The SmarK Rant for WCW Monday Nitro – 07.28.97
I mean, just reading the description for this show sounds completely batshit insane. I’m pretty pumped.
As noted, based on my work and travel schedule leading up to Christmas, this might be the last new thing I can get out for a few days, but I’ll try to squeeze in another episode of Heat or something for tomorrow before I wrap it up.
Live from Charleston, WV, and back on Mondays, drawing a record gate of 9575 for the city.
Your hosts are Tony, Larry and Mike.
Scott Norton & Buff Bagwell v. Ric Flair & Curt Hennig
I feel like I’m going to be triggered by this match in some way. Probably involving Scott Norton. Tony and the announcers immediately assume that Curt Hennig has accepted the spot in the Horsemen, because they’re morons. Except for Larry, who of course has to be smarter and doesn’t believe anything has been announced yet and thus it’s not official. Norton, who sells nothing, starts with Hennig, who sells everything, so it’s pretty much the PERFECT pairing. Norton throws him around and sends Curt flying over the top with a single chop. Back in, he flings Hennig with a hairtoss and then completely shrugs off a kneelift. Over to Flair, and Norton actually no-sells an EYEPOKE and hits Flair with a press-slam. Yes, even his fucking eyeballs are super-powerful, apparently. Bagwell comes in with a backdrop out of the corner and stops for his WCW Revenge pose, but Hennig wallops him from behind in a funny spot. This allows Flair to go work and beat on Buff in the corner and put him down with chops. Figure-four follows and Norton comes in to save, and we take a BREAK?! OK then. Back with Buff choking out Flair on the ropes, and a powerslam gets two. BREAKING NEWS: Later tonight, JJ offers Sting a new contract. Oooooo, hope we get words from Sting’s legal team and maybe a notary public! Flair tries to chop Norton down, but COME ON. Like Norton would ever sell for a mere 13 time World champion! When he wins 15 or 16, call me. Norton gets a corner splash and Flair sells like he’s near death, and then the quasi-Horsemen use ref distraction for a double-team and Norton actually no-sells a dropkick to the back of the head from Hennig. He literally couldn’t even see the move coming and still wouldn’t acknowledge it. Finally Hennig gets a hot tag and cleans house, and HOLY SHIT NORTON FINALLY SELLS A KNEELIFT. But Syxx comes out and goes after Flair, but NOW YOU’RE GONNA SEE A FISHERMAN’S SUPLEX on Bagwell for the pin at 13:14. I have no earthly idea what we were supposed to think about Hennig’s character at this point, but this was a hell of a deal where Flair & Hennig decided to get it over by sheer force of will. ***1/4
Lex Luger joins us and he’s got a SURPRISE for Hollywood Hogan: His legal team have secured a title shot next Monday in Detroit because Hogan has to defend the title every 30 days. When even WAS Hogan’s last title defense at that point? Hogan had only 20 matches in 1997 according to cagematch.net, and in fact the last time Hogan even defended the title was against Roddy Piper at Superbrawl, six months before this. And you thought Brock Lesnar was terrible for that!
WCW TV title: Ultimo Dragon v. Prince Iaukea
Iaukea manages to evade Dragon for a bit, but walks into the kick combo and Dragon batters his back with kicks and goes to a chinlock. Dragon with a dropkick for two and he takes the Prince down with a headscissors on the mat. To the top and Iaukea brings him down with a superplex but no one in the crowd gives a shit. Dragon comes back with a backdrop suplex and goes for a moonsault, but Iaukea moves and tries a powerbomb, which they turn into a series of pinfall reversals and they mess up a tiger suplex spot, and then Dragon hits a terrible lariat and hooks him into the dragon sleeper to finish at 4:49. This started OK and then turned into a complete disaster for the finish. *
Ric Flair joins us again and he’s still over like a god with the crowd tonight and now he claims that Hennig is indeed a full-on Horsemen. Hennig denies it, but Flair insists that Hennig’s wife just doesn’t want him out carousing all night and he’s keeping it on the down-low. Hennig insists he’s still a free agent, despite Flair’s offers of “five women for each of us, and ten for Mean Gene” at the after-party.
Steve McMichael & Chris Benoit v. The Texas Hangmen
The Hangmen are a pair of masked goofs who I believe wrestled as Disorderly Conduct later on for WCW. Mongo manhandles one of the doofuses and powerslams him before clipping the knee and adding a slam. He continues beating on one of the masked guys as Scott Hall makes a collect call to Tony on-air and mocks Larry. And then Mongo tries a tombstone on one of the guys, staggers around the ring like he’s drunk off his ass and literally runs into Nick Patrick in the corner while holding the guy in the move, and then drops him on his head with it before realizing that he’s not the legal man. Benoit tags in and finishes with the crossface at 4:30. Holy fuck was this bad. DUD I can only imagine what Benoit was thinking watching his partner stumble around the ring and missing all the spots.
WCW Cruiserweight title: Chris Jericho v. Alex Wright
Wright showboats to start and Jericho smacks him down, so Alex escapes to the floor. Back in, they trade wristlocks and Wright uses the hair to gain the advantage. Jericho hits him with a leg lariat and Wright bails to regroup. And then LARRY ZBYSZKO bitches that Wright is stalling too much. Jericho follows him out there and Wright gets a suplex on the floor and comes back in with a flying kneedrop. Wright gets an elbow in the corner and follows with a backdrop suplex, but he stops to dance and then goes up and misses another kneedrop. Jericho makes the comeback and Larry is like “Oh man, Jericho is sucking wind and blown up out there.” DUDE. Why would you even point that kind of thing out? They fight to the apron and Jericho gets a sleeper from inside the ring, but Wright necks him on the top rope to break. Back in, Wright gets a german suplex to win the title at 6:24. Why would you sign 80 billion luchadors and then put the CW title on that guy? However, this show is like the anti-RAW. Whereas today guys are slotted into rigid card positions and feud with the same people over and over, this show features guys moving up and down from spot to spot all the time and just mixing and matching with the most bizarre combinations imaginable. You certainly can’t say it’s boring. Match was good but heatless, like everything else so far tonight. **1/2
Dean Malenko joins us, along with new best friend Jeff Jarrett. And we get a weird deal where Alex Wright walks by and Debra pulls him aside and whispers something in his ear, which goes unmentioned by anyone. So Dean is in, as long as Jarrett lives up to his promises, and maybe brings in Eddie as well. What a weird angle that went nowhere.
HOUR #2! The hour that secretly wrote all five hours of WWE TV for Jimmy Jacobs!
Your hosts are Tony and Bobby.
Diamond Dallas Page v. Syxx
Page works the arm to start and he’s particularly fired up this week for some reason. Maybe he did some really exciting yoga before the match? Syxx hides in the corner, but Page hauls him out for a pumphandle backbreaker that gets two. Page grabs a headlock and follows with a neckbreaker and an atomic drop to put Syxx on the floor. Back in, Syxx comes back with the broncobuster, but Page cuts him off with a pancake piledriver and the Diamond Cutter. But Vincent takes the ref and Curt Hennig runs in and hits Page with an international object, and then puts Syxx on top at 3:31. So now the announcers realize that Hennig is a free agent looking for the biggest money offer. Truly this man was Brock Lesnar’s mentor in just about every way. **
Dean Malenko v. Hector Guerrero
Nice to see Hector getting another payday, and Tony has started to put together that Jarrett is putting together his own anti-Horsemen group. I’m assuming it would have been Jarrett, Eddie and Dean, but who’s the fourth man? Chavo? Malenko takes Hector down with a chinlock and apparently Bobby Heenan will be making an appearance at something called “Piggly Wiggly” in Milwaukee. WTF is Piggly Wiggly? Is it any relation to Chuck E. Cheese? Hector gets a crossface on Dean and the crowd is DEAD. Hector with a splash for two, but Malenko rolls him up for two and Hector reverses for two. They trade pinfalls, but Dean misses a corner clothesline and now Jarrett struts out and provides distraction while Dean dropkicks the knee and finishes with the cloverleaf at 4:21. Chavo comes out to save his uncle and Malenko beats him down so Jarrett can strut. What a fucking weird angle. Match was OK but dead. *1/2
Konnan is here to continue talking thug. I liked him a lot better once he started talking like a normal human being instead of an extra in The Warriors.
The Giant v. The Great Muta
Randy Savage cuts a promo, building up a match at Road Wild with the Giant. I totally don’t remember that match and now I’m kind of excited to watch that PPV again because it’s got a bunch of really intriguing matches that will all be new to me! Eric Bischoff randomly joins the commentary team to gush over all of Muta’s kicks. Giant chops him in the corner and Muta runs away. Back in, Giant uses the clubbing forearms while Eric thinks up new insults for Giant (“dummy”, “goof” and “lummox”) and Muta runs away again. Back in, Muta tries another series of kicks and Giant boots him out of the ring, so Muta hides under the ring and emerges on the other side for some dropkicks. He dropkicks the knee to take Giant down and drops the power elbow for two. He goes up with a flying chop, but Giant no-sells a missile dropkick while Bischoff makes fat jokes about Tony. Muta tries another flying chop, but catches him, blocks the green mist with his forearm, and CHOKESLAM finishes at 6:03. Meltzer hated this match at the time but I thought it was crazy and fun and I loved the finish. **1/2 And then Giant calls out anyone in the nWo to come out and face him, while Larry takes back the announce desk from Bischoff and then hauls him to the ring in a facelock to a huge reaction. So Bischoff becomes the Giant’s challenger against his will, and that goes badly for him. Chokeslam badly. That was pretty damn satisfying.
La Parka v. Konnan
Congratulations to La Parka for making it into the Observer Hall of Fame, by the way! Konnan quickly dismantles him with the lariat and low dropkick for two, but Parka goes up with a corkscrew senton for two. He grabs a chair, but Konnan dropkicks it back in his face, and the 187 and Tequila Sunrise finish at 1:39. Way too short. *1/2
JJ Dillon joins us by phone, and he announces that next week he’ll make Sting an offer to get him back into the ring by September.
Randy Savage v. Scott Steiner
What a nutty main event. Savage gets frustrated immediately and takes Scott down with some choking, but Scott hits him with a gorilla press and Savage heads to the floor and starts tossing chairs in. We take a break with Savage stalking around the ring and return with Macho slugging away in the corner. Scott comes back with a belly to belly suplex, but Savage heads out and hides behind Liz, which allows him to attack Scott from behind and send him into the stairs. Back in, Scott hits him with an overhead suplex and they brawl to the floor, where Scott runs him into the railing. Back in, Savage goes low in desperation, but Scott gets a small package for two and hits him with the butterfly powerbomb to make the comeback. To the top for a top rope frankensteiner, but the Outsiders run in for the DQ at 12:45. Another good match tonight. *** Giant makes the save and calls out Kevin Nash, but Kev gets a funny line when he yells back “I’ll give you a little piece, but I can’t fight through all these guys!” while two refs and Doug Dellinger are blocking his way. And of course we are DESPERATELY OUT OF TIME before Nash can get to the ring to accept the challenge.
A really fun, wacky show, and next week is HULK HOGAN v. LEX LUGER for the title in a famous match.