Monday Nitro – August 18, 1997: WCW Is Kind Of On A Roll

Monday Nitro #101
Date: August 18, 1997
Location: Birmingham-Jefferson Civic Center, Birmingham, Alabama
Commentators: Tony Schiavone, Mike Tenay, Bobby Heenan, Larry Zbyszko

We’re about a month away from Fall Brawl and the final traditional WarGames match with WCW vs. the NWO. On top of that, we’ve got Sting vs. Hogan looming which would be huge financially, but not so great critically. I’m talking about the future so much because there isn’t much to talk about in the next few weeks other than the final Clash of the Champions a few days after this. Let’s get to it.

Raven reads us a poem about ugly people to start things off.

Harlem Heat vs. Vicious and Delicious

Buff and Ray start things off with Buff running his mouth of course. A hiptoss shuts him up for a bit but he comes back with a hiptoss of his own and some posing. Ray still tries to shut him up, this time with a slam and a tag off to his brother. Norton comes in as well to pound down Booker, only to get kicked in the face a few times. Back to Ray who gets grabbed by Buff to give the NWO a quick advantage. A few elbows are dropped before one from the top by Buff misses. Everything breaks down after the hot tag to Ray and Vincent comes in for the fast DQ.

Rating: D+. Nothing to see here as the Heat were out of the NWO’s league here and Vincent continues to be nothing of note. The match was short too but given that this is Nitro, I almost have to take the shorter ones just to have something to rate. The Heat weren’t long for WCW though as it would soon be Booker getting the big singles push.

Booker clears the ring anyway.

Barbarian vs. Mortis

This feud isn’t exactly lighting the world on fire but it’s nice to see a story getting to run its course. During Mortis’ entrance, we hear about Jericho winning the Cruiserweight Title on Saturday Night. Mortis kicks away to start and pounds Barbarian down into the corner. Barbie misses a charge into the post and Mortis hits a Fameasser off the middle rope for two. The guy not in a mask comes back with a powerslam and pounds Mortis down in the corner. Mortis goes up again but dives into a powerslam for another two count. The Kick of Fear ends Mortis a few seconds later. Wow Barbarian gets a clean win on Nitro. That’s different.

Post match Wrath comes in to take Barbarian out but Meng puts him in the Tongan Death Grip to knock Wrath out.

Here’s the NWO for their weekly chat. Bischoff is looking forward to the party on Thursday because Larry Z and Giant can’t come near him. Apparently Giant was arrested last week. Eric wants his own show for the NWO and says he’ll see us Thursday. Just hyping the Clash here.

Flair and Hennig have their weekly promo: “You’re a Horseman!” “No I’m not, but we’ll win our tag match against the NWO anyway.” More Clash hyping.

Stevie Richards vs. Scotty Riggs

Richards charges to the ring like a maniac. Riggs grabs the wrist to start before nearly botching a monkey flip. A dropkick puts Richards on the floor but he rams Scotty’s shoulder into the post to take over. Back in and a sitout spinebuster gets two for Stevie but Scotty comes back with some clotheslines. Richards loses his half shirt and gets caught in a side slam for two. Raven jumps the railing as Stevie hits the Stevie Kick for the pin.

Rating: D. I guess this was to set up future stuff but that didn’t make this any easier to get through. Riggs is just not that good and Richards is a comedy character which doesn’t make for an interesting or good match at all. Not much to see here but that would be the case for a lot of Nitro matches.

Raven lays out Richards with the Even Flow.

Eddie, Debra and Jarrett make fun of the fans and tell Wright that he has to win the TV Title if he wants to hang out with them.

The NWO says this Thursday is going to be their birthday.

Chris Benoit/Steve McMichael vs. Jeff Jarrett/Eddie Guerrero

Benoit and Guerrero start things off with Chris taking over with a gorgeous suplex to send Eddie crawling to Jeff. Jarrett won’t come in to face Mongo who he faces for the US Title on Thursday. Mongo goes after Eddie instead but Jeff sneaks in with a dropkick to the back of McMichael’s knee. The heels start working over said knee with some Horsemen style tactics. A Benoit distraction lets Mongo hit a three point stance charge to take out Guerrero and make a hot tag. Everything breaks down and Eddie has to break up the Crossface on Jeff. Mongo blasts Jeff with the US Title to give Benoit the pin.

Rating: C+. Short but very hot match here. I was hoping for more selling from Mongo of the knee, but they didn’t work on it that long so it’s not terrible I guess. As usual, the less Jeff Jarrett is involved in a Jeff Jarrett match, the more exciting that match becomes. He would be gone in about two months thank goodness.

We recap Sting’s segment with JJ last week.

The Outsiders say they’re ready for Page and Luger tonight. I believe that was the main event of the Clash as well.

Ric Flair vs. Syxx

Road Wild rematch. They have a pose off to start until Flair is backdropped and sent into the corner. It’s a Flair match. Did you expect things to start well for him? He chops Syxx down and takes over with a headlock followed by another after an escape. Flair pounds on the head and clotheslines Syxx down before going after the knee. Syxx comes back with an enziguri to set up the Bronco Buster, drawing huge heat from the southern crowd.

Some chops don’t get Flair that far as Syxx punches him right back down. A guillotine legdrop gets two and there’s the Flair Flip out to the floor. Back in and a second Bronco Buster misses and you can almost feel the crowd laughing as Syxx crotches himself. They punch each other down and it’s Flair up to backdrop Syxx down again. There’s the knee to the head and it’s time to go to school. That also means it’s time for Vincent, Bagwell and Norton to run in for the DQ.

Rating: C. These two fought each other quite a bit and we got some decent matches out of them most of the time. The respect angle was fine, especially when you have a punk like Waltman and a pretty big jerk in Flair out there talking about it. Not much to see here but it was designed to set up the Clash again, which is fine.

Hennig makes the save post match.

JJ and Nick Patrick are with Gene and Dillon says that Nick did nothing wrong at the PPV. Patrick questions Randy Anderson’s officiating, drawing him out for the always fascinating referee argument.

TV Title: Ultimo Dragon vs. La Parka

Dragon is defending of course. Things start fast with Parka getting flipped over and backdropped. Dragon does his headstand in the corner and fires away with the kicks to take the challenger down again. A dropkick sends La Parka to the floor and there’s a big dive by the champion to take him out again.

Sonny Onoo (La Parka’s manager apparently) kicks Dragon down and Parka sends Dragon into the steps. A powerbomb gets two for Parka so he puts Dragon in the Tree of Woe for a kick to the chest. Now let’s stand around for a bit! Dragon comes back, hits the super rana, Sonny’s interference fails, and the Dragon Sleeper retains the belt.

Rating: D+. Just a quick title match here with no doubt as to who was going to win. Dragon was pretty good at what he did but as usual, the lack of mic skills held him down. If we can’t connect with these characters, the matches have to be amazing for them to get over. Dragon was good, but not that good. He would lose the title soon enough anyway.

Curt Hennig vs. The Giant

Hennig slaps him in the face for some reason and is tossed into the corner accordingly. An attempted whip out of the corner fails completely for Hennig so Curt bails to the floor. Giant hits some of those LOUD chops to Curt’s chest and suplexes him down. He calls for the chokeslam and here’s Eric to say that Giant is violating the restraining order. Doug Dillinger (WCW security) won’t do anything about it so Giant goes after Eric, losing via countout in the process. Short and basically a squash until the ending.

Dillinger still won’t do anything so Larry Z comes out to corner Eric. Bischoff runs into the crowd and escapes as cops hold Giant back.

We recap the Sting segment from last week again.

JJ is in the ring with another offer for Sting which I’m sure will work this time. Apparently he doesn’t have a new contract for Sting tonight. Stupid me, thinking the rolled up paper in his hand that has been a contract the last two weeks is a contract again here. JJ says he needs answers from Sting soon or they may have to go their separate ways. Geez even the WCW on screen bosses are stupid. Sting has until the Clash to tell JJ what he wants.

Here’s Sting in the crowd and the fans go nuts. The fans chant Hogan and Sting points at them again. Even TONY FREAKING SCHIAVONE is saying how obvious this is. Sting takes a sign out of the crowd that says Hulk vs. Sting. And JJ STILL doesn’t get it. Apparently HOLDING UP A SIGN THAT SAYS THE MATCH ON IT isn’t telling him what Sting wants.

The NWO is having a birthday party on Thursday.

Tag Titles: Outsiders vs. Diamond Dallas Page/Lex Luger

The announcers point out that the Steiners are being passed over AGAIN here. I’m sure another #1 contenders match is coming up soon too. Hall and Luger start things off as we go past ten o’clock which was a different thing back then. Luger slaps Hall in the face and shoves him into the corner to get things going. He beats on both Outsiders in the NWO corner and Hall tags Nash.

The big man wants Page so they both stand in opposite corners for a bit. The high powered offense begins from Nash until Page takes him down with a swinging neckbreaker for two. Page fires off his shoulder blocks but Nash clotheslines him right back down. DDP escapes Snake Eyes and gets two off a Russian legsweep. Back to Hall for a clothesline and the fallaway slam for two.

Off to the abdominal stretch for a bit until Page hip tosses out of it. Nash breaks up the tag attempt to Luger and it’s time for corner elbows. The Outsiders change without a tag and the referee yells at them. Hall makes an overblown tag and now Snake Eyes hits for no cover. They change again sans tag and Anderson is fine with it now.

Off to a sleeper by Hall and Page is in trouble. His arm drops twice before Page comes back with a belly to back suplex to put both guys down. Nash breaks up the tag AGAIN and clotheslines Page down. Page busts out a headscissors of all things and finally tags in Luger. Not that it matters as the NWO runs in about five seconds later for the DQ.

Rating: B-. I was digging this until the obvious ending. We knew the titles weren’t changing hands here and the NWO would run in, but it was cool to see WCW guys hanging in there this long. They played the formula here and as usual, it worked as well as anything else was going to. Good stuff.

Flair and the Giant run in and a brawl ends the show.

Overall Rating: B-. Pretty good show here as they set up the Clash quite well. There’s some stuff on there I’d like to see (including a main event of Page/Luger vs. Hall/Savage which I listed wrong earlier). The Sting stuff would really come to a new level on Thursday which it’s needed to do for months now. Solid episode here as WCW is kind of on a roll.

Here’s Clash of the Champions if you’re interested:

http://kbwrestlingreviews.com/2011/07/23/clash-of-the-champions-35-the-final-clash-probably-a-good-idea-too/

Remember to follow me on Twitter @kbreviews

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