Monday Nitro – August 3, 1998: WCW’s Biggest Booking Problem

Monday Nitro #148
Date: August 3, 1998
Location: Denver Coliseum, Denver, Colorado
Attendance: 7,697
Commentators: Mike Tenay, Larry Zbyszko, Tony Schiavone, Bobby Heenan

It’s the go home show for Road Wild and up to this point there are only a few matches announced. One of the matches that hasn’t been officially announced yet is the main event, which presents even more problems for the mess that WCW is in at the moment. The Leno match will draw money, but you need a lot more than five days to promote a match like that. On top of that, we still don’t have a match for Goldberg and the potential battle royal between the NWO camps has only been mentioned. Let’s get to it.

We open with a recap of Goldberg’s HUGE 20 second speech and run-in to close out the show last week, only to see him get chokeslammed by Giant.

Opening sequence.

Nitro Girls.

Heenan is on commentary to start things off for some reason. Apparently Larry is in a meeting with Time Warner executives.

We get a clip from the Tonight Show on Wednesday with Hogan and Bischoff taking over. Page and security chased them off a few seconds later and Leno/Page vs. Hogan/Bischoff is official for the PPV. Publicity on NBC is a great thing, but having it announced a week or so earlier would have helped a lot.

Here’s DDP with something to say. He had to twist Leno’s arm a little bit but Jay will be in the ring in Strugis. There won’t be anything left of Scum Hogan and Sleazy E after Road Wild because Leno will clean house with Bischoff.

Barbarian vs. Diamond Dallas Page

Apparently Barbarian came out here for a match with an unnamed opponent but Jimmy Hart issues a challenge. Page starts with a swinging neckbreaker and a hiptoss but Barbarian slips away from the Diamond Cutter. Jimmy distracts the referee and Barbarian gets in a low blow to take over. Page comes back from some choking in the corner with rights and lefts, only to have Barbarian pound him down again. A clothesline drops Barbie but he shoves the Cutter away again. He blocks it a third time but Page finally pulls him down for the pin.

Rating: D+. The match was nothing to see but the ending was a nice idea for a change. I kind of like someone just shoving Page off instead of going down, especially when it’s someone you would expect to get pinned in a few seconds. This actually wasn’t a glorified squash, much to my surprise.

More fake Hogan on the Tonight Show.

Larry has taken Heenan’s place and talks about the meeting with Time Warner. Short version: nothing has changed at all.

We look at every major match last week as this seems to be another recap heavy show.

Travis Tritt Road Wild promo.

Another Tonight Show clip with Hogan and Bischoff coming out to yell at Leno for his jokes.

And now…..NWO Nightcap. You get the idea here: band, stupid jokes, Leno impressions, threat to Kevin Eubanks, Monica Lewinsky jokes, Jay Leno jokes, Monica Lewinsky and Jay Leno jokes. The guest is Hogan of course and we look at more Tonight Show clips of Hogan and Bischoff storming the set to yell at Leno. Kevin Eubanks came to his rescue but the NWO took over the show anyway.

Hogan calls that the shove that changed history and threatens Page a bit. NBC wants Hogan and Bischoff to take over the Tonight Show after Road Wild. We get even more trash talk as this just keeps going. They kept it short this week and only ate up 13 minutes. Remember that when you see who isn’t on the show tonight.

We look at Hogan shoving Leno again before we go to break.

To keep the trend going, here’s a video on Bret Hart.

Tokyo Magnum vs. Psychosis

This is supposed to be Psychosis vs. Disco Inferno but he swaps out for Tokyo instead. Psychosis is cool with that and stomps on Magnum in the corner but Scott Norton comes in to beat them both up after about 15 seconds.

Norton issues an open challenge to anyone in WCW for a fight later this evening. Hugh Morrus comes out to answer the challenge and gets powerbombed about four seconds later.

Another video from last week with Bret talking about his respect for Sting and refusing to fight him later in the night. The promo confirmed that Bret is officially not part of the NWO.

Hour #2 begins as I feel sorry for the crowd for the second week in a row.

Nitro Girls in gold.

Nitro Party Pack winner. They showed what the Party Pack for once and it appears to be a bunch of plates and napkins with the Nitro logo. That would certainly make me want to film a big party let me tell you.

Time for more Goldberg talking. Goldberg says Saturday is payback time for the Giant because the champ is going to enter the NWO battle royal. He’ll fight anyone to get to Giant, including Sting. That brings out Sting himself for a showdown but Giant and the Black and White show up on the stage. Goldberg runs through the goons and chases Giant off as Bret Hart walks out. Some papers have fallen from the ceiling, saying “Goldberg, you’re next!”

Back from a break with Sting in the back, looking over an unconscious Lex Luger. Sting leaves as soon as medics show up.

Brian Adams vs. Jim Duggan

Duggan slugs away and hits some bad looking clotheslines to send Adams to the floor. Back in and an ax handle to the chest puts Adams down again but he forearms Duggan in the head. We hit the chinlock on Duggan before he makes his comeback and crotches Adams on the ropes. Vincent comes in with the board and the distraction lets Adams piledrive Duggan down for the pin.

Rating: D-. When Brian Adams is the better worker you have in a match, you’re not having the most interesting outing in the world. Was Jim Duggan really popular enough to warrant getting this many TV appearances? At least he’s only jobbing and not out there taking away anyone’s heat.

Bret Hart comes out of the trainer’s room. He denies having anything to do with Luger being attacked before offering his services to Sting as a replacement partner in Luger’s place tonight.

Gene is on a motorcycle and talks about riding to Sturgis.

Video on Raven, talking about a lack of joy.

Here’s the Flock to say Sick Boy vs. Kanyon isn’t happening tonight because Kanyon is nowhere to be fine. Raven suggests that Kanyon has joined the Flock. If that’s the case, Saturn is in big trouble on Sunday. Raven breaks Lodi’s fingers for fun until Saturn makes the save. He helps Lodi up but Lodi shoves him away, earning a Death Valley Driver.

Bret Hart is caught in the back with Scott Hall.

More of Hogan shoving Leno.

More Nitro Girls.

There’s even MORE talking as we’re halfway through the show. This time it’s JJ Dillon who asks to speak to Dean Malenko. Dean says the loss last week was last week and he’s not going to cry about it. Jericho was the better man last week and if he was here, Dean would tell him to his face. Now a good heel would be out there immediately to make Dean say that to his face.

Thankfully for us, Jericho is an awesome heel so here he is to gloat in person. Jericho goes on a rant about how he was unstoppable last week and says Malenko will never get to face him again. Dean says that’s not entirely true. JoJo says that since Jericho has a history of cheating, there will be a guest referee. Jericho somehow doesn’t see it coming and says he doesn’t care. The referee of course: Dean Malenko.

Eddie Guerrero vs. Juventud Guerrera

The announcers talk about Sting leaving the building at some point in the last half hour and Heenan sounds BOMBED. Juvy offers a handshake to start but gets slapped in the face instead. Guerrera doesn’t take kindly to that and dropkicks Eddie in the chest. Jericho vs. Guerrera for the Cruiserweight Title is official for Road Wild due to Eddie costing Juvy a title shot over the weekend. That took WCW about 10 seconds to explain and also gives us a reason for this match. Why is that so hard for modern wrestling companies to do?

Juvy blocks a superplex attempt and hits a top rope spinwheel kick to send Eddie outside. A suicide dive sends Eddie into the barricade. The drunk Heenan gets in a good line about David Letterman betting against Leno at the PPV. Back in and Juvy’s charge in the corner sends him into the buckle but he counters a powerbomb into a DDT for two. Guerrera’s straps come down but Eddie counters the Juvy Driver into a shoulder breaker, setting up the Frog Splash for the win.

Rating: C. It was nice to see an actual wrestling match on this show but the booking makes me shake my head. Who in the world thought that Eddie, who isn’t even on the PPV this weekend, needed a clean win over a guy getting a title shot? That’s modern WWE style booking and it’s just stupid. Tenay pointing out that Guerrera’s momentum is all gone now doesn’t help.

MORE Tonight Show stuff.

Gene is on his motorcycle again.

TV Title: Stevie Ray vs. Lizmark Jr.

Lizmark comes out to what I believe became Norman Smiley’s music. This week Stevie has a notarized statement making him the official TV Champion. Gene sees nothing official on it but Stevie insists. In some comedy you couldn’t make up if you tried, Tony says you can’t fool WCW commentators.

Total squash here with Stevie knocking Lizmark around like the cruiserweight jobber he is. A kick to the chest sends Lizmark into the barricade and a World’s Strongest Slam puts him down again. Stevie loads up the Slap Jack but here’s Chavo with a fake notary stamp. Chavo thinks he can make his own marriage license now and Stevie chases him off for the countout. The fans spent most of the match shouting about how much this match sucked and how bored they were, which is a completely acceptable feeling at this point in the show.

Travis Tritt ad.

Hour #3 begins.

Curt Hennig vs. Konnan

There’s a new Wolfpack shirt with a red wolf’s head on the front. I wanted one of those so bad when I was a kid. Hennig tries to jump Konnan to start but Konnan hiptosses him and clotheslines Hennig to the floor. Scott Norton distracts the referee so Hennig can get in a cheap shot to take over but Konnan hits another hard clothesline to take over again. A basement dropkick and an X Factor set up the Tequila Sunrise but a Norton distraction breaks it up. Hennig chokes Konnan with his singlet straps and the PerfectPlex gets the pin. Another short match.

Nash comes out to chase off the Black and White post match.

More Tonight Show stuff.

Chris Jericho vs. Rey Mysterio Jr.

Non-title. Jericho gets in a cheap shot to start but Rey comes back with a springboard missile dropkick to send him outside. A flipping seated senton takes Jericho down again and we take a break. Back with Mysterio hitting what looked like a moonsault press for two. Jericho catches a springboard cross body and puts Mysterio down with a shoulder breaker. Mysterio rolls to the floor and gets dropkicked into the barricade.

Back in and Rey suplexes Jericho down in the closest thing you’ll ever see to a power display from Mysterio. Chris comes right back with a bizarre looking submission hold which can best be described as an Octopus Hold but from his back. Rey makes the rope but gets clotheslined down yet again. Jericho launches him into the corner but Rey lands on the middle ropes and headscissors Jericho down for two. A springboard split legged moonsault gets the same but Jericho hits a quick bulldog to get a breather.

Jericho tries his springboard cross body to the apron but crashes to the floor instead. Rey hurricanranas Jericho back inside but gets caught in a butterfly backbreaker. Mysterio gets back up again and tries a springboard move, only to have Jericho pull the referee in the way. Rey can’t stop his momentum and hits something like a seated senton on Mark Curtis. Jericho powerbombs Rey down and loads up the Liontamer but Rey counters into a rollup. There’s no referee but Dean Malenko runs out to count the pin.

Rating: B. I really liked this match even though it was a different style than I was expecting. It’s an impressive feat when you can have two guys work a match the opposite way than they usually would and still get something this entertaining. The ending ties things in to Saturday’s match and gave us an entertaining match at the same time. You can’t ask for more than that.

Same Tonight Show package for I think the third time tonight.

Nitro Girls.

We look back at Buff Bagwell and Scott Steiner talking about Buff’s injuries last week and JJ Dillon making the battle of the Steiners for Road Wild.

Here’s Scott Steiner with something to say. He talks about having black and white blood in his veins but something has changed his thinking. On Monday he got a phone call from his mom, telling him that the blood in his body is the same as his brother’s. Scott takes off the NWO shirt and says he quits. He asks Rick to come out here for an apology and the announcers think this is a nice moment. Instead here’s Buff Bagwell in a Rick Steiner costume and acting like a dog. But I thought you couldn’t fool WCW announcers. Anyway Scott makes fun of Rick until the real Rick comes out and WACKS Scott with a chair.

Tonight Show clip, literally for the tenth time tonight.

Road Wild ad.

Nitro Girls again.

Tony promises a bonus Travis Tritt concert if you buy the show, meaning the PPV will be longer than usual.

The Black and White corner Kimberly before she can get out of the ring and say she looks good for trailer trash. Kimberly slaps Eric and here’s DDP for the save but the numbers are too much for him. A long beatdown ensues with Bischoff talking trash and making sexual jokes about Kimberly. The Goldberg chants get no response as this just keeps going. A chokeslam leaves Page laying.

The announcers go into serious mode to talk about what we just saw before directly transitioning into plugging Travis Tritt’s new CD.

We look at Goldberg’s challenge for the battle royal again and him calling out Sting.

Tag Titles: Scott Hall/The Giant vs. Sting/Bret Hart

Hall and Giant are defending. For some reason Sting comes from the rafters to his old music with the white paint. Hart and Hall get us started in a Royal Rumble 1993 rematch. Feeling out process to start with Bret not really wanting to go after Hall. Eventually Bret cranks on the arm a bit before offering a tag to Sting but Sting’s arm doesn’t move from the ropes.

Sting tags himself in and hits a running clothesline and the bulldog but Hall bails to avoid the Scorpion. Back in and Hall scores with a clothesline to bring in Giant. A Russian legsweep drops Sting to give Hall a two count and a fallaway slam gets the same. Bret finally extends an arm for a tag as Sting shoves Hall into the corner, but the impact knocks Bret to the floor. Sting fights both champions off and ducks a bat shot from Hart which hits Hall, giving Sting the pin and the titles.

Rating: D. The match was your usual junk with no time to go anywhere for the most part. This would be another annoying example of two guys who don’t get along teaming together to win the titles even though it’s the same story almost every time. At least Hall and Giant lose the titles as they never quite fit as champions.

Bret takes the tag belts and leaves Sting to get destroyed. Goldberg comes out to end the show and there are no new champions due to the bat shot, even though the referee didn’t see it.

Overall Rating: D-. Literally the only reason this isn’t a failure is Jericho vs. Mysterio. This was another awful show and a good example of WCW’s biggest booking problem over the year: they kept putting the entire company on one match instead of spreading things around. If you don’t like the Leno match, there is no reason for you to buy the PPV at all. The battle royal was mentioned in the Goldberg promo and a one off line from Tony and that’s all.

It’s a stretch to call Road Wild a two match show but other than that there’s nothing there. The other problem: just like last month it’s for nothing but bragging rights. Hogan’s career doesn’t change at all either way and he still has showdowns with Page and Goldberg coming up, at least in theory. This was a horrible show as this all talk and almost no wrestling style gets harder and harder to sit through every week.

 

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