Written By: Bob Colling
World Championship Wrestling presents Nitro
From: Panama City Beach, FL
After a special look at WCW World Heavyweight Champion Ric Flair’s recent power trip and stills from Uncensored, we get a match to kick off the program!
Opening Contest: Van Hammer defeated Bull Payne: Yeah, this is a great way to kick off the show. Yikes. Hammer wins the bout following the Flashback.
Ricki Rachman interviews Disco Inferno. Inferno talks about his version of Konnan’s music video being better than Konnan’s. Rachman disagrees after Inferno’s video is played again for the fans. Inferno suggests that if Konnan has a issue with it he can fight him at Spring Stampede on April 11th.
This is just becoming pretty bad first hour. I’ll sum up the videos that are shown. Special look at Scott Steiner kicking Buff Bagwell out of the New World Order, Fit Finlay going to Rick Steiner’s cabin to make sure that Steiner showed up to the show, a video package highlighting what happened last week, and WCW Motorsports segment. I truly doubt anyone found any of those segments to be interesting.
Second Contest: Psychosis/La Parka/El Dandy/La Cucaracha defeated La Parka/Damien/Lizmark Jr. /Super Calo: As you would expect this was just a fast pace high spot filled match. The match saw a swerve La Cucaracha ended up being the Disco Inferno. Inferno would end up pinning Damien following the Chart Buster.
WCW Nitro opening video
WCW World Heavyweight Champion and WCW President Ric Flair is talking with JJ Dillon. Flair is going to challenge all the top talent like Hogan and Nash to a match tonight. However, he is going to do it lottery style. Flair asks Dillon if he would be able to rig the lottery full with midcarders and cruiserweights. Dillon tells Flair that he will help him out.
Mike Tenay interviews Dusty Rhodes at a beach. Dusty says that Ric Flair promised him both the Commissioner and Larry Zbyszko’s spot at the announcers table. Neither of those things has happened and Rhodes is not happy about that. Rhodes threatens Tenay before saying that he is “still the bull of the woods.”
Mean Gene interviews the WCW World Heavyweight Champion and President of WCW, Ric Flair. Soon after Flair comes out, Raven comes down to the ring and says he wants a World Championship match since he has never had one. Flair doesn’t give Raven that match, but instead books Raven and Kanyon in a WCW World Tag Team Championship match against Chris Benoit and Dean Malenko. Raven tells Flair that Kanyon is making a movie with Jesse Ventura and isn’t even here. Flair doesn’t care and just makes the match a handicap match! Flair finishes off by saying that tonight he will defend the championship and will put all the names in the back in a bin and draw a name out. The guy who gets his name pulled will get a title shot, tonight!
Third Contest: Rick Steiner defeated Fit Finlay: Not much of a match, really. They brawl for several minutes, which isn’t surprising. Steiner blocks a suplex attempt with a DDT and gets the win following a bulldog off the top rope.
Fourth Contest: Juventud Guerrera defeated El Vampiro: Vampiro shoves Guerrera followed by a savant kick. Guerrera chops Vampiro a few times and connects with a tilt a whirl head scissors. Vampiro power bombs Guerrera out of the corner with a release for a two count. Vampiro slams Guerrera off his shoulders and drives Guerrera down with a Rock Bottom for a near fall. Guerrera hits Vampiro with a spinning heel kick but it only staggers Vampiro. Vampiro blocks a hurricanrana attempt by connecting with a running power bomb! Guerrera counters another power bomb attempt by driving Vampiro face first into the mat. Guerrera sends Vampiro to the floor where Guerrera takes Vampiro out with a slingshot drive! Vampiro stalls on the floor for several moments as Nitro goes to the commercial. Vampiro is now chopping Guerrera in the corner and starts to have a cocky attitude. Guerrera is back dropped over the top to the floor. Guerrera drops Vampiro throat first across the top rope from the apron followed up by a springboard dropkick for a two count. Vampiro connects with a running bulldog out of the corner for a two count. Vampiro tries to get a cross arm breaker on Guerrera but Guerrera reached the bottom rope quickly. Guerrera works on Vampiro’s leg for a few moments. Vampiro power bombs Guerrera again but this time it is a sit down power bomb. Vampiro misses a top rope twisting back splash. Guerrera misses a slingshot leg drop from the apron. Guerrera slams Vampiro but is crotched on the top rope by Vampiro. Vampiro connects with a nice gut wrench suplex off the top rope for a two count. Seconds later, Guerrera plants Vampiro with the Juvi Driver to win the bout. **
It is now time for the finals of the Miss Nitro with Ricki Rachman, Kevin Nash and Hulk Hogan. Long story short, Torrie Wilson wins.
Fifth Contest: Goldberg defeated Hak: Despite being bulldogged onto a steel chair, Goldberg is able to spear and jackhammer Hak leading to the victory.
Mean Gene calls out Bret Hart for a interview. Hart says that he came to WCW to earn a reputation , not to lose one. Hart hasn’t gotten any World Championship matches and feels like he doesn’t get respect. Hart brings up Ric Flair and how he beat Flair when he came to WCW last year. Gene brings up a possible match against Hogan. Hart knows that fans have been wanting to see that match but doesn’t think it will happen. Hart also talks about Kevin Nash. Hart believes he could beat Nash today just like he did back in the day. Hart eventually issues a challenge to Goldberg and says that he could beat Goldberg in five minutes!
Sixth Contest: Vincent defeated Horace Hogan: Vincent gets the win after Ray shoves Horace forward and allows Vincent to small package Horace for the three count.
After the match, Ray beats up Vincent while Brian Adams comes down to beat up Horace. Ray and Adams end up having a confrontation. Who care about this?!
Ric Flair, Arn Anderson, Chris Benoit, Dean Malenko and JJ Dillon are out for the random drawing. The wrestlers involved in the drawing are standing around the pool side area. Dillon pulls out the number 23. El Dandy is the lucky guy but his shoulder is taped up due to injury. So, Rey Mysterio Jr. takes the number and puts himself in the match against Flair. This doesn’t sit well with Flair who claims Rey wasn’t part of the drawing. Flair warns Mysterio that he steps into the ring at his own risk.
Seventh Contest: WCW World Tag Team Champions Chris Benoit/Dean Malenko defeated Raven by disqualification to retain the titles: Raven is double teamed as soon as he rolls into the ring. Malenko dropkicks a kneeling Raven after being tripped by Benoit. Benoit legally starts the match and begins to chop Raven before tagging out . Raven is driven down to the mat with a double spine buster. Benoit delivers a knee breaker and holds Raven’s leg for Malenko to dropkick Raven’s knee. Malenko has the Texas Cloverleaf on Raven but Raven refuses to give up. Benoit locks in the Crippler Crossface but Raven again refuses to give up. Benoit blows snot onto Raven’s back. Benoit powers Raven up in a power bomb position as Malenko leaps off the top hitting Raven with a frontward bulldog! Perry Saturn comes down to the ring and ends up decking Benoit with a right hand. Saturn hits Malenko with a t-bone suplex and a over head belly to belly suplex. Saturn puts the Rings of Saturn on Malenko until Benoit dropkicks Saturn. Benoit clotheslines Saturn before taking him over with Malenko on a double snap suplex. Malenko hits Saturn with a spinning heel kick. Benoit gets a two count on Saturn following a back breaker. Malenko tags back in delivering a knee drop for a two count. Malenko scoop slams Saturn before tagging out to Benoit who gets a two count. Benoit connects with a belly to back suplex. Saturn is double teamed by the champs for several more moments. Benoit ends up leaping off the top rope but misses a diving head butt as Saturn rolls out of the way. Saturn tags in Raven who has finally recovered. Raven cleans house with right hands on both Benoit and Malenko. Raven clotheslines Malenko after leaping off the middle rope. Benoit prevents Raven from hitting the DDT on Malenko. Saturn gets the Rings of Saturn on Benoit! Malenko enters with a tag belt but Raven slides in and whacks Malenko with the other tag belt to cause the disqualification. **3/4
After the match, Saturn and Raven are left in the ring pissed that they lost the match.
Footage of Ric Flair vacating the WCW United States Championship on Thunder is shown. Meng also advanced in the tournament to crown a new champion.
Eighth Contest: Scott Steiner defeated Chris Jericho to advance in the WCW US Championship tournament: Steiner backs Jericho into a corner delivering several right hands and clubbing blows. Steiner gorilla press slams Jericho to keep the advantage. Jericho battles back with several kicks knocking Steiner down following a spin kick. Jericho knocks Steiner off the apron with a springboard dropkick but misses a dive over the top to the floor. Steiner sends Jericho into the railing and ring steps. Steiner goes back to just pummeling Jericho in the corner. Steiner runs into a big boot in the corner. Jericho leaps off the middle rope connecting with a dropkick for a two count. Steiner takes Jericho over with a exploder suplex. Steiner tosses Jericho to the floor again. Jericho drops Steiner throat first across the top rope followed by a top rope upper cut. Jericho goes his cocky pin for a one count. Jericho stops Steiner with a jaw breaker and hits a springboard moonsault for a two count. Jericho blocks a back drop attempt and goes for the Lion Tamer but Steiner powers out of it. Jericho elbows out of a full nelson but is low blowed by Steiner. Steiner tosses Jericho around with a overhead belly to belly suplex before locking in the Steiner Recliner to win the bout. *1/4
Main Event: WCW Cruiserweight Champion Rey Mysterio Jr. defeated WCW World Heavyweight Champion Ric Flair by disqualification: Flair decides to not shake hands with Rey. Flair shoulder blocks Rey but is taken down with a drop toe hold by Rey. Rey slaps the back of Flair’s head a few times. Rey drop toe holds Flair again followed by a springboard leg drop! Rey chops Flair a few times before delivering a few punches which cause Flair to flop right on his face. Flair dumps Rey to the floor where Anderson tries to get a cheap shot in but Rey gets away. Rey dropkicks Flair several times. Rey springboards off the top rope with a splash for a two count. Flair rolls to the floor. Rey follows but is stopped by Anderson with a clothesline. Flair works on Rey in the corner with a few chops and punches. Flair drives a knee down into Rey’s face to keep the advantage. Flair chops Rey for a two count on a pin attempt. Rey lands on his feet on a back suplex attempt. Rey rolls Flair up for a two count. Rey with a quick crucifix for a near fall but Flair recovers quickly by stomping Rey several times. Flair connects with a delayed vertical suplex for a two count. Flair delivers a elbow drop but Rey kicks out again at two. Flair whips Rey into the rope after a botch attempt. Rey punches Flair before driving Flair down to the mat with a springboard face buster. Rey barely hits Flair with a spinning heel kick. Rey dropkicks Flair on the top turnbuckle to set up the hurricanrana and connects! Rey covers Flair but only manages to get a two count as Anderson pulled the referee out of the ring causing the disqualification. *1/2
After the match, Rey baseball slides Flair on the floor over the railing into the pool to close out the show!
End of show
My Take: Once again, the first hour was really uneventful. Why must WCW put their fans through torture?
I marked out when Raven came out wanting a title shot against Ric Flair. I was left disappointed when Flair just gave him a handicap tag title shot against Malenko and Benoit. I like the whole idea of Flair rigging the lottery to get a easy win. I also really liked having Rey win the lottery to continue his underdog gimmick. Nice job with that one, Nash.
Vampiro/Guerrera was a decent contest that made Vampiro look pretty good. It was a little repetitive with the power bombs but I thought Vampiro did a good job with Guerrera. It was a fun little fast pace match with a few power moves to make Vampiro look good. This match wasn’t received well by some of the drunk college kids, though.
Bret Hart’s promo was effective in setting up four possible feuds down the line. The first of which will be with Goldberg. There is a lot of money to be made with Hart/Hogan and Hart/Goldberg feuds in my opinion. I’m surprised it has taken WCW this long to even think of booking them.
The handicap match did a very good job of putting Raven over as a tough son of a bitch. Though, I would hope that was clear prior to the bout. They must not have much to do with Saturn because he is back teaming with the guy that he was feuding with for a good part of 1998. I’m sure they will be a good tag team, but I would rather see them in singles roles. By the way, I am not a fan of the champions being heels. I know it happens because they are associated with Flair and all that but still. I think they are better playing the baby face role.
Jericho/Steiner wasn’t bad. I was fully expecting Jericho to get squashed but for whatever reason they keep on giving Jericho some moments to shine. Steiner has to be a favorite to win the tournament.
While Rey/Flair is a rather weak main event with all things considered, it was a decent bout. Rey delivered several of his top moves which was rather surprising to me. I never expected Rey to hit Flair with a middle rope hurricanrana. This match could have made Rey a upper-card player. He clearly had the match won but Anderson saved Flair. Will WCW make note of that or completely avoid mentioning that ever happened? The pool spot was a fine way to end the show with a laugh.
Overall, this week’s Nitro was mediocre. The first hour should have never happened. Everything after that was mildly entertaining but nothing overly great or worthwhile occurred. I’ll have to give this week’s Nitro a thumbs down.
Thanks for reading.
34-year-old currently living in Syracuse, New York. Long-time fan of the New York Mets, Chicago Bulls, and Minnesota Vikings. An avid fan of professional wrestling and write reviews/articles on the product. Usually focusing on old-school wrestling.