Written By: Justin Rozzero
WCW Nitro 5/19/97
Asheville Civic Center
Announcers: Tony Schiavone, Larry Zbyszko & Bobby Heenan
– We open this week’s show with the post match celebration of Team WCW from last night’s Slamboree and then hit our opening animation before heading inside the arena for wrestling’s hottest weekly television program! Gene Okerlund welcomes us to Asheville, NC and then he welcomes out the victorious Nature Boy Ric Flair out to say some words. Gene says the party has flowed over from Charlotte as WCW was successful last night. The crowd is digging it and Flair says we are live in Asheville and last night was beyond a shadow of a doubt the greatest moment in his career. Gene says that is an understatement, but I would disagree there. Last night, he erased a difference in philosophy with the big boys from the NWO and he was enabled to walk the aisle by the good Lord. He promises that instead of putting this to the side, he wants back in. As he trails off, the NWO music fires up and Syxx comes walking out to meet Flair in the aisle. Gene tries to stop him but Syxx couldn’t care less. Syxx says they beat no one last night because the wrong guy was in the ring. Secondly, he heard him knocking Syxx when Flair said he knew he could take him but after last night, Syxx knows he can take Flair as he dominated him. If Flair has the guts, they can do it tonight, right here and now. Flair says that he will say it one more time: he doesn’t know about Hall or Nash but he will kick Syxx’s flyweight ass here tonight in Asheville. Flair chases Syxx around but Syxx scampers off to the back and we head to the ring for our opener.
1) Lord Steven Regal defeats Prince Iaukea with the Regal stretch to retain the WCW Television Title at 2:26
Regal has his TV title back around his waist as he comes out to battle his old nemesis, Iaukea. Tony, Larry and Bobby gush about Slamboree and put over the big win by Flair, Piper & Greene. Regal defeated Ultimo Dragon last night to bring the belt back to his waist. Regal hammers away at Iaukea off the bell and maintains control with kneelifts, uppercuts and punches. Iaukea is whipped into the corner, but he hops up on the middle rope, head fakes and then hits a sunset flip for two as Regal bites on the fake. Iaukea gets a roll up for two but Regal goes to the eyes. Iaukea gets a crucifix for another near fall but Regal is back up with an uppercut. Regal shoots Iaukea into the corner again and Iaukea tries to float over, but Regal catches him and spikes him to the mat face first. Regal kicks him in the back and then drops a knee to the back of the head. He pulls Iaukea up and takes him over with a reverse suplex. He locks in the Regal stretch and Iaukea taps out. The story here was all about Regal’s confidence and he seems to be getting on quite the roll after taking his belt back. Tony tells us not to call him Lord anymore and Larry wants to know why, asking if that is like the “international object” rule as we go to break. Grade: 1.5
– When we return we see highlights from last night’s Slamboree when Mortis and Wrath put a beating down on Glacier and stole his helmet. As the beating went down, a fan hopped in the ring and helped out Glacier, kicking Wrath and Mortis. We later found out the fan was karate champion Ernest Miller.
2) Masahiro Chono defeats Squire Dave Taylor by submission with the STF at 2:58
Back in the arena we are serenaded with the NWO music as Masahiro Chono makes his way out to face Squire Dave Taylor. Mike Tenay joins us and informs us that Nitro is heading to the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, his hometown. We are told that a major star will make his debut on that Nitro which goes down June 30. Chono takes control early and poses a bit. He beals Taylor over, but Taylor cartwheels and lands a dropkick. He follows with some uppercuts and is all fired up as Tenay talks about NWO’s international faction in Japan. Chono hits an atomic drop and poses some more. We get a lockup which Taylor wins by smacking Chono in the back with some forearms. Chono goes to the eyes and then shoves Taylor out to the floor. Larry puts over Chono’s mean streak as Taylor recovers on the floor. Back in, Chono catches Taylor and snaps him down with a neckbreaker. He loads Taylor up for a piledriver, but Taylor back flips him out of the hold. Taylor shoots Chono to the buckle but eats a boot when he charges in. Chono turns Taylor over and locks in the STF for the win. Grade: 1
– Tony and Mike talk about Sonny Onoo’s troubles with Ultimo Dragon last night, which ultimately cost Dragon the TV title. Mike then heads off as we go to Mean Gene in the aisle with Onoo. Gene accuses him off taking dough on the side and then asks about Chono. Sonny says he can make or destroy a champion like we saw last night. He is a businessman and Chono has a debt to pay to him and Japan. Next week on Nitro, Sonny will bring in Chono’s worst nightmare for a match. Chono yells at Sonny to tell him who the surprise is, but Sonny says he has to wait a week and sweat it out. They yell at each other in Japanese some more as we go to break.
– When we come back from commercial, we get a pre-taped word from the head of the Championship Committee James J. Dillon. Over the past week, the Committee convened regarding Nick Patrick’s petition for reinstatement. Patrick was there to plead his case and based on Patrick’s comments, his past record and his actions last night at Slamboree, Patrick was reinstated as of 9AM this morning. For the first 30 days he is on probation and Dillon hopes Patrick will continue to show he is worthy of this second chance.
3) Scotty Riggs defeats Mr. Wallstreet with a sunset flip at 2:46
Back in the arena, Scotty Riggs makes his way as he set to take on Mr. Wallstreet. Wallstreet is no longer with the NWO, per Dillon’s proclamation, so he is simply wearing a shirt that says WCW with a line going through it. Riggs grabs a side headlock as Tony talks about the Savage/Page brawl that broke out last night. Riggs lands a dropkick and runs Wallstreet into the corner. He shoots him across and tries a monkey flip, but Wallstreet hooks the ropes and Riggs crashes to the mat. Wallstreet hits a back suplex and then grabs a reverse chinlock. Tony points out that Nick Patrick is officiating the match and he is all over Wallstreet. Riggs gets an inside cradle for two but Wallstreet battles back with a back elbow. He drops a leg and gets a one count and then goes back to the chinlock. He tosses Riggs to the floor and then gets in Patrick’s face. Wallstreet goes for something in his pocket, but Patrick fights over it with him. That allows Riggs to come flying off the top rope with a sunset flip. Wallstreet grabs the ropes and drops to his knees but Patrick won’t count and eventually kicks Wallstreet’s arm, breaking his grip. Riggs pulls him over into the sunset flip and gets the three. Wallstreet isn’t happy as we get the Valvoline replay. The match was nothing and only existed to further the Patrick reinstatement angle. Grade: .5
– We head back to Okerlund in the aisle and he is standing next to the Valvoline race car. He brings out a man who is on a torrid pace in NASCAR: Mark Martin, who is joined by Ric Flair. Martin and Flair get a great pop from the NC faithful. Martin and Valvoline are giving away the car and you can register between now and June 25 by visiting any store that sells Valvoline. He is a big WCW Fan and wants a WCW fan to win the car. This weekend, he will go to Charlotte and win the race for all of the fans. Flair asks Martin to stick around long enough to see him run Syxx into the wall and we are off to break.
– We are back again and heading to Nashville, TN for the 1-800-COLLECT road report and Lee Marshall. Lee says it will be large and loud. Nashville is the heart and soul of country music, but he had to stop by RCA’s famous Studio B, which is where Elvis recorded a lot. While there, he found the lyrics to a great ballad: Weasel Hotel. He sings a bit of it and then bids goodbye. Heenan says the wrong guy is in the ground. Before our next match, we get highlights from last night’s impromptu fight between Savage and Page.
4) Steiner Brothers defeat Steve McMichael & Jeff Jarrett when Kevin Greene hits McMichael with the Halliburton at 3:36
After seeing those highlights, we go back to the ring as Mongo, Jarrett and Debra come walking out for our next bout. They are followed by the Steiner Brothers, who get a great pop. Tony talks a bit more about Slamboree as Mark Curtis calls for the bell. Scott and Jarrett start things off and Scott takes him over with an armdrag. He backs JJ into the corner, but JJ hits him with a hiptoss and then stomps away. JJ hits a suplex and poses to the crowd, but Scott pops up, kicks him and press slams him to the mat. Jarrett backs off but hops up and tries a hiptoss. Scott blocks it and sits JJ up on the top rope. Scott follows up, hoists Jarrett onto his shoulders and then drops back for a super fireman’s carry drop. That was pretty cool and very impressive as he stood there with Jarrett on his shoulders for a few seconds. Scott gets a near fall but Mongo breaks it up. JJ makes the tag as does Scott. Rick charges in and he starts hammering away at Mongo with rights and knees but Mongo goes low and chop blocks him. He shoots Rick in to the ropes and plants him with a shoulderblock. The crowd is chanting for Reggie White, which distracts Mongo and allows Rick to impressively deadlift him for a back suplex. Rick heads up top and comes off with a bulldog but JJ breaks up the pin. Scott hammers away at Jarrett in the corner as Rick and Mongo collide of a charge in the middle of the ring. Jarrett is able to dump Scott to the floor and grab the Halliburton as Debra distracts the referee. Kevin Greene comes charging down the aisle as Scott pulls Jarrett to the floor. Greene grabs the Halliburton and pastes Mongo in the back with it, finally getting revenge from last year’s Great American Bash. Rick covers and gets the win to a big pop. The Horsemen are not happy on the floor as Mongo tells the cameraman to go with him as he settles things. That was a really fun power match with some impressive moves and a fired up crowd. Grade: 2
– When we return, we visit the announce table and Tony tells us they kept the cameras rolling during the break and followed Mongo backstage. We see the footage of Mongo charging into a locker room and sending Greene flying to into a stall with a shove from behind. A hoard of security breaks them up and we head back to the table. Bobby says they should have let them fight. Larry says that Greene isn’t wise enough yet and that you need to bolt the arena after you do something like he did.
5) Ric Flair defeats Syxx by disqualification when the Outsiders interfere at 1:00
It is Main Event time as the NWO music fires up and Syxx comes to the ring alone. Tony talks more about the June 30 Nitro and the upcoming autograph signing to help promote ticket sales. The Nature Boy is out next to a nice reception from his home state crowd. Syxx attacks off the bell and pounds away in the corner, landing a spin kick. Tony reminds us that this is Flair’s singles match return since his injury. Syxx misses a big charge in the corner and Flair is on fire with some chops. He lands some rights and lefts and follows with another chop. The crowd is on their feet as Flair kicks away. Syxx reverses a whip and hits another spin kick. The cheers turn to boos as Hall and Nash charge to the ring and hammer away at Flair to draw the DQ. Grade: .5
– The assault continues as Tony says that Piper is not here and Greene may not be able to come help after being jumped by Mongo. Also, we are informed the Horsemen were thrown out of the building after the brawl. Hall hits an Outsider Edge and Nash drops him with a Jackknife. Officials come into the ring, but they are catching a beatdown as well. The crowd starts throwing trash as the NWO poses in the ring. Nash has the mic and asks Flair if last night was Flair’s finest moment, what tonight would be? Nash calls out Piper next saying they are going to bum rush him at home. Flair is carried out by security as Hall tells Nash to call the Smithsonian since they found half of the dinosaur exhibit they are looking for. They are Wolfpac and NWO for life and just too sweet. The music hits and we are out to break.
– We are back and the NWO music is still going as we are now joined by Eric Bischoff. Tony tells us we return to the normal Nitro timeslot next week as the show returns to two hours. Eric lets us know how much he loves us all. He says that we don’t want to make Syxx, Hall and Nash mad. Last week in Baltimore, he had something he wanted to say to Sting and wanted to talk him so badly that he called his home, called his gym and hired a private detective to find him. He had something to say to Sting’s face by they couldn’t find him and he isn’t in Asheville because he is a coward. He says that Sting will never get in the ring with Hollywood Hogan because he is not worth a drop of Hogan’s sweat and he should worship the ground that Hogan spits on. The crowd is calling for Sting as Bischoff says he feels the fans’ love for Hollywood. He wishes Sting was here tonight so he could slap the paint off his face. And Eric gets his wish as Sting busts through the ring, grabs Eric from behind and drops him with the Scorpion Death Drop to a monster pop. He stares out into the crowd and then starts to pull Bischoff up again as we fade out.
Despite being only an hour, this was a pretty exciting and tightly packed hour with a hot crowd. There wasn’t much going on in the ring, but most of the major angles were advanced and everything had a point. We saw the continued rebuilding of Steven Regal into a bit more of a serious threat, apparently dropping the Lord from his name. We also saw an interesting mystery challenge laid down to Masahiro Chono by Sonny Onoo as well as the reinstatement of Nick Patrick. The tag match was the best of the night and the Steiners were over and looked impressive. It seems as if the Greene/Mongo fight was a shrewd way to take them out of the equation to allow the Wolfpac beatdown on Flair to occur. The crowd was red hot for Flair too, so I think it was a good time to do that as you draw some good heat. They made it up to the fans by delivering Sting at the end as he finally shuts Bischoff up after weeks of crowing. Next week we return to two hours and the build to the Great American Bash will officially kick off. Final Grade: B-
Runner Up: Steiner Brothers
Non MVP: Mr. Wallstreet
Runner Up: Prince Iaukea