Time for another action packed episode of WCW Monday Nitro from 1997. Once again it’s being preempted by hoops so we’ve got an hour long episode. If the past couple weeks are anything to go by this week will attempt to jam 2+ hours of bullshit into 45 minutes of airtime.
We kick things off this week with Michael Buffer doing his “Let’s get ready to rumble!” shtick to kick off the show. Spoiler alert: the main event of this hour long episode of Nitro features Ice Train and Alex Wright…there’s no need for Michael Buffer screaming about how epic this episode is going to be.
Macho Man apparently agrees because he comes down and interrupts Buffer to tell us that he’s totally healed up and last week he slapped DDP so hard that now DDP’s the one on crutches. He calls out Page and threatens to slap him “Hollywood style.” DDP doesn’t come out so we go to the announcers.
Meanwhile at the Announce Table…
We got Tony Schiavone, Bobby Heenan and Larry Zbyszko at the table today. Tony informs us that they got word for Eric Bischoff that Sting called him over the weekend and has agreed to an interview with Eric Bischoff later tonight. Tony Schiavone is apparently the dumbest man in wrestling because he doesn’t smell this for the bullshit it is.
Match 1: Juventud Guerrera vs. Ultimo Dragon (w/ Sonny Onoo)
Ultimo Dragon’s TV Title is on the line. As Dragon heads out Lord Steven Regal does an inset promo from the locker room. Regal, wearing a borderline Cosby sweater, says he’s going to stop being a lord and get back to his roots of just punchfucking the shit out of dudes. He says that Dragon’s got something very precious to him, the WCW TV Title and at Slamboree he’s going to get it back via fisticuffs.
Guerrera starts things off with a springboard crossbody that score a two count and then sends Ultimo Dragon out to the floor with a headscissors. Ultimo Dragon, or Ultimate Dragon as Schiavone keeps calling him, comes back in and lays into Juvy with kicks and then kills him with an over the shoulder backbreaker that results in a two count for the Dragon.
Juvy pops back up and kicks Ultimo Dragon in the face for another near fall. He follows it up with a fisherman’s suplex that earns him another two count. He the goes for a rana but Ultimo Dragon counters with a Dragon Powerbomb and then slows shit down. Dragon goes for a rana but Juvy rolls through into a sunset flip for another two count. Dragon goes for some suplexes but Juvy manages to escape.
Both men head up top and Dragon hits a massive superplex that wrecks the shit of both men. Juvy gets back up and hits the ropes, but gets tripped up by Sonny Onoo. Juvy goes out after him, turning his back on Ultimo Dragon who comes off the ring apron and kicks Juvy in the head before heading back into the ring.
Juvy turns to head back in as well and gets kicked by Onoo when his back is turned. Back in the ring Ultimo Dragon nails a super rana and then locks on the Dragon Sleeper to pick up the win and retain the prestigious WCW Television Championship.
Winner: Ultimo Dragon
This was some fine wrestling action. They got a decent amount of time (all things considered) and put on a perfectly cromulent light heavyweight / cruiserweight match. Juvy’s generally pretty good in these opening bouts since he’s quick and doesn’t seem to care about his body and Ultimo Dragon’s Ultimo Dragon. I may have to watch Slamboree just for the Ultimo Dragon vs. Steven Regal match. [**⅓]
Meanwhile in the Ring…
Mean Gene brings out the Three Amigos (Piper, Flair, and Greene) to talk about this Sunday’s Slamboree PPV. Greene, having been cut off last time, gets on the mic first and says that there are three things that are certain in live: everyone pays taxes, everyone dies, and on Sunday he’s going to break his foot off in the nWo’s ass! Tony Schiavone turns into a Victorian schoolmarm and gets all flustered by the fact that Kevin Greene said “ass” on basic cable.
Flair yells some shit and then Piper gets on the mic to talk about the nWo being “young lions,” which leads to him going on a rant about The Wizard of Oz and declaring, “I AIN’T DOROTHY!” while flapping his kilt and implying that the nWo are homosexuals.
He also takes umbrage with the fact that they called him a dinosaur before declaring that actually he IS a dinosaur. He’s a Tyrannosaurus Rex and at Slamboree he’s going to be starving.
This is all interrupted by the nWo appearing live via satellite from Charlotte, North Carolina and not somewhere backstage in Baltimore. Scott Hall’s like, “Yo Piper, if you’re so hungry I know of an all-you-can-eat buffet down there.” This prompts Kevin Nash to inquire, “Down where?” to which Scott Hall replies, “Down there!” while pointing towards his crotch. Maybe Piper was right. Maybe they are homosexuals…
With dick jokes out of the way we move on to cuckoldry with Syxx claiming that he’s fucking Ric Flair’s wife while Flair’s out of town. Nash then gets to the heart of the matter and is like, “We’re the nWo and we get to call all the shots, so the match on Sunday is no DQs and no countouts! There must be a winner!”
Match 2: Dean Malenko vs. Steve McMichael (w/ Debra McMichael and Jeff Jarrett)
NEVERMIND THAT SHIT HERE COMES MONGO! Dean manages to take Mongo to the mat right off the bat, but Mongo gets back to his feet and shoves Malenko down. Malenko trips up the big man and then hits him with a dropkick. Dean goes for a second dropkick but Mongo swats him out of the air like King Kong swatting at biplanes to take control.
Mongo hammers on Malenko in the corner but runs into a boot. He gives zero fucks though and proceeds to stomp on Malenko and then choke him out on the ropes. The hold gets broken and Malenko sends Mongo into the ropes and hits him with a dropkick that’s good for two. Malenko attempts to whip Mongo again but it gets reversed and Jarrett tries to trip up Malenko.
Jarrett’s distraction allows Mongo to clip Dean from behind. He then gets Malenko up for a powerslam but nails the ref in the head with Malenko’s feet. Mongo’s got a visual pin on the United States Champ but the ref is down.
Here comes Reggie White! Jarrett grabs White’s leg and then he and Mongo force Reggie into the ring. Mongo whips Reggie into the the ropes, but Reggie reverses it and hits a clothesline. He then hits Mongo with a splash before knocking Double J off the apron. Heenan says that this is terribly unfair to Mongo since he’d already been in the ring “five or ten minutes.” I doubt it’s been three minutes yet.
Dean comes to and rolls up Mongo. The ref recovers from getting booted in the head and counts the pin. Dean Malenko retains the United States Championship in a hard fought battle.
Winner: Dean Malenko
Nothing like making the US Champ look like a complete chump to further an angle between a couple of football players, one of whom isn’t even a full-time member of the roster. As for the in ring stuff, I guess it was okay. They kept it short so Mongo didn’t kill anyone or botch anything which I guess is a plus but Malenko really did look stupid. [*¼]
Meanwhile in the Aisle…
Gene stops Reggie White to get some words from him about his upcoming match with Mongo McMichael. Reggie White’s like, “You can say whatever you want about me but you leave the Green Bay fans out of this! They’re the greatest fans in the world!”
Gene is like “The Baltimore Raven fans are no slouches either right?” since they’re in Baltimore and some Baltimore Raven’s football players were shown sitting in the audience earlier in the evening.
Reggie White’s like, “Sure whatever! Everyone knows that the Green Bay vs. Chicago rivalry is the greatest in the game and on Sunday I’ll prove it that Green Bay are always better than the Bears!” The crowd cheers half-heartedly because the alternative would be supporting Mongo and his Haliburton case and no one wants to do that.
Road Report With Lee Marshall!
Why does Lee Marshall have a job? Lee Marshall’s all like, “I’m in Asheville, North Carolina. They’ve got the Biltmore Estate here and it’s beautiful! Bobby, I’m sorry to inform you that they have a no weasels policy.” Zbyszko’s like, “Christ alive why is that guy always such a dick to you?”
Match 3: Scotty Riggs vs. Wrath (w/ James Vandenberg & Mortis)
Scotty Riggs is not yet a grunge rock pirate. He’s got the American Males theme song still and his entrance warrants pyro apparently. Some dude in the crowd is not about Scotty Riggs and flips him off for the majority of his entrance.
En route to the ring, James Vandenberg talks at the camera and dubs the man who was Adam Bomb, “The Wrath,” or Wrath if you’re nasty.
The match itself is pretty much what you’d expect from a tag team guy whose tag team broke up but he’s still wearing his tag team gear and using his former tag team’s entrance music going against an unstoppable Mortal Kombat monster. Wrath uses power moves on Riggs. He hits Riggs with a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker and then ruins his shit with his finisher.
After the match, Glacier comes out and stares at Wrath and Mortis from the stage, while Larry tells some bullshit story about Glacier wandering around mumbling shit in Japanese backstage. Then they go to commercial without Glacier doing shit.
Sometimes you just need to squash a wrestler with a male stripper gimmick to get over your new Mortal Kombat ninja monster guy. There wasn’t anything to this match but it wasn’t long enough to be offensive or wear out its welcome. [NR]
Match 4: Konnan & Hugh Morrus (w/ Jimmy Hart) vs. Alex Wright & Ice Train (w/ Teddy Long)
Your main event for the evening folks! The Dungeon of Doom boys try to get the jump on Ice Train before the bell but he runs through them with ease and the match gets underway. Ice Train and Hugh Morrus start us off with some mediocre hoss action.
Ice Train hits a powerslam to take control and then tags in Wright who gets booed out of the building. I guess the fans in Baltimore were not a fan of him thrusting is giant German cock in Debra McMichael’s general direction last week.
Wright ends up staying in too long, refusing to tag out, and Morrus takes control of the match. He eventually makes the tag just in time for Ice Train to get leveled with a clothesline. Wright heads out to the floor and starts jawing with Teddy Long.
Meanwhile, Ice Train is bad at wrestling. Hugh Morrus attempts to bring him into the ring the hard way but Ice Train gets stuck in the ropes or is just too fucking jacked to hop and flip forward.
Ice Train makes a comeback and goes to his corner for a HOT TAG but Alex Wright’s all like, “My knee’s fucked dude,” and then walks off, leaving Ice Train to fend for himself. The Dungeon of Doom guys then double team Ice Train and lay him out. Hugh Morrus goes up top for his moonsault but Ice Train is shit and is in the wrong place, so Morrus gets off the top rope, stomps on Ice Train a few times, and then Konnan locks in the Tequila Sunrise to pick up the win.
Winners: Konnan & Hugh Morrus
This was a WCW Worldwide match that somehow ended up main eventing Nitro during the Monday Night Wars. It’s shit like this that put WCW out of business. It was a bad match between lower mid-carders that was apparently important enough to be the main event match on the go-home show before a PPV. Stupid!
And the worst part: this entire match was set up to turn Alex Wright heel. Were he and Ice Train even friends? I don’t recall them ever tagging together prior to this match. Cagematch tells me that this was their sole instance of being in the ring together on television (outside of a battle royal) so the heel turn against Ice Train was really arbitrary. [-***]
Last Week on Nitro…
We get a recap of the nWo beating down DDP from last week before Shiavone gets word that something’s happening backstage!
We get like 20 seconds of a cameraman running through the backstage area to whatever is happening is happening. What’s happening is a trio of guys in nWo shirts with bandannas over their faces who look surprisingly like Hall, Nash and Syxx have laid out Piper and run out of his locker room area.
Piper’s yelling about his hip and WCW security close the door. Will Piper be okay for Slamboree?
Meanwhile in the Ring…
After like five minutes of strolling down the ramp to the nWo theme song, Eric Bischoff gets in the ring. He’s got an nWo “microphone cube” which impresses Tony Schiavone. Neither of the other announcers knows what the fuck Schiavone’s on about.
Bischoff wastes some time on the mic and then finally brings out Sting. In a surprise to absolutely no one it’s the nWo Sting. nWo Sting comes down to the ring and Bischoff asks him a bunch of questions that make Sting look like a chump and Hogan look like the greatest thing ever while nWo Sting nods in agreement. Great interview this nWo Sting is…
Eventually the real Sting comes down to the ring, baseball bat in hand. He hold the baseball bat up and then gives the nWo Sting five for flinching.
Sting nails nWo Sting with a Scorpion Death Drop and Bischoff flees through the crowd without asking the real Sting a single question. Cue Tony Schiavone screaming, “We’re outta time! We gotta go! See you at Slamboree!”
What a useless goddamn show. The opening bout was fine enough wrestling I guess, but everything else is complete garbage. You know things are in rough shape when your main event features four guys who couldn’t main event an episode of WCW Saturday Night and this is your goddamn go home show before one of the bigger PPVs of the year. As I’ve said before in rewatching these old Nitros it’s becoming clear to me that WCW was in trouble long before Vince Russo got on the scene.