Monday Nitro – May 11, 1998: Back To The Salt Mines Giant
Date: May 11, 1998
Location: Kemper Arena, Kansas City, Missouri
Commentators: Mike Tenay, Bobby Heenan, Tony Schiavone, Larry Zbyszko
It’s the go home show for Slamboree and we’re back to the three hour shows again tonight because I haven’t suffered enough so far. The main story continues to be the NWO civil war since the new world champion is apparently too busy to defend his newly won title on the pay per view. The card is mostly set but we might get a few more minor matches announced tonight. Let’s get to it.
We open with a recap from the end of last week’s show when Bret held back Adams, telling him to let the Wolfpack and WCW fight.
Tony promises us more on the NWO tonight and shows us the end of last week’s show again.
Gene brings out Bret for the opening interview. Hart is still in street clothes and not NWO gear. He calls Savage a big chicken who has been ducking Bret for years. Bret accuses Savage of coming to WCW to hide from him but now Randy’s worst nightmare has come true because Bret is in WCW. We get a clip from last week with Bret putting Savage in the Sharpshooter, with promises of more to come at Slamboree.
Back from a break with Gene introducing the Nitro Girls who come out one by one.
Barry Horowitz vs. Disco Inferno
Barry hits a quick jawbreaker to take over followed by something resembling a Skull Crushing Finale for no cover. A backbreaker gets two on Disco but Inferno comes back with an atomic drop and a swinging neckbreaker…..for the pin? That came out of nowhere.
Here’s Randy Savage with something to say. He says if Bret thinks he’s running scared, just wait for Slamboree to see how far Savage runs away. Tonight though Savage wants to challenge Hogan for the world title so he can defend it against Bret on Sunday.
Kidman vs. Juventud Guerrera
Security takes away a sign before the guys in the ring speed up to start. A pair of headscissors puts Kidman down to the floor. Juvy follows out with a BIG plancha to take Kidman down again before we head back inside. A slingshot legdrop gets two for Kidman but he pops up and tries a powerbomb but instead flips Juvy forward to land on his face. That was odd looking as Juvy appeared to counter into a faceplant but it was Kidman planting Juvy.
Kidman goes up but jumps into a dropkick to the ribs and gets taken down by a spinwheel kick. A springboard cross body gets the same for Guerrera and we get a pinfall reversal sequence with a string of near falls until Juventud hits the Juvy Driver for two. Not that it matters though as Reese sneaks in with the chokebomb, allowing Kidman to hit a quick Seven Year Itch for the pin.
Rating: C-. The flying wasn’t bad but the Flock vs. Juvy isn’t doing much for me. There’s no way Guerrera is going to face the top guys in the group so there’s almost no interest in these matches. Kidman is the best choice for Juvy to fight until he gets to have the big David vs. Goliath match with Reese, who I don’t think has had a match yet.
Reese carries Juvy out while carrying Kidman on his back.
Here’s Eric Bischoff on a motorcycle to prove how awesome he is. After assuring us of his love, he wants to know what Vince McMahon is thinking right now. For a few weeks now, Vince has been sending his cronies around but he knows Bischoff won’t be there. If Sean Waltman wants an apology from Eric Bischoff, he shouldn’t have shown up at WCW offices on a Monday afternoon. As for the apology, Waltman can bite him.
Bischoff talks about coming to Vince’s backyard for the PPV Sunday so why don’t they have a fight live on PPV? Eric guarantees that Vince won’t show up, which in wrestling is how you guarantee that someone WILL be there. If I remember right, this led to a big lawsuit between the two companies with WCW having to pay out a big settlement.
Nitro Girls with Alex Wright. You know the drill by now.
Yuji Nagata vs. Scott Norton
Norton runs him over in the corner and powerslams Nagata down with ease. Nagata comes back with some kicks and is loudly booed so Norton runs him over, drawing more boos. Scott no sells a belly to back suplex as we cut to Sonny Onoo and miss some stuff. Norton’s shoulder breaker ends this quick.
CALL THE HOTLINE!
We recap Hennig joining the Wolfpack.
Hugh Morrus vs. Jim Powers
Morrus hits a quick powerslam and No Laughing Matter ends this in about 20 seconds.
The Wolfpack comes to the ring as we take a break. Actually scratch the break as the NWO is more important. It’s just Nash and Konnan this week but maybe we’ll get a new member tonight. Nash talks about himself and Hall forming the NWO and Hogan jumping on the train as it was pulling away. The real NWO is wearing black and red and they’re scaring Hollywood. Hogan is supposed to be here tonight and he needs to say that Nash is the real big man. Also stop using their hand signals because they’re not using them right. The NWO music plays them off when Nash didn’t seem to be done.
Hour #2 begins.
Ultimo Dragon vs. Johnny Swinger
Dragon easily leg sweeps Swinger down to start and there’s the headstand in the corner as Swinger dances. Johnny slams him down for two and adds a belly to back suplex for the same. Here’s Chavo Guerrero but before he can do anything Dragon hooks the top rope hurricanrana and the Dragon Sleeper ends this.
Chavo shakes Dragon’s hand but here’s Eddie to shove his nephew away. Chavo shoves Eddie down and Eddie says hit him in the jaw so Dragon puts Eddie in the Dragon Sleeper. Eddie goes after Dragon but Chavo pulls him off so Eddie leaves.
Before they’re even out of the ring, here’s Dusty Rhodes with something to say. He says before the night is over and before all the tickets are turned in and all the money has been countered, Kevin Nash is going to be in Hogan’s face. Dusty says that Hogan isn’t doing right by everyone in the NWO by doing stuff like firing Syxx and keeping Hall off TV. A long time ago Hall offered up his innocent to Dusty but Dusty didn’t pay him back in scorn. Instead he gave him shelter from the storm (Dusty said the same thing when Sapphire left him for Ted DiBiase at Summerslam 1990) and made him a cool guy.
Right now Scott Hall has a personal problem but he’ll beat that problem and be at Slamboree this Sunday. Randy Savage needs to stop complaining right now because the Wolfpack has no pecking order. Before tonight is over, Nash is going to be in Hogan’s ugly face and that’s that. I guess this was Dusty joining the Wolfpack?
US Title: Goldberg vs. Len Denton
Denton is more famous as the Grappler, which isn’t a name that most people are going to remember as a lot of his career was in the 70s and 80s. He was however the man that Jake Roberts had in a front facelock when Jake slipped and fell backwards, inventing the DDT. Denton hits a jawbreaker but gets speared and Jackhammered down to make Goldberg 83-0.
We get a clip from MTV over the weekend with Page jumping Raven in a wrestling ring MTV had set up for some reason.
Here’s JJ Dillon with Raven in toe. Apparently Raven has filed a grief against almost everyone in WCW over them causing an unsafe working environment. Therefore, JJ has ordered some riot control officers to take care of Raven while the rest of the company works to make the company safer.
Raven has three main grievances: an unnamed assailant, Diamond Dallas Page wanting another match which he’ll get in a Bowery Death Match (last man standing in a cage) and the strife between Hammer and Saturn. Saturn lost last week but if he has something to say, come out here and say it. Saturn comes out and…..is told to lay out Hammer at Raven’s orders. Jerry Flynn of all people comes out to beat up Saturn and this appears to be a match.
Saturn vs. Jerry Flynn
Saturn suplexes him down and gets a quick pin with the Death Valley Driver.
We see Bischoff’s challenge to Vince again.
We recap the TV Title change last week.
TV Title: Fit Finlay vs. Robbie Rage
Heenan is on commentary at the halfway point of the show. Rage takes over with a quick clothesline in the corner before pulling Finlay away from the ropes, slamming him down the to mat. Finlay grabs the leg to take Rage down and stays on the knee for a bit. They head to the floor with Finlay beating up Kaos as well, but the distraction allows Rage to slam him down in the ring. A top rope splash gets two, sending Rage after the referee. Booker T comes out to break up the interference from Kaos, allowing Finlay to tombstone Rage for the pin.
Rating: D. The match was ok, but it’s almost impossible to care about Finlay defending the title against a tag team jobber. Somehow we went from Benoit vs. Booker to this in the span of a few weeks without ever getting to see Benoit win the title. Much like Denton earlier, it always makes me wonder what the criteria is for a title shot. When was the last time Rage even had a singles match, let alone won it?
Benoit comes out and goes after Booker but security pulls them apart. JJ says their matches are cancelled and they’re fighting tonight for a shot against Finlay on Sunday. This would be more shocking if Tony hadn’t told us this on two different occasions already tonight, including during the TV Title match.
We see the challenge. Again.
More Nitro Girls.
Nitro Party winner.
Lenny Lane vs. Diamond Dallas Page
Feeling out process to start until Page fires off knees to the ribs and puts Lane down with a tilt-a-whirl side slam. Lane comes back with some choking and does the Diamond Cutter sign. He bulldogs Page down for two but Page fights up and puts Lane on the top rope for the Diamond Cutter to end it.
Page wants Raven to come out here right now so he can bang him tonight before he bangs Raven on Sunday.
Bischoff Challenge Part 4.
Hour #3 begins so here are Hogan and Bischoff, flanked by the rest of the B-Team (Adams, Disciple and Vincent) with something to say. First of all Hogan brags about how awesome he is and how we all need to go see 3 Ninjas and the new Assault on Devil’s Island movie. Hogan goes on some tangent about going to wrestling school before accepting Savage’s challenge for tonight. He calls Nash out here for the big showdown as this is somehow over five minutes long now.
After some gay jokes abound, Hogan demands an apology and for Nash to admit that he poached Hennig away from him. Also Nash has to admit that Mr. Hogan is the leader and champion and that Nash has to get back on his good side. Nash says that he won’t apologize and that he’ll go through all of Hogan’s goons to get to Hogan. Hogan promises a big gun that Nash can’t handle, so here’s Giant back in the Black and White. Nash gets destroyed and spray painted. Savage, Konnan and Dusty come out which gets rid of the NWO for some reason.
Tony and his goon squad ask about the tag match with Sting/Giant vs. the Outsiders on Sunday.
We recap Jericho mocking Malenko last week before beating Bore-Us Malenko.
Jericho is in the ring with something under a sheet. He demands to be called the Lionheart, the Man of 1004 Holds and the Ayatollah of Rock and Rollah. Jericho shows off his trophies, including a prosthetic leg to represent Rey’s knee. However, there’s no one left for Jericho to face so he’s going to retire the title. This brings out JJ Dillon to announce a cruiserweight battle royal for Sunday with the winner getting a title shot later in the night.
Jericho isn’t pleased and thinks JJ isn’t being fair to the winner by making him face 14 guys and then get beaten up by the champion. He then pulls the sheet off, revealing a defaced picture of Dean Malenko, holding a bunch of celery and saying he’s a Jericho-hollic. This brings out Dean’s brother Joe to say be nice to Dean, earning a prosthetic leg to the head.
Glacier claims someone has stolen the Cryonic Kick.
Glacier vs. Sick Boy
Sick Boy gets jumped coming back into the ring but Glacier has to stop to pose. A few punches slow Glacier down but Glacier hits a kick to the…..shoulder? Either way it knocks Sick Boy into the referee so the Cryonic Kick (superkick) gets no count. Cue Saturn to kick Glacier in the face, giving Sick Boy two, even though the bell rang. Glacier kicks him in the face again for the pin.
Post match Saturn lays Glacier out again, this time with a Death Valley Driver. They’re really trying to get their money out of Glacier.
We recap Scott Steiner pretending to give up on the NWO before turning on Rick again in a ruse as Adams attacked Rick.
Here’s Lex Luger to say Rick Steiner is out for 3-4 months due to shoulder surgery, so he wants either Adams or Scott Steiner at Slamboree.
Chris Benoit vs. Booker T
The winner gets a TV Title shot against Finlay on Sunday. Benoit jumps Booker as he comes into the ring and the attack is on fast. Booker comes back with a great looking hook kick to the jaw and some forearms to the back. A nice gorilla press puts Benoit down again but he comes back with right hands of his own. They slug it out until Benoit snaps off a German suplex to put both guys down.
A snap suplex gets two on Booker but he grabs a powerslam of his own to get a breather. Benoit ducks the side kick to send Booker into the ropes and a belly to back puts Booker down again. There’s the Swan Dive for two but Booker elbows him in the face and hits the ax kick. The spinebuster puts Benoit down but he ducks the side kick. Benoit grabs the Crossface out of nowhere for the submission and the title shot.
Rating: C+. These two have chemistry together and hopefully this sets up Benoit’s long overdue title win. Booker has been booked so well over the last few months that a win over him actually means something, even though this is his second loss in a row. Good stuff here which is what this show has needed.
WCW World Title: Hollywood Hogan vs. Randy Savage
Unfortunately there’s a lot of time left. Hogan looks a bit tipsy. Savage jumps Hogan from behind and takes over before pounding away in the corner. Hogan comes back with a right hand and chokes away in the corner as well. Savage has his shoulder sent into the post as we enter the garbage brawling period.
Back in and Hogan clotheslines Randy down before choking even more. Right hands have Savage in trouble in the corner again but the champion gets kicked low. Not that it matters as Hogan kicks him in the face but misses the legdrop. Disciple breaks up the elbow and here Hart with a belt shot on Savage, giving Hogan the pin.
Rating: D. Do I really need to explain this one? Really? Hogan was incapable of having a good match at this point if his life depended on it and Savage was basically nothing but punches, ax handles and the big elbow. It’s a bad sign when the best thing you can say about a match is that it was short but that’s all this one has.
Post match here are Nash and Piper for the save with Roddy saying he doesn’t want to fight Nash. Instead he names Savage as the winner by DQ which changes nothing. Piper yells at Hogan and Hart but names himself as referee for Hart vs. Savage. Giant comes to the ring and Sting is in the rafters to end the show.
Overall Rating: D+. As usual here there’s some decent stuff but so much of the show is spent on worthless matches. Scott Norton vs. Yuji Nagata? Disco Inferno vs. Barry Horowitz? Glacier vs. Sick Boy? Can you blame people for going over to Raw in droves? On top of that we have Giant joining the NWO again as the story is now at two years old and showing no signs of stopping. Slamboree is in a few days and I can’t think of a single match on it I’m looking forward to. That’s a really bad sign.
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