Monday Nitro #152
Date: August 31, 1998
Location: Miami Arena, Miami, Florida
Commentators: Larry Zbyszko, Bobby Heenan, Tony Schiavone, Mike Tenay
Reviewed by Tommy Hall
We're still getting ready for WarGames and even though Team WCW looked to be in place last Monday, DDP suggested that Piper wasn't officially a part of the team this past week on Thunder. Other than that we get to find out more about the Warrior's Revolution, which is likely to get very stupid in a hurry. Let's get to it.
Here are Hogan and Bischoff to get us going. Bischoff thanks the fans for their money tonight before talking about the pen being powerful. Because of the pen, Eddie Guerrero has to wrestle tonight and Ultimate Warrior won't be in the ring. Hogan talks about how WarGames will be proof of the NWO's power and adds Stevie Ray to the team along with himself and Bret. You have Giant on your side and you pick Stevie Ray? The fans chant for Goldberg as Hogan moves on to Warrior. He'll get his revenge after eight years and then take the title back from Goldberg.
Actually Hogan doesn't even want to wait for Warrior so get out here right now. The lights go out and Warrior appears to some middle of the road rock music before a song that sounds very similar to Warrior's WWF theme. Hogan says the fire represents the fear in Warrior's eyes because the NWO is at ringside. The lights go out again and the ring fills up with smoke. They come back on and Warrior is gone, leaving the NWO confused. We get the Warrior Symbol in the sky before going to the opening sequence.
Hogan/Hart vs. Sting/Luger tonight.
We get a video of Goldberg at the Florida Marlins' stadium and hanging out with Mark McGwire. For those of you unfamiliar, McGwire was chasing the single season home run record in 1998 and was quite possibly the biggest thing in America at that point.
Wrath vs. Jim Powers
Wrath chops away in the corner and shrugs off forearms from Powers. Powerful shots to the chest have Jim in trouble and choking ensues. Jim comes back with some right hands in the corner with the fans trying to count along but Wrath keeps shoving him off to restart the count. An atomic drop by Wrath seems to blow out Powers' knee so it's the Meltdown for the pin.
Rating: D+. Wrath looked good out there as he ran over Powers like he wasn't even there. The Meltdown is a good move for a guy that strong with the snap looking very impressive. This was Powers' last match in WCW and I don't think anyone missed him. Shame to go out with a knee injury like that if it was legit.
Nitro Girls at the announcers' desk.
Okerlund and some Nitro Girls are at the Nitro Party grand prize winner in Ohio.
Norman Smiley vs. Scott Norton
Norton immediately headbutts him into the corner. A series of chops set up a powerslam for two as Norton pulls him up. He does the same off the shoulder breaker before powerbombing Norman in half for the pin.
The lights go out after the match and the Warrior is seen in the rafters.
Saturn carries Lodi's bags into the arena due to losing a match on Thunder. The servitude lasts until Fall Brawl. Saturn says he has to do this because he lives by a code of honor as a former Army ranger.
Here's the Wolfpack, again minus Sting, with something to say. Nash and Konnan do their catchphrases before Luger, with a goatee, says Sting is on his way to the arena for their tag match tonight. Nash says that unlike the Black and White, they have no leader. He announces the Wolfpack's team for WarGames and to no surprise, it's Sting, Luger and Nash.
That brings Nash to last week when DDP and Page got involved in Wolfpack business. Page has until next week to make a decision and Piper will be dealt with if he gets involved again. Nash also tells a story about a warrior sitting under a tree and waking up to see himself surrounded by wolves. The warrior tried to touch one of them and was eaten. The moral: if you don't run with the pack, you're being hunted. Not bad actually.
After a break, JJ Dillon is in the ring and asks Arn Anderson to come out for an off the record talk. Arn comes out to a WE WANT FLAIR chant as JJ talks about having to disassociate himself with the Horsemen when he joined the executive committee. However the other night he was watching an old tape and wants us to look at it.
We see an old promo of Arn Anderson talking about all the talent coming into the Mid-Atlantic area. Lots of people have wanted to come here and it's been because of Gene and Ole Anderson. Well now the greatest Anderson of all time is here. He's looking for guys like Dusty Rhodes, Ricky Steamboat and Magnum TA because he does it better than anyone else. That was probably from 1984.
Back live JJ talks about watching that promo many years ago and seeing something in Anderson. Arn became the heart and soul of the Horsemen. Over the years, JJ knew that WCW would be ok as long as the Horsemen were alive. However he's seen the NWO factions take away a piece of the Horsemen at a time. Then he saw Chris Benoit and Steve McMichael ask Arn to restart the team, only to be told they don't get it. Well JJ thinks Arn doesn't get it and here are Mongo and Benoit to back him up.
They talk to Arn without microhones but Arn is shaking his head no. The fans chant WE WANT FLAIR as Arn starts to levae. JJ stops him and Arn is looking confused. JJ asks where Anderson is going and Arn asks why they're doing this to him. Dillon never thought he would say this but he thinks Arn is afraid of all this. Anderson leaves to end this awesome segment. There's something special here but since it's WCW I'm just waiting for them to screw it up.
Hour #2 begins.
The announcers talk about what we just saw and Tony talks about Bischoff holding the Horsemen down. This transitions into a discussion of Eddie Guerrero asking to be released.
We look at Guerrero saying he wanted out of his contract and throwing coffee on himself. Bischoff is holding Eddie to his contract though.
Eddie Guerrero vs. Brian Adams
Before the match we get the Warrior signal again and Warrior is seen in the rafters. Eddie lounges on the top rope before the bell and then lays down on the mat. Adams won't cover so Eddie gets on his knees and asks Adams to hit him. Brian towers over him even when Eddie is on his feet. Adams pulls back to hit him a few times but then throws him into the corner for some right hands. Guerrero isn't fighting back at all. A hiptoss puts Eddie down and he lays there to be pinned. Adams puts his foot on Eddie's chest for the easy pin. Storyline advancement.
Post match Eddie says Bischoff may have the power but he's not going to be able to sue Eddie like he has other people.
We look at Ernest Miller turning heel on Thunder.
The Cat vs. Riggs
Riggs takes him into the corner to start and grabs a headlock before cranking on the arm. A dropkick, the only move Riggs is good at, sends Cat to the floor followed by a plancha. Back in and Cat pokes him in the eye and superkicks Riggs down. A big kick to the face puts Riggs down again and Cat talks a lot of trash. Two straight running spin kicks are enough to pin Riggs in a short match.
Post match Miller grabs the mic and says not to hate him because he's beautiful. He's the best wrestler and a three time world karate champion. No one can stop him, including all of the fans. Moving on.
Nitro Girls and it's back to the Nitro Party.
Konnan vs. Marty Jannetty
Konnan takes him down to start and hits the rolling clothesline before pulling on his pants a lot. The low dropkick sets up a rolling armbar which isn't broken even when Marty is in the ropes. Back up and Jannetty superkicks Konnan to take over but doesn't immediately follow up. A jumping back elbow gets two and Marty stalls some more.
Marty puts on a chinlock and Russian legsweeps Konnan down for no cover. Jannetty stomps away and walks around a bit before putting on another chinlock. After that eats up some time, a clothesline gets two on Konnan. A neck snap across the top rope and a top rope cross body get the same and Marty is mad. Back up and Konnan grabs a quick X-Factor and the Tequila Sunrise is good for the submission out of nowhere.
Rating: C. Better match than you would have expected here, even though it needed to be about a minute shorter. Marty could still put on a decent match when he had the time and that's what he got here. Konnan barely had any offense until the ending which is a WCW tradition that I'm getting tired of.
Here's the Flock. Lodi makes Saturn carry a sign (“I'm With Lodi”) and they're flanked by Kanyon and Raven. Before the match, Raven says Saturn isn't allowed to touch himself or Kanyon tonight before telling Kanyon to break Saturn. Kanyon makes fun of Saturn's military background and dares Saturn to hit him but Saturn stands him ground. Saturn doesn't do it and is disgusted with himself.
Lodi/Saturn vs. High Voltage
Robbie starts with Lodi and the sign guy is easily shoved down. Saturn tells him to do something so Lodi bounces off of Rage. Now it's Saturn's turn but he's clotheslined down as well. He'll have none of that though and suplexes Rage down. Lodi immediately wants in but sees Kaos, sending Lodi right back to the corner for the tag to Saturn. Kaos gets kicked in the corner but a blind tag brings in Rage for an overhead belly to belly suplex. Back to Kaos for a hard clothesline but Saturn fights off both guys in lime green. The Death Valley Driver puts Rage down and Lodi tags himself in and steals the pin.
Rating: D+. This was angle advancement and there's nothing wrong with that. I'm not wild on Kanyon joining the Flock but it's nice to go somewhere in this story instead of just doing the same stuff over and over again. Lodi is entertaining too so having him on TV is another good thing.
Here's DDP to open the third hour. He brags about Tom's River, New Jersey winning the Little League World Series as a team. They took everyone's talent and put them together into a team, just like Piper, Warrior and himself will do at Fall Brawl. They'll take care of the NWO and Hollywood Scum Hogan in particular. Page brings out Piper who goes on a rant about Bret being a rookie and claiming to be Piper's cousin.
Roddy says he has no family and rambles about Bret facing some guy named John in Toronto. Bret followed him around like a little puppy for years before becoming a Triple Crown Champion in the WWF. Hogan is conning Bret for everything he's got and Bret is just as scared as he was before that match in Toronto. This brings out Giant but Page pounds away on him. Giant knocks both WCW guys down and chokes Page until security breaks it up. I still don't get why Giant isn't in WarGames.
Here's Scott Steiner with his doctor. Steiner brags about his prowess with the ladies but is annoyed that JJ won't believe him about the injuries. Apparently Steiner's doctor has brought in another doctor named Juju Youbangee, which is Buff Bagwell dressed like a Jamacian. Buff's accent comes and goes before he throws some powder on Scott. The fans think this is bull as Buff declares Steiner healed. Scott says he loves the voodoo that he do and promises to beat Rick up at Fall Brawl. Rick comes in from behind and clears the ring. Warrior and his signal pop up again to close the segment. This was so bizarre it was entertaining.
Cruiserweight Title: Juventud Guerrera vs. Evan Karagias
Juvy is defending. Feeling out process to start with a shoulder block sending Evan to the mat. The fans are paying attention to something off camera as Evan gorilla presses Juvy throat first onto the top rope. Juvy comes back with a springboard dropkick and some chops but charges into a powerslam for two. Now the fans are looking at something else as, Evan dropkicks him to the floor. Back in and Evan hooks a chinlock as the fans get distracted for the third time.
Juvy sends him to the floor to escape and comes back in with a guillotine legdrop but hurts his own back in the process. Evan is up at two and avoids a charge in the corner to put Juvy down again. Karagias goes after the knee as the fans chant Goldberg. Heenan yells at Evan for letting go of a half crab, allowing Juvy to put on a chinlock. The fans are AGAIN looking at something else and chanting what sounds like “take it off!”.
Evan slams Juvy down and goes up but gets crotched, allowing Juvy to hit a top rope hurricanrana. Now it's Juvy getting crotched as the fans are booing something other than the match. Evan hits a top rope hurricanrana of his own for two but misses a top rope Lionsault. Guerrera hits the Juvy Driver to finally retain.
Rating: B-. I feel sorry for these guys as they were having a very good match and the fans were looking at about five other things instead. Karagias looked good out there and hung with Juvy every step of the way. Juvy continues to be as good of a high flier not named Mysterio as there is in the company.
Nitro Girls/Nitro Party. Jim Duggan is there too.
TV Title: Chris Jericho vs. Disco Inferno
Jericho is defending. Disco now has a sweatband. Chris runs him over with a shoulder and does a little shuffle. Disco comes right back with a clothesline and sends Jericho into the corner for some stomping. Tony calls a slam a tilt-a-whirl slam for no apparent reason but Jericho avoids a fist drop.
The Lionsault hits knees and an atomic drop sends Chris face first into the corner. A clothesline and spinebuster get two each and Heenan is impressed with Jericho. Jericho comes back with a German suplex but walks into the Chartbuster for two as Jericho gets his foot on the ropes. Disco charges again but gets caught in the Liontamer for the win.
Rating: C. Much better match than I was expecting here with Disco using his basic offense very well. Jericho continues to be one of the most awesome things on the roster but for whatever political reasons, he's stuck fighting guys in the lower card and stealing the show every time.
Kevin Nash sits in on commentary for the next match.
WCW World Title: Goldberg vs. Al Green
Nash mentions that Green was his original partner in WCW, which was in a tag team called the Master Blasters. He also wouldn't mind a shot at the world title. Green looks like a bald Scott Norton and jumps Goldberg to start. The choking and forearms have almost no effect as Goldberg drives him down to the mat. A backdrop and slam put Green down and he bails to the floor as Goldberg loads up the spear. Smart guy. Goldberg sends him into the post and back inside it's the two moves to retain the title.
Hollywood Hogan/Bret Hart vs. Sting/Lex Luger
Bret and Luger get things going with the American grabbing a headlock. Bret comes back with right hands and choking in the corner but Luge rams him into the buckle to take over. A tag brings in Sting and Bret immediately runs to Hogan for a tag. Hogan fires off right hands but Sting shrugs them off and sends Hollywood into the buckle before tagging Luger back in. Choking puts Lex down in the corner and it's back to Bret for some Canadian choking. We even get an eye rake across the ropes for good measure.
Hogan holds Luger in the corner so Bret can choke even more before choking from the apron. You may be noticing a pattern in the offense here. The heels keep switching without tagging like good villains are supposed to do. Bret hooks a chinlock but gets suplexed down to give Luger a breath.
No hot tag yet though as Hart makes a save, only to have a double clothesline put both guys down again. Now we get the tag to Sting who cleans house on Hogan, only to have Disciple shove Hogan away from the Stinger Splash. Hogan starts whipping Sting with the weightlifting belt but Bret pulls it away. Hart leaves but Hogan goes after him for an argument in the aisle, leading to a countout.
Rating: C-. The match was nothing special but we get yet another twist in the storyline. It's nice for Bret to FINALLY have something going on, even though it's rather confusing. I'm not buying into the NWO tension because it's happened roughly 847 times now in the last two years but never leads anywhere.
Bret and Hogan shove each other in the ring as some smoke starts. It's too early apparently as it cuts off, only to start up a few moments later. The lights go out as more smoke comes into the ring. They come back on and everyone is out cold with Warrior in the ring. So it's sleeping gas, which doesn't work on Warrior for some reason? Or Hogan apparently as he runs to the back to end the show.
Overall Rating: C. This wasn't the worst show ever, but Warrior vs. Hogan is shaping up to be the stupidest feud in a long time. But hey, Hogan's ego can be repaired so who cares if he stops WCW from being the top company in wrestling again? I'd love to hear some of the creative meetings. “So you see, Warrior has this Bat Signal and sleeping gas that doesn't work on him and Hogan and then Hogan beats him in the blowoff match using the powers of Hollywood-A-Mania. Great idea right?” As usual the midcard helps bring the show through, but the main event guys drag it right back down.
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