Written By: Justin Rozzero
WCW Nitro 3/10/97
Club La Vela
Panama City Beach, FL
Announcers: Tony Schiavone & Larry Zbyszko
– And we kick off this week’s show with Hollywood Hogan and Dennis Rodman in front of a poster of Rodman’s movie, Double Team. Hogan says they are as bad as they want to be and Rodman says “later”. We then cut live to the arena, where we are outdoors at Panama City Beach, FL and Tony Schiavone welcomes us to Nitro! The ring is floating on a dock over a pool and the atmosphere is pretty kick ass as we are ready to continue on the road to Uncensored. Outside, a white limo has arrived and out steps Roddy Piper and his Uncensored team, who are decked out in plaid kilts.
1) Jeff Jarrett & Steve McMichael defeats High Voltage when McMichael pins Robby Rage with a Tombstone at 4:41
As Rage and Kaos make their way out, Tony and Larry talk about the rumors of Dennis Rodman joining up with the NWO. Tony says the talk has been all over the media but has yet to be confirmed officially by the NWO. The crowd is digging the Horsemen, who have had some issues over the past few weeks despite working well as a team. Larry hits a funny line when he says “we have a lot of talent here…and some great wrestlers!” Kaos grabs a quick armbar on Mongo and then gives him a forearm shot the head. Mongo hits him with a back elbow and then hiptosses Rage as he hits the ring. He takes both men down with football tackles and the pounds away on Kaos. He tags in Jarrett who takes Rage down with a drop toehold, allowing mongo to drop a leg. Jarrett hits a swinging neckbreaker and then chokes Kaos on the middle rope before leaping onto his back. The crowd is chanting for Mongo as Kaos misses a charge in the corner, but Rage yanks Jarrett down from the apron. Rage takes Jarrett over and tags in Kaos who comes in with a slingshot splash for two. Larry compares High Voltage to Harlem Heat in their early years and says with some management, they could be a big time team. Tony backs him up and says they are the top young team in the business according to many veterans. They continue to work over Jarrett with some double teams. Kaos hits a suplex as the crowd chants for Flair. Rage heads up top and tries a springboard splash, but JJ gets his knees up. He puts Rage down with a faceplant and then drills him with a clothesline. He sends Kaos out to the floor and takes Rage over with a double underhook suplex before tagging in Mongo. Tony talks more about the media coverage surrounding Rodman and the NWO and then talks about the curiosity that is prevalent regarding the Uncensored main event stipulations. Mongo takes Rage down with a neckbreaker and then polishes him off with a Tombstone for the win. It looks like the Horsemen are back on the same page as they pick up a nice win here tonight. Mongo continues to impress me week to week and I still think he could have made it if handled correctly. Grade: 2
– Gene Okerlund hops in the ring and brings out Roddy Piper and his band of merry men. Piper says he has never seen so many pretty women in one place at one time and Gene concurs. When he was a kid, spring break meant that the last spring in his mattress was gone, which led to his six kids. Piper says that Howard Stern refuses to have him on his show because he is afraid. Apparently, Howard has been bashing Piper for trying to give some new guys a chance. He says Howard is hung like a pimple and then turns his attention to Dennis Rodman. Piper says it is a kilt and not a skirt, so don’t try pinching him. Now Piper invokes the WWF, saying that they recently said that they have no “one hip wrestlers” on their PPVs. He says they are right because they have “not one hip wrestler on their PPV” which is why everyone is watching WCW’s PPVs instead. He says WWF are liars because when he beat the hell out of Goldust he only had one hip. He is tired of the critics and is uncensored. His teammates are not polished, but they have heart. He will not walk away from them just because of the critics and they are his family. And with that, we are interrupted by the Nature Boy Ric Flair, Arn Anderson, Steve McMichael, Jeff Jarrett and Debra. The Horsemen hit the ring to a nice ovation and Piper wants to know what is up. Arn says that Piper’s team must think a lot of him to take a beating like they did just to be a part of the PPV. They have a lot of heart, but it is a job for pros and not amateurs. They offered their services to Piper before, but the NWO has gotten to all of them as they have dropped Flair and Arn. The Horsemen have had problems but he thinks Piper is the rallying point to pull them together and they are the rallying point to help Piper pull out a win. Piper says the men are his family…but Flair has some things to say. He asks us to look at the talent in the arena and says it is him and Piper side by side one more time. He came out tonight to tell his best friend that in all fairness, Piper has broken the rules they lived by: never overmatch yourself. He put Hogan to sleep twice, but he has stacked the deck with the whole gang. Piper can do no more on his own. They got Rodman, but the Horsemen have an all pro tackle that will turn him into a basketball. He tells Hogan that he wants back in the game and wants to stand next to Hot Rod, and wants Piper to take the Horsemen and walk that aisle. Piper says no again as Flair dances. Piper puts on Flair’s sports coat as Flair asks again and then tells Hogan that he is a con-man and Piper is the icon. Piper says the jacket fits fine and he wants to get smart about it. He is proud to be with the Horsemen at Uncensored and says his family will understand and get his back if needed. The crowd is excited and everyone in the ring embraces and congratulates each other on this big time announcement. Tony tells us that if the Horsemen win the match, Piper will get a cage match with Hogan down the road. Larry says that the NWO must be in shock as we go to break.
2) Prince Iaukea defeats Squire Dave Taylor to retain the WCW Television Championship when he falls on top of Taylor on a slam attempt at 2:45
Tony recaps our major opening segment which saw Hogan and Rodman together as well as Piper accepting the Horsemen onto his team for the PPV. Larry is pumped about this new alliance to battle the NWO. We get a recap of Iaukea’s title win and then some prerecorded comments from Dave Taylor, who is out for revenge for his friend Stephen Regal. We get a lockup and clean break to start but Taylor goes right to the eyes to take control. Taylor puts him down with a shoulderblock, but Iaukea leapfrogs a charge and takes him over with a monkey flip. We cut backstage to see the NWO hummer pulling up and the troops unloading and pouring into the backstage area. Hall says they should go in the back because he knows the dishwasher. All of a sudden they stop and turn around to see VK Wallstreet laid out on the ground. Tony says that happened a couple of weeks back with Big Bubba as well. Back in the ring, Taylor is killing Iaukea with European uppercuts, but Iaukea gets a sunset flip for one. Taylor reverses it into a pin combo for two. He goes for a slam, but Iaukea shifts his weight and falls on top for the quick win. Iaukea rolls on to face Rey Mysterio, Jr. at the PPV. Grade: .5
3) Eddie Guerrero defeats Jim Powers to retain the WCW United States Championship with a roll up at 2:49
We are back from commercial and Dean Malenko has joined the commentary booth. As Eddie hits the ring, Dean says we are fixing to see the real Eddie Guerrero, a man who is jealous of Dean Malenko. Larry backs him up on the statement as well. Eddie goes behind to start and takes Powers over with a snap mare and the two trade some mat holds. Dean says that two wrestlers have risen to the top of cruiserweight division of the sport. However, in WCW, while Malenko has risen to the top of the WCW cruiserweight division, Eddie has merely stayed afloat. Dean runs through all the reasons why he is better as well. Powers leapfrogs Eddie and takes him over with a hip toss and then follows with a clothesline. Eddie dropkicks Powers and then hits an uppercut in the corner. Powers reverses a whip and catches Eddie with an overhead belly-to-belly for two. Powers takes him over with a suplex for another near fall. Dean takes Eddie to task for winning the US belt with the help of the NWO and Larry backs him again. Eddie dropkicks Powers and heads to the apron. He lands a slingshot senton for two. Teddy Long hops on the apron to tell the ref that Powers’ foot was on the rope but Eddie takes the opportunity to run Powers into him and roll him up for the victory. And this was just as Dean was saying that Eddie never wins clean and always has something going on at the finish of his matches. Dean and Larry are annoyed that Eddie again did whatever it took to win. Powers looked pretty good in there, but the match was just a backdrop for Malenko to spout off. Grade: 1.5
– Mean Gene is in the ring and wants to know what is going on with Eddie. Eddie says he isn’t the one walking around saying he is a new and improved wrestler. He isn’t punching and kicking and wrestling uncharacteristically, that would be Malenko. He asks who it is that doesn’t seem to be himself. Gene says that would be Eddie who doesn’t seem himself. Eddie is sick of being accused of not being himself by his family, friends, fans and even Okerlund. Eddie now knows Dean’s game plan and he will see him at Uncensored. Eddie walks off and we go to break.
4) Diamond Dallas Page defeats Sgt. Craig Pittman with the Diamond Cutter at 4:19
Larry is complaining about the number of young people here at Spring Break because they are clogging up the golf courses. Tony wonders if it is just a coincidence that Page is in the house and Wallstreet is out cold on the ground. Larry says that he needs proof to say that kind of stuff, but Tony disagrees. The crowd is digging DDP as we get our initial lockup. Pittman shoves Page down and then we get another lockup. Pittman goes behind, but Page catches him with an elbow to put him down. Pittman mares Page over, but Page is able to recover and grab an armbar and works it over. Page puts Pittman down with a shoulderblock and then follows with a Rocker Dropper to a huge pop. Tony talks about Eric Bischoff’s suspension coinciding with the NWO having the most to lose now at Uncensored. Pittman tries to roll outside, but Page pulls him back on to the apron. Pittman snaps Page’s arm over the top rope and shoves him back to the mat. He slugs away at Page and then chokes him on the middle rope and again with his boot. Pittman lands a big clothesline and gets a near fall. Page grabs a small package for two but then runs into a belly-to-belly for another two. Page lands a jawbreaker and then slugs away at Pittman to put him down. Pittman eats a boot on a charge and Page flies in with the Diamond Cutter for the win. We get our Valvoline Replay to take another look at the Cutter as Page picks up a nice win in a competitive little match. Grade: 2
– Okerlund gets in the ring and talks about how the crowd now accepts Page and how much DDP has done for WCW impresses him. The fans know who the real deal is and talks about Savage knocking him out from behind and spray painting him. And, the lights go out and mike cuts off mid sentence. Tony says we are experiencing technical difficulties and we are off to break.
– We are back from commercial and Gene is still with Page so they can finish what they were saying. Gene says that Savage and the NWO have not been acknowledging Page recently. Page asks Savage if he was just supposed to forget about them after they put him down. Savage will remember the name DDP….Bang!
5) Rey Mysterio, Jr. defeats Galaxy with a springboard huracarrana at 2:19
We get an inset promo from Rey before the match and he says he will prove that he can step up a level and take the Television title at the PPV. Rey takes Galaxy down with a snap mare and follows with a monkey flip. He ends up on the apron and is able to springboard dropkick Galaxy right out of the ring where he almost ends up in the pool. Galaxy grabs Rey’s arm and tries to walk the top rope, but Rey shakes him and he crotches him on the rope. Rey hits a springboard back flip splash for two. Galaxy puts him down with a clothesline but misses a moonsault from the top rope. Rey hits the apron again and comes off with a springboard huracarrana into a cradle for the win. Match was quick and to the point and just served to get Rey a nice win before his big title match. Grade: 1.5
Announcers: Tony Schiavone, Bobby Heenan & Mike Tenay
– Tony tells us that MTV will be here on the 21st for their spring break and that Scott Hall and Kevin Nash will be appearing there. The announcers talk about Piper and the Horsemen a bit as Tenay says Uncensored always means unpredictability. Tony runs down the stipulation on Piper’s team again. Bobby says that Hogan is building his forces by adding Rodman to the group. He adds that Piper has beaten Hogan twice and that Hogan shouldn’t count him out. Despite all of the newspaper and TV news outlets, Rodman has not officially been named to the NWO just yet. Back in the ring, Gene Okerlund is being joined by MTV’s John Sencio who will be bringing out Miss Nitro shortly. Gene tells him to take his shirt off and bare it all for some odd reason. Sencio now introduces TNT and WCW’s Miss Monday Nitro, Pamela Rogers. She is an education major at Tennessee Tech and her goal is to be a basketball coach. Sencio says that they have scoured the beach for three days to make this decision. Sencio informs us that Hall, Nash and Syxx will be on MTV’s Fame or Shame during spring break week, more specifically the 21st through 23rd. Ms. Rogers is quite hot, I will say and she poses with Gene and John before clearing the ring for our next match. Tony volunteers to be the guy who scours the beach next year.
6) Lex Luger, Giant & Steiner Brothers defeat Amazing French Canadians, Roadblock & Greg Valentine when Giant pins Roadblock with a chokeslam at 2:06
Tony talks more about Rodman and Tenay says that the media was all over the announcement that Rodman may be at the PPV on Sunday. Team WCW is pumped up and ready for their warm up match here. Hey, this is almost a rematch of the 1993 Survivor Series main event, if only Ludvig Borga was in the house! If a member of Team WCW wins at the PPV, the NWO must surrender all titles on the spot and will be banned for 36 months. Well, that certainly seems fair. If Team NWO wins, they get a title shot at any time they wish. Luger and Valentine start off and the Hammer garbs control early, but Luger ducks a clothesline and slams him. Luger tags in Rick, but he gets caught with a shot from behind by Carl Oulette on the apron. Jacques tags in, but both French Canadians enter and hit a double hot shot on Rick. He tags in Roadblock, who scoops up Rick and slams him down hard. He heads to the middle rope, but misses a splash and Rick tags in Scott. Scott hoists Roadblock up and tosses him with an impressive belly to back suplex. Giant tags in and plants Roadblock with an equally impressive chokeslam. Well, those are some strong dudes on Team WCW. Quick and fun and I wish it lasted a bit longer as I could watch Roadblock bump around for those guys all day. Grade: 1.5
– Gene is back in the ring to chat with Team WCW. He runs down the PPV teams and stipulations for us all here as well. Lex says Panama City is the happening place to be tonight. This weekend, Uncensored will be the place to be. He says the Horsemen is a band of cutthroats that have their own agenda and tells Piper not to trust them. He has three good reasons as to why they will win Sunday: Giant and the Steiners. Giant says it is a situation where Team WCW can’t lose as they have the masters of the suplex, the Total Package and a walking, talking fire breathing giant. He says don’t sing it, bring it. Rick talks about the car accident and says he has never been right and he will hunt and then trails off. Scott says Rick is alright and then lays down a warning for the NWO. Lex says a win will be sweeter than sweet as there has been a foul, repugnant smell for almost a year and they are here to eradicate it. Gene looks to the crowd and says there is inspiration out there and Tony concurs. Man, WCW is full of lecherous old men. I feel bad for these girls at spring break.
7) Ultimo Dragon defeats Juventud Guerrera with a tiger suplex at 4:54
Tony tells us that Nitro is headed to Philadelphia and tickets go on sale this weekend and Ric Flair will be at Tower Records on Saturday. Dragon and Sonny Onoo make their way out and Tony informs us that Dragon will face Psychosis at Uncensored. Dragon leaps over a sliding dropkick attempt and then they criss cross with both men missing a series of moves. Dragon misses a charge to the corner and Juvy takes him over with a flying headscissors. Dragon is out to the floor, but ducks a baseball slide and heads back in. Juvy is distracted by Sonny outside and Dragon hits a double axehandle on him. Juvy whips Dragon to the guardrail and tosses him back inside. Juvy chops away and tries a backdrop, but Dragon lands on his feet and drills Juvy with some stiff kicks. Dragon catches Juvy off a whip and puts him into a reverse torture rack and then spins around before dropping to his knees. Dragon turns Juvy over and drops back to a reverse surfboard. He releases the hold and then puts him down with a slingshot suplex for two. Dragon grabs a reverse chinlock and tries a release German, but Juvy lands on his feet. Juvy is able to dropkick Dragon to the floor and then heads up top and lands a seated senton on the floor. Juvy comes back in with a springboard spinning heel kick and gets a near fall. He follows with a victory roll for a near fall and then buries a kick to the head. Juvy eats a knee on a charge and Dragon drills him with a running Ligerbomb. He puts Juvy on the top rope and takes him off with a top rope Frankensteiner. He scoops him up and plants him with a tiger suplex for the win. The match was decent, but pretty choppy until the finishing sequence. Grade: 1.5
8) Scotty Riggs defeats Chris Jericho by disqualification when Buff Bagwell interferes at 3:35
Bobby asks Tony if he can throw him in the water after the show and Tony laughs it off. Riggs heads down and Jericho awaits him in the ring. Jericho grabs a side headlock but gets put down with a back elbow after a series of reversals. Riggs slams Jericho and gets two and then goes to a reverse chinlock. Jericho drops down with a jawbreaker and then chops Riggs. Riggs puts Jericho down with a shoulderblock but takes him over with a hiplock toss off a charge. Jericho dropkicks Riggs to the floor but Scotty pulls himself back up to the apron. Jericho suplexes him in and gets a two. Tony tells us that Eric Bischoff has hired a team of lawyers to look into his suspension. Jericho hits a clothesline in the corner and then buries a boot to Riggs on a charge. Jericho runs at Riggs, but Scotty takes him over with a powerslam. Riggs follows with a pair of dropkicks and heads to the top. Jericho crotches him and then tries a superplex, but Riggs shoves him off and hits him with a flying clothesline for two. Riggs tries a back suplex, but Jericho lands on his feet and hits a German suplex for two. Riggs lands a flying forearm, but Bagwell comes in with a strap to cause a DQ. He whips Riggs, but Jericho breaks it up and sends Bagwell scurrying off. That was a pretty good match, I must say. Riggs looked good out there. Grade: 2.5
– On the entrance ramp, Gene is with Madusa. He wants to talk to her about last week, where Madusa was attacked by Luna Vachon. She is sick and tired of women coming into WCW saying they are number one contender. She has to deal with managers saying they want to kick her butt too. Five years ago she was the first woman of WCW and she is also the top contender. She will fight “Hoko Akita” for the championship either in the US or Japan. And if Luna is such a big bad player, why isn’t she in the house tonight? Gene wraps it up and we are off to break. Of course, just to clarify, Madusa was talking about Akira Hokuto, who was the WCW women’s champion at the time.
– We are back and visiting with Stagger Lee Marshall, who is on the road in Savannah, GA with our weekly road report. Lee says that combining Nitro with the second largest St. Patrick’s Day parade in the country will be some good stuff. The next week he will be in Charleston, where the students at Citadel are complaining about being served “weasel on a shingle” in the mess hall. Bobby is not impressed as we head back to the ring.
9) Kevin Sullivan wrestles Hardbody Harrison to a double countout at 1:53
Sullivan, Jackie and Jimmy Hart make their way down as we are set for our next match. Bobby says that Sullivan’s life change has made him even more vicious, which Mike doesn’t think is possible. Sullivan attacks at the bell and hammers away at Harrison. He rakes the back and then kicks Harrison in the head. Sullivan tosses Hardbody to the floor and Jackie unloads on him and slams him hard to the mat to a big pop from the crowd. Harrison is shot back in but he gets a sunset flip for a one count. He gets an inside cradle for a near fall as well. Sullivan recovers and sends Harrison back to the floor and he runs him hard into the guard rail. He then hoists him up and crotches him on the rail as well. He pulls him off and they fight all along the deck and out on to the beach entrance. Somewhere in here, the bell rings and both men are counted out. Both Sullivan and Jackie keep assaulting Harrison and he is tossed down the steps that lead to the beach. Sullivan pulls him back up and slams him down on the deck. And with that, Kevin tosses him into the pool to a huge pop from the fans. You knew someone was going for a swim at some point. Grade: 1
– Gene is earning his pay tonight as he gets back in the ring. He says that Jimmy Hart is accomplice to all this violence. Jimmy says that he feels quite safe when at ringside with Jackie and Sullivan. Gene tells Jackie that she has a lot of fans out there. Jackie says she isn’t window dressing and is the real deal. Sullivan says that Roddy Piper is the smartest man he ever met. He was going into a battle unprepared at the most crucial time in his life. However, thanks to the bond with the Horsemen, Piper is ready. Sullivan says that the Horsemen have been floundering and headless for a year and they were full of excuses. The Dungeon broke the Horsemen down but now they have something to fight for and focus on. Sullivan says they want no excuses from the Horsemen this Sunday. Gene makes some wise comment about Jackie being fine and he is rolling tonight.
– We are back from break and the whole New World Order is making their way to the ring. Tony talks about how Randy Anderson was reinstated and refereeing here tonight thanks to the Bischoff suspension. The real Sting is in tow here which upsets Tony, Mike and Bobby. Eric grabs the mike and sends his love out to the fans. Everywhere he and Hogan have been the past few days, everyone is asking about the Dennis Rodman rumor. Hogan says that the real Hot Rod, Dennis Rodman, went through the NWO initiation in New York City over the weekend. We now get some footage to document the newest member of the NWO, “Hot Rod Dirty” Dennis Rodman. Hogan is in front of the Double Team poster and says that Rodman is the most censored man in America and tells Howard Stern to take a back seat. Rodman comes in and Hogan hands him a shirt. Rodman says that the NWO is the new team of the future. Back to the ring and Eric says that the baddest man in the NBA is a new member of the NWO. The most censored man in the universe will now be Uncensored with the NWO, so what will Piper’s Pets and the WCW jokers do now with Rodman uncensored. Eric now says that they forgot to give Sting his colors a few weeks ago, so they have a shirt for him now. The crowd is not impressed as Hogan holds the shirt up on Sting’s torso. Sting doesn’t move and lets the shirt drop, so Hogan puts it on his shoulder. A clearly drunken Nash mumbles something about the Steiners needing a lost damage waiver, brah. Hall says that the Steiners are good, but the Outsiders are better. They already beat Luger and Giant at Superbrawl, but they will give them some more. Savage is up next and Bischoff asks him about the guy “with the long red hair and ugly tattoos”. Savage says that he was so caught up with Rodman that he forgot that guy’s name. Hogan says that he isn’t the Macho Man and nobody seems to have an answer. Whatever his name was, he is looking for Savage. Savage is a bit scared, but not afraid and he is ready for the whole situation. Hogan says that there is no doubt that in the wrestling world, the NWO is it. Next week, nothing will change a bit with Dennis Rodman and all the NWO brothers…it is sweet! Tony wants to know who permits Bischoff to be on the air despite being suspended.
– We are back from commercial and taking an aerial look at Club La Vela and then head to entrance ramp where Gene is with Public Enemy. Gene says that it is now down to Harlem Heat and Public Enemy at Uncensored, since the Horsemen had to bail out. Grunge is not impressed and says that the Horsemen are nothing but a bunch of show ponies and that Piper is in trouble. He says Flair runs around like he is having an epileptic fit, Mongo acts like he still playing football, Arn Anderson is not what he used to be and to top it off you have the coattail riding Jeff Jarrett, who isn’t Horsemen material. Rocco just starts rapping some Rob Bass for us but they are jumped by Harlem Heat. Tony says this was our scheduled main event but they are brawling now, and it is moot any way because we are out of time!
Well, if you didn’t know Uncensored was six days away before, you certainly know now. This was the epitome of a hard sell show as they pimped Sunday’s PPV big time all throughout, especially focusing on the huge main event. The atmosphere was really awesome and made the show seem extra special and memorable. The crowd was pretty solid but the look of the ring floating in the pool was really neat and showed how great of a promoter Eric Bischoff could be at the peak of his power. We got a lot of matches tonight, but none really stood out as anything special. Still, the main focus was to sell the PPV and they hit a home run there. The opening segment was great stuff as the Horsemen joined up with Roddy Piper to go to war with the NWO. Team WCW looked great too in their impressive squash match. All four men were really over and busted out some sweet power moves on some big dudes. The other minor feuds progressed nicely as well, including the Malenko/Guerrero angle and the DDP/Savage and Bagwell/Riggs feuds. I also liked the teasing of the Rodman/NWO alliance all through the show and it made WCW seem very mainstream, especially when they delivered on it at the end. Gene Okerlund was a workhorse on this show, but each interview played a key role in the angle development, so you can’t complain too much. All in all, I will say this. While this may not be the best wrestling TV show ever, it is a prime example of one you would show somebody that may want to know why WCW was so great and different at this point in time. It was a great concept and they really seemed hip because of it, especially with all of the MTV tie ins. This was a fun show to kick back and watch and was heavy on the PPV hype. Grade: B
MVP: Roddy Piper & the Horsemen
Runner Up: Team WCW
Non MVP: Harlem Heat & Public Enemy
Runner Up: Hardbody Harrison