The SmarK Rant for WCW Monday Nitro–08.18.97

The SmarK Rant for WCW Monday Nitro – 08.18.97

OK, back to this for a bit. Oddly enough, they dumped a huge run of WWF Confidential onto the Network. I’m interested to check it out again because I only remember the episode with the Lex Luger 911 call and the debut with Steve Austin. Probably not something I can really rant on, though.

Raven cuts a tortured promo about his childhood and pain and all that fun stuff as the cold open.

Live from Birmingham, AL, drawing another record crowd for the city with 10699 coming off Road Wild.

Your hosts are Tony, Larry and Iron Mike.

So apparently this show was a logistical nightmare, as all of the Mexicans missed their flight due to transportation issues and the entire show had to be rebooked on the fly, with only La Parka actually able to get there on time.

Harlem Heat v. Scott Norton & Buff Bagwell

Buff does some posing to start while Larry describes Jacqueline as “One of the few women in the world who could do more damage in the kitchen than outside of it”. What the hell does THAT mean? Buff gets some hiptosses on Stevie and stops to pose and brag to the camera, but walks into a powerslam as a result. This crowd is MOLTEN tonight. Norton slugs it out with Norton and gets nowhere, as Scott puts him down with a shoulderblock before Booker comes back with a spinkick actually make Norton sell something! That ends quickly with Stevie getting caught in the heel corner and double-teamed. Buff goes up and misses a dropkick and it’s hot tag Booker, giving us our second Norton sell when Booker slams him to a huge pop. Powerslam on Buff gets two and it’s BONZO GONZO, but Vincent comes in for the DQ at 4:36. And then Booker makes his own save and cleans house on the nWo. This gives us a classic Buff reaction as he does a shocked face to the camera and exclaims “What happened?” on the way to the back. Lots of fun in the opener! ***

The Barbarian v. Mortis

So this is a feud that keeps going. Apparently Chris Jericho won the Cruiserweight title back from Alex Wright on WCW Saturday Night, which freed up Wright to win the TV title. Mortis slugs away in the corner and dodges a charging Barbarian to set up the guillotine legdrop for two. Cross body gets two. Barbarian comes back with a Stroke for two and he’s CLUBBERING, TONY, HE BE CLUBBERING in the corner, but another charge hits a superkick. Mortis goes up and lands in a Barbarian powerslam for two, and the KICK OF FEAR finishes at 2:20. And then Wrath runs in and lays him out, but Meng runs for the TONGAN DEATH GRIP as the crowd goes crazy. Mortis tries to save and Meng just stands there glaring at him while he’s getting punched in the face. I don’t know if the Faces of Fear are supposed to be babyfaces at this point but the crowd sure loved them. Another fun match. **

Eric Bischoff is here to hype this Thursday’s Clash, but first he’s got business with Larry Zbyszko, and then confuses the restraining order storyline (The Giant) with Larry, who in fact could come within 50 feet of Bischoff. Well, it was a rough night for him backstage.

Ric Flair & Curt Hennig are here and people are booing Mr. Parfait pretty openly now. But Flair is still convinced he can win him over to the Horsemen. Curt clarifies again that he’s Flair’s partner, but not a Horsemen. He wants competition! So tonight, he’s facing the Giant, and Flair is facing Konnan. In fact, not, as Konnan wasn’t there and it changed but Flair was on a roll and forgot. Poor Gene nearly loses it when Flair calmly says he’s going to “ride Konnan hard and put him away wet” but he manages to pull it together behind Flair’s back. Gene was a PRO.

Dancin’ Stevie Richards v. Scotty Riggs

Turns out that Stevie’s career-ending neck injury was exaggerated to Heyman a little bit. Stevie slugs away in the corner to start, but Riggs gets a corner clothesline and ugly monkey flip. Stevie tries to run away and Riggs gets a pair of dropkicks and they brawl to the floor and do nothing. Back in, Stevie with the short powerbomb and he dodges a dropkick for two, but Riggs makes the comeback as this continues to go nowhere. Riggs tears off Stevie’s prized half-shirt and gets a sideslam for two as he starts suddenly acting like a heel. Blind charge and the Steviekick finishes him at 5:15, which the camera completely misses because it’s busy following Raven in the crowd. And then Raven comes in and hits Stevie with the Evenflow DDT to make him look like a complete geek. Which he was. And then they’re having a match at the Clash, because reasons. Stevie looked really rusty here compared to his peak at Barely Legal just a few months earlier. *1/2

Jeff Jarrett & Eddie Guerrero are here to talk about their matches at the Clash, but Alex Wright interrupts, ready to join their team. Debra lays out the pros: He’s good looking, from Germany, and can dance. However, he doesn’t have a title, so NO GO. So Alex promises to win a title at the Clash and then they’ll have no choice.

Jeff Jarrett & Eddie Guerrero v. Chris Benoit & Steve McMichael

Larry continues his misogynist run this week, declaring that Debra should “be home folding the towels” for Mongo instead of “causing havoc” here. Benoit trades NASTY chops with Guerrero and hits a snap suplex, which sends Eddie running to the floor. He put some STANK on that one. Back in, Mongo calls for Jarrett and does not get him, and then Eddie dropkicks the knee from behind because Mongo is a moron. The heels go to work on the knee and the crowd is so hot that they even cheer the heat segment. Steve comes back with a flapjack, magnificently sold by Guerrero, and it’s HOT TAG Benoit and he just destroys the heels. Press slam for Eddie and a snap suplex for Jarrett gets two. Crossface follows, but Eddie saves while Mongo steals the US title from Debra, and then hits Jarrett with it and puts Benoit on top for the pin at 5:12. The crowd was just going bananas for this entire thing and it was GREAT. ***1/4

HOUR #2! The hour that taught the Young Bucks how to make t-shirts!

Your hosts are Tony and Bobby.

Last week: JJ offers Sting the contract of a lifetime against SYXX, but that’s apparently not good enough for him.

The Outsiders are here to kill some time, and they literally have nothing to say.

Syxx v. Ric Flair

So yes, playing the part of Konnan tonight will be Syxx. Flair works a headlock for a while, but Syxx puts him down with an enzuigiri and chokes away in the corner. Broncobuster follows to a huge pop, but Flair pops up with a chop in the corner and they slug it out. Tenay says the nWo is looking for “their own TV program”, which is the secret origins of Thunder. Syxx tosses him and slugs away as Flair gets back in, but the broncobuster misses this time and both guys are out. Flair comes back with the backdrop out of the corner and drops the knee to set up the figure-four, but the nWo B-Team runs in for the DQ at 5:30 and Hennig makes the save. I’d call it moderately better than the Road Wild match, but still grossly disappointing, with Flair in particular going through the motions while Syxx seemed really jazzed to be working the match. Flair’s injuries must have been catching up to him at this point. *1/4

JJ Dillon is here with Nick Patrick, and wants to clarify that Patrick made the right call at Road Wild and he’s not on probation any longer. However, Randy Anderson dropped the ball and cost Lex Luger the title, which brings out Anderson. REF FIGHT! REF FIGHT! This went nowhere here and nowhere overall.

World TV title: Ultimo Dragon v. La Parka

I guess Parka gets a title shot by virtue of being the only Mexican to make his flight on time. That’s saying something when La Parka is the responsible one, given some of his behavior as of late. Dragon backdrops him out of the corner and psyches him out with the handstand in the corner before putting him down with the kicks. Parka bails off a dropkick and Dragon follows with a dive, but Sonny Onoo hits him with kicks to put Parka in control. Back in, Parka with a powerbomb for two. Dragon gets hung in the Tree of Woe and Parka follows with a spinkick for two. Blind charge misses and Dragon comes back with a top rope rana into the dragon sleeper, but Onoo breaks it up. Parka hits him with an enzuigiri from behind, but Onoo hits Parka with a kick by mistake and the dragon sleeper finishes at 4:10. This was fine. **1/4

The Giant v. Curt Hennig

Hennig comes at him with chops to start and gets nowhere, as Giant headbutts him and Hennig goes flying around the ring. Giant throws his own chops in the corner and Hennig continues bumping like nuts, as Giant gets a suplex and then Eric Bischoff runs out demanding Giant now be arrested for being within 50 feet. Yeah…I’m pretty sure that’s 100% not how restraining orders work. Thankfully Doug Dellinger doesn’t buy into that nonsense either, and then Larry comes out to help chase Bischoff into the crowd, at which point Giant hauls him out and then the security goofs pull him off. No decision on the match was ever announced, so call it a no contest, I guess.

JJ Dillon is back out again, without another contract for Sting, because he’s not a mind reader and can’t figure out what exactly Sting wants here. So he gives Sting an ultimatum: Come forward between now and the end of the Clash and tell us what he wants! Sting actually does come out here with the crowd losing their minds, and Sting POINTS TO SIGN. In this case, not Wrestlemania, but assorted “Sting wants Hogan” signs in the front row. I’m assuming they’re planted because they’re all professionally made and most tellingly for Alabama, both names are spelled correctly. Then Sting actually grabs a “Hulk vs. Sting” sign and walks it around the ring while JJ continues to insist that he can’t figure out Sting’s endgame here, man.

WCW World tag titles: The Outsiders v. Lex Luger & Diamond Dallas Page

One guess what the finish here is gonna be. The show was running WAY over at this point so you’d think they would just do a short match and get right to the nWo run-in. Luger and Hall do the dramatic lockup battle in the corner, but Luger fights off both Outsiders. Over to Nash, who would rather face DDP, thank you. So Nash and Page trade taunts as this whole match has been one big stall for the first 4:00, and then Nash loses a slugfest and Page gets a neckbreaker for two. Page works the arm and Nash puts him down with a short clothesline to escape, but DDP gets a legsweep for two. Nash comes back with the big boot and Hall comes in with a blockbuster slam for two. Aaaaaaaaaand it’s time for an abdominal stretch, as they abdominally stretch this match way longer than it needs to be. Page comes back with a backbreaker, but Nash uses the Nash Choke in the corner and gives a sarcastic brush-off to Randy Anderson’s attempts to break it up. Hall switches in behind the ref’s back for some abuse, and Anderson tries to get him out of the ring, so Hall makes a big deal about tagging Nash in legally and then they cheat behind the ref’s back AGAIN for good measure. OK, that’s pretty damn funny. Hall slugs Page down for two and gets a sleeper this time and the crowd continues to go batshit with off the charts heat for the match. Nash cuts off the tag again as Page just takes the shitkicking of a lifetime here, but finally comes back with a headscissors and it’s HOOOOOOOT TAG to Lex Luger as the place comes unglued and immediately the nWo runs in for the DQ at 13:32. JESUS TAPDANCING CHRIST the finishes on this show. The tag match was, as the kids say, a real banger and the bee’s knees, though. DDP as face in peril is the role he was born to play. ***3/4

Hot take: This DQ finish shit is gonna become a real problem for WCW sometime soon.

Next time: The Clash of Champions wraps up its 10 year run with #35! And then on next week’s Nitro…Curt Hennig finally makes a choice.