Monday Nitro – January 13, 1997: The Robin Hood Show
Monday Nitro #70
Date: January 13, 1997
Location: Louisiana Superdome, New Orleans, Louisiana
Commentators: Mike Tenay, Bobby Heenan, Tony Schiavone, Larry Zbyzsko
This is another step towards Souled Out but we have another show after this before we get to the Saturday PPV. Tonight sees one of the most interesting (and unsuccessful) marketing gimmicks ever but it wasn’t as bad as a lot of things they tried. More on that later. Anyway other than that, we’re getting the PPV main event to close the show….kind of. Let’s get to it.
We open with Giant trying to get at Hogan in the NWO locker room. Giant: “You’re a four legged feline.” What kind of an…..never mind. Giant calls him a coward which Tony and Larry immediately say means Hogan isn’t defending the title.
Mr. JL vs. Chavo Guerrero Jr.
Larry and Tony talk about the Hogan vs. Giant non-match with Larry seemingly referencing Showdown at Shea. They trade headscissors and Chavo dropkicks him to the floor. Chavo hits a pescado to the floor and there’s an ECW chant for some reason. JL gets in a shot and misses a dive off the top to the floor. Back in JL misses a slingshot splash and Chavo hammers away. Cross body gets two for Guerrero. Chavo goes up but gets chopped down and JL hits a rana for one. Guerrero knocks him down and hits a moonsault press for the pin.
Rating: C+. Pretty fun little match here as the Cruiserweights get to go out and show off a little bit. It’s got nothing on Rey or Dragon or anything like that but it’s not supposed to. This was a good choice for an opener as the crowd was getting into this pretty strong at the end which is always a good sign.
Here’s Duggan with the WCW flag. WCW is awesome and Sting needs to pick a side.
Jim Duggan vs. Super Calo
Sting comes out and drops Duggan because he doesn’t want to watch this match. Larry/Tony: “HE’S NWO!!!”
Craig Pittman vs. Chris Jericho
This is a replacement match apparently. They cover the guys being in gear by saying this is a match scheduled for later. That’s something that would save a ton of time in wrestling: a never seen matchmaker who makes matches just because matches need to be made to fill a show. We could save so much time on going to see the GM saying that so and so is facing so and so. Anyway this lasts like a minute and Jericho wins with a missile dropkick.
Harlem Heat vs. High Voltage
Larry and Tony have the following discussion during the entrances. Larry: “Sting must be NWO. Even I wouldn’t hit Duggan.” Tony: “Yeah you would.” Larry: “Well not from behind.” Booker and Kaos start with Booker dominating. Off to Rage who hits a slingshot legdrop…and then it’s off to the back where Giant charges at the NWO again, this time calling them monkies. Eric and Hogan talk about how there was no contract so there’s no match.
Tony and Larry talk about how he should get the shot because of winning World War 3 as Harlem Heat is in control. Booker misses a middle rope elbow and it’s off to Kaos. Everything breaks down and the Heatseeker (Doomsday Device with a missile dropkick) gets the pin. Too short to rate due to the NWO/Giant stuff.
The WCW Executive Committee is meeting at the WCW Headquarters across the street (why they’re in New Orleans is beyond me) and they’ll make a decision about Hogan vs. Giant.
Bischoff and Dibiase take over on commentary.
We get a video on Sting since he became Crow Man.
Diamond Dallas Page vs. Mark Starr
Starr actually gets an entrance and comes out second. Maybe he used his Starr power to get it? Thankfully the Diamond Cutter ends this in about a minute so I can’t be pelted for that horrible joke.
The Outsiders come out to give Page the colors and Page hugs Nash. He puts on the shirt and shakes Hall’s hand before pulling Hall in and laying him out with the Diamond Cutter. Nash gets sent to the floor and Page bails through the crowd.
The Outsiders have an NWO promo about how they’re going to come after Scott Steiner’s back in the match at Souled Out.
Dean Malenko vs. Eddie Guerrero
This is non-title. We’re told that there’s going to be a decision from the executive committee and they’re walking across the street to give it to us, because phones don’t exist in the bizarro world of WCW. Technical stuff to start and Eddie takes him to the mat. He works on the arm but Dean grabs the knee. Eddie spins out of that and it’s a standoff. Dean hits a leg lariat to take over.
We get breaking news: Piper was speaking an ancient version of Gaelic last week when he was being taken away. Tony has MORE breaking news. Hogan has to face the Giant, TONIGHT. Remember that, because it becomes important later. Eddie escapes a belly to back suplex and I have to make sure to look at the screen because the announcers are busy reading announcements like a public address system announcer.
Eddie stays on the knee and tries a Figure Four but Dean blocks the leg from going down. Now the hold goes on full and Tony bothers to talk about the match a bit. Dean gets to the rope and hits the floor. Back inside and Eddie takes over but loads up a tornado DDT which is countered by Eddie being thrown into the middle of the ring. Off to an abdominal stretch as Tony plugs the Adventures of Robin Hood TV series which debuts tonight.
Syxx is watching from the other side of the arena. Malenko hits a belly to back suplex for two. Eddie grabs a Gory Special but Dean counters into a sunset flip for two. Backslide gets two for Eddie. Victory roll gets two for Dean. Off to a test of strength position and Eddie climbs the ropes and hits a rana for two. This is getting really good. Eddie’s top rope double ax is blocked and they go into a series of standing switches, resulting in a braibuster by Dean for two. Eddie comes back with one of his own but gets on the ropes to look at Syxx so that Malenko can powerbomb him out of the corner for the pin.
Rating: B. Good match here as you would expect from these guys. As usual the announcers wanted to talk about anything not related to the match for the most part but if you block them out (a required skill to be a Nitro viewer) then you’ll have a good time with this match. Good stuff as always.
Hour #2 begins.
We get a clip from earlier of Giant breaking into the NWO’s locker room.
Super Calo vs. Konnan
Dang they really wanted to get Calo on this show didn’t they? Konnan takes him down and gets a rolling cradle for two. Calo speeds things up with an armdrag and dropkick to send Konnan to the outside. Suicide dive takes Konnan out and gets two back in the ring. Konnan hits a rolling clothesline and then kills Calo with a powerbomb. Then he does it again but Calo pops up in less than ten seconds.
Konnan goes and sits on the middle rope for no apparent reason other than to allow Calo to headscissor him down. In another weird bit, Konnan sends him into the ropes and Calo tries a cross body but Konnan doesn’t move an inch. The 187 (fisherman’s brainbuster) ends this clean. Too short to rate but there were some weird parts to this.
Jeff Jarrett vs. Chris Benoit
The Horsemen Split continues. While Benoit is on the way to the ring we get a promo from Sullivan in front of a chess board. He says he owns the board and he’s taking it back next week. More BREAKING NEWS: Hogan vs. Giant will be non-title because apparently a champion has to have 48 hours to prepare. Sweet Christmas where do they come up with these things?
Benoit takes him down to start so Jericho does the same thing and struts a bit. This is a rematch from Starrcade if you don’t remember that. Mongo and Debra come out after the fans all look towards the ramp. Heenan freaks out because something is going on then sees who it is and calms down again. Benoit takes him down with a clothesline and this is a very slow match.
We hear about a brawl in Louisiana between Jerry Sags and Scott Hall. Is there a reason they picked now to talk about that? Jeff comes back with a neckbreaker to load up the figure four but Arn yells at the referee for some reason. This allows Mongo to try to hit Jeff with the briefcase but he hits Benoit by mistake to give Jarrett the win.
Rating: D+. Not much here because this was just here to have the angle continue. Why in the world the Horsemen had to be broken up like this is beyond me, but I’d assume it was so that they would wind up being as forgotten as possible. I mean think about it: women are breaking up the Horsemen. Think about that for a minute.
Post match the Horsemen argue in the aisle. Benoit says we’re solving this tonight. Benoit says the Horsemen are an elite team and Mongo knows what being on an elite team means. If Mongo wants to keep being a Horseman, quit fumbling the ball because this isn’t looking like an elite team at all. Benoit was hand picked and Mongo became one due to an unfortunate circumstance. As for Debra, she can badmouth him but badmouthing Woman is just a bad idea. He insists Woman is all woman and he knows by experience.
Mongo says he made a mistake and that the case has won them a lot of matches. Benoit wants to know where Flair is. Anderson says this has to be solved because they’re a team. Benoit tells Mongo to shape up or ship out. Debra says she’d never gossip because she loves the Horsemen. Mongo gets in Benoit’s face but Anderson separates them. Benoit says he wants results and it’s time for the Horsemen to match his effort. This would carry on in one form or another well into the summer.
Scotty Riggs vs. Billy Kidman
Billy is just a cruiserweight jobber at this point. The announcers use this as time for another Hogan vs. Giant commercial. Scotty controls with the arm as Tony compares it to the Super Bowl. Kidman works on the arm now for a change as Bagwell in a new look comes out to the entrance. He says he’s buff. Kidman misses the 450 (Tenay calls it the shooting star for some reason) and Riggs wins with a fisherman’s suplex (Bagwell’s former finishing move) so that their old tag team music can play. Is he a jilted lover? Just there to have Bagwell come out.
The announcers talk about Hogan vs. Giant some more.
Lee Marshall is in Chicago.
Some singer is here.
Rick Fuller vs. Lex Luger
Fuller is of course an overly tall power guy because Luger doesn’t know how to face anyone else. They shove each other a few times and Fuller hides in the ropes to avoid getting punched. Fuller takes him down and drops a leg for two. He chops Luger in the corner but Luger Lexes Up, hits some clotheslines and Racks him for the win. Moving on.
Giant comes out and stares Luger down in the aisle. Nothing happens though because Giant is here to talk about the main event. Giant goes on a rant about how this is about him and how he wants the title. His theme is about books and how he was a bookend but tonight he’s closing the chapter. He wasn’t much of a talker so a basic theme like that was a good idea for him.
Arn Anderson vs. Rick Steiner
Arn uses wrestling skill for a quick advantage which is a rare thing to see against a Steiner. That pretty much stops working because of a belly to belly suplex that sends Arn to the floor. And now we hear the announcement about the ending of the show: we’re running low on time and JUST IN CASE we run out of time, make sure to watch the debut of the New Adventures of Robin Hood because we’ll show you the match during the commercials!
Anderson calls for help from the back but no one comes out. Shoulder block gets two for Rick. Arn keeps calling for help but we’re told that the Horsemen are fighting in the back. Anderson gets knocked to the floor and walks out for the countout. Enough short matches!!!
The Steiners are ready for Souled Out and the Outsiders.
Hulk Hogan vs. The Giant
Tony says we have six minutes of air time left and you know what’s coming. Hogan talks for awhile and says he doesn’t have to do this so Giant grabs him and starts the beating. The bell rings and we have a minuet of TV time left. Giant knocks him to the floor and Hogan says he’s done. Giant throws him back in and we’re out of time.
At this point, the show ends and Robin Hood would have begun. The idea was that the fans would watch Robin Hood and get to see parts of the match during the break. This would go on until the final break, meaning the match would go 45 minutes. Since I don’t think Hogan wrestled 45 minutes combined in 1997, you can probably guess that it didn’t go that way. Also, most people (myself included) watched something else and flipped back to see if the match was going on or not. The version I have airs it in one straight shot for the sake of simplicity.
Back with Giant chopping him in the corner. A clothesline puts Hogan down and giant no sells a low blow. Hogan hides behind the referee and it’s time for a test of strength. Giant steps on his hands and we take another break. Back with Hogan getting thrown back into the ring. There’s a slam but the Chokeslam is countered. The NWO runs in and it’s a DQ. The match itself was supposed to have run about 45 minutes but from what I can find, it ran about 6 minutes live.
Rating: D. I probably shouldn’t give it a grade based on my rules but I feel like I haven’t done enough during this show. The match was exactly what you would expect from these two in 1997 with Hogan doing nothing on offense while Giant tossed him around. The match at Souled Out would be a longer version of this.
Overall Rating: D+. This is a strange show indeed. WCW was in an awkward place at this point which is similar to the original Super Mario for NES. It’s like the big match that we’re told about and are teased with are on another show. The problem WCW had was that you never really got to the show that had those great main event matches. At the end of the day, Hogan was getting paid no matter what, Hall and Nash were getting paid no matter what, and so they had no point in putting any kind of effort in at all.
WCW never gave us the great main events they hyped up for months on end and finally, the people got tired of it. They gave us the matches they said we’d get (most of the time), but those matches were usually horrible. At the end of the day, it’s a wrestling show and sometimes, the answer to all your problems is to go and have good wrestling matches. That never quite connected in WCW’s main event scene.
Oh yeah this was about Nitro. This show did a good job of building up some of the matches for Souled Out but as usual, you’ll get so sick of hearing about the NWO and Hogan vs. Giant that you won’t care about the match when it finally happens. Also this parade of squashes really needs to end. This isn’t Superstars in 1987. The drama on these shows was great and it was easy to see why you would want to watch week to week, but the quality wasn’t there for the most part.
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I remeber that Robin Hood show on TNT. Such a dorky program.