The SmarK Rant for WCW Monday Nitro–03.24.97

– Live from Duluth, MN

US title: Dean Malenko v. Konnan. Konnan takes him down with an armbar to start, but Dean goes for the ankle and Konnan flips him out of it. They do a tumbling sequence and Konnan gets a cheapshot to take over. Rolling clothesline and powerbomb get two while Syxx does a pop-in interview and sounds stoned while doing it. What a shock, I know. Dean comes back with a dropkick, but Konnan cradles for two. He goes up and misses a dropkick, and Dean hooks the Cloverleaf for the submission at 3:26. Just a match. **

– Post-match, Malenko talks about some guy he’s facing at Spring Stampede, and says his name several times. This would seem to be an impossibility because the guy he’s referring to doesn’t exist anymore and never wrestled on any shows currently owned by the WWE, so I can only conclude that this show takes place in some strange alternate universe.

– Let us take you back to Uncensored, as Wrath debuts and helps Mortis beat up on Glacier.

Mortis v. Jerry Flynn. This is Kanyon’s debut as Mortis on Nitro, although the gimmick actually debuted at Uncensored. WCW had a really ass-backwards way of promoting people, to say the least. They trade spinkicks and Flynn gets two off it, but Mortis mule-kicks him in the corner to take over. Mortis throws high kicks in the corner, but poses on the turnbuckles and faces the LIGHTNING FEET~! of Flynn as a result. A superkick puts Flynn down, however, and the second rope guillotine gets two. He stomps away as the match drags on, and an inverted piledriver gets two. Flynn comes back with a powerbomb, but Mortis goes low and superkicks him to set up a middle rope samoan drop to finish at 4:51. They dub that one that Flatliner, although eventually that name would go to a different move. Pretty dull stuff, not enough of a squash to really put Mortis over strong. And Kanyon always had a flair for visually impressive moves, but not for creating stuff that that made sense within the laws of wrestling, if that makes sense. *1/2

La Parka v. Juventud Guerrera. Juvy gets a spinning headscissors to start and goes up while Parka struts, but gets caught and slammed. Nice to see La Parka finally allowed to show personality. Parka bails and Juvy follows with a somersault senton, and back in with a springboard dropkick for two. Blind charge hits boot and La Parka clotheslines him out of the corner, and a springboard moonsault gets two. That looked bad but Tony covered on commentary pretty well. Nice leg lariat puts Juvy on the floor and Parka follows with a SWEET tope con hilo. Back in, they fight for a suplex on the apron and Juvy comes in with a springboard senton. They head up and Juvy tries the rana, but Parka blocks in a surprising twist and brings him down with a powerbomb, then finishes with a patented Tony Schiavone “spinning body attack” at 4:06. Too much obvious cooperation and blown spots, but I was digging it and so was the crowd. ***

– Let us take you back to Souled Out and recap the epic Steiners v. Outsiders feud and all the twists and turns therein. This is all well and good, but they didn’t actually deliver the advertised match for Spring Stampede.

High Voltage v. The Public Enemy. TPE attacks to start and backdrops Rage, then dumps Kaos. Rocco goes after Kaos, however, and Rage hits him from behind to take over. Kaos with a tilt-a-whirl slam for two. Rage slams him, but misses a standing moonsault and it’s hot tag Grunge. He flips Rock onto Kaos and then puts Rage on the table and Rock puts him through it. Jeff Jarrett runs in, hits Grunge with Debra’s briefcase, and puts Kaos on top for the pin at 3:43. Public Enemy trying to work a straight tag match is not a pretty sight. * Apparently this tainted pinfall is then reversed to a DQ, as if anyone cares one way or the other.

Psychosis v. Super Calo. Psy spinkicks Calo down , but gets taken down with an armdrag and bails. Calo blows a baseball slide in embarrassing fashion and they head back in, where Psy drops him on the top rope and hits him with a flying spinkick. Calo comes back with a crucifix for two and dropkicks Psy to the floor, then follows with a flying headscissors to the floor. He springboards out with a senton to the floor, but Psy catches him with a leg lariat on the way in. Psy goes up and the flying legdrop finishes at 3:35. Whereas I can forgive all the sloppiness in the previous lucha match because it was entertaining and told a good story, this was the opposite of that. Psychosis basically came back out of nowhere and finished with one move. *1/2

The Faces of Fear v. Harlem Heat. Barbarian and Meng quickly double-team Booker and dump him while the announcers try to suddenly explain and justify the redonkulous Harlem Heat v. Giant/Luger “main event” for Spring Stampede with the nebulous “shot at Hogan at some future point” stip. Stevie Ray comes in and slams Barbarian into a legdrop, while the fans cheer for gophers. Man, when rodents are getting better than you, you suck. Anyway time marches on and the Faces get a double flying headbutt on Booker, and Meng gets a backbreaker for two and reverses a slam attempt for two. Barbarian with a sideslam for two. Booker comes back and Stevie launches him onto Meng for two. Sidekick gets two. Meng comes back with a powerbomb for two, and it’s BONZO GONZO. Meng hits Booker with a corner clothesline, but Booker rolls him up for the pin at 8:31. This just kept going. *1/2

Madusa v. Malia Hosaka. Madusa gets into a shoving match and gets kicked down. Hosaka gets a Boston crab, and they do an awkward reversal sequence. Hosaka gets a hairtoss, but Madusa comes back with a german suplex into the bridge for the pin at 2:47. Whatever. *

The Renegade v. Hacksaw Duggan. Duggan offers a handshake and tosses his tape to the crowd. Ah, a scientific battle, I see. Duggan gives Renegade a clean break to start, so Renegade attacks from behind and stomps away. Wow, what a heel turn. Duggan no-sells his new, awesome heel offense and slugs away in the corner. Renegade takes him down with an EVIL headlock takedown, but only COMMIES use headlocks, and that gets Duggan all fired up. Renegade hits him with a handspring elbow, but luckily Duggan has another roll of tape and knocks out Renegade for the pin at 3:51. Boy, that sure gets that Renegade heel turn off to a rousing start. 1/2*

The Steiner Brothers v. The Amazing French Canadians. Scott attacks during the anthem singing and the Steiners dump them, but Scott gets whipped into the railing by Pierre. Back in the ring, the Canadians take over and Jacques slams Pierre onto Scott. The usual heel shenanigans in the corner lead to Pierre coming off the middle rope and missing, and it’s hot tag Rick. The announcers try to read into Rick’s performance and support his “ear injury,” which really sounds stupid because why would you try to sell your babyface as injured and lame and then book him to do a clean job in the blowoff match? Parker gets involved and Pierre cannonballs Rick, but there’s no ref. Rick comes back and Jacques hits Pierre by accident with a boot for the pin at 3:58. Total mess. 1/2*

World TV Title: Prince Iaukea v. Randy Savage. Kevin Nash gives a shoutout to Shawn Michaels on the way to the ring, because he’s so cool and inside. The entire nWo is at ringside for this, which should give away the finish before we even start. They trade shoulderblocks to start and Savage bails, and Iaukea gets a crossbody for two back in the ring. Slam gets two. He misses a high cross and Savage drops him on the top rope to take over. Flying elbow looks to finish, but he picks up the Prince at two. DDP runs in and attacks for the DQ at 3:19. They might as well have taken the TV title off Iaukea here, because he looked like a jobber anyway and then DDP and Savage would have had a title to fight over. 1/2*

Gah. The first hour was fun with a hot crowd, but that second hour was torture and they managed to kill that same crowd in short order. Definite win for RAW this week.