Written By: Justin Rozzero
WCW Nitro 1/13/97
New Orleans, LA
Announcers: Tony Schiavone & Larry Zbyszko
– We don’t even get all the way through our opening credits as we cut backstage to see the Giant busting into the NWO locker room and screaming for Hogan. He is held at bay by security and we head out to the arena where we are welcomed by Tony and Larry. Tony has heard that Hogan is backing out of the Souled Out main event which has Larry in a rage.
1) Chavo Guerrero defeats J.L. with a moonsault at 4:14
Tony keeps talking about Hogan backing out of the match with the Giant as Larry continues to take shots at him. The men lock up as Larry mentions that Hogan has been battling giants since 1980. J.L. is of course future ECW star Jerry Lynn under a mask. J.L. has control early as Tony runs down our card for the evening and mentions that the Super Bowl will head to New Orleans in 2 weeks time. That ended up being the Packers smacking around the Patriots, giving Brett Favre his one and only Super Bowl ring. Chavo takes over, landing a nice Plancha to the floor. He eventually heads up top, but is met with a really nice dropkick and is sent crashing to the floor. J.L. comes off the top to the floor with a big cross body, but it is ignored by Tony who is discussing how the Giant earned the Title shot by winning World War III. Larry wonders how Hogan can get out of a legally binding Title match and Tony says it is because of Bischoff. The two men are back in and trading punches, but Chavo eventually lands a cross body of his own for 2. Chavo heads up but J.L. trips him up and lands a top rope Huracarrana for 2. J.L. hits a chop and a kick to the face and then whips Chavo in to the ropes, but Chavo lands a jumping butt slam to the face, for lack of a better name. Larry is saying it was a good thing that security pulled the Giant back earlier as he was outnumbered. Chavo heads up and J.L. is to his feet, but Guerrero comes off with a moonsault and picks up the win. Decent opener, but the entire focus was on Hogan backing out of the Title match. Grade: 1.5
– We head back from break and over to our booth where Tony and Larry talk about how the show opened and discuss Hogan’s “human game of chess” some more. Larry says they lured Giant in like they did Piper and that the Giant should go to Roddy and learn the sleeper so he is better armed.
2) Jim Duggan vs. Super Calo ends in a No Contest when Sting attacks Duggan before the match
Duggan is waving the gigantic purple and gold WCW flag that he stole from a fan last week. Gene is out and catches Hacksaw on his way to the ring. Okerlund thanks him for standing up to the NWO and helping defend WCW. He has set aside the American flag and picked up this banner instead and then asks for help, specifically naming Sting, as he tells him to be a man and pick a side. As he heads to the ring, Larry says that was the smartest thing Hacksaw has ever said. Calo’s music starts up, but out of nowhere Sting hits the ring and drops Duggan with the Scorpion Death Drop. Larry of course assumes this means Sting is with the NWO. Sting leaves the ring as Larry claims the NWO has finally gotten to him and also calls him a rat for attacking Duggan for behind. Tony lets us know the producers are scrambling to put a new match together to take the place of this one, which is actually a nice touch. Tony and Larry talk about Sting some more and then we get some theme music for our standby match.
3) Chris Jericho defeats Craig Pittman with a missile dropkick in :59
Tony fills us in on what happened earlier, saying Giant crashed into the NWO locker room claming Hogan bailed on the Souled Out match. Larry is still in shock over the Sting and Duggan confrontation. Tony lets us know that the New Adventures of Robin Hood immediately follows Nitro as I just realized what infamous episode of Nitro this is. Jericho starts off with a dropkick as Tony ponders if Jericho’s opponent will back out of their Souled Out match as well. Pittman tosses Jericho over the top, but he lands on the apron and heads up top. He nails a big missile dropkick and picks up the quick win. Grade: .5
4) Harlem Heat defeat High Voltage when Booker T. pins Kenny Kaos with the Heat Seeker at 4:03
The heavily juiced up High Voltage head to the ring for our next match as Tony again recaps what happened earlier. Larry is still convinced that Sting has joined up with the NWO, saying you can DiBiase’s influence in his actions. He also says Duggan is such an idiot that everyone feels bad for him and would beat him up. Harlem Heat and Sherri head down to the ring and Sherri’s dress is about a size too small for her at this point. Booker T. and Kenny Kaos start things off here, and Booker has control early, landing a botched back body drop and then working the arm. Tony talks about the return of the Steiners at Souled Out, but wonders if the Outsiders will also pull out of their match. We quickly cut backstage and the Giant is still trying to get at Hogan in the locker room, but is being held back by the fuzz. We pan over to Bischoff and Hogan where Eric is laughing at Giant for thinking he was actually getting a World Title shot. He says that he should have known he needed a contract to receive a Title match. We head back to the ring and Stevie and Booker are working over Robbie Rage. Tony thinks Giant winning the Battle Royal equates to a contract, but apparently not according to Bischoff. Booker lands a nice sidewalk slam, but heads to the second rope and misses a knee drop. Larry has the balls to compare High Voltage to Harlem Heat from a couple of years ago. Yeah, just a little off there. Kaos lands a Butterfly Suplex for 2, but Stevie breaks it up. All four men are in and Kaos eventually ends up on Stevie’s shoulders. Booker heads up top and lands the Heat Seeker, knocking Kaos back to the mat and then rolling him up for the victory. Grade: 1.5
– We are back and Tony lets us know that members of the WCW Executive committee are in town for the NAPTE convention and will be making a ruling tonight about Hogan backing out of the Souled Out match. As out announcers discuss this, the NWO music fires up as Bischoff, DiBiase and Vincent make their way out and head over to the commentary booth. Tony and Larry vacate the area, but not before Larry lands a funny line when he tells Bischoff that with the Executive committee in town he better not mess up anymore or he will be “mowing Verne Gagne’s lawn again”. Easy E takes us to a video package of Sting, who he claims is “our Sting”.
5) Diamond Dallas Page defeats Mark Starr with the Diamond Cutter at :53
DiBiase claims that DDP is in good standing with the NWO just like Sting is. Bischoff lets us know that last week DDP and Scott Hall had a meeting at Michael’s Restaurant at the Barbary Coast in Las Vegas. DiBiase says that they need to get DDP an NWO shirt to start wearing as Bischoff lets the world officially know that DDP is his neighbor. Lock up to start as Bischoff says DDP is confident because the NWO is standing behind him. DDP lands a nice DDT as Ted and Eric talk about the Giant and the Souled Out match. DDP whips Starr to the buckle and then hits the ropes and catches Starr with a running Diamond Cutter for the win. I liked the different Cutter variations Page used to bust out, but this one really didn’t look that great as Starr started to fly forward before Page even grabbed hold of him. Bischoff invites Page over for some chilling and grilling as he celebrates in the ring. Grade: .5
– As Page continues to celebrate, Hall and Nash head out to the ring with a shirt in tow. Nash and Page hug in the middle of the ring to a good reaction. They hand Page the shirt and he puts it on and then he shakes hands with Hall as Nash turns around to pose to the crowd. Page then shocks the world as he pulls Hall in and drills him with the Diamond Cutter. Nash is shocked and charges, but Page ducks and Nash goes flying out of the ring. DDP takes off through the crowd to a good pop. Bischoff and DiBiase are shocked and Eric says that DDP is now Enemy #1 of the NWO as we head out to break. This was the angle that officially elevated Page from an upper mid card character to a Main Event act.
– Back from break and we get a promo paid for by the New World Order. We get Nash and Hall sitting around and rapping about the Steiner brothers. They claim to have reinvented wrestling and that they have x-rays of Scott’s vertebrae so they know which to target. They say the Steiners are stuck together due to genetics, but that they are together because they choose to be.
6) Dean Malenko defeats Eddy Guerrero with a Powerbomb at 12:14 in a non-title match; Guerrero is still the WCW US Champion
Larry is all excited about DDP’s decision and says Sting should take his actions as an example. Tony says a decision has been made by the Executive committee and that they are on their way to the building to fill us all in. Tony and Larry continue to gush over the committee decision as the match gets under way. Tony says the NWO can “be cool and do things in black and white” but that they need to have heart and perseverance. Eddy and Dean trade some mat maneuvers back and forth early on. Eddy is still without his US Championship, which was stolen by Syxx. Eddy with a headlock takeover as the conversation turns to the condition of Roddy Piper and the “gibberish” he was speaking after he got beaten down a few weeks back. Eddy comes off the ropes and Dean hits a nice leg lariat to gain control. Tony lets us know that it was determined that Piper was speaking the ancient language Gaelic. He is then handed a note and makes a major announcement that the committee decided that Hulk Hogan will face the Giant later tonight. Eddy is back up and lands a nice back suplex and slingshot Senton for 2. Dean grabs his tights and yanks him down to the floor. Eddy back in and grabs a single leg takedown as Tony and Larry talk about Hogan and Giant some more. Eddy is trying to lock in a figure four as the crowd is starting to get antsy with all the mat work. Dean tries to block the hold, but Guerrero finally locks it in. Dean reaches the ropes and then rolls out to the floor as Tony lets us know that the Giant and NWO are being informed of the decision. Malenko back in and gains control with some elbows to the neck and a nice headscissors takedown. Dean off the ropes again, but Eddy catches him with a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker for another 2 count. Eddy whipped to the buckle, but Dean eats a knee as he charges in. Dean ducks out and just tosses Eddy from the corner to the mat. Malenko lands a knee to the gut and then locks in an abdominal stretch as the crowd is again losing interest. Dean continues to wrench in the hold as Tony talks about Eddy’s ladder match with Syxx at Souled Out and tells us the way to measure a champion in this sport is to perform in the ring and not sitting around with your cronies. Dean blocks a sunset flip with a punch to the head. We cut to the back of the arena where we see Syxx standing atop a ladder riling up the fans. Back to the ring and Dean hits a back suplex for 2 and then goes to a reverse chinlock. The two trade punches in the corner and Eddy lands a big uppercut to take Dean to the mat. Eddy is able to hook in a submission hold that looks like it would set up the Gory Guerrero Special. Instead of landing the move though, Eddy slides Dean down his back into a pinning combination, but Dean reverses it and the two trade 2 counts. Eddy with a back slide for a really close 2. Dean up and hits a short clothesline for a 2 of his own. Dean grabs Eddy’s hand in a wristlock, but Eddy hops to the top rope and hits a springboard Huracarrana into a cradle for 2. A series of reversals leads to a Malenko Brainbuster for another near fall. Dean goes for another Brainbuster, but Eddy slips out with another cradle and 2. Eddy hits a Brainbuster of his own and then happens to lock eyes with Syxx. He climbs to the second rope and jaws with Syxx, but Dean slips in from behind and catches Eddy with a quick Powerbomb for the win. This was a pretty good TV match, but the crowd never really bought into it, even with all the hot near falls at the end and the commentators ignored most of it until the last couple of minutes. They definitely worked hard though as always, I will give them that. Grade: 2.5
Announcers: Tony Schiavone, Mike Tenay & Bobby Heenan
– Tony, Mike and Bobby discuss our big main event as we head back from break and kick off hour two. Bobby says that Hogan escaped Piper, but what will he do against a Giant. We take a look back at what happened at the open of the show as Tony recaps the night’s events thus far.
7) Konnan defeats Super Calo with a Fisherman’s Brainbuster at 2:54
Mike applauds the Giant for showing no fear and going right into the NWO locker room. Konnan is taking Duggan’s place, as earlier tonight Calo was set to battle Hacksaw before Sting interfered. Tenay tells us that Calo got his look and name from the top rap group in Mexico: Calo. Konnan with a quick take down a 1 count on Calo and then lands some chops in the corner. Calo rebounds with a couple of nice armdrags and a dropkick to send Konnan to the floor. Calo comes right after him with a nice somersault Senton. Both men are back in and Calo controls, landing a pair of elbows for a 2. Tony apologizes to the wrestlers in the ring and the ones wrestling later because they keep discussing the Main Event. Konnan ducks a leapfrog and lands a nasty clothesline. Konnan hits a pair of Powerbombs and then heads up to the second rope. Calo is up and takes him down with a headscissors. Calo comes off the ropes and goes for cross body, but doesn’t judge it right and just falls at the feet of Konnan. Konnan whips him in again and this time catches Calo in his arms and the drills him with a super stiff Fisherman’s Brainbuster for the 3 count. Grade: 1.5
8) Jeff Jarrett defeats Chris Benoit after Steve McMichael hits Benoit with the Halliburton at 3:31
This is a Starrcade rematch and as the competitors head out, we head backstage to get comments from Kevin Sullivan. Sullivan says there will be no talking, as Benoit has now affected someone else in his life. He says there will be no chess playing, because he owns the board and then issues a final warning to Benoit. Tony tells us that the Main Event will be non-title because Hogan wasn’t given 48 hours notice about defending it. The two men lock up in the ring and trade control as we get a healthy “Jarrett sucks” chant from the crowd. As the two battle in the corner, the crowd starts to get rowdy and we cut to the aisle to see Mongo, Debra and Double A walking down to the ring. JJ hits a suplex for 2, but Benoit pops back up and lands a clothesline on an Irish whip. Tony lets us know that Woman is backing Benoit while Debra is behind Jarrett. Jarrett regains control of the match and Tenay fills us in on a rumored incident between Scott Hall and Jerry Sags in Shreveport, LA. JJ hits a swinging neckbreaker and starts to go for the Figure 4, but Arn distracts him and Benoit lands a few chops. Jarrett is backed into the ropes and Mongo grabs hold of his tights and tries to get the briefcase from Debra so he can paste JJ with it. However, by the time he can get control of it, JJ swings around, putting Benoit against the ropes and Mongo blasts Chris in the back with it. Jarrett pounces and picks up the win. Mongo tries to explain himself to Arn as Debra is smiling and mugging about what went down. Grade: 1.5
– After the match, Gene rounds the group up in the aisle to try and sort out the madness. Gene lets us know that Aaron Neville also believes there is a lot of turmoil in the Horsemen as well. Benoit says we will sort this all out tonight. He holds up the four fingers and says that means Horsemen and means excellence. He tells Mongo to quit fumbling the ball if he wants to stay with the Horsemen. He then says after the last few weeks, they look nothing like an elite team. Benoit continues by saying he was handpicked by Arn while Mongo was chosen due to circumstance. He says Debra badmouths the Horsemen because that is her style and that she can even badmouth him, but she better not say anything bad about Woman, saying she is all woman and no plastic. Mongo apologizes and says that they have won a lot of matches together in the past using that Halliburton. He takes a shot at Kevin Greene and the Gene tells us that Flair is so upset about everything he didn’t show up. Benoit asks Arn where Flair is and Arn says he wants nothing to do with the personal issues. Chris tells Mongo to shape up or ship out. Debra says she is upset that people think she gossips behind backs and that she loves everyone here. Mongo throws down the gauntlet and says if Benoit doesn’t want to accept the apology, they can go right now. Benoit says no more excuses, he only wants results. He has held up his end of being a Horseman and its time for everyone else to step up. Everyone except Arn walks off, and Arn says he wishes they didn’t choose tonight to get on his case as he has a lot on his mind, including a match with Rick Steiner. That was a really good promo by everyone involved as you could feel the tension within the group.
9) Scotty Riggs defeats Billy Kidman with the Ameriplex at 2:19
Tony lets us know that next week we will be live from Chicago. Kidman is still rocking the short hair and basic blue tights here as he is set to square off with Riggs, who is still clinging to the American Males theme and look. Tony tells us that Riggs and Bagwell will go at it at Souled Out. Riggs tries to get the crowd going but he is showered with a smattering of boos instead. Riggs starts off in control landing a bodyslam and dropkick before taking hold of Kidman’s arm. Kidman is whipped in but comes back with a headscissors takeover and then grabs an armbar. Riggs up and catches Kidman coming off the ropes and drops him face first on the mat. We cut over to the aisle to see Bagwell watching the action and sporting a very interesting robe. We pick up audio from Bagwell saying that Riggs is fat but he is buff, foreshadowing his future nickname. Meanwhile, Riggs is taken down and Kidman heads up top but misses the Shooting Star Press. Riggs picks him up and takes him over with a Fisherman’s Suplex for the win. Tony says that is Bagwell’s move but that Riggs is going to use it and call it the Ameriplex. The former American Males stare each other down as Bagwell keeps jawing at Scotty from the entrance. Grade: 1.5
– We now head over the booth as the three men break down our Main Event once again. Tenay gives props to the committee and Bobby says that Hogan is sweating and nervous about the match. Tony reminds once more that the match will be non-title as we head to break.
– Back from break and Bobby Heenan tosses it to Lee Marshall who is calling us collect from Chicago, IL. Marshall is eating deep dish pizza at a Nitro party and lets us know that tickets are still available. He says that the Chicago Six Flags staff is opening a new ride and need Bobby’s help: the Tilt-a-Weasel. We take a look at Aaron Neville in the crowd as we head down to our next match.
10) Lex Luger defeats Rick Fuller with the Torture Rack at 2:55
Tony and Mike pump up Luger’s focus and determination as of late. Fuller is an independent wrestler from New England and was trained by Jimmy Snuka and Tony Atlas. This is his WCW debut. We start off slow and eventually the two men collide with a shoulderblock, but neither moves. Luger hits a hip toss but Fuller gets right back up and the two shove each other. Fuller lands a kick and a clothesline to some really stiff chops. Fuller rams Luger’s head to the buckle and then whips him in, but Luger catches him with a boot. Lex nails a few clotheslines and the crowd is digging him big time. Fuller staggers back and Luger picks him up and locks in an impressive Torture Rack for the win. That was a short match, but it was pretty fun to watch. Luger was way over at this point as this is the hottest the crowd has been all night. Grade: 2
– As Luger is heading back, the Giant comes out of the entrance way to meet him. They stare each other down as the announcers fear that we will have showdown. Giant finally turns and heads to the ring as Luger walks back to the dressing room. Gene is in the ring to chat with the Giant and the crowd has stayed pretty hot thanks to Lex. It is about time they woke up. Giant is happy about the support he has gotten, but says it isn’t about the NWO or WCW, it is about Hogan and the Giant. Giant says he wants the World Title really bad. He says he was a bookend for the NWO, keeping them together, but now that he is gone, the books are falling apart. Tonight, he will close the chapter on Hulkamania forever.
11) Rick Steiner defeats Arn Anderson by countout at 2:57
Tony lets us know that we are on the edge of history here tonight, which I would assume is a good thing. Tony and Mike talk about how Arn is unfocused and that his mind isn’t in the match tonight. Bobby gives a little insight to Arn’s mentality since he used to manage him. Scott leads Rick out by a chain leash around his neck which is kind of disturbing to say the least. We get some talk about the upcoming Outsiders/Steiner title match as we get underway. Arn takes control off a lockup, but Rick eventually blocks a punch and hits a belly-to-belly to send Arn to the floor. Tony now lets us know that TNT will switch to the New Adventures of Robin Hood at 10:00 PM, but they will cut in during commercial breaks to show action from the Giant/Hogan match. Outside the ring, Arn is calling for some backup but it never comes. Steiner grabs a headlock and takes Arn down with a shoudlerblock and Powerslam for a near fall. Back body drop gets another 2 for Rick. Tony tells us to stick with TNT and “enjoy” Robin Hood but I think I will pass on that offer, as generous as it is. Arn rolls to the floor and is screaming for the Horsemen again, but Mike lets us know that he was informed that they are locked in a room backstage having a huge shouting match. Arn walks further down the aisle yelling for help and eventually just gives up on the match and gets counted out. Grade: 1.5
– Gene hops in the ring to chat with the Steiners about Souled Out. Scott says the Outsiders made two mistakes: inviting them to the PPV and assuming he is still hurt. Steiner says he will be ripping a Goozle out and that height doesn’t matter because this isn’t basketball. Scott continues rambling about basketball and shoving his fist down someone’s throat but Gene has to cut him off because we are headed to break.
12) Giant defeats Hollywood Hogan by disqualification when the NWO interferes
Tony lets us know that we only have six minutes left until TNT will switch to Robin Hood. Since this match is so huge though, we will cut back during breaks, so make sure you stay tuned through all of Robin Hood. Hogan’s entrance is taking forever, of course, further pushing along this “revolutionary agreement” between TNT and WCW. The rest of the NWO stays at the entrance way as DiBiase and Hogan head down to the ring. Giant heads down to a good little pop and Tony is still pimping Robin Hood as we have just two minutes to go. Hogan hits the floor to stall for us to make sure we don’t have any action before we head out. Hollywood grabs the stick and runs down the Giant to eat up some more time. Hogan says he used Giant and they have no use for him anymore. Giant grabs him and yanks him into the ring and lands a big body slam. The bell rings but we only have one more minute left. Giant hits a big headbutt and a boot to send Hogan to the floor. Mike says we better not touch the dial tonight and as Giant stalks Hogan down the aisle we head to Robin Hood. Thanks to the beauty of WWE 24/7 however, we pick up the match during what we can assume was the first break of Robin Hood. We come back and Giant is landing some heavy chops on Hogan’s chest. Tony says that Giant has been dominating Hogan throughout the whole match. Hogan begs off and pulls the referee in between them. Giant stuffs the NWO bandana into Hogan’s mouth and slugs him down as we head back to Robin Hood. We return and Giant is still in control as he hits a bodyslam and signals for the Chokeslam. Hogan begs off again but gets caught by the throat. Hollywood goes the eyes, but Giant grabs him again whips draws in the NWO for the disqualification. Hogan and DiBiase bail as the troops try and take down the Giant. We fade out for good as Giant is trading blows with Scott Norton. Grade: 1
I am not sure how I feel about the whole Robin Hood nonsense. I know at the time a lot of people were pretty pissed off, but I understand why they did it. It made sense for TNT as it kept viewers either watching or at least checking back regularly to see the outcome of what was a pretty hot match at the time. I know I kept checking in back 1997 to see what happened. The bad part of the whole thing was that the match clearly did not last nearly a half an hour so that was kind of a stupid angle for them to go with. What made it worse was that Tony kept saying they were live when the cut ins went down. They should have had more than one match happen during that time so it seemed a bit more believable. Or they could have faded out on the Giant promo and during the first break started the match and then finished it in the next one. Anyway, on a whole it was a pretty entertaining episode. We didn’t get any really good matches, but the angles that went down were all well done. I enjoyed the DDP/Outsiders showdown as well as all the Horsemen drama. They have done a great job pumping up the Giant/Hogan matchup even though it did get tiresome listening to them harp on it all night long. I will say that they were great promoters though, because the way the built the match throughout the whole show, I could see why people would stick around throughout Robin Hood to see it go down. Guerrero and Malenko had the match of the night but it was definitely hurt by the sluggish crowd and lack of attention from the announcers. Speaking of the crowd, they were pretty sedated all night and only really perked up during that segment with the Luger match and Giant interview. I wish the DDP segment got a better reaction, but I guess he wasn’t really a major player just yet, so I understand the apathy to an extent. All in all, it was a solid enough show that did its job: pump up Souled Out. Grade: B-
MVP: Eddy Guerrero & Dean Malenko
Runner Up: Lex Luger
Non MVP: TNT and WCW
Runner Up: The Horsemen