Monday Nitro – April 14, 1997

Nitro #83
Date: April 14, 1997
Location: Philadelphia
Spectrum, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Commentators: Tony
Schiavone, Larry Zbyszko, Bobby Heenan, Mike Tenay
Reviewed by Tommy Hall
These are taking longer
than I was hoping and now that I’ve got more time on my hands due to
being done with the PPV reviews, I’ll be doing four of these at a
time instead of two in a row. Also I kind of like these shows more
than some of the WWF shows I’ve been doing so it’s more fun for me
this way. This is another of the ten matches deep cards tonight but
I wouldn’t bet on there being much going on here tonight with the big
names. Let’s get to it.

Oh and by the way:
we’re in Philadelphia the night after ECW’s Barely Legal. I wonder
if we’ll hear a certain chant tonight.
We open with a recap of
Nash and Hogan having their summit last week, as well as Sting
lowering from the rafters to chase off the NWO.
Apparently Luger wants
his earned title shot tonight. This brings the NWO to the announce
desk (no Hogan). Nash says that if Luger wants the shot, he has to
beat Nash tonight.
Chris Benoit vs.
The place erupts for
Benoit. Granted it may be for that awesome Horsemen theme. I could
listen to that all day. Benoit is on fire to start and takes
Barbarian down, hitting a sunset flip and northern lights suplex for
two. Jimmy trips up Benoit on the floor and gets punched in the face
for his efforts. For Benoit’s efforts though, Barbarian kicks him in
the face. Advantage Barbarian.
Back in the ring Benoit
snaps off a German but gets crotched on the top. Barbarian hits a
BIG overhead belly to belly superplex for two. The savage (Barbarian
I mean) misses a swan dive before Benoit hits his own for the pin.
For a two and a half minute match, this was AWESOME.
Post match the Dungeon
comes in and destroys Benoit until the Horsemen make the save.
Benoit says that he’s going to destroy Sullivan before Sullivan
destroys him. This feud has been going on for what, almost a year
US Title: Hector
Guerrero vs. Dean Malenko
Dean gets a huge
reaction of course. Apparently Bischoff is going to get a decision
made on his future next week. They fight over a wristlock to start
followed by some very fast near falls. Dean finally takes him down
with a drop toehold and puts on a chinlock. Hector counters an
abdominal stretch to send Dean to the floor and follows him out with
kind of a standing Vader Bomb onto Dean. Sunset flip back in gets
two for the challenger (Guerrero in case you’re rather slow) but Dean
powerbombs him down and puts on the Cloverleaf for the tap out.
Another short but very fast paced match.
Eddie comes out to save
despite his arm being in a sling.
Juventud Guerrera
vs. Rey Mysterio Jr.
Reggie White is here
and will fight McMichael at some point in the near future. They
fight over a wristlock to start until Juvy hits a spin kick to the
face to take over. Rey counters into a kind of reverse crucifix
backbreaker and the fans start the first loud ECW chant of the night.
Rey headscissors him over the top and out to the floor where both
guys are down.
As Mysterio gets back
in, Juvy powerbombs him off the apron and back to the floor. Back in
and a springboard knee to the back keeps Rey in trouble. It’s time
for the gymnastics portion of the match as neither guy can connect
with anything. Rey hits the West Coast Pop out of nowhere for the
quick pin.
Rating: C-.
Considering who was in here, this was a disappointment. They weren’t
really moving as fast as you would expect them to and there weren’t
any high spots. Still though the match wasn’t bad and Rey is always
worth checking out in 1997. That being said, this was easily the
weakest match of the night so far.
Luna Vachon wants the
Women’s Title.
TV Title: Lane
Carlson vs. Ultimo Dragon
They’re flying through
these matches tonight. I’m assuming the title is on the line here.
Carlson is more famous as Lenny Lane. Feeling out process to start
until Dragon escapes a backdrop and fires off the rapid kicks. A
great looking dropkick takes Lane’s head off for two. Lane comes
back with a bad looking Rocker Dropper for two and a bulldog gets the
same. A clothesline puts Dragon on the floor and Lane hits a flip
dive off the top to crush Dragon. Dragon throws Lane back in and
kicks him through the ropes to take over. Back in and the top rope
superrana sets up the tiger suplex for the pin for Dragon to retain.
Rating: C-.
Another fast paced and surprisingly watchable match. This is what
WCW was great at: taking a named guy and putting him out there with
some no name and letting the no name show off a little bit. Lane
would go on to be the Cruiserweight Champion when the company was
falling apart.
Cruiserweight Title:
Syxx vs. Prince Iaukea
We’re having an extreme
lack of promos tonight. Iaukea speeds things up to start, showing
off more fast paced offense in 30 seconds than he did in seven weeks
as TV Champion. A kick to the face and a mat slam put Syxx down but
he comes back with a spinwheel kick. Syxx is Cruiserweight Champion
here but I don’t think the title is on the line. We put the camera
on Reggie White for about 15 seconds and come back to Syxx holding a
chinlock. We have a Hat Guy sighting as well.
Syxx takes him into the
corner and hits the Bronco buster but something similar to a Swanton
misses. Apparently this is for the title. Iaukea starts a comeback
and hits a springboard clothesline for two before going up. Syxx
crotches him but gets shoved down so Prince can badly mess up a top
rope sunset flip for two. Syxx kicks the Prince down and hooks on
the Buzz Kill (crossface chickenwing) to retain.
Rating: C-.
The good part here is almost all because of Syxx. Iaukea was just so
freaking dull, and when you had guys like Dragon, Mysterio, Guerrera,
Benoit and Malenko around at this point, there was no room for a guy
like Iaukea. As usual with Waltman, I like him WAY more when he’s
against a smaller guy. It’s a shame he killed the Cruiserweight
Title for so long though.
Here are Flair, Piper
and Kevin Greene for a chat. Piper rambles about bald guys being
cowards and something about gorillas in the Congo. He talks about
Bischoff wearing Rodman shirts and implies the NWO is all coming out
of the closet. If he wakes up with a dead horse’s head in his bed,
he’s having a barbecue. Now he goes on a rant about people pouring
asphalt and cutting down trees so they could start Starrcade and
Wrestlemania. I assure you, this promo doesn’t make much more sense
in full context. I think he’s talking about paving the way for the
NWO guys.
Kevin says he did
everything Hogan told him to do as a kid and then Hogan stabbed
everyone in the back. The NWO is a bunch of rookies that are here
just for the money. Greene uses the chopping wood and laying asphalt
thing and it’s about respect apparently. For a celebrity that isn’t
used to being on a live mic, Greene was pretty good here.
Flair talks about being
trained by Verne Gagne in 1973 and walking into St. Louis in 1983 (at
the age of 35. Think about that for a minute. At the time this is
being written, Sheamus is 33. Flair was two years older than that
back in 1983. That’s hard to fathom.) and wrestling Dick the
Bruiser. Then in 1993 he wrestled Savage in the Hoosier Dome (it was
92 but close enough) and in 2003 he’ll still be going. That’s
actually true and he even won a title that year.
High Voltage vs.
Public Enemy
This is a street fight
and it’s in Philadelphia. Not a bad way to start the second hour.
You can barely hear Tony over the reaction for Rock and Grunge.
Public Enemy sets up two tables at ringside before the bell and bring
in trashcan lids to get us going. The chant starts before the bell
even rings. There are about five trashcan lids in the ring and all
of them go upside various people’s heads. I’m not really going to
try to call anything in this as it barely resembles wrestling.
A horrible piledriver
to Rage onto a trashcan doesn’t really do much damage so Public Enemy
brings out a toilet seat instead. Heenan suggests dropping a
dumpster on people from the ceiling. After a brawl on the floor,
Kaos gets in some offense and is promptly booed out of the building.
The fans are literally standing in the crowd. Another piledriver on
the trashcan puts Kaos down and it’s table time. Two are stacked on
top of each other and Rage is crushed with the Quebecers’ Cannonball
move for the pin by Rock.
Rating: C+.
The match here was completely beside the point. This was a way to
fire up the crowd and to put it mildly, it worked very well. The
fans erupted over the Public Enemy because they were ECW legends and
every ECW fan was on cloud nine at this point. The match was
basically a squash and that’s all it should be.
Giant vs. Big Al
Speaking of ECW, Big Al
is more famous as 911. We’re told that Giant let Luger pin him at
the PPV because Giant owed Luger a favor from when Luger was the
first person to welcome Giant back to WCW. That makes sense.
Anyway, chokeslam ends this in like a minute.
Diamond Dallas Page
vs. Konnan
Page works on the arm
to start but Konnan stomps him down in the corner for a bit. Page
rams him into the buckle, shrugs off a poke to the eye, and hits the
Diamond Cutter for the fast pin. Typical Page match from this time
Savage and Liz are in
the crowd with Randy telling Kimberly to stop calling him. Page
charges after Savage but Macho escapes.
Harlem Heat vs. Jeff
Jarrett/Steve McMichael
Jeff and Booker get us
going with Booker running him over a few times. Mongo comes in and
wants to fight the bigger member of the Heat in Stevie Ray. Mongo
powerslams him down for two as we take a break. Back with Jarrett
getting double teamed in the corner and taken down via a double
elbow. Stevie comes in and pounds Jeff down again before tagging out
to Booker for an ax kick. The Heat hit a double suplex for two and
it’s off to a chinlock from Stevie.
Booker comes in to
break up a sunset flip as we hear about some guy named Tiger Woods
winning the Masters. Booker kicks Jarrett down again but a second
kick misses. Jeff tries the Figure Four instead of tagging and
everything breaks down. The briefcase is brought in but Sherri
steals it from Mongo. Sherri tries to hit Mongo with it but the shot
doesn’t seem to do much. The girls fight and the match gets thrown
out. In a likely unintentional spot after the match, Sherri swings
and misses Debra but hits her in the head on the back swing. Good.
Rating: D+.
This incarnation of the Horsemen just were not that good. I get the
idea that they’re supposed to be arguing, but that went on FOREVER
and never went anywhere. How many weeks in a row now have I talked
about the exact same kind of things happening in these matches? Oh
and what was the point of the ending? It doesn’t help anything.
Apparently the Horsemen
win by DQ. Ok then.
Gene talks to Mongo
about his match with White at the PPV. As usual, Mongo cuts a heel
promo despite being in a face faction. Mongo blasts White for a bit
on the mic until White jumps the barricade. Mongo spits in his face
and it’s on.
Kevin Nash vs. Lex
The reinforcements come
out for the NWO almost immediately. Nash pounds him into the corner
and hits the framed elbow. A charge (yes, a charge from Kevin Nash)
misses Luger but Lex has to stop to knock Syxx down, allowing Nash to
kick Luger’s head off. Side slam gets two and Snake Eyes puts Luger
down again. Nash hits the running hip attack to Luger’s back while
Luger is in 619 position. Luger comes back with the steel forearm
and here’s the NWO for the big beatdown and the DQ.
Rating: D.
This was just a way to build up to the ending with the big NWO run in
and the post match stuff. Nash was doing nothing but basic stuff and
Luger hit about two moves in total. Then again, they only had about
four minutes to work with so it may be unfair to blame the guys in
the match. On the other hand, it’s Kevin Nash in 1997 so we can
safely blame him.
Page tries to make the
save but gets beaten down eventually. Giant comes out but Nash has a
lead pipe. Sting walks down the ramp with three ball bats, giving
one each to Giant, Luger and Page. Sting pulls out one for himself
and the ring is cleared to end the show.
Overall Rating: C+.
As usual, when you let the Cruiserweights do their stuff, the show is
good but when the other guys in there, things start to fall apart.
The crowd helped this show a lot as they were erupting for everything
all night. While it wasn’t a great show because of the lack of
anything really happening, the wrestling was enough to carry it.
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