Monday Nitro – August 17, 1998: An Old Painted Face

Monday Nitro #150
Date: August 17, 1998
Location: Hartford Civic Center, Hartford, Connecticut
Attendance: 12,655
Commentators: Larry Zbyszko, Mike Tenay, Bobby Heenan, Tony Schiavone

This was requested a long time ago so I’m not sure why someone wanted to see it. We’re a little over a week after Road Wild 1998 where, believe it or not, the world champion Goldberg didn’t main event the show because Hogan was in a tag match with a celebrity. The company is starting to reel from the Attitude Era but tonight may be their answer if my memory is correct. Let’s get to it.

Here’s the NWO, led by Hogan and Bischoff, to open things up. Giant is part of the NWO again at this point too. Hogan says all the fans here are NWO Black and White fans because this is the house that Hollywood built. He’s sick of all the games with the media and dealing with all those lower level guys. Instead he wants Goldberg right here tonight in the middle of the ring because there is NO ONE he hasn’t beaten and no one he can’t beat. The fans chant Goldberg as Hogan says Giant will take out Goldberg and hand him the title tonight.

Opening sequence which is still the same as it was at the beginning of the year. Even the Steiner Brothers are still in it.

JJ Dillon talks about the very stupid WarGames this year which is a three team, nine man format because the greatest gimmick match of all time needed to be tweaked. Dillon announced Hogan, DDP and Nash as the captains for the three teams. There are three men to start, every two minutes there’s a three way coin toss and the person who earns the fall (which can be a pin this year) gets a title shot at Halloween Havoc.

We get a clip from Saturday Night with Dean Malenko wanting to reform the Horsemen.

Nitro Girls.

Nitro Party winner. Is there any wrestling coming anytime soon?

Steve McMichael vs. Sick Boy

The announcers spend the first minute or so running down Raw for the night because it was taped weeks in advance and their world title match only runs about ten seconds tonight. That’s likely because it’s two weeks before Summerslam and the WWF isn’t stupid enough to air a long title match that close to their second biggest show of the year. Mongo shoves Sick Boy to the apron but gets his neck snapped across the top rope. Sick Boy fires off some right hands and gets two off a slam.

A dropkick puts Mongo down for the same as the announcers talk about Saturn vs. Raven at Fall Brawl with the future of the Flock on the line. Sick Boy hits a clothesline as this is almost a squash so far. They slug it out from their knees with Sick Boy maintaining control but barely being able to get Mongo up for a suplex. Mongo gets in a shot to the ribs and a three point shoulder block followed by the tombstone for the pin.

Rating: C-. I miss the days when Mongo was nowhere to be seen. You know something? I don’t think I’ve ever seen a bad Sick Boy match. The guy looks smooth out there and very confident in what he does in the ring but after the Flock broke up he was more or less gone for good. Then again it’s WCW so it’s not like he would have been pushed anyway.

Here’s DDP with something to say. He’s the captain for Team WCW at Fall Brawl so he went out west to recruit his first teammate. This man wants to take out Hogan as much as Page does and Hogan has never beaten him. Page doesn’t name the guy before starting to talk about the NWO beating Page down before his US Title match with Bret Hart.

This brings out US Champion Bret (in a Hogan shirt) to say quick complaining and win or lose like a man. Page says back up of him Jack because he wants a match with Hart tonight. Bret lists off a bunch of guys that he’s crippled and put on the shelf, but Page is the scum of the earth so he’ll give Page the title shot tonight.

Gene brings out Raven for a chat but before anything can be said, Horace Hogan comes out with a stop sign. He says he’s watched Raven’s back for four months but hasn’t gotten anything in return for it. For the last two weeks he’s beaten Raven up but he wants one more match.

Raven says fine as long as it’s a tag match where he can pick the partners. Horace will have Kanyon and Raven gets Saturn because Saturn needs to get used to being subservient to him. Saturn and Kanyon come out with Saturn calling Raven crazy. He changes his mind a few seconds later because he wants to smack Raven when he comes over for a tag. JJ Dillon comes out to stop this interesting idea. The tag match can happen, but if Saturn tries to attack Raven, he’s gone for 90 days. Also the match must end by pinfall or submission.

High Voltage vs. Alex Wright/Disco Inferno

Wright is quickly taken to the mat by a wristlock and a belly to belly suplex. Tony rips on Raw again by saying WCW will give you action you want to see here tonight. So far we’ve seen Steve McMichael vs. Sick Boy and this classic. You might want to try that one again Schiavone. Off to Disco who is thrown around as well but here’s Meng to attack Wright because Meng is a monster.

A referee and a security guard get Death Grips as well. They finally mace him to no effect at all.

Eddie Guerrero is scheduled for a match against Konnan but he comes out with a bag and a cup of coffee. He says don’t go to a commercial or he’ll say this on another show. Eddie wants to talk to Eric Bischoff about business, but if this is the only way to get his attention then so be it. Eddie has been unappreciated for a year despite giving the best effort he can.

All of the young talent in WCW is held down for the sake of the people on top of the company. The fans are loudly booing. Eddie says he hasn’t done this for the sake of Chavo and his children and pours coffee on himself, referencing a meeting where Eric allegedly threw coffee on him (in his book Eddie said that it was actually Eric accidentally spilling the coffee on a table and it landed on Eddie). This would eventually lead to the LWO. I’m sure we’ll get Eddie vs. Konnan later though, because WCW would NEVER bait and switch us like that other company that WCW has spent the first hour running down.

Hour #2 begins.

Kanyon/Horace vs. Saturn/Raven

Raven and Saturn get in an argument before the bell but agree to get inside. Saturn and Kanyon get things going but Raven tags himself in, nearly triggering another brawl. The tag doesn’t count for some reason so Kanyon tries a fisherman’s suplex on Saturn, only to get caught in a belly to belly suplex. Off to Horace who catches Saturn in a bad looking flapjack, giving Kanyon a two count.

Kanyon stomps away in the corner and gets two off a backbreaker. In a surprise, Raven crotches Kanyon on the top to save Saturn as the Raw bashing continues. Raven comes in and rolls some Russian legsweeps on Kanyon but doesn’t cover. Back to Saturn for some kicks in the corner before Raven brings in a chair.

Kanyon is sat on the middle rope and Raven loads up a Diamond Cutter onto the chair (Tony: “Looked like a bulldog or a DDT.” So not only does he brag about how AMAZING WCW’s main event will be but he doesn’t recognize the most over move in the company for the last year and a half.) but Kanyon shoves Raven into the chair instead. Off to Horace who is only here to beat up Raven. A powerslam gets two for Hollywood Hogan’s nephew as Saturn makes the save.

Everything breaks down and Saturn and Raven are thrown into each other. Horace splashes both guys in the corner and Saturn does the Sting falling low blow spot. A powerbomb/neckbreaker combo gets two on Saturn and Kanyon spikes him down with a reverse electric chair (meaning Saturn was dropped face first off Kanyon’s shoulders). Horace brings in the stop sign but blasts Kanyon by mistake, allowing Saturn to hit the Death Valley Driver on Horace for the pin.

Rating: C+. This was a better match than I was expecting though more dissension between Raven and Saturn would have helped a bit. Kanyon continues to be solid in the ring with a bunch of nifty moves but Horace on the other hand was as generic of a big man as you could ask for. Still though, good stuff here.

The Flock comes in post match and Raven DDTs Saturn. He tells the Flock to get Saturn up but Kidman pulls Raven off of him, earning a DDT of his own. Horace gets a DDT as well.

Here’s the NWO Black and Red (the Wolfpack) with something to say. The Wolfpack is Nash, Konnan, Sting (looking like a lobster in red paint) Luger and Savage (injured at the moment). They’re the cool NWO and formed a few months ago because if there was one thing missing in WCW, it was a face NWO team. Sting talks about WarGames coming up and how much he’d love to be involved again. Konnan does his usual schtick before Nash talks about how great it is to be in Connecticut. If you’re not part of the Wolfpack, prepare to be hunted by the Pack…and that’s it.

Scott Norton vs. Scott Putski

Putski is wearing a long coat that makes him look like a pirate. Norton chops him in the corner to start but Putski comes back with a neckbreaker. A Vincent distraction lets Norton snap off a powerslam and a powerbomb ends Putski in less than a minute.

Here’s the Black and White with something else to say. Hogan loves the new WarGames rules because he can take care of all the garbage at one time. Nash is a turncoat and Page is a creep who doesn’t follow the rules. Bischoff is the boss around here and the man that brings in the new talent, even though there’s no one Page could bring in that Hogan can’t handle. There go the lights and it’s time for the reveal of DDP’s surprise partner.

A voiceover says something about destruction and someone walks out but we can’t see who it is. The lights come up and it’s the Ultimate Warrior (just called the Warrior here). Hogan immediately panics because he thought Warrior was dead. A LOUD Warrior chant comes up as Warrior asks who holds the power now. Warrior stands there for awhile before saying people anticipated his arrival. Hogan offers him the NWO shirt off his back but Warrior says it doesn’t smell good.

Warrior talks about how wrestling has tried to recreate something which is recreateable with Hogan at the figurehead. Those sort of things are irreplaceable and Hogan must realize that right now. Warrior pauses for about thirty seconds after each sentence. The fans chant that Hogan sucks but Warrior wants to tell him something he doesn’t know. Warrior talks about history teaching us things but Hogan has misplaced pieces of his history. He mentions that Hogan never beat the Warrior, which brings up an interesting point.

On Warrior’s WWE DVD, Hogan said this was the ultimate no-no. Why? Some of the biggest matches of all time, including the most watched match in American history, have been rematches. Are we supposed to say Warrior lost the match? Also remember that Page brought it up earlier in the show and flat out said it instead of implying it like Warrior did (Warrior said Hogan never beat him, not that he beat Hogan). Earlier Hogan mentioned wanting to get his belt back from Goldberg. Are we supposed to forget that Hogan lost his only match against Goldberg? I never got why this was such a big deal in Hogan’s mind.

Anyway Warrior says he defeated the undefeatable and conquered the unconquerable because while Hogan was great, Warrior was Ultimate. After talking for about ten minutes, Warrior introduces himself to Disciple, saying that must be Hogan’s barber. I believe that’s the first actual confirmation that it’s Brutus Beefcake. Bischoff says Warrior knows who he is and Warrior says if Bischoff gets involved, it will lead to his demise. Also Warrior is going to send him a bill for something that isn’t specified.

Warrior talks about destiny and waiting for the next superhero. Hogan has been rationalizing adolescent behavior and embodies intolerable evil. Warrior isn’t here to beat Hogan up because everyone has already beaten Hogan up. Nice line there. Next week Warrior is going to launch a revolution that not even Hogan can control. That’s next week, same Warrior time, place and channel. Seriously he said that. Smoke fills the ring and Warrior disappears.

This went on FOREVER and easily could have been cut in half to get the same point across. Between Warrior’s incessant pauses, the repeating the same stuff in different terms over and over and talking to Bischoff about bills, this could have been cut down to about six or seven minutes instead of the fifteen that it took. Also it’s more of the same idea for WCW: take something that was a big deal a long time ago and try to get something more out of it. Yes it would work short term, but it was shown to not work in the long term.

More Nitro Girls. Tony is only pretty sure that the Warrior was DDP’s shocker.

Dean Malenko vs. Curt Hennig

This has potential. Curt bails to the floor and we take our second break in about two and a half minutes. Back with Dean pulling Hennig into the ring but Curt taking it right back to the floor to beat on Malenko. Back in and Dean goes off with forearms in the corner, only to be taken down by a clothesline. Hennig cranks on the neck but Dean backdrops Curt down.

A snapmare gets two for Malenko but he runs into a boot in the corner. The HennigPlex is countered with knees to the ribs and Dean suplexes Curt a few times. Tony rips on Raw’s main event again as Hennig escapes the Cloverleaf. A Rude distraction and a shot to the back sets up the HennigPlex to end Dean a few seconds later.

Rating: D. I expected WAY more from these two. They never got out of first gear here and seemed perfectly happy going like that for about five minutes. It’s nice that Dean is back after being gone for a few months in the spring, but Curt seems to be doing exactly what he was doing back in April. That’s not a good sign at all.

Hour #3 begins.

Here are Buff Bagwell, Scott Steiner (with literally half of his body in bandages) and some frumpy old woman. Scott talks about Rick hitting him in the elbow last week, and everyone knows that the elbow bone is connected to the shoulder which is connected to the neck bone, and that’s why his knee hurts. Steiner’s doctor, who is apparently a man, says that Scott is indeed hurt. Scott can’t hold his arm up so clearly he can’t face Rick at Fall Brawl. This brings out Rick who says he wants the match so Scott says he’ll do it at Fall Brawl. The team split up six months ago and we’re still waiting on the match?

Nitro Girls part 3.

TV Title: Chavo Guerrero Jr. vs. Chris Jericho vs. Stevie Ray

Chavo has gone nuts and has a stick horse named Pepe for a friend. Jericho is TV Champion after beating Stevie, who became champion after Booker T couldn’t defend the title due to injury and allegedly gave Stevie power of attorney to defend the title. At least I think that’s what happened as the announcers don’t sound entirely sure. One fall to a finish here with Jericho throwing Chavo into Stevie to start. Jericho bails out to the floor so Stevie throws Guerrero on top of him in a nice power display.

Chavo comes back in with a high cross body for two on Stevie but now Jericho wants to hook up with Guerrero. A running forearm and middle rope bulldog get two on the champion but now Ray lifts Chavo into the air again, only to have Jericho break it up for two. Ray takes them both down with a double clothesline but the smaller guys come back with a double suplex.

Chris and Chavo hit a double missile dropkick from the same corner but Jericho breaks up Guerrero’s cover on Ray. Ray runs over the referee but knocks Jericho out with a blackjack. Guerrero puts a sleeper on Stevie Ray but here’s Giant to chokeslam Stevie, which apparently is what gave Jericho the title in the first place. Chavo gets up but staggers out of the ring. Jericho gets to his feet….and wins by countout because Ray can’t get up? Uh….sure, but why not just have Jericho cover the unconscious Stevie for the pin?

Rating: D+. Bizarre ending, bizarre booking and unexplained interference aside, there were a few decent spots in here to carry things. This is a good example of how watching all of the shows coming up to this could have helped out a lot. Chavo getting to show personality is definitely a good thing though as he’s very talented but didn’t have the character to back it up.

US Title: Bret Hart vs. Diamond Dallas Page

Bret is defending, having traded the title with Lex Luger over the last week. Page gets a quick two off a belly to belly but Bret bails to the floor to avoid a Diamond Cutter. DDP follows him to the floor and pounds away, sending Bret into the barricade. Back in and Page fires off elbows in the corner and gets two off a suplex. Page goes to the corner to rain down right hands but Bret hits him low.

The referee must have been following a piece of lint in the air because it was right in front of him but Bret wasn’t even admonished. Bret drops Page face first onto the buckle to take over even more as momentum shifts. Hart rakes the eyes across the top rope ala Arn Anderson but Page grabs a quick small package for two. We hit the Five Moves of Doom with the elbow getting two. A hard whip into the corner puts Page down again and a good looking piledriver gets two on Page.

DDP pops right up and pounds away on Bret in the corner before taking him down with a discus lariat. A top rope clothesline gets a near fall on the champion and the Pancake gets the same. The referee gets pumped and Bret pulls out a foreign object to blast Page in the head. Then in a bizarre moment, for some reason he puts the object in Page’s tights and drags Page on top of himself but kicks out at two.

The Sharpshooter goes on, Page slaps the mat on three separate occasions (as in three sets of taps) and shakes his head up and down but the referee does nothing at all. Page grabs the rope for the break and grabs a Diamond Cutter out of nowhere. The referee does his job for the first time all match by noticing Bret’s foot being under the rope. Bret claims that Page hit him with something so the referee checks him, only to find the object for the DQ. We’ll ignore that the referee had a completely unobstructed view for the last several minutes and would have seen Page hit Hart or put it back in his tights.

Rating: B-. Good match here but the strange booking brought it down. The ending makes sense given the setup, but the setup made no sense. I get that Bret put the object there as a safety net, but why not just pin Page when he was knocked out? Also there were way too many instances here with the referee coming off like an idiot. These two had good chemistry together but I don’t remember a match between them not being overbooked.

More Nitro Girls, this time with the WCW version of Wrestling Buddies.

WCW World Title: Goldberg vs. The Giant

Tony bashes Raw again, saying they’re going to give the fans what they advertised, unlike their competitors. Giant has Disciple with him. Goldberg’s music hits and the fake chants pipe in. I rarely notice those so they must be really bad here. Buffer introduces Goldberg as the unified WCW/NWO World Champion.

Giant charges at him in the corner to start and slams Goldberg down, only to have Goldberg pop up and slam Giant right back. Giant clubs him down again and hits a quick Russian legsweep for no cover. Goldberg is sent to the floor but has to knock out Disciple. The champion posts Giant but the big man is able to suplex Goldberg in from the apron, only to have Goldie pop right back up. The spear connects but Disciple comes in for the DQ.

Rating: C-. It was indeed longer than ten seconds, but the whole thing didn’t even last four minutes. If I’m WCW, I’d have a bigger match than that if I was going to spend almost three hours bragging about how good it was going to be. This is like a kid bragging that he got a D on a paper when his friend got an F. Goldberg’s power moves were impressive but there was nothing to the match at all. Two straight DQ finishes didn’t help things either.

Goldberg spears Disciple down and hits him with the Jackhammer but Scott Hall comes in to beat the champion down. Nash comes in for the save, takes out Giant and pulls Hall off of Goldberg, only to take a spear meant for Scott. Nash basically no sells it and stares Goldberg down to end the show.

Overall Rating: C+. This was a pretty entertaining show all around, but there are some big problems and you can see them coming soon. The Warrior idea is a Band-Aid and nothing more. Yeah it might have gotten them a quick boost, but even WCW had to know this wasn’t going to be a long term solution.

At the end of the day, this is the Hulk Hogan Show, not Nitro. Look back at Page’s promo. He isn’t bringing Warrior in to help him win the title or to help WCW win WarGames. Page brought Warrior in to help him get Hogan. Hogan has lost to Sting and Goldberg in the last eight months and it rolls off of him. Nothing ever changes with him and he just keeps rolling along. How is that interesting TV? Good show, but not for the main stories as usual.

 

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3 comments

  1. ted says:

    ” He mentions that Hogan never beat the Warrior, which brings up an interesting point.
    On Warrior’s WWE DVD, Hogan said this was the ultimate no-no.”

    I Guess Hogan’s losses actually do bother him. Or did at the time.

  2. Sroxy says:

    I believe Hogan says that because it is actually not advisable to mention on air that you already beat the opponent. Why would I want to buy a ticket or watch the match again if you said that you already beat him once before? Moreover, why do you even want a have a match now that you said that you have already beaten the guy? That is why it was “an ultimate no-no’.

    However, if it would have been a reverse situation with Warrior saying that I have never beaten you Hogan, and I want a match now to avenge my loss, THAT would make the fans interested in wanting to pay to watch the match. Here, it was like, I have beaten you Hogan, I was better than you, well now I want to fight you again because….well I want to. That’s not compelling.

    klunderbunker Reply:

    Warrior is one of the few men that has beaten Hogan. He’s done it once so he can do it again now. Hogan didn’t mind selling that same story at SuperBrawl 1997 after Piper beat him at Starrcade 1996. Like I said, if they’re going to reference the match, are we just supposed to pretend like it didn’t happen?