Written By: Justin Rozzero
WCW Nitro 3/17/97
Announcers: Tony Schiavone & Larry Zbyszko
– We start this week’s show off with highlights from the closing moments of last night’s Uncensored where the NWO won the huge main event match to earn the ability to challenge for any championship at any time. We then head inside the arena where Tony Schiavone wishes us a happy St. Patrick’s Day and welcomes us to wrestling’s number one program: Nitro! Tony talks about how Dennis Rodman aided the NWO last night and helped them gain the win. There is more to the story and WCW is hotter than ever, but first we are headed to the ring.
1) Rey Mysterio, Jr. defeats Psychosis with a springboard huracarrana at 3:45
Larry says that St. Patrick actually led all the snakes to the NWO and not the ocean, as legend has it. Tony says that Savannah hosts the second largest St. Patrick’s Day celebration next to New York City and WCW is proud to be part of it. Rey is without the TV title but Tony says we will talk about that later. The bell sounds and the men square off and posture a bit. Rey goes behind off a lockup and then rides Psychosis down. He turns it into a crucifix for a pin attempt but Psychosis kicks out. Rey gets a sunset flip for two as Larry talks about the worldwide feud between these two. Backstage we see Sonny Onoo and Ultimo Dragon helping out on the Nitro Japanese commentary and Pedro Morales and Miguel Alonzo providing the Spanish commentary. The alternate language commentary is only available on wcwwrestling.com. Rey dropkicks Psychosis and then sends him flying with a monkey flip. He takes Psychosis out of the ring with a headscissors takeover and the crowd is fired up. Rey runs the apron and hits another headscissors takeover on the floor. Rey tosses Psychosis back inside, but Psychosis turns the tables and is able to run Rey into the corner stomach first upside down. Psychosis charges and tries to ram Rey, but Rey sits up and Psychosis goes flying to the floor. Rey flies out with a somersault plancha and tosses Psychosis back in. Rey comes in with a stiff springboard huracarrana and cradles Psychosis for the win. That was a great little match to get us fired up and running here tonight. Grade: 2.5
– In the aisle, Gene Okerlund is with Arn Anderson. Gene says that Arn would normally be out with the rest of the Horsemen, but not tonight. Not a lot of people know what has gone on in Arn’s life over the last 90 days. Arn is hurt and Gene thinks Arn should share his information. Arn was happy to see Sting come home last night and then turns to himself. Back around Halloween Havoc, he suffered a bad neck injury. He needs to have the5th, 6th and 7thvertebrae fused as it is causing paralysis in his right hand. He has been putting it off because 10 years ago his grandmother was sick with cancer and said she fought so hard because she wanted to see Arn become a mature adult that could care for his family. He made it and she passed on in peace. Arn says that Horsemen are also his family and he was hanging on until they were stable and no longer in disarray. No longer, however, because the Horsemen have been working as a well oiled team and Ric Flair is back from his injury to help keep things in order. When you lay down on an operating table, you never know if you are going to wake up or what shape you will be in. Last Saturday night, we saw Kevin Sullivan’s young son tell him he was dead in his eyes and that if Arn knew how bad things would get in Kevin’s personal life he may not have kicked him in the ribs and turned on him at last year’s Bash. So, when he wakes up from his surgery, he wants to wipe the slate clean with Sullivan. Arn is a Horseman and all great athletes go through trials and tribulations and he promises that he will be back someday. That was a great promo from one of the all time best.
– We are back from break and Tony is talking about Randy Savage ignoring the existence of Diamond Dallas Page. That ended last night, though, as we see some stills from the PPV. Kimberly came out covered in spray paint and in tears during a DDP interview. Savage and Elizabeth then headed to the announce table and talked about some interesting photos they had seen of Kimberly in Playboy. When Page turned to check on Kimberly, Savage jumped him and spray painted him as well. Kimberly tried to cover Page, but Elizabeth sprayed her as well.
2) Diamond Dallas Page defeats Maxx with the Diamond Cutter at 1:33
Maxx is out and representing the Dungeon of Doom as he is ready to battle his old boss, DDP. Page gets a nice ovation as he makes his way out and he is a man possessed. Larry says that Page got a wake up call last night. Page lands a knee and then slugs away. He grabs a hammerlock but Maxx elbows him down and then drops a pair of elbows to get a one count. Maxx pounds on Page but Page turns the tables and slugs Maxx down. Page heads up top and comes off with a big splash. Maxx goes for a full nelson, but Page jacks his jaw and then puts him away with the Diamond Cutter for the win. That splash was cool, but the rest was simple squash. Grade: .5
– In the aisle, Gene is with DDP and talking about Savage and Liz. He says their actions last night were unthinkable. Page says that after what Savage and Liz did to his wife took things to the real world. If Savage wants to snap into the real world, then Page says he was born to be a chalk outline and calls him a dead man walking. Page starts to walk off, but we are joined by the Macho Man who is up in the crowd with Liz. He tells Page that he needs to take the bass out of his voice when talking about the Macho Man because he is a superstar and an icon while Page is the wrestler with no name. They did Kimberley a favor and she is quite happy with what happened. If Page wants a match, sanctioned or non-sanctioned, it can happen. He asks Liz if he should give him a match right now, and Page is down for that. Savage asks Liz if he should grant the match later instead, but Page wants it now and goes running into the crowd but Savage and Liz escape before he gets there.
3) Konnan & Hugh Morrus defeat Joe Gomez & Renegade when Morrus pins Gomez with the No Laughing Matter at 5:08
The Dungeon is set for more action here as Konnan and Morrus are ready for a tag match. Before the match starts, though, Eric Bischoff, Scott Hall and Kevin Nash make their way to the announce table. Larry isn’t scared and says Eric has no authority, but Tony wants to take off anyway. Eric tells them to relax and says that they just want to let everyone know that the world champions are here to give and not receive. They are going to give a gift of the greatest tag team in the world in action and they will defend the belts on Nitro. They are up for it and Eric makes it official. Back in the ring, the bell sounds and Morris pounds Gomez to start. Gomez reverses a whip but misses a charge and the Dungeon starts to work on the knee. Konnan is tagged in and he stomps away at Gomez and then grabs a Leglock. He tags Morrus back in and they wishbone the legs. Morrus drops an elbow on the leg and grapevines it as Tony says he will leave when the Outsiders head over despite Bischoff’s lack of power. He also tells us that Spring Stampede is returning for the first time since 1994. It will emanate from Tupelo, MS on April 6 and a few matches will be announced tonight. Konnan and Morris continue to tag in and out and work the leg of Gomez. Morrus plants Joe with a clothesline and he calls out Hall and Nash. Konnan is back in and he grabs a half crab as Tony talks again about the NWO now being able to challenge for any title at any time. Konnan keeps wrenching the knee as we get more Uncensored talk. Morrus comes in behind the ref’s back and grabs hold of the leg as Konnan exits. Gomez wriggles free and tags in Renegade and he takes out both men with scoop slams and then immediately tags in the hurting Gomez for some reason. Larry and Tony immediately shit all over that one. Konnan knocks Renegade to the floor and then he nails Gomez with a clothesline. He tags Morrus back in and Hugh drops the No Laughing Matter for the win. Renegade tries explaining himself to Gomez as he recovers and we get a replay. The match was OK but Morrus and Konnan continue to be booked well in the tag division. Grade: 1
4) Dean Malenko defeats Scotty Riggs with a roll up to retain the WCW United States Championship at 2:28
Riggs makes his way out as he will be the first challenger for Malenko’s newly won US belt, which he won from Eddie Guerrero last night. We get some stills of Buff Bagwell’s win over Riggs in a strap match last night and those are followed by stills of the Malenko/Guerrero match as well. Malenko won the belt with some help from Syxx who hit Eddie with his video camera during a tussle on the apron. Riggs starts off with a slam for two and then slugs away at Dean. Malenko rebounds with a swinging neckbreaker and then he tosses Riggs to the floor. He follows him out and drops him chest first on the guard rail. Scotty slides back in the ring but Dean grabs him and whips him across to the corner and then he drills him with a clothesline. Riggs blocks a backslide attempt, but Dean is able to get a sunset flip for two. Riggs wriggles out and gets a pin attempt for two as well. Riggs takes him over with a backdrop and follows with a dropkick for a near fall. Scotty charges but Dean catches him and hot shots him on the top and then rolls him up for the win. Dean calls for Syxx and says he wants the Cruiserweight belt as well and then we take a look at the Valvoline replay before going to break. Good little defense for Dean and Riggs was game but it was too short to mean much. Grade: 1
– This week on Saturday Night we will see the Steiners, Dean Malenko, Kevin Sullivan, Jacqueline, Lex Luger and the Giant all in action. WCW Saturday Night is setting the standard in weekend wrestling!
5) Lex Luger & the Giant defeat T. Rantula & Knuckles Nelson when Giant pins Nelson with a chokeslam at 2:49
Luger and the Giant are headed to the ring and the crowd is pumped up for them here tonight. Tony says that Luger almost took out the entire NWO last night by himself. Giant starts things off with Rantula and he buries a chop to start. Giant follows with a clothesline in the corner and then tosses him into his partner, but Nelson is hesitant to tag in. He finally obliges but he has a look of fear as he gets in the ring. Giant smashes Nelson to the mat and then headbutts him. He pulls him up and hits another big chop before bealing him out of the corner. Giant lands some kicks in the corner and then chokes him with the boot. Rantula comes in and tries to help but Giant kills both of them with a double clothesline. He calls for the chokeslam and buries Nelson with it to a huge pop. He turns to Rantula and calls in Luger. Lex hits a powerslam on Rantula as Giant covers Nelson for the win. We aren’t done though, as Luger racks Rantula for the hell of it. These Luger & Giant squashes are a ton of fun each week I must say and they are way over. Grade: 1.5
– Lex and Giant head up the ramp where they are met by Mean Gene. He talks about the great news from last night as Sting came back home to WCW. Giant is happy and says that for a long time it was Lex, the Steiners and himself carrying the WCW load and it is ecstatically wonderful to see the light at the end of the tunnel with Sting’s return. Gene says that Sting didn’t let us down. Lex says he believes in Santa Claus, the Leprechaun, the Easter Bunny and the Tooth Fairy as Sting reaffirmed Lex’s faith in WCW, mankind and all of the fans. Sting rewarded them for the near year long fight with the NWO. They may not have won the match, but WCW was uplifted by the arrival of Sting. Gene now shows us some stills of Sting’s arrival land beat down of the NWO last night. Gene thanks Lex and the Giant and we are off to break.
– We are back from break and taking a look at more Uncensored stills, this time chronicling the Glacier/Mortis martial arts battle. Mortis looked good but Glacier won/ After the match a giant man was brought out by James Vandenberg and they put the beatdown on Glacier.
6) Ultimo Dragon defeats Bobby Eaton with a top rope Frankensteiner at 1:14
Back to the ring as Dragon and Sonny Onoo are making their way to the ring for our next match. Tony talks about Sting turning his sights to Hollywood Hogan by aiming his bat at him last night. Eaton wins a lockup and punches Dragon on the break and then puts him down with a clothesline. He runs Dragon to the corner and then hits him with a back elbow. Eaton goes to the middle rope, but Dragon stops him and then takes him over with a Frankensteiner for the win. Well, that was quick as Dragon grabs another win. Grade: .5
– Dragon is still celebrating in the ring when the NWO music fires up and Hollywood Hogan leads all of the troops down the aisle. Eric is up first and tells the fans that they are welcome. First things first, another big win for the NWO thanks to the newest member. Hogan says that everybody in the world has bowed to them and realized what they said has come true. They rule supreme and have the power and with the Dirty Dog Dennis Rodman they shall rule for all eternity. Bischoff says that anyone, anytime, anywhere they want. There is nothing he would rather see than Savage kicking Page’s tail. Savage says that the NWO makes dreams happen and that he will take the offer. Savage is pretty funny in this role. Eric now has a special announcement regarding the tag titles and Nash drops it on us announcing that the Outsiders will graciously give the Steiners a tag title shot at Spring Stampede in just two weeks. And that is all as the music cranks back up and Eric thanks us.
Announcers: Tony Schiavone, Mike Tenay & Bobby Heenan
– Over at the announce table, we get some more talk about Sting and Spring Stampede and how six months of questions about Sting were finally answered. Tony says that the NWO is cocky because they have carte blanche after last night. Bobby says they are too cocky and are set for a crash. We take a quick look back at the Savage/DDP showdown from earlier tonight and then head to the ring.
7) Jeff Jarrett & Steve McMichael defeat Alex Wright & Mark Starr when Jarrett makes Starr submit to the Figure Four at 1:54
Mongo and Jarrett got involved in a wild brawl between Harlem Heat and Public Enemy last night despite also being involved in the Main Event. They ended up allowing Harlem Heat to win. Wright and Jarrett start and Wright has early control and hits a dropkick. Mongo tosses a knee at Wright as he hits the ropes and JJ drops a leg on his back as falls over the middle rope. Jarrett puts Wright down with a drop toehold and Mongo drops a big elbow. Mongo lands a side suplex and tags Jarrett back in. Wright is able to make the tag and Starr comes in and hits a reverse atomic drop on Jarrett. Now Mongo comes in and nails Starr with a pair of tackles and then Jarrett locks in the Figure Four for the win. As the Horsemen are leaving, Public Enemy come out with some plunder and triggers a big brawl. Debra clocks Grunge with a trash can but he shrugs it off and keeps on fighting. The Horsemen continue to look good here each week as they pick up another win. Grade: 1
– After the brawl ends, Gene catches up with Debra, Jarrett and Mongo in the aisle. Gene informs us that the Horsemen will be taking on Public Enemy at Spring Stampede. Debra says she doesn’t like to brag but she thinks Jarrett makes a great Horseman and she speaks the truth. She is beautiful, intelligent and has money and is part of a winning combination. Jarrett says that Flair backed him six months ago and last night he proved Flair right. At Spring Stampede they will prove Public Enemy is a level below the Horsemen. Mongo takes the fans to task for booing Debra and says she has more class than all of them put together. He tells Grunge and Rock to bring the buffet table to the PPV because he is ready to eat Public Enemy tartar. Debra says that Grunge’s girlfriend should be an artist because she is great at drawing flies. And with that, we go to break.
– We are back and on the road with our good friend, Lee Marshall. Lee is in Duluth, MN where it is 19 degrees. Some of the greatest matches ever have taken place in Minnesota and next week Nitro will be emanating from Duluth. Lee has found out that Duluth is where Bob Dylan was born and they are singing “Rainy Day Weasel”. Bobby makes fun of Lee for being in the freezing cold in Minnesota and calls him an idiot for it.
8) Scott Norton defeats Chavo Guerrero, Jr. with a powerbomb at 2:32
Norton is out, representing the NWO, and is ready to kick off our next match. We get a lockup and Norton tosses Chavo off. He misses a charge but puts Chavo down with a clothesline and jaws to the camera after it. Tenay says that Norton is part of the NWO’s international contingent. Chavo dropkicks Norton to the floor and then comes over with a plancha, but Norton catches him and tosses him back into the ring. Chavo dropkicks the knee but he gets chopped down to the mat. Chavo recovers and goes back to the knee but Norton stays on his feet. Chavo hits him with a missile dropkick and Norton will not go down. Norton reverses a whip and sends Chavo hard to the corner. Chavo goes for a sunset flip but Norton blocks it and pulls him up and then he slugs him back down. He pulls Chavo up and plants him with a powerbomb for the win. That had the makings of a fun power squash but they never really got on the same page out there. Grade: .5
– We now cut to some comments from Hollywood Hogan and Dennis Rodman, NWO style. Hogan puts over Rodman and their newfound bond. He says that Sting was stung and Rodman agrees. Come July, Rodman and his good friend Hogan will be taking over because it is for life.
9) Outsiders defeat Mike Enos & Bunkhouse Buck at when Hall pins Enos with the Outsider Edge at 5:10
We are back from break and Syxx is leading Hall and Nash out to the ring as the announcers talk a bit more about last night. Tony says last night was six months to the day from the last time Sting spoke on September 16. Hall wants to give us a public service announcement and says that they are the guys who say it and then do it. And some music fires up…and it is not the Steiners, it is Bunkhouse Buck and Mike Enos. Buck and Hall start things off as apparently the Outsider challenge to the Steiners was for the PPV. Hall hits a few shoulderblocks and works the arm of Buck to start. Buck punches back and whips Hall to the corner but eats a boot on a charge. Hall goes to the middle rope and bulldogs Buck down for two. Buck tries to tag Enos, but Mike wants nothing to do with things. Hall tags in Nash and he works Buck over in the corner. Nash tosses Buck to his corner and Enos still refuses to tag in to the match. He finally does and Nash tags in Hall. Hall catches Enos on a cross body and takes him over with the fallaway slam. Enos fights back with some rights and headbutts. Buck is able to knee Hall in the back on a whip and Hall turns and slugs Buck down but Enos takes control. Enos locks in a sleeperhold and wears Hall down a bit. Hall breaks the hold and both men are down and eventually make tags. Nash scoops up Buck and hits the Snake Eyes. He catches Enos coming in and puts him down with a sidewalk slam. He kicks Buck in the face and then loads up the Jackknife. Hall takes out Enos as Nash drops Buck. Nash tosses Buck aside as Hall hits the Outsider Edge on Enos for the win. That was a fun squash and it made Nash look like a killer. It was sort of odd that the Outsiders worked the face roll, but it was short enough that it didn’t matter. Grade: 1
10) Steiner Brothers wrestle Harlem Heat to a no contest when the NWO interferes at 3:18
We are back from break and right back to the ring for some more tag team action. Randy Anderson calls for the bell and Scott and Booker kick things off. Booker takes control early and hits a nice sidekick to put Scott down. Booker hits a stiff forearm shiver, but Scott kicks him and then hoists him and press slams him back down. Scott tags Rick and he lands some clotheslines on Booker. Booker fires back and makes the tag and Stevie works over Rick with some basic strikes. Rick takes Stevie over with a belly-to-belly for two but he gets kicked in the back by Booker on a whip. Stevie powerslams Rick and then stomps away at him before tagging in Booker. Booker goes to the eyes to stop a flurry but misses an elbowdrop. The announcers are just talking about Sting as Scott tags in and takes both men out with clotheslines. Scott hits a release belly-to-belly on Booker and Rick is able to knock Stevie to the floor. They brawl out there while Scott beats on Booker in the ring, but all of a sudden the whole NWO hits the ring and a huge brawl erupts. Hall and Nash work over Rick on the floor while Hogan is leading the beatdown in the ring. The crowd is calling for Sting but they get Luger and Giant instead. WCW starts to even the score and clear the NWO out of the ring to a huge pop. The six WCW defenders are standing tall in the ring as the NWO backs off. The camera pans up and Sting rappels from the roof to a monster pop. Hogan is locked in on Sting as he points the bat directly at Hollywood. The staredown continues as we fade out. Sue me, I liked the match a lot as those two teams just work well together, especially in an abbreviated setting. Grade: 2
Well, this was an interesting episode of Nitro. We got a lot of matches, but they were all short and all pretty average at best. Still, all the wrestlers brought a great energy to the ring, so even the sloppiest or shortest matches were still fun to watch. The angle development was great as always and it was good to finally have some movement on the Sting front. The announcers talked about Uncensored a lot, but it wasn’t overkill and was all important to the storylines. Spring Stampede is coming fast, so there won’t be much build for that but we did get a couple of matches announced, including the well built Outsiders/Steiners showdown. The crowd was digging everyone tonight and a lot of solid players picked up nice wins. We got more solidification with the Horsemen and also had the disheartening announcement by Arn Anderson who will be going under the knife and may have wrestled his last match. Despite losing at the PPV, the announcers and wrestlers did a great job conveying WCW’s hope with Sting’s pledge of allegiance. I enjoyed the show a great deal as part of the greater picture as the continuing drama between the two sides was furthered along and enhanced by solid story telling and a good crowd. Final Grade: B-
MVP: Arn Anderson
Runner Up: Randy Savage
Non MVP: Joe Gomez & Renegade
Runner Up: Mike Enos & Bunkhouse Buck