WCW Nitro 12/29/1997

Written by: Kevin Kildenberger

WCW Monday Nitro 12/29/97

Nitro needs to be good tonight. I stand by my comments on Starrcade. I guess Rey Mysterio was supposed to have another six man tag match. Also, Savage took Konnan’s place in the match and makes me wonder if the ending was changed. Clearly, the Steiners should have gone over and the Lucha’s would have had a great match, therefore adding to the show. It is a shame that the biggest WCW PPV had to have so many issues outside of their control and within it. Nash apparently missed his flight with his, most likely, severe indigestion. The screwy ending is going to turn off a lot of people. Obviously, Sting should have gone over cleanly and seeing as they insisted on the Bret Hart ending they needed to do it just right with a really fast count, Sting kicking out and Bret’s mic working correctly but it was a comedy of errors that ensued almost ruining it. It could have been much worse but WCW did a decent job in covering it up with Sting’s sudden onslaught and victory and then the celebration. The crowd was baffled and then ecstatic. I am sure that EB will not learn his lesson with overbooking a title match that did not need to be overbooked like that. It did the job of making Bret look a monster face despite what the so-called experts claim. The PPV should have been better but as long as Nitro ties together some loose ends and they book it correctly such as having Sting and Hogan come out and address the situation or have a match. Also Bret should have some air time and hopefully Nash or the Giant will have something to say. One thing for sure the fans turned in as Nitro garnered some high ratings but so did RAW which got a 3.3 and a huge 4.0 second hour for a 3.6 on the strength of the Tyson announcement and the solid main event. Nitro got a 4.7 and 4.6 despite there being MNF both shows did amazing numbers.

The announcers tell us that WCW and Sting won last night and are really giddy. Larry comes out and brags about his victory too.

Match 1: Glacier v. Goldberg

Glacier attacks him right away. He is shoved back and then picked up and slammed. Glacier is speared and then Jackhammered and it is over!!

Fuck, Glacier was still considered pretty solid (okay maybe an exaggeration) and it is clear that they are not fucking around with Goldberg.

Gene is in the ring and out comes Bret Hart. Gene calls it one of the most memorable evenings last night and is really happy that Bret joined with WCW. Bret joins and things turn around for WCW. Bret says people were justified about the doubts people had about him and who he would join. He had to take a step back and assess the situation. He had to bring some justice and the nWo does suck and they are scum and they remind him of the scum he left behind. It was an honor to see the rise of WCW and he looks forward to great matches and to satisfying all the WCW fans. He lists some WCW wrestlers, such as Giant, Luger and Benoit and Sting and those are the kind of guys he wants to wrestle and test his skills against. WCW is going to find out what the Excellence of Execution is all about, this is where the big boys play and they will find out that he is the best there is, was and ever will be. He is looking forward to showing the fans what he has. He lists of the nWo scum. He is saving something for Hogan who is probably hiding in the back and now he cannot escape him anymore like he did in the past and now it will all come to a head…..interview started slow but picked up. Now of course will WCW follow through?

Raven is in the crowd bragging about Saturn beating Benoit. The Flock has beaten him week after week and clearly Benoit is a masochist and it is time to finish him off. But Van Hammer heads to the ring.

Match 2: Van Hammer v. Chris Benoit

Benoit comes down, detours over the railing and goes after Raven but the Flock unloads on him and dumps him over the railing. Van Hammer hauls him into the ring where he works him over in the corner. He is whipped into the other corner, placed up top and goes for the superplex and Benoit nearly falls but they correct it and Hammer superplexes him. Benoit is whipped into the corner after a two count and Hammer misses him. Hammer is taken down and put in the Crossface and as he is about to tap the Flock hits the ring and unloads. Now Mongo comes down to help his former comrade. Benoit is up and and they clear the ring and the fans are going nuts.

Angle advancement.

Gene is on the ramp and here comes Flair who has recovered quite quickly from his beating two weeks ago I guess. Flair is glad to be in Baltimore and he is happy for DDP but he has a date with Hennig in the near future. He turns his attention to Sting and is ecstatic for the win. He even has to give Bret his due for coming down and helping and he is correct as he is now in the big leagues. He cannot get off of Bret and he is big time wrestler, columnist and ref and he is upset that his name was not mentioned. He pulls out an article from the Baltimore Sun and it states that Flair is the greatest and Flair prances around and leaves.

Match 3: Ultimo Dragon v. Eddie Guerrero (c) for WCW Cruiserweight Title

Eddie attacks him as he comes down the aisle. Beats him all the way to the ring and then nails him with two big suplexes. He places Dragon up top, and Dragon fights him off and gets on top of him but is shoved off and then killed with a rolling DDT. What? Eddie is put in the Dragon Sleeper and taps out….

Now that was sudden and stupid. Dragon who has not won in months and lost to Disco or someone of no importance. Not sure why this happened. The push and de-push of wrestlers continues and does nothing but harm the midcard and keep them there.

Eddie attacks him from behind.

Here comes Hogan with a bitter looking Bischoff. Hogan brags that he is wrestling and talks about Nick Patrick and they show JJ Dillon from last night announcing him as ref. Hogan wants to remind everyone that Nick called for the bell and EB concurs that this is the truth. He points at the Jumbotron and they show Bret and that is it….just showing him. Now Nick is calling for the bell and the match should have been done and etched and stone. It all went downhill from there as Bret interfered, laid his hands on an official and cost him the match. Now they show a still that turns into the actual footage of Bret claiming it was a fast count and then hitting him. Hogan claims he beat Sting right in the middle and Bret Hart stuck his nose in his business and Hogan is the only champ in the world and he made wrestling the way it is today. He and EB are willing to listen to suggestions for WCW to save face and he is the real champ and he gets his flex on.

A distraught Hennan comes out and yells at Tenay and Schiavone that they did not help him. He went into the fiery den for them and WCW. He should be greeted with open arms and then sits down and thanks them and wants the show to roll! Classic.

Match 4: Mortis v. DDP (c) for WCW US Title

They go back and forth, exchanging holds and DDP has him in a headlock but is shoved off but knees him and then strikes with a swinging neckbreaker. Vandenberg keeps getting up on the apron and Mortis places DDP on his shoulders and drives him front first into the canvas for a two count. DDP is in the corner and Vandenberg chokes him out and Mortis goes over and chokes him out to. Mortis kicks him in the gut and then punches him in the face. He hammers him som more before the ref pushes him back. Mortis acts like DDP and gets pounded for it but DDP runs into a boot and gets faceplanted. He forearms him a few times and sits on the neck driving him into the mat getting a two count. DDP rolls him up and gets a near fall only to be dropped with a spinkick. Out of nowhere a Diamond Cutter and over. Vandenberg gets punched and DDP celebrates in the crowd.

Not bad.

Gene calls out JJ Dillon who is booed. He is really happy about Starrcade and if Hogan and EB are upset then Sting is willing to put the title on the line tonight so it is put up or shut up for EB and Hogan.

Match 5: Disco Inferno (c) v. Booker T for WCW TV Title

Disco tries to get the crowd behind him but fails but Booker rallies the crowd to his side. They lock up and Booker works over the arm and the ref breaks the hold. Disco has the arm but Booker reverses it. Disco elbows free, but is caught with a clothesline. Disco is whipped and nailed with an elbow for a two count. Booker bodyslams him but misses the elbow; he spins up and kicks him to the floor. Booker heads out after him and whips him into the railing. Disco is on the apron but Booker gets his head snapped off the top rope. Disco drives him into the corner and kicks him a few times. Off the whip Disco strikes with an inverted atomic drop and clotheslines him to the floor. Now it is Disco’s turn to whip him into the steel railing. He breaks the count and then runs his head into the railing. Back in the ring, Booker rolls him up for two, Disco comes right back with a forearm smash for two and he applies the rear chinlock. Booker gets to his feet but is knocked down, Disco delays the cover and only gets two and puts him back in the chinlock. Booker is up and given a swinging neckbreaker for two. Disco taunts him and so Booker fights back and he wallops him with a big forearm shot. Booker knocks him down with a few blows to the head; Disco reverses a kick but walks into a heel kick. Booker side slams him, goes up top and finishes him off with somersault legdrop.

Decent match and Booker needed the win.

Stevie Ray comes in and hugs him.

Gene is with JJ Dillon again, and he has not heard from Hogan yet. Here comes Bischoff. EB accepts, not sure if he calls Dillon a liar or that he is mine….he yells at JJ to not screw it up this time.

Match 6: Curt Hennig v. Chris Jericho

Curt pokes Jericho and they jaw at each other, Curt pushes him and they lock up. Curt pushes him off, and they lock up again. Curt puts him in a side headlock. Jericho tries to elbow free but is knocked down after the whip. Jericho takes him down and Hennig retreats to the floor to confer with Rick Rude. Curt gets back in and he hits and chops Jericho into the corner. He throws in some kicks for good measure; Jericho turns it around and kicks him a few times, whips him into the corner but runs right into a double boot. Curt puts him in a chinlock. Jericho counters with a jawbreaker and then a back elbow and a bodyslam. He eats knees on the Lionsault and is finished with the Plex.

At least Jericho gets in some offense.

Jericho is really pissed and beats the chair against the post as he screams that he has had enough.

Here comes a healed Hall after getting beat down no less than three times last night. It is survey time. WCW gets a big pop, and Hall tries to act like it is nothing but the nWo gets a solid pop too and Hall responds that the nWo is here to stay.

Match 7: Buff Bagwell v. Lex Luger

Buff has the mic and wants the music shut off. He taunts Luger and has a message for him, and that he cannot beat Buff on TV or one, two, three or in DC. If he wants some more let’s do it in Baltimore…..terrible.

Luger rolls in and Buff departs with due diligence. The bell rings and Buff runs off and Lex gives chase. Norton holds him and Buff takes advantage with a series of stomps. He clubs him on the back, runs him into the top turnbuckle, kicks him in the head and then whips him into the railing. Norton dished out all the punishment on the floor; he rolls him back in and Lex choked him out on the ropes and then hammers the back. He jumps on it and strikes with a neckbreaker for a two count. Lex is dumped to the floor; Norton clotheslines him and rolls him back into the ring. Buff bodyslams him, and he goes for the Blockbuster but misses and now it is lariat time. He powerslams him, knocks Norton off the apron and calls for the Rack and has him up and it is over.

Nothing great here but it basically makes Buff’s win useless and Lex’s victory is on Nitro and he lost at Starrcade….

Match 8: Hulk Hogan v. Sting © for WCW Title

As Michael Buffer does the intros Schiavone tells us for the 1000th time that it is WCW Monday Nitro (meaning it is not nWo Nitro).

Sting comes out with a purpose and this time runs into the ring only to be met by Hogan and knocked down. Hogan has the belt and cracks him with it and does it again. He drops a few elbows and throttles him. Breaks it and does it some more and again. Sting is dumped to the floor and then scoops slammed. Hogan stomps on his head, rolls him back into the ring and works over the back with a series of blows. Sting is up and stares at Hulk who backs off and Sting goes off on him with punch after punch and finally Hogan falls to the floor. Sting runs him into the railing and chokes him out with his boot. Sting rolls him back into the ring, kicks him around a bit and strikes with an inverted atomic drop but Hogan gouges the eyes. Sting is chopped a few times and dropped with a running lariat in the corner; Hogan gets two and then lays into him with rights to the head. The fans get behind Sting as he is pounded. Hogan gets two after the big boot and is all upset with the count. Sting ducks the clothesline off the whip, and knocks down Hogan before falling on his nuts head first. Hogan telegraphs an axe handle and is hit, but he rakes the eyes and bodyslams him. Hogan misses the mighty legdrop and now Sting stomps on Hogan and then flexes. Stinger splash in the corner and then another one and down goes the ref along with Hogan. It fades….the rest on Thunder.

Well I guess that is one way to hype up Thunder and get people to watch. At least it will be shown on Thunder and not Nitro next week as my show just stopped right when the copyright came up. Despite the BS ending, an ending I cannot get too bitter about as the show was pretty good. They started really strong with Bret Hart and Goldberg. They brought out Hogan fairly quickly and had some decent matches along with a fairly solid main event. It looks like they are being careful this time around and giving Sting some more offense. Booker T winning was the right thing. However I am confounded as to why Eddie Guerrero lost; he should not have, it is fairly obvious that he is quite over as a heel. But instead they push him back down for no apparent reason. Also, nothing on the Giant and Nash and it is clear that a lot still needs to be done and hopefully that will be addressed. I am relatively positive that Bischoff knew he had to put on a good show after last night. There would be a lot of doubters. Of course Nitro is often written and booked on the fly so it turned out fine. The show was fast paced despite doing typical WCW stuff such as perpetuating the midcard and giving them wins and losses seemingly at random. It looks like Chris Jericho is getting a much needed makeover as he constantly puts on good matches but loses far too often, and against older guys like Curt Hennig who are clearly past their prime. Lex got his revenge but it was not on a PPV and he is losing steam fast and needs something to regain that lost momentum. They did answer a few questions but not as well as they could have but there is still plenty of time especially with Thunder right around the corner, so they should have plenty of time to build off of what happened: the major question is whether or not they will do it correctly.

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