The SmarK Rant for WCW Monday Nitro – 09.08.97
Back to Nitro while it’s still a semi-reasonable length.
Live from Milwaukee, WI, drawing a sellout 9586, which is apparently the home of the Green Bay Packers. Isn’t Green Bay the home of the Green Bay Packers? Granted I don’t follow the NFL so I could be way off on that. Is this like one of those weird things where the New York Islanders play in Brooklyn?
Your hosts are Tony Schiavone, Mike Tenay & Larry Zbyszko
So they’re still hyping up WarGames with six days to go, and advertising Lex Luger and DDP as being a part of “Team WCW”, which would soon change. Uncle Eric immediately interrupts their opening spiel and throws to a video of the Horsemen Parody from last week until Ric Flair and the real Horsemen cut off the tape. So they’re TEARING UP THE FORMAT SHEET and going to the ring to call out the nWo. Of course, the nWo are a bunch of cowards and no one is answering, so Mean Gene decides to conduct an interview instead like a pro. Of note, Curt Hennig says that’s he’s been “hired” by the Horsemen as the enforcer, which hints that perhaps his allegiance isn’t as tight as it seemed. Mongo can’t even do his promo without the crowd turning on him, and he immediately tells the Packer fans to shut up. That’s pretty hilarious. Last week, Flair was embarrassed to tell people that he was a pro wrestling, for the first time in his life. Really? Even more so than when Jim Herd wanted to give him an earring and call him “Spartacus”? Because that would have been pretty embarrassing. Anyway, he cuts a hell of a promo about how Arn is his friend and he’s not going home until Nash and his cronies come out.
We take a break and return with the Horsemen still in the ring, unwilling to leave even with the awesome security team trying to get them out of the ring. Finally, Flair backs down, lest the program not run forever. Tony wants to know where security was last week when the nWo was pulling the crap in the ring for 8 minutes.
Eddie Guerrero v. Rey Mysterio Jr.
Mike Tenay has HOT RUMORZ that they’re looking for a new interim commissioner to replace the injured JJ Dillon. Meetings have been held! Lengthy meetings! Hopefully not until 3am like Vince does, that’s just inhuman. Rey takes him down with some armdrags as the crowd informs Eddie that he sucks, in case he wasn’t aware before. Eddie puts him down with a forearm and follows with a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker and shoulderbreaker. We take a break and return with Rey making a comeback with a springboard into a flying headscissors, but Eddie just drops him on his face as Tenay notes that this is the first ever singles match between them. Certainly it wouldn’t be the last. Rey sends him to the floor and follows with a dive as Tony wonders why Rey would do stuff like that after destroying his knee previously. Yeah, that’s a question that would be asked many more times over the next 20 years. Back in, Rey goes up with a crossbody, but Eddie catches him with a snap powerslam for two. Eddie with the MURDERDEATHKILL powerbomb, but it only gets two. Backbreaker gets two. Eddie teases another powerbomb but then turns it into the Gory Special, but Rey flips out of that, so Eddie dropkicks him in the head and sets up for another powerbomb. Rey reverses that one into a headscissors, but Eddie chucks him to the floor and into the railing. Rey springs right back in with the West Coast Pop out of nowhere and that gets the pin at 9:42. These two have pretty good chemistry together! ***1/2
Diamond Dallas Page is here to set the record straight about the issues between himself and Lex Luger. No one gives respect in this business, you earn it, along with your place in the business! Just like Lex Luger also did.
Excuse me one second…
Sorry, something in my throat there. Anyway, DDP is tired of talking, and maybe they need to do it IN THE RING. Mean Gene is shocked and appalled that someone would suggest doing a wrestling match here on this wrestling show, but before he can follow up further, Lex Luger interrupts, and he’s all for it, but they’re holding nothing back. Oh man, if I see them holding anything back, I’m totally calling them on it. You’ve been warned. It could get ugly. I might even be snarky about it.
Disco Inferno v. Hugh Morrus
So in a rare bit of continuity from WCW, this was set up by Disco interfering to help Alex Wright last week against Morrus. Disco turns his back for some dancing and Morrus blasts him from behind and slugs away on him, then follows with a leg lariat. Hugh tries a blind charge and lands on the floor, allowing Disco to run him into the railing. Back in, Disco with a corner clothesline and he slaps Morrus around tells him to “wake up”. So he does. That feels like a bad strategy on Disco’s part. So Morrus beats on him and Alex Wright suddenly appears at ringside to dance, but Morrus stops to take him out before powerbombing Disco. He goes up to finish, but Wright tosses Disco the TV title, and that completely backfires as Morrus just moonsaults him anyway and pins him at 3:17. Well that was a stupid finish. ** Disco is understandably upset about that botched attempt to interfere and they have words, which shocking ACTUALLY PAID OFF DOWN THE LINE.
The nWo join us to answer the Horsemen’s challenge, with Konnan and Nash still dressed up from last week for some reason. Nash would clarify that they’re big stars (well, he’s a pretty big star at least) and they’re way too busy for the Four Horsemen. Well, except for Buff Bagwell, who’s got nothing going on. He’s willing to take Konnan and go stand up for the nWo tonight.
Cruiserweight title: Chris Jericho v. Brad Armstrong
Amazingly, Chris Jericho is breaking the walls down in 1997, two years before that song was written! Their music stuff is so weird. Eddie Guerrero comes out and asks Brad to step aside, but Brad tells him to get to steppin’ or HE’LL WHUP YOU. HE’LL WHUP YOU GOOD. So I guess that means he’s not stepping aside. Jericho fends off Armstrong’s attack and dropkicks him to the floor for the springboard dropkick, and they slug it out while the announcers discuss Brad’s recent change of attitude. I’m assuming that must have taken place on WCW Saturday Night or something because I didn’t even know he got a haircut, let along turned heel. Back in the ring, Brad gets a tornado DDT, ANGRILY, but Jericho gets a moonsault press for two. Jericho goes up with a missile dropkick, and then Eddie just decides to come in and attack Jericho for the DQ at 2:42. And then Brad joins in for a beatdown. Did that actually lead anywhere? Because I don’t recall any of that Brad heel run. *1/2
HOUR #2! The hour that ACTUALLY retired Bruno Sammartino and then pinned it on Larry Zbyszko!
Your hosts are Tony, Bobby & Iron Mike
Hollywood Hogan joins us and he would it to be known that he’s just too tan. Skin cancer is a real thing, brah. Moving on to someone who is definitely not too tan, or tan enough for that matter, Hogan wants Sting TONIGHT and he’ll put the title up for grabs. But Bischoff assures us that Sting is a coward who will never answer Hogan’s challenge because he’s a cowardly coward. So “Sting” rappels from the ceiling in the most horrifyingly icky segment that I’m shocked didn’t get expunged from the Network, as he plummets from the ceiling and smashes into the railing while Hogan yells for an ambulance because he’s not breathing, and declares it wasn’t supposed to happen. Of course, it’s just a mannequin, but holy crap. So then in a preview of Starrcade, Hogan legdrops the mannequin and pins him cleanly. Like, they’ll cut out references to Benoit but THAT gets left in?
The Steiner Brothers v. The Faces of Fear
I’m a bit shook after that last segment so hopefully this is fun. Scott works a headlock on Barbarian to start, and it’s immediately BREAKING LOOSE IN TULSA while Bobby opines that someone in WCW is a double agent for the nWo. Well, besides everyone, but there’s a specific choice in this case. The Steiners clear the ring, but Meng uses the power of choking to take over on Rick and gets a dropkick for two. And THEY BE CLUBBERING, TONY in the corner, with four fisties on one forehead. Barbarian with a powerslam on Rick as the announcers bitch about Team WCW still fighting amongst themselves for the past year and not doing anything to stop the nWo. When even THESE bozos are lampshading it, you know it’s a problem with the creative direction. Barbarian with a chinlock on Rick, but he comes back with a Steinerline and makes the hot tag to Scott. It’s once again mayhem and everyone slugs it out, but Barbie goes up and Scott brings him down with an overhead superplex and a bunch of tag team geeks run in for the DQ at 5:29. Huge disappointment. *
Scott Hall v. Super Calo
The announcers point out again that we still don’t even know who “Team WCW” and “Team nWo” are going to be at Fall Brawl, six days before the show! What a promotional job they’re doing here. Hall quickly blasts Calo out of the ring with a clothesline, and then surfboards him back in the ring, but Calo fights back with a bodypress for two. Hall shakes that off and hits him with the sack of shit suplex, then finishes with the Outsider Edge at 2:35. So, like, are the tag team titles going to be defended sometime in the next couple of months? Asking for a friend. But wait, RAY TRAYLOR comes out to talk shit to Hall afterwards, after splitting from the nWo, and we get some bonus Bossman v. Razor action with Traylor getting a bit of heat before descending permanently into jobber-ville soon after. Speaking of which, Hogan comes out and distracts ol’ Ray, who stands there like an idiot while Hall gives him the Edge, leading to the nWo spraypainting “Ray Who?” on his back. I love shoot spraypaintings that aren’t supposed to be shoot spraypaintings. Hogan quips “He kind of looks like the Big Loss Man” to the camera. I chuckled, I’ll give him that one.
Psychosis v. Dean Malenko
Usual stuff to start and Malenko dropkicks him to the floor and they fight out there, and then some dumbshit fan runs into the ring and MARK FUCKING CURTIS takes him down and guillotines him while security tackles the guy. That was the most awesome thing on this entire show by far. You do not fuck with Mark Curtis. The announcers just totally bury the idiot for getting his shit handed to him by the world’s smallest referee. In the Observer, Meltzer joked about Curtis being “UFC Bantamweight champion”, which is funnier in retrospect because we really DID end up with a Bantamweight champion in UFC later on! So they fight to the floor again and the crowd is distracted with other stuff, but Psy hits a tope suicida anyway and follows with a victory roll for two. Malenko dodges a rana and gets a leg lariat for two. And then the crowd gets all goofy over a fight in the stands , but the guys just ignore it and keep going with a top rope legdrop from Psychosis that gets two. Sonny Onoo takes the ref, but Dean takes him out and finishes with the cloverleaf at 7:06. Work was OK but the crowd was busy elsewhere. **1/2 This brings out Jeff Jarrett, who wants a rematch for a title shot or something. What title? Mongo is the US champion. Or maybe the winner gets a title shot at the US title? I dunno, this didn’t make much sense. It was all a moot point after the PPV anyway because Jarrett left.
Rowdy Roddy Piper is here, and he’s the acting chairman or commissioner or whatever his job title is supposed to be. So literally the first thing he does is book himself against Hogan at Halloween Havoc in a cage match that would achieve legendary status for all the wrong reasons. Also, he promises that Sting will get his title shot by the year 1997. “You mean by the END of 1997” jumps in Gene to once again save the day. And Fall Brawl will feature Team nWo against Team Horsemen in the WarGames instead of whatever it was supposed to be before, which we didn’t know anyway. Piper was all over the map here as usual.
Ric Flair & Curt Hennig v. Buff Bagwell & Konnan
So at this point we’d be at the two hour mark on TNT, and basically they’re just going as long as they’re going with still another half-hour left even in the Network version. The Horsemen clear the ring to start, but Bagwell takes over on Flair with a backdrop out of the corner and chokes away. They beat on Flair in the corner, but Ric fights back on Bagwell with chops and eventually Hennig gets a hot tag and does some slams. Can someone PLEASE teach this man how to do the four fingers signal? Bagwell clips him and they brawl again, and this time Hennig gets tossed over the top rope and plays face in peril as this match is dragging already. Konnan beats on him and takes out the knee again to set up a standing figure-four, but Hennig fights free of that. They do something in the corner that looked like Hennig catching him with a Snake Eyes or something, but Konnan falls down and it turns into an inverted DDT. Finally it’s hot tag Flair, thank god, and he beats on Bagwell, but Hennig comes in and gets escorted out by the ref while Flair gets the figure-four. They do another brawl and Hennig finishes with the Perfectplex on Konnan at 9:35. This was a huge boring mess and Curt Hennig still looks terrible. *1/2 Also, we still don’t know who is on Team nWo at WarGames, even though it should be obvious by now.
Alleged Main Event: Diamond Dallas Page v. Lex Luger
So now the announcers admit that the match is meaningless because the Horsemen are representing Team WCW at Fall Brawl and neither one is involved. Good lord. We’re 2.5 hours into this super important show and they’re trading headlocks while the crowd chants “boring” at them. So Luger gets a clothesline and OH MY GOD WHAT A SHOCK here’s the nWo and the announcers do this whole stupid thing where they question if they’re helping either babyface. Luger gets beat up outside and Page gets two off that. Pancake gets two and the announcers are now 100% convinced that DDP is joining the nWo. Luger comes back with Luger stuff like Luger does and then it’s randomly a DQ at 4:40 for nWo interference. DUD What a shocking twist. The Giant makes the save and thankfully someone actually gets heat on the nWo for once, and we’re out.
Well, the Eddie-Rey match was good. Show was kind of downhill from there.