Monday Nitro – August 25, 1997: One Of The Most Underrated Wrestler Ever Says Goodbye

Monday Nitro #102
Date: August 25, 1997
Location: Carolina Coliseum, Columbia, South Carolina
Attendance: 8,048
Commentators: Mike Tenay, Tony Schiavone, Bobby Heenan, Larry Zbyszko

We’re past the Clash and the main change is that we have Sting vs. Hogan on the verge of being announced. Other than that we’re getting ready for Fall Brawl which is in like three weeks I think. The main event tonight is Savage vs. Luger as they renew an old rivalry. Other than that I wouldn’t expect anything big tonight. Let’s get to it.

We open with a recap of the vulture stuff from Clash which is over the top but fits well for Sting at this point.

Here’s Gene in the ring to recap JJ’s offers to Sting. He calls out “Earic” Bischoff to address the possibility of Sting vs. Hogan. Bischoff says ultimatums can come back to bite you, which means the WCW ship has to sail without Sting. JJ is on the phone (seriously? They couldn’t get JJ Dillon to a show?) and says that Eric is jumping to conclusions.

Apparently WCW was flooded with letters from fans so Hogan vs. Sting will happen. Eric FREAKS and says it won’t happen because Hogan is too busy, but if the match happened, Hogan would destroy him. Cue Sting who puts Eric on his knees and puts a Hogan shirt down his throat. Sting smiles for the first time in a year.

Raven jabbers a bit.

The Nitro Girls dance.

Ernest Miller/Glacier vs. La Parka/Psychosis

Glacier vs. La Parka to start with Ice Man kicking him in the face. I’m as shocked as you are I assure you. Psychosis trips up Glacier but gets caught by a spin kick from La Parka in a bit of heel miscommunication. A powerslam puts La Parka down and Psychosis screws up again by hitting his partner by mistake. They’re even now I guess. Miller comes in and gets caught in some EVIL double teaming on the floor while being stretched over the railing. Back in and the masked guys screw up AGAIN with La Parka kicking Psychosis in the head. Everything breaks down and La Parka hits Glacier with a wooden chair for the upset pin.

Rating: D+. What in the world was the point of this? Go show that Glacier and Miller aren’t a good team? I think we established that about the day they started teaming together. Other than that, it’s nice to see a new team who has done well before getting a win, even though they look like the Three Stooges at the same time. Nothing to see here, as usual.

Silver King and Ultimo Dragon come in as the brawl continues post match. Dragon gets beaten down, leading to this.

Silver King vs. Ultimo Dragon

Dragon is in trouble from the beating by all three other luchadores before we get going here. He says he’s ready to go and it’s on. King already misses a charge but a following kick in the corner connects with Dragon to take him down. A top rope legdrop and moonsault get two for King and we hit the chinlock. Silver misses a top rope elbow but takes Dragon’s head off with a clothesline.

King chokes away a bit but jumps into a dropkick as Dragon makes his comeback. He pounds away on King in the corner and adds a Muta Handspring Elbow. A kind of rana is botched by Dragon and both guys are down. They try it again and Dragon gets much higher this time and hits the rana perfectly for two. King goes up and after bumping the cameraman twice, gets caught in the super rana and the Dragon Sleeper for the tap out.

Rating: C-. Not much here but at least they’re trying to give these guys a story. What that story is I’m not sure but at least they’re trying somehow. Other than that though, the botch on the rana wasn’t great and it really slowed the match down. Silver King is a much bigger deal in Mexico, but in WCW he never amounted to anything.

Here are Savage and Hall for a chat. Hall says you can’t have a party without the NWO and they’re the reason why everyone is here and watching on TV at home. Apparently DDP has joined the NWO even though Savage voted no. As for Luger, the slump will continue tonight when he takes the Big Elbow. Gene asks Page to come out and asks if the Diamond Cutter to Luger on Thursday was intentional or not. Page calls the question stupid and says he and Luger will settle their differences like men. Just advancing stories here.

Chris Benoit vs. Jeff Jarrett

Benoit drills him three times in a row to start and ducks the enziguri attempt from Jeff. Jarret heads to the floor and is immediately caught by a baseball slide, so he hides behind Debra like a coward. Back in and Jarrett misses a charge in the corner but manages to avoid the Swan Dive. Jeff goes up top but Benoit pops up for a superplex, but Jarrett hooks Benoit’s legs once they hit the mat for a fast pin. Short but intense as you would imagine from a Benoit match.

The Nitro Girls dance some more.

Mortis/Wrath vs. Faces of Fear

Apparently this is a rematch from Saturday Night where the Faces of Fear lost. Wrath and Barbarian start things off with neither guy being able to keep an advantage. Vandenberg grabs Barbarian’s leg and Wrath kicks him down for two but Barbie pops right back up. A top rope lariat gets two more for Wrath but he misses a middle rope elbow. Off to Meng for a double middle rope headbutt for two more. Everything breaks down so let’s talk about WarGames.

There’s no Jimmy Hart out here with the Fear dudes for some reason. Things calm down a bit and Wrath charges into a Meng boot in the corner. Back to Barbarian who gets caught by a cross body of all things. Not hot tag brings in Mortis to fire off kicks but Meng goes into MONSTER MODE….which lasts about four seconds before Mortis kicks him down for two. Everything breaks down again and Mortis jumps into the Tongan Deathgrip to end this.

Rating: C. I’ll give them this: they’re giving these lower level guys some programs which while not great do in fact exist. So many people today have nothing of note to do and just wait for a story to come along. This isn’t much of a story for these guys but it’s something to do and a chance for them to show their skills a bit. That’s kind of nice to see and the matches aren’t horrible or anything.

Wrath and Meng fight some more post match.

BUY THIS STUFF!

Hour #2 begins.

Here are the Horsemen with something to say. Flair wants to know RIGHT NOW if Hennig is with them or against them. Curt comes out but he says he’s still not ready to give Flair an answer at this point. However, Flair was expecting this so here’s Arn Anderson to give a final sales pitch. Anderson talks about how he’s never been the biggest, the strongest, or the best at anything, but he’s parlayed that into a wrestling career. Then a few months ago he had to have neck surgery which left his left hand (he’s a southpaw) too weak to hold a glass or button a button.

Then a few days ago at the gym, he dropped a water bottle and saw the water falling out of it like the sand in the hourglass of his career. Therefore, he’d rather walk away than endanger the careers of men he respects. Every time he got in the ring, he gave you everything he had and that’s how he wants to be remembered. However he has one more challenge and that’s to Curt Hennig. He asks Hennig to be the new Enforcer of the Horsemen, which is Anderson’s spot on the team. Hennig says it would be a privilege and shakes Arn’s hand to join the team.

US Title: Steve McMichael vs. Eddie Guerrero

Mongo (the champion) gets jumped from behind to start with Eddie going after the knee. A snapmare puts the champ on the mat and Eddie stomps away before hitting a DDT out of the corner for two. A headscissors gets the same as Mongo is in trouble. Steve comes back with some basic power stuff including a slam and another slam and then a SPINNING slam. A charge misses in the corner and Eddie goes up, only to jump into a Tombstone for the pin to retain. Nothing to see here.

Here’s Rey to update us on his knee injury. He shouldn’t have wrestled at Road Wild which brings out Konnan to run his mouth. Trash is spoken but Giant comes out to scare Konnan off.

Bischoff comes out and runs off Heenan and Tenay, saying he and Tony are doing commentary for the rest of the show. Ok then.

Cruiserweight Title: Yuji Nagata vs. Chris Jericho

I never got the appeal of Nagata. I know he’s a big deal in Japan but his WCW stuff bored me to death. Technical stuff to start with Jericho being sent into the ropes where he misses a spinwheel kick. Yuji takes it to the mat and fires off a HARD kick to Jericho. You know, because he’s Japanese and Japanese wrestlers kick a lot. Jericho comes back with a dropkick and slam to set up a springboard splash for two. We hit a chinlock for a bit before Nagata is put in the Tree of Woe for some kicks.

We take a break and come back with Jericho getting dropped stomach first onto the ropes. We head to the floor where Jericho comes back with a cross body and it’s back inside. Yuji punches Jericho coming off the top to break up an ax handle shot. Jericho shrugs that off, hits the Lionsault, the WCW-rare double powerbomb and hooks the Liontamer for the tap out to retain.

Rating: D+. This didn’t work for the most part for me. Nagata is another guy who is just there with no real character or anything resembling one aside from “he’s a big deal in Japan.” Therefore, it’s hard to care about him and it’s hard to buy him as a legit threat to Jericho’s title. Not bad but nothing interesting at all here.

Harlem Heat wants to be #1 contenders but they have to get past the Steiners apparently. Ray talks about not having to go up north (to WWF) or to Japan because they’re the big tag team of WCW. The Steiners come out to say they deserve another title shot because of how the previous match ended. Vicious and Delicious come out to brag and a fight breaks out.

More dancing.

TV Title: Alex Wright vs. Dean Malenko

Alex is defending. Dean messes with him by using amateur stuff on him to start before taking him to the mat for two. The champ heads to the floor and comes back in with a strategy of punch Dean in the face over and over. Sometimes it’s the simplest ideas that work best I suppose. There’s an elbow drop but the champion stops to dance instead of covering.

There’s a backbreaker and Wright bends Dean over his knee for a little while. Wright’s piledriver attempt is blocked into a backdrop. Malenko loads up a superplex but gets shoved down. Instead Dean settles for a dropkick but Wright goes to the eyes to break up the Cloverleaf attempt. A pair of suplexes take Dean down but Dean counters into another Cloverleaf attempt, drawing Dean and Eddie out for the DQ.

Rating: C-. This was just waiting around until we got to the ending. The matches tonight haven’t had much to them at all other than setting up stuff for the future. That’s ok for a bit but when that’s all that happens on the show it gets old. Dean needs Jarrett to go to the WWF already so he and Eddie can just do their thing without being dragged down.

Lex Luger vs. Randy Savage

Savage, an old Memphis man, stalls before we get going. Luger punches him into the ropes and gets pulled away by the referee, resulting in Savage getting in a punch to take over. Randy seems to be keeping things simple tonight with punches and a clothesline as we head to the floor. More basic attacking by Savage as he starts focusing on the ribs by sending Luger into the barricade.

Luger tries crawling around but gets kicked in the head. You can’t say Savage didn’t live up to his name. A double ax off the apron puts Luger down again, preventing him from getting back into the ring. Savage finally throws him back in and drops the top rope ax on him for two. A sleeper on Luger is quickly countered into a belly to back suplex and both guys are down.

Luger gets up first and starts his comeback with his complete assortment of non-Rack moves (punch, clothesline, atomic drop, forearm) before calling for the Rack. Hall of course runs in and rams the guys together by mistake. Page comes out and checks on Luger, resulting in Lex Racking him to end the show.

Rating: D+. This was again just there for the ending to play off the idea of Luger and Page having issues. Based on that, I’ll set the over/under for pleas for WCW to come together at 4 for the first hour of next week’s show alone. Savage and Luger fought forever in WCW so it’s kind of nice to see them rekindle that a bit here.

Overall Rating: D. This show just wasn’t very good. It was almost all angle advancement, but at the same time there weren’t any good matches to back it up. We’re heading into WarGames now and nothing is really set in stone yet. We can see most of the card though, and that’s the most important part. Anderson’s retirement speech is worth checking out, if nothing else to keep in mind for the parody that would follow.

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