I don’t think I need to point out what the big news in wrestling was 20 years ago this week. While the fallout from the main event of the 1997 Survivor Series played out on Raw, what was happening on Nitro? Let’s find out in this week’s ‘Meanwhile, in WCW’…
- Heel Steven Regal got his revenge on babyface Chris Adams, and justifiably so. Last week, completely out of the blue, Adams ratted out Regal and Dave Taylor to the referee in their match against Harlem Heat. This week Regal distracted Adams against Eddie Guerrero. Afterwards Regal gave Adams a good kicking and put him in the Regal stretch. Maybe you should mind your own business in future, eh Chris?
- La Parka made use of the fact that Battle Royals are, technically, no disqualification matches. He swung his chair to good effect, last eliminating Juventud and Psychosis simultaneously.
- The Disco Inferno debuted a new move; a Stone Cold Stunner. It was even preceded with a boot to the gut. Make no mistake, he’s doing the move because he has been told to, not because he has deliberately decided to steal the finishing move of the WWF’s fastest rising star.
- Disco’s opponent was Louis Spicolli of ECW and WWF (as Rad Radford) fame. Despite doing the job and his jobber entrance, Spicolli showed 100 times more personality than your average enhancement talent. It left me thinking that rather than simply being a local job guy, this was his debut in the company and will be a featured wrestler moving forward.
- We saw more evidence to support the theory that Saturn is Raven’s favourite Flock member, because he was allowed to cut a promo. The new TV Champion said that titles are for champions not jokes, disgraces or disco dancers. He put over his martial arts background and stated that he fears nobody. Raven also put Saturn over as being an ex-army ranger who has spent time in prison but has now found a home in The Flock. Incidentally the Flock name is still not official, I’m just using it to sound less vague than the announcers do when they speak about “Raven’s group”.
- The only interesting note from Mean Gene’s hotline tease was him going out of his way to call World War 3 a 60 person battle royal, not a 60 man battle royal. Don’t worry, the WCW Hotline got a much juicer story in time for Nitro.
- John Nord (aka The Berzerker in the WWF) and Barry Darsow (aka loads of shit gimmicks and a couple of good ones too) looked strong in a squash match in their return to WCW.
- Gedo is now managed by Sonny Onno, presumably just because he’s Japanese. On the subject of Onoo, his other client, Yuji Nagata will face Ultimo Dragon in rematch from Halloween Havoc at World War 3. Apparently, Dragon did not sustain a broken arm after that bout after all.
- Eddie Guerrero defeated Chris Adams
- Disco Inferno defeated Louis Spicolli
- Bobby Walker defeated Jerry Flynn
- Gedo defeated Psychosis
- Ernest Miller and Glacier defeated High Voltage
- Hugh Morris defeated Barry Horowitz
- La Parka won a Luchador Battle Royal
- John Nord and Barry Darsow defeated Disorderly Conduct
- Lex Luger and The Giant defeated The Faces of Fear
Something happened on this week’s Nitro that I did not think happened at all in 1997; Sting got his head kicked in by the New World Order. Since becoming the strong silent type, Sting has always gotten the better of any physical encounter he has been involved in. However, this week The Stinger fell afoul of the exact situation from a few weeks ago, only he fought his way out on that occasion. An angry Hollywood Hogan and Eric Bischoff called out Sting earlier in the show, largely due to the fact that Sting has also been starring in movies – The Real Reason (Men Commit Crimes). Nothing happened, so the pair returned later in the evening to try again. This time their luck was in because Sting descended from the ceiling ready to fight. Just as Sting got into a flustered Hogan’s face, the rest of the nWo showed up and beat the holy hell out of him. We saw Sting fight off the stable with just his fists not too long ago, but on this occasion he succumbed. Hogan nailed him with three leg drops as Nitro went off the air.
In Other News From Nitro –
- Hogan, Bischoff and company actually began the show in high spirits. The group had two announcements, which were made amidst an array of Canadian flags. Firstly, Bischoff announced the re-debut of Kevin Nash who has been off television for all of four weeks. Syxx brought Kev out in a wheelchair, but it was a swerve! Nash is fit, healthy and ready to face The Giant… in the World War 3 battle royal. I guess we’ll have to wait for a singles match then. The group’s other announcement concerned, until last night, WWF performer Bret Hart. The Hitman – who was not present – was announced as the nWo’s newest member and the group even sang ‘O Canada’. The entire segment felt tongue-in-cheek to the point that Larry Zbyzsko said that he did not know if they were being serious or not. As a viewer, I too could not tell if Bischoff was being sincere or not.
- Mean Gene was on hand to plug his hotline, which he never usually does on Nitro. Apparently, Bret Hart had a physical confrontation with a “rival promotor” last night, but we had to call to find out more. No need Gene, we’ve already cracked that code.
- In one of those cringeworthy ‘it was a different time’ situations, Sonny Onoo handed Debra a handful of cash before forcing himself upon her and kissing her. Debra did slap him, at least. In the ring, Yuji Nagata defeated Alex Wright, which caused Debra and Alex to argue afterwards.
- Eddie Guerrero recaptured the Cruiserweight Title from Rey Mysterio in an okay match that did not even come close to their Halloween Havoc encounter. Afterwards, Dean Malenko marched to the ring and stared at Guerrero. I assume this is Eddie’s next feud then?
- Ric Flair cut a promo on pretty much every major heel in the company, but specifically Curt Hennig whom he wants to disable. Later, Hennig caused a disqualification during Flair’s match with Lex Luger. Flair and Hennig brawled to the back, with Luger also landing some shots on the nWo man.
- Prior to this, Hennig got disqualified in a US Title defence against Diamond Dallas Page when he used the belt as a weapon.
- Macho Man got so carried away after defeating Ray Traylor that the referee reversed the original decision. Savage landed four elbow drops on big Ray after the bell, with Liz making her spray painting debut. She’s a devilish woman, I tell you.
- Having come close on last week’s Saturday Night, Steven Regal and Dave Taylor did manage to defeat Harlem Heat this time, cleanly too.
- There was a weird angle with Jimmy Hart. He came out mid-way through The Barbarian’s match with Glacier looking very animated and sensibly dressed, for a change. His antics earned him a kick from Glacier. I have no idea what this was about or why Jimmy wasn’t in his man’s corner from the start.
- Billy Kidman – who sat at ringside with the rest of The Flock – threw a drink over Disco Inferno. Disco dragged him over the guard rail and nailed him with his version of Stone Cold’s Stunner; The Chart Buster. The rest of The Flock jumped in to attack Disco. Scotty Riggs, complete with eye patch, came out to make the save but pulled his punch when he faced up to Raven. Later, Raven apologised to Riggs for injuring his eye in their match the other week, claiming it was an accident. A new member of Raven’s stable was also present during all of this. Mike Tenay was of the opinion that the big guy looked like former WCW wrestler Van Hammer.
- Staying with The Flock, Saturn contested a good match with Chris Benoit until the rest of group interfered and attacked The Crippler. In a clear fuck up, the referee called for the bell and the disqualification way too early. I mean before The Flock had even jumped the guard rail too early! In the midst of the beat down, Fit Finley also attacked Benoit, leaving The Flock to feed off the scraps. The new big guy – it is Van Hammer of course – just stood in the corner looking like a giant emo kid throughout the entire segment.
- Dave Taylor & Steven Regal defeated Harlem Heat
- Chris Jericho defeated Disco Inferno
- Glacier defeated The Barbarian (w/ Jimmy Hart)
- Yuji Nagata (w/ Sonny Onoo) defeated Alex Wright (w/ Queen Debra)
- Saturn © defeated Chris Benoit to retain the WCW Television Championship
- Eddie Guerrero defeated Rey Mysterio Jr. © to win the WCW Cruiserweight Championship
- Ray Traylor defeated Randy Savage (w/ Miss Elizabeth) by referee decision
- Diamond Dallas Page defeated Curt Hennig © by DQ in a WCW United States Championship Match
- Lex Luger defeated Ric Flair by DQ
“Bret Hart, because you’re such a knock out kinda guy…”
- The Wrestling Observer was released on a Monday back in 1997, so no juicy gossip about Montreal until next week. However, Bret Hart’s imminent departure from the WWF was the main story because that news broke last weekend, along with news that Hart is headed to WCW. Pretty much everything in the Dave Meltzer’s report matches up to what we now know to be the facts surrounding Bret’s contractual situation.
- Bret absolutely buried Shawn Michaels in a recent column in the Calgary Sun. I won’t transcribe the whole thing, but it begins like this; “Shawn Michaels, you are a disgrace to professional wrestling. It amazes me that there was a time I actually thought you’d be the guy who could come up behind me and carry the ball when my time comes to retire. Now when you’re behind me, I have to make sure I don’t bend over.”
- As well as acquiring The Hitman’s services, WCW have also managed to hold onto Ric Flair. The Nature Boy’s contract was due to expire in a month or two, but he and Eric Bischoff – who do not see eye to eye – have finally come to a verbal agreement. Bischoff will consider this a coup because the WWF were said to be interested in Flair.
- Syxx’s neck injury is worse than thought and he will likely be out for a while. Of course hindsight tells us that this is a wrap for him in WCW.
- Nice guy Diamond Dallas Page was even a nice guy back in 1997. He has been raising money for the late Brian Pillman’s family.
Yes, the WWF were still in Canada for this show and yes, the crowd were HOT! Also on this week’s Raw was the debut of DX’s iconic theme music.
Raw 3.4 – 4.4 Nitro
You can read all previous ‘Meanwhile, in WCW’ posts here