WCW: Monday Nitro (02.16.98)

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WCW: Monday Nitro
February 16, 1998
Tampa, FL
Steinbrenner Events Center

The current WCW champs are as follows:
WCW World Champion: Vacant (1/8/1998)
WCW U.S. Champion: Diamond Dallas Page (12/28/1997)
WCW World Tag Team Champions: The Steiner Brothers (2/9/1998)
WCW World Television Champion: Booker T (12/29/1997)
WCW Cruiserweight Champion: Chris Jericho (1/24/1998)

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Just four months after Brian Pillman, we have our next significant passing of a wrestler on the big stage. Louie Mucciolo died on February 15, 1998. The following excerpt concerning the details of his death comes from the Wrestling Observer Newsletter in the February 23, 1998 issue.

“Late Saturday night, Louie Spicolli was at his home in San Pedro, CA, a beach town suburb of Los Angeles, hanging out with a few friends watching pro wrestling videos. When they started watching his match against Chris Adams from Nitro five nights earlier, his friends started razzing him about this being the start of what appeared to be his biggest career push, and how he had put on so much weight and was looking out of shape. He had stopped going to the gym and he was letting his hair get messy, he explained, because his new WCW character was going to be like Chris Farley. But he told his friends he was worried, because the drug use of some of his co-workers and friends in the company was starting to scare him, and he was no stranger to the pitfalls of drugs. Ultimately, like far too many others in this profession, he was right on. On both accounts.

Spicolli was found dead by his friend John Hannah the next morning at about 8:55 a.m. Hannah, who stayed over at his house that night because they were up late watching tapes and he lived so far away, woke up to a really bad odor. When he opened the door to Spicolli’s room, he knew right away what had happened. Spicolli was off his bed laying face first on the floor, there was vomit all over the place, his ankles were swollen and his body was already discolored. He had just turned 27 five days earlier.

Spicolli had taken 26 somas, a prescription sleeping pill/pain killer that is the drug of choice in the wrestling profession today. The drugs are easily obtainable through noted “mark doctors” who want to be friends with celebrities, modern day Zahorians. He combined the pills with drinking a lot of wine, apparently it being the only beverage in the house at the time, while his friends were there. His friends had been worried about his use and actually hid his bottle, but he somehow searched the house and found it and nearly emptied it. While he was noticeably buzzed, they had all seen him in far worse condition in the past as he had built up an incredible tolerance to somas. It was more his normal daily routine to get to sleep and by no means an attempt at suicide. He would take 15 without it even affecting him. He took 25 to 30 somas every night before going to bed which he felt he needed to sleep, a dosage that would easily hospitalize an average person but he had built up such a tolerance for it that he’d wake up fresh the next morning and go to the gym. For recreation he’d take even more, and after a while he’d lose count and once he was buzzed he’d pop them indiscriminately. Friends recalled that it wasn’t unusual for them to have to bring him to his room and put him to bed when he’d pass out, but on this night even though he was drinking heavily as well, he was able to get to bed on his own at about 2:30 a.m. Hannah, sleeping in the next room, recalls being momentarily awakened at 4:15 a.m. by Spicolli’s heavy snoring, and also recalls the alarm clock going off at 5:10 a.m., and Spicolli reflexively turning it off. Hannah said he never woke up hearing a thud of Spicolli falling off his bed to the floor, or trying to get up and get to the bathroom and collapsing on the floor after vomiting heavily. However, the paramedics were surprised only because the state of the body the next morning indicated he’d been dead a lot longer. Hannah was going to wake Spicolli up to get him ready for an early afternoon flight to Tampa for Nitro the next day. The actual cause of death could not be determined until the full autopsy report came back later in the week, but it was believed to have either been a bad reaction to the combination of alcohol and pills, ironically almost a nightly staple of far too many in the profession despite all the warning signs and deaths in the profession, or choking on his vomit from getting ill from the combination. When the police arrived, they theorized that the wine multiplied the effects of the somas by as much as tenfold. That’s a scary bit of math when one considers the percentage of pro wrestlers today who take somas and mix alcohol on a routine basis on the road. Perhaps the tragedy of this, just like the previous tragedy with Brian Pillman, is that it did not shock those who knew him best. While broken up, his parents reaction was that it was something that was eventually going to happen because he hadn’t heeded so many warnings and near-misses, and this simply was when it happened. Funeral services were scheduled for 2/20 at 9 a.m. at the Mary, Star of the Sea Catholic Church in San Pedro.”

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

Hollywood Hogan and Eric Bischoff start the show. They aren’t alone though. They bring with them the rest of the usual nWo boys. Even Curt Hennig and Rick Rude are here. Randy Savage is nowhere to be seen. Once again, Hogan threatens Bret Hart. He then tells us that he’s going to throw as much money as necessary at WCW to get Nick Patrick to be the official referee for his match against Sting at Superbrawl VIII. Talk turns to Randy Savage. The more Hogan talks, the more the crowd thinks he sucks. Savage shows up next to Elizabeth by the entrance ramp. He plans to beat Sting and Lex Luger by himself and then he’s going to beat up Hollywood Hogan. He’ll leave just a little bit of Hogan left over to apologize to him. OHHHH YEAH! Hogan says the same thing back to Savage.

George Steinbrenner is shown in the audience.

Tony asks Larry Zbyszko to share some thoughts on Louie Spicolli. Out of respect for the family, he lets it go.

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I don’t think so, pal. IT’S ME. It was always me.

  • Bill Goldberg vs. Hugh Morrus

Jimmy Hart meets Hugh Morrus in the aisle evidently trying to make him an offer he can’t refuse. This is a rematch from last September. Morrus clubs away on Goldberg, but Goldberg flips out of a suplex and spears Morrus down. JACKHAMMER gets the win at 0:56.

Video package on the Steiners and how “successful” they have been as of late.

Next up, Scott Hall and Kevin Nash interrupt the show and take over the announce table. They cry conspiracy saying that the Steiners will take on anybody but them. They have a rematch at Superbrawl VIII, but they want the Steiners tonight. Since Tony can’t speak for the WCW committee, Hall wants to talk to Roddy Piper. They want their rematch. When Larry Z tries to speak, Nash threatens to unplug his dialysis machine. Zbyszko stands up and reminds Hall that the last time they were in the ring together, he was screaming uncle. HA!

  • Sick Boy (w/the Flock) vs. Mark Starr

Umm, it appears that my tape cut this match out. I’m sure it would have been a real barnburner. Sick Boy wins with a Pedigree in 3:28.

Well look who is sitting next to George Steinbrenner? Linda Hogan and her two kids.

Well, look who is sitting next to George Steinbrenner? It’s Linda Hogan and her two kids.

  • The Outsiders (w/Dusty Rhodes) vs. Public Enemy

It’s been a while since we’ve seen Public Enemy. I believe it was the last time Nitro was in Philly back in November. But anyways, does this mean if the Outsiders beat Public Enemy, they get to face the Steiners tonight? I don’t know. Public Enemy work over Hall until Nash has enough and helps out his buddy. Grunge and Hall go to the floor to set him up for the table dive. Dusty distracts Grunge and like a moron, he falls for it. Hall nails Grunge and puts him on the table as Nash JACKKNIFES Rocco Rock from inside the ring out onto Grunge for the DQ and the $50,000 fine. (3:20) So Nash gets put in handcuffs and escorted out of the building chanting Attica. ¾*

  • Mike Enos vs. Barry Horowitz

Another match that gets skipped. Enos wins with a powerslam in 1:50.

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

  • Yuji Nagata (w/Sonny Oono) vs. La Parka

Our third match that gets cut. The Nagata Lock wins in 3:35 after Disco Inferno interfered and dropped La Parka with the CHARTBUSTER!

We get word that Bret Hart is in the building.

  • Ultimo Dragon vs. Kidman

Kidman BUM RUSHES THE SHOW on Dragon, but Dragon does his headstand on the top buckle and kicks Kidman away. He legsweeps Kidman and the tumbleweed roll gets two. Kidman hotshots him and delivers a slingshot headscissors. After some heelish choking and whatnot, Kidman drops a slingshot legdrop for two. Kidman can only momentarily prevent the comeback as Dragon delivers his Kick Combo. He even puts Kidman in the Giant Swing! Kidman avoids a quebrada, but gets taken over with a headscissors into a series of rolls that ends with Dragon on top for 1-2-NO! Kidman gets the springboard bulldog, but Dragon sees the corner clothesline coming and kicks Kidman down. Kidman gets stopped up top for the DRAGON HEADSCISSORS. He avoids the DRAGON SLEEPER once, twice (and takes a nasty low dropkick to the back of his head), but Dragon counters a suplex and finally locks in the hold for the tapout. (6:52) Good little match here. **½

Gene Okerlund (he’s back!) is in the ring to welcome the U.S. champ Diamond Dallas Page. He feels that the only way he will get Chris Benoit to be at his best at Superbrawl VIII is if he and Benoit take out Raven and Perry Saturn. That match is coming your way this Thursday night on Thunder! Raven seems to have an issue with that and comes into the ring. Saturn shows up as well. Before they lay a finger on DDP, Chris Benoit comes down and they decide to retreat.

It must be 9:30 PM because Bobby Heenan is out for work.

  • Meng vs. The Barbarian (w/Jimmy Hart)

Last Thursday on Thunder, Meng destroyed everybody he’s ever loved with the Tongan Death Grip. With a tear in my eye, Meng and Barbarian must square off. In fact, the FACES OF FEAR EXPLODE! Honestly, this match needs Dusty Rhodes commentary. THEY BE CLUBBERIN’, TONY! THEY BE CLUBBERIN’. Jimmy Hart whacks a wooden chair over Meng’s head. He doesn’t sell and TONGAN DEATH GRIPS Jimmy. It takes THREE KICKS OF FEAR from Barbarian to put down Meng for the win. (2:20) It’s now apparent Jimmy Hart has chosen who he will be standing beside now. ½*

NITRO GIRLS!

  • Perry Saturn (w/Lodi) vs. Disco Inferno

No match. During Disco’s entrance, La Parka comes out and whacks him with a chair all down the aisle. AWESOME. Rick Martel hurries down to replace Disco here. Tony reminds us what incentive he has to be here right now.

  • Perry Saturn (w/Lodi) vs. Rick Martel

They announce Martel has a TV title match later tonight as well. Saturn pearl harbors Martel, but he fires back on Saturn and gives him a flying headscissors. Out to the floor, Saturn takes a ride into the steps. Back inside, Martel tries another flying headscissors and gets slam dunked on the top rope. Flying forearm smash leads to a missile dropkick for two. Martel makes one last comeback on Saturn setting up the QUEBEC CRAB, but the Flock hit the ring. While Kidman distracts ref Mickey Jay and Lodi fails at stopping Martel, Riggs runs in and blasts Martel. And just like that, the RINGS OF SATURN gets the submission. (AUSTIN 3:16) Martel just doesn’t feel like he belongs in wrestling anymore. Even though he looks great for his age, his offense didn’t change with the times at all. It makes him stand out in a bad way. ¾*

  • Curt Hennig (w/Rick Rude) vs. Bobby Eaton

Speaking of someone else we haven’t seen in a while. Curt Hennig and Rick Rude make their first appearances on Nitro in 1998. Tenay points out that Hennig wrestled in Japan just last night and here he is in Tampa. He pinned Satoshi Kojima in 6:12 at the Budokan Hall in Tokyo. Now as for Bobby Eaton tonight, this would have been AMAZING given twenty minutes ten years ago. After Hennig and Rude play catch, Eaton goes for the previously injured leg. Before Eaton goes any further with that gameplan, the HENNIGPLEX ends this one real quick. (2:46) Poor Bobby. ¾*

Wade Boggs and his family are in attendance as well. Never knew his son was named after Bret Hart.

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

  • WCW World Tag Team Champions The Steiner Brothers (w/Ted DiBiase) vs. Vicious N Delicious

Rick starts the match against Buff. While Buff struts and talks about how good he is, Rick throws him in powerslams and suplexes. Instead of taking over the whole match like he was doing in weeks prior, Scott does very little. He weakly applies a variation of what will become known as the Steiner Recliner in the months to come to Bagwell and Norton, but tags right back out and lets Rick do all the work. This goes unnoticed by our commentators though. Rick becomes Steiner in peril setting up a comeback for the STEINER BULLDOG to Buff. Norton breaks up the pin and dumps out Scott. Curt Hennig, Scott Hall, and the nWo B-Team hit the ring. They beat up Rick and DiBiase for the DQ, but never touch Scott. (5:21) Scott chases them away from his brother with a chair though. **

They take us back three weeks ago on Thunder when Saturn attacked Rick Martel and threw him through a glass door.

  • WCW World Television Champion Booker T vs. Rick Martel

Booker tries to give Martel the night off after his match with Saturn. When he walks away, Martel pearl harbors him seemingly turning heel or just doing what he needs to do to win the TV title. Booker fires back with a backdrop and a superkick to send Martel running. Some noticeable “Martel sucks” chants begin. Back inside, Martel gains control with a couple cheapshots, but Booker finds a spinebuster. Again, Martel bails out for a tour around the guardrails. Back in again, Booker hits the Hook Kick for two. Booker works the arm, but gets drilled with a hotshot. Martel dumps Booker out for some retribution guardrail violence. In the ring, he avoids a comeback dropkick by Booker and locks in the QUEBEC CRAB only for Booker to reach the ropes. They trade blows on each other. When Booker goes for a slam, ref Jimmy Jett gets nailed. It looks like Booker has everything going fine when Saturn appears on the apron. He punches Martel, but takes a Harlem Side Kick by Booker down to the guardrail. When Booker completed the kick, he ends up pulling a hammy straddling the top rope. Martel seizes the moment and locks in the QUEBEC CRAB right where he wants it for the tapout. (8:03) Ladies and gentlemen, we have a new TV champion. Schiavone and Tenay discuss whether or not Saturn will still be getting a TV title match at Superbrawl VIII now that Martel is the TV champ. This is his first major singles title since he was the AWA world champion back in 1985. **

Gene Okerlund brings Bret Hart out to the ring. He says Hollywood Hogan is making up all these lies about him because he’s scared. Hogan doesn’t need to call Bret’s name more than twice for him to meet him face to face. Bret says Hogan has been hiding from him for years and it’s time he stepped up to the plate with the Excellence of Execution. Hey, hold the phone. Crush appears in the ring wearing a black trench coat. This is Tampa, fella. Even though it’s February, who wears a trench coat in Tampa? He must be hiding something. Crush tells Bret that he’ll watch his back. If Hogan wants Bret, he must go through Crush first. OK – Tenay actually namedrops him and calls him Brian Adams. Bret refuses to shake his hand and as he starts to walk away, Adams grabs Bret by the arm while Curt Hennig jumps Bret from behind. The rest of the nWo B-team shows up to put the boots to Bret while Adams takes off the trench coat and shows off his nifty nWo t-shirt. Once Bret is completely incapacitated, Hollywood Hogan comes down and gets his licks in while Bret is being held up on his feet. Of all people, Ric Flair power walks to the ring to chop, punch, and low blow away the nWo B-team. The higher ups decide to just leave since the damage is done. Bret gets to his feet and helps clear the ring as well. Bret and Flair shake hands and embrace. Okay, this is going to require some explanation.

Gene Okerlund now has JJ Dillon in the aisle for a word. In order to get clarification on the TV title match scheduled for Superbrawl VIII, Dillon decides that the new TV champ Rick Martel and Booker T will have a rematch. The winner will wrestle Perry Saturn in another TV title match to finally settle the score between these three men. So there ya go.

  • Eddie Guerrero & Chris Jericho vs. Chris Benoit & Dean Malenko

Well, this should be fun. I’m surprised I haven’t recapped this one yet. How often is Chris Jericho the fourth best wrestler in a tag match? Not very often. Benoit and Guerrero begin things here. Benoit starts off strong with a headlock and a shoulderblock. They trade blows in the corner culminating in a press slam on Eddie. I miss press slams. Eddie runs away from Dean and back into a chop from Benoit. Over to Jericho, he wants a hug. Jericho really needs to take that Cruiserweight belt off. Only when ref Mickey Jay yells at him does he take it off. Benoit gives Jericho a backdrop and tags out. Malenko delivers his flying knee kick. Jericho tags Eddie and bails out. Guerrero goes low, but gets launched into a hotshot. He flips out of a back suplex and falls back into Jericho – knocking him to the floor. Malenko flips Eddie over the top rope down to the floor. Now Guerrero and Jericho hug each other again and make it better. Back inside, Benoit tags in and starts chopping both guys. As Guerrero tries to slide under Benoit, he gets grabbed and pulled up for a Bridging German Suplex for 1-2-NO! Awesome. Malenko blocks a victory roll by Eddie with an Ocean Cyclone Suplex. He applies a Liontamer on Eddie right in Jericho’s face, but gets knocked away. Guerrero reverses a suplex and hits a Brainbuster of his own to set up the FROG SPLASH to Malenko, but Benoit stops the count with a Swandive Headbutt on Eddie. Malenko gets pulled into the corner allowing Guerrero to tag out. Jericho comes flying in with a missile dropkick leading to the butterfly backbreaker. LIONTAMER is applied, but he releases the hold to knock Benoit out to the floor. Guerrero wipes out Benoit with a flying dive from the top. VINTAGE EDDIE! Meanwhile, Malenko and Jericho reverse each other’s moves until Malenko rolls through and applies the TEXAS CLOVERLEAF for the immediate tapout. (6:19 BOOYAKA) Well, nothing could possibly touch this on this show. I would have rather seen a longer heat segment on the faces though like we saw last week as they looked way too strong here. Still, a lot of hard work shown here from four of the best. ***¾

Before we get to the main event, Eric Bischoff comes out by himself to say Hollywood Hogan is running a little late because he had to write a $50,000 check to cover Kevin Nash. Bischoff says tonight will prove the so-called “right-wing” (?) conspiracy that the nWo can’t get along to be absolutely false. So just put a big Eazy-E smile on your face and sit tight. Commercials!

  • Sting & Lex Luger vs. Hollywood Hogan & Randy Savage (w/Eric Bischoff & Elizabeth)

During Sting and Luger’s entrance, Savage and Hogan attack them from behind. They don’t come out at the same time, but do jump their respective opponents for Superbrawl. They take turns fighting in the ring until Sting and Hogan finally head to their corners for a proper tag match. Savage tries to tag Hogan, but he’s ignored. When Hogan turns his back, Savage tags him into the match. Hogan drops to the floor and yells at Savage, but then jumps Luger from behind. Running clothesline and a series of elbow drops gets two. He misses the LEGDROP and Lex makes the hot tag to Sting. He hits Hogan with a pair of Stinger Splashes and a SCORPION DEATHLOCK. Luger is hot on Savage’s trail and calls for the TORTURE RACK when the nWo attack for the DQ. (4:30) Hogan and Savage are at each other’s throats while Bret Hart and Ric Flair head out to help Sting and Luger. Bret takes his time beating up Curt Hennig as we close the show. Chaotic storytelling between Hogan and Savage if nothing else. *

TOTAL BELL-TO-BELL TIME: 52:36 shown

Until next time, so long for now.

13270 - logo nwo superbrawl wcw

WCW/nWo Superbrawl VIII LIVE ON PPV premieres February 22 from the Cow Palace in San Francisco, CA.

MAIN EVENT for the vacant WCW world title:
Sting vs. Hollywood Hogan

WCW U.S. Heavyweight Championship: DDP (c) vs. Chris Benoit
WCW World Tag Team Championship:
The Steiner Brothers (c) vs. The Outsiders
WCW World TV Championship: The TV Champion vs. Perry Saturn
WCW World TV Championship: Rick Martel (c) vs. Booker T
WCW Cruiserweight Championship – Title vs. Mask:
Chris Jericho (c) vs. Juventud Guerrera
No-DQ Match: Lex Luger vs. Randy Savage
Steve McMichael vs. Davey Boy Smith
Disco Inferno vs. La Parka

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