The SmarK Rant for WCW Monday Nitro – 09.29.97
Well now I’ve gotta catch up on Nitro again, I guess. I’ve actually got the 10.06.97 episode in the can from the WWE 24/7 days so then we’ll be back to where RAW is now.
LIVE from Worcester, MA, drawing a sellout of 11,000.
HOUR #1! The hour that went to China and thought it would be a great idea to eat a bat!
Your hosts are Tony Schiavone, Mike Tenay & Larry Zbyszko
We get a video package about DDP and Randy Savage renewing their hostilities in advance of Halloween Havoc, which all the kids are talkin’ bout these days. Especially the main event with two senior citizens in a cage match.
Buff Bagwell v. Diamond Dallas Page
Larry on Kimberly’s spot at ringside: “Leave ‘em in the back, in the background, where they belong!” They exchange video game taunts to start and Buff wins that battle handily and goes to a headlock while Raven watches on from the front row. Mike Tenay then sums up Raven’s gimmick by saying that he represents Generation X, a group who wants to place the blame for their problems on everyone but themselves. OK BOOMER. Maybe we wouldn’t all be disaffected slackers if the previous generation hadn’t messed it up for us. Bagwell gets tossed and claims an injured knee, but then miraculously recovers and lays out Page with a dropkick before choking him out on the ropes. Page comes back with an atomic drop, but sets up the Cutter and Bagwell grabs the ropes to block and gets a neckbreaker for two. Buff argues with the ref and gets rolled up for two, but comes back with a clothesline on Page for two. The ref gets bumped off that and Vincent saunters in for the beatdown, but Page hits him with the Diamond Cutter and then follows with a second one on Bagwell for the pin at 6:10. This was a very good opener with a hot crowd. ***
Meanwhile, Mike Tenay provides a teaser of his trip to Mexico and the resulting documentary: “Lucha Libre and the Mexican Luchadors”. Sounds like a bar band.
Rey Mysterio Jr. v. El Caliente
I’m not familiar with Caliente but he attacks Rey and steals his extra mask, running him into the corner and hitting a familiar slingshot senton as the crowd quickly figures it out. Rey comes back with a spinning armdrag and monkey flips him into the ropes. Rey recovers his outer mask and makes the comeback, but misses a moonsault and Caliente dropkicks him in the head and follows with a backdrop suplex for two. Rey reverses a powerbomb, but Caliente clotheslines him down again and goes for Rey’s real mask. Finally the announcers are like “Gee, this guy sure wrestles like Eddie Guerrero”. And then Eddie hits the MURDERDEATHKILL powerbomb on Rey and folds him over for two, just in case there was any doubt. Caliente with the abdominal stretch and they head up for a superplex that gets two. Rey bounces back with the double springboard into the rana for the pin at 5:45, however, and pulls off the mask to reveal Eddie Guerrero! And he would have gotten away with it, too, if it wasn’t for you luchadors! Another good one. Hopefully they have an even better one in them at the PPV. ***1/4
The Giant joins us for an interview, as tonight he’s facing Curt Hennig and shall be paying him back for his transgressions against WCW. Also Sting is hanging out in the nosebleed seats, where some guy has what appears to be a giant effigy of Andre the Giant in the shape of a pinata. I feel like that needs more exploration.
Bill Goldberg v. The Barbarian
Geez, more from this guy. Tenay now has some background on this Goldberg guy, as he takes Barbarian down with an armbar and hits a middle rope clothesline for two. Dropkick puts him on the floor and he goes up to the top, but Barbarian crotches him and brings him down with a suplex for two. Ballbearing slugs away in the corner and hits a powerslam for two, but tries a powerbomb and Goldberg backdrops out and follows with a kneedrop. And the Jackhammer finishes out of nowhere at 3:07 to no reaction. Apparently he’s 2-0 now. Hopefully someone is keeping track of that. Goldberg was trying WAY too much here, doing flips and dropkicks and shit that no one needed him to be doing. *
Mean Gene wants a word afterwards and Bill blows him off, so we get Larry Zbyszko instead. He’s heard all the critics saying that he’s gonna be biased because he hates Scott Hall’s guts. However, if he cheats on behalf of Lex Luger at Halloween Havoc, then Hall wins, so the worst thing he can do to Hall is referee fairly and thus make it all the more humiliating when Lex wins cleanly. I will say, that’s not a “no”.
LATER TONIGHT: Ric Flair gives us a major announcement regarding his career.
Disco Inferno v. Juventud Guerrera
I’m assuming this is non-title, although Disco had just won the TV title the week before. Juvy throws chops and slugs away on Disco to start, then takes him down with a headscissors and springboards in with a dropkick. Disco bails and Juvy hits him with a somersault plancha. Back in, Juvy tries a rana, but Disco drops him with a stungun to take over and pounds him down in the corner. This brings out Alex Wright to provide some dancing in the aisle in pants that make him look like a banana. And then Jackie bitches at him while we get various rollups in the ring, but then she trips up Juvy and Disco pins him at 4:38. They were way overbooking this one. *1/2
HOUR #2! The hour that signed Randy Savage’s Slim Jims deal on his behalf and took a 20% cut off the top!
Speaking of which, the Macho Man joins us to bluster at DDP and not say a whole lot. Did you know that nWo is 4 life? We’ve certainly learned that a few times already tonight.
Jeff Jarrett v. Steve McMichael
So at this point the announcers discuss the fact that yes, Debra and Mongo have split up, although Bobby notes that they’re fighting over custody of the dog so that neither one has to take it. Mongo chases Jarrett out of the ring and we take a rare mid-match break and return with Jarrett sending Mongo into the post to take over. See, they took a break during the match, but then returned BEFORE the heel got the heat! That way we can SEE how it happened! Back in, Jarrett chokes away on the ropes and tries a suplex, but Mongo reverses to his own and both guys are out. Jarrett recovers first with the sleeper, but how can the referee determine if Mongo has a lack of oxygen to the brain? He just looks like that all the time. McMichael reverses to his own and Jarrett escapes with a jawbreaker as this drags on. Mongo makes the comeback with a sideslam and dramatically signals for the tombstone, but Jarrett somehow escapes that predicament and tries the figure-four. Mongo escapes that and tries a powerslam, but Debra holds onto Jarrett’s hands to block it. Mongo stands there like a complete goober while she yells at him for like 10 minutes, and Jarrett dropkicks him into the corner and pins him at 10:36. This was pretty, pretty, pretty bad. DUD I mean obviously Jarrett didn’t give two shits with only a week left in his WCW career, but Mongo was standing there waiting for the Nitro Girls to actually dance in sync for once before Jarrett finally hit him.
Last week, Scott Hall and Syxx put the beats on Mark Curtis because they’re BIG MEAN MEANIES. Sadly, the reason for the beating was because Curtis was going to be out for a while with stomach cancer surgery, and of course that tale did not have a happy ending.
Scott Hall and Syxx join us, with Hall on crutches as they’re just pretending that the tag team titles aren’t even a thing at this point, it seems like. So Syxx would like to once again stress that you’re nWo 4 life. They try to go to commercial and Hall just keeps talking over the music, so they start up the segment again and Hall does a rambling promo and says all the usual stuff.
Syxx v. Chris Jericho
Syxx grabs a headlock to start, but Jericho powerslams him and fights back with chops and a backdrop. Leg lariat puts Syxx on the apron and Jericho follows with the springboard dropkick. He goes up and Syxx crotches him to bring him down, but Jericho fights him off and hits a crossbody for two. Jericho with the GIANT SWING and he follows with the Lionsault to set up the Liontamer, but Hall provides distraction and Syxx procures the chickenwing. Hall then annoys the ref for no reason, which brings out Larry to break up the move and we get a showdown as I’m just assuming the match ended around 5:00 and no one bothered to tell us. Crap match and the crowd was shockingly dead for it. ½*
Ric Flair joins us for a phone interview, which is fitting because lots of guys are phoning in their promos tonight. Just not literally. So Flair is coming back for his robe and seeking revenge on Curt Hennig. Also, he is freeing Chris Benoit and Steve McMichael from the shackles of the Four Horsemen and breaking up the group. This seems like a pretty momentous plot development to happen over the phone. They’re just gonna be friends who hang out and occasionally beat people up, but not as Horsemen. Well that whole thing didn’t end up very beneficial for anyone.
Meanwhile, we get a LONG video package about students at Brown University watching Nitro.
Uncle Eric joins us and he’s basically just here to tell us that Sting is showing up unadvertised at house shows to beat up nWo members. I know this is a crazy idea, but why not ADVERTISE that Sting is gonna be at those shows to maybe improve their shitty house show numbers? And that’s all he’s got going on this week as you could tell that they were desperately trying to stretch out this show to artificially create the need for an overrun.
Wrath v. Lex Luger
Tony has well wishes for various babies born to WCW producers, then jokes that he doesn’t know what one of them is named but it’s not “Jerry Garcia”. That’s a joke that sure wouldn’t age well. The reference is that Roseanne famously named her child that on the show’s terrible last couple of seasons. We get various mean guy staredowns and Luger knocks Wrath to the floor, but Wrath uses the CLUBBING FOREARMS back in the ring and puts him down with a big boot. Luger is in fine form, yelling after every move tonight. Wrath whips him around the ring and follows with a back suplex before going to the top with a flying clothesline for two. James Vandenberg chokes him out on the ropes, but Wrath charges and hits boot. Luger comes back with a suplex and you know it’s a big one because he goes EEEEEEARGH!!!! while delivering the move and then finishes this classic with the torture rack at 4:40. Crowd was also pretty dead for this one. ½*
The Giant v. Curt Hennig
Curt Hennig is of course now the US champion, but as usual there’s no particular mention of whether this is a title match or what. Not that It’ll matter because it’ll just be an nWo fuck finish anyway. Giant beats on Hennig in the corner and actually gives him a stinkface two years before Rikishi pioneered the move, sending him to the floor in disgust. Back in, Giant tries a Cactus Clothesline but misses completely and hits the floor in a mistimed spot, allowing Hennig to take over with the HENNIGPLEX for two in an impressive spot. Giant makes the comeback with JESUS H CHOKESLAM and SHOCKINGLY the nWo all runs in for the DQ at 3:33. Giant tries to make his own comeback and fails, so Sting makes the save and chases them off for a hot finish to a pretty blah show.
This one started OK but there was no star power this week and no one had anything to say and absolutely nothing of note happened. And it still destroyed RAW in the ratings, even with football!