This week marks 20 years since ‘Assault On Devil’s Island’ hit TV screens. I’m sure that’s all you’ve been talking about, right? Well at the time you couldn’t get two words out of Eric Bischoff without him mentioning it, but what else was happening on Nitro in 1997? Let’s find out in this week’s ‘Meanwhile, in WCW’…
- Saturn made his in-ring debut and destroyed Chavo Guerrero Jr. in the process. Saturn stands out from the rest of Raven’s group – the ‘Flock’ name has yet to be made official – because Raven actually seems to care about him. Raven introduced Saturn and stayed at ringside for his match, which he does not do for Stevie Richards. There was a post-match beatdown of Chavo by other members of the soon-to-be Flock too.
- Another of Raven’s crew, Kidman, was also in action. Kidman appears to be held in higher regard than Stevie, but not as high as Saturn because while he did not have Raven by his side, Sick Boy and Stevie were at ringside for Kidman’s match with Rey Mysterio. Rey won and even got the best of the lower ranking Flock members during an attempted post-match beat down.
- Attention Hotline fans – members of the nWo are trying to block the Hogan vs. Sting match from happening. I assume this is an angle, but it makes no sense. Hogan, the leader of the group, asked for the match himself.
- As I suspected, Yuji Nagata and Sonny Onoo “broke” Ultimo Dragon’s arm at Halloween Havoc. In reality, he is taking time off to have bone chips removed from his elbow, which Mike Tenay alluded to before the arm breaking angle anyway.
- Booker T and Stevie Ray want a shot at the Tag Titles. Given that the Steiners issued an open contract last week i.e. they’ll face anyone who fancies a shot, I doubt the Harlem Heat boys will have much bother getting their match.
- Speaking of Booker and Stevie, they almost suffered a shock defeat to a returning Steven Regal and Dave Taylor, who were tagging together for the first time in over a year. Regal held Booker’s foot as Taylor pinned him before being announced as winners. That was until fellow Brit, Chris Adams, came down and ratted them out to the referee. The match restarted and the natural order was resumed when Harlem Heat won.
- Goldberg smashed The Renegade with a Spear and Jackhammer for the win. Alex Wright came out to get a piece of Goldberg, but got cold feet as soon as big Bill turned around and invited him for a fight. Not even Debra could persuade Wright to step in the ring.
- Finley cleanly defeated Chris Benoit. Out of context, it looks like an upset but Benoit beat Finley on the previous Nitro, so the pair are running an angle where they beat the crap out of each other and trade wins.
- Curt Hennig cut a promo on Ric Flair saying that he wants to retire The Nature Boy. A match between the pair is now official for World War 3 later this month.
- Rey Mysterio Jr. defeated Billy Kidman
- Yuji Nagata defeated Lenny Lane
- Saturn defeated Chavo Guerrero
- Juventud Guerrera defeated Bobby Blaze
- Harlem Heat defeated Dave Taylor and Steven Regal
- Ray Traylor defeated Vincent
- Goldberg defeated Renegade
- Fit Finley defeated Chris Benoit
- Konnan defeated Johnny Swinger
- Steiner Brothers defeated Mortis and Wrath
It was slim pickings this week as WCW followed up last week’s stacked Nitro with this rather poor effort. The show ended with an overzealous Ric Flair pissing off fellow babyface Lex Luger. Earlier in the evening, Flair cut a promo on Curt Hennig and the rest of the nWo. He also seemed more intent on winning the World War 3 battle royal than the US Title. This was odd, given that he has a one-on-one match for the US Title against Hennig at the PPV. Anyway, the main event of the show saw Hennig defend his title – I know, a title match has already been signed for the PPV, but this is WCW – against Lex Luger. As Luger hoisted Hennig up into the Torture Rack, Ric Flair burst in to attack the US Champion and cause the disqualification. Hennig and Flair brawled up the aisle with Nitro ending when Luger got in Flair’s face. The Total Package was totally justified because he was on the verge of winning the US Title when Flair barged into the ring to ruin it.
In Other News From Nitro –
- In just his second televised WCW match, Saturn destroyed the Disco Inferno to become the new Television Champion. The rest of The Flock joined in the celebrations/post-match beatdown. Oddly, Raven tried to stop it and even chucked Stevie Richards out of the ring. Once again the commentators put over how weird the group are.
- Eric Bischoff was on the phone to brag about the success of Assault on Devil’s Island – which was a ratings hit last Tuesday, believe it or not – and promised more to come from the series. According to Bisch, if the TV movie drew a 4.0 or better then TNT would agree to more in the future. Easy E also put over Hollywood Hogan challenging Sting, claiming that The Stinger was the coward. Bischoff also promised a surprise next week and revealed that the entire nWo, including the injured Kevin Nash, would be present. This segment was subjected to “boring” chants from the Philadelphia fans, and rightly so.
- The opening match – which featured Dean Malenko, Eddie Guerrero, Rey Mysterio and Steven Regal – was clearly booked to get the Philly fans on side. There were huge “Eddie sucks” chants with Malenko stealing a tag from Guerrero so that he could claim the win with his Texas Cloverleaf.
- There was more pandering when Chris Jericho scored the upset victory over Scott Hall. Predictably, Hall got his heat back by delivering two Outsider’s Edges to Jericho after the bell. Larry Zbyzsko made the save. Brandishing a contract for a match, The Living Legend repeated his challenge to Hall from last week but the bad guy slithered away. Prior to this match starting, Hall reiterated his stance from last week too i.e. he doesn’t believe Zbyksko could even beat Eric Bischoff, never mind him.
- In what I assume is an unrelated note, and something that confused everybody, Scott Hall was carrying a Tag Team Title belt with him. Why is that weird? Because The Steiner Brothers are the champions.
- The Giant wiped out a battle royal full of luchadores in order to cut a promo on Kevin Nash, whom he called “little big man”. This is not the first time the babyface Giant has done this yet, ironically, Kevin Nash is usually the one accused of burying smaller guys.
- We saw a recap of Hogan and Sting’s press conference/contract signing last week during an Assault On Devil’s Island ad break.
- Diamond Dallas Page cut a promo on Hogan and has set his sights on winning World War 3 in order to get a shot at the tiltle.
- Goldberg watched Steve McMichael from the aisle, which distracted Mongo just long enough to lose his match with Ray Traylor.
- Raven was in a classroom to deliver another meandering promo about being taunted at school. Poor baby.
- As Nitro was in Philadelphia, The Public Enemy were, of course, wheeled out for a Street Fight, which they lost to The Steiner Brothers. The end came immediately after Rick Steiner failed to get his head out of the way of a dangerous looking table sandwich spot. Rick started gushing blood immediately from the top of his head with Scott instantly pinning Johnny Grunge – who took the bump through the two tables – for the win.
- Dean Malenko & Eddie Guerrero defeated Rey Misterio Jr. & Steven Regal
- Fit Finlay defeated Dave Taylor
- Yuji Nagata (w / Sonny Onoo) defeated Psychosis
- Saturn (w / Raven) defeated Disco Inferno (c) to win the WCW World Television Championship
- Chris Jericho defeated Scott Hall
- Ciclope vs. Damien vs. El Dandy vs Juventud Guerrera vs. Lizmark Jr. vs. Silver King vs. Villano IV vs. Villano V ended in a No Contest in a Battle Royal
- Ric Flair defeated Alex Wright (w / Queen Debra)
- Ray Traylor defeated Steve McMichael
- The Steiner Brothers (w / Ted DiBiase) defeated (c) The Public Enemy in a Philadelphia Street Fight to retain the WCW World Tag Team Championship
- Curt Hennig (c) defeated Lex Luger by DQ to retain the WCW United States Heavyweight Championship
“Let the stretchings begin”
Raven before Saturn’s in-ring debut
- As expected, Halloween Havoc did break WCW’s gate receipt record. The show brought in $297,508.
- Mike Rapada, a low-card newcomer, walked out of the company after Scott Hall was a bit too stiff with him in a match in Orlando.
- WCW’s luchadores are apparently being underutilised on purpose. Eric Bischoff wants them to be the exclusive property of WCW and until that becomes the case it is likely we will not be seeing as much of them as we previously did. At the moment, most of them are still able to work for Konnan’s Mexican promotion – Promo Azteca – and tour Japan.
- Syxx has fractured his neck, hence why he has not been wrestling or taking bumps.
Having wrestled WWF Champion Bret Hart last week, Ken Shamrock worked with Shawn Michaels on the go-home episode before the Survivor Series. If you like doing ‘what ifs’ surrounding events in Montreal then the idea of Vince McMahon putting the belt on Shamrock must have crossed his mind around this time.
Raw 2.6 – 4.0 Nitro
You can read all previous ‘Meanwhile, in WCW’ posts here