Written By: Bob Colling
World Championship Wrestling presents Nitro
From: Toronto, Ontario
Nitro starts off with David Flair talking to Torrie and Denise about how his father Ric has been dodging Hulk Hogan, the father he never had.
Tony, Mike and Larry hype up the broadcast. Mike chats about his interview with Bret Hart last week which saw Hart say that he can beat Goldberg in five minutes. Throughout the segment, the fans chant for Bret Hart very loudly.
Konnan’s music video is aired.
Opening Contest: Konnan defeated Vincent: Konnan hits Vincent with a face buster and gets the submission win with the Tequila Sunrise. I have no idea as to why Vincent continues to wrestle on television.
Backstage, Torrie Wilson asks Hulk Hogan if he could beat Kevin Nash, again. Hogan’s answer isn’t audible as he whispers the answer in her ear.
Mean Gene introduces Hulk Hogan for a interview. In a rather odd statement, Tony Schiavone thinks they may have been a little harsh on the New World Order. I can’t believe he just said that. Anyway, Hogan discusses his large arms and his WCW World Heavyweight Championship. I should note that they are portraying Hogan as a babyface and he is getting a decent reaction from the crowd, which is kind of surprising to me. At the end of the segment, Tony announces that he was told that Sting has been seen in Toronto…
Mike Tenay interviewed Diamond Dallas Page, who hasn’t been in on television for several weeks. Page says that his wife Kimberly is doing fine since being tossed out of a car by Scott Steiner. Page also mentions that Steiner gave him a herniated L-4 disk. Page isn’t going to make excuses and says that Steiner got the better of him. Tenay brings up the stipulation that Steiner would get Kimberly for thirty days. Page says that it was never enforced. Page finishes off by saying he will be returning soon on his terms…
Second Contest: Wrath defeated Kenny Kaos: Not much to see here. Wrath wins following the Meltdown.
Backstage, Torrie Wilson is really starting to add some friction between Nash and Hogan. She talks to Nash about the January 4th incident. She mentions that Hogan said beating Nash was real and not planned by them.
Mean Gene introduces WCW World Heavyweight Champion and WCW President Ric Flair for a interview. Flair makes sure to insult the Canadian fans before saying he has a surprise for the fans. Flair knows that someone has been after him all night wanting to talk to him, so he will give that person the chance to talk to him right now. Diamond Dallas Page comes down to the ring and says “… how things have changed.” Page believes that Bischoff must have absorbed into Flair’s body. Flair chimes in saying that he has the book and can do whatever he wants with Page, just like he did previously. Flair knows that Page came out here because he wants Steiner. Page is insulting the fans now, as well. Flair decides that since both Page and Hogan are complaining, they will wrestle each other tonight! Hogan comes out and threatens Flair and Page. Flair announces he will be Page’s manager tonight. At the end of the segment, we see Sting up in the rafters! Flair demands that Sting come down from the rafters, but that doesn’t happen.
Third Contest: Rick Steiner defeated Scott Norton: Continuing the trend of uninteresting matches… Steiner wins the bout following a top rope bulldog.
Backstage, Rey Mysterio Jr. recruits Kidman to be his partner against Benoit and Malenko later on. Kidman agrees to be his partner!
Fourth Contest: WCW Television Champion Booker T defeated Chris Adams to retain the title: A fairly easy title defense for Booker this week. Booker wins the bout following a top rope missile dropkick.
Fifth Contest: Chris Jericho defeated Jerry Flynn: Wow, what a uneventful show in terms of wrestling so far. If you are interested in what happened in any of the first five matches, you would be really disappointed. Jericho pins Flynn after delivering a big boot in the corner and uses the ropes for leverage on a roll up. It is common knowledge that Jericho is leaving, yet they continue to put him over.
Bret Hart makes his way down to the ring to cut a promo. Hart easily gets the biggest ovation of the night. Hart starts off by saying that it is nice to be in a place where he is respected and that there are children in the audience. Hart mentions that everyone is worried about the ratings. Hart isn’t worried about anything tonight and decides to say the Canadian national anthem. The fans join him in doing so. Hart says his catchphrase of being the best. Hart is sick and tired not being able to get a match guys like Flair and Hogan. Hart believes that Hogan is afraid of him. Hart came to WCW to keep his reputation, not to lose it. Hart turns his attention to William Goldberg. He called him William! Hart wants Goldberg to come down to the ring and stop biting his nails in fear! Hart mentions that he beat Steve Austin every time he ever fought him while Goldberg is offering money to fight Austin. Hart takes off his shirt to reveal a Toronto Maple Leafs jersey! The fans go nuts for that. Goldberg comes down to the ring with a filtered chant. Goldberg circles the ring before speaking Hart! Goldberg and Hart are both knocked out on the mat. Hart is first to move and rolls a knocked out Goldberg over. Hart covers Goldberg and counts a three count for himself! Hart takes off the jersey and reveals that he had a metal plate attached to his midsection! Hart grabs a microphone and tells Bischoff that he quits!
A video highlighting the Scott Steiner/Buff Bagwell issue from last week is aired.
Before the next bout, Buff Bagwell makes sure to mention that he isn’t with Scott Steiner anymore.
Sixth Contest: Buff Bagwell defeated Norman Smiley: Bagwell quickly arm drags Smiley before posing for the fans. Bagwell hip tosses Smiley and again plays for the fans. Smiley backs Bagwell into a corner to deliver several right hands. Smiley dumps Bagwell to the floor but Bagwell lands on his feet. Smiley does the Big Wiggle but turns around only to be met with right hands followed by a backdrop and dropkick. Bagwell clotheslines Smiley over the top to the floor. Smiley kicks Bagwell in the leg but fails at a catapult as Bagwell kicks Smiley in the face. Bagwell atomic drops Smiley and scoop slams Smiley. Smiley blocks a big splash by getting his knees up. Smiley connects with a swinging scoop slam. Smiley continues his offense with a vertical suplex for a two count. Smiley starts to mock Bagwell which allows Bagwell to roll Smiley up for a near fall. Smiley recovers by nailing Bagwell with a back elbow. Smiley controls Bagwell on the mat with a sleeper hold. Bagwell tries to fight out of the hold but Smiley drops him back down to the mat. Bagwell sunset flips Smiley for a two count. Smiley pokes Bagwell in the eyes to regain the upper hand. Smiley chokes Bagwell over the middle rope. Bagwell avoids a dropkick by hanging onto the ropes. Bagwell shoulder blocks, scoop slams and dropkicks Smiley. Smiley runs into a big boot in the corner. Bagwell leaps off the middle rope to hit Smiley with the Blockbuster for the win. *1/4
Seventh Contest: WCW Cruiserweight Champion Rey Mysterio Jr. /Billy Kidman defeated WCW World Tag Team Champions Chris Benoit/Dean Malenko to win the titles: Kidman and Benoit kick off the title match with Benoit chopping Kidman to the mat. Benoit quickly backdrops Kidman and gets a near fall following a back breaker. Benoit sends Kidman back first into a corner before delivering a stomp. Benoit works on Kidman with several stomps and chops in the corner for a few moments. Kidman ducks a clothesline but is stopped by Benoit with a forearm shot. Kidman plants Benoit with a sit out spine buster for a two count. Malenko and Rey tag into the contest. Malenko runs off the ropes to shoulder block Rey. Malenko controls Rey with a sleeper hold after a snap mare takedown. Benoit tags back in to stomp away on Rey with his partner. Benoit continues to work on Rey with several chops. Rey springboards onto Benoit’s shoulders to hit a hurricanrana and nails Malenko with a spinning heel kick. Benoit catches Rey in the corner and holds Rey to allow Malenko to leap off the top rope with a reverse bulldog! Rey kicks Malenko away and tags in Kidman. Kidman hits a cross body off the top and knocks Benoit off the apron. Kidman face plants Malenko for a two count. Kidman bulldogs Malenko out of the corner but is stopped on the top rope. Malenko grabs Kidman to connect with a middle rope gut buster for a near fall! Kidman is dropped gut first across the top rope as Nitro goes to commercial. Benoit is blowing snot onto Kidman as the show returns. Benoit sends Kidman chest first into the corner a couple of times. Malenko drives Kidman to the mat with a delayed vertical suplex for a two count. Malenko knocks Rey off the apron following the kick out. Malenko hits Kidman with a back suplex for another two count. Kidman almost wins the bout with a sunset flip. Malenko quickly clotheslines Kidman before tagging out to Benoit. Kidman is lifted up into the air and dropped to the mat gut first for a two count by Benoit. Benoit continues to work on Kidman’s gut with a gut buster. Benoit drops Kidman across the top rope midsection first, again. Benoit tosses Kidman to the floor where Malenko rams Kidman into the apron and guard railing. Kidman knocks the champs down with a double dropkick. Rey gets the hot tag. Rey cleans house with right hands and takes Benoit over with a hurricanrana. Kidman is back dropped by Rey over the top onto Benoit. Malenko delivers a back breaker on Rey but the referee isn’t paying attention. Malenko is able to block a top rope hurricanrana. Malenko tries to go for the Cloverleaf but Raven enters the ring behind the referees back to plant Malenko with the Evenflow DDT! Rey covers Malenko to get the three count! ***
Main Event: Hulk Hogan defeated Diamond Dallas Page: They trade several right hands until Hogan backs Page into a corner to deliver knee lifts followed by a clothesline. Hogan sends Page into the ropes to deliver another clothesline. Page backs Hogan into a corner to deliver knee lifts and right hands. Hogan clotheslines Page over the top to the floor as Nitro goes to commercial. They are brawling by the announcers table with Page sending Hogan into the steel structure. Page also rams Hogan into the large WCW metal signs. Hogan returns the favor by tossing Page into the large WCW signs, knocking one of them completely over. Page battles back by sending Hogan into the guard railing but Hogan sends Page into the ring steps shoulder first! Back in the ring, Hogan takes off his weight belt to whip Page a few times. Hogan chokes Page until Page low blows Hogan. Page returns a few whips to Hogan’s back. On the floor, Flair chokes Hogan until Page punches Flair! Hogan continues to whip Page with his weight belt. Hogan works on Page in the ring with right hands. Page hits Hogan with a discus clothesline for a two count. Page gets another two count following a swinging neck breaker. Hogan stops Page with a running clothesline in the corner. Hogan tries to get a submission with a abdominal stretch. Flair gets on the apron to distract Hogan. Page low blows Hogan before connecting with a snap suplex for a two count. Page delivers several side elbow strikes in the corner until Hogan takes Page over with a snap suplex. Hogan elbow drops Page several times for a near fall. Hogan has a cross arm breaker on Page now. Hogan with a inside cradle for a two count. Page gets up to meet Hogan with a clothesline. Hogan sends Page into the referee in the corner on accident. Hogan clotheslines Page into the referee as well. Hogan big boots Page but misses a leg drop. Charles Robinson is now the referee. Hogan no sells a discus clothesline from Page. Hogan punches Page several times. Flair enters and hits Page on accident with a weak chair shot. Hogan ends up big booting Flair to the floor before hitting Page with the leg drop. Charles Robinson decides not to count for Hogan, who punches Robinson. The original referee gets up and makes the three count for Hogan. **1/4
After the match, Hogan celebrates his win.
End of show
My Take: For the first two hours or so, this Nitro sucked from a wrestling standpoint. The matches aired seemed more suitable for a Thunder episode, or even a Saturday Night show. When you are trying to get back into the ratings war, a Wrath/Kaos, Konnan/Vincent, Jericho/Flynn or Booker/Adams match are not going to keep the fans interest.
The promos were fine in my opinion. I don’t like Page being turned heel because he needs to finish his feud with Scott Steiner. I thought that still had legs.
Bret Hart/Goldberg segment was awesome and perfectly executed. Hart outsmarted Goldberg and now has the right to brag about beating Goldberg. Obviously WCW wasn’t happy with Bret getting a huge babyface reaction over Goldberg, but they are in Canada. What did you expect to happen? Now that Hart has “quit”, they can drag this out for months.
Bagwell/Smiley was rather simple and dull. Bagwell as a babyface is going to work out well. The fans like him because he actually has a personality and in a way I find him funny. I just wish they would have had Bagwell as a babyface ever since he came back from his neck injury in 1998.
The tag title match was a good match. I don’t like the title switch because I was interested in seeing a Horsemen vs. Raven/Saturn feud for the titles. Apparently they are wrestling at Spring Stampede, so why not just have them have a title match at that show? The title change didn’t need to happen.
Hogan/DDP was a decent brawl but it went on a little long for my liking. I find it remarkable that people are willing to cheer for Hogan after everything he has done. It just doesn’t make sense to me. I can understand how DDP is turned heel by the fans, though. Having him protecting his wife can only piss off wrestling fans. I like that the main events are starting to have finishes and not just DQ’s or count outs.
Overall, this week’s Nitro wasn’t consistently good for me to recommend as a good show. The last hour saw a couple of good matches. The highlights of the show were the tag title change and the Goldberg/Hart segment. That’s about it though.
Thanks for reading.