Monday Nitro #199
Date: August 2, 1999
Location: Sioux Falls Arena, Sioux Falls, South Dakota
Commentators: Bobby Heenan, Scott Hudson
Reviewed by Tommy Hall
I'm really starting to feel sorry for the wrestlers in this company. They have to work hard and try to carry this show to something resembling wrestling while the old guard just won't shut up and get out of the way. There's room for the older generation in a company because the young guys have no credibility without wins over established names, but there comes a point where it's time to pass the torch. Unfortunately that was well over a year ago. Let's get to it.
We open with a recap of last week's main event stuff in case you're having a hard time staying awake this week.
Recap of Hogan vs. Nash with Goldberg basically as a plot device.
We see Harlem Heat reuniting on Thunder.
Harlem Heat vs. Kanyon/Bam Bam Bigelow
Non-title with Page not in wrestling gear. Before the match he makes more your mama jokes about Benoit. He goes one step further though by saying David Flair is a better US Champion than Benoit could ever be. Oh you know it's on now. Well at least Harlem Heat's music is on, minus the pyro. Also in an amusing bit: Booker told Stevie to take off the black and white to reform the team. Naturally tonight, they're in black and white.
Page leaves so Booker and Kanyon can have a Raise the Roof contest. Booker cranks on the arm and nails a dropkick before it's off to his brother. Kanyon is mediocrekicked outside and Bigelow comes in for a power brawl. It's Bigelow hammering him down until Stevie actually blocks a suplex and takes Bigelow over with one of his own. Booker and Kanyon come back in to try and make this a bit more interesting. Seriously if you have those two in a match, why would you ever let it be Stevie vs. Bigelow?
Anyway, Bigelow offers a distraction so Kanyon can poke Booker in the eye. Another suplex puts Booker down and Bigelow adds the top rope headbutt for two. It's not quite Benoit, but then again maybe Bigelow's mama was worse than Chris'. Booker fights up again and hammers away before nailing the flying forearm.
The hot tag brings in Stevie for big boots all around as the fans just not care. Everything breaks down and Stevie breaks up Greetings From Asbury Park. Not a Springsteen fan I guess. The Harlem Sidekick sends Kanyon to the floor and Booker goes up top, only to have Page come out and get on the apron. This brings out Benoit for a save, allowing Booker to dropkick Kanyon for the pin.
Rating: C+. This one is a mixed bag for me as the match was a nice change of pace from the stuff I've been sitting through lately, but at the same time I'm really not liking the idea that Booker T. is back in the same tag team he was stuck in for about four years. Harlem Heat used to be great, but I really don't want to see the team again in late 1999.
Booker is the guy that should be the US Champion, but instead we're sitting through an angle designed to make Ric look corrupt, even though he doesn't have the power anymore. Is there a reason why Sting hasn't done something about that yet? Does WCW even know that Sting has been in charge for like two weeks now? If they do, why hasn't he like, done something yet?
Benoit wants a match later with Page.
Lenny and Lodi ask Ernest where he shops. Because they're gay you see and gay men like to shop. HAVE THEY MADE IT CLEAR TO YOU THAT THEY'RE GAY YET??? I DON'T KNOW IF THEY'VE BEATEN IT OVER YOUR HEAD ENOUGH YET SO I THOUGHT I MIGHT SHOUT TO GET IT INTO YOUR HEAD SOME MORE! Did I mention this story is getting on my nerves?
Chad Brock will be performing next week. I don't know who he is either.
Here's President Sting with something to say. He wants Sid and Steiner out here tonight but needs a partner. The fans chant for Goldberg and Sting seems to think that's quite a jolly idea. He'll be back here at 9pm to get Goldberg's answer.
Sonny and the Cat (sounds like a 1970s Saturday morning cartoon show) come out to rip on Buff's bunny slippers deal last week. Tonight he's going to whip someone without his red slippers, so he wants Lenny and Lodi out here right now. If they show up, he'll tell them where he shops. Apparently this is a match.
The Cat vs. Lenny Lane/Lodi
They're now wearing glitter and sucking on lollipops. Miller rams their heads together to start and throws Lodi to the floor before beating on Lenny. Lane goes outside as well and we have a chase involving Onoo. Back in and a pair of Feliners drop the brothers so Miller can pin Lane.
Ok, time to pause for a second. Let's take a look at this. We have two men who are apparently gay, even though I don't think it's actually been said yet. On top of that, they follow almost every gay stereotype in the book, ranging from bright clothing to glitter to shopping. Then apparently they're stupid enough that Miller can beat them both up in less than two minutes because they're weak fighters. Oh and they're brothers because why not make an incest joke too.
What in the world is the point of this storyline? If there's any reason behind it other than to make fun of gay people, I certainly can't see it. I tend to think that a lot of official statements and complaints from groups due to something they find offensive are stupid and a case where they need to just grow thicker skin, but this deserved every single lawsuit, complaint and raking over the coals that WCW got.
Compare them to the version that came three years later: Billy and Chuck. Now I'm not saying Billy and Chuck were some great leap forward for gay rights, but they were done roughly 19,000% better than Lenny and Lodi. To begin with, they won the Smackdown Tag Team Titles twice. In other words, they actually WON something. Have Lenny and Lodi won a single match between the two of them since this story started?
On top of that, and most importantly of all, they weren't treated as something horrible and worthless. Yeah they were played for comedy, but the comedy felt much more lighthearted with them. Lenny and Lodi are seemingly getting beaten up because they're easy targets. Billy and Chuck came off as stupid, but harmless for the most part. This story though comes off as offensive, low brow and really, really hateful. I could have gone with this story until they were suddenly brothers, because that changed this from something amusing to WCW trying to shock people and get a rise out of them.
Here's Gene, who suddenly loves Hogan again. Okerlund always was a fickle guy. Anyway here's Hogan in the black and white and a necklace made of paperclips (seriously) but minus the beard. Apparently the chicks have been all over him since he shaved. Sounding like Hulk instead of Hollywood, he talks about bleeding last week and how the cameras had to pan away before kids got scared. Oh come on that cut was so lame that even the Maryland State Athletic Commission wouldn't have stopped the match. Anyway, Nash is a woman and Hogan is SHOOTING. Nash can have his title shot tonight if he wants one.
Sting comes out to get Goldberg's answer. We see Goldberg looking at a clock and heading towards the ring, only to run into Rick Steiner before he gets through the curtain. Steiner lures him into a room where Sid is waiting with a snow shovel. Goldberg gets blasted in the head a few times but Sting runs into the back.
This goes as well as you would think it would as Sid and Steiner beat Sting down as well before dragging him back to the ring. Sting fights back but eats a chokeslam, only to have Goldberg run out for the save. You would think a SNOW SHOVEL TO THE BACK from a 6'10 300+lb monster would have more effect than it did in Home Alone but whatever. Goldberg wants to fight and I think we have our main event. This was actually a really well done segment and set up the match quite well. Unfortunately the match is going to be a disaster but the build was good.
Evan Karagias vs. Disco Inferno
Karagias speeds things up to start with some hiptosses and dropkicks. You can tell there's something here as the announcers actually stop prattling on about the main event to hype Evan. Of course as they do that, Disco comes back with his usual barrage of clotheslines and atomic drops, followed by a middle rope forearm to the face for two. A second attempt misses though and Evan comes back with some right hands and a powerslam. Evan grabs a nice snap suplex but Disco actually uses his experience to hold the ropes to avoid a dropkick. The Last Dance is enough for the pin.
Rating: C. Hokey smoke that was actually entertaining while it lasted. It's so rare for a match like this to have some thought put into it. Yeah it's a basic story with Evan being full of fire but Disco using his experience to catch him trying for one too many moves, but the fact that there's something to a match this short says a lot. I've said it time and time again: when you cut out all the nonsense and over thinking of a match and just let guys tell a story, it's going to be entertaining because most wrestlers on this level are talented enough to make a match work.
Torrie thinks David should only have to defend the title when he feels like it because he's already beaten everyone. Ok then.
Video on David Flair's US Title reign.
KISS is here in three weeks.
Sid says.....something in a whisper that I couldn't understand other than the word Goldberg.
Hugh Morrus/Jerry Flynn vs. Dean Malenko/Shane Douglas
The youth movement is officially dubbed the Revolution. Dean tries a Cloverleaf in the first ten seconds but Morrus makes a fast save. The Revolution quickly clears the ring and stands tall. Well not really but you get the idea. Back in and it's Morrus gorilla pressing Shane, which I'm sure is Ric Flair's fault somehow. Shane escapes and dropkicks Hugh down, but that's enough wrestling for Shane so it's back to Malenko for a rollup.
Apparently Dean isn't cool with Shane showing up and jumping into this group with people who have put up with WCW's nonsense so he tags him right back in. Hugh nails a clothesline but takes too long loading up No Laughing Matter, allowing Shane to slam him down. A double tag brings in Malenko to hammer away on Flynn, only to take another clothesline. Jimmy Hart gets involved by tripping Malenko to the mat before Flynn starts kicking.
We run through the gauntlet of all the standard face in peril spots from the sunset flip broken up by a tag, the referee not seeing the tag and the heels taking turns with really basic moves. Flynn misses his 495th kick of the match and Dean dives over to make the tag. Douglas cleans house with right hands and a powerslam on Flynn for two. Everything breaks down and the Pittsburgh Plunge is enough to pin Jerry.
Rating: D+. Sweet they have a really simple name now and they even beat a nothing tag team! Clearly they're ready to move to the top of the company and take over the industry. This push seems to be too little too late as we had to sit through Bagwell's push just dying and the Triad going over the Revolution time after time, save for I think a three day title reign for Benoit and Saturn. At the end of the day, these guys could light the world on fire but it's never going to matter because WCW is too busy booking musical acts for the show instead of paying attention to guys working hard to entertain the people.
Malenko takes the Hardcore Trophy from Hart and says he's bringing this back to Fit Finlay where it belongs.
Speaking of the musical acts, KISS is still coming in three weeks.
Goldberg Megadeath video.
In a bizarre segment, Rick Steiner comes out, throws Scott Hudson into the ring for a belly to belly, and is taken out by security as we take a break.
We come back with Bischoff joining commentary as Hudson is taken into an ambulance. Great, now we get another hour and a half of Bischoff babbling about doing the right thing, which makes me think of Stephanie McMahon's stupid interviews where she just goes on and on about whatever her latest endeavor is and how important it is while no one else in the world has any idea or cares what the heck she's talking about.
Sturn comes out for his match and Bischoff immediately starts talking about how Saturn and the Revolution will be taking the company into the next generation. I'm sure that's why you booked Bagwell vs. Piper in a freaking boxing match a few weeks back and are giving us Hogan vs. Nash at Road Wild while the Revolution doesn't actually have a match announced.
As if that wasn't enough, Hennig comes out before the match and rips on Chad Brock for not being a real country singer. So the Revolution can't get a feud but the freaking country singer can get one? Again, you can see why this company is about to die from here. Maybe Benoit and company should put out a record and get on the radio if they want a spot in the main event. Or they should stop having good matches and turn 40.
Anyway Hennig sends Duncum in to fight and Saturn plants him with a Death Valley Driver immediately. Saturn wants Hennig in there right now because he isn't a real cowboy. Time for a replacement match.
Saturn vs. Curt Hennig
Saturn is all over him like over the hill wrestlers on an episode of Nitro and quickly knocks him into the corner for some right hands to the face. Possibly too drunk to feel pain, Hennig knocks him out of the corner and nails a quick neck snap. Curt hits his knee lift as Bischoff talks about Hennig in the WWF for no apparent reason. A low blow puts Saturn back down (just make them legal. I don't remember the last week that went by without one of those happening.) but he rips Curt's shirt off. Back up and Saturn nails a quick spinwheel kick and the Death Valley Driver but the Windhams run in for the DQ.
Rating: D+. This was just story development as I'm assuming we're setting up the Rednecks vs. the Revolution at Road Wild. That being said, it really wasn't the best match in the world but again, that's due to the lack of time. I kind of which they could have taken out Kendall Windham instead of Duncum because Bobby actually has some potential rather than just a famous last name, but this went five minutes and didn't manage to bury any talent or put the first 20 rows to sleep so they're improving.
The Rednecks try to tie Saturn up but the rest of the Revolution comes in for the save.
Video of Benoit getting screwed out of the US Title last week.
Chris Benoit vs. Diamond Dallas Page
All this over a your mama joke. They spit at each other to start until Page nails him in the ribs and grabs a quick belly to back suplex. Benoit will not be outsuplexed by anyone so he slaps on the Crossface, sending Page scurrying to the floor. Back in and Page nails a quick neckbreaker but the Diamond Cutter is stopped and Benoit grabs the snap suplex.
Remember a year and a half back when these two and Raven were tearing up the midcard over the US Title? Well now Benoit is still the same guy he was before and Page has just been going through the motions for months now, basically wasting all of his time built up as a top guy. Anyway Page elbows him in the face and hits that very nice helicopter bomb (that should be a finisher. It worked in No Mercy so it works in real life) for two.
Another low blow keeps Benoit in trouble and a spinebuster gets yet another two. Page goes up top for the sole purpose of getting crotched and superplexed to put both guys down again. Benoit rolls some Germans but, say it with me, Page hits him low to escape. A Rock Bottom gets two for Page but Benoit plants him with a DDT. The Swan Dive connects as David Flair comes out, only to get knocked off the apron. The distraction lets Page grab a rollup but Benoit reverses into one of his own for the pin.
Rating: C+. Pretty good, hard hitting match here as Benoit gets a pin over a former World Champion. Like I said it's a far cry from their great US Title match on Thunder the previous year, but it's always good to see Benoit get something like this. It wasn't even that overbooked with just the Flair interference near the end. Now if only Benoit gets to keep this momentum going.
And of course it lasts all of 8 seconds as Benoit eats a two Diamond Cutters plus one off the top as the Triad comes in. David taunts Benoit with the belt, apparently continuing their.....I'm not sure what to call it because a three minute beating with a screwy ending doesn't sound like much of a feud.
Here's Savage on his own to talk to Okerlund. He's suspended his campaign for President (oh darn the luck) because he has to hurt Hulk Hogan, Kevin Nash and Dennis Rodman. He wants Rodman out here right now but gets the former Miss Madness instead. Mona begs to be back on his team again so Savage shoves her down to her knees. Savage looks at her and says she's still fired.
Cue Rodman with the No Limit Soldiers and oh dear goodness why are they mixing these stories? Rodman says George is his now, presumably because once you've gone black you never go back. Rodman: “Once you go black, you never go back.” Mona hits Savage low and Rodman comes in for the same offense he had back in 1997 and the fans love it as we go to a break.
Why are these two feuding? That's a serious question. One night Savage just started talking trash about Rodman and now we're watching this mess every week. As has been my issue for months, why isn't this ANY ACTIVE WCW WRESTLER fighting Savage and getting this rub by association? It worked wonders for Page last year but now it's all about Dennis Rodman for the short term celebrity moment. If nothing else, have some young guy fight with Rodman. Also, who am I supposed to cheer for here? The kidnapper or the woman beater?
Vampiro vs. Eddie Guerrero
Vampiro has Raven and the Clowns with him. It's amusing hearing Heenan talk about the Insane Clown Posse when he clearly has no idea who they are and would love to rip on them if not for Bischoff sitting next to him. Eddie stomps him into the corner to start as Bischoff tries to apologize for the comments made in the previous segment. I'd prefer he just apologize for the previous segment but I'd rather not hear him talk about doing the right thing again.
A clothesline turns Vampiro inside out but Raven trips Eddie up to take over. Eddie is sent outside and knocks a cameraman over as the Clowns get in some cheap shots. They whip him into the steps before Vampiro and Eddie trade chops back inside. Vampiro gets armdragged off the top and dropkicked over the top, only Shaggy. Eddie hits a great looking dive to put them down again but Raven shoves him off the top, setting up the Nail in the Coffin for the pin.
Rating: C-. Good grief stop with the celebrities! We have Brock, Rodman and the Clowns all on the show plus KISS coming in to perform in a few weeks and getting two separate videos so far tonight. They have such a huge roster but insist on bringing in those people to keep taking spots and going further and further into the hole against Raw. But hey, Bischoff is saying how great the Revolution is so that has to mean something right?
The Clowns beat Eddie down post match but Mysterio comes out for the save.
Berlyn is coming. I actually liked that character.
Hogan comes out for commentary with Bischoff. Oh this is going to hurt.
Sid/Rick Steiner vs. Goldberg/Sting
Hogan's first gem is about wanting to pass the torch to Sting. There's a LONG rant about Starrcade 1997 in there but I want to get this over with. It's a big brawl on the floor to start until Sting suplexes Sid over the top and back into the ring. That lasts all of four seconds before they head back outside and switch things up. I guess these old guys can't handle having a match at this point. Steiner sends Sting into the buckles back inside before tagging Sid in as the match actually gets going.
Sting takes his second chokeslam of the night but Goldberg makes a fast save. That's enough for Sting to start a comeback but a splash on the mat hits knees. Sid's legdrop hits the mat though and Sting loads up the Scorpion, only to have Steiner break it up. Everything breaks down again with Goldberg being sent to the apron. Naturally it's time to cheat but Hogan takes a chair from Rick and blasts him in the head with it, drawing a DQ.
Rating: D. Standard angle disguised as a wrestling match here with Goldberg never actually tagging in. It's a shame that the main event is being hogged by these guys but that's a broken record at this point. This is clearly setting up a big six man followed by three singles matches at the PPV. In other words, Goldberg went from World Champion to gone for months to the TV Title against Rick Steiner while Hogan and Nash have the main event title program because Nash felt like turning heel. This really shouldn't surprise you.
Cue Nash to powerbomb Hogan through the announcers' table to end the show. It's a good thing there were no monitors on the table and that it was clearly gimmicked.
Overall Rating: C-. I hate to admit it but they're getting a little better. Maybe I'm just numb to how bad WCW is at this point but I didn't hate this episode. I hated things about it but the wrestling was mostly fine and the stories actually advanced. Granted the stories are mostly about the celebrities and old people but they are indeed advancing. At this point it's more that you have to just accept what you're given with WCW because the chances of them getting it right get weaker and weaker every week.
The Revolution stuff continues to frustrate me every week. You can see them chomping at the bit to take over, but they're clearly running on a treadmill, perpetually stuck being the guys waiting to take over instead of ever actually taking over. Those spots are saved for the guys that were draws before and will be draws in the future because once you're a draw, you're ALWAYS a draw, but apparently you can't become a draw for some reason. Even Goldberg, who was the hottest guy in the world not named Austin last year, is looking more like a catalyst to get to the real main event of Hogan vs. Nash. Better but still weak show here.
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