Monday Nitro – March 24, 1997

Monday Nitro #80
Date: March 24, 1997
Location: Duluth
Convention Center, Duluth, Minnesota
Commentators: Mike
Tenay, Bobby Heenan, Tony Schiavone, Larry Zbyszko
Reviewed by Tommy Hall
Another Nitro this week
with another stacked card of eleven matches. There isn’t much
different from last week as Hogan is still afraid of Sting and the
main feud is still Page vs. Savage for the PPV. Flair is still out
with an injury as he would be for the next six weeks or so. There
just isn’t much to talk about at the moment and there won’t be for a
few more months. Let’s get to it.

We open with a recap of
last week’s challenge from Savage to Page.
Opening sequence, which
still has Hogan in the red and yellow as the featured person.
Larry Hennig is here.
US Title: Dean
Malenko vs. Konnan
Dean is defending and
has a big bandage over his left eye. Apparently tonight DiBiase has
ordered WCW to give Savage a TV Title match vs. Prince Iaukea.
Konnan takes him to the mat and grabs a leg hold which Dean escapes
into a standoff. Konna hits him in the back as we hear from Syxx
about Dean Malenko. It’s implied that Eddie and Syxx have something
going on. Konnan powerbombs him down for two. Dean comes back with
a leg lariat but Konnan hooks La Majistral for two. Konnan misses a
“dropkick” off the top so Dean can grab the Cloverleaf to retain.
Rating: D+.
Nothing to see here as the match existed to let Syxx talk. Dean was
awesome at this point and could hang with anyone, which is why his
match with Benoit at Spring Stampede was probably a good idea.
Konnan looked better than usual here but he would join the NWO later
in the year and ruin whatever he had going for him.
Dean thinks Eddie and
Syxx are in cahoots.
We get a clip from
Uncensored of Wrath debuting and attacking Glacier after he beat
Mortis.
Mortis vs. Jerry
Flynn
Dang I thought this was
Jerry Lynn at first. They trade missed kicks until Mortis runs him
over with a shoulder block. Flynn kicks him down but Mortis hits a
reverse mule kick in the corner to take over. Since he’s not that
smart, Mortis poses on the ropes and Flynn kicks him down to take
over. Jerry charges into a superkick though and a spinwheel kick
puts Flynn down again. A middle rope Fameasser gets two but Flynn
powerbombs him out of the corner to take over again. Mortis kicks
him down twice and the Flatliner (Samoan Drop from the middle rope)
gets the pin.
Rating: D.
This is a match where the styles contrasted badly. Martial arts vs.
martial arts isn’t a pairing that is going to work most of the time
and when one of the guys is Jerry Flynn, the match is going to be
pretty bad most of the time. Mortis was a character that was hard to
use properly because he was pretty one dimensional and was only there
to torment Glacier. His offense was pretty good though.
La Parka vs.
Juventud Guerrera
La Parka has a
sombrero, what looks like a skull covered bathrobe and a belt with a
skull larger than his head in the middle. Juvy hits a spin kick to
start but La Parka comes back with his strut. This would be the
start of his more famous personality. Juvy knocks him to the floor
and hits a HUGE dive to the outside to take Parka out. Back in a
springboard missile dropkick gets two but La Parka takes him down
with a clothesline.
A springboard moonsault
completely misses (even Tony says so) but it gets two anyway. A
spinwheel kick puts Juvy down to the floor and a bit dive puts
Guerrera down again. Juvy comes back with a (mostly missed)
springboard flip dive followed by an attempted top rope rana, but
Parka powerbombs him down from the top. La Parka goes up and hits
what we would call the Whisper in the Wind for the pin.
Rating: B-.
When all else fails, let two luchadores go out and show off for the
crowd. These guys were flying all over the place and looked great
doing it. It got the crowd going too which is more than almost
anything did last week. La Parka wasn’t quite known for his high
flying but he did it well enough here. Good stuff.
We get a clip from
Souled Out with the Steiners winning the titles, only to get screwed
out of them the next night. Bischoff was then suspended a few weeks
ago so he can’t return the titles later. The Outsiders ran the
Steiners off the road in a car wreck and then laid out Rick Steiner.
This was a very well built feud, but the problem was the Steiners
never got the big win over the Outsiders, so the payoff was never
there, making the whole thing a letdown to the fans.
The Steiners say
they’re ready for Spring Stampede, in a match that never happened
because Scott Hall no showed the show.
High Voltage vs.
Public Enemy
See how deep the tag
division used to be? Public Enemy cleans the ring out quickly until
we get down to Rocco vs. Rage. High Voltage takes over and it’s off
to Kaos with a double ax off the top. Back to Rage who slams him
down but misses a standing moonsault. Double tag brings in Kaos and
Grunge (what names these teams have) and Public Enemy cleans house.
They hit a springboard version of the Quebecers’ Cannonball but opt
to put Rage on the table instead. A springboard dive puts Rage
through it and here’s Jarrett with the briefcase to the head of
Grunge so Kaos can get the pin.
Rating: D.
This was barely long enough to rate and it was nothing of note. High
Voltage was usually the jobbing team so this was a pretty sizable
upset at the time. The match was there to further the Horsemen vs.
Public Enemy, which was a feud I’m sure dozens of people were dying
to see. The double team flip dives weren’t bad though.
Giant talks about
having to possibly face Lex in the four corners match at the PPV.
For some reason they had a four corners match with Harlem Heat vs.
Luger vs. Giant with the winner getting a title shot which didn’t
wind up coming for about three months. Giant doesn’t want to fight
Lex and Lex says he can feel the balance of power shifting because of
Sting.
Super Calo vs.
Psychosis
Psychosis starts with a
spin kick but Calo fires off kicks to the chest to take over. He
climbs the corner but his spinning cross body winds up being more of
an armdrag. Psychosis crotches him on top and hits a spinwheel kick
to the back of the head. Crucifix gets two for Calo and he dropkicks
Psychosis to the floor. Back in and Psychosis slams him down and
hits the guillotine legdrop for the pin. It’s as out of nowhere as
it sounds.
Rating: D+.
Not much here as the match was sloppy at times and the ending came
out of absolutely nowhere. Calo controlled most of the match until
Psychosis hit one move and then his finisher. This was a far cry
from the other cruiserweight match earlier in the night so it’s not
as easy as it looks.
Hour #2 starts so we
hit the recap button even though there isn’t much to recap.
Chris Benoit vs.
Hugh Morrus
Brawl to start as Tenay
says this is a real life feud with Benoit vs. Sullivan. Morrus hits
a gorilla press on Benoit followed by a running corner splash. We
get what sounds like a MORRUS chant. Benoit comes back with a
release German but Konnan shoves him down when he’s loading up the
Swan Dive. No Laughing Matter gets the quick pin.
Sullivan comes out for
the three way beatdown but Malenko, who isn’t a Horseman yet, comes
out for a failed save. Flair comes out for the real save in his
first physical action in almost six months. Benoit and Malenko stare
each other down.
Faces of Fear vs.
Harlem Heat
This is a rematch from
Saturday Night which was thrown out for something involving Luger and
the Giant. Booker and Barbarian start things off. They get into a
power struggle, won by the Samoan. The Faces of Fear double team
Booker to the floor as the Heat are in trouble early. Back in and
Booker hits a spinning cross body off the top for two. Off to Stevie
who uses his usual array of stomps.
Meng comes in and will
have none of Stevie’s bad offense so he hits him in the face. Back
to Barbarian as Stevie is in trouble. Never mind as a big boot to
the face puts Barbarian down. I know Stevie has never been
considered brilliant but apparently he doesn’t know his Samoan
stereotypes. A middle rope ax kick puts Barbarian down but Meng
comes in for a double headbutt to take over on Booker. Booker tries
a slam but Meng falls on him for tow.
Booker gets taken into
the wrong corner and it’s off to Barbarian for more punishment. Side
salto gets two. Back to Meng for an abdominal stretch but Sherri’s
distraction lets Stevie comes in sans tag, which is just fine
apparently. Booker comes back in almost immediately, being launched
off the top onto Meng for no cover. The side kick gets two on Meng.
Meng hits a sitout powerbomb out of nowhere for two and everything
breaks down. Meng misses a charge in the corner, hitting Sherri in
the process, which allows Booker to grabs a fast rollup for the pin.
Rating: C-.
This is one of those matches where if you cut out about two minutes
of it, the match would be a lot better. It’s also very apparent how
much more talented Booker was than Stevie, as Booker carried the
offense for his team while Stevie did little more than stomp on
either Samoan at any given time. The Faces of Fear were great in the
jobber to the stars tag team role.
Here are the Horsemen,
as in Benoit and Flair, to talk about Anderson being attacked last
week. Benoit thinks it was Sullivan but wants to know why Malenko
made the save earlier. Flair offers Piper the spot on the team
again.
Madusa vs. Malia
Hosaka
This is another of
those random WCW women’s matches. They shove each other to start and
Hosaka puts on a Boston Crab. The fans chant USA as Tony talks about
Glacier for some reason. Off to a chinlock by Hosaka which is pretty
easily countered. She tries a rolling cradle but Madusa stands there
instead of falling down. Madusa grabs the bridging German for the
pin. Too short to rate but this was pretty bad.
Jim Duggan vs.
Renegade
Apparently Renegade was
too rough on Saturday Night against Riggs. This is part of
Renegade’s heel turn which was one of the most questionable decisions
ever. Not that it was a bad idea, but because no one was sure why
someone gave Renegade an angle at all. Wait if he’s a heel now why
is he slapping hands? Duggan beats up an NWO sign with his board.
Duggan is in gold boots here for some reason. He sets to wrap his
fist with tape but throws it to the fans instead.
Feeling out process to
start with Renegade not really acting any differently than he usually
did on these shows. Tony implies that WWF might be trying to steal
Renegade for some reason. If so then they’re picking a bad guy to
steal as Duggan hammers him down and then into the corner to take
over. They try a bulldog out of the corner but Duggan falls down
like a headlock takeover. Off to a chinlock followed by the
cartwheel elbow in the corner. Duggan gets another roll of tape for
the punch to the head for the pin.
Rating: F.
Chris Jericho, Eddie Guerrero, Rey Mysterio, Diamond Dallas Page,
Giant, Luger and I could go on. These are people that didn’t have a
match this week but these two guys got to be on TV with a heel turn
for Renegade in the process. Then they have Duggan beat him? What
in the world was the point of this?
Video on Sting and how
WCW needs him.
Steiner Brothers vs.
Amazing French Canadians
The Canadians do the
national anthem before the match. Scott and Pierre start us off and
Steiner hits a butterfly powerbomb to take over. The Steiners clear
the ring but Scott gets in trouble for a bit. Pierre slams him down
but jumps into the boot of Scott. There’s the tag to Rick and
everything breaks down. The idea is that Rick is still messed up
because of his ear injury from the car wreck. Jacques piledrives
Rick but Colonel Parker misses his flag pole shot. Cannonball hits
Rick but there’s no referee. Parker’s boot is thrown in but Rick
intercepts it and blasts Pierre for the pin.
Rating: D-.
Another horrible match here with no point to it at all. The
Canadians were just not that good and certainly weren’t interesting
at all. Then again it may have been Colonel Parker and his
annoyances that kept me from caring here. Either way the match was
bad with neither team seeming interested at all.
TV Title: Prince
Iaukea vs. Randy Savage
Main event time. The
full NWO comes out because Randy Savage needs support against Prince
freaking Iaukea. Nash shouts to HBK on the way to the ring.
Apparently the title challenge isn’t just a one off thing. The NWO
can challenge for any title anytime forever. Prince hits a shoulder
for two and Savage hits the floor.
Back in and Iaukea hits
a springboard cross body for two. A top rope cross body misses and
Savage clotheslines him on the top rope to take over. Savage drops
the elbow but pulls him up at two. Page runs in for the DQ, because
why would he want to face Savage for the TV Title? To be fair I
guess the idea is that he wanted to hurt Savage no matter what. I
can live with that.
Rating: D.
Unfortunately this was long enough to rate. Iaukea was so freaking
boring and bland that there was almost no way to care about him.
Savage facing him here was such a weird matchup as it was in essence
a squash match for a title, which isn’t something you often see.
This was nothing but a way for Page to run in though.
Page gets destroyed to
end the show.
Overall Rating: D.
This really was a tale of two hours. The first one was good and had
some solid action, but the second hour was just dreadful, with bad
matches that weren’t interesting at all. I mean come on, Prince
Iaukea in the main event of a show? Thankfully there’s only one more
episode before Spring Stampede so we can move on to the next boring
PPV build. This show was a chore to sit through, at least in the
second half.
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