WCW: The Best of Monday Nitro – Vol. 2
3-Disc Set DVD Review
Released: February 12, 2013
Hollywood Hogan & Dennis Rodman call out Lex Luger & The Giant: From 6/16/97. Hogan and Rodman stay in the ring calling Luger and the Giant cowards and stuff. Finally, Luger and Giant arrive. Of course there’s no actual match. It’s just a big brawl until Hogan low blows Luger and kicks Giant in the back of the knee when he tries to CHOKESLAM Rodman. That hardly stops the Giant as he drops Rodman and goes after Hogan. Meanwhile, Rodman grabs the big gold belt and KO’s the Giant from behind to a babyface pop. I mean, we’re in Chicago. Now that Luger and Giant are face down on the mat, the Outsiders and Syxx join Hogan and Rodman in the ring as litter is flying everywhere. Hogan and Rodman enjoy spray painting their Bash at the Beach opponents until we go off the air. Whoa, when did Randy Savage get here?
- Kevin Nash vs. Rey Mysterio, Jr. – 6/30/97
Rey is all dropkicks to start. He delivers a springboard somersault that takes Nash off his feet. Rey jumps on the cover for 1-2-NO! He tries a sunset flip of sorts, but that proves to be his biggest mistake. Nash lifts him up by the throat and gives Rey an atomic drop of EPIC proportions. Big huge toss out of the corner leads to the JACKKNIFE POWERBOMB as Nash lays a boot on top of him for the 1-2-3. (1:49) He gives Mysterio another Jackknife after the bell and then decks ref Scott Dickinson. Wait a sec, what’s Konnan doing at the top of the ramp? In full ring attire, no less. While Konnan walks down to the ring, Nash gives Mysterio a THIRD Jackknife. Then, Nash leaves Konnan alone with Rey, who then tries to tear up Rey’s knee. After the break, EMTs take Rey backstage on a stretcher. This action takes Mysterio out of action for a month to get his knee fixed and practically initiates Konnan into the nWo. They are truly WORLDWIDE. ½*
- Randy Savage (w/Scott Hall & Elizabeth) vs. La Parka – 7/7/97
This is all about Randy giving a wrestling lesson, YEAH DIG IT! During La Parka’s entrance, they show what he’s been up to lately, which is mostly beating up Super Calo with a chair on a weekly basis. Savage is definitely taking this lightly. He shows La Parka an armdrag or two. Meanwhile, Scott Hall heads over towards the announce position to badger Larry Zbyszko, because Larry has started standing up to these guys while Schiavone and Tenay cower like a couple of a scared little girls. Back in the ring, Savage looks to put away La Parka with a MACHO ELBOW, but flies down onto La Parka’s feet! As Savage gets up, La Parka turns him around for a DIAMOND CUTTER! Hey wait a minute, something is different here. Off comes the mask to reveal that La Parka is indeed Diamond Dallas Page! The crowd erupts as DDP covers Savage for the 1-2-3! (3:09) Realizing what just happened, Scott Hall jets himself back down to the ring to show how furious he is that DDP got one over on the new World order. This had been done many years earlier in World Class when Chris Adams pulled the same trick on Jimmy Garvin. It worked to perfection then, and it definitely worked here as well. No rating.
- Bill Goldberg vs. Hugh Morrus – 9/22/97
Neither Tony Schiavone, Larry Zbyszko, nor Mike Tenay know anything about Goldberg. After a hammerlock exchange, Goldberg takes Morrus down into a legbar. Morrus makes the ropes and catches himself off a corner whip and comes off the second-rope with a clothesline. NO LAUGHING MATTER! Cover, 1-2-NO! Goldberg NO-SELLS a back elbow, does a back flip, and catches Morrus with a powerslam. He slams Morrus a second time and delivers the first JACKHAMMER ever seen on TV! That gets him win #1. (2:45) And it begins. Gene Okerlund wants a word with him, but Goldberg just walks away. *
- Jeff Jarrett (w/Debra) vs. Booker T (w/Jacqueline) – 10/6/97
Future PPV main event here, folks! While Stevie Ray has an Achilles tendon injury, Booker T makes the most of their time apart to start his singles career. Of course, the time apart turned out to be the best thing to ever happen to Booker T’s career. You always KNEW he was going to be the breakout star of that team anyway. It was just a matter of how big would he get and when would he get the opportunity. On the other hand, Jeff Jarrett is just days away from the end of his one-year contract with WCW, marking this as his final match in the company for a while as he heads back over to the WWF. Even though he’s booked and announced for Halloween Havoc to face Steve McMichael in a grudge match, it obviously doesn’t happen, and the feud over Debra gets transposed to Alex Wright and into an even poorer situation than it already is. There’s a feeling-out process to start. Jarrett armdrags and struts. He brags about how easy this is, and then takes a bunch of punches to the face. Booker puts the brakes to avoid a dropkick before nailing Jarrett with one of his own to send him running. From the floor, Jarrett winds up grabbing Booker by the ankle to trip him up and slam his knee on the apron. Back in, the Bossman straddle connects. Booker gets a Jack Brisco rollup out of the corner, but only gets two. Spinaroonie leads to the Harlem Side Kick, as Jarrett bails again. Booker heads out after him to go into commercial. AND WE’RE BACK! Jarrett catches Booker with a flying body press for two. He’s all over Booker with clotheslines and dropkicks, but goes to the eyes when Booker tries a sunset flip. Crowd is solidly behind Booker T. He catches Jarrett with a Spinning Heel Kick and nails the AXE KICK. Cover, 1-2-NO! Jarrett gets his feet on the ropes. Booker clotheslines Jarrett out to the floor, but doesn’t go out after him. Debra checks on Jeff, which cues Steve McMichael. He pulls Debra away from Jeff, which gets him slapped. Since he can’t hit a lady, Mongo takes out his frustrations on Jarrett. He grabs Jarrett by the throat and forearms him back inside the ring. As Jeff stands back up, Booker is there waiting with an O’Connor roll for the 1-2-3. (6:25 shown) Huge pop for the win, but immediately the focus goes back on Mongo and Jarrett, and not the winner. **
- WCW World Tag Team Champions Rick & Scott Steiner (w/Ted DiBiase) vs. Public Enemy – Street Fight (11/3/97)
After a YEAR-LONG run with the tag titles, the Steiner brothers finally dethroned the Outsiders about a month before when Kevin Nash was out and Syxx replaced him in a match that included an even sketchier finish than all the other times the Outsiders lost and got the tag titles back the next day. When a regular WCW referee counts the fall on the Outsiders, the decision gets overturned the next day. When Larry Zbyszko, who was just supposed to be a special referee for one night at Fall Brawl counts the fall, that decision sticks.
So we’re in Philly, and ECW is in Philly, and these two teams are ECW alumni, so WCW must give the fine people of Philly an ECW brawl. They fight all over the place for a few minutes. Nothing of note happens. They head back to the ring for the finish where Grunge sandwiches Rick Steiner in between two stacked tables, only for DiBiase to halfway pull Rick out of the way as Grunge goes flying through said tables. Rick gets cut up a bit as Scott jumps on Grunge for the pinfall so we can get out of here. (5:43) The crowd boos the finish, but what won’t these Philly people boo? ¾*
The nWo sings ‘O Canada’: From 11/10/97. On the night after Survivor Series, the entire new World order kicks off Monday Nitro by coming out carrying a bunch of Canadian flags and singing their rendition of ‘O Canada’, which is their way of welcoming Bret Hart into the fold. Bischoff says he’s signed Bret Hart because he likes to hang out with guys who smoke cigars and ride Harleys. He also declares that he’s spending a billionaire’s money because he can. Take that, Jim Cornette. Bischoff then calls Bret a “knockout guy”, making light of Bret getting his one free punch on Vince. As we come to the end of the segment, Bischoff finally announces that Bret Hart is the newest member of the nWo.
- Randy Savage (w/Elizabeth) vs. Booker T – 12/15/97
No doubt – a big match for Booker. Armbars and hammerlocks to start. Savage corners Booker for some punches, but Booker returns fire with a jumping forearm smash to send Savage out. Some brief guardrail action follow, but we’re back inside with Booker in control and raising the roof. Spinaroonie and the Harlem Side Kick connects. Again we’re on the floor, as Savage sneaks in a hard plastic chairshot to the head. Savage follows up with the Flying Double Sledge before sending Booker into the steps. Back in, Savage gets two. Uh oh, a possibly drunken yet certainly overweight fan jumps the rail to get at Savage. He’s promptly stomped in the face and escorted out of the arena. Tenay – “Just part of the madness that surrounds Randy Savage!” Booker mounts a comeback with another Harlem Side Kick, but then dropkicks Savage into the ref. Whoops. He nails the AXE KICK and heads up top, but Elizabeth grabs hold of Booker’s leg. Savage comes over and punches Booker down to the floor, and gives him him another hard plastic chairshot. With Booker out of it, Savage rolls him back inside and nails the MACHO ELBOW while Liz wakes up the ref for the 1-2-3. (6:45) Darn you, Miss Elizabeth! What happened?! We loved you! *½
- Rey Mysterio, Juventud Guerrera, and Hector Garza vs. Psychosis, Silver King, and La Parka – 12/22/97
Hector Garza and Silver King begin things here. They flip around constantly avoiding each other until Garza finally levels Silver King with a springboard armdrag and a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker. Tag to Juvi, he nails Silver King with a springboard dropkick. Psychosis tags in and slows down the pace of the match. We take a moment to catch Raven’s Flock heading down through the crowd. Meanwhile, Juventud is nailing Psychosis with headscissors takedown after headscissors takedown. Psychosis misses a corner charge and runs into the post, which brings in La Parka. He does that thing where he can’t land a blow on the other guy in the corner, resulting in a tag from Juvi to Rey. The crowd explodes as he nails La Parka with a beautiful flying headscissors. Rey winds up clearing the ring of Psychosis and Silver King. La Parka stops Rey by catching him coming off the ropes and launching him into the air. He misses a senton, which triggers everybody else to dive off the top only to hit nothing but canvas. As the rudos hit the floor, Garza acts as a launching pad for Air Juvi on Psychosis! Now La Parka sits Juvi down in a chair for a tope suicida. Once La Parka and Psychosis stand up side-by-side, Garza wipes them out again with the CORKSCREW PLANCHA. Meanwhile in the ring, Rey handles Silver King with a Reverse Headscissors, followed by a SPRINGBOARD HURRACANRANA for the 1-2-3! (5:05) Another week of Nitro, another exciting lucha libre match. ***¼
- WCW U.S. Heavyweight Champion Diamond Dallas Page vs. Chris Jericho – 1/5/98
After last week’s temper tantrum when Jericho threw ring announcer David Penzer out of his chair and then beat the ringpost with that same chair, Jericho comes out this week and apologizes for his actions because he feels he is a TRUE role model, and gives Penzer a new tuxedo jacket and a new folding chair. Page gets a swinging neckbreaker, Jericho delivers a nice dropkick. Next thing you know, DDP catches a kick. He would ordinarily spin you around for a clothesline, but this time he spins Jericho around for the DIAMOND CUTTER. And the Georgia Dome erupts as Page gets the easy pinfall. (1:57) When you got a killer finish, don’t work longer than you have to. DDP really got on a roll as we head into 1998. In the fans eyes, he’s a made man now. ¼*
- Hollywood Hogan, Scott Hall, and Kevin Nash (w/Eric Bischoff) vs. Sting, The Giant, and Randy Savage (w/Elizabeth) – 3/9/98
Always fun when they take your marquee matches for the upcoming PPV and turn the feuds into a tag match. This one emanates from my stomping grounds – Winston-Salem, NC. The feuds break down into a brawl to start. Hogan goes to stop Sting from pounding on Hall, which turns out to be a big mistake. Sting backs Hogan into a corner and gives him the same treatment. Inverted atomic drop on Hogan gets two. Sting howls and punches Hogan down, but then Hollywood goes to the eyes. Corner clothesline by Hogan is followed by more punches on the mat. He goes to smash Sting’s face into the turnbuckle, but no dice. Sting puts on the brakes and returns the favor a whole bunch of times. Tag to Giant, Hogan freaks out and falls back into his corner to tag Nash. Once Nash circles around the ring to turn Giant’s back to Hogan and Hall, they attack him from behind. Giant turns around and picks them both up for what Tony refers to as a DOUBLE BEAR HUG! With Giant wearing a cervical collar, the new World order corner him and beat on his head and neck. This continues on for some time while it drives Sting and Savage nuts. Eventually while all three are pounding on Giant, he shoves them all away and makes the HOT TAG TO SAVAGE! All he wants is Hogan. Meanwhile, Giant chases Nash to the back. While Savage is choking Hogan with his boot, Sting is nailing Hall with Stinger Splashes. They clear out and the ref follows them for some reason. Inside the ring, the yet-to-be-named Disciple – better known as Brutus Beefcake with a beard – jumps in the ring and nails Savage from behind. He gives Savage the Stone Cold Stunner, which Hogan spouts the camera is called the Apocalypse. Disciple then disappears as ref Charles Robinson shoots back inside the ring to count the 1-2-3 on Savage. (9:39) Are you people aware that Randy Savage NEVER PINNED Hulk Hogan? Not in the WWF or the WCW. Never. Not once. Not even in a house show that nobody but the people in the arena saw. Insanity. You should know that Billy Kidman has a pinfall win over Hulk Hogan. BILLY. KIDMAN. And hey, I like Billy Kidman. He ain’t Randy Savage. **
- WCW World Heavyweight Champion Sting vs. WCW U.S. Heavyweight Champion Diamond Dallas Page – 3/23/98
I can remember three specific encounters between Sting and DDP throughout the history of Monday Nitro. They met for the first time in January 1996. A very different time for both men. Although his hair was browning, Sting was still the colorful character we had known all throughout the 1990s. Diamond Dallas Page was still trying to figure out exactly what to do with himself. He had all these gimmicks going: the hand signs, the self-high fives, and smoking the cigar. Then there’s this meeting in March 1998. Sting is no longer the man he was two years earlier. He’s now brooded deep into his Crow character after finally getting his revenge on Hollywood Hogan and regaining the WCW world title. Diamond Dallas Page, on the other hand, has improved greatly, and found himself in a year-long personal battle with Randy Savage. He’s got a killer finisher, he’s traded blows with Hollywood Hogan, the U.S. title is firmly around his waist. He’s become one of the most popular wrestlers on the planet. When these two meet now, it has become a ratings grabber and a huge confrontation that keeps people guessing. There’s also the third (and their best) match that I remember from April 1999. In that scenario, DDP was on top of the world as the WCW world champion and Sting this time is breathing down *his* neck for a change. Just an awesome connection between these two that I think goes unnoticed sometimes.
Big tie-up to start lands both men through the ropes and out to the floor still all tied-up! Back in, they trade arm wringers as Page starts up with the shoulder butts. Sting quickly goes for the Scorpion Deathlock, but DDP kicks him off. He goes for it again, but Page grabs the ropes. Swinging neckbreaker by Page gets two. He wants the Diamond Cutter, but Sting shoves him off as they come to a stalemate. Page nails Sting with the Pancake Slam for two. Sting elbows out of a chinlock, but gets cornered for some ten-count corner punching. Sting refuses to accept that and hotshots DDP off him. Now Sting grabs a chinlock. As DDP starts to fade, his arm drops once – but not twice! He elbows out, but Sting catches him with a jumping clothesline. DDP reverses a corner whip and grabs Sting as he staggers backwards. Sting goes to elbow out, but DDP ducks and drills him with a belly-to-belly suplex for two! He wants another Pancake Slam, but Sting backdrops out. They trade fisticuffs. Sting wins that battle and starts up with the face slams. Make that three of them! He wants a Flying Splash, but DDP brings up the knees! As Sting wobbles up to his feet, DDP tosses him into a corner and slugs away. He wants a Diamond Cutter, but Sting has the ropes hooked. He tries again, but Sting comes out of the corner with him and counters to the SCORPION DEATHDROP. Cover, 1-2-3! (11:00) Easily Sting’s best match since his return. After the bell, Sting shows there’s no heat between the two by flashing the illumina – I mean, the Diamond Cutter sign to the crowd before embracing DDP. ***½
WCW U.S. Heavyweight Champion Raven vs. Goldberg – 4/20/98
Easily one of my all-time favorite Nitro matches. Raven lays the belt down in the ring – almost daring Goldberg to cross over. Raven attacks anyway and catches Goldberg with a boot off a corner charge. They go to the floor where Raven gets whipped into the guardrail a bunch. Back in, Goldberg grabs the rolling kneebar. Raven makes the ropes, but takes a reverse kick to put him back on the floor. Raven finds a chair and beats Goldberg. In the ring, Goldberg takes the drop toehold into the chair for two. Raven drops Goldberg to the mat with a chinlock. Goldberg fights out and NO-SELLS a running clothesline in the corner. Raven comes off the ropes and charges right into a SPEAR! Here comes Raven’s Flock. Sick Boy takes him down with a missile dropkick and Kidman jumps off Sick Boy only to be caught and tossed out to the floor. Out goes Sick Boy with a clothesline. Horace Hogan makes his Nitro debut and nails Goldberg with a stop sign. NO-SELL! Goldberg wipes him out with a Spear. Big Reese grabs a choke lift, but Goldberg headbutts him away and gives him the JACKHAMMER! Now that the Flock is done, Raven tries to leave through the crowd, but the fans (one of them is Ralphus) throw Raven back over the guardrail. Goldberg brings Raven into the ring for one more Spear and a JACKHAMMER for 1-2-3! (4:55) Yep, one of my favorite Nitro matches ever. Just don’t argue with me about this. ***¼
Birth of the Wolfpac: From 5/4/98. During Scott Putski’s Nitro debut against Kidman, the new nWo Wolfpac interrupts to talk about things that matter to them, and it has nothing to do with this match. At this point, the Wolfpac consists of just Nash, Savage, and Konnan. Nash lays out Putski with a Jackknife. Kidman disappears. Nash gets on the house mic, gives a shout out to Scott Hall and points out the new colors he and the Wolfpac are sporting: the black and red. Savage takes over and badmouths Hollywood Hogan and Bret Hart. Nash takes the mic back and introduces their newest member: Curt Hennig! Brian Adams tries to stop him because everything he does, he does it for Curt. Konnan tells Adams that he can’t be coming down here because he ain’t bowdy-bowdy. That leads to a challenge for later. Arriba la raza, and all that jazz. While we’re feeling big and challenging people, Nash calls out Lex Luger, and says Sting can watch on from wherever he is to see how funny things get. I’m sure he will. It’s 1998! Everybody watches Nitro.
Final Thoughts: Some great moments and good matches from WCW’s most popular period – especially when we got near the end there. Moving onto disc three!