Monday Nitro – July 6, 1998

Monday
Nitro #144
Date:
July 6, 1998
Location:
Georgia Dome, Atlanta, Georgia
Attendance:
41,412
Commentators:
Mike Tenay, Bobby Heenan, Larry Zbyszko, Tony Schiavone
Reviewed by Tommy Hall
This
is the night that changes a lot of things in WCW, which is why it’s
been built up for a full four days. The main event tonight is the
undefeated Goldberg challenging Hollywood Hogan for the world title
in Goldberg’s hometown of Atlanta. On top of that it’s the go home
show for Bash at the Beach, meaning the basketball players are here
tonight as well. Let’s get to it.

We
open with JJ announcing the main event from Thunder.
The
Georgia Dome looks amazing with one of the biggest American crowds
ever up to that point. Off the top of my head the only shows with
higher attendance would be Wrestlemania III, the 1997 Royal Rumble
and Wrestlemania VIII.
The
Nitro Girls dance to get us going.
Tony
and company intro the show with Larry talking about people crawling
out of the slime and Goldberg being the epitome of evolution.
Here’s
the Black and White with something to say. Bischoff talks about how
this is another town that worships Hogan. Hollywood brags about how
much the fans love him here and literally rolled out the red carpet
for him. As for the business at hand, this Sunday he’s going to
destroy Malone so badly that he never plays basketball again. That’s
not his best insult ever.
Hogan
moves on to Goldberg, who might have a few fans here tonight. The
match however isn’t going to happen because Goldberg has only beaten
a bunch of jabronis. That’s a fair point actually. Hogan will give
Goldberg a chance though. He’s got an NWO man coming in tonight and
if Goldberg can beat him tonight, Goldberg can have his title match
later in the evening. The Goldberg chant cuts Hogan off but he says
a quick catchphrase to end things.
WCW
is giving away a NASCAR.
TV
Title: Dean Malenko vs. Booker T
Booker
is defending. Feeling out process to start with both guys connecting
with shoulder blocks and drop toeholds to give us a stalemate.
Booker grabs a belly to back suplex and goes up for the missile
dropkick but only hits mat. The Cloverleaf is countered into a small
package and we have another standoff. Dean takes him dow again and
goes up top but dives into a spinebuster for two. Booker starts his
finishing sequence but misses the side kick, sending both guys to the
floor. Booker gets back in quickly but here’s Jericho to distract
Malenko, allowing Booker to hit a quick ax kick to retain.
Rating:
C+. This was entertaining for a
match that didn’t even run four minutes. Dean vs. Jericho is going
to be a huge eruption when it actually happens, assuming Jericho gets
his head kicked in like he’s supposed to. Booker getting another win
over a former champion is only good for his career as well.
Goldberg
can do pushups.
Karl
Malone is upset that Dennis Rodman isn’t here tonight but he’ll be
there on Sunday for sure. This was ten seconds long and better than
half the roster’s promos.
Raven
vs. Kanyon
Kanyon
jumps him in the aisle and takes out Lodi to get things going. Back
in and a hiptoss gets two for Kanyon before they trade sleepers.
Raven is sent to the floor and into the barricade as the announcers
talk about Goldberg’s two matches tonight. Kanyon gets two off a
fireman’s carry flapjack but Lodi crotches Kanyon on the top. Raven
superplexes Kanyon down onto an open chair but here’s Saturn to
attack Raven for the no contest. Short but entertaining stuff.
Saturn
beats up the Flock post match and sets up a table. This would be
better if the security wasn’t telling everyone to sit down. Raven is
laid on the table between the ring and the barricade but Saturn’s
splash off the top doesn’t break the table. That landing sounded
sick. Kanyon lays out Saturn with something we couldn’t see but he
might not have known who he was hitting.
Buff
and Judy Bagwell arrive.
The
fans think Goldberg will win.
Nitro
Girls.
We
get a clip from last week with Malone and Page arriving and scaring
off the well armed NWO by blowing a horn, followed by Malone’s
standoff with Hogan.
Here
are Page and Malone with something to say. Page talks about how bad
a week this is going to be for Scum Hogan, as he’s losing the title
tonight and getting banged on Sunday. Malone, calling himself the
Rodzilla Killa (I’ve heard worse) promises to whip Rodman like
Madonna should have. Short again but it got the point across.
We
get the same video of Mongo from Thunder, talking about reforming the
Horsemen with comments from Mike Ditka.
Riggs
vs. Scott Putski
Putski
gets a quick one off a snap suplex but Riggs comes back with a
clothesline and dropkick to take over. A tilt-a-whirl slam gets two
for Putski as Tony talks about all the Goldberg highlights we’ll get
tonight. Riggs hits a running knee in the corner to send Putski to
the floor as Larry talks about Ivan Putski. Back in and a double
clothesline puts both guys down. Putski comes back with right hands
and the Polish Hammer (running ax handle to the chest, his dad’s
move) gets no cover. Instead a sitout spinebuster gets the pin on
Riggs.
Rating:
C-. This was much more
entertaining than I was expecting. Putski had a good look and some
decent skills but he never went anywhere at all. Riggs looked decent
out there as well with more offense than you usually see from him.
To call this a nice surprise would be the understatement of the day.
Goldberg
can headbutt a locker.
We
see Goldberg’s first win over Hugh Morrus. That’s an introduction
you very rarely see: an unknown coming in and getting an upset win.
Why not use that again at some point?
We
go to the parking lot where the Black and White gets out of a limo,
complete with Scott Hall who is Goldberg’s first opponent tonight.
Here’s
Jericho before his match to say that Malenko doesn’t deserve a
Cruiserweight Title shot on Sunday. He talks about “Rey Mysterio”
beating him on Thunder (a small guy in Mysterio attire whom Jericho
allowed to pin him), meaning that Mysterio should get the title shot.
This brings out JJ who says the title match with Dean is on for
Sunday and will be No DQ. Cue a ticked off Malenko but JJ says if
they fight before Sunday, the title match is off.
You
know that’s enough for Jericho, who goes into a tirade of insults
against Dean’s family. Malenko holds off, until Jericho implies that
Dean’s brother Joe is the result of an affair. Dean goes OFF on
Jericho, pounding him in the face as much as he can. JJ says the
title match is off and Jericho can’t stop laughing. Either something
happens on Sunday or this story is taking a very strange turn.
Chris
Jericho vs. Ultimo Dragon
Non-title.
Dragon grabs a headlock to start but has to nip up to escape a
headscissors. A shoulder puts Jericho down for a second before he
flips out of a backdrop. Some kicks put Jericho down and Dragon
walks up his back for some insult. Jericho comes right back with a
dropkick to the back of the head and the arrogant cover for two.
Dragon snaps off some more kicks but here’s Dean for the DQ.
Malenko
literally rips Jericho’s hair out as security pulls Malenko off and
handcuff him.
More
Nitro Girls in different outfits.
Chavo
Guerrero Jr. vs. Johnny Swinger
Swinger
cuts about as bland of a heel promo as you could ever imagine,
talking about how everyone will know his name after this. Chavo
comes to the ring in a hard hat to hide the missing hair that Eddie
cut off. Naturally he can’t wear it in the match which drives Chavo
even crazier. He freaks out and screams a lot which scares Swinger
back into the corner. Chavo pounds on him a bit and hits a nice
headscissors to put Swinger down. Johnny gets in a few shots to the
ribs to take over and shouts his name a lot. Chavo comes back with a
dropkick and the tornado DDT ends this in less than two minutes.
Goldberg’s
25th win was over Glacier.
Public
Enemy vs. Alex Wright/Disco Inferno
What
is with Public Enemy getting on every show lately? The dancers now
have Tokyo Magnum as a dancer in training even though they don’t seem
to want him around. Public Enemy brings two tables to the ring while
wearing Braves jerseys to suck up to the crowd. The dancers are
easily beaten down into the corners to start and Rocco powerslams
Disco. Magnum distracts Grunge from the floor and after a stern
lecture, Grunge gets kneed in the back by Wright to change momentum.
Alex
gets two off a slingshot splash from the apron and it’s off to Disco
for some dancing. He drops some elbows and a knee but the middle
rope elbow misses completely. The not very hot tag brings in Rocco
but his double noggin knocker is countered into a double hiptoss.
That’s not exactly a house cleaning moment. Grunge comes back in
with a double bulldog and it’s table time. The dancers leave the
dancer in training to deal with this situation and Magnum is crushed
between the tables, which is a DQ for some reason.
Rating:
D. The fans stayed in the match
for the most part but it was just a backdrop to set up the big table
spot at the end. Magnum isn’t the worst choice in the world for a
fall guy for the dancers because fans like seeing annoying characters
get beaten up. That’s more reason than we have to care about most of
the other Dragon Gate guys at least.
Post
match the dancers come back with trashcans to beat up Public Enemy.
Here’s
Buff Bagwell in a wheelchair, pushed by his mom. He comes out to the
NWO music but asks to have the music cut off. Buff talks about how
much he loves Atlanta and talks about how much the fans mean to him
before saying he and Scott Steiner need to go their separate ways.
You can feel the heel turning coming from here.
Goldberg’s
50th
win was over Rick Fuller, another guy who had potential on his look
alone.
Hour
#3 begins.
US
Title: Goldberg vs. Scott Hall
This
is Goldberg’s qualifying match for the main event already set by JJ
because Hogan can just make matches like that. This is Hall’s first
match on Nitro in about three months. Goldberg shoves him down to
start and Hall isn’t sure what to make of him. Hall drives in the
shoulder blocks but Goldberg shrugs them off and takes Hall down with
ease. Goldberg casually puts his hands on his hips and waits for
Hall to bring it. Scott hits some HARD chops but they botch an Irish
whip as Goldberg was too close to Hall for whatever they were
supposed to do, causing them to collide in an ugly crash.
Back
up and Goldberg blocks a slam and throws Hall down again. The crowd
is losing their minds over this stuff and Goldberg has barely broken
a sweat so far. Hall spits at him and avoids a charge in the corner
before getting two off a belly to back suplex. Goldberg is actually
in trouble here as Hall kicks him in the head a few times. Goldberg
no sells some punches and armdrags Scott down a few times.
Hall
calls out the Black and White B-Team plus Hennig but Page and Malone
take them down with chairs in the aisle. The distraction lets Hall
snap Goldberg’s throat across the top rope and score with a solid
clothesline. The Outsider’s Edge is easily countered with a backdrop
and a spear and the Jackhammer set up the main event.
Rating:
C-. The match wasn’t anything
to see from a technical standpoint but the idea was good. Hogan made
a good point earlier about Goldberg never beating anyone of note so a
win over a big name like Hall was a good boost heading into later
tonight. On top of that it makes the main event look even better for
Goldberg as he’s coming in less than 100%. Imagine that: thinking in
a WCW story.
More
Nitro Girls, this time on the announcers’ desk.
Psychosis
vs. Juventud Guerrera
Juvy
misses a dropkick in the corner but still gets his feet up to stop a
charging Psychosis. Some elbows to the face get Psychosis nowhere
and Juvy chops away to set up a hurricanrana. A top rope
hurricanrana sends Psychosis to the floor and Air Juvy takes him down
again. Back in and Psychosis catapults Juvy over the top rope and
out to the floor, allowing Psychosis to hit a nice dive of his own.
Back in and Juvy kicks out at two before putting on the Juvy Driver,
followed by a 450 for the pin on Psychosis.
Rating:
C. This was fun but they didn’t
have time to go anywhere with it. It didn’t help that they were in
the death slot after Goldberg and the fans were all drooling over the
upcoming main event. Still though, some nice dives and hurricanranas
made this a very nice breather and a fun match.
Post
match the Flock runs in to beat up Juvy, setting up Guerrera vs.
Reese II on Sunday.
Goldberg’s
75th
win got him the US Title from Raven. I still feel bad for Raven for
getting 24 hours with the belt. I understand wanting to get it on
Goldberg but I would have liked Raven to have it longer.
LONG
video hyping up the NBA match. Thankfully they’ve toned the hype for
that way down in the last two weeks. That one show was unbearable.
The
Giant vs. Jim Duggan
If
you’ve seen this match once, you’ve seen it a dozen times. Duggan
pounds away in the corner to some effect but tries a slam because
he’s not that bright. Giant slams him down but misses his big elbow.
Duggan’s three point clothesline actually connects but Giant just
raises his fist to block the knee drop. Chokeslam and we’re done in
a hurry.
Post
match Giant calls Kevin Greene a coward. Luckily Greene is here and
clotheslines Giant out of the ring, showing more fire than almost
anyone else tonight.
Diamond
Dallas Page vs. Jim Neidhart
Malone
and his incredibly long arms are in Page’s corner. Neidhart powers
him into the corner to start and chokes away on the mat. Page comes
back and throws him in as well for some knees to the ribs. Jim goes
right for the bad ribs and slams Page’s back onto the mat by his
hair. Neidhart hooks a full nelson but gets kicked low, setting up
the Diamond Cutter for the win.
Goldberg’s
100th
win was over Konnan a few weeks earlier.
Sting/Lex
Luger vs. Kidman/Sick Boy
Nash
and Konnan are in Sting and Luger’s corner, which again makes me ask
why Nash is Sting’s partner in the first place. They’ve teamed
together once since becoming champions while Sting and Luger have
partnered up three times now. The Wolfpack does their catchphrases
before the Flock comes out. Match: Sting beats both guys up for ten
seconds, double Stinger Splash, Death Drop to Kidman and the Rack to
Sick Boy, done in less than thirty seconds.
And
now it’s time.
WCW
World Title: Hollywood Hogan vs. Goldberg
Goldberg’s
pop is still big but it’s a slight step behind what it was earlier
tonight. They loudly pop for the bell though and Heenan is already
losing his mind for the match. Goldberg grabs a headlock to start
and Hogan screams NO NO NO. A shoulder puts the champion down and
the fans are making up for the slightly quieter pop on the entrance.
Goldberg takes him down on a test of strength and the place is coming
unglued.
Hogan
comes back with some solid right hands and the weightlifting belt to
the back but Goldberg easily takes it out of Hogan’s hands. He
throws it to the mat and says bring it. A low blow slows Goldberg
down and a clothesline drops him again. Hogan chokes a lot but
misses some elbows, allowing Goldberg to hit a clothesline, knocking
Hollywood outside. With the weightlifting belt back on, Hogan gets
back in and shoves Goldberg outside one more time. Some chairs to
the back have Goldberg in trouble and we hit the ring again.
A
slam sets up a pair of legdrops (literally not mentioned at all by
the announcers) as Curt Hennig comes to the ring. Tenay finally
mentions the legdrops as Hogan hits what sounds like a third (camera
was on Hennig) for two. Malone comes out and Diamond Cuts Hennig on
the floor, allowing Goldberg to spear Hogan down. The fans literally
rise up as Goldberg Jackhammers Hogan for the pin and the title.
Heenan goes NUTS in the most passionate speech you’ll hear him give
this side of a Flair promo.
Rating:
B. This is a hard one to grade
because the match wasn’t anything special from a wrestling
perspective. What it was though was exactly what it should have
been. Goldberg took a beating but came back and destroyed Hogan for
the 100% clean pin. Hogan put him over completely clean here and it
felt like a new star was made. That’s exactly what was supposed to
happen here and the fans got what they were hoping for with no
shenanigans. This is what Sting vs. Hogan should have been at
Starrcade.
Goldberg
celebrates by holding up both titles for several minutes to end the
show.
Overall
Rating:
B. Shows like these are
what frustrate me more than anything about WCW. This was proof that
if they were trying, they could put on some very entertaining shows
that accomplished everything they were supposed to accomplish. The
focus was entirely on Goldberg tonight and that part worked to
perfection. On top of that however this was a solid go home show
which built up Bash at the Beach rather well.
Another
thing to note here is this show kept moving. They didn’t let
anything stay on too long (other than Goldberg the longest match was
Public Enemy at just over 5:00) and the show felt fun throughout.
That’s what’s so frustrating about this show. Imagine if this had
been on pay per view with some other major matches and time to build.
It would have been one of WCW’s best shows ever and a real comeback
against the WWF. As it is it’s just a really fun TV show, meaning it
doesn’t have the long term impact it needed to. That’s one of the
major reasons WCW lost the war: being so short sighted. Still
though, great fun here.

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