Monday Nitro #211
Date: October 25, 1999
Location: America West Arena, Phoenix, Arizona
Commentators: Bobby Heenan, Tony Schiavone
Reviewed by Tommy Hall
We're finally past Halloween Havoc and as usual with pay per views, a lot has changed. First up would seem to be Goldberg coming out as both United States and World Champion, but only the former is for sure. After Hogan laid down against Sting for no apparent reason, Goldberg beat the champ in an open challenge, which may or may not be for the title. Tonight we should find out what's going on so let's get to it.
A paintless Sting is walking through the back (I'm been skipping a lot of these segments as they're literally just people walking) and shouting for JJ Dillon while throwing things all over the place.
Sting heads to the ring and calls out JJ Dillon, because last night he issued a challenge for a fight, not a title match. Dillon comes out and Sting repeats most of what he already said but throws in that he was trying to bail them out of a bad situation with Hogan. Why do I have a bad feeling that's the extent of Hogan information tonight?. The title was never on the line, so Sting wants his belt back. JJ agrees that the title wasn't on the line, because WCW never sanctioned that match. Therefore, the title is vacant due to Sting attacking the referee after the match.
Oh come on. That's some very convenient enforcing of the rules given what half the roster gets away with on a regular basis. Also ignore the fact that it wasn't even in a match so why should it have any impact on th.....never mind. I'm staying out of the quicksand that is WCW/Russo logic. There's going to be a 32 man tournament and Sting can be a participant. That earns Dillon a beating until Goldberg comes out for the save.
Here are the brackets.
Bam Bam Bigelow
Diamond Dallas Page
I'm sure we'll see the other half later, because I'm sure it's completely prepared at this point. Also Madusa is now a man? JJ specifically said 32 MAN tournament.
The Outsiders are here with a cooler but Mike Graham comes up and tells them they have to wrestle tonight. Nash's retirement isn't addressed because that's in the old regime or something.
Norman Smiley says last night's match was amusing and thinks Bigelow is tough. Oh and he likes to dance. If Russo being in charge means more short interviews for people who don't often get TV time, maybe he's not all bad.
WCW World Title Tournament First Round: Norman Smiley vs. Bam Bam Bigelow
Norman is terrified so Bigelow decides this is going to be a hardcore match. Bigelow throws in weapons as Norman hides behind the referee, only to get hit in the head with a broom. He puts the trashcan on Norman's head but Norman kind of headbutts him and falls with a low blow ala Sting. It's time to dance before Norman quickly covers Bigelow for the pin. This was a mess and didn't even break ninety seconds.
Hall and Nash are in the back and Nash says he can't work. Hall says he can't comment until the top of the hour. He won't listen to Mike Graham either.
Recap of the Filthy Animals vs. Ric Flair.
Here are the Filthy Animals with Torrie sporting a shiny silver outfit that Kidman really seems to enjoy. Eddie talks about how WCW will never be able to break the team up. Now Ric Flair has been coming after them, so look at this tape to see what happened. The video show Ric being dragged away to what looks like the desert and being buried in sand. Egads this is really happening.
Kidman says Flair is done and Harlem Heat is next. Mysterio cuts him off from swearing and gives the mic to Konnan for some bad catchphrases, one of which involves the Filthy Animals being in heat. Cue Malenko and Saturn to destroy the Animals, but Torrie runs off, only to get caught by Shane Douglas and Asya. Well they tried to murder Flair so I'm not sure I can sympathize with them when one of their members is kidnapped.
Curt Hennig doesn't like the Powers that Be and if he gets pinned he's fired. Why you ask? The better question is why would you ask “why you ask?” You should know by now that you're never getting a clear answer to most of the logical questions this show brings up.
The Outsiders drink coffee, potentially to sober Hall up.
Curt Hennig vs. Lash Leroux
If Hennig gets pinned he's fired. Hennig hammers away in the corner to start and hiptosses Lash across the ring for two. Disco Inferno comes out to praise Lash on commentary but gets interrupted by Curt ramming Lash into the table. They head back inside with Hennig getting two off a knee lift as this is a total squash so far, meaning you can expect a swerve soon. Lash comes back with some right hands and dropkicks before loading up Whiplash, only to have Hennig hit the referee for the DQ. Well he didn't get pinned.
Hennig lays out Lash and Disco with a chair.
The Filthy Animals are looking for Torrie.
A limping Bret Hart arrives.
Here are the Nitro Girls for the Nitro Girls search stuff but Jeff Jarrett comes out to interrupt. Jeff threatens to stroke each one of them and says this tournament is a big work. See, he's the next champion and if Luger disagrees, he can take the Lex Express out of town. Amazingly enough, no one responds to the five year old reference. Oh and he didn't hit Elizabeth last week. Their big plan to get Jarrett over as a heel is to break up the Nitro Girls stuff? He'll be out popping Goldberg in two weeks at this rate.
Sid says the war with Goldberg is far from over.
WCW World Title Tournament First Round: Perry Saturn vs. Eddie Guerrero
Saturn threatens to make Torrie disappear if the Animals interfere. The Animals leave but Eddie jumps him from behind for the early advantage. He goes after the leg as the fans are entirely behind him, because I guess they see kidnapping Torrie as a good thing. Guerrero uses his wrist tape to tie the leg to the ropes for some hard kicks but Saturn quickly rips it off.
A hot shot and gutbuster change control though and Saturn cranks on an abdominal stretch. Eddie's ribs are draped over the top rope before they head outside with Saturn whipping him into the barricade. They're flying through this as you can almost feel the shenanigans coming. Cue David Flair with a crowbar to nail Eddie in the ribs, setting up the Rings of Saturn to give Saturn the win.
Rating: C. That's the match of the night isn't it? At the end of the day, you need more than four minutes to get anything special going and even guys like Saturn and Guerrero can only only do so much. The David Flair stuff makes sense as he would be upset at Torrie and doesn't want her to be rescued, but it's another case of throwing so much into one show that you can't process it all.
Saturn runs from the invading Animals.
Hall and Nash don't want to fight so they come up with ways of shutting down the show. Nash's best idea: strip naked in the ring.
The Revolution has Torrie held hostage in a secret location. Does anyone ever think of just flagging down the cameraman and asking where they just came from? Malenko walks out of the room but Benoit jumps him behind and lays wastes to him, clearly swearing without being censored.
Here are the Outsiders, potentially for stripping. Hall does the Survey and says they've been partying in Vegas, but had to come here for the real party. Nash says no one is going to tell them what to do, but Goldberg pops up to threaten them with violence later in the night. The Outsiders jumped Goldberg before the Sid match last night so we have Goldberg's next feud. We don't have an explanation for Nash's retirement before forgotten but you can't have everything. Or anything around here these days actually.
Here are Randy Savage and Gorgeous George, clad in sparkly red attire because it makes George look good and Savage look.....well like Savage actually. Savage says it's been awhile but Russo and the rest of the vultures in the back aren't going to see him hang himself on live TV. However, George is right when she says he's well hung.
You can't kill off the Macho Man like you did Hogan and Flair. The yellow and red and Space Mountain have played themselves out but Savage is still legit. It's time that he passes the torch to the next superstar to win World Titles, set ratings records and be even better than he was. I don't think he would be seen for another six months.
The Animals find the Revolution's dressing room (hint: it was labeled REVOLUTION) but there's no Torrie.
The Revolution tries to get Malenko to chill.
WCW World Title Tournament First Round: Madusa vs. ???
And it's Meng. I'm assuming there's a joke here that I'm not smart enough to get. Madusa fires off punches and kicks which are sold as well as an air conditioner at the North Pole. Meng goes after her but stops to look at her chest, earning him an eye poke. So this is a comedy match? Some choking and a missile dropkick have no effect on Meng so she jumps on his back, gets flipped over and the Tongan Death Grip is good for the win.
Evan Karagias of all people comes out to check on Madusa, but Dean Malenko comes out to challenge Benoit to a last man standing match tonight. There's no connection between Malenko and Karagias. Russo just doesn't know what it means to wait a second.
Nash is taping up.
Curt Hennig and Brad Armstrong are backstage. Brad has been told to leave until he finds a personality and the Powers that Be suggest he call his little brother. I'm getting a headache and we're not even halfway done with this mess.
Bret has his leg looked at.
WCW World Title Tournament First Round: Total Package vs. Rick Steiner
Please keep up the short trend here. We get the full monty of WCW's bad production here as Tony asks for stills of Bret vs. Lex, has to stall for about 45 seconds before they come up, has to ignore Rick Steiner's music starting and stopping during the stills, and then we miss the opening of the match because of Benoit vs. Steiner stills. I mean dude, even TNA has their stuff together better than this.
Luger hammers on him to start with his usual array of kicks and forearms as Jarrett comes out to do commentary. Steiner fights back and sends Luger into the buckle as Jeff talks about how he didn't attack Liz last week because he isn't that kind of a man. Tony brings up the WWF but Jeff says these are different days. Jeff goes after Liz but Luger makes a save, only to have Jarrett's guitar shot hit Steiner by mistake. Liz freaks out so Luger checks on her, only to drop her so he can beat the ten count back in to win another short (sweet) match. This would be about three weeks' worth of story crammed into a few minutes.
Liz isn't happy.
Konnan threatens to hurt the Revolution if they harm Torrie and also speaks on cheese.
Benoit tapes his hands.
WCW World Title Tournament First Round: Konnan vs. Kidman
Time for a stable battle. Konnan takes over quickly and snapmares Kidman down, setting up a basement dropkick. That's not cool with Kidman and they slug it out until Konnan hits the rolling clothesline. The X Factor is countered with a BK Bomb for two but the referee is bumped, as per Russo requirement. Cue Harlem Heat to lay out both guys with finishers, though Stevie doesn't actually go off his feet on the Slap Jack. Mysterio and Guerrero try to make a save but Kidman rolls over onto Konnan to advance. This looked like a back door out of having partners fight, but more than likely Russo had no idea what he booked.
Eddie has to calm Konnan and Kidman down post match. Konnan agrees and wants a Tag Team Title shot tonight against “these two mark punk busters.”
The Outsiders are wondering who they'll be facing in their big, and I'm sure totally serious, match. Maybe the Bushwhackers or the Kangaroos?
Quick look back at Bagwell being annoyed at having to job last week. Seriously, that appears to be the story they're going with.
Here's Bagwell for a chat. He's going to start breaking all the rules and doesn't care about all the sacred things in this business. Last week was the last time he'll do a job (oh here we go) for the two idiots in the back writing this nonsense. Cue the Harris Brothers in the soon to be named Creative Control gimmick to beat Bagwell down. This would be the worked part after the real stuff you heard from Buff. There are a lot of problems with this, but if you don't know what a job is in wrestling terms, doesn't it sound like Bagwell just quit?
Dean Malenko vs. Chris Benoit
Last man standing for reasons that aren't really explained and both guys are in street clothes. They slug it out to start and tumble out to the floor with Benoit being sent into the barricade over and over. That goes nowhere so they get back inside, only to have Benoit crotch Malenko against the post. That's not something Benoit would normally do.
Chris chops away in the corner before a belly to back suplex sends Malenko down. They're both up at six so Benoit rolls some Germans, only to get kicked low. Dean tosses him over the top and out to the floor for more whips into the barricade. Back in and Benoit suplexes him down again for a short count before a double clothesline puts both guys down but only Benoit beats the count.
Rating: C-. This is Vince Russo in a nutshell: a last man standing match announced with maybe half an hour notice that gets seven minutes and ends with a clothesline because we need to get on to all the other AMAZING things he has planned for us, like three minute nothing matches. How did adding a gimmick to this match help? Benoit and Malenko can have a good match with each other in their sleep but they have to add in a last man standing gimmick for the sake of adding one in, thereby making it look like a less important gimmick going forward. Well done in just seven minutes.
Post match the Filthy Animals come out but Douglas (with his arm in a cast) and Saturn show up on stage with Asya holding Torrie. Shane babbles about hurting Torrie and Dean is allowed to leave. The Animals chase after him and get to the parking lot where both groups speed away. I guess this is action adventure or something? Also, no explanation for why Malenko did what he did last night. I'm not expecting any reason after this point.
WCW World Title Tournament First Round: Sting vs. Brian Knobs
Two ball bat shots to the chest for the pin in thirteen seconds. Yeah that's going to keep Sting a heel. To recap, the brackets said Sting vs. Knobbs, Tony said Sting vs. Morrus, Sting actually fought Knobbs. Conclusion: Tony Schiavone is incompetent.
The Outsiders talk strategy for later.
Bret Hart has a hairline fracture but is going to fight Goldberg anyway.
Tag Team Titles: Harlem Heat vs. Kidman/Konnan
Harlem Heat is defending. Stevie hammers Konnan down to start and stomps Kidman on the apron. All hail King Stevie. More pounding ensues until Konnan clotheslines both champs down for a breather. Off to Kidman but he eats a clothesline as well to give Stevie control again. It's quickly back to Konnan with Booker taking over with right hands and a side slam. The champs start double teaming Konnan as I guess they're heels tonight, despite the fans being all over the Animals earlier in the night.
Stevie knees him down and cranks on an armbar. Back to Booker who misses the ax kick, allowing the hot tag to Kidman. A quick Dudley Dog staggers Booker but Stevie comes back in to set up a Hart Attack with a Harlem Side Kick instead of a clothesline. Konnan gets back up and goes after Booker, allowing Kidman to load up another Dudley Dog, only to have Stevie counter with a bridging belly to back suplex, but Kidman raises his shoulder for the pin and the titles.
Rating: D+. Well that happened. Was there any reason to not just give Kidman and Konnan the belts last night? Other than a “shocking” title change that is? The match was nothing to see, again mainly due to time, even though this was one of the longer matches of the night at just over five minutes. Sign of the Russo times: that's the third title change, not counting the belts being vacated, in eight days.
Goldberg says he's always been brutal and the match with Sid was just showing that side.
WCW World Title Tournament First Round: Diamond Dallas Page vs. David Flair
Kimberly grabs the mic and starts up the catchphrases in that great acting voice of hers. Page wants Flair out of the ring and grabs him by the neck before kissing him on the cheek. He makes the mistake of turning his back on the crazy man though, allowing David to get in some crowbar shots. Kimberly gets in to call David off and he leaves as Page is looked at by medics. No match.
Outsiders vs. ???
The Outsiders are in street clothes. Cue the Harris Brothers.....who step aside so a bunch of porn chicks can come out, one of which appears to be smuggling basketballs in her shirt. The bell rings and my goodness they're actually doing this. Tony: “The Powers that Be are looking for ratings and they're going to get them!”
Hall starts with the blonde but doesn't know where to put his hands. She headlocks him into her chest and this is dying before my eyes. More “comedy” ensues and Hall does the Flair Flop, earning him a spank. The fans clap for the hot tag and Nash is all fired up for the other blonde. He gets the laughably enhanced brunette but both Outsiders lay down for a double pin. You think I'm rating this?
Goldberg comes out to clean house before the brunette can take her top off.
US Title/WCW World Title Tournament First Round: Goldberg vs. Bret Hart
This is for Goldberg's US Title for no apparent reason. Bret limps down to the ring because of the leg injury over the last few weeks. Goldberg takes him into the corner and gives a clean break. Instead it's the gorilla press into a powerslam to plant Bret but Goldberg doesn't want to follow up.
A leg lock has Bret in trouble but he's right next to the ropes. Bret gets dropped again as this is coming off like an angle instead of a match. Goldberg stomps away in the corner and pulls Bret out by the leg. Another leg lock makes Bret scream so Goldberg lets go and demands that the referee stop it. Bret says keep going so Goldberg throws him back to the mat.
Goldberg charges into the good foot in the corner and Bret puts on a sleeper. That goes as well as you would expect with Goldberg throwing Bret onto the referee. Hart is thrown outside so cue the Outsiders and Sid (in his gear due to reasons of insanity) to lay Goldberg out. Somehow the referee looks at this and doesn't call for a DQ, allowing Bret to crawl back inside for the pin, even though Goldberg was sitting up when Hart got back in.
Rating: D+. This was kind of a mess but not as bad as it could have been, again due to having more time (nearly EIGHT minutes!). However, it does make the events of last night seem like a big waste of time. Was there any reason to have Luger make Bret give up if Bret is winning the US Title here? Or to have Goldberg win two titles in one night and then lose both twenty four hours later? What a mess, but this was one of the less messy messes of the night. Also, this is another potential Starrcade main event thrown away for free on TV. Yeah there would be a rematch, but this wasn't really making me want to see them again.
Here are the updated brackets for the first half of the tournament.
Diamond Dallas Page/David Flair (no winner so it's not clear)
What a glorious set of options.
Overall Rating: F. When the best things I can think of on a show are Torrie and Kimberly looking good, you can tell it's been a waste of three hours. The title matches ranged from a series of quick ways out of having a match to adding angles to matches so Russo can cram every single thing he can think of into the show. It's been said that Russo wants nothing to do with wrestling and that was never more clear than here.
One thing he does love though is the Filthy Animals, who were all over this show. Their story made sense for the most part, but it's very clear that the audience is already having problems with who they're supposed to cheer for. That's the shades of gray idea that Russo likes to use, which still doesn't seem to work 90% of the time.
This was a huge mess with WAY too much stuff going on to keep track of anything. I watched this show over the span of about twenty four hours and I'm struggling to remember half of what happened on it. None of the things you see has the chance to stick with you because they have to get on to the next idea. There was a line from HHH when he was on Austin's podcast that would really serve Russo well: there's always next week. It's ok to let something play out on one show and do something next week (or on Thunder to make that show actually mean something for a change).
Here's the thing: yeah the WWF is pretty lame right now with all the sports entertainment nonsense, at least it made sense and had the charisma to carry things through. This show feels like someone watched Raw and said “I CAN DO THAT!” and got a job running a wrestling comp......oh dear goodness that's pretty much what happened isn't it? Maybe this is Russo getting his first ideas out of the way early and it'll get better later, but for now though, the Russo Era is terrifying.
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