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WCW Monday Nitro 04-20-98

Live from Colorado Springs, CO

Airdate: April 20, 1998

Attendance: 6,479 (sold out)

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

Can Goldberg win his first title by beating Raven? Who will challenge Savage for the World title? And who is the leader of the nWo? Let’s not hesitate and get started!

To begin the show, we get EXCLUSIVE FOOTAGE where Hogan and the Disciple attack Nash and a broken-down Savage following the World title match. Norton takes the World title belt and yells “it’s back in the nWo where it belongs.” True, but…

Opening montage.

Hogan, Disciple, and Bischoff emerge through the entrance and head to the ring. When Tenay and Schiavone discuss “spin control,” Zbyszko’s confused about a dryer. HA! Hogan runs down Savage and wants a title shot. Meanwhile, the Colorado Springs faithful chants “Hogan sucks.” Hogan declares the nWo “split,” vows to regain the World title, and advises Nash not to interfere or feel the wrath of Disciple.

Nitro is sponsored by Valvoline.

More nWo music plays while WCW World champion Savage emerges through the entrance and heads to the ring. As he expresses his disdain for Hogan, Savage gloats about being THE MAN. He points his finger at Hogan for being the Viper wheelman and accepts the challenge. Next, he introduces the NEW leader of the nWo— “Big Sexy” Kevin Nash. We have a power shift!

Nash heads to the ring in a tracksuit. With microphone in hand, Nash cuts a promo on Hogan and threatens Disciple. Upon calling Bischoff a “Ken doll,” Nash reminds him of Great American Bash ’96 when he PLANTED Bischoff through the stage.

In the bathroom, Raven obsesses with Goldberg’s 74-0 record and promises to remove him from the ranks of the unbeaten. Hopefully, he remembers to flush.

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

Next, “Mean” Gene Okerlund shills the hotline.

Match 1: Konnan (w/ Vincent) versus “Gentleman” Chris Adams


Rating: *

Summary: Showcase match for Konnan.

Nitro Girls dance in the ring wearing blue on black. In addition, Schiavone announces that Dana Marangelly from Clemson University. Her video follows.

Match 2: Barbarian (w/ Jimmy Hart) versus Wayne Bloom


Rating: DUD

Summary: Showcase match for Barbarian.

Castrol sponsors the replay.

More Raven shrapnel airs.

Wearing Prince Iaukea’s wrap around his waist, Jericho brings an easel with a framed poster of Dean Malenko on it. He grabs the microphone and updates us on Malenko’s condition. As Jericho claims that Malenko has “retired,” he states that Malenko could be working at Harry’s Burgers in Tampa tomorrow. HA! I’ll take an Ultimate Tower burger please.

Match 3 for the WCW Cruiserweight title: “Lionheart” Chris Jericho (champion) versus Juventud Guerrera


Rating: **½

Summary: Short story where Guerrera showed he had the ability to defeat Jericho but got caught and trapped in the end. He only lost due to loss of consciousness.

After the match, Jericho utters a South Park-themed response: “Oh my God, I killed Juvie!” HA!

HOUR #2!

Match 4 for the WCW US title: Raven (champion w/ the Flock) versus Goldberg


Rating: ***

Summary: History-making victory as Goldberg became not only 75-0 but also US champion. Hands down, one of the best moments in WCW history.

TV Rating: 5.7

Nitro Girls dance in either evening or nightgowns depending on your mileage.

Match 5: Ultimo Dragon versus La Parka


Rating: **

Summary: More storyline than match as Eddie manipulated Chavo to interfere in the match.

We revisit stills from last night when Nash assisted Savage in winning the World title against Sting.

Match 6: Curt Hennig (w/ “Ravishing” Rick Rude) versus the “Crippler” Chris Benoit


Rating: DUD

Summary: Hennig’s knee must have been screwed six ways to Sunday for him to barely give a shit with Benoit on the other side of the ring.

TV Rating: 4.6

After the match, Rude attacks Benoit and whips him into an Axe by Hennig. Booker T arrives, but Rude and Hennig head for the hills. Before I type that nothing happens between Benoit and Booker T, Benoit catches up with Booker T in the aisle, and the brawl is ON.

More stills from last night air as Hogan disrupts Savage during the main event.

In the ring, Okerlund interviews “Rowdy” Roddy Piper who confuses Colorado Springs for Denver. Bartender, I’ll have what he’s having. Next, he confuses Colorado Springs for Boulder. Methinks Piper and mountain air do not mix. Nevertheless, Piper has some stipulations for tonight’s World title match:

  1. No-DQ.
  2. No run-ins.
  3. There must be a winner.

Afterward, Piper cuts a promo on Hogan while exciting the Colorado Springs faithful.

Same stills from earlier are shown with Nash’s destruction of Sting.

Match 7: Saturn versus Hammer


Rating: ½*

Summary: Ongoing feud that is NOT making any headlines. Next!

TV Rating: 5.0

Same stills from last night air as Hogan goes into business for himself.

HOUR #3!

Match 8: Big Poppa Pump & Buff Bagwell versus Public Enemy


Rating: **

Summary: Solid workrate by BPP who, along with Bagwell, showed enough charisma for the Colorado Springs faithful to give a shit.

TV Rating: 4.9

Nitro Girls dance in camouflage at the entrance. Who can combat that logic?

Match 9 for the WCW World TV title: Booker T (champion) versus Psicosis


Rating: ***

Summary: Psicosis brought some psychology with a touch of high-flying, but Booker T overcame everything and excited the Colorado Springs faithful with his amazing arsenal.

TV Rating: 4.5

Match 10: The “Total Package” Lex Luger versus Brian Adams (w/ Vincent)


Rating: **

Summary: Luger got the Colorado Springs faithful behind him, and his Superman comeback enabled him to be victorious.

TV Rating: 4.3

Uh-oh…my Spidey sense is tingling.

Hogan approaches the ring first, grabs the microphone, and cuts a promo on Savage.

Match 11 for the WCW World title: “Macho Man” Randy Savage (w/o Elizabeth) versus “Hollywood” Hogan (w/ the Disciple)


Rating: *

Summary: Remember all those Bret Hart hero vignettes? Remember Hart saving his brothers-in-law for weeks on end? Nonetheless, Hart is no longer a hero but, in fact, an anti-hero. Also, despite being a worthy champion, Savage is just too injured to sustain a long title reign. Hogan’s creative control is in full effect, and he’s the champion once again. Will the 1998 wrestling audience appreciate him more than Austin?

TV Rating: 6.5 Wow!

After the match, Piper approaches the ring and questions Bret about his actions. Bret refuses to answer and belts Piper to end the show.

Conclusion: Depending on your mileage, this was a very solid show, and Hogan is THE MAN again. This time, he has Bret to thank for his accomplishment. Since Bret’s been in neutral thus far in his WCW existence, let’s hope his character has a strong impact. Additionally, Goldberg made history by winning the US title at 75-0. Benoit and Booker T’s saga continues while Jericho entertains us with his shenanigans. What’s on RAW is WAR?

Final TV Rating: 5.11

Stay tuned for RAW Is WAR 04-20-98!

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

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