Monday Nitro – January 26, 1998: The Three Hour Era Begins…..Help?

Monday Nitro #124
Date: January 26, 1998
Location: Allen County War Memorial Coliseum, Fort Wayne, Indiana
Commentators: Mike Tenay, Tony Schiavone, Bobby Heenan, Larry Zbyszko

We’re just after Souled Out and we have Hogan vs. Sting II for the world title set for SuperBrawl. As for tonight, it’s the first regular three hour Nitro which will be the case for the better part of two years. The main event tonight is Hall vs. Luger in a match we’ve seen several times already. Let’s get to it.

We open with a clip from Souled Out with Piper making Hogan vs. Sting II for SuperBrawl.

There’s no update on Giant’s health after the powerbomb on Saturday.

El Dandy vs. Ultimo Dragon

Before the match goes anywhere we cut to the Flock arriving minus Raven. Apparently they have tickets this week so they’re allowed to stay. Dragon spins out of a wristlock but misses the handspring elbow into the corner. El Dandy gets two off a back elbow as we get a LOUD Lodi sucks chant. Dragon comes back with an enziguri and a Lionsault to a standing Dandy sets up the Dragon Sleeper for the win. This was short and could have been a dark match.

Luger says WCW is playing for keeps in the war against the NWO.

We go to Chattanooga, Tennessee to see Gene Okerlund and the Nitro Girls at the first Nitro Party grand prize winner. So we’re watching people watching the show? Is this like the forerunner to the WWE App? It’s at a frat house and it’s just a big party with Nitro Girls.

Brad Armstrong vs. Goldberg

Armstrong jumps him to start and Goldberg just glares at him. A gorilla press slam puts Armstrong down but he keeps firing forearms to Goldberg’s back. Not that it matters as the spear and Jackhammer end Brad a few seconds later. Goldberg 101 here.

DDP doesn’t like what Nash did to Giant either. Yeah a 475lb man coming down on his neck two days beforehand with no statement on his health being used as an angle is fine.

Now we get to see Nash drop Giant on his head about seven times. JJ Dillon comes out and bans the powerbomb as a result with an automatic DQ loss and a fine as a result. Somehow this takes five minutes with JJ talking about safety equipment in sports (Fan: “WE DON’T CARE!”). The fans boo the decision out of the building. JJ gets all mad and threatens Nash with considering criminal prosecution if Nash tries another powerbomb. Yes, it’s the dreaded considering prosecution. I’d be scared too.

Konnan vs. Jerry Flynn

Konnan goes after the arm to start but Flynn kicks him into the ropes. Another kick sends Konnan to the floor but a Vincent distraction lets Konnan take over. Larry talks about people who have had neck injuries and can never wrestle again as Konnan armdrags Flynn down. Jerry comes back with another kick to send Konnan to the floor followed by a plancha to take him down again. Back inside and Konnan blocks the 349th kick and hooks the Tequila Sunrise for the tap out.

Rating: D. Thank goodness Flynn isn’t featured that much as the guy is terribly dull no matter what he does. WCW didn’t even try to hide the fact that he had nothing but kicks to offer. The match was boring stuff with Konnan possibly shaken up from the dive, leaving Flynn to carry the thing.

Here’s Nash nearly killing Giant again.

Buff Bagwell vs. Rick Steiner

No Scott to be seen. We’re told that the NWO arrived in separate limos again this week. Well I guess that’s better than watching it happen for five minutes. Bagwell jumps him to start and pounds Rick into the corner, only to be taken down by a quick suplex. Bagwell bails to the apron for a bit, only to walk right back into an atomic drop. Rick rams him ribs first into the top turnbuckle as the fans are barking.

A Vincent distraction gives Buff control again and we hit a chinlock. Rick fights up and pops off some hard Steiner Lines followed by a half powerslam half belly to belly suplex. A belly to belly superplex puts Buff down again but here’s Scott Steiner to beat up Vincent. Rick hits the Steiner Bulldog but Scott throws Vincent into the ring for the DQ.

Rating: D+. This was angle advancement instead of a match which is fine. Scott’s heel turn is taking its sweet time but it’s well done so far. Bagwell is starting to find himself as the smiling goon, but his in ring work never did anything for him at all. The other thing I like about the heel turn is you can easily see why Rick is getting so mad and why Scott would be consumed by his own ego. The fact that Scott gives into his own arrogance is what makes the heel turn work.

Post match Scott shoves the referee down again, which will mean yet another fine. He rants about hating referees as he walks out alone. DiBiase says he isn’t paying Scott’s fine.

Hour #2 begins.

Here are Nash and Bischoff with something to say. Eric says that instead of gloating, tonight is a very sad moment. They can feel Bill Clinton’s pain as they’ve been singled out by WCW. Nash doesn’t like Luger and DDP saying that what he did was wrong, so he’s going to tell his side of the story. Giant gave him everything he had, but at one point Giant said that he couldn’t go any longer.

However, Nash is a true sportsman and thought that a little coffee would be just what Giant needed. When that didn’t work, Nash tried a little jump start. When that didn’t work, Nash had images of Old Yeller with Giant needing to be shot down. Nash was so sad at that idea, but he loved it when he dropped Giant on his head. As of now, Nash wants to be known as Big Sexy the Giant Killer.

Wayne Bloom vs. Jim Neidhart

Bloom can’t run Neidhart over so Neidhart runs him over with a shoulder block. Jim tries an Irish whip but Bloom grabs him by the beard to escape. Bloom suckers him to the floor and hits a snap suplex on the Anvil. A top rope ax handle gets two for Wayne but Neidhart catches him in a powerslam for the pin on the second try. This felt like an upset win for Neidhart instead of a solid debut.

Ad for Boston Brawl, which was an internet only PPV. I vaguely remember this and I seem to remember it being audio only but I didn’t have the internet for years after this.

Here’s Ray Traylor with something to say. He says the people in TV land are the ones really in charge in wrestling, not the NWO. Nash put Giant down and out so Traylor wants Nash one on one tonight.

Chavo Guerrero Jr. vs. Psychosis

Psychosis jumps him to start and hits a quick running dropkick in the corner to take Chavo down. Chavo comes back with a running clothesline and a victory roll for two before it’s off to a headlock. A springboard bulldog gets two on Psychosis and Chavo sends him to the floor for a big flip dive, possibly injuring Psychosis’ shoulder. Back in and Chavo gets crotched on the top but counters a belly to back superplex into a cross body for two. Psychosis comes right back with a spinwheel kick and the guillotine legdrop for the pin.

Rating: C. This was better than I was expecting with Chavo getting to show off what he could do. That flip dive looked great and Guerrero looked crisp in the ring. Psychosis getting a win was a surprise as he hasn’t been much more than a jobber in the division for awhile now.

Here are Hall and Spicolli with something to say. After WCW wins the survey, Hall talks about Dusty Rhodes being the newest member of the NWO. There’s another new member in the form of Louie Spicolli and here’s his first test.

Louie Spicolli vs. Juventud Guerrera

Juvy spinwheel kicks him down to start but Spicolli comes back with a few shots to the ribs and a knee drop for no cover. We cut to the back to see Randy Savage arriving on his own in a rental car and being very ticked off. Back in the arena we see Juvy dropkicking Spicolli to the floor but here’s Savage to beat Guerrera down for the DQ.

Savage gives Juvy a piledriver before calling out Lex Luger. He says it was his three lunkheaded friends’ fault that he lost and says he doesn’t want Hogan, Hall and Nash to help him anymore. As this is going on, Spicolli is covering Juvy like a schnook. Louie comes up to Savage and gets knocked to the floor as the NWO comes out in full force.

Savage calls them all a bunch of clowns but Bischoff tries to play peacekeeper. Randy knows that none of these guys care to him but Hogan says everyone is in this together. The picture the NWO saw the other night was that Savage wasn’t doing so well. They saw Savage in trouble and thought their appearance would give him the inspiration to pull the comeback. However, now Savage is on his own.

Randy has three things to tell the NWO: the match wasn’t over yet, the NWO wasn’t doing all that well when they came out to help him, and third Hogan looked a lot better with the gold on his shoulder. Hogan doesn’t take too kindly to reality and says that he’ll have the title back soon. Savage goes after Hogan before bailing to the floor to grab a chair.

Back to the Nitro Party. Does anyone actually watch the show at this party? They play some pin the name on the Nitro Girl poster as this is still going for some reason.

Raven vs. Mortis

This is No DQ so as Raven is sitting in the corner, Mortis dropkicks him low. A knee lift sends Raven to the floor and Mortis is in control early. Mortis whips him into the steps and barricade as this is one sided so far. A Fameasser off the apron onto the steps has Raven holding his face. Back in we go and Raven holds the rope to block a Downward Spiral to take over.

They go right back to the floor with Raven using the steps as a springboard for a knee to the face. A dropkick off the steps has the same effect and Mortis is in big trouble. Back in and Mortis hits a hot shot and an AA for two as the back and forth continues. A pair of rollups get two for Mortis but after ducking a chair shot, Raven hits a quick DDT for the win.

Rating: B-. That’s probably too high but this was much better than I was expecting. This is at least the second time where Mortis surprised me in a match which is a nice treat. He’s clearly trying out there which makes for more interesting matches most of the time. Raven is still an interesting character and hopefully he keeps getting featured.

US Title: Wrath vs. Diamond Dallas Page

Page starts with the driving shoulder blocks but is easily shoved into the corner. The champion comes back with right hands to the head and a quick Russian legsweep but Wrath comes back with a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker onto the still injured ribs. Wrath stomps Page down in the corner and stops a comeback with a big right hand. A top rope clothesline gets two on Page but he comes back with a discus lariat. The Diamond Cutter ends this quickly.

Rating: C-. Much like Mortis, Wrath looked good out there for the most part. He was never going to be anything great but for a good sized power guy he had some potential. Page winning matches like this was a good idea given how many people WCW had on the roster and could throw at Page from week to week.

Post match a dazed Wrath lays out Mortis. Vandenberg yells at him but Wrath chases him off.

Here’s Bret Hart with something to say. He praises Flair for the match on Sunday and says that he’s cool with Piper’s decision on the world title match. Bret wants a title shot at whichever wins and he’ll prove he’s the best WCW has.

Back to the Nitro Party with Gene doing his own WCW vs. NWO survey.

TV Title: Perry Saturn vs. Booker T

Booker retained the title in a solid match against Rick Martel on Saturday. They shove each other around to start until Booker takes over with a spinning forearm for two. A clothesline puts Saturn down again and it’s off to an armbar. Saturn comes back with a quick snapmare and a legdrop to take over.

A t-bone suplex gets two for Saturn but Booker rolls through a German suplex into a victory roll for two. Saturn sends him into the buckle but Booker grabs a quick suplex to slow him down. Perry avoids a charge into the corner and hits a spinning springboard clothesline for two. The champion comes back with a side kick and the ax kick but Hammer breaks up the Harlem Hangover for the DQ.

Rating: D+. The match was fine from a technical standpoint but it wasn’t interesting at all. Saturn seemed like he was sleepwalking through the match and was just doing one move after another instead of having a good match. The chemistry just didn’t flow here at all and it was a dull match as a result.

Post match the Flock runs in but Rick Martel makes the save. Saturn yells at Martel in the camera instead of looking at him in the ring.

Here’s Jericho in a Mysterio shirt for a chat with Tenay. Jericho says that he can use the toolbox he found to carry his new title belt. Mysterio has a torn ACL and is out for several months, so Jericho dedicates the title to Rey….after dedicating it to himself and the fans. He breaks down in tears and thanks the fans again while wanting updates on Mysterio’s injuries. Jericho is feeling it in this role at the moment.

Steve McMichael vs. British Bulldog

Mongo jumps the heel Bulldog on the way into the ring before hitting a belly to back suplex A chop block takes Bulldog down but he blocks the tombstoone with a clothesline. Bulldog suplexes him down but Mongo comes back with another clothesline and chokes away in the corner. Not that it matters though as Bulldog muscles him up for the powerslam and the pin in a quick match.

Kevin Nash vs. Ray Traylor

Nash throws coffee in Traylor’s face and hits him low before using the illegal powerbomb for a big fine.

Lex Luger vs. Scott Hall

Before the match, Hall calls out Larry Z for another fight as we take a break. Back with Luger charging in and stomping Hall down, only to have Scott go to the ribs to slow Lex down. Lex comes right back with right hands in the corner followed by a powerslam. There’s the Torture Rack but Savage runs in for the DQ. This wasn’t even three minutes long.

Post match Savage loads up the big elbow on Luger but Sting descends from the rafters to make the save. Sting puts him in the Scorpion Deathlock as Hogan and Hall walk around the ring like nothing is wrong.

Overall Rating: C-. This wasn’t too bad but I don’t have a good feeling about these three hour shows. There was a lot of stuff here that felt like it was there to fill in spots on the show and nothing more. The focus on the NWO is getting old in a hurry as there’s no real endgame for the whole story and they’re just yelling at each other right now.

Remember to follow me on Twitter @Kbreviews and pick up my new book on the History of Starrcade from Amazon for just $4 at:

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00D2UKOG0

Comments are closed.