Written by: Justin Rozzero
WCW Nitro 9/22/97
E Center Arena
Salt Lake City, UT
Announcers: Tony Schiavone, Mike Tenay & Larry Zbyszko
– We kick off the show with our opening animation before heading inside the E Center Arena for two hours of WCW Nitro! Tony Schiavone is back in the saddle as we visit with him, Mike and Larry at the booth to run down tonight’s docket. Tony says there will be a landmark announcement from Acting Commissioner Roddy Piper here tonight and that it will have a major impact on the NWO. As they chat, Eric Bischoff heads up to the booth and tells Larry to mind his own business and not get involved in NWO matches. If he ever makes that mistake again, he will pay a price. Larry tells him he will swat him like a fly and Eric responds with “Bite Me”. Larry says he has some footage to show and the tape rolls. It is footage from Great American Bash 1996 when the Outsiders beat up Bischoff and Nash powerbombed him through a table. Larry just wants to remind us how gutless Bischoff was and that he was scared into joining them. Larry says Hogan, Hall and Nash will throw them in the garbage again once they don’t need him because he is out of power completely. That was an awesome promo by Larry. And now, it is time for our opener.
1) Rey Mysterio, Jr. vs. Silver King
Rey makes his way out and hops in the ring, where Silver King awaits. Tony says that Eric’s face meant business but Larry doesn’t seem to care. Rey gives a mask to a child as the bell sounds. Back inside, King grabs a hammerlock as Tenay says this is the first singles match between these two lucha stars. Rey hooks a front facelock but King works free and smacks Rey. King puts him down with a shoulderblock but Rey is able to take him to the floor with a headscissors. King makes his way back in and meets Rey with a back elbow but misses a somersault senton. We see Raven walking through the crowd as Rey hits a split-legged moonsault for two. Rey misses a dive in the corner but dodges a King running splash. King ends up on the ropes and Rey takes him off with a reverse top rope Frankensteiner for two. Rey gets a regular hurricanrana but King rolls through and gets a sunset flip for two. As both men get back to their feet we see Eddie Guerrero walking to the ring. Rey goes for another hurricanrana and gets two with a roll up. Rey is distracted by Eddie, which allows King to drill him with a Superkick and an elbow drop. King slams Rey but misses a moonsault off the top. Rey goes to the apron and nails a springboard hurricanrana into a roll up for the win. That was a hot opener as they went non-stop and the crowd was hooked. Mysterio d. King with a springboard hurricanrana at 3:24; Grade: 2
– Eddie climbs onto the apron but he backs down when Rey walks towards him. Rey looks away and then nails Eddie with a somersault splash. He holds up Eddie’s belt and then drops it back onto the prone Eddie as we go to break.
– We are back and heading right to the ring for our next contest.
2) Hugh Morrus vs. Bill Goldberg
Hugh Morrus is heading to the ring as Tony tells us this venue just opened on Friday and was built to house Olympic events in 1998. Bill Goldberg is in the ring and Tony tells us he is a newcomer making his Nitro debut. Tenay doesn’t have any information on Goldberg, surprising Larry and Tony. Goldberg pushes Morrus into the corner and slugs away a bit before backing off. They reset and Hugh grabs a top wristlock that Goldberg quickly reverses. He works the arm a bit and quickly takes Hugh down into a leg submission. Hugh grabs the ropes to force a break and comes back with a flying clothesline off the second rope. Hugh heads up top and nails the No Laughing Matter but Goldberg kicks out, surprising everyone. Morrus lands a back elbow but Goldberg no sells it and pops back up. He does a random standing backflip and then catches a charging Morrus with a nice powerslam. Goldberg picks Morrus up and slams him back down. He picks him up again and then crushes him with a Jackhammer for the upset win, shocking everyone. That was a hell of a debut and he looked strong in kicking out of Hugh’s finisher. Goldberg d. Morrus with a Jackhammer at 2:41; Grade: 1
– Goldberg quickly exits the ring and heads to the back as Morrus tries to reconcile what just happened. Gene tries to get a word with Goldberg but Bill has nothing to say and just walks off. Before we go to break, we get an NWO Paid Announcement. It is just a short mash up of the NWO Horsemen parody from a few weeks back, with some added subtitles and graphics in a funny touch.
– We are back and visiting with our announcers again as they discuss the opening of the show. Tony then takes us back to Fall Brawl when Larry helped DDP and Lex Luger defeat Scott Hall and Randy Savage. Tony thanks Larry, who says it was a spur of the moment decision. He talks about his relationships with Luger and Page as we hit the ring.
3) Disco Inferno vs. Alex Wright for the WCW Television Championship
Disco jives his way down to the ring as we get more Fall Brawl talk. The TV champion is out next as Tony and Mike talk about the brief history between these two. The crowd is all over Wright as he takes his jacket off and settles in. They lock up and Disco breaks clean in the corner but Wright smacks him in the face. They lock up again and Wright takes him down with an armdrag but Disco returns the favor with a slap. Disco hiptosses Wright out of the ring and Alex takes a moment to regroup. We check out Raven in the crowd as Wright hops back in the ring. Wright chops away and grabs a wristlock as we take a quick break. When we return, Disco is hammering away at Wright’s stomach. Disco charges in the corner but eats a back elbow and Wright follows with a spinning heel kick. Wright hits a charging back elbow and then stomps Disco down in the corner. Wright dances and then whips Disco into the corner. Disco avoids a charge and lands a back suplex but Wright pops up and levels him with a clothesline for two. Wright hits a snap suplex and then heads up top, taking his time. He comes flying off and stomps on Disco’s chest. He pulls Disco up and chops away in the corner. Wright misses a charging axehandle in the corner and then slugs away at Wright. Alex buries a knee to the gut and heads up top but Disco crotches him. The crowd is into Disco big time as he hammers on Alex. He takes Alex over with a back body drop and then takes him down with a swinging neckbreaker for two. Disco slams Wright down and heads to the middle rope but Wright dodges an elbow drop. Alex hits a belly-to-back suplex for two. They trade leapfrogs but both men attempt a cross body and take each other out simultaneously, but Disco falls onto Alex and ends up with the win and the title! That was a really good little title match and a good upset and change that had the crowd rocking. Inferno d. Wright with a cross body block to win the WCW Television Championship at 6:18; Grade: 2
– Disco can barely celebrate as he still winded. We cut to the aisle where Jacqueline has made her way out and is dragging Gene to the ring. Jackie wants to speak with Disco as he leaves the ring. Disco wants to know if she wants to dance with the champion. Jackie says that everyone knows why Disco was gone for six months. Gene wants to know what she is talking about but Disco tells her now isn’t the time or place to discuss. Jackie says she hasn’t beaten up any guys lately but she knows she can beat Disco. Disco says this is silly and absurd to acknowledge on the night of his championship party. Disco tries to leave but Jackie grabs him. Disco tells her not to push it and takes off. Jackie says this isn’t over and she stalks off as well. We check out the Valvoline replay and then head to commercial.
– As we come back, we get another NWO Paid Announcement recapping the Horsemen parody. We then head back into the arena where the NWO music is playing as Scott Hall and Syxx are coming down to the ring. Tony reminds us that all of the Horsemen are on the sidelines with injuries except Steve McMichael. Hall has the mic and says he and Syxx were talking backstage and they need to know if all these people here came to see WCW or the NWO. I think they came to see the NWO, which means it is another win for the good guys. Everybody knows how sweet they are and says it is a fluke that Lex Loser could ever get his muscular shoulders pinned to the mat. It took the help of a washed up has been rassler like Larry Zbyszko to get it done. Hall says he is a workingman’s wrestler and he came here to fight. So, he wants someone to tell Terry Taylor that he isn’t waiting until Halloween Havoc because he wants Luger right now. He knows Luger doesn’t want any of him, so he calls Larry down to the ring instead. Larry has had enough, throws his headset down and stalks to the ring as Tony eggs him on. Syxx holds the ropes open as Hall says that Larry is all bluff and no stuff but Larry clearly doesn’t want to get in the ring with Syxx in there as well. Hall tells Larry to get someone else down here and Hall and Syxx will show everyone why they are too sweet. Larry heads off as Hall and Syxx stand waiting in the ring. Some music fires up and it looks like we have a challenger.
4) Scott Hall vs. Hector Garza
Garza hits the ring as Hall and Syxx make exaggerated bullfighting motions. Hall attacks Garza with boots to the gut and stomps him into the corner. Hall messes with Mark Curtis and rips the pocket off of his shirt. Hall puts Garza across the top rope and takes him over with a super fallaway slam. He then messes with Curtis’s bowtie and untucks his shirt. As Hall is playing around, Garza jumps up and takes him over with a schoolboy for the upset win. Although Curtis did give a bit of a fast count but it was still quite the upset. Hall is freaking out and the crowd and announcers are pumped up as the night of upsets continues. Garza d. Hall with a roll up at 1:20; Grade: .5
– Hall grabs Garza and drops him with the Outsider Edge. Syxx grabs Curtis and hands him to Hall. Hall bends him over and drops him with the Outsider Edge after calling out Larry again. Hall stacks Curtis on top of Garza and sits on them as Syxx counts three and we cut to break.
Announcers: Tony Schiavone, Mike Tenay & Bobby Heenan
We are back from break and it is time for Hour Two. We visit with the announcers as they recap Hour One for us. Tony reminds us of Piper’s announcement and Bobby says it will be a big one based on Piper’s track record.
5) La Parka, Psychosis, Villano IV and Villano V vs. Ultimo Dragon, Lizmark, Jr., Ciclope & Juventud Guerrera
Psychosis, Parka and the Villanos head to the ring with Sonny Onoo leading the way as we are set for some lucha action to kick off Hour Two. Dragon leads his team out next as Tenay is in heaven running down all the information on these guys. The bell sounds and I will do my best to keep up with this one. Dragon and Psychosis start off and Dragon puts him down with a shoulderblock. He follows with a spin kick but Psychosis slugs him down on a leapfrog attempt. Psychosis shoots Dragon to the corner but Dragon balances on the buckle using his head and then dropkicks Psychosis. He grabs Psychosis and slides him across the mat and out to the floor headfirst. Parka comes in with a dropkick to send Dragon to the floor. Juvy leaps in and takes Parka down with a headscissors and then lands a spin kick. Parka bails to the floor and Villano V comes in to knock Juvy outside as well. Ciclope is in next and they trade reversals until he kicks V to the floor. IV comes and knees Ciclope to the floor. Lizmark comes in but IV drills him with a slap. Lizmark shakes it off and hits a cross body block. Dragon pops in for a moment and takes IV over with a back body drop, allowing Lizmark to charge and follow with a headscissors takeover for two. All either men rush the ring and a brawl breaks out. Things shake out a bit as everyone spills to the floor. Lizmark dives out onto IV and V reciprocates with one onto Lizmark. Ciclope hits a nice somersault splash onto V and then Parka dives onto everyone with a corkscrew moonsault. Juvy is out next with a crazy dive into the pile. Back inside, Dragon dodges a Psychosis charge and then puts him on the top rope. Dragon follows up but Sonny Onoo yanks Dragon to the floor. Psychosis goes up top and leaps off but Dragon moves and he nails Onoo. Back inside, Parka takes Juvy over with a powerslam. Outside, Dragon has Psychosis in the Dragon sleeper. Juvy and Parka are battling in the ring and Juvy takes Parka over with a springboard flying headscissors. Juvy follows with a flurry of spins into a roll up for the win. That was your standard non-stop Lucha spotfest war and was fun as always. Dragon, Lizmark, Ciclope & Guerrera d. Parka, Psychosis & Los Villanos when Guerrera pins Parka with a roll up at 4:40; Grade: 2
– Onoo and Psychosis are recovering on the floor as Tenay takes us through a replay. We then head to Gene who has hopped into the ring as it cleared out. We are in the shank of the evening and it is time to chat with Commissioner Piper who will finally deliver his big announcement. The clean-shaven Piper slowly marches to the ring, looking very focused. Piper says they have some straightening out to do around here. He says Scott Hall was crying his eyes out backstage after Fall Brawl because Larry cost him the match. Hall had a point, as Larry was not an appointed official that night. So, Piper announces Scott Hall vs. Lex Luger for Halloween Havoc and Larry will be the special guest referee. War Games was brutal as Curt Hennig smashed Ric Flair in the head with the cage door, maybe ending his career, and Chris Benoit has a concussion. WCW wants to ban cage match because they are inhumane, brutal, and insane and that is why he wants to fight Hogan inside one at Halloween Havoc. This will be the first time in history that Piper and Hogan get inside a steel cage and it will the last time because he will finish Hogan’s career. He has had more cage matches than Brigham Young had wives and he is the guy that spent the week in Alcatraz because he loves cages. He will slam the door on Hogan’s head so many times he will think he is in Grand Central Station. The theme for the cage match is that he will make Mike Tyson look like a vegetarian. The NWO may be for life but Roddy Piper is forever. He tells Hogan he is cornered and asks him what he is going to do. And that is that. Well, so much for the biggest announcement in the history of WCW. Piper plays to the crowd as we go to break.
– We are back from break and catching up with Lee Marshall who is in Worcester, MA. He is meeting Nitro Party fans from all over New England and they all have tickets for next week. Worcester is the home of the College of the Holy Cross as well as Dr. Robert H. Goddard, father of the US Infantry and Dr. Jeremiah Heenan, father of US weasltry. Bobby says that Paul Revere would be warning people that Lee was coming to town if he were alive still. And off that hilarity, we head to the ring.
6) Faces of Fear vs. Steiner Brothers
Both teams make their way out as Tony and Tenay discuss upcoming Nitro dates as well as Piper’s announcements from last segment. The Steiners have Ted DiBiase with them and get a big pop from the fans. The bell sounds and Scott and Meng will kick things off. They trade waistlocks until Scott gains control with a hammerlock. He lands some knees and then tries a shoulderblock, but neither man budges. He tries a third and puts Meng down this time. Scot follows with a butterfly suplex, sending Meng to the floor. Barbarian comes in but Rick knocks him outside as well. Meng gets back in and tags out. Scott does as well as we reset the match. Rick hammers away on Barbarian and then takes him over with a nice powerslam. He follows with a clothesline and gets two before tagging Scott back in. Scott takes Barbarian over with a full nelson suplex. Barbarian is able to blind tag Meng and then they crush Scott with a backdrop into a powerbomb. That was quite impressive as Barbarian didn’t catch Scott clean and he had to hoist him back up before dropping him to the mat. Barbarian tags back in and gets two. He stomps away and then tags Meng back in. He chokes away at Scott as we get more Piper talk from the announcers. Meng hits a backbreaker for two before tagging Barbarian back in. They drill Scott with a double headbutt and then Barbarian slams him down for two. He tags Meng back in but Scott catches them both with a club to the back and plants them with a double clothesline. He crawls over and tags Rick to a big pop. He works over both men with clotheslines and right hands. Rick drops Barbarian with a sidewalk slam and then tosses Meng with an overhead belly-to-belly suplex. He clotheslines Meng out of the ring. Scott comes in and picks Barbarian up on his shoulders and turns around as Rick climbs to the top. Before Rick can jump, Meng pops up and shoves him off the top rope and into Scott, who goes flying to the mat with barbarian crashing on top of him. Meng misses a big boot but is able to hook the Tongan Death Grip on Rick. He forces him to the mat and picks up the win! Wow, that was an upset. I wanted another ten minutes of these teams stiffing the crap out of each other, as this was super fun. Faces of Fear d. Steiner Brothers when Meng pins Rick with the Tongan Death Grip at 5:23; Grade: 2.5
– DiBiase is arguing with Scott Dickinson as the Faces of Fear speak gibberish into the camera. We check out the replay and then head back to the ring as the NWO music is filling the air. Eric Bischoff and Hollywood Hogan make their way out and Hogan is wearing Ric Flair’s robe with the arms cut off. As we know, Curt Hennig gave Hogan Flair’s robe as a gift. Eric says he is still king and Hogan is still the champ. Hogan wants to know where Sting is because he is looking for him. They look to the rafters but Sting is not there. Bischoff says Sting is scared to death. Hogan says they pay respect to the brotherhood and they give full respect to Curt Hennig, thanking him for their newest trophy. He puts down Flair a bit, saying he is too old to keep up and needs to be put to pasture. He rips Piper as well, calling him a liar. After he puts Piper down in the cage, he will be put to pasture as well. Bischoff tells Piper not to destroy the company he built. Hogan says you are either with or against the NWO and they are the patient fishermen. In Vegas, Hogan will eat Piper alive in the cage, beating him over and over and then hurt him NWO style. Flair was first and Piper will be second as there is no way to beat Hogan in a cage because they are too sweet. Well, that was certainly to the point and succinct. Hogan poses and we head to commercial.
– We are back and the NWO music is firing back up as Randy Savage and Elizabeth are making their way to the ring. Tony tells them to get their own show and leave WCW alone. He and Tenay remind us that the NWO can call the shots on interview time as part of their War Games concessions from last year. Tony tells us that he is being told that Savage will be wrestling, so away we go.
7) Randy Savage vs. Stevie Richards
Savage grabs the mic and asks Liz what she thinks of DDP. She thinks Page is just walking in Savage’s shadow. He says that the NWO and the Madness are on a roll and are too sweet. He has a big present for Curt Hennig later on tonight and that present is Liz accompanying him in his match later tonight. Savage tells the crew in the back to bring out a chump and they oblige with Stevie Richards. Savage bails to the floor to chat with Liz as the bell sounds and then he hops back in and plays to the crowd. Raven is still at ringside and Savage points at him before we finally get under way. Savage kicks Stevie and takes him down with a running clothesline. He hot shots Savage across the top rope and then chokes away at him. Tony tells us Page vs. Savage at Halloween Havoc is now official. Liz helps choke Stevie as Savage distracts Mickey Jay. Savage tosses Stevie to the floor and runs him into the barricade right in front of Raven. Raven stands up but Liz tells Savage to maintain his focus. Back inside, he slams Stevie down and heads up top. He comes crashing off with the elbow and pins Stevie with one foot. Well, that was a nice serving of squash. Savage d. Richards with the big elbow at 3:15; Grade: .5
– Raven hops the railing and gets into the ring. He walks up to Savage and stares him down. Savage shoves Mickey Jay down but Raven turns away and grabs Stevie instead. He plants Stevie with a DDT and Savage takes off. Raven stares into the crowd and Savage poses as we go to break.
8) Konnan & Scott Norton vs. Booker T. in a handicap match
We are back and the wonderful sounds of the NWO B-Team theme is playing. Konnan, Scott Norton and Vincent are making their way out and then are followed by Booker T. and Jacqueline. Tony wonders where Stevie is, as Booker gets into the ring. Booker grabs the mic and lets us know that Stevie tore his Achilles. He is more man than Konnan and Norton and Jackie is more man than Vincent. He will take on either of them right here. Norton says it isn’t his problem that Stevie is hurt and that Booker signed to a tag match and that is what is going down. Konnan starts off and hammers away at Booker. He misses a charge in the corner and Booker turns and kicks Norton to the floor. Konnan takes Booker over with a back body drop but Booker pops up and drills Konnan with a sidekick. Booker hits the ropes but Norton pulls the top rope down and he tumbles to the floor. Norton runs Booker into the steel and then tosses him back inside. Konnan kicks away but Booker elbows his way back into things. Booker nails a full nelson slam for two but Norton breaks up the pin. Booker hits another sidekick and then knocks Norton and Vincent to the floor. Booker gets a roll up but Norton breaks up the pin with a clothesline. He stays in the ring and they crush Booker with a spike piledriver. They stomp away at Booker and Vincent joins in as Nick Patrick calls for the bell. Booker looked pretty good out there and it looks like he is going to be pushed as a singles star while Stevie is out. Booker d. Norton & Konnan by disqualification at 2:26; Grade: 1
– The beating continues as we head to commercial.
– We are back and the Nitro Girls are dancing in the aisle. They shuffle off, as it is main event time.
9) Jeff Jarrett vs. Curt Hennig for the WCW United States Championship
Jeff Jarrett and Debra make their way out to the ring as Jarrett is getting the title shot he earned at Fall Brawl. The NWO music fires up once again as Curt Hennig and Liz come down to the ring, US title in tow. We take a quick break as Hennig is heading out but return in time for the bell. Jarrett elbows out of a waistlock and Hennig bails to the floor to regroup. He gets back in the ring and we get a lockup with Hennig attacking off the break. Jarrett puts Hennig down with a clothesline and Hennig bails again. He gets back in and buries a knee into Jarrett’s gut. Jarrett slams Hennig down and Hennig returns the favor. Jarrett takes Hennig over with a side headlock and hammers away at him. Hennig wriggles free and hits the deck again. He gets back in and we get another lockup and Hennig attack off the break. He kicks Jarrett down and punishes him with an anklebreaker. He drags Jarrett to the corner and wraps his leg around the post. He continues to work the leg on the floor and then grabs a chair but Jarrett avoids the charge. Jarrett rams him face first into the chair and then hot shots him on the guardrail. Back inside, Jarrett slugs away but whiffs on a dropkick. Hennig recovers and clotheslines Jarrett to the floor. Jarrett is able to trip Hennig up and yank him into the ring post. Jarrett slides back inside and lands a swinging neckbreaker. Both men are slow to get up but Hennig is able to hook a sleeper off a whip. Jarrett wriggles around and hits a jawbreaker to break free. Hennig is back up and hammering on Jarrett. Jeff comes back with a boot to the gut and a DDT but he is too winded to cover. They are both up and Jarrett plants him with a clothesline. Jarrett starts to kick away at the leg and then slingshots him into the top turnbuckle. Jarrett grabs the leg and locks in the figure four but Liz is distracting Randy Anderson, which allows Savage the chance to slide in and hand Hennig the belt. Hennig slugs Jarrett with it and then drags him up and into the Hennigplex for the win. They worked hard but it just wasn’t clicking out there for these two. Hennig d. Jarrett with the Hennigplex at 8:55; Grade: 2
– Jarrett is out cold as the NWO all pours out of the dressing room and into the ring to celebrate. Syxx picks up Jarrett and holds him for Savage to hit a double axehandle off the top rope. They pick him up again as Hogan can punch him a few times. The crowd starts to buzz as the Giant stalks to the ring. He comes rushing in but we are out of time…see you next week in Worcester!
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.