Monday Nitro #57
Date: October 14, 1996
Location: Mid-South Coliseum, Memphis, Tennessee
Commentators: Mike Tenay, Tony Schiavone, Larry Zbyszko, Eric Bischoff, Bobby Heenan
Reviewed by Tommy Hall
We’re in Lawler country tonight as the seemingly never ending build for Halloween Havoc continues. Thankfully with this set of two I’ll be doing we’ll get to that show so we can get to November and Eric joining the NWO. The show tonight is nothing all that significant but we’re getting closer to 1997 which stuns me that we’ve gotten this far. Let’s get to it.
We open with a recap of Savage getting destroyed while Liz was held and forced to watch.
Dean Malenko vs. Brad Armstrong
Armstrong beat Dean on either Saturday Night or at a Clash. There are NWO fans holding up big signs on the non-camera side, because the fans behind them don’t need to see right? Nick Patrick and his neckbrace are refereeing again. There’s an NWO chant. Brad speeds things up and sends Dean to the floor. Malenko is heel still here. Into the ring again and Dean hooks something like a seated abdominal stretch.
The announcers talk about Sting being gone for awhile already. Man they had no idea what was coming did they. Brad gets some two counts, including one off a nice Russian leg sweep. Belly to back gets the same. Dean gets a SWEET rollup into a three quarter nelson for the pin. Armstrong got caught.
Rating: C-. Fairly uninteresting mat based match here but I’ve seen far worse. Brad and Dean worked a more technically based style here and while it’s good, it doesn’t do much for the audience. That being said, they were more interested in the NWO stuff than the match, but that’s modern wrestling for you. Nothing great but it was fine.
The NWO gets here.
Jim Duggan vs. Mr. Wallstreet
This is a rematch because this is the feud the world is dying for right? The idea is that Nick Patrick screwed Duggan out of a win in the first match so this has a different referee. Duggan uses power to start as Larry blasts Hacksaw every chance he can. Wallstreet comes back with a clothesline for one and then goes to a chinlock. Larry talks about the amount of water in the average human’s brain for no apparent reason. Leg drop by Wallstreet and it’s off to a chinlock again. Wallstreet jumps into a boot and Duggan tapes up his fist. Wallstreet gets it away but the three point clothesline ends him.
Rating: D. What in the world was this on TV for? It wasn’t a bad match or anything, but it’s IRS vs. Jim Duggan in 1996 on national TV. I don’t get it at all but I’d assume it’s because Duggan is one of Hogan’s buddies. Not a horrible match, but for the life of me I don’t get it. This was a rematch on top of that. Why did it need to be on Nitro? Isn’t that what Saturday Night was for?
Hugh Morrus vs. Jim Powers
The inexplicable kind of push of Jim Powers continues. Tony thanks “Mr. Lawler” for promoting the show. He’ll be at the flea market on Thursday, which is where the USWA had a lot of their shows around this time. I’m legit surprised by that. Powers slams him down and gets a cross body for one. Morrus rolls to the floor and I’m still wondering why Powers is getting TV time.
Back in and Morrus remembers he’s against Jim Powers and takes over. Suplex gets two. Flair isn’t here tonight. Morrus seems really bored out there and I can’t say I disagree with him. Flair’s shoulder injury is worse than previously thought. It would result in him being stripped of the US Title I believe. Powers gets a sunset flip for two.
A knee lift puts Morrus down as Teddy is complaining about Patrick’s cadence of the count. Oh yeah it’s bad as it takes four seconds to count one. Powers gets a small package and there’s no count because Patrick is holding his neck. A belly to back sets up the No Laughing Matter for Morrus’ pin. The count was fine there. Teddy gets in Patrick’s face post match.
Rating: D-. I get the idea of Patrick being crooked and not counting properly and all that. That’s an old standard angle and it works fine. But why in the world are they using it on Jim freaking Powers? I don’t get it. He’s JIM POWERS. They couldn’t use this on anyone else? Was this really the best option they had? Not the Steiners or someone like that? I don’t get it.
Greg Valentine vs. Lex Luger
Again I don’t understand why Greg Valentine kept getting time on this show. He’s fine in the ring, but why him of all the people that were available? Luger has taped ribs due to the attack by Anderson last week. Valentine goes for the arms instead. That’s what we mean by lack of psychology. Thankfully he wakes up and punches Lex in the ribs to take over. Luger can’t suplex him because of the injury.
Valentine works on the back as Anderson is watching in the back on a monitor. Greg works on the back as DiBiase and Vincent are standing in the crowd watching. Hogan has demanded to make an announcement tonight. Valentine works on the back some more. I’m glad the arm work only lasted a few seconds. Tony and Larry want to know where Sting is because they need him.
Luger’s back is rammed into the corner and it’s been all Valentine for the most part here. They collide and both go down. Lex starts his comeback and hits the forearm smash for two. Valentine gets an elbow up and puts his feet on the ropes for a rollup. As he’s arguing with the referee the ribs heal enough for the Rack to get the submission. At least he was wincing during the hold.
Rating: D+. Not a horrible match or anything but it was almost eight minutes long. Just like in the previous match, I don’t get it. WCW made some curious moves at this point but at the same time you can’t say that the results didn’t work so the complaints would be at a minimum here. Actually they’re not even complaints but rather questions.
Tony talks to Nick Patrick and tells him that the fine against Randy Savage will be $500 instead of $1 million. Also Savage has to miss the first five matches (not said if that means the first five Nitros or not) of 1997. Patrick says WCW will be hearing from his lawyers. Tony shows us a clip from NWO Saturday Night which was the NWO segment where they would beat up jobbers in an empty arena. They had their own referee in a ski mask and it looked a lot like Patrick. He says it looks more like Randy Anderson, who is about 6 inches shorter than Patrick.
Mike Enos vs. Randy Savage
Hour #2 begins during Enos’ entrance. There’s no Bischoff for commentary. Oh ok he’s going to interview Savage during the entrance. Eric intercepts him and there’s a TV monitor wheeled in. Savage says if Hogan is here, let’s do Halloween Havoc here tonight. Eric wants to talk about Liz and Savage says don’t go there.
We look at a video message from Liz sitting on a swing in front of a tree. She says she’s sorry and that she was doing things to get his attention when she thought she was doing them out of anger. Savage built her this swing apparently. To the best of my knowledge, the fans can’t see any of this. Liz asks him for forgiveness and says she’s made a lot of bad choices. The worst was siding with Hulk so he could hurt Savage. Liz needs Savage and begs him not to leave her alone. She feels the same way about him today as the day she said I do.
Back in the arena and Savage looks stunned. Eric says he didn’t know another way to do this. You know, because locker rooms don’t exist right? Savage doesn’t know what to say and has a great look on his face. Eric won’t shut up and leave him alone so Savage walks out and heads into a conveniently waiting limo. No match with Enos obviously.
Eric is on commentary now. The announcers debate whether or not it was a good idea to tell Savage about the message.
Eddie Guerrero vs. Cheetah Kid
Cheetah is allegedly Rocco Rock in a mask but I’m not completely sure on that. Oh there’s no way that’s Rocco. He’s ripped and much darker skinned. Ah apparently Cheetah Kid is a character Rock used to play when he was starting out. That makes much better sense. Apparently this is a local guy from Memphis getting a tryout. Works for me. Eddie flies around a lot but gets caught in something resembling an Angle Slam for two.
A nice powerbomb gets no cover for Cheetah. This is really just a tuneup for Eddie before his match with DDP at Havoc. Eddie gets sent to the floor and Cheetah hits a springboard dropkick as Eddie is on the apron. Cheetah goes up and gets crotched so Eddie can hit the rana off the top and the Frog Splash for the pin. Not enough to rate but Cheetah wasn’t bad at all. I’m curious as to who he was.
Video on Jeff Jarrett.
Lee Marshall is on the road and talks about how great it’ll be next week in Minnesota. Ok then.
Big Bubba vs. Jeff Jarrett
Since this is in Tennessee Jarrett is very popular. Eric makes fun of Jarrett’s country singer gimmick and says it’s about wrestling here. Bubba gives him a chance to run and Jarrett doesn’t seem interested. We do a Memphis level stall as both do various kinds of taunting before Bubba grabs a headlock. Now we’re talking about the WWF for awhile and the AWA. Oh it’s Hogan who said he made both of those companies. Well the AWA collapsed after he left so maybe he didn’t make it but he kept it alive for awhile in a way.
Out to the floor and Bubba keeps control. Jimmy Hart gets in some shots and Jarrett glares him away. Off to a chinlock so Bubba can talk to Jeff a bit. He hits a solid big boot to put Jarrett down. The announcers get bored so they talk about the NWO for awhile. Big right hand gets two for Bubba. He misses a charge into the corner and Jarrett hits an atomic drop but goes after Hart before the Figure Four. Bubba hits a spinebuster and smacks the referee. Jimmy slides in the Megaphone which is dropkicked into Bubba’s face for the pin.
Rating: D+. This was a Memphis match for the Memphis crowd which doesn’t do a thing for the TV audience. That being said, they’ve had the last few months of shows booked for them so I can’t complain about something like that. Jarrett would be the replacement for Flair soon and would get into a feud with McMichael soon enough. He wouldn’t get over or anything, but who cares about that.
Jarrett is announced as the replacement for Flair.
Harlem Heat vs. Faces of Fear
This was supposed to be for the titles but the Heat said no so it would be a guaranteed title match against the Outsiders. Meng vs. Booker starts us off and Meng hammers him down quickly. Here are Benoit, Mongo and Debra for no apparent reason. Oh that’s right they’re scouting the Faces of Fear for the PPV. Stevie comes in and hammers on Meng but after missing a dropped elbow it’s off to Barbarian.
Stevie hits a bicycle kick to put Barbarian down. Come on people, learn your racial stereotypes. He chokes away and brings in Booker to give some variety to things. Hook kick gets two. Meng breaks up what was presumably the missile dropkick and Barbarian hits a belly to belly superplex. Back to Meng who hits a Batista Bomb for two. A double headbutt has Booker in trouble but Meng won’t cover.
Booker gets a bad looking sunset flip and the Outsiders are here. They’re in the front row this time and the match comes grinding to a halt again. Everyone stops to look at them on the floor and I think it’s a double countout. Knowing this show there was a pin in the ring and we just didn’t see it but whatever.
Rating: D. Total clash of styles here and it didn’t work well at all. Everyone was pretty much just killing time until the Outsiders came out for the match to end. I’m going to assume it was a no contest. I guess it makes sense for this not to be for the titles but it wouldn’t have hurt anything I don’t think.
Eric talks about Savage and how Hogan is going to be in trouble at Havoc.
Here’s Hogan for the final segment of the show. The rest of the NWO complete with Liz comes out behind him. Current total number of males in the NWO: 8. Hogan thinks Savage could at least come out here and fight. He talks about being in Hollywood filming the next 3 Ninjas movie and can push whatever button he wants on Savage. Hogan calls Liz an actress and she tries to slap him but fails.
Here come the Nasty Boys in NWO shirts. Hogan calls them family and says if they need anything just to let him know. Knobbs has the contract and says there’s a screwup in it because the decimal point isn’t right. Hogan hasn’t signed it and says the Nasties shouldn’t have the shirts on yet. There’s the beatdown for the Nasties. Hogan says this is just a little bit of what will happen to Savage at Havoc. He says Liz wanted him when she and Savage were married. Liz is coming with him to Hollywood to finish his movie.
The NWO takes over the broadcast booth again to end the show.
Overall Rating: D+. Not their best show here as it feels like we’ve been building up to Havoc for six months at this point. The whole Savage vs. Liz thing is interesting but it’s nothing that was going to go anywhere since Savage would join the NWO early next year anyway. Thank goodness the next show is the last one before the PPV because it needs to move on to WW3 already. Weak show but not awful.
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