Monday Nitro – May 25, 1998

Monday
Nitro #138
Date:
May 25, 1998
Location:
Roberts Memorial Stadium, Evansville, Indiana
Commentators:
Mike Tenay, Bobby Heenan, Tony Schiavone, Larry Zbyszko
Reviewed by Tommy Hall
We’re
still getting closer to the Great American Bash and the main story is
still which side will Sting pick. In other words, we’re almost in
the same place we were at this time last year expect now Sting can
talk. We’ve also got Hogan/Hart vs. Savage/Piper for the big
showdown tag match which isn’t the most thrilling prospect in the
world. Let’s get to it.

It’s
Memorial Day, meaning this is the two year anniversary of Hall
jumping the guardrail.
We
open with the Nitro Girls as Tony brags about this being three hours
again. Oh freaking joy.
The
main event tonight is Sting/Luger vs. Giant/NWO Sting. This is
supposed to beat Austin vs. Vince/Dude Love mind you.
We
get clips of the end of last week’s show as well as Thunder, showing
that Sting isn’t with the Giant. The NWO Sting came out to fool no
one on Thunder and attack Luger. The announcers act like NWO Sting
is a new idea for reasons of general incompetence.
Opening
sequence.
Here’s
Raven to call out Mortis, promising to send him running for his
mother’s care. This brings him to Saturn, who has been Raven’s
friend since childhood. Raven drove him to school when Saturn was
too poor to afford a car and was there when Sheila broke his heart in
the eleventh grade. Raven is willing to do anything to keep Saturn’s
friendship, including firing the Flock. He fires every one of them
and DDTs Lodi when he protests. Raven gets on his knees and
begs/demands that Saturn come back.
Glacier
says he’s great and wants to fight Saturn over the superkick. He
created the kick and can destroy it. This somehow takes almost a
minute and a half.
More
Nitro Girls.
The
announcers talk about Booker vs. Benoit having a best of seven series
for the TV Title shot at the Bash. This leads to a video of Stevie
Ray returning last week and telling Booker to stand his ground.
TV
Title: Fit Finlay vs. Mike Enos
We’re
only about half an hour into the show for the first match so at least
they’re not wasting time or anything. Finlay forearms him in the
chest to start before taking Enos to the mat in a chinlock about
thirty seconds into the match. A knee to the face gets two for Fit
and he slams Enos’ chest into the apron.
Back
in and Finlay pounds away even more but gets clotheslined down to a
surprising pop. Enos drops him throat first on the top rope for two
but Finlay comes back with the rolling senton. Mike comes back with
a fallaway slam for two but they botch the heck out of a powerslam
with Finlay landing on Enos’ legs. Enos is grabbing his leg so
Finlay hits a quick Tombstone to retain.
Rating:
D+. Enos showed some fire out
there until the horrible blown spot at the end. I’m not sure why the
fans were cheering for him but maybe they’re just sick of Finlay on
TV every week? Anyway this was just your typical TV Title match,
meaning it was nothing worth seeing but filled in five minutes well
enough.
CALL
THE HOTLINE!
Glacier
vs. Saturn
Glacier
kicks away at the ribs and sweeps Saturn’s legs out to give us a
standoff. Saturn takes Glacier’s legs out just as easily so Glacier
comes back with chops to the ribs. A hook kick to the jaw puts
Glacier down and it’s off to a headlock. Glacier comes back with a
big boot to the jaw but Saturn sends him into the corner for rapid
fire kicks.
The
fans are into Saturn here but Glacier kicks him in the face again. A
spinwheel kick puts Chilly McBoring down and here’s Raven at
ringside, drawing a RAVEN SUCKS chant. Saturn’s top rope splash hits
knees and here’s Hammer to beat up Raven. Hammer gets on the apron
but gets kicked down by Glacier, allowing Saturn to hit the Death
Valley Driver for the pin.
Rating:
D. These battles of martial
arts are getting less and less interesting every single time. The
key difference with Saturn though is he used it as part of his
offense while guys like Glacier and Miller used nothing but martial
arts, making them one note characters. Saturn on the other hand
wound up rubbing elbows with Benoit and Guerrero in the WWF while the
other two were barely heard from again.
Raven
DDTs Hammer on the floor.
We
see Savage accepting Piper’s offer to team up at the Bash.
Here
are Vincent, Brian Adams and Vincent with something to say. Giant
does Hall’s Hey Yo and asks the fans to shut up so he can make his
point. He calls Nash a coward and wants to face him right here
tonight, one on one. After being called out about three times,
here’s Nash who doesn’t look intimidated at all. He’s alone tonight
and says he’d love to take care of Hogan’s three fluff boys.
Nash
punches down the lackeys but a stalemate with Giant allows them to
get back up for the beatdown. This brings out Lex Luger along with
the rest of the Wolfpack. Konnan takes off his shirt and throws it
to Luger who puts it on to the biggest pop he’s gotten this year. So
who is left as a top WCW guy? Sting and Piper?
Hour
#2 begins with the first mention of the NWO turning two tonight.
Chris
Jericho vs. El Dandy
Jericho
goes right at Dandy as he gets in the ring and drop toeholds him into
a side roll for two before getting caught in something resembling a
spinebuster. Dandy misses a missile dropkick and gets caught in the
Liontamer for the win in about 60 seconds.
Post
match Jericho demands that the fat JJ Dillon put down the pizza and
come out here to address some concerns. Jericho babbles on for
awhile and demands to be reinstated as Cruiserweight Champion. JJ
talks about contract terms but doesn’t exactly cover what Jericho was
asking about. He’s not going to overrule anything though until
Jericho shows him some kind of a precedent. Jericho freaks out as
usual.
We
look at Luger joining the Wolfpack again.
Konnan
vs. La Parka
La
Parka does his dance so Konnan chops away, only to get clotheslined
down for two. Konnan avoids a dropkick in the corner and drop
toeholds La Parka into the middle buckle. Another clothesline puts
Konnan down on the floor and a big dive from the top is kind of
blocked to put both guys down. Back in and La Parka dives into a
pair of boots to the face and Konnan scores with an X Factor. The
187 sets up the Tequila Sunrise and La Parka taps. Short match and
nothing special.
More
Nitro Girls.
We
get a home video from Mortis who says that Mortis is dead and he’s
now known as Kanyon. He talks about the imitation of Tommy Dreamer’s
chair shot heard round the world at Slamboree and calls it the chair
shot heard round the world. Kanyon says he can get to Raven at
anytime.
Here’s
Roddy Piper for the insane speech of the week. Gene doesn’t think
Piper and Savage can get along as a team but Piper calls Savage a
Village People throwback and says they have to get along. The one
good thing about standing next to Savage: you never look like you’re
having a bad hair day. Piper won’t be singing Y-M-C-A at the Bash so
here are Savage and Liz to protest. They yell at each other a lot
and Savage rants about Piper screwing up at Slamboree, drawing a
RuPaul reference from Piper.
They’re
about to agree to work together when Bret Hart comes out and says
this is a big collusion between himself and Piper. He claims that
Roddy came to him before the PPV and wanted to screw Savage over and
reverse the decision later. Bret says he owes Piper one and leaves
so Savage is ready to fight Piper right now. Piper says let’s fight
and then says that Bret is lying through his teeth. He’ll fight
Savage after the tag match at the PPV but they have to work together
to get through that. Savage seems to agree.
Heenan
joins commentary.
Juventud
Guerrera vs. Kidman
They
slug it out to start and run the ropes with Kidman catching him in a
sitout spinebuster to take over. Kidman charges into some boots in
the corner and gets taken down with a hard clothesline. Juvy rips
off Kidman’s shirt and chops away before snapping off a great looking
headscissors. They head to the floor with Guerrera hitting a sweet
dive to the floor to put both guys down.
They
head back in but Lodi grabs Juvy’s leg, allowing Kidman to hit a
quick X Factor for two. Kidman gets more aggressive than he has in
months and stomps away in the corner. A great looking (there’s a lot
of that going around in this match) dropkick puts Juvy down and we
hit a quick chinlock to give the guys a breather. Back up and Kidman
hits another wicked clothesline to take Guerrera down.
A
slingshot legdrop gets two on Juvy but Kidman yells at the referee,
allowing Juvy to hit a clothesline of his own. Kidman comes back
with an elbow to the jaw for two and a reverse suplex puts Juvy on
the apron but he gets up top for a flying spinwheel kick for a close
two. The fans are WAY into this. Kidman comes back with a powerbomb
into a faceplant for two more and a release German suplex puts Juvy
down again. Kidman goes up but Juvy dropkicks him out of the air,
setting up the Juvy Driver and the 450 for the pin.
Rating:
B. GREAT match here and the
best match Nitro has had in months. These two were beating the tar
out of each other and hitting everything they could in a ten minute
span. This is the kind of stuff that you can put out there and offer
an actual alternative to what Raw was doing at the time. Instead of
having old people talk, have two guys in their early 20s and tear the
house down. That’s senseless though, right?
More
Nitro Girls.
Nitro
Party video.
The
announcers talk about what’s happened so far tonight, focusing on
Luger’s jump.
We
recap Brian Adams attacking Rick Steiner, putting him out for several
months. Apparently Scott Steiner is looking for acting roles in
Hollywood.
Ultimo
Dragon vs. Eddie Guerrero
Chavo
is now Eddie’s willing lapdog, which is what Eddie had been wanting
from the beginning. However now that he has it, Eddie seems almost
scared of his nephew. Chavo gets on the mic and says that this is
his match because that’s how Eddie works. He tells Eddie to slap him
and tries to start an Eddie chant. Eddie finally gives in and lets
Chavo have the match.
Ultimo
Dragon vs. Chavo Guerrero Jr.
Chavo
makes sure to fold up the Eddie shirt before we can get going. A
headlock doesn’t get Chavo anywhere so Dragon comes back with the
kicks and the corner headstand. Dragon hooks a stump puller and then
a modified Koji Clutch to torture Chavo a bit and send him out to the
floor.
Back
in and Dragon fires off some kicks to the back but Chavo breaks up
the top rope hurricanrana. Guerrero tries to suplex Dragon back in
but Eddie hooks his nephew’s leg. Dragon can’t get the Dragon
Sleeper so Chavo chokes him on the ropes, bragging to Eddie that he’s
cheating to win. The tornado DDT ends Dragon, giving Chavo his
biggest win ever.
Rating:
C-. This was more angle than
match but it’s one of the best angles WCW has ging right now. Chavo
has grown from a generic cruiserweight guy into an interesting
character who is getting some wins. It’s going to be interesting to
see how Eddie deals with the monster he created, meaning the story is
a good one. It’s very much a Frankenstein story, which has worked
for hundreds of years so why not in WCW?
Post
match JJ comes out and makes Eddie vs. Chavo at the Bash.
Hour
#3 begins.
Cruiserweight
Title: Lenny Lane vs. Dean Malenko
Lane
makes sure to oil up on the way to the ring. He shoves Dean away and
admires his own abs. Very little action in the first minute until
Dean takes over with a headlock. That goes nowhere either so Lane
takes him to the corner and stomps him down a bit. Dean does the
same to Lenny but gets bulldogged down for two. We hit the chinlock
on the champion before Dean fights up and elbows Lane in the face.
Lane tries a sunset flip and is easily countered into the Cloverleaf
to retain the title.
Rating:
D+. This didn’t work for me for
the most part with Dean sleepwalking through the match and Lane not
being able to get them anywhere yet. To be fair though Malenko has
had some great performances for months now so he’s allowed to have an
off night every now and then.
US
Title: Goldberg vs. Johnny Attitude
Attitude
imitates Goldberg on the way to the ring for the only interesting
part of the match. Goldberg is now standing in the pyro for the
entrance to start a trademark. Typical Goldberg match makes him
90-0.
Chris
Benoit vs. Booker T
Match
#1 in the best of seven series for the TV Title shot. Benoit takes
him into the corner but Booker fires off right hands and backdrops
Benoit down. A running forearm puts Benoit on the floor but he
catches Booker coming out after him. Back in and Booker spins out of
a wristlock and kicks Chris in the face for two.
Benoit
comes back by dropping Booker ribs first over the top rope before
stomping away and elbowing Booker down. The snap suplex gets two and
Benoit hits the chinlock. Some knees to the back set up another
chinlock on Booker before Benoit throws him down like a heel would.
Booker gets thrown into the corner and we hit chinlock #3.
Benoit
slams him down but misses the Swan Dive to put both guys down. Cue
Finlay to ringside as Booker flapjacks Benoit down. Chris avoids a
bunch of kicks but can’t get the German suplex. Booker comes back
with the ax kick but misses the Harlem Hangover. Back up and Benoit
snaps on the Crossface to go up 1-0.
Rating:
B-. This took time to get going
but it was rocking by the end. Benoit and Booker trading bombs for
five minutes after spending five minutes on dull chinlocks is fine
with me and if I have to watch seven matches of them so be it.
Really fun match here as Nitro hits an unprecedented two great
matches.
We
get pyro and music for the main event.
The
announcers talk about Luger joining the Wolfpack.
Lex
Luger/Sting vs. NWO Sting/Giant
The
NWO Sting is knocked to the floor before the bell and it’s
Luger/Sting double teaming the Giant. A running clothesline in the
corner and a Stinger Splash send the big man to the floor as this is
one sided so far. NWO Sting goes in to start against the real
version and gets in a single elbow to drop Sting. That’s the extent
of NWO Sting’s offense as Sting pops up and destroys the fake before
bringing in Luger for some clotheslines.
A
cheap shot from Giant lets NWO Sting take over as the fans are all
over Giant here. Off to Giant for a loud chop in the corner and a
head knocker (picture a powerbomb stance but Giant jumps in the air
to crush the back of Luger’s head). Back to NWO Sting who misses a
Stinger Splash, allowing for the hot tag off to Sting. A quick
Stinger Splash and the Death Drop are enough to pin the fake guy.
Rating:
D+. All things considered, this
wasn’t horrible. What else are you going to expect with former tag
team champions in a glorified handicap match? At this point the
match is just a backdrop for the NWO drama with Sting about to pick
one of the NWO’s to join because who hasn’t done that yet?
Post
match here’s the Wolfpack with an extra shirt. Sting bails for a
second before coming back in. He holds up the shirt and looks
intrigued but doesn’t put it on as we go off the air.
Overall
Rating:
C+. This is the kind of
show that Nitro needed. We had a nice blend of good wrestling and
drama with a cliffhanger to end the show. It still doesn’t need to
be three hours long, but the balancing of drama and action has been
severely lacking for months now. Granted having two awesome matches
helped things out too.
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