Monday Nitro – September 14, 1998

Monday
Nitro #154
Date:
September 14, 1998
Location:
BI-LO Center, Greenville, South Carolina
Attendance:
12,236
Commentators:
Larry Zbyszko, Bobby Heenan, Tony Schiavone
Reviewed by Tommy Hall
Fall
Brawl has come and gone and it was little more than a pit stop for
Halloween Havoc. The match disguised as WarGames did little more
than set up the double main event for next month while offering one
of the worst shows I’ve ever seen. The main event tonight is
Goldberg vs. Sting for the title because WCW cares more about TV than
PPV. Something else of note happens tonight as well. Let’s get to
it.

The
Nitro Girls look great in stomach baring red tops and skin tight
black pants.
The
announcers talk about DDP earning the title shot at Halloween Havoc
last night. Mike Tenay is off trying to find out about the Horsemen,
including the return of Ric Flair. Nice job of keeping secrets Tony.
The
fans alternate between WE WANT FLAIR and GOLDBERG as we go to the
airport where Tenay talks about Flair possibly returning tonight. A
limo pulls away from an airplane but Mike isn’t sure who was in it.
He chases down a pilot and asks if Flair was on the flight but can’t
get an answer. Some reporter.
Opening
sequence.
We
look at Ernest Miller attacking the Armstrongs for the third time in
a week.
Alex
Wright vs. Van Hammer
Van
Hammer is now a hippie. He shoves Wright into the corner to start as
Tony runs down tonight’s card. Alex grabs a headlock and stomps away
in the corner before sending Hammer to the floor. Ernest Miller
comes out and kicks Hammer in the head, drawing the DQ in a quick
ending.
Miller
runs his mouth and is arrested. We follow him all the way to the
squad car and nothing happens.
We
get some stills from the main event last night and Tony says Bret was
injured.
Here’s
a limping Bret with something to say. Bret says that he’s been a
jerk lately and now he realizes that Hogan has been lying to him all
along. After last night, he’s going to be out of action for awhile
and he doesn’t deserve this US Title or know what he’s doing with it
in the first place. This brings out Roddy Piper who says he called
Bret a jerk weeks ago because Bret was hanging out with Hogan and
ruining a lot of careers. Bret’s parents must be disappointed in him
but they’re proud after what he said tonight. Piper leaves and Bret
asks the fans for once more chance, which they seem willing to give.
Stills
from Saturn beating Raven last night to break up the Flock.
Saturn
vs. Kendall Windham
Kendall
pounds Saturn down to start but a nice series of kicks knocks Windham
out to the floor. Back in and Saturn snapmares his way out of an
armbar but Windham goes after the injured fingers to take over.
Kendall drives in more right hands to the side of the head and puts
on a chinlock for a few moments. A knee to the ribs (Tony: “A
great move!”) puts Saturn back down and a clothesline to the
shoulder is good for two.
Back
to the chinlock for a bit longer this time before a big boot clearly
misses Saturn’s face by nine inches or more. Kendall cranks on the
arm a bit more and chops away in the corner but misses a middle rope
elbow drop. Saturn comes back with a quick t-bone suplex and shows
him how to hit a the elbow from the middle rope. Kendall counters a
suplex into a swinging neckbreaker but walks into the Death Valley
Driver for the fast pin.
Rating:
C. Better match than I was
expecting here but it was almost entirely because of Saturn. Kendall
was just a big guy in jeans with no charisma at all but he could do
basic moves in a ring. Saturn should be ready for a rocket push at
this point but since this is WCW, he’ll be lucky to be in the TV
Title scene.
Post
match the former Flock comes down as Raven and Kanyon are seen in the
stands. Raven says the Flock had their day of freedom but now it’s
time to join him again. Saturn tells the individual people that they
can be a star. Horace is a natural athlete, Kidman is so talented
that he could win the Cruiserweight Title, Lodi……”How’s your
neck bro?” Everyone but Lodi walks out but Kidman won’t let Lodi
go back to Raven.
Renegade
vs. Wrath
This
isn’t going to last long. Renegade tries to get a good start in the
corner but Wrath comes back with one of the hardest chops I’ve ever
heard. The handspring elbow has no effect on Wrath and the Meltdown
is good for the pin.
Here
are Hogan, Bischoff, Liz (good lord with those chaps and jeans) and
Disciple with something to say. Eric loves that he’s here and Flair
isn’t. Hogan can’t stand cowards like Bret Hart with his pathetic
injury and Warrior for sneaking up on him and stealing his chance at
beating up Goldberg. Hogan will be at Hollywood Havoc (his words) if
Warrior wants to fight him man to man…..and there’s the smoke.
Hollywood talks the entire way through but there’s no Disciple when
the smoke clears. Eric and Liz aren’t asleep either. Hogan:
“WARRRRRRRIOR!!!!!!!!!!!!”
Hour
#2 begins.
Apparently
Kaz Hayashi is injured and can’t get his title shot tonight. Kidman
will take his place.
Cruiserweight
Title: Kidman vs. Juventud Guerrera
The
fans aren’t sure who to cheer for here as things start fast. Some
chops take Kidman down and Juvy rains down right hands in the corner
to take over early. A
missile dropkick sends Kidman to the floor as the fans are way into
this. Kidman comes back in with a slingshot headscissors followed by
a powerslam for two. We hit the chinlock on the champion but he
fights up and gets a headscissors of his own.
A
cross body from Juvy sends both guys to the floor and we take a
break. Back with Guerrera getting two off a rollup but getting
crushed by a slingshot legdrop. We go back to the chinlock for a bit
before a lifting powerbomb (Sky High) takes Guerrer down for two. A
wheelbarrow suplex gets the same but Juvy counters a belly to back
suplex into a German suplex for two.
Guerrera
goes up for a not great looking hurricanrana for another near fall
before the Juvy Driver is countered into a reverse suplex from
Kidman. The Shooting Star is countered with another hurricanrana but
Juvy dives into another powerbomb. Kidman hits the Shooting Star for
the pin, the title, and a BIG pop from the crowd.
Rating:
B+. Excellent match here with
both guys just going nuts for about fifteen minutes and one upping
each other all match long. Kidman was one of the few guys that could
hang with Guerrera in a high flying match and he more than did that
here. The fans were going nuts here and the match was as good as
anything we’ve seen on Nitro in months.
Saturn
comes out to applaud Kidman.
Gene
flags down a tuxedo clad JJ Dillon and thinks he saw Ric Flair. JJ
won’t reveal anything.
Jackie
Chan introduces us to a clip of his new movie Rush Hour.
Eddie
Guerrero asks Bischoff for a meeting but Eric says he made Eddie a
star and sends him to Japan. “No burritos over there!”
Barbarian
vs. British Bulldog
Smith
eventually knocks Barbarian down with a series of shoulder blocks and
sends him to the floor off a clothesline. He
follows Barbarian outside but gets rammed back first into the post to
stop any momentum Bulldog had going. Back in and shoulder and
backbreakers get two each for Barbarian and he be clubberin in the
corner. Smith loads up the powerslam but Jimmy Hart grabs
Barbarian’s foot to break it up. Another shot to the back puts Smith
down so Barbarian can load up the big boot but he walks into the
powerslam (minus the power and slam parts) for the pin.
Rating:
D. I feel sorry for Smith given
how bad his back was messed up at Fall Brawl and all the back work he
had to get through here. The match itself was pure filler which
isn’t the most exciting thing in the world, but at least it went on
after a great match and let the fans come back down to earth a bit.
JJ
is in the ring with Gene and says what Buff did last night was
unacceptable. Unfortunately Scott Steiner went into the ring with
his brother as he was ordered but the ending was a joke. Therefore,
we’re getting the match again at Halloween Havoc. JJ gets ready to
leave but the lights flicker and we get some maniacal laughing. I’m
not a horror movie expert but that sounded like Chuckie from Child’s
Play.
Nitro
Girls in silver and the Nitro Party winner.
Jim
Neidhart comes out for a match against a member of the NWO but the
Warrior smoke fills the ring. The smoke clears and Warrior is in the
ring with an unconscious Disciple. Neidhart leaves as the Black and
White comes out. Warrior says we can live our lives as warriors or
ordinary men. Hogan’s actions have only enhanced the OWN revolution
and the actions of those men who will find the courage. The match is
on for Halloween Havoc but Warrior warns Hogan that the graveyards
are full of cowardly men. More smoke and Warrior and Disciple are
gone.
Silver
King/Norman Smiley vs. Scott Steiner
Norman
starts for the team but Silver King comes in for his beating at the
same time. Steiner casually
beats up both guys with hard forearms and knees to the back. Silver
King is powerbombed onto Norman and an awesome looking double Steiner
Recliner gets the submission.
Nitro
Girls again.
We
look at Thunder with Eric Bischoff interfering in an Arn Anderson
promo and issuing an arm wrestling challenge for Flair’s in ring
future.
Hour
#3 begins.
Giant
vs. Meng
Meng
slaps Giant back into the corner and kicks at the legs before they
get into a brawl with neither guy going anywhere. Meng staggers
Giant with a kick right to the face so the strap comes down. Giant
hits him again and Meng is all FOREIGN SHOUTING. A headbutt has no
effect on Meng and neither does a right hand to the head. Another
kick to the face staggers Giant and Meng loads up the Death Grip, but
Giant uses his reach advantage to grab the chokeslam as Meng can’t
get to his throat. REALLY fun match for two minutes.
Scott
Hall vs. Lex Luger
This
is one of the most uncomfortable things I ever remember in wrestling.
Hall comes out with a drink in his hand and is acting intoxicated.
I get the idea of the character but when Hall has had so many issues
in real life, it just never sat well with me. We get the survey and
Hall is stumbling around. Hall tries to jump Luger at the bell but
gets stared back down. No contact in the first minute.
Hall
throws the toothpick in Lex’s face but backs away from a lockup
attempt. They finally lock up but Hall can’t keep a hold on him.
Hall walks around a bit more before going over for a drink. Vincent
reluctantly gives him the cup and Hall falls on his way back inside.
Luger tries a hiptoss and Hall stumbles some more, laughing all the
way. A clothesline puts Hall down and he acts like he’s dead before
rolling to the floor.
Scott
comes back in and Luger takes him into the corner for a lecture.
Here’s a ticked off Bischoff to ask Hall what he’s doing. Hall mocks
him as Bischoff says he can’t save Hall from everything. Nash and
Konnan come out as well and Scott gets upset, asking Nash where he
was when his life was falling apart. Even Luger is on the floor
around Hall now.
Scott
has another drink but vomits all over Bischoff and the camera. Eric
says go to a break. No rating of course as this was an angle but I’m
not a fan of this at all. I get what they’re doing with it and
everything, but I don’t like it being inspired by Hall’s real life
troubles which weren’t under control at this point.
Here’s
JJ in a tuxedo as you can feel the fans getting excited. Dillon has
to talk over a WE WANT FLAIR chant and he asks Arn Andeson to come to
the ring. Anderson comes out in a suit as well and the wildcat
mascot is bowing. JJ
apologizes to Arn for the things he said to him recently because
that’s not what a friend is supposed to say to a friend. Anderson
says you could smell the pop when these fifteen thousand people blew
the roof off the building.
People
have been asking him for a year for him to bring back the Horsemen.
He has to start at the beginning because tonight is a new beginning
for the Four Horsemen. Anderson always knew he wanted to be a
wrestler and in 1986 he started coming to towns just like this as a
member of the Horsemen. Then a year and a half ago he had a neck
operation and his in ring career was over. Another Flair chant
starts up. Anderson: “Trust me. You’ll get what you want
tonight……Bischoff.”
Then
Chris Benoit came to Arn and said this can all happen, so here are
Benoit, Malenko and McMichael, all
getting individual entrances. Anderson says there’s no finer
wrestler than Chris Benoit in the world. McMichael is hard headed
but all man and will mean to wrestling what he meant to football.
Malenko has done his job
while Anderson spent the last year talking about what it meant to be
a Horseman. He told Malenko that he didn’t get it, but it was
Anderson that didn’t get it.
People
have told Anderson for years to bring back the Horsemen. Well the
lesson is be careful what you ask for because they’re not nice guys
that wear white hats. Mongo taps him on his shoulder and Anderson
says he’s been accused of being hit in the head one too many times
and having a touch of Alzheimer’s. “My God. I almost forgot the
fourth Horseman. RIC FLAIR! GET ON DOWN HERE!”
The
crowd doesn’t pop or explode. Instead they stand and applaud as
Flair, with tears in his eyes, walks down the aisle, rocking a tuxedo
as only he can. Arn: “Greenville, I give you the champ.” Flair
can’t talk because of all the emotion. The
ovation doesn’t stop and the Horsemen just drink it all in. Ric says
this moment proves to him that the 25 years that he’s spent trying to
entertain these people has been worth it. Someone told him that the
most elite group that Eric Bischoff said was dead is alive and well.
Flair
gets right to Bischoff, saying that this might be his only shot so
he’s giving it his best. Is this what Bischoff means when he says he
wants good TV? This is much more than that because it’s REAL. He
goes back to a year ago when the Arn
announced his retirement and
says Sting was crying in the dressing room because it was so real.
Bischoff crushed Anderson in one night with
the NWO parody and then said
disband the Horsemen because they’re dead. The next morning Flair
looked himself in the mirror and saw a defeated man.
This
brings out Bischoff but Flair calls him out for abusing power before
Bischoff can even get to the ring and tells the technical guys to cut
him off before he goes too far. Flair keeps ranting anyway with
every insult he can think of for Bischoff and tells Eric to fire him
because he’s already fired as we go to a break.
For
those of you that remember WCW as being the clueless putz of a
company that couldn’t do a thing right, this is as perfect of a
moment as you’ll ever find in wrestling. I’m
not the biggest Horsemen fan in the world and even knowing everything
that was going to happen here, the hair on my neck was standing up
for every word Flair was saying. It’s as good as WCW ever got and is
one of the best moments I’ve ever seen in wrestling.
The
announcers have no idea what to say and Heenan has the most genuine
smile you’ll ever see on his face.
Here’s
DDP, more commonly known as the unluckiest man ever for getting to
follow that, with something to say. Actually he comes up to do
commentary on the main event, but first welcomes Flair back. We get
some stills of the cage match last night before we go to the title
match.
WCW
World Title: Goldberg vs. Sting
Goldberg
immediately slams Sting down as the fans are behind the champion but
not entirely. Sting picks Goldberg up in a powerslam position and
rams him back first into the corner in a nice power display. A
suplex puts Goldberg down but he’s on his feet before Sting, sending
the challenger out to the floor. Back in and Sting’s slam attempt is
knocked down. Sting dropkicks the champ for the same result as the
suplex.
A
headlock takes Goldberg down as Page says that’s what he would have
done as well. Goldberg shoves him off and wins a test of strength
before channeling Undertaker with a tombstone. Sting counters into
one of his own and Goldberg is actually in trouble. A pair of
Stinger Splashes have the champion staggered so there’s a third.
Goldberg shrugs it off again but the spear hits the corner.
Sting
chop blocks him down and puts on the Scorpion as the fans go nuts
again. Goldberg pushes out of most of the hold and Sting can’t get
it back on all the way. Hogan comes in and kicks Sting in the head
which the referee somehow misses. Goldberg didn’t see Hogan either
so the spear and Jackhammer retain the title.
Rating:
C-. They
had me going there for a bit even though the ending didn’t work.
Goldberg vs. Sting is the kind of a match that should be headlining a
major PPV but instead we get it on a Nitro after a single day of
promotion. As usual, they care more about the single night of
success rather than something that could have made millions on PPV.
Hogan
goes after Goldberg until Hart comes out. The three heroes pose to
end the show.
Overall
Rating:
B+. This is one of the
best episodes Nitro has ever produced but it’s still not perfect.
The Hall stuff doesn’t work for me and the lack of build for the main
event gets on my nerves. On top of that you have a lot of filler
here which didn’t build anything and just wasted time.
Then
we get to perhaps the best segment Nitro ever had with the Horsemen.
Since it’s WCW though the interesting question is how can they screw
it up as we go forward, but at least the first night of the new
Horsemen was as good as it could have been. Other than that there
was an awesome Kidman vs. Juvy match to give us some excellent
wrestling, meaning the good stuff more than outweighs the bad.
Remember to check out my website at kbwrestlingreviews.com and head over to my Amazon author page with wrestling books for just $4 at:
http://www.amazon.com/Thomas-Hall/e/B00E6282W6