Written by: Kevin Kindelberger
WCW Monday Nitro 2/16/98
The go home show before the go home show (Thunder). I must admit I thought WCW would tail off after Starrcade but has not. In fact this has been the best six weeks since the Summer of 96. There has been plenty of wrestling, the angles are relatively fresh and getting plenty of time to be fleshed out. The characters are more edgey and they are more fleshed out too. I do wonder what the Hell happened to Bret Hart but Hogan dropped his name but I am sure that is going nowhere. The build to the PPV has been a lot of fun and the card looks pretty damn good on paper. Does this mean WCW will let me down? Probably, but at least the ride was good and the last PPV was well put together therefore I may be in for a surprise. I am sure Savage and Hogan will kiss and make up but at least it has added something to the nWo angle. I guess Bret will be doing nothing as will Flair and that is disappointing. But Benoit and DDP should good and Jericho and Juve, while uninteresting as a feud should still deliver as a match. No RAW meant a 5.1 off of hours of hours of 4.8, 5.2 and 5.4. Not a huge increase despite no RAW, which is surprising but the WWF is getting some loyal fans. Despite that each hour increased and hopefully for WCW they put on a show to woo some future viewers over.
They start with the ringing of the bell in honor of Spicolli. Boy this really gets to me, I guess because he was so young and talented.
Recap of what happened at the end of Thunder.
Here comes EB and Hogan. The rest of the nWo follow behind. Hey I forgot about Rick Rude. I had heard he got in some trouble and that is why he disappeared. Obviously no Savage. EB tells the crowd that the nWo loves them too. It is like the good old days with the nWo back together. Now he wants to know about the C’s and D’s, and Hogan declares that WCW knows they are not messing around anymore, and Bret will be no more. He is tired of the corporate gaga and Nick Patrick is the man to ref the Sting rematch. There is no check Hollywood cannot write like he does for Nash and he will pay for Nick’s legal counsel. Hogan turns to the D’s and it stands for dummy and it has to do with Savage, and he should have apologized after getting beat up last Nitro and then having the gall to sucker punch him on Thunder. Well, Hogan is done, and there is the Macho Man and “OHHHH YEAHHHH” that is not going to happen. He is going to beat Lex and Sting by himself really quick and then rock this place by beating up Hogan, and he will save a little bit so Hogan can apologize to him and Savage can spit on him. Hogan responds that they have one thing in coming and that is their match tonight, and he will take care of Sting and Macho needs to rise to his level and handle Luger and after the ring is cleared it will be down to them. They jaw some catch phrases back and forth. And EB closes by calling Hogan the world’s champ.
Match 1: Hugh Morrus v. Goldberg
Schiavone states that Larry has some thoughts about Spicolli, and I am not sure if he is keeping kayfabe alive as he is old school. He responds that he has a lot to say but in deference to his family he will not. It is great kayfabe is alive but the kid is dead, show some respect you fucking douchenozzle.
Jimmy Hart runs down to Hugh and tells him that he cannot refuse him and then runs off. In the ring he walks up to Goldberg who is stretching on the ropes and just stands there so Goldberg fires off some knee shots to the gut. He punches him in the head, runs him headfirst into the corner, off the whip into the other one Morrus leaps up and back striking with a flying clothesline. Morrus heits him with everything he has but it has no effect. Goldberg spears him and after the Jackhammer it is over.
** Squash. Goldberg advancement and his matches are getting shorter and shorter and the fans are getting more and more behind him.
Video package of the Steiners.
Hall and Nash come out and Hall is giggling at Larry. Nash promises to make it short and sweet. He finds it odd that they are not on the list to face the Steiners. Tony tells them that they are facing them at the PPV. But Nash wants them tonight and goes off on a tirade about the WCW Committee and Schiavone is baffled and claims he has nothing to do with matchmaking. Well, Nash begs to differ and claims it is their right to face them tonight. He threatens to unplug Larry’s dialysis machine and Larry slowly gets up and threatens to make Hall scream Uncle again. Hall and Nash do a little taunting.
Match 2: Sick Boy v. Mark Starr
Lodi distracts him and Sick Boy clubs him from behind and works him over. He bodyslams him and goes to the apron where he strikes with a springboard dropkick. Starr is hammered in the corner but gets the boots up after the whip to the other corner. He suplexes him, and Starr is writhing on the ground. Starr is choked out on the ropes. Starr makes a comeback with some blows and he cradles him for a two count. Starr gets his foot grabbed by Lodi but he breaks away and escapes Sick. But he is grabbed in a double underhook and faceplants him getting the win.
*1/2 Nothing much. It was Sick Boy’s first win on Nitro.
Match 3: Scott Hall and Kevin Nash v. Public Enemy
I thought PE was dead and buried! “Hey yo” it is survey time. WCW gets a solid pop. nWo gets a big one too.
Wait. What was the point of wanting the Steiners tonight when they were already facing another team and facing them at the PPV? Oh well….
Hall has Grunge’s arm and works it over but Grunge unloads on him, after the whip into the corner he clotheslines him and gets a two count. Rock gets the tag and they both beat on him. Rock covers after a swinging neckbreaker. They both hammer him in the corner but Nash comes in and he sandwiches him in the corner. Nash and Hall whip the two together and Nash boots Rock and Hall chokeslams Grunge. Now those two are out on the floor, and Nash misses the big boot and is hung in the ropes. Hall is placed on the table but Dusty distracts and Grunge gets clocked from behind. Nash somehow has Rock ready for the powerbomb and then powerbombs him out of the ring and on top of Grunge who was laid out on the table and the fans love it.
** for the finisher.
Dillinger comes down and cuffs Nash.
Nick Patrick is comparing his situation to what Bill Clinton is going through. His character has been assassinated and Gene declares that he has never said anything that was a lie. Now Nick is contemplating taking Hogan’s offer and claims that it is a conspiracy by WCW so he takes Hogan up on the offer.
Match 4: Mike Enos v. Barry Horowitz
Horowitz! He flies off the apron and hits Enos. Back in the ring though he is nailed with a spinning backbreaker. He follows up with a pump handle slam and strikes with some diving headbutts to the small of the back. He knees him in the gut but is then rolled up for two. Enos powerslams him and it is over, just like that.
* Nothing here.
Bulldog shows up, and Mongo gets in his face and knocks his coffee out of his hand and they brawl and security tries to break it up.
Match 5: La Parka v. Yuji Nagata
Tenay informs us that Bret Hart has arrived and this is the most they have spoken about him for quite some time.
Nagata drops him after a series of kicks, pulls him up and unleashes some chops. Parka ducks a blow and hits with an enzuguri and then spinkicks him to the floor. Parka goes up top and kills him with a big plancha. Now he follows up with a stiff chop, rolls him back into the ring and after the flying crossbody, Yuji rolls through and gets a near fall. Parka is hit a few times but has had enough and clotheslines him. Parka bodyslams him and takes his time going up top and misses the big splash. Nagata spinkicks him in the head and then dumps him back getting a two count. He applies a cross armbreaker but Parka gets his foot on the ropes. Parka reverses a whip into the corner is sent to the apron but he leaps up and off the top and nails him with a corkscrew plancha. Parka slides out and grabs the chair and Sonny grabs it and the ref is distracted. Disco runs in and hits the Chartbuster and the Nagata Lock is applied and it is over.
*** Fun TV match. Some solid blows. Parka had used the chair on Disco hence the run in.
Match 6: Kidman v. Ultimo Dragon
Kidman kicks him a few times and off the whip kicks him down. Dragon sends him into the corner but he is placed on top and he connects with his headstand kick, and now they roll around on the ground trying for the pin and Dragon gets two.They tussle some more, and Kidman drops him throat first on the top rope, hits a springboard kick and gets two. He chokes him out on the ropes, bodyslams him and gets two after a springboard legdrop. Now he uses his calf to choke him out. Dragon fights back, chops him down to size, and Kidman lures him into the corner where he kicks him. Now Kidman is in charge; he takes him down via headlock and has it cinched in. Dragon counters out with a headscissors. Kidman is up, sent into the ropes and he kicks Dragon in the skull off the telegraphed back drop attempt. Now Kidman tries the back drop and Dragon lands on his feet and he kicks away, Kidman collapses and Dragon swings him around by the legs and now both are down. Dragon is up, nice useless move, as Kidman takes him down but now Dragon rolls through and gets a near fall. Kidman rides him down with a bulldog after using the ropes to strike. Dragon sidekicks him in the head but delays in the pin attempt only getting two. Kidman comes back with a powerslam, gets two, and goes upstairs and Dragon crotches him, punches him in the gut and snaps him off with the top with a top rope Frankensteiner. He goes for the sleeper but Kidman hits him in the eye and so Dragon kicks him in the back and he tries again but Kidman escapes again. Kidman slams him and gets two and this time Dragon counters with the Dragon Sleeper and third time is a charm and it is over.
***1/2 I liked this. Both worked hard and it was fast paced.
Gene is in the ring with DDP. Gene talks about the competitiveness between DDP and Benoit, and how it is mutual respect. DDP agrees and likes that Benoit does not want help and that he stands on his own two feet. But he also helps him out because he wants Benoit injury free at the PPV so he is at his baddest. They had a sit down and realized the only way to get to where they need to be is to take out Raven and Saturn so after stumbling over names he sets up the match for Thunder (of course). DDP asks if Raven has a problem with that and Raven enters the ring and the match is on. Saturn comes into the ring and Benoit runs down and the heels flee….I guess it is a tease, but why not have the match for Nitro. I guess it gets people to tune into Thunder.
Match 7: Meng v. Barbarian
Both are rolling on the mat hammering each other and now knife edge chops. Meng is sent into the corner but Barbarian runs into an elbow. Meng unloads on him but is grabbed and tossed back. Meng tackles him and they start wailing away on each other. Barbarian has him in the corner and they exchange blow after blow. They yell at each other, headbutt each other and now clothesline each other. Meng kicks him in the head. Jimmy comes in with the wood chair and hits Meng in the head to no avail. Hart is put in the Deathgrip, but Barbarian comes over and makes the save with kick after kick. It takes four big kicks to the skull to drop him and Barbarian gets the pin.
** Just a brawl. I enjoyed it but not the random interference and sudden ending.
Match 8: Saturn v. Disco Inferno
Parka runs out and blindsides Disco with the chair and just belts him over and over and sprinkles in some kicks for good measure. He dances around and finally some refs come out and stop him.
Rick Martel comes out and he wants a match. The bell rings as Saturn belts him from behind, and kicks him over and over. Martel scissors him over and tosses Saturn around in return. Saturn is sent to the floor and run into the steel steps and now into the railing. Saturn is rolled back into the ring, Martel knees him in the corner a few times. Martel leaps on him but is grabbed and dropped neck first on the top rope. Saturn slugs away, working over the head. Saturn runs him over, heads up top, and connects with a missile dropkick getting a two count. He hauls him up, bodyslams him but he gets gut punched as he leaps off the top. Saturn is nailed with a spinebuster, and it is almost time for the Crab. But the Flock intervenes and the ref does not see anything as he is dropped and the Rings finish him off.
**1/2 It was non-stop and Martel is pretty good in the ring, also the right person went over.
Match 9: Curt Hennig v. Bobby Eaton
Bobby it is 1998, the mullet is out of style! Have not seen Curt in quite some time. They lock up, and Curt slaps him with Bobby giving it right back. Hennig chops him a few times, tosses him out and Rude rolls him out, a knee lift knocks him back out and Rude rolls him back in. Rinse and repeat for a third time. Curt uppercuts him and Hennig turns his back and gets his knee clipped and Eaton works over the knee. Tenay informs us that Curt’s absence is due to his knee. Curt though just grabs him and finishes him off with the Hennig Plex.
* This was bad.
They show Wade Boggs who looks 50 but was still playing baseball!
Match 10: Scott Norton and Buff Bagwell v. Steiners (c) for WCW Tag Titles
Rick and Buff start off. They circle around for some time and Buff armdrags him down and Buff flexes and does his thing. They lock up, and Buff pops him in the head and suplexes him. Rick gets right back up and just tosses him over his head with a vicious suplex. Rick flexes in his face and blocks a Buff blow and hits him back. Scotty gets the tag and puts him in a rear chinlock. Scotty tags Rick right back in and and Norton gets the tag, Rick tosses him and clotheslines him. Scotty gets the tag and puts him back in the chinlock/clutch combo. Rick gets the tag and he has the arm but is shoved into the corner and whipped into the other one. Rick dodges the charge but turns into a Buff clothesline. Rick shoves him off the apron but Norton clubs him to the floor where he is run into the railing. Norton has him back in the ring and is bending the head sideways. Rick gets to his feet but is pulled over to Buff who is tagged in and he stomps and stomps away, and now he chokes him out. Buff covers him for two. Rick ducks the clothesline and catches Buff with a powerslam. He scoop slams Buff, and then back drops Norton to the floor. He bulldogs Buff but Norton makes the save. Scotty runs in and gets tossed to the floor. Now the nWo comes out and they pound on Rick. Scotty runs in with a chair and clears the ring.
*1/2 Angle advancement.
Match 11: Rick Martel v. Booker T (c) for WCW TV Title
Rick had this match already planned tonight, but he sure recovered quick from his first match. Booker is talking to him to make sure he is okay I guess. Rick hits him with a cheapshot and then down goes Booker who is then stomped on. The fans tells Martel that he sucks as he kicks and knees away on the midsection. He now knees him in the ribs in the corner. Booker has had enough and he whips him into the corner and back body drops him, then sidekicks him in the head and out goes Rick. He leads the fans in a “Martel sucks” chant. Rick gets back in and they lock up and he snaps him over, and chokes him out. Booker just grabs him and murders him with a spinebuster. Booker clotheslines him and Martel escapes to the floor. Booker is right there and pounds him there. Back in the ring, Booker gets two after a back elbow. He has the arm bent back. He back kicks him in the face, gets two and goes back after the arm. Martel is up and whips him into the corner. But dives into the post, Booker snaps him over and after a knee drop he gets two. He has at the arm again, and Booker knees him a couple of times but is caught and dropped throat first on the top rope. Now Martel knees him and tosses him to the floor. Booker is thrust into the railing, Rick breaks the count and then comes out and slams his head onto the side of the ring. He rolls him into the ring and puts him in a rear chinlock. Booker is up but misses the dropkick. Martel goes for the Crab and finally gets him turned over but Booker grabs the ropes. Martel is not happy so he stomps on the back of his head but runs right into the boot off the whip. Booker forearms him and connects with a forearm shiver. The ref is bumped and Saturn runs down and nails Martel and Booker knocks down Saturn. Booker though is placed in the Crab and finished.
** Um, not sure what to make of this. Martel gets his promised title but it makes Booker look bad as Martel had a match already. Also, is Rick a heel now? Saturn comes down and I am a little confused.
Here comes Bret Hart. Gene asks if Bret has heard the rumblings from Hogan who blames Bret for losing the title etc. Bret responds that it not true and that Hogan has had issues with the nWo since he came but the reality is that Hogan is scared, scared of Bret. Hulk does not need to come looking for him as he is right here and you need to only call his name once. He goes on that Hogan has been dodging him for years. Brian Adams, Crush, comes into the ring and wants to shake his hand and will have his back in any and every way. He shakes his hand and holds it and Curt blindsides him and now the nWo beat him down. Brian takes off his jacket and it is an nWo shirt. Now Hogan comes out and beats him up. Flair comes down and helps Bret clear the ring. Now it is just them in the ring. Hogan and the nWo glare at them, and Bret and Flair shake hug.
Now will this go anywhere. Good stuff.
Gene is now with JJ Dillon. He wants Rick Martel to come out and Booker was to face Saturn for the title. There will be a title shot and it is Booker and Martel. Saturn is not happy (He and Booker are out there too) and Dillon assures him that he will have his match as he will face the winner of the Martel and Booker match.
Match 12: Eddie Guerrero and Chris Jericho v. Dean Malenko and Chris Benoit
Eddie and Benoit start off. They lock up, and Benoit runs him over after being pushed into the ropes. Benoit now chops off some skin, but Eddie pokes the eyes and returns the vicious chops. Benoit though gorilla press slams him, and Eddie is knocked down again and he runs to Jericho for protection. He makes the tag, and Jericho is still wearing his belt! The fans chant he sucks, and he is chopped and back body dropped. Malenko gets the tag and catches him with a high knee. Jericho falls to the floor. Eddie is in and he misses a clothesline, and he grabs Dean around the waist is shoved off. Eddie is tossed back and then runs into Jericho. Now Eddie is practically powerbombed out of the ring but he lands on his feet and stumbles to the floor where he checks on Jericho, and then gives him a hug. Eddie is pancaked and now Benoit is in and goes on a chopping clinic. Benoit snaps him over and gets a two count. He gets another near fall after a German suplex but Jericho makes the save. Dean is in and spikes Eddie, and puts the Liontamer on! Jericho runs in and he and Benoit start brawling on the floor. Now Eddie makes a comeback with a brainbuster and the Frogsplash. He covers him but Benoit hits the diving headbutt. Jericho makes the save, and Dean still attacks Eddie but Jericho gets the tag and he strikes with a missile dropkick and turns him over for the Tamer but Benoit is in and he is kicked. Benoit is knocked to the floor and Eddie leaps on top of him out there. Now Dean and Jericho attempt to roll each other up and Jericho gets put in the Cloverleaf and he immediately taps.
**** Another great TV match by the four.
Match 13: Hollywood Hogan and Macho Man v. Lex Luger and Sting
Well Bischoff comes out first and he plays to the crowd. EB has the mic, as we all know Hogan would normally be out here with him. But as a result of the right wing anti-nWo conspiracy Nash was fined fifty grand. Hogan is running late dealing with some stuff, and Hogan is going to put an end to all the talk about the nWo being split and Savage has Luger and Sting is all Hogan’s.
Sting and then Luger come out. Savage belts Luger from behind and now Sting turns around and goes after him. Now Hogan comes out and assaults him. Sting is whipped into the railing where he is pounded by Hulk with overhand rights. He puts Sting in the ring and takes it to him as Luger deals with Savage. Sting whips Hogan into the corner and clotheslines him. Hogan is sent to the floor and Sting goes after him. Now Savage handles Luger in the ring by choking him out. Hogan ignored the tag attempt, as Hogan is wallowing trying to catch his breath. Savage is beating on Luger. Savage smacks Hogan on the back for the tag and Hogan refuses. Now he comes in and hits Luger in the head a few times. Luger is up but is back down after a clothesline.He does it again and covers him for two. Hogan gets a two count, however he misses the legdrop. Sting gets the hot tag and Hogan backs off and Sting nails him with consecutive Stinger Splashes and has him in the Deathlock! Luger was going to Rack Savage but the nWo come down and Sting attacks them. Hogan gets up quickly and goes after Luger but Savage wants a piece of Hogan and now they go at it. Flair and Bret Hart come down and it is the four faces left in the ring and Hart taunts Hogan!
**** I loved this ending. It set up the PPV well, the one thing WCW does well is brawls to end the show. If done right the main event or events at the PPV could be great, not wrestling wise but dramatic wise. It was nice to see the return of Flair and Hart and put them right back in the thick of things.
*** The show overall was decent (I will grade Nitro on a higher level than Thunder obviously as it is the “A” show and PPV’s are the apex). It was the ending that really made it. There were far too many short matches but the Cruiserweight tag match was great and the Lucha’s had a couple of good matches. However it did set up the PPV like it was supposed to. On paper the PPV looks great and I am looking forward to Mongo and Davey Boy! Booker T losing the title is odd, as he and Saturn would have been a great match but I guess it does add some drama. Hopefully this near two month momentum continues into Thunder and the PPV as Nitro is keeping me entertained and makes me wonder how it can all go wrong.