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Monday Nitro - June 15, 1998

Monday Nitro #141
Date: June 15, 1998
Location: Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum, Uniondale, New York
Commentators: Mike Tenay, Tony Schiavone, Bobby Heenan, Laryr Zbyszko

Reviewed by Tommy Hall

We're past the Great American Bash and the main development is Sting holds both tag team titles. Seriously, other than that not a ton has changed. Hogan, Hart, Piper and Savage had their match which changed absolutely nothing and Booker is the TV Champion again. There's not much else to say about the show, which is a good indication of how important that show was. We're now four weeks away from Bash at the Beach so let's get to it.

Public Enemy vs. Hugh Morrus/Barbarian

This opens the show as Public Enemy is on their way to the ring as Tony welcomes us to the show. It's a street fight meaning the weapons are flying as soon as the Public Enemy hits the ring. As usual it's pure insanity with everyone hitting everyone else in the head and Grunge being sent head first into a garbage can. Even Jimmy Hart gets in a cheap shot with a sheet of medal.

Hugh backdrops Rocco into a powerbomb from Barbarian and a bunch of garbage can shots keep Rocco down. Grunge comes back in with some trashcan lid shots to Barbarian as Morrus loads up a table on the floor. A frying pan to the crotch slows Morrus down but he's good enough to bulldog Rocco. Jimmy tries some more shots to Rocco's head, earning him a suplex into the ring. Rocco is eventually suplexed over the top and through the table, but he lands on Barbarian for the pin.

Rating: D-. I can't stand these matches. I get the idea of appealing to the ECW fanbase but couldn't they come up with something more interesting than just hitting each other in the head with metal? These matches don't add anything at all and when it takes a few seconds to determine who won, there's probably a problem.

We get the opening pyro display and the announcers' usual recap of the recent events around these parts.

Earlier today Mike interviewed some fans to find out if they were ready for Nitro.

We recap the Wolfpack recruiting Page from last week.

Opening sequence.

Nitro Girls.

Here's how to get a Nitro Party!

Here's Savage for an interview. He has a message for Piper and that is....that he wants DDP in the Wolfpack. Savage talks about Wyatt Earp wanting to help the Wolfpack and goes into a sales pitch to Page for a spot on the team. He wants Page in a cage match tonight and if Page can beat him, Page can join the team with Savage's full endorsement.

We get some stills of the tag match last night.

Chris Benoit vs. Fit Finlay

Tenay suggests that this is a #1 contenders match for the TV Title but I don't think that's official. Benoit takes him into the corner to start and this is going to be a physical one. The fans are all over Finlay from the bell and he seems a bit shaken by it. Finlay takes him down with a headlock and cranks on the arm a bit before just kicking Benoit in the face. We hit the chinlock on the Canadian before Benoit fights up and hits a backbreaker to send Finlay to the floor.

Finlay sends him back first into the apron before taking him inside for a reverse chinlock. Benoit stands up and drops Finlay down onto his back for two. We come back from a break with Finlay dropping a knee on Benoit's face for two. Chris fights up again with some hard boots to the ribs but gets dropped throat first across the top rope. Finlay misses a charge into the post and Benoit hits the Rolling Germans to put both guys down.

Benoit is up first but the Swan Dive only hits mat and Finlay drops another knee to the head. These shots are making me cringe more and more every time. The rolling senton puts Benoit down again but Benoit goes into beast mode, countering the tombstone into the Crossface for the win.

Rating: C+. This took some time to get going but everything after the break was awesome. These two beat the crap out of each other, but the shots to the head are hard to sit through. It's good to see Benoit get a win after losing the series though, so maybe there's hope for him yet. Solid match here for the most part though.

Post match Gene comes into the ring to interview Benoit about the series with Booker. Benoit invites Booker out here to see him face to face for some business. Here's Harlem Heat and Benoit stares Booker down, only to shake and raise his hand. Booker calls Benoit the best man he's ever been in the ring with and Benoit says to say the word if Booker ever needs a good man in his corner.

This isn't cool with Stevie who calls Benoit a pipsqueak. Benoit repeats what he said and Booker offers another handshake but Stevie blasts Benoit in the face. Cue Mongo (dang it) to pull Stevie off but Booker breaks it up. Harlem Heat leaves and Benoit says he's here for one thing, and he holds up the four fingers.

Post breaks here's DDP to answer Savage's challenge. Well in theory at least as Page would rather talk about Hogan and Rodman. They're both somewhere between a cockroach and that white stuff that accumulates at the corner of your mouth when you're really thirsty (direct quote from the movie Con Air). Apparently there's a tag match at Bash at the Beach with Page having a partner to be named. Oh and Savage is on for the cage match tonight.

We get a clip of Hogan and Rodman attacking Page with chairs last week. Apparently there are rumors that NBA superstar Karl Malone might don the tights and join WCW. I'm guessing that was the major announcement that wasn't made on Thunder.

Nitro Girls.

Gene is in the ring again and it's time for Piper's weekly rambling. Piper: “GOD BLESS FRANK SINATRA!” Sinatra died a month before this, so I'm assuming it was a tribute, but that's a bit late isn't it? Anyway, Piper talks about remembering the Statue of Liberty wearing a kilt (I rescind my thought on it being a tribute and vote for Piper is nuts) and says he's tough enough to make Rush Limbaugh lose weight and put Howard Stern on the Disney Channel. The smark crowd stops him with a loud RODDY chant but Piper confirms the cage match for tonight, but with him as the referee for no apparent reason.

Hiroshi Tenzan/Masahiro Chono vs. High Voltage

The Japanese guys are IWGP Tag Team Champions and are in the Black and White. Robbie Rage gets jumped to start but Kaos comes in off the top with a clothesline to take down Chono. High Voltage clears the ring and we take a break. Yes, this match is getting a break. Back with Rage stomping on Tenzan and putting on a reverse chinlock. Tenzan fights up as the announcers talk about Goldberg being with his sick mom tonight.

Chono comes in off the tag and everything breaks down for a few moments. Things settle back down with Kaos blocking a Chono suplex until High Voltage comes in for a double team. Kaos' top rope clothesline hits Rage by mistake, allowing Tenzan to drop a top rope headbutt for two. Not that it matters as the Mafia Kick ends Kaos seconds later.

Rating: F. I can't stand these matches as we're just supposed to instantly care about people we haven't seen in months because they're wearing NWO shirts. Yeah Chono and Tenzan are awesome, but we need more than a few matches a year for the fans to realize that. On top of that the match was horrible with everyone looking sloppy and the match being a big mess. Given what I've seen from both teams, I blame this pretty much entirely on High Voltage.

Still shots of Giant vs. Sting last night.

Here's the Wolfpack to a BIG reaction. Nash talks about how life is full of ironies, such as the last man to join the Wolfpack is the first one to bring home some gold. He brings out Sting for his pick of the partners but Sting wants to suck up to the crowd first. Sting talks about how everyone in the group has credentials, ranging from Konnan coming from a bunch of tough barrios, Luger holding every title there is to hold and Nash being a living, breathing monster. Savage isn't listed as a possibility for some reason. However, he's going to wait until the tag title defense tonight to make his announcement.

Kanyon vs. Sick Boy

Kanyon charges to the ring and the brawl is quickly on. Sick Boy is stomped into the corner and punched a lot before Kanyon pulls him down with a neckbreaker for two. Kanyon heads to the floor where a Lodi (in a safari hat because he's odd like that) distraction lets Sick Boy take over. Back in and Sick Boy goes up but hops down, allowing Kanyon to hit a great looking forward electric chair for two. A faceplant out of the corner puts Sick Boy down again before the Flatliner gets the pin.

Rating: C-. This didn't have time to go anywhere but Kanyon continues to look awesome. His offense was so different from anyone else and he had a solid look, but for some reason he never reached that higher level. The feud with the Flock is working though and I'm curious to see where it goes.

Here are Rude and Hennig with Curt now in the Black and White like he should have been all along. Rude talks about how everyone has been asking why they turned on the Wolfpack and it's the stereotypical answer: money. If it had been Hennig in there with Goldberg, the streak would be over. That's going to be the case one day because Hennig has won over 3,000 matches. Hennig brags about swerving Konnan and promises no swerves with the Black and White, even though he's now swerved DDP, Flair and Konnan. He'd never swerve Rude though.

JJ Dillon is here to address the Cruiserweight Title issues from last night. The referee was right to call the match last night so here's Jericho, already in celebration mode. He sings about being the champion and says there's dancing in the streets. JJ says Jericho is the champion, but he has to defend against Malenko within 30 days. Jericho rips into Dean's dad again, but thankfully Dean was about two feet from Jericho to jump him immediately. Malenko beats him into the back and throws Jericho into anything he can find, ranging from what look to be portable bleachers to a cardboard box. Security finally breaks it up.

Chris Adams vs. The Giant

Giant is smoking again. This actually lasts longer than I expected, going a full 20 seconds before the chokeslam ends Adams.

We look at Hogan and Rodman attacking Page again last week.

Here are Hogan and Bischoff for their weekly (or hourly depending on the show) chat. Hogan says that God created Hollywood on the seventh day. Back in the day when he was selling out MSG, the slimy one (Nash?) was wishing he could be like Hogan one day. As for Page, if he wants a piece of himself and Rodman, come get some, even if it means bringing in Karl Malone. Hogan and Rodman have already signed for Bash at the Beach, so make sure to check the show out to see who Page and his partner take a beating. This was short and actually accomplished something. I'm as shocked as you are.

More Nitro Girls and the Nitro Party video.

Hour #3 begins.

Here's Sting for his decision. He wastes no time and picks Nash. Tony calls this a curveball, even though it was one of four possible options. Nash does a survey of which NWO the fans are here to see, which sums up this company in a nutshell. Lastly, he says Hennig is the Pack's newest prey.

Tag Titles: Sting/Kevin Nash vs. Harlem Heat

Tony gets the continuity wrong before the bell, saying Sting has been a tag champion for a long time, even though it was clearly stated the titles were vacant coming into last night. Booker and Sting get us going in the best possible pairing for this match. Things start fast with Sting jumping over Booker before taking him down with a hiptoss. Booker bails to the floor for a meeting with Stevie before coming back in with the jumping forearm.

Stevie yells at Booker so T brings him in to try his own luck. Ray stomps Sting down but he comes back with some of those odd shots to the face of his own, allowing for the tag off to Nash. Kev comes in but walks into a slam, only to have Stevie miss an elbow drop. We take a break and come back with Booker missing a dropkick on Sting. Back to Nash for knees in the corner and the big boot to the jaw before the side slam gets two.

Off to Sting again who stomps a mudhole on Booker before actually hitting his jumping elbow drop. A Vader Bomb of all things gets two but a regular splash hits Booker's knees. Ash comes in before Booker can make the tag though, meaning the match slows down again. Nash powers Booker down but tags back out to Sting before he breaks a sweat. You have to protect that hair at all costs you see.

The Wolfpack keeps up the fast tags with Nash coming back in but Booker escapes Snake Eyes and gets two off a rollup. Booker avoids the Stinger Splash and finally makes the tag off to Stevie. Sting walks into a powerslam but Stevie talks trash, only to get caught in the Death Drop for the pin about 10 seconds after he was tagged in.

Rating: D+. Not a terrible match here and at least Stevie did the job instead of Booker. The match was pretty dull though with Nash seeming to be as bored as you could imagine him to be and Sting just going through the motions as well. Harlem Heat was done as a top tag team but they were still good enough for a spot like this.

The announcers talk about the cage match.

Remember that video of Scott Steiner on a movie set with Hogan where they met Carl Weathers? Well here it is again.

The cage is already set up but first we get Bischoff talking to Scott Steiner in a sitdown interview. Scott says it's nice to be in New York but it's nothing compared to Los Angeles. He name drops a bunch of actors who congratulated him for the snow job he put on his brother. Just establishing the new character for Steiner, which I can't imagine lasts long.

Nitro Girls.

Randy Savage vs. Diamond Dallas Page

There's a top on the cage and Piper is the referee. Page climbs on top of the cage to pose before getting inside. We get the bell and Page goes after Savage's bad arm, only to have Randy hit him in the bad ribs. Page goes up top but gets crotched down, only to pop up and go after Savage's own injured ribs. A ram into the cage gets two so Savage sends him into the steel for the same. They ram each other into the buckle before Savage goes head first into the cage.

Back up and they hit heads to put both guys on the mat again. We take a break and come back with Page pounding away and scoring with a clothesline, only to be taken down by a low blow. Savage goes up for the big elbow but hurts his knee on the way down, allowing Page to kick out. Savage and Piper get in a fight over the speed of the count with Savage laying him out via a piledriver. Page comes back with the Diamond Cutter to put all three guys down.

The fans (or the PA system) wants Goldberg as all three guys get back up. Page punches Piper for trying to pull him off Savage, so Piper sends Page into the cage three times in a row. Now Piper beats up Savage, because Heaven forbid a match doesn't focus on Piper at least once. Piper rams both of them into the cage....and the cage raises up. Cue the Black and White to fill the cage which lowers after they get in. The massive beatdown is on as the match is thrown out.

Rating: D+. This was more about Piper than either wrestler and that's a big problem in WCW at the moment. Piper is playing WAY too big of a role and I have no idea why WCW thinks he's the right man for this spot. The match itself was nothing special as both guys were banged up and basically going through the motions out there until Piper did his thing.

The NWO destroys Savage with Bischoff kicking a chair into his knee. The Wolfpack comes out to try for a save but they can't find a way in. Nash runs (work with me here) to the back and finds the button to raise the cage and we go off the air.

Overall Rating: C-. While not great, this was SO much better than last week as they kept things moving. Rather than focusing on one story, the show focused on different stories at different times which made things a lot easier to sit through. Hogan only having one promo and a run-in at the end is a great example of this as he had something like nine appearances last week. The wrestling was passable and the stories were advanced as well, which is all you can ask for a lot of the time.

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  1. Really liking these reviews. WCW was fun to watch during this period for the pure comedic aspect of it.

  2. Much appreciated.

  3. I was at this show, and when Benoit held up the four fingers, the roof nearly came off the place. Not only the biggest pop of the night, but the biggest I've ever heard at a wrestling event.

  4. Hey Tommy,

    Let me second enjoying these reviews. I had stopped watching WCW by this time, as I was off to college without a TV. I know I was following along online, but I don't really remember all that much. These reviews are a great way to reminisce.

    Anyway, had a question. Are you going into these reviews knowing what happened (having watched them when they aired live, 15 years ago) or are you seeing them fresh for the first time? Just curious, really. Either way, loving the reviews.

  5. Much appreciated.

    I know the big stuff but and I've seen all the PPVs again within the last few years but I haven't seen Nitro and Thunder since they aired live other than a one off show here or there. I remember flashes of stuff like the end of the cage match on this show but I didn't remember something like Rodman and Hogan attacking Page at all.

  6. I think the shame when you see Hogan, Piper and Savage in 1998 is they were once very entertaining and for Piper and Savage very good to great wrestlers. Savage V Steamboat, Piper v. Hart and many other matches. But now they are physically so past their prime it is sad. Of course that they are the top of the card all the time is what makes it the worst. If each one was in a feud with a younger talent to help build that person up the card, it could have worked so well. Those three have so much pro-wrestling knowledge/experience it was such a waist for it not to be used on the younger wrestlers.
    Hell outside of Goldberg, the newest main eventer was DDP. I really like DDP the wrestler, but he was no spring chicken at this point in his career.
    WWE gets a lot of flack, but Cena, Orton, Big Show, Undertaker even HHH as a group are no where near as old and physically uncapable to perform as the WCW main event crew during the final 4 or so years of their existence.


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