Monday Nitro – January 6, 1997: How Many Times Can We Talk About Hogan Vs. Giant In One Show?

Monday Nitro #69
Date: January 6, 1997
Location: Monroe Civic Center, Monroe, Louisiana
Commentators: Larry Zbyzsko, Mike Tenay, Tony Schiavone, Bobby Heenan

So as I talked about, the Youtube channel I used got shut down and I don’t have any of those shows left. That being said, it means we’ll get to the PPVs and the Raws and Nitros a lot faster now. This is the beginning of a new year and we’re beginning to build towards Souled Out with the first man thrown out of the NWO, the Giant, challenging Hogan for the title. Let’s get to it.

Glacier vs. Bobby Eaton

We immediately start with a match which is a cool thing to see. Glacier takes him down with a leg sweep to start. An armdrag sets up an armbar (yes, a non kick from Glacier) which goes nowhere. Bobby tries a leap frog but Glacier rolls between his legs which results in Eaton landing on him. Glacier kicks hits a spin kick for two and another kick for the quick pin.

We recap the epic Bubba vs. Konnan feud. Tonight it’s a Mexican strap match between an American an a Cuban in Cajun country. Only in wrestling.

Big Bubba vs. Konnan

This is the touch all four corners style. Konnan slugs away but gets clotheslined down quickly. Bubba whips him very slowly and Larry sounds like he has a sore throat. Tony says Bubba is an integral part of the NWO. I hope his parents got him a dictionary for Christmas. Konnan hits him low with the strap so Bubba punches him in the face with the strap around his fist.

Bubba taps the first corner and Konnan jumps on his back with a sleeper. Bubba slaps two more corners along the way but Konnan breaks the momentum. Tony and Larry talk about what Piper was saying last week when he was leaving to avoid talking about his boring match. Konnan starts his comeback and uses the strap to take Bubba down. He gets two corners and has his momentum broken to further this. Konnan gets three but is kicked down. For some reason this doesn’t mean the momentum is broken so Bubba “punches” (you could fit a softball between his fist and Konnan’s face) him into the corner for the win.

Rating: F. See, this is what I don’t get: what reason is there for a strap match? It’s a feud that no one wants to see with two guys that mean nothing at all and the ending was stupid. The announcers didn’t care about it and this is the third week that this feud has been going on. Oh and the replay shows that Bubba’s hand was open so even if the shot had hit, it would have been more like a backhand slap.

Bubba beats him down post match to make sure the NWO looks strong.

Gene is with Kevin Sullivan and has a tape for him but Sullivan doesn’t want to see it. He says there’s something between the two of them that can’t be settled. Gene says the footage is of someone other than Benoit/Woman and Sullivan says it better not be before he leaves.

Here are the Horsemen minus Benoit. Anderson is upset that he’s not here but Flair implies that he’s off screwing Woman. Debra runs her mouth again about how great the rest of the team is and how they’re always here but Benoit never is. My goodness she’s annoying. Woman is ugly and fat apparently and Mongo is a professional. Speaking of annoying, here’s Jeff Jarrett to say he should get Benoit’s spot. Anderson vetoes that almost immediately because Jeff whines too much. Jeff says that Anderson has played second fiddle the whole year so he’s here to talk to the horse’s head, not the rear. Guess what happens.

Jeff Jarrett vs. Arn Anderson

Arn is in street clothes and beats Jeff all the way to the ring. Jeff comes back and gets sent to the floor but comes back in, hits a neckbreaker and puts his feet on the ropes for the pin.

Flair goes after Debra for some reason and Mongo gets in his face. Flair has to break it up and this is making my head hurt. In case you can’t tell, Benoit isn’t around but that’s ok with Flair. Jarrett wants in and Debra thinks Jeff is cute so she supports his membership. Mongo supports who Debra supports but Anderson doesn’t want Jeff in and Flair is stuck in the middle. This is of course being done while the NWO is invading and the most elite group is too busy fighting because of Debra. Don’t you just love that Bischoff booking? Anderson walks out. He would only have one more match on Nitro so that’s one of his last walks out.

Souled Out ad.

TV Title: Steven Regal vs. Diamond Dallas Page

And there’s no Page. Regal comes out to new music and there’s a replacement.

TV Title: Steven Regal vs. Jim Duggan

These are old stomping grounds for Duggan who used to be a big star in Mid-South. The bell rings and the NWO comes out to take over commentary. Now we get the match going as I think Nash thanks his third grade teacher for making him awesome. Oh wait that’s Eric. Duggan takes over with clotheslines and the NWO implies Page has joined them. The match turns into a boxing match with Duggan taking over.

The talk turns to Souled Out because that’s what announcers in WCW do. They talk about the Miss NWO contest at the PPV as Duggan knocks Regal to the floor again. Duggan takes him down with a shoulder and I don’t think Regal has gotten a single shot in yet. Regal finally gets in some kicks to take over but Duggan punches him back. Off to a chinlock as the announcers talk about the WCW contract issues. Savage can’t join the organization apparently. The guys collide and Duggan gets the tape out. He knocks Regal out (referee is cool with it) but the time expires. The match would have run about eight and a half minutes.

Rating: D. Now I’m sure a lot of people are going to say “You just don’t get the point and the show is supposed to be about pushing the NWO.” Yeah, I do get that. However, it gets REALLY annoying hearing about it the whole show. It’s like Cole today: we get it but he keeps saying the same things over and over because we’re too stupid to get it the first time. It gets old in a hurry and it’s only going to get worse.

Duggan waves a WCW flag post match.

Jim Powers vs. Hugh Morrus

The announcers talk about Jim Duggan and how the NWO announcers wouldn’t talk about the Giant because they’re cowards. Powers hits his usual stuff which is mostly no sold. Morrus takes him down and the moonsault gets the pin. Basically a squash.

Hour #2 begins.

We recap the Horsemen split from earlier.

Rey Mysterio vs. Psicosis

Ok this has to be good right? It’s not that the matches so far have been bad but if they’re treated like nothing of importance, why should I care about them? When you have the NWO driven down your throat the whole time, you get annoyed by the matches which aren’t that great in the first place. They spin around a lot and Rey is sent to the floor. Psicosis hits a rope assisted moonsault but mostly misses to give Rey the advantage.

We hear about Liger winning the J-Crown but not the Cruiserweight Title because the match was signed before Dragon won that title. Makes sense. Psicosis takes over and hits a nice top rope spinwheel kick for two. Rey gets sent to the floor and Psicosis sets for a dive. After slipping the first time (but landing on his feet in the ring) he dives to the floor and slams his face into the barricade in a painful looking spot.

Liger vs. Dragon for the title is announced for COTC. Psicosis takes Rey down again and hits the guillotine legdrop (love that move) for two. A BIG powerbomb gets two and we hear about the Steiners coming back to challenge the Outsiders at Souled Out. Another powerbomb attempt is countered into a sunset flip with a bridge for two. Mysterio goes to the apron and hits the West Coast Pop for the pin. It’s as sudden as it sounds.

Rating: B-. Yeah this was good. First and foremost….well first and foremost the match was good. Second and secondmost, the announcers didn’t talk about the NWO the whole time. They talked about some other cruiserweight stuff, but at least it was related to this. That helped things tremendously here and the match was much more enjoyable as a result. Good stuff.

We get a clip from Starrcade of Eddie getting beaten up which apparently is the wrong clip.

Kevin Sullivan vs. Chavo Guerrero

We were supposed to see a clip of Sullivan at Starrcade hitting Benoit. They start fast and Sullivan doesn’t even take his robe off. Chavo gets sent to the floor but comes back with a missile dropkick to both Sullivan and Jimmy Hart. We get the aforementioned clip of Sullivan breaking a chair over Benoit’s head at the PPV. Things slow way down and Sullivan hits the Tree of Woe and double stomp for the pin. Too short to mean much but it wasn’t bad.

We get a clip of Hogan hitting Piper’s hip with a chair last week. Piper screamed incoherently the whole time he was taken out so we spend a few minutes trying to figure out what he was saying because it’s so important right? We even get EXCLUSIVE footage of Piper being put into the ambulance and Piper shouts even more. He’s since said it was the last night of his career. Right.

US Title: Alex Wright vs. Eddie Guerrero

Syxx stole the belt at Starrcade but Eddie faces him in a ladder match at Souled Out. They shake hands to start and exchange dropkicks with Wright’s knocking him to the floor. Back in and it’s time to talk about Hogan! Eddie takes him to the mat as some idiot says this is boring. The champ comes back with a kind of leg lariat and the slingshot hilo for two.

Off to an armbar (on the right arm for some reason) as this match is totally being ignored. Clothesline gets two for Wright and it’s off to a chinlock. Wright snaps off some European uppercuts and it’s back to the chinlock. Here’s Syxx to make sure our NWO quota is met for the segment. He sits on a ladder while wearing a belt and Tony says go up and knock him off of it.

Eddie looks at Syxx and walks into a northern lights suplex and then a backbreaker, both for two. Back to the chinlock for a bit and then Alex hits a top rope sunset flip for two. Spinwheel kick looks to set up a top rope double ax for no cover again. Northern lights suplex the sequel gets two. Alex goes up again but Eddie jumps up and hits a superplex for no cover again. Frog Splash keeps the title in El Paso.

Rating: B-. See, this is a good example of the opposite of what I was talking about earlier. This was actually interesting and a good match which just happened to have a lot of NWO talk in it. I can overlook the chatter when the match is good which this was. I’d love to see some more of these two with about fifteen minutes and less Syxx.

Road report from Lee Marshall. Did he ever actually do anything on Nitro other than this?

Amazing French Canadians vs. Harlem Heat

The Heat clears the ring to start and Tenay actually brings up the history between the managers. Stevie and Jacques start us off and Stevie controls with power. Booker comes in, misses an elbow but Spinaroonis up. Harlem Side Kick takes Jacques down but Oulette comes in to cheat. Back in and a piledriver gets two for Jacques. Stevie comes in off the tag and cleans house. The Canadians mess up with a flag and Stevie knocks Oulette out so a powerbomb/top rope elbow combo can pin Jacques.

Rating: C-. Not a bad match here but it’s the textbook (what class is that? I’d love to take it) example of a filler match. You had a good team and a bad team and the good team beat the bad team with a double team move. I’m not sure what else there is to say here but it wasn’t bad or anything.

We get a clip from Starrcade of Luger vs. Giant and Sting whispering something in their ears.

Lex Luger vs. Meng

It’s a power match of course with neither guy moving much off anything done to them. Meng runs him over and stomps away. Then he stomps some more. A piledriver puts Luger down for two. Lex comes back with the forearm and a powerslam for two. Meng misses a charge in the corner and there’s the Rack but the referee goes down. Barbarian runs in and takes a powerslam as well. He Racks Barbarian and that’s good for the submission. Tenay: “Does it matter?” Tony: “You’re right Mike it doesn’t matter.”

Rating: D. Just a power match here but not a very interesting one. The ending makes it even worse as it was just stupid. I can get the referee not noticing in a stretch but seriously? Tony and Mike saying it doesn’t matter? Wait why am I surprised by this at all? Nothing match and that’s the main event people.

Here’s the NWO for the big ending segment. Eric praises Hogan for beating Piper twice in a week and then Giant by himself. Hogan talks about a battle royal which either never happened or that I don’t remember at all. I think it was the former and that he was talking about the ending to last week’s show. Here comes Giant and the people are two rows deep on the apron.

Giant cleans house and has Hogan all to himself. The right hand is caught and Bischoff hits Giant in the back while his legs were wide open. Nice job Bruce Lee. Hogan gets in a chair shot and Giant goes down…again. The NWO beats him down for awhile and then go to the announce desk. Sting comes out and checks on Giant. Sting points the bat at the NWO and drops the bat to end the show.

Overall Rating: C-. Not a very good show this week but there were two very solid matches which bring it up a lot. This is a good example of where you can summarize the issue the NWO story had: if you didn’t like that story, you were screwed. It’s annoying hearing about it all the time but at least we didn’t have to hear about how great Piper the savior was this week. It’s a better show than recently due to the two good matches but other than that, not much due to having too many squashes.

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