Monday Nitro – September 22, 1997: That’s #1

Monday Nitro #106
Date: September 22, 1997
Location: E Center, Salt Lake City, Utah
Attendance: 7,923
Commentators: Mike Tenay, Tony Schiavone, Bobby Heenan, Larry Zbyszko

This is a pretty big night in wrestling history. First of all, Raw is debuting in Madison Square Garden with a confrontation between Vince and Austin. Therefore WCW is likely going to try to do something huge of their own, which in this case is the debut of someone new. Other than that we’ve got Jarrett vs. Hennig for Curt’s new US Title. We’re getting closer to Halloween Havoc as well. Let’s get to it.

We open at the announce table with the announcers (including Tony dang it all) saying how great tonight is going to be for WCW. Apparently there’s an announcement from Commissioner Piper. Bischoff comes up and says tonight will be about the NWO but Larry argues back at him. We get a clip of Fall Brawl 1996 where Eric got beaten up by Hall and Nash. Zbyzsko says that Eric would rather join them rather than fight, which is why they’ll screw him over in the end.

Silver King vs. Rey Mysterio Jr.

So we have Silver King vs. the King of Mystery. Rey gives his mask to a fan and takes Silver down with a headscissors before hooking a front facelock. The fans see something in the crowd as Silver gets ranaed out to the floor. Oh it’s Raven coming to his seat again. Rey hits a split legged moonsault for two followed by a reverse moonsault out of the corner for what should have been the pin. West Coast Pop is countered into a sunset flip for two for Silver. Cue Eddie as Rey gets another two off a rana. A superkick by Silver sets up a missed moonsault and the West Coast Pop gets the pin.

Rating: C. This would have been better if they cut out about 45 seconds. It was just a spot fest but some of the stuff looked great, especially when you consider how chubby Silver King was. The reverse rana looked great and probably should have ended things, but they needed to have Eddie out there so it’s understandable.

Eddie and Rey stare each other down to take us to a break.

Bill Goldberg vs. Hugh Morrus

Tenay has no idea who Goldberg is, shocking the other announcers. Larry: “YOU DON’T KNOW?” They trade hammerlocks to start and seem to miss each other a bit. Goldberg takes him down into a knee bar and pounds away in the corner. Morrus comes out of the corner with a middle rope clothesline and No Laughing Matter hits….for two? Goldberg pops up from a shoulder block and hits a powerslam and a regular slam to follow it up. The yet to be named Jackhammer ends this quick. As Goldberg says after the match: “That’s #1”.

Goldberg has nothing to say post match.

The NWO shows us some highlights of the Anderson parody.

We get a clip of Larry costing Hall his match at Fall Brawl. Tony: “This is a moment we will never forget.” I forgot it in about 12 seconds.

TV Title: Alex Wright vs. Disco Inferno

Wright is defending. Disco shoves him into the corner and gets slapped which fires him up. The fans don’t like Wright at all which is a good sign for him. Wright gets sent to the floor and walks in front of Raven before going back inside to crank on Disco’s arm. We take a break and come back with the champion hitting a spinwheel kick before stomping on Disco in the corner.

You would think the champion would follow up there but instead it’s time to dance. A belly to back suplex puts Wright down but he comes back with a back elbow for two. Wright hits a top rope stomp for no cover because it’s time to dance even more. Disco dodges a charge in the corner and pounds away before crotching Wright on the top rope. A swinging neckbreaker gets two for Disco but he misses a middle rope elbow. They both miss a few moves before both trying cross bodies at the same time. They collide in the air and Disco falls on top for the pin and the title in a shocker.

Rating: D+. The match itself wasn’t much but to say this was a surprise is an understatement. On the other hand though, I have almost no idea what the point is in having Disco win the title when Wright has been on fire lately and has the crowd HATING him. Disco on the other hand was just a comedy guy who hadn’t done anything in his entire WCW run until this point.

Post match here’s Jackie to say that she knows why Disco has been gone for six months and wants a match right now. Disco blows her off. I don’t see this ending well.

Here are Hall and Syxx to ask who the fans are here to see. Hall rips on Larry Z a bit for costing him a match at the PPV before challenging Luger to a rematch. When there’s no Lex, Hall calls out Larry Z instead. Zbyszko comes to the ring but says he won’t get in until it’s one on one. The man was boring as sin but he wasn’t an idiot. Syxx won’t leave so Larry walks away. We do however get someone to answer Hall’s challenge.

Scott Hall vs. Hector Garza

Hall beats on Garza to start and rips referee Mark Curtis’ pocket off. A fallaway slam off the middle rope puts Garza down before tormenting the referee again. Garza grabs a rollup out of nowhere for the shocking pin.

Hall destroys Garza and Curtis post match.

It’s Hour #2.

Ciclope/Juventud Guerrera/Lizmark Jr./Ultimo Dragon vs. Villanos/La Parka/Psychosis

Dragon and Psychosis start things off with Dragon taking over quickly before doing the headstand in the corner. He throws in some splits for good measure and things start speeding up. We’re in lucha rules so hitting the floor is as good as a tag. Things start going fast enough that I can’t keep up with them. Ciclope superkicks a Villano to the floor before it’s Lizmark vs. the other Villano.

Everything breaks down and I have no idea who is legal here. We finally get down to a Vllano vs. Lizmark but they both go to the floor almost immediately. Lizmark hits a big dive onto said Villano but hurts his knee in the process. Now it’s time for everyone to unleash the dives until it’s Dragon vs. Psychosis. Sonny Onoo breaks up the super rana but Psychosis dives onto Sonny by mistake. Back inside Juvy crotches La Parka and hits a springboard rana to get him back to the mat. A rolling cradle gets the pin for Juvy on La Parka.

Rating: C+. This was INSANE with everyone diving at various times and no coherence at all. That’s what a match like this is supposed to be like though and the fans were getting into it. This is when things were still awesome with all of the diving before people started imitating this style and not being as good at it.

Here’s Commissioner Piper to make Luger vs. Hall again at Halloween Havoc, but with Larry as a special referee. The cage match with Hogan is still on and even though “NWA” is for life, Piper is forever. Somehow this took over five minutes.

Lee Marshall wastes a minute of our time.

Steiner Brothers vs. Faces of Fear

Scott and Meng start things off with the Steiner taking him down by the arm. They collide a few times with neither guy being able to move. They try it again and this time Steiner runs him over. Everything breaks down and the Steiners clear the ring. We settle down to Barbarian vs. Rick with Rick powerslamming Barbie down for two before it’s back to Scott.

A full nelson suplex puts Barbarian down but here’s Meng for their backdrop into a powerbomb spot for two. The monsters hit a double headbutt to Scott before a slam gets two for Barbarian. Scott comes back with a double clothesline and there’s the hot tag to Rick. Everything breaks down but Meng breaks up the Steiner Bulldog. Meng escapes a few suplexes and the Tongan Death Grip pins Rick.

Rating: C. This was a decent power brawl with a surprising ending. The Faces of Fear continued to win matches which would lead nowhere while the Steiners would get even more tag title matches against the Outsiders. This was a decent match though and I can’t believe there was a clean loss for the Steiners.

Here are Hogan and Bischoff with Hollywood wearing Flair’s robe. Naturally Tony is sickened by this, but that happens whenever there’s a stiff breeze around Nitro. Hogan wants Sting as usual and bows to Hennig for what he did at Fall Brawl. Piper is going to go down at Havoc.

Post break Savage says Liz will be walking down the aisle with Hennig tonight. Ok then.

Randy Savage vs. Stevie Richards

Savage stalls to start. Again Richards? Raven is watching from ringside as usual before we head inside for Randy pounds away. Even LIZ gets in some choking. Savage drops Richards on the barricade in front of Raven which causes a staredown. Now THAT is a feud that sounds intriguing. Back in and the big elbow ends this easily. Total squash and not enough actual wrestling to rate.

Post match Raven gets in and pulls up his knee pads but lays out Richards instead.

Harlem Heat vs. Scott Norton/Konnan

There’s no Stevie for no apparent reason. Booker says Ray has pulled his Achilles so he’ll fight either Konnan or Norton right now. The NWO says this is supposed to be a tag match so it’s a handicap match. Konnan starts and misses a charge into the corner but comes back with a backdrop. That gets him nowhere as Booker pops up with a SPINAROONI and the side kick for two.

Booker tries to speed things up but Norton low bridges him to the floor. Even Vincent gets in some shots before it’s back inside for a full nelson slam from Booker. Booker keeps fighting back but eventually is caught in a spike piledriver to kill him dead. In a really stupid ending, Vincent comes in to beat on Booker as well for the DQ. Was there a point to this that I’m just missing?

Rating: D. This was barely long enough to rate and it wasn’t any good on top of that. Booker would go on to huge heights while Konnan and Norton never were a full time team. I’m assuming Buff is hurt or maybe they’re just swapping the guys out for fun at this point. This came off like pure filler.

The Nitro Girls dance a bit.

US Title: Jeff Jarrett vs. Curt Hennig

Feeling out process to start with Hennig being sent to the floor. Back in and Curt gets sent right back outside as we’re filling in time. Back in again and Jeff hits a dropkick for two, sending the champion right back out to the floor. Curt comes in again and goes for the leg, hitting a chop block and wrapping it around the post. Hennig tries a chair shot against the post but Jeff sends Hennig into the chair instead.

A hot shot into the barricade has Hennig in trouble but the crowd isn’t all that interested. Granted it’s probably because that’s Jeff Jarrett out there beating Hennig up. Curt clotheslines Jeff out to the floor again (noticing a pattern here?) but Jeff crotches him against the post to take over. A swinging neckbreaker hits Perfect to put both guys down.

There’s a sleeper by Curt which doesn’t last long at all. Hennig fires off more kicks to Jeff but walks into a DDT for no cover. Now Jeff starts going after Hennig’s knee before hitting the signature slingshot to Curt. Liz distracts the referee as Jeff puts on the Figure Four. Savage sneaks in to hand Curt the title which knocks out Jeff to allow for the PerfectPlex to retain.

Rating: D+. You know for two guys who are as old school as these two, the chemistry wasn’t working at all here. They spent a lot of the time on the floor but the crowd didn’t seem to care at all. Like I said though, Jarrett didn’t get anyone to care and the match was heatless as a result. Thankfully he would be gone in two weeks.

Post match Jarrett gets beaten down until Giant makes the save to end the show.

Overall Rating: C-. This wasn’t their best show of the year. Other than Goldberg debuting which wasn’t a big deal for a long time, not a lot happened on this show. We had two of the top matches officially announced even though it was clear those were already going to happen. This wasn’t a bad show but there’s nothing on it worth seeing other than a three minute match for history’s sake.

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