Written By: Justin Rozzero
WCW Nitro 4/21/97
Announcers: Tony Schiavone & Larry Zbyszko
– We fade up and we are looking outside the arena at a stretch limo. The door opens and James J. Dillon steps out and walks in. Tony is a bit shocked as we hit our opening animation. We then head inside the Saginaw Civic Center where the crowd is fired up for some hot WCW action.
1) Dean Malenko defeats Yuji Nagata with the Texas Cloverleaf for the WCW United States Championship at 6:01
Malenko makes his way to the ring and the crowd is quite amped to kick off the show this week. Yuji is in the ring and Tony says he has superior martial arts skills and knows Dean very well. Scott Dickinson calls for the bell and we get a lockup to start. Tony tells us that this is Yuji’s Nitro debut. Dean takes him down and gets a one count. Dean hits a drop toehold and grabs a reverse chinlock. Larry praises Dean and calls him one of his favorites. He takes Yuji over with an armdrag and then he chops away at Yuji. Yuji comes back with a kick and then he mares Dean over, kicks him in the back and grabs a reverse chinlock. We pan to the crowd to see Reggie White in the crowd. Yuji keeps the hold on and turns it into a side headlock. Dean fights up and takes Yuji over with a belly to back suplex. The crowd is so into Dean right now it is amazing. They are popping for every move. He hits a clothesline in the corner and then takes him over with a delayed vertical suplex for two. Tony and Larry talk about the Reggie White/Steve McMichael match at Slamboree. Dean grabs a headscissors but Yuji turns out and grabs another rear chinlock. Yuji stomps away and goes back to the chinlock. Dean fights back and hits a leg lariat for one. He shoots Yuji in, but catches a quick series of kicks. Dean catches the leg on a kick attempt and puts him down with a leg whip. Dean backs off a kick attempt, but Yuji hits him with a second one. He waits for Dean and then tosses him with a release T-Bone suplex for two. Dean elbows out of a rear waistlock, but Yuji turns him around and takes him over with a release belly to belly for two. Dean catches Yuji’s leg on a kick and just twists him to the mat and drops an elbow on the knee. Dean locks in the Cloverleaf and picks up the submission win over a game Nagata. He heads off as we go to break. That was a really fun opener and the crowd was off the charts. Yuji looked good in his debut and hopefully we see more of him. Grade: 2.5
2) Glacier defeats Ciclope with the Cryonic Kick at :32
We are back to wrestling’s number one program and Glacier is heading to the ring amidst a snow storm in the aisle. Larry gives us some dirt on James Vandenberg that he got from Mike Tenay. He was the former curator at the Museum of Medical Abnormalities in Taipei but he was busted for stealing artifacts. Tony says that the fans who watch Saturday Night know that Vandenberg and Mortis attempted to steal Glacier’s helmet. Glacier attacks off the bell and lands some kicks to Ciclope. He floats over a charge and takes Ciclope over with a belly to back suplex. Glacier follows with a tilt-a-whirl slam and then polishes Ciclope off with the Cryonic Kick. Grade: .5
– More snow drops as Glacier celebrates but some weird music fires up and a giant man in a robe and helmet comes walking out. Larry says he is a rare oddity and Tony says it is the gigantic man who helped Mortis pound Glacier at Uncensored. Larry says this is one of the few times we have seen Glacier get emotional. Mortis appears out of the smoke behind Glacier and levels him with a kick to the head. The big man unmasks as Mortis continues to stomp away at Glacier. Mortis grabs Glacier’s helmet and hands it to Vandenberg as the big man hammers away in the corner. He pulls Glacier out of the corner and plants him with a Urinage. Mortis starts gouging Glacier’s eye and then jams the spike of the helmet in his eye as well. The big man says if we didn’t believe before, we better believe now. We head over to the commentary booth and Tony talks about James J. Dillon, informing us that he has been named the Chairman of the Championship Committee. He says it all comes down to NWO vs. WCW and the issue that will never go away. Larry thinks the balance of power is turning thanks to the internal turmoil within the NWO. We get some highlights of the end of last week’s show when Sting came down to stand alongside Giant and DDP. Now, Nick Patrick comes up to the booth. He says he has applied for reinstatement and has a few things to say. First, he wants to apologize to all the WCW employees that his actions have had a negative affect on. He thought joining the NWO would give the little man a chance to have a voice. It would give the man who has been grinded down by the system a chance to survive and make a statement. However, it now seems that the very people he was aiming to make a statement against are the ones the NWO is catering to. People like Randy Savage, a guy he warned everyone about and was proven right recently and a guy like Eric Bischoff who is so drunk with power that he forces people to do things against their will. He forced Randy Anderson to get in the ring and fight Nick Patrick, which is something Patrick didn’t want to do. He says he fined Randy Savage the largest sum of money in wrestling history, but he was told to keep quiet as they revoked the fine. If you want somebody who is going to stand up for WCW and what he believes in, look to him. When everyone walked out, he stayed. He has had Savage’s elbow dropped on him, he has been chokeslammed by the Giant and Jackknifed by Nash. If WCW needs an official that will stand up and fight, he is the choice. Larry doesn’t buy and sarcastically responds to Patrick’s speech as Tony sends us to break.
3) Ultimo Dragon defeats Bobby Eaton with the Dragon Sleep to retain the WCW Television Championship at 2:47
As we return from break, Dragon, Sonny Onoo and their newly won TV Championship are heading to the ring. Tony agrees with Larry that Patrick may not be able to be trusted after all he did with the NWO. Larry says they stoop to dirty tricks and this could be one of them. Also, while many NWO members haven’t been seen yet today, there is that chance that they are lurking and ready to attack. Eaton attacks off the bell and lands some kicks and a back elbow. He slams Dragon down and drops a few knees. Eaton misses a clothesline and an elbow, but is able to nail Dragon with another clothesline attempt. Dragon lands on his feet off a back drop and lands a bunch of kicks to put Eaton down. Tony talks about the six man main event at Slamboree. Eaton hits the ropes but Sonny hooks his leg and Dragon is able to knock him to the floor. Sonny lands in a pair of kicks on the floor. Larry wonders if Ric Flair is at 100% after his injury. Back inside, Dragon hits a headscissors takeover from the top rope. He hooks in the Dragon Sleeper and Eaton taps out. Mickie Jay does Onoo a favor and snaps a picture of Sonny and Dragon and we get the replay. Grade: .5
– Gene Okerlund is in the aisle and visiting with Lord Steven Regal. He says there is a rumor circulating that Sarah Ferguson has been spending a lot of time with Regal. Regal says it was like spending the night with a “ripped out bloody fireplace”. Not sure what that means. Next PPV, he gets his chance to finally get back his TV title for the fourth time. He says Americans have a lot of trouble beating the Japanese and that the American flag should be white with a cross on it because we are cowards. Americans are pathetic for not being able to beat the woeful Japanese. A real man will take the title back to WCW because he is the only man keeping WCW together right now. He tells Dragon to put on his nice pink mask, tights and gown and come get broken in two. With that, Gene sends us to break.
4) Meng defeats Chris Jericho with the Tongan Death Grip at 3:17
Tony lets us know that the NBA playoffs are beginning and will affect the start times of Nitro starting next week. Meng and Jimmy Hart are out and then followed by Chris Jericho as we are set for our next match. Larry has heard rumors that the Dungeon is set to let the monster loose and have Meng go out on his own. Meng hammers away at Jericho as they point out that Jimmy is wearing all black. Larry says there is a lot of restructuring within the Dungeon and it was smart to let Meng loose. Jericho hits a low dropkick, but Meng comes back with some chops. He shoves him back to the corner but catches a boot on a charge. Jericho comes off the middle rope with a missile dropkick, but Meng swats him off. Meng hits a back suplex and then goes to the eyes. Meng continues to land in some chops but Jericho comes back with a spinning heel kick. Jericho lands a stiff clothesline and then hits the ropes. He tries a springboard moonsault and it looks like Meng was supposed to catch him, but he couldn’t and Jericho just slowly falls on his back. Meng drops his knees on the head and the hoists him. Jericho slips off on a snake eyes attempt and gets a bridging German for two. He heads up and comes off for a senton but Meng catches him and hot shots him on the top rope. Meng grabs the Tongan Death Grip and Jericho is done. Well, the match was sloppy and disjointed, but the monster push of Meng has kicked off it seems. Grade: .5
– We are back and this weekend we get one hour of WCW Saturday Night as Public Enemy, the Steiners, Lex Luger and Mortis will all be in action. Hit up the Superstation for the Mothership at 6:05 ET!
5) Public Enemy and the Steiner Brothers wrestle to a no contest when Konnan and Hugh Morrus interfere at 3:12
Grunge and Rock are out with table in hand but they are in for a stiff challenge as their opponents are in front of their hometown crowd. And with that, Rick and Scott Steiner’s music fires up to a very warm welcome from their fellow Michigan brethren. However, as the music plays, the Steiners don’t appear. Tony and Larry are wondering what is up when we cut backstage to see them brawling with Konnan and Hugh Morrus. Rick and Scott are able to gain some control, but the officials pour in and break things up. Back to ringside, the music fires up again and now Rick and Scott are out to that hardy welcome. Some of their friends and family are standing in the aisle to embrace the Steiners as they head out. The bell rings and the crowd is woofing for Rick. Grunge and Rick start off and Rick grabs a side headlock. He catches Grunge off a whip and hits a high angle powerslam. Rock is tagged in as Tony talks about the Steiners being the two men most affected by Eric Bischoff’s tenure as head of WCW. Rick tags in Scott, but Rock hits him with a clothesline off a whip to the corner. Scott ducks another clothesline attempt and military press slams Rock to the mat. Grunge comes in and they both charge, but Scott nails them with a double clothesline. PE bail to the floor and Scott is pumped up as is the crowd. Grunge is tagged in as is Rick and we are set to start over. Rick slugs away but misses a charge to the corner and Rock clotheslines him down from the apron. Grunge tags Rock and they hit a double team back elbow. Rock slams Rick and heads up top. He comes off with a somersault senton, but Rick rolls out of the way and he hits the mat. Rock tags Grunge, but Morrus and Konnan hit the ring and a big brawl erupts. All six men are battling as things spill into the crowd a bit. They brawl all the way to the back as we go to break. The crowd heat and energy totally carried that one and the brawl at the end was crazy and fun. Grade: 1.5
Announcers: Tony Schiavone, Bobby Heenan & Mike Tenay
– We are back and it is hour two of Nitro! Tony wonders how we can to hour one, but we have some great action and major announcements still to come. Tony runs down hour one and breaks things down with Tenay and Heenan as we see a few replays of various happenings. Bobby doesn’t know what to believe with Nick Patrick but he does know that Eric Bischoff is in trouble and maybe hocking merchandise on the Home Shopping Network soon. Down in the aisle, Gene Okerlund is with his longtime friend, the original leader of the Horsemen and the new chairman of the WCW executive committee, James J. Dillon. Dillon thanks Gene and says it has been a busy day. Gene says he has his work cut out for him. JJ will look into all facets and reevaluate all aspects of the company. Tony interrupts and asks about Nick Patrick. JJ says Patrick has petitioned for reinstatement and it is under advisement. Gene turns things to the NWO and Eric Bischoff. JJ says as soon as the meeting was over, he got lawyers together to look at Eric’s contract and he has good and bad news. The good news is that Eric has no authority at all, including financial responsibility and contractual authority of any type. The bad news is that Eric has an ironclad contract without a buy out clause. So, unless Eric breaches his deal, he will continue to be executive vice president and receive a paycheck and come to any events he sees fit to attend. The crowd begins to boo loudly as we see Eric appear in the entrance way, blowing kisses to everyone. They have reviewed the contracts Bischoff signed before the suspension, and they are all valid, thus the NWO by and large is here to stay. As JJ is talking, Eric saunters over with a grin on his face. JJ says there are two exceptions: Bagwell and Norton had the window of opportunity and they went in time. Big Bubba and VK Wallstreet did not join during the window of opportunity and thus are still contracted WCW employees and not NWO. Eric grabs the mike and tells JJ to bite him. Gene isn’t impressed. Eric tells JJ to speed it up and get back to the action. The fact is JJ wanted to fire him and he can’t. JJ tells Bischoff to say what it is he wants to say. Bottom line is that JJ can’t stop Eric from doing what he wants with the NWO and all the fans love him for it. He asks JJ where his badge is and then says he made WCW the number one company on the planet. JJ agrees with that point. Now, he wants to make the NWO bigger than WCW and the corporate monks have a problem with it. JJ agrees with that too and Bischoff says “bite me” again. Eric asks JJ if he really thinks he can fill his shoes. JJ acknowledges that Eric is the most powerful and influential man in wrestling over the past two years. He says what Eric has done is mind-boggling and he knows firsthand because the standard of excellence two years ago was set up in Stamford, CT. Eric has forgotten that he didn’t do it alone and that he had the support of Ted Turner and Harvey Schiller. Eric says he had the trust of Hogan, Hall and Nash. JJ says he destroyed the trust he had and Eric says “bite me” once more and then heads to the back. JJ says that Bischoff has attempted to destroy the heritage of WCW and it is not acceptable. Gene is happy JJ is here and hopes we will now have some law and order. JJ says that what is in Eric’s shoes stinks and no odor eater will take that away. JJ has his own shoes and is man enough to control what steps they take and take responsibility for it. JJ storms off and we are off to break.
– When we return, we get highlights from last week where Reggie White hopped in the ring and had a showdown with Mongo based on some derogatory comments made by McMichael. Reggie is here tonight and they will face off at Slamboree.
6) Jeff Jarrett defeats Scotty Riggs by submission with the figure four at 3:52
This is a rematch from WCW Saturday Night where Mike says Jarrett snapped. Tony takes us to some footage of that match where Riggs won but JJ went nuts after the bell and beat Riggs down, polishing him off with two piledrivers. Bobby says JJ is a new man since joining the Horsemen. JJ and Debra are out first and then followed by Riggs who doesn’t look to be in a good mood as he charges the ring. JJ attacks him off the bell and hits a swinging neckbreaker. He takes Riggs over with a gutwrench suplex and stomps away. JJ lands a reverse Russian legsweep and then struts a bit. JJ whips Riggs in and ducks down, but Riggs stops and spikes him back the mat. Riggs hits an inverted atomic drop and follows with a back elbow. He continues to hammer away as Debra hops on the apron and talks to the ref. JJ is able to dump Riggs over the top to the floor. He follows him out and runs Riggs into the steps. JJ scoops him up and drops him neck first on the guardrail and then tosses him back inside. Reggie White is watching on as Riggs catches Jarrett’s kick and sends him to the mat. He takes him over with a back drop and then lands a pair of clotheslines. He heads up and hits a high cross body for two. Riggs hits a flying forearm and covers, but Debra gets Jarrett’s foot on the ropes. And that brings out her husband as Mongo is storming down the aisle. Reggie hops the rail and grabs Mongo’s Halliburton. Reggie says that if Mongo wants it back, he has to take it. Mongo backpedals up the ramp. Back in the ring, Riggs heads up top again, but JJ hits the ropes and Riggs falls onto his knee. Jarrett pounces and locks in the figure four for the submission win. Mike says he didn’t need that Halliburton for the win as we go to break. Grade: 2
7) Syxx defeats Rey Mysterio, Jr. by submission with the Buzzkiller to retain the WCW Cruiserweight Championship at 5:54
We are back from commercial and the NWO music is blaring in the arena as Syxx makes his way out for a rare Nitro match. Nash hustles out behind him and will join him at ringside. Rey is out next as the announcers discuss the Bischoff and Dillon showdown from earlier. Syxx and Nash will be teaming up at Slamboree as part of the six man main event. Syxx talks some trash as the men circle each other. Syxx grabs a side headlock and turns it to a hammerlock. Rey works out of it and takes Syxx over. Rey grabs a side headlock off a lockup and hits a drop toehold to put Syxx down. Rey grabs a headlock but Syxx fights his way up and slips free. Rey smacks Syxx in the face and the follows with some forearm shivers. He takes Syxx down with a headscissors takeover. Rey charges, but Syxx catches him and tosses him in the air and spikes him back down. Mike and Tony talk about how Hall is still MIA and has been for a while. Syxx keeps the offense on and hits a spin kick in the corner. Rey slumps down and Syxx hits the bronco buster. Tony wonders if Hall will show up at Slamboree. Syxx locks in an abdominal stretch as we get more JJ talk. Syxx hiptosses Rey over the top and to the floor as Nash distracts Randy Anderson. Now Syxx distracts Anderson as Nash stalks Rey on the floor. Anderson hops out and blocks Nash as Rey crawls back inside. Syxx shoots him to the corner but misses a charge and crotches himself in the buckles. Rey hammers away and hits a huracarrana for two. He heads up top and takes him over with another huracarrana, sending Syxx crashing to the floor. Rey nails a great somersault senton and then hops right back in the ring. Anderson turns to check on Syxx, which allows Nash to come in and kick Rey and then crush him with the Jackknife. Syxx slides back in and locks in the Buzzkiller for the win. Grade: 2.5
– We cut to the aisle to see JJ Dillon powerwalking to the ring alongside a hoard of security. Syxx is hanging onto the hold until JJ yells at him to let it go. JJ orders the paramedics to get in the ring and helps load Syxx onto a stretcher. As the security guards are surrounding Syxx, a fan hops in the ring and Nash makes a beeline for him, but Syxx shoves him down and tosses him out of the ring before Nash can get his hands on him. Rey is wheeled off as the crowd is calling for Sting. JJ tells Nash and Syxx that their behavior won’t be tolerated but Nash says “bite me” which looks to be the new NWO catchphrase. Rey is loaded into an ambulance as Tony rants against trying to injure people. We get a quick Lex Luger video package set to some funky techno music and then go to break.
– Next week, Nitro will be live in Norfolk, VA and it is time for the 1-800-COLLECT Road Report. Lee Marshall is with us and tells us promoters are freeing up more tickets, so check in at the box office. Lee says that Tony is a native son of Virginia and says it is also the birthplace of Wayne Newton. The music historian has found some of Wayne’s earlier works when he was part of groups like “The Rolling Rodents”, “Herman and the Vermin”, “Earth, Wind and Fur” and “Credence Clearweasel Revolting”. Bobby says that Lee Marshall is revolting and he should put his false teeth back in and bite himself in the neck. And now, it is time for a special paid announcement from the New World Order. It features Hogan on set of his new movie, McCinsey’s Island. Everyone has been asking him how he juggles being the NWO World Champion and a movie superstar. He has plenty of time to hang out and thanks the NWO brotherhood. He found a woman to put in charge of New York and her name is Grace Jones, who is seemingly a co star in this Oscar worthy film. He runs down various WCW wrestlers and we get some comments from others on the set, including Robert Vaughn, who is decked out in and NWO shirt. Vaughn says NWO is for life and that is that. Now, back to the arena, the NWO music has fired up one more time and Nash, Syxx, Vincent, Fake Sting and Bagwell are out. Tony says this is a big night for them with everything that has gone down tonight. Syxx says he doesn’t say too much but he heard Banana Nose Flair out here last week and that got him thinking. Flair was talking about the new generation of guys not having respect, well he knows a bit about the history of the sport and he wants to know what kind of respect is it for Ric Flair to rip off everything from Buddy Rogers. Therefore, he has no respect for Flair or Piper and if they have any sac they would do something about it as he doesn’t sweat either one of them. Nash says if the crowd holds it down they can get it done real quick. Last week, Piper came out and said that he had laid asphalt and cut down trees. He called the NWO morons and idiots but says it doesn’t mean much from a guy that is one lost synapse away from being a coma. When he came into the business seven years ago and looked at the road the veterans had laid, all he saw was potholes. The veterans came to the business, strip mined it, took everything they could get and left the young guys nothing. WCW was nothing but a bunch of guys pushing their sons and if your Dad wasn’t in the business, you never got a shot. While he was green at the time, Scott Hall was here back then too and was ready to become a star. Hall worked hard for a year and proved himself, but they cut his salary so he went elsewhere. They went to New York and what did they find? It wasn’t a party, just punishment for the guys trying to dig the business out of the funk the old guys left it in. Where he comes from, which isn’t too far from the arena, they will need to beat respect out of him to get it. It is their turn to shine, the New Generation and there are young lines ready to get more than a nibble on the carcass. While the old guys decide to do the limo driving, the leer jets, the champagne and the ugly broads, Nash and his crew have decided they have no problem flying commercial, piling three in a rented Taurus, because all they will do is kick back, drink a 40 and patch the potholes that have been left behind. NWO for life and Nash is done with a fantastic promo and we are off to break.
8) Diamond Dallas Page defeats Psychosis with the Diamond Cutter at :48
Remember, next week’s Nitro is just one hour and starts at 7 ET. Psychosis makes his way and he is followed by DDP and Kimberly as Tenay runs down the upcoming WCW events. Page shoots Psychosis in off the bell, but Psychosis reverses it and hits a dropkick. He heads up top, but Page crotches him on the top rope. He then yanks the seated Psychosis off the top with the Diamond Cutter and gets the quick win. Grade: .5
– The camera pans to the crowd and finds Savage and Liz in the Uecker seats. Savage asks Page if he can feel the madness all around him. If he can’t feel it, ask Kimberly because she sure felt it. He asks Page what is wrong and Page says that Savage won’t bait him again. He doesn’t have his running shoes on; he has his wrestling boots on. If Savage wants some of DDP, then him and that bimbo Liz should hobble their asses to the ring right now. Page is waiting but Savage and Liz head to the concourse as we go to break.
– When we return, Gene is in the ring and Ric Flair, Roddy Piper and Kevin Greene are making their way to the ring for a chat. Flair says this will be short and brief. There is nothing to talk about so why don’t the NWO come out and start paving the highway. All three men lie down to make the point clear. He calls them out again and the crowd is pumped. And it looks like the invitation is accepted as the NWO music fires up and all the troops head out. They all stop and turn to the entrance way, where the prodigal son, Scott Hall, comes strutting out to join the crew. They all head to the ring as Piper says the talking is over. Bobby wonders if Greene knows what he got himself into. The NWO surrounds the ring and sends in fake Sting, Vincent and Norton and they all get taken out quickly. Bagwell catches a shot as well. Flair wants Syxx but nobody seems ready to hop in the ring. The crowd is calling for Sting as Nash teases getting in the ring. Flair finally grabs Syxx and a huge brawl erupts as we are out!
Well, that was a hell of a busy two hours. The in ring action was decent, but the angle development and crowd heat carried things all through the night. Pretty much every major angle was given some time to develop and a lot of time was focused on the main matches for Slamboree. Dean Malenko continues to roll on as he picks up another solid win. Glacier also got a win, but he lost his mask as James Vandenberg sent his monsters in to attack him. The Nick Patrick thing was interesting and we will have to see if he is sincere or if this is an NWO plot as the weeks go on. Lord Steven Regal’s push continued as well as he laid the challenge down to the Dragon and said he will take his belt back at the PPV. We also saw a new monster push for Meng, who has been set loose to dominate on his own. The Steiners had a good homecoming and the turmoil in the tag division continues on as we had a nice brawl around the ring between three of the top teams right now. Obviously, the major story of the show was the ascension of JJ Dillon. He delivered a great promo and the tide seems to be turning, although Eric Bischoff still doesn’t seem too concerned but we will see if that is just a front. Still, there is a newfound optimism for WCW as Dillon seems primed to take a serious stance against the NWO. The Mongo/White feud was pushed along via the Jeff Jarrett match and Jarrett was made to look good in the process. Syxx and Mysterio had the match of the night but Rey may be injured thanks to Nash. And speaking of Nash, he delivered his best promo in a long time as he seemed to be shooting from the heart about how he and his buddies really felt. It was delivered with great passion and added a lot to the Slamboree six man tag match. Page picked up a quick win and we got a bit of development between him and Savage. The closing segment was quick, but was meant to push the Slamboree match some more. The crowd was hot all the way through and the announcers were all strong this week as they were clear and concise in getting the angles over. The best part about these Nitros is that something is always happening from segment to segment and everything is leading somewhere else. This was a good outing and one of the most eventful episodes in a while. Final Grade: B
MVP: Kevin Nash
Runner Up: JJ Dillon
Non MVP: Chris Jericho
Runner Up: Glacier