sized headbutt and powerbombs Guerrero with enough force to knock the earth off its axis. Back to Jericho, and Team Wiener hits a double backdrop,  before a short senton gets 2. Meng just gets up and gives Jericho a backdrop suplex right to the back of the neck, and Barbarian wants a piece. His fantastic overhead release superplex nearly clears the whole ring, and Barbarian gets 2. Jericho goes for a small package. Why do you insist on upsetting them? It’s like dealing with a bear, just play dead and get it over with. Meng comes in, walking into a springboard crossbody, and he stands up PISSED off, pounding Jericho right into the mat and choking him out while waving his head around like Willow Smith. Eddie gets angry, and the distraction allows an illegal switch – but I don’t think they needed the distraction. If you were refereeing would YOU tell these guys what they are and aren’t allowed to do? Meng backdrops Jericho into the happy arms of Barbarian, and Chris eats a powerbomb. Barbarian sticks out his tongue to remind us he has more charisma in his mouth than you’ll have in your lifetime. Both guys fly off the top like missiles, delivering the double swandive, and only a desperate Eddie Guerrero stops this from ending. Jericho says something to Eddie, and I have to figure it’s “dude, seriously, stop. I can feel the life escaping my body, please just let them pin me!” Barbarian cuts off the ring, and when Jericho tries showing a little fire, Barbarian rakes him in the eyes. Meng tags in and takes his sweet ass time, which has to be like torture for Jericho – not knowing what’s coming next. Meng whips him into the ropes, and Jericho hits a surprise Lionsault. Meng tries to drop an elbow and break his head open like a melon, but Chris rolls away and tags in Eddie. Guerrero throws himself at Meng, who doesn’t budge, but screams to the heavens like a warrior ready to perform a human sacrifice. Eddie dropkicks him, which buys just enough of a distraction for Jericho to come off the top with a crossbody. A double dropkick sends Meng back to his corner, so he just tags in Barbarian. Coleslaw for brains on Team Wiener, I tell you. Barbarian runs over Jericho with a clothesline, but since they’re cheating and keeping 2 guys in the ring, Guerrero dropkicks him from behind. Jericho dropkicks Meng off the apron, and a double suplex has Barbarian down for a second. Jericho goes for the Lionsault, but Meng pulls his dumbass to the floor for a legendary beating. Eddie goes for the Frog Splash, but DEAN MALENKO rushes down for a little payback from last night, shoving Eddie into the awaiting Kick of Fear from Barbarian, and even though they didn’t need the help, the greatest tag-team in the history of the galaxy pick up the win at 7:43. I’m not allowed to post Youtube links on Blogger anymore, but you guys are self-sufficient enough to track this down. ****
Since the US Champion is usually the default #1 contender to the World Title, and since Barbarian just pinned the US Champion, he should be getting a title shot, no? This would make as fine a main event for Uncensored as anything I can imagine. Hogan trying to Hulk Up while Barbarian stands there in complete contempt for the stupid side show before kicking his head into the upper deck would get me to pay $30 to watch it every time I viewed the clip. Infinite money. I’d never be able to retire.
The second hour brings “SOBER” BOBBY HEENAN and MIKE TENAY into Tony’s circle of friends. The conclusion from these brilliant minds is that Sting is probably working with the nWo.
JUVENTUD GUERRERA (0-3-0) vs. REY MYSTERIO JR. (7-3-2)
Mysterio is the rightful TV Champion right now, having been handed it by the unworthy Prince Iaukea last night, but Mysterio wanted to “win it” by “pinning him”. A forfeit’s a forfeit, yo, just take it. Juvi DDTs Mysterio and nails a springboard dropkick to knock Mysterio down. Remembering he just had knee surgery, Juvi locks on a grapevine, but Mysterio fights out.  Both guys nearly pin each other simultaneously, and bridge up at the same time for the easily delighted crowd. Both guys trade chops, before Juvi grows bored and just smashes Mysterio’s face with his forearm. A moonsault gets 2, but Juvi doesn’t miss a beat, putting on a chinlock less than a half second after the kickout. Juvi tries to follow up, but Rey spins around his body before hitting a rana with enough force to send Juvi sliding to the floor. Heenan: “It’s like wrestling a helicopter!” Juvi blocks a baseball slide, but Rey just whips his body through with a headscissors takeover that sends the Juice into the guard rail. Back in, Mysterio goes up to finish, but Juvi cuts him off and hits a super powerbomb for 2! Juvi dropkicks him back to the floor, and tope suicida connects! Back in, Juvi goes for a springboard senton backsplash, but Mysterio catches him on the way down and turns it into a powerbomb! The West Coast Pop is academic, and Rey takes it down at 5:37. Juvi probably deserves a lot better, but as long as he keeps putting on fantastic matches with his opponents, his win/loss record is secondary to me. ***
GOLDBERG PAT TANAKA (0-1-0) vs. PRINCE IAUKEA (3-1-0) (for the WCW world television title)
I’ve been hard on the poor Prince. After all, it’s not his fault that WCW is run by a group of legendary chowderheads. As a result, in an effort to try and appreciate Iaukea a little more, I drew up a pros and cons list to see if we can learn to accept him.
Tony continually refers to Prince as a “youngster”, which comparatively to the main event scene is probably true – clocking in at a spry 32. Heenan covers Iaukea’s decision to try and give the TV title away last night: “This guy’s got brains made of coconut!” Iaukea knocks down Tanaka with a karate chop, but he fails to follow up, and takes a leg whip. Iaukea comes back with a clothesline, and does his ridiculous karate poses in an attempt to establish a personality. Tanaka’s having none of it, and powerbombs Prince for 2. Iaukea comes back with a Samoan drop, and follows with a top rope crossbody for the pin at 2:55. “You hit a move, and then I hit a move!” Who needs selling? DUD
THE ULTIMATE DRAGON (8-1-0) (with Sonny Onoo) vs. DEAN MALENKO (9-2-2)
After some chain wrestling, Malenko offers Dragon the hand of friendship. Dragon doesn’t believe him, but Malenko insists, refusing to let it go … and he immediately clotheslines the doof as soon as he accepts. Dragon gets kicked in the back of the head repeatedly, but he manages to avoid a pinfall. Malenko lets him up, and that’s a mistake, because Dragon lays in his rapid fire kicks in retaliation. A dropkick is planted right on the nose, but Dean sweeps out the legs and pounds away on Dragon’s face. A brainbuster rattles Dragon’s cage, and Malenko works a chinlock, driving his knee into Dragon’s spine for extra effect. Dragon throws him off by moving forward, and holds on to rock Malenko backwards in an upside down surfboard. The hold is released, but he just turns it around to work an Indian deathlock! Dean won’t tap, so Dragon releases and just takes to kicking him in the kidneys instead. Malenko backdrops Dragon to make him go away for a second, and he finds the energy to powerbomb Dragon for 2. Dragon smashes Malenko’s face into the buckle, and sends him to the floor. A swinging dropkick makes a nice clapping noise on impact, and Dragon then comes off the top with a crossbody – appearing to hurt his own knee in the process. Back in, Malenko goes for a powerbomb again, but this time Dragon turns it in mid-air and uses a Frankensteiner into a roll up for 2! La Majistral gets 2! Fast and furious now. A handspring back elbow is blocked, and Malenko throws him with an overhead release German suplex! Malenko, frustrated, chokes the hell out of Dragon, and the announcers figure he’s simply lost it over last night. Sonny tries to get involved, but Malenko piefaces him to the floor and goes back to trying to choke the life out of Dragon – getting himself DQed at 8:58. This was about the floor as far as these two guys go, still a *** match.
“MEAN” GENE OKERLUND wants answers about Malenko’s behavior, since he’s typically the “consummate professional”. Dean says he’s sick and tired of the lack of respect he’s been getting, and he hasn’t forgotten about Syxx. His bigger issue, however, is that Guerrero is someone he fully trusted, and since he decided to get in his business, he’ll be giving him the business going forward.
DIAMOND DALLAS PAGE (7-1-0) vs. DAVID TAYLOR (2-1-0)
The master of the European uppercut! My god how I’ve missed you! Now, in the defense of the Squire, he’s been on the search for Dr. Livingstone for the better part of a month now. You can tell he’s still not completely back to his civilized self, because he mistakes the front row for a pride of lions and prepares to defend himself accordingly.
Page might be picking up a ton of momentum, but he hasn’t faced the wrath of our world traveler. Taylor goes right to the European uppercuts because he is not a man who messes around. Page is rocked with two of them, and it’s bordering on impossibility that he’s actually still on his feet. Page tries a Diamond Cutter, but as a former shark fighter, he summons his training and pokes Page in the eyes. THE OUTSIDERS come out to admire Taylor’s incredible ringwork, as Page picks up Taylor in a fireman’s carry. Out of this move, he hits a Diamond Cutter, and seeing as how Taylor had no counter, I have to believe that’s a completely illegal shoot hold, because otherwise there is no chance he could have connected it against this beast. Before Taylor can kick out, Nash and Hall prevent Page from even trying the pinfall – which is good, we don’t need his finisher killed. Taylor leaves the boys to their business, because he still has uncharted jungle to map out.
RANDY SAVAGE sneaks in behind Page while he’s distracted with the Outsiders, and attacks from behind. Savage shares a little love with his new friends, while A FAN gets the brilliant idea to run in and ask everyone for an autograph. All 3 nWo guys take turns teeing off on the moron, who decides to tuck tail and head for the hills – SECURITY hot in pursuit. Savage tags Page with the spray paint, and puts on his brand new shirt. An elbowdrop cements his spot in the group, and everyone shares Wolfpac signs.
The inconsistencies here are completely wild. Savage, god bless him, has always been more like a Diamond Dallas Page than anything. He’s more or less an independent, not interested in a lot of friends. Watching him “sell out” to the nWo lacks in any kind of believability from what we’ve been taught to know about him over the years. Hogan makes total sense, he’s always surrounded himself with people who bow to the power of Hulkamania. Savage never needed that … or any of them. He made friends with Hogan only once the Hulkster started acknowledging him as a top guy; and the minute he felt threatened, he tore him apart. The story they’re running with is that Savage did this in order to get his job back with WCW, but I’m not buying this. If that were a plausible scenario, Savage should be as uncomfortable as Elizabeth, or at least as “accepting” of his new spot as Mongo is with Jarrett. In a perfect situation, had the agreement been that he helped Hogan retain, and Savage happily agreed (with the intent to seek and destroy immediately afterwards), we would have had a heck of an intriguing storyline. Would the fans have accepted the “sell out” Savage, trying to use the ends to justify the means? Or would they have given him the Lex Luger treatment of last year? Would the WCW guys have been able to trust him moving forward, or would he be on an island unto himself, forced to take on all comers in the name of remaining employed? There were a million directions to take this. Instead, they chose the laziest path available. And this was just the beginning of the “lazy” turns. Strap yourselves in, there’s a million more on the way.
After a commercial break, the trio is still in the ring, where Hall is welcoming the audience to nWo Monday Nitro. Savage is introduced as the newest member, and Hall brings out “another icon” to join them, welcoming HOLLYWOOD HOGAN. Hogan sucks up to the locals (another big problem with this group – constantly fluffing the fans to ensure they picked up all the heat, good and bad). Macho is given his introductory present – a smiling ELIZABETH, with TED DIBIASE and ERIC BISCHOFF. Okay, here’s MORE inconsistencies. Just last year, this lady was running with Ric Flair, tossing Savage’s money into the crowd left, right, and center. Then, out of nowhere, she re-develops her feelings for Savage, and joins the nWo to get a movie role – actions that are counter-productive to each other. Savage, having nothing but hate for the woman, starts crying over her on Nitro to the point you don’t think he’s actually going to be able to fight Hogan because he’s so downtrodden, until he shows up at the pay-per-view and none of this is even brought up. 4 months later, all’s good – and they can be a couple now because they wear the same t-shirts. Maybe I expect too much from my shows, but as recently as Last Summer, they were working their asses off to ensure everything tied together. The Bischoff as the nWo boss stuff was positively brilliant, dropping subtle hints for months until we were clued in. The DDP as possible nWo backer, until it was revealed it was actually DiBiase was a fantastic red herring. And all those commercials to let us know Glacier was Coming really came together when he finally arrived. Now that they’re the runaway clear #1 game in town, it almost feels like they just stopped trying.
HARLEM HEAT (8-2-2) (with Sista Sherri) vs. LEX LUGER and THE GIANT (1-0-0) (for the WCW world tag-team titles)
At this point, it’s probably because I’m already in a mood and nitpicking to high hell, but why are Harlem Heat getting the title shots after Public Enemy won the #1 contender’s match last night? ERIC BISCHOFF runs down to ringside before we get underway, and before he makes his impending announcement, he invites THE NWO to join him as back up. nWo Sting and Masa Chono are missing, but otherwise, the gang’s all here. Bischoff reminds Luger he wasn’t cleared last night, and as a result, they are not the tag-team champions. Shocker. It’s bad when even Tony Schiavone sniffed this one out last night, because he doesn’t catch on to *anything*. Luger refuses, saying he’ll need to be removed on a stretcher before he gives the title belt. Unless – he’s willing to agree to one match. Luger wants every single belt on the line at Uncensored, World, Tag-Team, Cruiserweight, all of them. Bischoff agrees, as long as they hand over the gold immediately.
STING walks out from the back while both sides jaw with each other, and he marches right up into the ring. The ring parts like the red sea, and Sting coldly looks at everyone, before settling on Hogan. He burns a hole through Hollywood, and Hogan responds by giving Sting a big bear hug. Sting steps back … and poses with the nWo. Oh Christ almighty, really?!? Really?!? REALLY?!?!?! Tony speaks for all of us – “I can’t take this anymore, goodnight!” As the credits fade to black, Bischoff can audibly be heard, clearly wearing a loud smile, “Oh I LOVE this!!!”

I bet you do, Eric.