The SmarK Rant for WCW Monday Nitro – 09.22.97
Back to 1997 again for a bit. This episode is of course notable for one small thing.
Live from Salt Lake City, UT (actually West Valley City) drawing a sellout 7923.
Your hosts are Mike Tenay, Tony Schiavone & Larry Zbyszko
HOUR #1! THE HOUR THAT CONVINCED VINCE TO RUN LIVE PROGRAMMING DURING THE FLORIDA SHUTDOWN!
Eric Bischoff harasses the announcers immediately and goes after Larry for interfering last week. And disrespects the new commissioner by calling him RODDY PEEPER! That’s unfair, everyone in Scotland does it!
Silver King v. Rey Mysterio Jr.
King of Mysterio v. King of Silver! Rey takes King down and grabs a facelock, but Silver King overpowers him, so Rey takes him down the floor with a headscissors. Silver misses an elbow on the way back in, while Raven wanders down to ringside. Rey gets a moonsault for two, but misses a blind charge. But then so does Silver King and Rey hits him with a damn reverse rana off the top, FOR TWO. How do you make that a near-fall? Rey with a rana, but King reverses into a cradle for two. Now Eddie heads down to watch as Rey gets another rana for two. Rey gets distracted by Eddie and Silver King superkicks him and goes up for a moonsault, but that misses. Rey finishes with the West Coast Pop at 3:30 and then takes out Eddie with a dive for good measure. ***
Hugh Morrus v. Bill Goldberg
This geek Goldberg doesn’t even get an entrance. Apparently he used to be a football player or something. Goldberg gets a couple of forearms in the corner and they trade hammerlocks, then Goldberg takes him down with a heel hook and Morrus makes the ropes. Morrus comes out of the corner with a clothesline and quickly goes up for the moonsault which gets two. And the crowd is SHOCKED that Goldberg kicks out. And then Goldberg pops up and powerslams him, adds another slam, and finishes with the Jackhammer at 2:41 to stun the crowd. *1/2 I don’t know if anyone is keeping track, but he’s now 1-0. Wonder if we’ll see him again?
Previously at Fall Brawl, Larry Z screws Scott Hall over against Lex Luger, because turnabout is fair play. But remember, two wrongs don’t make a right.
World TV title: Alex Wright v. Disco Inferno
Awesomely WWE moment, as someone in the audience has a sign that says “World Wrestling Failure” spelling out “WWF”, and they make sure to blur out the “WWF” portion. They were REALLY thorough with that lawsuit. Wright bitchslaps him in the corner and dances, so Disco takes him down with an armdrag and chases him out of the ring. This crowd is so insanely hot that they’re popping for DISCO INFERNO. Meanwhile, we see Raven sitting next to the little kid who got the Rey Mysterio mask, and I’m disappointed that he didn’t beat up the kid and steal it. We take a break and return with Disco slugging away in the corner, but Wright gets a spinkick out of the corner and follows with an elbow. And of course we stop to dance, but Disco comes back with a backdrop suplex, so Wright clotheslines him for two while blatantly laying on the ropes. Wright with a suplex and he goes up with a flying stomp that looks like Disco was supposed to get his foot up and forgot. So Wright dances around a bit and beats on Disco in the corner, but misses a blind charge and Disco slugs back until Alex knees him in the gut. Wright goes up and Disco crotches him for a big pop, then follows with a neckbreaker for two. Disco goes up and misses an elbowdrop off the middle rope, and Wright gets a back suplex for two. They collide on a bodypress attempt and Disco falls on top, and he gets the pin and the title at 8:22. Wasn’t bad, but they completely lost the thread after the break and had trouble getting back on track again. **1/2
Afterwards, Jackie comes down to confront Disco and says “Everyone knows why he was gone for six months”. Actually I’d say everyone doesn’t, but basically Disco left because he didn’t want to do a job to Jacqueline and also thought that his contract was up, so that he was free to jump as Honky Tonk’s protégé. But then it turned out not to be the case, and he had to go crawling back later. And one of the conditions was that he had to do the job to her, apparently. Trust me, there was maybe 1% of the audience who had any idea what they were talking about here, even with internet-mania running wild at the time.
Scott Hall joins us for one of his first surveys. Syxx adds that you’re nWo 4 life. Unless of course you suffer a contract-invalidating series of injuries and jump to the WWF. Even the nWo has loopholes apparently. But regardless, Hall thinks it’s ridiculous that his “muscular shoulders” could ever be pinned by “Lex Loser”, so he wants Lex RIGHT NOW. And someone needs to relay that message to Terry Taylor. But Luger isn’t here, so Hall calls out Larry instead as a secondary choice of “jaybrone”. Larry wisely chooses not to engage while Hall is backed up by Syxx, so Hall notes that he’s also a loser who is “all bluff and no stuff” and sends him back to the desk.
Scott Hall v. Hector Garza
Oh yeah this match. WCW’s quest to make Garza a thing continues, although Hall and Syxx clown on him and then Hall beats him down immediately before ripping off Mark Curtis’s pocket. Hall with the Sack of Shit slam on Garza and he continues harassing the ref, but Garza gets the “slip on a banana peel” rollup at 1:36 for the pin. The 1-2-3 Kid this was NOT. And then the nWo beats the motherfucking fuck out of Garza immediately afterwards, as Hall treats it like a complete joke after giving him zero offense, and doesn’t even sell the loss. And then Mark Curtis takes an Outsider’s Edge as Hall “pins” both Garza and the ref at the same time to really show who the star is. This was some complete classic Outsider bullshit. Garza was 100% dead in the water after this “win”.
HOUR #2! The hour that sent Dana White real estate listings for his private island!
Ciclope, Juvented Guerrera, Lizmark Jr. & Ultimo Dragon v. La Parka, Psycosis, Villano IV & Villano V
Dragon puts Psi down with a spinkick, but gets slugged down while trying a leapfrog. Dragon does the handstand in the corner before kicking Psi to the floor, and this brings Parka and Juvy in. Juvy with a headscissors to put Parka on the floor and he goes up, but a Villano brings him down. Ciclope comes in and gets powerslammed by V, but then Lizmark hits the Villanos with bodypresses and a rana on one of them for two. Everyone comes in and brawls and Lizmark pulls out a terrible attempt at a Space Flying Tiger Drop, seemingly hurting his knee on the way out, and then we get the CAR CRASH SPECIAL as everyone just does dives one after another. In the ring, Psi misses a blind charge on Dragon, but Sonny Onoo pulls Dragon to the floor. Psi hits Onoo by mistake with a dive. In the ring, Parka goes up and gets crotched by Juvy, and he follows with a rana and a rollup for the pin at 4:45. This was fucking nuts, as they just threw everything humanly possible at the wall and most of it stuck. ****
Roddy Piper joins Mean Gene here in the SHANKS OF THE EVENING, and he books Lex Luger v. Scott Hall with Larry as referee for Halloween Havoc 97. Also he makes his match with Hogan into a cage match because he loves cages. He’s going to make Mike Tyson look like a vegetarian! Unfortunately he quips “NWA is for life” but other than that this was 1000 times more coherent than his usual rambling promos from this point.
1-800-COLLECT Road Report with Lee Marshall. Next week is in Worcester. Sure.
The Faces of Fear v. The Steiner Brothers
Scott works the arm on Meng and they have a HOSS FIGHT as neither one will go down, until Scott hurks him up with a butterfly bomb and the FOF bail to the floor. Back in, Rick beats on Barbarian and powerslams him for two, and Scott works the back to set up a dragon suplex (!) on him. But then Meng gets a blind tag and they hit the backdrop-powerbomb combo on Scott for two. Meng adds some choking in the corner and follows with a backbreaker for two. Double headbutt and a slam from Barbarian gets two. Scott pounds them both and hits a double clothesline on them to set up the hot tag, and Rick clotheslines everyone. He hits an overhead suplex on Meng and nearly drops him on his fucking head, and they try the Doomsday bulldog, but Meng shoves Rick off the top to break it up and then pins him with the TONGAN DEATH GRIP at 5:30. Did not see that one coming. I’m assuming this was setting up the Faces as challengers once the Steiners won the titles but as usual they screwed that up as well and it never paid off. Still this was quite the mean guy showdown that was sloppy as hell, but I enjoyed it. ***
Hollywood Hogan joins us with some SUPER JANKED dollar store Voodoo Chili ripoff music. He’s also got Flair’s robe and the nWo is too sweet and yada yada.
Randy Savage v. Dancin’ Stevie Richards
I’m not liking Stevie’s chances here. Savage does his promo before the match and then declares “bring out the chump” just in case you thought he was anything BUT a complete jobber. Savage clobbers him immediately and clotheslines him on the top rope, then chokes him down, followed by some choking from Liz as well. About time she started pulling her weight. Savage tosses Richards and throws him into the railing in front of Raven, and then back in for the MACHO ELBOW to finish this complete squash with a one foot pin at 3:13. This brings Raven in for a staredown with Macho that went nowhere, and then he decides to hit Stevie with a DDT instead. “This is wacky” notes Mike Tenay. No, it’s DEATH, like everything else in this pre-Flock Raven storyline that’s been dragging on for weeks now with no direction or point to it.
Konnan & Scott Norton v. Harlem Heat
Unfortunately, Stevie Ray is out with an ankle injury, so Booker goes it alone here. So Book fights them off for a bit but the nWo double-teams him and then Vincent comes in for the DQ at 2:25. OK I’m ready for this show to end now.
US title: Curt Hennig v. Jeff Jarrett
OK let’s get to the nWo run-in finish so we can all go enjoy Easter treats. Savage has lent Elizabeth to Curt to counter Debra here. Hennig throws chops, but Jarrett takes him down and chases him out of the ring. Back in, Hennig gets a slam and Jarrett takes him down with a headlock to chase him out again. Back in, Hennig goes to the knee and goes to work on that, as he takes Jarrett to the post and wraps the knee a few times. Jarrett uses a chair to come back and drops him on the railing, but they head back in and Hennig immediately clotheslines him to the floor again. Back in, Jarrett gets the neckbreaker, but Hennig gets a sleeper, which Jarrett escapes with a jawbreaker. But then Hennig gets two anyway. Jarrett is just completely ignoring his knee injury, I guess. JJ gets a DDT and both guys are out, but Jarrett comes back with a back elbow and Hennig does his crazy bumps for no real reason. Jarrett with the figure-four, but Savage runs in while Liz takes the ref, and Hennig uses the title belt to knock Jarrett out and NOW YOU’RE GONNA SEE A LEGALLY VIABLE NON-TRADEMARKED GENERIC FISHERMAN’S SUPLEX MANEUVER for the pin at 8:48. And then the nWo comes in for the beatdown on Jarrett until the Giant makes the save to end the show. They were just going through the motions here. **
A decidedly pretty OK show that couldn’t hope to compete with the MSG RAW on the other channel, which was one of the all-time greatest episodes of Monday night TV. Nitro as usual had some good stuff for about an hour and then just ran out of steam and couldn’t sustain it. Plus the Garza stuff was a load of crap and so was the Jackie-Disco “feud” that made no sense in the context of the show. Maybe they’ll have something with that Goldberg guy, though. Who knows?