Monday Nitro – February 1, 1999: The Confusion Begins

Monday Nitro #174
Date: February 1, 1999
Location: Target Center, Minneapolis, Minnesota
Attendance: 17,259
Commentators: Larry Zbyszko, Mike Tenay, Tony Schiavone, Bobby Heenan

The build to SuperBrawl continues and hopefully WCW’s hot streak does as well. Things have been going strong for WCW over the last few weeks which isn’t what I was expecting coming into a year known for being such a disaster. The main story is Flair hunting Hogan and the title and wanting to get more revenge on Bischoff. Let’s get to it.

We open with a shot of Curt Hennig and Barry Windham arriving earlier and saying they can win the Tag Team Titles. Hennig wants a piece of Hall and Nash.

Earlier today Scott Steiner went after the Nitro Girls again, this time causing Kimberly to fall over and hit her head.

Gene is in the ring and brings in Konnan and Rey Mysterio Jr. Rey says the NWO is coming for his mask for some reason. He grew up watching Luger and Nash but now they’re making a big mistake. The two of them dropped all of their knowledge go Konnan, and Rey will use that knowledge to beat Luger and earn his respect. Konnan says the NWO is coming for Rey to get back at him before going into a confusing metaphor about robbing a bank and shooting a teller in a wheelchair. The end result is a mask vs. hair match at SuperBrawl. Rey mentions it being in a cage if that’s how they want it.

The Black and White is at what looks like an airport when Vince says there are no cars or reservations for cars. Stevie is ticked off so Vince goes to see what he can do. That goes nowhere so Stevie talks to someone and has gotten them hooked up. There’s a limo waiting on them but Vince isn’t allowed to get in. Vince calls Kevin Nash and asks for a ride. The Wolfpack’s limo is literally there before he gets off the phone.

Opening sequence.

Nitro Girls.

Flair puts Bischoff in a dunk tank for the employees’ amusement. This takes about five minutes to set up.

The announcers talk for a bit.

We look at Curt Hennig getting thrown out of the NWO last week.

Tag Team Title Tournament First Round: Curt Hennig/Barry Windham vs. Chris Benoit/Dean Malenko

The winner of this gets the Outsiders, so apparently the match on Thunder was a tournament match. They stare each other down for awhile to start until Hennig vs. Benoit gets things going. Larry brings up that this is current Horsemen vs. former Horsemen. Benoit gets the early advantage with a quick drop toehold and some kicks to the ribs until Hennig pokes him in the eye. Chris kicks the leg and brings in Dean to hammer away in the corner.

Dean goes off on Curt with shots to the back of the head and even knocks Barry off the apron for good measure. Back to Benoit for the snap suplex and we take a break. We come back with a four way brawl in the aisle with the Horsemen getting the better of it. Scott Dickinson is watching from the front row again. Benoit misses a baseball slide and gets chopped by Hennig before it’s off to Windham for a running lariat.

Some chops in the corner put Benoit down again and Curt adds in some shots of his own. Benoit gets sent to the floor and rammed into a chair before Hennig hammers away back inside. Chris charges into a boot in the corner but snaps on the Crossface, only to have Barry make a quick save. A double tag brings in Dean to fight both veterans at once before Benoit kicks Barry into a tag to Hennig. Everything breaks down and Barry superplexes Dean but Benoit’s Swan Dive breaks it up. The PerfectPlex gets the pin on Benoit.

Rating: C+. This is a match where there was no way it could have been bad. Hennig and Windham were way past their primes but this point but they were talented enough that even this version of them was still pretty good. It’s also nice to see Dean back in the ring after being out a few weeks with an injury.

JJ Dillon and some luchadores dunk Bischoff.

The NWO arrives at the building and Stevie complains to Nash about the limo situation. Everything seems to be smoothed over though.

Back from a break with the Black and White complaining about the lack of accomodations. They walk into their dressing room to find some good looking women. The complains quickly stop.

Gene brings out Flair for a chat. Flair says Bischoff abused his power a lot of the time, so tonight Bischoff gets to be soaked in the 28 degree weather. Gene asks about Benoit’s status after last week, despite seeing him wrestle a fairly long match just a few minutes ago. Ric completely ignores the question and says Hogan not being here tonight is proof that the NWO is falling apart. He goes on about Virgil (his word) and the rest of the Black and White having issues and there goes the jacket.

Flair talks about the match at SuperBrawl and says Hogan doesn’t deserve to be a champion. The title belt was presented to Flair in 1988 because he earned it. This leads us to the required list of old wrestling names that Flair brings up in every promo. As this is being said, a sign can be seen in the crowd saying “Shut up and wrestle.”

Flair says he’ll do or die at SuperBrawl before switching over to Bret Hart. He’s tired of hearing about documentaries because Bret is going to wrestle Chris Benoit for the US Title at SuperBrawl. This brings out Scott Hall and the Disco Inferno for some reason so Flair does Too Sweet with Gene.

Hall says Flair can boss Bischoff around but he doesn’t tell Scott Hall what to do. Did Benoit get the US Title shot because he washes Flair’s car? Hall is the guy that took the belt off Goldberg and beat Bam Bam Bigelow. Flair calls Hall half of a fantasy world so Scott wants to fight Benoit. Chris comes down the aisle and the fight is quickly on with the Horsemen clearing the ring. Ric makes Benoit vs. Hall for tonight. This was long and felt really scripted.

Kenny Kaos vs. Van Hammer

Kaos scores with a jumping back elbow to the jaw as Tenay talks about Giant Baba passing away the previous night. Scott Dickinson gets up and walks out. A running clothesline in the corner has Hammer in more trouble but Kaos charges into a boot. It doesn’t have much effect as he comes back with a springboard missile dropkick for two….and here’s the guy named Jim from the Raven vignettes wrapped in barbed wire over regular clothes and carrying a kendo stick. Van Hammer hits the Flashback (snap spinebuster) for a fast pin.

Jim beats on Hammer with the stick and does the Sandman pose. He says he’s tired of people coming to WCW and taking credit for his work. A lot of people call themselves hardcore, but let’s see them wrapped up in barbed wire. He’s the first man to wrap barbed wire around himself and dive through a table. Jim wants Bam Bam Bigelow out here right now.

Jim vs. Bam Bam Bigelow

Bigelow comes out after a break and the brawl is on with Jim hitting him in the back with the stick. He’s taken off the barbed wire and is wrestling in street clothes. A baseball slide puts Bigelow on the floor but he catches Jim’s dive and rams him into the post. Jim comes back in with a chair but goes for the stick instead. Bigelow clocks Jim in the head with a chair before superkicking him down.

Another chair shot over the back doesn’t draw a DQ for some reason and Jim comes back with a bulldog onto the chair. He wraps the barbed wire around the corner but has to nail Bigelow to stop an Irish whip. A kendo stick shot to the throat drops Bigelow and follows up with a slingshot legdrop. Bigelow DDTs him onto the chair and sends him into the barbed wire before following it up with a splash. The top rope headbutt and Greetings From Asbury Park “on” the chair are good for the pin.

Rating: D. I’m not a fan of the hardcore stuff but at least it was something fresh in WCW at this point. Jim, never called that by the announcers, even though he’s been referred to by that name in several of the Raven videos, was his usual self here, meaning it’s all spots and very little wrestling.

A cameraman dunks Bischoff after a few misses.

An old school NWO promo has Luger and Liz talking about reforming the team. Lex praises Liz for her performance at the police station, even though she screwed it up. He brags about taking out Goldberg and putting him in his place. You would think this sets up Luger vs. Goldberg wouldn’t you?

Nitro Girls.

Scott Dickinson dunks Bischoff.

Diamond Dallas Page arrives and Kidman tells him what happened to Kimberly. No one called him earlier? He goes to the Red and Black locker room and slams the door. Luckily there’s a camera waiting inside and the four guys don’t jump him as soon as he comes through the door. Page is looking for Steiner and says they better pray Kimberly is ok. He leaves and Steiner comes out of another room, holding what he implies is Kimberly’s outfit. Female hands come out of the door to rub his chest. Vince is told to tell Page that the match with Steiner is on and to slap Page when he tells him.

After a break, Vince tells Disco to give the message and slap to Page. The slap is the signal for the NWO to rush the ring.

A livid Page comes to the ring and calls out Steiner. He gets Disco instead, saying that Steiner accepts the match for SuperBrawl. Disco slaps him and gets laid out with no one coming to help. In the NWO dressing room, Nash calls Vince smart for what he did.

Page gets in his car and leaves.

Cruiserweight Title: Lash LeRoux vs. Kidman

For some reason Heenan isn’t here so Larry stays on commentary. Lash has been jobbing on Saturday Night a bit but this is his big show debut. A quick headscissors puts LeRoux down but he comes back with one of his own to put Kidman on the floor. Lash follows up with a hurricanrana off the apron before diving off the steps to drive the champion into the barricade. Kidman nails a charge of his own and they head into the crowd.

That only lasts a few seconds before it’s back into the ring with Kidman hitting a crossbody for two. A kind of powerbomb puts Kidman down but he comes back with right hands to the head. Lash does the splits to avoid Kidman before pulling him down into a chinlock. Kidman comes back with a slam but misses a top rope splash.

Off to a double arm crank followed by a belly to belly for two. They trade near falls until Leroux hits something resembling a Michinoku Driver for two more. Kidman comes back with a bulldog out of the corner but Lash slams him to the mat. He takes too long posing though and misses a legdrop, allowing Kidman to hit the Shooting Star to retain.

Rating: C. This was a nice back and forth match, even though LeRoux never was anything special in the ring. He would be around for the remainder of WCW’s time but I always liked him for some reason. Kidman was his usual good self, but we need to get to the showdown with Mysterio already.

Heenan is at the dunking booth but says he was forced to come out here. He tries to hand the baseballs to Bischoff but trips into the button, dunking Eric again.

Hogan is in a limo with some guy and talking about how Flair is whining about his son.

Booker T. is excited to be back and to fight Disco Inferno at SuperBrawl and sets a record for saying “you know” the most times in a two minute span.

Scott Steiner vs. Chris Jericho

Non-title and Heenan is now on commentary. Before the match Scott says he’ll take on all comers, including white trash like Page. He implies that he’s sleeping with Kimberly. Jericho sends Ralphus to the back for some reason. Steiner easily shoves him down to start before putting on a hard chinlock. A gorilla press sends Jericho flying again but Jericho comes back with a spinwheel kick and the springboard dropkick to send Scott outside.

Jericho follows him but Buff gets in a cheap shot to give Steiner control again. Steiner gets in a chair shot to the head, only to have Jericho snap his throat across the top rope. A top rope back elbow to the jaw drops Steiner again. Jericho’s momentum doesn’t last long though as Steiner uses an amateur takedown and hammers away in the corner. Steiner puts him in the Tree of Woe and wraps Jericho’s leg around the ropes.

Chris starts to fight back but Steiner takes him down with a small package of all things. Jericho grabs a rollup and cranks on Steiner’s arms to little effect. A dropkick knocks Bagwell off the apron and walks into a belly to belly, allowing Steiner to use an Arrogant Cover for two. Chris nails a quick jawbrekaer and the Lionsault gets two. A superkick drops Steiner again but Jericho goes outside. Saturn comes out in the dress and stops Jericho in the aisle (who was apparently leaving for no apparent reason), sending him back inside where the Recliner gets the submission.

Rating: C. That was an oddly booked ending. Jericho was wrestling like a face (which makes sense against a bigger heel in Steiner) but then he walked out despite being in control. Saturn sending Jericho back in makes sense as he wants revenge, but it doesn’t answer why Jericho was trying to leave. Just odd all around and I don’t see why Steiner was picked as Jericho’s opponent in the first place.

Bret Hart was on MADtv and put Will Sasso in the Sharpshooter.

Nitro Girls.

Here are Luger, Liz and Nash with something to say. Nash addresses the challenge from Konnan and Mysterio and accepts the challenge, while putting Liz’s hair on the line against Rey’s mask. She’s remarkably cool with this.

Ernest Miller comes out and has ring announcer Dave Penzer declare him the greatest of all time. He issues an open challenge and is annoyed that no one accepts it. The fans chant for Goldberg but we cut to the NWO locker room where Nash tells Norton that Cat just called him out.

Scott Norton vs. Ernest Miller

Norton is a hometown boy so the fans are actually into this a little bit. Scott no sells a kick to the chest and runs Miller over with a clothesline. A hard chops knocks Miller to the floor but he comes back in with some kicks to the knee. That’s fine with Norton though as he catches a spinning kick and slams Miller down. A low blow has almost no effect on Norton and a superkick has about the same result.

Miller comes back with a jawbreaker and some chops in the corner. This has been really physical. Norton pounds him down with elbows to the back of the head as we cut to Sonny Onoo yelling at fans. Sonny is dragged in and Miller kicks Norton’s head off to put him on one knee. More kicks are no sold and Norton powerbombs him for the pin and a nice pop.

Rating: C-. This was LONG and could have done the same thing in about half the time. I get the idea of wanting to give the live fans a nice moment but did we need a ten minute segment to get to that point? It was a physical match, but I’m not going to be interested in a long match with these two in there.

Quick sidebar: can we stop this bad trend of the referees allowing illegal stuff like low blows and chair shots? If they’re just going to allow those thing to happen, it takes away their impact when someone uses it to cheat. That’s one of the things about the Attitude Era that I’m glad is gone, as it takes me out of a match when you have people cheating over and over again right in front of the referee with no reprecussions at all.

Nitro Girls.

Gene brings out Goldberg for a chat. As is usually the case with Goldberg, he doesn’t have much to say but Bam Bam is next. Bigelow is referred to as an extremist over and over. Why isn’t Luger next, especially after Luger’s video about Goldberg earlier? The video makes even less sense when Luger was already in a story with Mysterio. It’s almost like this company doesn’t think things through so they make sense.

Malenko and Flair dunk Bischoff.

Chris Benoit vs. Scott Hall

Buffer does the introductions and says Benoit is from a famous wrestling family. A member of, trained by, same thing. The winner gets the title shot against “Bret Hitman Clark” at SuperBrawl. Benoit takes Hall down with a quick armdrag and Bret Hart comes out to do commentary. Hall offers a test of strength so Benoit empties his nose on him. Benoit knocks him to the floor and Hall looks to be limping a bit.

Back in and Benoit goes after the leg before dropkicking Hall into Disco. The Crossface is broken up by the dancing enthusiast so here’s Mongo to take Disco to the back. With the match going on, we see Mongo throwing Disco into a locker room where Arn Anderson is waiting with a tire iron.

We take a break and come back with Hall putting on a sleeper. Benoit gets dropped throat first on the ropes and a clothesline gets two for Hall. Hart is off commentary. We hit the abdominal stretch on Benoit but he quickly fights out and wins a chop off. A snap suplex puts Hall down and a backbreaker looks to set up the Swan Dive but Nash comes in for a distraction. Not a DQ of course because those things don’t exist in WCW anymore. Benoit goes up but gets crotched, setting up the Outsider’s Edge for the pin.

Rating: C. So we’re setting up heel vs. heel at SuperBrawl? Well of course we are because Benoit had to lose twice in a single night. This was a fairly odd match as Benoit was thrown into the title match and is now out of it two hours later. Hall getting a singles push is fine, but it’s a strange way to get there.

Hogan and the other guy are in Charlotte waiting on David Flair. A livid Ric Flair is shown watching as the other guy, apparently a biker of some fame, says maybe we shouldn’t film this to end the show.

Overall Rating: C-. The show wasn’t bad but it felt like it was written by about ten different people who weren’t in the same room. Between the matches going longer than usual (not a bad thing) to the segments starting in the first hour and being changed later in the night, this show was going in a bunch of different directions. It’s like they have no idea where they’re going except for Flair vs. Hogan, which makes the shows very hit or miss. This wasn’t as good as the past few weeks but they’re walking a very thin line.

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