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The SmarK Rant for the Monday Night Wars–01.27.97

The SmarK 24/7 Rant for The Monday Night War – January 27 1997

– This will be my last rant for a week or so, as we’re moving and the cable doesn’t get hooked up until next Tuesday. How I will live without 24/7 for a week, I honestly don’t know.  (Backstory!  This was written around 2007, and we were moving because we were kicked out of our dream apartment due to the building getting sold for condos.  It was wonderful, because there was a second bathroom and I had my own office for writing and a FIREPLACE and everything. The real kick in the pants is that we actually repainted it ourselves because we wanted to make it perfect, and then they decided to use our place as the show room because we did such a good job on it.  We were then kicked out of the NEXT place we rented as well, because the owners also sold the property, and finally bought our own house in 2010 and we’ve been there ever since.  Unfortunately I have no office now and only one bathroom, but at least we know we’re not getting the property sold out from under us.)  

Monday Nitro!

– Live from Des Moines, IA

– Hosted by Uncle Eric, Grandpa Nash and Grandma-Groping Hall.

– So let us take you back to Souled Out, as the Steiners win the WCW tag titles from the Outsiders with the help of an illegal referee, in the form of Randy Anderson. So in typical WCW fashion, they immediately shit on the goodwill built by switching the titles, as Eric fires Anderson and returns the tag titles to the nWo. The eventual blowoff was made all the more frustrating because Nash was conveniently “injured” when the time finally came to do the J-O-B, a year after winning the belts, and the Steiners got to beat Hall & Syxx instead.

The Steiner Brothers v. The Faces of Fear

Steiners blitz the FOF with clotheslines and clean house, but it turns into a brawl and the Faces (not to be confused with the faces) take over. Barbarian misses a blind charge and gets suplexed by Scott for two, however. Meng hits Rick with an atomic drop, and backdrops him into a Barbarian powerbomb for two. A super-sloppy suplex into a Meng flying splash gets two. I don’t know whose fault that was, but I’m blaming Rick for not being in position to take the splash. Barbarian with the running powerslam for two. Double flying headbutt gets two for Meng. The FOF are feeling peppy this week, I see. Into the corner, and THERE’S CLUBBERING, TONY! Well, no Dusty, but the spirit lives on. To the top, and Rick blocks a superplex and falls on top of Barbarian, nearly killing him in the process. What a pro. Backdrop suplex and it’s hot tag Scott, and he’s all about the clotheslines. Butterfly powerbomb gets two on Meng. Meng comes back with a clothesline and goes up, but Rick slugs him down and Scott finishes with an overhead suplex.

(The Steiners d. The Faces of Fear, Scott suplex — pin Meng, 5:53, **) Pretty energetic, but ultimately too short to be worth much.

– Tony and Larry take over on commentary at this point.

The Giant v. Roadblock

Mr. Block attacks to start, but gets whipped around by the Giant. He slams Roadblock and no-sells a comeback, clotheslining him and then adding a standing dropkick (!!!) that puts Roadblock on the floor. Well there’s something you’ll never see from him again. Back in, chokeslam, goodbye.

(Giant d. Roadblock, chokeslam — pin, 1:47, 1/2*) Total destruction from the annoyed Giant. And now he wants Hogan…TONIGHT!

US title match: Eddie Guerrero v. Jeff Jarrett

Jarrett takes him down with an armdrag and does some strutting to start, and they criss-cross into another strut from Jarrett. Eddie escapes a monkey-flip and dropkicks JJ for two. Jeff comes back with a neckbreaker, but Eddie cradles for two. Jarrett clotheslines him for two. Suplex and Jarrett chokes him out on the ropes. Another criss-cross into a crossbody from Eddie and it’s a double KO. Eddie wins a slugfest and gets an atomic drop, into a brainbuster, but Jarrett catches him on the way up. Superplex and Jarrett wants the figure-four, but Mongo and Debra wander out and Steve hits Jarrett with the briefcase to draw the DQ.

(Jeff Jarrett d. Eddie Guerrero, outside interference — DQ, 4:33, **1/4) An OK-ish TV match that didn’t really get a chance to go anywhere.

– Let us take you back to Starrcade, but Eric Bischoff steals the tape before we can see the thrilling finish of the Hogan-Piper match.

Ultimo Dragon v. Billy Pearl

Tony and Larry are busy talking about Hogan and we don’t really catch the jobber’s name, but I think that’s what it was. Usual squash from Dragon as he gets the kick combo and dodges a flying splash, then finishes with a moonsault into a tiger suplex.

(Ultimo Dragon d. Billy Pearl, tiger suplex — pin, 2:42, *) Nothing of note here.

– Four Horsemen interview time, which is rapidly becoming code for “bathroom break” as this stupid Jarrett storyline drags on like roadkill caught on a car bumper and the group slowly falls apart. As usual, they have nothing to add that advances anything.

Lex Luger v. ??? Powers

Powers is a generic looking Texan who apparently has no first name. Luger overpowers him with clotheslines and the STAINLESS STEEL FOREARM OF DOOM, and the rack finishes before I can even care about this goof’s first name.

(Lex Luger d. Ron Powers, rack — submission, 1:11, DUD) Tony reveals that the victim’s name is “Ron”, so I can sleep at night now. Luger offers the hand of friendship to Giant in their fight against the nWo, because apparently they both represent what WCW stands for. Which is what, exactly?

The Amazing French Canadians v. Mongo McMichael & Arn Anderson

Brawl to start and they pound on Arn outside, and double-team him back in the ring. Jacques slams Pierre on him, but Arn fights back. They drop him on the top rope, however, to take over. Arn does the “collide in the corner” spot to come back and makes the hot tag to Mongo, and he clips Pierre and backdrops both Canadians. The ref gets distracted with Robert Parker and Mongo uses his finisher on Jacques in the confusion.

(The Horsemen d. The French Canadians, Mongo briefcase — pin Jacques, 4:26, *1/2) No real point to this one. (Oh, 2007 Scott, you no-sold the shit out of this one, because it’s Arn Anderson’s final match!) 

The Outsiders v. The Extreme

Good god, I forgot about these guys. The Extreme are Devon Storm, back before his Crowbar persona took over, and Ace Darling, the gayest name ever. (I dunno, I think maybe “Bruce Darling” might be higher on that scale.)  Hall pounds on Darling and gets the blockbuster slam, and it’s over to Storm, who promptly gets beat up by Nash and sideslammed. Outsider’s Edge ends the squash.

(The Outsiders d. The Extreme, Hall powerbomb — pin Storm, 1:56, DUD) Total slaughter. I barely even had time to mock their name, and believe me there was a LOT of material to work with. Maybe next week. Can you believe Storm went on to be tag champ?

Kevin Sullivan v. Joe Gomez

(Kevin Sullivan d. Joe Gomez, double-stomp — pin, 0:37, DUD) It was just as easy to skip the body of the match and go right to the finish.

– And now, the Hogan and Bischoff show, as Hogan talks about movies that were never released to theaters and no-sells the Giant’s challenge, as Sting and Savage watch from the rafters. Later tonight, it’s Hogan v. Giant, but they basically telegraph the finish by noting that the Outsiders will be at ringside.

Cruiserweight title: Dean Malenko v. Jerry Flynn

Flynn uses his thunderfeet in the corner to start, but Malenko suplexes him for two. Dean trips him from the outside and pounds on the leg a bit, then goes to work on it in the ring. Flynn gets some spinkicks and a powerslam for two. Enzuigiri misses and Dean rolls him over into the Cloverleaf to finish.

(Dean Malenko d. Jerry Flynn, Texas Cloverleaf — submission, 2:37, 1/2*) Could have been good given more than a commercial break’s worth of time, but not on this show.

– Despite all the buildup of the Giant for the whole show, Tony announces that Superbrawl VII will be headlined by Hogan v. Piper II instead.

Hugh Morrus v. Chris Benoit

Benoit pounds away in the corner to start, but gets caught with a clothesline from behind. Morrus comes back with a press slam, but Benoit clotheslines him for two. Morrus comes back with a powerslam to set up the moonsault, but Benoit moves as Jacqueline makes her debut to distract the ref, allowing Sullivan to hit Benoit with a chair and Morrus to finish. Where the fuck did Sullivan find the one balsa-wood chair in the whole arena?

(Hugh Morrus d. Chris Benoit, moonsault — pin, 3:05, *1/2) Not much of a match, just there to further the Sullivan-Benoit feud. Jacqueline was an unknown at this point, only seen in the USWA as Miss Texas up until this point. They do a silly interview that’s supposed to build up a backstory with Sullivan and Jacqueline, which was never followed up on again that I know of. Letting mushmouth do an extended promo shows that kind of common sense that the braintrust of WCW had.

Hulk Hogan v. The Giant

Hogan and Vincent try beating him down to start, but Giant fights back and pounds him down. Backbreaker gets two. He goes for the chokeslam, but Bischoff and the Outsiders run in, as predicted earlier. Whatever. We’re outta here.

Monday Night RAW!

– Hosted by Vince & King

Ahmed Johnson v. Crush

So on the weekend before this show, Savio Vega turned on heel on Ahmed and joined the Nation. Crush attacks on the floor to start and stomps him down. Into the ring, Ahmed catches him with a powerslam and scissor kick to take over. Corkscrew elbow misses and Crush chokes him down, however. He goes to a bodyscissors and camel clutch, giving me a chance to lament on Crush’s cornrows here as we take a break. I mean, considering the kind of hair care regime that Bryan Adams would pursue as a part of Kronik, it’s sad to see his hair in that kind of state. Back from the break with Crush going up, but getting caught with a dropkick on the way down. Ahmed dumps him with a clothesline, but Faarooq attacks him from behind and allows Crush to finish with the heart punch.

(Crush d. Ahmed Johnson, heart punch — pin, 4:43, 1/2*) This was a pretty weird feud, as the NOD beat down Ahmed in a variety of situations, but before he could get revenge he chose to join the group instead.

– In two weeks, Thursday RAW Thursday! That would actually one of the shows that sets things in motion that change wrestling forever. Wonder how they’ll handle that one? Separate RAW and Nitro shows instead of the MNW show that week?  (I don’t remember how they handled it, but I AM annoyed that the Network took forever to add it to the collection!  Thankfully they now have it.) 

– Vince brings out WWF champion Shawn Michaels for some words about his upcoming rematch with Sid at the Thursday RAW show. Hmm, the knee doesn’t SEEM injured here. After Shawn says his piece, Vince also brings out Bret Hart, who stresses that he wants Shawn to win so that he gets the title back from Shawn at Wrestlemania. Undertaker also joins us and he’s sick of hearing about Bret getting screwed. Well, he’d change his tune come November. Austin think they’re all crybabies and should just shut up. Tell ’em, Steve.

The British Bulldog v. Doug Furnas

Furnas overpowers Bulldog to start, and runs into him in the corner for two. Was Bulldog supposed t move there? Looked awkward. Suplex gets two. Bulldog backs off and Furnas throws some chops, but misses a blind charge and winds up on the floor as a result. Bulldog introduces him to the post and drops the stairs on him, but using wrestling logic he’s not disqualified, since it’s on the floor and thus exists outside the laws of reality. We take a break and return wtih Ahmed Johnson breaking into the NOD dressing room, which is empty. Back to the match, as Bulldog grabs a headlock, which Furnas quickly fights out of. He stomps Furnas down for two, however. They slug it out and Bulldog clotheslines him, but Furnas backdrops out of a piledriver attempt. Bulldog suplexes him for two, and goes back to the headlock again. Furnas escapes and gets a dropkick, and follows with an overhead suplex for two. Powerslam gets two. He goes for the rana, but Bulldog powerbombs him for two. Owen takes a swing with the Slammy, but hits Bulldog by mistake and Furnas gets two. Furnas goes for a sunset flip, but Bulldog uses the Bret Hart counter for the pin instead. Nice.

(Bulldog d. Furnas, pinfall counter — pin, 7:33, **3/4) This got better as it went along, with lots of cool counters and stuff at the end of it. Bulldog and Owen argue more after the win, but eventually shake hands and make nice again.

– Let us take you back to MSG, as Savio Vega turns to the dark side, and then later on Shotgun Saturday Night as he continues the path of rage and beats up Rocky as well.

The Mankind They Call Vader v. The Godwinns

PIG pounds on Mankind to start, and Henry comes in and slams him, which leaves Mankind rocking in the corner. Vader comes in and takes care of business, hammering on PIG in the corner and adding a clothesline to kill him dead. Mankind comes in with the Mandible Claw, but Henry plows into them to break it up, putting Mankind on the floor. Phineas tries a suplex back in, but Vader holds the foot to prevent it, and the heels slingshot him down to the floor. We take a break and return with Henry getting the hot tag, but getting beat down by Vader. Henry comes back with a backdrop suplex on him, but misses an elbow. Vader drops his own elbow and dumps him, but Mankind charges with a chair and hits Vader by mistake, drawing the DQ.

(The Godwinns d. Mankind & Vader, DQ, 6:39, *1/2) Another one where I don’t even know what the point was.

The Pulse:

Both shows were pretty equally dull this week, and neither had a truly standout match, so we’ll call it a draw.