The SmarK Rant for WCW Monday Nitro – 09.15.97
I was gonna do RAW on Hulu tonight, but then I was like…nah. Maybe next week. They haven’t exactly been tearing up the blog anyway, probably because it’s a day later and people are talked out by Tommy’s recap. Plus Nitro remains a reasonable length for a while, and the nWo is all over everyone’s lips with the Hall of Fame stuff.
I think I’m actually ahead of the 97 RAWs again now, though. This stuff sure isn’t an exact science.
Live from Charlotte, NC, drawing a sellout 8100. Getting tryouts here were Kendall Windham (with his Steve Austin makeover) and Louie Spicoli, who actually earned himself a job and then sadly passed away just when he had seemingly found a way to revive his career.
HOUR #1! The hour that nominated the nWo for induction into the Hall!
Your hosts are Tony, Larry and Iron Mike.
So we start with a creepy looking shot of Ric Flair on the operating table following Fall Brawl, which frankly looks like a death mask of him. Tony’s pretty broken up about it and can’t do the show, but of course Larry would never let any angle delay an opportunity to put himself over and he decides to press on with Mike Tenay while Tony walks off in disgust.
Disco Inferno v. Dean Malenko
These two had a pretty great match in 1996, which really put Disco on the map as someone who actually wasn’t a complete joke, although of course he completely flushed that credibility down the toilet as his career progressed. Disco gets an armdrag and stops to celebrate, so Dean hits him with a clothesline and beats him down in the corner. Dean with the heel kick and he tries the Cloverleaf, but Disco rakes the eyes to escape and runs away in fear. Dean continues beating on him and hits a corner clothesline, then gets a powerslam out of the corner for two. Delayed suplex gets two. Dean goes up and Disco stomps him down and works on the injured knee to take over, and Dean can’t even run the ropes without the knee giving out. So Disco stops to dance like a moron, and Dean hits the powerbomb into the Cloverleaf for the submission at 4:10. Meh. *1/2 This whole run for Disco was basically punishing him for refusing to job to Jacqueline, and then they suddenly decided to push him as a serious TV champion for a bit. I never got it.
The Faces of Fear v. Harlem Heat
Booker hits a forearm on Meng for two and the Heat works him over in the corner. But the Faces haul Stevie over to their side and THEY BE CLUBBERING! THEY BE CLUBBERING, TONY! FOUR FISTIES ON ONE HEAD! Over to Booker and they slowly beat on him and double-team while Raven watches at ringside, looking about as bored as the fans here. Stevie reverses a suplex on Meng and THAT nearly goes horribly sideways on them. FOF misses a double headbutt and Stevie staggers over for the hot tag to Booker, who wakes up the crowd with spinkicks as the FOF bump for him. Harlem Sidekick gets two, but Barbarian is under the ropes, so Nick Patrick refuses to count, and Meng finishes with the TONGAN DEATH GRIP at 6:33. Who was even the legal man there? This was pretty bad, but Booker was getting a big singles push soon anyway so the Heat were being sunsetted. Not that we knew it at the time. ½*
Diamond Dallas Page joins us, and he reveals that he’s got a disease, a crippling sickness inside of him.
NO! It’s never lupus! Well except for that one episode where it was.
Anyway, the real answer is RANDY SAVAGE, and Page is the cure for the common Macho Man. So they shall wrestle, again, at Halloween Havoc. Gotta say, I’m not feeling that one. It’s done, let it go.
Rey Mysterio v. Juventud Guerrera
Rey psyches us out by taking off his mask, but he’s got ANOTHER mask underneath it. That’s pretty deep, man. Juvy works a headlock to start and then drops Rey on the top rope and tries to dropkick him to the floor, but that gets botched. So he snap powerbombs him from the apron to the floor instead. DUDE. NOT COOL. How did Rey not get a million concussions in his career? Oh wait, never mind. Back in, Juvy legdrops him for two and then faceplants him while Larry just goes off on the nWo, demanding that Mongo pound Hennig into “a blob of flesh” tonight. Rey comes back with the seated senton for one and a Sky High powerbomb for two. They fight to the top and Rey takes him down with a rana, which gets two. They trade chops and Juvy charges and lands on the floor, which sets up Rey for an insane somersault tope over the corner post, complete with amazing camera angle from below. Back in, Juvy tries a springboard rana, but Rey blocks it with a powerbomb and then Drops the Dime for the pin at 7:05. DAMN. And yet both guys are still working and still doing this crazy shit. ***3/4
World TV title: Alex Wright v. Lord Steven Regal
They trade wristlock takedowns and Regal just BITCHSLAPS Wright and stops to strut in delight. You always hate to see Euro-on-Euro violence like that. Wright fires back with forearms and works the arm while the crowd chants for REGAL, so Alex gets all pissed off and slugs him down. But…but…I thought you’re supposed to just ignore the crowd and work to the hard camera like you practiced? Wright charges and Regal cuts him off with a back elbow, and then they decide to trade uppercuts. That goes badly for Wright. They trade rollups and Wright gets a dropkick and whips him into the corner before finishing with a german suplex at 4:37. This was kinda SPICY. I liked it! **3/4
The Big Boss Guardian Angel Ray Traylor (Man, he’s Big) joins Mean Gene, as we take a look at him getting laid out and spraypainted by the nWo last week, on the first week of his babyface turn. Hell of a start for that run. So Ray cuts a fired up promo against the nWo, but the problem is he’s supposed to be a big star, and he’s dressed like an illiterate redneck trucker. Sure, that might make him a role model in North Carolina, but they’re not in that state every week.
Konnan v. The Giant
Larry sums up Konnan as “one of the useless blobs of robotized sheep” that injured Flair at Fall Brawl. Konnan clowns around on him and Giant just grabs him and hurls him out of the ring in disgust. Back in, Giant beats him down in the corner and chases him out of the ring for another beating while Larry is just in his glory here, yelling about how the nWo are all cowards like Konnan. Back in, Giant continues demolishing him and Konnan runs away again before finally getting a cheapshot for some offense. But then he goes up and takes too long, and Giant catches him with AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH-CHOKESLAM for the pin at 3:10. Too long for what they were going for but thankfully WCW got a bit of revenge here. Should have been Konnan taunting him and then getting chokeslammed right away. ½*
HOUR #2! The hour that sold the Full House reboot to Netflix!
Dancin’ Stevie Richards v. Diamond Dallas Page
Weird to see Richards still hanging around here, as I always remembered him doing the job to Raven and then crawling back to ECW again. Stevie cues up the band and does various Karate Kid poses at DDP for intimidation, but sadly it doesn’t work. Page works the arm, but Stevie takes him down by the hair. So Page comes back with a gut wrench into the gutbuster, but Stevie bails to the floor and pokes him in the eye to take over. Backdrop suplex gets two. Stevie with a high knee in the corner, but Page fights back with the pancake piledriver and then hits a Diamond Cutter out of a fireman’s carry to finish at 3:33. So there you go, Page invented the F5. Just a match. *1/2 Raven comes in and disgustedly kicks Stevie out of the ring afterwards.
WCW World tag team titles: The Outsiders v. Wrath & Mortis
Hall and Nash immediately clown on Mortis and his martial arts, and Hall slugs it out with Mortis before walking into a fameasser. Mortis slugs away on him in the corner, but Hall catches him for the fallaway slam. Over to Wrath, but Nash comes in and beats on him with the deadly corner elbow/hair flip combos. Wrath fires back with his own elbows, but doesn’t have the hair to pull off an effective hair flip, so he hits a big boot for two instead. Thankfully he would up his hair conditioning game in later years. Mortis comes in, but the Outsiders clear the ring and Nash destroys him with a powerbomb and pins him with one foot at 6:00. And that was it for the push of Wrath and Mortis. Outsiders sold a couple of moves but basically treated this like a joke and killed them off for good. *1/2
Eric Bischoff joins us and brings out Hollywood Hogan and the rest of the nWo for their weekly wankfest. Speaking of which, here’s Dave talking about Hogan in that week’s Observer…
Hogan’s contract expires at the end of the year and he’s already sent feelers to Titan Sports about returning for a big run. The general belief is that Hogan has no intention of returning to Titan, but is using it as leverage to get a better deal. Hogan has incredible leverage right now as the execs at Turner probably feel the company turnaround and staying in the position is more due to Hogan, not that he isn’t a strong part of it, than it really is. In addition, his contract is due about the same time as he’s scheduled to drop the title to Sting at Starrcade, so he can use doing that job as even more leverage because if Hogan doesn’t put Sting over at Starrcade, it’ll flatten out Sting big-time and make this entire year of him not being on the road be almost a waste.
You don’t say?
So the nWo introduces new member Curt Hennig, who has stolen Flair’s robe. He gets a minute to put over the nWo and then it’s BLAH BLAH BLAH from Hogan to build up whatever the issue with Roddy Piper is supposed to be. Maybe they should have just put DDP or Lex Luger in the spot to do that job instead. Luger can at least claim he never got a rematch from Road Wild!
WCW Cruiserweight title: Eddie Guerrero v. Ultimo Dragon
Eddie gets a drop toehold into a low dropkick and works a hammerlock, then springboards in with a senton and stomps him down. Dragon comes back with chops in the corner and the headstand into the kick combo. Running powerbomb gets two. He tries a giant swing but the shoulder gives out. He gets a rana and that goes terribly, with both guys just falling to the mat. Dragon tries his sleeper, but Eddie gets a shoulderbreaker and finishes with a frog splash at 6:05. Boy, this was pretty bad for some reason. No idea what happened there. *1/2
US title: Steve McMichael v. Curt Hennig
Mongo tries to charge in and attack, but Hennig beats him down and takes out the knee. Curt goes to work on it with a stepover toehold, but Mongo tries a slam and his knee gives out. Hennig throws some chops, but Mongo fights back on one leg, and Hennig clips the knee and goes back to work on it again. Boy this is a thrilling start to Hennig’s big heel push. Hennig keeps working the knee, but Mongo fights up and makes a comeback, as Hennig does the contrived bump into the post crotch-ways. Mongo makes the comeback, mostly just forgetting about his crippling knee injury but occasionally remembering to limp. But he tries a three point stance, somehow manages to miss, and Curt doesn’t even have time to yell out his finisher name before hitting the Hennig-Plex for the pin and the title at 7:00 as they fly off the air with barely an outro. Mongo is just the dirt worst in the ring in bigtime situations like this. DUD
Fun first hour, but the show mostly went off a cliff in the second hour and was a huge disappointment after a pretty good Fall Brawl show the night before. In particular, the Outsiders destroying any momentum that Mortis & Wrath had built up over the past couple of months was a real downer.