Monday Nitro – July 14, 1997: Why Is Logical Booking Like This So Hard Today?

Monday Nitro #96
Date: July 14, 1997
Location: Orlando Arena, Orlando, Florida
Commentators: Mike Tenay, Bobby Heenan, Tony Schiavone, Larry Zbyszko

It’s the night after Bash at the Beach and not a lot has changed because not a lot was on the line last night. Hogan and Rodman lost as Luger made Hogan tap out for the second time in less than a month. Other than that, Hennig was the mystery partner but he walked out on Page halfway through the match. Road Wild is in a few weeks now and there’s a good deal of stuff to get through before we get to that. Let’s get to it.

Michael Buffer intros us to the show and introduces, for the first time ever, the Nitro Girls. Basically they’re cheerleaders who lasted for YEARS. Kimberly is their leader for an excuse to keep her on television. The girls dance around on chairs for a bit.

The announcers talk about how awesome the end of last night’s show was. For some reason the audio sounds really weird here. We talk about the fake Sting from last night, which Larry points out the flaw that somehow no one got last night: if that’s the real Sting, he’s now taller than Hogan.

Alex Wright vs. Prince Iaukea

They do nothing of note for about a minute and here’s Giant to chokeslam the referee to a BIG pop. The match just stops and Giant chokeslams the Prince and some security.

Giant says he’s had it with the NWO, especially Kevin Nash. He knows it was Nash that attacked him with the bat last night and he wants a piece of him NOW. Instead he gets led off by more security.

Eddie Guerrero vs. Chavo Guerrero Jr.

This is a result of Eddie walking out on Chavo last week in a tag match. Chavo hammers him to start and sends Eddie flying to the floor, where the younger one hits a HUGE dive to take both guys out. Back in and Chavo gets crotched followed by a rana from Eddie. He tells Chavo to say hello to grandma and punches Chavo in the face again. Chavo charges into an elbow but comes back with a pair of suplexes for two each. His Frog Splash hits Eddie’s knees though, and it’s an Eddie powerbomb and Frog Splash for the pin.

Rating: C. This is one of those matches that would have been better with more time. These guys know each other very well and know how to bounce off of each other really well. Chavo would get WAY better and Eddie was always solid, so there was almost no way this wasn’t going to be at least decent.

Post match Eddie hits another splash until Hector comes out for the save.

Here are Page and Kimberly with something to say. Kimberly looks great here in a white bra and shorts. Page says six months ago he had a match in Minneapolis and after the show, he went out for a few beers. He ran into Hennig and they realized they had a lot in common. Page says he would have asked Sting for help last night, but Sting has already helped him too many times. Luger and Giant were busy so they were out. That left Hennig, but apparently Hennig isn’t a standup guy. Page says he’s full of surprises, and if you don’t believe him, ask Savage about La Parka.

The Nitro Girls dance a bit more in smaller outfits.

Harlem Heat promises to beat up the Outsiders.

Vicious and Delicious vs. Steiner Brothers

For the sake of simplicity, Scott Steiner will be called Scott and Scott Norton will be called Norton. Scott and Buff start things off as we hear about the Steiners facing the Outsiders for the titles at Road Wild. Buff takes Scott down and dances a bit, resulting in Rick smacking him in the back of the head. Scott hiptosses him out of the corner so Buff complains of a tights pull. A dropkick puts Scott on the floor so Scott comes back with a BIG clothesline to take over.

A gorilla press puts Bagwell down as the fans are very into this match so far. Another clothesline sends Buff to the floor and it’s off to an armbar back inside. Here’s Rick to bark a lot as we see Konnan getting out of the NWO limo. There’s your newest member I guess. Nash arrives as well and is limping pretty badly. Back in the arena and everything breaks down with Vincent cheating a bit behind the referee’s back. Norton rams Rick’s head into the mat and it’s back to Buff, who jumps into a belly to belly from Rick. Hot tag brings in Scott who cleans house until Mura and Chono run in for the DQ.

Rating: C. This was a fine tag match before the lame NWO ending. The idea is the NWO is trying to wear the Steiners down before they get tot he Outsiders at the PPV which is a good enough idea. That’s the idea with WCW: the build up was fine, but the execution at the end almost never worked.

The Steiners come back and beat up the NWO.

We see a clip from last night where Raven cut one of his usual poetry style promos to Gene. As for tonight, Raven says he’ll do what he has to do and the only announcement is that there is no announcement. Richards mentions that he (as in Richards) has signed with WCW so Raven headbutts him.

Chris Benoit vs. Mike Enos

Last night Benoit FINALLY got rid of Kevin Sullivan so tonight he can go back to beating people up. Benoit stomps away on Enos in the corner but Mike comes back with knees in the corner. We hear about the return of Clash of the Champions, which would be the final edition of the show. Enos hits a fallaway slam off the middle rope and a neckbreaker gets two. A kneeling piledriver gets two more and it’s off to a bearhug. That gets broken up quickly so Enos powerslams him down for two. Not that it matters as Benoit Crossfaces him for the tap out.

Rating: C. This was a bit better than a squash as Enos got in a lot of offense and was in control for most of the time. Then again Benoit was supposed to be banged up because of the match last night and he won anyway so it’s not a big problem or anything like that. Decent little match here.

More dancing as we’re in hour #2, but there’s no pyro for it or anything.

La Parka vs. Super Calo

Kimberly flashes a Diamond Cutter sign at La Parka as he comes in. Savage runs in less than a minute in to beat up La Parka for the DQ.

The real Page of course runs in and beats up Savage. Curt Hennig comes in and knocks out Page with a foreign object. Hennig didn’t look at Savage or anything like that so it looks like he’s in business for himself. Savage hits the elbow on Page.

Hennig says that five years ago, Page used to ask Hennig for his autograph. Page wouldn’t last thirty seconds with him, just like he can’t with his wife. Flair comes out and tries to recruit Hennig again.

Lee Marshall from Jacksonville.

Here’s the NWO with something to say. Before they get out, we’re told that Nitro is on Tuesday next week. Nash is brought out in a wheelchair after having changed into ring gear since he arrived. A lot of the team is here, minus Hogan. Konnan is with them too. Apparently Nash is APALLED at being accused of being Sting last night. He would NEVER attack another combatant from behind. Nash stands up and talks to Konnan, who opens his shirt to reveal the NWO shirt. They very slowly wheel Nash to the ring.

Harlem Heat vs. Syxx/Scott Hall

The announcers and Harlem Heat have called this a street fight all night but it appears to be a normal match. Booker and Syxx start things off as Heenan talks about how everyone needs to buy the PPV replay to see what happened again and be sure of what they saw. This is something that’s missing from wrestling anymore: this mentality of YOU HAVE TO SEE THIS. Anymore it’s more like “here’s what we’ve got, please watch.”

Syxx takes him into the corner but Booker Spinaroonis up and kicks Syxx’s head off. Here’s Hall off a tag to face Stevie. Stevie immediately pounds him down in the corner and Hall is in trouble. Hall comes back with a middle rope bulldog for two but Stevie clotheslines him right back down. A double punch from the Heat gets two on Scott as things slow down. Hall puts an armbar on Booker but Mr. T. kicks him in the face to escape.

Hall gets double teamed a bit and a slam by Ray gets two. We hit the chinlock for a bit before Scott suplexes out of it. Booker comes in with the ax kick for two and they slug it out a bit. Nash stands up before sitting right back down. Booker superkicks Scott down for two and everything breaks down. Nash gets up and blasts Booker, allowing Hall to hit the Outsider’s Edge for the pin.

Rating: C. Another decent match here with an ending that everyone could see coming a mile away. That’s not always a bad thing, and in this case it was the right call because you’re going to get Nash booed if you have him shown to be a liar. The Heat continue to be treated like nothing of note in the huge Steiners vs. Outsiders feud which never really got paid off.

The Girls dance some more.

Great Muta/Masahiro Chono vs. Public Enemy

The NWO team jumps them on the floor and Rock takes the Mafia Kick from Chono. In a visual I could live without, Chono does the Public Enemy dance on the floor. Back in and the Public Enemy pound away in the corners to clear the ring. Things finally get going like a normal tag match with Chono vs. Grunge. Chono chops away in the corner but gets caught in a neckbreaker. Rock comes in with a double ax and here’s Muta.

He barely stays in at all so here’s Chono again to miss the Mafia Kick. Rock “hits” a moonsault press to take him down and it’s off to Muta vs. Grunge. Muta mauls him until Rock kicks Muta in the back to slow things down. Off to Chono vs. Rock again as things break down. A Vincent distraction lets Muta hit the Green Mist, allowing the Mafia Kick to end Grunge.

Rating: D+. It was clear here that Public Enemy was completely overmatched and they had no chance at winning in a straight match. Chono and Muta are both great and they’re two of the three Japanese guys that most American wrestling fans would recognize (Liger would be the third). That helps a lot as most of the time when a foreigner is brought in, it’s “here’s this guy who is awesome and you should just accept him based on how aewsome we say he is.” That doesn’t work at all, which is why Muta was the best choice if the Japanese guys were going to be in the NWO.

US Title: Ric Flair vs. Jeff Jarrett

Jarrett has Debra with him, as apparently she’s jumped from Mongo. Flair beats on Jarrett to start with a ton of chops and punches. Jarrett dropkicks him to the floor and backdrops him n the outside to take over. Back in and Flair rolls through a cross body for two but he goes shoulder first into the post. Flair almost immediately goes up and jumps into a dropkick but Jeff doesn’t cover, sending Heenan into a fit.

A superplex puts Flair down but Jarrett won’t cover again. Jeff has two Figure Fours broken and Flair gets two off a small package. Jarrett takes down his straps and Flair pounds away in the corner. During the match, Debra commandeers a camera and cuts a promo about how hard her life is because she lives with McMichael. After almost a minute of this, Mongo comes out to yell at her. Flair gets Jarrett in the Figure Four….and Mongo comes in to stomp on Jarrett for the DQ. You couldn’t wait another minute???

Rating: C-. It’s Jarrett vs. Flair. You know this is going to be at least passable if not pretty good. The ending was annoying but it makes sense as it’s all about emotion for Mongo instead of logic or titles. Decent match here as Jarrett and Flair were their usual smooth selves and could make any move look easy.

The Horsemen beat down Jarrett.

Here’s Luger for the main event interview. Luger talks about how he’s had some bad moments but last night made up for them, as he got to Rack Hogan, Rodman in Savage in less than two minutes. Luger challenges Hogan for the title at Road Wild and says if anyone from the NWO wants to fight before then, bring it on. Here are about eight NWO guys and a fake Sting follows them out. Actually make that the real Sting, who is enough to keep the NWO from running in to end the show.

Overall Rating: C-. Not a terrible show here as the majority of the episode dealt with fallout from last night. We’re moving towards Road Wild now which should be a decent card given what they’ve got to build up for the show. Luger is white hot here and would deserve the title shot he got. See how easy it can be to logically book a show? Why can’t WWE get that today?

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