Monday Nitro #60
Date: November 4, 1996
Location: Van Andel Arena, Grand Rapids, Michigan
Commentators: Mike Tenay, Bobby Heenan, Tony Schiavone, Larry Zbyszko
Reviewed by Tommy Hall
We’re into November now and World War 3 is in three weeks. Well 20 days but you get the idea. Ok so it’s really 15 years ago plus a few months but we’ll be here all day if we get into that. Anyway after last week, there’s not much to go on so hopefully we really get things going tonight. Let’s get to it.
Sting is in the rafters. DiBiase, Vincent and Giant are in the crowd and looking up at him.
Tonight we start a tournament for the new WCW Women’s Title.
Eric isn’t here tonight, but rather in Portland trying to get Piper to sign a contract. Remember that. It becomes REAL important in a few weeks.
We get a clip from Havoc where Piper yells at Hogan. Tony says the fans have demanded it, including over the internet. Tonight a word is promised about the signing.
Marcus Bagwell vs. Brad Armstrong
Sting leaves before the match starts. Man even he hates Buff. Riggs it at ringside too. Random question but where have the Steiners been? Are they still out from the car wreck thing? Bagwell does the clap thing and to his credit, the crowd is doing it with him. Technical match for the most part as they’re on the mat a lot. One thing that’s unrelated to the match: there are fans in the front row leaning over people (nice guys) to try to see themselves on a screen. I guess there are monitors or something by the entrance. That helps a lot as far as the videos they play.
We take a break (in the opener? Between Bagwell and Armstrong?) and come back to Armstrong hitting some armdrags (with his strong arms I guess) to frustrate Bagwell. Bagwell hits him in the face and the brawl is on. The fans are getting into this too. A dropkick puts Bagwell down and he gets tossed to the floor. Bagwell does just the same, hitting a dropkick and a clothesline to put Armstrong on the floor. There’s a dive to the floor and Brad is in trouble.
The NWO is in the crowd. They seem to be in the same place we saw them earlier so presumably they’ve been there the entire time. Why we’re looking at them and should be surprised to see them eludes me but a lot of what WCW did eluded me. Ok now they’re leaving. A tornado DDT gets two for Armstrong. There’s a gutbuster for Bagwell and what looked to be a forearm to put Armstrong down. We get the same ending from Fall Brawl 95 with Johnny B. Badd vs. Pillman where they both hit cross bodies and Bagwell lands on top for the pin.
Rating: C+. Marcus Bagwell vs. Brad Armstrong got 15 minutes and a commercial on Nitro and IT WAS GOOD. I’m in an alternate universe here. Brad was almost always at least watchable but Bagwell was a tag team guy and the same wrestler he was five years earlier, so why in the world did this get so much time? I’m not sure but it worked pretty well.
Diamond Dallas Page vs. Ice Train
We’re reminded of the NWO watching Page last week. Page whispered something to Nick Patrick before this starts. The NWO (Outsiders) are in the crowd watching again. Train easily overpowers Page to start and knocks him to the floor. Page is starting to look a lot like he would during his main run. The Outsiders leave. Page guillotines him on the top and hits a top rope clothesline to take over.
Tony says Teddy has become a role model for young people all over the world. I can see the tag team matches being made on playgrounds all over the world. Sunset flip (and a bad one at that) gets two for Train. Larry says Piper vs. Hogan would be the biggest match of the 20th century. I never thought I’d say this, but Larry has been in bigger matches than that would be. Pancake puts Train down for two.
Swinging neckbreaker gets the same and a huge kickout, sending Page onto Patrick. A powerslam and two splashes get a slow two. Page gets knocked to the floor when the Outsiders come in and destroy Train with the title belts. Patrick is on the floor with Page. The champs leave and the Cutter ends this.
Rating: D+. This was more angle than match, which is something you can usually say about Teddy Long’s clients’ matches. It’s cool to see the Outsiders doing something to pull someone up and it certainly worked with Page. Was there a kayfabe reason why Patrick never went on medical leave? I never got that.
Cruiserweight Title: Dean Malenko vs. Scotty Riggs
Dean vs. Psicosis is announced for the PPV. The bell never rings so technically this is just a big prematch exhibition. Riggs has a bad shoulder coming in. Tony: “Well he’s trying to win. That’s a good sign.” Well what else would he be there for? A pottery class? Syxx pops up in the crowd as Riggs hits the post shoulder first. Riggs doesn’t seem to mind as he turns on the jets and sends Dean to the floor. There’s a plancha and back in a top rope double axe gets two. Scotty goes up again but Dean falls against the ropes and Riggs crashes onto the apron. Bagwell throws him back in and Dean gets an easy pin.
Rating: C. Not a bad match here and it foreshadows the troubles that the Males would have. Ok so maybe foreshadows is too big of a word given that they would only last like 3 weeks but you get the idea. Dean looked good here as did Riggs, and that ending fall looked awesome and painful at the same time. Decent little match.
We get a clip from last week with Mongo helping steal a win for Benoit.
Hector Guerrero vs. Chris Benoit
Hector is Eddie’s older brother and possibly even more talented. He’s also a dead ringer for Eddie if you just glance at him. I’ve often gotten them confused until I took a good look. Flair has had his surgery and Anderson is out with a back injury. On Saturday, Benoit said Sullivan is no longer the man he used to be. Sullivan pops up and says he’ll hurt Benoit in Baltimore. He’s actually talking about a house show.
Hector speeds things up and hits almost a Vader Bomb from the top rope out to the floor onto a standing Benoit. Benoit’s shoulder is still taped up. Hector works on the arm and mixes up the attack on it, because Hector Guerrero is smarter than most wrestlers. He goes to take the tape off and we take a break. After an NWO t-shirt ad, we come back to Benoit hitting a knee to put Guerrero down.
He draped Hector over the top rope with a release suplex and Guerrero is in trouble. Benoit works over the ribs and hooks an awkward abdominal stretch. Hector is basically crouched down and Benoit is bending over. Benoit hammers him down as Tony hypes up how amazing the second hour is. There’s the explosion. Hector grabs a small package for two. Guerrero speeds things up and uses a rolling tumbleweed style cradle for two. Woman breaks it up which isn’t a DQ. Benoit grabs a rollup via the distraction and uses the ropes for the pin.
Rating: C+. Another long match which again works. Benoit could move better this week which is a nice perk. Hector wouldn’t be around that much I don’t think so this was really just to avenge Eddie I guess. Nothing that great but they were moving well out there and the psychology worked so big points for that.
We look at Giant and Jarrett from last week. The Horsemen and Jarrett are in the aisle and Jeff says he’s the lead horse right now. Was he ever officially inducted? Benoit protests and says business pertaining to the Horsemen will be dealt with by a Horseman. Jarrett talks about getting WCW together as Sting watches. He just kind of goes on and on while we look at Sting.
The announcers talk about Sting.
Lee Marshall is in Florida for next week’s Nitro.
WCW Women’s Title Tournament First Round: Reina Jubuki vs. Madusa
Jubuki is Akiri Hokuto under a mask. Reina takes over quickly to start and chokes Madusa down. Another female Japanese wrestler comes out and watches. Her name is Zero apparently. Sonny Onoo rants like a heel Japanese man would in pro wrestling. Madusa hits something like what we would call the Stratusphere but Jubuki hits a release suplex and missile dropkick for two. The American grabs a quick German to pin the Japanese for the win. Too short to rate but it was way better than most modern female matches.
Michael Wallstreet vs. Chris Jericho
Wallstreet takes it to the mat quickly but Jericho works on the arm and then grabs a headlock. He tries to speed things up and Wallstreet fires him through the ropes. Tony calls the attorney of Nick Patrick a Schyster. I have a feeling there was a wink in there somewhere. Wallstreet pounds away as the announcers debate what the name Lionheart means.
Off to a chinlock and after awhile we look at the crowd. I can’t say I blame them as things got really boring all of a sudden there. Jericho comes back to break up the boring chants which were coming quickly. Missile dropkick sends Wallstreet out to the floor. Jericho gets sent into the post but as they come back in he grabs a quick small package for the pin.
Rating: D+. Nothing special here at all but they didn’t have much to go on. Jericho needed the ring time at this point and putting him in there with a veteran like Wallstreet was a good idea. This wasn’t all that bad but it’s nothing interesting at all. Basically just a way to make sure people remember who Jericho is.
Patrick and his attorney are here again and Jericho says there’s nothing wrong with the neck and that Patrick works for the NWO. Somehow this turns into an argument about Jericho’s dad playing in the NHL. Teddy comes out to yell at Patrick too. The attorney brings up Teddy being suspended while he was a referee like 8 years ago. Jericho cuts him off and says that’s the past, what Patrick is doing today.
We get a video from last week with Luger chasing after Sting to end the match with Booker.
Lex Luger vs. Booker T
Before the match we get an inset promo from Luger saying he’ll be waiting for Sting whenever he’s ready to talk. Luger grabs a delayed vertical suplex to start and seems to be more focused than he was last week. An elbow puts Booker on the floor and we take a break. Tony promises that if anything happens during the break, we’ll see it on replay. There’s no replay, so I guess we can assume that they just stayed in the same place during the break.
Powerslam gets two for Lex. Booker grabs a release Stun Gun to take over. Lex gets thrown to the floor where he takes a kick to the ribs from Sherri. Booker works on the back out on the floor. Back in the ring a hooking kick puts Luger down again. Side kick results in Booker crotching himself and Lex makes his comeback. He hits a powerslam and calls for the Rack but Booker grabs the rope. There’s a side kick to take Luger down and Colonel Parker is here to hug Sherri. An enziguri puts Lex down but Parker gets on the apron for some reason. Booker yells at him so Luger rolls him up for the pin.
Rating: D. This was a chore to sit through. The problem basically was that I don’t think anyone thought Booker was going to get a decisive win here so it was just kind of waiting around until the end of the match. That’s a very boring kind of match to watch and I stopped this whenever I could to do ANYTHING else. It wasn’t bad but it was very uninteresting.
Sting is still watching.
Eric Bischoff calls in and says that things are going well with him and Piper, but there’s no match signed, due to attorneys and agents interfering. He won’t say what’s wrong but he’s going to talk to Piper in Toronto next week. This goes on for awhile. Remember this segment. It becomes very important later.
Remember last week where we saw part of the Hogan vs. Piper showdown from Halloween Havoc but it was clipped for time? Well here’s the FULL version! That eats up ten minutes.
Here’s the NWO to end the show. Hogan demands a spotlight so he feels like he’s in California. Here’s a clip from Santa With Muscles, as we’re actually playing the “my B-movie is better than YOUR B-movie” game between Piper and Hogan. Hogan, as Santa, beats up some goons/thieves in a mall. Back in the arena, Hogan talks about the Cable Ace Awards or something and threatens to come to the ceremony and steal Ted Turner’s award. Is there a point to this at all? Hogan says Piper is scared and hiding out with Savage somewhere. He poses to end the show.
Overall Rating: C. Well it was better than last week due to the matches and wrestling being a lot better, but at the same time, nothing happened here. That’s the problem with having a main event like the big battle royal as everyone of note is in there and there might be a few other matches on there, most of which are just midcard matches. Things pick up speed soon enough though.
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