Monday Nitro – February 9, 1998: Like Batman But With Good Wrestling

Monday Nitro #126
Date: February 9, 1998
Location: Haskins Center, El Paso, Texas
Commentators: Mike Tenay, Bobby Heenan, Tony Schiavone

We’re inching closer to Souled Out with the core of the card already set. As for tonight we’ve got the Outsiders vs. the Steiners for the tag titles for the 87th time along with Hogan vs. Savage for the 870th time. That’s a very stacked show for a Nitro in early February. Let’s get to it.

We open with a recap of Savage vs. Hogan.

There’s no Larry Zbyszko and Tony doesn’t know where he is.

Here are Hogan and Bischoff to open things up. The fans want Sting but get to hear Bischoff saying he won the war against WCW by following the rules. Not Turner’s rules or WCW’s rules, but Hollywood’s rules. Hogan says he’s tired of fans talking about the NWO falling apart but he’s even more tired about hearing Savage is taking over the team. Tonight is about family business and he’s going to teach Savage a lesson in the ring tonight. Savage is up in the crowd and accepts the challenge, saying he’ll take Hogan’s spot at SuperBrawl.

Nitro Girls.

We get a quick video recapping Mongo vs. Bulldog.

Glacier vs. Steve McMichael

Louie Spicolli has jumped into the commentary booth and is carrying bags he says belongs to “his friend” Larry. Still no word on where Larry is. Glacier tries to jump the Texan from behind but gets slugged down to the floor with ease. Back in and Glacier pounds away, only to send Mongo right back to the floor. They head back in again for Glacier to fire off his basic karate stuff followed by a snap suplex. Glacier jumps into an elbow, gets forearmed in the head a few times and the Mongo Spike (tombstone) ends this very quick.

Post match Mortis runs in to attack Glacier because this feud can’t die. Mongo makes the save for no apparent reason and says Bulldog is next.

Norman Smiley vs. Konnan

Technical sequence to start with Konnan rolling out of a full nelson but getting dropkicked out to the floor. Back in and Norman stomps Konnan down before cranking on the leg in one of those holds that only old school wrestlers like Smiley know about. After a rope is grabbed, Konnan finally comes back with a clothesline and the low dropkick as the announcers ignore the match to talk about the main events.

A DDT puts Norman down again and the fans are WAY into Konnan in a rare sight. Konnan charges into a knee in the corner and Norman gets two off a PerfecPlex. For a jobber who hardly ever did anything, Norman could go in the ring. Back up and Smiley charges into the 187 (cradle DDT) and the Tequila Sunrise is good for the tap out.

Rating: D+. Not a great match or anything but it was a smart idea to have Konnan get the one good crowd reaction he’s likely to get this year. Smiley is another in the long line of jobbers that WCW could throw out there and get a decent match out of at a moment’s notice. The 187 looked good too and I’ve always been a fan of that move.

Mike Tenay interviews a guy from WCW Motorsports. As always, the fans don’t care.

Nitro Girls again.

Nick Patrick is out to referee the next match but JJ says not so fast my friend. Nick: “I’m not guilty!” JJ: “Don’t care!” Nick: “Lawsuits!” JJ: “Security!” This story continues to thrill no one.

Yuji Nagata vs. Disco Inferno

Nagata immediately jumps Disco in the corner before taking him to the mat for some kicking. A swinging neckbreaker puts Nagata down but Disco gets smacked in the face to stagger him back again. Nagata pounds away even more but runs into an elbow in the corner. Disco goes up but jumps into a right hand to the ribs to keep any momentum from starting. A German suplex looks to set up a top rope elbow by Nagata but it only hits mat, allowing Disco to hit the Chartbuster for the win.

Rating: C-. This was certainly fast paced and exciting considering who was in there. Disco’s push continues but there’s only so much you can do against a black hole like Nagata. Again, I know the guy is talented, but he isn’t doing anything in WCW and his matches are usually dull to watch. The problem is there’s no reason to care about him. He’s just Yuji Nagata: Japanese heel.

Post match Nagata comes out and lays out both guys with the chair before doing THE LA PARKA DANCE!

Luger says Hogan should be planning for Sting and Savage is crazy for wanting a No DQ match against him at SuperBrawl. Spicolli leaves to find who attacked Zbyszko.

Eddie Guerrero/Chris Jericho vs. Chavo Guerrero Jr./Dean Malenko

Eddie jumps Chavo to start (that’s a very common practice in WCW anymore) but Chavo sends him into the barricade after Eddie takes it to the floor. Back in and Chavo rolls out of a tilt-a-whirl and drops Eddie with a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker of his own. Off to Jericho who is forced to take off the Cruiserweight Title before he can come in. Jericho runs Chavo over and the fans are all over the Canadian. Chavo comes back with a springboard bulldog and it’s off to Malenko who is VERY popular here in Texas.

Malenko cleans house on Jericho and they slug it out in the corner. Dean counters a middle rope dropkick into the Cloverleaf but Eddie comes in with a missile dropkick to break it up. The fans might like Dean but the EDDIE chants begin once he gets the tag. Eddie hooks an abdominal stretch with extra leverage from Jericho but the fans cheer for him anyway. Off to Jericho for a quick suplex and the arrogant cover (someone needs to bring that back) for two. Eddie comes back in with the slingshot hilo and Jericho adds a slingshot splash for two.

Chris and Eddie each snap one of Malenko’s legs back at the same time but Eddie brags a bit too much, allowing Dean to throw him into a hot shot. A belly to back suplex puts Eddie down but Jericho breaks up the hot tag attempt. The double underhook backbreaker gets two for Chris but the Lionsault only hits mat and it’s hot tag Chavo. Eddie and Jericho double team Chavo down but Eddie talks too much, allowing Dean to pull him to the apron. Chavo hits a German suplex on Jericho but Eddie shoves Chavo off the top, sending him into the Liontamer for the tap out.

Rating: B. The more I see of these guys the more amazing it is that WCW did things the way they did. This was an excellent match with the crowd going reacting to everyone out there. All four guys looked crisp and on point and the entire match was at a fast pace. Why these guys never got a shot anywhere near the top I’ll never know.

Video on the Steiners’ troubles.

El Dandy vs. Juventud Guerrera

Dandy takes the arm to start buy Juvy snaps off a quick hurricanrana to take Dandy down. They head to the apron where Dandy is backdroped up and over the post and down to the floor. Juvy hits a big dive off the top to take him out again as the crowd is loving this lucha stuff. Dandy is sent into the post but comes back with chops in the ring. A sunset flip gets two for Guerrera but he misses a charge in the corner. Dandy misses a cross body and walks into the Juvy Driver, setting up the 450 for the pin by Juvy.

Rating: C. Dandy wasn’t much but Juvy’s high spots were more than enough to carry the match. It’s very interesting to see a crowd that knows their lucha history and cheers even louder than the average crowd would for a match like this. Guerrera continues to be one of the better cruiserweights on the roster and he should be moving into the title scene soon.

Post match Jericho runs out and jumps Juvy but gets dropkicked out to the floor. Jericho wants to know what that was for but Juvy yells at him in Spanish. He wants a title shot but Jericho wants to know what Juvy will put up. “What do you have besides a rusted out 68 Camaro? Juvy speaks Spanish and offers to put up his mask which is fine with Jericho.

Steven Regal vs. Goldberg

Here’s a somewhat famous match. Regal takes him to the mat with a cravate and kicks Goldberg in the back a few times before grabbing the arm. Goldberg takes him down by the leg but Regal is quickly in the ropes. They trade arm wringers again before Regal kicks him in the face. Regal powers out of a headscissors and fires off knees to the head before Goldberg shoves him into the corner. Goldberg cranks him down by the arm and hits a belly to back suplex for no cover.

Goldberg looks for the spear but Regal headbutts him in the ribs instead and takes out the leg instead. Regal fires off knees and punches to the face but Goldberg comes back with a botched swinging neckbreaker. A shoulder block only kind of hits Regal and he blocks some strikes in the corner to make Goldberg look even more out of it. Goldberg finally hits the spear (more like a double leg takedown here) and a Jackhammer with no delay or snap to it at all finally ends Regal.

Rating: C. This was definitely more interesting than a usual Goldberg match but for all the wrong reasons. Allegedly (Regal has denied this) Regal was shooting on Goldberg here and most of the match wasn’t planned. It resulted in Regal being fired almost immediately and eventually becoming A REAL MAN’S MAN in the WWF. Goldberg looked confused in the match and Regal easily blocking a lot of his stuff made Goldberg look less effective than he ever had before.

More Nitro Girls.

We see the Nitro Party winner of the week.

Louie Spicolli vs. Chris Adams

Spicolli has a metal briefcase which presumably is Zbyszko’s bag that he referenced earlier. Louie hits a quick dropkick to start and pounds on Adams in the corner, only to be caught in a belly to back suplex. The Flock arrives at a much later time than usual for them. A belly to belly suplex and a backdrop put Louie down again and the superkick looks to finish but Louie gets in a shot with the briefcase for the fast DQ.

Larry Zbyszko comes out post match and chases Louie off before shouting that the NWO is dying.

For those of you who don’t know, Louie Spicolli died six days after this at the age of 24 due to a drug overdose/choking on his own vomit in his sleep. He was 24 years old.

Perry Saturn vs. Ultimo Dragon

Dragon has the awesome black/gold attire tonight. He starts firing off the kicks to Saturn’s back and chest but Perry pulls him down into an STF to stop Dragon cold. An overhead belly to belly puts Dragon down and Saturn hits some high kicks to the head. Dragon comes back with a quick headscissors but Saturn counters a sunset flip into a Tazzplex. Off to a cross armbreaker on Dragon before Saturn just crushes Dragon’s head with a boot in the corner.

Back to another armbar on Dragon before Saturn turns it into a Fujiwara armbar. Dragon fights up and hits a quick spin kick to the jaw to take over. They both fight out of German suplex attempts until Dragon connects with another kick. The super rana puts Saturn down but he gets to the ropes before the Dragon Sleeper can go on. An Asai Moonsault press gets two and a Frankensteiner puts Saturn down. Dragon reverses a suplex into the Dragon Sleeper but Saturn snapmares him forward into a small package for the pin.

Rating: C+. There is some solid wrestling on this show and this was another good example of it. This was one of WCW’s strengths as they could take any two guys and throw them together for a match like this. It’s much better than the WWE formula of having the same guys fight each other seven times in three months.

Hour #3 begins.

We recap Raven laying out Benoit on Thunder.

TV Title: Booker T vs. Raven

Before the match Raven says that Benoit isn’t here because of the DDT on Thursday. Booker is holding Flock property, in particular to Saturn. The Flock jumps Booker but he fights them all off until Raven gets into it. Booker takes them down as well but Raven finally catches him in the Even Flow. Saturn comes out for the Rings of Saturn on Booker as Raven shouts to feel their pain.

Hollywood Hogan vs. Randy Savage

Savage jumps Hogan on his way to the ring and lays out Bischoff as well. They get inside and Hogan is already begging off so Savage chokes him with the t-shirt. Hogan keeps crawling away as the fans are completely behind Savage. Hollywood gets in a thumb to the eye and pounds away in the corner before biting Savage’s forehead. More shots to the throat keep Savage in trouble as the fans want Sting. An elbow drop gets two for Hogan but Savage goes low to get us back to even.

Back up and Hogan hits Savage low before putting him down with a belly to back suplex. Hogan throws Savage to the floor and seems to be walking in slow motion. Savage sends him into the barricade but the ax handle from the top hits the steel. Hogan loads up a chair shot but Liz pulls it out of his hands, allowing Savage to get in a chair shot of his own. The big elbow connects but here’s the NWO to save Hogan.

Rating: C-. It was a fight instead of a match, but it’s hard to not smile at a Hogan vs. Savage match if you’re a child of the 80s. The NWO split is coming to a head at this point and this was a sign that things are really starting to change. This match was more feeling than actual substance but it was entertaining through nostalgia and a big fight feel.

Savage is beaten down post match and Hogan attacks him with a chair. The NWO walks away but Savage gets up and goes after Hogan as we go to a break.

Here’s Luger to call out Savage but gets Liz instead. Liz begs him not go go after Savage but Luger says he’s not falling for it this time. Here’s Savage and the fight is on but Sting makes the save. There’s the Death Drop on Savage as the NWO comes out…..and a net drops onto Sting and Luger, allowing the NWO to beat them down. There are so many questions here, I don’t even know where to start.

We get a clip of the Steiners vs. Hall/Bagwell last week.

Here are the Outsiders for the main event and the survey. We’re in NWO country tonight and Hall is glad that the band is back together after a long time apart. They mention Syxx for the first time in months and say their catchphrases.

Tag Titles: Steiner Brothers vs. Outsiders

The Outsiders are defending. For the sake of simplicity, Scott Steiner will be referred to as Scott and Scott Hall will be referred to as Hall. Tony says Sting may be injured after that attack. Rick starts with Hall and the challengers take over early on. It’s off to Scott but Hall blocks a belly to belly suplex and hooks a chokeslam. Scott pops back up and hits an overhead belly to belly to take Hall down. Scott has to go after Nash and Hall takes his head off with a clothesline.

Nash gets the tag and fires off the big knee lifts in the corner to keep Scott in trouble. There’s the choke with the foot and it’s back to Hall for the fallaway slam. Back to Nash for some posing and a big boot to the face for no cover. Hall hooks the abdominal stretch before slapping the back of Scott’s head. Nash comes back in and teases the Jackknife but elbows Scott in the head instead. Back to Hall who walks into a side slam but leverages Scott into Rick, knocking the legal Rick to the floor. Hall loads up the Edge on Scott but Rick comes in with the top rope bulldog for the pin and the titles.

Rating: C. The match was a standard formula tag match but the ending felt very rushed. It was interesting to see Scott take the long beating instead of Rick for a change and the match was at least different than the usual encounters between these teams. At the same time though, can we PLEASE get another team to hold the titles? It’s been a year and a half and one other team has held the titles, with a reign of less than a day.

Scott teases turning on Rick due to not getting the pin but celebrates to end the show.

Overall Rating: B-. You can use a lot of words to describe this show but the first one on my list is LONG. If this was just a two hour edition it would have been one of the best shows they ever produced with some big matches, some excellent action and some good build for SuperBrawl. The problem though is we had stuff like Mongo vs. Glacier and Disco vs. Nagata doing nothing more than filling in time. Things are looking good for WCW at the moment, but where are Hart and Flair? They haven’t been on TV since the PPV three weeks ago. Anyway good show tonight.

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1 comment

  1. MrHashasheen says:

    If I recall correctly, Regal said that they had the match planned out to be a longer one than Goldberg’s usuals, but Goldberg froze in the ring and forgot the lay-out so Regal had to try and walk him through it.