Written by: Kevin Kindelberger
WCW Monday Nitro 9/6/99
No more Eric Bischoff, well after Thunder and he will of course return in 7 months. He was seen as untouchable for years for obvious reasons. He helped revitalize WCW and with the advent of the nWo dominated for two years. Yet as I have written about, there have been numerous ups and downs. He did rely on the nWo for far too long. Bookers everywhere have difficulties cashing out on a money angle, especially when it is still viable. Still, Bischoff would get a solid angle going like the Wolfpac and end it prematurely or not give Goldberg another title run or he bowed under pressure, such as with Nash and especially Hogan, giving in to his demands. Running a company is difficult and Bischoff had to juggle so many differing personalities and often booked on the fly, all the while writing material. Obviously this is going to lead to conflict and chaos and it did, as one booker would say something and another would say something else….and with all the politics and backstabbings that go on in any wrestling locker room, Bischoff certainly faced enormous obstacles, especially as he did not have McMahon’s personality of managing (better than Bischoff) a locker room. Bischoff was prone to anger, something he claimed he got past in 99, but earlier firings of Austin, Syxx and Davey Boy via Fax or phone or Fed-Ex was not right. The handling of the Flair issue was asinine too, but I have documented that. He did allow wresters to form their own personalities and try to get over, now many say that when that occurred the uppercard guys got jealous and they were squashed or pushed down. I can see that, Wrath, Jericho in early 99 seemed to be getting de-pushed and even Booker T. Yet, that is a fact of life in all wrestling organizations but as stated earlier Vince handled situations like this better and people got pushes, not always, as politics reared its head there too (See Vader and Owen and others). One thing for sure, Bischoff has a lot of negatives and had to deal with guys who had control over their characters and he often did not push the right people and give people a chance that should have. However, he did provide entertaining programs; he often put people on TV when they got over such as Jericho (Some did get de-pushed but not all and I could be wrong on Jericho) and listened to their ideas (Bret with Goldberg). He put together a great array of talent and allowed them to wrestle, and he set up some of the biggest matches and Nitro often had a feel of can’t miss an episode. Yet his arrogance was part of his downfall such as his dealings with New Japan, nearly ruining that relationship. His adage to fix everything by throwing money around worked for three years because they made money hand over fist but he kept brancing out, Vegas Grill, music deals, and a proposed Nitro Cartoon….It was too much at once and a lot of up front costs. Most were pitched when a he took a few month hiatus as he was burned out. But his return in late March tightened up the program but by August you can see it slipping. They started the year well making a lot of money. But by September started to bleed money, the over paying of KISS and Master P….the loss of Macho and Raven and Show and Jericho all hurt him. Anyway, Harvey Schiller looked at the books and saw that the last three months would be at a loss causing the entire year to be a loss. The proposed million dollar giveaway etc, and the event on New Years Eve and like what Bischoff did to wrestlers he fired; he was fired, with pay, over the phone. JJ Dillon and others had gone to Schiller to complain about morale and money issues and no one really thought Bischoff would be fired but he was (I should say suspended), not warned or even demoted. So clearly politics played a role as many wanted his job and I am sure some did not like Bischoff and some were genuinely concerned about the state of WCW. Bill Busch will be brought in and he is a money man, but he will not stop the bleeding in the six weeks or so he is there and once again WCW will suffer, and warts and all, Bischoff made WCW successful and without him they declined as ratings fell and so the solution will be Brad Siegel who played a role in firing Bischoff to hire Vince Russo and Ed Ferrara. Bischoff’s firing will not be mentioned and nor will he until April 2000. The ratings jumped to a 4.1 off of a 3.8 and 4.2 and 4.4 while RAW will get a 4.4 off of a 4.6 and 4.2.
Schiavone hypes up that Nitro is entering its fifth year…He tells us we are going to Mean Gene. Nope, he admits he is wrong as they are not (oh boy) and instead out comes Bret Hart!! FUCK YEAH. Love that guy. Man-crush. Bret comes out to a great pop. He had a crazy idea just to just come down to Miami, and he is glad to be here. He has been sitting at home for too long, thinking too much; he finally realized that he came to WCW to make a big difference. The one thing that has eluded him and he needs one question answered. This is not a title but about pride and principal. He is going to ask the bookers and ask the fans to help him grant his wish. He wants to fight Hogan. It does not have to be a title shot but it would be sweet if it was. No one disputes that he may be the greatest of all time. Some boos. He cannot come back until he gets that one match and thanks everyone!
Riki Rachtmann is around still. For the next eight weeks he will bring out beautiful women for the search for the next Nitro Girl! Riki talks to Kimberly about the girls and now it is time to see them. They show a video of the first girl: Zuli. She is hot. Erica is next. Not as hot. Never heard of the Nitro Girls until a few weeks ago. Kimberly is asked what it takes to be a Nitro Girl. She mentions personality (BS) and a great dancer. Why is Riki’s phrase “Yeah Right” to get the crowd hyped. He is fucking lame. He brings the girls out and it is up to the fans to vote on WCW.com. I am there!….oh shit, fucking Time-Warner and Vince McMahon.
Match 1: Lodi v. Evan Karagias
Lenny and Lodi hug and the crowd jeers. They circle around one another and Lenny gets on the apron and is decked. Lodi dumps him to the floor. A fan has a Lodi Rules sign and he hits Lodi in the head over and over with it and gets it ripped out of his hand and torn up. He is pulled over the railing and taken away….my guess is that he is a plant, from his fan club, but the crowd loved it.
Back in the ring they run around and Evan gets two after a powerbomb and whips him into the corner and then mounts and pounds him. Evan takes him down with a neckbreaker and then plancha’s right on top of Lenny! ICP are coming down as Lodi leaps on a waiting Lane. Evan hammers both. Back in the ring. Vampiro is on the apron and Evan just stares at him. Lodi blindslides HIm and puts him up top where he bulldogs him from up top. He pulls him up and spikes him with a DDT. Over.
**1/2 Not bad. Fast paced. Angle advancement.
Gene calls out Hogan. Fuck. Gene calls this a homecoming for Hogan who responds that there is a sea of Red and Yellow (there is not). Gene asks him about Macho Man and Hogan responds that he had no idea that he was in his locker room. He tells Luger to stay away as this is between him and Sting. He promised his son about the Red and Yellow, and it is real. Everyone knows he has a Hummer and rambles and Gene asks him if the picture was a forgery, and Hogan responds that it was White Hummer but not the same one. He is in a six man tag and prove that he is on Goldberg’s and Sting’s team…..No mention of Bret Hart? Jesus WCW.
Match 2: Al Greene v. Barry Horowitz
Schiavone and Heenan gush over the million dollar giveaway. Details next week. Nope, not happening. Not sure what the purpose of this match is….Not very good. Ah, Sid! He comes out to a piano solo as he destroys Barry and Al. He should have come out earlier. The Maestro! He is playing the piano.
DUD….until Sid came out.
Sid has the mic and the fans chant for Goldberg. He is upset that no one is taking him serious (yes, serious and not seriously). Benoit will have to be the example and he will have the best win record in WCW. Better than Hogan and Sting and better than Goldberg.
Vincent wants to join the Rednecks. Curt calls him Curly Bill and gives him an opportunity to do so tonight.
Gene calls out Harlem Heat. They are facing the Rednecks for the tag titles. Booker came here to burn this mother down and turn this mother out too. Ray wants their belts back and he repeats nearly nine times that they will become the nine time champs. Booker talks about Nitrous Oxide and burning this mother etc.
Sting is with Luger in the back and he wants to know what is going on. He opens his dressing room door and Hogan is sitting with Bret Hart. Sting demands to know what is going on. Hogan is getting tired of him but will give him five minutes. The lights go out and there are grunts and crashing sounds.
After the break Sting is laid out. Luger is blaming Hogan and Hogan is blaming him. Hart is just baffled. They shove each other and security swarms.
Okay here are the rules for the next match. I am confused: The first four thrown over the top rope are eliminated. So it is a Battle Royal. The next six eliminated will wrestle against each other later tonight in singles matches based on the order of elimination. The final two men will fight for a shot at the WCW title next week…oh that is not difficult to follow.
Match 3: Battle Royal
First Family are in the ring. Here comes the Revolution with Shane asking the crowd if they are ready for a revolution. Here comes the West Texas Rednecks.
They are all brawling. Malenko was getting hammered but he is saved. Knobs is fighting to save himself from getting tossed and does so. Flynn is beating on someone in the corner. Vincent is getting worked. Flynn is hanging on for dear life. Knobs is out, hitting the ring post on the way out. Vincent is doubleteamed (Curt is on commentary). Vincent is out. Dean is kicking Flynn over and over. BW is working on Malenko. Barbarian is crotched on the top rope and Shane is rocking them. Dean kicks him over the top. BW is trying to toss Saturn but cannot and he is getting pounded now as is Hug Morrus. Saturn and Benoit are trying to get him out. Benoit stops and goes after Flynn then right back after Morrus. After another minute Kendall is eliminated but he helps pull out Shane Douglas. Those two will fight tonight. Malenko is taking it to Flynn. BW is done courtesy of Benoit. Flynn is gone and he will face BW. Saturn is dumped and Morrus is right behind him, and they will go at it later tonight. The winners are Dean and Benoit and the winner of that match will fight for the title next Monday.
Cat Bo vignette.
Fucking Christ. Shitvone keeps talking about one million dollars and how unprecedented it is etc. No one cares.
Match 4: Johnny Swinger v. Prince Iaukea
Johnny controls the first moments. Fans chant boring and that they want Sid. After Swinger stops his momentum by grabbing the ropes does Iaukea attempt a dropkick! Prince gets control after a dropkick and enzuguri. Here comes ICP and Vampiro. Shaggy crotches Swinger and down he goes. Prince spikes him getting the win.
*1/2 Some sort of angle advancement.
ICP and Vamp surround a worried a Prince and cackle and dance around. They leave.
Buff is getting the fans fired up. He is chanting his name and they follow. Berlyn shows up. Buff makes fun of him for not having his own shirt yet. Berlyn yells at him in German. Buff gets in his face but Berlyn leaves. Berlyn is not the stuff….
Match 5: Steven Regal v. Buff Bagwell
They finally lock up after an hour Buff posing. Buff has him in a wrist lock and Regal counters into a hammerlock with Buff returning the favor but he is kncoked down. They go off the ropes and Buff backdrops him and then kicks him to the floor. Regal gets in the ring and is nailed and then run over. He comes back with a back elbow and Dave Taylor hits Buff with the flag and Regal goes to work. But Buff fires back only to eat a knee to the gut. Regal whips him into the corner but runs into a boot. Buff flies into him with a crossbody, and hammers him some more. Regal runs into Dave’s flag and the Blockbuster ends it.
** Another short match.
Buff has the mic and does not like Berlyn stepping on his toes. He says when that happens he is stepping on Miami’s toes. At the PPV Berlyn is not only facing him but the entire USA (really, that is pretty bad).
Match 6: Eddie Guerrero and Chavo and Kidman v. Juve and Blitzkrieg and Psychosis
The heels assault them right away. Eddie is powerbombed and then hammered.
Jesus, Bobby just said that DDP broke Hogan’s leg and they have not touched each other since. They fought last week. Fuck me.
Eddie gets in some offense but misses the plancha. Juve is dressed exactly like Kidman. It did fool me. Psychosis is in and Eddie is getting rocked by all three in the corner. Eddie walks the ropes and takes down two men. Kidman gets the tag and Chavo comes in too and Blitz is doubleteamed and spiked. Kidman gets two and that made Chavo unhappy. Chavo back suplexes Kidman and tags him in. Kidman slingshots into Blitz and Eddie slingshots into a forward roll. Blitz fires back and here comes Juve who bulldogs Kidman. He hammers him in the corner but misses the running charge and Kidman tees off and rips off his shirt. Juve slides under but is caught and hit a few times. Juve stands up and Psychosis missile kicks Kidman across the ring! Juve gets two as Chavo made the save. Blitz is in and a heel kick takes down Kidman, and he strikes wtih a handspring elbow after a whip into the corner. Kidman reverses the next whip and when Blitz comes off the corner he is clotheslined. Juve is in and Kidman floats over and they each tussle for positioning until Juve is caught and powerbombed. Vampiro and ICP are on the top of the ramp. Chavo is in and cleans house against all three. Now all six are in and bodies are all over the place. Juve is launched to the floor. Kidman is wallowing against the ring. Juve pulls Chavo out and Blitz flies over the top and hits his own man. Chavo flies into both men on the floor. Psychosis sends Eddie to the floor. He tries to powerbomb Kidman but is faceplanted. Eddie finishes him with the Frog Splash!
***1/2 I have to give it an extra half star. This is such a rarity nowadays that it will probably never be seen again. A fun Lucha match.
Match 7: Kendall Windham v. Shane Douglas
Still talking about the million dollars. After some give and go Shane front suplexes him and then rolls on top and over him getting two. Shane snaps him over and dropkicks the back amidst ECW chants. Kendall clocks him and Shane goes down. Out on the floor Kendall flings him into the railing. He works him over before rolling him back into the ring, and continues to punish him. Shane ducks a blow and vertically suplexes him and follows up with an inverted atomic drop. He mounts and pounds him in the corner but is knocked off. Curt runs down and knocks Shane out. Harlem Heat run down and take out Curt. Shane recovers and finishes Kendall with the Plunge.
** Not bad. Nice win for Shane.
Match 8: Jerry Flynn v. Barry Windham
They are going back and forth. Flynn is bodyslammed but BW misses the elbow drop and Flynn attacks. Boring chants. ADD fans. About three more minutes. BW wins.
*1/2 Not much here.
Gene is with Berlyn, his bodyguard (the Wall) and his interpreter. Gene asks the obvious: Is he facing Buff at the PPV. Berlyn responded that he challenged Buff first. Gene whines that he did not understand what Berlyn said earlier to Buff. Berlyn grabs the mic and yells in German. Luda tells us that Berlyn said that all Americans should learn to speak with German! Berlyn is the master and brags about Germany. It is a fact that he will destroy Bagwell and the myth of American superiority at the PPV. He will demonstrate that America is no longer the world’s leader…..Damn this is really long. The German invasion has landed and Bagwell is the first victim. This could have been done in half the time.
Match 9: Hugh Morrus v. Saturn
Morrus starts strong but misses the jump. Saturn springs into him from the ropes and Morrus retreats to the floor. Morrus tentatively gets back in the ring and calls for a test of strength, but Saturn kicks him a couple of times only to be run over by a clothesline. Morrus stomps away. Saturn counters with some offense of his own. Saturn though is dropped and Morrus drops the elbow and another one. Now a third. He gets two. Morrus bodyslams him and slowly heads up top. Morrus hits the elbow but Saturn gets the shoulder up. They duke it out and Morrus rakes the eyes, and then Hart does it too. Morrus vertically suplexes him and gets two. Morrus waits for him to get up and clotheslines him. He slowly rolls over and gets two. Morrus is in a chinlock but is backsuplexed. Now they go at it and Morrus bites him to regain the initiative. Saturn is shot into the ropes, ducks one blow but is caught and press slammed. Morrus once again heads up but takes an hour and misses the splash. Saturn is up and Morrus runs into a boot and then he misses in the corner and is nailed with a release German. Now Saturn springs into a crossbody and gets two. He T-Bones him and calls for the DVD. Jimmy is on the apron and Saturn threatens to hit him for a month and waits for Morrus squash both. Saturn is splashed in the corner. Morrus finally heads up top and misses his finisher. Saturn whips him over and puts him in the Rings and it is over.
*** The extra half for a long match and clean win.
Match 9: Chris Benoit v. Dean Malenko
They lock up and circle around before breaking. Benoit takes him over but Malenko counters and it happens again. They lock up again and Malenko is pushed off but runs over Benoit. Malenko’s dropkick is brushed aside. Test of strength and Dean takes him down. Benoit bridges and monkeflips him over; they roll around and exchange a series of two counts. They go toe to toe and slug it out. Benoit gets the upperhand, whips him into the ropes and gets one after a back elbow. He keeps him down with a chinlock. Dean is up and sent for the ride. He counters out of a piledriver, so does Benoit and he pancakes him. The flying headbutt! Here comes Sid. He grabs a downed Benoit. Malenko hits him but is powerbombed. Benoit is up and tries to fight Sid but is nailed only to be dumped to the floor. Sid tells Benoit that it will be one on one. Benoit jaws at him as Sid leaves.
Commercial….It ends there. The match was thrown out? WHY?
**1/2 Shitty finish. Hopefully have a rematch on Thunder.
Match 10: Sid Vicious and Rick Steiner and DDP v. Hulk Hogan and Goldberg and Sting
Cage match. The Triad ambush Goldberg! Hogan is getting pummeled in the ring. DDP wants Goldberg brought into the cage and they oblige. He kicks DDP in the head and press slams Steiner. Sid goes for a suplex but it turns into a swinging neckbreaker. DDP goes for the Cutter but is shoved off. Goldberg is swarmed but knocks everyone off. DDP hits a lariat from the top rope. Hogan goes off and takes out all the heels running them into the cage. Fans chant for Goldberg….Notice that it is not Hogan! Hogan is getting hammered. Goldberg fights back but is tripleteamed. Sting comes out and Lex warns him about Hogan but still Sting wants to make sure….Jesus. Sting takes out Kanyon and Bigelow who try to stop him. Sting is in and he unloads on DDP and now Steiner! Hogan and Goldberg are hurting as Sting takes charge. DDP eats a Stinger Splash and another one! Steiner is speared and Sid is bodyslammed. DDP is flung into the big boot and legdrop from Hogan and he gets the win. Odd cover, almost like he pulled up at the last second….
**1/2 I guess you need to make Hogan look strong as champ. But he does not need a win. DDP is getting a lot of air time but got worked over. I am overrating this but I liked the brawl and to a lesser extent the drama.
Lex is yelling at Sting who finally yells back at Luger….Luger hits him and backs off, so Sting decks him and we fade.
*** This was all over the place, but it had its moments. There was some decent wrestling. Too bad about Eddie not getting a push. What about Kidman and DDP? I think I asked that already…..I hope they follow up on the Benoit/Malenko match, but probably not! DDP and Goldberg is random as it should be Goldberg and Vicious or DDP and Hogan. But WCW is doing some odd things to say the least. Still, they advanced a bunch of angles, had some entertaining segments, Bret Hart is back, and the PPV looks good on paper. But I will say this: Tony Schiavone is the worst. He talked about the Million Dollar boondoggle for nearly three hours. Also gushed about Hogan and others. Tired of his shit.