For the Sake of Objectivity: WCW Nitro on the 2nd of Feb, 1998
I thought i’d watch an episode of Nitro i haven’t seen since it originally aired. I’ve re-watched all of 95, 96 & 97 already, so i’m left with the bumpy year.
Man, Nitro had a weird opening. All these clips are projected on to buildings while fire runs down the street & then the fire shoots up into the air as the logo appears. They should’ve hired the guy from NBA JAM to shout “IT’S ON FIRE” right at the end.
They extended Nitro to three hours about two weeks before this episode, so you can’t really compare the number of matches with Raw or Impact. It’s strange though, I personally think TNA should kill Xplosion & have a 3 hour long Impact instead. They’d have an extra hour of ad-revenue coming in & you’d actually have a solid undercard (meaning they wouldn’t need 2-3 “knockouts” matches on each episode, yay!).
Anyway, let’s get on with the show…
Rockhouse plays and Hogan comes out with Bischoff to talk about the impending NWO split. Hulk says he’s “sick of all the gaga” (obviously he’s not a fan of Bad Romance) & that he’ll take care of Macho Man tonight.
Whatever you want to think of Hogan, the guy had charisma. Bischoff has to hold the mic during this promo because Hulk is just too into it, his arms are flailing, his head is moving about, he’s feeding on the fan reactions & reacting in away that so few wrestlers with “mic skills” can do.
The Macho Man is in the crowd with a mic, we hear “ooh yeah!” and then i think he says “I’m gonna treat you like an Amish boy & beat you all the way from El Paso, Texas (where Nitro is taking place) to New Orleans” & the crowd must hate Amish guys too (maybe not Roadkill though), as they start cheering their little hearts out.
Hulk starts to talk again & even though he’s looking straight into the crowd, he ignores the fact that Savage has walked away & delivers the rest of the promo while looking at an empty seat.
We come back from an ad-break with The Nitro Girls, one of the many things WCW did just to show how happy they were to be on the air. Back when nitro was extended from one hour to two they’d have a fireworks display at the 60 min mark, even if a match was taking place at the time. TNA should really appreciate the air-time Spike gives them.
Larry Zbyszko’s chair is empty tonight because he is (or was, but imagine i’m writing all of this as it airs) in the middle of a feud with Scott Hall. Imagine if RAW went a full episode without Cole & you’re about halfway there ( Cole is playing more of a Heenan type role though).
Glacier comes out for his match. He was WCW’s version of Mortal Kombat’s Sub Zero. In ’96 they rolled promos for about 5 months before he appeared on the show & his matches happened under a weird blue light in order to sell the concept, but nevermind that shit, here comes Mongo…
Glacier vs Mongo
Mongo wins via pinfall
Mortis (WCW’s version of Reptile) runs into the ring & beats up Mongo. Luckily, Kanyon’s personality shines through this terrible gimmick & he had a regular run when they dropped it (the same can not be said of Glacier).
Mongo gets back in the ring gives Mortis a Toombstone (why?).
Norman Smiley vs Konnan
Konnan wins via submission
I always liked Norman Smiley. I couldn’t tell you about any great matches or promos he had, but i was a fan of his back in the day & even now, i didn’t want Konnan to win.
A guy from GM comes out & talks cars with Tenay for a bit. WCW did a lot of things with car races & monster trucks for some reason.
The Nitro Girls come back out while Tony Schiavone pimps the rest of the card & some house shows coming up.
J.J. Dillon comes out & says Nick Patrick is a shit ref who was suspended for a reason, he has security throw Nick out of the building.
Yuji Nagata W/ Sonny Onoo vs Disco Inferno
Disco Inferno wins via pinfall
La Parka comes out, hits Nagata with a chair & starts dancing in the middle of the ring.
Luger tells Tenay he’s sick of all the drama in the NWO right now & pimps Sting v Hogan.
Eddie Guerrero & Chris Jericho vs Dean Malenko & Chavo
Eddie & Chris win via submission
El Dandy vs Juventud Guerrera
Juvi wins via pinfall
Jericho enters the ring & Juvi gives him a slap. Chris grabs a mic & asks what the problem is before agreeing to put his Cruiser-weight Title on the line, against Juvi’s mask.
Regal vs Goldberg
Goldberg wins via pinfall
Fuck yeah! I had no idea this was the show where Regal taught Goldberg how to wrestle, it’s just luck.
The Nitro Girls are out again…
Louie Spicolli vs Chris Adams
Chris Adams wins via DQ (Louie hit him with the briefcase)
Zbyszko runs down & chases Spicolli out of the ring.
Ultimo Dragon vs Saturn
Saturn wins via pinfall
Raven vs US Champion Booker T
Raven says Booker should go backstage & hand the title to Saturn, Booker refuses & The Flock run in. Saturn puts the rings on Booker & while Raven screams “feel our pain” & i guess the match is declared no-contest.
Bishoff & Hogan come out again & Macho Man attacks them half way down the ramp, so i guess this is…
Macho Man Randy Savage vs Hollywood Hulk Hogan
The match goes on for a long time before the NWO run in & beat up Savage. I guess it’s another DQ, but the bell doesn’t ring to end it.
Lex Luger comes down & asks where Savage is, says it’s typical tha- Savage jumps into the ring & the two go at it…
Macho Man Randy Savage vs Lex Luger (?)
Sting appears from nowhere & starts beating on Savage. A big black net (i’m not fucking kidding) drops from the rafters & traps Luger, Sting & Savage as the NWO enter the ring. Security comes down to clear the ring as we go to another ad-break.
The Nitro girls are out again…
Heenan, Tenay & Tony recap tonight’s events before Hall & Nash come down to talk about “the troubles”.
Hall has been doing this bit where he asks the crowd if the came to see WCW or NWO for a while now & tonight NWO wins the cheer count again. The group had been going for 19 months at this point & were still getting the crowd’s attention, not by force either. If you’ve read all the above, you’ll know they took up a lot of time tonight, but the majority of 20+ males in the audience were rocking NWO shirts & signs, some of them had hats too. I guess the NWO were the grown man’s Cena, but in ’98 i was 11 and cheering for Sting.
Nash drops a bit of foreshadowing during a shout-out to syxx & then the Steiner Brothers come out, so…
The Outsiders vs The Steiners for the WCW Tag Titles
The Steiners win the belts via pinfall
If only Rick knew what was about to happen…
A pretty average WCW show then (well, for early 98). Lots of bigger matches with dirty finishes, some great cruiserweight stuff, Raven kicking ass & the Sting v Hogan feud.
Match of the night was Eddie & Jericho vs Malenko & Chavo, they gave it a surprisingly large amount of time & it was entertaining from start to finish. Eddie & Jericho were heels, so you get a great bit where Eddie is doing an abdominal stretch & using Jericho’s arm for leverage, but when the ref checks it out Eddie starts scratching his leg & hamming it up.