Hosted by Tony Schiavone, Larry Zbyszko, “Iron” Mike Tenay, & Bobby “The Brain” Heenan
What will happen when the dream match of Hogan/Savage versus Luger/Sting goes down? Will Booker T retain the TV title so close to the PPV? And what will WCW do with no wrestling on the other channel tonight? Let’s find out!
The show begins on a sad note as a still photo of Louie (Spicolli) Mucciolo is shown. On the day prior to this show, he was found dead at age 27 after overdosing on Soma and wine. Apparently, he was sober, but after hearing about his mother’s battle with cancer, he relapsed. RIP Louie Spicolli. The bell tolls for him.
TIME-KILLING SEGMENT #1: We revisit Thunder as Hogan details tonight’s main event of Hogan & Savage versus Sting & Luger.
The entire nWo minus Savage emerges and heads to the ring. While Hogan spews about “corporate gaga,” he’ll pay for Patrick’s legal counsel so that he will referee the PPV main event. He then refers to Savage as a “dummy” and cuts a promo on him. Meanwhile, the Tampa faithful LOUDLY chants “Hogan sucks.” In case you’re unaware, Hogan actually LIVES in the Tampa-St. Petersburg area.
Speaking of Savage, he stands next to the broadcast location alongside Elizabeth. He runs down Hogan, and they banter while the Tampa faithful chants “Mach-o.”
Prior to the opening match, George Steinbrenner is shown among the Tampa faithful.
Schiavone then asks Zbyszko about Spicolli putting him on the spot on LIVE TV. Uncomfortably, Zbyszko says “let it rest.” Obviously, the Zbyszko-Spicolli match at the PPV has been cancelled.
Match 1: Goldberg versus Hugh Morrus
When Morrus made his entrance, Hart stopped him and offered encouragement.
This is a rematch from 9/22/97 when Goldberg earned his first victory in his first televised match.
As Zbyszko related Goldberg’s intensity to “coming home to his wife, money, and furniture being gone,” methinks that probably happened to Zbyszko.
Goldberg gave him a cross corner whip, but Morrus leaped to the second turnbuckle and clotheslined Goldberg.
After he no-sold Morrus’ offense, Goldberg reversed an Irish whip, escaped a vertical suplex, and speared Morrus.
He then executed a Jackhammer and pinned Morrus at 0:56.
Summary: Showcase match for Goldberg.
TIME-KILLING SEGMENT #2: Video featuring the Steiners airs.
Afterward, the Outsiders invade the broadcast table. Nash claims shenanigans by WCW and wants their title shot tonight instead of at the PPV. Seeking someone in charge, Hall requests “the guy in the skirt (Piper).” Before leaving, Nash insults Zbyszko.
Nitro is sponsored by Valvoline.
TIME-KILLING SEGMENT #3: We return to the waste of time that was Hogan’s segment from Thunder.
Match 2: Sick Boy (w/ the Flock) versus Mark Starr
This is a WCW Pro-level of match.
As Sick Boy distracted referee Jimmy Jett, Lodi gave Starr the business. SNEAKY!
Sick Boy slammed Starr, went to the apron, and delivered a springboard dropkick.
When he gave Starr a cross corner whip, Sick Boy ate boot on his follow-through.
Starr suplexed him, but Sick Boy rebounded with one of his own.
After he slammed Starr again, Sick Boy mounted the top turnbuckle, leaped, but ate boot.
Starr then clotheslined Sick Boy and followed with a dropkick for 2.
While he hooked an inside cradle, Starr got another 2.
Sick Boy then reversed an Irish whip, and Lodi tripped Starr. How dastardly!
As Sick Boy botched an Irish whip, he rebounded with a Pedigree.
Sick Boy won at 3:28.
Summary: Showcase match for Sick Boy. Glorifying HHH’s move doesn’t make WCW look good.
Nitro Girls dance among the Tampa faithful.
Prior to the next match, Hall conducts his survey. Tampa is certainly WCW country, but the frat boys still chant “n-W-o” like sheep. I wonder if Jagermeister was a pre-show ritual for them.
Match 3: The Outsiders (w/ the “American Nightmare” Dusty Rhodes) versus Public Enemy
Instead of the Steiners, the Outsiders got a pair of Uncle Paul’s boys.
Hall reversed a cross corner whip and followed with a corner clothesline.
My bad. Grunge actually nailed Hall during the follow-through.
When he clotheslined Hall, Grunge got 1.
Rocco tagged in, and the Public Enemy double-teamed Hall.
As Grunge tagged in, Nash objected to their chicanery, whipped Rocco into his corner, and clotheslined him.
The Outsiders then whipped Public Enemy into one another, and Nash provided Rocco with a big boot.
After Hall chokeslammed him, Grunge pulled Hall down to the floor and rammed him face-first into the steps.
He then rammed Hall face-first into the table they set up before the match.
While Nash missed a second big boot, Grunge laid a prone Hall on the table.
Rhodes then distracted Grunge so that Hall could hammer him.
When Hall laid Grunge atop the table, Nash jackknife-powerbombed Rocco atop Grunge through the table on the floor. I smell another check from Hogan for this.
Referee Mickey Jay called for the bell disqualifying the Outsiders.
As a result, Public Enemy won at 3:20.
Summary: The Outsiders are over and beat Public Enemy at their own game despite the DQ finish.
Upon performing a Hannibal Lecter impersonation, Nash gets cuffed and escorted backstage while chanting “Attica” again.
This week’s Nitro party pack winner is Chris Irgo from Leesville, SC. His video is shown.
TIME-KILLING SEGMENT #4: At the entrance, “Mean” Gene Okerlund interviews referee Nick Patrick. While complaining about conspiracy, Patrick compares his situation to President Clinton and runs down the media.
Match 4: Mike Enos versus Barry Horowitz
Yet another contestant for WCW Pro instead of Nitro here.
Enos charged, but Horowitz evaded and dropkicked him.
As he delivered a flying back elbow, Horowitz leaped from the apron.
On the other hand, Enos caught and guillotined Horowitz with the steel railing.
Back in the ring, Enos hit a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker followed by a pumphandle slam.
He then supplied Horowitz with a pair of diving head butts to the back.
When Horowitz side-stepped and rolled up Enos, he got 2.
Enos then powerslammed and pinned Horowitz.
Enos won at 1:50.
Summary: Showcase match for Enos.
Backstage, Steve “Mongo” McMichael confronts Davey Boy Smith who’s drinking a cup of coffee. He then declares “don’t stand there drinking coffee when a man’s talking to you” and slaps the cup away. They brawl until WCW Security breaks it up.
Match 5: Yuji Nagata (w/ Sonny Onoo) versus La Parka
Right off the bat, Nagata unleashed a series of kicks.
La Parka rebounded with an enziguri followed by a spinning heel kick.
When Nagata sought refuge on the floor, La Parka mounted the top turnbuckle and uncorked a cross body block.
He then tossed Nagata into the ring, mounted an adjacent top turnbuckle, and launched another cross body block.
However, Nagata used momentum to land on top for 2.
La Parka clotheslined Nagata and got 2.
As he slammed Nagata, La Parka mounted another top turnbuckle but missed a splash.
Nagata then landed his own spinning heel kick and followed with a T-bone suplex for 2.
After Nagata applied a cross arm breaker, La Parka made the ropes to escape.
La Parka then reversed a cross corner whip but got vaulted to the apron.
While he mounted the top turnbuckle, La Parka provided Nagata with a corkscrew plancha.
La Parka then sought his chair, but Onoo got up on the apron to prevent serious damage.
Suddenly, Disco Inferno snuck into the ring while Onoo distracted referee Randy Anderson.
Disco then smoked La Parka with a Chartbuster as revenge for the chair shot on Thunder.
When Nagata hooked a Nagata-lock, La Parka submitted.
Nagata won at 3:35.
Summary: Storyline finish to a decent match with psychology and high-flying.
At the entrance, the Nitro Girls dance in silver and black while Schiavone shills the Nitro Party contest.
Match 6: Kidman versus Ultimo Dragon
Dragon reversed an Irish whip but fell victim to a back elbow.
As Dragon reversed a cross corner whip, he performed a head stand on the top turnbuckle.
Kidman then reversed an Irish whip, but Dragon tied him in a rolling tumbleweed for2.
When Kidman rebounded with a stun gun, he migrated to the apron and delivered a flying headscissors.
He then slammed Dragon, migrated to the apron again, and hit a springboard leg drop for 2.
After Dragon rebounded with a series of kicks, he provided Kidman with a giant swing.
Dragon then whiffed on an Asai moonsault, uncorked a huracanrana, but Kidman countered with a sunset flip.
While Dragon rolled through, he hooked a somersault rollup for 2.
Kidman rebounded with a springboard bulldog for 2.
As Kidman gave him a cross corner whip, Dragon exploded with a thrust kick for 2.
Kidman then caught Dragon with a powerslam for 2.
When Kidman mounted the top turnbuckle, Dragon crotched him, joined, and launched a super huracanrana.
He then attempted a pair of Dragon sleepers, but Kidman escaped each time.
After Kidman delivered a Michinoku driver, he got 2.
Dragon then escaped a vertical suplex and hooked a Dragon sleeper.
Since Kidman couldn’t’ escape this time, Dragon won at 6:53.
Summary: Solid match with plenty of psychology, high-flying, and storytelling.
Snickers sponsors the replay.
In the ring, Okerlund interviews DDP who respects Benoit for standing on his own and wants Benoit “all jacked up” at the PPV. He and Benoit want to take out both Raven and Saturn on Thunder. When Raven stands up, DDP challenges him RIGHT NOW. Raven jumps the railing and enters the ring. While Saturn joins Raven, Benoit jumps into the ring to even the odds. That sends Raven and Saturn scurrying to the floor. Stay tuned for this match on Thunder.
Prior to the next match, we revisit Thunder when Meng LOST HIS DAMN MIND even putting the Tongan death grip on Barbarian.
Match 7: Barbarian (w/ Jimmy Hart) versus Meng
Barbarian exploded with a belly-to-belly suplex, whipped Meng into the corner, but ate a back elbow on his follow-through.
When he gave Barbarian a cross corner whip, Meng came up empty on his follow-through.
Barbarian then supplied Meng with a release German suplex, but a double clothesline put both wrestlers down on the mat.
As Meng delivered a thrust kick, Hart jumped into the ring and bashed Meng in the head with a wooden chair.
Meng no-sold it and sauntered after Hart.
After Barbarian saved his manager, he kicked the wooden chair around Meng’s neck.
Meng no-sold it but ate a Mafia kick.
Barbarian won at 2:20.
Summary: Former tag team partners with similar styles knew each other’s game plan, yet Barbarian prevailed.
Nitro Girls dance at the entrance in the same black and silver outfits. Lazy!
Prior to the next match, Disco makes his entrance, but La Parka emerges and FLATTENS him with a series of chair shots to the back. To substitute for the now-seriously-injured Disco, Martel enters the ring despite getting a TV title shot later tonight.
Match 8: Saturn (w/ Lodi) versus Disco Inferno Rick Martel
Martel reversed a cross corner whip and backdropped Saturn.
As he dropkicked Saturn, Martel supplied him with a flying headscissors.
Martel tossed Saturn to the floor, followed him, and sent him shoulder-first into the steps.
Next, he made Saturn taste the steel railing. It must have tasted like Pacific Rim at the Bricks.
Back in the ring, Saturn reversed a cross corner whip, yet Martel floated over.
Martel attempted another flying headscissors, but Saturn countered with a guillotine across the top rope.
When Saturn gave Martel a cross corner whip, he followed with a flying forearm.
He then mounted the top turnbuckle and delivered a missile dropkick for 2. Wow!
After he slammed Martel, Saturn mounted the opposite second turnbuckle and hit a double axe handle.
Martel rebounded with a spinebuster and attempted a Quebec crab.
Instead, Kidman got up on the apron to distract referee Mickey Jay, and Lodi got up on the opposite apron to distract Martel.
Martel then clocked Lodi, but Riggs jumped into the ring and nailed Martel.
While Saturn hooked a Rings of Saturn, Martel submitted.
Saturn won at 3:15.
Summary: Flock interference cost Martel a victory and perhaps his consciousness. How will he be ready for Booker T later in the show?
Closed-captioning sponsored by 1-800-YES-CREDIT.
Match 9: Curt Hennig (w/ “Ravishing” Rick Rude) versus “Beautiful” Bobby Eaton
When Hennig tossed Eaton to the floor, he distracted referee Billy Silverman.
Rude then tossed Eaton back into the ring, but a knee lift by Hennig sent Eaton over the top rope back down to the floor.
As Rude tossed Eaton back in, Henning chopped Eaton back down to the floor.
Rude then teased giving Eaton the business yet tossed him back into the ring for a third time. See, Rude still had his Lloyds of London policy in place so he couldn’t commit one act of violence or his cash cow would disappear.
After Hennig consulted with Rude, Eaton chop-blocked Hennig’s left knee.
Hennig shook off Eaton’s offense and hooked a Hennigplex.
Hennig won at 2:45.
Summary: Showcase match for Hennig.
Tampa Bay Devil Rays third baseman Wade Boggs was shown in attendance.
Match 10 for the WCW World tag team titles: Steiners (champions w/ Ted DiBiase) versus Vicious & Delicious (w/o Vincent)
Bagwell suplexed Rick who no-sold it.
As Rick delivered an overhead belly-to-belly suplex to Bagwell, he unleashed a Steinerline.
He then hit an elbow drop before mocking Bagwell.
When Norton tagged in, Rick executed a modified powerslam to him.
He then uncorked another Steinerline and tagged in Scott.
After Norton gave Rick a cross corner whip, he came up empty on his follow-through.
Bagwell, however, clotheslined Rick from the apron. Nefarious!
While Norton clotheslined Rick over the top rope to the floor, Bagwell sent Rick back-first into the steel railing.
Bagwell tagged in, argued with referee Charles Robinson, and supplied Rick with a back elbow for 2.
As Rick rebounded with a powerslam, he nailed Norton on the apron.
Rick then slammed Bagwell and backdropped an incoming Norton over the top rope to the floor.
When he unloaded another Steinerline to Bagwell, Rick mounted the top turnbuckle.
He then launched a bulldog to Bagwell for 2.
After Norton tossed Scott to the floor, the nWo flooded the ring to attack the Steiners.
Steiners retained by DQ at 5:21.
Summary: While a title change wasn’t going to happen, the interference prevented the champs from scoring a much-needed victory before the PPV. Also, notice that Scott didn’t participate much.
After the match, Vincent floors DiBiase, and the nWo ambushes Rick. Scott then chases them away with a chair, and the nWo celebrates at ringside. They didn’t touch Scott.
Prior to the next match, we revisit Thunder from 1/22 when Saturn tossed Martel through a glass door.
Match 11 for the WCW World TV title: Booker T (champion) versus Rick Martel
Booker T inquired if Martel was prepared for the match and turned his back.
Taking advantage of the opportunity, Martel delivered a double axe handle to an unsuspecting Booker T. Heelish!
Booker T then reversed a cross corner whip and backdropped Martel.
When he unfolded a thrust kick that sent Martel out of the ring for refuge.
The Tampa faithful chanted “Martel sucks,” and Booker T reversed an Irish whip and hit a spinebuster.
As he clotheslined Martel, Booker T followed him to the floor and made him taste the steel railing. It must have tasted like the Big Red at Miller’s.
He then rammed Martel face-first into the apron, tossed him back into the ring, and hammered Martel with a back elbow for 2.
Upon uncorking a standing side kick, Booker T got another 2.
Martel sent Booker T to the corner but came up empty on his follow-through. In fact, he HIT THE POLE.
While Booker T scored with a knee drop, he couldn’t get 3.
Martel reversed an Irish whip and planted Booker T with a stun gun.
When he delivered his own knee drop, he tossed Booker T to the floor.
He joined Booker T and made him taste the steel railing. Waiter, could you give the man wearing flames on his tights a Capt. Jack’s Buried Treasure?
As Martel rammed him face-first into the apron, Booker T missed a dropkick.
Martel hooked a Quebec crab, yet Booker T made the ropes to escape.
After he gave Booker T a cross corner whip, he ate boot on his follow-through.
Booker T landed a Harlem side kick and knocked down referee Jimmy Jett while slamming Martel.
Although Booker T missed an elbow drop, he performed a Spinaroonie. Woohoo!
Booker T then leveled Martel with a forearm smash, and Saturn clobbered Martel from the apron.
While Booker T bumped him off the apron, Saturn tasted the steel railing. Um, waiter, one more thing, a Pork Osso Buco for the rather mentally-ill gentleman?
With Booker T draped over the top rope in pain from a possible groin pull, Martel capitalized by hooking a Quebec crab.
Booker T submitted; thus, Martel won at 8:04.
WE HAVE A NEW CHAMPION!
Summary: With the PPV six days away, this was a stunning turn of events. How will the TV title be defended?
Nitro Girls dance at the entrance in red and silver.
In the ring, Okerlund interviews Bret who responds to Hogan and calls him “scared.” Suddenly, Brian Adams, in a trench coat, steps into the ring to interrupt. As he claims to have Bret’s back, Adams calls out Hogan. He attempts to shake hands with Bret, but Okerlund spoils the ruse.
Hennig and the nWo attack Bret, and Adams unveils his nWo t-shirt. While Hogan approaches the ring, the Tampa faithful chants “we want Sting.” Hogan pummels Bret with some nWo assistance. Abruptly, “Nature Boy” Ric Flair arrives to save Bret’s bacon. He reminds each nWo member that they’re in SOUTH Florida if you catch my drift. Ultimately, he and Bret scatter the nWo from the ring and shake hands.
At the entrance, Okerlund interviews chairman of the WCW Executive Committee J.J. Dillon who requests Booker T, Saturn, and Rick Martel’s presences. According to Dillon, Martel will defend the TV title at the PPV against Booker T. Appropriately, Saturn complains that not only did he have a guaranteed title shot but also defeated Martel earlier tonight. Dillon clarifies that the winner of Booker T-Martel will defend against Saturn. Oh, that will replace the now-cancelled Zbyszko-Spicolli match.
Match 12: The “Crippler” Chris Benoit & Dean Malenko versus “Lionheart” Chris Jericho & Eddie Guerrero
As Jericho made his entrance, he wore a Stephane Richer Montreal Canadiens jersey.
Benoit reversed a cross corner whip and gorilla-press-slammed Eddie.
When Jericho tagged in, referee Mickey Jay screamed at him to remove the Cruiserweight title belt.
Benoit backdropped Jericho and tagged in Malenko.
After Malenio uncorked a spinning heel kick to Jericho, Eddie tagged in and dropkicked Malenko’s knee.
Eddie attempted an O’Connor roll, but Malenko blocked it and vaulted Eddie into a guillotine upon the top rope.
While Eddie escaped a belly-to-back suplex from Malenko, he knocked Jericho off the apron and made him taste the steel railing. It must have tasted like the American Standard at Ford’s Garage.
Malenko then flipped Eddie over the top rope to the floor, but Jay didn’t disqualify him.
As Malenko pancaked Eddie, Benoit tagged in and reeled off a snap suplex for 2.
Benoit then reversed an Irish whip and unleashed a German suplex with a bridge to Eddie for another 2.
When Malenko tagged in, he provided Eddie with an electric chair.
Malenko then hooked a Boston crab, but Jericho intervened.
After Eddie escaped a suplex, he unloaded a brainbuster to Malenko.
He then mounted the top turnbuckle and launched a frog splash.
Before the count of 3, Benoit mounted an adjacent top turnbuckle and struck Eddie with a diving head butt. Awesome!
Malenko made the cover, but Jericho made the save.
While Eddie used momentum to send Malenko face-first into the top turnbuckle, Jericho tagged in, mounted the top turnbuckle, and delivered a missile dropkick. Woohoo!
He then hit a double underhook backbreaker to Malenko and attempted a LionTamer.
As Benoit caused Jericho to release the hold, Eddie mounted the top turnbuckle and dove atop Benoit on the floor. Aye, chihuahua!
Malenko then reversed an Irish whip but missed a dropkick.
When Jericho attempted another LionTamer, Malenko escaped and hooked a Texas Cloverleaf.
Benoit prevented Eddie from saving Jericho, so Jericho had to submit.
As a result, Malenko and Benoit won at 6:16.
Summary: Another incredible match between these four showcasing how talented they are. Bravo, gentlemen!
TIME-KILLING SEGMENT #5: Prior to the main event, Bischoff comes to the ring and explains that Hogan’s running a little late due to writing a $50,000 check for Nash’s powerbomb fine.
Match 13: “Hollywood” Hogan & “Macho Man” Randy Savage (w/ Eric Bischoff & Elizabeth) versus the “Total Package” Lex Luger & Sting
When Sting and Luger made their entrance, Savage attacked Luger from behind in the aisle.
Hogan emerged and made Sting taste the steel railing. It must have tasted like the Porkfection at Datz.
As he sent Sting back-first into the steel railing, Hogan supplied Sting with another helping of the steel railing. Waiter, could you give the wrestler with the painted face a Smokey and the Bird?
Luger then made Savage HIT THE POLE, and Hogan hammered Sting with a double axe handle in the ring.
After he gave Sting a cross corner whip, Hogan followed with a corner clothesline.
Sting then reversed a cross corner whip and unleashed a Stinger splash.
While he followed Hogan to the floor, Sting provided him with a taste of the steel railing. One more thing, waiter, give the balding behemoth a Cluck Yeah?
Savage then guillotined Luger with the top rope, gave him a cross corner whip, and followed with a back elbow.
When Savage attempted to tag him, Hogan was on the floor goldbricking.
Savage then VICIOUSLY tagged Hogan who wasn’t looking.
As Hogan clotheslined Luger from behind, he connected with a lariat.
He then hit a series of elbow drops upon Luger for 2.
After he slammed Luger, Hogan missed a leg drop.
Hot tag Sting.
While Sting gave Hogan a cross corner whip, he launched a pair of Stinger splashes.
He then clotheslined Hogan and locked on a Scorpion death lock.
When Luger attempted a Torture Rack to Savage, the nWo stormed the ring.
Summary: MOLTEN main event with a shitty finish. With the PPV on the horizon, no one was going to job, but…
After the match, Savage and Hogan brawl until Sting, Luger, Bret, and Flair clear the ring of the nWo.
Conclusion: The third hour was the bees’ knees, but it took a while for them to get there. With the fantastic tag match between Jericho/Eddie and Malenko/Benoit, the introduction to the man formerly known as Crush, the TV title change and subsequent announcement, and the ever-so-subtle lack of action by Scott, the main event acted like the proverbial cherry on top to a great show.
On the other hand, the Sick Boy and Enos matches were pure filler. Also, there was a lot of repetition in an effort to maintain a strong audience, but I believe it wasn’t necessary. Thank goodness Kidman/Dragon, Meng/Barbarian, and Martel/Saturn ignited the pot to get it boiling. While this was a really good go-home show, I wonder what Thunder has in store for us.