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Monday Nitro - December 14, 1998

Monday Nitro #167
Date: December 14, 1998
Location: Ice Palace, Tampa, Florida
Attendance: 13,187
Commentators: Mike Tenay, Tony Schiavone, Larry Zbyzsko, Bobby Heenan

Reviewed by Tommy Hall

We're less than two weeks from Starrcade and again you would think Bam Bam Bigelow was involved in the title match and that Flair vs. Bischoff is the real main event. To be fair though that's a far more interesting story than Nash trying to break the Streak. Other than that it's time for more NWO civil war and another three way with Nash, Bigelow and Goldberg in the main event. Let's get to it.

We get clips from the fifteen second main event last week.

Nitro Girls.

Announcers intro.

Nitro Girls calendar ad.

Scott Putski vs. Raven

Before the match, Raven rants about being in a place of pain and the sweet smell of latex. He didn't get an instruction manual for life and had to rely on his mother's charity. However, her reality checks were all bouncing and she was never there for him. This brings out Kanyon who tells Putski to leave because there's not going to be a match here. Kanyon says he's sick of Raven getting all this airtime without ever wrestling and everyone is sick of it.

Raven says he had a miserable childhood but Kanyon has some history for us. Raven went to an Ivy League school and has a degree in Pre-Med. He had a $3.2 million trust fund and grew up in Palm Beach, Florida. His parents had a Mercedes for him on his 16th birthday. Raven says his mother didn't love him and walks out as Kanyon says Raven had it too easy. Kanyon asks where Raven is going but Raven walks out.

Opening sequence.

Eddie Guerrero vs. Villano V

Villano takes over to start and takes Eddie down with a big armdrag and dropkick. Guerrero bails to the floor but gets taken out by a suicide dive. Back in and Eddie elbows him in the jaw to take over before planting him with a suplex. The slingshot hilo (called a slam by Tony) connects and we hit a seated abdominal stretch from Eddie.

Off to a leg lock instead but Villano fights up and snaps off a powerslam. Villano hooks a surfboard to the loudest reaction you'll ever hear for a Villano match. He goes up top but Eddie's bodyguard crotches him down, allowing Guerrero to hit a superplex and the Frog Splash for....two, as Eddie pulls him up. Instead Eddie calls out the LWO and the bell rings as they come down the aisle. No contest for some reason I guess.

Rating: D+. I'm wondering why the surfboard got such a big reaction as you would think Villano got a fluke pin. The string of no contests or DQ finishes or whatever this was is getting annoying as you used to be almost guaranteed clean finishes in cruiserweight matches. The match wasn't much but Villano was game at least.

Post match Villano joins the LWO as Rey shakes his head.

Nitro Party stuff.

Al Green vs. Wrath

Wrath powers him into the corner to start and hammers away until he misses a charge. Al's offense has about as much effect as you would expect so Wrath knees him to the floor. A hard whip into the barricade has Green in even more trouble before Wrath throws him back inside for a good looking top rope clothesline. Wrath fires off a bunch of elbows to the face, knocks him down again with a shoulder and nails the Meltdown for the pin.

Rating: D+. Still not a good match as neither guy is capable of going more than a few minutes but the fans are still into the Meltdown. I'm sure that's why Wrath has now been doing the same thing over and over again with his only push towards the top of the roster resulting in Nash easily beating him. But hey, Nash got another push to a match that isn't thrilling most of the fans and that's what counts right?

Recap of Bischoff vs. Flair.

Here's Bischoff to talk about how awesome he is at karate and how his right hand hits hard but the left hand even scares him. I've heard some MMA guy say that somewhere before but I can't remember where. This brings out Flair at a charge but Bischoff bails to the floor. Bischoff tries to sprint up the ramp and gets away around the announcers' desk as Flair walks back to the ring.

Ric takes some signs from the fans that talk about the Horsemen before dropping elbows and knees on the mat. He rants about how important wrestling is in Tampa and how how awesome Eddie Graham was. After some more insults, Flair does the Flair Flip in the corner, rants some more and then falls down, holding his left arm. Oh I forgot about this episode.

Arn Anderson and a trainer come out with Dusty Rhodes and I believe David Crockett of all people to check on Flair. Eventually a stretcher comes out and he's taken out as the announcers go into their serious voices. Flair is taken out on the stretcher and the announcers think it's an arm or shoulder injury. As you may have guessed given that this is being written about a month after Ultimate Warrior's final appearance on Raw, it wasn't a shoulder injury.

Bam Bam Bigelow walks past the ambulance and runs into Scott Hall. Scott laughs at him for no apparent reason and gets beaten up. Nash comes in and Bigelow wants to fight him too. Here's Goldberg to make it a three way fight but Terry Taylor comes in and makes a real three way match for tonight. Like last week right?

Gene wants to talk to Kidman. Now Kidman wants to talk to Mysterio. Rey comes out and takes off the LWO shirt, which is enough for Kidman to give him a Cruiserweight Title match RIGHT NOW. Mysterio of course accepts and promises no LWO interference.

Cruiserweight Title: Rey Mysterio Jr. vs. Kidman

Feeling out process to start with Mysterio taking over off an armdrag. Rey goes up top but Kidman is right there with him, resulting in Kidman getting crotched on the buckle. Mysterio's spinebuster is countered into the top rope Sky High and both guys are down. Back up and Rey scores with a hurricanrana to send Kidman outside, followed by a cross body from the apron to send both guys into the crowd.

Back in and Kidman scores with a dropkick to knock Mysterio out of the air. They head up again with Mysterio winning again and scoring a bulldog from the top turnbuckle. The Bronco Buster sets up a split legged moonsault but Kidman avoids a swanton. We get an update on Flair, saying he has chest pains and shortness of breath. A dropkick puts Mysterio on the floor and Kidman hits a nice dive, followed by a slingshot legdrop back inside. Not that it matters as the LWO runs in for the DQ.

Rating: C+. Remember what I said about the cruiserweights getting interfered with too often? It's really getting annoying as it's happening nearly every week now with fewer and fewer matches getting to go to a finish. That was one of the few things you could count on from WCW and now we don't even get that.

We see the triple threat match being set up again.

Here are Jericho and Ralphus with a white board. Jericho says he wants to reenact his match against Konnan so here's a very skinny guy in Konnan gear. Using the board, Jericho illustrates Konnan hitting him with brass knuckles, a chair and a shovel. After all that, Jericho's shoulders were counted down while he was in the ropes. Jericho claims to be too legit to quit and beats up the Konnan imposter. It's much funnier than it sounds due to Jericho making jokes.

Nitro Girls, during which Tony talks about Flair having a heart attack.

Emory Hale vs. Barry Windham

Hale hammers away to start but misses a charge, allowing Barry to take over with a belly to back suplex. They head outside with Windham still in full control and slamming Hale down before dropping an elbow. Back in and Barry nails a big boot followed by a bulldog and the superplex for the easy pin. Squash.

Perry Saturn vs. Norman Smiley

They fight over a top wristlock to start until Saturn grabs a rollup for two. An armdrag puts Saturn down but he comes back with another rollup. Smiley gets tired of these near falls and runs Saturn over with a clothesline followed by some chops against the ropes. Saturn gets all ticked off and hammers away until the referee tries to pull him off. Saturn, in a disturbingly calm voice: “Please keep your hands off of me.”

He calls for the Death Valley Driver but Norman bails to the outside. Back in and the swinging slam sets up the Big Wiggle as Sonny Onoo and Ernest Miller are here. The referee goes down as well but Miller gets up and superkicks Saturn down. Scott Dickinson comes in as a replacement and can see all of it, he counts three as fast as he can in retaliation for Saturn attacking him last week.

Rating: C-. Not a bad match here but the Miller vs. Saturn stuff was old when it started. These are guys that could have a good match if they have the time and a better finish, but instead we get to have a crooked referee dragged into the feud to make it even worse. I'd love to know who thinks this is a good use of TV time.

Here's Bret Hart with something to say. Gene asks him about Flair's condition but Hart starts talking about all the people he's injured recently. Despite being injured, he's willing to defend the US Title against Page tonight. This brings out DDP and of course the Giant pops up behind him to blast Page with a chair. Giant throws him through the back of the set and chokeslams DDP off the stage in a huge crash.

TV Title: Konnan vs. Stevie Ray

Konnan is defending and has Florida Marlin and a Tampa Bay Buccaneer with him. After the catchphrases from the champion, Stevie Ray calls out to someone from the back. This brings out Booker T. who is told to watch Stevie's back. Stevie takes over to start but misses a charge into the corner, allowing Konnan to hammer away.

The rolling clothesline and seated clothesline send Ray out to the floor where he yells at baseball superstar Wade Boggs. Back in and Stevie pounds him down to set up the Slapjack but gets sent into the corner. Stevie blasts Konnan in the head and loads up the slapjack (weapon) but Booker shouts at him. The distraction lets Konnan hit a quick X Factor to retain the title.

George Steinbrenner is here.

Here's a shaken looking Bischoff to say how tonight was something real that happens in wrestling. Bischoff says he's sorry to Flair's friends and family and hopes Flair is back soon. No swerve, no punchline, just a commercial.

Booker T. comes out with something to say. After wishing Flair the best, he says he doesn't know what's going on with Stevie Ray. This brings out his brother, who takes credit for every bit of success that Booker and Harlem Heat has ever had. It was Booker that made Stevie join the NWO and there's a place for him there. Stevie hands Booker a shirt and leaves. Booker isn't sure what to do.

A woman in nice clothes is here to look for her son Scott. Since that gives her about 19 options on the roster, she clarifies that he goes by Raven. Kanyon comes out and says he'll take her to Raven for $50. That goes nowhere so Kanyon takes her to find Raven.

Scott Hall vs. Horace

The toothpick to the face earns Hall a slap but he calmly grabs the arm and starts in with his driving shoulders. A clothesline has little effect on Hall as he comes back with a quick chokeslam, only to be thrown out to the floor. Back in and Horace hits a string of basic power moves, such as a clothesline, powerslam and splash for two.

A Hogan legdrop sets up a sleeper but Hall quickly hits a belly to back to escape. As you would expect, the announcers spend most of the match talking about Flair. Hall hammers away with his usual stuff and loads up the Edge, but, say it with me, the NWO runs in for the DQ. Were you really expecting anything else?

Rating: D. My kingdom for a finish in more than two matches. Do I even need to talk about this any more? It's Horace vs. Hall in a match that means absolutely nothing because the NWO war is going on and on with Hall not even being on a side at this point. That's what so much of this year has been: WCW spinning its wheels and nothing important happening at all because no one has to job.

The NWO beats Hall down until DISCO FREAKING INFERNO runs in for a save. It goes as well as you would expect with Norton destroying him with a powerbomb.

Scott Steiner vs. Van Hammer

Hammer goes after Buff for no apparent reason and gets jumped from behind. Steiner annihilates Hammer and beats him in less than ninety seconds with the Recliner.

Steiner puts his sunglasses back on and calls out an elite athlete, which translates to Lex Luger. Steiner points out all of the times the Wolfpack hasn't been there for Luger, including Nash eliminating him from World War 3. He offers Lex a Black and White shirt and Luger doesn't seem to hate the idea. Lex leaves without saying anything though.

Goldberg vs. Kevin Nash vs. Bam Bam Bigelow

Non-title of course. The referee just lets them fight as Nash steps into the corner. Goldberg runs Bigelow over and superkicks him down but Nash is right there for a save. Goldberg gets double teamed in the corner and can't fight out of it this time. That doesn't last long though as a double clothesline drops Nash and Bigelow with ease.

Nash takes both guys down with clotheslines and gets one on Goldberg. A side slam gets two on the champ but now it's Bigelow dropping a headbutt on Goldberg for two. Bill fights back with a suplex and spear to Bigelow but Nash breaks up the Jackhammer. Goldberg spears Nash down and kicks Bam Bam to the mat as well but here's Scott Hall for the DQ.

Rating: D+. The match wasn't horrible but it was just there. It didn't have anything interesting, it wasn't particularly hard hitting and the match doesn't change anything. You knew Goldberg or Nash wasn't doing the job, so of course the answer was just to have someone run in for a DQ/no contest because that's only happened FOUR TIMES TONIGHT.

Nash and Goldberg brawl to end the show.

Overall Rating: D. This was the worst kind of show you can have: a dull one that changes nothing and doesn't set up anything for Starrcade. The interesting thing is they're acting like the Starrcade card is set, but there are only three matches announced for the show with one of the being Flair vs. Bischoff. While it's a selling point, it's not a very strong one and the show doesn't feel like it's soon at all. But hey, at least we got more Miller vs. Saturn stuff.

Then there's the Flair story. I understand what they're trying to do and that they're doing it to give Bischoff a chance in the match, but that brings about the bigger problem: Bischoff shouldn't have a chance. The match should be a total and complete destruction of Bischoff, lasting about 7 minutes and ending with Flair breaking Eric's leg in the Figure Four. Instead, WCW is trying to make this a story that no one is interested in, presumably so that Bischoff doesn't get killed. Because WCW of course.

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  1. When Ric Flair pisses and moans about how he was under-utilized when the nWo was the hottest act in wrestling, I point to the times after that when he was a focal point and nobody gave a fuck.

  2. Um, what makes you think no one gave a fuck? Didn't his return a few months before this draw the truly huge non-Goldberg rating not to mention cause one of the loudest crowd pops in wrestling history?

  3. kbwrestlingreviewsMay 7, 2014 at 11:03 PM

    I don't know about the ratings (not saying you're wrong) but you're absolutely right about the pop. It almost got to me when I was watching it again nearly sixteen years later. Unfortunately it's only going to get worse.

  4. I'm no flair mark but Flair was one guy who really did consistently pop a higher quarterly rating on Nitro. You have to look at those over time so that you can't see a single Val Venis match at 6.9 and assume he was a huge draw. Flair consistently had quarterlies that were higher than the others during the same show. He was generally good for a .5 bump in the ratings when he came out or had a match.

  5. 17 year old me thought flair was legit having a heart attack. 33 year old me hates 17 year old me.

  6. I was at this show, peeps thought the Flair shit was legit. Only WCW show I ever attended, they couldnt touch WWF/WWE in my opinion....

  7. And the 40-year-old you will probably laugh at the 33-year-old you.

  8. More "Draw names from a hat" booking. I seriously can't believe that Nitro had high ratings for that long. For anyone that hates Raw right now, these Nitros seem 100 times worse.

  9. Wow, this show sounds awful. It's hilarious how badly WCW pissed away Saturn's chances by stuffing him into a garbage feud with the useless Ernest Miller after getting the win of his career against Raven. And going RIGHT BACK TO WRATH'S STREAK, even after having him be demolished by Nash only weeks earlier- by that point, nobody was really buying it. The only way to salvage either guy at that point was to push them into bigger-name feuds.


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