Monday Nitro – June 29, 1998

Nitro #143
June 29, 1998
Ice Palace, Tampa, Florida
Attendance: 10,900
Tony Schiavone, Mike Tenay, Bobby Heenan, Larry Zbyszko
Reviewed by Tommy Hall
13 days away from Bash at the Beach and of course the major story
tonight is the NBA tag match. Tonight also marks the first
appearance of Karl Malone on the show, meaning Tony will constantly
tell us how nothing has ever been bigger in the history of our sport.
The hype wound up working due to how successful the PPV was but man
alive it’s not easy to sit through week in and week out. Let’s get
to it.

Nitro Girls get us going. Not a bad way to start.
announcers intro the show and Larry can’t pronounce anticipation.
brings out Kevin Greene for an opening chat. Greene doesn’t remember
Hennig’s name but he does remember Goldberg, who he calls the best
wrestler in the last 30 years. He plugs the tag match at the PPV and
leaves. This was maybe 45 seconds long.
vs. Horace
starts fast with a Moss Covered Three Handled Family Credenza (starts
like a fisherman’s suplex but into a swinging neckbreaker instead of
a suplex) for two before stomping Horace down into the corner. A
Lodi distraction lets Horace clothesline Kanyon to the floor though
and Horace follows up with a suicide dive. Not a bad one either.
is whipped into the stop sign against the barricade which is legal
because all of the Flock’s matches are under Raven’s Rules. Or the
referee is a dolt. Back inside and Horace superplexes Kanyon down
for two but gets caught in a swinging neckbreaker. Kanyon comes back
with a fireman’s carry into a pancake for no cover as Kanyon has to
go after Lodi. Horace gets two off a big boot but walks into the
Flatliner for the pin.
C-. Decent little match here as
Kanyon continues to look great in the ring almost every time. Horace
is a better power guy than he’s given credit for, but that’s what you
have to expect when the guy is Hulk’s nephew. The Kanyon vs. Raven
blowoff match should be solid once we finally get there.
match the Flock hits the ring but Kanyon holds them off. Raven
himself finally comes in and the distraction lets the Flock take
Kanyon down. Raven says Kanyon standing alone is usually honorable
but today it’s foolish. The Evenflow lays Kanyon out.
semi-truck is on the way but not even in Florida yet according to
sequence, nearly 20 minutes into the show.
announcers talk about the tag match again.
get the phone call from Thunder from Page saying he and Malone are
driving a big rig from Salt Lake City to Nitro with a surprise
inside. The surprise: a bunch of chairs. Seriously, he said there
was a surprise inside then said there’s nothing but chairs inside.
I’m guessing that’s another slip of the tongue.
to the helicopter shot of the truck with Tony saying it’s been in
Florida all day, contradicting what he said five minutes ago. He’s
getting better if nothing else.
Black and White is arming itself with various metal weapons such as
crowbars and chains.
fans think Page and Malone are going to win.
Stevie Ray who has demanded TV time tonight. He’s got a problem with
that pipsqueak Chris Benoit and that ex-football player Steve
McMichael. Everybody knows he could beat both of them one on one but
Booker T wants a tag match. Stevie won’t say where Booker is right
now but he’ll be here later for a tag match if the challenge is
Dragon vs. Eddie Guerrero
is another guy from Dragon Gate who is better known as Dragon Kid.
This is his only WCW appearance, meaning the fans aren’t exactly
thrilled with him. Eddie quickly takes him down by the arm but
Dragon flips out and hits a handspring elbow in the corner. A
tilt-a-whirl backbreaker puts Dragon down again and Eddie hits the
slingshot hilo to his back.
fans chant for Chavo so Eddie hits a brainbuster. He looks all over
the place for Chavo before going up for the frog splash. Here’s
Chavo riding a hobby horse named Pepe and telling Eddie (“Little
Trooper”) to keep going. Eddie tries to steal the horse and the
distraction lets Dragon roll Eddie up for the pin.
D+. The match wasn’t bad but
was more for the story than the match itself. Chavo is completely
insane by this point and the character is getting over as a result.
Imagine that: a veteran doing a story with a younger guy and the
younger guy getting over. Also notice that Eddie hasn’t lost any of
his heat at all and is getting better reactions from the crowd. Why
is this such a hard concept to grasp?
Jericho offers Ultimo Dragon a title shot on Thunder if Dragon takes
Malenko out tonight.
Nitro Girls.
Party winner.
Fuji/Judo Suwa vs. Giant
and Hennig are here with Giant and Rude’s beard is getting out of
control. Wade Boggs is here and Larry is furious for him shaking
hands with the NWO. Neither Japanese guy comes up past Giant’s
chest. Giant kicks Judo in the face and a double chokeslam ends this
in less than 45 seconds.
NWO clears the Dragon Gate guys out of the ring and says if Kevin
Greene wants some right now, come get it. Greene comes to the aisle
on his own with Hennig talking a lot of trash about the
“non-athlete”. Goldberg shows up behind Greene and the good guys
clear the ring. The Goldberg chant comes on, despite the crowd shots
showing no one actually chanting.
fans think Page and Malone will win.
are Hogan and Bischoff with something to say. Hogan sings (meaning
recites) his theme song’s lyrics on the way to the ring. Tony
describes Hogan as magnificent, which doesn’t sound like something
you say about your hated rival. Eric says Hogan used to want to be a
truck mechanic so he can help if Malone and Page break down. Hogan
talks about beating up truck drivers in Tampa years ago and promises
to make Karl Malone famous tonight.
out with a loser like Page isn’t going to help Malone’s legacy and
neither will Hogan turning the truck over on Malone’s back. Malone
will end up shining Hollywood’s shoes because Karl couldn’t lace the
black Jesus’ shoes on the basketball course. Tonight Hogan will take
care of Malone by himself. Somehow this took seven minutes.
truck is on the way, complete with a police escort. Also it’s
apparently gone from full daylight to pitch black in about 20
#2 begins.
Luger vs. Jim Neidhart/British Bulldog
match. Luger is teaming with Sting again, making me wonder why Nash
was given the title in the first place. Neidhart and Luger get us
going by trading shoulder blocks until Luger clotheslines him out to
the floor. Back in and it’s off to Sting and Bulldog which pleases
the fans quite a bit. Sting grabs a headlock and sends Bulldog to
the floor for a breather.
comes back in and wants to face his former Allied Powers teammate.
They pose at each other until it’s off to Anvil for even more posing.
Larry: “Is he flexing his beard?” Sting comes in and runs
Neidhart around the ring before it’s back to Luger who is taken into
the corner. Luger gets double teamed for a few seconds before coming
back with a double clothesline to put both Neidhart and Luger down.
Hot tag to Sting who cleans house and finishes Bulldog with the Death
D-. This was HORRIBLE with both
teams taking as much time as they could doing as little as they
could. Neidhart and Bulldog just weren’t working in WCW and I think
everyone knew it. They really don’t have characters outside of being
Bret’s relatives which doesn’t work when they’re not allowed to
associate with him. It didn’t help that Bulldog was a shell of
himself at this point and Anvil never was much of note without Bret.
fans, same opinions.
vs. Reese
monster pounds Saturn in the chest to start but Saturn superkicks
Reese down to his knees. Reese grabs Saturn and gorilla presses him
from one knee in an impressive power display. Some knees in the
corner have Saturn in trouble but he kicks Reese in the knee and
takes him down. A missile dropkick drops Reese before the Death
Valley Driver is good for the pin. We can add Saturn to the list of
guys that WCW amazingly managed to screw up.
Flock immediately comes in and swarms Saturn. Raven says it’s time
Saturn starts taking responsibility for his life. He talks about
giving Saturn everything but Saturn never gave anything back. An
Evenflow lays Saturn out just like it did Kanyon earlier.
recap the NWO beating down Greene las tweek until Goldberg made the
motorcade continues.
Nitro Girls.
Vampiro vs. Brad Armstrong
looks much different without his facepaint. Feeling out process to
start with Armstrong taking him into the corner but Vampiro lands on
his feet off a monkey flip. A clothesline puts Vampiro down but he
comes back with a nice spinning kick to the jaw. Vampiro scores
again with a spinwheel kick to the face and the Nail in the Coffin
(Michinoku Driver) for the pin. Just a squash even though Vampiro
wouldn’t be back until next March.
for the tag match at Bash at the Beach.
NWO Late Night band is warming up. Oh this isn’t going to go well.
Magnum/Shiima Nobunaga vs. Disco Inferno/Alex Wright
is more famous as Cima. Toyky starts dancing between Wright and
Disco and takes his clothes off at the same time. Disco and Wright
aren’t into the stripping stuff and pounds Tokyo out to the floor.
Nobunaga starts with Alex and we get a rather nice wrestling sequence
with Nobunaga taking over via a flying mare and a dropkick. Wright
runs him over and tags in Disco who is sent chest first into the
buckle and drokicked in the back.
to Magnum who walks into an atomic drop and it’s off to Wright for a
spinwheel kick. Alex tries a slingshot splash but lands on knees to
put him down. Back to Nobunaga for a springboard Swanton Bomb before
it’s back to Tokyo to stomp away in the corner. Tokyo tries
something out of the corner but slips down on the first try. A top
rope hurricanrana brings Disco down but Wright comes in sans tag with
a missile dropkick. Tokyo is knocked into the corner and it’s off to
Nobunaga who gets caught by a neckbreaker from Alex for the pin.
C+. This was a much better
match than I was expecting with Nobunaga shining better than anyone
else. Tokyo, who is mostly remembered in WCW as a comedy jobber,
looked much better than I was expecting out there. Wright and Disco
weren’t bad either, making for a nice though short match.
and Alex argue over which music should play post match.
interviews fans about the tag match. Guess who they pick to win.
Dragon vs. Dean Malenko
start with Dragon cranking on the arm and taking Dean down with a
flying mare. Malenko jumps over a leg sweep and avoids a kick before
both guys try dropkicks to give us a standoff. Dragon grabs the arm
to take over before shifting over the knee instead. We get the
headstand out of the corner but Dean catches him coming out of the
corner in a nasty looking release German suplex.
rapid fire kicks have Dean in trouble but he rolls out of the Dragon
Sleeper. Dragon takes him into the corner for the top rope
hurricanrana but gets caught in the super gutbuster instead. This
brings out Jericho to say this is where Dean’s father is buried.
Dean lets go of the Cloverleaf to chase Jericho to the back for a
C. The match was good while it
lasted but just like the Eddie match it wound up being about
storytelling instead of the match. That’s fine a lot of the time,
but at some point there has to be a payoff for Dean. Yeah he won the
title at Slamboree but it was taken away just a few weeks later.
That kind of cheapens the win and a boost for Dean wouldn’t hurt.
#3 begins.
get a clip from Thunder of Arn Anderson saying the Horsemen are over.
Benoit/Steve McMichael vs. Harlem Heat
and Booker get us going which is the best idea for everyone. Stevie
comes in before there’s any contact though and gets stomped down into
the corner with ease. A clothesline out of the same corner takes
Benoit down and it’s off to Booker who gets caught in a dragon screw
leg whip. Tag brings in Mongo to pound on Booker with his generic
power offense until he charges into a boot in the corner.
to Stevie for his own generic power offense as the crowd audibly
dies. Booker comes back in for a spinebuster for two but Benoit has
had enough. Everything breaks down without any tags and here’s Bret
Hart with a chair to blast Booker in the back, giving Mongo (who
didn’t see Bret) a pin.
D+. Simple explanation for
this: Booker and Benoit good, Stevie and Mongo bad. That’s as basic
as you can get here and the fans seemed to feel the same. I’m not
even sure why Stevie doesn’t like Benoit in the first place. Is it
just because Benoit offered to help Booker whenever he needed it?
That’s why we’ve in the third week of feuding?
catches up with Jericho in the locker room and pounds on him until
Ultimo Dragon tries to break it up. Malenko beats on him for a bit,
allowing Jericho to escape.
longest motorcade route in history continues.
time for the Eric Bischoff Show. This is going to suck isn’t it?
Eric (Bandleader: “One heck of a real swell guy!”) and Liz come
out to a talk show set that is nearly identical to the Tonight Show.
The bandleader says this is like the Barney and the motorcycle
episode of Andy Griffith or the first time there were transgender
truck drivers beating each other up on Jerry Springer.
bandleader goes on a long rant about hot sauce on barbecue pork rinds
in a trailer. I think this is supposed to be funny but the speech
made me lose focus. The guest tonight is Scott Steiner who says his
usual promo before talking about the tag match. He runs down Malone
for his Rogaine commercials and says calling Malone the Mailman is
fraud since he never delivers. Steiner says he’s got a co-star in
his Hollywood project and promises to have him here next week. This
was so far beyond stupid that it needs to study to get to dumb.
comes out and says that he doesn’t always agree with Stevie Ray but
that’s another story for another time. This is the second time that
Bret Hart has come out here and hit him in the back of the head with
a chair and Booker wants to know why. Stevie comes out and wants to
know why Booker is challenging Bret, even though he didn’t do that
yet. Booker does challenge Hart and here’s Bret, who says if there’s
a challenge, just go ahead and “ax” him. The challenge is
accepted but Booker better not cry when he loses. The match is on
for the PPV but Stevie wanted Booker to jump Bret right there.
and Bischoff want Malone and Page here now. Hollywood has an idea
Nitro Girls with the hometown girl Whisper getting a rare solo.
Title: Glacier vs. Goldberg
does the big intro for what might last two minutes. For some reason
Heenan thinks Glacier’s music is Goldberg’s. The champ’s entrance
takes over two and a half minutes. Page and Malone are officially
pulling up to the arena. Actually scratch that as they’re still a
few blocks away. Goldberg tries his leg lock but Glacier comes back
with kicks to the face. The champion completely no sells them and
hits a kind of powerbomb. The spear and Jackhammer retain the belt.
Typical Goldberg here.
announcers talk about the motorcade again.
are Hogan and Bischoff for the big closing segment. Hogan says he
hoped to take care of this really quickly but Malone and Page are
clearly scared. The motorcade is finally arriving with a few minutes
to go in the show. Hogan keeps calling them losers but doesn’t seem
to know they’re here. Hogan: “At Bash at the Beach, I don’t even
want you to tune in.” Nice promotion there dude.
rest of the Black and White are shown in the parking lot as Malone
and Page arrive. Both guys come inside while Hogan and Bischoff talk
trash. Page and Malone come in another door and bypass the NWO
entirely, allowing them to sneak up on Hogan and Bischoff, chairs in
hand. Hogan and Bischoff see them in the ring with Bischoff being
thrown to the floor. Malone says bring it and we get an over minute
long standoff. They lock up with Malone slamming Hogan down and
clotheslining him a few times.
rest of the NWO comes out with weapons in hand but Page has….a
microphone. He says Hogan got slammed dunked, punk. Page gets all
witty and calls Dennis Rodman Denise before challenging him for next
week. Malone says size does matter at Bash at the Beach. I’d like
to remind you that there are about five NWO guys with crowbars and
chains just standing in the aisle while Page and Malone talk. They
do the Diamond Cutter sign to end the show. I’ll give Malone this:
he looked like he was having a blast out there.
C+. This was a very
different show but in a good way. First and foremost, while the
basketball tag match was hyped a lot tonight, they toned it WAY down
from last week. Last time they talked about the match every ten
seconds or so, whereas this time was only every few minutes and for
much shorter stretches of time. On top of that, there were some
solid matches to go with the focus on storytelling. Tonight was
mainly about building up the PPV and that’s something we had been
needing for a good while. Nice show this week, even though things
are going to be turned upside down soon.
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