Written By: Bob Colling
World Championship Wrestling presents Nitro
From: Atlanta, GA
After the New World Order show up to the building, JJ Dillon announces that Thunder is officially WCW’s second primetime show taking place on Thursdays and Scott Hall deciding to come out to just do a survey, we get a match.
Well, before we get the match, Chris Jericho apologizes to the fans for his recent temper tantrums. Jericho gives David Penzer another new chair to sit in and a new tuxedo to wear. Jericho assures the fans that it will never happen again. The fans are not buying into that.
Opening Contest: WCW United States Champion Diamond Dallas Page defeated Chris Jericho: A rather quick match that didn’t see much action. DDP blocks a simple boot to the midsection and hits the Diamond Cutter to win the bout in under two minutes. ½*
After the bout, Jericho flips out again.
Mean Gene interviews WCW Executive Vice President Nick Lambrose. The main point of the interview was to announce that wrestlers who didn’t follow the rules would be fined. Okay…
Second Contest: Goldberg defeated Stevie Ray: A pretty basic match here with Goldberg getting the obvious win following a spear and the jackhammer. NR
Nitro Girls dance around much to the delight of the fans.
Third Contest: John Nord defeated the Barbarian: This is really shaping up to be a great Nitro, isn’t it? Nord, who hasn’t been on television in years, picks up the win with his version of a camel clutch. By the way, this was Nord’s Nitro debut. NR
Mean Gene interviews Eric Bischoff. Bischoff assures everyone that there isn’t anything wrong with the New World Order. Bischoff notes that they gave JJ Dillon the chance to fix the issue between Hogan and Sting. Bischoff states that he beat Larry Zbyszko in the head and won their bout at Starrcade. Gene notes that Bischoff had an illegal object in his boot. Bischoff just walks off as Gene mentions that Bischoff will need to follow new rules.
Footage from last week’s Nitro where Ultimo Dragon defeated Eddie Guerrero to win the WCW Cruiserweight Champion.
Fourth Contest: Juventud Guerrera defeated Psychosis in a number one contenders match: Quick arm drag by Psychosis to open the match but doesn’t follow up on it. Psychosis slides through Guerrera’s leg and proceeds to nail Guerrera with a clothesline. Guerrera avoids a splash in the corner. Guerrera connects with a head scissors and a springboard dropkick off the top to Psychosis back which sends him to the floor. Guerrera dives over the top onto Psychosis on the floor! Psychosis crotches Guerrera on the top rope from the apron and leaps off the top rope to nail Guerrera with a spinning heel kick! Psychosis follows up with a nice power bomb into a face buster for a two count. You know, the announcers should try to actually commentate on the matches and not just talk about the New World Order. Psychosis dropkicks Guerrera on the middle rope. He leaps off the middle rope but misses a guillotine leg drop as Guerrera gets out of the way. Guerrera hits another springboard dropkick before hammering away on Psychosis. Psychosis plants Guerrera with a front suplex. Guerrera chops Psychosis down to the mat but is met in midair with a dropkick after leaping off the top rope. Guerrera counters a power bomb attempt with a DDT! Guerrera ends up leaping off the top to hit the 450 splash. Guerrera covers and gets the three count. **1/2
Footage from April 7th, 1997 where the New World Order seemed to get past any issues they may have been having is shown.
Mean Gene interviews the WCW Television Champion Booker T. Booker is happy because he won the championship on his sons Brandon birthday. Gene tries to put over Prince Iaukea as some kind of serious threat because Iaukea is a former TV Champion. Booker gives Iaukea credit. Literally, that is what he says. Booker is going to put on a show.
Fifth Contest: WCW Television Champion Booker T defeated Prince Iaukea to retain the title: Booker wins a fairly easy contest by hitting the Harlem Hangover (top rope somersault leg drop). NR
Stills from Sting vs. Hogan at Starrcade 1997 are shown.
Sixth Contest: Steiner Brothers/Ray Traylor defeated Konnan/Scott Norton/Buff Bagwell: Traylor and Konnan open up the contest with Traylor missing a splash in the corner. Konnan knocks Traylor off his feet following two clotheslines. Konnan attempts a DDT but Scott Steiner enters and simply clotheslines Konnan. Scott spits at Bagwell on the apron, which causes Bagwell to flip out. Scott continues to work on Konnan with a few right hands and a gorilla press slam. Traylor and Rick send Bagwell and Norton to the floor. Rick and Bagwell are now the legal men for the contest. Bagwell works on Rick after Rick taunts Bagwell. However, Rick quickly comes back with a power slam and a series of clotheslines for a two count. Traylor and Norton are tagged into the contest. Norton is able to clothesline Traylor but runs into a big boot from Traylor in the corner. Traylor slides to the floor to upper cut Norton from the floor. Rick tags in and leaps off the top rope to hit Norton with a clothesline. Bagwell hits Rick from behind on the apron, which allows Norton to clothesline Rick. Bagwell enters the match legally to choke Rick for a few moments. Rick is knocked off his feet by Bagwell and Norton following a double back elbow. Bagwell goes to the middle rope but is slammed by Rick in midair! Scott tags in and cleans house on his opponents with clotheslines. Scott hits a double under hook power bomb on Konnan. Bagwell, Norton, Rick, and Traylor are all knocked to the floor. Konnan is lifted on Scott’s shoulder only to be met with an electric chair slam. Rick thought they were going for the bulldog, so he gets crotched on the top rope by Bagwell. Scott ends up hitting Konnan with the Steiner Screwdriver to win the bout. **
Seventh Contest: Rick Martel defeated Brad Armstrong: this is Rick Martel’s Nitro debut. Martel is able to drive Armstrong down to the mat with a spine buster and locks in the Quebec Crab to win his debut match. NR
Eighth Contest: Saturn/Scotty Riggs defeated Chris Benoit/Steve McMichael: Benoit and Saturn kick off the match trading a few right hands. Riggs knee lifts Benoit form behind on the apron. Benoit is able to recover and sends Saturn chest first into a corner followed by a back suplex after nailing Riggs with a forearm shot. Mongo tags into the match and delivers a few right hands on Saturn. Mongo hip tosses Saturn followed by a running power slam. Riggs runs in but is met with a right hand. Mongo shoulder tackles both Saturn and Riggs down. Riggs barely hits Mongo with a dropkick. Saturn takes Mongo over with an exploder suplex before tagging in Saturn. Mongo is taken down with a modified version of Total Elimination. Riggs gets a near fall on Mongo following a dropkick. Mongo stops Riggs with a side slam. Riggs prevents Mongo from tagging out and tags in Saturn. Saturn has an arm breaker on Mongo for a few moments. Riggs tags in and they shoulder block Mongo down to the mat. Mongo blocks a double suplex attempt by front suplexing both Riggs and Saturn. Mongo reaches over and tags in Benoit! Benoit cleans house with dropkicks and chops. Mongo knocks Lodi off the apron, but here comes Kidman. Benoit has the Cross face on Saturn but Raven slides in as Kidman has the referee distracted. Raven plants Benoit with a DDT, which allows Saturn to cover Benoit and pick up the win. *1/4
After the match, Saturn and Riggs leave through the crowd with the rest of Raven’s Flock.
Mean Gene is in the ring to interview Ric Flair! Flair gets a cheap pop by making the obvious statement that we are in Atlanta, GA. Flair knows that without the New World Order, WCW can stand on their feet. Flair makes sure to tell WCW World Heavyweight Champion, Sting that the title is red hot and that everyone is coming for him. Flair brings up Bret Hart. Flair respects his family and the heritage that Hart has. Flair doesn’t know how Hart can call himself the best when he is on the ticket. On cue, Bret Hart’s music hits and makes his way down to the ring. Flair is glad that Hart could make it to the building despite his jet issues. Flair believes that the fans want to hear Hart say his catchphrase with Flair standing in the ring. Hart says his catchphrase with a smile on his face, but appears to be getting booed. Hart wants to add a WOOO to the end of it. Flair takes off his jacket and wants Hart to say it one more time. Hart says it again and tells Flair that if he has a problem with that “too bad.” Flair gets serious and hopes that Hart isn’t serious when says he is better than Ric Flair. Hart decides to take off his jacket, so Flair takes off his watch. Hart uses the “to be the man, you got to beat the man.” Hart makes reference to beating Flair once before. Flair notes that he is a thirteen time champion while Hart is only a five time champion. Flair struts around while Hart leaves the ring.
Before the main event, JJ Dillon announces that Nick Patrick has been suspended until they see the footage from Starrcade on Thursday! Why haven’t they watched the footage before Thursday?
Main Event: Lex Luger defeated Randy Savage: Luger knocks Bagwell and Norton off the apron but that allows Savage to knock Luger to the floor from behind. Savage chokes Luger over the top rope before working on Luger in the corner with right hands. Savage goes for a quick cover but isn’t able to get a three. Savage kicks Luger several times in the corner to maintain the upper hand. Savage gets a two count after a back suplex. Savage gets another two count following a gut wrench slam. Luger blocks a top rope double axe handle. Luger nails Savage with several clotheslines and a power slam, but Savage rolls to the floor to avoid the Torture Rack. Savage shoves Elizabeth into Luger! Savage drops Luger throat first across the guard railing. Savage leaps off the top rope to hit Luger with a double axe handle causing Luger to go throat first into the guard railing again! Luger counters a suplex attempt with an inside cradle and gets the three count! *
After the match, Savage tosses Luger to the floor and sends Luger shoulder first into the ring post. Savage goes to hit Luger with a chair but Bischoff is back to yank the chair away. Savage decks Bischoff! Hogan runs down and shoves Savage but Nash is out as well and knocks Savage down to the floor! Hogan wants to know what is going on with his group! Sting runs down into the ring to stand side by side with Luger as the New World Order enter the ring. Sting and Luger fight off the New World Order as Nitro goes off the air!
End of show
My Take: As you can tell, the first hour of Nitro was really, really lackluster. I don’t know why they decided to open up the show so weak considering they were in the Georgia Dome. I thought that the crowd was pretty much silent for most of the show. That is never a good thing and it makes WCW look bad, in my opinion, when they leave all those fans silent in their seats.
The only good reaction from the first hour was DDP’s Diamond Cutter and Goldberg’s win over Stevie Ray. Pretty obvious choices, I would think.
Guerrera/Psychosis was a solid contest, but they couldn’t get the crowd back into it. They tried with a few high spots but it got very little reaction. I’ve seen them do better but it was a good way to introduce the second hour of the program.
Booker T was another guy who tried to get the crowd into the show, but when you face someone like Prince Iaukea, it is very difficult to get the crowd into it.
The six man tag was decent but nothing all that good. I believe this is the first hint that Scott Steiner was having an attitude change as he caused Rick to get crotched on the top rope. Not a lot of people seemed to notice it, but it was kind of mentioned by Schiavone. By the way, Bagwell needs to shut up. The guy always finds the camera and talks.
So, Rick Martel is with WCW now. Yawn.
The Flock/Horsemen bout was rather dull and simple. I will say that they are dragging out the Raven/Benoit feud out nicely, though.
I enjoyed the Flair/Hart interview but I wish that the interview didn’t involve comedy. It doesn’t make much sense either because Hart has beaten Flair an ungodly amount of times in the WWF. But, I guess since they are in a different company we can forget about that and pretend that they have never wrestled each other. If they are trying to get Hart over as a babyface in WCW, it would be a good decision to NOT have him feud with the guy WCW fans love the most, Ric Flair. Just saying…
The main event was exactly what you would expect from it, boring. At least there was a clean finish this time around. The ending of the show was okay, but even Sting couldn’t get the crowd to liven up. Well, he did but by the time that happened Nitro went off the air! Plus, I like the teasing of Savage most likely leaving the New World Order. I never thought he should have joined them considering he was the one who got screwed over at the Bash at the Beach 1996 pay per view.
Overall, considering how big a venue they held the show in and that its the first show of 1998, I’d say this week’s Nitro was pretty bad.
Thanks for reading.