Monday Nitro #95
Date: July 7, 1997
Location: Mid-South Coliseum, Memphis, Tennessee
Commentators: Mike Tenay, Tony Schiavone, Bobby Heenan, Larry Zbyszko
Reviewed by Tommy Hall
We're finally back to this series with the go home show for Bash at the Beach which is the final show before we get to something a little more interesting than celebrities in the main event. Tonight we have a pretty famous moment which is a cool building block for a feud. I won't spoil it for those of you unfamiliar with it so let's get to it.
We open with a recap of Sting cleaning house last week to end the show, as Hennig and Raven came to ringside as well.
Gene is here with Hennig to open things up. The fans boo Hennig for some reason. He says he'll be at Bash at the Beach and will be active in some capacity, but he won't say if he's Page's mystery partner or not. Hennig declares himself a free agent and here's Flair with some blonde. Flair is all fired up and says Hennig is here to join the Horsemen. Curt says he didn't say he's joining, although he seems intrigued by the offer.
Harlem Heat vs. Public Enemy
Booker and Grunge start but all four guys get in the ring for a staring contest before any contact is made. Booker pounds Johnny down in the corner and clotheslines him down for two. It's off to Rock who has a bit better luck as he pounds away on Booker's arm. That's about the extent of his luck though as Ray comes in and pounds away in the corner.
The Heat keep control and a side slam by Booker gets two. An elbow misses Rock and the tag brings in Grunge. Everything breaks down and here's Vincent of the NWO for no apparent reason. Sherri points him out to Booker which breaks up a Heat double team move. Booker goes after Vincent and Sherri accidentally pushes Rock into Stevie, giving Grunge a pin. It was about as messy as it sounds.
Rating: D. This was four minutes of punching and kicking before we got to the ending where things got more complicated than they needed to. Apparently Vincent had interfered in a Harlem Heat match on Saturday Night as well, so there's some kind of a story there which is better than some random attack I guess. The match sucked though.
Post match Harlem Heat yells at Sherri. Gene accidentally calls Vincent Virgil here. Booker says Sherri needs to get her act together or she's gone. Sherri quits instead.
Joe Gomez vs. Konnan
Raven is in the front row again. Konnan hammers away to start but Gomez comes back with his usual jobber offense. Tenay talks about Raven being ECW Champion without saying ECW. Konnan cranks away on the head and arm for awhile and hits the rolling clothesline for two. The Tequila Sunrise (kneeling arm trap half crab) ends Gomez pretty quickly.
Rating: D. Just a squash here and Gomez continues to be one of those guys that is always around but never really did anything. Konnan would be continuing his heel turn (I think?) in the next few months before finally joining the NWO just like almost every other heel on the roster would do.
Hector Garza/Juventud Guerrera vs. Villano IV/Villano V
Garza and I think #4 start things off here with Garza flying all over the place. The Villanos are a bit bigger so they're better as targets than guys flying through the air. Off to Juvy who speeds things up even more and hits a rana to send IV into the corner for the tag to V. Garza comes back in and gets caught in something like a Demolition Decapitation from the Villanos.
V drops a leg and it's back to IV for a clothesline. A powerslam gets two for IV but a double elbow misses. The non-brothers double team a bit and everything breaks down. We get a move we would call Poetry in Motion to both Villanos but IV catches Juvy in mid aid and slams him down for two.
Garza launches Juvy into a double dropkick and a sunset flip gets one for Guerrera. A double gutbuster slows Juvy down but Garza hits a backbreaker and moonsault for two. This is very fast paced stuff. Heel miscommunication sends the Villanos to the floor and there's the Corkscrew Plancha from Garza to take out IV. Juvy Driver and 450 get the pin on V back in the ring.
Rating: C+. Take four luchadores, give them five minutes, cover your ears so the fans don't hurt your ears with the cheering. This is one of those ideas that just works and didn't need a lot of work. These guys were all very talented and could impress the crowd by going out there and doing what they had been doing in Mexico for years. Standard lucha tag match here and it was fun stuff.
Liz, Macho and Hall invade the announce desk but Larry Z won't leave. They say they're going to take Page and whoever the mystery partner is very lightly because they're just too good. Just a quick promo to hype the tag match Sunday here. Hall throws his shirt at Larry and Zbyszko wants to fight. Nothing comes of it of course.
We get a video on Giant and Luger teaming up on Sunday. They're not sure if they can trust each other but they're going to.
Vicious and Delicious vs. Eddie Guerrero/Chavo Guerrero
It's Bagwell and Norton as the as the NWO B tag team. Before the match, a limo is seen arriving in the back. We take a break and come back to see Chavo vs. Buff starting things off. Buff is looking pretty roided up here and pounds away to start. Apparently Syxx and Nash aren't here, which Tony thinks is some kind of genius master plan. Yes, the master plan is to have LESS forces here while they're in a war. Keep that up Tony. We need thinking like that.
Off to Norton and Eddie makes a blind tag to missile dropkick him. Scott will have none of this falling down thing and suplexes both Guerreros down. Eddie doesn't seem to want to stay in despite being tagged so Bagwell slaps him into reality. Things speed up and Bagwell gets dropkicked down, only to come back with a hotshot to put Eddie down. Back to Norton who throws Eddie around by the throat. Larry: “He picked him up like a baby.” What kind of person picks up babies by the throat and throws them into a corner? Instead of commentating Larry needs to be filling out police reports for child abuse.
Eddie does that fast crawl on his knees across the ring to tag in Chavo so he can get beaten up for awhile. Bagwell jumps into a boot and Eddie doesn't seem interested in tagging back in. Now he walks away as Norton suplexes Chavo down for two. A quick rollup gets two on Bagwell but he walks into a wicked powerslam from Norton. Eddie yells at Chavo to get up from the stage as Norton picks Chavo up from a cover. Norton powerbombs Chavo down and holds him up for a Blockbuster which gets the pin.
Rating: C-. This was a more entertaining match which was helped because I like the Blockbuster a lot. Other than that, this was more about an angle instead of the match, which was really just a long squash. Vicious and Delicious never went anywhere but they were fine for matches like this one. More weak stuff on the show so far.
Hour #2 starts but Larry wants to watch the next match instead of letting Heenan sit down. Scratch that as we're going to have a four man booth for awhile.
La Parka vs. Randy Savage
We get a video of La Parka's chair usage of the last month. They trade armdrags to start and Heenan's headset doesn't work. A small package gets two for La Parka so Savage clotheslines him down. Hell walks to the announcers desk as Savage slams La Parka and loads up the elbow. La Parka gets his feet up, hits a Diamond Cutter on Savage and pins him. The mask comes off and it's Diamond Dallas Page, drawing a BIG pop from the crowd.
Rating: C. The match sucked, but this is one of those moments that people always remember from Nitro. Page vs. Savage was one of those feuds where they kept them apart long enough between the matches that you wanted to see them fight when you got the chance. This is called building a feud and unfortunately it's a lost art today.
Ernest Miller/Glacier vs. Silver King/Psychosis
Well it's not Wrath and Mortis at least. The bell rings and Glacier causes some lucha-miscommunication, but we cut to the back to see the Guerreros in a fight. Glacier and Psychosis are starting things off but before anything happens it's off to Miller for, wait for it, wait for it.....KICKING! King launches Psychosis at Miller but Psychosis' kick only grazes him. Everything breaks down and we get a lot of kicking. There's a leg lock to Psychosis by Miller but Silver King breaks it up. Psychosis kicks Miller down but a second one is countered into a powerbomb....and here are Mortis and Wrath for the fast DQ.
All three teams brawl for awhile.
Lee Marshall does his thing. In case you're not familiar with him after I reference him week after week, congratulations: you're now almost exactly like most old school wrestling fans. Marshall was a really bad commentator on the D level TV shows and that's about it.
Here's Flair with that blonde again. Flair brings out Piper, his opponent on Sunday. Actually, it's just a mannequin. Oh I don't see this ending well. Flair says Piper isn't the icon and the blonde (with the thickest country accent I've heard in years) asks why he's called Hot Rod. The real Piper comes up behind Flair as Flair goes on a big rant about Piper.
They head to the ring and Flair gets his clothes ripped off, revealing green boxers. The Horsemen come out for the save but Piper beats them all up. The Horsemen finally get him down and Benoit hits the longest Swan Dive I've ever seen. Someone comes in for a save as we go to a break. Even the announcers couldn't tell who he was.
Post break, of course we don't mention who the other guy was.
Raven still has nothing to say but Stevie Richards comes in to speak for Bird Boy. He calls himself Dancing Stevie Richards and tells Tenay to go “ask one of the Mexicans what their favorite movie is.” Richards asks Raven some questions but again gets no answers. Tenay gets shoved away.
Chris Benoit/Steve McMichael vs. Steiners
Apparently it was Jeff Jarrett in the ring. Good enough I guess. Steve and Scott start things off with Steiner immediately taking it to the mat. Mongo comes back with a powerslam but walks into a spinning belly to belly for two. Off to Rick vs. Benoit with Benoit going off on Steiner in the corner. Rick comes back with a release overhead belly to belly for two and grabs him on the mat.
Mongo comes in again and punches Rick a bit as the match slows down. Rick shoves him into the corner so Scott can beat on McMichael on the floor a bit. Savage is in the back beating up Nick Patrick and hurting his shoulder. What would a main event be without a cutaway to something in the back? Scott gorilla presses Benoit and puts him in an STF. Rick gets the tag and puts Benoit in an STF of his own.
Benoit comes back with a dragon screw legwhip and it's off to McMichael. Scott comes in and belly to belly superplexes Mongo down for two. Rick gets the hot (?) tag to clean house and everything breaks down. Jeff Jarrett runs out and beats up Mongo as Sullivan comes out with a chair to crack over Benoit's head. Rick sees what happened and steals the pin anyway.
Rating: C-. This was more along the lines of a way to build up Mongo and Benoit's singles matches on Sunday. The match was kind of a mess but it was a very physical mess which made things more interesting. When the Steiners started throwing people around it was always entertaining, as was Benoit suplexing everyone all over the place. Not a terrible match but it was messy.
Here are Hogan and Bischoff to close the show. Bischoff talks about seeing Luger on Regis and Kathy Lee this morning and how after Sunday, no one is going to want to see him again. This is a really basic interview until Luger and Giant chase them off to end the show. The NWO comes in and Luger puts Bischoff in the Rack with Giant running interference.
Overall Rating: D. Over than the Savage and Page stuff, this was a pretty dull show. The matches weren't any good and while the PPV was built up, it's still nothing that I have any interest in watching. Thankfully after this we would move towards matches that were for more than bragging rights and honor. This show on its own doesn't do anything that well though, other than the Page stuff which is really memorable.
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