WCW: Monday Nitro (08.31.98)

WCW: Monday Nitro
August 31, 1998
Miami, FL
Miami Arena

The current WCW champs are as follows:
WCW World Champion: Bill Goldberg (7/6/1998)
WCW U.S. Champion: Bret Hart (8/13/1998)
WCW World Tag Team Champions: The Giant & Scott Hall (7/20/1998)
WCW World Television Champion: Chris Jericho (8/10/1998)
WCW Cruiserweight Champion: Juventud Guerrera (8/8/1998)

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

Hollywood Hogan and Eric Bischoff head down to remind us that they took all of our money. Bischoff lets us know he’s got a concealed weapon – it’s a PEN! Eddie Guerrero will be wrestling tonight and the Warrior will not. The pen is what makes Bischoff the most powerful man (other than Hogan) in professional wrestling. Hollywood Hogan will establish at Wargames that the nWo led by him is the most powerful force in the business today. Hogan announces that the newest member of nWo Hollywood – Stevie Ray – will have a chance to prove his loyalty in Wargames. As for the third team member in Wargames, it will be Bret Hart. Crowd is chanting about Goldberg. Hogan namedrops the “Ultimate” Warrior and says he will fall at Wargames and confess to Hogan he is the only man who is worthy to be the World Heavyweight champion. Once Warrior is done, Goldberg is next. Hogan doesn’t want to wait until Wargames and calls out Warrior now. We get the whole pomp and circumstance and out comes the Warrior. Hogan promises to crucify Warrior and then the lights go out. Warrior calls out his “warriors”, smoke fills the ring, and then the lights come back on and he’s gone. The rest of the nWo B&W show up and there’s nothing for them to do now so let’s get on with the show. That’s it?

We get footage of Bill Goldberg meeting Mark McGwire at the Florida Marlins stadium. The Cardinals did win that game, but McGwire didn’t hit any homers that day. By the way since this was an idea, I wonder who WCW would have had Mark McGwire wrestle?

  • Wrath vs. Jim Powers

This is the last time we’ll see Powers. Wrath is just *that* dominant right now. Powers is obsessed with the ten-count corner punch, but Wrath doesn’t care and drills him with the inverted atomic drop. MELTDOWN takes care of Powers in 3:15.

NITRO GIRLS! Tony says “hello” to Whisper. Hopefully Shawn isn’t watching. Next, they show footage of the other half of the Nitro Girls in the middle of nowhere Ohio.

  • Scott Norton (w/Vincent) vs. Norman Smiley

Norton headbutts and chops the shit out of Smiley to start. The SHOULDERBREAKER takes care of Smiley, but Norton doesn’t want to pin him. There’s the POWERBOMB and that’s enough for Smiley in 2:29.

The lights start to go on and off until they completely go out. Now what? IT’S THE WARRIOR! Where is he? He’s doing the Sting thing – hanging out in the rafters. Cool.

Mike Tenay bothers Saturn when he comes in the building. Because he lost a match to Lodi on Thunder, Saturn will be Lodi’s slave between now and Fall Brawl. Saturn drops some platitudes basically saying he’s a man of honor and integrity. Wow, all of a sudden he stands up for himself despite being under the mind control of a guy for the last year?

Time for the nWo Wolfpac to drop some catchphrases! Lex Luger has a goatee started. While Sting isn’t in the building yet, he’s on his way. Lex has talked to him on his cellular telephone and they accept Hogan and Bret’s challenge tonight. Luger is so white trying to be hood, it’s cringe. Nash announces he, Sting, and Luger will be in Wargames. He tries to make it seem like they think Konnan is box office by saying they drew straws even though we all know they don’t really think he is. Nash doesn’t have any love for Roddy Piper or Warrior either. Remember when Nash and Warrior had Twitter beef? That was hilarious. To close, if you don’t run with the ‘Pac, you’re hunted by the ‘Pac.

Tony Schiavone talks with JJ Dillon in the ring. Dillon asks for Arn Anderson to come down to the ring. YES. TWO WEEKS, FOLKS. Two more weeks, and he’s back. JJ Dillon sets up for us to watch a video of a young Arn Anderson when he first came to the Mid-Atlantic area. If I had to guess, Anderson wrapped up in Alabama in early 1985 before coming to Charlotte, so I’m guessing he’s on an Alabama beach somewhere letting the people know he’s coming to Mid-Atlantic. Dillon says he went to bat for Arn to get him into Mid-Atlantic and that acquisition led to the formation of the Four Horsemen. Dillon sees the Four Horsemen and WCW as synonymous with each other. Once the nWo destroyed the Four Horsemen, Dillon was concerned the Four Horsemen were finished. Fortunately, Steve McMichael and Chris Benoit came to Arn for advice, but Arn told them they just don’t get it. Dillon feels it’s really Arn who doesn’t get it. Next thing we know, Chris Benoit (with his arm heavily braced) and Steve McMichael come to the ring. They pull Arn aside for a talk. Let’s see what happens. Crowd desperately wants Ric Flair. TWO WEEKS, FOLKS. Two weeks. Their conversation ends and Arn starts to leave. Dillon presses Arn not to leave. Arn looks at Dillon and asks why he’s torturing him about this. Dillon dares to say that he thinks Arn is afraid. WHOA. And with that, Arn walks out. Schiavone thinks there’s no chance the Four Horsemen will ever return.

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

  • Brian Adams (w/Vincent) vs. Eddie Guerrero

After Brian Adams and Vincent come out, the WARRIOR SIGNAL hits the rafters and Warrior is shown watching from above. Eddie comes down to the ring without any excitement whatsoever and gets comfortable up in the corner. Guerrero lays down in the middle of the ring because he’s not interested in competing and has been forced into this match by Eric Bischoff. Adams actually wants to fight, but Eddie tries to block his punches. Crowd starts to get behind Eddie here. Guerrero refuses to fight back and covers up. Adams throws him across the ring. Eddie then tells Adams to put his boot on his chest for the pinfall and that’s it at 2:25. Guerrero gets on the mic and lets Bischoff know he’s not going to get sued for not appearing like he has other people in this company, referring to Ric Flair I suppose. That’s when they cut his mic. This looks like something they could build on, but of course they won’t.

  • Ernest Miller vs. Riggs

Some wristlockage to start. Riggs puts Miller on the floor with a dropkick and follows up with a pescado. Back inside, the Cat chops and superkicks Riggs down. One FELINER barely touches, but the second one leads to the pinfall in 2:38. Oof, those were some awful looking kicks. Miller gets on the mic and talks smack to the crowd who has been booing him from the bell.

NITRO GIRLS! We check in with Gene at the Nitro Party in Wapakoneta, Ohio.

  • Konnan vs. Marty Jannetty

Bobby Heenan comes out to replace Larry Z. This is the swan song for Marty in WCW. Unfortunately, it looks like he’s got some new gear and colored his hair. He looks completely repackaged, but it doesn’t even really look like Jannetty anymore. Konnan hits the Rolling Lariat early on as Jannetty takes a powder. Back in, Konnan delivers the low dropkick and ties Jannetty up on the mat. Jannetty cuts off Konnan with a superkick and the crowd doesn’t like it. He connects with a jumping back elbow and grabs a chinlock. A jumping dropkick barely hits. Jannetty starts taunting the crowd. Not sure if he’s misinterpreting the booing here or what. Back to the chinlock. Jannetty starts messing with the ref over the count. He continues to abuse Konnan in the corner and snap his neck on the top rope. They are giving Konnan a lot of time in his hometown, but this isn’t the match for him. Jannetty gets a nearfall off a flying body press. There’s a snap suplex and a running fist drop, but still can’t beat Konnan. Here comes the Konnan comeback starting with the K-Factor. TEQUILA SUNRISE taps out Jannetty and that’s all she wrote. (9:07) Too long is an understatement. Nobody was buying Jannetty here and Konnan is just the wrong opponent. So long, Marty. *

Saturn has to hold signs for Lodi now. Lodi (at Raven’s order) lets Saturn know he can’t touch Raven or Kanyon tonight. Now Raven orders Kanyon to “break” Saturn. Kanyon makes fun of Saturn for having “pride and integrity” through his army training. Kanyon dares Saturn to hit him, but he won’t because Lodi is in control.

  • Saturn & Lodi (w/Kanyon & Raven) vs. High Voltage

Saturn tries to get Lodi to deal with Rage, but that won’t be happening. Tag to Saturn, Rage shoulderblocks and press slams him. Looks like Saturn is pissed. He starts throwing Rage around. Now Lodi wants a tag. He doesn’t want any of Kaos either. Back over to Saturn. Why does Saturn bother? Kaos gives him a gutwrench powerbomb, but runs into a boot in the corner. Saturn unloads with chops and his kick combo. Blind tag to Rage, he catches Saturn with an overhead suplex. Kaos tags in and hits a slingshot legdrop. Heenan thinks High Voltage needs a manager. Saturn starts throwing High Voltage around, but Kaos runs him down. They double-team Saturn with more power moves. This crowd is already done with this show and we’ve got another hour to go. High Voltage miscommunication allows Saturn to come back and hit Rage with the DEATH VALLEY DRIVER. Lodi tags and covers Rage for the three-count. (5:15) Let’s just move on. ¾*

Tony Schiavone brings out Diamond Dallas Page to pick things up. DDP comes in through the crowd because he’s still the PEOPLE’S CHAMP. He’s got jeans on and not the shiny blue tights, so you know he’s just like all of us. DDP calls Tony, “T-Bone” which is hilarious. He talks about the Jersey Shore and how some town in New Jersey won the Little League World Series champs. Cool. This somehow ties in with his Team WCW at Wargames – even though it seems more like it should be every man for himself since there’s a world title shot on the line if you win, so YEAH. DDP brings out WCW Commissioner Roddy Piper. Okay, things are picking up. What is it about the *slow walk* through the tunnel by Piper that gets me fired up? It’s just for an interview. There’s no fight about to happen. Tony hands the mic over to Piper and lets him go. Piper calls Bret Hart the “Marilyn Manson of wrestling”. Say what? Piper tells a story about Bret Hart thinking he’s his cousin who had been nipping at his heels for years. Bret used to be a big success and now he’s a chump. Piper lets Bret know that Hogan is setting him up for failure and tells Bret to leave Hogan behind. The Giant has enough of this talk and attacks both DDP and Piper until WCW security and Miami’s finest come out and haul him in handcuffs. Giant tells Eric Bischoff on the camera to come bail him out. Crowd wants Goldberg, but they won’t get Goldberg.

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

Scott Steiner and Dr. Cecil B. Schwartz come out to the ring. Big Poppa Pump calls out to the freaks out there in Miami. Scott has a second doctor to prove to JJ Dillon his injury is serious. His name is Dr. Juju Ubangi, but it’s just Buff Bagwell looking like a Rastafarian. Yep. They do some fake healing bit and once Scott is “healed”, Buff admits he’s buff and he’s the stuff. As for Rick Steiner, Scott has guys watching him in Detroit. At Fall Brawl, he will make everybody realize he’s the bigger, faster, and stronger Steiner brother. Yeah, here comes Rick Steiner to run everybody off and lets Scott know he’s going to kick his ass on September 13 at Fall Brawl. How many more weeks are they going to keep doing this?

We see the WARRIOR SIGNAL again and Warrior is still in the rafters.

  • WCW Cruiserweight Championship: Juventud Guerrera (c) vs. Evan Karagias

Apparently some chicks were teasing to take off their tops early on in the match, which is why if you’re watching, the crowd in front of the hard camera at least, is totally interested in other things. Heenan says Karagias has a great body which means he’ll be a star one day. Karagias presses Juventud and drops him on the top rope. Guerrera comes back with a springboard dropkick, but Karagias gets a nearfall of a powerslam. This crowd is completely distracted. They go to the floor to hopefully pick things up as Juventud flies off the top onto Karagias. Back inside, Guerrera lands a flying legdrop. They are trying to tell a story with Juventud’s knee being injured, but Karagias doesn’t have what it takes to follow up. I hear some “take it off” chants. They battle up top with Karagias getting a flying headscissors, but then he misses a springboard moonsault. Heenan gets pissed at Karagias for being a bonehead about not trying to pin Juventud enough. He’s got to hit his spots, Bobby! Don’t you know that’s what it’s all about? Juventud comes back and lands the JUVI DRIVER for the win. (9:32) The crowd was so distracted, it didn’t much matter what these two did. Karagias isn’t quite ready for primetime either. *

NITRO GIRLS! More footage from the Nitro Party in Wapakoneta, Ohio.

  • WCW World Television Championship: Chris Jericho (c) vs. Disco Inferno

Can Jericho and Disco get this crowd back on track? Disco gets AGGRESSIVE to start. Jericho fires back with chops and the C’MON BABY pin gets two. Lionsault hits knees. Disco delivers an atomic drop and Jericho goes flying into the corner. A big knockdown gets two. Heenan is trying to get this show back on track, I gotta hand it to him. A spinebuster to Jericho scores another nearfall. Jericho flips out of a back suplex and gives Disco a bridging German suplex for two. Disco slips away from a slam and hits the CHARTBUSTER! OH MY GOSH! Wait, why is Disco having a hard time? He takes a minute to cover Jericho, but his foot is on the rope. Disco charges Jericho and gets put into the LIONTAMER for the tapout. (3:16) Well, they tried. *½

  • WCW World Heavyweight Championship: Bill Goldberg (c) vs. Al Green

Kevin Nash comes over and replaces Tenay for extra special commentary because he saw Goldberg was up next. Heenan refers to him as “Mr. Nash” and makes sure to suck up to him. I love it. Why Al Green is getting a shot at Goldberg on Monday Nitro must blow everybody’s minds. YOU”RE UNOPPOSED. THERE IS NO RAW TONIGHT. WHY ISN’T GOLDERG FIGHTING THE GIANT? I mean, at the very least, wrestle someone who has been in WCW for the last ten years. He chokes Goldberg in the corner, but Goldberg throws him away. Green heads to the floor as Goldberg sets up for the Spear. Goldberg follows him out for some brief ringside violence. Back in, Green attacks first and grabs a rear naked choke, but Goldberg throws him away and hits the Spear and the JACKHAMMER. (2:17) THIS IS SOME INSANE BOOKING, FOLKS.

  • Sting & Lex Luger vs. Bret Hart & Hollywood Hogan (w/The Disciple)

Michael Buffer calls this a “dream tag team match”. On paper it doesn’t look too bad. Watching it might be a different story. We’ll see. Bret and Luger start the match. Headlocks and shoulderblocks to start. Bret goes low and pounds Lex in the corner, but Luger fires back and returns the favor. Tag to Sting, Bret gets away and tags out. Hogan doesn’t seem interested in getting the ring either. He ties up with Sting and forces him into the corner. Hogan follows up with Hogan heel offense. Sting ducks the running clothesline and unloads on Hogan. There’s the ten-count corner punch. Tag to Luger, he runs into a boot in the corner and gets drilled with a clothesline. Back over to Bret, he chokes Luger with his boot while yelling at the ref that he can’t hear any count. Hilarious. Meanwhile, our esteemed commentators say that Hogan will go down as the “best ever” when his career is over. Funny how the camera is focused on Bret while this is being said. Russian Legsweep to Luger gets two. Hogan does a little bit of punching on Lex. Bret tags in and hits a backbreaker and a legdrop for two. Luger counters a vertical suplex, but he’s too worn out to get up. Bret goes back to work, but now there’s a double-KO. HOT TAG TO STING! There’s the Stinger Splash. Looks like Disciple messed up the spot as Hogan was supposed to get pushed away from the second splash. They do it again and this time it works. Sting hits the turnbuckle and Hogan starts whipping him with the weightlifting belt. Bret grabs the belt away from Hogan and throws it down. BRET SAVES STING! Bret then walks out on Hogan, but nobody walks out on Hollywood. He goes over and confronts Bret. This conversation gets them both counted out. (11:19) Bret utters something about Hogan giving him his word. After Sting and Luger are awarded the match, Hogan and Bret return to the ring. Disciple joins Hogan as well. The ring starts to fill up with smoke and then it stops. Umm, whoops? Disciple gets in between Hogan and Bret while the rest of the nWo B&W head down to cool things off. Hogan tells Bret to abide by the rules, or he will DIE by the rules. WHOA. Okay, now we get more smoke. The lights start to flicker. IT’S THE WARRIOR! Everybody nWo B&W is down and out, but Hogan is cowering in the corner. Warrior tells Hollywood that he can smell his fear. Hogan bails and leaves his nWo B&W boys behind while Warrior snarls and beats his chest in the ring to close out a terrible Nitro. **

I gotta be honest, folks. This was a tough show to get through.

So as far as the wrestling world goes, Nitro is completely unopposed on this particular Monday night (and will be for next Monday night as well) and should have done much better in the ratings than they did. This was the *highest* rated episode ever of Nitro with a 6.0. Maybe if they were able to have put together a better show, I feel they could have gotten more eyeballs on the product than they did. Nitro had actually beaten Raw head-to-head in the ratings for the previous three weeks (since the Monday after Road Wild if you can believe that!) and with last week’s Nitro rating at 5.2, it shows WCW isn’t exactly pulling a lot of viewers over from Raw in a week where there was no Raw to even compete against. Those WWF fans didn’t flip over to TNT, they just didn’t watch wrestling this week, which is interesting and spells trouble for WCW. It’s no longer clear they are the number one wrestling company in the world anymore. It’s pretty much a tie at this point. If they don’t maintain their own audience or grow their audience, with the momentum of the WWF, they will be left in the dust.

Until next time, so long for now.

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