Monday Nitro – October 13, 1997: Sting’s Army

Monday Nitro #109
Date: October 13, 1997
Location: Ice Palace, Tampa, Florida
Attendance: 12,000
Commentators: Mike Tenay, Tony Schiavone, Bobby Heenan, Larry Zbyszko

It’s one of the last shows before Halloween Havoc and WCW has been on fire lately. The main match tonight is a tag title defense with the Outsiders fighting a team to be announced. If they don’t defend the belts, they’ll be stripped of the titles. Not that it took forever to get them to defend the stupid things or anything like that though. Let’s get to it.

Here are Hogan (sans belt), Bischoff and Savage to open the show. Bischoff plugs Hogan’s new movie Assault on Devil’s Island and takes jabs at Raw for not being live. Yeah Eric I wouldn’t compare my show to 1997 Raw. Oh and Savage is in a neckbrace because of the Diamond Cutter last week. Hogan wants Piper to give him his belt back (Piper took it when he was running from Hogan and Bischoff last week) and that’s about it.

We see the Diamond Cutter on Savage from last week.

The announcers say there are four title matches this week. Is it sweeps week or something?

Cruiserweight Title: Eddie Guerrero vs. Psychosis

Eddie is defending and there’s no Sonny Onoo with Psychosis for no apparent reason. Psychosis misses a charge into the corner to start, allowing Eddie to hit a fast suplex for two. Apparently Disco vs. Jackie at the PPV is non-title due to the athletic commission. Why is that match even happening? Has that ever been answered? Psychosis shrugs it off and hits a quick leg lariat and a baseball slide to send Eddie to the floor.

We get the spot of the match as Psychosis hits a big old senton backsplash to the floor, possibly injuring his back in the process though. Back in and the guillotine legdrop misses Eddie but Psychosis grabs a quick rollup for two anyway. Psychosis goes for the arm which is kind of rare to see in a lucha match. Once that goes nowhere Eddie takes over, only to walk into a backbreaker. The masked one goes up but is quickly crotched, superplexed and Frog Splashed for the pin to retain the title.

Rating: C. This didn’t work that well but the injury might have had something to do with it. Eddie was gearing up for the showdown with Rey which needs to be announced already. This kept him looking strong though and that’s what a champion needs going into a big PPV title defense. Not a good match here but the big senton got the fans going at least.

Eddie teases ripping off the mask but walks away.

It’s time for the second of Tenay’s videos on lucha libre. Today he’s talking about masks and how important they are to culture of lucha libre. We see the making of masks and hear from Rey Mysterio Jr. and Senior (Rey’s uncle) who says how important the masks are in identity. We hear from Dr. Lechuga (I know some Spanish and either that’s a fake name or we’re hearing from Dr. Lettuce.) about the history of masks and the various cultures that form them. Psychosis talks about how important his mask is.

Rey worries about losing his mask, but that shouldn’t be a problem. Only a completely stupid company would stop making masks that popular which were guaranteed money makers. Silver King says why cover up my pretty face? La Parka says he wears a mask to scare people. We get clips from When Worlds Collide with Eddie getting his hair cut and hear about Luchas De Apuestas. For a two minute segment, this was AWESOME. I love these segments and there’s some really interesting stuff in there.

Here’s Piper who looks a bit different in the face this week. Makeup maybe? Piper is here to talk about Bischoff and makes it clear that he is the boss, not Bischoff. What happened to Savage last week was justice, not an unfair attack. Also Hogan doesn’t deserve to carry the belt (which is nowhere in sight) so for now it’s gone. Piper says the same thing he said last week about the Outsiders having to defend or be stripped and that’s it.

We recap Jarrett/Debra vs. Mongo.

Steve Regal vs. Steve McMichael

Mongo grabs a quick headlock and runs Regal over with a shoulder block. I do love it when heels like Regal are shocked when a much bigger and stronger guy runs them over. That’s always amusing. Off to a wristlock which is more Regal’s speed and he takes it down to the mat for some control. Mongo again powers out of it and tosses Regal around like something that is large and easy to throw around. Regal comes back with an uppercut and some stomping but Mongo pops up again. Now Mongo looks confused so he hits a few elbows and finishes Regal with the tombstone. That was a really awkward looking ending.

Rating: D. It continues to amaze me that Mongo somehow kept getting worse in the ring. He’s in there with one of the best technicians of all time and can’t get a watchable match? Regal is more than capable of walking him through this but I guess Mongo is even beyond Regal’s help. That says a lot.

Gene is with Debra and asks about rumors that Jarrett is gone. Apparently he is indeed gone (SWEET!) but she has a surprise for Mongo at Halloween Havoc. Mongo calls her a snake. No that would be her future husband, who would also be named Steve.

Yuji Nagata vs. Chris Jericho

The quest for Nagata to be useful or interesting continues. Sonny is here with Nagata but wasn’t with Psychosis. Apparently it’s Dragon vs. Nagata at the PPV. I know that would sway me into buying it. Jericho immediately goes for the arm with whatever hold he can put on it. When that doesn’t work, he goes with the easiest idea there is: kick him in the face. Now back to Nagata’s arm but Nagata hits a fast superplex to take over. A snapmare puts Jericho down and there’s a HARD kick to the Canadian’s back.

Now Nagata works on the arm but runs into a boot in the corner and gets caught by a middle rope missile dropkick. In something I’ve never seen, at least not from Jericho, he grabs Nagata in a half nelson and gives him a giant swing. That gets two and Nagata knocks him to the apron and then into the barricade. Out to the floor and Nagata goes into the post. They head back in but Jericho has to beat up Sonny. As they actually get back in, Sonny trips Jericho on the top and the Nagata Lock (standing figure four) gets the submission.

Rating: C. I get that Nagata is skilled and means a lot in Japan, but man alive he is dull in America. He’s just a guy in trunks using wrestling holds. Jericho at least plays to the crowd and has a ton of charisma which can get him through a match. I know Nagata is talented and such, but anything being different about him would be an improvement. He’s just so dull it’s almost unreal.

Raven is in a nursery next to a crib. He talks about how his earliest memories are of feeling of abandonment and sadness. Raven says that our futures are determined in these moments and we’re all creatures of this nature.

Bill Goldberg vs. Scotty Riggs

Goldberg has his signature music now. We get a shot of Saturn and Raven in the crowd along with a third person. I don’t recognize him but there’s a chance it’s Sick Boy. Richards is gone as well, I believe back to ECW. Goldberg shrugs him off and Riggs gets in a few right hands. The spear (more like a tackle here) takes Riggs down and Goldberg pounds away.

Riggs gets up some boots in the corner but gets slammed out of the corner a few seconds later. Scotty comes back with some dropkicks including one that sends Goldberg over the top. Apparently Judo Gene LeBell wants to train Goldberg. Bill will have none of this selling stuff and LAUNCHES Riggs into the barricade to take over again. Back in and the Jackhammer ends this. This would be #4 as Goldberg won on Saturday Night as well.

The Nitro Girls waste some time.

Here are Hall and Syxx for the Survey. The fans actually side with WCW on this one which is a rarity around this time. Hall complains about having to face both Luger and Zbyszko but it’s the only way WCW can have a chance. Apparently Nash is out with an injury and the Steiners want a title match tonight. That’s cool because Syxx will take Nash’s place. As Hall is talking, a fan hits him in the face with a piece of trash. It nailed him square in the jaw.

Tag Titles: Steiner Brothers vs. Scott Hall/Syxx

For the sake of clarity, only Scott Steiner will be referred to as Scott and Scott Hall will only be referred to as Hall. Hall is quickly sent to the floor and the Steiners stand tall. We start with Scott vs. Syxx and there’s a wheelbarrow slam for Syxx to give the Steiners control. Off to Rick vs. Hall with Steiner pounding away, only to get caught by a clothesline to give the NWO control. Rick will have none of that though and hits a middle rope clothesline. Steiner goes up again but a cross body (huh?) is caught in a fallaway slam by Hall.

Rick won’t sell it though and knocks Syxx off the apron, only to be decked by Hall again. Hall pounds on him in the corner but Rick comes back with a Steiner Line. Hot tag brings in Scott and house is cleaned. The Steiner DDT off the top gets two on Syxx as Hall pulls the referee to the floor. Larry Z comes down to scare Hall back to the ring and there’s the Steiner Bulldog to Hall. The Steiners get a double cover and Larry counts the pin for the titles. You know, because being a guest referee in 13 days counts as being a referee here.

Rating: C-. The match was short but the fans were very hot for it. This had been built up for months upon months but then when they get to the payoff, we don’t even get Hall and Nash to do the job. You know, because of that “knee injury” Nash had. Isn’t it amazing how he’s hurt every time that he has to do a job? I’m sure we’ll hear more about the refereeing issue.

Tony says they have an injury update on Savage: “Who cares?” The heartlessness is pretty sad. And yes I know it’s a fake injury.

The Nitro Girls dance a bit.

Dean Malenko vs. Rey Mysterio Jr.

Apparently the decision in the tag match stands because Larry is an assigned official. Assigned at a PPV but what difference does that make? Also Eric can’t reverse the decision. Rey gives his mask to a baby at ringside but the baby gives it back to him. It’s fast paced stuff to start with Dean taking it to the mat to slow Rey down. Back up and Rey goes from a test of strength into a sunset flip for two. Dean catapults him to the apron but Mysterio pops right back in.

Back in and Rey counters a variety of holds by Dean by flying through the air, only to be caught by a leg lariat for two. A quick victory roll gets two for Rey but a headscissors is countered into a side slam for no cover. Off to a figure four necklock by Dean for a few seconds before he powerbombs Rey halfway back to Mexico for two. Rey comes back and pounds away in the corner but Dean launches him into the corner.

Mysterio lands on the top rope and hits a flip attack to take Dean down again. A sunset flip gets two on Malenko and the West Coast Pop looks to finish. At two though Eddie runs in and rips Rey’s mask off, causing him to break the hold. Malenko backflips up into the Texas Cloverleaf and Rey taps immediately to hide his face.

Rating: B. This was one of the better matches I’ve ever seen them have and one of the best cruiserweight matches they’ve ever had on Nitro. They barely ever stopped moving other than a quick rest hold by Dean. Other than that it was five minutes of nonstop action with an ending that advanced the story and kept Rey looking strong at the same time. Great match here and actually worth checking out for how fast and agile Rey was in his time.

DDP is at the Power Plant and talks about how he hasn’t changed like Hogan and Savage have. Oh and Piper is awesome too. This was just to hype up Savage vs. Page.

Here’s Piper with more to say. The tag title change stands because Larry was officially made a referee last week so the pin counted. HAIL THE STEINERS! This brings out Savage and Bischoff with Eric talking about Savage’s injury. He wants to know if this is how Piper is going to run things and wants Hogan’s title back. Piper says come in and get it (the title is nowhere in sight) but here’s the NWO. Sting comes out as well and holds off the NWO before blasting Piper. At least they didn’t show a closeup of him to show it was clearly a fake. It’s Hogan and Piper gets beaten up.

Video on Hennig vs. Flair.

Scott Norton vs. Ray Traylor

Please be quick. Norton has Vincent and Bagwell with him here because that’s what NWO members do. Traylor starts with uppercuts and hits a quick backdrop but stops to go after Bagwell. Back in and Norton pounds away on Traylor with clubbing forearms to the back. A slam puts Norton down and we cut to the crowd. Kidman, now with eye shadow, sits in the crowd next to Raven and Saturn.

Back to the match and Buff chokes away a bit while Norton argues with the referee. Norton pounds away very, very slowly. Traylor comes back with an uppercut and puts Norton in 619 position for a sliding uppercut. Vincent gets decked too but during the distraction Buff throws Norton the spraypaint can and Traylor is knocked out for the pin.

Rating: F+. After Rey vs. Dean, this was hard to sit through. Then again Norton vs. Traylor would be hard to sit through after watching a dancing bear act. Traylor going to war against the NWO was a nice idea but having him job to Scott Norton doesn’t help anyone. Norton is just a power goon and having him lose would do nothing but help Traylor. But that might mean WCW fans have something else to cheer for and we can’t have that.

TV Title: Disco Inferno vs. Alex Wright

Wright jumps him to start and both guys still have their jackets on. Disco is defending in case you haven’t read anything from around this time. Wright pounds him down against the ropes and hits a good dropkick to send the champion down. Another dropkick puts Disco down and Alex finally takes his own jacket off. Alex whips Inferno with said jacket for good measure but gets punched in the face for his efforts. The offense is short lived though as Wright comes back and stomps away even more. Mostly just kicking and punching so far.

We stop for a quick dance break and Disco gets draped over the apron and pounded even more. Almost all Alex so far. Out on the floor and Wright stomps on his hand for good measure. Wouldn’t the leg be better as it would get rid of the dancing abilities? Back in and Disco tries a fast backslide but gets taken down by a clothesline. A small package gets two more for the champion and here’s Jackie. Disco yells at her and gets rolled up, only to reverse into one of own for the pin to retain.

Rating: D+. Nothing to see here but it’s definitely better than Disco vs. Jackie would wind up being. I’m still not entirely sure what the story is with those two but I’m guessing it’s more of Jackie’s “I’m a woman but I can wrestle men. Yeah I suck but I’M LOUD AND THAT MEANS I AM AN INTERESTING PERSON!” Match was nothing.

US Title: Diamond Dallas Page vs. Curt Hennig

Page fires off his shoulder blocks into Hennig’s shoulder to send Curt (the champion) out to the floor. Back in and DDP grabs a headlock but Curt runs away from a Diamond Cutter attempt. The champ gets on the apron and Page spits in his face to send him back to the floor. Back in and it’s back to the headlock as Hennig can’t get anything to work early on. Hennig tries to run the ropes but gets caught in a Russian legsweep for two. The champ finally gets something going by getting in a shot to Page’s likely injured ribs.

A dropkick puts Page down and we hit the chinlock. Hennig puts his feet on the ropes like any good heel would do. Page fights up but gets caught in a sleeper, only to come out with a jawbreaker. There’s the Pancake to Hennig but Curt comes back with a jawbreaker of his own. Cue Flair but security holds him back. Page rolls up Hennig for three as Flair runs in. The three count goes down but I’m guessing Flair was late as the referee says no pin. I’m guessing Hennig wins by DQ but the ending was botched.

Rating: C. The match was ok but the ending was a big blow to it. The problem here was that the three count clearly hit before Flair touched either guy so there’s no real reason for a DQ, especially after Hall pulled a referee from the ring earlier and it wasn’t even a DQ. These two should work well together and did most of the time, but it never hit the level that it could have.

Post match Piper makes the referee give Page the belt. Anderson (referee) isn’t sure and here’s Hogan to try to get at Piper. The NWO runs in and it’s 7-2. Even more guys come in and the good guys are in trouble. Savage, with a neck injury, is able to drop the big elbow on Page. There’s a legdrop and another elbow as Page is in trouble. Piper gets an elbow as well but here’s Sting at the top of a row of stands.

But wait here he comes from another side of the arena. No wait he’s over there. Wait he’s in the ring and coming through the crowd. We’re on our fifth Sting but most of them are getting beaten up. Here comes another one through the crowd and a seventh one joins him. The sixth one gets in and is stomped down.

Now they’re coming through the entrance. Now three more come out. I’ve lost count at this point. All of them are getting beaten down….until Bagwell hits one for no effect. The Death Drop lays Bagwell out and the NWO runs. Piper has the world title belt from somewhere and swings it over his head to end the show.

Overall Rating: B. This is the third great show in a row with an AWESOME ending segment. How often do you see a show with four title matches in two hours? There are a lot of PPVs that don’t do that and we got it for free here tonight. Sting was coming for Hogan and they might as well have been printing the money in their basement. I would say there was no way to screw this up, but you know the rest I’m sure. Another very good show here.

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