The SmarK Rant for WCW Monday Nitro – 02.17.97
OK, continuing with the Monday Night Wars!
Live from Tampa, FL, in a show that drew 3000 to a fairground with free admission, so it wasn’t much for gate. Was still a better and more enthusiastic crowd than the RAW one in Nashville, though.
For those who don’t want to wait until we get here with the Observer Flashbacks, it’s this point where Dave announces that they’re developing a SECOND two-hour live show for TBS. That one had quite the development period, since it didn’t arrive until 1998.
Your hosts are Tony & Larry
The nWo arrives, but someone attacks Bubba off-screen and then disappears into the night.
Rey Mysterio v. Super Calo
They trade takedowns and Rey dropkicks Calo in the head to take over. He tries a springboard dropkick and gets blocked with a dropkick by Calo. They trade reversals off a rana and fall to the floor, before Calo comes off the apron with a missile dropkick and follows with a senton, smashing his legs into the railing in a process. Back in, Calo gets two off that and follows with a sideslam. We cut to Bubba getting carried off in the ambulance and Tony notes that it’s going to frustrating to get information because the nWo is just going to lie about the injury. Maybe WWE hired them to run their Wellness program. Back to the ring, Rey makes a comeback with a legdrop off the middle rope for two. He goes up and gets crotched by Calo, who brings him down with a headscissors for two. Rey comes back and finishes with the West Coast Pop at 6:00. **1/2
Steve McMichael v. Hugh Morrus
NEWS FLASH! The Steiners were injured in an “auto accident” on WCW Saturday Night and are out of SuperBrawl VII. Mongo hits Morrus with chop blocks, but misses a legdrop and Hugh goes to work on the leg. Morrus stops to celebrate in the corner, allowing Mongo to hit him with an electric chair drop, but Morrus goes back to the knee again. Debra slides in the briefcase, however, and Morrus accidentally moonsaults it, giving Mongo the pin at 4:38. This was fine and they kept it short. **
Dean Malenko v. Robbie Brookside
Syxx currently has possession of the Cruiserweight title, and Dean does a pre-match promo bringing up Boris Malenko’s training of Syxx that never really led to anything. Brookside works the arm and they do a nice little mat sequence as Dean gives Brookside more offense than most of his jobbers. Powerbomb and a butt-ugly Texas Cloverleaf finish at 2:54 regardless. Brookside was of course a much bigger star in the UK, and actually became a trainer in the WWE developmental system after his retirement. * Syxx comes out with the belt and offers Dean a crotch chop to demonstrate how much respect he’s got for him. I’m assuming that means “not much.” Kids and their crotch chopping these days, who knows?
The Public Enemy v. The Amazing French Canadians
TPE are over huge with the crowd for whatever reason, but Grunge gets caught in the heel corner and double-teamed. Jacques slams Carl onto him and we hit the chinlock. Robert Parker runs interference and the ref misses the tag, but the Canadians miss the finisher and it’s hot tag Rocco Rock. They clear the ring and Carl gets put through a table on the floor after some heel miscommunication, and that’s enough to finish at 4:40. *
Diamond Dallas Page is out to refute rumors that he’s the one who attacked Bubba earlier. Much like Bayley, he’s not in it to hurt anyone. In fact, now he’s all distracted and worried about Bubba’s welfare, after only arriving at the building 10 minutes earlier and hearing the news.
World TV Title: Lord Steven Regal v. Prince Iaukea
See, this was a wholly original idea on WCW’s part, as a blueblood secondary champion defended against a South Pacific rookie. Regal’s pre-match promo is hilarious, as he promises to “stretch Rey Mysterio so far that he’ll be used as a handrail for the Great Wall of China”. Also, the nWo had earlier given Tony a tape of the Steiner car accident, but the crew is having trouble playing it because it’s recorded on VHS-C and they need an adapter. Goddamn nWo anarchists, can’t even use Super 8 like everyone else! Although after 25 years of selling AV equipment I have to laugh at VHS-C jokes. Regal just kicks the shit out of Iaukea, literally. Literal kicks, not literal shit. They head up and Regal brings him down with a sloppy superplex, then stops to impersonate Dorf while yelling at Rey Mysterio. Regal is just the best. And of course Iaukea rolls him up for the pin and the TV title at 3:30. ½* This proved to be a complete disaster. Original plan was for Iaukea to drop the title to Mysterio at SuperBrawl, which would then give us Mysterio, Malenko and Guerrero as the secondary champions and guarantee great matches for house shows every night. And then they changed their minds and went in a totally different direction instead.
HOUR #2! The hour that cured Scott Hall of his alcoholism and invented the fidget spinner!
Battle of the Refs: Nick Patrick v. Randy Anderson
Referee Jimmy Jett hands Randy something under the guise of patting him down, and Randy quickly knocks Patrick out and pins him at 0:36. Sadly, he’s too dumb to hide the object after using it, so Eric Bischoff storms out and fires both Anderson and Jett. This was a lot more enjoyable than the dire segment from the week before with Bischoff picking on his kids. Patrick selling death from the brass knuckles was hilarious.
In the opposite of hilarious, Lee Marshall does the Road Report from San Francisco, and the big payoff is a “joke” about “Weasel-Roni”. Like, do the people who got paid to write these understand that just adding “Weasel” to another word isn’t actually a joke?
Chris Benoit v. Road Block
Roadblock has “Dead End” on his tights, which is an apt description for his career. Or, you know, something something Chris Benoit. Anyway, he slams Benoit and goes after Woman, which earns him an epic beating from Benoit at ringside. Back in, Benoit just kicks him in the face multiple times and finishes with the diving headbutt at 2:31.
Meanwhile, the WCW crew has finally found that VHS-C adapter and we get the video of the Outsiders stalking the Steiners from a gas station while Syxx films it. They run them off the road in a video that would probably be a YouTube viral sensation if it was made today, as the Steiners drive off a hidden ramp and flip their car into the woods. Given what we now know about Scott, I wouldn’t want to run him off the road. In typical WCW fashion this cost a lot of money and was well-produced, but led to nothing.
Kevin Sullivan v. Doc Dean
Another UK import this week, and Jacqueline just beats the hell out of him on the floor and slams him, which gets hella-heat for her. Back in, Dean gets a sunset flip for two, but Sullivan takes over on him again and Jackie continues the easy heat, suplexing him on the floor. Back in, Dean gets hung in the Tree of Woe and double-stomped for the pin. Jacqueline was entertaining in that role, but Sullivan was a dying brand. * Highlight of the week: Mean Gene having to prompt Jackie to say that Woman has “a big fat butt” in the pre-match promo. Also, Kevin Sullivan finding yet another city where he’s secretly been a hometown boy who “ruled the neighborhood” and just never mentioned it before now.
US title: Eddie Guerrero v. Konnan
Konnan gets a press slam to start and beats on Eddie outside the ring. He gets a seated dropkick and hits the chinlock, but Eddie comes back before walking into a hotshot in the corner. Konnan follows with a clothesline to the back of the head for two. Konnan works a headlock, but Eddie comes back and hits the frog splash before the Faces of Fear run in for the DQ at 6:00. Nothing special, but the match was solid. **1/2 Chris Jericho makes the save to remind us that they’re wrestling for the US title on the PPV. Completely don’t remember that.
And now, it’s time for our weekly Four Horsemen bullshit interview. Your Observer understatement of the week: “Arn Anderson may need surgery on his hand so he’ll be out of action for a while.” No shit. Also in your understatement of the week, Chris Benoit notes that he’s always followed the path of righteousness and he’ll fight to the death for what he believes in.
The Giant v. Johnny Swinger & Top Gun.
Chokeslam for both geeks finishes it at 0:20. Giant spraypaints “Hall” and “Nash” onto them, and Lex Luger joins us with a medical release, but sadly the deadline was LAST week and so he’s still banned from the tag title match. What kind of a quack doctor would give him a release while he’s got a CAST on his arm?
Meanwhile, in Alcatraz, Roddy Piper is in a jail cell, where he’s training for Hogan for the next week. I feel like I can’t really do the insanity in this one justice, so we’ll just move on.
Chris Jericho v. Jeff Jarrett
They were gleefully past the end time of the show at this point, creeping ever closer to just going three hours and being done with it. Jarrett attacks from behind to start and gets a sleeper, but Jericho escapes with a suplex and rolls him up for two. Jarrett gets a backslide for two and goes up with a crossbody, but Jericho rolls through for two while Mongo comes out to control his woman at ringside. Jericho goes up for a missile dropkick, but Debra asks him nicely not to hurt Jarrett, and Jeff gets a figure-four as a result. Mongo comes in, hits Jarrett with the briefcase, and Jericho gets the pin at 2:42. Well that was a thing that happened. *1/2
Hollywood Hogan is out for the weekly interview, but Sting and Macho Man head out to stare at him menacingly. You’d think they’d end there, but instead Hogan just keeps talking until the music cuts him off and the show ends.
I liked Nitro more this week because the pacing was better and more interesting things happened, but neither show was particularly strong overall.
Next week: RAW IS ECW! And WCW SuperBrawl VII!