Monday Nitro – July 18, 2000: The Way To Make Russo Work

Monday Nitro #249
Date: July 18, 2000
Location: Palace of Auburn Hills, Auburn Hills, Michigan
Commentators: Mark Madden, Stevie Ray, Tony Schiavone

As is so often the case in WCW 2000, I can barely remember what happened last week. It took me a bit before I could remember that Jeff Jarrett won the #1 contenders match while Scott Steiner is on a rampage. I really shouldn’t forget the whole story in the span of just a week but almost nothing has a lasting impact around here. Let’s get to it.

This show is on a Tuesday because of a TV movie. It’s not even the NBA anymore.

We open with a recap of Scott Steiner being all insane lately, including the attack on Tenay which we can’t see in full (though we can see a package of stills which show you everything you need to know). Apparently Steiner has been suspended again.

Cut to Scott Steiner in the parking lot, attacking Booker T.’s new car with a pipe until Rick Steiner talks him down.

Nitro Girls. I didn’t know they were still a thing.

Here’s the Cat to open things up and he brings the Nitro Girls with him. Cat gets right to the point by announcing a one night tournament for the US Title. He runs down the brackets but before we can get to the first match, there are some rules for the fans. They can’t get too loud and the fat people need to stay in their seats to make sure people behind them can see.

We see the Steiners ripping up everything in the back on the way to the ring, sending the Girls running off. Here are Rick and Scott (who walk past the Girls, whose hiding place was RIGHT NEXT TO THE ENTRANCE) with Scott choking Cat and demanding a title shot. Booker hits the ring so here are Rick and Stevie to follow, triggering a huge brawl. Security breaks it up and Cat makes Scott vs. Goldberg for tonight.

Buff and Judy Bagwell are here with Judy in a neck brace. Why did Buff bring her again? Can’t he make his sandwiches by himself already?

The announcers talk until Jeff Jarrett jumps the barricade and guitars Stevie. Jeff calls that a warning shot.

US Title Tournament First Round: Positively Kanyon vs. Mike Awesome

During the entrances, Madden dubs Awesome the Fat Chick Thriller. So much for Awesome ever meaning anything again. The Bagwells come out to do commentary as Awesome takes over to start with a top rope clothesline. A nice fireman’s carry flapjack puts Mike down but he punches Kanyon out to the floor for a big plancha over the top. Guys his size should not be able to do that. Like…..they just shouldn’t. It’s already table time but Kanyon drives him through it with a Kanyon Cutter off the apron.

Kanyon goes over to Buff though, allowing Judy to go after Kanyon instead. She gets thrown down again (more man on woman violence so you know Russo is back in charge), allowing Buff to grab a quick Blockbuster and letting his mom just deal with the attack on her own. That’s STILL not enough for the pin though so Awesome grabs a release German suplex and the Awesome Bomb for the pin to advance.

Rating: D. Under five minutes and we had guest commentators, a table spot (which wasn’t a DQ of course), Kanyon beating up Judy Bagwell again, interference, and a near fall off the interference. Oh and it’s in a tournament. This is back to WCW’s old stuff back in the spring because……yeah I’m tired of ripping on Russo for the same stuff. I’m sure you get it by this point.

Post match some large underwear are thrown into the ring for Awesome. This is sad. So sad.

Pamela Paulshock hits on Lance Storm but he is too focused on the tournament.

Buff sends Judy away with his brother, who doesn’t ask why she’s here in the first place.

US Title Tournament First Round: Buff Bagwell vs. Lance Storm

Before the match, Storm yells at the fans for not respecting his national anthem and not understanding that Canada is just better than the United States. Buff won’t stand for this Canadian national anthem nonsense and jumps Storm from behind to start. Storm comes back with an elbow but quickly gets backdropped down again. The Blockbuster is loaded up but we cut to the parking lot where Judy is being helped into her car. Lance uses the distraction to grab the Maple Leaf for the win. I won’t say submission as Bagwell didn’t tap and he didn’t look to say he gave up but whatever.

Buff limps to the back as we hear screaming, despite the video not airing on the video screen.

Cat has one of the Nitro Girls in his office when the Jung Dragons appear again. Stevie Ray comes in to help but Cat says they’re friends. As confused as that makes him (how can you tell with Stevie though?), Stevie just wants Jarrett tonight. Cat says ok, as long as Stevie lets him play with the Dragons.

We see security footage of Kanyon Cutting Judy Bagwell in the parking lot. Well grabbing her and dragging her off camera but you get the idea.

Scott Steiner is sitting by the door with a pipe in his hand.

US Title Tournament First Round: Great Muta vs. Vampiro

We actually see some clips from Muta’s run in the early 90s, which continues to make me wonder how WCW reached this point. They used to be awesome. Speaking of things that used to be awesome, this in no way applies to the Insane Clown Posse who return with Vampiro here. Muta kicks all three of them down to start but the numbers, including the Demon, are too much for him and it’s Vampiro taking over with some kicks.

A top rope flip dive misses though and it’s Muta coming back with the Power Drive elbow. Muta starts in on the arm and shrugs off a quick Rock Bottom. There’s the dragon screw leg whip but Muta has to deal with Demon. The distraction doesn’t work though and the moonsault puts Vampiro away.

Rating: C-. It’s hard not to like Muta at least a little bit as the guy is just good at any age. Vampiro was better here as he kept things moving instead of doing all his stupid over the top nonsense that doesn’t go anywhere because Undertaker and Kane haven’t done enough lately for Russo to copy. This was another match too short to mean much but that’s what you have to expect when there are seven tournament matches plus other stuff to get through in two hours.

Post match Vampiro and the Clowns beat up the Demon. So they’re split again?

Scott beats up Norman Smiley and Ralphus. Steiner: “TAKE IT LIKE A MAN!”

US Title Tournament First Round: Shane Douglas vs. Billy Kidman

Before the match, Shane says he and Torrie (in lingerie here) have been getting to know each other lately and he’s exhausted. Shane asks if it’s worse to have a woman like Torrie and lose her to a franchise or never have one at all. Torrie feels sorry for Kidman because she had to fake it every night and then she played him for everything he had. Wait what did he have? She played him for some undershirts?

Shane takes over to start with a gordbuster and reverse Hennig neck snap. Kidman comes right back and baseball slides him into the barricade but stops to go after Torrie. Back in and Torrie trips Kidman to set up the Pittsburgh Plunge for two. Kidman sends Shane into Torrie for the same, followed by Torrie hitting Kidman in the head with a chair for two more (and with Kidman’s leg being halfway under the rope).

Shane tries a gorilla press and Kidman was supposed to turn it into a bulldog but Kidman mostly missed his head. To be fair though, Shane’s head only got about a foot away from the mat anyway so both are at fault. Back up and a quick Franchiser gets……the pin after the referee wasn’t sure if it was three or not.

Rating: D+. Again, way too much stuff going on here but at least some of the near falls were good and Torrie looked amazing. Kidman continues to be one of the best gems on the roster who unfortunately isn’t going anywhere because WCW has no idea what to do with anyone right now.

Here are the updated brackets:

Mike Awesome

Great Muta

Lance Storm

Shane Douglas

Torrie and Shane make out in the ring but we cut to 3 Count carrying a ladder, followed by cutting to Goldberg arriving. This happened in the span of ten seconds.

Steiner is still waiting for Goldberg.

Here’s Tank Abbott to say N’Sync is playing to no one down the road in the Silverdome because the real deal is here. 3 Count brings out their ladder and there’s a gold record hanging above the ring. Tony: “At New Blood Rising, 3 Count is signed to face the Jung Dragons in a ladder match.” 3 Count dances but the Dragons climb the ladder and a match is on.

3 Count vs. Jung Dragons

Yeah remember the ladder match announced for the pay per view? Well here it is almost a month before the show. 3 Count puts the ladder on the top rope but Yang dropkicks it out from under Shannon for a big crash. Shannon gets superplexed off the ladder, setting up a top rope splash from Jamie.

Shane comes in with a top rope Fameasser for Jamie and now it’s Evan with the ladder around his head for the helicopter spot. Tank wants the match to be over so it’s time to dance. He can’t wait any longer and goes to get his square. Evan goes up but the ladder gets shoved over, landing him right next to Tank for a bad looking crash. In the melee, Jamie goes up and gets the gold record for the win.

Rating: C-. Unless TNA broke it later, that’s the shortest ladder match in history, clocking in at 3:18. What am I supposed to say about a ladder match that doesn’t even break 200 seconds? There were some good looking high spots (nothing approaching what the WWF had been doing in the past 11 months of course) but what can you do in less than three and a half minutes? Oh well, maybe the rematch in a month will be better.

Goldberg comes into the building and Steiner misses a pipe swing. The fight is on until security and wrestlers break it up.

Back from a break and Scott is ticked off with Rick trying to calm him down.

US Title Tournament Semi-Finals: Mike Awesome vs. Great Muta

Awesome runs him over to start and pounds away in the corner until he misses a charge. Muta dropkicks Awesome out to the floor as Madden says these two are very similar. A trip to the announcers’ table goes nowhere but Muta sprays the mist in Awesome’s eyes. Back inside and Mike gets kicked into the corner again, followed by a top rope hurricanrana. A quick clothesline and the Awesome Bomb send Mike to the finals in a finish as quick and sudden as it sounded.

Rating: C-. Another not great match here due to the amount of time it had. Muta vs. Awesome could be good if they were allowed to do something but instead they had to fly through it and put WAY too much attention on Madden being freaked out over the brawling at the announcers’ table.

Madden wobbles off to change his shirt.

Bagwell goes after Smooth for helping with the attack on his mom but Kanyon jumps him from behind.

Madden tries to get Kiwi to clean his shirt but Kiwi is too busy. Paisley comes in and tries to get her skirt repaired but again Kiwi is too busy.

US Title Tournament Semi-Finals: Shane Douglas vs. Lance Storm

This would be the heel vs. heel match after the face vs. face match in the other semi-final. Storm backdrops him to the floor to start so Torrie jumps on Lance’s back to give Shane an opening. An atomic drop into a low blow has Storm in trouble and a neck snap gets two. Madden is back on commentary as Shane gets two more off two suplex into a falcon’s arrow.

Kidman is watching on the stage as Storm kicks at the leg to make his comeback. Lance gets two off a superkick but walks into a belly to belly. The knee gives out though and Shane’s delayed cover only gets another two. Storm pokes him in the eye (that’s rather out of character) and grabs the Maple Leaf (and a rope) for the submission.

Rating: C. What is with Shane having back to back good (in WCW terms) matches here? Storm going forward is the right call and it’s cool to see him cheat like that so he can brag about being such a great pure wrestler. Shane and Kidman are likely going to have a bad match at the pay per view but if it means I have to look at Torrie more and more, so be it.

Post match Kidman comes down with a chair and tries to spank Torrie but has to dropkick the chair into Storm’s face instead.

Jeff Jarrett vs. Stevie Ray

Stevie is halfway down the aisle by the time his music starts. A powerslam puts Jeff down and Stevie hammers away in the corner. He’s still wearing the NWO colors, likely because he’s barely had a singles match since his version of the team split up. They head to the floor for a bit with Jeff taking over and punching him down back inside. Stevie comes back but here’s Rick Steiner for a distraction, allowing Midajah to come in and dive on Stevie, allowing a quick Stroke to give Jeff the pin.

Booker comes out to save his brother. Now in a smart world, we would get Steiners vs. Harlem Heat one more time out of this.

US Title: Lance Storm vs. Mike Awesome

Awesome breaks up the national anthem by calling O Canada a censored name. They start in the aisle with Awesome whipping Storm into the barricade about five times in a row. There’s a chair to Storm’s back and Awesome smiles at the overweight women in the front row. They get in and Storm hits a chair shot of his own to take over. Storm chops away in the corner but Awesome no sells, only to have Storm poke him in the eye (that’s straight out of Sting vs. Flair).

Storm’s hurricanrana is countered into a sitout powerbomb for two but the Awesome Splash hits knees. Mike grabs the rope (I think) to block a tornado DDT and loads up a super Awesome Bomb. Since that might kill Storm, he counters into a superplex for two. The regular Awesome Bomb is countered into the Maple Leaf to give Storm the title completely clean.

Rating: C+. Best match of the show by far and also the longest, though I’m sure there’s absolutely no connection there whatsoever. Storm winning clean is interesting as it lets him look like the better man instead of having him cheat to win. Then again, that could be due to Russo not knowing how to write characters.

Mike’s women come in to help him up, making sure the focus is completely off Storm and the title for the sake of unfunny comedy.

Goldberg vs. Scott Steiner

Cat is guest referee and Booker comes out to do commentary. Steiner knees him into the corner to start and drops Goldberg with a single clothesline to a big reaction. Back up and Goldberg suplexes him into the corner but has to put the brakes on when Steiner avoids the spear. Instead a flying shoulder drops Steiner, followed by the gorilla press into the powerslam for no cover. An overhead belly to belly sets up the Recliner but Steiner punches Cat instead of sticking with the hold. We’ll say that’s enough for a no contest, leaving this too short to rate but fun while it lasted.

This draws in Booker to go after Steiner but Goldberg spears Scott down. Booker kicks Goldberg in the face and here’s Kevin Nash in his big return. There’s a Jackknife to Goldberg and another one for Steiner. Booker stares Nash down to end the show.

Overall Rating: C-. This is proof that a few tweaks to Russo’s formula could have made something happen. In this case, it was cutting down on the amount of stories and ideas that he had going on every show and only focusing on a handful of things. With the tournament and the impending Goldberg vs. Steiner showdown, I could focus on a few ideas and they actually sunk in for a change instead of flying from one story to the next with nothing making an impact. The show still isn’t good, but this was the kind of thing that could work with some more fine tuning.

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1 comment

  1. Jay H (the real one) says:

    Lance Storm was definitely one of the best parts of WCW by this point. As was Booker T and Scott Steiner.