The SmarK Rant for WCW Monday Nitro – 01.04.99
By special Patreon request! You may have heard of this episode before.
Live from Atlanta, GA! Not TAPED like some other shows you may have heard about.
Your hosts are Tony Schiavone, Mike Tenay & Larry Zbyszko
HOUR #1! The hour that fired Steve Austin via Fed-Ex!
Let us take you back to Starrcade 98, as Kevin Nash ends the streak of Goldberg and wins the title. But tonight, it’s the rematch. And Ric Flair is now in charge. And Hulk Hogan is retired. So, you know, there’s all kinds of stuff going on.
Meanwhile, we check in with a Nitro Party in a luxury suite filled with drunken idiots. The guy apparently won a contest and this was the grand prize, so the poor doofus gets to be involved in one of the most infamous wrestling shows in history and his big moment was going “BLELAHGHALDALDKDASFH GOLDBERG!”
Hugh Morrus v. Glacier
Morrus gets an armdrag and DERIDES Glacier’s martial arts skills, so Glacier beats him down in the corner while Tony stresses that Hogan is 100% retired and going into politics. Glacier goes to the eyes and sweeps the leg, acting like a heel for some reason, and Morrus accidentally collides with Jimmy Hart. But then Morrus hits Glacier with a lariat and pins him with a moonsault anyway at 2:44. OK then. *1/2 Apparently Morrus gave his notice after the show, but then they gave him a new contract and decided to push him again.
Back at the announce desk, everyone is so gosh darn happy about how things are going now that Flair is in charge and Hogan is retired. And then last week, Flair strips down to his underwear and rips up money in order to entice Eric Bischoff into a match for control of the company. What’s with the weird aspect ratio where they letterbox the replay and squash down the picture? The billion dollar media company doesn’t know how to crop the damn picture? Anyway, we get a lengthy replay of the whole deal, with Savage apparently turning babyface to help Flair win. Yeah that sure didn’t go anywhere.
Back in good old 4×3 aspect ratio in the present, as Flair and his family and cronies (including teenaged daughter Ashley, and sons David and Reid) show up at the arena as this show is taking FOREVER to get going. So first up, President Flair brings out Bischoff while young Ashley looks mortified to be seen there in the background. Like she’d EVER want to be associated with this wrestling stuff, ew! Anyway, Ric demotes Bischoff to Tony Schiavone’s assistant on commentary, which Tony is excited about for some reason. Next up, Flair brings up the firing of Randy Anderson last year and brings him out as well. His “firing” was actually something of a shoot, as he had to retire due to cancer and died in 2002. But for now, Flair reinstates him. Next up, Flair books himself at Souled Out in a handicap match against Curt Hennig & Barry Windham, but David Flair offers to be his dad’s partner. Nothing good came of THAT, either. This whole thing was twenty minutes of boredom when it was supposed to be this big triumphant moment. And then they botched it by turning Flair anyway.
Booker T v. Emory Hale
Hale stumbles around the ring with Booker, but gets hit with a spinebuster and sidekick, and Booker finishes with the missile dropkick at 0:57.
Norman Smiley v. Chavo Guerrero Jr.
Chavo throws chops to start and gets a clothesline to put Smiley on the floor while Tony and Larry harass Bischoff on commentary because he won’t say anything. Count yourself lucky. Norman comes back with his own chops and a powerslam for two, but Chavo rolls him up for two. They trade rollups again and Chavo gets two, but Norman slugs him down as this commentary thing is the WORST and they won’t shut up. Norman stops to dance and Chavo goes up with a missile dropkick that gets two. Chavo tries a springboard and slips on the ropes, completely botching it, but he comes back with a sunset flip for the pin at 4:08. And then Smiley lays him out and assaults the toy horse afterwards. This one kind of sucked and the whole deal with Chavo and his stupid horse was death. *
Horace Hogan v. Chris Benoit
Benoit destroys him with chops in the corner and stomps him down, but Horace comes back with a hiptoss. Benoit fires off the german suplexes and then dumps him on the top rope, but Horace suplexes him onto the floor and then follows with a dive that smashes Benoit’s back into the corner of the railing. That seemed ill-advised. Back in, Hogan drops an elbow for two. He goes up and Benoit cuts him off with a superplex and then goes up with the diving headbutt. Hogan kind of no-sells it and gets a shoulderbreaker for two, but Benoit finishes him off with the crossface at 3:55. Horace was trying, I guess. *1/2
Meanwhile, police track down Goldberg with a warrant for his arrest. Goldberg cuts a promo about how he’s innocent, and the idiot cops won’t even tell him what the warrant is for. We take a break and return with Kevin Nash OUTRAGED that his opponent is being hauled off. Hulk Hogan thinks it’s hilarious. This was all really, really, stupid.
Perry Saturn v. Chris Jericho
Yes, the overdubbing demons strike again, as Jericho is breaking the walls down in WCW. It’s just so weird that Jericho is the only person where they use his future music like that. Given Jericho’s contract status at this point the result here is hardly in doubt. Tony promises to cut away from any match they need to in order to update the Goldberg arrest, while Jericho stalls to start. Saturn works the arm, but Jericho grabs a headlock and Saturn elbows out of it. They slug it out on the apron and Jericho dropkicks him to the floor and follows with a knee to the back as we take a break. Back with Jericho getting the arrogant cover for two and he goes to the chinlock, but Saturn comes back with a head and arm suplex and an exploder for two. The ref gets bumped via Jericho shenanigans and he goes low and hits the Lionsault, so the ref calls for the DQ at 8:48 and awards the win to Jericho. This was some kind of half-assed storyline with the referee having issues with Saturn and made no sense. Match was OK. **1/2
Meanwhile, at the police station, they take Goldberg to Room 3 and finally read the charges: Aggravated stalking of Elizabeth. Goldberg, bless his heart, is right into this idiotic storyline and trying to salvage it.
Meanwhile, we go back to the Nitro Party, lucky us. The drunk dads are having a great time, apparently.
Meanwhile, we go back to the police station, as this time they’re interrogating Elizabeth.
Meanwhile, Eddie Guerrero and the LWO are off partying somewhere. But Eddie gets all the women while the other scrubs in the group get to park cars and fetch sodas for him. This went like 10 minutes and was a complete waste of time. Did the LWO stuff even go anywhere? I don’t even remember if there was a payoff.
Billy Kidman & Rey Mysterio v. Juventud Guerrera & Psychosis
Wait, so they’ll purge Jericho’s music, but Eddie’s blatant “Low Rider” ripoff stays? Kidman trades suplex attempts with Psy to start, and then Juvy doesn’t want to tag in for some reason. Kidman hits him with dropkicks, but Juvy throws chops, so Rey comes in with a flying rana. Kidman powerbombs Juvy for two and Rey takes him to the floor with a headscissors. Juvy comes back in with a springboard dropkick that puts Rey on the floor, and Psy follows with a slingshot legdrop to the floor. Meanwhile, Bobby Heenan is now on commentary with Tony and the silent Eric and they’re somehow even worse, nattering non-stop about how Eric won’t talk and completely ignoring the match. The LWO cuts off the tag and Juvy gets a backbreaker on Rey for two. Psycosis comes in with a missile dropkick, but Rey hits him on the way down and makes the hot tag to Kidman. Juvy and Psy have some heel miscommunication as Tony now points out that “tornado rules are in effect”, despite them having a normal tag team match for the past 6:00 with tags. Perhaps, shockingly, no one told the guys in the ring what the stips were. I know, I’m as shocked as you. Kidman and Rey hit Psy with a Doomsday Device and Rey gets two. Juvy Driver gets two, but Kidman saves and then dropkicks his own partner by mistake, and Psy gets the pin at 7:35. This was a complete mess and the announcers made no effort to actually explain what the storyline was. And then Juvy and Psychosis were just friends again afterwards after bitching at each other for the whole match. *1/2
Meanwhile, Goldberg continues pleading his case, as the cops apparently have done absolutely zero background work and have to have everything explained to them by the accused.
Kevin Nash joins us, and he knows that HULK HOGAN is behind the nonsense with Goldberg, so he wants Flair to force Hogan out of retirement and have one more match with him tonight so he can avenge his friend. So Flair of course agrees because he’s also an idiot like everyone else on this fucking awful disaster of a show.
Meanwhile, back at the station, Elizabeth continues lying to the cops.
Hollywood Hogan joins us while the overdubbing police are barely able to mask the hot and spicy Voodoo Chili with the generic nWo music. So Hogan was going to formally announce his retirement and his Vice-Presidential running mate, but now he’s gotta get dragged back into the business by this “sexual deviant” Bill Goldberg. But he owes his fans one last retirement match for the title. I’m very confused as to what Hogan was supposed to be at this point.
Oh, and in case you’re thinking about changing the channel, we understand that over on the other show, Mick Foley is going to win their World title. Yeah, that’ll put butts in seats. Ironically, this show was about 10,000 short of a sellout and Bischoff reportedly threw a tantrum because they weren’t ever able to hit a $1 million gate in their Dome shows.
Meanwhile, get a WCW Mastercard! Unfortunately you’ll instantly be $20 million in debt if you use it.
Meanwhile, Chris Jericho gives the referee a peptalk earlier in the night to explain why he rang the bell and DQ’d Saturn in the previous match. That might have been good information to have BEFORE the match.
Scott Steiner and Buff Bagwell join us, and Scott will not be censored any longer now that he’s the TV champion. Buff does a dance and fakes a heart attack to mock Flair.
World TV title: Scott Steiner v. Konnan
The chimps in the truck continue their crack production skills here, as Konnan’s graphic lists him as World TV champion despite Steiner actually being the champion. Honestly, that’s the least of the problems with this episode. Konnan slugs away in the corner and Steiner bails to escape and Tony is really laying in the leather on RAW, declaring that the show is TAPED and Mick Foley is going to win the World title. CAN YOU EVEN IMAGINE? We’re live, pal, and they’re not! So stay here and watch these shitty matches LIVE and fuck finishes LIVE and Goldberg getting interrogated across the street for three fucking hours LIVE LIVE LIVE instead! Back in the ring, Steiner drops an elbow and they go to the top, but Konnan gets a tornado DDT to make the comeback. They somehow manage to fuck up an X-Factor and then Buff runs in for the DQ at 4:02. BUT IT’S LIVE! BULLSHIT SCREWJOB FINISHES ARE LIVE! DON’T CHANGE THE CHANNEL! -*
Man, if you want to point to one segment of the show that summed up the complete desperation from WCW at this point, there you go. And it was still a competitive war at this point!
Wrath v. Bam Bam Bigelow
Wrath gets promo time before the match, saying that the crowd paid their money to see him “drop the thermonuclear meltdown” on the Dome (WWF lawyers, line one!) and he wants a challenge. So Bigelow answers and they slug it out to start. Wrath gets a pair of clotheslines and they fight to the floor and slug it out there, and Wrath hits the post. Back in, Wrath ignores it and stomps Bam Bam in the corner. Back to the floor for more lame brawling as Tony PROMISES that we’ll see a World title match tonight. So instead of counting, the ref follows them out there and yells at them to stop fighting and get back in the ring. JUST FUCKING COUNT THEM OUT ALREADY. And then Bigelow grabs a chair and the ref has to get rid of it, but Wrath takes it out to the floor AGAIN and it’s more mindless punching and they just throw the match out at 4:55. The crowd could not have cared less. BUT IT’S LIVE! DOUBLE DISQUALIFICATION FINISHES ARE LIVE! DUD
I don’t believe this went anywhere in particular either.
Meanwhile, they’re still getting the details from Elizabeth and basically blame the supposed victim.
Brian Adams v. Diamond Dallas Page
Page slugs away on Adams, who heads to the floor for some advice from Vincent. That advice? “Don’t fill up on the breadsticks, that’s how they get you!” Too true. Vincent trips up DDP and Adams stomps him down to take over, and Vincent gets some more cheapshots on the floor. Back in, Adams chokes away and we TAKE A BREAK? Who’s gonna stay on this show for THIS match? Back with DDP making a comeback with a lariat and neckbreaker, but Adams goes low and follows with a piledriver for two. Adams goes to a bearhug and follows with a tilt a whirl backbreaker for two. Page fights back with a DDT and makes the comeback, but Adams catches him with an atomic drop. Blind charge misses and Page goes up, but Vincent trips him up, and he lands with a Diamond Cutter on Adams anyway and pins him at 9:40. Total snoozefest. *1/2
WCW World title, ULTIMATE GRUDGE MATCH: Kevin Nash v. Hollywood Hogan
On a show full of stupid things said and done, the idea that anyone was talking Hogan’s “retirement” and Presidential campaign serious was one of the stupidest. So Scott Hall is now magically reunited with Nash and comes down to ringside with him. THESE ARE NOT TAPED MATCHES. THIS IS LIVE. Just in case you hadn’t heard it enough tonight. So of course they jaw at each other and do the big stall to start, and then Hogan unleashes the FINGERPOKE OF DOOM and pins Nash to regain the World title at 1:35. And then with the nWo reunited again, Goldberg charges the ring to get his revenge and gets his ass beat thanks to Lex Luger turning as well. And then Goldberg gets spraypainted to end three hours of torture.
So to recap, they advertised a Nash v. Goldberg rematch and didn’t deliver it, and then screwed the fans out of the advertised replacement match, and then brought out Goldberg at the end and screwed him over as well in his hometown so that Hulk Hogan could get another title reign out of it. As Dave pointed out in the Observer at the time (which was actually cut super-short due to year-end awards for what ended up being one of the most historic episodes of wrestling TV ever!), the idea was supposed to be that this hybrid Wolfpac-nWo deal would recharge WCW’s batteries like 96-97, when they were winning handily. Except back then, they also had great matches, hot talent, and cohesive storylines, none of which were evident by this point.
Also, the idea with the Wolfpac was that WCW wanted to have their cake and eat it too: The red and black group was supposed to be the elite and erase the memories of the losers clogging up the B-Team ranks, but then they didn’t want to get rid of the black-and-white goofs because of potentially lost merchandise sales. So you basically still had two versions of the nWo running around diluting the brand, which gave us months of Stevie Ray and Brian Adams fighting for leadership.
Anyway, this was a disaster on every level. It wasn’t even like a decent show that was ruined by a bad angle to end it, it was a horrendous first hour and atrocious segment after atrocious segment, with terrible wrestling and bad finishes mixed in between. And on a show filled with stupid ideas, Bischoff calling his shot and costing his own show 375,000 viewers ranks at the top of the stupidity ladder.