WCW Monday Nitro 02-23-98

Live from Sacramento, CA

Airdate: February 23, 1998

Attendance: 12,307 (9,957 paid)

Hosted by Tony Schiavone, Larry Zbyszko, “Iron” Mike Tenay, & Bobby “The Brain” Heenan

Will Hall defeat Sting to become WCW World champion? How will Rick deal with his brother’s new allegiance? Speaking of which, what’s new about Scott Steiner? Let’s find out!

To begin the show, DDP, Booker T, Flair, and Bret are disappointed in Scott Steiner’s turn to the nWo.

Opening montage.

Back in the locker room, “Mean” Gene Okerlund tries to interview Rick Steiner but gets dismissed.

Prior to the opening match, Luger calls out Scott Steiner RIGHT NOW.

RIP Eddie Van Halen.

Match 1: The “Total Package” Lex Luger versus Curt Hennig (w/ “Ravishing” Rick Rude)


Rating: NONE

Summary: All storyline as the Scott Steiner heel turn is cemented with his attack upon Luger.

Afterward, WCW wrestlers congregate in the ring, and I truly hope Sting doesn’t have COVID-19. Where’s the social distancing?

Nitro Girls dance at the entrance while wearing jeans. Where’s the purple in support of the Kings?

Match 2 (non-title): WCW US champion Diamond Dallas Page versus Hammer (w/ the Flock)


Rating: **

Summary: Showcase match for DDP, but Hammer came to play.

After the match, Lodi gets up on the apron only for DDP to send him packing with a punch. The Flock storms the ring to ambush DDP. Alternatively, when Benoit appears, they scatter like flies.

Outside the Arco Arena, a black limousine arrives, and Hogan with Bischoff emerge. Someone else is in the limo but stays behind off-camera. Vincent updates Hogan who says “it’s on now.” After they make their way through the backstage area, Hogan and Bischoff power-walk to the ring. Hogan then spews his nonsense while the Sacramento faithful chants “Hogan sucks.” Amazingly, Hogan books Scott Hall to challenge Sting for the title instead of himself TONIGHT. Something smells fishy.

Hogan then cuts a promo on Savage and wants a steel cage match against him at the PPV. From the stands, Savage rebuts with Elizabeth by his side and accepts the challenge. Austin who?

Match 3: Ultimo Dragon versus Kaz Hayashi


Rating: **

Summary: Solid workrate and high-flying by both wrestlers. Unfortunately, the Sactown faithful took an early slumber.

Castrol sponsors the replay.

At the entrance, Okerlund shills the hotline.

Bryant College hosts this week’s Nitro Party video. I’m surprised there weren’t any Dunkin Donuts around.

Match 4: The “Crippler” Chris Benoit versus Raven


Rating: **

Summary: Wicked chemistry between these two as they tell a great story until the bogus finish.

After the match, the Flock tries to attack him, but Benoit fights them off. Riggs gets a shot in, but Raven casts him off to attempt a DDT. Much to the delight of the Sactown faithful, DDP arrives to save Benoit’s bacon. At least, that’s what it could have been. However, all three wrestlers brawl with one another, and I smell a triple-threat match at the PPV.

HOUR #2!

At the entrance, the Nitro Girls dance in black leather while Schiavone shills the Nitro Party contest.

Match 5 for the WCW Cruiserweight title: “Lionheart” Chris Jericho (champion) versus Lenny Lane


Rating: **

Summary: Solid debut for Lane while Jericho put him over strong in his route to victory.

Match 6: The “Dog-Faced Gremlin” Rick Steiner (w/ Ted DiBiase) versus Vincent


Rating: ½*

Summary: Showcase match for the truly miffed older brother.

Match 7: Perry Saturn versus Yuji Nagata (w/ Sonny Onoo)


Rating: **

Summary: Mat-based submission-style wrestling that sounds good on paper, but the Sactown faithful were out getting popcorn.

Match 8 for the WCW World TV title: Booker T (champion) versus Renegade


Rating: *½

Summary: Showcase match for Booker T as the Sactown faithful awoke from its slumber.

Match 9: Konnan versus Lizmark, Jr.


Rating: **

Summary: Showcase match for Konnan with some crisp high-flying by Lizmark, Jr.

After the match, Konnan grabs the microphone, runs down Juventud Guerrera, reveals his real name, and refers to him as “nothing” without the mask. And just like that…fourth wall…

HOUR #3!

Nitro Girls dance in red and silver at the broadcast table.

Match 10: Vicious & Delicious versus High Voltage


Rating: ***

Summary: While I cannot confirm it, I believe Norton, knowing High Voltage’s recent NJPW tour, made them look good before his team demolished them.

Match 11: Eddie Guerrero versus Disco Inferno


Rating: **½

Summary: Showcase match for Eddie, but Disco made him work for it.

Nitro Girls danced in the ring wearing Nitro t-shirts. As they removed them, the Sactown faithful gleefully rejoiced.

At the entrance, Okerlund interviews JJ Dillon who declares that he sent referee Nick Patrick to the ring last night when Charles Robinson went down. Therefore, the referee’s decision is FINAL, and Sting is the undisputed World champion. He then requests Patrick’s presence and congratulates him on his performance. And with that, two months of abeyance is OVER.

Match 12: “Nature Boy” Ric Flair versus Brad Armstrong


Rating: **

Summary: Showcase match for Flair who let Armstrong get close but not too close.

Same Giant video from last night airs.

In the ring, Okerlund interviews Giant who accuses Kevin Nash of blatantly trying to break his neck. Giant promises to give Nash “the ride of his life.” I wonder what Mrs. Nash thought of that.

After a commercial break, Okerlund interviews Adams who cuts a promo on Bret. Suddenly, Bret power-walks to the ring and challenges Adams. As they brawl, Adams supplies Bret with an inverted atomic drop. He then delivers a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker but misses an elbow drop. When Bret roughs him up like a goon, he applies a Sharpshooter. That’s a unique way to get the new guy over.

Nevertheless, Hennig storms the ring and nails Bret from behind. While Rude comes to ringside, Flair hits the ring to even the odds. He and Bret then chase them from the ring with Bret’s atomic drop of Hennig being the exclamation point.

Flair grabs the microphone and touts Bret. As he name-drops Arn Anderson, he appreciates Bret’s respect. Bret promises to tear down the nWo and challenges Hennig to a match at the PPV. To finish the interview, Flair calls an nWo fan “fat boy” and thrusts his hips to elicit a big reaction from the Sactown faithful. Live TV, folks.

Match 13 for the WCW World title: Sting (champion) versus Scott Hall (w/ the nWo)


Rating: NONE

Conclusion: Start the show with a schmozz to showcase Scott’s new look. End the show with a schmozz to send your NEW World champion crashing back down to Earth. In between, there were some good matchups along with some necessary plugs for matches at the next PPV. In addition, the new faces made their marks while WCW does everything possible to stay on top.

What’s on RAW is WAR?

TV Rating: 4.6

Stay tuned for RAW Is WAR 02-23-98!

Comments? Suggestions? Send them to me at rsg@rockstargary.com and follow me on Twitter (@rockstargary202).

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