Monday Nitro – April 17, 2000

Monday Nitro #236
Date: April 17, 2000
Location: Metrocentre, Rockford, Illinois
Attendance: 4,345
Commentators: Scott Hudson, Tony Schiavone, Mark Madden

Now this is an interesting show as we’re officially into the Russo/Bischoff Era. They’ve had a week and a pay per view to set everything up so now they have no real excuses left. This is going to be the show where we see what their vision is supposed to be, complete with Jeff Jarrett and the New Blood on top. Let’s get to it.

We open with a stills package from last night, including Hart vs. Mancow. The worst part: we’re not done with Mancow this year.

Opening sequence.

New York, New York plays as papers fall from the ceiling. All of the new champions (sans Funk of course and Jarrett) come out as they’re covered in balloons for a big celebration. Russo says all the booing doesn’t change the fact that he’s better than everyone here. Last night, the New Blood took over just like they promised they would. Russo introduces the new champions one by one and promises to come for Funk’s Hardcore Title.

The fans are popping the balloons and it sounds like a war has broken out. Russo rips on Jim Ross for never believing in him holding Jeff Jarrett down. That would be your weekly insider shot that most fans didn’t get/care about. Jarrett comes out and says this is the greatest day of his life (after the day his child was born that is). He rips on JR as well before talking about not being in Ready to Rumble, even though the stars are beneath him. This brings us to Slamboree, where Jarrett will hang the World Title above the triple cage used in the movie.

Russo brings out Bischoff and Kimberly and we’ve got a riot squad at ringside. Bischoff makes sex jokes about Page (because that’s what the bosses of this company do) and says last night was the whipped cream on the cake of torturing Page. Kimberly goes off about Page making it all about him for years but now it’s time for her to be the star.

She starts talking in the third person and calls Bischoff her opportunity. Bischoff goes on and we see Page beating up security in the back. He comes into the arena (in a Sopranos shirt) and goes right into the ring for a beating. The riot squad reveals themselves as the Millionaires Club and the New Blood is cleared out.

So to recap: the bosses get to say their adversaries are shall we say small, Russo gets to take shots at Jim Ross and Bischoff gets to imply that he’s sleeping with Kimberly Page. This is more proof that WCW is the playground for whoever is running the company and if the fans get to enjoy it, consider it a bonus.

Here’s a recap of what we just saw, in slow motion for no apparent reason.

Bischoff yells at a bunch of guys over what happened. Booker asks why they’re supposed to be security so Bischoff tells him he has a short amount of time to get on his good side. Everyone leaves and Bischoff makes Page vs. Awesome. The security from outside comes in and quits. Hogan calls in and promises to beat Bischoff up in about five minutes. All of this happened in just over a minute.

The announcers recap things, in case the recap we saw or WATCHING THE EVENT ITSELF wasn’t enough.

Shawn Stasiak vs. Curt Hennig

Miss Hancock comes out before we get going because they’re not even letting the matches start before getting to the angle. Stasiak starts punching in the corner as Hancock takes notes. They slug it out on the floor and Madden takes a bottle of water to the face. Back in and Hancock plays with her pen as Hennig knees Stasiak in the chest. There goes the referee and Curt hooks the HennigPlex. No count so Stasiak gets a foreign object to knock Curt silly, setting up a layout F5 (the Perfect Plant) for the pin.

Rating: D-. This is a good example of everything that is wrong with the way Russo books the shows. Last week Stasiak debuted and attacked Hennig, setting up this match. The ending gives them a reason to continue their feud. However, we still don’t know why they’re fighting. Stasiak just showed up and started a feud, but given how lame the first match was, I really don’t want to see them fight again and with no story, why would I want to keep watching when they come on? It’s lazy booking and takes away the most important part of wrestling because Russo still doesn’t get it.

Stasiak starts stomping Curt down but we IMMEDIATELY cut to a camera inside a motorcade which brings Hogan, wearing a very 80s bandana, to the arena. Cops stop him but he stares them down and they step aside. Hogan comes in and beats up Stasiak before we take a break. Back with Hogan saying he’s heard all the fans talking about him and they’re sure that Hulkamania is going to live forever. His critics say he’s getting older, but so is every other wrestler in the back. He has a lot left to offer wrestling though (true) and he’s not leaving.

Right now though, if anyone wants to come out here and take his spot, come get it. You can mess with his character and his gimmick, but when you get to what Russo and Bischoff did last week, you’re messing with Terry Bollea. They tried to take food out of his kids’ mouth (how?), you’re messing with the wrong man. That brings him to Kidman, who has been whining and crying for years about all the promoters not using him right. Kidman and Torrie come up on screen with Kidman telling Hogan to come fight him right now. Hogan goes after them and the camera pans back to show Bischoff standing next to the Hummer.

Jarrett doesn’t care about Hogan and company because tonight there’s an open contract to any non-millionaire for a World Title shot tonight.

Hardcore Title: Terry Funk vs. The Wall

Funk is defending and hits Wall in the head with three chair shots to get it going. Wall will have none of that and knocks Funk to the floor with a chair shot of his own. It’s Funk’s turn again as he chairs Wall down some more, followed by a moonsault out to the floor. Well of course he did. I mean, his feet hit Wall in the head and he didn’t rotate all the way but he did a moonsault at fifty six years old.

Wall piledrives him on the table, which doesn’t break, but Funk barely sells it. With that not working, Wall breaks off a piece of barricade and crushes Terry’s head. They fight up to the entrance where Funk’s head is crushed over and over again in the door of a one person cage. Then a stack of tables falls on Wall, allowing Terry to cover him to retain.

Rating: D+. So after building Wall up for months, they have someone (who I doubt is ever going to be named) drop a pile of tables on him like something out of a screwball comedy so Terry Funk can pin him. To keep track of things, that means Sid and Funk are the two men to pin him. As usual, WCW sets someone up but the old guys are the ones that get to knock him back down.

Kronik (Brian Adams and Brian Clark, better known as Wrath) comes in to ask Russo when they’re on for their title match. Russo says whenever he says so but not tonight.

Someone signs Jarrett’s open contract but the camera panning over to see the signature is too much to ask.

Page is taking out Awesome and then coming for Bischoff.

Kronik beats up the Harris Twins and come to the ring to do the same to the Mamalukes. Adams grabs the mic and says the tag division is on notice now that they’ve shown up. Russo better hurry up with their title shot.

Here’s Vampiro with something to say. Sting knows nothing about pain and still knows nothing after last night. That was just a taste of what Sting had to go through, because Sting is being devoured at Slamboree. Cue Sting from the rafters with some ball bat shots and talk trash about learning from Flair and Luger. The Death Drop leaves Vampiro laying.

Hogan is still looking for Kidman.

Jarrett tells Russo to deal with the open contract. Russo says he’ll go fix him. Of course this is one of those backstage conversations where they never say what they’re talking about in a completely unnatural manner.

Diamond Dallas Page vs. Mike Awesome

Page slugs away to start but Awesome runs the corner and back elbows Page in the jaw for two. After a few suplexes, Page gets sent to the floor and Awesome springboards to the top rope for a clothesline to the floor. Since this is WCW, the announcers are all “Oh. That was cool.”, before moving on to talking about the storyline. WCW really needed a JR who could act like a big spot was the most awesome thing he had ever seen and take a break from the same plot points over and over again. Awesome misses a charge into the barricade and gets chaired in the back. That goes nowhere so Kanyon runs in for the quick DQ.

Awesome loads Kanyon up for a powerbomb through a table but Nash comes through the crowd for a save. This would be the second time in about ten minutes where someone looked towards the stage but the other guy came up from behind. The Jackknife puts Mike through a table.

Russo tries to talk someone down but they’re behind a door. Another segment that doesn’t even try to look natural.

Tank Abbott is here and Madden freaks out.

Douglas and Bagwell are ready for their singles matches with Team Package at Slamboree. Shane wants Luger tonight so here’s Luger to agree to a match, with a stipulation that if Russo shows up, Team Package gets the titles. From a singles match.

Here’s Tank Abbott to call out Goldberg for the week. His victim this week is the owner of the Chicago Blackhawks, who gets dragged into the ring for a beating. One of Madden’s favorite hockey players (Bob Probert, the Blackhawks’ enforcer) gets in as well to help break it up.

Hogan gets a tip that Kidman is outside.

Jarrett and Russo bicker some more. Russo will get back to him with an idea of how to solve the problem.

Shane Douglas vs. Total Package

It’s Luger in control to start as he pounds away in the corner and kicks Shane in the ribs a few times. Shane comes back with choking but here’s Bagwell to keep Shane in control. Bagwell interferes and Douglas gets in a low blow, neither of which lead to a DQ because those don’t exist in WCW. A guy in a Sting mask hits Shane in the back with a ball bat and as everyone swears it’s Russo (because NO ONE ELSE HAS EVER DRESSED UP LIKE STING), it’s Flair, in his second costume of the night. The ball bat shot inside the ring counts for the DQ as it’s totally different than the one outside.

Rating: D-. Luger doesn’t work as a face or a heel these days, but what can you expect from someone who seemingly has no desire to do anything and has been using the same three or four moves for years now? Shane isn’t any help either as he’s never been anything great in the ring and is almost all talk.

Russo pulls Shane to the floor and shouts SCREW YOU FLAIR a few times. Again, I don’t think we’ve been told why Russo and Flair hate each other but they hate each other now and that’s all that is supposed to matter. Bagwell and Shane shout at Russo for not being here to save them. Yes, because the savior that two champion wrestlers need is a skinny guy from Brooklyn, not the rest of the New Blood.

Hogan finds Kidman but Torrie hits him in the back with a 2×4. Hulk chokes her up against a beam and pulls back to hit her but Kidman makes the save. Kidman gets thrown in the dumpster so Bischoff gets in the Hummer…..which won’t start. Bischoff runs, allowing Hogan to get in the Hummer and ram the dumpster. Yeah those seventeen years of building up Hogan’s character? Screw those. Let’s have him turn into a psycho who wants to punch women and uses cars to try to murder people. Oh wait: this is Terry Bollea so it’s fine. So the man behind the character is a woman beating attempted murderer. That makes it ok.

Kidman gets stretchered out.

WCW World Title: Jeff Jarrett vs. ???

Oh well. No time to grieve. Instead we have to see the reveal of the mystery man as….Scott Steiner. So a day after the New Blood wins all of the important titles, we already have champion vs. champion and the team already fighting. Steiner gorilla presses Jarrett down to start but charges into a boot to the face. Jeff’s high cross body gets two but he gets caught in mid air, followed by a belly to belly for two. The sleeper is countered by a low blow and Steiner puts on the Recliner, drawing in Booker for the DQ. Booker: “You’re welcome punk.”

Rating: D. Another night, another match ending before it can get anywhere, though well done on having the World Champion look like he can be beaten in three and a half minutes. Booker coming in to redeem himself is one of the few things all night that made sense but it came at the end of another one of Russo’s overbooked shows, making it too late to matter.

Again we IMMEDIATELY jump off to see Hogan going after Bischoff with a pipe. Hogan chases him into the arena. A low blow drops Bischoff but here are Vince Russo and Bret Hart. Bret shoves Russo down and gets in the ring with a chair. He looks at both guys, pulls back the chair, and we’re done before we can see who he was aiming for.

Overall Rating: D. So that’s the first episode of Russo and Bischoff’s vision. Put simply, this isn’t very good. The story is pretty boring with the old guys going all psycho to protect their spots and the new generation being comprised of slightly less older guys who aren’t too interesting. People like Wall, Booker and Vampiro are regularly losing to the old guys or going out of their way to bow down to Russo and Bischoff, because they’re the stars of the show, along with Hogan of course.

On top of that, the show isn’t put together well either. This show had 18:32 of wrestling, or 13 seconds less than Ryback vs. Seth Rollins on Raw this past week. Three of the five matches ended in DQ, one ended with someone dropping tables onto the Wall and the other one had a ref bump and foreign object to set up the pin. This was of course after Russo and Bischoff’s 15+ minute speech to open the show with shots at JR for no real reason. Oh and don’t forget Hogan’s five or so segments.

It’s becoming clearer and clearer that Russo’s hype of change is a bunch of hot air. The show is still all about Hogan, the young guys are being treated like nothings (Buff Bagwell is a champion. You couldn’t put say, the Wall with Shane? One talks, the other is a monster. It’s kind of a proven formula you know?) and we have a massive heel stable. 1997 is here again, but unfortunately the audience isn’t back with them.

No Thunder this week. Not that WCW bothered to tell you that of course.

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