Monday Nitro – November 9, 1998: Nitro Used To Be Good. No Really, It Did.
Date: November 9, 1998
Location: Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum, Uniondale, New York
Commentators: Tony Schiavone, Mike Tenay, Larry Zbyszko, Bobby Heenan
This is another request and I have no idea what it was requested for. This would be a few weeks after Halloween Havoc and about two weeks before World War 3. Goldberg is world champion but the top feud is probably Bret Hart vs. DDP. I really don’t remember much about this time in the company’s history but they’re in trouble against Raw at this point. The bottom hasn’t fallen out yet though. Let’s get to it.
We open with a montage of Hogan saying he’s running for President. He announced this on the Tonight Show and I’m just going to move past it. It’s a montage of his pictures and that’s about it. Think the Real American video but not as impressive.
Gene and Bobby are in the back waiting for Hogan and here’s a limo. Make that two limos. It’s both NWO teams and they immediately brawl. Hall gets thrown in a trash can. Why do I have a feeling that isn’t the first time that’s happened to him? Konnan holds off Giant with a pipe and that’s about it.
We get some clips of Bret hurting DDP and Sting for some reason.
Kaz Hayashi vs. Juventud Guerrera
Things speed up immediately and here’s Bischoff to the announce desk. He says that the President will be here tonight and Gene needs to stay where he is. I’m so glad we stopped looking at a fast paced match to look at Bischoff’s back as he talked. The fans chant various curses at Bischoff as Juvy takes over with some kicks in the corner. He goes up but jumps into a dropkick from Kaz. Hayashi is one of those guys that was talented but never went anywhere for various reasons.
Tenay points out that the NWO battle in the parking lot did in fact take place in the parking lot. Thanks for that Professor. After a quick trip to the floor, Kaz takes him back inside and pops Juvy in the head. Juvy tries a dive of some sort but Hayashi moves, sending Juvy through the ropes to the floor. A BIG springboard dive takes Juvy down and Kaz is in full control. There’s a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker and a dropkick to the ribs as Kaz focuses on the back and ribs, hence why he used a move to each of them.
The idiot fans think this is boring for some reason. Off to a rib stretching hold by Hayashi but it’s quickly broken up. The fans are still chanting boring for some reason. They chop it out and man those things are HARD. Kaz chops him into the corner and we actually get a commercial break in this match. Back with Juvy kicking Kaz down and diving to the floor to take both guys out.
Back in and Kaz clotheslines Guerrera down and the match slows down a bit. Kaz stands around too much and gets caught in a sunset flip for two. A brainbuster puts Juvy down for two. Juvy kicks him in the ribs but his powerbomb is countered into a rollup for two. Here are Sonny Onoo and Ernest Miller for no apparent reason. As the camera is on Miller, we can see Guerrera hitting a hurricanrana in the background. You know, the unimportant stuff. Juvy Driver is countered and Kaz rolls up Guerrera, only to have Miller distract the referee. Sonny kicks Kaz in the head and Juvy rolls him up for the pin.
Rating: B-. Bad ending aside, this was a pretty solid TV opener. How often do you see a cruiserweight match with guys of this name value get twelve minutes on Nitro? If this is the result I’d be fine with it happening more often. Good fast paced match here, even though the ending was designed to set up a tag match at the PPV.
We get clips of Nash getting beaten up by the NWO from a few weeks back. They’re really pushing the random videos tonight for some reason.
Alex Wright vs. Barry Horowitz
Yes that Barry Horowitz. Wright makes sure to tell the ring announcer that he does not want to hear ANYTHING from the crowd during the match. You know, because Barry Horowitz requires perfect silence to beat. Barry jumps him but Wright takes him right down to the mat. Horowitz comes back with a European Uppercut in a nice bit of psychology but Wright gets up two feet in the corner. We see what looks like a Secret Service guy as Wright hits a dropkick for two. They head to the floor and the Wolfpac howl goes off. Here they come and the match just kind of ends. Too short to rate but it was nothing.
Konnan does his usual stuff and Nash quotes Popeye, saying that he can’t stand anymore. That’s an image I never thought I would see. He talks about the brawl earlier with the Black and White and says the Wolfpac is never going to back down. Nash issues an open challenge to ANY combination of the Black and White for later but he wants Hall in it in some form. Luger says he wants Bret, who injured him a few weeks ago, and Konnan rambles incoherently. Cue Bischoff who calls Nash Estrogen Boy. They’ll get the Black and White tonight and just wait in the ring. Nash calls Bischoff Estrogen Boy too. Ok then.
Lodi vs. Scott Norton
Wasn’t the Wolfpac supposed to stay in the ring? Apparently it’ll be Hall/Giant vs. Luger/Nash later. Chop, powerbomb, pin, Norton wins. This was nothing. Norton is IWGP Champion at this point.
Here’s Disciple of all people for a chat. He says he’s his own man but here are Stevie Ray, Horace and Vincent. Gee what a threatening group. Horace gets to be the mouthpiece and it’s instantly clear why he NEVER got to do that more than once. Disciple (Brutus Beefcake if you didn’t know that) argues back and there’s the three on one beatdown. Horace whips him with a belt but Disciple fights back. The beating continues until Warrior comes out for the save and a big reaction. There’s an OWN shirt shown and that’s it. No literally that’s it, as Warrior was never seen in WCW or any major company again.
Gene and Bobby are in the back again and are apparently waiting on the arrival of Bill Clinton. We get a shot of a motorcade arriving and some people in suits, who are supposed to be Secret Service agents, tell Gene to leave. There are two limos here at least. We’re told that Hogan will announce his running mate here tonight as well. The cameramen are shoved back and we cut to the arena with some Presidential music playing.
Of course it’s not Clinton, but rather Hogan with a bunch of boas around his neck. There’s a huge American flag being lowered from the ceiling and Bischoff is here too. Is this some kind of big joke because of Jesse Ventura? I never quite got that. Hogan talks about how Jesse the Mind Ventura is steering Minnesota in the right direction and how proud he is of Jesse.
Hogan says his phone has been ringing off the hook and he’s decided that he’s running for President with Bischoff as the campaign manager. No party is mentioned but we do get a Monica Lewinsky cigar joke. This went on for a few weeks and then was never mentioned again due to reasons of stupid.
Buy WCW/NWO Revenge! No really, that game was pretty good, and it’s only SEVENTY BUCKS from WCW.
Here’s Bret Hart for a chat. As he’s coming to the ring we get a clip from last week with him injuring DDP in the Sharpshooter. Bret says Luger was lucky to escape with his life last week and that Sting needs to get well because there’s more where that came from. As for DDP, he’s in a hospital thanking God that his career isn’t over. Bret says just send him the belt and everything will be cool. Tonight he’ll beat up Konnan and that’s about it. It never ceases to amaze me how much they wasted Bret in WCW.
Eddie Guerrero vs. Rey Mysterio Jr.
This is during the LWO days. Eddie is the leader and wants Rey involved but Mysterio wants nothing to do with them. Eddie offers Rey a shirt before the match but Rey holds up his own shirt in response. Rey trips up a charging Eddie and pounds away on the ropes. Guerrero bails to the floor and comes back in on his knees. That’s a new way of begging for mercy. Well new to wrestling at least.
A headscissors puts Eddie back on the floor so it’s time to change strategies. Eddie takes Rey’s knee out and stomps away at it and Mysterio is in trouble. Eddie’s powerbomb is countered into a sunset flip but Eddie rolls through into a leg lock. Rey is put on the apron and Guerrero cannonballs down onto the leg over the top rope. Back into the ring and it’s another leg lock but Rey rolls him up for two.
Leg lock number three goes on and things slow down a lot. Rey gets to the ropes and manages to climb the ropes and hit a springboard headscissors to put Eddie down, but his knee slows him down. Eddie dropkicks him back down and it’s time to go to the knee again. A slingshot hilo lands on the knee and we head to the floor. Eddie dropkicks the steps into Rey’s knee which is up against the post. Mysterio is in big trouble at this point.
Back to the leg lock as things slow down again. The fans look at something on the left hand side of the ring and even Eddie stops to look at it. Rey avoids a charge in the corner and hits the Bronco Buster. A slingshot moonsault gets two for Rey, followed by a jumping X Factor for no cover. The layout bulldog gets another two for Rey but Eddie suplexes him down to take over again. Eddie puts on another leg lock but here’s Crazy Chavo. Eddie yells at him, allowing Rey to roll him up, botch the rollup, and then roll him up again for the pin.
Rating: B-. This falls firmly in the category of pairings that you can’t screw up. The leg work here was fine and while I’m not wild on the ending, the match worked fine. It was also a different style than you would expect from these two but it still worked well. Good stuff here and that’s a sign of talent, as both of them were out of their element with this style.
Rey saves Chavo from an LWO beatdown post match.
Here’s Bischoff who says that he’s still the boss even though he’s Hogan’s campaign manager. Flair is still not wrestling because of a failed physical apparently. He talks about JJ Dillon overstepping his bounds by firing Buff Bagwell and Scott Steiner. Some attorneys come out and waste more time before cracking some jokes and getting beaten up by Bischoff. Joseph Park they are not.
We get a LONG recap of Dillon fining Steiner and Bagwell from last week. The two of them came out and terrorized Dillon and destroyed the announcers’ desk. Steiner says no one can control him and they called out Kenny Kaos, who was Rick Steiner’s interim tag title partner. Being the idiot that he is, Kaos gets beaten down and laid out. Then on Thunder Nick Patrick got beaten down as well.
Scott and Buff come out with Scott saying his usual stuff, including a rant on Piper being the commissioner and a coward. Apparently no referee will work a Steiner match so Buff is going to do it. Scott demands an opponent so here’s what we get.
Scott Steiner vs. Chris Adams
Uh…yeah. There’s no match here as it’s a double beatdown. Rick Steiner runs out for the save and says he’ll find a partner and put the titles on the line tonight.
Tag Titles: Scott Steiner/Buff Bagwell vs. Rick Steiner/Judy Bagwell
Yes, it’s Buff’s mama. Buff tries to hit his mom to start but she ducks and knocks him to the floor. This is for the world tag team titles. Rick knocks Buff to the floor and Buff says he’s not fighting. Scott insults Judy and there’s a challenge for a match at the PPV. Judy says she’ll do it at the PPV and get paid this time. Only in WCW people.
Konnan vs. Bret Hart
This has to be better. I mean, it’s impossible for it to not be. This is Wolfpac vs. Black and White. Konnan immediately takes him down in the corner and stomps away. Out to the floor we go and Bret is sent into the barricade. Bret comes back with a rake to the eyes and we head back inside. A bit of trivia for you: Konnan is credited as the man that taught Bret the Sharpshooter. The Canadian hits a Russian on the Cuban but the elbow from the middle rope hits a boot. Well the boot hits Bret’s jaw but you get the idea.
Konnan comes back with some choking which doesn’t give me a ton of confidence in his chances of winning here. Bret gets pounded down in the corner but when Konnan goes after the referee, Bret takes Konnan’s knee out. You know it’s not going to take much to get Bret to go after an injured limb and Konnan is in big trouble. The fans want Sting as Konnan’s leg is wrapped around the post. Bret hits the knee again and then grabs a chair to beat on it for the DQ.
Rating: C-. This was all about adding another body to Bret’s hit list and that’s fine. The match was nothing of note as Konnan wasn’t in Bret’s league but he was a big enough name for this to mean something. DDP would face Bret at the PPV and the injury angle would more or less disappear, which is a shame as the Hitman name was perfect here.
Luger makes the save and Konnan goes out on a stretcher.
Gene asks Jericho to come out here. Jericho says this is where he was born and he’s glad he left because this place sucks. Jericho asks “Greenberg” to come out because he’s 4-0 against him so far. Ralphus says Goldberg isn’t here but we see Goldberg in the back wrecking Jericho’s stuff. Jericho has his back to the monitor and has no idea this is going on. Cue Goldberg, who sneaks up on Jericho and spears the tar out of him. He talks some trash and leaves Jericho laying. These two never had a match in WCW because who would want to see that right?
Kevin Nash/Lex Luger vs. Giant/Scott Hall
Main event time. Hall tosses the toothpick but Nash counters with some spit. Classy guy there. Nash pounds him into the corner and hits the framed elbow and long leg choke. I don’t think we’ll see much besides signature stuff here. Hall escapes Snake Eyes and pounds away but Luger makes a quick save. Hall bails from some deadly posing and Luger beats on him a bit, again with just signature stuff.
Scott finally rakes the eyes and gets Giant in and it’s the same monster vs. any sized guy stuff you’ve ever seen: Giant beats on him, Luger punches to no avail and then Luger chokes. Hall comes in illegally and Luger has to beat both of them up at once since Nash is looking for hair care products. Giant finally hits Luger low to break the momentum and uses his fattness to take over.
Back to Hall who chokes in the corner as the fans chant for the Wolfpac. Has Nash just fallen off the face of the earth or something? I know he’s in the corner but I haven’t seen him do anything for about five minutes now. Giant breaks up a tag to Nash and chokes Luger on the ropes, being aided by Hall.
The Black and White (Hall and Giant) take turns for a few minutes with as basic an offensive set as you could ask for. The fallaway slam looks to set up the Outsiders’ Edge but Lex backdrops out of it. Nash FINALLY gets the tag and cleans house, hitting Snake Eyes on Hall and big boots for both guys. And never mind as here’s Bret attacking Nash’s knee for the DQ.
Rating: D+. This was pretty dull but for a main event tag it wasn’t the worst match in the world. Hart coming in was a bit of a surprise so it didn’t come off as a cliché or anything like that. The NWO war would go on for months until the point where no one could keep track of who was on which side, nor would anyone care.
Bret, Hall and Giant work over Nash’s knee until Luger makes the save with a chair to end the show.
Overall Rating: C+. While nothing great and still too long at three hours, this was a pretty entertaining show. Until the Fingerpoke of Doom, Nitro was still a pretty entertaining show. If they could have found a way to wait out WWF’s time on fire, they could have kept the war going for years. Instead they tried quick fixes and made some horrible decisions, resulting in their demise. This was a good show though.
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