The SmarK Rant for WCW Monday Nitro – 06.16.97
LAST NIGHT! The Great American Bash happened, and nothing much came of it. Randy Savage and DDP had a hell of a main event match, Flair and Piper broke up, and there was a whole lot of nothing in the midcard.
Live from Chicago, IL, drawing 16,500, which actually fell short of a sellout and juuuuuuuuuust missed the all-time gate record that they set last week. Well, put a nail in the company now.
Your hosts are Tony & Larry & Mike
The nWo arrive with new member Dennis Rodman and everyone is smoking cigars and being cool. This is actually a pretty cool camera angle, as we follow them backstage and through the curtain, something that WWF didn’t start doing for a long time after this. It’s crazy how far ahead in production WCW was at this point, actually. Anyway, the crowd is just insanely hot, even for this nWo bullshit. Hogan gives Rodman a bazillion nicknames and promises that the Bash at the Beach main event is already in the bag because Rodman is there. True story: I once paid real money to watch a movie with Rodman where a Coke machine saved the day and showed more acting ability. Rodman calls out the Giant and “Lex Luthor”, and he’s sounding completely wasted. Not that I would ever accuse an upstanding citizen like Dennis Rodman of illicit substance abuse. And then the interview just ends and they move on. Sometimes that’s enough.
Mortis v. Glacier
What? They’re giving away a main event match like this one on FREE TV? They slug it out on the floor before the bell and Mortis tries his guillotine on the stairs, but Glacier yanks him down and crotches him on the stairs instead. They actually start the match and Mortis pounds on him in the corner and gets the guillotine off the middle rope for two. Wrath gets involved and the heels collide because they’re idiots, and the Cryonic Kick finishes at 1:30. So the heels double-team him again, but “Ernie Miller” makes the save. Thanks for paying attention, Larry. Bet Bischoff yelled at him after that one. ½*
Madusa has a tearful interview with Mean Gene as her career is OVER due to a loss to Akira Hokuto at the Bash that basically killed off the women’s division in WCW for good. And in fact, Madusa left the company until 1999. Ironically, even though she really was mostly retired after the loss, her farewell interview here sounded completely fake and lame.
Dean Malenko is here to call out Eddie Guerrero after getting screwed out of the US title last week, but Chavo Jr. answers instead.
Dean Malenko v. Chavo Guerrero Jr.
Dean chokes away in the corner to start, but Chavo gets a hiptoss and dropkick and shows some good fire. Dean sidesteps another dropkick, however, and swats him down before dragging him out to the floor and dropkicking him into the railing. Back in, Chavo gets a sunset flip for two and Dean clobbers him with a clothesline and follows with a delayed suplex for two. Texas Cloverleaf finishes at 3:42. Fun little squash. **1/2 Eddie does indeed come out and stares daggers, and Dean follows him to the back as Larry notes “He better be careful because Vickie Guerrero might be back there.”
Meanwhile, Mean Gene does internet stuff on the internet. INTERNET! WCW SLASH SLASH DOT COM SLASH INTERNET!
Super Calo v. La Parka
Parka dives in and misses a charge, but comes out of the corner with a lariat and boots Calo down for two. Calo takes him down with a monkey flip and flies around him with armdrags to put him on the floor, then follows with another dive where he overshoots and lands in the front row. They gotta be careful with that shit. Another tries misses and Parka beats on him in the ring to get two. Alabama Slam gets two. Parka goes up and misses a moonsault, allowing Calo to make the comeback with a top rope rana for the pin at 3:44. That kind of came out of nowhere. Just a bunch of dives. ** Parka goes nuts and breaks a plastic chair on Calo’s head, thus kicking off Parka’s career as “The chairman”. Unfortunately, that horrifying chairshot sent Calo to the hospital with stitches and a concussion.
Lex Luger and the Giant join us and now Mean Gene is making up a storyline where the nWo doesn’t want the match. They literally said that the match was a guaranteed win! Anyway, they want the nWo TONIGHT. Like they’re actually going to give that match away.
The Amazing French Canadians v. Harlem Heat
The Canadians sing their national anthem but really just do it to sucker the Heat into attacking and then clobber them from behind. Pierre goes to work on Booker with a middle rope elbow for two and they give Booker a High-Low and choke him out. Hot tag Stevie and he puts Jacques down with a pump kick, but Col Parker’s boot gets involved and Jacques gets two. The Heat hit the Harlem Sidekick on him to finish, however, at 3:40. Whatever happened to the Quebecers between 1994 and here killed off whatever magic they used to have. This was kind of a mess. *1/2
JJ Dillon is here to announce the Hogan/Rodman v. Luger/Giant main event for TONIGHT, which is totally going to happen. Harlem Heat interrupt because they want their title match given their victory last night, but JJ points out that Vincent interfered and gave them the win, so maybe they’re in CAHOOTS. So next week, it’s a rematch to determine the #1 contender for real. Vincent comes out to talk some shit, and the Heat destroys him.
Cruiserweight title: Syxx v. Rey Mysterio
Syxx attacks in the corner and throws chops as he…hold on a second…
HOUR #2! The hour that taught DDP how to do yoga!
Your hosts are Tony, Bobby & Mike
…sorry about that, we’re back. Anyway, Syxx gets the broncobuster in the corner as the announcers talk about the dangerous move that could injure someone’s neck. Maybe from chafing the neck against Waltman’s nutsack. Syxx with a Michinoku driver, but he goes up and misses a senton as Rey makes the comeback with a flying headscissors. Syxx hits the floor off that and Rey fakes the highspot and then follows with a crazy plancha off the ringpost. The Wolfpac runs interference and Syxx comes in with a slingshot dive, but that misses and Rey goes up with the West Coast Pop for two. More fun with Hall and Nash, but Rey fights them both off in an awesome sequence before walking into the spinkick and chickenwing at 4:45. Fucking Syxx, man. *** And then Nash adds a Poochiebomb for good measure while smoking a cigar.
Randy Savage joins the Wolfpac as they run through their various catchphrases, but DDP interrupts from the nosebleeds and challenges Savage and Hall to a tag match at Bash at the Beach with his mystery partner. And we apparently all know who it is. Well that’s not much of a mystery then. Dave thought DDP was referring to Sting, but he was PERFECTLY wrong.
Ultimo Dragon v. Chris Jericho
Jericho throws chops on the ropes, but Dragon comes back with the kick combo to put him down. Jericho comes back with the springboard dropkick to the floor, and back in with a lariat for two. They fight to the top and Dragon brings him down with a facebuster and rolls him up for two. Dragon fires off a rana that spikes Jericho’s head for two. Another try is blocked with a double powerbomb for two and they trade rollups before Dragon finishes with the tiger suplex at 4:41. Not bad. **1/4
Roddy Piper is out and he wants to know what Flair’s deal is. Flair doesn’t really clear it up and this goes nowhere.
Steve McMichael & Jeff Jarrett v. Scott Norton & Buff Bagwell
Tony notes that the nWo team have been “red hot in this sport.” Which sport exactly would that be? Norton gets a corner clothesline on Mongo and beats on him, but Mongo bulldogs him and follows with a three point stance clothesline. Norton sells nothing and hits the incoming Jarrett with a shoulderblock like a complete dick. Easy to look like a badass if you won’t go down for anyone’s moves. And Norton cuts Jarrett off AGAIN and catches him on a bodypress attempt. This brings in Bagwell with a dropkick and he does a funny bit where he puts himself over after every move. “Did you see the height I got on that one?” Jarrett comes back with an atomic drop and a neckbreaker and goes up with a fistdrop, but Bagwell catches him with a clothesline and it’s back to the heel corner for the heat on Jarrett. See, at least now it’s fine for Norton to no-sell everything because it’s not the point when the babyfaces are supposed to be getting the shine. Jarrett fights back on Bagwell and Mongo has had ENOUGH and comes in for the double-team. Jarrett stops to strut, and Mongo turns on him with the tombstone for a MONSTER pop, as this storyline FINALLY goes somewhere. Bagwell with the pin at 7:00 off that. So that would seem to end the endless “Jarrett may or may not be a Horsemen” story. Fine tag wrestling aside from Norton being a complete jerkface. **1/2 Also of note: McMichael actually WATCHED THE PPV and learned that Jarrett hit him with the briefcase! What a concept!
THE BIGGEST MAIN EVENT IN THE HISTORY OF OUR SPORT RIGHT HERE ON FREE TV THAT’S TOTALLY GOING TO HAPPEN: Hulk Hogan & Dennis Rodman v. Lex Luger & The Giant
Hogan and Rodman come out and cut a promo about how the babyfaces aren’t going to show up, and then decide to leave the ring after we take a break. Back with the faces finally making their entrance for this advertised match that is absolutely, 100% guaranteed to actually occur as advertised, and it’s totally going to happen! For real! Right here on TV! No wait, in a shocking development, the nWo runs in literally as soon as they make contact and the beatdown is on. WHAT A MAIN EVENT THAT ACTUALLY HAPPENED! The crowd absolutely soaks the ring with garbage in a wild finish. But hey, BATB did a monster buyrate, so good on them.
Another generally enjoyable show this week with a super-hot crowd.