Hosted by Tony Schiavone, Larry Zbyszko, “Iron” Mike Tenay, & Bobby “The Brain” Heenan
With the WWF just ninety miles down the road, how will WCW continue their ratings dominance? Could the program have an ECW-like feeling since they’re in ECW’s backyard? Let’s find out!
Sorry, Uncle Paul.
The show begins with highlights from last week as Sting fended off the nWo. We then get a clip from Assault on Devil’s Island featuring Hollywood Hogan. During the movie, a press conference from the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, Nevada occurred, and the match between Hogan and Sting at Starrcade ‘97 was signed. We’ve waited all year for this!
Match 1: WCW Cruiserweight champion Rey Mysterio, Jr. & Lord Steven Regal versus Eddie Guerrero & Dean Malenko
Quite the random yet strange tag match to star the show while the Philly faithful chanted “Eddie sucks.”
When Eddie countered a double underhook suplex with an arm drag, Regal flapjacked him.
Mysterio tagged in and monkey-flipped Eddie.
As Mysterio delivered a huracanrana to Eddie, Malenko made the save.
Eddie then vaulted Mysterio who took Malenko over the top rope to the floor with a flying headscissors. Impressive!
After Mysterio got up on the apron, he inadvertently springboard-dropkicked Regal.
Eddie then powerbombed Mysterio, mounted the top turnbuckle, but Malenko tagged himself in much to Eddie’s chagrin.
When Malenko applied a Texas Cloverleaf, Mysterio submitted.
Summary: Good opener that told a quick story about mismatched partners with their own agendas.
Nitro Girls dance in front of the steel letters.
We then revisit Halloween Havoc ‘97 and the aftermath from the cage match. According to Schiavone, Piper suffered “nerve damage in his face.” Methinks he’ll need a big bookcase to sit on the shelf for a while.
Match 2: Fit Finley versus “Squire” David Taylor
While Raven and his “flock” meandered toward their ringside seats, the Philly faithful showered them with “E-C-W" chants. At least they weren’t booing Santa Claus.
Finley rammed him face-first into the apron, but Taylor responded with a flying headscissors.
As he gave Finley a cross corner whip, Taylor followed with a gorilla press gutbuster.
Finley then reversed a cross corner whip, but Taylor leaped to the second turnbuckle.
When Taylor attempted a cross body block, Finley evaded him.
He then clotheslined Taylor and DEMOLISHED him with a tombstone piledriver.
Summary: Showcase match for Finley.
Slim Jim sponsors the replay.
On WCW Saturday Night, Luger and Giant square off against the Faces of Fear.
Eric Bischoff is on the phone to discuss the Hogan/Sting situation in his own unique fashion. After he runs down Piper, Bischoff clamors about the successful ratings earned by Assault on Devil’s Island. He then mentions that the entire nWo including the “big man” (a.k.a. Kevin Nash) will be in Memphis next week for Nitro. Oh, I almost forgot. He also has a “HUGE surprise for everyone in WCW.” More on this later.
Match 3: Yuji Nagata (w/ Sonny Onoo) versus Psicosis
Nagata gave Psicosis a cross corner whip followed by a series of kicks.
When he gave Psicosis another cross corner whip, Nagata came up empty on his follow-through.
Psicosis then delivered a springboard dropkick, so Nagata sought refuge outside the ring.
As Psicosis grew weary of Nagata’s stalling, he hit a flying spinning heel kick over the top turnbuckle to the floor. Nifty!
He then mounted the apron and hit a guillotine leg drop to Nagata on the floor.
Upon returning to the ring, Psicosis got 2.
He then gave Nagata a cross corner whip followed by a dropkick.
When he placed Nagata atop the top turnbuckle, Psicosis attempted a huracanrana.
However, Nagata blocked it sending Psicosis CRASHING down to the mat by himself.
He then delivered an absegeri and a powerbomb.
As Nagata hit a release German suplex, Psicosis landed on his feet and delivered a spinning heel kick.
Onoo then got up on the apron and kicked Psicosis in the head. To his credit, referee Mickey Jay was too preoccupied with his love for cheesesteaks to notice.
Afterward, Nagata hit a belly-to-back suplex and applied a Nagata lock.
Psicosis submitted; therefore, Nagata won.
Summary: While Psicosis brought the high-flying, Nagata supplied the workrate with shenanigans by Onoo to top it off for the win.
After the match, Onoo’s happy to give Psicosis severance pay of 100 Mexican pesos for his services which equates to about five bucks here in the US.
Yet another Raven soliloquy.
Match 4 for the WCW World TV title: Disco Inferno (champion) versus Perry Saturn
This match marked Saturn’s WCW TV wrestling debut.
While Disco gave Saturn a back elbow, the Philly faithful chanted “E-C-W" allegedly hoping for an Eliminators reunion.
Saturn then delivered an overhead belly-to-belly suplex followed by a HARD cross corner whip.
As he hit a standard belly-to-belly suplex, Saturn applied a Fujiwara arm bar.
Disco then reversed an Irish whip but ate a spinning thrust kick.
When Saturn rammed him shoulder-first into the top turnbuckle, he clotheslined Disco.
He then snap-suplexed Disco before hitting another spinning thrust kick.
After another belly-to-belly suplex, Saturn gave Disco a cross corner whip but ate a back elbow on his follow-through.
Disco then clotheslined him for 2.
As Saturn reversed a cross corner whip, he delivered a release German suplex.
Disco then attempted a swinging neckbreaker, but Saturn countered with a tiger suplex.
When Saturn hooked a Rings of Saturn, Disco submitted.
WE HAVE A NEW CHAMPION!
Summary: Loads of psychology by Saturn led perfectly to his finisher. also, changing the title in front of ECW fans was a good call by WCW as it elicited the proper reaction.
After the match, Raven, Kidman, Sick Boy, and Richards enter the ring to celebrate Saturn’s achievement. In typical fashion, Raven immediately ejects Richards from the ring. I could be mistaken, but I believe that’s Richards’ final appearance in WCW. It would make sense since he lives in Philadelphia.
At the entrance, “Mean” Gene Okerlund interviews Flair who sucks up to the Philly faithful with “You love blood’n’guts, and I love you.” HA! We then revisit Halloween Havoc ‘97 when Flair stomped Hennig’s face off. Next, Flair compares himself to Eric Lindros of the Philadelphia Flyers and Hennig to Jaromir Jagr of the Pittsburgh Penguins to a big ovation. Needless to say, but he’s ready for the 60-man battle royal at the PPV as well as Hennig.
Nitro Girls dance in the ring wearing silver while Schiavone shills the Nitro Party contest.
For some reason, Hall wears a championship belt on his way to the ring. He then grabs the microphone and conducts a survey which leans toward the nWo. Following that, he calls out and insults Zbyszko. We then revisit Halloween Havoc ‘97 when Bischoff and Hall double-teamed Zbyszko.
Match 5: Scott Hall versus “Lionheart” Chris Jericho
While Jericho made his entrance, ECW’s “Hat Guy” was shown on camera.
Hall embarrassed Jericho by paint-brushing him, but Jericho responded with a spinning thrust kick.
When Hall clotheslined him, he caught Jericho mid-cross-body-block and delivered a fallaway slam.
He then attempted an Outsider Edge, but Jericho used momentum to escape.
As Jericho hooked an inside cradle, he pinned Hall.
UPSET CITY! Take the court!
Summary: Overconfidence may work sometimes but not in the ring with a savvy opponent.
After the match, Hall gives Jericho a pair of Outsider Edges while the Philly faithful chants “Lar-ry.” When Hall turns his attention toward the referee, Billy Silverman gets out of dodge. Hall threatens another Outsider Edge which causes Zbyszko to leave the broadcast table and head to the ring. As Zbyszko wants him to sign a contract for a match between them, Hall exits stage left.
Lucha Libre feature by Tenay highlights numerous moves executed by the luchadores.
Match 6 (battle royal):
Participants: Ciclope, Damien, El Dandy, Juventud Guerrera, Lizmark, Jr., Silver King, Villano IV, Villano V
Silver King made his entrance from the top rope taking out three luchadores.
As Guerrera made his entrance, he delivered a springboard flying headscissors to Ciclope.
Villano IV then powerbombed Guerrera while Silver King crotched Damien on the top rope.
When Silver King sent Damien to the apron, he suplexed him back into the ring.
Villano IV then hit a DDT on El Dandy who recovered to powerbomb Villano V.
After Villano IV delivered a second DDT to El Dandy, the Philly faithful rose to its feet.
Suddenly, Giant came to the ring, and I don’t like any of the luchadores’ chances.
His first victim was El Dandy who ate a chokeslam.
Next, Ciclope felt the same fate.
Victim #3 was Damien.
Following that, Lizmark, Jr. received an inverted atomic drop.
Giant then gorilla-pressed Silver King and launched him into a Villano.
As the other Villano took exception, he received a chokeslam.
Lizmark, Jr. then mounted the top turnbuckle and attempted a cross body block.
When Giant caught him, he summarily powerslammed him through the mat.
Methinks Giant won.
Summary: Showcase match for Giant who steamrolled over MUCH smaller competition.
Afterward, Giant grabs the microphone and wants to repeat as winner of the 60-man battle royal at the PPV. When he mentions Nash, he refers to him as “little big man.”
Nitro Girls dance at the entrance in white.
Match 7: “Nature Boy” Ric Flair versus “Das Wunderkind” Alex Wright (w/ Debra)
When Flair made his entrance, he promised that Debra will ride Space Mountain. That NEVER gets old.
Flair reversed a cross corner whip, but Wright floated over only to get chopped down.
As he backdropped Wright, Flair made sexual overtures toward Debra.
Flair then gave Wright a cross corner whip, but Wright cartwheeled away.
After he reversed an Irish whip, Wright delivered a spinning heel kick.
He then reversed another Irish whip and dropkicked Flair.
When Wright hit a series of elbow drops, he got 2 with his feet on the ropes. SNEAKY!
He then delivered a belly-to-back suplex for another 2.
As Flair rolled to the apron, Wright suplexed him back into the ring yet couldn’t get 3.
Flair rebounded with a knee drop and tossed Wright down to the floor.
After he joined Wright, Flair hit a belly-to-back suplex on the floor.
Wright then guillotined Flair with the top rope.
While a portion of the Philly faithful questioned Wright’s bedroom habits, their nemesis gave Flair a cross corner whip resulting in a Flair flip.
Wright then attempted a plancha, but Flair evaded him. That SPLAT you heard was Wright hitting the floor. OUCH!
When they returned to the ring, Wright mounted the top turnbuckle, but Flair crotched him.
He then suplexed Wright and hooked a figure-four leg lock.
Without hesitation, Wright submitted; thus, Flair won.
Summary: Without question, Flair had the Philly faithful firmly in his back pocket, and Wright had ZERO chance here.
Match 8: Steve “Mongo” McMichael versus Ray Traylor
Although a shoulder block couldn’t take Traylor off his feet, Mongo used a three-point stance tackle to accomplish the task.
He then used a second one then clotheslined Traylor over the top rope to the floor.
As Traylor returned, Mongo delivered an atomic drop.
Traylor then reversed a cross corner whip, tripped Mongo, and rammed Mongo’s knee into the ring post twice.
After a double clothesline put both wrestlers down on the mat, Bill Goldberg came to the ring wearing Mongo’s Super Bowl ring.
Mongo then hit a sidewalk slam before noticing Goldberg.
With Mongo’s head elsewhere, he suddenly became Traylor-Trashed.
Summary: More storyline than match as the Goldberg/Mongo story continues.
Promo airs for the Nitro Party contest.
In the ring, Okerlund interviews DDP who’s ready for the PPV and Hogan. Okerlund mentioned DDP’s Battlebowl ring.
At the entrance, the Nitro Girls dance in black.
Match 9 (Philadelphia street fight) for the WCW World tag team titles: Steiners (champions w/ Ted DiBiase) versus Public Enemy
When Public Enemy made their entrance, they brought two tables with them.
Rick delivered a Steinerline to Grunge, and Scott gorilla-press-slammed Rocco.
As Rick powerslammed Grunge, Scott rammed Rocco into the steel railing.
In the ring, Scott gave Rocco a cross corner whip but ate boot on his follow-through.
Rick then rammed Grunge into the steps while Rocco mounted the top turnbuckle and hit a shoulder smash.
After Rocco tried a second time, Scott crotched him on the top rope. That’ll ruin your Cheeze Whiz!
Scott and Rocco then took the match into the Philly faithful, and Scott nailed Rocco with a chair to appease them.
When Grunge mounted the second turnbuckle, he leaped but ate boot.
Scott then made Rocco taste the steel railing. It must have tasted like the Chubb Steak Wrap at the Tattooed Mom.
As Rick made Grunge HIT THE POLE, Rocco mounted the broadcast trellis and nailed Scott.
Scott then rammed Rocco into the broadcast stand and drenched both Rocco and Tenay with an adult beverage.
After Rocco climbed the entrance platform, he hit a cross body block to Scott on the concrete floor.
Scott then rammed Rocco into the steel letters, returned to ringside, and rammed him face-first into the steps.
When Scott mounted the apron, he delivered a double axe handle to Rocco.
Public Enemy then tossed Rick over the top rope to the floor, and Rocco WALLOPED Rick with a chair.
As Rocco prepped Rick to be decapitated between two tables, Grunge mounted the top turnbuckle.
Just as Grunge leaped, DiBiase saved Rick’s bacon more than anyone should outside of combat.
Nonetheless, Rick was BUSTED OPEN while Grunge laid OUT COLD on the floor.
Scott then pinned Grunge, and the Steiners retained.
Summary: DANGEROUS mess with ZERO redeeming value except to injure each other.
We then revisit World War III ‘96 in fast-forward as Giant wins the 60-man battle royal. Those of you on amphetamines may believe that’s real speed while those of us who remain firmly on the ground may need to relax after that whirlwind.
Match 10 for the WCW US title: Curt Hennig (champion) versus the “Total Package” Lex Luger
As Hennig gave him a cross corner whip, Luger EXPLODED from the corner with a clothesline.
Following a commercial break, Hennig guillotined Luger with the top rope.
He then guillotined Luger with the bottom rope followed by a neck snap for 2.
When he delivered a knee lift, Hennig guillotined Luger with the top rope again.
Luger then reversed a cross corner whip that resulted in a major Hennig sell. Woohoo!
After he hit an atomic drop, Luger delivered a pair of inverted atomic drops.
He then gave Hennig a pair of clotheslines followed by a flying forearm.
As he attempted a Torture Rack, Hennig grabbed the top rope.
Both wrestlers and referee Randy Anderson spilled to the floor and apron respectively.
When Hennig retrieved the US title belt, Flair came to ringside to brawl with him.
Anderson then called for the bell to disqualify Luger.
As a result, Hennig retained.
Summary: Crappy main event meant to further the Hennig/Flair storyline. Methinks the timing of the run-in was off, and Flair was supposed to interfere a minute later.
As the brawl between Hennig and Flair spills into the ring, Luger hooks Hennig in a Torture Rack. Flair then nails the prone Hennig causing both Luger and Hennig to fall down to the mat. After Flair chases Hennig backstage, Luger confronts him about his interference. WE’RE OUTTA TIME!
Conclusion: The road to World War III ‘97 begins here as WCW used the every-man-for himself theme to provide a taste for the upcoming PPV. Also, they provided some ECW-like entertainment for the Philly hardcore fans with the tag and TV title matches. The pending announcement by Bischoff intrigues me. I wonder what surprise WCW has in store for us next week. What’s on RAW is WAR?