Hosted by Tony Schiavone, Larry Zbyszko, “Iron” Mike Tenay, & Bobby “The Brain” Heenan
Who will win the initial battle between Mysterio and Jericho? Can Malenko steal the Cruiserweight title from Eddie right before the PPV? Who makes a special appearance? Let’s find out!
At the onset, we revisit last week’s episode when the nWo punked out Sting. I smell a theme.
Speaking of the nWo, they parade to the ring as the Outsiders sport new gold for absolutely no good reason. Hall performs his survey while the Cincinnati faithful chants “we want Sting.” As he calls out Zbyszko, Hall’s greeted by a strong “Lar-ry” chant. Nash then cuts a promo on the Steiners. Next, a Jimi Hendrix rip-off brings the World champion to the ring. During Hogan’s entrance, though, “Ravishing” Rick Rude, no longer sporting a full beard, emerges.
Wait a minute! Isn’t he in DeGeneration-X? What’s up with that?
Rude then declares “oh, what a difference a day makes.” While he discusses the “...wrongs (of) professional wrestling, Rude first mentions Shawn Michaels being World champion “when he never beat Bret Hart.” Afterward, he states another “wrong” being Vince McMahon’s order to Hebner to ring the bell to screw Bret out of the World title. He then says what’s right is for Bret to “abandon the Titanic (cute jeu de mots) and swim to the refuge of the nWo.” Yet another right is nWo's destruction of WCW. Also, he applauds the destruction of Sting and cuts a promo on him.
Hogan then gets his turn and uses his own jeu de mots about Sting. When the Cincinnati faithful LOUDLY chants “Hogan sucks,” their nemesis spews his delusional wisdom.
HOT TAKE: If you only thought Bret left WCW in November ‘97, you’d be wrong. Rude worked with the WWF on a verbal contract and fled to WCW when he saw the outcome behind the scenes of the Montreal Screwjob. More on this in my RAW is WAR reflection.
Nitro is sponsored by Valvoline.
Prior to the opening match, the Nitro Girls dance in the ring wearing silver.
At the entrance, “Mean” Gene Okerlund interviews Ray Traylor who calls the nWo cowards. Call their name and they shall appear! The nWo then destroys Traylor in the aisle until WCW Security rescues him.
Match 1: Glacier versus Meng (w/ Jimmy Hart)
Glacier reversed a cross corner whip and followed with a corner clothesline.
When Glacier performed his best Al Madril impression, Meng countered with a belly-to-back suplex.
Meng then clotheslined him while Schiavone hyped “the biggest Nitro ever” coming in January. Hmmm...
As Glacier leap-frogged him, Meng chopped him down like an oak tree.
He then attempted a somersault senton but came up empty.
After Meng gave Glacier a cross corner whip, he came up empty on his follow-through.
Glacier then clotheslined him, but Meng no-sold it.
When Glacier dropkicked and backdropped Meng, Hart got up on the apron.
Hart then summoned Barbarian to the ring and avoided getting swatted by Glacier.
As Meng ducked a kick, he applied the Tongan death grip.
Summary: Considering Barbarian’s impending participation, I foresee a tag match at the PPV.
After the match, the Faces of Fear double-team Glacier until Ernest Miller arrives. Miller pitches Hart over the top rope to the floor, mounts the top turnbuckle, and kicks down Barbarian. Despite his best efforts, Miller succumbs to a Tongan death grip.
On WCW Saturday Night, Wrath faces Hugh Morrus. Also, Disco Inferno squares off against Scotty Riggs. In addition, Dean Malenko and Rey Mysterio get a chance to entertain us.
Chester! We’ve missed you!
Match 2: Steve “Mongo” McMichael versus “Das Wunderkind” Alex Wright (w/ Debra)
Mongo reversed a cross corner whip and backdropped Wright.
As Debra distracted her estranged husband, Wright clobbered him.
He then delivered a spinning heel kick for 2 while Schiavone shilled the Mongo versus Goldberg match at the PPV.
When Wright slammed him, he mounted the top turnbuckle but missed a cross body block.
Despite Debra’s jumping up on the apron, Mongo persistently put the boots to Wright.
Referee Nick Patrick tried to intervene but got laid out like a rookie running back.
As a result, Wright won by DQ.
Summary: More angle than match as Mongo’s temper was the focus.
At the entrance, the Nitro Girls dance in black and white outfits while Schiavone shills the Nitro Party contest.
Match 3: “Lionheart” Chris Jericho versus Rey Mysterio, Jr.
When the match began, Schiavone shilled “the biggest Nitro ever” which will be on 01/05 at the Georgia Dome. Yeah! I attended that show!
Mysterio leap-frogged Jericho before monkey-flipping him.
As Jericho sent him to the apron, Mysterio delivered a springboard dropkick.
Jericho then slammed and clotheslined Mysterio.
After Mysterio reversed a cross corner whip, Jericho vaulted him to the apron, joined him atop the top turnbuckle, and hit a super gorilla press slam. Wow!
Jericho then delivered a delayed vertical suplex for 2.
When he followed with a double underhook backbreaker, Jericho supplied Mysterio with another pair of backbreakers for a second 2-count.
He then gave Mysterio a cross corner whip but ate boots on his follow-through.
As Jericho countered a flying headscissors with a huracanrana, he attempted a Lionsault.
Unfortunately for Jericho, he ate knees.
From the apron, Mysterio hooked a sunset flip for 2.
Jericho then hit a double powerbomb, but Mysterio escaped a third attempt.
After Mysterio delivered the West Coast Pop, he pinned Jericho.
Summary: Incredible showing by both wrestlers with great psychology, high-flying, and workrate that got the Cincinnati faithful’s attention. Bravo, gentlemen!
Slim Jim sponsors the replay while Zbyszko continues to besmirch Hall.
Following a commercial break, Eric Bischoff invades the broadcast table by antagonizing Zbyszko. As he leads Zbyszko away from his broadcasting position, the nWo sneak-attacks him. Count Zbyszko as victim #2 tonight. While Dillinger disposes of an unruly fan, Bischoff lands a pair of spin kicks to Zbyszko’s midsection thanks to Konnan and Buff Bagwell. I guess Zbyszko shot off his mouth once too often.
Match 4: Diamond Dallas Page (w/ Kimberly) versus Villano IV (w/ Villano V)
At the bell, DDP charged IV knocking him into V.
He then rolled up IV for 2.
As IV grabbed him by the boot, DDP delivered a discus lariat.
While the Cincinnati faithful chanted “D-D-P,” V helped IV gain the advantage. SNEAKY!
IV then distracted referee Mickey Jay so that V could give DDP the business. How dastardly!
When IV made a cover with his feet on the second rope and V’s assistance, he only got 2.
He then dropkicked DDP and delivered a senton splash for another 2.
After IV continued to distract Jay, V mounted the top turnbuckle and hit a flying knee drop.
IV then delivered an elbow drop but couldn’t get 3.
As DDP rebounded with a clothesline sending IV to the floor, he hit a plancha onto both Villanos.
Back in the ring, he pancaked IV and followed with a Diamond Cutter.
Summary: Decent story as the Villanos tried to double their pleasure, but DDP ruined their fun.
After the match, DDP crotches V on the top turnbuckle and delivers a Diamond Cutter. Woohoo!
Closed captioning is sponsored by 1-800-YES-CREDIT.
Match 5 for the WCW Cruiserweight title: Eddie Guerrero (champion) versus Dean Malenko
Eddie clotheslined Malenko and followed with a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker.
When Eddie delivered a spinning heel kick, he dropkicked Malenko in the back of the neck. OUCH!
Malenko then blocked a suplex and hit one of his own.
As he suplexed Malenko, Eddie gave Malenko a cross corner whip.
Malenko then floated over to the apron while Mysterio got a bird’s eye view from the entrance.
After Eddie dropkicked Malenko from the apron to the floor, Mysterio wanted more for his money by creeping to ringside.
Following a commercial break, Malenko reversed an Irish whip, flapjacked Eddie, and delivered his own spinning heel kick for 2.
When Eddie rebounded with a dropkick to Malenko’s knee, he guillotined Malenko with the apron. DOUBLE OUCH!
Malenko then powerbombed Eddie, attempted a Texas cloverleaf, but Eddie made the ropes.
As Eddie hooked a Gory special, a pinfall reversal sequence broke out for a series of 2-counts.
Malenko then hit an electric chair and attempted another Texas cloverleaf.
However, Eddie countered with an inside cradle for 2.
Malenko then delivered a uranage slam, mounted the top turnbuckle, but Eddie caught him.
After Eddie joined him, he hit a top rope superplex. Wow!
Eddie then mounted the top turnbuckle, but Malenko caught him.
When Malenko joined him, he delivered a top rope belly-to-back suplex. Awesome!
Both men landed hard, so referee Charles Robinson counted both men out.
As a result, Eddie retained.
Summary: Give the match an ending and a hint of drama, and it’s a MOTY candidate.
Jamie Brandenberg of Georgetown College (KY) won the Nitro Party pack this week so we see his video.
Match 6 for the WCW World TV title: Saturn (champion) versus Scotty Riggs
While Riggs made his entrance, he stared down Raven’s Flock with one eye.
Captain Cortisone, a.k.a. Kidman, then grabbed the microphone and offered Riggs a spot in Raven’s Flock.
As Riggs reversed an Irish whip, he delivered a back elbow.
He then clotheslined and dropkicked Saturn.
When Riggs backdropped him, Saturn sought refuge outside the ring.
He then got up on the apron and suplexed Riggs onto it. Oof!
After Riggs lost his eye patch, Saturn slammed him on the floor.
Back in the ring, Saturn hit a belly-to-belly suplex followed by a hammerlock suplex for 2.
He then gave Riggs a cross corner whip followed by a back elbow.
As he gave Riggs another cross corner whip, Saturn ate boot on his follow-through.
Riggs then whipped Saturn into the corner and delivered a knee to the midsection.
When he suplexed Saturn, Riggs hit a splash for 2.
Oh my! Riggs also lost his bandage, and his right eye looked completely cloudy. Yikes!
He then placed Saturn atop the top turnbuckle and attempted a superplex.
After Saturn blocked it, he attempted to brutalize Riggs with a superplex to the floor.
Riggs escaped, mounted the top turnbuckle, and dove onto the Flock in the front row! Amazing!
As Riggs tried to climb over the steel railing, Saturn dropkicked his knee.
He then rammed Riggs shoulder-first into the steps.
Back in the ring, Saturn slammed him, mounted the top turnbuckle, and delivered a guillotine leg drop.
He then applied the Rings of Saturn, and Riggs submitted.
Thus, Saturn retained.
Summary: Solid workrate and eye-popping high-flying couldn’t earn the Cincinnati faithful’s love. Maybe next time....
Following a commercial break, the Nitro Girls shine in glitter in the ring.
The Steiners and Ted DiBiase emerge through the entrance, but the nWo sneak-attacks them. Count the Steiners and DiBiase as victims #3, 4, and 5 for the evening.
Nitro is sponsored by Parker Brothers’ RISK. You too can dominate the world like WCW.
Match 7 for the WCW US title: Curt Hennig (champion) versus the “Total Package” Lex Luger
Luger backdropped Hennig and followed with a clothesline.
When he hammered Hennig, a Hennig flop occurred.
Hennig rebounded with a neck snap and annoyed referee Nick Patrick.
As Luger reversed a cross corner whip, he clotheslined the bejeezus out of Hennig. In fact, Hennig performed a 360° to sell it. Woohoo!
Luger then delivered a delayed vertical suplex, but Hennig guillotined him with the top rope.
After Hennig hit a pair of knee lifts, he got 2.
He then applied a sleeper while the Cincinnati faithful chanted “Lu-ger.”
When Luger countered with a belly-to-back suplex, he hit an inverted atomic drop.
Hennig sold it with gusto flying over the top rope to the floor. Incredible!
As Luger joined and rammed him face-first into the apron, Hennig used momentum to send Patrick directly into Luger on the floor.
He then grabbed the belt and WHACKED Luger with it.
Back in the ring, Hennig hooked a Hennigplex, but Patrick called for the bell.
Luger won by DQ, so Hennig retained.
Summary: The only worthwhile portion of the match was Hennig’s glorious selling.
After the match, Hennig shoves Patrick down and beats up Luger. Suddenly, Giant storms the ring to chase Hennig away.
Match 8: Giant versus Scott Hall
Nash joined the broadcast table as Heenan vacated the premises.
As Giant caved in Hall’s chest with chops, he slammed Hall.
To deceive Giant, Hall enticed him to follow him to the floor.
He then rammed Giant’s chokeslam hand into the ring post. Nefarious!
When he rammed it into the steps, Hall stomped on it in the ring.
Giant rebounded with a pair of head butts but nailed Hall with his injured hand.
After he blocked out the pain, Giant attempted a chokeslam.
The nWo then stormed the ring, so referee Randy Anderson called for the bell.
As a result, Giant won by DQ.
Summary: While the story made sense, nothing got accomplished except breaking Giant’s thumb.
To finish the program, the nWo adds Giant to their list as victim #6. Members of the WCW locker room then hit the ring, and a huge brawl erupts. Are you ready for World War III?
Conclusion: Mysterio and Jericho busted their asses on this episode. Same goes for Malenko and Eddie. While Riggs and Saturn lit up Cincinnati with their midcard madness, the nWo stole the show with their gang mentality. With the PPV on Sunday, can WCW unite the truly united nWo?
While some critics have panned this episode, I truly believe it’s solid if not spectacular. In addition to the great wrestling, WCW gave us an incoming Rude and storyline development in the Riggs-Flock saga. Check it out! What’s on RAW is WAR?