Monday Nitro #222
Date: January 10, 2000
Location: Marine Midland Arena, Buffalo, New York
Commentators: Tony Schiavone, Bobby Heenan, Mike Tenay
Reviewed by Tommy Hall
How can this already be the last Nitro before Souled Out? With all the nonsense that goes on around here these days, it's very hard to keep up with the time frame. It doesn't help that they keep changing things around as Russo continues to lose influence. Oddly enough that loss has power has coincided with my headaches subsiding after these shows. Let's get to it.
We open with a recap of Terry Funk getting beaten up over and over by the NWO. Suddenly Ric Flair is the smartest man in wrestling.
Terry Funk, Larry Zbyszko, Arn Anderson and Paul Orndorff arrive. This is really their big solution to Goldberg's injury? A lineup of wrestlers who were veterans eight years earlier?
Tag Team Titles: Dean Malenko/Perry Saturn vs. Kidman/Konnan vs. David Flair/Crowbar
Flair and Crowbar are defending. Falls count anywhere, likely due to this being close to ECW territory. The Animals and Revolution start brawling before the champions get out here so David and Crowbar are late to the fight. With Shane sitting in on commentary and demanding to only be referred to as the Franchise, Crowbar lays Kidman out with a sitout gordbuster.
It's time to get the weapons and they might as well start piping in the ECW chants already. Flair and Crowbar take over with their weapons as the Revolution destroys Rey in the aisle. In the insanity, Douglas and Malenko put Mysterio on a table so Saturn can channel his inner New Jack for a splash from the balcony. Saturn is broken in half (though nowhere near as badly as Rey) so David comes over and pins him to retain.
Rating: E. I think you know what that stands for. Let's see: no wrestling in sight, a bunch of weapons, falls count anywhere, a huge dive out of the balcony through someone on a table. As usual, WCW has no idea what it's trying to be so it just rips off another promotion's ideas step for step.
Tony tells us that Terry Funk is booking the show on the fly tonight so they have no idea what the matches will be. I actually kind of like the idea as they often make matches throughout the night so why not just admit that you're doing it?
Recap of Harlem Heat splitting. That would be the 2000 split in case you're confused with all the other splits they've had over the years.
The NWO gives Scott Steiner some women of questionable character for a birthday present.
We look back at the ending to the opener. Mysterio leaves in an ambulance, along with the Animals.
Steiner goes into a room with three of the women, promising the rest will have a turn later.
Here's Oklahoma to continue his anti-woman crusade. Oh geez can we go back to the New Jack imitations? He insults women and wants them all to stay in the kitchen where they belong, except for an open challenge right now.
Oklahoma vs. Asya
Well who else was it going to be? She shoves him down and knocks off his hat so Oklahoma nails her from behind, knocking it out to the floor. Asya slams him down and here's Madusa, with blue hair, as Oklahoma nails Asya with a bottle of barbecue sauce. Madusa takes a broom to the head and Oklahoma takes the belt.
Juventud Guerrera, Psychosis, Kidman, Rey Mysterio, Dean Malenko, Lenny Lane, La Parka. There's no reason I'm listing these names off. They just happened to come to my mind.
Here are Funk, Zbyszko, Anderson and Orndorff with something to say. Funk says Nash's powerbomb on Thunder is nowhere near enough and he pulled these three men off the unemployment line to help him fight this battle. They're the Old Age Outlaws (egads) but they're more than young enough to take care of the NWO.
Arn talks about wanting to get some revenge the old fashioned way, Zbyszko bores the crowd by talking about tradition and Orndorff talks about the talent from the Power Plant that he helped train. Why the Power Plant guys aren't in this spot isn't exactly clear. It's also not clear why this story continues as the crowd is eerily silent.
Cue the NWO to make the obvious old jokes. Nash is looking forward to being the Commissioner on Sunday but Funk says he's still in charge tonight. Like for instance, tonight Jarrett, in a Tennessee Titans jersey for some cheap heat, is going to be in three matches: a regular match, a Bunkhouse Brawl and a cage match. The title won't be on the line or anything, but I guess that's out of respect for Benoit. Speaking of Benoit, he'll be refereeing all three matches, which will be against some of Funk's close friends.
As for the rest of the NWO, Hart will defend against Nash and if they don't fight, both guys are suspended for a year. Hart and Nash don't mind the threat and say they'll take the year off. You know, because they don't care about wrestling. Steiner swears a lot, but since he isn't cleared to wrestle, Funk is going to wash his mouth out with soap.
Let's stop and take a look at this for a bit. Here's what we have in this story:
Bret Hart – Debuted in the WWF in 1985, fifteen year veteran on the national stage
Kevin Nash – Debuted in WCW in 1990, ten year veteran on the national stage
Scott Steiner – Debuted in WCW in 1989, eleven year veteran on the national stage
Jeff Jarrett – Debuted in the WWF in 1993, seven year veteran on the national stage
Now let's look at the old guys.
Old Age Outlaws
Terry Funk – 54, debuted in 1965, lost the NWA World Title twenty five years ago
Arn Anderson – 41, debuted in 1982, retired as a regular wrestled three years ago
Paul Orndorff – 50, debuted in 1976, retired as a regular wrestler four years ago, hit his peak thirteen years ago
Larry Zbyszko – 48, debuted in 1973, retired as a regular wrestler five years ago, hit his peak twenty years ago
So we have Terry Funk as the only active wrestler, with Larry Zbyszko probably being the healthiest as he retired from active competition in 1994 and has wrestled three matches since. Anderson and Orndorff can't wrestle and Zbyszko didn't, so we're left with Terry Funk, who first retired in 1983, fighting the entire NWO. This is their main event storyline with Benoit as the young guy fighting the midcard champion instead of fighting for the World Title.
How is this supposed to appeal to younger fans? I get how the older generation would appeal to older fans or really big time fans, but even they can only hang with this for so long. The younger fans though see these old guys hogging the spots that the younger guys should be having.
Orndorff mentioned training eight people at the Power Plant. Why not bring them up? You have one of the best talkers of all time in Arn Anderson and two very good talkers in Funk and Orndorff. What WCW needed was a fresh batch of main event talent. You might even say they need a revolution to take over that part of the card.
Instead, guys like Benoit, Malenko, Saturn and Douglas are busy chasing Janitor Jim Duggan around and trying to make him denounce America because they view themselves as a sovereign nation and hate this country while Oklahoma is chasing the Cruiserweight Title and a freakshow tag team like David Flair and Crowbar holding the Tag Team Titles because David is nuts after something about his dad sleeping with Kimberly. Booker T. on the other hand is busy splitting up with Stevie Ray again.
There is no one to cheer for right now and the best solution is to bring in people who used to be over and have them give the rub to....themselves. Yeah Benoit is around and they mentioned him, but you don't see them working together or helping each other out because the solution is to just have them talk about tradition, much like Vince McMahon did in the early days of his war against Steve Austin. That's WCW's big solution to get people to cheer: act like one of the greatest heel characters of all time against the cool heels. It's like they're taking every possible bad idea and running with it.
Post break, Funk tells Arn to go find someone.
Arn looks into a limo but finds Kimberly instead of whomever he was looking for.
Video on Page vs. Bagwell.
Gene calls out Page and Bagwell but the control room can be heard telling him that they need a bit more because the intro didn't go long enough. Is that some massive rib that I just don't get? That stuff only started when Russo arrived and I have no idea how it's supposed to be interesting or how the production team could possibly be that inept. Anyway, Gene asks them to be civil for five minutes and we have a countdown clock on the screen.
They talk a lot of trash and Buff insists he and Kimberly are just friends. Apparently Buff and Kimberly have great sexual chemistry (Buff's words) but Page has been hearing that Buff has been telling the boys that Kimberly has a sexy birthmark. That's for Page's eyes only, but Buff says everyone has seen it. That earns him a right hand to the jaw so Buff pulls out a police baton that he just happened to have with him. So much for the countdown clock.
Nash and Bret insist that they won't sit down. I'm sure there won't be a swerve whatsoever.
Arn finds another car.
Jeff Jarrett vs. ???
Benoit is guest referee and this is a Bunkhouse Brawl because this show can't remember the match order Funk made fifteen minutes ago. The mystery opponent is.....George Steele, age 61 and with five nationally televised matches since 1988. Steele brings weapons to the ring and swings away to keep Jeff from getting in. George stops to eat a turnbuckle but gets guitared in the head. Not that it matters as Arn Anderson comes in and plants Jeff with a spinebuster to give George the pin. As in a single spinebuster is enough to pin the United States Champion. Benoit served no purpose here.
After a break, Jarrett tells Nash to throw Hart off the team.
Here's Stevie Ray to tell Gene to leave so he can do the interview himself. He talks about the history of the team and how Booker won the TV Title because that's all WCW wanted him to have (huh?). Stevie wants to fight his brother one on one on Sunday because the show is already named after Booker. This brings out Booker and Midnight with Booker saying he'll never fight his brother. That earns him a slap to the face and Booker agrees to the match.
Arn goes to another car. I'm assuming these are Jarrett's opponents.
Jeff Jarrett vs. ???
It's Tito Santana, a spry 46 here and just six and a half years from wrestling on a major national stage, in El Matador gear. This is a Dungeon Match, meaning it's pin, submission or your opponent leaving the ring. Jeff beats up Orndorff on the way to the ring and mocks the Buffalo Bills.
Tito takes over to start with a nice dropkick and the flying forearm before going after the knee. Jeff kicks him away and Tito has to try three times to jump over the top rope to the apron. I love Santana but this is just pitiful. Benoit and Jarrett argue before Jeff nails Santana with the Stroke, only to stop to argue with one of the Bills. The distraction lets Orndorff hit the piledriver (great looking one too) to give Tito the pin.
Here's Tank Abbott to call out Doug Dillinger. ARE YOU SERIOUS??? It's bad enough that we have to put up with this goon who Russo loves for no apparent reason but now we get the big showdown with the head of security? Abbott tells Dillinger to take a shot, Doug does, Tank drops him and Jerry Flynn comes out for the save.
I'm sure you already know the story of what's going to happen to the World Title situation in the next few days. Tank Abbott was Russo's big idea to get the World Title, straight off a feud with Doug Dillinger and Jerry Flynn. Putting Rick Steiner over Ric Flair back in 1988 looks BRILLIANT now.
Jimmy Snuka arrives. To save some space in the match, 56 here and other than a one off appearance at Survivor Series 1996, last appeared with a major national promotion (ECW was still regional during his run) in 1991. The youngest opponent for Jarrett tonight is a 46 year old who hadn't wrestled in the WWF or WCW since 1993. The Revolution, the Filthy Animals, Booker, and any other young and talented wrestler aren't important enough for this story.
Benoit is out cold in the back.
Jeff Jarrett vs. Jimmy Snuka
In a cage. Jeff hammers away to start and sends Snuka into the cage a few times. Cue referee Benoit but Jarrett shoves him away from the cage door. That earns Jarrett some chops and a whip into the cage but Jeff sends him into the buckle. Jeff goes outside and gets the guitar but Zbyszko and Orndorff come in to clean house. Snuka and Benoit go up to the top of the cage for a Superfly Splash and swan dive, giving Jimmy the pin.
Rating: N/A. This was a segment disguised as a match and yeah the dives looked cool, but Jeff's concussion wasn't so great. This would knock him out of the US Title match on Sunday, but at least we got three WWF legends out there in their old territory so Russo could relive his childhood. Having the US Champion lose three times in one night to three guys who won't be there next week while getting beaten up by a bunch of guys who can't/won't wrestle a match is just the price you pay for Russo's entertainment.
WCW World Title: Kevin Nash vs. Bret Hart
Bret is defending, but first of all we have to cut to the back where Funk actually does wash Steiner's mouth out with soap. How Zbyszko and Orndorff managed to restrain Steiner isn't clear. I'm so glad we got to see this segment. It just made the entire show. Bret is in an NWO shirt, tennis shoes and jean shorts. And he's known for five moves? Dang who knew Cena stole so much from Bret?
Nash goes after him to start and drives knees in the corner but Bret comes back with right hands. This is already one of the longest matches Nash has had in weeks. A lot of choking ensues until Bret gets in a kick to the leg. Snake Eyes stops him again for two but a low blow puts Nash down again. Bret misses the middle rope elbow and both guys are down. The side slam plants Bret and Nash bails to the floor for a chair. Cue Arn with a steel pipe and a referee shirt to nail Nash in the back, which I think means a no contest.
Rating: D+. And that's it for Bret as his concussions were so severe that he wouldn't wrestle another match for over ten years. In true Bret fashion though, he carried Nash to a watchable match and worked at the leg a bit before the non-finish. This actually wasn't terrible and was by far the longest main event in a few weeks.
Post match here's Sid (remember him?) as the cage is lowered. Bret is planted with a chokeslam and powerbomb so Arn can do a fast three count. Funk comes out with a flaming branding iron to burn Nash right on the singlet to end the show.
Overall Rating: F. This show comes down to how do you like your bad booking. You can have total insane booking that makes absolutely no sense and goes so far off the rails that you forget you're watching a wrestling show, or you can have the booking that appeals to the over 50 audience without a good payoff and the US Champion getting pinned three times in an hour and a half.
This show didn't make me want to see Souled Out, as the majority of this episode was to build up two stories for Sunday, one of which will comprise three matches. The fact that it's going to be two out of three falls wasn't mentioned, but why should a little detail like that get in the way of seeing the US Champion lose three falls in a night? This company is in a creative free fall at the moment, but they seem to think they're going the right way and everyone else is crazy.
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