Written By: Justin Rozzero
WCW Nitro 1/27/97
Veterans Memorial Auditorium
Des Moines, IA
Announcers: Tony Schiavone & Larry Zbyszko
– We start with our opening, and dated, animation and then head into the arena where Eric Bischoff, Scott Hall and Kevin Nash welcome us to Nitro. They are at the announce table and Eric tells us that they have business to take care of tonight and references how badly the Outsiders were treated by WCW officials Saturday night at Souled Out. We then take a look at video footage of the closing moments of the tag title match between the Outsiders and the Steiners. Referee Nick Patrick was knocked out on the floor and Randy Anderson hit the ring and counted the three, giving the Steiners the tag titles. Bischoff calls out Randy Anderson, who is in the ring, and asks him to come over to the announce table. Anderson hustles over and grabs a mike. Bischoff asks him what he was thinking last night, but cuts him off before he can even answer. He says he received a ticket from the promoter as a gift, which is why he was in the building. Eric asks him if he is familiar with company policy regarding gifts from other employees and then tells him he violated company policy by accepting the gift. Eric tells him that he knows Anderson had a tough year, and Randy mentions his bout with cancer, but Bischoff cuts him off and tells him he doesn’t want to hear his personal problems. He then fires him on the spot. Anderson tries to interject about his children, but Eric cuts him off again and the Outsiders mock him as he sulks off to the unemployment line. Eric says that they aren’t done yet and calls out the Steiners, who come out to a good pop. Eric informs the Steiners that Anderson was fired and should not have been allowed to be involved in the match. He then strips the Steiners and tells them to hand the belts over to the champions. He says he is the highest ranking official in WCW and that if they don’t hand the belts over, they will be in breach of contract. They spike the belts down and Bischoff fines them six months worth of pay for doing so. Rick actually broke the belt when he slammed it on the concrete. Eric tells them to go to the ring and wrestle or else they will breach their contracts. The Steiners were made to look like bitches there, as they barely put up a fight over the belts, but I guess they played it OK with Bischoff threatening them so severely.
1) Steiner Brothers defeat the Faces of Fear at 5:54 when Scott pins Meng with a belly-to-belly suplex
Eric tells us that a tag title match was advertised for tonight, and that they will still deliver on that promise. The Faces attack off the bell and the four men brawl to start. Rick hits a belly-to-belly on Meng and both Faces bail. Hall issues an open tag team challenge for later tonight. Barbarian grabs control and starts to beat on Scott, but he eats a boot on a charge and gets hit with a belly-to-belly as well. Rick and Meng both tag in and club away at each other, but Rick gets caught with a reverse atomic drop. Barbarian tags in and they hit a nice double team body drop into a powerbomb for 2. We see Harlem Heat and Sister Sherri in the crowd as Barbarian hits a suplex and Meng follows with a splash off the top. Barbarian scoops Rick up and hits a Powerslam for 2 and then tags Meng back in. Both men head up top and hit a double headbutt for another two, but Scott breaks it up. Meng chops away as Hall says the NWO needs more refs, as Nick Patrick can’t do it all. Barbarian is back in and sets up a belly-to-belly of the top rope as Hall calls Rick “Robbie”. Rick blocks the move and falls on Barbarian as they hit the mat. Scott tags in and lands some clotheslines on both men. He body drops Meng and hits a double underhook powerbomb for 2. Scott shoots Meng in, but gets hit with a body block. Scott slips out of a suplex attempt and hits a release belly-to-belly for the win. The Outsiders give the Steiners some props as we head out to break. That was a fun little tag match that never slowed up and featured some stiff action. Grade: 2.5
– When we return from commercial, Tony and Larry have returned to the booth and they recap our opening segment, saying it isn’t good for WCW. Tony tells us they aren’t allowed to show any footage of anything positive WCW did last night, but they can show still photos. We get pictures and recap of the Eddy/Syxx ladder match and DDP/Norton bout, which saw DDP again feign joining the NWO before attacking Norton and ripping the shirt off.
2) Giant defeats Roadblock with the Chokeslam at 1:48
Tony and Larry inform us that Giant had Hogan’s shoulders on the mat for multiple three counts last night and that they fear for Roadblock here right now. Roadblock jumps Giant as he gets in the ring and tries chopping away at him, but Giant turns the tables and lands a clothesline. Roadblock gets a boot up on a charge and goes for a bodyslam, but Giant blocks it. Giant picks Roadblock up and slams him, which was pretty impressive. He lands a stiff clothesline and the crowd is pretty hot for him here tonight. He lands a sweet standing dropkick, which sends Roadblock over the top and through a table. Giant heads out and tosses Roadblock back in the ring, where he hits a big Chokeslam for the win. That was an entertaining squash for Giant as he looked dominant and unleashed some impressive moves on his large opponent. Grade: 1.5
– Giant grabs the mike from David Penzer and says the fire breathing giant is still alive. He tells Hogan that he knows he is in the building and says he wants him again, as whatever doesn’t kill him pisses him off more. He wants a rematch tonight if Hogan has any guts. He promises to walk away as World Champion if Hogan accepts. He leaves the ring and we head to break.
3) Jeff Jarrett defeats Eddie Guerrero by disqualification at 4:32 when Steve McMichael interferes
We are back as Tony tells us that Jarrett picked up a big win at Souled Out with the help of Debra and Mongo. Eddie finally has his US belt back after retaining the championship in the ladder match against Syxx at Souled Out. Syxx had stolen it as soon as Eddie won it at Starrcade. Lockup to start as Larry says JJ is trying to impress the Horsemen to gain entry. Eddie lands a shoulderblock, but JJ eventually lands a clothesline to gain control. He goes for a monkey flip, but Eddie lands on his feet and hits a dropkick for 2. JJ hits a swinging neckbreaker, and dodges a sunset flip, but Eddie gets a small package for 2. JJ hits another clothesline and follows up with a suplex and then chokes Eddie on the middle rope. Larry questions Hogan’s confidence and wonders if he will accept Giant’s challenge. Eddie ducks a clothesline and hits a cross body, but both men end up hitting a double clothesline, taking them both out. JJ gets up first and goes for a sidewalk slam, but Guerrero gets a headscissors takedown and follows with a reverse atomic drop. Eddie hits a Brainbuster and heads up top. JJ gets to his feet and catches Eddie with a big superplex. JJ calls for the Figure 4, but we see Mongo and Debra heading down to the ring. Eddie mounts JJ in the corner and Mongo gets up on the steps with the Halliburton. Eddie sees him and jumps down, but Mongo winds up and pastes Jarrett in the back with the briefcase, points at Debra and jumps off the apron. Mark Curtis calls for the DQ as Larry thinks Mongo finally put the pants on. Debra is upset and she and Mongo walk to the back arguing. That was decent little matchup that kept a good pace and had the crowd into everything they were doing. It was a bit choppy due to the time constraints, but we are on a roll with matches tonight. Grade: 2.5
– We head over to the announce booth where Tony says they have some shocking info for us. Thanks to some people pulling strings, we are now about to view Roddy Piper defeating Hollywood Hogan at Starrcade for the first time on TV. Bischoff had been preventing the footage from airing since that night. Of course, just as Hogan’s hand is about to drop a third time, the tape cuts out and gets all messed up. Tony and Larry are confused and are told that Eric Bischoff went in the video truck and grabbed the tape while it aired. Eric comes out to the announce table and tells Tony and Larry to never pull a stunt like that again and he rips the tape apart as we go to break.
4) Ultimo Dragon defeats Billy Pearl with double chicken wing suplex at 2:43
We are back and Tony and Larry talk more about how great Starrcade was for WCW and Larry tells us that nobody can deny that Piper won, even if the footage is banned. Tony says that Bischoff is still in control and can fire them at any time. Tony reminds us that Dragon is the number one contender for the Cruiserweight title. He had lost the belt to Dean Malenko at the Clash last week. We get a lockup to start as Dragon gets taken down with a test of strength, but does a nice bridge. We get a few nice reversals that ends in a standoff. Dragon grabs a headlock and the two continue to dodge each other’s moves until Dragon finally hits a side kick. Dragon hits a scoop slam and elbow drop for 1. Ultimo misses the handspring elbow and Pearl heads up top, but Dragon hits a dropkick as Billy comes off the top. Dragon hits a fallaway slam and follows with an Asai Moonsault. He then hits a double chicken wing suplex with a bridge for the win. That was a pretty competitive squash as Billy Pearl looked pretty good in his first Nitro appearance. Grade: 2
– We head over to Gene Okerlund in the aisle and he brings out the Four Horsemen for their weekly sparring session. Benoit, Woman, Debra, Mongo, Anderson and Flair all head out as Tony talks about thee recent troubles in the group. Okerlund says things have turned around for the unit over the past couple of weeks. Flair says he can’t blame Benoit for his decision in love and tells Woman she finally made the right choice in manhood. Flair tells Debra she will have to do, because they all need to co-exist. Flair says the Horsemen are reunited and they feel good. Arn tells Jarrett that Mongo sent him a message tonight so he knows where he stands: not a Horseman. Arn congratulates Benoit for tearing up Sullivan last week as well and says the Horsemen are back on a roll. Mongo says he drove a nail into Jarrett’s coffin earlier tonight and apologizes to Debra. Benoit tells Sullivan it’s his way or the hard way and that he beat him at his own game. He tells Kevin to let go as he has beaten him mentally, physically and spiritually as he has taken everything he wanted to take. He says he wants to go to the ring alone tonight and doesn’t want any backup. Debra says it is time to leave, and they Horsemen leave united as we go to break.
5) Lex Luger defeats Ron Powers by submission with the Torture Rack at 1:13
We return from break and Lex is on his way to the ring as Tony talks about Giant’s words from earlier tonight. Powers is already in the ring and is able to gain control early with some strikes, but Luger hits a hiptoss. Powers goes to the eyes, but gets whipped into the buckle and clotheslined from the back. Luger lands the forearm and locks in the Rack for the quick win. The submission is also our Valvoline Replay of the Week. That was just a basic squash to keep the Lex Express rolling along. Grade: 1
– Mean Gene hops in the ring and chats with Lex for a moment. He says that Luger has stood proudly for WCW and also says the Giant has now stood strong as well. Luger says the NWO has a big problem and he is 7’1” and 500 pounds. He has experienced Giant’s anger firsthand and says they have mutual respect. WCW needs to start trusting somebody because he is sick and tired of NWO running roughshod over them. He accepts the Giant onto Team WCW and we head off to break.
Announcers: Tony Schiavone, Mike Tenay & Bobby Heenan
– We head over to the broadcast table and Tony recaps Hour 1 for us, discussing the firing of Randy Anderson and the stripping of the Steiners. Tenay says the Steiners should still be recognized as champions and Heenan says that Bischoff is drunk with power. He wants Savage back in WCW, but knows Bischoff doesn’t. We then look at video of Anderson’s firing and the title stripping from earlier.
6) Arn Anderson & Steve McMichael defeat the Amazing French Canadians after McMichael hits Jacques Rougeau with the Halliburton 4:25
Tony talks about Randy Anderson’s personal problems and then talks about the blocking of the Starrcade footage from earlier as well. Jacques requests for the hillbillies to stand up while they sing the Canadian National Anthem for us all. It is another brutal rendition as always, but Col. Parker mugging behind them is pretty funny. Bobby says they don’t sound that bad. Tony discusses Debra’s antics from earlier as the Horsemen head to the ring and then mentions that it seems the Horsemen are starting to gel again. Mike says a lot of guys in the locker room are questioning who wears the pants in the McMichael family, and that Mongo may have been trying to answer that when he drilled Jarrett with the briefcase earlier. The bell rings and Jacques and Arn start things off. Jacques turns and knocks down Mongo while Oulette jumps Arn from behind and then they double team him and toss him to the floor. Carl whips him into the railing and then rolls him back into the ring. Jacques and Carl work Arn over as Tony wonders if Bischoff could just fire Giant. Arn gets taken down and Jacques slams Oulette on top of him. Tony rants about how a ref like Anderson can be fired while a terrible one like Nick Patrick can continue to be employed. Oulette hits the ropes and lands a stiff clothesline for a 2. The Canadians hit a double stun gun and continue to quick tag and remain in control. Arn misses a left and Oulette hits an atomic drop, but the two collide as Arn rebounds out of the corner. Arn crawls over and tags Mongo just as Carl tags in Jacques. Mongo tosses both Canadians around and then clips Oulette. He continues to dominate and hits an impressive delayed press slam, throwing Jacques into the arms of Oulette, and then stiffly clotheslining them both down. Parker hands Carl the flag, which distracts Mark Curtis and allows Mongo to grab the Halliburton and take out Jacques for the win. That was actually a pretty fun little tag match and Mongo looked pretty damn good after the hot tag. To be honest, he was pretty solid in a limited role and if he was given more time as the big man in a face tag team he could have been a bigger star. He got a huge pop here and looked dominant, but they were still in Chicago Bear territory so that may have helped. Grade: 2
– We return from break and Tony tosses it to Lee Marshall with our 1-800-COLLECT road report. Stagger Lee is in Memphis, TN tonight and talks about all the commotion in Memphis as Nitro returns to the Mid-South Coliseum next week. He name drops a bit and talks about all the great music he was listening to. He tosses in that he went to Graceland and overheard someone talking about a “Hunka, Hunka Burning Weasel.” Bobby is not impressed as we head to the ring.
7) The Outsiders defeat the Extreme to retain the WCW Tag Team Championships when Scott Hall pins Devon Storm after an Outsider Edge at 1:57
Tony says the NWO adage is that if you can’t win a title in the ring, steal it. Syxx is accompanying Hall and Nash here as they are set to defend the titles. Tenay says everyone around the country saw the Steiners win, but because of Bischoff they aren’t. Some fan in the crowd has NWO shaved into the back of his head and Bobby says that the trend will catch on. The Extreme consists of Ace Darling and Devon Storm, but I have a feeling this may not be a successful debut for the two youngsters. Tenay says that the Extreme have been doing very well on the Northeastern independent circuit, and that is what I liked about WCW at this time. I enjoyed how Tenay mentioned stuff like that to add some credibility to new stars. Hall jumps Darling from behind right off the bat and slugs away at him. He hiptosses him out of the corner and then hits the fallaway slam after catching a diving Darling. Tony says politics run rampant in the sport as evidenced by the NWO. Hall drags Darling to the corner and helps him tag Storm in. Hall tags Nash, and he drills Devon with a big clothesline. Hall is tagged back in and nails the Outsider Edge as Nash watches while sitting on the turnbuckles. Tony says Mark Curtis has to go along with their antics or else he could be fired too and also mentions that the Outsiders can win on their own and don’t even need the tactics they use. Hall drags Storm into the middle of the ring and pins him with one foot. The Outsiders celebrate as we head to commercial. Grade: 1.5
8) Kevin Sullivan defeats Joe Gomez with the double stomp at :40
Tony reminds us that tickets are still on sale for Superbrawl VII in San Francisco as well as Nitro the next night in Sacramento. Sullivan is pretty angry as he marches into the ring, and Heenan says he is ready for action. He jumps right in the ring and attacks Gomez and the two trade blows as the bell rings. Kevin throws him to the floor and rams Gomez into the railing and then throws a chair at his back. Tony says that Sullivan and Benoit must have security with them backstage at all times when they are in the same arena. Sullivan lands a big right and the double stomp for the quick squash win. Well, that was fast, but it put Sullivan over nicely as a man possessed. Grade: .5
– We return from commercial and hear the familiar strains of the NWO theme music, which now includes random catchphrases spewed throughout it. Hollywood Hogan struts out and is followed by Eric Bischoff and unhappy Elizabeth. Eric sends Liz back about half way down the aisle and then joins Hogan in the ring. Hulk poses and Eric grabs the mike. He asks the crowd to tell Hogan how much they love him and then says it is unbelievable to be associated with Hogan. He claims that Hogan has taught him more about wrestling than he had ever known possible. He then praises Hogan for the scientific maneuvers he used to retain the championship against the Giant and names them. Hogan says that everyone that gets in the ring with him just isn’t in the same league. He claims that he studies all of his opponents and then picks them apart. Hogan adds Giant to list of has-beens, joining Piper and Savage, and says that anyone else who takes him on will be added to the list as well. Bischoff says that Hogan wants to vacation a bit, but asks if he will accept the Giant’s challenge here tonight. Hogan says that he will take on and beat up the Giant here tonight. We pan up to the crowd to see Sting and Randy Savage watching Hogan and Bischoff. Eric says that Savage is done in WCW, but they can talk about him maybe joining the NWO. They still talk as if Sting is NWO and then Hogan talks about how he will give us a posing routine after beating on the Giant later tonight. Eric espouses even more love for Hogan and Hollywood poses for a couple of minutes as we head to the announce table. Tenay thinks something is up because of how easily Hogan accepted the challenge. Heenan talks about how driven Savage is and that is why Bischoff doesn’t want him involved with WCW at all.
9) Dean Malenko defeats Jerry Flynn by submission with the Texas Cloverleaf 2:34
Dean is out as Tony talks about his domination over the Cruiserweight division and lists everyone he has beaten of late. We get a lockup to start and they trade off some waistlocks, with Flynn eventually landing a nice heel kick. Dean lands a boot to the gut and follows with a belly-to-belly for 2. He shoots Flynn into the corner and then slides outside and slams Jerry’s leg into the mat. Back inside, Dean grabs a step over toehold and Tenay reviews the last three encounters between Hogan and the Giant. Flynn turns Dean around in the corner and lands some punches, but he misses a charge. Dean heads up top, but Jerry kicks him on the way down and then hits a Powerslam for 2. Flynn kicks again, but Dean hooks the leg and locks in the Cloverleaf for the submission win. That was a solid win for Malenko as he continues to roll on. Grade: 1.5
– We return from commercial and head to the broadcast booth where Tony is talking about our Main Event tonight, Tenay says that Giant has dominated all the head to head matchups with Hogan. As they continue to talk, a security guard delivers an envelope to Tony Schiavone, with a note to open it right away. He says they have received a telegram from the Executive Committee and grabs a mike to announce it to the live crowd. He officially announces that the championship committee has determined Hollywood Hogan will defend the World Title against Roddy Piper at Superbrawl. The crowd breaks into a Roddy Piper chant as the announcers are pumped about the announcement. That was a cool moment that felt like a big time announcement the way it played out.
10) Hugh Morrus defeats Chris Benoit with the No Laughing Matter at 3:05
Morrus is out first as the announcers continue to gush over the announcement Tony just made. Benoit and Woman head out next and we will see if the Horsemen continue to roll along here tonight. Tenay talks about how one Roddy Piper sleeperhold totally shook up WCW and gave them some hope in the war with the NWO. The bell rings and we get a lockup, which Morrus wins and tosses Chris into the corner. Benoit turns things around and lands a bunch of chops and punches in the corner. Hugh catches a boot and lands a clothesline to gain control. Morrus drops Benoit face first with a huge press slam, as Tenay reminds us that Morrus represents Kevin Sullivan and the Dungeon of Doom. Benoit lands a couple of chops and a big clothesline for 2. Morrus slugs away to get control back, but he eats a boot when he puts his head down. Benoit hits the ropes, but High catches him with a Powerslam and then heads to the top rope from the No Laughing Matter, but Benoit slides out of the way and he eats the mat. We cut outside where a female fan has jumped the railing and starts jawing with Woman. Benoit goes up top and hits the headbutt, but Mark Curtis jumps outside to get in between the two ladies, and that allows Kevin Sullivan the chance to hop in the ring and paste Benoit with a wooden chair. Sullivan leaves the ring and Morrus goes up and lands the No Laughing Matter for the win. Sullivan and the “fan” walk off together and run into Gene Okerlund in the aisle. Gene asks who the woman is, but he tells Gene that it is none of his business. He says he knows the lady and that is it. Jimmy Hart is out now and says it smells like trouble, as women in WCW only cause issues, referencing the Horsemen. The fan, who will come to be known as Jacqueline, says she couldn’t just stand by and watch Sullivan be treated the way he has been. She says ten years ago, Sullivan made a stupid choice and that she would never “do” him like that. Gene asks for her name, but she tells him not to worry about it. She tells Jimmy to never compare her to Woman or Debra and tells Woman that she walks around like a fugitive from a fat farm. She then calls Debra a bleach blond bimbo and says he wears long dresses because she has legs like a chicken. She tells Jimmy that he is the greatest manager around today, but he can’t give Sullivan what she can, and that is comfort. Sullivan, Jimmy and Jackie walk off as Gene surmises this is a relationship from days gone by. We take a look at the replay from the end of the match and then go to break. Grade: 1.5
11) Giant defeats Hollywood Hogan by Disqualification when Scott Hall and Kevin Nash interfere at 2:54
We are back and it is main event time as Hollywood Hogan heads to the ring, flanked by Eric Bischoff, Ted DiBiase and Vincent. We get more talk about the Superbrawl announcement and then Tenay says Giant has a chance for revenge here tonight. Hogan has the mike and says nobody tells the NWO what to do. He says that he will beat the Giant again here tonight and then says they should send Piper out with him so he can beat them both down at the same time. He calls Piper a coward a couple of times and tosses the mike down. Giant slowly stalks his way to the ring and then charges in as he approaches. Hogan and Vincent stomp him as he slides in, but Giant fights it off and swats Vincent to the floor. He grabs Hogan and rams him from corner to corner. Tenay lets us know that Mark Curtis is the referee as Giant continues to slug away at the Champ. He lands an elbow to the head and then steps on Hogan’s hand, but Hogan is able to gain control and hit a clothesline in the corner. He whips Giant into the ropes, but misses a clothesline and gets hit with a chop. Giant crushes Hogan with a big backbreaker, but only gets 2 when Vincent puts Hogan’s leg on the rope. Giant slams Vincent into the ring and then clotheslines him back out. Giant goes for the Chokeslam, but Bischoff hops in the ring and starts slamming away Giant’s back. Of course, the blows don’t affect him at all, and he turns and grabs Eric by the throat, but that draws the Outsiders in for the save and the DQ. Hall and Nash beat on the Giant as Bischoff takes off. We cut to the aisle as Lex Luger comes charging out. He stares down with the Giant as the Outsiders tell him to go ahead and attack the Giant. Luger turns and stands side by side with the Giant and they stare down the Outsiders as we fade out. Well, the match was nothing, but that was a pretty good ending and I liked how they teased a Luger turn before having him stand with the Giant as the show ended. I also liked the touch of Luger wearing a big WCW shirt and making it look like he could have a second shirt underneath like we have seen before. Grade: .5
Well, we get another fun show coming off of Souled Out and the Superbrawl build has officially begun. We got a lot of big storyline developments with the Steiners being stripped, Randy Anderson being fired and the announcement of Piper’s possible return. It also looks like the Horsemen are getting their act back together and Mongo and Arn looked pretty dominant in their match. Benoit is still struggling with Sullivan as a new player gets added to the mix. I enjoyed the intrigue around her debut and the hinting of past relationships. Giant gets screwed again, but it looks like him and Luger are forming an alliance, and with the addition of Roddy Piper, WCW may finally start making a push to regain some control. Schiavone’s announcement was dramatic and well done and kicked off the Road to Superbrawl nicely. We didn’t have a long, killer match like we get some weeks but we got a ton of development, character building and excitement so I can’t complain too much. I am interested for next week to see what Piper has to say as well the continuation of the Sting/Savage saga. Grade: B
Runner Up: Outsiders
Non MVP: Steiner Brothers
Runner Up: Giant