Monday Nitro – August 17, 1998

This was written about four months ago for a request on my site.  There’s a chance I’ll be missing some plot points from recent weeks but most of it should be fine.
Monday Nitro #154
Date: August 17, 1998
Location: Hartford
Civic Center, Hartford, Connecticut
Attendance: 12,655
Commentators: Larry
Zbyszko, Mike Tenay, Bobby Heenan, Tony Schiavone
Reviewed by Tommy Hall
This was requested a
long time ago so I’m not sure why someone wanted to see it. We’re a
little over a week after Road Wild 1998 where, believe it or not, the
world champion Goldberg didn’t main event the show because Hogan was
in a tag match with a celebrity. The company is starting to reel
from the Attitude Era but tonight may be their answer if my memory is
correct. Let’s get to it.

Here’s the NWO, led by
Hogan and Bischoff, to open things up. Hogan says all the fans here are NWO Black
and White fans because this is the house that Hollywood built. He’s
sick of all the games with the media and dealing with all those lower
level guys. Instead he wants Goldberg right here tonight in the
middle of the ring because there is NO ONE he hasn’t beaten and no
one he can’t beat. The fans chant Goldberg as Hogan says Giant will
take out Goldberg and hand him the title tonight.
Opening sequence which
is still the same as it was at the beginning of the year. Even the
Steiner Brothers are still in it.
JJ Dillon talks about
the very stupid WarGames this year which is a three team, nine man
format because the greatest gimmick match of all time needed to be
tweaked. Dillon announced Hogan, DDP and Nash as the captains for
the three teams. There are three men to start, every two minutes
there’s a three way coin toss and the person who earns the fall
(which can be a pin this year) gets a title shot at Halloween Havoc.
We get a clip from
Saturday Night with Dean Malenko wanting to reform the Horsemen.
Nitro Girls.
Nitro Party winner. Is
there any wrestling coming anytime soon?
Steve McMichael vs.
Sick Boy
The announcers spend
the first minute or so running down Raw for the night because it was
taped weeks in advance and their world title match only runs about
ten seconds tonight. That’s likely because it’s two weeks before
Summerslam and the WWF isn’t stupid enough to air a long title match
that close to what might have been their biggest show of the year. Mongo shoves
Sick Boy to the apron but gets his neck snapped across the top rope.
Sick Boy fires off some right hands and gets two off a slam.
A dropkick puts Mongo
down for the same as the announcers talk about Saturn vs. Raven at
Fall Brawl with the future of the Flock on the line. Sick Boy hits a
clothesline as this is almost a squash so far. They slug it out from
their knees with Sick Boy maintaining control but barely being able
to get Mongo up for a suplex. Mongo gets in a shot to the ribs and a
three point shoulder block followed by the tombstone for the pin.
Rating: C-.
I miss the days when Mongo was nowhere to be seen. You know
something? I don’t think I’ve ever seen a bad Sick Boy match. The
guy looks smooth out there and very confident in what he does in the
ring but after the Flock broke up he was more or less gone for good.
Then again it’s WCW so it’s not like he would have been pushed
anyway.
Here’s DDP with
something to say. He’s the captain for Team WCW at Fall Brawl so he
went out west to recruit his first teammate. This man wants to take
out Hogan as much as Page does and Hogan has never beaten him. Page
doesn’t name the guy before starting to talk about the NWO beating
Page down before his US Title match with Bret Hart a few weeks ago.
This brings out US
Champion Bret (in a Hogan shirt) to say quit complaining and win or
lose like a man. Page says back up of him Jack because he wants a
match with Hart tonight. Bret lists off a bunch of guys that he’s
crippled and put on the shelf, but Page is the scum of the earth so
he’ll give Page the title shot tonight.
Gene brings out Raven
for a chat but before anything can be said, Horace Hogan comes out
with a stop sign. He says he’s watched Raven’s back for four months
but hasn’t gotten anything in return for it. For the last two weeks
he’s beaten Raven up but he wants one more match.
Raven says fine as long
as it’s a tag match where he can pick the partners. Horace will have
Kanyon and Raven gets Saturn because Saturn needs to get used to
being subservient to him. Saturn and Kanyon come out with Saturn
calling Raven crazy. He changes his mind a few seconds later because
he wants to smack Raven when he comes over for a tag. JJ Dillon
comes out to stop this interesting idea. The tag match can happen,
but if Saturn tries to attack Raven, he’s gone for 90 days. Also the
match must end by pinfall or submission.
High Voltage vs.
Alex Wright/Disco Inferno
Wright is quickly taken
to the mat by a wristlock and a belly to belly suplex. Tony rips on
Raw again by saying WCW will give you action you want to see here
tonight. So far we’ve seen Steve McMichael vs. Sick Boy and this
classic. You might want to try that one again Schiavone. Off to
Disco who is thrown around as well but here’s Meng to attack Wright
because Meng is a monster.
A referee and a
security guard get Death Grips as well. They finally mace him to no
effect at all.
Eddie Guerrero is
scheduled for a match against Konnan but he comes out with a bag and
a cup of coffee. He says don’t go to a commercial or he’ll say this
on another show. Eddie wants to talk to Eric Bischoff about
business, but if this is the only way to get his attention then so be
it. Eddie has been unappreciated for a year despite giving the best
effort he can.
All of the young talent
in WCW is held down for the sake of the people on top of the company.
The fans are loudly booing. Eddie says he hasn’t done this for the
sake of Chavo and his children and pours coffee on himself,
referencing a meeting where Eric allegedly threw coffee on him (in
his book Eddie said that it was actually Eric accidentally spilling
the coffee on a table and it landed on Eddie). This would eventually
lead to the LWO. I’m sure we’ll get Eddie vs. Konnan later though,
because WCW would NEVER bait and switch us like that other company
that WCW has spent the first hour running down.
Hour #2 begins.
Kanyon/Horace vs.
Saturn/Raven
Raven and Saturn get in
an argument before the bell but agree to get inside. Saturn and
Kanyon get things going but Raven tags himself in, nearly triggering
another brawl. The tag doesn’t count for some reason so Kanyon tries
a fisherman’s suplex on Saturn, only to get caught in a belly to
belly suplex. Off to Horace who catches Saturn in a bad looking
flapjack, giving Kanyon a two count.
Kanyon stomps away in
the corner and gets two off a backbreaker. In a surprise, Raven
crotches Kanyon on the top to save Saturn as the Raw bashing
continues. Raven comes in and rolls some Russian legsweeps on Kanyon
but doesn’t cover. Back to Saturn for some kicks in the corner
before Raven brings in a chair.
Kanyon is sat on the
middle rope and Raven loads up a Diamond Cutter onto the chair (Tony:
“Looked like a bulldog or a DDT.” So not only does he brag about
how AMAZING WCW’s main event will be but he doesn’t recognize the
most over move in the company for the last year and a half.) but
Kanyon shoves Raven into the chair instead. Off to Horace who is
only here to beat up Raven. A powerslam gets two for Hollywood
Hogan’s nephew as Saturn makes the save.
Everything breaks down
and Saturn and Raven are thrown into each other. Horace splashes
both guys in the corner and Saturn does the Sting falling low blow
spot. A powerbomb/neckbreaker combo gets two on Saturn and Kanyon
spikes him down with a reverse electric chair (meaning Saturn was
dropped face first off Kanyon’s shoulders). Horace brings in the
stop sign but blasts Kanyon by mistake, allowing Saturn to hit the
Death Valley Driver on Horace for the pin.
Rating: C+.
This was a better match than I was expecting though more dissension
between Raven and Saturn would have helped a bit. Kanyon continues
to be solid in the ring with a bunch of nifty moves but Horace on the
other hand was as generic of a big man as you could ask for. Still
though, good stuff here.
The Flock comes in post
match and Raven DDTs Saturn. He tells the Flock to get Saturn up but
Kidman pulls Raven off of him, earning a DDT of his own. Horace gets
a DDT as well.
Here’s the Wolfpack with something to say. The Wolfpack is Nash,
Konnan, Sting (looking like a lobster in red paint) ad Luger. They’re the cool NWO and formed a few
months ago because if there was one thing missing in WCW, it was a
face NWO team. Sting talks about WarGames coming up and how much
he’d love to be involved again. Konnan does his usual schtick before
Nash talks about how great it is to be in Connecticut. If you’re not
part of the Wolfpack, prepare to be hunted by the Pack…and that’s
it.
Scott Norton vs.
Scott Putski
Putski is wearing a
long coat that makes him look like a pirate. Norton chops him in the
corner to start but Putski comes back with a neckbreaker. A Vincent
distraction lets Norton snap off a powerslam and a powerbomb ends
Putski in less than a minute.
Here’s the Black and
White with something else to say. Hogan loves the new WarGames rules
because he can take care of all the garbage at one time. Nash is a
turncoat and Page is a creep who doesn’t follow the rules. Bischoff
is the boss around here and the man that brings in the new talent,
even though there’s no one Page could bring in that Hogan can’t
handle. There go the lights and it’s time for the reveal of DDP’s
surprise partner.
A voiceover says
something about destruction and someone walks out but we can’t see
who it is. The lights come up and it’s the Ultimate Warrior (just
called the Warrior here). Hogan immediately panics because he
thought Warrior was dead. A LOUD Warrior chant comes up as Warrior
asks who holds the power now. Warrior stands there for awhile before
saying people anticipated his arrival. Hogan offers him the NWO
shirt off his back but Warrior says it doesn’t smell good.
Warrior talks about how
wrestling has tried to recreate something which is recreateable with
Hogan at the figurehead. Those sort of things are irreplaceable and
Hogan must realize that right now. Warrior pauses for about thirty
seconds after each sentence. The fans chant that Hogan sucks but
Warrior wants to tell him something he doesn’t know. Warrior talks
about history teaching us things but Hogan has misplaced pieces of
his history. He mentions that Hogan never beat the Warrior, which
brings up an interesting point.
On Warrior’s WWE DVD,
Hogan said this was the ultimate no-no. Why? Some of the biggest
matches of all time, including the most watched match in American
history, have been rematches. Are we supposed to say Warrior lost
the match? Also remember that Page brought it up earlier in the show
and flat out said it instead of implying it like Warrior did (Warrior
said Hogan never beat him, not that he beat Hogan). Earlier Hogan
mentioned wanting to get his belt back from Goldberg. Are we
supposed to forget that Hogan lost his only match against Goldberg?
I never got why this was such a big deal in Hogan’s mind.
Anyway Warrior says he
defeated the undefeatable and conquered the unconquerable because
while Hogan was great, Warrior was Ultimate. After talking for about
ten minutes, Warrior introduces himself to Disciple, saying that must
be Hogan’s barber. I believe that’s the first actual confirmation
that it’s Brutus Beefcake. Bischoff says Warrior knows who he is and
Warrior says if Bischoff gets involved, it will lead to his demise.
Also Warrior is going to send him a bill for something that isn’t
specified.
Warrior talks about
destiny and waiting for the next superhero. Hogan has been
rationalizing adolescent behavior and embodies intolerable evil.
Warrior isn’t here to beat Hogan up because everyone has already
beaten Hogan up. Nice line there. Next week Warrior is going to
launch a revolution that not even Hogan can control. That’s next
week, same Warrior time, place and channel. Seriously he said that.
Smoke fills the ring and Warrior disappears.
This went on FOREVER
and easily could have been cut in half to get the same point across.
Between Warrior’s incessant pauses, the repeating the same stuff in
different terms over and over and talking to Bischoff about bills,
this could have been cut down to about six or seven minutes instead
of the fifteen that it took. Also it’s more of the same idea for
WCW: take something that was a big deal a long time ago and try to
get something more out of it. Yes it would work short term, but it
was shown to not work in the long term.
More Nitro Girls. Tony
is only pretty sure that the Warrior was DDP’s shocker.
Dean Malenko vs.
Curt Hennig
This has potential.
Curt bails to the floor and we take our second break in about two and
a half minutes. Back with Dean pulling Hennig into the ring but Curt
taking it right back to the floor to beat on Malenko. Back in and
Dean goes off with forearms in the corner, only to be taken down by a
clothesline. Hennig cranks on the neck but Dean backdrops Curt down.

A snapmare gets two for
Malenko but he runs into a boot in the corner. The HennigPlex is
countered with knees to the ribs and Dean suplexes Curt a few times.
Tony rips on Raw’s main event again as Hennig escapes the Cloverleaf.
A Rude distraction and a shot to the back sets up the HennigPlex to
end Dean a few seconds later.
Rating: D.
I expected WAY more from these two. They never got out of first gear
here and seemed perfectly happy going like that for about five
minutes. It’s nice that Dean is back after being gone for a few
months in the spring, but Curt seems to be doing exactly what he was
doing back in April. That’s not a good sign at all.
Hour #3 begins.
Here are Buff Bagwell,
Scott Steiner (with literally half of his body in bandages) and some
frumpy old woman. Scott talks about Rick hitting him in the elbow
last week, and everyone knows that the elbow bone is connected to the
shoulder which is connected to the neck bone, and that’s why his knee
hurts. Steiner’s doctor, who is apparently a man, says that Scott is
indeed hurt. Scott can’t hold his arm up so clearly he can’t face
Rick at Fall Brawl. This brings out Rick who says he wants the match
so Scott says he’ll do it at Fall Brawl. The team split up six
months ago and we’re still waiting on the match?
Nitro Girls part 3.
TV Title: Chavo
Guerrero Jr. vs. Chris Jericho vs. Stevie Ray
Chavo has gone nuts and
has a stick horse named Pepe for a friend. Jericho is TV Champion
after beating Stevie, who became champion after Booker T couldn’t
defend the title due to injury and allegedly gave Stevie power of
attorney to defend the title. At least I think that’s what happened
as the announcers don’t sound entirely sure. One fall to a finish
here with Jericho throwing Chavo into Stevie to start. Jericho bails
out to the floor so Stevie throws Guerrero on top of him in a nice
power display.
Chavo comes back in
with a high cross body for two on Stevie but now Jericho wants to
hook up with Guerrero. A running forearm and middle rope bulldog get
two on the champion but now Ray lifts Chavo into the air again, only
to have Jericho break it up for two. Ray takes them both down with a
double clothesline but the smaller guys come back with a double
suplex.
Chris and Chavo hit a
double missile dropkick from the same corner but Jericho breaks up
Guerrero’s cover on Ray. Ray runs over the referee but knocks
Jericho out with a blackjack. Guerrero puts a sleeper on Stevie Ray
but here’s Giant to chokeslam Stevie, which apparently is what gave
Jericho the title in the first place. Chavo gets up but staggers out
of the ring. Jericho gets to his feet….and wins by countout
because Ray can’t get up? Uh….sure, but why not just have Jericho
cover the unconscious Stevie for the pin?
Rating: D+.
Bizarre ending, bizarre booking and unexplained interference aside,
there were a few decent spots in here to carry things. This is a
good example of how watching all of the shows coming up to this could
have helped out a lot. Chavo getting to show personality is
definitely a good thing though as he’s very talented but didn’t have
the character to back it up.
US Title: Bret Hart
vs. Diamond Dallas Page
Bret is defending,
having traded the title with Lex Luger over the last week. Page gets
a quick two off a belly to belly but Bret bails to the floor to avoid
a Diamond Cutter. DDP follows him to the floor and pounds away,
sending Bret into the barricade. Back in and Page fires off elbows
in the corner and gets two off a suplex. Page goes to the corner to
rain down right hands but Bret hits him low.
The referee must have
been following a piece of lint in the air because it was right in
front of him but Bret wasn’t even admonished. Bret drops Page face
first onto the buckle to take over even more as momentum shifts.
Hart rakes the eyes across the top rope ala Arn Anderson but Page
grabs a quick small package for two. We hit the Five Moves of Doom
with the elbow getting two. A hard whip into the corner puts Page
down again and a good looking piledriver gets two on Page.
DDP pops right up and
pounds away on Bret in the corner before taking him down with a
discus lariat. A top rope clothesline gets a near fall on the
champion and the Pancake gets the same. The referee gets pumped and
Bret pulls out a foreign object to blast Page in the head. Then in a
bizarre moment, for some reason he puts the object in Page’s tights
and drags Page on top of himself but kicks out at two.
The Sharpshooter goes
on, Page slaps the mat on three separate occasions (as in three sets
of taps) and shakes his head up and down but the referee does nothing
at all. Page grabs the rope for the break and grabs a Diamond Cutter
out of nowhere. The referee does his job for the first time all
match by noticing Bret’s foot being under the rope. Bret claims that
Page hit him with something so the referee checks him, only to find
the object for the DQ. We’ll ignore that the referee had a
completely unobstructed view for the last several minutes and would
have seen Page hit Hart or put it back in his tights.
Rating: B-.
Good match here but the strange booking brought it down. The ending
makes sense given the setup, but the setup made no sense. I get that
Bret put the object there as a safety net, but why not just pin Page
when he was knocked out? Also there were way too many instances here
with the referee coming off like an idiot. These two had good
chemistry together but I don’t remember a match between them not
being overbooked.
More Nitro Girls, this
time with the WCW version of Wrestling Buddies.
WCW World Title:
Goldberg vs. The Giant
Tony bashes Raw again,
saying they’re going to give the fans what they advertised, unlike
their competitors. Giant has Disciple with him. Goldberg’s music
hits and the fake chants pipe in. I rarely notice those so they must
be really bad here. Buffer introduces Goldberg as the unified
WCW/NWO World Champion.
Giant charges at him in
the corner to start and slams Goldberg down, only to have Goldberg
pop up and slam Giant right back. Giant clubs him down again and
hits a quick Russian legsweep for no cover. Goldberg is sent to the
floor but has to knock out Disciple. The champion posts Giant but
the big man is able to suplex Goldberg in from the apron, only to
have Goldie pop right back up. The spear connects but Disciple comes
in for the DQ.
Rating: C-.
It was indeed longer than ten seconds, but the whole thing didn’t
even last four minutes. If I’m WCW, I’d have a bigger match than
that if I was going to spend almost three hours bragging about how
good it was going to be. This is like a kid bragging that he got a D
on a paper when his friend got an F. Goldberg’s power moves were
impressive but there was nothing to the match at all. Two straight
DQ finishes didn’t help things either.
Goldberg spears
Disciple down and hits him with the Jackhammer but Scott Hall comes
in to beat the champion down. Nash comes in for the save, takes out
Giant and pulls Hall off of Goldberg, only to take a spear meant for
Scott. Nash basically no sells it and stares Goldberg down to end
the show.
Overall Rating: C+.
This was a pretty entertaining show all around, but there are some
big problems and you can see them coming soon. The Warrior idea is a
Band-Aid and nothing more. Yeah it might have gotten them a quick
boost, but even WCW had to know this wasn’t going to be a long term
solution.
At the end of the day,
this is the Hulk Hogan Show, not Nitro. Look back at Page’s promo.
He isn’t bringing Warrior in to help him win the title or to help WCW
win WarGames. Page brought Warrior in to help him get Hogan. Hogan
has lost to Sting and Goldberg in the last eight months and it rolls
off of him. Nothing ever changes with him and he just keeps rolling
along. How is that interesting TV? Good show, but not for the main
stories as usual.
Remember to check out my website at kbwrestingreviews.com and head over to my Amazon author page with wrestling books for just $4 at:
http://www.amazon.com/Thomas-Hall/e/B00E6282W6