The SmarK Rant for WCW Monday Nitro – 10.13.97
By Scott Keith on 2nd November 2022
The SmarK Rant for WCW Monday Nitro – 10.13.97
OK, time to give Monday Nitro some attention instead of RAW all the time. We’re about a month ahead with the WWF now anyway.
WHEN WE LAST LEFT OFF…
Technically that one was written 15 years or so ago in the WWE 24/7 days, but I want to get these caught up to RAW again so we’re moving on.
LIVE from Tampa, FL, drawing 12,000.
HOUR #1! It’s CHAMPIONSHIP NIGHT!
Your hosts are Tony Schiavone, Larry Zbyszko & Mike Tenay
The New World Order joins us to start, specifically the Dark Megapowers and their bestest friend Eric, and Eric thinks that everyone should sneak Bischoff signs into RAW in an hilarious prank. Meanwhile Savage is wearing a neck brace thanks to DDP, and Roddy Piper has stolen the World title belt, which annoys Hulk. But moreso he’s annoyed that Piper calls himself an ICON, and that won’t stand. This was a rather rambleriffic promo from Hulk to start the show.
Last week: DDP hits Randy Savage with a Diamond Cutter on the floor and Savage goes out on a stretcher.
WCW Cruiserweight title: Eddie Guerrero v. Psicosis
Psi charges at the bell and misses, allowing Eddie to hit him with a back suplex. Psi fights him off and goes up, but misses a lariat off the top, although Eddie sells it anyway. To the floor, where Psicosis does a crazy senton off the top rope to the floor and I’m not sure if he was maybe going for a legdrop and missed or what but that also looked terrifying. Back in the ring, Psi goes up and misses a splash, but recovers with a rollup for two. He tries a leg lariat and Eddie catches him and hits him with a nasty backbreaker, but Psi flips out of a powerbomb and gets the leg lariat on a second attempt. Psi goes up with a flying leg lariat this time for two, but Eddie is in the ropes. To the top again, but Eddie brings him down with a superplex this time and finishes him off with the frog splash at 3:50 to retain. This was kind of a trainwreck, to say the least. **
LUCHA LIBRE & THE MEXICAN LUCHADORS! Sounds like a new kids’ show on Disney Plus. Tenay discusses some mask history introduces a mask expert, and various guys discuss how much it would suck to lose their mask. Good thing no one would be stupid enough to ask Rey to lose his mask! And then we get a series of interviews from luchadors in Spanish, which are overdubbed by the most bored-sounding American guy they could find in the building. WHY WOULD YOU OVERDUB LA PARKA?!?
Rowdy Roddy Piper joins Mean Gene and announces that the Outsiders finally have to defend the tag team titles tonight or be stripped of them. He’s sick of Hall and Nash crying despite one of them having a bad knee and the other having a bad back. But he’s reconsidered and the Outsiders will still have to defend them or be stripped. And then after all that, Mean Gene is just like “Well, you heard it, Syxx and Scott Hall have to defend against the Steiners tonight!” HE DIDN’T SAY THAT AT ALL! He specifically kept saying the Outsiders!
Steven Regal v. Steve McMichael
Well you can’t say Nitro doesn’t produce interesting matchups. Mongo grabs a headlock and puts Regal down with a shoulderblock as Regal sells that like death and complains about a jaw injury resulting from it. They trade wristlocks and Regal takes him down with a headlock until Mongo throws him off to escape. Regal puts him down with forearms and puts the boots to him to take over, but Mongo throws some alleged forearms and then hits the tombstone to finish at 3:33. Man Regal didn’t have much to work with in that one. ½*
Debra joins Mean Gene, as we learn that Jeff Jarrett has left WCW, so Mongo wins the Havoc match by forfeit and he tells her to get back to the kitchen and clean dishes. “Yeah! Tell her!” exclaims Larry, always down for misogyny. Regardless, Debra has a BIG SURPRISE for Mongo at Halloween Havoc. Spoiler: It was not a very good surprise.
Yuji Nagata v. Chris Jericho
Always hilarious to heard Jericho breaking the walls down on WCW shows thanks to music scrubbing. This week’s shock turn: Yuji Nagata is now managed by Sonny Onoo. Nagata was not a great talent at the time in WCW, but he’s still hanging around in New Japan and he’s learned to adjust to the shooter style and he’s pretty awesome for his age now. Nagata counters a headlock by dropping Jericho on his head with a back suplex and then goes to a rear chinlock for a bit before beating him down with kicks, while Mike Tenay relates tales of their battles in the Orient. Jericho gets a wacky swinging cobra sleeper, but Nagata suplexes him onto the apron and then kicks him off and into the railing, as Jericho takes a crazy bump there. Nagata attacks him out there, but Jericho runs him into the post and slams him on the floor. Back in the ring, Onoo trips up Jericho on the top rope, and Nagata puts him away with the Nagatalock at 4:12. Well this was a wacky trainwreck, albeit a much better one than the opener. ***
Meanwhile, Raven does a brooding promo about his childhood while sitting beside a crib.
Bill Goldberg v. Scotty Riggs
Tenay has a SCOOP, as he thinks that Raven might be leading a new group of people, at which point we cut to Raven at ringside, with Perry Saturn and some other guy who is not Stevie Richards. “Well, here today and gone tomorrow” notes Tony. The guy would be Sick Boy later on. Goldberg ducks a lariat and Goldberg spears him and throws him into the corner for a beating, but he misses an elbow. Riggs comes back with dropkicks and Goldberg bumps to the floor, but Riggs tries a dive and Goldberg catches him and drops him on the railing. Back in, the Jackhammer finishes at 2:34. Apparently that makes it 4-0 for Goldberg. Well he’s no Jade Cargill but that’s a pretty good record so far. Hopefully they continue keeping track of it. Obviously early Goldberg was still a work in progress, as he was a scowling heel at this point with no real flow to his stuff. In your Observer note of the week, Dave thinks that Goldberg has a ton of potential. Well I guess we’ll see.
HOUR #2! THE HOUR THAT LEAKED THE VINCE MCMAHON SCANDAL TO THE MEDIA!
WCW World tag team title: Syxx & Scott Hall v. The Steiner Brothers
The Steiners had of course been screwed out of the tag titles for months in various terrible finishes until they basically killed the feud dead, and now it’s time for them to finally get their ultimate revenge….by beating a different team than they’ve been chasing. That’s how you know they missed the peak. So Hall does his usual survey promo and complains about the Steiners getting the shot when Nash is out with knee surgery, and then some guy just BEANS him with a cup and Hall just regroups and finishes his promo because he’s a pro. The Steiners quickly clean house, and Scott hits Syxx with a faceplant back in the ring. Rick comes in and slugs away on Hall , then hits a Steinerline for two. Rick goes up and Hall catches him for a fallaway slam, but misses an elbow. So Syxx hits a cheapshot from the apron and Hall clobbers Rick to take over. Syxx with the lightning legdrop for two and he tries the broncobuster, but Rick boots him to counter and it’s hot tag Scott. He throws them around and runs wild, and the elevated DDT gets two as Hall pulls out the ref and knocks him out. So this brings Larry out to yell at Hall, and Rick bulldogs him as Larry counts the pin at 6:00 to give the Steiners the titles. Well that match kind of sucked given all the buildup, and they just kind of gloss over Larry making the count instead of the referee. Well the Steiners weren’t long for the world as a team anyway I guess, but this was a massive disappointment given all the months of chasing the belts. *1/2
After the break, Tony assures us that there are absolutely no loopholes and Larry Zbyszko is a licensed official, so there will be no Dusty Finish. Source: Trust me, bro.
Rey Mysterio v. Dean Malenko
Rey gives his mask to a toddler at ringside, who promptly tosses it back at him in disgust in a funny moment. Fun fact: That kid grew up to be Tony Khan. Malenko catapults Rey over the top rope to start and that’s apparently not a DQ because reasons, and back in the ring Dean gets a heel kick for two. Rey takes him down with a headscissors into a rollup for two. He tries another one and Dean flattens him out and then goes to a chinlock while Tony reminds us that we’re scheduled until 10:00 but we might just keep going past 10:00, you just never know, wink wink! They slug it out in the corner and Rey bounces back onto him with a corkscrew senton for two. Malenko tries a powerbomb and Rey reverses to a code red for two. Rey drops the dime for two, but Eddie runs into the ring and steals Rey’s mask behind the ref’s back, and Rey has to cover up his face, allowing Dean to reverse into the Texas Cloverleaf for the submission at 5:00. That was a pretty clever finish but as usual tonight, the match was too short. ***
Diamond Dallas Page is still the same guy he ever was, hanging out at the Power Plant to keep his edge, just rapping with us like a youth pastor who turns the chair backwards to show that he can relate to us. And he’s all about positive messages heading into his street fight with Randy Savage at Halloween Havoc.
Rowdy Roddy Piper joins us to clarify for the crowd that Larry Zybszko is a sanctioned official for the PPV so he was totally legal to count the pin. You have to love that they screwed the fans so many times in 1997 that they literally need to tell us THREE TIMES that what we saw wasn’t a screwjob because people are so paranoid about it by this point. Uncle Eric and Randy Savage interrupt and Eric isn’t impressed with the commissioning done by Piper thus far, and he demands the belts all be returned to him immediately. Piper thinks THEMS FIGHTING WORDS and goes to fight, but the nWo storms the ring, before someone who totally looks exactly like Sting comes out to save Piper. Oh my gosh that’s so convincing, you guys! I’m sold! So “Sting” turns on Piper and Tony is just shocked by this because he was totally convinced, and it turns out to be Hulk Hogan. ACTING! So yeah it’s another nWo beatdown and no one comes out to save him because WCW is all losers and idiots.
Meanwhile, we take a look back at the Curt Hennig v. Ric Flair deal.
Scott Norton v. Ray Traylor
Apparently Ray is the mortal enemy of the nWo, which is certainly new information to me. Ray backdrops Norton to start, and that’s his one contractually obligated bump taken. So Norton proceeds to beat Traylor down and hits him with a powerslam while Billy Kidman debuts his new grunge look and joins Raven at ringside. Meanwhile Buff Bagwell chokes out Traylor from the floor and Norton slugs away in the corner while Tenay relates to us Gen Xers by supposing that Raven is “the leader of disenfranchised”. Oh man I bet he was listening to Pearl Jam on his Sony Discman too! Traylor makes a comeback and no one gives a shit, but Norton hits him with a can of spraypaint and pins him at 4:44. Well that’s a shame. DUD And they beat up Traylor and paint him with the nWo logo as no one comes out to save him because WCW is all losers and idiots.
Meanwhile, some lucky incel can win a chance for the Nitro girls to visit his mom’s basement for a Nitro Party! I heard Mean Gene had a Nitro Party in his pants. Call his hotline for more details.
World TV title: Alex Wright v. Disco Inferno
This is of course leading up to Disco facing Jackie at the PPV in a non-title match, BECAUSE THAT MAKES SENSE. Apparently the man v. woman match was cleared with the athletic commission in Nevada, but they stipulated that it had to be a non-title match. BECAUSE THAT MAKES SENSE. Really, there was some other secret compromise that was struck with the commission to allow the match to happen according to the Observer, even though everyone backstage at the time acknowledged that the match was a bad idea that no one wanted to see anyway, but at that point Bischoff was kind of stuck and had to go through with it because that was the stipulation of Disco getting his job back. Say it with me…BECAUSE WCW. Like, seriously, you couldn’t even pay Hollywood writers to think up shit half as stupid as what WCW did in real life at this point. Wright attacks and gets a dropkick to start, before putting the boots to Disco in the corner like everyone in the world typically scores off Disco on Twitter these days. Disco fights back with a fistdrop and slugs away in the corner, but Wright powerslams him and drops elbows on him before putting another beatdown on him. Wright stomps away while the crowd has a very rude chant towards Alex and his dancing. Disco with a backslide for two, but Wright cuts him off with a clothesline and follows with a slingshot splash for two. Wright goes up again and Disco slams him off, but Jackie heads down for the distraction and Wright gets a northern lights suplex for two. Jackie continues to yell at Disco and distract him, but Wright tries a rollup and Disco reverses and grabs the tights for the pin to retain at 6:00. Match was OK enough but the finish was abysmal. **
HOUR #3! THE HOUR THAT MADE FETCH HAPPEN!
Reminder that this is a renegade, unscheduled hour, the type that is not likely to be held down by societal norms and take a wife.
US title: Curt Hennig v. Diamond Dallas Page
I wonder if DDP tried to sue the Black Adam movie for stealing his hand sign? Page works the arm to start, so Hennig runs away and stalls at ringside. Man, Hennig needs someone to manage him, wonder if there’s anyone available in the WWF that they can sign? Nah, I doubt they’d be that sloppy. Hennig escapes a cutter and bails to the floor again, and they trade gum spits as this takes forever to get going. Back in the ring, Page takes him down with headlocks and a legsweep for two, but he mises a blind charge and Hennig puts him down with a forearm. To the chinlock as this whole match just feels like them going through the motions while everyone waits for the nWo to run in for the inevitable DQ. Page fights out of the chinlock, but Hennig catches him with a sleeper and Page escapes with a jawbreaker. DDP comes back with an atomic drop and pancake, but now Ric Flair tries to run in while security holds him back, and DDP rolls up Hennig for the apparent pin at 8:00 as Flair breaks free and runs into the ring to break it up. But then the ref changes his mind and decides that although he counted the pin, he’s actually disqualifying DDP instead because Flair ran in. Dull match with another horrendous finish. *1/2
Back from the break and now Piper comes out and declares again that DDP is the new US champion (which he wasn’t, it was 100% a Stanley Blackburn finish) and suddenly it’s an nWo beatdown because they don’t have any particular ideas for how to end the show otherwise. Like legit, why didn’t they just have DDP be the champion and put it back on Hennig the next week? We just had this whole deal where they repeatedly had to emphasize that the tag title switch was legit because fans already didn’t trust them after getting burned so many times, and now they go right back to Verne Gagne-level screwjob finishes in the SAME SHOW! They were still two weeks away from the PPV anyway, just switch the damn title. So Page and Piper take beating after beating after beating and then a bunch of people dressed like Sting come out as this just drags on and on and various Stings get beat up and keep coming out of the woodwork like Conrad podcasts, until finally the real one reveals that he was just wearing a fake Sting mask over his real Sting makeup, and finally the babyfaces clear the ring and get a little bit of heat back on the nWo after three hours.
This one was all over the place, with a few good matches sandwiched between the drug-fueled circus of nonsense that was the New World Order and everything that they touched. I was not bored, though, so you have it give it that.