Monday Nitro #205
Date: September 13, 1999
Location: Dean Smith Center, Chapel Hill, North Carolinas
Commentators: Tony Schiavone, Bobby Heenan
Reviewed by Tommy Hall
It's the night after Fall Brawl and again I'm convinced WCW has hit rock bottom. The Revolution got swept last night and Sting turned heel to win the World Title, despite the fans sounding pleased with the results. We're now a month away from Halloween Havoc and it's time to see how Nitro goes without Bischoff running things behind the scenes. Let's get to it.
Things are already looking up on this show as we look back at last week with Hart challenging Hogan and all the Hogan/Sting/Luger shenanigans.
Quick recap of last night. That's the best way to do it if you absolutely must.
Recap of Benoit and Malenko having a good match for a World Title shot tonight until Sid interfered to give us a good old fashioned bait and switch.
Chris Benoit vs. Dean Malenko
Rematch with the same stipulations as last week with Saturn and Douglas at ringside. Feeling out process to start as they fight over a hammerlock. Benoit scores with an enziguri but can't hook a dragon suplex. Instead Dean nails him with an elbow tot he jaw but they both fall out to the floor. Mostly even match so far. Saturn and Douglas don't let it turn into a brawl as Tony is talking about Sting, which actually ties into this match. You can tell Bischoff isn't in his ear this week.
Dean takes over with a short arm scissors back inside but Benoit powers out and drops Dean for two. Malenko avoids a dropkick and goes for the leg but Benoit is right next to the ropes. Benoit misses a charge in the corner but catches Dean taking way too long to get up top, setting up a top rope superplex to put both guys down.
A double clothesline gives us a double cover before we hit a very crisp pinfall reversal sequence. Benoit starts rolling Germans but Dean counters into a rollup for two. That's enough for Benoit as he hooks a belly to back and slits the throat, only to get caught on top for another superplex, but Benoit hooks Dean's leg on the way down and ties the legs together into a small package for the pin and the title shot.
Rating: B+. That might be high but this is the best match WCW has had probably in months. It wasn't even ten minutes long but they packed stuff into this match with both guys getting to look great. There's a great story in here with Benoit trying to use suplexes and throws while Dean wanted to break Benoit down by going for body parts but kept getting in trouble when he went out of his comfort zone, namely whenever he went to the top. At the end of the day, there is no substitute for a really good wrestling match and that's exactly what you got here.
All four members of the team gets in to hug post match.
Gene is in the ring and brings back Ric Flair as he returns in the Carolinas again. They're already about 10,000x better than what we got last night. I wonder how much of a difference the lack of Bischoff makes as there's a good chance he booked the PPV before leaving and this is the first real show without him.
Ric is back in face mode and sucks up to the crowd, who of course love him like free beer in a frat house. Flair alludes to being free (of Bischoff I'd assume) before talk turns to Sting and Luger. He doesn't approve of how Sting won the title. I'll let you pause to laugh at that for a minute. This brings the two of them out to say it's their time now, meaning it's time for Flair to go because they've been held back long enough. Somehow they're onto something as they've combined for eleven World Titles and Flair has I think fourteen at this point?
Ric says they have to to earn their spots, which you would think they did years ago but Flair has always had some issues with reality. Luger and Sting deck Flair and put him in their respective submissions, drawing out Hart and Hogan for the save. Hogan sets up the tag match for later, which he's doing for Flair. You know, for all those great moments they've had together earlier this year.
After a break, Luger and Sting laugh because Luger doesn't have medical clearance or any gear. Sting not mentioning facing Benoit later scares me.
Berlyn's entourage arrives.
DJ Ran throws it to Riki Rachman to show us last week's winner in the Nitro Girls competition and introduce this week's finalists. None of them are Stacy Keibler so we'll move on.
JJ Dillon is on the phone with a doctor in Florida and finds out that Luger has been cleared for three weeks. My what convenient timing for him to finally look into that.
Stills of Benoit vs. Sid from last night. The faster we move on from this the better a lot of people will be.
Erik Watts vs. Disco Inferno
Someone explain to me why WCW keeps Watts on the payroll. They must owe Bill a favor of some kind. Erik “Let me show you my dropkick” Watts hammers away to start but gets armdragged and hiptossed, setting up dance time. He stomps Watts down in the corner but misses a charge, allowing Watts to powerslam him into the corner. Think the Oklahoma Stampede minus the followup powerslam.
Watts stays on the ribs but Disco counters a Russian legsweep into one of his own, even though it's pretty much the same move either way. The middle rope elbow misses though and DEAR GOODNESS TURN DOWN THE CROWD NOISE! The fans suddenly go from silent to losing their minds in the span of half a second as we go split screen to show Sid. Disco hits the Last Dance for the pin a second later.
Rating: D-. That powerslam wasn't bad but the audio going nuts was the most entertaining part of the match. Disco really deserves something better than this. Even a low level tag team or something like that would be nice for him. Instead he's stuck in these lame matches and about to get powerbombed in half by Sid.
Of course that's exactly what happens, plus Sid rambling on about not putting up with trash like this, or with Goldberg for that matter. Charles Robinson was holding the signs as Sid is now at 82-0 and got to wear the US Title. Somehow, it kind of suits him.
Silver King vs. Norman Smiley
Norman shoves him around to start but takes a quick enziguri (a popular move tonight) and a quick flip splash. King sends Norman outside and teases a dive which looks so horrible that Smiley doesn't even bother to move. Back in and Smiley busts out the Big Wiggle but has to hit a wheelbarrow slam, followed by the spinning slam. Not that any of it matters though as Sid comes in for the no contest.
Chokeslams and double pins make Sid 84-0.
We recap the horrid Berlyn vs. Duggan match from Sunday.
Steve Regal/Dave Taylor vs. Barry Windham/Kendall Windham
Regal runs over Kendall with ease to start and takes him to the mat for a well needed wrestling lesson. A front facelock has Kendall in trouble and Regal goes behind him to throw Kendall around a bit. Off to Barry and the gut of doom before Taylor comes in for a European uppercut. The Windhams take Taylor into the corner for a double teaming with the Windhams moving at top speed. Well top speed for them at least, which is slow motion for most other teams.
Taylor finally rolls away, somehow countering the Windham's lightning quick offense to make the tag to Regal. Steve comes in with those pretty lame left hands of his and a Regal Cutter to Barry as everything breaks down. Taylor hooks Barry in a leg lock but Kendall makes the quick save. The referee goes after Taylor, allowing Hennig to hit Regal with the cowbell to give Barry the pin.
Rating: D. The Windhams need to get away from my screen as soon as possible. They're not interesting, they're not good in the ring, they're not really in shape and they're not losing like they should be. The Brits are a decent heel team and could actually have a nice match if given the chance, but here they are jobbing to the Windhams, who still aren't over after losing the titles a day earlier.
Back from a break with Jerry Flynn in the ring but Goldberg is shown coming to the ring with security while wearing street clothes. Goldberg comes down to the ring and passes Prince Iaukea, who seems to be Flynn's scheduled opponent. THANK YOU BILL! Goldberg isn't pleased with Sid's comments earlier and would like to challenge him to a match. That's the cleaned up version of course. We cut to Sid in the back where again his audio is so low that I can't hear a thing he says. He picks up a bag and leaves as Goldberg is still in the ring. Flynn complains and I think you can guess what happens.
Stills of the Tag Team Title match last night.
Harlem Heat vs. First Family
So we had Malenko and Douglas lose last night for a non-title match? The countdown is on for those guys. Ray and Morrus stall for a few moments to start before both guys shove each other around. Knobbs comes in for a double team attempt but Booker kicks him in the face to send us to a commercial. Back with all four fighting outside until it's Morrus slamming Ray for two inside.
The Family hits back to back splashes in the corner but try a double clothesline and get run over for their efforts. At least Stevie is at the point where he can run at people and stick his arms out. I mean WCW praises the Clowns for doing it so they should praise Stevie too right? Booker comes in to fire some kicks at Knobbs but the Rednecks come back out to break up the missile dropkick for the DQ.
Rating: D+. The match wasn't bad and they're getting the idea of making the hot tag to someone who can actually use some speed. That being said, did Douglas and Malenko really just lose to the First Family to set up a loss to Harlem Heat the next night to continue the boring rivalry with the Rednecks? That's what we really just did? The fact that it's not the Clowns getting this feud is somehow the best news to come out of this.
Insane Clown Posse vs. Lenny Lane/Lodi
Oh this is going to hurt. Vampiro is hurting as well after a bunch of injuries to his head and eye after the match last night. Lodi is wearing an East Carolina University football jersey. Does he want a job in WWF (Vince went to school there if that made no sense)? A fan runs into the ring before the match but it turns out to be Tony Mamaluke, who has been following Lenny and Lodi recently. Heenan: “Take him out back and hang him.” When did Brain get so harsh?
J. does some bad looking hiptosses so Lenny starts prancing a bit. A gorilla press sends Lenny running on his knees to Lodi. The camera goes to Vampiro at ringside and thankfully he says there's something more important going on and points to the ring. Shaggy hammers on Lodi and Stuns Lane across the top rope. A double suplex sends 2 Dope into the ropes as the fans are cheering for the Clowns. The brothers hit a knee lift into a legdrop for two on Shaggy but we get heel (?) miscommunication to allow the tag to J.
Tony and Heenan keep sucking up to the Clowns and say they deserve a Tag Team Title shot. My goodness ANYTHING but that. We get the spot where Lenny and Lodi are knocked into sexual positions before they plant Shaggy with a double DDT for two. The brothers load up a suplex/cross body combination but Lodi hits Lenny by mistake, allowing Shaggy to roll Lenny up for the pin on the Cruiserweight Champion.
Rating: F. A Clown just pinned a champion in what was supposed to set up Shaggy winning the title. Thankfully the Clowns wouldn't wrestle again in WCW until August so this didn't go anywhere, but my goodness. They're treated like good guys, the announcers freak out over hip tosses, and they're pinning a champion. Just....come on WCW. Even you should be better than this.
The Clowns want Kidman. That recruiting thing isn't going to be mentioned again is it?
WCW World Title: Chris Benoit vs. Sting
Before the match, Benoit talks about Sid tapping out last night and the whole world saw it, but sometimes the calls don't go your way. Instead of violins playing Sting to the ring, dogs are barking and Rick Steiner is here. Oh geez here we go. Rick says this isn't Benoit's night and for absolutely no adequately explained reason, this is happening instead of Benoit's World Title shot.
TV Title: Chris Benoit vs. Rick Steiner
Steiner hammers away to start and knees Chris in the ribs. He plants Benoit with a powerslam as this is one sided so far. More beating in the corner ensues until Rick does that face grab of his. Steiner shoves the referee before they head outside with Benoit going into the barricade. Total and complete squash so far.
A belly to belly sets up more face ripping, followed by one of the most painful looking release German suplexes I've ever seen. Benoit landed right on the back of his head in a huge crash that made me cringe. It's only good for two though so Steiner smacks the referee in the face, allowing Benoit to grab a bad looking rollup for the fast count and the pin for the title. Steiner clearly kicked out at about two and a half.
Rating: D-. This right here is the moment where it was clear WCW did not care about Chris Benoit. Yes he won the title but he had a total of some right hands at the beginning and a rollup with a fast count due to something Steiner did. This was all about Steiner and Benoit got squashed the entire time after having a great match earlier tonight because in WCW's eyes, Steiner is more important than Benoit by definition. On top of that, there's the whole missing World Title shot. Why stick around if you're Benoit?
Post match, Steiner destroys Benoit until Malenko makes the save. Just in case you needed any more proof that Benoit is just a guy and might as well have been Prince Iaukea in WCW's eyes.
Video on the Revolution. You know, those four guys that Steiner and Sid regularly beat up.
Eddie Guerrero vs. Perry Saturn
The Revolution and Filthy Animals are at ringside with Kidman looking to be in pajamas. Feeling out process to start with both guys trading attempts at holds until it's Eddie grabbing a headlock. Saturn shoves him off and hits a big T-Bone before putting on a headlock of his own. Somehow both guys have already had as much or more offense than Benoit in the previous match.
Back up and Guerrero jumps on Saturn's back for a sleeper as Tony takes way too long to get to a commercial. We come back with Saturn hitting a hard belly to back suplex but it seems to just fire Eddie up. Things speed WAY up with a sweet exchange of sleeper attempts and suplexes, all of which do little more than make me even angrier at Rick Steiner and Sid for getting pushed so hard.
Eddie gets T-Boned off the top but is still able to hot shot Saturn in the corner. The third T-Bone sends Eddie flying again and makes me think I'm watching a Taz match. The Death Valley Driver is countered though and Eddie plants him with a brainbuster. Eddie has to bail out of the Frog Splash but escapes another DVD attempt, setting up a solid pinfall reversal sequence. Saturn sits down on a headscissors attempt and gets a surprise pin.
Rating: B. Another awesome match here between two guys who can just get in a ring and go. Therefore, neither guy is going to get anywhere around here. This show has had some really good wrestling but also been some of the most frustrating stuff I've ever seen. Some combination of these guys could be tearing it up with Harlem Heat for the Tag Team Titles but we're getting the Windhams and threats of the Clowns because WCW is that stupid.
The groups stare each other down and war is imminent. Why have them fight big names when you can just have them fight each other right?
Berlyn vs. Buff Bagwell
So he'll skip the PPV (while still appearing to likely get a payday) but he'll fight on TV where more people are watching? Again, WCW is stupid. The interpreter is back and goes to the commentary booth to make this even more painful. She starts speaking German and the voice is already annoying. Bagwell stalls to start as Tony actually calls this an anticipated match.
A nice dropkick puts Bagwell down and the German continues. Some clotheslines look to set up the Blockbuster but Buff gets crotched on top. The bodyguard gets yelled at as this match is already dragging. Berlyn gets two off a belly to back suplex and we hit the chinlock. The comeback sets up a top rope clothesline and some basic offense as Berlyn is knocked down in the corner. A hot shot sets up a punch from the bodyguard, giving Berlyn the three count.
Rating: D-. Gah this was dull and it barely broke five minutes. It was a short step better than the Duggan match but it's clear that Berlyn isn't going anywhere. The German chick got annoying the second she started talking and it didn't make the match any better. On top of that, it's clear that they're going for the Shawn/Diesel formula with the bodyguard becoming the star, but Berlyn is as far from Shawn Michaels as I am from being Miss Nebraska 1973.
We get a long video on Sting posing the theory that Sting's entire run as the crow was just there to set up his heel turn last night. It's a cool video but this sounds like some nonsense about the moon landing being staged in a big studio somewhere. It doesn't help that the video contains dialogue like this: “Perhaps Sting was driving the Hummer that attacked Kevin Nash. He was seen getting out of a Hummer a week later, remember?” They even bring up NWO Sting being part of Sting's grand plan.
Sting/Lex Luger vs. Bret Hart/Hulk Hogan
Luger is in street clothes and it's a brawl to start. Hogan and Sting get inside with Hulk destroying the champ with all the right hands he can throw. Bret comes in for right hands of his own as Luger finally gets on the apron. The champ comes back with a clothesline and the fans loudly cheer for him. If you were just watching the match with no commentary or any idea what happened last night, you would have almost no reason to believe Sting was a heel.
It's off to Hogan vs. Luger with Hulk firing off even more right hands but eating the running forearm to the head. Sting comes in with a top rope splash for two because heels use high flying moves. Back to Luger for more choking as we're still waiting on wrestling to start. Hogan blocks a ram into the buckle but Sting comes back in for a suplex. Lex starts going after the knee as this match needs to just die already.
The knee goes nowhere as Hogan clotheslines both guys down, setting up the lukewarm tag to Bret. A quick Russian suplex gets two on the champ and the middle rope elbow gets the same. Everything breaks down as Diamond Dallas Page comes out for no apparent reason, carrying a ball bat. Hogan knocks it away as Bret has Sting in the Sharpshooter but Luger picks it up and nails Bret in the face, giving Sting the pin.
Rating: F. When I'm miserable over the fact that there are only two minutes left in a match, there's something very wrong. This was terribly boring with no one putting it into even second gear. It doesn't help that the story makes no sense. All of a sudden Sting is EVIL (despite not really doing anything evil tonight), Bret and Hogan are Flair fans and Page is now hanging out with Luger and Sting. Terrible match here and I have no interest in seeing this go forward.
Overall Rating: D+. This is a really hard one to grade. The Revolution matches (save for Benoit vs. Steiner but that was the booking's fault) were really good and some of the better TV matches WCW has put on in a very long time. Unfortunately though there's a HUGE gap between those and the main event matches, which ranged from horrible to the preferred method of torture in 14 countries.
This show was a perfect illustration of how nothing is going to change in WCW. The young guys can go out there and have great matches that actually get the fans reacting, but no one is going to break through into the main event scene. Those guys exist to fight each other and warm the crowd up so the real stars can have their boring matches with whatever nonsense stories they're running. It's like banging your head against a wall and wondering why the door doesn't move. As usual, the wrestling can be good in spots but the booking will make you pull your hair out.
Thunder was canceled this week due to a hurricane and replaced by a recap show so I won't be putting it up. Sorry to the four people that actually read those recaps.
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