Monday Nitro – August 24, 1998: An Actually Good Ending
Date: August 24, 1998
Location: United Center, Chicago, Illinois
Commentators: Mike Tenay, Bobby Heenan, Tony Schiavone, Larry Zbyszko
We’re closing in on Fall Brawl and the main event is coming into focus a little bit more. The main story coming into tonight ties into the PPV as Warrior is promising to begin a revolution tonight, whatever that means. He’s officially on DDP’s team to face Hogan and Hart for the Black and White and whoever is on the Wolfpack’s team. This three team stuff with one winner idea for WarGames is annoying. Let’s get to it.
We open with a black limo arriving with the Black and White coming out. It’s just Hogan, Bischoff, Liz and Disciple here and we get a long tracking shot of them coming all the way into the arena. Once they’re finally in the ring, Eric holds up a pen and says it’s what lets him keep in charge of WCW and the NWO. He ran Vader and Johnny B. Badd out of WCW and he’ll keep anyone he wants out as well.
Hogan takes the mic and talks about how he owns the world of wrestling and is more powerful than anyone. He can’t wait to get in the ring at WarGames and take everyone out one by one. Hogan promises to take the title back from Goldberg for awhile and that’s that. Shortest opening segment in a long time.
Mike Enos vs. Wrath
Enos fires in some knees in the corner but Wrath shrugs them off and chops away in the corner. They head outside with Enos being sent into the barricade and chopped even more. Wrath throws him back inside for a slingshot clothesline for two but Enos comes back with a powerslam for the same. Mike shoulders him in the corner but misses a second attempt. Wrath’s Meltdown (pumphandle powerslam) is good for the pin in a short match.
We look at part of Warrior’s speech last week, leading into the announcers talking about WarGames.
The Nitro Girls dance in the crowd.
Nitro Party winner.
Kaz Hayashi vs. Dean Malenko
The announcers immediately start talking about the Horsemen, despite most of the team losing almost every major match they’ve had in the last few weeks. Dean takes Kaz down by the arm and grabs the leg before putting on a reverse chinlock. Off to a headlock on Hayashi but he comes back with a knee to the ribs and a quick running senton. Dean easily takes him back down and puts on a figure four around the neck as we take a break.
Back with Dean winning a quick slugout but being sent to the floor. Kaz hits a very nice corkscrew plancha and gets two off a German suplex back inside. Hayashi goes up but his moonsault hits knees. A leg lariat (clearly misses Kaz by about six inches) sets up the Tiger Bomb and the Cloverleaf to give Dean the win.
Rating: C. Not a terrible match though I have no idea why they needed a break in there. Kaz was another in a long list of talented cruiserweights who got lost in the crowd despite being able to put on good matches. Malenko looked a bit off tonight but when you’re as sharp as he is most of the time you can miss once in awhile.
Video on the Wolfpack.
Here’s the Wolfpack minus Sting with something to say. After the catchphrases, Nash talks about Hogan running his mouth week in and week out, even though he can’t run with them. Nash says if Hogan wants a war, he’s got one. He talks about coming here for a war two years ago and his goal is to run the company. If he has to run off Hogan and Bischoff and become world champion to do it, then that’s what he’ll do. That brings him to Goldberg who has speared him twice in a row now.
After the first time, they had a beer and everything was cool. The second time there was no beer so everything isn’t cool. However, if Goldberg wants to make things right, he can team up with Nash tonight against someone whose names are cut off by Goldberg’s music. We get the long walk from the back to continue a motif tonight. Goldberg comes to the ring and says he’ll team up with Nash if that’s what Nash wants. Nash wants Hogan and Giant tonight.
Konnan vs. Jim Neidhart
Konnan went to the back during the break and comes out again for reasons I still don’t understand. A headbutt puts Neidhart down as Tenay explains what Arriaba La Raza means. Konnan grabs an armbar but Neidhart fights up and clotheslines Konnan to take over. Neidhart’s straps come down, making his back rakes all the more vicious. A middle rope knee drop only hits the mat though and the Tequila Sunrise gives Konnan a fast win.
Tony brings out Stevie Ray for a chat about the Black and White surrounding him at the end of Thunder. Stevie won’t comment on what they were saying to him but he’ll deal with the Giant in due time. As for the TV Title, Stevie is coming for Jericho soon but here’s an angry Booker T for his return. Booker says he’s been out of the country healing so he could come back and give the fans 110%. He can’t even leave his house to get his paper without people asking him about Stevie Ray.
Booker worked hard to get the TV Title and would like an explanation from Stevie about the title. Stevie says he defended the title because it got between the team. Booker was out for six months (it’s been like two) and Stevie did what he had to do. Tony informs Stevie that Booker is the #1 contender to Bret Hart’s US Title, ticking Stevie off. Booker says he’s coming for the title and wants Stevie to have his back.
After a break Tony is in the ring and calls out DDP. He has a pen of his own and wants to shove it through Bischoff’s ear. Page runs down Hogan as usual and says if someone wants to step up as the third member of Team WCW, do it right now. This brings out Roddy Piper and I cringe a little bit inside.
Piper praises Page for doing a good job lately while he’s been in Hollywood. While he was out there, Piper heard people at Time Warner making fun of Bischoff’s power trips. Piper says he’s the only man that Bischoff can’t fire before implying Hogan and Bischoff are women. He’ll join Page in WarGames and promises to get Warrior to join them. Wasn’t he on the team already?
Hour #2 begins.
Steve McMichael vs. Riggs
Mongo takes him into the corner but Riggs actually takes over and stomps him down into the corner. McMichael is sent out to the floor and taken down by a clothesline from the apron as this has been one sided so far. Back in and the announcers talk about Saturn vs. Raven with the Flock’s freedom vs. Saturn being back in the Flock as the stakes. A dropkick puts Mongo down again and Riggs stomps away at the chest.
We hit the chinlock on Mongo who slaps the mat like he’s tapping but the referee says nothing. McMichael fights up but a knee to the ribs drops him again. Riggs mocks the Horsemen sign and avoids an elbow as Mongo can’t get anything going. A boot in the corner stops a charging Riggs and it’s a pair of three point tackles and the tombstone to give Mongo the win. Those were the only major offensive moves he hit all match.
Rating: D. This was basically a Riggs squash until the last thirty seconds. The Horsemen losing nearly every match they’re in sounds like something Bischoff would be behind to bury the team even further, because why would he care if the fans keep chanting for Flair? Granted having Mongo in there isn’t helping anyone. The guy just isn’t that good.
Post match Horace blasts Mongo in the head with the stop sign and the beating is on until Malenko makes the save. Saturn comes out as well but is quickly sent back outside, leaving Mongo and Malenko to hold up the Horsemen sign.
More Nitro Girls, this time in leather.
Scott Norton vs. Rick Fuller
They trade chops in the corner as Fuller has already survived longer than anyone has against Norton in weeks. Norton comes back with a Samoan drop but gets kicked in the face, only to pop back up and chop it out again. Scott blasts him in the face to take over again and a powerbomb is enough to end Fuller.
Here’s Scott Steiner with his doctor to make fun of Chicago and Michael Jordan. The doctor says Steiner can’t wrestle tonight but Scott wants Rick out here right now. This of course brings out Buff Bagwell dressed as Rick as the crowd can be heard groaning. Scott offers a doggie treat to get out of the fight, causing Buff to roll over and play dead for the pin.
Lex Luger vs. Brian Adams
They finally lock up after about a minute of stalling before taking their time with some lockups. Luger grabs a headlock as Heenan defends Bischoff for reasons of general weaselness. Luger sends Adams to the floor with some posing as the stalling continues. Back in and Luger hiptosses Adams down but a Vincent distraction lets Brian get in a right hand to take over. Luger is kicked to the floor and sent into the steps for two before it’s off to a headscissor choke from Adams.
Back up and Luger is whipped into the corner but comes back with right hands to a big reaction. Not that it matters though as Adams suplexes him down and puts on a nerve hold. Another comeback is thwarted by a gorilla press gutbuster for two but Adams misses a knee drop. The clotheslines and forearms are good for two, followed by a powerslam and the Torture Rack for the submission.
Rating: D+. Slightly better than the previous match but that’s mainly because the fans were more into the hometown Luger. The match was again close to a squash until the comeback at the end which doesn’t make for the most interesting match in the world. Adams getting this high of a spot on the card continues to astound me.
More clips of Warrior from last week.
Here’s Warrior to talk about how the Revolution that starts tonight. He talks about emulating the best in any field, such as when he emulated Hogan as champion. Warrior rants about Hogan selling out to mediocrity and self pity which is the most coherent thing he’s said in a long time. He does get in a good line by saying Hogan went from being one in a million to being one of the millions.
After pausing for no reason in particular, Warrior asks for patience before he takes out Hogan. Tonight is the beginning of the One Warrior Nation Revolution, which means he’ll destroy Hogan. A revolution isn’t based on cowardice and that’s all Hogan needs to know. I have no idea what this was supposed to accomplish.
Hour #3 begins.
TV Title: Chris Jericho vs. Curt Hennig
Jericho is defending and takes over a minute to get down the aisle due to jawing with fans about their signs. He takes one away and kicks it, falling flat on his face in a funny moment. Feeling out process to start with Hennig grabbing the hair and stopping a takedown attempt. Curt: “Two points!” They jockey for position until Henig goes to the ropes for a breather.
Jericho slaps him in the face, sending Hennig into a frenzy of headbutts and chops. Chris chops him into the corner as this gets very physical all of a sudden. Now it’s Hennig with chops of his own, setting up the Hennig neck snap for no cover. Jericho comes back with a spinning kick to the chin and some choking in the corner.
Curt takes out the knee to send Jericho outside for even more chops, only to have Jericho take him back inside to kick at Hennig’s legs. A springboard dropkick sends Hennig outside and a middle rope version of the same move drops Curt inside. Hennig misses a dropkick and gets caught in the Liontamer but Hennig is right next to the ropes. The PerfectPlex is countered into a small package for two and they slug it out as the time limit expires at…..6:10? At least make it close people.
Rating: C+. I was digging the heck out of this match with both guys working hard out there. Jericho seems like the kind of guy that would have a blast working with a guy like Hennig and he was on his game tonight. Really fun match which shows what happens when guys work hard. The lack of time makes me sad for a change.
Hennig gets the better of Jericho and here’s Giant for the double team, but Giant shoves Hennig down instead to save the Canadian. Curt is furious.
More Nitro Girls.
Booker T asks Stevie to have his back tonight but Stevie sounds mad.
US Title: Bret Hart vs. Booker T
Bret is defending. Before the match Bret grabs a mic and says he’s tired of being told he used to be a nice guy. The fans are the ones that have corrupted the heroes, which is why Bret went to the one man he could trust: Hulk Hogan. However, there’s a problem in the form of Sting. Bret says Sting is his buddy, so how can he pick between Sting and Hogan. The fans are to blame for his problems though.
Booker’s music plays but he never shows up. We go to a break and come back to see Stevie standing over a fallen Booker and saying Booker and JJ Dillon turned their backs on him. Stevie comes into the arena to take Booker’s place but yells at Bret instead of fighting him. Bret denies having anything to do with the attack as the NWO comes out with a shirt. Bret says there’s no reason for Stevie to take his frustrations out on him before offering Stevie a spot on the team. Since Stevie is a midcard guy who is starting to get some traction, he accepts.
Hollywood Hogan/The Giant vs. Goldberg/Kevin Nash
After about five minutes of entrances, we finally get down to Nash vs. Giant but the fans are all over Hogan. Giant shoves him into the corner to start but Nash avoids a big forearm. A headbutt staggers Kevin back and a big boot drops him to the mat. Giant misses an elbow though and Nash hits the framed elbow in the corner. Both guys hit clotheslines at the same time with no one going anywhere so they both hit big boots to drop the other.
It’s off to Goldberg vs. Hogan with the champion shoving Hogan down over and over. Hogan gets in some knees to the ribs and chokes to take over but Goldberg shrugs off being rammed into the buckle. A few shoulder blocks put Hogan down but Disciple hits Goldberg in the back with the title belt to change the moment. Hogan chokes away in the corner while Nash and Giant go at it on the floor (Tony calls it double teaming because he’s not that bright) as Hennig and Disciple come in for the no contest.
Rating: D+. This was more spectacle than match and that’s fine for the most part. They’re clearly setting up the idea of the team battle at Fall Brawl which is more than you usually get out of a Nitro main event. I’d still like to see Giant pin Nash just one time to make up for the last nine months or so but I can’t imagine it happening.
Luger and Konnan come out to even the odds until Goldberg and Hennig are the only ones left. Goldberg spears him down and Jackhammers him for the pin as this turns into an ECW show for a few seconds. Nash accidentally knees Goldberg in the face and Giant sends him to the floor as Warrior, Page and Piper come out to clean house and stand tall. Goldberg and Nash have a staredown to end the show.
Overall Rating: D+. That was a really strong ending actually with an actual focus for a change. It’s not really surprising that WCW was actually winning a bit at this time with WarGames coming up and the Warrior offering something interesting. Unfortunately at some point he has to actually wrestle and it was all going to come down. Anyway though, less bad show than usual but all the nonsense earlier on brings down a good last hour.
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Watching last weeks Nitro and then this one is hilarious. They went on and on about how when they advertise a match, it actually happens (supposed to be a dig at Raw). Then this week, Booker vs Bret doesn’t happen and Goldberg/Nash vs Show/Hogan ends with Goldberg pinning a guy who wasn’t even in the match.