Monday Nitro – March 17, 1997: The Summer Funk Begins

Monday Nitro #79
Date: March 17, 1997
Location: Savannah Civic Center, Savannah, Georgia
Commentators: Tony Schiavone, Mike Tenay, Larry Zbyszko, Bobby Heenan

It’s the night after Uncensored and the big story is that Sting has declared his loyalty for WCW by attacking the NWO to close the show last night. At the same time though it’s not all good for the purple and gold (WCW for you young people out there) as the NWO won the main event last night, basically giving them unlimited power in the company. There are eleven matches tonight so expect some quick finishes. Let’s get to it.

Rey Mysterio vs. Psychosis

Mysterio takes him to the mat to start and controls from behind. Psychosis takes him to the mat as we see the Japanese announce table which has Ultimo Dragon sans mask. Rey tries to do his kickoff out of a test of strength position but they mistime it horribly. A springboard headscissors sends Psychosis to the floor and Rey follows it with a rana off the apron. Back in and Psychosis rams him stomach first into the buckle. Psychosis misses a charge into the post and Rey hits a flip dive to the floor. West Coast Pop is HORRIBLY botched as Psychosis’ head is drive into the mat ala a piledriver for the pin.

Rating: C-. I haven’t seen Rey botch this much stuff in years. The ending was almost scary as Psychosis just stopped moving when his head got driven into the mat like that. The match wasn’t horrible but with two noticeable botches in three and a half minutes, how good can you consider a match?

Arn Anderson says Sting came home last night, but that’s not what he’s here to talk about. He was injured at Halloween Havoc and has to have neck surgery. Arn talks about how his grandmother stayed alive long enough to see him become a mature adult. Last night he saw his family, the Horsemen, mature. He also saw Sullivan’s son recently and it looks like the Sullivan family has broken up completely. Anderson says he’ll be back, but he never would be, at least not in the ring.

We recap last night with Savage and Liz attacking Kimberly and Page. They spray painted Kimberly when page was down.

Maxx vs. Diamond Dallas Page

Maxx is a muscle guy who is part of the Dungeon of Doom. There’s a slight chance that he’s the same guy that played Maxx Muscle, who was Page’s bodyguard back in 1995. This is a squash, with Page hitting a top rope splash of all things. He escapes a full nelson and hits the Cutter for the quick pin in maybe a minute and a half.

Page says he’s hunting for Savage and Liz. We’re also told possibly for the first time that Page and Kimberly are married in real life. Savage is a dead man walking. Page starts to leave but Savage and Liz are in the crowd. Savage says he’s the icon and Page is the wrestler with no name. Talk of a non-sanctioned match is mentioned but Savage says it’ll be later. Page charges into the crowd but Savage gets away.

Hugh Morrus/Konnan vs. Renegade/Joe Gomez

Before the match here are Bischoff and the Outsiders to take over the announce desk. Actually scratch that as they just have an announcement: they’ll be getting in the ring tonight but no opponents are mentioned. Apparently them getting to challenge for any title they want according to the stipulations from the main event last night now means the champions get to pick when they wrestle ever.

Back to the match which starts with Morrus jumping Gomez and working over his knee. Konnan comes in quickly and kicks at said knee. The Dungeon trades off a few times but the offense doesn’t improve at all. The announcers talk about Spring Stampede a bit as not much is going on during the match. A clothesline puts Gomez down and Konnan comes back in for a half crab. After about three minutes of leg work Gomez finally tags in Renegade. He cleans house for about fifteen seconds and then tags back out when Gomez can’t even stand. It takes about ten seconds to hit No Laughing Matter for the pin on Joe.

Rating: D. This was a dull match and it seems like they were trying to set up a feud between Renegade and Gomez for who knows what reason. The match was boring as it was about four minutes of leg work followed by the angle to end the show. Gomez stayed around for a long time and never did anything at all.

US Title: Dean Malenko vs. Scotty Riggs

Malenko won the title last night. Riggs lost a strap match to Bagwell last night so he gets a title match tonight. Makes perfect sense right? Scotty hits a quick dropkick to start but it only gets two. Dean will have none of that and sends Riggs to the floor and into the barricade. Back in and we get a pinfall reversal sequence for some two counts. Riggs makes a quick comeback with his jobber level offense before he gets caught in a hot shot. Dean grabs a rolling cradle for the pin to retain fast.

Lex Luger/The Giant vs. The Knuckles

That would be Knuckles Nelson and T. Rantula. I don’t know about you, but I’m smelling an upset here. Giant and Rantula start us off and the man who would be Peter Parker is thrown back into his own corner quickly. Nelson comes in and this is squash territory already. Giant works him over in the corner for awhile until Rantula comes in to help. That goes nowhere either and it’s a chokeslam for Nelson. Luger walks in without a tag and powerslams Rantula as Giant pins Nelson. Luger Racks Rantula post match. Total squash.

Luger and Giant talk about Sting coming back last night. We get some clips from the show with Sting destroying the NWO as Giant talks about seeing the light at the end of the tunnel. Luger says it made him believe in Santa Claus, the Tooth Fairy and the Easter Bunny. These guys do know they lost the main event right?

We get some stills from last night with Mortis vs. Glacier. Wrath debuted post match to beat down Glacier.

Bobby Eaton vs. Ultimo Dragon

Dragon stalls on the floor to start so Eaton punches him in the face. And never mind as Dragon puts him on top and hits a rana for the pin. This wasn’t even a minute and a half.

Here’s the NWO in full force. Hogan and Bischoff brag about winning last night and talk about being able to challenge for any title. That would be the TV and US Titles, unless you want to count the Women’s belt if that exists yet. Savage says he’ll face Page at some point. Nash says the Outsiders will face the Steiners at Spring Stampede. That would wind up being Rick vs. Nash for the titles. During this announcement, Hall takes a beer to the head. In PERFECT response, he wipes his hair as he is known to do.

Call the NWO hotline!

Hour #2 begins and it seems a lot later than usual. We do the usual recap.

Alex Wright/Mark Starr vs. Jeff Jarrett/Steve McMichael

Jarrett and Wright start things off with Alex firing off some dropkicks. Jarrett takes him down and Mongo drops an elbow on the back of Wright’s head to take over. There’s a side slam and it’s back to Jarrett. Tony calls that a solid tag. How can a tag exactly be solid? Everything breaks down with Starr diving over Mongo which is called a chop block. Figure Four ends Starr quick.

Public Enemy comes out and beats up the Horsemen post match. The Horsemen fight them off and then go to talk to Gene. Apparently these teams are going to be fighting at the PPV. Debra screeches a bit and Jarrett says he’s walking the walk now. Mongo dares the people to boo Debra, again not seeming to know if he’s a face or a heel.

Lee Marshall does his schtick.

Scott Norton vs. Chavo Guerrero Jr.

Norton runs him over and Chavo bails to the floor. Back in and Chavo goes after the knee but Norton won’t go down. Two more shots to it and he still won’t go down. A missile dropkick won’t put Norton down and a sunset flip doesn’t either. Norton powerbombs him to death to end this. Norton wouldn’t sell a thing here.

Hogan and Rodman talk about nothing of note.

Chris Benoit vs. Billy Kidman

This doesn’t even last a minute with the Crossface ending it. That hadn’t been his finisher long at all at this point.

Benoit and Woman have something to say but Flair comes out before they can start. Benoit talks about Sullivan of course and Flair blames Piper for the loss last night. Ric isn’t worried about Arn because he’s tough. As for Piper, he can come be a Horseman and take Arn’s spot. That’s quite the offer.

Steiner Brothers vs. Harlem Heat

Scott and Booker get us going with Booker hitting a fast side kick. He walks into a gorilla press slam though and it’s off to Rick. Stevie comes in to stomp away and adds in some punches for good measure. They trade powerslams as it’s time to talk about Sting. Booker comes in and side slams Rick down but it’s off to Scott who cleans house. Everything breaks down and it’s the NWO in for the DQ.

Rating: D+. The match was just filler until the NWO got there for no apparent reason. I guess it was to beat down the tag teams like the black and white used to do but it didn’t quite work as well. These teams seem a level or two beneath the NWO, but at the same time the NWO has beaten up everyone so many times that it doesn’t mean much when they beat up the main event guys anymore.

Luger and Giant come out for the save and clear the ring. Sting drops from the ceiling to end the show. He stands with WCW and that’s it. Hogan is terrified.

Overall Rating: D+. WCW hit a MAJOR funk over the summer, as the world title wouldn’t be defended on PPV from March until August, making most of the PPV main events totally worthless. Spring Stampede would be Savage vs. Page, the next month would be a six man tag and the third would be Rodman/Hogan vs. Luger/Giant. There were no major matches to build to so there was little going on in the way of television. This was a good example of that, as aside from Page and Savage getting set up, almost nothing happened here. That would be the case for the next few months.

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