Monday Nitro – August 18, 1997

Nitro #101
Date: August 18, 1997
Birmingham-Jefferson Civic Center, Birmingham, Alabama
Commentators: Tony
Schiavone, Mike Tenay, Bobby Heenan, Larry Zbyszko
Reviewed by Tommy Hall
We’re about a month
away from Fall Brawl and the final traditional WarGames match with
WCW vs. the NWO. On top of that, we’ve got Sting vs. Hogan looming
which would be huge financially, but not so great critically. I’m
talking about the future so much because there isn’t much to talk
about in the next few weeks other than the final Clash of the
Champions a few days after this. Let’s get to it.

Raven reads us a poem
about ugly people to start things off.
Harlem Heat vs.
Vicious and Delicious
Buff and Ray start
things off with Buff running his mouth of course. A hiptoss shuts
him up for a bit but he comes back with a hiptoss of his own and some
posing. Ray still tries to shut him up, this time with a slam and a
tag off to his brother. Norton comes in as well to pound down
Booker, only to get kicked in the face a few times. Back to Ray who
gets grabbed by Buff to give the NWO a quick advantage. A few elbows
are dropped before one from the top by Buff misses. Everything
breaks down after the hot tag to Ray and Vincent comes in for the
fast DQ.
Rating: D+.
Nothing to see here as the Heat were out of the NWO’s league here and
Vincent continues to be nothing of note. The match was short too but
given that this is Nitro, I almost have to take the shorter ones just
to have something to rate. The Heat weren’t long for WCW though as
it would soon be Booker getting the big singles push.
Booker clears the ring
Barbarian vs. Mortis
This feud isn’t exactly
lighting the world on fire but it’s nice to see a story getting to
run its course. During Mortis’ entrance, we hear about Jericho
winning the Cruiserweight Title on Saturday Night. Mortis kicks away
to start and pounds Barbarian down into the corner. Barbie misses a
charge into the post and Mortis hits a Fameasser off the middle rope
for two. The guy not in a mask comes back with a powerslam and
pounds Mortis down in the corner. Mortis goes up again but dives
into a powerslam for another two count. The Kick of Fear ends Mortis
a few seconds later. Wow Barbarian gets a clean win on Nitro.
That’s different.
Post match Wrath comes
in to take Barbarian out but Meng puts him in the Tongan Death Grip
to knock Wrath out.
Here’s the NWO for
their weekly chat. Bischoff is looking forward to the party on
Thursday because Larry Z and Giant can’t come near him. Apparently
Giant was arrested last week. Eric wants his own show for the NWO
and says he’ll see us Thursday. Just hyping the Clash here.
Flair and Hennig have
their weekly promo: “You’re a Horseman!” “No I’m not, but
we’ll win our tag match against the NWO anyway.” More Clash
Stevie Richards vs.
Scotty Riggs
Richards charges to the
ring like a maniac. Riggs grabs the wrist to start before nearly
botching a monkey flip. A dropkick puts Richards on the floor but he
rams Scotty’s shoulder into the post to take over. Back in and a
sitout spinebuster gets two for Stevie but Scotty comes back with
some clotheslines. Richards loses his half shirt and gets caught in
a side slam for two. Raven jumps the railing as Stevie hits the
Stevie Kick for the pin.
Rating: D.
I guess this was to set up future stuff but that didn’t make this any
easier to get through. Riggs is just not that good and Richards is a
comedy character which doesn’t make for an interesting or good match
at all. Not much to see here but that would be the case for a lot of
Nitro matches.
Raven lays out Richards
with the Even Flow.
Eddie, Debra and
Jarrett make fun of the fans and tell Wright that he has to win the
TV Title if he wants to hang out with them.
The NWO says this
Thursday is going to be their birthday.
Chris Benoit/Steve
McMichael vs. Jeff Jarrett/Eddie Guerrero
Benoit and Guerrero
start things off with Chris taking over with a gorgeous suplex to
send Eddie crawling to Jeff. Jarrett won’t come in to face Mongo who
he faces for the US Title on Thursday. Mongo goes after Eddie
instead but Jeff sneaks in with a dropkick to the back of McMichael’s
knee. The heels start working over said knee with some Horsemen
style tactics. A Benoit distraction lets Mongo hit a three point
stance charge to take out Guerrero and make a hot tag. Everything
breaks down and Eddie has to break up the Crossface on Jeff. Mongo
blasts Jeff with the US Title to give Benoit the pin.
Rating: C+.
Short but very hot match here. I was hoping for more selling from
Mongo of the knee, but they didn’t work on it that long so it’s not
terrible I guess. As usual, the less Jeff Jarrett is involved in a
Jeff Jarrett match, the more exciting that match becomes. He would
be gone in about two months thank goodness.
We recap Sting’s
segment with JJ last week.
The Outsiders say
they’re ready for Page and Luger tonight. I believe that was the
main event of the Clash as well.
Ric Flair vs. Syxx
Road Wild rematch.
They have a pose off to start until Flair is backdropped and sent
into the corner. It’s a Flair match. Did you expect things to start
well for him? He chops Syxx down and takes over with a headlock
followed by another after an escape. Flair pounds on the head and
clotheslines Syxx down before going after the knee. Syxx comes back
with an enziguri to set up the Bronco Buster, drawing huge heat from
the southern crowd.
Some chops don’t get
Flair that far as Syxx punches him right back down. A guillotine
legdrop gets two and there’s the Flair Flip out to the floor. Back
in and a second Bronco Buster misses and you can almost feel the
crowd laughing as Syxx crotches himself. They punch each other down
and it’s Flair up to backdrop Syxx down again. There’s the knee to
the head and it’s time to go to school. That also means it’s time
for Vincent, Bagwell and Norton to run in for the DQ.
Rating: C.
These two fought each other quite a bit and we got some decent
matches out of them most of the time. The respect angle was fine,
especially when you have a punk like Waltman and a pretty big jerk in
Flair out there talking about it. Not much to see here but it was
designed to set up the Clash again, which is fine.
Hennig makes the save
post match.
JJ and Nick Patrick are
with Gene and Dillon says that Nick did nothing wrong at the PPV.
Patrick questions Randy Anderson’s officiating, drawing him out for
the always fascinating referee argument.
TV Title: Ultimo
Dragon vs. La Parka
Dragon is defending of
course. Things start fast with Parka getting flipped over and
backdropped. Dragon does his headstand in the corner and fires away
with the kicks to take the challenger down again. A dropkick sends
La Parka to the floor and there’s a big dive by the champion to take
him out again.
Sonny Onoo (La Parka’s
manager apparently) kicks Dragon down and Parka sends Dragon into the
steps. A powerbomb gets two for Parka so he puts Dragon in the Tree
of Woe for a kick to the chest. Now let’s stand around for a bit!
Dragon comes back, hits the super rana, Sonny’s interference fails,
and the Dragon Sleeper retains the belt.
Rating: D+.
Just a quick title match here with no doubt as to who was going to
win. Dragon was pretty good at what he did but as usual, the lack of
mic skills held him down. If we can’t connect with these characters,
the matches have to be amazing for them to get over. Dragon was
good, but not that good. He would lose the title soon enough anyway.
Curt Hennig vs. The
Hennig slaps him in the
face for some reason and is tossed into the corner accordingly. An
attempted whip out of the corner fails completely for Hennig so Curt
bails to the floor. Giant hits some of those LOUD chops to Curt’s
chest and suplexes him down. He calls for the chokeslam and here’s
Eric to say that Giant is violating the restraining order. Doug
Dillinger (WCW security) won’t do anything about it so Giant goes
after Eric, losing via countout in the process. Short and basically
a squash until the ending.
Dillinger still won’t
do anything so Larry Z comes out to corner Eric. Bischoff runs into
the crowd and escapes as cops hold Giant back.
We recap the Sting
segment from last week again.
JJ is in the ring with
another offer for Sting which I’m sure will work this time.
Apparently he doesn’t have a new contract for Sting tonight. Stupid
me, thinking the rolled up paper in his hand that has been a contract
the last two weeks is a contract again here. JJ says he needs
answers from Sting soon or they may have to go their separate ways.
Geez even the WCW on screen bosses are stupid. Sting has until the
Clash to tell JJ what he wants.
Here’s Sting in the
crowd and the fans go nuts. The fans chant Hogan and Sting points at
them again. Even TONY FREAKING SCHIAVONE is saying how obvious this
is. Sting takes a sign out of the crowd that says Hulk vs. Sting.
And JJ STILL doesn’t get it. Apparently HOLDING UP A SIGN THAT SAYS
THE MATCH ON IT isn’t telling him what Sting wants.
The NWO is having a
birthday party on Thursday.
Tag Titles:
Outsiders vs. Diamond Dallas Page/Lex Luger
The announcers point
out that the Steiners are being passed over AGAIN here. I’m sure
another #1 contenders match is coming up soon too. Hall and Luger
start things off as we go past ten o’clock which was a different
thing back then. Luger slaps Hall in the face and shoves him into
the corner to get things going. He beats on both Outsiders in the
NWO corner and Hall tags Nash.
The big man wants Page
so they both stand in opposite corners for a bit. The high powered
offense begins from Nash until Page takes him down with a swinging
neckbreaker for two. Page fires off his shoulder blocks but Nash
clotheslines him right back down. DDP escapes Snake Eyes and gets
two off a Russian legsweep. Back to Hall for a clothesline and the
fallaway slam for two.
Off to the abdominal
stretch for a bit until Page hip tosses out of it. Nash breaks up
the tag attempt to Luger and it’s time for corner elbows. The
Outsiders change without a tag and the referee yells at them. Hall
makes an overblown tag and now Snake Eyes hits for no cover. They
change again sans tag and Anderson is fine with it now.
Off to a sleeper by
Hall and Page is in trouble. His arm drops twice before Page comes
back with a belly to back suplex to put both guys down. Nash breaks
up the tag AGAIN and clotheslines Page down. Page busts out a
headscissors of all things and finally tags in Luger. Not that it
matters as the NWO runs in about five seconds later for the DQ.
Rating: B-.
I was digging this until the obvious ending. We knew the titles
weren’t changing hands here and the NWO would run in, but it was cool
to see WCW guys hanging in there this long. They played the formula
here and as usual, it worked as well as anything else was going to.
Good stuff.
Flair and the Giant run
in and a brawl ends the show.
Overall Rating: B-.
Pretty good show here as they set up the Clash quite well. There’s
some stuff on there I’d like to see (including a main event of
Page/Luger vs. Hall/Savage which I listed wrong earlier). The Sting
stuff would really come to a new level on Thursday which it’s needed
to do for months now. Solid episode here as WCW is kind of on a
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