Monday Nitro – August 4, 1997

Monday Nitro #99
Date: August 4, 1997
Location: Palace of
Auburn Hills, Detroit, Michigan
Commentators: Tony
Schiavone, Mike Tenay, Larry Zbyszko, Bobby Heenan
Reviewed by Tommy Hall
This is an interesting
episode as I’ve seen says this is the 100th episode, but
I’ve counted each one I’ve done and can only come up with 99. I
haven’t missed any shows and there are only 99 counting this one so
far. Two weeks in 1996 had no show at all so maybe they’re counting
one of those to get to 100. Either way, the main event tonight is
Luger vs. Hogan for the title, five days before their PPV title
match. That clearly won’t go anywhere. Let’s get to it.

Oh and this is a three
hour show.
Buffer welcomes us to
this special show. This whole 99 or 100 thing is going to bother me
but the best I can figure out is that WCW is just lying.
After the Nitro Girls
dance a bit, here are Hogan and Bischoff with something to say.
Hogan runs down Luger and says that he’s going to have “500,000 of
his friends” watching on Saturday. It was about 1% of that but
what difference does it match? Anyway, Hogan doesn’t like having to
defend tonight, but Luger is going to pay for the mistake tonight.
Hogan says something about defending against Scott Hall instead but
it didn’t make much sense.
Curt Hennig vs.
Mortis
Feeling out process to
start until Hennig takes Mortis down with a knee lift. Curt goes
after Vandenberg though and the masked dude takes over. Mortis
misses an elbow and there’s the Hennig neck snap. Mortis comes back
with a spinwheel kick for two but Hennig goes after the knee.
PerfectPlex ends this pretty quick.
Rating: C-.
I don’t like matches like this one as it’s hard to rate due to how
fast it was. A lot of it was them walking around, but it was so
short that it was still decent. This is what WCW’s massive roster
helps with: they have have a guy like Mortis lose, but he can go and
beat up other people and get his spot back. Also since there’s no
shame to losing to Hennig, everything is ok for him. Why WWE doesn’t
use their roster like this is beyond me.
Video on Sting not
talking for the last year or so.
Dean Malenko/Jeff
Jarrett vs. Hector Guerrero/Chavo Guerrero
Malenko and Chavo start
things off and we hit the mat very quickly. That doesn’t last long
so they run the ropes a bit until Dean gets taken down by a pair of
dropkicks. Hector comes in to face Jeff and we have a strut vs.
dance battle. A headscissors puts Jarrett down and frustrates him so
he pounds away a bit. Hector makes a brief comeback but stops to jaw
with Dean, letting Jeff take over again.
There’s the running
crotch attack to a 619’d Hector (I’m still looking for a better name
for that) before it’s back to Malenko. Make that back to Jeff again
and Hector gets two off a backslide. Chavo breaks up the Figure Four
and Dean is rolled up for two. Hector won’t tag and is caught in an
electric chair. Dean hooks the Cloverleaf and we’re done.
Rating: C.
The idea here was that Hector wouldn’t tag, presumably due to
stubbornness, but it doesn’t make Jeff any more interesting. The guy
is just flat out not interesting no matter how you try to push or
package him. Malenko was fine but he needs to get away from this
stupid tag team thing.
Raven still won’t talk
so here’s Stevie Richards instead. Richards has a contract for Raven
but there’s a snag. He’s been in Atlanta renegotiating for Raven and
everything seems to be cool now. Raven looks at the contract, spits
at Richards and decks him. He pulls back to punch Richards again,
but Stevie blocks it and says no more.
Giant vs. Joey
Maggs/Lenny Lane/Scott D’Amore
Chokeslam, chokeslam,
chokeslam, about 90 seconds, interview time.
Savage pops up on the
stage and says bring it before running from a fast walking Giant.
We recap the roll Lex
Luger is on. Basically it’s a Luger highlight video.
High Voltage vs.
Public Enemy
Kaos vs. Grunge to
start and Johnny wants to dance. A swinging neckbreaker puts Kaos
down as does a clothesline before it’s off to Rocco. Rage interferes
but Kaos takes the time to pose instead of following up. Larry:
“HE’S WASTING TIME!” Remember, this is LARRY ZBYSZKO complaining
about stalling. High Voltage is coming off as the heel team here and
it doesn’t suit them that well.
Rage comes in and
pounds away on Rocco a bit more but jumps off the top into Rocco’s
boot. My goodness how I hate that spot. Grunge comes in and beats
up both guys as everything breaks down. The Public Enemy loads up
the table but Rage moves, sending Rocco crashing through the wood.
Not that it matters as Rage runs into Kaos and is rolled up by Grunge
for the pin.
Rating: D+.
As lame as the match was, there was an actual story being told out
there. The idea was that High Voltage didn’t have the experience to
hang with the Public Enemy and the veterans used that to their
advantage. This is probably the last match I would have expected
something like that from but points to these guys for putting it in
there.
Alex Wright cuts in on
the Nitro Girls dancing. The Girls leave and Alex talks some trash
about Jericho, who he faces on Saturday.
Scotty Riggs vs.
Alex Wright
Non-title here. Wright
sends Scotty to the floor almost immediately and hits a double ax off
the apron. A suplex on the floor keeps Riggs down but he sends
Wright into the barricade to get himself a breather. Back in and
Alex takes over again before dancing a bit. They both hit cross
bodies with Scotty falling on top for two. They head up top and Alex
headbutts him down before hitting a missile dropkick for the pin.
Rating: D+.
Just a squash here to set up the title match at Road Wild. Wright
using the dropkick was a nice touch as that’s one of Jericho’s
finishing moves. Not much of a match here, but then again Riggs
wasn’t much of a wrestler. At least he stopped using the American
Males theme.
Hour #2 starts.
Here’s Luger to talk to
Gene. Lex says that he was only focused on Saturday but now his
focus has shifted to tonight. It’s his defining moment and tonight,
he’s going to make history. Standard promo here but it did exactly
what it needed to do. It’s such a simple science but no one can pull
it off anymore.
Chris Benoit vs.
Syxx
Syxx starts with that
headlock of his but Benoit quickly elbows him down. A spinwheel kick
puts Benoit down but Chris immediately legdraps Syxx out to the
floor. There’s a suicide dive to take the NWO dude out. Back in and
Benoit goes up, only to get caught in the Tree of Woe. Syxx hits a
Bronco Buster to an upside down Benoit in a move I’ve never seen
before. A top rope flipping legdrop misses Benoit though and Chris
suplexes him down for two. Benoit loads up a belly to back superplex
but here’s Jarrett to attack Benoit for the DQ.
Rating: C+.
This was a nice fast paced match that had to be brought down by a
stupid ending. This was done to further the tag match on Sunday
which at least had a purpose. Not much to see here but Benoit was
fast paced as usual and Syxx continues to be much better against
smaller guys. Not bad at all here.
More dancing.
Booker T vs. Vincent
Nothing match as Booker
beats up Vincent and side kicks him for the pin in maybe 45 seconds.
DDP talks about his
match with Flair tonight, saying that while he and Flair have common
enemies, Flair has his respect, but he has Flair’s number. I like
that line.
Wrath vs. Barbarian
Now here’s an odd
match. Barbarian knocks him back into the corner but gets
clotheslined down for two. Wrath takes him down but can’t hit the
Death Penalty (two arm Rock Bottom) as we head to the floor.
Barbarian sends him into various metal objects before we head back
inside. Back in and Barbarian goes up but jumps into the Death
Penalty for the pin. Too short to rate but it wasn’t very good.
Meng comes out to stare
down Wrath. Wrath bails.
The hometown Steiners
come out and introduce Ted DiBiase as their surprise new manager.
DiBiase was one of the original members of the NWO so this is a big
deal. He starts off by saying that he’s seen the error of his ways
before almost saying the World Wrestling Federation tag titles were
on the line on Saturday. Cue the Outsiders to laugh this off and say
that DiBiase is a dead man.
More dancing.
Lee Marshall does his
thing.
Konnan vs. Psychosis
Konnan pounds him down
to start before nearly clotheslining a horn off. A low dropkick hits
the masked man and Konnan sends him to the apron. Psychosis comes
back in with a top rope spinwheel kick for two. That’s about the
extent of his offense as Konnan hits the 187 and Tequila Sunrise for
the fast tap.
Rey, still on crutches,
comes out to confront Konnan post match. Konnan kicks the crutches
away but Rey is faking it and breaks a crutch over Konnan’s back.
Glacier/Ernest
Miller vs. Damien/Silver King
King and Glacier get us
going and the kicking begins. Glacier cranks on the arm a bit but
King kicks out of it pretty quickly. Damien trips up Glacier but the
ice enthusiast kicks Silver down anyway. Off to Miller but the
luchadores pound him down pretty quickly. Miller comes back with a
bunch of kicks and here’s Glacier again. A backdrop gets two on
Damien but Glacier is double teamed a bit. Uninterested tag brings
in Miller who uses his karate stuff, finishing Damien with a spinning
kick off the top.
Rating: D.
At the end of the day, Miller was so unbelievably boring in this role
and it took a long time to get him to a level where anyone cared
about him. Silver King and Damien actually got a win or two so they
were only somewhat jobbers to the stars. Not much to see here
though.
Here’s Bischoff with
something to say. He’s here to complain about the attack by the
Giant from last week and calls out JJ Dillon. The alleged boss of
WCW comes out and Eric yells a lot, threatening legal actions against
the Giant and violence against Larry Z. If there was a point to this
getting six minutes of TV time, I have no idea what it was.
Hour #3 begins and the
Nitro Girls dance on the announce table.
Diamond Dallas Page
vs. Ric Flair
Hennig comes out and
shakes Flair’s hand to mess with Page’s mind. Page runs Flair down
and slaps him in the face to tick him off. Hennig went to the back
already so this is one on one. Page pounds away in the corner and
Ric is in trouble early. Flair comes back with a poke to the eye but
Page counters a backdrop attempt into a sweet sitout powerbomb for no
cover. Hennig comes back out and we take a break.
Back with Flair in
control and Page down in the corner. Page comes back with right
hands and slams Flair off the top, but a Hennig distraction lets
Flair get in a shot to the knee. There’s the knee drop and Flair is
in Nature Boy mode. A quick Figure Four is broken up because Page is
in the ropes.
Flair pounds away even
more and tries to suplex Page over the top and out to the floor. DDP
counters of course and puts Ric in the Figure Four instead. Flair
pokes the referee in the eye, allowing Curt to come in. Page cradles
him to slow him down, but it lets Flair escape the hold. There’s a
Flair Flip in the corner and Ric goes up, only to dive into a
clothesline. Page calls for the Cutter but Hennig comes in for the
DQ.
Rating: C+.
This was fine but they more or less had a big sign saying RUN-IN
COMING. That’s fine though as you can’t have these guys losing five
days before a PPV match. I mean, this is WCW, not some crazy company
like WWE that has guys in prominent matches getting pinned on go home
shows.
Page clears the ring
post match.
Hector Garza/Lizmark
Jr. vs. Villanos
This would be IV and V
for you Villano enthusiasts. Garza and IV start things off and
things speed up quickly. Hector moonsaults out of the corner and
clotheslines IV down before hitting a superkick. Off to Lizmark for
a dropkick but V comes in and ducks the same move. Some armdrags put
V down but the Villanos double team Lizmark to take over. Back to
Garza who gets caught in a double gutbuster.
We head to the floor
where Garza is dropkicked into the barricade. That gets boring so
it’s back inside where everything breaks down. Garza dives on I
think IV before Lizmark and V go to the floor. IV is backdropped to
the floor so Garza can hit the big corkscrew plancha. Back in and
Lizmark dropkicks IV a few times, but the referee gets distracted and
the switch from the brothers is enough for Lizmark to get rolled up
for the pin.
Rating: C.
This was fine but it was nothing more than a bridge between the big
stuff later on in the show. Garza had the making of a big star and
was getting over pretty well in the earlier days of TNA before
getting busted for steroid possession. The other three guys never
amounted to anything in the States.
Here’s JJ to offer
Sting a contract. Basically “we’re sorry we thought you were lying
because we were too stupid to use common sense and tell that it
wasn’t you the whole time. Maybe we should hit Turner up for vision
insurance. Anyway, wanna fight Curt Hennig?” Sting lowers from
the rafters and rips up the contract. See, this is something that
actually deserved the six and a half minutes it got.
WCW World Title: Lex
Luger vs. Hollywood Hogan
Dang man how long has
it been since Hogan wrestled on Nitro? They trade hammerlocks to
start and Hulk heads to the ropes. More feeling out until Hogan
pounds away in the corner to take over. The fans are WAY into this
here. Hogan keeps beating on him and drops a bunch of elbows. A
clothesline in the corner has Lex in trouble and Hulk chokes away.
Luger comes back and rams the champ into the buckle a few times to
get himself a breather. Hollywood takes his head off with another
clothesline and we take a break.
Back with Hogan still
in control and hitting a suplex for two. A belly to back suplex puts
Luger down again and a big right hand gets two. The big boot and
legdrop hit for two and the pop is really weak for some reason.
Another legdrop misses and it’s comeback time. Luger decks the
Outsiders and Savage as they try to run in. The forearm takes Hogan
down and there’s the Torture Rack to give us a new world champion.
Rating: B.
The match itself was as by the book as you could get, but that’s
exactly what it should have been. The rating is almost entirely for
the moment, which is WAY better here than I remember it being.
Hindsight would say it was obviously only going to last until the
PPV, but still man this worked really well. I’m actually surprised
at how much I liked this.
The locker room empties
out for the celebration. The fans go NUTS too. Everyone goes to the
back and we see Giant and Luger polishing the belt to get the NWO
paint off as champagne is flowing everywhere.
Hogan loses his mind in
the other locker room.
Overall Rating: B.
This was supposed to be a special show, and I don’t often get to say
this about WCW, but they absolutely nailed it. The wrestling here is
ok at best, but they did a good job of setting up the PPV, they had a
good start to the new part of the Sting angle, and the ending is
actually excellent. I know it doesn’t mean anything in the long run,
but at the time this was a cool moment. Good show here which almost
shocks me.
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