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WCW Monday Nitro 06-29-98

Live from Tampa, FL

Airdate: June 29, 1998

Attendance: 10,900

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

How will the former Horsemen fare against Harlem Heat? Can Malenko defeat Dragon, or is he too consumed by Jericho? Will Goldberg continue his winning streak? And what’s up with the 18-wheeler? Truck your way further and enjoy some WCW!

From an interstate somewhere in America and shot from a helicopter, an 18-wheeler is being escorted by police to the arena.

Nitro Girls dance at the entrance in neon halter tops. Yowza!

At the entrance, “Mean” Gene Okerlund interviews Kevin Greene who forgets who Curt Hennig is. D’oh! The (taped?) “Gold-berg” chant erupts, and Greene’s ready to tag with Goldberg at the PPV against Giant and Hennig.

Match 1: Kanyon versus Horace (w/ Lodi)


Rating: ***

Summary: Impressive match for both Kanyon with his moveset and Horace with his aerial ability.

After the match, the Flock invades the ring, but Kanyon sidesteps them and decimates Kidman with an inverted Diamond Cutter. Amazing! Riggs demolishes Kanyon from behind, and Raven cuts a promo right to his face. To put a climax on the segment, he puts Kanyon down and out with an Even Flow DDT.

Nitro is sponsored by Valvoline.

Opening montage.

We revisit Thunder when DDP called the broadcast to announce his and Karl Malone’s upcoming presence on Nitro.

Another action shot of the 18-wheeler is shown somewhere in Florida. Back in the locker room, nWo Hollywood is armed with crowbars to dismantle the cross country truckers.

At the entrance, Okerlund interviews Stevie Ray who refers to Benoit as a “pipsqueak.” He challenges Benoit and Mongo to a tag match with Booker T.

Match 2: Eddie Guerrero versus Little Dragon


Rating: NONE

Summary: More storyline than match as Chavo’s insanity has overtaken Eddie’s psyche to the point that it affects his work.

After the match, Eddie pounds Little Dragon with Pepe and tosses him to the floor. Chavo regains control of Pepe, and Eddie chases after him back to the locker room.

1-800-COLLECT sponsors the replay.

Backstage, Jericho bargains with Ultimo Dragon to beat Malenko in exchange for a title shot on Thunder.

STARBURST ROAD REPORT: Okerlund shills Thunder LIVE on TBS on 7/2.

Nitro Girls dance among the Tampa faithful.

Schiavone announces that the Nitro Party Pack winners this week are Richard Rodela and Nick Rodriguez of San Francisco, CA. Their cheesy video follows.

Match 3 (handicap): Giant (w/ “Ravishing” Rick Rude & Curt Hennig) versus Judo Suwa & Sumo Fuji


Rating: DUD

Summary: Showcase match for Giant against Ultimo’s terribly overmatched students.

After the match, Rude and Hennig dispatch Suwa and Fuji from the ring. Hennig grabs a microphone and cuts a promo on Goldberg and Greene. Speaking of Greene, he emerges through the entrance but waits until Goldberg emerges to back him up. Greene and Goldberg clear the ring to a raucous ovation and a “Gold-berg” chant. Whether or not the chant is live, several Goldberg signs are shown throughout the Tampa faithful. He is OVER.

Wearing a chain, “Hollywood” Hogan emerges with Eric Bischoff, heads to the ring, “made Port Tampa famous,” and runs down Karl Malone and DDP. The fans’ signs waving behind them are more entertaining.

More helicopter shots of the incoming 18-wheeler are shown.

HOUR #2!

Match 4: The “Total Package” Lex Luger & Sting versus the “British Bulldog” Davey Boy Smith & Jim “The Anvil” Neidhart


Rating: *

Summary: If not for the electrified crowd, this match would get nothing and like it.

Match 5: Saturn versus Reese (w/ Lodi)


Rating: ½*

Summary: Showcase match for Saturn.

After the match, Riggs ambushes Saturn from behind but falls victim to an overhead belly-to-belly suplex. Horace baits Saturn, but Sick Boy launches a springboard dropkick to the back of Saturn’s head. While Horace lays out Saturn with a full nelson slam, Kidman mounts the top turnbuckle and soars with a flying splash. Raven enters the ring and cuts a promo on Saturn.

We revisit last week when Giant, Hennig, and Rude triple-teamed Greene. That led to not only a 73-second schmozz but also a Goldberg explosion.

More helicopter shots of the 18-wheeler are shown.

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

Match 6: Vampiro versus Brad Armstrong


Rating: DUD

Summary: Ah…the sole reason behind having Vampiro on Nitro is to have him showcase his finisher which is the same move that Taka Michinoku employs.

Bash at the Beach ’98 will be LIVE on PPV on 7/12. Order NOW!

Match 7: The Dancing Fools versus Tokyo Magnum & Shiima Nombunaga


Rating: ***

Summary: Solid match with tons more action than that earlier tag match.

After the match, the Fools argue over whose music should be played, so the WCW music crew spliced them together.

We revisit Thunder when Ultimo Dragon almost captured the Cruiserweight title, but Malenko attacked Jericho to spoil it.

Match 8: Dean Malenko versus Ultimo Dragon


Rating: **

Summary: Good psychology, but the Tampa faithful waited until Jericho woke them up to react.

HOUR #3!

We revisit Thunder when Arn Anderson shut down the idea of the return of the Four Horsemen to Benoit.

Match 9: Harlem Heat versus the “Crippler” Chris Benoit & Steve “Mongo” McMichael


Rating: *

Summary: Screwy finish to a match the Tampa faithful couldn’t give two shits about.

Back in the locker room, Jericho argues with Ultimo Dragon, but Malenko finds and clobbers him. Dragon tries to intervene, but Malenko rams him face-first into a locker. OUCH! While Malenko’s occupied with Dragon, Jericho runs away again.

More helicopter footage of the 18-wheeler is shown.

Promo #2 airs for Bash at the Beach ’98.

nWo LATE HOUR: From a setup resembling The Tonight Show, Bischoff along with Elizabeth interviews Big Poppa Pump. While they discuss the PPV main event players, the Tampa faithful showers this segment with jeers. BPP promises “the co-star of (his) next project” will be on nWo Late Hour next week.

At the entrance, Okerlund interviews Booker T who cuts a promo on Bret. Stevie Ray interrupts him, but Booker T’s incensed at Bret. Speaking of whom, Bret emerges and accepts Booker T’s challenge for the PPV. In the meantime, Stevie Ray’s not too pleased with Booker T’s approach.

Backstage, Hogan’s ready for DDP and Malone no matter what Bischoff says.

Nitro is sponsored by Starburst.

Whisper of the Nitro Girls performs a solo at the entrance. Somewhere, HBK’s temperature rises a few degrees, and I don’t blame him one bit.

Match 10 for the WCW US title: Goldberg (champion) versus Glacier


Rating: *

Summary: Showcase match for the 105-0 Goldberg, but Tampa is JACKED for him.

Hogan and Bischoff return to the ring, and Hogan claims Malone and DDP aren’t showing up. The 18-wheeler pulls up to the arena while Hogan calls them “losers.” With Bryan Adams, Rude, BPP, and Giant awaiting them, the 18-wheeler pulls into the parking lot.

DDP and Malone exit the 18-wheeler carrying steel chairs and head into the arena. While Bischoff apologizes for Rodman’s absence, DDP and Malone jog to the ring and scare the BEJEEZUS out of Hogan. As Hogan pushes Bischoff into him, DDP tosses Bischoff out of the ring like a bag of garbage. Malone cuts Hogan off from escaping, so they lock up. After Malone slams Hogan, the Tampa faithful LOSES ITS DAMN MIND.

Malone clotheslines Hogan twice sending him to the floor. While nWo Hollywood comes to Hogan’s aid, DDP informs Hogan that he got “slam-dunked.” DDP offers an open invitation to meet them in Atlanta next week, and they make fun of Rodman’s “Rodzilla” moniker. Now THAT’S a hard sell.

Conclusion: WCW had to know that the WWF was booking a title switch but only offered a Goldberg squash and a celebrity appearance to counter. Methinks it didn’t work. Nonetheless, solid wrestling combined with strong storytelling leads directly to a recommendation from me.

What’s on RAW is WAR?

TV Rating: 4.1

Stay tuned for RAW Is WAR 07-29-98!

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

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