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WCW Monday Nitro 05-25-98

Live from Evansville, IN

Airdate: May 25, 1998

Attendance: 8,936 (sold out)

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

What’s going on with Luger? How will he and Sting fare in the main event? Benoit and Booker T battle in the first match of a best-of-seven series to determine the #1 contender to the World TV title. Also, can Goldberg, Jericho, Eddie and Chavo, Raven, and others make it a memorable Memorial Day show?

In the ring, Nitro Girls dance in silver and black to open the show.

While Schiavone describes tonight’s main event, Zbyszko accepts his kudos from the Evansville faithful.

We revisit last week when Sting turned down the Giant’s offer to join nWo Hollywood. Afterward, we revisit that despicable Thunder from last week when Luger refuted Giant’s claims about Sting and received a beating for it.

Opening montage.

Raven and his riot squad head to the ring to a chorus of “Raven sucks” chants. As he cuts a promo on Mortis, Horace, Kidman, and Lodi join him in the ring. He calls out to Saturn for his friendship. Next, he fires the Flock. Lodi questions what’s happening and receives an Even Flow DDT in response. Raven pleads for Saturn’s return to him.

Glacier cuts a pre-taped promo on Saturn.

is sponsored by Valvoline.

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

We want a match!

We want a match!

We want a match!

Instead, we revisit Thunder when Benoit laid out Booker T, and Stevie Ray returned from a four-month absence to encourage his brother.

Match 1 for the WCW World TV title: Fit Finlay (champion) versus Mike Enos


Rating: *

Summary: Showcase match for Finlay, but Enos was game until the perceivable injury. The Evansville faithful were clamoring for an Enos upset as well.

Slim Jim sponsors the replay.

At the entrance, “Mean” Gene Okerlund shills the hotline.

Match 2: Saturn versus Glacier


Rating: **

Summary: Hopefully this settles the dispute between these two. Saturn’s a much better wrestler and deserves more than fodder like Glacier.

After the match, Raven deposits Hammer on the floor with an Even Flow DDT. Saturn exits the ring, takes a look at Raven, yet walks away.

STARBURST ROAD REPORT: Thunder will be LIVE in Nashville, TN on Wednesday. Please be better than last week!

Giant, Brian Adams, and Vincent head to the ring. When Giant cuts a promo on him, he calls Nash out for a match RIGHT NOW. In fact, he steals the “Big Sexy” moniker from Nash. Dem’s fightin’ words! The Evansville faithful chants “we want Nash,” and their hero arrives.

Nash refers to the nWo trio as “Hogan’s three fluff boys” and steps into the ring. That’s QUALITY snark right there. After he removes Adams and Vincent from the equation, Nash battles Giant until the numbers game catches up to him.

Suddenly, Luger and Konnan chase off nWo Hollywood with a chair. What’s Luger doing with Konnan? Savage and Hennig join the party, and the Evansville faithful ROARS. After Nash tosses an nWo Wolfpack shirt to him, Luger polls the Evansville faithful and wears it to a HUGE ovation. Now THAT’S the way to end the first hour. If this happened today, Twitter would have blown up.

HOUR #2!

Match 3: “Lionheart” Chris Jericho versus El Dandy


Rating: ½*

Summary: Swift showcase match for the former Cruiserweight champion.

After the match, Jericho grabs the microphone and cries about the loss of the Cruiserweight title. He calls out JJ Dillon again, but Dillon answers this time. As Jericho points out that Malenko wasn’t involved in the PPV battle royal, Dillon reads him the red tape. Dillon wants a precedent to change the belt and won’t do so until one’s forthcoming. As expected, a belligerent Jericho throws a tantrum.

We revisit the first hour when Luger joined the nWo Wolfpack.

Nitro is sponsored by Burger King.

In case you didn’t read my Thunder reflection, WCW will invade the Georgia Dome on 7/6. Nothing happens that night, right?

Match 4: Konnan versus La Parka


Rating: **

Summary: Since Konnan’s a member of nWo Wolfpack, the Evansville faithful maintained their interest. Had Konnan not had any nWo affiliation, it may have been taco time.

The Nitro Girls dance in black at the broadcast table, but Schiavone segues to a Mortis Kanyon video where Kanyon cuts a promo on Raven. Before the break, Zbyszko announces “men should be allowed to have a harem.”

In the ring, Okerlund interviews “Rowdy” Roddy Piper who drops an Indiana Pacers reference. He calls Savage a “Muppet” and “Village People reject.” As Okerlund asks Piper about trust, Savage saunters toward the ring. Elizabeth tries to stop him to no avail. When Piper confronts Savage, they ultimately agree to be partners at the PPV.

Suddenly, Bret interrupts from the aisle and stirs the pot. Piper refutes Bret’s lies, but Savage wants to ruin his Monday night. Savage tosses a chair into the ring, but Piper sets it up and sits down. He reasons with Savage that they work as a team at the PPV but can fight afterward if need be.

Match 5: Juventud Guerrera versus Kidman


Rating: ****

Summary: Spectacular match as these guys didn’t hold back. The Evansville faithful also appreciated their tremendous effort. Note the lack of interference too because, without it, the match quality improves. Bravo, gentlemen!

Nitro Girls dance at the entrance in black.

Nitro Party video by preteen Julie Sherry of Dearborn Heights, MI airs. I wonder if she’s still a wrestling fan these days.

The broadcast team speculates on the main event, and Tenay updates Rick Steiner’s condition—successful shoulder surgery yet out until August. Following that, we revisit the shenanigans of Scott Steiner from three weeks ago.

Prior to the next match, Eddie rebuffs Chavo’s attempts at affection. Chavo grabs the microphone and asks Eddie if he’s taking the match. Eddie says no, but Chavo tries to both confuse and manipulate him. Irony! Reluctantly, Eddie acquiesces to Chavo’s demands.

Match 6: Ultimo Dragon versus Chavo Guerrero, Jr. (w/ Eddie Guerrero)


Rating: **

Summary: More storyline than match as Dr. Frankenstein cannot fathom the monster he has created. Unfortunately, the Evansville faithful doesn’t care for Chavo.

After the match, Chavo invites Eddie into the ring and is ready to fight some more. Finally, the Evansville faithful wakes up and advises Eddie that he indeed “sucks.”

At ringside, Okerlund interviews Eddie who states that ring announcer David Penzer’s father is a psychiatrist, and he should obtain an appointment for Chavo. HA! JJ Dillon interrupts and announces an Eddie versus Chavo match at the upcoming PPV. While Eddie vehemently complains, Chavo celebrates.

HOUR #3!

Match 7 for the WCW Cruiserweight title: Dean Malenko (champion) versus Lenny Lane


Rating: **

Summary: Showcase match for Malenko, but Lane showed some personality and heel mannerisms.

Nitro is sponsored by Twix.

Match 8 for the WCW US title: Goldberg (champion) versus Johnny Attitude


Rating: *

Summary: Showcase match for Goldberg who’s 90-0. I’m certain that Attitude’s demeanor has turned negative. The subliminal message isn’t lost on me as WCW defeats “Attitude.”

Match 9 (best-of-seven #1): The “Crippler” Chris Benoit versus Booker T


Rating: ***

Summary: Excellent psychology as each wrestler knows his opponent well, and a great story is told. Benoit leads the series 1-0. Match 2 will be on Thunder.

Replay of Luger’s indoctrination into the nWo Wolfpack is shown.

Match 10: The “Total Package” Lex Luger & Sting versus Giant & “Sting”


Rating: **

Summary: A clean finish! OK, perhaps with “Sting” in the match, it was predictable, but it was still clean. The question remains…whose side is Sting on?

Afterward, Nash and the nWo Wolfpack meander toward the ring. Sting exits the ring while Luger salutes his new teammates. While the Evansville faithful boils to a fever pitch, Sting re-enters the ring. Luger pitches the nWo Wolfpack t-shirt to Sting, but time runs out.

Conclusion: While I realize they had to put the shirt on Luger before the main event, the defining moment of the episode was Luger’s inclusion into the nWo Wolfpack. I hate the fact that they dragged “Sting” out of mothballs as a foil for Sting rather than a better nWo Hollywood wrestler. His presence telegraphed the finish to the main event which could have led viewers to change the channel to RAW.

Otherwise, with the #1 contender’s match, the Kidman/Guerrera match, Eddie/Chavo, Jericho, and the simmering Goldberg, this was an extremely solid episode.

What’s on RAW is WAR?

TV Rating: 4.2

Stay tuned for RAW Is WAR 05-25-98!

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

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