WCW Nitro 1/12/1998

Written By: Bob Colling

World Championship Wrestling presents Nitro
From: Jacksonville, FL

Footage of Sting’s first words spoken in over a year kick off the program

Outside, Gene is with the New World Order who just arrived to the building. Kevin Nash notes that Randy Savage doesn’t want a piece of him.

Opening Contest: Bill Goldberg defeated Jerry Flynn:
Shockingly, Goldberg is able to beat Flynn in a matter of seconds following the usual routine. NR

Second Contest: Marty Jannetty defeated Black Cat:
Jannetty wins his Nitro debut with the Show Stopper (Rocker Dropper) NR

Mean Gene tries to interview Randy Savage and Miss Elizabeth but fails at doing so.

Third Contest: Chris Benoit defeated Dean Malenko: Malenko backs Benoit into a corner but cleanly breaks away. Malenko has a wrist lock on Benoit until Benoit counters with a hammerlock. Malenko gets a two count following a rollup. Benoit also gets a two count with a rollup. Malenko drop toe holds Benoit before getting a front face lock on. Malenko follows up with a dropkick but doesn’t quickly go after Benoit. Benoit shoulder blocks Malenko after coming off the ropes. Benoit works on Malenko in the corner with a few chops and stomps. Malenko battles back by driving Benoit down to the mat with a back suplex for a two count. Benoit gets out of a sleeper hold with a back suplex. Benoit drops Malenko with a quick clothesline for a near fall. Benoit simply chops Malenko for two count. Malenko hip tosses Benoit and controls Benoit with an arm bar. Benoit lifts Malenko up with one arm and proceeds to slam Malenko down to the mat! Benoit continues with a snap suplex but Malenko reaches the ropes on a cover attempt. Malenko avoids a dropkick, which sends Benoit crashing to the mat. Malenko quickly clotheslines Benoit in the corner and soon connects with a release German suplex! Malenko goes for the Cloverleaf but Benoit rolls Malenko up for a two count! Benoit blocks a backslide but is unable to get the Cross face on. Malenko blocks a backdrop attempt but is unable to hit a power bomb as Benoit rolls Malenko up for a two count. Benoit blocks a victory roll attempt by slamming Malenko to the mat. Benoit locks in the Cross face and Malenko taps out. ***
After the match, Raven enters the ring to DDT Benoit. Saturn gets the Rings of Saturn on Malenko while Raven sits in the corner watching.

Mean Gene interviews JJ Dillon. Dillon discusses his decision to suspend Lex Luger and Randy Savage. Savage was fined $5,000 dollars. Well, Savage isn’t a fan of that and demands that Dillon take back the fine. Bischoff ended up coming out to tell Savage that he would pay for Savage’s fine.

Mean Gene returns after a commercial to interview WCW United States Champion Diamond Dallas Page. They basically hype up a tag match for Thunder which will see DDP team with Lex Luger to wrestle Randy Savage and Kevin Nash.

Fourth Contest: WCW Television Champion Booker T defeated Perry Saturn to retain the title:
Booker controls Saturn with a wristlock and blocks a hip toss attempt with a clothesline. Booker continues with a forearm smash for a two count. Saturn staggers to his feet but is knocked to the floor following a sidekick. Booker delivers a few shots on the floor but when he rolls into the ring, Saturn clubs away on Booker. Booker gets a two count with a rollup but misses a sidekick. Saturn connects with a nice exploder suplex for a two count. Saturn ducks under a clothesline and connects with a second exploder suplex. Booker ducks a couple of clothesline attempts. Booker hits Saturn with a forearm smash and a running clothesline in the corner. Booker runs into a big boot and Saturn rolls Booker up using the ropes for leverage to win the title! Wait a second, a second referee and Rick Martel tell the referee what happened. The match restarts with Saturn getting a two count with an inside cradle. Booker hits Saturn with a scissors kick and a side slam. Booker heads to the top rope and connects with the Harlem Hangover to retain the title. *1/2
After the match, Booker talks to Rick Martel. Martel wants a title shot which Booker says he has an open contract. Martel nods in approval to getting a title shot.

Mean Gene with another interview. This time he interviews Nick Lambros and the Giant. Lambros announces that Nash not having an acceptable explanation for his absence at Starrcade is unacceptable. Lambros issues a $1.5 million dollar bond, which is the New World Order can’t come up with, Nash will be suspended for a year! After that announcement, several of the New World Order big wigs come down. Bischoff accepts the bond only if Giant is forced to stay away from Nash. If Giant comes close to Nash, he will forfeit his match. As expected, Nash begins to taunt Giant to hit him but isn’t able to get him to do it.

Fifth Contest: Lex Luger defeated Hugh Morrus:
Luger wins the bout with the Torture Rack. No surprise there. NR

Tony Schiavone, Mike Tenay and Bobby Heenan discuss Scott Steiner’s recent attitude. Schiavone says that Scott Steiner has been selfish.

Sixth Contest: Steve McMichael defeated Chris Jericho:
Jericho was able to hit a nice top rope hurricanrana but that was really just about all he could muster against Mongo. Mongo spiked Jericho with a tombstone pile driver to win the bout. NR
After the match, Jericho yells at the fans until he realizes the camera was recording him the whole time. Time to do damage control, so Jericho says he is a changed man and can be a good loser. Jericho apologizes to the fans and assures them that it will never happen again. Rey Mistero Jr. comes down to the ring for his title match but Jericho is angry that Mistero would do that. Jericho ends up attacking Mistero from behind! Jericho hits a few backbreakers and puts the Lion Tamer on Mistero! Juventud Guerrera runs down and slips off the top rope. He was going to dropkick Jericho, I think. Jericho casually leaves the ring as a result.

Seventh Contest: WCW Cruiserweight Champion Juventud Guerrera defeated Rey Mistero Jr. to retain the title:
Guerrera attempts a power bomb when the bell sounds but Mistero punches his way out of it. Guerrera catches Mistero on a springboard moonsault attempt and plants Mistero with the Juvi Driver! Guerrera leaps off the top and connects with the 450 splash to retain the title. NR

Footage from Thunder where JJ Dillon stripped Sting of the WCW World Heavyweight Championship is shown.

Hollywood Hulk Hogan decides to come out for an interview. Hogan says his lawyer Henry Holmes is here in WCW to help correct the wrong that happened at Starrcade.

Mean Gene interview Jim Neidhart, who makes his WCW debut here. Neidhart, who is Bret Hart’s brother in law, says that Ric Flair is not the best. Clearly he is impartial to the debate. So, Ric Flair comes out to plead his case to Neidhart, right? Flair demands for Neidhart to tell that to his face. Neidhart has no problem doing that. Flair wants Neidhart to get his gear on. Guess what? Neidhart happens to have his gear already on! Neidhart wants Flair to settle their issues in the ring. Neidhart walks to the ring as Flair heads to the backstage to get ready. Flair comes to the ring about five seconds later. I’d assume Flair took off his watch and whatnot. Or, Flair got some brass knuckles. Flair nails Neidhart and the referee with the brass knuckles! Flair wraps Neidhart’s legs around the ring post and puts the figure four on around the ring post. Bret Hart eventually runs down to the ringside are and catches up with Flair! Hart punches Flair a few times until Flair is able to get away. Hart is pissed!

Before the main event, the Outsiders do their usual survey. One more for the good guys!

Main Event: The Outsiders defeated WCW World Tag Team Champions the Steiner Brothers to win the titles:
Hall and Scott open the match with Hall tossing a toothpick at Scott. Scott tosses it right back! Oh man here we go! Scott shoves Hall down to the mat and flexes his muscles to intimidate Hall. By the way, Hogan is at ringside. Hall delivers a few shoulder blocks but is scoop slammed by Scott. Hall is punched by both Steiner’s until Scott hits Hall with a double under hook power bomb. Nash enters the ring but is slammed by both Steiner’s! Randy Savage decides to come down to the ringside area but is cut off by Hogan. Hall backs Rick into a corner delivering a few right hands but Rick turns the tables with several right hands of his own. Hall crawls to his corner to tag in Nash. Nash knee lifts Rick to gain the advantage. Nash continues with several knee lifts in a corner followed by a couple back elbow strikes. Nash runs into a big boot from Rick, who leaps off the middle rope to clothesline Nash for a two count. Rick ducks a few right hands from Nash to deliver a few of his own. Rick power slams Nash as he comes off the ropes before tagging in Scott. Nash knee lifts Scott followed by a quick clothesline. Hall decides to tag in and begins to stomp away on Scott. Hall blocks a hip toss by choke slamming Scott! Hall mocks Giant, but that allows Scott to take Hall over with an overhead belly to belly suplex for a two count! Rick tags in and kicks Hall in the midsection. Rick controls Hall with a half Boston crab. Scott tags in but is rammed back first into his opponents corner. Nash tags in and hammers away on Scott for a few moments. Nash misses an elbow drop. Rick tags back into the contest to control Nash’s right leg. Nash botches a pickup on Rick but is eventually sent chest first into the corner. Rick heads to the top rope but is crotched by Hogan! Hogan and Scott Steiner begin to trade shoves on the floor. Hall clotheslines Rick in the corner as the fans chant for Sting. Hall tosses Rick across the ring with a fall away slam for a near fall. Nash enters with a side slam on Rick for two count. Hall casually slaps Rick’s head but is met with several right hands. Nash clubs Rick from behind on the apron. Hall clotheslines Rick but only manages to get a near fall. Nash accidentally big boots Hall who goes into the referee, which causes the referee to collide with Scott on the apron head first. Rick power slams Hall but there isn’t a referee to make the call. Hogan punches DiBiase on the floor while Nash low blows Rick. Savage leaps off the top rope but accidentally elbow drops Rick instead of Nash, who moved out of the way. Nash covers Rick and picks up the win. **1/2
After the match, the New World Order have an argument on the floor to close out Nitro.

My Take:
Malenko/Benoit was a fun television bout. The fans were into it and both men competed at a high level. Pretty obvious that Benoit was going over since he is actually involved in a angle while Malenko is left doing nothing.

Booker/Saturn was a decent title match. I didn’t think the false finish was all that necessary. I’ve found that doing that sort of finish is really only effective when it occurs during a bout that had a nicely developed angle. By the looks of things, Booker is going to be having a match with Rick Martel. That doesn’t sound too appealing to me. WCW continues to get older…

Speaking of older, this show saw the debuts of Marty Jannetty and Jim Neidhart. Both guys have mainly competed in the tag division and can’t be seen as guys who could help bring in money for WCW. You don’t have to hire everyone that has competed in the WWF, Bischoff.

Giant/Nash having a no physical altercation stipulation is fine with me. That adds some more anticipation to their match at Souled Out.

Jericho appears to be getting a push in the Cruiserweight division. That explains why he has been jobbing quite often to heavier talent. A Jericho/Mistero will produce some good matches. Guerrera seemed to have a heel attitude towards winning his match over Mistero after Jericho’s attack, by the way.

I thought the Neidhart/Flair segment was effective in hyping up the Hart/Flair feud. Neidhart better not be getting any kind of high profile feuds because that just wouldn’t work for me.

Main event was a fine match to close out the show. Sure we didn’t get a clean finish but at least we got a finish for the second week in a row. I enjoyed the bout as they didn’t just go through the motions and seemed to actually put an effort into it. Plus, the match was given about ten minutes or so. That is always a good thing!

Overall, I thought this week’s episode was pretty good. Malenko/Benoit, the main event and even Booker/Saturn for what it was were good matches. The Neidhart/Flair segment was entertaining as well. Nothing really dragged on this episode which makes for easier viewership.

Thanks for reading.

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