Monday Nitro – April 21, 1997

Nitro #84
Date: April 21, 1997
Location: Saginaw Civic
Center, Saginaw, Michigan
Commentators: Mike
Tenay, Bobby Heenan, Larry Zbyszko, Tony Schiavone
Reviewed by Tommy Hall
We continue the
marathon of shows between Spring Stampede and Slamboree and the big
story tonight is the decision regarding the future of Eric Bischoff.
Other than that, there isn’t much here as we’re heading towards
Slamboree with a meaningless six man tag team main event. Nothing on
the card looks like anything of note at all. Let’s get to it.

James J. Dillon arrives
to open the show. He doesn’t really mean anything other than being a
legend at this point.
Hogan is FINALLY out of
the intro sequence.
US Title: Yuji
Nagata vs. Dean Malenko
I think this is
Nagata’s company debut so he doesn’t mean much yet. Dean takes him
down to the mat and puts on a headlock. Yuji counters into a
headscissors, followed by an enziguri and a chinlock. Reggie White
is here again so let’s put the camera on him for about ten seconds.
Dean hits a jawbreaker to escape the hold and suplexes Nagata down
for two. We hit chinlock #3 in the third minute of the match, this
one with Dean in control.
Nagata escapes and puts
on a modified STF but after letting it go, Yuji walks into a leg
lariat for two. Nagata tries some kicks but gets caught in a dragon
screw leg whip. The injury doesn’t last long as Yuji superkicks Dean
down and hits an overhead belly to belly for two. Nagata misses
another kick and Dean drops an elbow on the leg before throwing on
the Cloverleaf to retain.
Rating: C.
When they weren’t using the chinlocks this was a pretty fun match.
Dean was on fire in 1997 and there was almost no one he couldn’t have
a good match with. Nagata would come back later in the year and have
an incredibly dull feud with Ultimo Dragon. I understand that these
guys are Japanese legends and are incredibly talented, but it takes a
lot more than a resume in another country and a six minute match on
Nitro to get people to care about you, and most of the guys from
other countries never got the chance to prove otherwise.
Glacier vs. Ciclope
Glacier’s entrance
takes longer than the match as he kicks Ciclope in the head and pins
him in about thirty seconds.
Post match Glacier does
more of his posing stuff until Wrath (not yet named) comes out. The
distraction lets Mortis come in and jump Glacier from behind. Mortis
steals Glacier’s helmet which is like 700 years old or something.
They try to injure Glacier’s eye as this goes on WAY too long. When
the fans spent the entire match chanting GLACIER SUCKS, giving this
whole beatdown nearly four minutes was a bad idea.
Tony tells us that JJ
Dillon is the new head of the executive committee. This brings out
Nick Patrick to give his reasons as to why he should be let back into
WCW. This isn’t exactly Benoit and Mysterio from last week in the
opening segments.
TV Title: Ultimo
Dragon vs. Bobby Eaton
Eaton pounds him down
to start for a surprising early advantage. Dragon fires off the
kicks though and Bobby has no idea what to do. You would think after
hanging out with Stan Lane for so many years he would be familiar
with martial arts. Sonny offers a quick distraction and Eaton gets
dropkicked to the floor. Onoo kicks Eaton into the barricade and
sends him back inside for the super rana and the Dragon Sleeper to
keep the title in Japan.
Regal says he isn’t
dating Sarah Ferguson and that he’ll get the TV Title back. He
actually would, which makes you wonder what the point was in having
Dragon win it in the first place at all, when Dragon would win it
back a few weeks later.
Meng vs. Chris
Meng immediately
clubbers him down and all of the fans look at something in the crowd,
presumably a fight. Jericho and Meng chop it out with the savage
taking over. Chris hits a middle rope dropkick but Meng won’t go
down. Meng hits a belly to back suplex for one and then chokes a
bit. The fans are finally sitting down. Now they look at something
else. Geez what is going on over there?
Jericho hits a
spinwheel kick but Meng won’t go down. An enziguri misses for the
Canadian so he tries a standing Lionsault. Meng literally stands
there while Jericho hits him and slides down Meng’s body. This is
getting embarrassing in a hurry. The Canadian hits a German on the
Tongan for two but a rana attempt is countered into a hot shot.
Tongan Death Grip gets the win for Meng.
Rating: D-.
Oh this was bad and the majority of that seems to be on Meng. He
wouldn’t sell ANYTHING here, as Jericho was hitting all kinds of
kicks but Meng would just stare at him. I’m assuming this was the
beginning of Meng push #84 which would likely wind up going nowhere
at all.
Jimmy Hart says that
was a message to Benoit, who faces Meng at Slamboree. Oh so there
was a point to it. Sullivan and Jackie (about as close to falling
out of a dress as you can be without being censored) come out to talk
about Benoit too. When is the retirement match already? This time
Sullivan rants about his kids and says something about sorority
sisters for his daughter. Meng goes after Sullivan for no apparent
reason but Jackie gets in his way. Meng speaks English and says that
if it wasn’t for her, he would take both of them. WHAT WAS THE POINT
Video on Benoit.
Steiner Brothers vs.
Public Enemy
Before the Steiners
come out we cut to the back where the Steiners are fighting with the
Dungeon of Doom. The Steiners are the hometown boys here and their
dad is here. Rick and Grunge start with Grunge being powerslammed
down almost immediately. Off to Rocco who grabs a headlock but Scott
tags himself in. He picks up Rocco and throws him at Grunge out of a
gorilla press in a scary power display. Back to Rick vs. Grunge
after the Public Enemy bails to the floor for a bit. A double
clothesline puts Rick down but Rocco misses a flip dive off the top.
Not that it matters as Konnan/Morrus run in for the double DQ.
Hour #2 begins so we
get the usual recap.
Here’s JJ for his
introductory speech, which isn’t even good enough to put in the ring.
Tony interrupts him to ask about Nick Patrick. JJ says he’ll
consider the reinstatement. As for Bischoff, he has no authority but
he still has a contract and he can still be around. JJ goes into a
bunch of legal jargon and for some reason Mr. Wallstreet and Big
Bubba are under contract to WCW instead of the NWO. Bischoff comes
out and says bite me. Eric explains how great he is and how he
doesn’t care what anyone else says.
JJ says Eric has made
the center of the wrestling universe WCW instead of Stamford,
Connecticut. Eric says bite me. JJ says this isn’t acceptable but
Bischoff leaves. Since it’s JJ Dillon, he talks about shoes to close
things out (old school fans will get that reference). Absolutely
nothing was accomplished here, but thank goodness they got a
wrestling guy to be the authority figure so that A, people know who
he is and B, he knows how to talk in front of a live audience.
Scotty Riggs vs.
Jeff Jarrett
This is a rematch from
Saturday Night which the world was waiting for. Jarrett lost on
Saturday and beat him up post match so we needed a second match.
Riggs charges in and gets beaten down by Jeff. A swinging
neckbreaker and release gutwrench suplex put Riggs down followed by
the move that would eventually be called The Stroke.
Riggs gets in some
quick offense but Jarrett backdrops him to the floor which isn’t a DQ
because we’re not enforcing that rule right now. Time to look at
Reggie White as Jeff misses an enziguri. Scotty’s top rope cross
body gets two and here’s Mongo with the briefcase. White jumps the
railing to stop him and Mongo runs away. Jeff takes out the knee and
a quick Figure Four gets the submission win.
Rating: D+.
This was barely above a squash and was pretty much here for the White
vs. Mongo stuff. At the end of the day, I’m not sure who cared about
White vs. McMichael but it’s something different than the Horsemen
arguing over Debra which makes it a huge improvement. Well maybe not
huge but it’s better at least.
Cruiserweight Title:
Syxx vs. Rey Mysterio Jr.
Syxx is defending.
Nash is the only NWO backup here so far. Feeling out process to
start with neither guy being able to get an extended advantage. Rey
takes him to the mat with a headlock and Syxx slaps the mat but it
doesn’t count as a tap for no apparent reason. Back up and Rey slaps
him in the face before headscissoring Syxx down. Syxx gets in a kick
and drops that fast leg to take over.
More kicks in the
corner set up the Bronco Buster which isn’t named yet. That would be
Syxx hitting it as Rey hadn’t yet adopted the move. The champ hooks
an abdominal stretch but gets caught holding the ropes. After Rey is
sent to the floor for a second, Syxx misses another Bronco Buster
back inside. A somewhat messed up West Coast pop gets two and a top
rope rana sends the champ to the floor. Nash comes in and kills Rey
with the Jackknife (which the referee somehow didn’t notice),
allowing Syxx to put on the Buzz Kill for the easy win.
Rating: C.
Not bad here but the ending sucked. Seriously, how could the referee
not notice Rey slamming into the mat two feet away from him? Syxx
would hold the title for a few more months while Rey did his thing
for the foreseeable future. Either way, this was fine but the ending
was about what you expected.
Dillon comes out post
match and yells but nothing comes of it. Rey is taken out on a
Video on Luger.
Hogan is in a movie and
we take a look at him on set.
Here’s the NWO again
with something to say. Syxx talks about how Flair and Piper were out
here last week talking about respect. He wants to know what kind of
respect it is to rip off the Nature Boy gimmick from Buddy Rogers.
Nash isn’t worried about Piper because he looked down the road the
old guys paved and saw nothing but potholes.
He goes on a big rant
about backstage politics, talking about how people’s kids were
getting pushed and that was it. Then they went to New York where
everyone was trying to get the business out of the funk the old guys
left it in. Nash talks about how Piper and Flair are going to have
to beat respect out of them because this is their generation now.
Where do I even begin?
First and foremost,
this is 1997. I’m writing this review in the year 2012 and odds are
if you’re reading this, you knew what Nash was talking about. That
being said, you’re probably in the minority of wrestling fans that
got what Nash meant. Now imagine how small a percentage that was
back in 1997. At the end of the day, most wrestling fans either A,
didn’t get what Nash was talking about and/or B, don’t care what he’s
talking about.
This was the period
where the “real” stuff was brought into play more and more and
it’s a big reason why things started to go downhill a few years
later. Most of the fans, especially WCW fans, wanted to see Hogan
get beaten up and the NWO get what was coming to them. The problem
was that was the logic on paper.
Then you get promos
like this one, where the NWO paints themselves to be the young guys
who are being treated badly and make themselves the heroes. It all
got way more confusing than it needed to be, and when you make things
too confusing in something that’s supposed to be fun and mostly
mindless entertainment, your audience is going to stop caring.
As if that’s not
enough, listen to what he was talking about: people that took over
the business and wouldn’t leave anything behind for anyone else.
Nash’s boss in the NWO is HULK FREAKING HOGAN. So not only would
most fans not have gotten what he meant, but the ones that did would
see him as a hypocrite. Then on top of all THAT, this set up a
totally meaningless six man tag which didn’t mean anything and was
never mentioned again after Slamboree.
Diamond Dallas Page
vs. Psychosis
The luchador hits a
dropkick and goes up, only to get pulled into a Diamond Cutter for
the pin in less than a minute.
Savage pops up in the
crowd and implies Kimberly is in love with him but nothing comes of
Here are Flair, Piper
and Greene to close the show. They call out the NWO and Hall finally
returns to stare at them. The B Team gets beaten down to end the
Overall Rating: D-.
What a worthless show. From the Nash promo to the short (longest
topped out at 6:01) and dull matches to JJ Dillon being treated as
less than nothing on his first night as WCW boss, this was absolutely
horrible. Slamboree would wind up being perhaps the most pointless
show in the history of WCW which is saying a lot when you think about
it. Terrible show tonight with absolutely nothing of value.
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