WCW: Monday Nitro (08.04.97)

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WCW Monday Nitro
August 4, 1997
Auburn Hills, MI
The Palace at Auburn Hills

The current WCW champs were as follows:
WCW World Champion: Hollywood Hogan (8/10/1996)
WCW U.S. Champion: Jeff Jarrett (6/9/1997)
WCW World Tag Team Champions: The Outsiders (10/27/1996)
WCW World Television Champion: Ultimo Dragon (7/22/1997)
WCW Cruiserweight Champion: Alex Wright (7/28/1997)

For the 100th episode of Monday Nitro, WCW celebrates with the first ever THREE HOUR edition. Tonight’s HUGE main event, WCW World Champion Hollywood Hogan defends against Lex Luger.

HOUR NUMBER ONE! Your hosts are Tony Schiavone, Larry Zbyszko, and Mike Tenay.

We start the show with the WCW world champ Hollywood Hogan and Eric Bischoff. GIVE IT UP FOR HOLLYWOOD! Hulk mentions how he was going to let Lex Luger be the lamb that was slaughtered at Road Wild in front of 500,000 motorheads, but now he knows that WCW has gone behind the back of the highest executive in the company (Bischoff) and signed a WCW world title match tonight for Lex. Hogan vows to make Luger pay for this mistake and prove once again that Hogan is the GOD that made professional wrestling what it is today. Whoops, Jimi Hendrix tries to play him off ahead of schedule. Hulk has more to say. After he beats the #1 contender Lex Luger tonight, he plans to face Scott Hall (?) at Road Wild. You know, just to defend the belt and still keep the nWo world title in the family, brah.

NITRO GIRLS!

  • Curt Hennig vs. Mortis (w/James Vandenberg)

It’s the battle of over-the-top sellers! Hennig overpowers Mortis to start and then hits him with a dropkick. Vandenberg gets shoved off the apron, but that allows Mortis to capitalize. Well, momentarily. Hennig fires back and knee lifts Mortis over the top rope to the floor. Vandenberg again distracts Hennig, but gets drilled. Back inside, Hennig delivers the running neck snap. Mortis tries to come back, but Hennig goes after the knee to weaken the leg for the HENNIGPLEX for the win. (3:47) Two very different universes colliding from a character standpoint, but I think they could have had a better match in Hennig’s prime. *

Video package showing the transformation of Sting over the past year. Can JJ Dillon make a deal to bring him back tonight?

  • Dean Malenko & Jeff Jarrett (w/Debra) vs. Hector & Chavo Guerrero Jr.

This is the debut of Malenko teaming up with Jarrett. Chavo and Malenko start us off. After some back and forth counters, Chavo snaps off a tilt-a-whirl headscissors and a dropkick straight to the mush. Those two switch out and the “Jarrett sucks” chants are LOUD. Hector plays face in peril as Jarrett and Malenko make some frequent tags. Chavo comes in and dropkicks away Jarrett when he tries a Figure-Four. Malenko tags and applies the TEXAS CLOVERLEAF while Jarrett forearms Chavo out of the ring as Hector taps out. (4:51) Just a way to put over the “chemistry” between Jarrett and Malenko. *½

Gene Okerlund heads over to meet with Raven for their weekly chat when Stevie Richards interrupts saying that he’s got a WCW contract for his man Raven. He looks it over and then stands up and spits in Stevie’s face! After he shoves Stevie down, the crowd chants for Raven. When Raven goes to cold cock him, Stevie catches the punch and tells Raven that he’s not going to be abused by him anymore. With that said, Raven sneers and walks away.

TAKE PART IN THE NITRO PARTY! YOU CAN WIN A PARTY PACK FULL OF GAMES, MERCH, WRESTLER RECIPES (you read that right, Tony), AND A NITRO PARTY PLANNER~! SEND IN YOUR VIDEOS TODAY!

  • The Giant vs. Joey Maggs, Lenny Lane, and Scott D’Amore

Even though this might be the DREAM TEAM of WCW jobbers, this is a cake walk for Giant. By the way, check out Team Canada manager Scott D’Amore here. Giant avalanches all three of them and then delivers individual CHOKESLAMS for the win in 1:35. Afterwards, Randy Savage walks out with Elizabeth and baits Giant to come after him. Nothing comes of it though.

Lex Luger music video airs of him torturing people.

  • Public Enemy vs. High Voltage

High Voltage are treated like heels here – albeit incompetent heels. They concentrate on Rocco Rock, but Grunge still gets the hot tag. PE try and put Rage through the table, but Kaos punches away Grunge and pulls Rage away to safety as Rocco crashes through the table. It looks like High Voltage should be able to win now that the match is 2-on-1, but heel miscommunication allows Grunge to roll up Rage for the win. (5:13) Ugh, awful. With the way the commentators were chastising them, it almost seemed like High Voltage was being terrible on purpose. Hard to tell! They do leave a statement on Grunge though in the end by running him into a piece of the broken table, so there’s that. ½*

The new WCW Cruiserweight Champ Alex Wright comes out dancing with the Nitro Girls. He wasn’t invited. Gene Okerlund grabs him for an interview. Wright starts speaking in German and then goes on a America-Is-Stupid rant. Anyways, Chris Jericho is going DOWN at Road Wild.

  • WCW Cruiserweight Champion Alex Wright vs. Scotty Riggs

Riggs isn’t coming out to the “American Males” theme song anymore, but he is still wearing the gear. Small steps, my friend. Small steps. The crowd is really hating on Wright here. Riggs comes close to winning, but Wright headbutts away a superplex and delivers the Missile Dropkick to Riggs for the win. (3:45) Actually a fiery little match. Tony reacts like the missile dropkick is only a Jericho move, but I’m pretty sure that was Wright’s finisher back in his rookie days. *½

HOUR NUMBER TWO! Your hosts are Tony Schiavone, Bobby Heenan, and Mike Tenay.

  • Chris Benoit vs. Syxx

Now THIS could be good. Syxx faces Ric Flair at Road Wild, which makes this match kind of necessary since Benoit’s a member of the Four Horsemen. They exchange headlocks to start. Benoit delivers a nasty clothesline while Syxx fires back with a spinning heel kick. Is it strange to anybody else how Schiavone and Tenay keep hyping Road Wild as an “adult-themed” PPV? Are biker chicks going topless at this thing? Is Alex Wright going to cut a profanity-laced promo directed at the bikers? Because I don’t recall that ever happening. Benoit catches another kick and leg whips Syxx out to the floor for a suicide dive. Back in, Syxx stops Benoit up top and hits the Bronco Buster while Benoit is in the tree of woe! Michinoku Driver by Syxx, but he misses a somersault legdrop. Benoit comes back with chops and gives Syxx a backdrop. Snap suplex gets two. Back suplex gets another nearfall. Syxx reverses a corner whip and misses a charge to be set up for the Back Superplex, but out comes Jeff Jarrett to attack Benoit for the DQ. (4:00) NOOO. This leads to Syxx splitting to the back while Steve McMichael and Dean Malenko head out for a big brawl, ending with Mongo and Benoit cleaning house. The crowd was eating all of this up. **½

NITRO GIRLS!

  • Booker T (w/Stevie Ray) vs. Vincent

This is the first time Vincent has wrestled on Monday night TV since 1994. He gets in almost ZERO offense. Booker hits all his signature kicks and ends Vincent in :49.

Next up, Gene Okerlund meets with Diamond Dallas Page. He says he felt like he and Ric Flair had a lot in common up until he started courting Curt Hennig for the Four Horsemen – and he HATES Curt Hennig. Flair may have his respect, but DDP has Flair’s number. BANG!

  • Wrath (w/James Vandenberg) vs. The Barbarian

Brawling stuff to start. Wrath delivers a back suplex and hits the Flying Clothesline. Barbarian blocks the Death Penalty and gives Wrath a suplex. They roll out where Wrath takes a ride into the steps. Back in, Barbarian misses the Kick of Fear, but catches Wrath for a powerslam. He heads up top, but flies down into the DEATH PENALTY. (2:58) Down come the straps! Wrath and Vandenberg look to leave a statement on Barbarian, but out comes Meng to make sure that doesn’t happen. Vandenberg tells Wrath “not now” as if to say we will see a showdown between the two teams very soon. Hey, why fight for free, right? ¾*

So all night our esteemed commentators have been buzzing about some huge bombshell that the Steiner Brothers are wanting to drop on us tonight. As Gene Okerlund introduces the Steiners, they are followed by none other than Ted DiBiase. After being gone for several months, DiBiase says he was able to see “the forest from the trees” and has seen the error of his ways. He has now decided to turn over a new leaf by leaving the nWo for good and to destroy what he once helped build by managing the Steiners back to the WCW tag team titles that the Outsiders have held hostage over the past ten months. Speak of them devils, out comes Scott Hall and Kevin Nash. They feel DiBiase didn’t seem to understand that the 4-LIFE bit is for real. If DiBiase isn’t with the nWo anymore, then he’s a dead man. Now how much MORE would this have made sense to reintroduce DiBiase as the Steiners manager directly before the match *at* Road Wild? If you want DiBiase’s presence to mean something, this is like Eisenhower telling Hitler about D-Day with five days notice. But NOOOO, you got to have your precious ratings.

NITRO GIRLS!

Lee Marshall is in Denver, CO getting everybody ready for next week’s Nitro. It’s a never ending weasel joke fest with this guy. You can’t hassle Bobby Heenan! HE WILL MAKE YOU LOOK STUPIDER THAN YOU ALREADY LOOK!

  • Konnan vs. Psychosis (w/Sonny Oono)

Very short match. Konnan gets in some of his signature offense to start. Psychosis makes a short comeback, but he seems off tonight. 1-8-7 and the TEQUILA SUNRISE ends Psychosis in 1:48. After the bell, Rey Mysterio comes down to the ring on crutches. Being the bully he is, Konnan kicks one of his crutches away. When he goes to pick it up, Rey breaks the other crutch over Konnan’s back! HEY WAIT A MINUTE! His ankle is fine. It’s a miracle! ¾*

  • Glacier & Ernest Miller vs. Silver King & Damien

This was messy. Glacier and Silver King start us out. Damien tries to interfere and nothing goes right for him. Tag to Miller who still is WAY too green for primetime, Silver King blocks a punch and Damien comes in and attacks Miller from behind. Ref Scott Dickinson is busy with Glacier as they pick up where they left off in a conversation they had earlier about what to do with their CRAPPY Apple stock. I mean, I’m only assuming that is what they were discussing. What ELSE could they be talking about? Anyways, Miller is getting double-teamed until he kicks them both away. He randomly grabs an armbar on Damien, who I still don’t think is the legal man. Is this a lucha style match all of a sudden? Tag to Glacier. Again, Damien and Silver King double-team the guy and Scott Dickinson doesn’t seem to mind. Miller gets another tag and punch-kicks the opposition at the same time! King whiffs on a dropkick, I think. Miller sells it like a dropkick to the wrist. FLYING ROUNDHOUSE KICK from Miller ends Damien. (3:25) This was a low point for everyone in the ring. CRAP

Before we go into the third hour, Eric Bischoff brings out JJ Dillon to the ring to tell him to tell the Giant that if he ever lays a finger on him ever again, he will sue the Giant for everything he and his future generations will ever have. As for Larry Zbyszko, he won’t sue Larry. However, he will kick him right between the eyes. JJ Dillon feels Larry Z heard him loud and clear and just laughs it off as he heads to the back. Tony – “Weird.”

HOUR NUMBER THREE! Your hosts are Tony Schiavone, Bobby Heenan, and Mike Tenay.

The Nitro Girls dance around the commentary set. Tony, Bobby, and Mike all act accordingly.

  • Diamond Dallas Page vs. Ric Flair

Believe it or not, this is the first-ever meeting between these two. On his way to the ring, Curt Hennig comes out of the tunnel just to shake Flair’s hand to get under DDP’s skin, no doubt. You know what’s kind of disappointing? Flair is on the card and we don’t even get an interview. Page controls to start with a headlock pushed off into a shoulderblock. Flair resorts to the chop, but DDP no-sells and backdrops Flair out of the corner. Flair telegraphs a backdrop and receives a sitout powerbomb. That spooks Hennig as he presumably comes to Flair’s aid. We must take a commercial break though. When we come back, Flair is STYLIN AND PROFILIN WOO all over Page. Chops aplenty, but DDP fights back with rights and lefts. Flair Flop ensues and then he gets slammed off the top. Swinging neckbreaker by DDP, but then Hennig hops up on the apron. Flair clips the knee and delivers the Rolling Knee Drop, but DDP fights his way up and blasts Flair with the Spin-Around Clothesline. Flair chops him down anyway and slaps on the FIGURE-FOUR. Page immediately goes to the ropes. Flair threatens to suplex DDP to the floor, but Page counters and locks in his own Figure-Four. While stuck in the hold, Flair pokes ref Mark Curtis in the eye, allowing Hennig to run in only to be caught up in an inside cradle by DDP. That’s some ’70s nonsense if I ever seen it. Hennig escapes and rolls out all pissed off. Flair makes the ropes and then Flair Flips and climbs up to a different corner. He comes off the top rope onto Page, but eats a clothesline on the way down. Page hits the Pancake Slam and calls for the Diamond Cutter, which cues Hennig to jump in the ring with some taped knux and get Flair DQ’ed. (7:33 shown) Page punches Hennig who then drops the knux. Instead of using them to defend himself, DDP tosses them away and starts wailing away on both Hennig and Flair until they bail. That is PITIFUL and ensures us that DDP is losing this Saturday night at Road Wild. *½

  • Los Villanos vs. Hector Garza & Lizmark Jr.

I can safely say that unlike that last tag team match we saw, this is definitely a lucha-style match. Some great counters and clotheslines to start between Villano IV and Garza. Springboard headscissors by Garza is followed by a tag to Lizmark. In comes Villano V, who gets caught with a monkey flip and an armdrag. Los Villanos deliver a hotshot-legdrop combo move to Lizmark. Tag to Garza, he becomes *your* face in peril against Los Villanos. In the high spot, they ram him face-first into the ringpost, knocking him silly. Back inside, Lizmark helps baits Villano V into a flying armdrag by Garza. To the floor we go, Lizmark dives onto Villano V, Villano IV takes a backdrop onto the both of them, and then Garza delivers his top-notch TORNILLO wiping all three. Back in the ring, Los Villanos do a switch and Lizmark winds up stuck in an inside cradle for the cheap win for Los Villanos. (4:57) Actually not bad. Everything was on point here. Weird seeing Los Villanos get a win though because they are usually just the jobber rudos team. **½

And now for the big moment. Gene Okerlund brings out JJ Dillon to offer Sting a contract he couldn’t refuse. What makes no sense about this angle is that JJ Dillon acts clueless as to what Sting could want even though he has made it clear who he wants to wrestle for the past five months. Sting lowers from the rafters and meets JJ in the ring. WCW wants him back and they want his first match to be against…CURT HENNIG? JJ talked about before how much they need Sting to fight against the juggernaut nWo and they give him Curt Hennig who is not even in the nWo (yet). Sting takes the contract into his hands, rips it up, and walks away. YOU KNOW WHAT HE WANTS, JJ DILLON. Just give it to him.

NITRO GIRLS!

  • WCW World Heavyweight Champion Hollywood Hogan vs. Lex Luger

Luger had been told he would get a title shot after winning the four-corners match at SPRING STAMPEDE, and it took them four months to give him the match with Hogan! Lex overpowers Hogan to start, but “Hogan sucks” chants actually fire him up. He pounds and stomps Luger down into the corner. Running clothesline sets up some elbow drops and then the boot rake. More Hogan offense. Luger blocks a turnbuckle smash and fights back with a flurry of his own. Hogan pokes the eyes to stop all that. Commercials! When we come back, they are either having sex or Hogan has Lex in a bearhug. Luger headbutts out, but Hogan headbutts him back. Suplex gets two. Back suplex scores another nearfall. Hogan starts giving Lex the bad mouth while he’s punching up against the ropes. Big chop gets two. Hogan chokes on Luger in the corner and then spits on him. Big Boot gets 1-2-NO! That’s because you didn’t follow up with the legdrop, Hulk. Okay, there’s the LEGDROP for 1-2-NO! Tony forgets to make a big deal out of that. Heenan does not. A second LEGDROP misses and HERE COMES LUGER! Also, here comes the nWo’s elite. Scott Hall gets nailed, Kevin Nash gets wiped out, and Randy Savage gets taken down. Running Forearm is followed by the TORTURE RACK to give Luger the win and his second and final WCW world title. (8:58 shown) One of the few times that big Nitro main events actually had a satisfying finish. Of course, this will all be overturned five days from now at Road Wild when Hogan retains the gold, but whatever. *½

rw_97

Road Wild goes down on August 9. Here’s the card as it looks right now.

WCW World Title Match: Lex Luger (c) vs. Hollywood Hogan
WCW World Tag Titles Match: The Outsiders (c) vs. Rick & Scott Steiner
WCW Cruiserweight Title Match: Alex Wright (c) vs. Chris Jericho
The Giant vs. Randy Savage
Diamond Dallas Page vs. Curt Hennig
Ric Flair vs. Syxx
Mexican Death Match: Konnan vs. Rey Mysterio Jr.
Elimination Match: Dean Malenko & Jeff Jarrett vs. Steve McMichael & Chris Benoit
Harlem Heat vs. Vicious & Delicious

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