Sunday, May 2, 2010

WCW Monday Nitro: December 22, 1997

Before we begin, I must give a belated plug to my friend Sonny Bone and the game that he made in a mere 48 hours, Savory Sea Hoss. The game is a lot of fun to play, and is probably better than some games that cost 48 dollars or more right now. So check it out here at

This review is courtesy of an idea from reader Dickson S. who remembered this particular episode of Nitro quite well, although not very fondly, as this was the Nitro episode where the nWo took over with a new set and took about 30 minutes of air time putting it together. I remember switching to Raw for most of the night, as this show was ridiculous. But, I do what I am told, and so I have decided to watch and review this particular episode of Nitro, except for one match which I couldn't find posted anywhere on the internet. Since that match is Mongo McMichael vs. Meng, I'm going to assume I did not miss anything. On to the show.

We start with an announcement paid for by the nWo. How nice of them. This one features Eric Bischoff talking for three minutes about how he's going to beat up Larry Zbyszko and take over Nitro for the nWo at Starrcade, which is only six days away. Bischoff goes on about how quick he is, and how Zbyszko won't see his kicks coming, but he's going to feel them, oh yes, he's going to feel them. The video mercifullly ends, and we have a match, between Fit Finlay (Finley according to the on-screen graphics) and Eddie Guerrero (WCW Cruiser-weight Champion). This is a non-title match, and Finlay is still going with the brown mullet at this point in his career. The crowd seems to be behind Finlay because I guess they hate Guerrero more. This is a short match, but a good one, as Finlay was really fired up here per usual and Guerrero did more than enough to hold his own. Finlay used a stiff kick on Guerrero's face, and hit a nice superplex on his opponent as well, which got a nice pop from the crowd. Just when Finlay was about to tombstone him, Guerrero escapes and leaves the ring, as he's got a big match at Starrcade against Dean Malenko to prepare for, and he doesn't need this crap right now. Finlay wins by countout.

We get a video previewing the Giant Kevin Nash match that never happened at Starrcade, due to Nash having a hangnail or something. Both men promise to beat the other. Next is Mongo vs. Meng, and I couldn't find this match, so I'm just going to assume that Mongo won with a springboard dragonrana. Mean Gene is in the ring, and he introduces Diamond Dallas Page. Page comes down wearing a shirt that says "Deck the Hog" and is giving the fans some DDP shirts as an early Christmas gift. DDP says he loves Christmas "and that's a shoot". Quick, somebody take away his mic, DDP is SHOOTING!! He then says that he has a present for Curt Hennig this Sunday, and it's his very own Diamond Cutter. It remains to be seen if Hennig accepts this gift.

Up next is a six man tag match between the teams of La Parka, Psicosis, and Silver King against Rey Misterio Jr., Juventud Guerrera, and Hector Garza. Silver King's the only man I know that wears a belt with his wrestling trunks. Since these guys aren't given much time, they decide to not waste time and start flying around and across the ring immediately. Zbyszko theorizes that these men are so fast because they "ran from the federales' as kids". I think I'll just leave that alone. Everybody gets their chance to show off a move or two, including Hector Garza's awesome corkscrew plancha to the outside of the ring. Match ends when Rey sets Silver King up on the top turnbuckle, and then proceeds to give him a reverse huracanrana. He follows that up with a springboard huracanrana that went so fast Silver King may have suffered whiplash, and gets the three count. Short match, but very exciting.

Next we have Hammer from the Flock, making his return to TV match against Chris Benoit. Benoit says Hammer needs help, and he'll take on all of the Flock. Nobody ever said that Benoit was smart. Benoit takes control early, but after interference from Saturn, Hammer gains the advantage. Hammer nearly kills Benoit with an alley-oop powerbomb that was supposed to have Benoit bounce off the turnbuckle, but he came up just short. Benoit starts to take control again, which brings the entire Flock over the railing and eventually they get Hammer disqualified. Post-match, Saturn puts Benoit in the Rings of Saturn not once, but twice, and the announcers wonder if Benoit will make it to Starrcade.

You know, we haven't seen the, oh wait a minute, here comes the nWo. Well, actually, it's just the b-team of the nWo, and they proceed to chase the announcers off and force all of the remaining crew to wear "nWo Nitro" shirts. The crew then tries to remove anything on the set that says WCW on it and replace it with nWo stuff. Scott Norton and Vincent are the only two helping, while Rick Rude is calling the shots and Buff Bagwell is acting like an idiot. An nWo Nitro poster drops from the rafters, which prompts Buff to say "That sign's almost as buff as I am." How can a sign be buff, anyways? Buff goes to the ring, tries to force the ring announcer into wearing a shirt, but he refuses and gets tossed to the canvas for his efforts. Buff spraypaints the ring and holds a sign somebody made in honor or him. Rude screams "Pyro!, Pyro!, Fireworks! Fire...Works!) and some weak pyro goes off. There's an nWo Nitro sign that drops from the celing and completely blocks the entrance way. Smart planning guys. We go to commercial with some fan saying "Welcome to the nWo, Bret (Hart)" in a feminine manner.

The nWo Nitro intro plays, and Bischoff comes out on a motorcycle, presumably to gloat. He then introduces the rest of the nWo, including the big cheese himself, Hollywood Hogan, wearing sun glasses Elton John would consider ridiculous. Since it's almost Christmas, the nWo has some gifts for Hogan, including a motorcycle, which according to the production tech, is the "wrong one, Go*da**it". This is going off real well. They eventually bring the right bike out, which has Hogan's face and the nWo logo painted on it. How they got that bike confused with the regular black one, I'll never know. But wait, there's more, as an open roof stretch limo with a hot tub and two "nWo Nitro girls" is presented as another gift for Hogan. Geez, how much does this guy need? They should have given that stuff away to one lucky viewer, or three, for having to waste 30 minutes of their lives on this crap.

Finally, somebody from WCW shows up backstage, but it's J.J. Dillion, so he's not going to do anything. He tells Rick Steiner that he doesn't have to go out there to face Scott Norton due to the circumstances, but Steiner and manager Ted DiBiase say screw that mess, we're going out there anyway. So match on. The announcers are Eric Bischoff, which is bad, and Kevin Nash and Rick Rude, which are an improvement over the usual crew. They show a clip from last week of Norton botching a powerslam on Rick, driving Rick head first into the match. Rick seems ok, though, and starts with a punch and a Steinerline on Norton. The two trade heavy blows and power moves, and Rick actually belly-to-belly suplexes the much larger Norton over his head. The two botch an attempted belly-to-belly from Steiner off the top rope, however. Konnan comes out to attack Rick, causing the ref to disqualify Norton. That brings out Scott Steiner, which brings out Vincent, which in turn brings out Ray Traylor. The Steiners and Traylor clear the ring, and the nWo threesome say they'll get those guys at Starrcade on Sunday. Match was pretty blah and only about 3 minutes long.

The three nWo announcers talk about how Nash is going to squash The Giant at Starrcade, and Disco Inferno, the TV Champion comes out, much to the amusement of Nash and Rude. He's facing the U.S. Champion, Curt Hennig, in a non-title match. Naturally, the nWo puts Hennig over big-time, especially his buddy Rude, whose every word out of his mouth in this match is about how awesome Hennig is. Hennig controls most of this match, and is very methodical in his approach, but not too slow. Disco gets a couple of moves in, and even get a two count after a swinging neckbreaker. But Hennig puts an end to that flurry, and hit the Perfectplex on Disco for the win.

Bobby Heenan comes out, begging for an announcing job on nWo Nitro. Heenan sucks up to Bischoff in a way that is almost admirable. Guess that's why Lee Marshall calls him the "Weasel". Nash decides to let Heenan have his spot, and we are on to the next match, which is Harlem Heat vs. Lodi and Riggs. Bischoff and Rude are strangely complimentary of Harlem Heat, calling them one of the best tag teams in the world. Lodi and Riggs may be the worst tag team in the World, or at least the least likely to win any matches. Riggs and Booker T start, and the Heat have the advantage over Riggs, but it's not a total squash until Lodi gets tagged in. For the next four minutes, Lodi does not get one offensive move in, as the Heat dominate. Stevie Ray manages to use both the Pump Kick and the "Attitude Adjustment" on Lodi in this match, moves that are finishers in the WWE today. The end comes with the Harlem Heat's "Big Apple", which is like a Hart Attack, only instead of a clothesline, Booker T does a leaping superkick to his opponent's face. Oh, and for some reason Mike Tenay takes the commentary over for Bischoff in the middle of the match, so nWo Nitro is now being called by two WCW guys and Rick Rude. Go figure. Match was a beatdown of Lodi and just a showcase for Harlem Heat, which is strange considering that it's nWo Nitro and none of these teams are nWo.

Our next match is Chris Jericho vs. Buff Bagwell. Before that, I must say that this show feels like its seven hours long. Also, Konnan has been in the limo for the last 45 minutes, so at least he's enjoying himself.Anyway, Bagwell takes three minutes to get to the ring, and Jericho decides, what the hey, I'm going to kick Bagwell in the face for real. This should have been a better match than it was, but for whatever reason, these two just don't have any chemistry. At least Jericho got a couple of good moves in, and nearly got the three count after a double-underhook backbreaker. Match ends after Jericho attempts a top-rope huracanrana, flips, lands on his feet, only for Buff to catch him with the Blockbuster (neckbreaker where Bagwell flips over his opponent to deliver the move. Bagwell then beats up the referee because he called him fat or something. When is this show going to end?

Oh great, Bischoff and Hogan are back out. Hogan's going to get more gifts from the nWo. First of all, we have a replica of the WCW Heavyweight Title belt, made into a ring. It's big and gold and looks gaudy. Bischoff actually gets down on his knees like he's going to propose to Hogan before giving him the ring. I was hoping for a proposal, actually, as it would be much more interesting than this. But wait, there's more, as the nWo has prepared giant posters showing Hogan on the cover of Sports Illustrated (the only pro wrestler to accomplish that feat, by the way) and of Hogan choking Sylvester Stallone during Rocky III. Hogan acts  overwhelmed with the kindness shown to him, while everyone in the crowd looks board. Except for the small contingent that started chanting "Rocky" after the second poster was shown.  Mercifully we go to commercial break.

The nWo limo is being backed out of the arena for some reason, and mercifully it is time for our main event, Randy Savage vs. Lex Luger. The two decide to trade blows all around the ring, and then they brawl on the outside of the ring and even into the first row of the crowd as well. Luger takes control with a couple of running clotheslines, but accidentally nails the ref with the bionic forearm. This allows Savage to go to the outside and hide behind Elizabeth, and suddenly Buff comes out and nails Luger from behind. Nash comes out and Jacknifes Luger, and finally Savage finishes it off with a top rope elbow drop that had him fly three-quarters of the ring. Even at a late age, Savage still had the best elbow drop in wrestling. The ref wakes up just enough to count the pin, and Macho Man Randy Savage is the victor. Match was short and none too thrilling, like most of these matches tonight.

Damn it, Hogan and Bischoff come out again. Will Bischoff give Hogan a Hummer this time? Hogan talks about how Sting will go down in defeat at Starrcade when suddenly, another gift shows up. Bischoff looks confused, as he insists it's not from him. The limo comes back, and out comes Bret Hart, walking to the ring with a smirk on his face. Hogan opens up the gift, and it's a paper mache' of his own head. Hogan acts like he's seen The Ultimate Warrior in a mirror, and Sting ziplines from the entrance way as the show comes to an end. The hell? I'm confused, maybe you can watch this and tell me what happens.

This show was painful to watch. The first hour was decent, but everything after the six-man tag sucked on ice and made me want to bang my head against Mount Rushmore. Keep in mind two things here, one, this was the last show before Starrcade, only being promoted as the biggest show in WCW's history at the time with the most anticipated main event WCW has probably ever had, and they promote the show as being a tribute to Hogan and a takeover by the nWo which left the opposition looking like a bunch of spineless fools. Also, they made an entirely new set, which I'm sure was not cheap to produce, and this is the only show where any of that stuff and any of the T-shirts were used. Just an awful show, and unfortunately, would only be the first of many bad decisions made by WCW over the next few months. I'll give it a 1.5 out of 10, as the only entertaining parts were the six-man tag, Guerrero-Finlay, and Rick Rude demanding fireworks.

Well, thanks for reading. If you have any ideas for future posts, than let me know either by leaving a comment or by sending me an e-mail at

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