The SmarK Rant for WCW Monday Nitro – 05.26.97
Live from Nashville, TN, drawing 6484.
Your hosts are Tony, Larry and Mike Tenay.
Back to two hours again after a few basketball-shortened shows, and frankly with all the stuff they were trying to pack in, it’s better off back at two hours again.
Hollywood Hogan joins us to start, and he’s sick of the “so-called Sting-o-nites” and he’s going to go around the building slapping anyone in Sting makeup.
Juventud Guerrera, Super Calo & Hector Garza v. La Parka, Ciclope & Damian
Juvy tries a spinning headscissors on Parka and then comes off the top rope with a dive, but La Parka catches him and struts across the ring while carrying him. They head to the floor and it’s over to Ciclope and Calo, and Calo dumps him and hits a tope suicida so insane that he flips over the railing and lands in the crowd. Garza comes in with some tumbling and dropkicks Damien to the floor, then follows with a moonsault to the floor. The heels triple-team Calo and send him to the floor, but Garza comes in and cleans house with dropkicks. He gets pulled out by Damian and La Parka powerslams Juvy for two. Parka misses a blind charge and Juvy takes Damian to the floor with a headscissors and they all hit crazy dives one after another, leading to Garza finishing it off with the corkscrew plancha. Back in, Ciclope goes up and lands in Garza’s powerbomb, and Hector finishes with a standing moonsault at 6:30. Well that was exhausting! This was a spectacular car crash that had the crowd going nuts by the end. ****
Psicosis v. Alex Wright
Wright works a wristlock and puts him down with a spinkick and a suplex for two. Tenay makes a good point about Psicosis here: He trained and debuted at the same time as Rey Mysterio and Konnan and he was never going to escape either of those shadows. And in fact he never did, despite being a guy who would have been a top star in Mexico without them around. Wright offers some dancing and dumps Psicosis, but Psi comes back with a bodypress for two. He crotches Wright on the top rope and dropkicks him down for two. Wright bails and points to his head, which is usually the kiss of death for heels, and Psi follows him out with a moonsault that misses by a mile and he wings the railing on the way down. OUCH. Back in, Psi recovers with the flying legdrop for the pin at 4:08. See, never point to your head to indicate how smart you are. This was sloppy as fuck. *1/2
Sonny Onoo stops Psicosis on the way back to the dressing room and offers him a deal, which Psi is happy to take. And then Madusa interrupts and she demands a title shot, so Onoo offers her the title match at the Bash in exchange for her career. The implication was that she was going to sleep with him for the title shot but then Onoo changed his mind.
Wrath v. Mark Starr
The explanation of the stolen helmet is hilariously stupid, where they talk about how Glacier was the “#1 student” of his sensei in Japan and was awarded the helmet, and then those MEANIES stole it from him. Bischoff must have been mystified as to why this wasn’t getting over. Wrath beats on Starr and tosses him for some abuse from Mortis. Back in, Wrath with the flying clothesline and pump kick, and he finishes with a Rock Bottom at 2:31. Basic squash for Wrath. ½*
Villano IV v. Konnan
So Konnan has split away from the Dungeon but he’s still a heel. Konnan with a low dropkick and a dropkick in the corner and he chokes Villano down on the ropes. Villano makes a comeback with a clothesline. Both guys keep yelling “Viva Mexico!” and the crowd just kind of boos both of them as a result. Hugh Morrus tries to storm the ring and security tackles him, actually doing their job for once, and Konnan finishes with the cradle DDT and Tequila Sunrise at 3:12. ** Konnan cuts a super-tough thug gangsta promo afterwards on Kevin Sullivan, like he’s auditioning for Mayans MC, and Mean Gene is like “We’re in America, speak English.”
Masa Chono v. The Great Muta
So yes, Muta was the mystery opponent for Chono as promised last week, and we get an extended stall to start as Chono yells at Onoo and they posture and pose for more than 2:00 before Muta finally grabs a headlock while Onoo freaks out. So Onoo comes in and Muta blows the dreaded RED MIST at him and that’s a DQ or no contest or something at 3:00. So expect strange and unexpected effects on Onoo next week. I’m just glad it wasn’t the ultra-rare jewel mist, which releases Scott Hall from the Phantom Zone. So anyway, Muta is now nWo and this was pretty dumb. Like, that’s great, tease a friggin’ MUTA V. CHONO match on Nitro and then deliver this bullshit angle.
(Apparently at this point, there’s supposed to be an interview with Macho Man and DDP that the Network randomly omits for some reason, which is probably why the show runs short here, only 1:30 total)
Barbarian v. Jim Powers
It’s the most midcard Nitro match ever! Barbarian tosses him and runs him into the post, and back in for some chops. Barbarian misses an elbow and Powers makes a comeback as Barbarian no-sells everything before catching him with a powerslam and finishing with the KICK OF FEAR at 3:17. Does anyone give a shit about a Barbarian singles push? DUD
Chris Benoit comes out to mock Jimmy Hart, and he wants Kevin Sullivan back in the ring again. So Jimmy Hart offers Barbarian as “the road to Kevin Sullivan” and that’s apparently a match for next week. “Well that’s a ratings grabber” noted Dave in the Observer at the time.
The Giant v. Rick Fuller, Jerry Flynn & Johnny Swinger
Giant just stands there while each of the jobbers takes shots at him, and then he feeds them a headlock and suplexes two of them at once in an impressive spot. Chokeslam for Swinger, chokeslam for Fuller, chokeslam for Flynn to finish at 2:12. Not sure why Vince never did that sort of thing for him.
Lex Luger and The Giant are very willing to face Hulk Hogan and Dennis Rodman at the Bash at the Beach in July. Shouldn’t we finish up with the June PPV first?
Syxx is here to remind us about how he made Ric Flair his “fluff boy” last week, and he introduces the Outsiders. Nash gets a funny line about how Piper has been putting people to sleep, but it’s from watching his next movie. So I guess they’ll defend the tag titles against Flair and Piper at the Bash. They all sounded BAKED here. Shocking, I know.
Harlem Heat v. Jeff Jarrett & Steve McMichael
In a hilariously WCW moment, Booker T goes to cut a promo using the cameraman in the corner, but the director keeps it in the wide shot so all you can see is Booker standing there ranting at the ringpost like a crazy man. Mongo knocks him down, and then HE goes to do a promo on the same camera, and the director won’t switch to that camera for him, either! This is amazing. WCW is the gift that just keeps giving. Mongo with a clothesline on Booker and he stomps away to take over, but Jarrett comes in and Heat double-teams him. Kevin Greene joins us on commentary and informs us that “What comes around, goes around.” It’s actually the other way around. Bobby is amazing here, telling Greene that “when you hit Mongo with the briefcase some people said it made you look like a coward. Not me, I would never say that, but other people…” Anyway, this match drags on and someone decided it would be a stellar idea for Mongo to be face in peril for this. Booker with the ax kick and a chinlock and they beat on Mongo in the corner as Stevie goes back to the chinlock. Finally Mongo comes back with a powerslam on Booker and makes the hot tag to Jarrett, who throws dropkicks and slugs away on Booker in the corner. And then McMichael randomly walks out on the match and goes to attack Greene at the commentary position, and the Heat finish Jarrett with the Harlem sidekick at 10:10. Stevie Ray and Mongo is not a good combo. ½*
Hollywood Hogan joins us again to bookend the show, and they’re really sure Sting isn’t here this week, but after they turn their back, “Sting” emerges from a hole in the ring again, and it’s clearly not the real one. And not even the real imposter Sting, but rather Buff Bagwell in a plastic Halloween mask. But then the real Sting rappels down and takes out Bischoff again, and Hulk runs away to retrieve the nWo, at which Sting sails off into the rafters again to end the show. Or, more accurately, Hogan got the nWo, Sting stood there trying to fix his gear for about 2 minutes while Tony Schiavone stalled for time, and then the nWo surrounded the ring and waited patiently for Sting to give the signal to the guys in the rafters instead of attacking him.
The opening six-man lucha match is off the chain and the rest is very watchable, although the Muta nWo turn was dumb and needlessly drawn out. Of course, this show was opposed by the Shawn/Steve v. Owen/Bulldog episode of RAW which was one of the greatest wrestling TV shows ever, so it pales in comparison a bit.