Monday Nitro – June 1, 1998: Sting, Will You Accept This T-Shirt?

Monday Nitro #139
Date: June 1, 1998
Location: MCI Center, Washington D.C.
Commentators: Larry Zbyszko, Bobby Heenan, Tony Schiavone, Mike Tenay

We’re less than two weeks to go from the Great American Bash and we really don’t know much about the card so far. The main event will be Hart/Hogan vs. Savage/Piper, but the interesting (by comparison) question is what happens to Sting and the tag titles. Odds are Sting is going to pick a side soon, but that doesn’t really do much overall. It’s just more of the same faction wars which have dominated the company for months now. Let’s get to it.

We open with a montage of Sting over the years and all of his different looks.

Opening sequence.

The announcers talk about Sting for a few minutes and Tony is sure we’ll get the decision tonight.

A white limo with a WCW logo pulls up and it’s JJ Dillon, Diamond Dallas Page, Booker T and Goldberg.

We see Luger’s recruitment speech to Sting from Thunder.

The fireworks display kills even more time after a break.

Nitro Girls.

Jerry Flynn vs. Ernest Miller

Miller starts with a backdrop but can’t hit a few spin kicks to the face. Off to an armbar on Jerry but Flynn comes back with some kicks in the corner. Now it’s Flynn with an armbar followed by some kicks to the arm but Miller comes back with a fireman’s carry powerslam. The latest version of the Feliner (in this case Kofi Kingston’s Trouble in Paradise) misses by about eight inches but it’s enough to pin Jerry.

Rating: D-. This is the same problem you always have with the guys in these matches: just because they can throw kicks doesn’t make them interesting. Jerry Flynn is an uninteresting of a wrestler as you’ll ever see and Miller was only starting to become competent in the ring at this point.

A black limo pulls up, revealing NWO Wolfpack minus Hennig.

Here’s the Wolfpack with something to say. Hennig is with them on crutches despite not being in the limo. Nash does a survey about which NWO the fans are here to see with the red and black winning. Luger gives another recruitment speech and offers a challenge to Giant and Hogan to face himself and Nash.

We see Bret recruiting Sting on Thunder.

Saturn/Raven vs. Public Enemy

Saturn pounds Grunge into the corner to start before it’s quickly off to Raven who walks around but makes no contact before tagging back out. Public Enemy comes back with a double elbow to the jaw before Rocco stays in to work over Saturn’s back. Grunge comes in for some shoulders in the corner before Public Enemy drops Saturn with a double clothesline again. A modified top rope Demolition Decapitation gets two for Grunge but Rocco misses a Lionsault press. Raven makes a blind tag but accidentally blasts Saturn in the back of the head.

He and Saturn stare each other down but Grunge clotheslines both of them. They fall to the floor for a dive from Rocco before going back inside for a swinging neckbreaker from Grunge to Saturn. The Drive By (the Quebecers’ old Cannonball) crushes Saturn and Rocco hits a flip dive over the top and onto Raven on a table but the wood doesn’t break. Rocco is fine with that and hits the same thing again to break the table down. Grunge is sent into the chair that Rocco is holding, sending it into Rock’s face. Saturn hits a quick Death Valley Driver on Grunge but Raven sneaks in for the pin.

Rating: D+. This was mainly an angle instead of a match and there’s nothing wrong with that. What there is something wrong with is this style of wrestling in front of all audiences. The people here weren’t digging the hardcore schtick which is why it shouldn’t be done all the time in a major company like WCW. That kind of stuff is for a niche audience, not a national one.

Post match Raven says he won before throwing in Saturn’s name too. He’s also rehired the Flock for protection against Kanyon. It’s also Saturn vs. Kanyon at the PPV.

More of Luger recruiting Sting from Thunder.

More Nitro Girls.

The Nitro Party winner of the week has a sign saying “La Parka Chair Club For Men.” Ok point for a cute line.

Chavo Guerrero Jr. vs. Alex Wright

There’s no Eddie here this time. Alex easily takes Chavo around before hitting a hiptoss and dancing a lot. Back up and Chavo gets caught in a backbreaker so he can dance even more. Chavo gets ticked off and grabs him by the throat for some choking and right hands. Wright bails to the floor and gets caught by a suicide dive to put both guys down. They whip each other into the barricade before heading back inside for Chavo to miss a charge into the corner, allowing Alex to get an STF for a very fast tap out.

Post match Eddie comes out and tries to keep the guys from fighting. Alex leaves so Eddie can tell Chavo he was talking to grandma who has freed Chavo. Therefore there’s no need for them to have a match at the Great American Bash. Chavo says oh yes there is a need because Eddie is trying to hide from him.

We take a break and we’re supposed to have Randy Savage for a chat but Piper’s music plays instead. Now it’s the Wolfpack song and here are Savage and Liz. Randy accuses Tony of wanting to date Piper before calling out Roddy himself. Roddy thinks Savage needs a psychiatrist but Savage wants a match with Piper one on one after the tag match. Piper says it’s on before asking Savage if his parents built him a swing facing the wall as a kid. Piper doesn’t believe Bret is in the NWO until he sees him in an NWO shirt, which he somehow ties into Savage being a Muppet and the Washington Capitals.

MORE from Thunder with Bret asking where Sting stands.

Hour #2 begins.

Here’s JJ with something to say. Tony is doing the interview again instead of Gene for some reason. JJ says that he thinks Sting is going to stay in WCW even though it’s not cool and he had trouble when he stayed with WCW last year.

NWO Hollywood arrives in another limo.

After a break here’s the black and white for their interview time. Bischoff brags about how awesome Hogan is before Hogan talks about being in Hollywood to make a movie. Apparently Scott Steiner was in the movie with him or at least was hanging around the set. On the way to the arena tonight he was watching the show and heard the challenge. He and Giant are glad to accept to show Sting how awesome the black and white is. Bret opens his shirt to reveal a Hogan shirt, proclaiming Hulk to be the greatest of all time. Hogan says a t-shirt is worth 1000 words and promises to own Savage’s soul.

Heenan joins commentary as the Nitro Girls dance again.

Konnan vs. Lenny Lane

Konnan easily takes him down by the arm to start and gets two off a slick rollup into a sunset flip. Off to a Boston Crab with Konnan lifting up Lane by the arms and rocking him back and forth for extra torment. Lane comes back with a bulldog and stomps away before getting two off some side rolls. Konnan slams him out of the corner with an Alabama Slam before the 187 and Tequila Sunrise are good for the pin. Not terrible actually.

Here are Hennig and Rude with something to say. Rude says he doesn’t have to brag about Hennig being a 3 time world champion or his 3000 wins when Goldberg only has 89 wins in a row. Apparently Hennig has a bad knee and has to take ten days off. Curt calls out Konnan and asks him to face Goldberg in his upcoming matches around the country. Konnan is cool with the idea.

TV Title: Fit Finlay vs. Eddie Guerrero

Finlay grabs a quick headlock and runs Eddie over with a shoulder block. A snapmare puts Eddie down again and it’s off to a chinlock. Eddie counters into an armbar and rakes his boot over the champion’s eye as only he can get away with. A top rope hurricanrana attempt is broken up and Finlay gets two off a belly to back suplex. Back to the chinlock for a few moments before Finlay rams him face first into the apron. Finlay counters a sleeper and dropkicks Fit down before pounding away in the corner. Not that it matters as Chavo comes in and the match is thrown out before he does anything.

Rating: C. Not bad here but the ending made it more of an angle than anything else. I like that Chavo cost him the match without Eddie losing as it keeps both guys looking strong at the same time. Finlay is fine as the TV Champion, but I’m still not sure why he of all people got the belt. At least he isn’t horrible though.

Chris Jericho is at the Capitol Building but is thrown out almost immediately. After the Capitol police throw him out, Jericho claims to have talked to Clarence Thomas and he’s sure Jericho has a case. Jericho talks to other people protesting some issue and tells them he should be Cruiserweight Champion. He isn’t allowed on the White House lawn so it’s off to the Library of Congress to look for a section on WCW title belts.

Chris Jericho vs. Juventud Guerrera

Jericho calls out JJ to give him the evidence he’s acquired but gets Juvy. They trade hammerlocks to start until Jericho flips Juvy down. Back up and Guerrera chops away before going up top for a slightly botched hurricanrana. Jericho comes right back with a butterfly backbreaker, good for two. A standing hurricanrana gets two for Juvy and he botches another move by rolling up Jericho’s body and gently laying him down instead of snapping off a DDT.

The Juvy Driver looks to set up the 450 but Jericho crotches him on the top. Guerrera fights back but another hurricanrana attempt is countered into the Liontamer, only to have Juvy roll out and send Jericho to the floor. A slingshot hurricanrana takes Jericho down again but as the referee is with Chris, Reese comes in and chokebombs Juvy down, giving Jericho an easy pin.

Rating: D+. Juvy’s botches really brought this match down as it looked like half his moves were trying to make sure Jericho wasn’t hurt at all rather than trying to pin him. On top of that they were nowhere near as fast as their matches usually were which was often the highlight of their stuff. Bad match here and mainly due to Juvy.

Hour #3 begins.

We recap the best of 7 series with Benoit leading 2-1 after winning on Saturday Night.

Booker T vs. Chris Benoit

Feeling out process to start with Booker elbowing Benoit down for two as Finlay watches from the ramp. A powerslam gets two more on the Canadian and we hit an armbar. Booker goes up for a spinning cross body to send Benoit out to the floor. That goes nowhere so we head back inside for a mudhole stomping by Benoit. A snap suplex puts Booker down and it’s back to Finlay for some trash talk.

Booker hits a quick elbow to the jaw and it’s off to a chinlock. Back up and the forearm to the head gets two on Chris and more chinlockery abounds. Benoit fights up again and hooks a German suplex but can’t follow up. Some right hands have Booker in trouble but he comes back with the ax kick for no cover. Benoit is all screw this getting kicked in the head thing and counters a suplex into the Crossface for the win and a 3-1 lead.

Rating: C+. The matches are good but it’s getting a bit repetitive at this point, given that these guys have been feuding for weeks beforehand. That being said though, I could watch Benoit drive people down into the Crossface all day. Booker isn’t going to be hurt by feuding with Benoit either, but a match with someone else would be a nice breather.

The announcers discuss Sting for I think the fifth time, not counting talking about him during matches of course.

We get the same video on Sting that opened the show.

Diamond Dallas Page vs. Riggs

Riggs sends Page into the corner so DDP shoves him down with ease. Page stomps him down in the corner before taking out Sick Boy. An over the shoulder gutbuster sets up a fireman’s carry Diamond Cutter for the fast win.

Sick Boy gets a Cutter as well.

US Title: La Parka vs. Goldberg

La Parka cracks him in the head with a chair before the bell but Goldberg no sells it. A spear and Jackhammer are the only moves of the match.

The Giant/Hollywood Hogan vs. Lex Luger/Kevin Nash

Bret is with the black and white again. Luger now wrestles in long black pants instead of trunks. Hogan and Luger pose at each other to start before Luger shoves him into the corner and flexes a bit. A cheap shot gets Hogan out of a test of strength and he goes to the throat to take over. Off to Nash who fires off knees to the ribs and follows up with the corner elbows. They trade clotheslines and Hogan slugs away, only to tag in Giant for the real battle of the big men.

Big Kev pounds away on Giant in the corner but Giant superkicks him down in a nice display of athleticism. Giant misses an elbow drop and it’s off to Luger to pound away. Another clothesline puts Luger down and it’s back to Hogan again as the slow heel offense begins. Nash walks into the ring anyway and kicks Giant in the face as everything breaks down. Hogan hits Nash in the back with a tag title belt for the DQ.

Rating: D. There’s not much to say about this one. This was exactly what you would expect it to be. It was mainly kicking and punching which is what you expect but that doesn’t make this any better to sit through. At least it was short, but that’s not really a plus most of the time.

Post match here’s Sting from the ceiling with a buttoned up trench coat. He takes it off to reveal….the black and the white. Hogan and Giant celebrate but Sting decks Hogan and slams Giant (with ease) and rips off the shirt, revealing the red and black. Tony sounds THRILLED with this development to end the show after about three minutes of Wolfpack celebrating.

Overall Rating: D. This is a hard one to grade as it’s all about one idea. They did a decent job of getting that idea across, but three hours is a LONG time to get to push one single thing. I did like the false finish as it was obvious Sting was going to the Wolfpack but at least they teased a swerve. Just too much focus on the NWO here though, and who does this leave as WCW’s main guys? Piper and Page? Goldberg is a rising star but he hasn’t proven himself against big names yet. Wait why am I even asking? WCW has nothing to do with this show.

 

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