Written by: Kevin Kildenberger
The Russo era begins. It was initially to begin after Havoc, which makes sense because they had a lot of things going on and feuds to finish or continue. But the ratings entering the 2’s obviously and rightfully panicked WCW. Well, I will say that WCW started listening to their fans and gave them more wrestling. The product seemed to have a bit more life into it too….Now I am sure backstage things were as chaotic as ever but at the same time the poll they conducted where fans wanted more wrestling, they started to get it. Russo is not known for wrestling or long matches and this bodes ill once the curiosity factor fades for fans. WCW could become WWF-lite and that is not a good thing. Still, Russo can inject new life into the product: pushing younger guys, more lively and interesting gimmicks and characters as well as pushing aside some of the older guys. Hogan at the top for over three months has done nothing and the Red and Yellow wore off nearly two months ago as I predicted. Goldberg and Sid should continue as that has been good, and Bret Hart has been receiving a small push and I am sure Russo is comfortable with him. Benoit has gotten a push as of late and hopefully both the Revolution and Filthy Animals get some interesting stuff to do. Most of the critics point out that Russo’s first show was great and then it went downhill. Everyone was happy that the fly by your pants booking declined and things were mapped out and they had scripts. But Russo wrote so damn much that it was daunting and often overwhelmed them. Russo will also lock horns with the more established guys and WCW management while the younger guys will praise him. Of course, this goes both ways but to be fair, Russo was put in a no win situation. I vaguely remember a lot of the Nitros and at the time enjoying them. We will see if this memory holds true, I am sure I was drunk a lot too! Nitro shot up to a 3.3. The first hour stayed the same with a 3.8 but the next two stayed above a three. RAW received a 5.45 off of a 5.6 and 5.3, a decline from previous weeks especially seeing as they came off a PPV.
A limo has arrived. Out come a bunch of suits with Sid Vicious bringing up the caboose wearing one too.
Match 1: Juventud Guerrera v. Evan Karagias
Schiavone claims that there is a capacity crowd. In the lower level.
They go at it and Juve is tossed to the floor. Juve gets back in the ring and they exchange chops. Evan runs into a boot and Juve charges and scissors him over. Juve mounts and pounds him in the corner and hammers him ten times with the crowd counting along. He is up top and hits the crossbody. Juve gets two and Bret Hart has walked out! Juve is baffled.
Someone in the back told him that he cannot have time for an interview so he is making his own time. He came here two years ago to fight Hogan and get the title. He has been lied too and lied too, and some new guys show up and they say his match with Hogan will never happen and it is the same old politics. Here comes Sting! Sting has his music cut and states politics is a part of this business. He mocks Bret’s legacy with a crotch chop. No one cares if he has been screwed because all of them have been. They are bleeping out screwed. He is going to do something for Bret if he can take his mind off of Hogan and that is give him a title shot tonight! Tonight it is Showtime!! Fuck Yeah. What a great start….Too bad about the match though.
Schiavone introduces us to Russo and Ferrara and this is their first night….Evening Gown Match, yup Russo has arrived.
Tenay is with Sid and his lawyers. I love non-crazy Sid. He has been advised not to speak but everyone will know what will happen.
Goldberg arrives….In a limo of course.
Match 2: Vampiro v. Disco Inferno (c) for WCW Cruiserweight Title
Lash Leroux comes to the announce table. Disco does not like that and so Vamp blindsides him and after spiking him gets two. He goes up top and misses the corkscrew and now he is spiked and it is over.
* Jesus, Vamp is a jobber.
Lash attacks a celebrating Disco.
Goldberg is with Larry and the former does not like or trust Sid. It does not matter because Sid will be destroyed at the PPV.
Tenay asks Madusa about her evening gown match. She does not like it. She is a champ and a professional. She is not coming out in a gown. The idea is crazy.
Gene is with Kimberly and Stacy is there too! Fuck YEAH! Stacy is one of the participants. Did not remember that. I am going to WCW.com to vote for her right now! Jesus she is hot. I will be fine, after a cold shower. Cue Buff’s music. Heenan and Tony complain that this is not on their format. He tells the ladies to step aside and enjoy the scenery because he is Buff and the Stuff. Gene asks what his purpose is. Buff is all excited about the two new sheriffs and they love him and he is the chosen one and it is all over the Internet and he is going to take WCW back to the promised land. Fans boo. He repeats his mantra again and adds the girls cannot get enough of him. He gets his flex on and hits on the two girls….well not Stacy.
Larry is an idiot. He talks about Madusa and turning into stone. Mona is happy to wear a gown.
Kimberly is looking for David Flair….She is hot.
Sid is with his lawyers and he is talking about the fees he is being charged and wonders why there are three of them. They assure him the job will be done.
Goldberg is taping up….
I need Ritalin.
Match 3: Rey Mysterio and Konnan v. Harlem Heat (c) for WCW Tag Titles
Konnan does his thing. Rey runs around the ring but is clotheslined to the floor by Stevie and then pounded before being rolled back into the ring. Here comes Kidman with Torrie and Eddie. Booker is in and he misses two kicks and Konnan gets the tag and he DDT’s Booker and Rey connects with a springboard moonsault. Konnan goes for the Sunrise but Ray breaks it up and Konnan gets a one handed slam. Kidman and crew are at the announce table and Kidman claims they are pitching a tent….Ray comes in and stomps on Konnan. The First Family is watching from the back. Ray has Konnan in a bearhug and then gives him a backbreaker. Booker gets the tag and drops him with a forearm shiver and gets two. Konnan is double suplexed. Konnan is stuck in a front facelock. Booker and Eddie are jawing with the latter yelling from the announce table. Konnan is powerslammed and Rey makes the save. Rey is in and tossed front first into the corner and then tossed to the floor. Konnan is run over. Booker has had enough and they finally pan over and they are fighting and both FA land on Ray and get the win!
** Overbooked but nice to see Konnan and Rey get a win!
David is all by himself. Kim is acting all flirty and asks about his women difficulty. David is barking up the wrong tree and he has never had a woman like her before. DDP is out of town and gives him her key.
Tenay talks about a party atmosphere as the FA’s celebrate with Eddie dousing them with water. Jimmy Hart demands a title shot at the PPV. Konnan calls him a knucklehead and after they are done celebrating they can get in line.
Match 4: Meng v. Hugh Morrus
They exchange blows with Morrus getting dropped and then clotheslined. Morrus rakes the eyes but gets his heel kick brushed aside. Meng is whiped into the corner and sandwiched. Morrus chops away but is sent retreating to the floor. Morrus is slumped down in the corner after getting mauled. Meng chokes him out. Outsiders have arrived and head to the floor. Morrus fights back and takes him down. He leaps from the middle rope striking him. He goes up again and hits the elbow drop. Meng is up and Morrus who was busy celebrating is finished with the Deathgrip.
*1/2 Not a bad brawl.
Sid is walking with his lawyers….
Goldberg is watching from his locker room.
Here comes Sid and he calls out his lawyers. He warned Goldberg. He tells Goldberg that sadly he has to tear up the contract and we will never know. Goldberg charges out and spears a lawyer and then turns right into the big boot and is powerbombed! Sid now says it will not be that easy and shoves the contract down his throat and at Havoc he will kick his ass. He repeats it and leaves. Goldberg leaves but Nash is glaring and says something and Goldberg attacks him and security swarms. The Outsiders have been ousted by Dillinger!
Goldberg is still fired up but finally makes his way to the back holding his back. Hall and Nash are riled too as they are getting booted. They complain about it. Nash whines that it is cold out! They are led out and still complain….Sid had tossed the lawyer in front of Goldberg.
Tenay is with Bret Hart. Bret is still portrayed by a whiner…..oh well. Tenay talks about his legacy and Bret is happy about getting a title shot and he will win the title. He is asked about the PPV and it is not up to him who he faces but if it was it would be Hogan. Sting blindsides him and the fight is on….It is broken up.
Nash and Hall refuse to leave. Nash is joking around and complains that his cold medicine is in the arena and he does not feel good.
Goldberg grabs a worker demanding to know where Sid is and he is pointed in the right direction.
Match 5: Berlyn v. Rick Steiner
Berlyn is getting mauled. After about two minutes Wall hits Rick with a chair and Berlyn gets the win. Well, Brad Armstrong is in the ring checking on him. I could be wrong. I was checking on something….maybe it was BA who hit him with the chair. But Rick chokes him out and beats him on the way to the back.
Nash and Hall are sneaking into the building. They are looking for Goldberg and Nash pulls out cough syrup and starts to drink it….not sure why. Terrible.
Kimberly sneaks up to the room and here’s a shower and thinks David is in there and is getting ready for him. She pours some champagne and knows they will have some fun. Ric Flair pops out instead and Wooos! She had some pills….She is going to get the 14 time spanking!
Goldberg is still looking for Sid and lays out ICP who claim he has left.
Larry is with Lex who is worried and asks Liz for reassurance that he is the Total Package. He claims he has wrestled every killer and giant. Two years ago Goldberg was a nobody and he has been doing it for 13 years. He is not intimidated or worried and asks for more reassurance as he looks around in fear, stumbles over his words and then leaves.
The ladies are prepping for the gown match.
Flair is already done? Nope, David is coming out to his music.
Match 6: David Flair v. Kidman
David charges after Kidman kissed Torrie and he is taken down and stomped. David wisely retreats to the floor. He gets back in and is hit again and slammed. Kidman strikes with a slingshot legdrop. David reverses a whip into the corner and then suplexes him. He takes him over again and gets two. Kidman tries to fight back but is DDT’d. Torrie shows off her lingerie and that distracts David who tries to shut the coat and he gets planted by Kidman. Kidman goes up top and hits the Press. He hit David in the face with his knee….ouch.
** Not bad actually. David showed some skill.
The FA come down after the match and annihilate Flair.
Outsiders are still looking for Goldberg, asking around. Hall is tired of Nash’s whining about being sick. Hall asks Gene where Goldberg is at. Nash offers him some NyQuil and Gene sniffs it in revulsion. He tells Hall that Goldberg is down there and Hall joking asks down where!
Flair arrives adjusting his belt!
Match 7: Mona v. Madusa
Madusa is not really wearing a gown. Mona assaults her but Madus takes her down and pounds her. She drops the legs and then slaps her across the face. Madusa beats her some more and the ref is out. Madusa has a chair and whacks it across Mona’s back. Madusa heads to the announce table. Mona comes out and gets nailed but the dress thing Madusa was wearing is torn off and Mona leaves. Madusa is upset and the announcers are baffled. Madusa has the mic and tells everyone to kiss her ass.
*1/2 Odd ending…
Sting is pacing in the back.
Match 8: Bret Hart v. Sting (c) for WCW Title
Sting still gets a great pop as heel. Bret assaults him right away. He hammers him in the corner. He tosses him to the floor and works him over there too. He bashes him into the announce table and then rolls him back into the ring. He headbutts Sting in the groin area and then rubs his face across the top rope. He chokes him out in the corner and the ref forces the break. Sting rakes the eyes and does it again and again. He pulls him up and slams him and hits the running splash getting two. Now Sting dumps Hart to the floor and goes out after him and runs his head into the announce table and uses the cord to choke him out. Bret gets run into the railing and unceremoniously dumped back into the ring. Sting goes for a Vader bomb but eats all knees. Bret kicks him and then drops an elbow on his head and gets two after a DDT. Hart keeps after him and gets two more. He suplexes him and covers him for another near fall. Sting reverses the whip and sends Bret crashing into the corner and then does it again and yet again. Stinger Splash! He stomps on Bret and then stands on his throat and at four breaks it. He pulls the legs over the post and pulls him crotch first into it and then does it again. Sting takes his time and shouts out to the crowd; he pulls him up and rams his head into the corner and then yanks him back down and keeps him grounded with a chinlock. The fans get behind Bret as he gets to his feet but he is taken right back down, pulled into the center of the ring and Sting drops a big elbow. He takes his time and follows up with a legdrop. After a two count goes back to the chinlock. Again Bret is up and elbows free and gets in one punch but Sting strikes and then follows up with an inverted atomic drop and he gets two. Sting whips him into the ropes but Bret hooks the ropes and Sting misses the dropkick. Bret drops the forearm three times, Sting rises up only to be dropped again. Sting is up but Bret is relentless and whips him into the corner and headbutts him off the rebound. Piledriver! He rolls over Sting and almost gets three. Bret has the legs and stomps on the sternum. He is methodically picking him apart as he pulls him up and drops him with a shot to the head and then rabbit punches him. He has the legs again and starts to turn him over and is able to. Sharpshooter applied and the fans erupt! Sting fights towards the ropes and gets there. Bret jump stomps onto the back, pulls him up and works over the knee and back. He picks up Sting and gives him a backbreaker. Sting rakes the eyes and limps back towards Bret and goes for a suplex but Bret lands on him and gets two. Sting reverses the whip and applies a sleeper. It lasts for five seconds as Bret back suplexes him. Both are down. Sting is up first and heads up top and leaps right onto some knees! Bret pulls him to his feet and gut punches him off the whip and strikes with a side Russian sweep. Liz is at ringside. Bret goes to the middle rope and drills him with the elbow. Here comes Luger with a bat. Bret is going for the Sharpshooter but Luger slides into the ring. Liz has the ref distracted. Luger is stomped and Sting tries to get involved but is fended off and Lex shatters Bret’s ankle with the bat and Sting finishes him with the Deathlock….
***1/2 Great match. Nearly 15 minutes. Bret tapped a bit quickly, but they are selling the ankle and he was checked out immediately.
Ric Flair wants to know why David is sulking. He whines that Kidman beat him up. Ric is flabbergasted! He cannot believe it but David admits he was jumped by the Animals and Ric is beside himself and yells that they have work to do.
Nash and Hall put on Mexican masks and Hall speaks Spanglish with a shitty accent. Nash is woozy from the cough syrup and Hall jokes that he should not have drank the water.
Match 8: La Parka v. Buff Bagwell
Buff is pouting and not flexing or anything. Parka grabs the arm, takes him down and works it over. Buff counters and takes him over. Buff demands he get up and after tussling he tosses Parka. He pouts in the corner again and is told he sucks by a fan! Parka clobbers him and then whips him into the corner but misses the running kick. Buff runs after him but is hotshotted onto the top buckle. Parka charges and misses. Buff nails him. He flexes a bit mockingly and wants Parka to kick him in the head and he does so. Parka gets the win.
*1/2 Angle advancement. I think.
The Jobbers in the back are all excited….
Buff is at the headset and asks Russo if he did a good job and is willing to lay down for others. He gets in the ring and does so. He is up and Jeff Jarrett runs down and blasts him with a guitar! JJ has the mic and wonders how he could be on a PPV last night and be on Nitro tonight. He wants to know if Buff wants to talk about stroke and showed him that he had some…..Fans erupted.
Nash and Hall are cut off by security and Hall wants to know where Senor Goldberg is. Doug Dillinger tells him to stop messing around. Nash starts puking…or so we think and Hall decries police brutality.
Match 9: Saturn v. Eddie Guerrero v. Chavo Guerrero
This match takes an hour to start. Shane Douglas is at the announce table….talking about the Revolution and bringing WCW back.
All three go at it and toss each other around the ring. Tony focus on the match. Saturn spikes Eddie and Chavo breaks up the count and goes up top and leaps back into Saturn and Eddie makes the save. Eddie stomps on Chavo…..Shane demanded they focus on the match. Thank you. Chavo fights back and gets two against Saturn after a bridged suplex. Eddie suplexes him to the floor but turns into a belly to belly from Saturn. After the two count he is working over the arm and elbow. Saturn wrenches back on the neck and Eddie is up but is clotheslined. He keeps Chavo on the floor and then picks up Eddie and dumps him throat first onto the top rope. He climbs up and leaps on top of Chavo. Chavo is thrust into the railing but turns into a slingshot splash from Eddie. Chavo flings him into the railing and Saturn does it too. Chavo now eats some railing courtesy of Saturn. Back in the ring Saturn has the arm of Eddie. Chavo finally gets in and he and Eddie leapfrog Saturn but Chavo is drilled and Eddie has to make the save. Eddie starts the climb up top and takes his time and Chavo nails him and goes up after him and now Saturn is there too and we get a double superplex and they flip backwards and land awkwardly. Ref checks on them. The Animals come down and get in the face of Shane Douglas. Kidman brandishes a chair and Saturn leaps right into it and they roll him into the ring. There is a delay and Chavo suplexes him into the ring and Eddie hits the Frogsplash and pins Saturn. I guess this is an elimination match. Chavo leaps and strikes Eddie with a Tornado DDT and gets the win. FA stomp Chavo and then check on Eddie who is down.
*** This was fun but overbooked. A bit too much happened at the end. Eddie still needs that signature win.
Goldberg and Lex are preparing for their match.
Match 9: Horace v. Norman Smiley
Horace has garbage cans….Hardcore is back. Horace leaps out and nails him and Norman cowers from the can and squeals as he gets blasted with it. Inside the ring Horace hammers him some more. Norman is screaming as he gets tossed to the floor and nailed with the can. Norman reverses the whip into the steps and then climbs up top and Wiggles but is nutted from behind. Horace picks him up and dumps him throat first onto the railing and then drives the steps into him. Back in the ring Norman is knocked around and placed up top where he is chopped. Horace goes up after him and superplexes him off. Horace gets two. Norman manages to escape and Horace crashes through the table and Norman wins.
Flair is speed walking in the back and after the break here he comes! His name tonight is Bobby Clark and they are calling for Lindross. The difference is Clark brought them a Stanley Cup. Flair is not happy with Kidman. Flair is the best and synonymous with this sport. His son is twenty and does not need help but just needs to be left alone. He will be damn good at what he does. Now Kidman and the Animals and he goes off on Eddie about how his brothers could not hang in the bars with them. If they want him then tonight it is on and he challenges Kidman and demands him to come down. Flair takes off his shoes and here comes Kidman and the fight is on. The Animals swarms him and destroy Flair. David runs down with the same result. They take off Ric’s jewelry and wear it and take his money. Eddie straddles David and rakes his face and then they leave….
Luger is in the back and knocks on Liz’s door wondering where she is. He enters and Liz is laid out and a broken guitar is right beside her and Lex calls for help.
Match 10: Goldberg v. Lex Luger
They start brawling in the aisle just tearing into each other. They exchange shots and finally Luger is sent staggering towards the ring and run headfirst into the steps. The fans chant for Goldberg as Luger eats the steps again. Goldberg keeps after him and rolls him into the ring. Lex greets him with some shots to the back. Luger slams him but Goldberg hops up and kicks him in the jaw and then runs him over. He pulls up Lex and bounces his head off the top rope and then stomps a hole in him in the corner. He hooks Luger and tosses him. He sets up the spear but Luger wisely dodges and gets some breathing room. Luger goes to work and stomps a hole in Goldberg. He uses his boot to choke out Goldberg and then slams him a couple times and drops the elbow getting two. Goldberg is getting fired up and shakes off a bunch of blows and strikes with a shoulder tackle and then snaps him down with a powerslam. Luger is backed into the corner and hammered but he reverses the whip and Goldberg squashes the ref. Outsiders have arrived and Hall is drinking syrup now. Nash lays down on the stage. Goldberg is dumped to the floor but he reverses the whip and Luger eats post. Here comes Sting with the bat and he blasts Goldberg with it. Here comes a limping Bret Hart and he decks Sting and he has the bat and drives it into Sting. He breaks it on the post, as Sting ducks. Inside the ring he puts Sting in the Sharpshooter. Luger runs over and nails Bret and goes for the Rack and Goldberg spears him and Bret topples too. Jackhammer! Goldberg wins!
*** Overall this was really solid. Nice to see Hart come back.
**** How to rank this? There were some issues. The Buff segments were not that good. In fact most fans do not care about the insider shit. It is unnecessary but I fear Russo will do that too much. Where was Hogan? If he is in the main event he needs some air time. Why did Kimberly not get any more air time. I am not sure why the Filthy Animals turned heel when the Revolution already have. It seems to be a bit much. It would have been better to build up to a Heat/FA title match too. Still, the show was compelling and they actually had some wrestling and that was fairly shocking. There were some long matches and while far too much happened the show never got dull and was decently paced. The cough syrup shit was a bit much. But what surprised me was that there were a couple of long matches. They focused on all the right guys. If they do this every week then damn, Nitro will be pretty damn awesome but we will see how it works out. Not a bad start and it certainly piqued my interest like it did 12 years ago. Now to see what happens….There were some missing pieces like Benoit and others but it was a good start.