Monday Nitro #217
Date: December 6, 1999
Location: Milwaukee Arena, Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Commentators: Tony Schiavone, Bobby Heenan
Reviewed by Tommy Hall
The big question this week is can WCW somehow manage to make the shows even less coherent than they already have. Last week's show had its moments, but for the most part it was all over the place to the point where I can barely remember what happened just a week later. Starrcade is thirteen days away and we've barely touched on the card. We actually have a title match announced from Thunder as Bret will defend against Luger. Let's get to it.
We open with Gene bringing out Jeff Jarrett for an interview. Jeff doesn't need Slapnuts Okerlund and will do the interview himself. Jarrett also doesn't need the Powers That Be or the Outsiders but he does need the WCW World Title. The fans start swearing at him and the attempted beeping out is laughably awful. He wants to get rid of Dustin Rhodes for screwing up his destiny and he'll do it in a Bunkhouse Stampede match at Starrcade.
This brings him to Mike Tenay, who won't come near him anymore. Jeff threatens Gene with a guitar shot but Tenay comes out and says he'll take matters into his own hands. Jeff doesn't care and puts Tenay in the Figure Four until Goldberg runs in for the save. Hopefully that ends the Tenay angle but I doubt it does.
The Mamalukes and Tony Marinara arrive with Tony yelling at them for letting Disco and Lash get the better of them. Tonight, they meet the boss.
Curt Hennig brings Curly Bill in to see Russo with a new gimmick in mind: Shane. Russo says it's as bad as Vincent but at least he's thinking. Shane is hired. Hey, I'm not sure if you knew this, but there are people named Vince and Shane in the WWF. It's not clear why mentioning them is supposed to be amusing or entertaining, but those people do in fact exist. Rhonda Singh comes in and asks for an opportunity.
Fit Finlay has Brian Knobbs in the woods, training him to be a REAL hardcore wrestler. This has potential, but Norman would be far more entertaining.
Hardcore Title: Norman Smiley vs. Rhonda Singh
What is the deal with Russo having men fight women? It happens almost every week. Before the match, Smiley says he would take Finlay apart if he was here tonight. The fat jokes begin as Singh throws weapons into the ring and nails Norman with a trashcan. She tells him to be a man and hits another trashcan shot, followed by a splash in the corner. Norman comes back with a fire extinguisher blast and sends Singh face first through a table in the corner to retain.
Rating: F. I feel sorry for women who sign up with WCW, thinking they might be able to do something serious on the show. Instead, they're there so Russo can either have them treated as sex objects or there to be fat and stupid. As usual, this show is Russo's playground and the idea of it being anything resembling a wrestling show is purely coincidental.
Maestro is complaining that his piano is out of tune. He looks inside so David Flair can come up, slam the lid on his head, and kidnap Symphony. This is the stupid stuff that is dragging this show down. We've spent about a month explaining that David Flair is a psycho who keeps kidnapping/stalking women, and NO ONE HAS DONE ANYTHING ABOUT IT. On top of that, this doesn't seem to be leading to a match or any kind of storyline resolution, but it keeps happening week after week like a bad TV show. If it sets up a match then fine, but stop wasting my time otherwise.
Psychosis and La Parka are in Russo's office. Apparently Juvy has hurt his arm and can't defend the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Title in his rematch against Liger tonight. One of the two of them will take Juvy's place, and it's going to be whoever gets out of the office first. Psychosis nails Parka and leaves first. This is what Vince Russo thinks of cruiserweights.
Luger comes up to Liz's door with champagne and says this is the night that defines their careers.
Disco and Lash invade Marinara's dressing room with promises of pizza.
IWGP Junior Heavyweight Title: Psychosis vs. Jushin Thunder Liger
This is the second time in a year that Psychosis is defending a title he didn't win. Feeling out process to start with Liger taking over with a headscissors. A backdrop sends Psychosis to the floor but let's stop to look at Buzzkill in the crowd. Liger nails a plancha but Psychosis snaps his throat across the top for a breather.
Psychosis hits a missile dropkick for two and yells at Charles Robinson for the near fall. Back to the floor with Liger being whipped into the barricade, setting up a top rope hurricanrana to give Psychosis two back inside. A quick Liger Kick stuns Psychosis and Liger throws him into the ropes for a crash. Out of nowhere, a majistral cradle gives Liger the title back.
Rating: C. The fans didn't care, but a lot of that is likely due to most of them not being familiar with Liger or the title. Both Liger and the title have been thrown out there two weeks in a row with no real explanation of who they are or why they're here. I'm sure some fans remember Liger from his occasional appearances, but the majority seem to think of him as just another guy fighting for a title that isn't the Cruiserweight belt.
La Parka chairs Psychosis post match to make sure Liger gets zero focus.
The Nitro Girls play cards when the Mamalukes come in and make it a strip poker game.
Liz will have nothing to do with Luger's apologies.
Maestro looks for Symphony.
Gene keeps staring at Mona's chest, prompting Mona to say she's more than T&A, unlike Madusa.
Evan Karagias vs. Mona vs. Madusa
If either girl wins, they get a title shot at Evan at Starrcade. If Evan wins, he gets Starrcade off. The girls shove Evan away and go at it themselves with Madusa kicking her in the face for two. Evan sits in on commentary because EVERY MATCH NEEDS COMMENTARY. Mona comes back with a cross body and missile dropkick but Evan throws her down, only to get small packaged by Madusa for the pin in like 80 seconds.
Jeff Jarrett comes out and guitars Madusa because men beating up women is funny right? He challenges Goldberg for later.
Lash and Disco have tied Tony up and promise him a surprise.
Liz pours champagne on Luger's head.
Maestro is still looking for Symphony and doesn't notice when he walks past David.
Vampiro and Jerry Only are going to take out Dr. Death tonight.
Oklahoma/Steve Williams vs. Vampiro/Jerry Only
Oklahoma has a wireless mic on, no shirt, and is going to call the match as he starts with Vampiro. To the shock of no one, Oklahoma runs away from the threat of violence and tags in Dr. Death for some three point tackles. We hit the spinning toehold before it's back to Oklahoma, who can't do the same hold. Vampiro comes back with a kick to the head, which makes me smile far more than it should.
Off to Williams vs. Only with Jerry getting caught in the running press slam. Oklahoma gets in a chair shot to Jerry as Williams hits the Stampede but pulls Vampiro up. That goes well for Vampiro as he superkicks Williams down, only to have Oklahoma nail him with a boot. Williams clotheslines Vampiro down and it's off to Oklahoma for a bottom rope elbow and the pin.
Rating: F. The unfunny parody beats the wrestler the fans want to see in a match where the musician doesn't have to look bad. It's another case of WCW having no idea how their priorities should work and the show being about making the writers laugh instead of delivering what the fans might want to see.
The Nitro Girls cheat to beat the Mamalukes in the poker game.
Disco and Lash get ready to tar and feather Marinara. In the middle, Disco draws what looks to be a Hitler mustache on Tony.
The Outsiders are ready for their matches tonight.
WCW World Title: Bret Hart vs. Total Package
This is the opener of the second hour because the REAL main events are still to come. The champ jumps Luger during the removal of the pants and takes the fight outside. Hart goes after the back and then the knee as we continue this brief resurrection of the old Bret Hart style. Luger goes after the eyes for an escape and here are Sting and Liz. Sting yells at Liz and asks who she's going to represent. The distraction lets Bret hit a quick Russian legsweep followed by the Sharpshooter to retain.
Rating: D. I love seeing Bret work the body parts like he did in the old days, but can we get a World Title match to close the show instead of giving it less time than the Oklahoma match? I'm sure I just don't get the appeal of the comedy stylings of Oklahoma and that I'm over thinking the importance of the WCW World Heavyweight Championship, which has been reduced to a plot point in the Sting vs. Luger feud.
Here's the Hennig/Shane/Singh segment from earlier. Not a repeat mind you, but the same segment which is presented like first run footage.
Russo offers La Parka the position of Chairman, meaning he's supposed to chair anyone that stands in front of Russo. Harlem Heat comes in and are given a title shot at Starrcade, but La Parka nails Booker with a chair and Creative Control comes in for the beatdown.
Roddy Piper is here. Tonight he's refereeing Creative Control vs. Roddy Piper. That's not a typo.
David Flair talks to the voices in his head as Symphony wonders why she took this job.
Jerry Flynn issues an open challenge for the Block.
Asya vs. Midnight
These two might be the exception to Russo's horrible treatment of women. The Revolution is now in full black attire with Shane ranting about how people tell him he can't desecrate the flag. The fans' chants have to be censored again and it's another failure. Shane displays the Revolution flag and Saturn says they're like the Black Panthers. The far bigger Midnight attacks to start and gets two off a dropkick. Asya gets two off a suplex but gets caught in Ricky Steamboat's double chicken wing. A delayed vertical suplex gets two for Midnight but the Revolution comes in for the quick no contest.
Jim Duggan comes out for the save but gets beaten down and covered with the Revolution flag.
Larry Zbyszko talks to Mike Graham about an upcoming meeting with Russo and company.
We get the return of the Nitro Party tapes, but this one includes a “fan” (soon to be known as Daffney), saying that David Flair is really cool.
Creative Control vs. Roddy Piper
Piper is guest referee. Before the match, they have to do everything he says. Why don't they have to do everything he says during the match as well? Or am I looking too deeply into this. Piper pats them both down and grabs one's crotch (Piper: “I'm having a ball!”). This is an I Quit match, so the first rule is you win by making someone say they quit. The second rule is a kick between one of the twins' legs, followed by the bell ringing.
Piper's hand lock has no effect so the twins hit a pair of double gutbusters. Piper won't give up so they load up a spike piledriver, drawing out Goldberg for the save. He botches the Jackhammer as Piper chokes the other one with a tie to win. So Bryan stole it from Piper? Also, nice job of having the Tag Team Champions lose.
Tony Marinara is tarred and feathered. He offers threats of his father.
The Mamalukes offer a winner take all hand in the poker game.
Maestro finds Symphony's shoe.
Dustin Rhodes vs. Meng
Meng vs. Smiley for the Hardcore Title is announced for Starrcade. I'll skip Meng no selling the offense and get to the meat of the “match”: Jarrett runs in, Meng is sent to the floor, Outsiders run in, Meng no sells a guitar shot, Nash kicks Meng to the floor and powerbombs Rhodes. This has been another non-match.
Larry is in Russo's office. Russo: “Why does Thunder suck now?” Well at least someone finally said it. Larry blames it on the lack of A-list stars on the show, so Russo says they'll be there from now on. He's firing the announcer though. This makes Larry insult Hennig because the script says he should, setting up a loser leaves town match for later with Zbyszko vs. Hennig. If Larry wins, Russo is gone but if Curt wins, Larry is gone.
Prince Iaukea is now dressed as the Artist Formerly Known As Prince.
Curt Hennig vs. Larry Zbyzsko
Larry comes out to the Nitro theme but Hennig has Shane with him. This is quite the showdown. Larry starts (on time!) with his basic wrestling stuff and gets two off a swinging neckbreaker. The referee goes down and Hennig starts a comeback (a minute and a half into the match) with knee lifts and an abdominal stretch. Larry counters the PerfectPlex into his guillotine choke but Shane makes the save. Cue Arn Anderson to lay out both bad guys (I guess that's the closest thing we'll get to an Enforcers reunion), giving Larry the surprise pin.
Rating: O. For oh of course it's not going to stand. The match was nothing to see of course but that's what you have to expect these days. The only other note here: people often forget Larry's age. He turned 46 the day before this match and was still in good shape so it wasn't the biggest stretch. It's weird to think of him in his mid 40s when he was the old veteran during the NWO's heyday.
Creative Control comes out and shows Robinson the replay so the finish is reversed, meaning Larry is gone.
Disco and Lash put an apple in Marinara's mouth. The Mamalukes see this, throw on their clothes, and go after them.
Chris Benoit vs. Kevin Nash
Hall, carrying a ladder, comes out with Nash and sits in on commentary. Nash takes Benoit into the corner to start and elbows him in the head. As Nash walks around, Hall sits on top of the ladder for a better view. Benoit stomps him down in the corner and cannonballs onto Nash's leg. They head to the floor with Nash no selling the leg work and sending Benoit into the steps. Back in and the side slam gets two for Nash (Hall: “SUCK ON THAT BENOIT!”) but Chris dropkicks the knee out and cranks on the leg.
Benoit slugs away in the corner but charges into a boot to the face. There go the straps and Hall gets off the ladder, only to see Benoit slap on the Crossface. Hall decks the referee and throws in the ladder but Benoit dropkicks it into Nash's face. A cross body off the ladder puts Hall down and Benoit hammers away until Nash gets up with the Jackknife. Hall loads up the Edge onto the ladder until Sid comes out to make the save. No contest.
Rating: C-. I liked this better than I was expecting to. Nash is underrated as a big power guy as he can make his offense look damaging while also having someone like Benoit break him down. This wasn't a great match and of course got bogged down by all the nonsense, but I had a better time with it than I was expecting to.
Sting tells the Outsiders to bring it.
Here are the Mamalukes to call out Disco and Lash but gets the girls from the club last week. Vito rants about how he didn't want to sleep with them, but Disco and Lash sneak up on them and attack. This brings out the tarred and feathered Tony Marinara to nail them with a pipe, allowing the Mamalukes to take them away.
The Mamalukes throw Disco and Lash into a car but the car drives off without them. What
is Russo's obsession with this story? It gets as much airtime as anything else on the show.
Maestro staggers into the boiler room to find Symphony but gets beaten up by Jerry Flynn. So Jerry is the modern day Mankind? Jerry goes to a door, finds David and Symphony, and eats a crowbar to the face.
Nick Patrick says everyone is banned from ringside unless they have business out there because it's time for the referees to take power back. Normally I would complain about aline like that but a lot more structure around here would be an incredibly welcome sight.
Liz has a contract in her hands.
Scott Hall vs. Sting
Non-title, which might have something to do with Hall not bringing the belt with him. Liz comes out with Sting and Nash jumps in on commentary. Hall finds the toothpick throw hilarious but Sting would rather hit him in the face to take over. They quickly head outside with Nash choking Sting with a cord, allowing Hall to get in some cheap shots.
Back in and we hit the abdominal stretch on Sting, followed by a sleeper so neither guy has to do much other than stand there. A belly to back suplex finally gets Sting out and he slugs away, including ten punches in the corner. Sting gets all the way up to twenty but Scott pokes him in the eye for a breather. Liz gets on the apron to pepper spray Hall, setting up the Deathlock for the submission.
Rating: D. I guess it helps that Hall didn't lose clean, but maybe you could like, not have a champion lose on TV. It was nice to have something resembling a clean match until the ending, which felt tacked on, but somehow that's an upgrade in the Russo era. To be fair though, at least the title doesn't mean anything these days anyway so it can't be hurt too badly.
Here's David Flair to his dad's music and holding Symphony by the hair. Maestro has ten seconds to come out here and get her, but here's Page instead. A crowbar shot misses and Page lays him out with a Diamond Cutter before telling the Powers That Be to make this a pay per view match. Oh and contrary to rumors, he's NOT going to the WWF because he's loyal to what brought him here. Thanks for that totally unnecessary name drop, but to be fair they are closing the ratings gap. Last week they lost by 3.4 points and this week it would only be 3 even, meaning Raw doubled Nitro up. Page calls out Sid and their match is on.
Sid Vicious vs. Diamond Dallas Page
Sid shoves him out to the floor to start and drops Page throat first across the barricade. Back in and Page grabs a quick neckbreaker but Sid launches him off at two. A top rope clothesline puts Sid down again but he breaks up the Diamond Cutter by, say it with me, knocking Page into the referee. There's the powerbomb to Page but the Outsiders run in for the beatdown. This brings out Benoit to help fight back but Jeff Jarrett comes in for the save until Bret Hart runs in to make it even. Page walks out and the match is a no contest because of course it is.
As everyone brawls, Nick Patrick grabs the mic and says the referees and security haven't been in charge all night so the main event can be a lumberjack match because they're out of here. So yeah, they're not even trying to call it wrestling anymore as there won't be any referees. It hasn't been a wrestling show in weeks so it's nice to see them finally confirm it.
Back from a break with the Outsiders, Jarrett and now Creative Control still destroying everyone until Goldberg comes out for the save. The four good guys stand tall and Jarrett says no way, so here's Roddy Piper to say he'll referee and everyone else can be lumberjacks. Jeff tries to leave again so the Green Bay Packers show up to stop him, allowing Dustin Rhodes to throw him back in.
Jeff Jarrett vs. Goldberg
A big shoulder gets two for Goldberg and he starts hammering Jeff in the face. Jeff tries to jump over him in the corner but gets caught in a powerslam as this is one sided so far. Jarrett rolls outside and gets beaten up by the lumberjacks. He rolls back inside and gets caught in an armbar, so it's right back to the lumberjacks. Everyone outside gets in a brawl so Jeff sneaks in a chair to take over behind Piper's back. A high cross body gets two for Jeff and it's time for the sleeper as the fight has finally calmed down.
Goldberg fights up and slams out of the sleeper because he's Goldberg and it was just a sleeper. Both guys collide and go down, which looks way off as you wouldn't expect Goldberg to go down off a Jeff Jarrett shoulder block. Piper counts to ten without anyone getting up and nothing changes as a result. Nash grabs Goldberg's foot to break up the spear and pulls him to the floor for a beatdown. In the melee, Bret brings the belt in and nails Jarrett (mostly off camera), setting up the Jackhammer for the pin.
Rating: D+. Well they tried. This match was the attempt to make Jeff Jarrett seem like a legitimate main event guy but it really didn't work. The insanity of the match held it down because we can't just have Goldberg and Jarrett have a match where Jeff outsmarts him before falling to the Jackhammer, but that might be asking for too much.
Overall Rating: D. This show was all over the place, as has become WCW's custom. First and foremost, what is with the obsession over the mafia story? That angle got more time than anything else all night with David Flair and the Maestro in second place. The wrestling was what you would expect from WCW with the longest match not even breaking eight minutes. There's stuff going on for sure, but you have to take notes to remember why people are doing what they're doing with only thirteen days left until Starrcade. Oh and Thunder sucks and is apparently going to be a plot point going forward. How nice.
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