WCW: Monday Nitro (01.05.98)


WCW: Monday Nitro
January 5, 1998
Atlanta, GA
Georgia Dome

The current WCW champs are as follows:
WCW World Champion: Sting (12/28/1997)
WCW U.S. Champion: Diamond Dallas Page (12/28/1997)
WCW World Tag Team Champions: Rick & Scott Steiner (10/13/1997)
WCW World Television Champion: Booker T (12/29/1997)
WCW Cruiserweight Champion: Ultimo Dragon (12/29/1997)

HOUR NUMBER ONE! Your hosts are Tony Schiavone, Mike Tenay, and Larry Zbyszko. This is the biggest Nitro crowd to date, the first of FOUR Georgia Dome shows throughout the history of Monday Nitro, and the first of SEVEN dome shows for Nitro in 1998.

The nWo is shown arriving to the Georgia Dome in separate limos and there seems to be some strife between the two parties. Is Tony reading way too much into this? Probably so, but let’s keep watching and see what happens.

Tony tells us that the tape machines were still rolling after Nitro last week and he can confirm that Sting is still the WCW world champ, but WCW can’t show the footage due to a “court injunction”. The commentators continue to make a bunch of assumptions about the nWo like a bunch of Fox News folks talking about Obama.

We now go to Gene Okerlund who is standing by with JJ Dillon. Apparently the Baltimore show last week nearly got out of hand and turned riotous. A judge is now holding the tape of the ending of Sting versus Hogan from last week’s Nitro under lock and key, but the tape will be released to WCW within 24 hours and will be shown LIVE this Thursday night on the debut episode of Thunder, so tune in to see who you think is the REAL world champion! Okerlund brings up Nick Patrick and his “fast count” on Sting at Starrcade. JJ Dillon also announces that the finish of that match will be shown as well on Thunder – not still shots, but actual moving pictures.

  • WCW U.S. Champion Diamond Dallas Page vs. Chris Jericho

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. That sort of tantrum will never ever happen agayne. 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. Jericho cries again this week and believes there is some conspiracy against him. ¾*

Gene Okerlund is with WCW executive VP and legal counsel Nick Lambros. Due to the near riot in Baltimore last week, Lambros says that anybody involved in that sort of behavior going forward or who will not abide by policies set forth by WCW – whether you align yourself with WCW or the nWo – you will be fined, suspended, or both. YOU HAVE NO CONTROL OVER THE NEW WORLD ORDER, YOU DOLT.

  • Bill Goldberg vs. Stevie Ray

Chief Jay Strongbow gets a five second shot sitting in the audience. Goldberg’s glaring greenness makes Stevie Ray not look so bad. As Stevie Ray is beating Goldberg down in the corner and the ref is in the way, Goldberg runs down Stevie Ray with the spear and the JACKHAMMER is enough to get the win. (2:49) Crazy he’ll be world champ six months from now over Hollywood Hogan, right? ¼*

WCW Saturday Night! Watch it – IF YOU WILL! 6:05PM eastern time! TBS! Diamond Dallas Page, Glacier, Hacksaw Jim Duggan, Chris Jericho, Eddie Guerrero, and many more stars will be on the program. It’s the MUTHASHIP! Take it to the PAY WINDAH, baby!

NITRO GIRLS~! If I’m not mistaken, this is where we see the debut of the future Mrs. Shawn Michaels on the far left.

  • The Barbarian (w/Jimmy Hart) vs. John Nord

John Nord wears a great shirt that says “If you don’t like me, there’s something wrong with you.” The font is so big, it takes up both sides of the shirt. It feels like a shirt the Miz would have tried to market a few years ago. Ya know, the IGNORE THE HATERZ attitude all these Millennials are told to feel. Nord is just ahead of his time, right? This is the Nitro debut for this man. He’s jacked and tanned with short curly blonde hair like Psycho Sid. WWF fans will remember him best as the Berzerker. He’s got the furry boots on and says HUSS a lot. Tony mentions that another veteran and former WWF tag champ will be making his WCW debut here tonight. Let’s just hope it isn’t Chief Jay Strongbow. HA, I kid. Total power match here. They spill outside and whip each other into guardrails. Suplexes are traded. Nord takes a nice bump over the turnbuckles and out to the floor after missing a charge. He lands a flying elbow drop on Barbarian when Barb is on all fours. Nord clamps on a camel clutch and pulls all the way back until he’s lying back on the mat to get Barb to submit. (5:08) I don’t see how Nord didn’t get signed after this match. He looked pretty decent to me here. Hey, if Sid keeps getting work, why not Nord? If not in WCW, it seems like he would get over in ECW. **

Gene Okerlund feels compelled to bring out Eric Bischoff for a word. Bischoff comes out looking all pissed. He denies there being any problems in the nWo. Tony can take his opinions and stick it. He denies that Sting beat Hogan last week in Baltimore and the footage shown on Thunder will prove it. He denies that he lost to Larry Zbyszko back at Starrcade and believes he knocked Larry Z out with his lethal head kick. Zbyszko stands up from his seat and gets cheered, but that’s all he does. Bischoff claims the nWo has become a victim of the “system”, but they won’t be defeated this way. When Gene starts to ask him another question, Eric Bischoff tells him to shut up and heads back to the locker room. When you have Hollywood Hogan and Kevin Nash on your team, you *are* the system. Good promo for the live crowd to yell at one of the most hated men in wrestling of 1998.

Another shot of Chief Jay Strongbow. Tony calls him a wrestling hall of famer, which reminds him that Braves commentator and former pitcher Don Sutton has just been inducted into the MLB hall of fame. After just getting called “fat boy” by Bischoff, Larry Z can’t get over how much weight Strongbow has gained since he last saw him.

  • Juventud Guerrera vs. Psychosis

Winner gets a cruiserweight title shot against Ultimo Dragon on Thunder. Naturally, there’s no mention of Ultimo Dragon losing to Shinjiro Otani at the Tokyo Dome show. Now they announce you’ll get to see Larry Z versus Eric Bischoff from Starrcade in full on Thunder. Psychosis controls to start until he tries splashing Juventud in the corner. That never works for him. Juvi dishes out a headscissors takedown and a springboard dropkick sends Psychosis sliding out to the floor. Somersault plancha by Juventud wipes out Psychosis. Back inside, Guerrera gets crotched as Psychosis nails him with a flying spinning heel kick. Psychosis delivers a facebuster from a powerbomb position. Slow cover gets two. With Juventud draped in between the ropes, Psychosis misses a flying legdrop to mount Guerrera’s comeback. Psychosis charges into a headlock takedown and Juventud starts punching on him, which is a spot you don’t see that often in wrestling anymore even then. Psychosis comes back with a sitout gourdbuster and catches Juventud coming off the top rope with a dropkick. He tries the powerbomb facebuster move again, but Juventud counters with a DDT! 450 SPLASH and Juventud is heading to Thunder with a title shot! (5:50) The crowd seemed oddly quiet for this one. You just saw the respective WCW/nWo Revenge front grapple finishers for these two guys. Pretty cool. **½

Schiavone uses some footage from April 1997 – the night after Spring Stampede – where there was a disagreement between Kevin Nash and Hollywood Hogan to back up his claims that the nWo are having troubles. This is very mainstream media-style journalism there, Tony.

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

NITRO GIRLS~! Mmm, Fyre.

  • WCW World Television Champion Booker T vs. Prince Iaukea

Booker T cuts a typical babyface promo before the match here. They replay the finish of Booker beating Disco Inferno for the TV title last week. How much would it suck if they were thinking of putting the TV belt back on Iaukea? Ugh. Still hyping Thunder, Heenan makes the joke that Seinfeld decided to end due to Thunder appearing on Thursday nights. He also says something about Kramer being the TV champ next week? Short showcase here for Booker as he pins Iaukea with the HARLEM HANGOVER. (2:59) Booker is looking good. ½*

They show stills of the Hogan-Sting finish from Starrcade as if you can tell a fast count from still shots. Anyways, you’ll see more of this stuff on Thunder!

  • Ray Traylor, Rick & Scott Steiner (w/Ted DiBiase) vs. Buff Bagwell, Scott Norton & Konnan

This is the match we should have got at Starrcade, but they needed to give Lex Luger something to do and gave him Bagwell. Konnan controls Traylor to start. Great moment when Konnan goes to DDT Traylor and receives a Steinerline in mid-“ARRIBA LA RAZA”. Scott press slams Konnan and the good guys clean house on the nWo. After a posedown between Buff and Scott, Rick gets tagged into the match. His poses aren’t quite as impressive, but still entertaining. Buff leaps up into a powerslam from Rick and gets blasted with a pair of Steinerlines for two. Norton overpowers Traylor for a moment, but then Norton runs into a boot and takes an uppercut to set up the uppercut on the ropes. Tag to Rick, he levels Norton with a flying clothesline. Rick gets stuck on the wrong side of town though for a bit. Here comes the Buff Blockbuster, but Rick catches him for a powerslam. HOT TAG TO SCOTT! He almost singlehandedly takes care of the nWo b-team. Rick goes up top for the STEINER BULLDOG finish on Konnan, but Scott electric chair drops him instead. That leaves Rick to get tripped up top by Buff. Meanwhile, Scott gives Konnan the STEINER SCREWDRIVER SUPLEX for the win. (7:36) Hmm, that seemed odd. Anyways, fun match from these six guys. We’ll see it again at Souled Out. ***


  • Rick Martel vs. Brad Armstrong

This is the first we’ve seen Martel on a Monday night in almost four years. They work each other over with hammerlocks and headlocks to start. Martel tries to weaken the back with a gutwrench suplex, but then Armstrong comes back with a back suplex. Tony and Mike talk about Armstrong’s change in attitude. Tenay thinks Eddie Guerrero’s success since becoming a real dick is to blame. AA Spinebuster by Martel leads to the QUEBEC CRAB for the submission. (2:56) Nice little glorified squash there as Martel climbs the rankings to get him a TV title shot. ½*

NITRO GIRLS~! Tony hypes the “Boston Brawl” pay-per-listen Internet exclusive show headlined by a Sting-Hogan cage match. Yes, that’s right. NO VIDEO!

  • Chris Benoit & Steve McMichael vs. Perry Saturn & Riggs (w/Lodi)

So Mongo now is getting involved in Benoit’s battles with the Flock. Benoit owns Riggs and Saturn to start. He turns things over to Mongo and that doesn’t go as well. He gets outsmarted and cornered where he doesn’t want to be. The heat segment isn’t all that interesting, but Riggs and Saturn do what they can with a limited Mongo. They try to double suplex him at one point, but Mongo counters and dumps them both down. I wouldn’t call it a double gourdbuster. HOT TAG TO BENOIT, he’s a house of fire. The rest of the Flock must run interference on the ref though. While Benoit has the CRIPPLER CROSSFACE on Saturn behind the ref’s back, Raven jumps in and plants Benoit with the EVENFLOW DDT. Saturn lays on top of Benoit and hooks the leg for the three-count. (6:13) Tenay wonders when Benoit will get his revenge on Raven. I was a little disappointed by this. I was expecting more and maybe I shouldn’t have. *½

Gene Okerlund brings out Ric Flair to have a spirited conversation concerning Bret Hart. Wonder why the nWo aren’t doing anything to Bret after Starrcade? Don’t they have plenty of reasons to want to hurt that man? They should have matches lined up with him for months on end. Instead, we have a “Who’s Johnson is bigger?” feud between he and Flair (WHOM I LOVE). Anyways, Flair is still flabbergasted that Bret Hart actually goes around saying and believing he’s the best there is, was, or ever will be. Bret comes out to face Flair man to man. Flair takes his jacket off and wants Bret to say that he’s a better performer straight to his face. Bret never does that, but takes off *his* leather jacket and reminds everybody that he’s already beaten “the man” once back in 1992. He encourages Flair to make trouble if he has such a problem with Bret’s claim that he’s the best. Flair then points out that he’s a 13-time world champ and Bret is just a five-time world champ, so Bret still has growing to do. Bret never does fall for Flair’s game and walks away. WOOOOOOO.

  • Randy Savage (w/Elizabeth) vs. Lex Luger

Tony makes a big deal out of “Fast Count” Nick Patrick is the referee. JJ Dillon heads out and replaces Patrick with Randy Anderson. Ugh, this is so dumb. Are we supposed to believe that officials aren’t pre-approved? Eric Bischoff comes down to veto this decision, but those three just end up going to the back together. Buff Bagwell and Scott Norton knock down Luger to give Savage the early advantage. Lots of chokes and punches from Savage. He lands a gutwrench suplex, which just looks odd on the taller Luger. He heads up top for the MACHO ELBOW, but takes too long and gets caught in the gut on the way down. Luger hits his clotheslines and powerslams Savage before calling for the TORTURE RACK. Savage though slides out and shoves Liz into Luger to regain control. He then delivers the double sledge off the top to knock Luger into the guardrail. Back inside, Luger counters a slam with an inside cradle for the three-count out of nowhere. (4:16) The match was a typical Nitro main event. What’s important comes next. *

Savage claims there was a fast count, but no such thing. He sends Luger out and tosses him into the steps. He grabs Dave Penzer’s chair and throws Penzer down the aisle. As he goes to whack Luger with the chair, Eric Bischoff appears behind him and takes the chair away only to get blasted by Savage and knocked out as he falls on the chair! Huh. Savage doesn’t seem a bit remorseful for what he just did. He heads back over to whack Luger when Hollywood Hogan appears and confronts Savage for nailing Bischoff. Not wanting to take crap from Hogan, Savage shoves Hogan back! Kevin Nash shows up now and slowly walks behind Savage to club him down. THERE IS NO ORDER HERE. Hogan looks at Nash like that wasn’t part of the plan as Nash walks back to the locker room. To keep Savage from knocking Nash’s head off, Hogan tries to direct Savage back at Luger because he’s the real enemy here. Norton and Bagwell come down to back up Hogan. Just as it looks like there’s going to be a giant beatdown on Luger, Sting sprints to the ring from the locker room and stands beside Lex. The nWo starts feeding Sting and Lex as we run out of time.



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