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Monday Nitro - April 27/April 28 1998

This was a special double shot of Nitro with one hour on Monday and two hours on Tuesday due to basketball.

Monday Nitro #137
Date: April 27, 1998
Location: Norfolk Scope, Norfolk, Virginia
Commentators: Tony Schiavone, Larry Zbyszko, Mike Tenay, Bobby Heenan

Reviewed by Tommy Hall

This week is split into two episode instead of the usual three due to the basketball games on TNT. Tonight is one hour followed by a two hour edition tomorrow night. Tonight's focus will likely be on Bret Hart explaining why he did what he did last week instead of fighting against the NWO like he had talked about doing for weeks. Other than that we're closing in on Slamboree which already has a pair of matches (Hart vs. Savage and Sting/Giant vs. Outsiders) almost set. Let's get to it.

The Nitro Girls get us going. Alex Wright tries to sneak in and dance with them but the girls walk away. Wright is taken away by security.

The announcers talk about Sting's challenge to the Outsiders.

Here are Nash and Savage to open things up. Nash does a Hall impression for the survey, won by WCW. Big Kev says Hall was last seen with a pina colada at Trader Vick's and his hair looked great. The challenge is accepted for Slamboree. Nash talks about the Wolfpack, which now consists of himself and Savage and their first target is Bret Hart. Savage is ready for Bret because this right here is where it's at. Nash says there are going to be more defectors, starting with Konnan. Konnan comes out to do his schtick and says that Hogan doesn't want any part of the Wolfpack. Nash and Konnan sing a bit to end the segment.

Video on Juventud Guerrera, emphasizing that he will never quit.

Cruiserweight Title: Chris Jericho vs. Chavo Guerrero Jr.

Jericho comes out with the portrait of Malenko and says he'd love to beat up Quasi-Juice Guerrera like he did when he took this mask, which is a bad mama-jamma of a necklace. Jericho “interviews” the portrait but Dean won't celebrate being the new fry cook at Harry's Burgers. Instead Dean can live vicariously through Jericho who is dedicating this match to Dean.

Chavo ducks a right hand and pounds away to start. A belly to back suplex puts and we hit a quick chinlock. Jericho comes back with a quick hot shot and some kicks in the corner but Chavo dropkicks Jericho into Eddie for two. Chavo jumps over Chris in the corner but gets caught in a quick Liontamer for the submission in just over two minutes.

Eddie rips into Chavo for the loss post match and slaps him in the face.

Nitro Party winner from a Gold's Gym in Indiana.

We go back to Thunder to see the Buff Bagwell injury. Tony and Bobby talk about their own neck surgeries and how scary they can be. Bagwell can indeed move his limbs but had to undergo surgery today and we'll get an update tomorrow night.

Video of Savage's rant about Bret Hart on Thunder.

Here are Hogan, Disciple and Bischoff with something to say. Bischoff asks Hogan what's possibly left for him to do after winning the title again. Hogan says all of his fans know he's done everything there is to do and he'll be it all until the end of eternity. We've now seen what a joke Nash is and now and there's no one left for him to beat. If Konnan is the best Nash can find, he's got a major problem. Hogan goes into a somewhat racist rant about how there are a dozen Konnan's waiting to go pick fruit in Los Angeles. As for Bret, he knows the power lies with Hollywood because Hogan is for life. Not much to say here.

US Title: Scott Norton vs. Goldberg

Now this is a better idea. Norton jumps him to start, only to get taken down by a spinning neckbreaker. They head to the floor with the champion being sent into the post for almost no effect. Back inside and Norton gets caught in an ankle lock but ropes are quickly grabbed. Norton pounds away in the corner and hits the shoulder breaker for two. A Fujiwara Armbar does nothing for Scott so the spear and Jackhammer retain Goldberg's title in less than three minutes.

We see Bret beating up Piper to end last week's show.

The announcers talk about how awesome Bret Hart is with Heenan saying Bret has always been out for himself.

Here's Bret for the first time since last week with less than four minutes left in the show. Bret says it's nice to be in the house that Hollywood Hogan built to get the fans against him. He talks about suffering for your crimes, even though he's committed no crime. Wrestling is a long money trench and a plastic hallway filled with pimps and thieves.

If Savage feels bad about last week, then Bret will meet the “half troll and half lizard” in the ring. Gene again asks him why he helped Hogan but he wants to say it to Hogan's face tomorrow night. Gene asks why Bret screwed over Savage after complaining about being screwed. Bret calls Gene judgmental and says he's tired of sitting on the bench before leaving.

Overall Rating: C+. This show is a good example of what's wrong with three hour Nitros. In 45 minutes of air time, we had two title matches, three promos, angle advancement in multiple stories, two PPV matches confirmed and a new member added to a stable. The other hours that we usually have to sit through don't need to be there and really don't add anything significant to the show. More wrestling would have been nice, but this did a solid job of building to Slamboree without overstaying its welcome. That's a very difficult balance to find but it's almost impossible to do in a three hour show.

Monday Nitro #138
Date: April 28, 1998
Location: Norfolk Scope, Norfolk, Virginia
Commentators: Tony Schiavone, Mike Tenay, Bobby Heenan, Larry Zbyszko

Back with the second and third hours of this week's show, taped just after the first hour and airing on Tuesday. The main story for tonight is Bret explaining exactly why he helped Hogan win the world title. Other than that nothing has been announced but after all the angle advancement we had last night, odds are tonight will be wrestling heavy. Let's get to it.

Opening sequence.

The announcers chat for a bit before looking at Bret giving Hogan the title eight days ago.

Disco Inferno vs. Chris Benoit

Benoit stomps away to start and fires off chops and headbutts in the corner. More chops and a hard suplex put Disco down and a hard elbow to the face gets two. Benoit hits a pair of rolling suplexes but Disco blocks the third into an atomic drop to take over. Inferno stomps him down in the corner and gets two off a swinging neckbreaker. Disco hits a middle rope forearm to the back of the head for another near fall and we hit the chinlock. Benoit rolls away from an elbow as the fans are surprisingly interested in this. A release German suplex puts Disco down and the Swan Dive into the Crossface get the submission.

Rating: C-. Not a bad little match here with Benoit looking good. The crowd responded really strong to Benoit and the Crossface which continues to make you wonder why it took so long to push him. Disco is much better in the ring than he's given credit for as he looked perfectly fine out there.

Video on Jericho's trophy case run and how the fans are becoming Jericholics.

Cruiserweight Title: Chris Jericho vs. Psychosis

Jericho comes out to Dean Malenko's music and does a great caricature of Dean, complete with slicked back hair tied in a bun to make it look short and wringing his wrists. He even talks in a deep voice for a second before whining that he wants to go home. Referee Scott Dickinson yells at Jericho until Chris takes the belt off so the match can begin. Jericho takes him down with a shoulder block to start but Psychosis comes back with kicks and chops to take over.

A quick Liontamer attempt is countered into a rollup for two but Jericho elbows him in the face to take over. Some chops and kicks in the corner have Psychosis in trouble and elbow drops are good for two. Jericho's charge in the corner misses and he falls to the floor, allowing Psychosis to hit a big flip dive to the floor. Back in and Jericho comes right back with a release German suplex but Psychosis breaks up the Lionsault. The guillotine legdrop with Jericho in the ropes is good for two but a top rope Frankensteiner is countered into the Liontamer to retain Chris' title.

Rating: C-. The high spots were nice here but the ending was a bit sloppy. Psychosis was a good choice as the cruiserweight jobber to the stars as he had enough wins to be viewed as a decent threat but he was never going to win anything of note. Nice match here for the most part but it was nothing special.

Nitro Girls.

Barbarian vs. Rocco Rock

Barbarian throws him into the corner to start and powerslams Rocco down for no cover. Rocco slides through the legs but a middle rope ax handle has no effect. Instead he goes after the legs but Rocco has to beat up Jimmy Hart. Not that it matters as Hugh Morrus sneaks in and lays out Rocco, only to have Johnny Grunge come in to beat up Morrus. The match is made a tag match because the referee has that authority.

Barbarian/Hugh Morrus vs. Public Enemy

It's a big brawl on the floor with garbage can lids all over the place. They head inside with the weapons brought in as well for good measure. Public Enemy takes over but have to beat up Jimmy Hart again. Morrus sacrifices himself to prevent Hart from being put through a table, allowing Barbarian to kick the can into Grunge's face for the pin. This was as blatant of an ECW ripoff as you'll ever see.

We see Savage's rant against Hart again.

Video on Juventud Guerrera.

Juventud Guerrera vs. Kidman

Kidman gets taken down with a fast headscissors and a dropkick gets two. Juvy loads up a top rope Frankensteiner but Kidman hits him low, setting up a top rope sitout spinebuster for two. Why even use a huge spot like that when it's not even going to end the match? Kidman misses a slingshot legdrop and Juvy heads to the apron for a springboard spinwheel kick to the face for two. A clothesline puts Juvy down but gets crotched while trying a superplex. Juvy snaps off a hurricanrana for two and the Juvy Driver and 450 are good for the pin.

Rating: C. Another nice match here with Juvy getting to look good against someone that can hang in the ring with him. They've done a good job of pushing Guerrera since he lost his match and the Never Surrender idea works pretty well for him. The wrestling has been consistent tonight which is a good sign.

Post match the Flock comes in and lays out Juvy.

Alex Wright talks about being on vacation in Germany but he had to come back to this pigsty to show everyone how to dance. Dancing ensues and security takes Alex away.

TV Title: Eddie Guerrero vs. Booker T

Feeling out process to start with the fans all over Eddie. Guerrero snapmares the champion down but runs into a shoulder block to put Eddie on the mat. Back up and Booker kicks him in the head before firing off forearms. Eddie comes back with a dropkick to the knee and a suplex before hitting the chinlock. Guerrero switches over to a camel clutch as the announcers actually talk about the match. Booker gets up and hits the running forearm to the head but Eddie counters the spinebuster into a hurricanrana for two. Eddie stops to yell at Chavo and gets caught with the side kick and the missile dropkick retains the title.

Rating: D+. Nothing special to see here but another win for Booker isn't going to hurt anyone. The Eddie vs. Chavo story needs to take another step before it gets dull but it's still doing well enough. I was expecting more out of Booker T vs. Eddie Guerrero than I got here but it wasn't horrible.

Eddie blames Chavo post match.

Hour #2 begins.

The announcers talk about Bret vs. Savage before showing us part of Bret's promo from last night.

Marty Jannetty vs. Perry Saturn

Saturn pounds away in the corner and kicks Jannetty in the face. Marty is sent out to the floor and comes back in to a superkick to take him right back down. A belly to belly suplex gets two but Marty comes back with a superkick of his own. The middle rope punch gets two but Saturn hits a Death Valley Driver for the pin. Squash.

Here's DDP with more to say about Raven. He wants Raven to experience the Big Bang Theory but Raven walked away. Page hasn't seen Raven tonight but thinks he's in the building, so come get your bang right now. Instead he gets Kidman and Sick Boy who say don't kill the messengers. They have a video from Raven with Raven asking about the pain Page put his own family through. He talks about Page's mom sending him to live with his father at a young age and how he'll get Page later.

Back in the arena Sick Boy takes a Diamond Cutter as Kidman bails. Page heads into the crowd as Kidman gets back in. A “fan” (Kanyon) comes in and clotheslines Kidman to the floor before being dragged off by security.

Video on Goldberg's streak.

US Title: Goldberg vs. Jerry Flynn

Jerry kicks him down, butterfly suplex, spear, Jackhammer, pin. That's 78-0.

Nitro Girls.

Sting/Lex Luger/The Giant vs. Konnan/Brian Adams/Scott Steiner

Konnan jumped to the Wolfpack last night but there's no indication that Adams and Steiner have joined him. Vincent now has two trophies for Steiner, neither of which have actually been referenced by either guy. Sting and Adams get us going and Konnan drops to the floor for no apparent reason. Adams hits a quick atomic drop for two as Konnan is already back on the apron. Sting escapes a suplex and bulldogs Adams down but can't hook an early Scorpion.

Adams bails to the floor to kill some time so Sting tags in Giant. Konnan comes in, only to be shoved to the mat with ease. Giant lifts him up in a bearhug before bringing in Luger to get some of this easy prey. Luger wants Steiner and the fans are way into the matchup. Scott wants a posedown but settles for trading shoulder blocks with Luger taking over. A Konnan distraction lets Steiner suplex Luger down and pound away with right hands. Off to Konnan but Luger explodes with a double clothesline to put Steiner and Konnan down. Adams walks out on the match and his partners soon join him for the countout.

Rating: F. This was a waste of time and that's almost all there is to say about it. The only good thing here was Steiner acting like the crazy man that would finally get him over. I'm not sure if we're supposed to know who is on which side in the NWO civil war here but it certainly wasn't clear if we were.

Vincent gets chokeslammed.

Gene calls on Bret for the big explanation. Gene asks Bret why he did what he did and is told to shut up. Bret wants Hogan here in person so Gene invites Hollywood out here now. We're rapidly running out of time and you can smell the TUNE IN NEXT WEEK finish coming from here. Hogan, Bischoff and Disciple take their sweet time getting to the ring to milk this even further.

Eric insists that Bret address Hogan as Hollywood. Bret says he's looked up to Hogan for a long time and that Hogan is the highest paid and most recognized wrestler ever. Hogan appreciates Bret for setting the record straight....whatever that means. Bret opens up his jacket to reveal a Hogan shirt but here's Savage as he's about to explain. Savage is destroyed to end the show.

Overall Rating: D. Decent wrestling in the first hour aside, this fits the WCW profile to the letter: the lower card stuff is entertaining but the stars are boring and you get next to nothing out of them. The big reveal at the end never happened so we still have no idea why Bret did what he did. The longer they wait, the less likely it is that we get an actual explanation. The one hour version, as in the version without the stars, blew this show away and it wasn't even anything great.

Remember no Thunder this week.

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  1. If anyone cares, the basketball game pre-empting this was either game 3 of the Indiana/Cleveland series. Cleveland won to avoid the sweep, led by 31 points from Shawn fucking Kemp. Highlights of game 4:

    I love placing wrestling in context of other sports.

  2. Did Bret ever end up explaining? I don't remember a real explanation.

  3. Not that I recall. He was in the midcard title hunt in a few months anyway.

  4. Reading these almost makes me sad about how badly WcW fucked up. Just reading the match listing and seeing the fucking talent on this page is mind numbing.

  5. After watching months of Norton beat more worth contenders all over the place with his shitty workrate and non-existant personality, seeing Goldberg beat him in three minutes flat was like the greatest orgasm ever.

  6. Yeah, the WWF and WCW TV logs are a great insight into the rise of one company and the implosion of another.

  7. Raven needed the accountability crib.

  8. I would nominate Bret Hart's 1998 as one of the, if not worst ever years for a top name in wrestling. He was all over the shows, but his storyline made little sense and he ended up injured quite a bit if I recall.

  9. I don't know if I'd agree that he was "all over the shows" because when it mattered (when he first came into WCW), he wasn't all over the shows. He really should have debuted on Nitro the day after Survivor Series. But instead it took a few weeks and he ended up reffing the Bischoff/Larry Z match at Starrcade. Then, instead of going up against new opponents like Sting or Hogan, he was stuck with meaningless feuds against Flair and Henning (Hey WCW, 1992 called, they want their feuds back). I never cared much for WCW to begin with but gave it another try when Bret came in. By time this Nitro being reviewed here, I had already cashed in my WCW chips. Bret was going nowhere and everything else was a clusterfuck,

  10. I don't think Bret could've come in the night after Nitro due to some kind of no compete clause or some other contractual hang-up. I could be wrong on that but I remember reading that somewhere.


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