Monday Nitro #208
Date: October 4, 1999
Location: Kemper Arena, Kansas City, Missouri
Commentators: Tony Schiavone, Bobby Heenan
Reviewed by Tommy Hall
We're getting closer to Halloween Havoc but tonight we take a detour into something that is actually special. Less than five months earlier, Owen Hart passed away in this same arena. His brother Bret wanted to do something special for him, and that's what we're getting on this show. Let's get to it.
The announcers hype up the main events, because those promises have held up so much recently.
Rey Mysterio Jr. vs. Dean Malenko
This starts after a way too early break. Malenko quickly flips Mysterio to the floor and grabs a legbar back inside. Rey pops to his feet and speeds things WAY up for a nice counter sequence, capped off with Malenko throwing him into the air but eating a dropkick on the way back down. A hot shot is countered but Rey bounces backwards into a hurricanrana for two. That was AWESOME and even Malenko has to give Mysterio credit.
To change the subject a bit, Tony casually mentions that Psychosis beat Lenny Lane for the Cruiserweight Title over the weekend. That's code for “it turns out Turner Broadcasting didn't like having a shock value gimmick like over the top incestuous brothers on a show with falling ratings”. The title match never happened of course but Psychosis does get to defend tonight against Disco Inferno. Of course since this title means nothing, it's throw in as a sidebar in this match. You know, the match that COULD BE FOR THE TITLE instead of just being part of the Revolution vs. Filthy Animals feud over absolutely nothing.
Back to the match, Malenko gets two off a German suplex and cranks on the leg. That goes nowhere so Dean is thrown to the floor for a big dive from Rey. They head inside again and Rey loads up the yet to be named West Coast Pop, only to have Malenko catch him in a kind of powerbomb to set up the Cloverleaf.
Ropes are grabs and Mysterio counters tilt-a-whirl slam into a kind of cross body. They get back up and hit a double clothesline but Mysterio sells it more like a Boss Man Slam for an odd looking crash. Cue Shane Douglas with a chain but Saturn runs down and steals it from him. Saturn stares Douglas down with the chain but hits Mysterio instead, allowing Dean, who didn't seem to see what happened, to put on the Cloverleaf for the win.
Rating: C+. Really good start to the match here until we had to get Shane Douglas involved. It looks like the Revolution is starting to splinter, which makes good enough sense given that they have nothing else going for them. They have yet to recover from that disaster at Fall Brawl so why not just turn them heel from the inside?
Dean sees the replay on the screen and isn't happy with Saturn.
Tony tells us about the New Year's Evil pay per view on December 27, which wasn't on New Year's, wasn't on New Year's Eve, wasn't evil and never wound up happening.
Video on Bret, talking about Owen and his death.
Cruiserweight Title: Disco Inferno vs. Psychosis
Tony brings up the hiring of Vince Russo and Ed Ferrara, who will be chatting on WCW.com later this week. And so it begins. By it I mean the bizarre choices, such as allowing fans to talk to writers. Why would fans care about something like that? Picture this back in 1988: “Yes fans this coming Wednesday, you can call in and talk to the booker!”
Psychosis is defending after being awarded the title in a phantom title change over the weekend. The new champ starts fast and knocks Disco out to the floor with a baseball slide, setting up a big dive over the top. Back in and Disco gets a boot up in the corner, followed by a swinging neckbreaker for two.
You know Disco isn't smart enough to make that last though and charges into an elbow from Psychosis. Well at least they're consistent. A top rope hurricanrana gets two for Psychosis but Disco pops back up, only to dive into a spinwheel kick. The guillotine legdrop misses and Disco hits the Chartbuster to win the title out of nowhere.
Rating: D+. I'll spare you the obvious question of why they even bothered with Psychosis in the first place and get to the better question of why Disco. He's still a glorified comedy character whose best matches usually get a response of “you know, he doesn't suck as much as I thought.” You have Kidman, Guerrera, Mysterio, Malenko and even Psychosis to put the belt on but instead we get someone like Disco.
Oh and just after he wins the title, we IMMEDIATELY cut to an ad for Mayhem.
Sid is on the phone. I smell shenanigans.
The Outsiders come down the stands with drinks in hand. This would be Nash's first appearance since August and Hall's first since.....I think March? Heenan asks where they've been and Hall says they've been at the party down there. Nash is retired, which Hall describes as “working a requirement angle”. They'll be back and put the band back together once the locker room is fun again. This comes off as more of Russo's “WE'RE SHOOTING” stuff that is interesting for about five minutes and then turns into a big mess with the fans asking “can't we just watch wrestling?”
Sid Vicious vs. Brian Adams
Adams is out of the KISS gimmick but still has the Demon pants on. He hammers Sid from behind to start and scores with a suplex. Naturally Sid isn't going to sell that so Adams clotheslines him over the top and out to the floor. Back in and Sid ducks his head, allowing Adams to hit a quick jumping piledriver. Of course Robinson can't count because Rick Steiner runs out and helps with the beating. Adams fights Sid off and tilt-a-whirl slams Steiner, only to have Sid come back in for a double powerbomb and a fast count. That makes Sid 120-0, though Adams got in WAY more offense than most people do against Sid.
Jerry Flynn vs. Goldberg
During the entrances, we go split screen so Sid can rant about his car. Flynn rakes the eyes to start and is promptly kicked right in the face. A pumphandle slam drops Jerry again as the rest of the First Family comes out for a distraction. Goldberg is knocked outside to get beaten on for a bit (why isn't this just a three on one handicap match to make this move faster? Oh right: because WCW is stupid enough to put Morrus and Knobbs in the Tag Team Title hunt instead of ANYONE ELSE), including a whip into the steps.
Morrus adds an elbow from the apron and even the referee can't be bothered to care about these two schmucks. The referee sends them to the back, allowing Goldberg to counter a cross armbreaker and hit the two moves for the win. You know, people remember these two fighting a lot but it really didn't happen all that often. They only fought four times on Nitro in nearly two years, with a year and a half in between two of them. Goldberg and Morrus had at least three matches so it's not a huge stretch.
Goldberg promises to destroy Sid.
Brad Armstrong tells Berlyn to speak English, end of scene.
Here's Harlem Heat for a chat about their upcoming title defense against Brian Knobbs and Hugh Morrus. There's so much wrong with that idea that I don't even know where to start. The match is going to be on like a pot of neckbone, but Booker has to stop for a Wolfpack chant. He tells the Outsiders that they're not getting the belts but the First Family comes out for a brawl. Knobbs hits Booker in the head with a chair and Morrus gets Stevie down for No Laughing Matter. The First Family leaves with the belts. As usual, decent story, completely wrong cast.
Nitro Girls search time. Baltimore can't get here soon enough.
Goldberg gets in his car and leaves. I'm sure this won't go badly for Sid whatsoever.
Benoit says he misses Owen and brings up getting his start in Stampede Wrestling. They're really making this feel special tonight.
Brad Armstrong vs. Curt Hennig
Hennig chops away in the corner but gets hiptossed and dropkicked out to the floor. Back in and Hennig chops the skin off Brad's chest but walks into a pair of atomic drops. The Rednecks come in but eat right hands, only to have the Germans come out for a distraction. The bodyguard nails Brad in the back of the head, sending him right into the HennigPlex for the pin. It really took FIVE PEOPLE to beat Brad Armstrong? That's seriously what we're going with here?
The Germans beat Armstrong up again post match.
Mysterio goes into the showers to get Kidman for his match. Kidman comes out and Torrie Wilson follows him. Rey looks impressed.
Sid gives the attendant his car keys. Why the same attendant works in two different cities isn't explained.
Juventud Guerrera vs. Kidman
Here's another match that could be for the Cruiserweight Title. They trade forearms to start until Kidman suplexes him down for two. A Stunner on the top rope drops Kidman as the announcers talk about Kidman and Torrie in the shower. Kidman suplexes Juvy to the floor and adds a dropkick as he gets back inside. Juvy comes back with a DDT out of a fireman's carry and drops a People's Elbow. I had forgotten about the Juvy Rock phase. Juvy says he knows our role as we take a break.
Back with Kidman charging into an elbow but snapping off a powerslam (very common move no matter what size people are) for two. Juvy waves Psychosis down but misses a plancha and takes Psychosis down instead of Kidman. That's fine with Kidman, who runs to the top and dives onto both guys. This isn't as good as it sounds though as they're just doing spots without the energy that made their old matches so good.
Back in again and Kidman dropkicks him out of the air but Juvy counters a powerbomb (double gimmick infringement!) into a Juvy Driver attempt, which is countered into a suplex, which is countered into a bulldog from Guerrera. The 450 misses and Kidman hits a Sky High but has to go after Psychosis again. Cue Mysterio to argue with Psychosis, but the distraction lets Juvy hit the Driver off the top for the pin.
Rating: C+. This was more about advancing the feud between the Animals and the loose stable of luchadors, which isn't really going anywhere as Psychosis isn't quite the same level as the other three. Granted he might have gotten closer to that spot had they just let him stay Cruiserweight Champion but that might make too much sense.
Juvy and Psychosis get beaten down post match.
Sid has his assistant park his car in Goldberg's parking space.
Bret Hart vs. Chris Benoit
Both are faces here and Benoit's TV Title isn't on the line. Harley Race does the intros to make this really special. Bret grabs a headlock to start before they fight over a top wristlock. Hart holds the ropes to avoid a monkey flip but Benoit nips up before Bret can do anything. Very technical so far. Chris bridges out of a test of strength and wraps Bret’s arms across his own throat to get a breather.
A hammerlock has Bret on the mat and the fans chant for Owen. Off to a double arm crank on Hart but Bret reverses into one of his own. Thankfully Bret is actually holding Chris’ wrists unlike Scott Hall who would be keeping himself in the hold whenever that was reversed. Benoit flips out with a dropkick to the chest but gets caught in a Russian legsweep to put him down again.
We hit the chinlock from Hart followed by a hard knee to the ribs to drop Chris one more time. A DDT sets up the middle rope elbow for two for Hart but Benoit grabs a rollup for two. He doesn’t let go of the legs though and turns it into a Boston crab. Bret is quickly in the ropes but gets caught in a backbreaker for two as we take a break.
Back with Benoit getting two off something we didn’t see but Bret comes back with the headbutt to the lower abdomen. A snap suplex sets up a chinlock by the Hitman as things settle down a bit. Another backbreaker puts Benoit on the mat and Bret rams him into the apron. Back in and Benoit spins out of another backbreaker and hits a jumping tombstone for two. A northern lights suplex gets another two for Chris and he fires off the headbutts.
Benoit stomps away in the corner but Bret holds the ropes to avoid a dropkick and a few elbows get two. Bret charges but his cross body hits the ropes to send him outside. Chris hits a big dive through the ropes to put both guys down and we take our second break. Back again with both guys rolling each other up for two followed by Bret stomping away in the corner. They trade rollups for two each again until Bret nails a swinging neckbreaker.
A superplex puts Benoit down but he counters the Sharpshooter into the Crossface but Bret is right next to the ropes. Chris rolls some vertical suplexes and calls for the Swan Dive. He goes to the furthest corner and nails the headbutt for a slightly delayed two. The fans chant for Bret and he comes back with an elbow to the jaw. A piledriver gets two on Benoit as he puts his foot on the ropes.
Benoit gets to do Bret’s chest first bump into the corner but comes out with some hard chops. Bret tries a clothesline but gets caught in the Rolling Germans. The Crossface is blocked and they go to the mat with Bret maneuvering his legs so that he stands up in the Sharpshooter. The fans freak out over that awesome trap by Bret and Benoit has to give up.
Rating: A. This was an excellent wrestling match. Bret worked over the back to set up the Sharpshooter and Benoit tried everything he knew but at the end of the day it was Bret winning with a counter to Benoit’s best hold and a very smooth move into the Sharpshooter. That’s exactly what it was supposed to be and it was more than an awesome match. The crowd respected it too. This is the last great match that WCW had and the last time Bret was actually motivated in a wrestling ring. If you haven't seen this one before, go check it out to see what great wrestling can do.
Race gets in the ring and everyone hugs and poses before walking out together.
Gene calls out Flair and Hogan, who thankfully come out one at a time. Hogan has to limp down because of the knee injury from last week. They praise each other and my stomach is starting to churn. Hogan says Flair is the best of all time and Flair wants to join Hulkamania. Tonight, Hogan wants to see Flair style and profile. It's a bad sign when modern day TNA pays better attention to character development and history than this company does.
Sid is in the empty parking space. “I've got him now.”
Diamond Dallas Page vs. Buff Bagwell
Bagwell mocks Page's catchphrases to start, saying he's going to two time, two time, two time beat Page down. Page charges right into a clothesline to start and gets dropkicked out to the floor. Back in and Page can't hook a powerbomb but does kick Buff low to take over again. A low elbow sets up a stomping in the corner and we hit the chinlock. With his offense running low, Bagwell lands another clothesline and his swinging neckbreaker. Page avoids the Blockbuster though and floats over Bagwell into the Diamond Cutter for the fast pin.
A kid is looking at a window when a horse flies up. Dustin Rhodes is dressed all in black and that's it.
Hulk Hogan/Ric Flair vs. Sting/Total Package
Tony even has to acknowledge the fans cheering for Sting. Hogan has a big brace on his knee but is fine from last week's attack otherwise. It's a brawl to start with Sting and Hogan heading outside while the others fight inside. Hogan is whipped into the barricade as Luger and Flair fight outside.
Tony keeps calling Total Package Luger because it's such a stupid name change. I can't even say gimmick change because it's literally the same guy with a different name. Things settle down with Sting stomping on Flair in the corner but missing a dropkick. As usual, there's nothing about Sting that would make you think he's a heel. Sting slams him off the top and it's off to Luger for a powerslam.
Back to Sting for a chinlock as the fans chant for Hogan. Notice how he keeps moving around on the apron. This is something the bigger stars usually do and you can see Cena do it today. You can do so much to keep a crowd into things while standing on the apron. Pace up and down, reach for tags, shout encouragement. Let the fans know that you CARE about what's going on at the moment.
Luger prevents a tag to Hogan and Sting gorilla presses Flair down again. A running splash hits knees though and it's finally off to Hogan. We go old school with right hands and a double noggin knocker, followed by a double clothesline to put both villains down. Page runs in and gets sent into Luger, who blindly Racks him. Hogan hits the big boot and legdrop to pin Sting. Seeing him hug Flair is just wrong on so many levels.
Rating: D+. Standard main event tag here with the champ getting pinned to add to the pay per view match's build. This is wrestling booking 101, but it's still really uninteresting stuff. Seeing these four guys fighting while I could be watching the rise of HHH and Rock near or at his peak and the tag teams tearing the house down really doesn't appeal to me and that seemed to be the opinion of the masses.
Sid goes to his parking space and finds his car crushed into a metal block. If this is supposed to make me watch the match, go back to Charles Robinson needing counting lessons.
Overall Rating: B. By far and away the best show they've had in a long time, though most of that is due to the awesome Bret vs. Benoit match. The rest of the show certainly isn't bad though as a lot of the bad matches were kept short. The Sid vs. Goldberg battle of the garage stuff is getting REALLY old just two weeks in. I'm actually not sure how Sid's plan made sense and I assure you it wasn't much clearer on screen. I guess it was supposed to be Goldberg's car but someone made a switch? This shouldn't be so complicated. Anyway, best show in months if not years here, but it feels like a one off improvement.
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