Hosted by Tony Schiavone, Larry Zbyszko, “Iron” Mike Tenay, & Bobby “The Brain” Heenan
Can Luger defeat Hogan for the WCW World title? Will Sting be here? If so, in what capacity? What big surprise do the Steiners have for us? Let's find out!
To open the show, Michael Buffer gets the Auburn Hills faithful ready to rumble.
Nitro girls dance in white bikini tops and red pants. Who else wants a candy cane?
Eric Bischoff and Hogan emerge through the entrance. I realize WCW paid the Hendrix family for permission to use "Voodoo Chile," but another check from WWE in that direction couldn't hurt, right? Regardless, they run down Luger as well as WCW's scheduling of a World title match TONIGHT.
Question for the masses: when Hogan asks for the music to be turned off, was he asking Jimmy Hart or was he delusional thinking that Jimi would stop playing guitar instantaneously? Hogan then mentions that Scott Hall will get his title shot at the PPV upon his victory.
Match 1: Curt Hennig versus Mortis (w/ James Vandenberg)
After Schiavone shilled the PPV, Hennig leap-frogged and dropkicked Mortis.
Vandenberg then got up on the apron to distract Hennig, and it worked.
As Hennig reversed an Irish whip, he put a knee into Mortis' midsection.
He then delivered a knee lift that sent Mortis over the top rope to the floor.
When Hennig joined Mortis on the floor, Vandenberg grabbed him but got nailed.
Mortis then slammed Hennig but missed an elbow drop.
Upon bealing Mortis out of the corner by the hair, Hennig delivered a neck snap.
Mortis then reversed an Irish whip and gave Hennig an inverted atomic drop.
As he delivered a spinning heel kick, Mortis got 2.
Henning then gave Mortis a knee breaker followed by a fisherman's suplex.
Summary: Showcase match for Hennig who will face DDP at the PPV.
Video featuring Sting airs.
Match 2: WCW US champion Jeff Jarrett & Dean Malenko (w/ Debra) versus Hector & Chavo Guerrero, Jr.
After a leap frog, Chavo gave Malenko a flying headscissors and a dropkick.
Tags were exchanged on both sides while the Auburn Hills faithful chanted "Jarrett sucks." Gee...I wonder how they felt about the Blackhawks.
As Hector reversed an Irish whip, he hip-tossed and dropkicked Jarrett.
Jarrett came back with a snap suplex and tagged in Malenko.
When he slammed Hector, Malenko tagged in Jarrett.
Speaking of Jarrett, he delivered a running guillotine and slammed Hector.
Malenko tagged in and dropkicked Hector for 2.
After Jarrett tagged in, Hector hooked a sunset flip for 2.
He then hooked a backslide on Jarrett for another 2.
As Jarrett gave Hector a knee crusher, Chavo interrupted a figure-four leg lock attempt.
Malenko tagged in, but Hector hooked an inside cradle for 2.
When Hector delivered a back elbow, Malenko came back with an electric chair.
He then applied the Texas Cloverleaf, and Hector submitted.
Jarrett and Malenko won.
Summary: Showcase match for Malenko and Jarrett who will face Mongo and Benoit at the PPV.
At ringside, "Mean" Gene Okerlund attempts to interview Raven. Stevie Richards interrupts to present a new contract for Raven. Upon perusing the contract, Raven spits in Richards' face. Ew. When Richards informs him that Raven won't "abuse" him anymore, Raven walks away with a wry smile on his face.
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Match 3 (handicap): Giant versus Lenny Lane, “Jumpin’” Joey Maggs, & Scott D'Amore
According to Schiavone, Giant will face Savage at the PPV on Saturday.
After Giant slammed Maggs, he shoved all three opponents into the same corner.
He then delivered an avalanche SQUISHING all three of them.
Upon chokelslamming Maggs, he gave D'Amore a taste of the same medicine.
To complete the trifecta, Giant then chokeslammed Lane.
Summary: Showcase match for Giant.
After the match, Savage and Elizabeth emerge through the entrance. He then tells Giant to "stay in control." On the other hand, a focused Giant saunters after Savage.
On WCW Saturday Night, the pre-game show for Road Wild '97 gets you warmed up for HOT wrestling action. Feel the heat!
Video featuring Luger airs.
Match 4: High Voltage versus Public Enemy
Grunge reversed an Irish whip and gave Kaos a swinging neckbreaker.
As he clotheslined Kaos, he tagged in Rocco.
Speaking of Rocco, he mounted the second turnbuckle and lowered the boom on Kaos.
Kaos then knocked Rocco onto Dream Street so Rage mounted the top turnbuckle and bulldogged Rocco.
While Kaos distracted referee Nick Patrick, Rage gave Rocco the business. How dastardly!
Rage tagged in, slammed Rocco, mounted the top turnbuckle, leaped, but ate boot.
Hot tag Grunge.
Public Enemy then double-face-planted Rage and placed him on the table.
When Kaos removed Rage from the table, Rocco CRASHED through the table by himself. OUCH!
Kaos then gave Grunge a backbreaker, and Rage hit a Kaos-assisted guillotine leg drop.
After some heel miscommunication, Grunge rolled up Rage.
Public Enemy won.
Summary: This was NOT prime-time wrestling material as High Voltage looked lost without Public Enemy leading them through the match.
After the match, Rage sends Grunge into a piece of table held by Kaos. To complete Public Enemy's destruction, Kaos WALLOPS Grunge in the back with the broken table piece.
Wearing Nitro t-shirts, the Nitro Girls perform while Wright joins the troupe albeit not by choice.
At the entrance, Okerlund interviews a disgruntled Wright and name-drops Deney Terrio from Dance Fever. Wright then cuts a promo on Jericho and invokes some German patriotism.
Match 5 for the WCW Cruiserweight title: “Das Wunderkind” Alex Wright (champion) versus Scotty Riggs
According to Schiavone, Wright, should he retain, will face Jericho at the PPV.
Wright delivered a spinning heel kick and tossed Riggs to the floor.
As he leaped from the apron, Wright hit a double axe handle.
He then suplexed Riggs on the floor, yet Riggs rammed him back-first into the steel railing.
Upon mounting the top turnbuckle, Riggs gave Wright a double axe handle.
He then delivered a back elbow, slammed Wright, and mounted the top turnbuckle.
When Wright upset Riggs' balance, Riggs landed on the top rope throat-first.
Wright then slammed him, mounted the top turnbuckle, and hit a flying stomp.
As each wrestler attempted a cross body block, Riggs landed on top for 2.
He then gave Wright an atomic drop followed by an enziguri.
Upon backdropping Wright, Riggs dropkicked him for another 2.
He then placed Wright atop the top turnbuckle, joined, but Wright head-butted him down to the mat.
When Wright mounted the top turnbuckle, he hit a missile dropkick. Hey! That's Jericho's move!
Summary: Showcase match for Wright.
At the entrance, Okerlund interviews Luger who claims the main event is a "defining moment" for both WCW and himself.
Match 6: Syxx versus the “Crippler” Chris Benoit
According to Schiavone, Syxx will face Flair at the PPV.
When Benoit clotheslined him, Syxx retaliated with a leg lariat.
Benoit then gave him a dragon-screw leg whip followed by a dropkick.
With Syxx on the floor, Benoit hit a tope suicida. Woohoo!
He then mounted the top turnbuckle, but Syxx crotched and tied him to the Tree of Woe.
As Syxx unleashed a series of kicks, he delivered a modified Bronco buster.
He then gave Benoit a pair of leg drops, slammed him, mounted the top turnbuckle, but missed a senton splash.
After Benoit backdropped Syxx, he hit a snap suplex for 2.
He then delivered a belly-to-back suplex for another 2.
When Syxx gave Benoit a cross corner whip, he came up empty on his follow-through.
With Syxx stuck on the top turnbuckle, Benoit joined him.
Suddenly, Jarrett hit the ring and nailed Benoit from behind.
Benoit won by DQ.
Summary: Decent match until Jarrett's interference. I'd love to see a rematch down the line.
After the match, Jarrett mauls Benoit until Mongo hits the ring. Mongo then brawls with Jarrett, and Malenko joins the fray. A four-way melee breaks out, and Mongo gives Jarrett a Bossman slam. Speaking of whom, where is Bubba?
Nitro Girls dance at the entrance wearing blue tops.
Match 7: Booker T (w/ Stevie Ray) versus Vincent
According to Schiavone, Harlem Heat will face Vicious & Delicious at the PPV.
Booker T gave Vincent a scissors kick followed by a flying forearm.
As Booker T distracted referee Nick Patrick, Stevie Ray nailed Vincent.
Booker T then delivered a Harlem sidekick.
Booker T won.
Summary: Showcase match for Booker T.
After the match, Harlem Heat pummel Vincent and toss him down to the floor.
At the entrance, Okerlund interviews DDP who will face Flair later. He's ready for both Flair and Hennig.
Match 8: Barbarian versus Wrath (w/ James Vandenberg)
Barbarian gave Wrath a cross corner whip but came up empty on his follow-through.
As Wrath hit an elbow drop, he got 2.
He then gave Barbarian a cross corner whip followed by a corner clothesline.
When he delivered a belly-to-back suplex, Wrath mounted the top turnbuckle and hit a flying clothesline.
He then attempted the Death Penalty, but Barbarian countered with a vertical suplex.
Outside the ring, Barbarian rammed Wrath shoulder-first into the steps and back-first into the ring post.
He then powerslammed Wrath, mounted the top turnbuckle, but Wrath caught him.
After Wrath gave him the Death Penalty, he pinned Barbarian.
Summary: Showcase match for Wrath.
After the match, Meng comes to the ring to protect Barbarian from any chicanery. While Wrath and Meng stare each other down, I smell an upcoming match.
In the ring, Okerlund interviews the Steiners. As they emerge through the entrance, the Steiners are joined by Ted DiBiase. Wow! WE HAVE A FACE TURN! DiBiase then wants to "tear down what he helped to build" by taking the World tag team titles. He ALMOST called them the WWF tag titles but caught himself.
Abruptly, the Outsiders emerge through the entrance, and Nash calls DiBiase a "dead man." DiBiase then promises to share information about them with the Steiners while Nash belittles the Steiners' intellect. In case you're curious, DiBiase wrote a book, and a "heel" character never sells books well.
Nitro Girls dance in black outfits.
Lee Marshall then delivers the 1-800-COLLECT road report from “Denver, CO." Methinks Lee asked members of the Denver faithful about "Nuggets," and they told them they were none of his business.
Match 9: K-Dogg versus Psicosis (w/ Sonny Onoo)
According to Schiavone, K-Dogg will meet Mysterio at the PPV.
K-Dogg gave Psicosis a somersault clothesline followed by a seated dropkick.
After K-Dogg vaulted him to the apron, Psicosis leaped to the top turnbuckle and hit a spinning heel kick for 2.
He then slammed and gave K-Dogg a springboard splash for another 2.
Upon leap-frogging K-Dogg, he made a second attempt and got caught.
K-Dogg then delivered the 187 and hooked the Tequila Sunrise.
When Psicosis submitted, K-Dogg won.
Summary: Showcase match for K-Dogg.
After the match, Rey Mysterio, Jr. comes to the ring on crutches. When K-Dogg kicks one of his crutches away, Mysterio stands on both legs and WALLOPS him with the other crutch. Clever!
Match 10: Glacier & the "Cat" Ernest Miller versus Silver King and Damien
Silver King gave him a spinning heel kick, but Glacier nipped up.
As Damien tripped Glacier coming off the ropes, Silver King missed a senton splash.
Glacier then kicked Damien off the apron and powerslammed Silver King for 2.
When Miller tagged in, he leap-frogged Silver King, but Damien delivered a double axe handle.
Glacier then distracted referee Scott Dickinson, and los luchadores double-teamed Miller. Nefarious!
After Glacier tagged in, he backdropped Damian for 2.
He then double-shoulder-blocked los luchadores and tagged in Miller.
As Miller slammed him, Silver King retaliated with a dropkick injuring Miller's wrist.
Glacier came in, superkicked Silver King, and distracted Damien.
When Miller mounted the top turnbuckle, he hit a spin kick.
Glacier and Miller won.
Summary: Showcase match for Glacier and Miller.
Valvoline sponsors the replay.
Bischoff re-emerges and heads to the ring. While he LOVES the Auburn Hills faithful, Bischoff calls out J. J. Dillon. He then informs Dillon that if Giant lays another finger on him, then he'll sue him for everything in perpetuity. With respect to Zbyszko, Bischoff promises to kick him between the eyes. Dillon then leaves with a sheepish grin on his face.
Nitro Girls dance at the broadcast table while the announcers drool. Can someone please put Schiavone's wife to bed?
Match 11: “Nature Boy” Ric Flair versus Diamond Dallas Page
As Flair made his entrance, Hennig shook his hand.
DDP gave Flair a cross corner whip followed by a back drop.
When DDP delivered a sit-out powerbomb, Hennig ran toward the ring.
During the commercial break:
THE FOLLOWING ANNOUNCEMENT HAS BEEN PAID FOR BY THE NEW WORLD ORDER:
Buy the shirt! Send it to Rock Star Gary. Make it an XL.
THE PRECEDING ANNOUNCEMENT HAS BEEN PAID FOR BY THE NEW WORLD ORDER.
Afterward, DDP nailed Flair repeatedly causing a Flair flop.
He then gave Flair a cross corner whip but ate a back elbow.
After Flair mounted the top turnbuckle, DDP caught and slammed him down to the mat.
He then delivered a swinging neckbreaker but got distracted by Hennig.
Like a shark's reaction to blood in the water, Flair saw DDP being distracted and gave him a chop block.
He then delivered a knee drop, but DDP came back with a discus clothesline.
While Heenan discussed the lack of dress code at Sturgis, I wonder if he'll be sober this year.
Flair then hooked the figure-four leg lock, but DDP made the ropes.
From the apron, Flair tried to suplex him to the floor, but DDP blocked it and suplexed Flair back into the ring.
He then hooked his own figure-four leg lock, but Flair poked referee Mark Curtis in the eye.
As Hennig came in, DDP hooked an inside cradle on him while maintaining the hold on Flair. Nifty!
Flair then made the ropes so DDP gave him the ten-punch count-along.
When he gave Flair a cross corner whip, a Flair flip resulted.
Flair then caught himself on the apron, mounted the top turnbuckle, leaped, but ate a clothesline.
Upon pancaking Flair, DDP signaled for the Diamond Cutter.
Henning re-entered the ring wearing brass knux, but DDP nailed him.
As a result, Curtis called for the bell disqualifying Flair.
DDP won by DQ.
Summary: Good but not great match as Hennig's influence predicted the finish.
After the match, DDP gets ahold of the brass knux but tosses them to Curtis. He then takes on Hennig and Flair by himself. As the heels miss a double clothesline, DDP doesn't.
Match 12: Hector Garza & Lizmark, Jr. versus Villano IV y V
After a leap frog by Garza, IV clotheslined him.
He then gave Garza a cross corner whip, but Garza climbed the turnbuckles and performed a back flip down to the mat.
As he clotheslined IV, Garza gave IV a flying headscissors.
He then delivered a superkick while Heenan joked about los Villanos only receiving numbers rather than names at birth. HA!
When Garza face-planted IV, he tagged in Lizmark.
Speaking of Lizmark, he mounted the top turnbuckle and lowered the boom on IV.
He then dropkicked IV while V tagged in.
After Lizmark missed a dropkick, he leap-frogged and monkey-flipped V.
He then gave V a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker for 2.
As IV tagged in, los Villanos guillotined Lizmark with the top rope.
IV then hit a leg drop for 2.
When Garza tagged in, he gave IV a cross corner whip but came up empty on his follow-through.
V tagged in, and los Villanos delivered a double gutbuster to Garza.
If you don't pay close attention, you won't notice V returned to the corner while IV placed Garza's head across the bottom rope.
V then hit a guillotine leg drop, and I'm surprised Garza's head didn't roll onto the floor.
OK, that's a tad morbid. My apologies.
Regardless, IV held Garza upright so that V could baseball slide Garza back-first into the steel railing.
Los Villanos then made Garza HIT THE POLE.
After all four wrestlers were in the ring, Lizmark dropkicked IV out of the ring.
Garza then dropkicked IV out of the ring, and Lizmark hit a cross body block to him on the floor.
As Garza backdropped V over the top rope, V landed atop Lizmark and IV.
Garza then mounted the top turnbuckle and delivered a corkscrew plancha. Woohoo!
When Lizmark hip-tossed, dropkicked, and gave V a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker, Garza distracted referee Mark Curtis.
IV then illegally switched with V and hooked an inside cradle on Lizmark.
Los Villanos ganan.
Summary: Shrewd finish to a standard lucha libre match in WCW.
In the ring, Okerlund interviews Dillon who has a valid contract for Sting. Like a flash, Sting repels from the ceiling. Dillon then informs Sting that his next opponent will be...Curt Hennig. With zero expression on his face, Sting tears up the contract and leaves. A dejected Dillon subsequently promises to continue negotiations.
Nitro Girls dance in the aisle in ripped jeans shorts and Nitro t-shirts.
Match 13 for the WCW World title: “Hollywood” Hogan versus the “Total Package” Lex Luger
For the second time tonight, Buffer rumbled.
While the Auburn Hills faithful chanted "Hogan sucks," Hogan clotheslined Luger.
He then hit a pair of elbow drops, gave Luger a cross corner whip, and delivered a corner clothesline.
As he slammed Luger, Hogan sent Luger twice to the top turnbuckle.
He then tried a third time, but Luger blocked it and gave him the ten-top-turnbuckle count-along.
After a commercial break, Luger escaped a bear hug.
Hogan then suplexed Luger for 2.
Upon giving Luger a belly-to-back suplex, Hogan got another 2.
Shortly after, he delivered the big boot but couldn't get 3.
He then slammed Luger, hit the leg drop, but only got 2.
When Hogan missed a second leg drop, Luger clotheslined him.
Scott Hall ran in but ate a clothesline from Luger.
Next, Kevin Nash entered the ring, but Luger whipped Hall into him.
As Savage mounted the top turnbuckle and leaped, Luger caught him in the midsection.
He then nailed Hogan with a flying forearm.
Upon dispatching Savage over the top rope, Luger hammered Hall on the apron.
He then hooked the Torture Rack, and Hogan submitted.
WE HAVE A NEW CHAMPION!
Summary: incredibly historical match as Luger became a two-time WCW World champion. Interestingly, while the nWo members ran in, none of them successfully hit Luger to cause a DQ.
After the match, Giant, DDP, the Steiners, DiBiase, Glacier, Miller, Mysterio, Barbarian, Malenko, Wright, High Voltage, Chavo, and some WCW referees mob the ring in celebration for not only Luger but also WCW.
Back in the WCW locker room, the champagne is flowing as Giant pours turpentine on the belt to remove the spray paint.
Meanwhile, in the nWo locker room, Hogan is apoplectic and turns over a folding table. He then apologizes to the Outsiders while Savage calls it a "fluke." After another table gets turned over, Hogan frustratingly shoos the cameraman away.
Conclusion: If you want to know why I watch and enjoy WCW, watch episodes like this one. With the historical Luger victory in the World title match, the Sting contract negotiation, DiBiase's face turn, and the excellent job of a go-home show for Road Wild '97, this show gets my highest recommendation. What’s on RAW is WAR?