Written By: Justin Rozzero
WCW Nitro 4/7/97
Von Braun Civic Center
Announcers: Tony Schiavone & Larry Zbyszko
– We kick off this week’s show with footage from the ending if Spring Stampede. Savage has Kimberly by the hair and was ready to nail her, but Eric Bischoff pleaded him not to do it and then he physically stopped him. Savage shoved Bischoff down, but Eric popped back up and returned the favor. Savage tossed him down again and the rest of the NWO poured in the ring to break up the fight. It looks like the tensions within the NWO last week were very real. We hit our opening animation and then head inside the arena where Tony Schiavone welcomes us to two solid hours Monday Nitro, where the big boys play! We head over to the commentary booth and we have a lot going on just one day removed from Spring Stampede. There is turmoil within the NWO and it came to light last night after a hinting at it last week. Larry says it is a combination of greed, ego and lust for power that has the NWO busting at the seams. We now get more stills from the Page/Savage fight from last night including shots of Kevin Nash taking out Nick Patrick.
1) Konnan & Hugh Morrus defeat Alex Wright & Psychosis when Morrus pins Wright with the No Laughing Matter at 5:04
The NWO turmoil talk continues as the Dungeon members head to the ring. Wright and Psychosis are out next and we are set for our opening matchup here tonight. Larry likens the NWO to a third world country saying that one thing goes wrong and all of a sudden you have a bunch of different generals saying they are in control. He is wondering who will finally gain control of the group. Wright dodges a Morrus charge but Hugh is able to land a knee to take control. He slugs away in the corner, but Wright turns it around and is able to put Morrus down with a hiptoss. Psychosis tags in and comes off the top with an axehandle. Morrus regains control and tags in Konnan who hits the somersault clothesline. He knocks Wright off the mat but is drilled with a superkick by Psychosis after he misses a clothesline. Psychosis hits a headscissors takeover and heads up top. He comes off with a spinning heel kick and then he dropkicks Morrus off the apron to the floor. He heads back up and comes off with a corkscrew moonsault to the floor. He climbs back in the ring but Konnan dropkicks him as he was crawling in. He lands another seated dropkick and then tags Morrus in. Hugh stomps away as Larry takes Psychosis to task for making a mistake and attacking Hugh outside. Morrus lands a clothesline as we take a split screen look at DDP entering the arena earlier tonight. Konnan is tagged back in and he powerbombs Psychosis for two. He tags Morrus back in and he clubs Psychosis’ injured back. He takes Psychosis over with a nice powerslam and then heads to the middle rope. He attempts and elbow but Psychosis dodges it and Morrus crashes and burns. Psychosis makes the tag and Wright hits Morrus with a missile dropkick and then nails Konnan with a regular standing dropkick. He battles both men with uppercuts and then he takes Morrus over with an armdrag. He heads up top and hits a high cross body for two. Morrus recovers and puts Wright down with a swinging neckbreaker. He heads up top and nails the No Laughing Matter for the win. Konnan kills Psychosis with the cradle DDT after the bell and demands Mickie Jay count the three for him too. That was a solid little opener and Psychosis looked good while he was in control. The Morrus/Konnan team continues to be booked well and deliver solid matches each week as well. Grade: 1.5
– Before we head to break we get some quick stills of the Madusa/Hokuto match from Spring Stampede.
2) Rey Mysterio, Jr. defeats Lord Steven Regal by disqualification when Regal refuses to break the Regal stretch at 4:30
When we return from break, Rey and Regal are already in the ring for our next match. Regal goes to the eyes and follows with an uppercut. Regal stomps away and hoists Rey up and spikes him back down. Tony talks about the angry roll Regal has been on since losing the TV title. He mares Rey across the ring and out to the floor and then follows him out. He picks Rey up in a Fireman’s carry and drops him on the guardrail neck first. Tony gets word that the NWO has arrived backstage and we cut to see Hogan, Bischoff, DiBiase and Vincent walking in. Hogan tells Bischoff that they are here to take care of family business. Back in the ring and Regal is still in control of things. He goes for a double underhook suplex, but Rey slips out and hits an armdrag. Rey goes to the apron and lands a springboard dropkick. Rey whips Regal into the corner and up and over the top to the floor. Regal comes back in and heads up top, but Rey slugs away at him and then takes him down with a headscissors takeover for two. He goes to the apron again and hits the springboard huracarrana for two. Regal hoists Rey up and drops him with an inverted suplex. He turns him over and locks in the Regal stretch. Rey fights valiantly for the ropes and gets to them. Regal refuses to break the hold and Randy Anderson disqualifies him. Prince Iaukea comes in and lands a dropkick, but Regal swats him off and locks in the stretch on him. Tony points out that Regal is on a warpath and while he has been losing matches, he has been leaving bodies left and right. Both Rey and Iaukea are left unconscious on the mat as the refs finally get Regal to stop. Regal keeps jawing at Rey as he finally leaves the ring. Grade: 2
– Backstage, Savage, Elizabeth, Bagwell, Wallstreet, Norton, Fake Sting, Syxx and Nash all exit a limo and head inside. Savage is on crutches and Tony points out that we saw two separate NWO entrances from two groups here tonight. We get some stills from the Iaukea/Regal match from Spring Stampede and then head to break.
– We are back and get stills from the chaotic tag title scenario from last night. Backstage, Nash informed everyone that Hall was not there. The Steiners came back there and Scott accidentally hit a cop, so he was maced and cuffed. That left Rick to take on Nash one on one and Nash won with some help from Syxx as they further injured Rick’s ear with an exposed turnbuckle. Now we get footage of the world premier of Double Team, the movie starring Dennis Rodman and Jean Claude Van Dam. We see shots of Hollywood Hogan chatting it up with the stars of the movie as well as some enthusiastic NWO fans outside. Hogan and Rodman mumble about money and Hogan tells Rodman that nobody is in his league. Rodman says the NWO will be coming to a “home near you” on July 13.
3) Kevin Sullivan defeats Hector Guerrero with the double stomp at 2:47
Sullivan attacks Hector at the bell and hammers away at him. He shoots him in and drops him to the mat with a toss. He lands a chop and sends Hector to the floor. Jacqueline comes around and suplexes Hector out there. She shoots Hector back in and Sullivan lands a stiff boot to the face. He hits a headbutt and continues to chop away. Sullivan runs him into the corner and rakes his back before running him into the buckle again. He tosses Hector back outside again and Jacqueline just smacks him around and slams him to the floor. She snap mares him and then tosses him back inside. Sullivan hooks Hector in the Tree of Woe and then hits the running knee. Hector’s sides are all beat red and Larry thinks he may have a buster rib. Sullivan hits the double stomp and picks up the win. Kevin says it isn’t over till it’s over and then we get the Valvoline replay. Grade: 1
– We get some stills of the Horsemen/Public Enemy match from last night and then head to break.
– And when we return, the New World Order music fires up and Tony actually wants to see them come out for once so we can see if they are falling apart. Hogan is leading the way and the whole crew is with him. Tony points out how the NWO seems to be coming down the aisle in two different groups. He also notices that Nick Patrick is not present. DiBiase has the mike and says he is not one to beat around the bush. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out there is turmoil in the family, but they are ending it tonight. It is NWO for life, all for one and one for all. Either they walk out together, or they fight it out right now. Hogan says it is no big secret that there are problems in the NWO, but they take care of business tonight. Without the whole family, the belt doesn’t mean crap. Hogan says that word is out that Nash had issue with him being in Chicago at Rodman’s premier. If Nash has a problem with him bringing in top athletes to back them up, then he needs to speak up right now so they can “air their shorts out in public.” Nash is up next and says he has no problem with Dennis Rodman. He used to play ball and appreciates that kind of athlete. However, he sat in a hotel room on Easter Sunday with Syxx and apologizes for being grouchy last week. Hogan says that next Easter, he will make sure Nash gets to go on an NWO Easter hunt. If Nash doesn’t have a problem with Rodman, that is half the equation solved. The next part is the whereabouts of Scott Hall. He wants to know if Hall is still in this thing. Nash has known Hall for seven years and he guarantees Hogan that Hall is NWO for life. Hogan says the deal goes down like this: if the rules haven’t changed, the family is still the family. He can see Nash is burning a hole through Hogan and says that Hall, Nash and their buddies are in this for life or he and Nash need to do the thing right now. Savage gets in Hogan’s face a bit, but they pull him away. Tony and Larry are getting excited for the possible fight. Nash says that he doesn’t have to love Hogan to respect him and that in Detroit, MI you are only as big a man as your words. When they sat in the back in Daytona Beach, Nash gave Hogan his word and he gives it again now: when you are NWO, it is for life. They do the Wolfpac hand sign but Savage is still rabid in the corner and wants to get at Bischoff. The crowd is calling for Sting as Hogan starts to talk again. Hogan says Sting is on the borderline of getting stung. He tells Macho that if he and Nash can see things the same way, with all due respect, he does not want to get it on with Savage. He tells him and Bischoff to bury the hatchet and stop acting like goofs. Savage lays out the deal: he is willing to go with the flow, but just like Bischoff is on probation with Ted Turner, he and Savage are on probation with each other. Eric agrees with that comment and that is that. They start to filter out of the ring and we are out to break.
Announcers: Tony Schiavone, Bobby Heenan & Mike Tenay
– And we are back from break just in time for the start of hour two. We hit up the announce booth to visit in with Tony, Mike and Bobby. We get some talk about the apparent cooling down of the hot heads in the NWO. Heenan warns to watch out for Hogan and Bischoff despite everything seeming OK. And now we head to the ring where Mean Gene welcomes out the 13 time WCW World Champion, Ric Flair. Naitch enters to a nice ovation as he struts down the aisle and into the ring. Tony says that Flair talked about his return to the ring last night at Spring Stampede. Gene talks about the rumblings in the NWO and, like the Horsemen and the Hotel California, you can check in but you can never check out. Huntsville, Alabama…what’s causing all this? Last week, the greatest Scotsman of them all, Roddy Piper, and the Nature Boy bonded. He says that the whole NWO (specifically Hogan, Hall, Nash and Rotundo) knows and the word is out that Piper and Flair are ready to play ball one more time. And with that, Flair brings the Hot Rod himself out to the ring. Piper powerwalks to the ring and the crowd is digging it. We get a high five and a double “Woo!” as Piper gets in. The doctor has given Flair a note that he can come out and play again and Flair says that they are here and together and then asks how the girl last week was. Piper says he is out of the asylum and she is in it. Piper says the NWO is all standing around and then he hums the Deliverance music. Piper says that Flair can play and he can play…and Flair says that the All Pro #91, Kevin Greene, wants to play with them too. Piper says the NWO stinks…literally, they smell and they can’t wrestle either. Now is the time to strike and he calls the NWO a snake and says they need to take the head off. If Flair says Kevin Greene is OK, then he is OK in his book as well. And, well, here he is. Kevin Greene slides in the ring and is pumped up. He wants us to know that he has their backs and he won’t let them down. He will be training hard and sweating and he hits the famed Kevin Greene dance for us. He and Piper smack each other around while Flair dances and then they finally clear out of the ring. Well, at least this was a bit more coherent than last week.
4) Dean Malenko defeats Chris Jericho with a kick to the face to retain the WCW United States Championship 3:01
Out of that wacky promo, we go right to our next match. Tenay tells us that Jericho impressed the Championship Committee with a strong showing in a US title bout with Eddie Guerrero back at Superbrawl so he gets another shot here. Dean and Chris trade some holds to start and Dean is able to get a roll up for one. Jericho recovers and hits an Enziguri and follows with a spin kick. Dean rolls to the apron and Jericho springboards into him, sending him to the floor. Jericho tosses him back inside and then nails him with a missile dropkick. Chris ducks a clothesline and gets a backslide attempt for two. Dean is able to land a boot to the face of a bent over Jericho and then puts him down with a powerbomb. Dean locks in the Cloverleaf, but Jericho hooks the rope. Jericho misses a charge in the corner, but he catches Dean going up top and hits a top rope superplex. Both men land shoulderblocks and both men are down as Mike thinks Malenko’s match with Chris Benoit last night took a lot out of him. Chris is out on the apron and Dean is able to run him face first into the post. Dean follows that with a super stiff kick to Jericho’s face and picks up the win. That was the first three minutes of what could have been a super match. Grade: 2
– Remember that WCW Saturday Night comes to you this weekend as Jeff Jarrett, Chris Jericho, Kevin Sullivan, Miss Jacqueline, Lex Luger and the Giant invade the Superstation starting at 6:05.
5) High Voltage defeats Public Enemy when Rage pins Rocco Rock with a release Northern Lights Suplex at 3:05
We are back from break and High Voltage is making their way to the ring for our next matchup. Johnny Grunge and Rocco Rock are out next and looking for revenge from a loss to High Voltage two weeks ago on Nitro. All four men start brawling to start and PE is able to take Rage over with a double back body drop. They hit a double suplex on Kaos and both members of High Voltage hit the deck. Slamboree tickets are on sale this Saturday, so be sure to check that one out. Kaos catches a boot to the face, but Rage hooks the rope as Rock charges and he tumbles out to the floor. Rage tosses him back in and Kaos hammers away. Rage tags in and puts Rocco down with a shoulderblock. Kaos tags back in but Rock is able to hit him with a swinging neckbreaker. Both men make tags but Grunge is able to ward off both Rage and Kaos. PE hits a double back body drop on Kaos, sending him to the floor. Tenay says that Jericho may have a broken nose from our last match. Outside, Rock puts Kaos on the table and Grunge heads up top. He dives, but Kaos moves and Grunge crashes through the table to the floor. Back inside, Rage nails Rock with a release Northern lights suplex and gets the pin for another upset victory. Tony is freaking out a bit over the huge win and High Voltage is really starting to roll. Bobby says they are for real and Tony says it is their biggest win ever since they did it alone. Grade: 1.5
– In the ring, Gene is with Public Enemy. Gene asks if that was a miscalculation and Grunge says that sometimes it works for you and sometimes it works against you. He says they have to live with it and it is all good. Rocco says that High Voltage did really good but they may have started something they can’t finish. He says they are the innovators of the Philadelphia street fight and he challenges High Voltage to one next week in Philly, which also happens to be PE’s hometown. The only rule is there are no rules and when they come to the ring, they won’t be there for a long time, but they will be there for a good time. It is time for them to put the “e” in excitement in WCW and they are going back to their roots to get a little extreme. We get some quick stills of the Rey Mysterio/Ultimo Dragon match from last night and then head to break.
– Backstage, Prince Iaukea is having his ribs taped up after getting stretch by Steven Regal earlier tonight.
6) Harlem Heat defeats Jeff Jarrett & Steve McMichael when Booker T. pins Jarrett with the Harlem sidekick at 8:59
We are set for our next match as Stevie Ray, Booker T. and Sister Sherri make their way out. Jarrett Debra are out next and Mongo seems to be absent. They keep looking back for Mongo and can’t spot him. Bobby is disappointed because Flair has enough to deal with right now. Debra doesn’t seem too concerned and Mike thinks there are still major problems in the Horsemen despite the public denials. Jarrett looks to be set to go it alone. Booker takes control early and hammers away at Jarrett. He puts Jarrett down with a shoudlerblock, but Jarrett recovers with an armdrag and a hiptoss. Booker puts Jarrett to the corner but he nails both men and wriggles free. Stevie tags in as Mike talks about the spat Mongo and Debra had last night. Stevie hammers away in the corner and he follows with a nice powerslam. Jarrett recovers and takes both men out with dropkicks. They bail to the floor and Sheri hops on the apron, Mickie Jay goes to get her down and that allows a double team and Booker to hit a sidekick. After a quick double team beatdown, Stevie drops a leg and gets two. Booker tags in and hits a forearm to send Jarrett to the mat. Tony says that he saw Mongo in the back earlier and now Debra is pacing up and down the aisle wondering where he is. Booker hits the scissors kick and tags in his brother. Stevie stomps away and then hits a nice boot to the face for two. Booker is tagged back in and he lands a stiff uppercut. Booker goes for a suplex, but Jarrett blocks it and gets a small package for two. Booker regains control with some rights but he misses a charge in the corner and Jarrett gets a sunset flip for two. Stevie tags back in and they hit a double delayed suplex. Debra says this is very stressful as Stevie gets a near fall. Stevie just lands some right hands and gets another two. Jarrett reverses a whip but misses a dropkick. Stevie distracts the ref and Booker snaps Jarrett’s neck across the top rope and then Sherri chokes at him and rakes his eyes. Booker tags back in and Jarrett turns a back drop attempt into a backslide attempt for two. Booker chokes Jarrett in the ropes but misses a sidekick and crotches himself on the top rope. Stevie tags in and kicks away at Jarrett. We cut to the aisle and see Mongo slowly walking to the ring while taking his jacket off. Booker misses a dive off the top rope as Mongo climbs up to the apron. Jarrett crawls over and makes the tag. Mongo kills both Heat members with clothesline and scoop slams. He nails Booker with the football tackle and then clotheslines Stevie to the floor. He walks over and he tags Jarrett back in and tells him to get back in there. Mongo pushes him and he walks into a Harlem sidekick by Booker, who picks up the win. Bobby says this is not good for the Horsemen. Mongo taunts Jarrett as Gene heads into the ring. The match was a bit slow but it told a good story and helped push the Horsemen tension along. Grade: 2
– Jarrett wants to get right to business. He is sick and tired of Mongo making him look like an idiot. Jarrett says that Mongo has never missed a football game and neither Flair nor Jarrett has ever missed a match but Mongo has now. He wants to know where Mongo was and so does Debra. Mongo says that now ain’t the time for her. He is going to get his due and he loves pain. He says every dog has his day and everyone should be very afraid of Mongo. Jarrett says he didn’t answer his question and Gene cuts him off and takes us to break.
– We are back and on the road in Philadelphia with Lee Marshall’s 1-800-COLLECT road report. He is at a Nitro party and housing some Philly cheesesteaks and the crowd is buzzing for Nitro next week to finally get to see the big boys play. Lee tells us that Philly is the hometown of Kevin Bacon, Will Smith and Public Enemy. He says no weasel joke this week but Philly is not happy with Heenan’s grammatical error earlier tonight. Apparently Bobby mentioned something about a series of small wooden houses that are used to house boats but what Bobby should have said is that Philly sure “has a lot of oarhouses”.
7) Ultimo Dragon defeats Prince Iaukea with a kick to the midsection to win the WCW Television Championship 2:04
Dragon and Sonny Onoo are making their way out, snapping a couple of pictures along the way. Iaukea is out and is heavily wrapped, as we saw earlier. Tony says that he believes Mongo just hid backstage so Jarrett would take a beating to learn pain leads to success. Iaukea is hurting right out of the box and can’t slam Dragon. Dragon lands a kick and Iaukea gets an inside cradle for two. Bobby thinks Prince shouldn’t have wrapped his ribs because it just gives a target and they are going to hurt anyway. Dragon works the midsection a bit and then heads up top. Dragon dives off but Iaukea gets his feet up. Prince lands some strikes but Dragon lands a kick to the face and the gut when Prince ducks on an Irish whip. He punts him in the gut again and gets the win and the title. Tony blames Regal for the loss here but Iaukea tried his best to give it a shot. Grade: 1
– We get some more stills of last night, this time showing the four corners match between Luger, Giant and Harlem Heat and then we go to break.
– As Giant makes his way out, Tony talks about last night being a defining moment for him. He had Harlem Heat defeated, but he tagged in Luger so he could get the rack and earn the title shot instead. As Scott Steiner heads out to take on the big man, Konnan and Hugh Morrus run out and jump him in the aisle. Giant comes out and helps run off the Dungeon members. Tony wonders what the motive of that attack was and Bobby thinks Kevin Sullivan is behind it. And, I guess we aren’t getting a match as Giant and Scott shake hands and walk off. We get some stills of the Nash/Rick Steiner match from last night and then go to break.
– We are back and Tony says the ref threw the last match out. We cut to the entrance ramp to see DDP powerwalking to the ring. His shoulder is completely wrapped up and Tony says this appearance is unannounced and unexpected. Last night, in Tupelo, MS in the main event, he faced one of the biggest stars in wrestling. If you asked anybody two years if DDP could be a main eventer, they would have said you were nuts. He is an anomaly, something that wasn’t supposed to happen. But he did happen, and he happened to Savage. It started at Uncensored when they spray painted his wife. Lat night, late at night when he found out he dragged her around by the hair and was set to smack her, if he had found Savage, he would have killed him. Sometimes, winning isn’t enough and he knows they are both hurt, but if Savage had any guts, he would come out and do it again. And the NWO music fires right up and Savage hobbles out on crutches all alone. When he gets halfway down the aisle, Hogan comes running out and says that he will accept the challenge on Savage’s behalf. The rest of the troops filter out into the aisle and Hogan rips his shirt while taunting DDP. The camera pans up and sees Sting rappelling down into the aisle. He faces the entire NWO and rips off his harness and then tosses a bat to DDP. He has a second bat and he points it at Hogan as he backs his way into the ring. Sting and Page wield the bats in the ring as the NWO looks on from the aisle and we are out of time.
As we were hot off the heels of a really good PPV outing, Nitro was another exciting show as usual. As has become the recent trend, we didn’t have any stellar matches but the crowd was into everything and the energy was high. Steven Regal had a strong night as he put a hurting on a few guys and ultimately cost Prince Iaukea the TV title. Iaukea actually had a decent little title run as his matches were solid and he played the underdog champion role well enough. I wasn’t crazy about how quickly they swept the NWO turmoil under the rug after they spent the past few weeks harping on and on about it. I am hoping it festers up again as the next couple of shows go down. We did start to see a lot of the focus of the NWO shift to Savage as a major player and almost as an equal to Hogan and Nash. We are also seeing the official elevation of DDP to the main event level and he delivered a great promo in the final segment. Another guy getting a big push is Steve McMichael. While he may not be aces in the ring, he does bring a lot of energy and charisma and the crowd is behind him so far. High Voltage also picked up another big win as did Dean Malenko. The final showdown was killer stuff too and the visual of the entire NWO standing in the aisle facing Sting was great stuff. All in all, this was another fun show that kept up a hot pace all the way through and delivered a lot of angle advancement and storyline developments. Grade: B
MVP: Ultimo Dragon
Runner Up: Lord Steven Regal
Non MVP: Prince Iaukea
Runner Up: Jeff Jarrett