The SmarK Rant for Monday Nitro – 02.24.97
It’s the night after SuperBrawl VII in the Arco Arena in Sacramento. I can’t stand the excitement, hopefully you can.
(Hi! 2017 Scott here. I wanted to do SuperBrawl VII last night because my wife was out of town, but then she returned and wanted to go see the Mummy, so that ended up being my evening instead. Man, I should have watched SuperBrawl instead. Anyway, I’m hoping I get a chance to do it this week because I’m REALLY curious to see how the show looks now, as opposed to how 1999 Scott originally reviewed it.)
The Public Enemy v. Jeff Jarrett & Steve McMichael
Jarrett had just won a spot in the Horsemen by beating Mongo at SuperBrawl, so of course they’re teaming up tonight. Totally makes sense. Rocco is sporting a new bald look here, which thankfully didn’t last. Grunge stops a Jarrett criss-cross with a punch and follows with a neckbreaker, and TPE double-teams JJ in the corner and dances a lot. Rock misses a charge and Jarrett stomps him down, and the Horsemen actually do some teamwork, as Jarrett takes Rock down into a Mongo legdrop. Jarrett chokes him out on the ropes and Mongo comes in with a pair of clips. Man, it’s like the Rock N Roll Express reborn. Jarrett blocks a leapfrog attempt with a rather impressive powerbomb, but Mongo rather casually turns on his partner by hitting him with the briefcase, and Rocco gets the pin at 4:26. Well, no one ever accused McMichael of keeping his feelings bottled up, for sure. An OK tag match until the abrupt finish. *1/2
– Afterwards, the Four Horsemen (minus Lord Voldemort) have a verbal debate in the ring about Jarrett’s worthiness as a member, but Flair points out that Jarrett earned his spot, and they all flash the four fingers.
Jim Duggan v. Galaxy.
Duggan quickly dumps him with a clothesline and beats him up on the floor, which brings them past what might be a “Hi Netcop” sign. Thanks for the thought if that’s what it was, but we didn’t get Nitro in Canada until 1998, so I wouldn’t have seen it. Duggan beats on him in the corner and dumps him again, and back in Galaxy tries a moonsault press to come back, but gets finished with the three point stance and dumb taped fist punch instead, at 3:14. Total squash of the foreign foreigner from Luchadorea. 1/2*
– Duggan throws down the challenge to Hogan. I’m sure he’s quaking in his boots at the prospect of getting hit with the athletic tape.
Joe Gomez v. Hugh Morrus
The commentary goes silent as they start, so obviously this is the edited version again. Morrus pounds on Gomez in the corner, but Joe rolls him up for one. Another rollup gets two, and he goes to the armbar. Hugh fights up, so Gomez dropkicks him and goes back to the arm. A leapfrog is blocked by a spinebuster, however, and No Laughing Moonsault finishes at 3:17. That one spinebuster laid out Gomez for like 10 seconds, he should have just used that as his finisher. *
Juice Train v. La Parka
Powerslam from the Train to start and he follows with a shoulderblock and pounds away. Parka comes back with a step up enzuigiri and goes up with a leg lariat for two. Train shrugs him off and powerslams him, then follows with a corner splash. Parka gets a jawbreaker to fend him off and hits another leg lariat, but Teddy Long gives him advice. La Parka takes this opportunity to hit a tope con hilo, and back in we go. Train no-sells Parka’s stuff and clotheslines him, then blocks a bodypress with another powerslam and finishes with the Steroid Splash at 3:54. Good thing wrestling has advanced past the days where roid freaks get pushes based solely on their look. Oh, wait. Parka tried, though. **
Chris Jericho & Eddie Guerrero v. The Faces of Fear
It’s another wacky teaming of opponents from SuperBrawl. Barbarian beats on Jericho, but gets dropkicked in the knee. Jericho throws chops and follows with a missile dropkick, and Eddie springboards in for two. Barbarian just creams him with a faceplant and tosses him into the corner, where Meng pounds him with a headbutt. A powerbomb is sold like death by Eddie, but he comes back with a flying headscissors and brings Jericho back in. They double-team Meng with a backdrop for two. Meng comes back with a backdrop suplex off a cheapshot by Barbarian, and Barbarian comes in to follow with a superplex. That gets two. Jericho comes back with a rollup for two, but Meng overpowers him. Jericho keeps coming with a springboard bodyblock out of the corner, but Meng stomps him down and chokes him out. Eddie gets lured in and the Faces stomp on Jericho, and the double-team powerbomb gets two, as Eddie saves. The FOF go up with stereo flying headbutts, and Eddie saves again. Barbarian slams Jericho and Meng stomps away, but Jericho moonsaults him, hits an enzuigiri, and makes the hot tag to Eddie. Dropkick and Jericho comes in with a high cross, but he’s not legal. Double dropkick and they double-team Barbarian with a double-suplex, but Meng trips up Jericho during the Lionsault, while Dean Malenko (pissed off about the night before) comes out and turns on Eddie, allowing Barbarian to boot him for the pin at 7:36. Jericho and Guerrero as a team was an idea that was never fully explored in WCW, and would have ruled hard if they had. Especially once Jericho turned heel. Fun match with lots of double-teaming. **3/4
Juventud Guerrera v. Rey Mysterio Jr.
Lockup battle to start and Juvy chops him in the corner off that. Rey stretches him with a submission move, but Juvy counters with a DDT and works the knee with a kneebar. They do the knucklelock sequence and Juvy blocks a powerbomb and follows with a spinkick. Juvy elbows him down for two, but Rey slugs back and tries a moonsault press. Juvy dodges him and gets his own for two. We hit the chinlock as they’re having trouble getting out of the starting gate here, and Rey fights out into a flying headscissors, and another one to the floor. Back in, Juvy powerbombs him off the top for two. Rey crawls to the apron, so Juvy dropkicks him to the floor and follows with a tope suicida. Well, they’re letting it all hang out here, but the crowd’s not buying it. Back in, a somersault tope is blocked by Rey with a powerbomb, and the West Coast Pop finishes at 5:35. Kind of a dull match and the crowd wasn’t into it. **
World TV title: Prince Iaukea v. Pat Tanaka
Tanaka, dressed like he’s running a Chinese laundry at the turn of the century, uses his kung fu in the corner to start, but gets chopped down by the Prince. Tanaka takes him down with a leg whip, but Iaukea clotheslines him out of the corner. Tanaka is nice enough to give him the somersault sell, but c’mon. Bad sequence with Iaukea awkwardly reversing an irish whip into a leapfrog, but Tanaka powerbombs him. Iaukea comes back with a springboard butt splash and goes up with a high cross to finish at 2:51. Blah. *
Dean Malenko v. Ultimo Dragon
Dragon takes Dean down to start and they fight for the arm in a nice mat sequence. Dragon escapes a backdrop and Malenko escapes an enzuigiri, and it’s a stalemate. Malenko offers the handshake and then turns on him, stomping the crap out of him and dropping an elbow for two. Dragon fires back with the kick combo and a dropkick for two. Malenko, still clearly pissed off at the world, takes him down and throws fists, and they fight outside, where Dragon hits the railing. Back in, we’re silent again, so they must be talking about You-Know-Who. Delayed vertical suplex gets two for Malenko. Dragon tries the bow-and-arrow, but Malenko comes back with a sunset flip for two. Dragon kicks him down again and wants a powerbomb, but Dean backdrops out of it, into the butterfly powerbomb for two. They fight for an abdominal stretch and Malenko ends up on the floor, and Dragon follows with a badly botched springboard dropkick. Malenko is a generous guy, selling it as though the foot actually made contact. Dragon follows with a better baseball slide and pescado, however. Back in, Dean tries a powerbomb, but it’s countered to a sunset flip, and Malenko counters to his own for two. Dragon takes him down with a cradle for two. Handspring elbow is caught by Dean and turned into a german suplex, which gets nothing, as he opts to choke Dragon down instead. Sonny Onoo gets involved and Dean slaps him around, and then goes back to choking and gets disqualified as a result, at 8:55. See, don’t mess with the ref’s five count! ***
DDP v. Dave Taylor
Taylor was dressing like Outback Jack at this point. Taylor attacks from behind and follows with a suplex, as the Outsiders come out to watch. DDP grabs him in a fireman’s carry, into the Diamond Cutter, and it’s a Sports Entertainment Finish at 1:00 as the ref and Taylor just kind of leave. New NWO inductee Randy Savage uses the distraction to clobber Page and start the big feud of 1997, and some idiot fan hits the ring and gets pwned by the NWO as a result. DDP gets the spraypaint treatment and Savage drops an elbow on him.
– Back from the commercial break and the NWO continues right on, bringing out Hollywood Hogan for another exciting interview segment. Hogan’s welcome present for Savage — Miss Elizabeth, who actually looks happy now.
WCW World tag titles: Lex Luger & The Giant v. Harlem Heat
Eric Bischoff comes out and strips Luger & Giant of the titles before we start, because god forbid fans have something to cheer for at this point. Luger agrees to give the titles back in exchange for all the titles being on the line at Uncensored, which of course didn’t actually happen because they had no idea what they wanted to do. Sting comes out and stands with the NWO for some reason, and we’re done.
This was kind of a pointless show, as they had no direction for Uncensored yet and just kind of threw matches out there to fill two hours. Some pretty good wrestling, however, so it’s worth a look for that.