Written By: Justin Rozzero
WCW Nitro 6/30/97
MGM Grand Garden Arena
Las Vegas, NV
Announcers: Tony Schiavone, Mike Tenay & Larry Zbyszko
– We fade up to our opening animation and then head inside the MGM Grand as this huge and heavily hyped episode Nitro is finally here. Tony welcomes us to Vegas and then throws it right to Gene Okerlund, who is in the ring and bringing out Ric Flair. Larry talks about the debut of the impact player tonight while Flair struts down to the ring. As Flair heads out, his music fades and the bagpipes fire up. However, it isn’t Roddy Piper coming out, but rather a pair of ladies carrying out a mannequin dressed as Hot Rod. Gene asks Flair what is going on and Flair says he is trying to tell the wrestling world…and he is interrupted when the ladies drop the mannequin and the kilt falls off. Flair says Piper called him at midnight this morning and asked if they could make up in Vegas, but Flair told him that he has two live ones and Piper could have them all night long…and now, look what is left of Hot Rod. Flair says that the ladies are the best Las Vegas has to offer. The fans start calling for Piper as Flair shows the ladies off. One of the ladies asks why Piper is called Hot Rod. She says he definitely isn’t hot. Flair is trying to tell the wrestling world that when the Nature Boy is on the scene and that Piper walked across the line last week. He tried to tell Flair how to wrestle. Piper may be the icon in Hollywood, but when it comes to wrestling, entertaining the ladies and taking Gene out all night long, Piper stays home with the wife and kids because he can’t hang. Things get confusing as Gene asks “Michelle” if Flair really is the sixty minute man and she responds “more like thirty seconds”. Gene clears it up and says she must be talking about Piper. Flair dances around with the kilt and says that is all that is left of one of the true wrestling legends. Flair lays the kilt down and says he is laying Piper down to rest. He asks for a moment of silence for the man “formerly known as Hot Rod” but the crowd still wants Piper. The ladies start to undress Gene and he says that his mother-in-law is watching. Gene heads off as Flair grabs the ladies and says they will be there all night long. That was a good little promo that was carried by Flair and Gene’s shtick. The crowd seems to be digging Piper quite a bit though. We now head to the announce table where Tony, Larry and Mike officially welcome us to the show. They run down tonight’s card and also inform us that Chris Jericho won the Cruiserweight championship on WCW Saturday Nitro in Los Angeles two nights ago. Also, Mike tells us that Flair and Piper will fight at BATB. Tony then sends us to the ring for our opener.
1) Juventud Guerrera vs. Chris Jericho for the WCW Cruiserweight Title
As Juvy heads out, Larry talks about the Piper/Flair showdown and says it is a dream match, but he is disappointed to see it because Piper and Flair should be leading WCW against the NWO. Jericho is out next, with his newly won title in tow. WCW has brought back a belt to their camp when Jericho beat Syxx in LA. Tenay says there were hundreds of thousands of listeners checking out that show and that they are doing repeat broadcasts for those that had trouble due to the heavy traffic that night. Larry says the NWO took a big blow on Saturday and that makes the Piper/Flair feud even more troubling. The bell sounds and Jericho grabs a wristlock out of a lockup. Juvy flips out and grabs one of his own. Jericho reverses it and hits an armdrag but Juvy works free and both men reset. Juvy grabs a waistlock but Jericho reverses it and takes Juvy over with a back suplex. He hooks the ankle and then turns Juvy into a bow and arrow as Mike and Larry talk some more about the new superstar. Jericho grabs a side headlock and then puts Juvy down with a shoulderblock. Juvy ducks a clothesline and takes Jericho down with a headscissors takeover. Juvy ends up on the apron but slips trying to springboard back in. Jericho grabs him and snaps him over with another back suplex. Jericho pulls Juvy up and drops him with a delayed vertical suplex for two. Jericho mares Juvy over and grabs a surfboard submission. Juvy fights up but Jericho lands a chop. Juvy comes back with another headscissor takeover but Jericho regains control with a back elbow. Mike and Larry talk about Dennis Rodman as Jericho ties Juvy in the Tree of Woe. He follows with a baseball slide dropkick, knocking Juvy free. Larry once again chastises Jericho for taking his time in the ring instead of being aggressive. Jericho plants Juvy with a backbreaker and then keeps him over his knee, working for a submission. Jericho releases the hold and Juvy ends up landing a spin kick off a missed Jericho charge. Juvy heads up top but comes up short on a dropkick. Jericho misses another charge in the corner and he hits the post and flies to the floor. Juvy follows him out with a suicide dive, driving Jericho into the railing. Juvy tosses him back inside and then heads up top. He nails the 450 splash and only gets a near fall. Jericho elbows out of a waistlock and then blocks a Juvy huracarrana attempt and crushes him with two stiff powerbombs for a near fall. Larry says Jericho wasted too much time. Jericho puts Juvy on the top rope and takes him over with a super Frankensteiner. He hooks the Liontamer in and gets the win in his first title defense. Well, most of the match was sloppy but it picked up in the final minute or so. I find the commentary against Jericho interesting as well, and I wonder if it is foreshadowing a heel turn or just Larry being Larry. Jericho d. Guerrera with the Liontamer at 6:47; Grade: 1.5
– Gene has hopped in the ring and is standing with Jericho after we see a replay. Gene congratulates Jericho on taking a title back from the NWO and says this is a big opportunity for Jericho as he continues on his way. Jericho says the belt is back where it belongs in WCW. The crowd starts booing as Syxx makes his way out. Gene says Syxx has no business here tonight and he should be talking to JJ Dillon and other matchmakers. Jericho says Syxx is angry as he hops in the ring. Syxx says Jericho beat nothing Saturday night until he went back to his hotel room later that night. Gene tells Syxx he can’t say that and Syxx asks him what he said in a funny spot. Syxx says the NWO still views Syxx as the World Cruiserweight Champion, but Gene disputes that fact. Syxx says that he will give Jericho another shot at the belt right now and he smacks him in the face. Jericho and Syxx start brawling in the ring as we abruptly go to break. Man, Syxx was a mess there and just made no sense.
– When we return, security is trying to pull Syxx and Jericho apart as they continue to brawl in the ring. Gene is in the aisle and talking with Alex Wright. He says it is about time somebody talked to him. He has been in WCW three years and has always been held down. He never got a title shot or interview time and the referees make decisions against him. It is because he is from Germany. He is a fantastic wrestler, has good looks and a great body. Lex Luger has nothing on him and Gene has had enough of that and cuts him off. Gene yells at Wright as we cut to the ring for our next match. Larry says Wright can’t speak anyway, so who cares if he gets interview time.
2) Dean Malenko vs. Eddie Guerrero
Malenko is making his way out but he gets jumped from behind by Guerrero, who beats him up all the way to the ring. Mike and Tony talk about Eddie’s attitude change as he keeps the assault on. Eddie tosses Dean back in as Tenay says he has known Eddie for years and talks about his history with Art Barr in Mexico. They teamed as the hated Los Gringos Locos and Mike says the Eddie we have seen for the past year here in WCW is not the real Eddie. The feud with Dean started out of personal respect but has become personal now. Eddie is still dominating the match and snaps Dean over with a crisp suplex. Eddie hits a leg lariat but he misses a slingshot senton from the apron. He runs Dean into the turnbuckle as the announcers talk about Eddie screwing Chavo last week. Eddie tries for a Tornado DDT but Dean shoves him off. Dean stomps away in the corner and then spikes Eddie up and into the top turnbuckle. He hits a nice back suplex and follows with a leg lariat of his own for two. Dean flapjacks Eddie and then plants him with a nasty powerbomb. As Dean drills Eddie with a wheelbarrow powerbomb, Chavo makes his way to ringside. He hops on the apron and distracts Dean as he was starting to apply the Cloverleaf. Eddie pushes Dean into Chavo and then drops Malenko with a brainbuster. Eddie quickly scampers to the top and connects with the frog splash for the win. That was a hard fought, crisp battle and I wish it went longer. Guerrero d. Malenko with a frog splash at 3:55; Grade: 2.5
– Eddie heads out and checks on Chavo. They walk out together with their arms around each other as we check out the replay. Gene is in the aisle with Rey Mysterio. Rey approached Gene at the craps table last night to ask for a chance to talk. Rey only has one thing say and that is that he is tired of being pushed around by Kevin Nash and the Wolfpac. He was thrown into a trailer and then he was Jackknifed from behind a few weeks ago. We know there is a difference in size but there is only one thing he has to know. He has to know if he can beat Kevin Nash and he is challenging him tonight. Gene says that is a mismatch but that Rey has a big heart. Nash struts out and Rey says he has a bigger heart than Nash. Nash says he will do an autopsy tonight and see what kind of heart Rey has. Gene says this is a bad decision, but Rey says he isn’t afraid. It isn’t about size, it is about courage and being a man and he knows he can take Nash. Kevin says Rey had too many bedtime stories about the Little Train that Could read to him. Nash walks off and Rey is excited for this chance and we are off to break.
– We are back and Eric Bischoff is riding to the ring on a motorcycle. Larry mocks him for not being able to reach the floor with his feet. Mike still thinks Rey made a bad decision last segment. Eric gets off the bike in the aisle and points towards the entrance as Hollywood Hogan struts out, belt in hand. Larry doesn’t like an anti Zbyszko sign in the crowd and says he will go down there and throw him out himself. Eric lets us know that Las Vegas loves Hogan almost as much as he does. Hogan says that when you love the NWO, you love them for life. He has been around a long time. He has kicked giants out of buildings, bodyslammed them and shook the world. One of the most fun things he has done was when he and Rodman beat up the stinky wart infested Giant and left Flexy Lexy lying in a pool of sweat. So, as a surprise, he and Rodman have a big party going on tonight and he is going to let Savage, Hall and Nash have a lot of fun with the three idiots: Luger, Giant and DDP-pee. Hogan says they have the momentum and he has the guns. Rodman will be jumping all over the ring in Daytona, plucking their opponents back into the ring as they try and escape. Hogan is heading back to party with Rodman and he is going let the NWO party out here tonight. Hogan says the NWO is like a pack of wolves and you have to choose: do you want to be safe on the verge of greatness or walk the fine line of disaster. And Mysterio is going down in a blaze of flames as Nash wipes him out. And after that, the NWO brotherhood is partying in the ring with Luger, Giant and Page. Hogan gives us free admission to the gun show as Tony wonders about this party Hollywood was referencing. Larry thinks the NWO is in trouble and they know it but Tony says this is when they are at their best, when you think you have them down. We pan the crowd and then have a nifty little edit and head right back to the ring.
3) Hector Garza vs. Lord Steven Regal for the WCW Television Championship
Garza is already in the ring as Regal makes his way out. Larry says Hector will need to know his wrestling to get the belt tonight as Regal is not like the Cruiserweights. Garza grabs a waistlock but Regal turns it into a wristlock. They trade control of the hold before Garza puts Regal down with a shoulderblock. Garza mares Regal over and then blocks a Boston crab attempt by twisting Regal over with his legs. Regal goes to the eye and follows with an uppercut and some clubs. Garza lands a flying forearm but Regal ducks a clothesline attempt. Garza floats over on a charge in the corner and follows with a dropkick. Regal hails to the floor but Garza drills him with a baseball slide dropkick. Garza tries a springboard moonsault, but Regal ducks Garza lands on his feet. Regal slides back in as Garza climbs to the apron. Regal charges with a clothesline, but Garza ducks in and Regal tumbles to the floor. Garza heads up top and tries the corkscrew plancha, but he grazes Regal and slams hard on the floor. Tenay covers for the miss by saying Regal hurt his head when he fell backwards. Garza tosses Regal back inside and hits a missile dropkick. He tries a springboard moonsault but Regal gets his knees up in time. Regal capitalizes and locks in the Regal stretch for the win. Larry chastises Garza for trying too many high risk moves. That match was a total style clash and an overall mess. Regal d. Garza with the Regal stretch at 3:36; Grade: .5
– When we head to break, we get a special Hogan & Rodman NWO style video package. Back in the arena, Gene Okerlund is in the aisle with the Steiners. Last week, they promised they would be here for Hall and Nash and here they are. Scott says that Bischoff stripped them of the belts and they have now beaten all the teams to become top contenders again. Hall and Nash owe them a shot. Gene says that Bischoff has no stroke any more, so he can’t pull off shenanigans like he did in the past. Rick says they aren’t leaving Vegas until they get their shot. The NWO B-Team music fires up and then turns into the NWO main theme as Hall, Nash, Syxx and the rest of the NWO emerge from the entrance. Gene says this is supposed to be a tag match and asks what is up. Hall says he heard the crybabies in the back and he just happens to have a contract in hand. Hall says that if the Steiners had their gear on, they would get in the ring right now. Nash asks if a few more people could challenge them tonight. Hall says they are the reason everyone is here in Vegas and why everyone is watching at home. Hall grants the challenge and the Steiners sign the contract. Gene tells the Steiners that they should have a lawyer look it over but Larry says it isn’t a pre nuptial. Rick says they will see the Outsiders in the ring for their title shot. The Steiners head off as Hall says they haven’t been the same since their traffic accident. Hall has Gene read the contract and he lets us know that the Steiners have to now beat Chono and Muta in order to get the title match. Nash says they may be big, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t intelligent. Hall says they are too sweet and they are out. Tony admits that the Outsiders are quite smart as we head to the ring.
4) Psychosis vs. Super Calo
Before our match, we see that Gene Okerlund and Mark Madden are chatting with Chris Jericho for WCW’s website. Psychosis and Sonny Onoo head to the ring as Tenay tells us that this is Calo’s return after a concussion suffered courtesy a La Parka chairshot. Tony chronicles Calo’s injury history during his brief WCW stay as the bell sounds. Calo takes him over with an armdrag and Psychosis slides out to the floor. Tenay talks about the mutual benefits to the Psychosis/Onoo relationship. They trade some wristlocks with Calo again sending Psychosis to the floor. Calo follows him out, but Psychosis grabs control, allowing Onoo to land a round kick to the head. Calo slides back in but Psychosis stays on the offense with some kicks. Psychosis charges but Calo snaps him over with a powerslam. Psychosis recovers with a clothesline as Scott Dickinson clearly tells him it is time to go home. He back drops Calo to the apron and then kicks him to the floor and follows with a baseball slide dropkick. Psychosis heads up top and tries a double axehandle, but Calo moves and he smacks his head on the rail. Psychosis somehow climbs back on the apron but Calo catches him and tries to suplex him into the ring. Onoo runs over and hooks Calo’s leg, allowing Psychosis to fall on top for the win. That was a decent match that could have been better if they had more time. Psychosis d. Calo when Onoo hooks Calo’s leg on a suplex attempt at 2:38; Grade: 1
– Calo is pretty upset and attacks Psychosis after the bell. That brings Parka out and he slides in behind Calo and smacks him in the back with a wooden chair. Now Juvy comes out and he causes some miscommunication as Psychosis dropkicks Parka by mistake. He clotheslines Psychosis to the floor and we are out to break, with Larry threatening the kid with the Zbyszko sign once again.
Announcers: Tony Schiavone, Mike Tenay & Bobby Heenan
5) Wrath & Mortis vs. High Voltage
It is hour two and the Brain joins our announcers as James Vandenberg brings Mortis and Wrath out to the ring for our next match. They did have a bad ass entrance, I must say. Tony tells us that they will meet Ernest Miller and Glacier at BATB. High Voltage is already in the ring as Vandenberg’s boys disrobe. Tenay is glad that Glacier finally got some help and a partner he can trust. Wrath and Mortis attack off the bell and they work over both men for a few moments. Wrath takes Kaos over with a back suplex and the heads up top and hits a big flying clothesline. Rage turns the tables on Mortis in the corner but that is short lived. Wrath lands a mafia kick and Mortis heads up top but Glacier and Miller are out. Wrath tosses Kaos to the floor and then heads out to go after Glacier. Inside, Mortis hoists Rage up on his shoulders, but Ernest Miller slides in, leaps to the second rope and lands a spinning round kick to Mortis’ face. Rage falls on top and gets the upset win. High Voltage d. Wrath & Mortis when Ernest Miller kicks Mortis at 1:13; Grade: 1
– Vandenberg isn’t happy with that one as he leaps into the ring flipping out. Glacier and Miller head to the back as Vandenberg levies threats to the camera. The slowly leave the ring as we go to break. As we are about to go, we cut outside where a limo pulls up and Tony wonders if this is the big debuting impact player. The limo door opens and then closes and we now go to break.
– Next week we will be in Memphis, TN and our good friend Stagger Lee Marshall is already there. But he is also here, via 1-800-COLLECT! He is attending a Nitro party on Beale St. The last time WCW was in Memphis, the arena was packed as it will be this time as well. He has picked up some classic blues CDs, but he can not find anything by Blowhard Heenan and the Weas-Tones. Bobby wants to see Lee get bealed on Beale St. Back in the arena, the camera zooms in on a familiar face and Tony quickly tells us that the man is known as Raven. Tenay wonders what he is doing here and says he doesn’t work for WCW. He has been a champion for many organizations. Tony asks if he came from the limo, Mike wonders if he is DDP’s partner and Bobby surmises that he is the mystery impact player. Tony says the appearance has taken their breath away as all three announcers play up his past successes and his potential role. Tenay hopes to get a word with him later tonight.
6) Konnan vs. Jeff Jarrett for the United States Championship
Konnan heads out first and he is followed by the champ, JJ, as the Raven speculation continues. The bell sounds as Tenay tells us that WCW will be returning to Vegas for Halloween Havoc later this year. Konnan controls first, but JJ rebounds with a clothesline and a strut. He stomps away but Konan ducks a punch. JJ misses an Enziguri and Konnan mares him over and hits a low dropkick. Konnan kicks away but JJ catches him with a DDT when he puts his head down. Tony tells us that if JJ wins here, his title will be up for grabs at BATB when he takes on Mongo. They also talk about how JJ is on probation with the Horsemen despite holding a major championship. JJ runs Konnan into the corner and then mounts him and slugs away. JJ runs into a back elbow and Konnan follows with a face plant. He locks in a seated abdominal stretch and then rolls back into a pin attempt for two. Konnan hits a stiff clothesline and then goes for a figure four, but JJ breaks it up. JJ starts to work the knee but Konnan lands another clothesline. The crowd wakes up as Ric Flair powerwalks to the ring. Konnan turns to jaw at him, allowing JJ to clip him from behind. JJ locks in the figure four but Konnan turns it over. JJ reverses it back and Flair grabs his hands for some extra pressure, forcing Konnan to submit. Jarrett d. Konnan with the figure four at 4:10; Grade: 1.5
– Tenay says that we finally have one of our questions answered and Bobby says that all is fine in Horsemen land. Flair comes in the ring and struts with JJ as Debra, Benoit and Mongo all join them. Tony claims that the probation period must be over. Gene is in the ring and asks JJ about his support group. JJ says the Horsemen were never apart, there was just a tinge of professional jealousy. He beat Mongo, Anderson and Benoit, but Flair is the one true icon in WCW. He and Ric have always seen eye to eye and he knows JJ can walk the walk and talk the talk. He is a Horseman because Ric said so. Flair says that familiarity breeds contempt and it is happening right now. JJ is a fine athlete, a great young man, a player, but as of right now…he is no longer a Horseman! JJ is in shock and says that Flair can’t tell him what he can or can’t be. Flair says if JJ doesn’t believe him, he should ask Benoit or Mongo. He tells JJ to tell his story walking, and says he was only a Horseman because the Queen temporarily liked his looks. Debra tells JJ that he is as welcome to in the Horsemen as a skunk to a lawn party…he stinks. JJ says this is just professional jealousy and he makes a promise to Flair: he just loaded the gun and put a pistol to his head and JJ will be the man to pull the trigger and put Flair out to pasture. Flair tells JJ not to overstay his welcome and move while he can. Gene wraps that up and sends us to break.
– We are back and looking back to July 29, 1996 when Kevin Nash tosses Rey Mysterio into a trailer like a lawn dart. We flash forward to April 21 when Nash jumped Rey and dropped him with a jackknife during a match. That has led us to Rey’s challenge here tonight, and the ensuing match is next.
7) Kevin Nash vs. Rey Mysterio, Jr.
Nash is out first as Tony, Bobby and Mike worry for Rey’s safety in this battle. Tony says Rey needs to stick and move. Rey quickly charges the ring, leaps up top and lands a missile dropkick. He follows with three more and then drills Nash with a springboard somersault senton from the apron. He gets a two count and then tries a leaping sunset flip, but Nash catches him, hoists him up by his neck and drops him with a sick inverted atomic drop. Nash smiles as Rey writhes in pain. Nash pulls him up and beals him high into the air and across the ring. Nash pulls him up again and spikes him with a stiff jackknife for the easy win. Nash d. Mysterio with the jackknife at 1:47; Grade: 1
– Nash pulls him up and drops him with a second jackknife and then takes out Scott Dickinson. Konnan emerges from backstage and stands on the ramp. Nash taunts him as he drops Rey with a third jackknife. Konnan quickly walks to the ring and hops inside as Mike tells us he trained with Rey in Mexico. He stands over Rey, nods and Nash gives a nod back and then he heads off. Konnan drags Rey across the ring and locks in a leg lace. He yanks hard on Rey’s leg and then leaves. Rey screams in pain and rolls around as Konnan walks to the back and we go to break.
– When we return, a group of referees and trainers, led by Chuck Tache, are loading Rey on to a stretcher and wheeling him off. Mike Tenay has left the booth and is standing with Raven in the crowd. Mike asks for some background and his reasoning for being here. Raven stares at the ground and doesn’t say a word as Tenay asks about his history with Page and the possibility of being Page’s mystery partner. Raven refuses to answer again and Tenay asks about the rumors of his negotiating with WCW. Raven shoves Tenay’s arm away and Mike gives up as we go back to the ring. Kevin Nash is back out again and he is joined by Scott Hall, Randy Savage and Elizabeth and Tony assumes this is what Hogan was talking about earlier. Nash is wearing a brown wig for some reason. Tony believes Savage, Hall and Nash will take on Luger, Giant and Page when we return from this break.
– And it just may be true as Page’s music is playing when we return and DDP and Kimberly are making their way out. Mike and Tony talk about Raven again as Luger and Giant emerge. They debate if Raven is the mystery partner or the impact player but they really have no idea at this point. Page, Giant and Luger slowly walk to the ring. They stall on the floor, and just stop and stare towards the ring from the floor. As they stand at ringside, we take another break.
– Upon returning, the NWO is still in the ring and Tony tells us that they won’t allow the WCW Team in the ring. Things finally break down and a huge brawl erupts. Team WCW is dominating as Randy Anderson looks lost in the ring. Page is beating on Savage as Hall and Luger go at it. Nash turns the table on Giant and lands some knees to the gut. Hall has also gained control on Luger as the brawl continues. Savage and Page spill to the floor but they quickly come back inside. All six men are just hammering away at each other. Giant catches the Outsiders and crushes them both with a headbutt. He charges, but Hall and Nash duck and dump Giant to the floor. Hogan appears now and heads to the ring as Luger tries to fight back against Hall and Nash. Page drops Savage with the Diamond Cutter as Lex and Hall fight on the floor. Hogan drills Lex with the belt as Nash and Page square off in the ring. Savage is back up and now Hall comes back in. They triple team Page as the rest of the NWO come out as well. The crowd is calling for Sting as the beating on Page continues. Savage drops the big elbow as Lex and Giant are beaten down on the floor. We cut to the crowd where Sting is standing and watching. Savage drops another elbow onto Page’s rubs as Sting rappels from the ceiling to a huge pop! It looks to have been a fake Sting diversion in the crowd. Sting chases off the entire NWO as…Curt Hennig power walks to the ring! Now Raven hops the guard rail and stares down Hall as Hennig climbs into the ring. The announcers are flipping out, trying to figure out if Hennig or Raven is Page’s mystery partner and which is the impact player as we fade out. That was a crazy final segment, but was a lot of fun to watch.
Runner Up: Raven & Curt Hennig
Non MVP: Jeff Jarrett
Runner Up: Rey Mysterio