Monday Nitro – November 2, 1998: The March To War

Monday Nitro #161
Date: November 2, 1998
Location: National Car Rental Center, Sunrise, Florida
Commentators: Mike Tenay, Bobby Heenan, Tony Schiavone, Larry Zbyszko

Things actually aren’t that bad for WCW right now as we’re heading into World War 3 and then Starrcade. The main stories at the moment are of course more Warrior vs. Hogan and Bret vs. Page for the US Title. The execution of the stories last week wasn’t horrible and the episode was much easier to sit through than usual. Let’s get to it.

We open with a World War 3 ad, which I believe is the first mention of the show.

Alex Wright vs. Norman Smiley

Norman gets caught in a wristlock and something resembling a northern lights suplex for no cover. Smiley pops back up and gets one off a cross body followed by a wind-up slam. Back up and Wright hits a nice running forearm but stops to dance instead of following up. We get a Tree of Woe from Alex so he can stomp at Norman’s chest before missing a charge into another corner. The announcers talk about World War 3 as Norman hits a nice delayed butterfly suplex. A legdrop gets two on Wright and Norman goes up, only to get superplexed down. Wright adds a neckbreaker for the pin.

Rating: D+. It’s the same story we’ve seen multiple times now and it’s still going nowhere. At the end of the day there are only about five European wrestlers on the WCW roster at this point so beating them over and over again doesn’t really do much for Wright. Not a terrible match but it doesn’t mean anything.

Opening sequence.

The Nitro Girls dance with WCW Revenge boxes. That game rocked.

Disco Inferno vs. Kaz Hayashi

Kaz doesn’t care for dancing and hammers away to start, only to have his head taken off by a hard clothesline. Disco misses a charge in the corner and gets taken outside by a nice headscissors followed by a great looking dive. Back in and Kaz gets two off a high cross body, only to walk into a suplex for two.

The dancing elbow gets the same but a second attempt misses, allowing Kaz to nail a dropkick followed by a moonsault for two. Sonny Onoo comes down the aisle. Disco goes up top, only to get caught in a nice superplex. Onoo distracts Kaz and gets chased, only to have Disco catch him coming back in with the piledriver for the pin.

Rating: C-. Far better match than I was expecting here though I’m not sure why we’re supposed to care about Sonny Onoo. He’s left Hayashi and is hanging out with Ernest Miller at the moment, which doesn’t exactly have me on the edge of my seat. Hayashi’s big dives looked good here though.

Gene brings out the returning Booker T to a nice ovation. Booker is glad to be back but needs to talk about Stevie Ray joining the NWO. He loves his brother and respects his decision, but it’s Stevie’s decision alone and Booker won’t be joining. Booker calls out Scott Hall for a match tonight, saying it was Hall that put him out of action a few months ago. Actual continuity. I’m stunned.

Scott Putski vs. Fit Finlay

Basic stuff to start with Putski taking Finlay down with a hiptoss. Finlay avoids an elbow and they head outside with the Irishman dropping Scott with a clothesline. A knee drop keeps him in trouble and they head back inside. Putski scores with some right hands and a powerslam but he misses the Polish Hammer (double ax handle to the chest). Finlay nails the rolling fireman’s carry and the tombstone is good for the pin on Putski.

Raven whines about his losing streak when Kanyon comes in. He asks if Raven is going to jump off a building but Raven sends him away.

We get clips of Jericho beating “Goldberg” over the last few weeks.

Ernest Miller, now with Sonny Onoo, comes out to make an open challenge to anyone in the back.

Ernest Miller vs. Scott Armstrong

Armstrong jumps the Cat two seconds into Miller’s five count and nails him with a dropkick. Not that it matters as Miller whips him into the corner and hits the Feliner for the pin at maybe 35 seconds.

Post match Miller chokes even more until Steve Armstrong comes out for the save, only to get kicked down as well.

Wrath vs. Kendall Windham

I don’t picture this lasting long. Wrath takes him into the corner and hammers away before no selling an elbow to the jaw. A side suplex drops Kendall and Wrath no sells a neckbreaker. Wrath drills Kendall with a shoulder block and the Meltdown is good for the pin.

Video on Bret injuring DDP and Sting recently.

Here’s a limping Bret for a chat with Gene. He’s had fun hurting people lately but he’s suffered a pulled groin and won’t be able to fight Luger tonight. Gene claims to have seen Bret moving around just fine in the back but Bret cuts him off and calls this a blessing for Luger. Lex himself comes out to the ring and calls Bret a liar before clotheslining him out of the ring. Gene gets taken out as well before Luger pulls Bret back in the ring for a Rack.

Tony complains about having to see Flair humiliated last week. However, Eric is making him show clips of Bash at the Beach 1994 with Hogan beating Flair in a title vs. career match.

Here are the Horsemen in the ring. Arn is tired of hearing Bischoff’s garbage and the NWO vs. Horsemen has to happen soon. Bischoff wouldn’t understand any of this because wrestling is a man’s game. Anderson wants to fight right now but first Ric has something to say. Bischoff can play all the tapes he wants but Flair will get every bit of the respect when he walks down that aisle. Malenko is in the back getting ready for a match so Benoit and Mongo get in their own jabs at Bischoff as well.

Hour #2 begins.

Nitro Girls video.

Nitro Girls.

Nitro Party winner.

Scott Norton vs. Van Hammer

Norton chops him into the corner and nails a splash before sending Van Hammer to the floor with a splash. Back in and Van Hammer grabs a quick Cobra Clutch slam, only to walk into a Samoan drop and a powerbomb to give Norton the pin.

We get a clip of JJ Dillon getting beaten up last week.

Bret Hart gets his ribs taped up.

Back in the arena with Saturn calling out Eddie Guerrero so he can prove he can beat Eddie after last week.

Saturn vs. Eddie Guerrero

Guerrero comes out but gets stomped down into the corner. Saturn hits a face first wheelbarrow slam as we have a referee in now. A quick brainbuster drops Saturn but he’s able to run up the ropes and suplex Guerrero down for two. Saturn nails a top rope legdrop and a falcon’s arrow but the LWO runs in for a fast DQ.

Konnan comes in to break up the fight but pulls Saturn back as well. He says Eddie is just like Raven with the Flock and not worth it. Eddie says he’s Raza and calls out Konnan for hanging out with the Anglo Wolfpack.

Scott Steiner vs. Kenny Kaos

No match as JJ comes out and says not so fast. Scott freaks out and shoves him, sending JJ running to the back.

JJ comes back out and says he has something to say…..and we immediately go to a break. What the heck was that?

We come back with a video on the Nitro Girls.

Psychosis vs. Rey Mysterio Jr.

The announcers talk about having to control Scott Steiner and make no mention of what JJ was going to say. They circle each other to start until Rey takes him down with a wristlock. Psychosis comes back with a wrist drag until they slug it out. Rey cartwheels onto Psychosis’ shoulders and sends him outside with a hurricanrana. Back in and Rey hammers on the horned masked man in the corner but gets countered into a sitout powerbomb to change control.

Rey is sent outside and a BIG slingshot legdrop crushes him even more. Back in and we hit the chinlock from Psychosis for a bit before he throws Mysterio in the air for a big crash. Rey avoids a charge in the corner and comes back with a springboard seated senton for two. Psychosis nails a sitout front suplex for two of his own followed by a top rope Frankensteiner for the same.

After avoiding a dropkick, Rey ties Psychosis’ legs into the ropes and bounces off the top rope into a moonsault onto the elevated Psychosis. Cool looking move. Psychosis tries to throw him into the air again but gets pulled down into an X Factor. The LWO is in the aisle for a distraction, allowing Psychosis to counter a middle rope Frankensteiner into a powerbomb for the surprise pin.

Rating: C+. This was your usual take two cruiserweights and let them fly around for a few minutes. Both guys were on their game out there and the match worked very well. It’s also nice to see the LWO get a pin over a big name instead of just running in for a DQ like they’ve been doing for the last few weeks.

Jericho comes out to rant about Goldberg a bit. He respects the champion and has a very successful football career of his own. Gene: “You do?” Jericho: “Details later.” Jericho makes fun of Goldberg’s football career and wishes him the best in the future. Funny as always.

Hour #3 begins.

Raven vs. Dean Malenko

The announcers talk about Raven’s losing streak as he allows Dean to hit him in the face. You don’t have to ask a Horsemen twice so Malenko hammers him down into the corner. A low blow slows Dean down but he drives Raven through the ropes to counter the Even Flow. Lodi comes out to ringside but Mongo runs out to beat him with a belt and chase him off. Back in and Raven hits the drop toehold into the chair for a delayed two.

Raven loads up the chair in the corner but Dean sends him into the corner instead. Dean recovers but Raven doesn’t seem interested in getting up. Some suplexes put Raven down and a spinebuster breaks up another Even Flow attempt. Kanyon comes out but Dean whips Raven into him for two. Benoit comes out to chop Kanyon but the “injured” Bret Hart comes out to beat up Benoit, allowing Kanyon to run in for the DQ……in a Raven’s Rules match where a low blow and chair were legal just a few minutes earlier.

Rating: C-. The match wasn’t bad and Raven has some interesting stuff going on with the depression over losing the Flock. Bret running in didn’t help much but heels lying in WCW is what you expect anymore. I’ll give WCW credit for one thing though: they managed to have four people run in during a six minute match.

Bret put Benoit in a hammerlock until Luger comes out for the save. Hart immediately claims injured ribs but the Giant comes out to save Bret. Giant says he’ll fight Luger tonight.

TV Title: Billy Kidman vs. Chris Jericho

Only Jericho’s title is on the line here so I’ll only refer to Jericho as the champion. Jericho takes him into the corner to start and waves to the crowd before the trade wristlocks. That goes nowhere so Kidman dropkicks him out to the apron before cranking on the arm again. Jericho whips him out to the floor and Kidman lands hard on his back. A suplex gets an Arrogant two but Jericho is whipped hard into the corner and a clothesline puts him down.

The champion doesn’t seem to mind as he throws Kidman into the air and slams him face first onto the mat in a big crash. Jericho bends Kidman’s back across his knee before nailing a running dropkick in the corner. Chris goes up but dives onto Kidman’s feet to give Billy control. A lifting powerbomb gets two on Jericho but Chris counters a victory roll into a Liontamer attempt.

That doesn’t work so Jericho catapults Kidman face first into the buckle. Jericho’s powerbomb is countered into a facebuster but the Shooting Star mostly hits mat. Kidman comes right back with a rollup for two before just pounding on Jericho’s back. Chris bails to the floor but gets caught with a plancha to put both guys down. Back in and Kidman hits a high cross body as the time limit runs out at about eight and a half minutes.

Rating: B-. Another good match here as you would expect from these two. Kidman is just awesome right now and Jericho is Jericho. I’m not sure why only the TV Title was on the line here but it let Kidman throw everything he had at Jericho because he had nothing to lose. Fun stuff here but it’s probably just a one off match.

Here are JJ Dillon and Kaos with something to say. JJ has fined Buff $50,000 and Scott $100,000, which brings out an angry Scott. So how can you tell if it affected him or not? Scott goes on a rant about how no one can stop him and demands Kaos get out here right now. Kaos comes down and Buff barely bothers with the sincerity nonsense before the NWO lays him out. More WCW people looking stupid here.

Scott Hall vs. Booker T.

This is Booker’s return after being out with a knee injury. Hall does the survey and attacks Booker as he gets into the ring. Booker shrugs it off and hits a quick forearm followed by a hot shot. A side kick sends Hall to the floor but his eyes are clear this week. Back in and Booker scores with a clothesline followed by a back elbow to the jaw. Booker hits his hook kick out of a wristlock but walks into a fall away slam.

They head outside with Hall in control. He rams Booker back first into the apron and they’re quickly back inside. Booker’s right hands stagger Hall for a bit but he misses a dropkick to put Scott right back in control. A sleeper goes nowhere so Hall clotheslines Booker down, only to duck his head and get caught by an ax kick. Back up and the side kick nails Hall again but he pulls the referee in the way of the missile dropkick. The Outsider’s Edge is countered but another referee runs in to call for the DQ, giving Booker the win.

Rating: C-. Not a horrible match and it’s nice to see Booker win, even if it’s not by pin. The fact that he came back and got a match with a big star like Hall instead of dropping down the card is a really good sign for his future. The match wasn’t great or anything but it gives me hope for the future.

Giant vs. Lex Luger

As mentioned, Giant is substituting for an “injured” Bret Hart. We open with a posedown before Giant takes him into the corner. Luger avoids a chop and hammers away but Giant shoves him down and drops a huge elbow. A Russian legsweep drops Luger, prompting Tony to talk about what wrestlers think of Russian legsweeps. Is that something wrestlers regularly talk about in the back?

Giant stands on Luger’s throat as the fans chant for Goldberg. Luger’s throat is snapped across the top rope as the match is in slow motion. Giant shoves him around but Luger starts getting fired up. The clotheslines stagger Giant and Luger slams him down. There’s the forearm but Bret runs in with a piece of barricade for the DQ.

Rating: D. I didn’t get into this one as it felt like they were just filling in time. Based on everything we’ve seen tonight it was obvious that Bret would be running in and it didn’t make for a good match to sit there waiting on the interference. Luger didn’t get to show off his power either which is the best thing about his matches.

Post match Bret puts Luger in the Sharpshooter but Goldberg comes out. He spears Giant and loads up one on Bret but hits Luger instead to end the show.

Overall Rating: D+. There are some good matches on here but the show felt like a filler episode. That’s likely going to be the case for the next few weeks as a battle royal can only have so many stories during the buildup to the show. Hogan and Warrior being gone was a nice break though and one that has been needed for a long time.

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