Monday Nitro – September 29, 1997

Monday Nitro #107
Date: September 29, 1997
Location: DCU Center, Worcester, Massachusetts
Commentators: Mike Tenay, Tony Schiavone, Bobby Heenan, Larry Zbyszko
Reviewed by Tommy Hall
We’re
getting closer to Halloween Havoc and to the best of my memory, nothing
has been officially set for the card yet. Hogan vs. Sting is starting
to heat up as Piper is trying as hard as he can to get the match set by
the end of the year. Other than that tonight we’re likely to get another
appearance by Goldberg who debuted last week. Let’s get to it.

We open with the usual from Tony and the Nitro Girls.
Video on Page vs. Savage, which I’m sure will be discussed further tonight.
Diamond Dallas Page vs. Buff Bagwell
At
least Kimberly looks great tonight. They stare at each other for awhile
to start before Bagwell armdrags him down, meaning it’s time to dance. A
shoulder block puts DDP down as well as we’re in slow motion still.
Raven is in the front row again with Richards behind him. Page comes
back with a clothesline and a second one sends him out to the floor. A
pescado hits Bagwell and Page rips up a sign for no apparent reason.
Back in and Buff hurts his own knee off a leapfrog attempt. I smell a
freshly painted gold brick and indeed I’m correct.
Buff
takes over and chokes away as we hear that Larry is going to referee a
match at Halloween Havoc. Bagwell stops to tell the camera that he is
indeed this good looking and here’s Page with a comeback. An atomic drop
sets up more punches from DDP but Buff blocks the Diamond Cutter.
Bagwell and the referee argue, allowing Page to get two off a rollup.
Vincent tries to cheat so Page gets sent into a distracted referee.
There’s the Diamond Cutter to both Vincent and Buff and the referee
comes in for the three count.
Rating: C+.
This was WAY better than I was expecting with the crowd staying hot
almost the entire time. Page overcoming the odds like this including
having to beat both Vincent and Bagwell was a solid idea as Bagwell has
nothing to lose. This was a solid choice for an opener and it got the
crowd going which is the right idea.
Page climbs into the crowd and runs into Raven for a staredown.
Apparently
Mike Tenay went down to Mexico and has filmed a bunch of mini
documentaries about lucha libre. We get a preview here, talking about
how big lucha libre is and the importance of family in the business. I
remember thinking these were interesting back in the day.
Rey Mysterio Jr. vs. El Caliente
Caliente
is a masked guy who looks a lot like Eddie Guerrero. Whoever he is he
jumps Rey from behind and steals the mask that Mysterio was going to
give to a fan. Rey has his back rammed into the buckle and Caliente hits
Eddie’s slingshot hilo. Mysterio comes back with a standing Lionsault
into an armdrag as things speed up. A tilt-a-whirl backbreaker puts
Caliente down but he comes back with an elbow to the face. Rey counters a
suplex into an armdrag but the much bigger guy pounds Mysterio down.
Caliente
goes for the mask as Tenay talks about lucha de apuestas (bet matches).
The fans start chanting Eddie as they’re in on the joke now. A BIG
powerbomb gets two for Calieddie and it’s off to an abdominal stretch.
Even Tony knows something is up now, and if Tony Schiavone can figure it
out, the secret is pretty obvious. A superplex puts Mysterio down but
Caliente stops himself from using the Frog Splash. They head to the
corner where Rey hits an INSANE double jump into the West Coast Pop for
the pin.
Rating: C+.
Solid match here with a great looking ending but it would be blown away
by their rematch at Halloween Havoc. Eddie and Rey had some amazing
chemistry together and the fans loved almost every match they ever had.
Good stuff here and a nice idea with the mask to mix things up a bit.
Post match the mask is taken off and of course it’s Eddie.
Giant says he’s coming for revenge on Hennig tonight. Sting is in the audience as he says this.
Bill Goldberg vs. Barbarian
Neither
guy gets an entrance. Tenay has some facts about Goldberg now: he
played football at the University of Georgia and for the Atlanta
Falcons. Feeling out process to start before Goldberg hits a shoulder
block to stagger Barbarian. A DROPKICK of all things sends Barbie out to
the floor. Now there’s something I never thought I would see from
Goldberg. Goldie goes up top but gets crotched for taking too much time.
As
Barbarian pounds away on him, we get a split screen of Goldberg’s win
last week. Are they running REALLY behind on time already or something?
They don’t even have time to show that pre-match? Goldberg charges into a
powerslam but comes back with a clothesline and hits a knee drop. His
offense is totally different than it would become eventually. Actually
scratch that as the Jackhammer ends this clean. No spear yet but he does
have generic rock music here.
Rating: C-.
The match was nothing special but the angle of having someone brand new
out there getting wins is a very interesting idea. We see this a lot,
but having someone completely anonymous is a twist on it. Goldberg’s
past never would be filled in and there’s nothing wrong with that. You
didn’t need a character for him, which is something modern wrestling
forgets at times. Just having someone being tough works quite well and
Goldberg is the classic example.
Okerlund
still can’t get a word with Goldberg so instead he brings over Larry Z.
to talk about the match he’s refereeing at Halloween Havoc. Apparently
it’s Luger vs. Hall and Larry isn’t going to cheat because it would make
the victory cheap. True actually.
Tony
plugs Nitro dates as the Nitro Girls dance. He also apologizes for
walking out two weeks ago due to Flair’s injuries, which I don’t think
anyone was complaining about. Flair has an announcement later tonight.
TV Title: Disco Inferno vs. Juventud Guerrera
Disco
is defending after winning the title in a shocker last week. Feeling
out process to start as Larry and Mike talk about a wrestling ballet
dancer they used to know. Juvy hits a fast rana to start and a
springboard dropkick followed by a spinwheel kick. The champion heads to
the floor and there’s a big flip dive to take him out again. Back in
and the Inferno counters a rana attempt into a hot shot to take over.
Disco pounds away on the back and stomps in the corner.
Alex
Wright comes out in some loud yellow pants to dance at the entrance way
as Disco is in full control. As the champion goes for a cover, Wright
puts Juvy’s foot on the rope. Guerrera uses the distraction to grab a
rollup for two and a spin kick gets the same. Jackie comes out to yell
at Wright as the match is completely ignored. She trips up Juvy for no
apparent reason and a front suplex by Disco retains the belt.
Rating: D.
Juvy’s parts were good but this is Disco Inferno vs. Juventud Guerrera
in a five minute match for the lower card title. Did we really need two
people interfering as part of a feud that hasn’t been fully explained
yet? The match wasn’t terrible but the overbooking brings it down a good
bit.
Hour
#2 begins and here’s the NWO with something to say. This incarnation
would be Savage and Liz with the former warning Piper to not mess with
his match with Page. Oh and Savage wants Sting too, much like everyone
else in the NWO.
Jeff Jarrett vs. Steve McMichael
The
fans are all over Jarrett here as Tony talks about the problems between
Steve and Debra. Apparently they’ve split and Debra lives in Georgia
now. Jarrett takes him down and struts a bit, only to charge into a half
Rock Bottom half Boss Man Slam. A forearm puts Jarrett down again and a
big boot puts him on the floor. We take a break and come back with a
fight on the floor and McMichael going head first into the post twice in
a row. Debra takes this opportunity to talk about how pretty she is.
Back
inside they go and Debra pulls on Steve’s hair from the floor.
McMichael comes back with a suplex and the fans react rather positively.
There’s a sleeper from Jeff and Bobby gives about four ways to get out
of it. Heenan is a lot of things but a good analyst isn’t usually one of
them. McMichael escapes and hooks a sleeper of his own but Jarrett
quickly suplexes out of it.
A
shot into the buckle does no damage to Mongo’s head so Jarrett tries it
two more times. Mongo pounds away in the corner and hits a side slam.
As McMichael loads up the tombstone, Jarrett counters with a jawbreaker.
It’s time to work on the leg but Steve kicks off the Figure Four. Mongo
and Debra get in an argument though, allowing Jarrett to hit a fast
dropkick and get a rollup for the pin.
Rating: C-.
As usual with these two, it wasn’t bad but it wasn’t interesting at
all. Jarrett never really got over as a heel in this run, although the
crowd chants at the start of the match were a good sign. Regarding
Mongo, earlier tonight I watched the end of Wrestlemania 11 and saw
Lawrence Taylor in his only match ever as a wrestler. In that ten or so
minute match, Taylor showed more fire and potential than McMichael
showed in his entire career. The guy just wasn’t that good and there’s
not much else to it than that.
The announcers talk about Sting.
We get a clip from last week of Scott Hall beating up Mark Curtis.
Chris Jericho vs. Syxx
Hall
is at ringside with Syxx here and is on crutches. Syxx hooks that
jumping headlock of his (the one where he looks like he’s having a fit)
but gets sent off the ropes and caught in a powerslam. Syxx comes back
with a spin kick and we get the crane pose from Karate Kid. Jericho gets
chopped in the corner and gives a look that says “I would beat the tar
out of you for that if I could move a muscle right now).
A
kind of Michinoku Driver puts Jericho down but a kind of Swanton Bomb
misses. Syxx heads to the apron and gets caught by the springboard
dropkick to knock him to the floor. A running dive takes Syxx down again
and we head back inside. Jericho gets two off a cross body from the top
and there’s a giant swing.
The
Lionsault looks to set up the Liontamer (Walls of Jericho) but a Hall
distraction lets Syxx hook the Buzzkiller (crossface chickenwing)
for….no submission as Hall come sin to rub the referee’s stomach.
Jericho is still in the hold but here’s Larry Z to break it up. Luger
comes out to even the odds and the match is thrown out. The NWO bails.
Rating: C.
This was pretty decent but it was about the post match stuff more than
the match. That’s perfectly fine as Jericho didn’t mean all that much
yet although that would change soon enough. Zbyszko vs. Hall was a nice
idea for a feud, but a little more explanation of why they’re fighting
and what their history was (they fought in the AWA a bit but that was
never specified on Nitro) would have helped.
Here’s
Flair’s announcement on the phone. Tony sounds like a lover hearing Ric
for the first time when he wakes up from a coma. Flair says that he
respects the fans and wants no one to feel sorry for him. He thanks
Hennig for giving him the wakeup call that he needed and promises to be
back to settle the score. He’ll also be coming for the robe that Hogan
stole from him. Now for the major announcement: the Horsemen are
officially disbanded. It’s not fair to them to put their careers on hold
and worry about Flair all the time. Flair promises illegal and immoral
revenge on Hennig and the NWO. Solid stuff here as expected.
Here’s
Bischoff with something else to say. Eric complains about Sting being
here when Hogan isn’t here because Sting is clearly scared. Hogan has
been calling out Sting for weeks, so why didn’t Sting show up then?
Bischoff things Piper and Sting are in cahoots and dares Sting to try to
help Piper at Halloween Havoc.
Lex Luger vs. Wrath
Luger
pounds away to start and the fans are hot as usual. We hear about Mongo
and Jarrett fighting in the background. Talk about it all you want,
just please don’t make us have to watch it. Luger misses a charge into
the corner and Wrath gets to take over for a bit. Wrath is one of those
guys that got a very strong push at various times but then he had to
talk. That hayseed voice of his was something he never could overcome.
Anyway this is exactly what you would expect: Wrath hits some big power
moves including a top rop clothesline but Luger reverses a suplex to
come back. Punches, clotheslines, Rack, submission.
Rating: D+.
Nothing to see here as usual. Luger beating up monsters has become
played out by now due to how often it happens anymore. I’ll give him
this though: the fans never seem to get bored with him, so why mess with
a winning formula? Wrath continues to look better than I ever remember
him looking.
The Nitro Girls dance a bit and Bischoff takes Heenan’s spot in the announce booth.
 
Curt Hennig vs. Giant
 
Non-title.
Giant throws Hennig around as you would expect him to before spitting
on him in the corner. There’s what we would call a Stinkface and Curt
falls to the floor. Giant suplexes him back in and chops away as this is
one sided so far. A knee lift sends Hennig flying but he avoids a
charge to send Giant out to the floor. Back in and Hennig hits a
PERFECTPLEX on Giant. And it was an AWESOME one too! Giant of course
pops out at two and hits the chokeslam but here’s the NWO for the DQ.
Rating: C+.
This gets a decent grade for that Perfectplex alone. Hennig got him up
in the air and even hooked the leg for a good bridge. I never would have
expected him to be capable of doing that. The match was what you would
expect other than that though and was barely long enough to grade.
Giant
fights off the troops for a bit but the numbers (and a belt shot from
Norton) catch up to him. Sting comes out for the save to end the show.
Overall Rating: B.
This was one of the best episodes of the show in a long time. Almost
all of the matches were crisp and fast paced and we built up Halloween
Havoc at the same time. Given all of the nonsense that came out of WCW, a
lot of people forget how awesome they could be at times. This was a
good example of that as the show was great and flew by. Good episode and
one of the best they’ve had yet.
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