Monday Nitro – July 22, 1997 (Tuesday Nitro)

Nitro #97
Date: July 22, 1997
Location: Jacksonville
Memorial Coliseum, Jacksonville, Florida
Commentators: Mike
Tenay, Bobby Heenan, Tony Schiavone, Larry Zbyszko
This is a special show
on a Tuesday for reasons that weren’t given. Anyway the main event
tonight is a match I remember pretty well for some reason as Benoit
and Flair challenge the Outsiders for the tag titles. Other than
that we get to hear if Luger’s challenge to Hogan for a title match
at Road Wild is accepted or not. Let’s get to it.
Reviewed by Tommy Hall
We open with the Nitro
Girls of course. They’re certainly better looking than Tony and
Here are Hogan and
Bischoff to really get things going. They have a microphone and are
standing in the ring, so Tony deduces that they obviously have
something to say. You can’t buy analysis like this people. They
decide to lay down on the mat and take it easy for this interview.
Hogan says that most of the people in this arena and in the back are
here because of him. Now that we’re in the 90s, he sets the pace for
Hogan talks about how
Konnan is another step of the way closer to world dominance. I
wouldn’t exactly call it that but it’s his company I guess. Luger
wants what Hogan has, because Hogan is the best. Hollywood says he’s
smarter than Luger is and he wants him in a title match one on one.
He accepts the challenge for Sturgis. Hogan seemed to be rambling a
lot more than usual here which is weird for him. He may sound crazy
most of the time but he usually makes it sound decent.
Konnan vs. Tsubusa
I can only find two
other matches for Tsubusa, both of them in six man tags in Japan.
He’s a masked guy with a shiny cape and that’s about it. The 187 and
Tequila Sunrise make Tsubusa tap out in about 25 seconds.
TV Title: Ultimo
Dragon vs. Steven Regal
No entrance for either
guy and Regal is defending. The champ cranks on Dragon’s arm but
Dragon speeds things up to escape. Dragon has the awesome black and
gold attire on tonight so you know he’s going to be on his game.
Regal gets kicked hard by his challgener before doing his headstand
in the corner. Steven takes him down and pounds away on the mat
before putting dragon on the top, only to get taken down by a sunset
bomb. A reverse suplex puts Dragon down so Dragon comes back with
the kicks and a Dragon Sleeper to win the title out of nowhere.
Rating: C+.
Dragon is one of those guys that had the skill in the ring and was
better than most of the other cruiserweights, but the lack of
personality always held him back. Now that being said, this was
solid stuff because it was what Dragon was best at: matches where he
had someone solid to work with and you got a good match out of it in
the process. Solid stuff here, especially for a four minute match.
Here’s Flair to
announce who the next Horseman is going to be. The choice
is…..Syxx? Yeah that Syxx. Syxx comes out and makes fun of the
Horsemen for being old (the announcers actually bought Syxx as the
new member of course) and Flair says Syxx almost cost him his job.
Ric belts him in the face and Benoit comes out to stand between Syxx
and Flair. Syxx promises Outsider revenge and that’s that.
More dancing.
Giant vs. Great Muta
They circle each other
for a bit, Giant no sells some dropkicks and grabs Muta by the
throat, and Muta mists him for the DQ.
The NWO (Vincent and
Savage in this version) comes out for a beatdown but Giant shrugs
them off. Luger comes out to help but Giant grabs him for a
chokeslam….but puts him down before he chokeslams him. He was
blind for that fight and the near chokeslam on Luger. I’m not
entirely sure what the point of the Luger stuff was there.
Dean Malenko vs.
Steve McMichael
Mongo throws him down
to start as we hear about the Nitro Parties, which is exactly what it
sounds like: a bunch of people watching Nitro and filming it. Mongo
puts on a headlock followed by a shoulder to take Dean down, but a
knee drop misses. Steve blocks a sunset flip out of the corner and
hits a kind of World’s Strongest Slam for no cover. Malenko comes
back with a good German Suplex which pops the crowd a bit.
Another powerslam kind
of move puts Dean down and here are Debra and Jarrett for a
distraction. Mongo goes after him but gets guillotined on the top
rope, allowing Dean to hit a dropkick and one of the worst looking
small packages of all time (Mongo’s fault) for the pin. This was
supposed to be an upset because of the size difference, but does
anyone buy Mongo as a bigger talent/star than Dean?
Rating: D.
The best way to sum this match up is in four words: Mongo bad,
Malenko good. Really that’s all there is to it. McMichael tried but
he just never got better no matter how long he was in the ring for.
He couldn’t even get rolled up without it looking terrible. When
Dean Malenko can’t carry you to a decent match, it’s clear you’re not
that good.
Post match Gene asks
Malenko why he’s associating with Jarrett. Dean doesn’t answer
because Mongo comes up. Security takes him off and Jeff pitches a
partnership idea to Dean. Malenko says ok and Debra runs her mouth
because WCW feels we haven’t suffered enough tonight. Jarrett runs
his mouth a bit more and apparently Dean is going to think about it
some more.
Eddie Guerrero vs.
Hector Guerrero
Hector takes him down
with a headscissors but a dropkick misses. Eddie starts stomping but
we head to the floor for a chase. Back in and Hector uses a side
roll to roll Eddie around the ring about four times for two. Eddie
comes back with some biting but another headscissors sends him to the
floor. Hector hits a big plancha on the floor but back inside, Eddie
powerbombs him down and hits the Frog Splash for a fast pin.
Rating: C.
This is the same problem I’ve mentioned before: Hector is a talented
guy, but other than his name, he doesn’t mean much to most WCW
audiences. I get what they were going for here with the sibling
rivalry thing but it’s hard to care here because Hector isn’t a guy
we know as far as his stuff in WCW goes.
Post match Dean comes
in to beat up Eddie. He puts him in the Cloverleaf but Hector breaks
it up. Dean then beats up Hector as well.
Hour #2 begins with no
pyro again.
JJ Dillon says he’s got
a major talent acquisition to announce. Dancing Stevie Richards
comes up to say that he’s signed a contract. JJ wants to talk about
Raven so Stevie says he needs to go see Raven in the front row.
Dillon offers Raven the contract, saying that everything he wanted is
in the deal. Raven is confused but Richards says that he negotiated
Raven’s contract himself. Apparently Bird Boy is almost making as
much money as Richards and gets a rental car with a tape deck. Raven
goes on another rant and rips up the contract. Oh and he hits
Richards too.
Lex Luger vs. Scott
Bagwell and Vincent are
here with Norton. Luger hits a hip toss to start but Norton comes
back with a clothesline to take over. Luger comes back and here’s
the NWO run-in to give Lex the DQ win.
Luger cleans house and
Racks Vincent. Lex talks a bit until Hogan comes out to exchange
some brief insults.
The Outsiders arrive
and Konnan is here to meet them.
La Parka/Psychosis
vs. Mortis/Wrath
Tonight it’s Hall/Nash
vs. Benoit/Flair, presumably for the titles. Before the bell, we cut
to the back to see Hennig and Flair talking. Apparently it was
supposed to be Hennig coming out earlier when Syxx appeared. Wrath
and La Parka start things off with the skeleton man (La Parka) taking
over with some kicks. He goes up but jumps into an elbow so it’s off
to Psychosis vs. Mortis. Mortis stomps away in the corner but
Psychosis breaks free and goes up…..and falls without being touched
at all. Ah the perils of live TV.
Psychosis comes back
with a dropkick and everyone falls to the floor, where La Parka hits
a big corkscrew plancha to the floor. Psychosis slides in to try to
dive on Wrath, only to get caught and slammed onto the floor. Mortis
suplexes Psychosis back in for two but misses a top rope backsplash.
Onoo and Vandenberg get in a fight, as do Wrath and La Parka.
Psychosis rolls up Mortis for two but there’s no referee to count.
Wrath picks up Psychosis for a powerbomb and Mortis makes it a
powerbomb/neckbreaker combo for the pin.
Rating: C+.
This was WAY better than you would have expected and got pretty
entertaining by the end. The botch was bad but it happens every now
and then and there’s almost nothing you can do about it. La Parka
and Psychosis didn’t look like jobbers here, but rather a tag team
that got beat by a better one. This was a surprisingly fun match and
I liked it way more than I was expecting to.
Post match La Parka
breaks a wooden chair over Mortis’ back but Wrath kicks his head off
to stand tall.
Buff Bagwell vs.
Booker T
This is before Booker
means anything as a singles guy. Buff armdrags him down and things
speed WAY up, resulting in a hiptoss to take Booker down. He
immediately spins up and kicks Bagwell down to take over before
knocking Buff to the floor. Back in and Bagwell chokes away a bit
and slaps Booker in the back of the head. A clothesline turns Booker
inside out for two.
Bagwell and referee
Nick Patrick get in a shoving match and Bagwell hides in the corner.
HHH and Earl Hebner used to do the same spot at house shows. Booker
comes back with a big forearm to the face and some atomic drops for
no cover. The Harlem Side Kick gets two but Patrick gets hit in the
side of the head. Norton clotheslines Booker down and the
Blockbuster gives Buff the pin.
Rating: C-.
Bagwell was a low level NWO guy but he had a pretty good finisher
which I would like to see make a comeback as someone signature move.
Booker would get way better in the next year or so before becoming
the company’s top star in just a few years. Decent match here but it
was a little boring.
Mysterio is here on
crutches, saying he’s refused surgery on his bad knee. He talks
about how he’s not scared of anyone or anything, but here’s Konnan to
kick the crutches away. Some luchadores come out to defend Rey but
Konnan says he’s got the Wolfpack watching his back.
Curt Hennig vs.
Michael Wallstreet
Wallstreet is still
doing his “I hate WCW thing”. Of all the people you waste an
idea like that on, you pick Wallstreet? The fans want DDP who hasn’t
been here tonight I don’t think. It’s officially Hennig vs. Page at
Road Wild. The PerfectPlex wins this in about 35 seconds.
Here’s Page to slug it
out with Hennig but Page gets sent into the buckle to give Curt the
advantage. The PerfectPlex is countered into a Diamond Cutter and
the place goes nuts.
The Nitro Girls dance
to Alex Wright’s music.
Tag Titles:
Outsiders vs. Ric Flair/Chris Benoit
I’m pretty sure this is
a title match. Tony says it is, and while this is probably a bad
idea, I’ll go with it. Pay no attention to the Steiners winning like
84 #1 contenders matches in a row prior to this. We start with a
brawl and Flair vs. Hall get us going in the ring. The Horsemen
stand tall (not as tall as the Outsiders but tall in the metaphorical
sense) until we officially start with Benoit and Hall.
Scott tries to pound
him down but Benoit hits a dragon screw leg whip and a northern
lights suplex for two. Hall bails so it’s off to Nash for a try at
the Canadian. Actually make that the Carolinian who is immediately
shoved down by Big Kev. Nash does all of his usual stuff in the
corner but Flair comes back with punches to the face. Syxx pops
Flair in the back of the head, giving Nash two off a side slam.
Back to Hall for the
fallaway slam for two more. Nash comes in for some more high quality
choking and the running crotch attack while Flair is throat first
across the middle rope. Hall hits a running clothesline in the
corner to keep Flair in trouble. Nash hits a big over the shoulder
Snake Eyes on Flair before it’s back to Hall. Flair grabs a sleeper
out of nowhere but Hall reverses into one of his own, only to have
Flair quickly suplex out of it.
There’s the hot tag to
Benoit who cleans house on both Outsiders. Clotheslines put both
guys down and Flair stops Syxx from breaking up the Swan Dive. The
headbutt gets two on Hall until Nash makes the save. Benoit punches
out of the Jackknife but a Hall distraction lets Nash hit the big
boot for a pin out of nowhere.
Rating: C+.
I remember this match being a lot better. The ending seemed very
rushed and likely happened because they were out of time. If you
gave this match another five to seven minutes, it could go way up in
quality. Benoit getting a chance to shine is always a good thing, as
he was really starting to come into his own at this point. Not a bad
match but nothing great either.
Syxx puts Flair in the
Buzzkill on the bad arm until Mongo makes the save. The Steiners
come out to stare at the Outsiders as we go off the air.
Overall Rating: C+.
This was a better episode of Nitro as you can see Road Wild’s card
coming together pretty well. Tonight had some good action and a lot
of it too, as we had ten matches on a single card. This worked
pretty well as WCW is starting to roll a bit heading into the biker
PPV. Pretty good stuff here tonight.
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