Monday Nitro – March 29, 1999: O Canada

Monday Nitro #182
Date: March 29, 1999
Location: Air Canada Centre, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Attendance: 16,195
Commentators: Mike Tenay, Tony Schiavone, Bobby Heenan, Larry Zbyszko

Nitro makes it’s Canadian debut here as we’re getting closer to Spring Stampede. We’re pretty much in the same place we were last week as Thunder meant nothing, though there was the development of Arn Anderson walking away from Ric Flair. I’m curious to see how far they can take this promotion down in the next few months. Let’s get to it.

David Flair and Samantha are in a hotel room in black and white with David talking about his dad ducking Hollywood Hogan. She tells him not to worry about Ric.

Tony hypes up a sweepstakes where you can win a Volkswagen Beetle.

The announcers try to talk over the WE WANT BRET chants.

We recap Bret saying he could beat Goldberg in five minutes last week.

Konnan music video. Again.

Konnan vs. Vincent

Konnan rants about Disco until Vincent interrupts him for the start of their match. Vincent gets rammed into the buckle to start and Konnan stomps away. The seated dropkick has Vincent in trouble but he low bridges Konnan to the floor to change control. Back in and we hit the chinlock on Konnan for a good while until he fights up with a belly to belly suplex. A jawbreaker staggers Konnan again but he nails Vincent again. Stevie Ray comes out to distract Vincent, setting up the X Factor and Tequila Sunrise for the submission.

Rating: D. Can we please just end this story already? It stopped being amusing a few weeks ago and I have no idea why it’s continuing. They clearly ran out of places to go with it a long time ago but it’s just kept going anyway. Stevie is the only interesting person in the whole thing but for some reason we keep hearing from Vincent.

Samantha and Hogan laugh about David wanting Hogan to be his dad. Hogan talks about the Fingerpoke of Doom like it was a huge battle because that’s still a thing.

Here’s Hogan to a BIG face pop. He talks about his history here in Toronto and wants to know where his title is. Hogan told the customs agents that he’s going to beat up Ric Flair tonight and wants a title shot. He keeps going for awhile and says the same thing over again. The only interesting point: one of the agents said they saw Sting in Toronto earlier today.

60 seconds with Goldberg.

The announcers talk a bit more.

Tenay had a sitdown interview with Diamond Dallas Page over the weekend. Page says Kimberly is doing fine but he has a herniated disc in his back that has been messing with his legs. He doesn’t care that he was double teamed at the pay per view. Tenay brings up the thirty day stipulation that Steiner mentioned and then was dropped after the match was over and Page says it didn’t count. Little things like that were telling signs about WCW being a mess backstage. Either have the stipulation or don’t bring it up in the first place. It was so confusing that they’re still clarifying it two months later. Page is coming for Steiner.

Kenny Kaos vs. Wrath

The announcers talk about the interview instead of the match and for once I’m fine with that. Feeling out process to start with Kaos taking Wrath down to the mat, sending Wrath crawling for the ropes. Back up and Kaos hits a nice delayed vertical suplex for two but Wrath nails him in the face with a bicycle kick. A dropkick puts Kaos on the floor and they do some weak brawling outside. They head inside again with Wrath choking away before nailing a clothesline.

Tony goes on a big rant about how he spent forever talking about tradition but, based on the crowd reaction, maybe the NWO had the right way of thinking. Somehow this doesn’t come off as a heel turn but rather WCW catching up to reality. We hit the chinlock on Kaos as Tony says that Monday Nitro will take the air at 9pm. They’ve said this before but there’s never been anything about a different name for the first hour. Kaos slams Wrath down for a top rope legdrop. Wrath shrugs it off and hits the Rock Bottom and Meltdown for the pin.

Rating: D. This was long and not all that great. The one thing that stands out to me here is that Kaos was the only one of these two guys to win a title in WCW. You have one half of a bad tag team and a guy that was built up as a possible challenger to Goldberg and the former got a title. In case you can’t tell, there really isn’t much to say about this match.

Samantha asks Nash if the Fingerpoke of Doom was real. Wrestling fans have been wondering about that for years now sweetheart. It sounds like they’re trying to cause a rift between Hogan and Nash, but this is what they’re going with? A blonde saying that the Fingerpoke was “real”? What does that even mean?

Gene brings out Ric Flair, who is promptly booed out of the building. Flair talks about wanting to beat up Tie Domi (Toronto Maple leafs’ enforcer) because he hates Canada. One of the biggest stars in wrestling is here tonight to make a presentation to the President. Flair brings out Page, making me wonder why they did that interview on tape instead of live.

Page wants to know why Flair is acting like Bischoff. Ric says he can do whatever he wants with Page because he has the book. They get in a mini argument over Flair having to call Page a superstar before Flair says Page wants a match with Scott Steiner. The fans boo when Page insults Steiner, sending Page into a rant about how horrible the Canandian fans are and how they support women being thrown out of cars. I really hope this is one night only because trying to turn Page heel after everything Steiner put him through is as dumb as turning Fla….they’re turning Page aren’t they?

Flair makes Page vs. Hogan tonight which draws out Hollywood to say he has a problem with both guys. Page doesn’t care what it takes to get to Steiner because he’ll go through Hogan and then take Flair’s belt. Hogan says he’ll jump through whatever hoops he has to in order to get his belt back. Flair says he’s going to manage Page tonight. Gene calls Page the People’s Champion but Page says don’t believe the hype. Page doesn’t need either guy but we cut to the rafters where Sting is looking down. Flair demands Sting come to the ring. The character development in this segment made my head hurt.

Regular show intro starts hour #2.

Nitro Girls.

Rick Steiner vs. Scott Norton

Norton takes him into the corner for some elbows to the jaw but they fire Steiner up. A hard Steiner Line staggers Norton and another sends him out to the floor. Back in and Rick hammers away in the corner but Norton drops him face first onto the buckle. Rick comes back with the release belly to belly and Scott bails again. We take a break and come back with both guys down. A big German suplex puts Norton down for two and they head outside again. Norton gets posted four times in a row to knock him silly and set up the Steiner Bulldog for the pin.

Rating: D+. This was a hard hitting power match but it was little more than a Rick squash. I’m not sure why they build up Norton like a monster at times but then have him lose this fast to a guy like Rick Steiner. Then again this is WCW, where having your soul crushed means it’s time for people to boo you so it must make sense to them.

Rey and Kidman team up for later.

TV Title: Chris Adams vs. Booker T

Booker is defending of course and grabs a headlock to start. Adams comes back with an armdrag and the champion is impressed. They trade hammerlocks until Booker nails a great looking dropkick to take over. Back up and they shake hands to a chorus of boos. A clothesline in the corner sets up the ax kick for two on Adams. Chris sends him out to the floor and nails a superkick, followed by a powerbomb inside for two. Booker comes back with a series of kicks, finishing Adams off with a missile dropkick to retain.

Rating: C. Adams got to show off here and the match was better as a result. That superkick always looks good and the powerbomb was a nice touch as well. I miss the matches like this one where a champion gets to show off a little bit and defend the title against a challenger that doesn’t have a real chance.

Nitro Girls.

We look back to last week at Mysterio giving Kidman another match at Spring Stampede.

Chris Jericho vs. Jerry Flynn

Jericho talks about growing up in Canada and learning everything he knows there. But now he’s so happy to live in the United States because Canada SUCKS! Flynn kicks him in the face and hits another one in the corner to drop Chris. Jericho comes back with a spinwheel kick of his own and the fans want Bret again. A suplex gets two for Jericho and we hit the chinlock. That goes nowhere so Flynn grabs a leg lock. Jericho quickly breaks it up and goes up top, only to dive into a kick to the ribs. They botch a rollup in the corner so Jericho trips Flynn up in the other corner and puts his feet on the ropes for the pin.

Rating: D. There was more energy to this one than last week but there’s only so much Jericho can do with someone like Jerry Flynn. The match wasn’t the worst ever but Jericho is clearly not caring as he’s about to leave. Then again, can you blame him when this is what he’s stuck with?

Gene hits on Nitro Girl Spice as they plug the Beetle sweepstakes.

Here’s Bret Hart with something to say. He talks about how people seem to be worried about the ratings, but instead of worrying, let’s sing O Canada. Well it’s more reciting but close enough. “Hey Bischoff, put that in your pipe and smoke it.” He’s been in WCW a little over a year and he’s a five time World Champion, but he can’t get a match with anyone. You have Flair and Hogan taking the top spots, even though Hogan is afraid of him. Bret came to WCW to prove a point so let’s cut to the chase. He calls out the big chicken named Goldberg and isn’t going anywhere until he comes out here to face him.

Bret brings up Goldberg’s challenge to Steve Austin (first mention on Nitro), but Bret beat up Austin every time they fought. He takes off his Calgary Hitmen jersey to show off a Maple Leafs jersey, saying this is hockey country. This brings out Goldberg for a spear….and he’s out cold. Bret slowly gets up while Goldberg isn’t moving. He turns Goldberg over and counts a three count before taking off the jersey to reveal a steel plate attached to his ribs. That’s still an awesome moment and showed off Bret’s intelligence. Bret grabs a mic and tells Bischoff he quits. Tony, of course, doesn’t seem interested.

During the break, Bischoff came out but Bret walked right past him. I believe this was a way to write Bret off for groin surgery.

Another video on Buff Bagwell and Scott Steiner splitting up.

Buff Bagwell vs. Norman Smiley

Buff says he and Steiner are no more and that he loves the fans just as much as they love him. Bagwell takes him down a few times and struts a lot. Heenan randomly starts talking about Page and Tony transitions into a discussion about Sting’s appearance. Smiley comes back with some shots in the corner and teases the Big Wiggle. A backdrop and dropkick send Norman outside before hitting some very basic stuff on him back inside.

Smiley blocks a splash with knees though and plants Bagwell with the swinging slam. He rips off Buff’s dance as the announcers get into about the 19th argument of the match over how to pronounce Norman’s name. We hit a chinlock on Bagwell but Norman switches to a neck crank to keep him down. Buff comes back with a sunset flip (including a pull of the trunks) for two. Bagwell makes his comeback with right hands and a dropkick followed by the Blockbuster for the pin.

Rating: D+. The match wasn’t great but my goodness is Buff easy to like as a face. He’s got the look, he’s got the story, he’s got a flashy finisher. No he won’t light the world on fire but the fans like him based on his neck injury and the sympathy is right there. Why did it take so long for WCW to realize that?

The announcers talk for a bit.

Tag Team Titles: Chris Benoit/Dean Malenko vs. Rey Mysterio Jr./Kidman

Benoit runs Kidman over to start and chops him up against the ropes. Kidman makes the mistake of trying a German suplex so Benoit ducks behind him and punches Kidman in the back of the head. Something like a powerbomb gets two on Chris and it’s off to Malenko vs. Mysterio, wearing blue and gray camouflage overalls. The champions take over on Rey in the corner and the double teaming begins.

Benoit chops Mysterio so hard he breaks one of the suspenders. Rey counters what looked to be a powerbomb attempt but his hurricanrana is countered by Dean coming off the top with a clothesline, added to Benoit’s powerbomb. Rey is still able to kick Dean away though and tags in Kidman to keep things fast paced. Everything breaks down and Kidman gets crotched on top, setting up Dean’s super gutbuster (love that move) for two.

We take a break and come back with Kidman getting sent into the corner, followed by a delayed vertical suplex from Dean for two. Benoit comes back in and goes after Kidman’s sore ribs by draping them over the top rope. Kidman is sent outside so Dean can drive him into the apron. Back inside and Kidman nails a dropkick to take down both Horsemen at the same time and the hot tag brings in Rey.

Everything breaks down and Benoit is thrown to the floor. Rey throws Kidman over the top to take out Benoit and snaps Dean’s throat across the top rope. Here come Raven and Saturn as Dean counters a hurricanrana into the Cloverleaf. Raven comes in and Evenflows Malenko, giving Rey the pin. Wait this was a title match??? Nice job of pointing that out announcers. I had to rewind to see if the referee held them up and he did, but the camera was on a wide shot.

Rating: C+. It’s a good match but man alive what a waste of the Horsemen. They were on fire during the tournament but they’re yet another victim of the “eh let’s just turn them heel” booking. I’d assume it’s because they’re mindless followers of Flair, which is yet another reason to hate Ric’s heel turn. Benoit spent years getting ready to become a champion and he can’t even hold it for three weeks. I can’t blame either guy for leaving when they did.

Spring Break recap video.

Nitro Girls.

Hollywood Hogan vs. Diamond Dallas Page

The fact that these two never had a one on one match on PPV astounds me. Flair is managing Page against DDP’s will. The announcers play up Page dropping the People’s Champion moniker. They slug it out in the corner to start with Hogan taking over via a clothesline. Page tries to come back but gets clotheslined out to the floor as we take a break.

Back with them fighting at the announcers’ area and Page taking over. They head to the stage and Hogan being rammed face first into the big WCW letters, eventually knocking over the right set. Back to the ring and they whip each other with Hogan’s weightlifting belt. Flair tries to help Page and gets punched in the face by his client. Page gets two off a swinging neckbreaker as Flair is going to the top.

The distraction lets Page take over again and he gets two more off a suplex. Hogan pops up and drops elbows to a surprisingly calm reaction. We go submission for a bit with a cross armbreaker on Page, even though he’s face down which would take away a lot of the pain. That goes as far as you would expect and it’s Page coming back with a clothesline for two.

The referee gets bumped in the corner so Hogan hits the big boot but misses the legdrop. Charles Robinson comes in as a replacement but it’s Hulk Up time. Flair accidentally hits Page with one of the worse chair shots I’ve ever seen. Hogan no sells chops and kicks Flair to the floor. He drops the leg but Robinson won’t count. That earns him a beating as the other referee wakes up to count the pin on Page.

Rating: D+. Well that happened. It was a total mess and overbooked like you would expect it to be but it did in fact happen. The booking continues to confuse me and I have a feeling it’s not just because they’re in Canada. So Flair is a heel because he’s crazed with power, Hogan is a heel because he feels like it and Page is leaning towards being a heel…..why? Because he didn’t give up to Steiner? What sense does that make? So now we seem to be heading for Hogan vs. Flair III but Sting might be a factor as well, while Goldberg and Nash have just been dropped from the whole thing. It’s something, though a very confusing something.

Hogan says he’s got a title shot now and tells Big Kev that the Wolfpack is in the house to end the show.

Overall Rating: D+. Much like with the main event, they seem to be trying but it’s really not paying off. This is another show that really needed to have an hour cut out of it so we didn’t have to sit through whatever that was with Samantha (just have her stand around in revealing outfits and she’ll be fine), boring matches like Steiner vs. Norton and Wrath vs. Kaos, and whatever this overly complicated booking is. I’ll give them this though: this stuff may not make perfect sense, but I’ll take confusing over boring every day.

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