Monday Nitro – January 20, 1997

Monday Nitro #71

Date: January 20, 1997

Location: United Center, Chicago,
Illinois

Attendance: 17,000

Commentators: Tony Schiavone, Bobby
Heenan, Larry Zbyzsko, Mike Tenay

Reviewed by Tommy Hall

Back to WCW after a lengthy
absence. This is the go home show for Souled Out which is one of the
most different kinds of PPVs you’ll ever see. This is also probably
the biggest crowd I can remember for a Nitro up to this point.
They’re up north here in Chicago which is a city that was pretty
popular for them back in the old NWA days. Nothing on the card seems
significant but there are ten matches to get through. Let’s get to
it.

This is also the show before the
next to last Clash of the Champions, which was held on Tuesday.

We open immediately with Randy
Savage storming the ring with a chair. This is his first appearance
since Halloween Havoc. He says he’s been blackballed and he’s not
going anywhere until he talks to someone with some stroke. Savage
sits down and says he’s waiting. Chavo Guerrero is in the first
match so here he comes. Tony says they’re going to try to start the
match with Savage in the ring.

Chavo slowly gets in and stares at
Savage but Savage waves him off. This goes on for a few minutes with
Savage not listening to what Chavo says. After almost seven minutes
the fans are booing. Savage gets up and lays out Guerrero, sending
him over the top and out. Back to the chair. Now a guy named Max,
the opponent for Chavo, comes out now. Savage decks him and Max
falls to the floor. There goes the referee too. Doug Dillinger
comes in and down he goes as well. Alex Wright comes in and he gets
punched. Savage is on his feet and holding the chair now.

An army of guys comes out to get
him out but Sting repels from the rafters (I think for the first
time) in front of the Chicago Bulls banners and walks slowly towards
the ring with the bat. He points the bat at Savage and puts it under
his chin. Savage jumps up and Sting shoves him away a few times.
Savage looks to charge at him but Sting pulls the bat back. Sting
hands him the bat and turns his back on him but Savage doesn’t swing.
Sting takes it back and they both leave through the crowd. Tony
immediately thinks this means they’re both NWO because…..I have no
idea.

Here’s a clip from December of
Chono joining the NWO and another of him beating up Jericho later
that night. They have a rematch on Saturday.

Alex Wright vs. Chris Jericho

No entrance for either guy. Wright
armdrags him to start and they chop it out but Jericho runs into a
big boot. They trade rollups and Jericho rolls forward out of a
German suplex for a fast pin. That’s the same finish he used on the
last Raw from 2001 I reviewed. Quick match and Wright’s arm was
about six inches off the mat, but other than that it was fine.

Scotty Riggs vs. NWO Sting

Sting does a really bad shout and
Riggs jumps him to a big pop. Jumping back elbow and some dropkicks
put Sting down. Riggs walks into a hot shot though and Sting takes
over. After a quick beating Riggs escapes and hits a missile
dropkick but here’s Buff. Riggs hits his forearm but the NWO runs
out which is a DQ despite the NWO not touching him. Too short to
rate but it was there for the ending and to set up Buff vs. Scotty on
Saturday. The NWO makes Penzer say Sting won by countout, which
would seem to be correct.

We get a clip of Flair at a hockey
team talking to an enforcer for the Chicago Blackhawks. They have a
gave on the road tonight so he can’t be here tonight.

Arn Anderson/Steve McMichael vs.
Jeff Jarrett/Eddie Guerrero

If that was Benoit instead of
McMichael this could be a classic. To be fair though Mongo is a
Chicago guy so it makes perfect sense for him to be here. Tony brags
about how this is the biggest crowd to see a wrestling event in
Chicago this year. Check the date on this show and you’ll see why I
rolled my eyes. Also there was this show called Wrestlemania that
broke that mark a few months later.

Jeff and Arn start us off with
Jarrett being knocked to the floor almost immediately. He comes back
with a top rope cross body for two and here’s Eddie, who is the US
Champion but doesn’t have the belt. Mongo comes in to a big pop and
runs over Eddie before gorilla pressing him. Eddie comes back with
some speed stuff but gets backdropped to the floor. Arn comes in but
it’s a hot (I guess?) tag to Eddie. He cleans house but runs off to
chase Syxx (not that we see that but Tony tells us). Arn hits a
spinebuster on Jeff and puts him in a Boston Crab as Mongo stomps on
him. Debra throws in her sash and that counts for a submission.

Rating: C+.
Stupid
ending
aside,
this
was
a
fun
and
fast
paced
match.
When
you
won’t
have
Jeff
as
the
heel
world
champion,
he’s
a
pretty
fun
guy
to
watch.
Eddie
was
flying
all
over
the
place
as
he
is
known
to
do
and
Anderson
was
his
usual
old
self.
This
Horsemen
story
would
only
get
worse
though
as
Mongo
and
Jarrett
would
wind
up
feuding
over
the
US
Title
all
summer.

Here’s Flair to talk to the
Horsemen. Benoit and Woman are here too. He says he’s still healing
so he can get back in the ring but as he’s looking at the Horsemen,
they’re not the unit they used to be. Arn and the old gang are cool,
but it’s all turned around lately. Flair tells Mongo and Benoit to
be Horsemen first and then go after the women. Mongo says he’s proud
to be a Horseman and gets a huge pop. Debra starts talking and the
crowd completely reverses. Benoit starts talking and the cheering
continues. Mongo and Benoit get in another argument and Debra gets
the last word about Woman, implying she’s fat.

We get a clip from Saturday Night
with Eric talking about how much the NWO has taken over. It’s your
usual NWO speech. Liz is filming so Eric pulls her to him and says
the only things Savage wants are her and Eric’s hair.

Dean Malenko vs. Ultimo Dragon

The fans chant ECW for Dean as they
start off fast. Dragon dropkicks him down but walks into a powerslam
for two. They do the exact same sequence and Dean drops him with a
brainbuster for two. About an hour into the show we hear the first
mention of the Clash tomorrow night. Dean hooks the chinlock and
things slow down a bit. Out to the floor and Dean gets sent into the
barricade. Back inside they exchange rollups and Dean goes up.
Dragon stops him though and the super rana only gets two. Dean tries
a leg lock when he catches a kick but Dragon gets the rope. Dragon
grabs the arm and La Majistral gets the pin.

Rating: C+.
This
was
a
fun
and
fast
paced
match
as
usual,
but
the
shortness
hurts
it.
Dragon
was
pretty
solid
against
other
cruiserweights
but
once
they
put
him
into
the
TV
Title
hunt
he
lost
any
interest
the
fans
had
in
him.
Granted
that’s
probably
more
because
of
the
title
than
him.
Dean
would
win
the
title
from
Dragon
the
next
night
at
the
Clash,
making
this
match
totally
pointless.

Hour #2 begins and Tony is in a
Blackhawks jersey.

We recap the opening segment by
reshowing a lot of it.

TV Title: Steven Regal vs.
Jacques Rougeau

Jacques does the national anthem
bit before the match so I’d assume he’s supposed to be the heel here.
Regal grabs the wrist to start and Jacques takes him down for some
stomping. Regal comes back to stomp on Colonel Parker’s fingers so
the Colonel comes in and accidentally hits his own man for the DQ.
Another two minute match.

Lee Marshall’s road report wastes
some time.

Kevin Sullivan vs. Chris Benoit

This is another match that happened
as the Clash as well. Tomorrow’s is falls count anywhere at least so
it’s not completely the same. Benoit jumps him in the aisle and they
go into the crowd already which makes the match tomorrow completely
pointless already. They fight into the men’s room because that’s
what they did at Great American Bash 96 so they’re just going to keep
doing the same match until everyone quits caring. Benoit has his
fingers slammed in the door and Sullivan beats him down.

They head back into the arena with
Sullivan knocking him down the stairs, which they would do again
tomorrow night. This is almost spot for spot the same as tomorrow,
which is a shortened version of the Bash match from 96. Sullivan
throws a beer in Benoit’s face and Benoit drags him up the aisle.

They head into the ring and there’s
the bell to start the match. Sullivan puts him in a quick Tree of
Woe but Benoit falls out. Low blow slows Chris down and they hit
heads. Woman pops up and Jimmy slides the bell in to Sullivan. The
Swan Dive hits the bell and Sullivan gets the academic pin. No point
in rating it but it was just trashy brawling.

Here’s the NWO and they’re coming
to the announcers’ desk. Great, this again. It’s Bischoff, DiBiase
and Nash this time.

Jim Duggan vs. Carl Oullett

Eric says that he’s put Chono on
the card because he can. Also Hall has his first singles match on
Nitro. Duggan knocks him around for a bit before Carl takes
over….and here are the Steiners for some reason. Duggan uses the
tape which is legal now and it gets the pin. Another mess.

We look at Starrcade where the
Outsiders helped Eddie win the US Title because Page turned the NWO
down. Page said he’d fix things and then we see him Diamond Cutting
both Outsiders a week later.

Masahiro Chono vs. Dave Taylor

Nick Patrick is sent down from the
announcers’ desk to referee this. Chono jumps Taylor and hits a
quick reverse DDT. Taylor gets in some offense including a dropkick
to the stomach and a middle rope double ax to send Chono to the
floor. Back in the ring the atomic drop sets up the Mafia Kick and
the STF ends this. Another quick match.

Booker T vs. Scott Hall

Booker doesn’t mean anything much
so this isn’t going to be very competitive. Hall throws the
toothpick in his face and hits his driving shoulders. Booker comes
back with a hook kick and follows with some elbows but jumps into the
fallaway slam. Hall loads up his belly to back superplex but gets
knocked off. The top rope cross body gets a very slow count,
resulting in an argument so that the Outsider’s Edge can get the pin.

Rating: D+.
Nothing
but
a
warmup
for
Hall
here
before
he
faces
Luger
tomorrow
night.
Booker
didn’t
mean
anything
yet
so
this
would
be
like
a
big
star
facing
Primo
or
Epico
and
not
killing
them
in
thirty
seconds
with
one
punch.
The
referee
stuff
is
already
played
out
though,
so
they’ll
keep
it
up
for
at
least
four
more
months.

Call the NWO Hotline!

Lex Luger vs. Stevie Ray

Nick Patrick is referee here for no
apparent reason. Ray jumps him in the corner and stomps him down but
Lex comes back quickly. Stevie sends him to the floor and kicks him
once before Luger comes back and Racks him easily. Short again.

Here’s Hogan for the last five
minutes of the show. The fans in a big city of course love him.
Make that three minutes after posing. Hogan talks about using his
arms as wings for their jet to get into Chicago. He talks about how
he’s going to beat up Giant on Saturday and now he’s talking about
Giant’s Mama. Cue Giant but security stops him. Giant screams a lot
to end the show.

Overall Rating:
C+.
This
was
one
of
those
shows
where
it
depends
on
your
taste
in
wrestling.
If
you’re
looking
for
good
in
ring
action,
this
isn’t
your
show.
If
you’re
looking
for
something
where
they’re
moving
at
such
a
breakneck
pace
that
you
can’t
really
tell
if
it
was
good
or
bad,
this
is
for
you.
They
plugged
almost
everything
at
Souled
Out
so
for
a
go
home
show,
this
was
quite
good.
While
the
matches
weren’t
anything
of
note,
they
only
ran
about
two
minutes
each
so
it’s
hard
to
get
annoyed
with
them.
I’m
not
sure
why
the
Clash
needed
to
exist
at
this
point
because
it
was
glossed
over
for
the
most
part.
Decent
Nitro.

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