Written By: Justin Rozzero
WCW Nitro 3/24/97
Announcers: Tony Schiavone & Larry Zbyszko
– We kick off the show with a quick look back at the DDP/Savage showdown from last week before hitting our opening animation and then heading inside the arena where Tony Schiavone welcomes us to professional wrestling’s number one program. While the banks of Lake Superior are covered in snow, the action is red hot inside. We see that Larry Hennig is in the crowd to check out WCW in his home state.
1) Dean Malenko defeats Konnan to retain the WCW United States Championship with the Texas Cloverleaf at 3:29
Konnan is out and ready to challenge for the Unites States Championship in our opener here tonight. The Iceman is out next and has a bandage over his left eye. Tony runs down tonight’s card as we get a lockup. Konnan takes Dean down and grabs an armbar. Tony lets us know that the NWO has exercised its clause from the Uncensored win and Ted DiBiase has demanded that Prince Iaukea defend the Television title against Randy Savage here tonight. Dan works out of the hold and stomps away at Konnan’s back. He pulls him up and slams him back down and grabs a toehold. The crowd is amped early on here tonight. Konnan takes Dean over with an armdrag and then the two trade some arm holds. Konnan lands a knee and sends Dean down as we get some inset comments from Syxx talking smack on Malenko and Eddie Guerrero. Tony and Larry seem to think Syxx was intimating that Eddie may have joined the NWO. Dean shoots Konnan to the corner and hits a clothesline, but Konnan comes back with a scoop slam. He hoists Dean up and puts him down with a powerbomb for two. Dean ducks a clothesline and hits a leg lariat as Tony talks about Arn Anderson’s injury and promo from last week. Konnan gets a La Magistral for two and then slams Dean back down. He heads up top but misses a dropkick and Dean locks in the Texas Cloverleaf for the win. That was a solid little opener that the crowd was digging. Grade: 1
– In the aisle, Gene Okerlund catches up with Malenko and asks him about Guerrero and Syxx. Dean says it is obvious that Eddie and Syxx seem to be in cahoots. Wherever Syxx is, Eddie and vice versa and he will get to the bottom of it. Right now, he is focused on Chris Benoit. They have a lot of mutual respect for each other and they both want to be on top of the sport. He is giving Benoit an opportunity to take the US title from him.
– We are back and visiting with Tony and Larry. They discuss the Savage/Iaukea match that is forthcoming and Tony says that Prince is clearly an underdog. Larry says the experience advantage is with Savage and the NWO wants to add more gold. Tony says that letters and calls have poured into WCW regarding Sting’s stance at Uncensored. Now we take a look at footage from Uncensored where Glacier defeated Mortis but was jumped by a giant man who was called out by James Vandenberg. Glacier took a stiff two-on-one beating and Tony says that despite how great Glacier is, he can not take on two men at once.
2) Mortis defeats Jerry Flynn with the Flatliner at 4:51
Mortis and Vandenberg are making their way out as Mortis is set for his Nitro debut. Vandenberg says Mortis will bring an end to Glacier’s career. Mortis will be taking on a kickboxer in Jerry Flynn but Larry says Mortis will use his pit fighting skills to match Flynn. Mortis kicks Flynn on a lockup and grabs a side headlock. He puts Flynn down with a shoulderblock but Flynn recovers and takes Mortis over with a hiptoss. He hits a spin kick for two and then grabs a top wristlock on Mortis. Mortis breaks out and hits a back kick in the corner and then he slugs away at Flynn. He kicks away in the corner and hammers Flynn down to the mat. Mortis poses on the middle rope but Flynn pops up and kicks him in the back. He follows with a spin wheel kick but he runs into a standing sidekick and collapses. Mortis drops an elbow and a knee on the prone Flynn. Mortis hits a spinning heel kick and stomps on Flynn’s head. Mortis grabs Flynn by the throat and then heads to the middle rope and takes him down with a rocker dropper for two. Mortis mares Flynn over and then goes to grab his wand. The ref stops Mortis which allows Vandenberg to choke Flynn with his tie. Vandenberg then calls Flynn a scumbag which was funny. Mortis rides Flynn face first to the mat and then rolls him over for two. Mortis goes up top but Flynn catches him with a powerbomb off the top. He follows with a pair of clotheslines, but Mortis is able to kick Flynn low and then drills him with another sidekick. He scoops Flynn up and then buries him with a Samoan drop off the middle rope for the win. Tony tells us that the move is called the Flatliner. That was a nice debut for Mortis and Flynn put up an admirable fight out there. It was a bit sloppy, but entertaining nonetheless. Grade: 1.5
3) La Parka defeats Juventud Guerrera with a corkscrew dive at 4:17
We are back from commercial and Juventud Guerrera is making his out to the ring. Tony says that he saw Kevin Nash backstage but not Scott Hall, which is interesting. He thinks it could be because of the snow but Larry thinks there could be more there. Parka shoves Juvy to start and then smacks him in the corner. Juvy dodges a charge and then catches Parka with a spin kick. Parka backdrops Juvy to the apron but Juvy lands on his feet and he hops on the top rope. Parka dances a bit and then Juvy comes off with a cross body but Parka catches him. He carries Juvy around the ring strutting and Larry and Tony are quite amused. Larry wonders if Ric Flair is under the mask and they think that it is definitely somebody different under there. Juvy heads back up top and hits a headscissors takeover to send Parka to the floor. Juvy follows with a springboard plancha and both men are down. Juvy tosses Parka back in and he nails him with a springboard dropkick for two. Juvy shoots Parka to the corner but eats a boot on a charge. Parka puts him down with a clothesline and then he heads to the middle rope. He grazes Juvy a springboard moonsault for two. He catches Juvy on a charge and hooks him in a reverse torture rack. Juvy wriggles free but Parka kills him with a spin wheel kick. Juvy bails to the floor and Parka follows with a tope. Parka heads back in and after a brief battle on the apron, Juvy comes in with a springboard somersault. Parka heads up top but Juvy stops him and then takes tries to go for a headscissors takeover, but Parka blocks it and puts him down with a powerbomb. Parka heads up top and comes off with a corkscrew dive for the upset win. Well, I certainly didn’t see that coming. Larry says it is a tough loss for Juvy because he has his sights set on Rey Mysterio, Jr. The match was usual cruiserweight fare that was sloppy but highly entertaining and a shocking finish to boot. Grade: 2
– We now take a look back at some history between the Steiner and Outsiders. First we see footage from Souled Out where the Steiners won the titles thanks to Randy Anderson coming in to count the fall. The next night on Nitro, Eric Bischoff stripped the Steiners and fired Anderson. Then a few weeks ago, Dr. Harvey Schiller suspended Bischoff and stripped him of his power. We also get footage of the Outsiders providing tape of the Steiners’ auto accident. Then we look back at when the Outsiders laid out Rick Steiner in the back at Uncensored, causing him to miss the main event. Finally, last week the Outsiders challenged the Steiners to a match at Spring Stampede and then later in the show, the Outsiders put a beating on Rick Steiner, focusing on his injured ear. Back to live action, Mean Gene is with the Steiners in the aisle. He says everything we just saw is history and they can learn from it. The tag titles will be on the line at Spring Stampede. Scott says what we just watched is present in his mind and they will get their revenge at Spring Stampede. He says they can’t hide behind Bischoff because he is suspended. Rick says he is ready to go and that despite the NWO trying to put him down, he is ready. And with that we are off to break.
– Please join us this weekend for WCW Saturday Night on TBS as Harlem Heat, the Steiners and DDP will all be in action. We will also hear from Dean Malenko, Lex Luger and the Giant as they prepare for Spring Stampede.
4) High Voltage defeat Public Enemy when Kaos pins Johnny Grunge after Jeff Jarrett hits him with the Halliburton at 3:43
Back to ringside and Kaos and Rage are making their way out to the ring. Tony says that every match is important for these young guys and talks about Prince Iaukea’s big match here tonight. PE sets up their table on the outside and hit the ring. Tony talks about how PE is still warring with the Horsemen and they will clash at Spring Stampede. High Voltage attack to start but PE whips them into each other. They double back drop Rage and then toss Kaos out to the floor. Rock grabs a side headlock but Kaos hooks his leg on a whip and Rage drills him from behind. Rage takes him down with a back suplex and then tags in Kaos. The crowd is rallying Rock as Kaos clubs him with an axehandle. Kaos hits a nice tilt-a-whirl slam for two. Rage is tagged back in and slams down Rock but misses a standing moonsault. Larry says Rage is powerful enough to have to use fancy moves. Grunge tags in and he takes out both Rage and Kaos with clotheslines and back drops. He tosses Rage to the floor and slams Kaos. He tags in Rock and then do an assisted senton bomb off the top onto Kaos. The crowd wants the table and Larry says that is what happens when you brain goes below 0 degrees. They oblige and put Rage on the table and Rock flies over the top with a somersault senton to put him through it. While the ref is checking on Rage, Debra and Jeff Jarrett hit the ring and Jarrett clobbers Grunge with the Halliburton, allowing Kaos to pick up the win. Tony says this is the biggest win of High Voltage’s careers. Back in the aisle, Mongo has met up with Jarrett and his wife and he is not happy and asks if they are setting him up. Jarrett and Debra calm him down and they take off as PE convalesces in the ring. That was a feisty little match and the crowd was rocking at the finish. Grade: 1.5
– Back from break and Gene is with Lex Luger and the Giant in the aisle. Gene announces that Giant and Luger will be in a four corner match with Harlem Heat and the winner of that match will earn a future World title shot with Hollywood Hogan. Giant says he may have to face his friend Lex in this match and says Lex stood up for him when he needed it and he helped bring him back to WCW’s side. He tells Harlem Heat that they never know what is coming with Luger and the Giant. Gene says that Hogan has proven he tries to divide and conquer and Luger concurs. Luger says that it is no longer the case, though, as he feels the balance of power shifting away from the NWO and towards WCW. They have the biggest trump card now, Sting. At Spring Stampede, it will be the Chokeslam or the Rack and he tells Hogan to take his pick.
5) Psychosis defeats Super Calo with a guillotine legdrop at 3:27
As Psychosis makes his way down, we get some inset comments from Sonny Ono. He says that Rey Mysterio’s mother got it right when they named him Junior because he is the only wrestler you need to bend down to talk to. He says Rey must be stunted mentally too for taking a match with Dragon at Spring Stampede. Back to the ring and we get a lock up as Tony defends Rey. Psychosis chops Calo off a break and he puts him down with a spin kick. Calo takes control and kicks Psychosis in the chest a number of times. Calo hits a Japanese armdrag off the top rope and then tosses Psychosis to the floor. Back inside, Psychosis regains control and he crotches Calo n the top rope. He heads up top and hits a spin wheel kick to knock Calo off. Calo gets a crucifix for two as Tony talks a bit more about Sting. Calo hits a dropkick sending Psychosis to the floor and then he follows with a reverse headscissors takeover off the apron. Larry still doesn’t trust Sting and he wants him to say something. Tony says we will never see the old Sting again, but it is still the same man. Calo hits a nice somersault senton from inside the ring out onto Psychosis on the floor. He tosses Psychosis back in the ring and heads up top. Calo comes off with a dive but Psychosis nails him with a spin kick. He slams Calo down and now he heads up top. Psychosis hits the guillotine legdrop for the win. Tony talks about Psychosis’s bright future and says that if were in the NWO he would be getting a title shot sometime soon. Match was OK but they just didn’t seem to click out there. Grade: .5
Announcers: Tony Schiavone, Mike Tenay & Bobby Heenan
6) Harlem Heat defeat Faces of Fear when Booker pins Meng with a roll up at 8:29
And we waste no time getting right to the action in hour two as we have a rematch from last week. Of course, the match never really got going last week as chaos broke out and a huge brawl erupted. Tony likes the mindset of Luger and Giant for the PPV as they seem as if they won’t be divided despite who wins. Bobby says the same holds true for Booker and Stevie. Bobby has heard that both members of Harlem Heat have been secretly training separately for this match. Barbarian and Booker start and Barbarian gains the early advantage. He catches Booker on a cross body attempt and he tosses him out to the floor. Barbarian sits Booker on the top rope but Booker elbows him off and hits a nice cross body for two. He tags in Stevie and they hit a double elbow to put Barbarian down. Stevie slams Barbarian and drops a leg. Bobby says that if a Heat member wins at the PPV they would have their brother and Sherri backing them up against Hogan. Barbarian regains control with some chops and the crowd has erupted into a large “Let’s Go Gophers” chant. Stevie puts Barbarian down with a clothesline but Barbarian is able to tag in Meng who takes control and slugs away at Stevie. Meng runs Stevie to the corner and tags in Barbarian. Barbarian is whipped to the rope and Booker catches him with a knee from the apron. Stevie puts Barbarian down with a huge kick to the face and he tags in Booker. Booker hits the scissor kick and continues to hammer away at Barbarian. He misses the Harlem sidekick and Meng runs the apron and clotheslines him down. Barbarian tags Meng in and they hit a double headbutt from the second trope. Meng gets a two count off that. He continues to work over Booker as Tony reminds us of the TV title match later tonight. Bobby says Savage could care less about the title and just wants to be able to hand more gold to Hogan. Meng hits a backbreaker and then falls on Booker as Booker tried to slam him. Meng continues to pound on Booker and he makes the tag. Barbarian plants Booker with a sidewalk slam for two. The crowd is now chanting for Harlem Heat as Barbarian tags Meng back in. Bobby says people in this town cheer for anything warm. Meng grabs an abdominal stretch and Sherri hops on the apron to distract the ref. This allows Stevie to come in and kick Meng to break the hold. Booker rolls to the floor and Stevie stays in the ring. He puts Meng down and drops an elbow and then he follows with a sidewalk slam of his own. He tags Booker back in and he launches Booker off the top onto Meng for two but Barbarian broke it up. Booker drills Meng with the Harlem sidekick but Barbarian makes the save again. Meng recovers and puts Booker down with a powerbomb but Stevie makes the save this time. Barbarian and Stevie end up on the floor and Booker hits a clothesline in the corner. Meng returns the favor but then when he tries again, Booker moves and Meng runs into Sherri, who was on the apron and pushed Booker out of the way. Booker kicks Meng in the back of the head and rolls him up to grab the win. The whole point of this was to show that Harlem Heat and Sherri were working very well as a team. Well that started off kind of sluggish but the end was a war of attrition. Grade: 2
7) Madusa defeats Malia Hosaka with a bridging German suplex at 2:45
Madusa is out for some ladies’ action as she prepares to challenge Akira Hokuto for the title at Spring Stampede. Madusa shoves Hosaka and Hosaka returns the favor and then she plants Madusa with a dropkick. Hosaka misses a spin kick and Madusa lays in some kicks of her own. Hosaka catches Madusa with a kick and then stands on her before turning her into a Boston crab. Apparently Hosaka beat Leilani Kai on Saturday Night. Tony puts over Madusa’s black belt and martial arts skills. Madusa breaks loose but Hosaka maintains control. She grabs a reverse chinlock but Madusa mares her out of it and then tosses her around by the hair. Madusa grabs a front facelock and takes her down. Hosaka works out of it and drills Madusa with a forearm to the face. She gets a sunset flip for two and then kicks away at the back. Madusa ducks a punch and hits a bridging German suplex for the win. That was a mess in every sense of the word. Grade: .5
– We are back from break and hitting the road with Lee Marshall, who is in Roanoke, VA for a Nitro party. He says that the only thing louder than Bobby Heenan’s clothes is the fans there. The show is sold out but additional tickets were just released so get on it. Lee runs down other cities that Nitro is coming to and says that he has talked to his friends in Pasadena, CA and confirmed that there is no Tournament of Weasel parade. Bobby says if Lee was here he would make a snowman out of him.
8) Jim Duggan defeats Renegade with a taped fist punch at 3:49
Hacksaw is here and he is pumped for his match with the Renegade. Tony says there is more to wrestling than pounding a guy and that you need to know how to win a match and that Duggan has proven that. Tenay says that Duggan is a true WCW loyalist. Duggan shakes Renegade’s hands and then he tosses his roll of tape into the crowd as a souvenir. They trade go behinds and we get a clean break as Renegade grabs the ropes. Duggan has the crowd fired up here as Renegade grabs an armbar. Duggan reverses it and he takes Renegade down. We get another clean break but Renegade nails Duggan from behind as he turns away. Renegade chokes Duggan on the middle rope and Tony thinks Renegade is starting to change the way he goes about things and he is curious as to why. Duggan unloads with fists and then takes Renegade over with a hiptoss. He runs Renegade to the buckle and mounts him for a ten count. Duggan grabs a front facelock and clubs him in the back off it. Renegade comes back with some double axehandle smashes and then takes him down with a headlock takeover. Renegade grabs a reverse chinlock but Duggan elbows out of it and slugs away at him. Renegade dodges a charge and hits a handspring elbow and continues to club away at Hacksaw. The ref backs Renegade off which allows Duggan to tape his fist and clock Renegade for the win. Duggan calls out Hogan and stomps off. I know the Renegade story they were going for out there, focusing on his frustration, but he was just too awkward to pull it off. Duggan, on the other hand, has been pretty impressive these last few weeks. Here he held the match together as Renegade was lost. Grade: 1
9) Steiner Brothers defeat Amazing French Canadians when Rick Steiner pins Carl Oulette after Jacques Rougeau accidentally hits him with a boot at 4:00
Tony talks more about the transformation of Sting as both teams make their way to the ring. He also informs us that Nitro will soon be heading to the Boston Garden for the first time. Jacques and Carl sing the Canadian National Anthem for us and Bobby says they are pretty good. Well, they sing the first few seconds of it anyway and then just decide to stop. Scott and Carl start off and Scott takes him over with a double underhook suplex. He picks up Jacques as he comes in and he tosses him into Carl. Tony says the real concern is Rick’s eardrum and equilibrium. Rick sends both men to the floor with a double clothesline. Scott follows but he gets whipped to the rail by Carl and shot back into the ring. Jacques tags in and they hit some double team moves, finishing with Jacques slamming Carl onto Scott. They hit a double stun gun and Carl runs Scott into the buckle. Jacques works him over in the corner as Rick tries to come in and distracts the ref. Carl slams Scott down but he eats a boot as he comes off the middle rope. Rick and Jacques are both tagged in and Rick takes out both men with clotheslines. He takes Carl over with a back drop as Tony thinks he seems a step off out there. Both Steiners work over each man in the corner. Carl is able to knock Scott to the floor thanks to some help from Col. Parker. Scott drills Parker and grabs the flag but back inside, the Canadians drop Le Cannonball on Rick. Carl covers but Scott has the ref distracted. Jacques comes in with Parker’s boot but he nails Carl by accident and Rick covers for the win. That was a bit of a mess and the Steiners really needed a stronger win. Grade: 1
10) Randy Savage wrestles Prince Iaukea to a no contest when Diamond Dallas Page interferes at 3:18; Iaukea retains the WCW World Television Championship
We are back and Nash, Syxx, DiBiase, Vincent, Bischoff and Nick Patrick are joining Savage and Elizabeth on the way to the ring. Nash takes a moment to toss out the Wolfpac sign and say “Right back at ya, HBK!” The announcers are still curious about the whereabouts of Scott Hall but they still blame the weather. Heenan says the change in Elizabeth is drastic as she went from being miserable out there to being in love. Iaukea is out by himself and he is in for a heck of a fight for his title. Nick Patrick is having some words with Mark Curtis as Iaukea gets in the ring. Curtis sends everyone out to the floor and calls for the bell. Savage takes Iaukea down with an armdrag to start. We get a lockup and Iaukea puts Savage down with a shoulderblock. Savage bails to the floor to confer with the troops. Tony says that Savage hasn’t wrestled on TV since October so he may be rusty. Savage buries a kick on Iaukea but the Prince comes back with a kick and springboard clothesline for two. He slams Savage down and gets another near fall. Iaukea heads up but misses a high cross body as Savage hit the deck. Savage scoops Iaukea up and drops him throat first on the top rope. Savage slams Iaukea and heads up top. He connects with the big elbow but picks up the Prince at two. We cut to the crowd and see DDP barreling to the ring. He hops the railing and crushes Vincent with a forearm shiver. The troops attack and Savage heads over to get involved. Nash tosses Page in the ring and he and Savage start brawling. The troops come in and they put Page down. They pull him up and Nash plants him with a Jackknife. Savage comes off the top with the big elbow. Nash grabs Iaukea and puts him down with a Jackknife. Savage pulls up Page and Bischoff kicks him in the back of the head. Nash looks to the sky daring Sting to come down. They spray paint NWO on Prince and Bobby says that this is the worst Savage has been in his whole career. Savage paints a zero on Page’s back and we are out. Grade: 2
This week’s show was quite similar to last week’s in that we had a lot of matches but they were all just decent to solid and nothing stood out. The storytelling, however, was quite good and all the major angles were touched on and developed. The crowd was rocking the whole way through as well and they were really into a lot of the top guys. I want to take a quick minute to praise Tony Schiavone too as he does a really good job at explaining a story and the psychology behind wrestler’s motives. He doesn’t get longwinded about it but he clearly states the issue at hand and delves into it on a deeper level. He was really in a groove at this point. We saw some different people this week too and guys like Mortis and La Parka picked up nice wins. The Page/Savage and Steiners/Outsiders storylines are steamrolling along as we head to the PPV. We have seen some focus go off the Horsemen and we have had no mention of Roddy Piper since Uncensored. In actuality, it almost feels like a different show, but that was a benefit of such a large roster as they could filter guys in and out to keep things fresh. The show was enjoyable and even though the matches were short a few of them were fun and stiff if nothing else. The road to Spring Stampede continues on and next week a lot of major angles should come to a head. Final Grade C+
MVP: Harlem Heat
Runner Up: Diamond Dallas Page
Non MVP: Juventud Guerrera
Runner Up: Public Enemy