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WCW Monday Nitro 05-11-98

Live from Kansas City, MO

Airdate: May 11, 1998

Attendance: 15,941 (15,392 paid, sold out)

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

Who’s the latest defection within the nWo? With Nitro up against RAW this week, what will be the blockbuster main event? What’s the latest between Booker T and Benoit? How will Jericho entertain us? And what on God’s green Earth is Bischoff up to?

Opening montage.

We revisit last week when the nWo Wolfpack demolished Luger until Sting and Giant saved his bacon. In the meantime, nWo Hollywood stood back to admire the carnage.

In the ring, “Mean” Gene Okerlund interviews Bret who runs down Savage.

Nitro is sponsored by Valvoline.

Following a commercial break, Okerlund introduces the Nitro Girls who dance in t-shirts with bare midriffs. Yummy! Surprisingly, Alex Wright did not involve himself.

Match 1: Disco Inferno versus Barry Horowitz


Rating: DUD

Summary: Showcase match for Disco.

Savage emerges through the entrance and stalls for a boatload of time. After he climbs in the ring, Savage cuts a promo on Bret and challenges Hogan TONIGHT. The KC faithful chants “Hogan sucks,” and Savage agrees. While he referred to Hogan as a “bald-headed reject from the glue factory,” Savage wants to regain the World title.

Match 2: Kidman (w/ Reese) versus Juventud Guerrera


Rating: ***½

Summary: A tad better than their encounter a couple of weeks ago, but I sense there’s even more in store for this matchup.

After the match, Reese carries a comatose Guerrera back to the locker room. Will Guerrera convert to the Flock?

Riding a Harley, Eric Bischoff comes to the ring to a chorus of boos. He namedrops Vince McMahon and subtly describes DX’s mission to confront him. Next, he namedrops and advises Sean Waltman (XPac) to “bite (him).” HA! He mentions that WCW will be in Worcester, MA for Slamboree this Sunday and invites McMahon to a fight. Smartly, Bischoff instructs us not to buy the PPV just to see Vince McMahon because he won’t appear.

HOT TAKE: As a matter of business strategy, #1 never acknowledges #2. Case in point, Coca-Cola ads do not seek out to name Pepsi as its primary competition. By putting McMahon’s name on Nitro, Bischoff violated this working principle. In fact, he’s reducing WCW back to #2 status purposefully to try to embarrass McMahon. What an egomaniacal move that has every chance to blow up in Bischoff’s face.

At the entrance, the Nitro Girls dance in silver and white. As if on cue, Wright makes his presence felt albeit negatively by gyrating among them. WCW Security removes him instantly while Schiavone shills the Nitro Party contest.

Match 3: Scott Norton versus Yuji Nagata (w/ Sonny Onoo)


Rating: **

Summary: Stiff strong-style match with Onoo playing both sides. Why? It’s due to his role as the NJPW liaison for WCW.

Ben Gay sponsors the replay.

At the entrance, Okerlund shills the hotline.

We revisit last week when Curt Hennig joined nWo Wolfpack.

Match 4: Hugh Morrus (w/ Jimmy Hart) versus Jim Powers


Rating: ½*

Summary: Short showcase match for Morrus.

Prior to a commercial break, Kevin Nash and Konnan meander through the KC faithful to the ring. Nash mentions Scott Hall while referring to Hogan as a bandwagon jumper. After he teases Hogan and Bischoff about Viagra, Nash runs down Hogan before comparing himself to Godzilla. Lastly, they mock Hogan for mishandling the nWo catchphrases before being cut off by their music.

HOUR #2!

Match 5: Ultimo Dragon versus Johnny Swinger


Rating: DUD

Summary: More storyline than match as you will discover.

Chavo joins Dragon in the ring, and Eddie storms the ring. As he shoves Dragon, Eddie slaps Chavo. A shoving contest ensues, and Chavo gets the better of Eddie. While Eddie dares Chavo to hit him, Dragon locks the Dragon Sleeper on him. Chavo stops him after a brief pause, and Eddie attacks Dragon from behind. Chavo stops him, so Eddie walks away to a “Eddie sucks” serenade by the KC faithful.

Dusty Rhodes emerges through the entrance and cuts a promo for Hall. When he reminds Hogan of his place in history, Rhodes details his history with Scott Hall. Rhodes states that Hall has some “personal problems” but will be at the PPV. Afterward, he gripes about Savage. Although there might be a minority of hardcore fans among the KC faithful, the majority remained silent because they didn’t know how to react to Rhodes.

Nitro is sponsored by Burger King.

Match 6 for the WCW US title: Goldberg (champion) versus Len Denton


Rating: *

Summary: Showcase match for the unstoppable machine (83-0) who’s over more than Rover.

In the ring, a slovenly Okerlund interviews JJ Dillon along with Raven. Did he dabble with some spice backstage? In any case, Dillon describes a pattern of violent acts perpetuated against Raven. Next, he mentions “an unsafe working environment” and a possible “breach of contract.” Raven requests protection from WCW, and Dillon promises “four riot control officers to protect him.”

As Raven expresses pleasure over the announcement, said four officers make their way to the ring. He cuts a promo on his “assailant” and DDP while the Flock approaches the ring. Included in his promo is a challenge to DDP at the PPV to a “bowery death match.” WTF? Oh, it’s a Texas death match in a cage.

Raven requests Saturn speak about his loss and subsequent removal from the Flock. When Kidman eggs him on, Saturn comes to the ring. In lieu of restraining Hammer, the Flock knocks him down. Saturn deals Hammer a Death Valley Driver, and Raven excommunicates Hammer and reinstates Saturn as his “enforcer.”

Match 7: Saturn (w/ the Flock) versus Jerry Flynn


Rating: ½*

Summary: Showcase match for Saturn.

We revisit the first hour when Bischoff challenged Vince McMahon.

Afterward, we revisit last week when Finlay upset Booker T for the TV title.

Match 8 for the WCW World TV title: Fit Finlay (champion) versus Rage (w/ Kaos)


Rating: **

Summary: Showcase match for Finlay while Rage showed off both his skills and inexperience.

After the match, Benoit arrives to join the melee. WCW Security separates them, and Dillon grabs the microphone. As he yells at both wrestlers, Dillon schedules a match between Booker T and Benoit TONIGHT. Also, there must be a winner. Methinks they won’t enforce a time limit.

Replay of Bischoff airs again.

Nitro Girls dance at the entrance yet didn’t change clothes. I feel ripped off. Schiavone reveals this week’s Nitro party pack winner to be—Ricky Scott from Dyersburg, TN. His video follows.

Match 9: Diamond Dallas Page versus Lenny Lane


Rating: **

Summary: Showcase match for DDP.

After the match, DDP grabs the microphone and challenges Raven RIGHT NOW. Raven and his riot squad stand at the entrance yet retreat.

Bischoff snippet #3 airs.

HOUR #3!

nWo music plays, and Hollywood Hogan along with Bischoff emerge through the entrance alongside Disciple, Vincent, and Brian Adams. As Hogan sets “the record straight,” he shills 3 Ninjas: High Noon at Mega Mountain where he portrays the character Dave Dragon. He also shills his upcoming project, Assault on Death Mountain, but butchers the title.

Nevertheless, he tells HIS side of the story of the creation of the nWo. He addresses Savage and accepts his challenge for the main event tonight. Afterward, Hogan calls out Nash RIGHT NOW, and Nash strides toward the ring seeking his prey. Where’s the rest of the Wolfpack? Hogan gives Nash ONE CHANCE to rectify his position.

While the KC faithful chants “Hogan sucks,” Nash won’t apologize for changing his stripes. Hogan promises “a real big gun,” and…Giant emerges wearing nWo Hollywood colors. WE HAVE A HEEL TURN! As Nash fights off Hogan’s goons, Giant clotheslines him. Giant spray-paints Nash’s back, and nWo Hollywood celebrates. Konnan, Savage, and Rhodes hit the ring to protect their leader. More on this later.

We revisit last week when “Lionheart” Chris Jericho ran down Malenko before defeating “Bore-Us” Malenko.

In the ring, Okerlund interviews Jericho who has an easel behind him. He rattles off his nicknames (“Lionheart, Man of 1004 holds, Ayatollah of Rock’n’Rolla, and Paragon of Virtue) as well as his trophies including a mannequin leg with a knee brace in honor of Rey Mysterio, Jr. HA! Overconfidently, he promises to retire since nobody can beat him.

Dillon interrupts and refutes Jericho’s apparent retirement. For the PPV, Dillon has sanctioned a 15-cruiserweight battle royal, and the winner will also face Jericho. Prior to his departure, Jericho unveils the Malenko poster which has been defaced with Jericho propaganda.

Jericho feigns disgust while Joe Malenko stands in the aisle. After Joe enters the ring, he cuts a promo on Jericho. When Jericho backtracks his earlier comments on the Malenkos, Joe grabs the poster. Jericho immediately clobbers him with the mannequin leg, easel, and poster.

Earlier today, Glacier hyped his Cryonic kick and promised to extinguish those who imitate it.

Match 10: Glacier versus Sick Boy


Rating: ½*

Summary: What in the blue hell is WCW thinking? Glacier is a ratings killer. I wouldn’t be surprised if this quarter hour affects WCW poorly in the ratings.

After the bell, Glacier demolishes Sick Boy with another Cryonic kick and pins him. What a waste of time. Saturn scoots back into the ring and deals Glacier a head-and-arm suplex. After he feeds Glacier a Death Valley Driver, Saturn leaves Glacier laying. Well, good, ‘cuz he sucks. Next!

We revisit last week when Big Poppa Pump duped his brother Rick and knocked him out of action thanks in part to Adams.

At the entrance, Okerlund interviews the “Total Package” Lex Luger. Wait a minute! Before we continue, a member of the KC faithful has his “friend” in the Torture Rack. HA! Regardless, Luger describes the effects of Rick Steiner’s injury and demands a match against either BPP or Adams at the PPV.

Nitro is sponsored by M&Ms.

Match 11: The “Crippler” Chris Benoit versus Booker T


Rating: ****

Summary: Familiarity breeds chemistry as these two combatants put on quite a show. The KC faithful didn’t know what to expect at first yet got a treat when it was finished. Bravo! Benoit will challenge Finlay at the PPV.

Match 12 for the WCW World title: Hollywood Hogan (champion w/ Disciple) versus “Macho Man” Randy Savage (w/o Elizabeth)


Rating: *

Summary: Nothing fancy, but you knew Bret would get involved in a match involving Savage.

After the match, Nash storms the ring to chase Hogan and Disciple from the ring. Out of nowhere, “Rowdy” Roddy Piper climbs into the ring and grabs a microphone. Instead of fighting Nash, Piper invokes his “commissioner” role and rules Savage a winner by DQ.

Nonetheless, he volunteers to be the special guest referee for the Savage-Bret match at the PPV and mimics Bret while exercising his authority.

Meanwhile, Piper drops a Viagra joke into his promo, yet Giant stomps his way toward the ring.

Giant stares down Nash who drops the straps in response. Somehow Robinson falls out of the ring, and Sting glares with indignity from the rafters to end the show.

Conclusion: Timing is everything. First, the Giant’s return to the now should have been part of the main event. I realize it’s cliché but placing it in a forgettable spot hurts Giant’s character. Second, the Bischoff promo was wisely placed in the first hour to “get the first word in” about the ratings war. Neither strategy was smart, but the Giant heel turn only affects WCW from a storyline perspective. Catch this episode for the Booker T-Benoit match but skip the rest. What’s on RAW is WAR?

TV Rating: 4.35

Stay tuned for RAW Is WAR 05-11-98!

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

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