Meanwhile, in WCW: 1997 Week 24

Jamie Lithgow

I usually like to introduce our weekly trip down memory lane with some fun nostalgia from 20 years ago. Alas, this week in 1997 marked the cinematic release of ‘Batman & Robin’, which was anything but fun. Thankfully, the world of wrestling provided plenty of highlights so let’s get to it with this week’s ‘Meanwhile, in WCW’…

wcw-saturday-night-logo-shadow

  • Diamond Dallas Page was on hand to hype his unsanctioned match with Macho Man at The Great American Bash. He went into the crowd to cut his promo and said that when he faces Savage tomorrow night he’s doing it for the people but, more importantly, for his wife Kimberly.
  • Earlier in the show, Savage cut a pre-taped, nWo style promo that consisted of trying loads of new catchphrases, all of which were rubbish. The recurring theme was him spitting on the camera, to symbolise spitting on Page. Lovely.
  • Jeff Jarrett clung onto his US Title against former champ, Dean Malenko. Steve ‘Mongo’ McMichael battered Dean across the back with his briefcase just as Malenko had applied the Texas Cloverleaf. This forced the disqualification loss for Double J, but he still kept the title.
  • Speaking of Mongo, he got jumped by Kevin Greene earlier in the show.
  • Psychosis got his win back from Ultimo Dragon, albeit after Sony Onoo pushed Dragon off the top rope.
  • Tony Schiavone filled in for Mean Gene by doing the WCW Hotline segment this week. Apparently a major star will be debuting on Nitro this week…
  • Hollywood Hogan & Denis Rodman vs. The Giant & Lex Luger has been made official for Bash at The Beach in July.
  • After Mortis jumped Glacier again, JJ Dillon announced that, to avoid such things happening at The Great American Bash, the Skeletor wannabe will be handcuffed to the ring post during Glacier’s match with Wrath. James Vandenberg was not happy and wanted to sue Dillon. Not WCW, JJ himself.
  • Chris Benoit said that he isn’t looking for revenge when he faces Meng at The Great American Bash. Apparently, he took the match because he has something to prove to himself and also because – and he pointed this out himself – he has to go through Meng to get to Kevin Sullivan. So, ignore the first part of Benoit’s promo, I guess.
  • Hugh Morrus ran out for a fight with Konnan. The Laughing Man got the best of it, largely due to K-Dogg having just competed in a match.
  • The Public Enemy did their usual table spot, only Rocco Rock was left temporarily dumbfounded when the table didn’t break. Once his brain kicked into gear again he realised that he could just roll Scott Armstrong off the table to pin him on the canvas. To make sure the crowd were kept happy, Johnny Grunge lobbed the other Armstrong brother through the table instead. Once again, there was not even a hint of disqualification for PE’s blatant use of a table as a weapon.

Full Results

  • Chris Benoit defeated Bobby Walker
  • Chris Jericho defeated Johnny Swinger
  • La Parka defeated Denny Brown
  • Glacier defeated Hardbody Harrison
  • Steve McMichael defeated Hector Guerrero
  • Damien, Psychosis & Silver King defeated Juventud Guerrera, Super Calo & Ultimate Dragon
  • Buff Bagwell & Scott Norton defeated The Power Company
  • Konnan defeated Joe Gomez
  • Public Enemy defeated The Armstrongs
  • Dean Malenko defeated Jeff Jarrett (c) by DQ in a WCW United States Championship Match

The Main Event –

DDP gets stuck in

Randy Savage (w/ Miss Elizabeth) defeated Diamond Dallas Page (w/ Kimberly Page) in a Falls Count Anywhere match
Macho Man evened things up with his first victory in wrestling’s most heated feud. It is strange to think that a year ago DDP was an opening match performer and borderline joke character. Now, he is headlining pay per views opposite Macho Man Randy Savage with 100% credibility.

This match was late 90s professional wrestling to a tee, i.e. it managed to be both a fantastically heated brawl and completely over-the-top ridiculous at the same time. The action began with Kimberly appearing in the entrance, only for Page to run in via the crowd to get a head start on Savage. From here the unsanctioned match spilled into every nook and cranny of the arena. They fought in the ring, at ringside, in the crowd, backstage and even in the little picnic area next to the stage. As fun as the action was, during the slower moments of the match the crowd were a little too quick to chant “we want Sting”, which did DDP absolutely no favours. Frustrated at being unable to put Page down for the count, Macho Man took out his frustrations on the referee. Savage gave Mickie Jay a good slapping before nailing him with a piledriver to put him out of action. The crazed Macho Man then turned his attention to Kimberly, before replacement ref, Nick Patrick, ran in to break that up. After focussing his attention back on Page, Savage was prevented from delivering a piledriver to DDP on the concrete floor by Patrick, who copped a beating for his troubles. As did a photographer who dared to venture too close. With two refs and a photographer now down, Scott Hall provided Savage with some assistance in the form of an Outsider’s Edge. Macho Man then landed his top rope elbow just as Patrick regained consciousness to count the three.

The Rest of The Card –

Último Dragón defeated Psychosis (w/ Sonny Onoo)
This was a fun match to kick off the show, although it did not escape my attention that The Great American Bash started with a match between a Mexican and Japanese wrestler. Anyway, the pair’s exchanges were crisp, although I was slightly confused by the ‘Respect’ stipulation. Last time we saw a ‘Respect’ match in WCW it was between Brian Pillman and Kevin Sullivan and was essentially an ‘I Quit’ match but with the phrase ‘I respect you’ in place of ‘I quit’. This bout had no such stipulation with both men attempting pinfalls multiple times. In what may have been a first for WCW, Dragon picked up the win after Psychosis physically tapped out. Mike Tenay had to explain what tapping out means.

Not a career ending injury, more an injury at the end of a career for Madusa

Harlem Heat (w/ Sister Sherri) defeated The Steiner Brothers by disqualification
The crowd were really into this one which, combined with Scott Steiner and Booker T’s efforts, made for an enjoyable match. In potentially another first, we saw Booker perform what will become known as a ‘Spinaroonie’. Keeping the theme of firsts going, the finish came after what was probably the first time Scott Steiner has executed a top rope Frankensteiner. It was performed as well as could possibly be expected with men the size of Scotty Steiner and Booker T involved. Unfortunately this fun match came to an abrupt end when Vincent – of nWo fame – ran in and dropped an elbow on Booker to cause the DQ. As this was a number one contenders match, this was viewed as the nWo picking their opponents for Road Wild. As a result, Vincent copped a wicked beat down from Rick and Scott after the match. It’s just dawned on me that these teams were competing for a title shot in August. Bash At The Beach is the next PPV, Road Wild is after that. Well, we cannot accuse of WCW of not planning ahead.

Konnan defeated Hugh Morrus
This match wasn’t very good. Konnan won after Morrus took an age setting up for his No Laughing Matter moonsault on the top turnbuckle as he waited for Konnan to knock him off. K-Dogg applied his Tequila Sunrise to the already KO’d Morrus for the win.

Glacier defeated Wrath (w/ James Vandenberg and Mortis)
More shite that served no other purpose than to cool down a hot crowd. As per JJ Dillon’s instruction, Mortis was handcuffed to the ring post to prevent any kind of double or triple team beat down of Glacier. As you have already guessed, it did not work and Glacier got his head kicked in. That said, Glacier did pick up the win by using a chain Mortis threw into the ring for Wrath. While this was happening, James Vandenberg picked the referee’s pocket to obtain the keys to the handcuffs and free Mortis for the post-match assault. The baddies even cuffed Glacier to the post as they battered him.

Benoit gets his win back with the Crippler Crossface

Akira Hokuto (w/ Sonny Onoo) defeated Madusa in a Title vs. Career match to retain the WCW Women’s Championship
This was better than the previous couple of bouts, but purely due to the stipulation. The actions was disappointingly average. Madusa appeared to legit injure her knee when jumping off the top rope. While Hokuto did target the knee thereafter, Madusa’s inability to deliver or receive any moves putting strain on her knee suggested a real injury. Ultimately Hokuto won clean, therefore ending Madusa’s wrestling career, apparently. Post-match Mean Gene tried to get a few words from Madusa, but merely elected a death stare as she was helped to the back. There’s a time and a place Gene…

Chris Benoit defeated Meng in a Death match
This was a bit better than their match at Slamboree, but mainly due to the outcome. It was unclear if Meng submitted to the Crippler Crossface or passed out, but either way Benoit got his win back in decisive fashion.

Kevin Greene defeated Steve McMichael (w/ Debra McMichael)
This wasn’t bad. It was miles better than Mongo’s match with Reggie White last month, that’s for sure. The action was basic but both guys appeared to know their limitations and used the fact that they are both really over to construct a fun, entertaining match. A particular highlight was Greene’s mum – who was at ringside – nailing Mongo with her handbag. This wasn’t all Mongo got hit with either. Jeff Jarrett accidentally nailed his partner with his briefcase to gift Greene the win. Debra was, for once, not happy with Jarrett who did not seem to care too much that he just cost Mongo a match. Given that Mongo has recently helped Jarrett win and defend the US Title, this seemed like a bit of a dick move from Double J. Then again, he is a bit of a dick…

The Outsiders (w/ Syxx) defeated Ric Flair and Roddy Piper to retain the WCW World Tag Team Championship
Can we just have Flair and Piper split and feud already? This was the match you may have expected until Ric Flair brawled with Syxx to the back, leaving Piper alone to face Hall and Nash. He provided a bit of resistance, but was ultimately overcome. Why The Outsiders weren’t disqualified after Syxx started brawling with Flair is beyond me though.


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Babyfaces; when will they learn?!

With Nitro hailing from The United Centre, home of the Chicago Bulls, we were naturally graced by the presence of one Dennis Rodman. The Worm arrived at the arena with his nWo pals in a limousine. Making a B-line for the ring, Rodman and Hollywood Hogan called out The Giant and Lex Luger – whom they will face at Bash At The Beach in a few weeks – for a match later in the show. Rod The Bod actually called out Superman’s arch nemesis Lex Luthor, but we’ll give him the benefit of the doubt. A bit later, a more charismatic than usual Luger, and fatter than usual Giant, accepted the challenge. Fast-forward to the end of the show and Hogan and Rodman repeated their earlier segment by calling out Giant and Luger again. Having stood in the ring for several minutes spanning a commercial break, Rodman and Hogan quite rightly decided to sack it. At this point the good guys finally showed up, with no explanation for the delay other than for us to assume it was a ratings ploy to keep viewers hanging on. Once in the ring, a scuffle – not a match – ensued with Hogan rescuing his basketballer friend from a chokeslam. Rodman then returned the favour for Hogan by hitting The Giant with the WCW Title belt. At this point the Wolfpac (Kevin Nash, Scott Hall & Syxx) got involved with Macho Man joining in later. The show ended with a traditional nWo beat down, fans pelting the ring with rubbish and some babyfaces getting their backs spray painted by those dastardly nWo baddies.


In Other News From Nitro –

A WCW wrestler beating the crap out of a man called Vincent…

  • Steve ‘Mongo’ McMichael firmly put Jeff Jarrett in his place for striking him with a briefcase the previous night. As Jarrett showboated and strutted in the pair’s match against Scott Norton and Buff Bagwell, Mongo entered the ring and planted his partner with a Tombstone Piledriver. Mongo was heard telling the camera “that’s what you get” and suggesting that he didn’t care if it was an accident. For the first time in a long time, Debra was fully behind her husband on this occasion.
  • Rowdy Roddy Piper called out Ric Flair to ask why he decided to fight with Syxx rather stay and fight alongside Piper against The Outsiders the previous evening. Flair appeared, said he’s still friends with Piper and said he’ll stand by him. The pretend Scotsman was happy with that, even if fans waiting for these two to turn on each other were not.
  • La Parka broke a plastic chair over Super Calo’s head. Still no word on why exactly Parka doesn’t like Calo, just that he doesn’t and their encounters are guaranteed to provide highlights.
  • The Wolfpac and Macho Man spent several minutes gloating in the ring before DDP interrupted from the crowd. Page challenged Savage and Hall to a match at Bash at The Beach against him and a mystery partner.
  • Sonny Onoo appeared to offer Chris Jericho a bribe as he made his entrance to face Ultimo Dragon. Lionheart firmly turned down whatever the offer was.
  • After the shady finish to the previous evenings tag team number one contenders match, JJ Dillon has ordered a rematch between Harlem Heat and The Steiner Brothers next week. As victors in the match, Booker T and Stevie Ray were understandably pissed off. This made Vincent’s – the man who interfered in the original match – appearance during this segment ill-timed in the extreme. As Stevie Ray held him, Booker T smashed the holy hell out of the nWo lacky to prove once and for all that he and his brother are not in cahoots with the New World Order.
  • Rey Mysterio Jr. experienced another Wolfpac beat down in his match with Syxx. Due to the technicality of Nash and Hall never actually hitting Rey, their distractions and Rey’s attempts to fend them off did not lead to a disqualification. However, they did allow Syxx the time and opportunity to put Rey in his Buzzkiller submission hold.
  • Glacier beat Mortis in that same match again. Afterwards, Wrath got involved in that same beat down again, with handcuffs again. In another sight we’ve seen before, Ernest Miller came to the rescue.
  • Dean Malenko called out Guerrero, obviously expecting Eddie, but Chavo Jr. answered the call. Uncle Eddie did appear though, watching the match from the entrance ramp.
  • Madusa appeared to honour the stipulation from her match the previous night and announced that she would retire from professional wrestling. She said thank you and goodbye to fans that did not appear to care.
  • As for the debut Tony Schiavone spoke of on Saturday Night? Didn’t happen.

Full Results

  • Glacier defeated Mortis
  • Dean Malenko defeated Chavo Guerrero Jr.
  • Super Calo defeated La Parka
  • WCW Tag Team Championship Match: Harlem Heat defeated The Amazing French Canadians
  • WCW World Cruiserweight Title Match: Syxx (c) defeated Rey Misterio Jr.
  • Ultimo Dragon defeated Chris Jericho
  • Vicious & Delicious defeated Dean Malenko and Jeff Jarrett
  • Lex Luger & The Giant beat Dennis Rodman & Hollywood Hogan by DQ


quote-of-the-week

“Poke him in the eye, kick him again!

The completely impartial Larry Zbyszko as Harlem Heat batter Vincent


  • The dirt sheets were awash this week with news of backstage fights in WCW and the WWF. In the Fed, this past week played host to the infamous scuffle between Bret Hart and Shawn Michaels at a house show in Hartford, Connecticut. Long story short, Hart was pissed at Michaels’ recent comments on TV alluding to The Hitman’s personal life i.e. the “sunny days” comment. Thus, Hart took it upon himself to scream at Michaels before landing a few punches and pulling a “squirrel sized” clump of hair from The Heartbreak Kid’s head. Both men were, of course, sent home from the show which they were supposed to play a major part of. The long version of this story involves Jerry Lawler taking a dump, so it’s probably best I kept it short.
  • Slightly less dramatic in WCW by comparison, but interesting all the same. After last week’s abomination of a match between The Outsiders, Roddy Piper and Ric Flair, Kevin Nash barged into Piper’s dressing room to get in his face. This issue had been simmering for weeks and came to a head after Piper’s dismal performance and the fact that he is alleged to have cut the match significantly short. Apparently the bout was supposed to last 12 minutes, but actually lasted 6. Thus, the brawl that closed the show seemed to go on forever and as a result everyone was out of position as Nitro went off the air. It is believed that the only physicality involved was a Nash pie-facing Piper and Piper going after Nash’s previously injured knee. Flair and Piper’s bodyguard are said to have stepped in before anything got out of hand. Given that they worked against each other at The Great American Bash, both men are clearly able to keep things professional enough while on screen at least.
  • Stand-in booker, Terry Taylor, has thus far received mainly positive reviews. It is expected that Kevin Sullivan will return to his post in a few weeks though.
  • Apparently the words “ass” and “damn” are now banned on Nitro, by orders of the bigwigs at TBS.
  • Hollywood Hogan is considering cancelling the movie he was supposed to film over the summer in favour of appearing on Nitro more regularly.

A very entertaining Raw featuring a swerve that nobody saw coming and Vince McMahon’s public acknowledgement of the Bret Hart and Shawn Michaels backstage fight.


ratings

Raw 2.4 – 3.3 Nitro


You can read all previous ‘Meanwhile, in WCW’ posts here


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