Monday Nitro – June 2, 1997

Monday Nitro #90
Date: June 2, 1997
Location: Hara Arena, Dayton, Ohio
Commentators: Mike Tenay, Tony Schiavone, Larry Zbyszko, Bobby Heenan
Reviewed by Tommy Hall
It’s
hard to believe we’re almost halfway through 1997. I’m digging this
idea of doing four shows at once as you get through the storylines a lot
faster which is good when the stories are really dull, as they have
been lately. Sting and Hogan is clearly being set up as a huge match
somewhere in the future, which is the start of probably the biggest
angle in the history of the company. Hopefully we get more of that
tonight. Let’s get to it.

Hall
and Syxx are in the ring to open the show. Hall says that the fans have
been asking for more of the NWO because they’re the reason everyone is
watching. They say they won at Slamboree and that Flair is recuperating
in the La Brea tar pits. Hall calls out Flair for a fight but we get JJ
Dillon instead. JJ says Flair is on his way here and tonight it’s Flair
vs. Hall. Hall says no but if he doesn’t do it, then the Outsiders are
stripped of the belts.
Opening sequence.
Alex Wright vs. Glacier
Wright
wisely jumps Glacier during his elaborate entrance and takes over
early. A spinwheel kick takes Glacier down and Wright pounds away in the
corner. He stops to dance though and Glacier gets in some kicks,
including the Cryonic Kick for the fast pin.
Post
match here’s James Vanderberg for a distraction along with Mortis and
Wrath who are spotted before they come in. The beatdown begins but
Wright wants to get some revenge. That bell ringing over and over again
is really annoying. Mortis aims a kick at Glacier but kicks Wright
instead. Glacier fights both monsters off.
Buff Bagwell vs. Joe Gomez
Bagwell
pounds him down and grabs the rope to avoid a Gomez dropkick. Bagwell
talks to the camera for awhile before walking into a bad dropkick by
Gomez. Joe throws some bad punches in the corner but gets dropped into
the buckle and thrown out to the floor. Scott Norton, Buff’s partner,
gets in some shots and sends Gomez back in for the Blockbuster and the
pin by Buff.
Rating: D.
Gomez was never in another match on Nitro and that’s a good thing. The
guy just wasn’t that good and it’s pretty clear to see why he never
amounted to anything. Bagwell wasn’t much better, although the
Blockbuster has always been a favorite move of mine. Just a squash here
but it was pretty bad looking while it lasted.
Mike Tenay gives us a quick profile on Ernest Miller.
We get a clip of Roddy Piper’s latest movie.
Hugh Morrus vs. Prince Iaukea
Konnan
jumps Morrus on his way to the ring. Morrus pounds him down but he’s a
bit shaken. They mess up a spot where Iaukea is supposed to slide
between Morrus’ legs so Morrus swings his leg out wide, but Iaukea runs
around instead and runs into Morrus’ leg. Thankfully Iaukea rolls him up
a second later for the pin. This seems to be an injury angle for
Morrus.
Here’s
JJ to talk about the main event but more importantly that we need #1
contenders to the tag titles after the PPV. He thinks it’s the Steiners,
who are barely on Nitro anymore. This draws out Sherri and Harlem Heat
who disagree with this ruling. JJ says if the Steiners win tonight, they
get the next shot after Flair and Piper. Sherri says that’ll get a
reaction.
We
recap Page vs. Savage with the focus on Page. He talks about losing his
first 79 matches and working his way up to become what he is now. He
kept getting better and developed the Diamond Cutter, which he used to
beat Savage in their first match. I want to see these guys fight again
which is a good sign.
Masahiro Chono/Great Muta vs. Steiner Brothers
Five
or six years earlier, this is a candidate for match of the year before
the bell even rings. Scott and Muta start with Muta firing off a very
quick kick to send Scott ducking back into the corner. Scott armdrags
him down and it’s a stalemate. A suplex sends Muta flying so Muta goes
to the strikes. Muta takes him down and we’re told that Flair has
arrived. Scott butterfly powerbombs and gorilla press slams Muta down,
sending him out to the floor.
Rick
comes in and Muta bails right back to the floor to hide. Rick stomps on
an NWO shirt and it’s off to Chono. The two of them have a test of
strength but Rick suplexes him down instead of seeing who wins. A
Steiner Line sends Chono to the outside and Muta wants nothing to do
with Rick either. Back in and Chono gets powerslammed down as Scott
takes out Muta. All Steiners so far.
Chono
gets back in against Scott and the Japanese guys finally get in some
shots to the back to take over. Scott gets the tag to Rick and the NWO
guys are taken down almost immediately. The Steiners were in trouble for
about 30 seconds. Chono hits the Mafia Kick on Scott and there’s a
handspring elbow to Muta. Chono accidentally Mafia Kicks Muta and the
Steiners load up the double bulldog on Muta. Harlem Heat runs in and
knocks out Rick with a chair, giving Muta the easy pin.
Rating: C-.
This was fast paced, but it came off almost like a squash. That doesn’t
exactly make the NWO guys seem to be any kind of a threat as the
Steiners were in trouble for about a minute out of a nearly ten minute
match. The ending was obvious given what Sherri said earlier, but it
makes sense all things considered.
Post
match Harlem Heat says they’re the #1 contenders now but JJ says the
match is under review. What is there to review exactly? Harlem Heat
interfered and the Steiners lost because of it. It’s not that
complicated, but this is WCW where you need a meeting to determine what
color the sky is.
It’s
hour #2 and after the recap, here’s Ric Flair for a chat. Flair rants
as you would expect him to and a lot of it is censored.
US Title: Dean Malenko vs. Mr. Wallstreet
Feeling
out process to start with neither guy being able to get any real
control. A rollup by Dean is blocked and Nick Patrick yells at
Wallstreet for holding the ropes. Patrick yells about using the hair and
the match slows down again. Wallstreet sends Dean to the floor as
things continue to not get started. Back in and Dean grabs a hammerlock
which is quickly broken. Off to a chinlock by the challenger
(Wallstreet) followed by an abdominal stretch. Sweet goodness Wallstreet
is dull.
Dean’s
leg lariat gets two as does a suplex. The Cloverleaf is broken up by a
rake to the eyes but Wallstreet misses a charge and goes flying over the
top and out to the floor. Jeff Jarrett comes in out of nowhere and
trips Malenko for two. Wallstreet doesn’t pay attention and gets caught
in the Cloverleaf to retain the title for Dean. Patrick was between
Wallstreet and the ropes so we have another wrinkle in the Patrick might
be crooked story.
Rating: D.
I love Malenko but my goodness Wallstreet is dull. I mean the guy does
NOTHING but jobber level offense. The other problem is that since he’s
taken on his current gimmick, the Wallstreet name doesn’t mean anything.
This was about Jarrett though which makes the match a little more
forgivable.
Jarrett
wants a rematch with Malenko and says he’ll get it next week on Nitro.
Dean accepts and here’s Mongo. Mongo wants to know why Jarrett came out
here without him and won’t let Debra leave with Jeff. Mongo rants about
Kevin Greene and the people boo Mongo out of the building. Why didn’t
WCW get that no one was interested in this football stuff?
Damien/Ciclope vs. Harlem Heat
Stevie
and Ciclope start things off with the big man stomping Ciclope down
into the corner. A slam puts Ciclope down and it’s off to Booker for a
hook kick. Damien comes in and some Hardy Boys style double teaming
sends Booker to the floor. Booker knees Damien down and it’s back to Ray
as the Heat weren’t in trouble long. Booker sends Damien to the floor
and stomps away on him against the barricade as this breaks down. Here
are the Steiners with a chair to lay out Booker, allowing Damien to hit a
top rope splash for the upset pin.
Rating: D+.
This match was the same thing we’ve had all night: a dull match that
was waiting for the angle advancement that ended it. Damien and Ciclope
wouldn’t go anywhere of course but it’s nice to see some newcomers get a
win, even if it’s tainted like this. Obviously this set up Steiners vs.
Heat and there’s nothing wrong with that. The match was dull though.
Lee Marshall does his thing.
Barbarian vs. Chris Benoit
Apparently
Benoit has to run the Dungeon gauntlet to get another match with
Sullivan. Benoit takes it straight to the corner and stomps Barbarian
down, which is something you almost never see. Barbarian breaks the
German attempt so Benoit settles for a release northern lights suplex.
Jimmy Hart distracts Benoit and Barbie gets in a shot to take over.
There’s a piledriver for two on Benoit and Barbarian is frustrated
already. Barbarian be clubberin in the corner followed by his always
cool release belly to belly superplex. Barbarian loads up something off
the top but gets shoved down. Swan Dive and Crossface end this.
Rating: C.
It wasn’t as good as their match from a few months ago, but this is a
pairing that still works. Barbarian is an interesting case as he has a
pretty standard gimmick but the guy was continuously employed in a major
company for the better part of fifteen years. For a guy like Barbarian,
that’s very impressive.
Benoit says he wants Sullivan now but Hart says Benoit has to beat Meng in a death match at the Bash.
Scott Hall vs. Ric Flair
Flair
goes insane to start and takes Hall down with chops and shots to the
knee. Syxx tries to interfere but Flair takes both guys out with ease.
Hall slugs Flair but Flair chops him into the corner with ease. Flair is
sent into the corner for the Flair Flip but Flair dives off the apron
onto Syxx in a kind of Thess Press. Hall gets in a shot to the back and
takes over by stomping away in the corner.
Syxx
comes in for a Bronco Buster which somehow the referee doesn’t notice.
The fallaway slam hits for two and the fans want Sting. There’s an
abdominal stretch and Syxx does the required arm pull for extra
leverage. Hall pounds Flair down and puts on the sleeper, only to be
countered into a knee crusher. Hall clotheslines Flair down to break up
the Figure Four attempt and they’re both down. Flair chops away and it’s
time to strut. Syxx gets knocked off the apron and then crotched.
There’s a low blow to Hall and Flair is rolling. Flair loads up the
Figure Four but has to fight off Syxx AGAIN. A belt shot to Flair
finally gets the DQ.
Rating: C+.
At the end of the day, Flair is one of the guys you know is going to
have at least a decent match. It’s a rare thing to see one of the higher
ups in the NWO have a big time match and putting him with Flair meant
this was going to be good. Also it plays into the tag title match at the
PPV, making this one of the few matches tonight that actually meant
something and the only one that was good on top of that.
Post
match Flair gets double teamed and I guess the Horsemen are off hunting
elk or something. Mongo and Jarrett FINALLY come out for the save.
Mongo takes either a tag belt or the Cruiserweight belt with him as they
leave for some reason.
Here’s
Savage for the final segment of the show. He brings Gene out with him
by force and looks extra angry/crazy here. Gene talks about DDP and how
Savage is underrating him, so Savage snaps. Gene says someone has to
bring Savage back to earth and Savage gets in his face, drawing out JJ.
JJ threatens Savage with some undefined punishment before saying he’s
lost respect for Savage.
Dillon
says he expects better from Savage than from the rest of the NWO. JJ
talks about how in the old days, Savage would have stood up to Page like
a man. Now Savage is hiding in the crowd and isn’t being a man. Savage
decks JJ and security plus Bischoff come out to pull Savage off.
Bischoff talks Savage down in the corner but the fans chant DDP, which
sends Savage over the edge again. Bischoff says JJ brought this on
himself to end the show.
Overall Rating: D+.
This show wasn’t that interesting overall. Savage vs. Page has me
wanting to watch their match all over again even though I just saw it a
few months ago. Flair’s stuff was good too, but other than that there’s
nothing of interest here. The other matches were all setting up later
stuff and most of them were either bad or too short to be anything.
Great American Bash is coming off like a much better show than Slamboree
so these Nitros have been a lot easier to get through, but other than
the top stuff, most of the matches aren’t doing much for me yet.
Remember to follow me on Twitter @kbreviews