WCW: Monday Nitro (06.29.98)

WCW: Monday Nitro
June 29, 1998
Tampa, FL
Ice Palace

The current WCW champs are as follows:
WCW World Champion: Hollywood Hogan (4/20/1998)
WCW U.S. Champion: Bill Goldberg (4/20/1998)
WCW World Tag Team Champions: Sting & Kevin Nash (6/15/1998)
WCW World Television Champion: Booker T (6/14/1998)
WCW Cruiserweight Champion: Chris Jericho (6/15/1998)

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

NITRO GIRLS!

Gene Okerlund brings out Kevin Greene to talk about his upcoming tag team match for the Bash at the Beach with Bill Goldberg against Curt Hennig and the Giant. He really has trouble with remembering who Curt Hennig exactly is, but whatever.

  • Kanyon vs. Horace (w/Lodi)

Kanyon shows off with another innovative move as he delivers a swinging cradle suplex. When Kanyon goes after Lodi, Horace knocks him to the floor and gives Kanyon a tope suicida. WHAT THE WHAT. Horace then leans his stop sign up against the guardrail and throws Kanyon into it. Back in, Horace continues to own this cat with a superplex. Kanyon comes back with a swinging neckbreaker and a fireman’s carry flapjack. Lodi gets punched off the apron allowing Kanyon to hit the FLATLINER for the win. (4:07) After the bell, Kanyon runs through Kidman and Sick Boy, but forgot about Riggs. I feel like Kidman may have been Kanyon’s rag doll to try moves out on. Just maybe. Once Kanyon is beaten down, Raven walks out to tell him that he’s all alone and delivers an EVENFLOW DDT. *

Diamond Dallas Page and Karl Malone’s big rig is on the way! CHECK IT OUT. IT’S AN 18-WHEELER, Y’ALL.

They cut to the nWo Hollywood locker room where they are armed with crowbars and chains awaiting DDP and Karl Malone. That seems a bit extreme. Scott Steiner is holding a lead pipe just in case there’s any inflatable ducks around, I’m sure.

Stevie Ray demands some TV time with Gene Okerlund. He has a problem with Chris Benoit and Steve McMichael and wants to team up with his brother Booker T tonight to face them. He wraps up telling the world will see Harlem Heat at their best.

  • Eddie Guerrero vs. Little Dragon

Obviously doing an Ultimo Dragon gimmick, here is another student of the Ultimo Dragon facing Eddie Guerrero. Dragon Gate fans will know him best as the Dragon Kid. Eddie runs through this guy like he’s working a heelish squash. As he goes up for the Frog Splash, Chavo comes out and debuts the stick horse Pepe long before there was Pepe the Frog. While Eddie and Chavo play tug of war with Pepe, Little Dragon rolls up Eddie for the super cheap win. (4:24) Chavo calls Eddie a horse thief while Eddie beats Little Dragon with the stick and tosses him out of the ring. Now Eddie chases Chavo back to the locker room as Chavo gets on his horse and rides away. Good grief. ¾*

Backstage, a camera has spotted Chris Jericho talking to Ultimo Dragon again trying to get him on his side to destroy Dean Malenko. Jericho tells Dragon that if he beats Malenko tonight, Dragon can have a cruiserweight title shot on Thunder.

NITRO GIRLS! NITRO PARTY VIDEO!

  • The Giant (w/Curt Hennig & Rick Rude) vs. Judo Suwa & Sumo Fuji

More Ultimo Dragon students here to get squashed. Hennig’s pal Wade Boggs high fives him from the front row. A DOUBLE CHOKESLAM ends these two in :47. After they clear the ring of the ham and eggers, Curt Hennig grabs a mic and threatens Bill Goldberg and Kevin Greene. After calling Greene a big dumb football player, Greene comes out and soon enough so does GOLDBERG. Hennig bumps for Greene, but Rick Rude nails him from behind. As soon as Goldberg steps in the ring, the nWo boys head for “greener” pastures. Ha, puns.

Mike Tenay takes time out of his busy day of eating boxes of NERDS out of a stripper’s butthole, staying up all night doing shots of tequila, and then catching up on his latest lucha libre videos he gets from his VHS tape trading internet group to stay current with the Mexico wrestling scene to talk with some of the marks down Tampa Bay way.

Next up, Hollywood Hogan and his entourage head out to discuss DDP and Karl Malone. He’s covering in chains looking like Jacob Marley from “A Christmas Carol”. He talks about breaking them in half and calls Karl Malone the biggest loser who Hogan will have shining his shoes. Yikes. Hogan continues to talk telling us that “Black Jesus” Dennis Rodman was given the night off tonight. Hogan says he’s got a problem with DDT (yes, DDT) and Karl Malone. He will take them both out tonight. The bottom line is though, people worship and love him 4-LIFE because he’s just – too – sweet.

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

  • Sting & Lex Luger vs. Davey Boy Smith & Jim Neidhart

Don’t be surprised by the stars in this one. This was booked extremely lame because Davey Boy Smith and Jim Neidhart are considered nobodies in WCW. Tenay makes sure to tell us this is a non-title match, which makes Bulldog and Anvil appear even lamer. Sting and Lex pretty much just jerk off on these guys for about 5-6 minutes. Lex gets in some minor trouble for thirty seconds or so until Sting gets tagged in again. He counters the Running Powerslam attempt into the SCORPION DEATHDROP for the win. (8:06) L-A-M-E. ½*

Mike Tenay talks to another mark about the Bash at the Beach PPV main event. From the looks on his face, I’m pretty sure this guy has thought long and hard about this match.

  • Saturn vs. Reese (w/Lodi)

Saturn gets Reese down on his knees, but Reese picks him up for a press slam from his knees. That’s supposed to be impressive, I guess. However, it makes no sense if you’re trying to hurt your opponent. Reese works a backbreaker across the knee, but Saturn comes back with a missile dropkick. He nails Lodi and hoists up Reese for the DEATH VALLEY DRIVER to get the pin. (2:29) Okay, that *was* impressive. After the bell, we see another attack from Raven and his Flock. Raven preaches to Saturn and drills him with an EVENFLOW DDT. ¾*

They take us back to last week on Monday Nitro when Curt Hennig and the Giant attacked Kevin Greene to set up the big tag match for the Bash at the Beach show.

NITRO GIRLS!

  • El Vampiro vs. Brad Armstrong

Here is the WCW debut for Vampiro. Look at Brad Armstrong coming to the ring. So much charisma. What an underrated and underutilized talent. Vamp gets absolutely no love from the Tampa Bay crowd despite putting away Armstrong with a nice NAIL IN THE COFFIN finish. (2:26) This would be it for him in 1998, but he’ll return next year as a regular part of the undercard. ¼*

After a break, I see a band playing that has a real “Late Show with David Letterman” feel and then a graphic appears with Eric Bischoff’s face telling me something about “nWo Late Hour” is still to come. Oh boy.

  • Alex Wright & Disco Inferno vs. Tokyo Magnum & Shimo Nobunaga

More Ultimo Dragon students. As I’ve mentioned before, Nobunaga is more well known as CIMA. Once again, Alex Wright and Disco Inferno get separate entrances as they should. They continue to dance into the ring and Tokyo Magnum decides to join them. He rips off his stripper clothes. Wright and Disco aren’t interested and beat the crap out of him. They clean house so they can dance by themselves. I can see these two getting over if WCW would allow it. Our esteemed commentators continue to discuss the 18-wheeler. Some good action here especially from the students, but it’s all for naught as Wright plants Nobunaga with the Reverse Neckbreaker for the three-count. (4:30) Crowd is silent for yet another match tonight. After the match, Disco and Wright have a discussion about whose music should play after the match. The sound guy messes with their heads by repeatedly alternating the music that’s playing over the PA. *½

More “Talkin’ With the Marks” with Mike Tenay.

  • Dean Malenko vs. Ultimo Dragon

They take us back to Thunder when Dean Malenko cost Ultimo Dragon the cruiserweight title to set up this match. If Dragon wins tonight, he’ll get a cruiserweight title match on Thunder according to Chris Jericho himself. They do a “I know you and you know me” segment that leads to a stalemate. Now they move onto some mat stuff. Dragon does his headstand in the corner, but Malenko avoids the kick because he knows it’s coming and German suplexes Dragon out of his boots. Dragon fires back with his Kick Combo. There’s a bad botch as Dragon does a backflip off the second rope into the DRAGON SLEEPER, but Malenko was out of position making it look super contrived. They go through a rollup sequence which ends with a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker on Malenko. He connects with the Handspring Elbow and sets up for the SUPER HURRACANRANA, but Malenko counters to the Super Gutbuster. Time for the TEXAS CLOVERLEAF, but Chris Jericho comes out and reminds Malenko that Tampa is where his dad is buried. TRIGGERED~! Malenko lets go of Dragon and chases after Jericho to lose via countout. (4:35) Dragon appears to be pleased that he just won the match since Jericho promised him a title match coming up on this week’s Thunder. What should have been at least a memorable match considering all their matches in the past felt like two guys on auto-pilot. It just felt like there was no drive in either man to win. Plus, the crowd was dead for almost everything, which made it less enjoyable. Then again, this episode of Nitro so far has felt like nearly every Nitro we’ve seen for the past month or so. And hey, we’re about to see Chris Benoit and Booker T hook it up here in just a few minutes – AGAIN. **

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

  • Chris Benoit & Steve McMichael vs. Harlem Heat

If you noticed, the graphic listed Harlem Heat as “Booker T & Stevie Ray”, not as Harlem Heat which I found mildly interesting. Even with the promise of Karl Malone on the show, this episode of Nitro has felt like there was very little thought put into it. Maybe knowing they will lose the “ratings war” this week due to a live RAW the night after the King of the Ring, they figured why bother too much. WHO KNOWS. Benoit and Stevie Ray take turns beating each other down in corners. McMichael tags in and works over the knee of Booker T continuing the story from the Great American Bash. Tag to Stevie Ray, he shows off his strength by blocking a boot in the corner and lifting up Mongo for a slam. Back to Booker, he levels McMichael with the Jumping Forearm. Mongo goes to the wrong side to take the shot and so it looked terrible. Sidewalk Slam by Booker, but Benoit saves the day. As Stevie Ray and Benoit brawl to the floor, Bret Hart runs down and whacks Booker T with a chair. Seeing none of this, Mongo covers Booker for the three-count. (5:01) This crowd is so dead. Not a good match for Benoit to take a leave of absence out on, but he will have to have surgery on a fractured elbow and will be out of the ring for several months, which puts the kibosh on any future matches with Bret Hart. *

In the back, it appears Chris Jericho has backed out of the promise he had made to Ultimo Dragon to give him a cruiserweight title match on Thunder if he beat Dean Malenko because they appear to be having a heated argument. Jericho claims Dragon didn’t get the job done when Dean Malenko comes from around the corner to beat them both up.

Welcome to the first edition of “nWo Late Hour” with your host Eric Bischoff! He’s got his main squeeze Elizabeth who will be his Ed McMahon. The band is playing and the set looks expensive! The Paul Shaffer of the band is unfortunately given a live mic. Is this supposed to be cool or supposed to draw some intentional heel heat? BECAUSE THIS MAN TALKING IS GETTING SOME HEAT. Eric’s guest tonight is Scott Steiner. BECAUSE OF COURSE HE IS. They make fun of Karl Malone being on Rogaine commercials. Steiner talks about how his next movie project and he’ll show us who his co-star will be on next week’s edition of “nWo Late Hour”. $50 says it’s the Shockmaster.

Booker T comes out to talk to Gene Okerlund about Bret Hart. He challenges Bret Hart to a match when Stevie Ray tries to stop his brother from what he sees as making a huge mistake. Instead of just handling business by jumping Bret out in the parking lot, Stevie Ray thinks Booker has gone soft. Booker says he wants Bret in the middle of the ring to show the people that he’s the best there is, but Stevie Ray wants him to forget the people. Bret Hart shows up making fun of black people everywhere and accepts the challenge, but he’ll only take the match at the Bash at the Beach with the TV title on the line. Who would have ever thought a year earlier when Bret was main evening the In Your House: Canadian Stampede PPV that he would be fighting Booker T over the WCW TV title?

Backstage in the nWo Hollywood dressing room, Hollywood Hogan vents to Eric Bischoff saying he’s unhappy that DDP and Karl Malone aren’t gonna show tonight.

Nitro Girl Whisper comes out and gives a private dance. Just think, somewhere in San Antonio you’ll find Shawn Michaels choking his chicken watching this.

  • WCW U.S. Heavyweight Championship: Bill Goldberg (c) (104-0) vs. Glacier

Michael Buffer introduces Glacier and I just love the idea of Buffer introducing a character like Glacier. This has been quite a night. Tony announces DDP and Karl Malone are a few blocks away in the 18-wheeler they have been hyping all night. WHAT’S IN THE TRUCK? This crowd is now awake. There’s the SPEAR and the JACKHAMMER in 2:16.

Hollywood Hogan and Eric Bischoff storm to the ring claiming DDP and Karl Malone no-showing tonight makes them even bigger losers who will get their butts kicked at the Bash at the Beach. Well, they do show up. They pull up to the Ice Palace in the 18-wheeler. The rest of the nWo Hollywood are waiting for their arrival armed to the gills with chains and crowbars just like we saw earlier in the night. Meanwhile, Hogan and Bischoff are still standing in the ring blabbing. DDP and Malone get out of the truck armed with steel chairs. Hey, where did nWo Hollywood go? DDP and Malone head straight to the ring. Hogan and Bischoff have no idea they are there. They clang their chairs together to scare Hogan into his pee-pee dance. Hogan cowers into the corner and like a couple of morons, DDP and Malone get rid of the chairs. Hogan throws Bischoff to the wolves and lets him get tossed to the floor. DDP stands back and lets Malone lock up with Hogan. Hey I mean, Hogan has been talking quite a bit of smack about this guy over the past two weeks. Hogan gets slammed and the crowd goes nuts. Hey, at least it’s not like Jay Leno getting the better of Hogan or something, right? Because that would be insane. Malone *is* an athlete after all. He then clotheslines Hogan out of the ring where nWo Hollywood is waiting to help up their god. DDP gets on the mic and tells Hogan that he just got slam dunked. Yikes. There’s also an open invitation for Dennis Rodman in ATL next week if he wants a piece of these two. If he doesn’t show though, they will get their hands on him at the Bash at the Beach. Malone tells Rodzilla that “size does matter”. He’s expecting a Diamond Cutter in Rodman’s future. You want some? Come get some. FEEL THE BANG.

Wait, what was the surprise in the truck? That Karl Malone can slam people? That he can deliver some bad looking clotheslines? That there *was* no surprise? That DDP and Karl Malone seem to have a weird 1980s buddy-cop-but-at-the-end-of-the-movie-when-everything-is-back-to-being-cool-again vibe?

I don’t know what it could be.

Either way, we are outta time. Until next time, so long for now.

WCW/nWo: Bash at the Beach
Sunday, July 12, 1998 from the Cox Arena in San Diego, CA @ 7PM EST

MAIN EVENT: Hollywood Hogan & Dennis Rodman vs. Diamond Dallas Page & Karl Malone
WCW World Television Championship: Booker T (c) vs. Bret Hart
WCW Cruiserweight Championship: Chris Jericho (c) vs. Dean Malenko
Bill Goldberg & Kevin Greene vs. The Giant & Curt Hennig

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