The SmarK Rant for WCW Monday Nitro – 06.30.97
Live from LAS VEGAS, after weeks of buildup, drawing 8239.
It’s another big show in a series of them, with big stuff going down tonight.
Not as big as RAW last night, of course, but pretty big stuff.
Oh, and Chris Jericho won the Cruiserweight title from Syxx at the weird LA Arena show. Other than that title change, they literally didn’t say anything else about it after weeks of building it up.
Mean Gene brings out Ric Flair to start, and he’s got some women and a mannequin vaguely dressed like Roddy Piper with him. That’s apparently all that’s left of Piper after the ladies got through with him. Flair tries to explain this ridiculous storyline and come up with a reason for turning on him. Gene asks the women “Is he truly the 60 minute man” and one of them answers “More like 30 seconds”. Poor Gene quickly covers for that one by clarifying that she was talking about PIPER, but still, OUCH. And then Flair blathers about nothing and dances. What a disaster.
Cruiserweight title: Chris Jericho v. Juventud Guerrera
Jericho works a headlock to start, but Juvy takes him down with a headscissors and then botches a springboard of some kind and gets suplexed by Jericho. Delayed suplex gets two. Juvy comes back with a dropkick, but Jericho elbows him down and dropkicks him in the corner and goes to a backbreaker as even the announcers point out that Jericho is working pretty slow tonight. They’d certainly have better matches than this one later. Juvy tries his springboard again, and blows it AGAIN. So Jericho misses a charge and lands on the floor, and Juvy tries to redeem himself with a dive and thankfully doesn’t fuck that one up. Back in, the 450 gets two. Jericho comes back with a german suplex and Juvy can barely land without falling on his ass, and Jericho powerbombs him for two. They head up and Jericho brings him down with a rana and finishes with the Liontamer at 6:46. Turns out that Juvy knocked himself out early in the match and was fighting it off for the rest of the match, hence the Botchamania. **
Chris Jericho does his post-match promo where he celebrates getting a title away from nWo, but Syxx interrupts and Gene is like “This isn’t the time or the place.” It’s a wrestling show! It’s absolutely the time AND the place! Syxx claims that the only thing Jericho beat was back in his hotel room, and Gene’s like “What’s that supposed to mean?”
So Syxx claims that he’s still the champ, and the brawl is on. We take a break return with them finally pulled apart, and now Alex Wright is here waiting for an interview, and thankfully he’s wearing pants this week. Larry: “I don’t know why he’s upset about not getting interview time, since he can’t talk anyway.” Always working hard to get new talent over, there.
Eddie Guerrero v. Dean Malenko
Eddie attacks before Dean can even make it off the ramp and drags him to the ring, then goes to work with chops and bootrakes the face. Snap suplex and he hits a leg lariat, but misses a slingshot senton and Dean backdrops him onto the apron. Eddie tries to come in from the top and Dean follows him up, but Eddie tries a tornado DDT and Dean blocks and makes the comeback. Eddie reverses into the corner, but makes the mistake of pointing to his to indicate intelligence. NEVER POINT AT YOUR HEAD! FOR THE LOVE OF GOD! And indeed, Dean comes back with a dropkick for two and faceplants him, then DESTROYS him with a powerbomb as Chavo arrives at ringside. That’s not quite Eddie’s MDK powerbomb, but it was close. I love how he hauls back and actually whiplashes Eddie in addition to powerbombing him. Dean goes after Chavo, and Eddie hits him with the brainbuster thanks to the distraction, and finishes with the frog splash at 4:01. But was Chavo actually trying to help Uncle Eddie? We’ll find out later. Hot take: These two have good chemistry. ***
Rey Mysterio is tired of getting jacked by the nWo, and he wants Kevin Nash TONIGHT. Gene thinks this is a bad idea. Nash comes out to accept, and he doesn’t seem terribly concerned.
Hollywood Hogan is here, and beating up the stinky wart-infested Giant and Flexy Lexy was one of the greatest days of his life. But tonight, he’s gonna let the Outsiders and Macho face Luger, Giant and DDP in the main event. Wait, I thought Nash was facing Mysterio? I think they’ve got some communication issues.
World TV title: Lord Steven Regal v. Hector Garza
I don’t feel like this is gonna be a great showcase of Garza. Regal works the arm to start and blocks Garza’s acrobatics, then uses a good old thumb to the eye to take over. Regal beats him down in the corner, but Garza comes back with a dropkick and Regal bails. Garza tries a moonsault and Regal just moves out of the way, but Garza lands on his feet and tries his corkscrew plancha instead, and he completely blows that move that and misses completely. Regal sells it anyway, and back in Garza gets a missile dropkick, but takes too long setting up a moonsault and hits the knees. Regal puts him away with the Regal Stretch in 3:45. This Garza thing is just not happening, but I bet they’ll keep trying. *1/2
The Steiner Brothers are here and they want the Outsiders. What, is Nash gonna be TRIPLE booked tonight? He’s gone from the laziest man in wrestling to the hardest working! So the Outsiders answer the challenge and bring the nWo with them. Hall would face them right now, but the Steiners aren’t wearing their gear, so it’ll have to wait. Nash: “Can anyone else challenge us tonight? How many has it been so far, thirty?” Nobody ever said he wasn’t a funny guy. So the Steiners sign the contract, but then they leave and Hall reveals that the contract stipulates that they have to beat Chono & Muta before getting a title shot.
Psicosis v. Super Calo
Psi works the arm to start but Calo heads to the floor to confront Sonny Onoo and gets beat up as a result. I completely forgot about the throwaway segment weeks ago where Onoo offered to manage Psicosis, actually. Back in, Psi backdrops Calo to the apron and baseball slides him into the railing, then follows with a dive and takes a Pillman bump into the railing. Calo tries a suplex back in, but Onoo hooks the leg and Psi gets the pin at 2:40. This Onoo-Psicosis pairing can’t have lasted long. Calo snaps and beats Psicosis down, but La Parka heads out and breaks a balsa chair on Calo, and then Juvy makes the save and chases him. Odds of this leading anywhere? 0.5% seems fair. Really disappointing match. *1/2
Hour #2! The hour that is a dark horse candidate to sign the Bullet Club to an exclusive deal backed by Mark Cuban and start its own promotion!
Ric Flair, Chris Benoit & Steve McMichael v. Buff Bagwell, Scott Norton & Masa Chono
So they just had Flair start the show as a full heel, insulting and mocking Roddy Piper, but now he’s a babyface booked against the nWo. Mongo gets double-teamed in the nWo corner, but he fights back on Chono and Flair comes in for chops. Benoit ducks a mafia kick and gets a snap suplex, but Chono boots him down on a second try. Benoit pops up for a diving headbutt and it’s BREAKING LOOSE IN TULSA as the nWo runs in for the DQ at 3:35. Well, just Vincent, to be accurate, but the result is the same. This went nowhere. *
HIGH VOLTAGE v. Mortis & Wrath
What’s with future WCW tag team champion Kenny Kaos getting so much TV time lately? The heels attack our poor jobbers before the bell and Wrath hits Kaos with a flying clothesline and a big boot. Glacier and the Cat run down and provide distraction, and Robby Rage (the one who is not the future WCW tag team champion, unlike his partner Kaos, who is in fact a future WCW tag team champion) pins Mortis at 1:15. This was one of those dumb banana peel finishes that does nothing for anyone. DUD
Meanwhile, there’s a limo in the parking lot. Is there someone in there? WE DON’T KNOW! The door’s open! Then it’s closed! It could be anything! Even a boat! DON’T FUCKING CHANGE THE CHANNEL TO RAW! HOLY SHIT!
Raven is here in the front row! HE DOESN’T WORK HERE! He could be anything! Even a boat!
US title: Jeff Jarrett v. Konnan
Jarrett gets a hiptoss and stomps Konnan down in the corner, but misses an enzuigiri and Konnan dropkicks him while yelling about Mexico. Jarrett comes back with a DDT, but Konnan cuts him off with a facebuster and rolls him up for two. Jarrett goes to work on the knee, but now Flair and the Horsemen head down and distract Konnan long enough for Jarrett to finish with the figure-four, with help from Flair, at 4:10. Meh. ½* Flair comes in to strut with Jarrett, but then they do an interview afterwards and Flair fires him to continue the endlessly confusing Horsemen storyline. So why did he help him win the match? Also, was Jarrett ever officially a member of the team in the first place?
Kevin Nash v. Rey Mysterio Jr.
Rey comes in throwing dropkicks and hits a springboard dropkick for two, but Nash swats him down like a gnat and hits an atomic drop. He hurls Rey across the ring and finishes with the Poochiebomb at 1:44. What the FUCK was the point of that? Konnan comes out for some reason and Nash keeps hitting powerbombs, and Konnan continues the beatdown for some reason. So Rey makes the challenge, gets his ass kicked, and then ends up looking like a huge geek. This company is so ass-backwards at times.
Meanwhile, Mike Tenay tries to get some answers from Raven, a man who has been a “champion with other organizations”. You know, he was also a champion in THIS organization. Anyway, Raven has no interest in answering questions. The man’s clearly trying to watch the show and make sense of this stupid fucking booking while on a shitload of drugs! Leave him alone!
Kevin Nash, Scott Hall & Randy Savage v. Lex Luger, the Giant & DDP
So indeed Big Sexy is working DOUBLE DUTY tonight.
Ha ha, I said duty. BUT NO TIME FOR THAT NOW!
But first, we take a break.
Back with the match finally starting and everyone brawls and brawls and it’s your basic battle royal offense with everyone standing the corners and trading punches. So this goes nowhere and then Hogan comes out to put a mercy bullet in the match and hits Luger with the belt for what I presume is a DQ at 3:30. No bells ever rang so I’m just extrapolating. And then the whole nWo comes out for the weekly beatdown. Tony: “How many times have we seen the exact same thing play out on our television screen?” I love shoot comments that aren’t supposed to be shoot comments. Savage drops elbows on Page, but an obviously fake Sting is in the crowd (played by special guest Chris “Mortis” Kanyon this week) and then the real Sting rappels in to make the save. Oh and then Curt Hennig and Raven both come out and do nothing as the show ends.
What a fucking letdown THIS one was.
Also, I’m now past the point where I left off RAW in 97, so I can probably go back to alternating again, maybe? I dunno. You tell me, I’m just here to watch the wrestling and write 2000 words a day about it.