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WCW Monday Nitro 06-22-98

Live from Jacksonville, FL

Airdate: June 22, 1998

Attendance: 8,749 (7,795 paid, sold out)

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

Who will be in tonight's main event? What’s the BIG announcement? Who wins the battle of the Western Canadians? What’s new with Eddie and Chavo? Don’t be afraid! Come on in and enjoy the show!

Opening montage.

Once again, we revisit the chair-a-thon courtesy of “Hollywood” Hogan and the “Worm” Dennis Rodman.

In the ring, “Mean” Gene Okerlund interviews DDP who uses the word “scum” as someone’s nickname. He cuts a promo on Hogan integrating the Karl Malone-Dennis Rodman rivalry from the NBA. Per his contract, he leaves through the Jacksonville faithful.

Nitro Girls dance in the ring wearing neon tops with black shorts. Next, a Nitro Party video from Rob Slusser who hails from Charlotte, NC but is also a student at NC STATE. Woohoo!

Match 1: Disco Inferno versus Len “Don’t call me the Grappler” Denton


Rating: *

Summary: Showcase match for Disco, but Denton was game. It’s too bad he couldn’t perform his loaded boot gimmick and steal a victory.

Castrol sponsors the replay.

In the ring, Okerlund interviews Carolina Panthers linebacker Kevin Greene who puts over the Jacksonville Jaguars and quarterback Mark Brunell to a decent pop. Okerlund asks him football questions which the wrestling audience couldn’t give two shits. Nevertheless, Greene puts over the Four Horsemen as well as Goldberg.

Suddenly, Curt Hennig and “Ravishing” Rick Rude interrupt the interview, and Hennig cuts a promo on him. Unfortunately for Greene, it’s a setup as Giant ambushes him from behind. nWo Hollywood triple-teams Greene and challenges all comers. Greene recovers and calls Giant “fat boy.”

During the commercial break, a melee occurred in the locker room as Greene and Giant must be separated by the wrestlers. JJ Dillon steps in and sanctions a match between Giant and Greene TONIGHT.

Match 2: Yuji Nagata (w/ Sonny Onoo) versus Tokyo Magnum


Rating: **

Summary: Showcase match for Nagata, but Magnum’s character and selling have some juice to them. Meanwhile, the Jacksonville faithful provided a passing interest in the match rather than remaining silent.

Backstage, Stevie Ray pummels Benoit until WCW Security restrains him. Since Benoit’s rather quiet, I’ll bet he let a popcorn fart escape.

Video featuring Raven airs.

Match 3: Public Enemy versus Sick Boy & Horace (w/ Lodi)


Rating: ***

Summary: Public Enemy won a standard tag match? Who’da thunk it?

In the ring, Okerlund interviews Bret who’s not thrilled with any Canadian-on-Canadian violence. He briefly touts Benoit’s tour of the Hart Dungeon yet feels Benoit’s been corrupted after being in America. Was Bret reading from a cue card? Drop me a line.

HOUR #2!

Match 4 for the WCW US title: Goldberg (champion) versus Rick Fuller


Rating: *

Summary: Showcase match for Goldberg who is now 102-0. For those curious, the taped chant was in FULL effect.

TV Rating: 4.3

Tenay polls the Jacksonville faithful outside the arena prior to the show, and some young humanoid is clearly drinking the DDP Kool Aid. While the Jacksonville faithful chants “Gold-berg,” the craze of two fans of Rodman figuratively vomits all over the screen.

nWo Wolfpack emerges to the delight of the Jacksonville faithful while Nash and Konnan rile them up. As Nash makes a South Park joke, Sting interviews a blow-up doll. WTF? Nonetheless, he challenges anybody to a title match. Bartender, I’ll have what he’s having.

TV Rating: 3.7

At the entrance, Nitro Girls dance in silver.

Match 5: Eddie Guerrero versus “Das Wunderkind” Alex Wright


Rating: **

Summary: Good match until the storyline kicked in. Obviously, the Eddie-Chavo angle continues to the dismay of Eddie.

Afterward, Chavo enters the ring and offers support to Eddie who doesn’t want it. When Eddie calls him “wacko,” Chavo retorts “No, Chavo. C-H-A-V-O” and sings it like the song Bingo. HA!

TV Rating: 4.0

Match 6: Konnan versus Riggs (w/ Lodi)


Rating: *

Summary: Riggs brought the goods but came up short against the Wolfpack star.

TV Rating: 4.0

While the broadcast team gushes over the PPV main event, some knucklehead holds up a sign that reads: I left my wife for Nitro. I’m sure her lawyer not only took the guy to the cleaners but also gave him directions.

The press conference for the PPV main event airs, and I go fold my socks.

TV Rating: 3.9

HOUR #3!

Match 7: Steve “Mongo” McMichael versus Stevie Ray


Rating: DUD

Summary: Horrendous match between two guys who’ve been on extended layoffs.

TV Rating: 4.0

Eric Bischoff and Elizabeth lead nWo Hollywood to the ring, and Bischoff makes jokes at Randy Savage’s expense. Hogan cuts a promo on Savage before spewing his usual garbage.

Slo-mo replay of Bischoff destroying Savage’s knee along with a chair from Hogan is repeatedly shown.

We revisit Benoit’s trying to pair up with Booker T in addition to Stevie Ray’s taking exception. WCW answers my earlier question by showing Mongo’s return last week and getting in Stevie Ray’s face. Perhaps these guys could have used an agent to tell them what to do before desecrating wrestling for five minutes.

Match 8: Bret “Hitman” Hart versus the “Crippler” Chris Benoit


Rating: ***½

Summary: Like sodium and chloride, these guys make good chemistry. Unfortunately, the distraction finish tarnishes the ending, and Benoit jobs again. Regardless, for a non-PPV TV match, I'll give it a...

TV Rating: 4.5

We revisit the earlier Greene interview followed by the nWo ambush. Next, we see the backstage pull-apart until Dillon sanctions the match.

Match 9: Giant versus Kevin Greene


Rating: DUD

Summary: Seriously? What was the point?

Following the “main event,” Giant, Rude, and Hennig triple-team Greene while the Jacksonville faithful allegedly chants “Gold-berg.” More members of nWo Hollywood join the party, and Greene gets pummeled to smithereens.

Abruptly, Goldberg emerges and hits the ring. He runs over Vincent like a Mack truck. When Adams and Disciple make their way toward him, Goldberg double-spears them. nWo Hollywood scatters like flies as Goldberg saves Kevin Bacon, er, I mean Greene.

The entire arena allegedly chants “Gold-berg,” and Greene grabs the microphone. Upon calling Giant “big boy,” Greene acknowledges Hennig as Giant’s partner. He ups the ante by naming Goldberg as his partner at the PPV. The inauthentic “Gold-berg” chant serenades the ending.

TV Rating: 4.24

Conclusion: While I realize the highlight of the episode was the infamous press conference, WCW trotted out a current NFL player, inserted him into the main event, and turned him into nothingness for the sake of Goldberg. Meanwhile, the Bret-Benoit match was almost everything and a bag of chips due to the heel chicanery. Without question, the Stevie Ray-Mongo match should have been taped for WCW Saturday Night. It had no business being on live TV. Lastly, the Eddie-Chavo saga had a brief but entertaining chapter.

What’s on RAW is WAR?

Final TV Rating: 4.1

Stay tuned for RAW Is WAR 06-22-98!

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

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