Retro Reviews: WCW Monday Nitro – Sept 22 1997

“That’s one,” says man-of-few-words Bill Goldberg after his winning debut. Yep, it’s that episode of Nitro from 1997!

It’s 1997. The nWo is running rampant in WCW. Sting is hanging out in the rafters getting the better of the nWo at every turn. WCW has every big star from the 1980s under contract. But they are killing the WWF in the ratings war and that is all that matters to Eric Bischoff and the execs at Turner at this point.

I picked this show, though, because it is the debut of a big performer in WCW from here until its dying days. And that man is Bill Goldberg. In fact the next three shows I plan to review have Goldberg as the focus of the story.

As the announcers are running down the show, Eric Bischoff shows up. He gets in Larry Zbyszko’s face about interfering in the Scott Hall vs Lex Luger match from Fall brawl. Zbyszko shows the clip of Nash power bombing Bischoff from last year and calls him a coward for tucking his tail between his legs and joining the nWo.

Silver King vs Rey Mysterio Jr.

I loved Rey Mysterio’s WCW theme. DUN-DUN-DUNNNA-DUN-DUN-DUNNNA. It’s weird seeing Rey half the muscle size he is now. Silver King of course played the character of Ramses in Nacho Libre. Ramses is #1, his eyes are #1, his muscles are #1. Fun little movie if you have never seen it.

Rey hits two hurricarranas. One to the outside then a reverse ranna inside the ring. As both men exchange near falls, Eddie Guerrero walks to the ring. Eddie is a completely different character from what we saw in m last review. Now he looks like a sleazy heel.

Rey ends up winning with a springboard hurricarrana and I swear it looks like Silver King landed right on his head. But Silver King rolls off after the match as Rey heats a springboard seated senton onto Eddie on the outside. This of course would lead to their great Halloween Havoc match in a month.

Hugh Morrus vs Bill Goldberg

A fan has a sign that says RAW, Retired Awful Wrestlers. Does he know what show he is attending himself?

Even Mike Tenay doesn’t know who this Bill Goldberg guy is. That means you know he is a real mystery. Tenay would know a guy who just debut at your local Indie fed two weeks ago.

Hugh Morrus, despite my hatred for the guy, sells the strength of Goldberg rather well. Morrus hits his No Laughing Matter moonsault but only gets two. Goldberg hits a couple bodyslams then finishes Hugh off with the Jackhammer, though it does not have a name yet. Goldberg looks at the camera and says “That’s one.”

Mean Gene tries to get a word with Goldberg but he just walks away. Looks like WCW might have some plans for this Goldberg guy in the future.

We get an nWo video recapping their Four Horsemen parody. Still hilarious. Should the Horsemen have come out after? Yes. But people really overreacted to this segment if they found it offensive.

Nitro Girls in the ring dancing. I was always a Spice guy personally. She at least showed some personality while dancing.

WCW TV Championship: Alex Wright (c) vs Disco Inferno

A battle of two great theme songs. Alex Wright’s of course is better. Because Das Wunderkind is awesome. Actually can these two have a dance off instead of an actual wrestling match? They go to a commercial two minutes into the match. Such disrespect for Das Wunderkind.

They make up for it as we come back to Wright dancing. Probably was an immediate ratings bump. Alex Wright goes to the top and jumps off with a light stomp of Disco. I think Disco was suppose to move. Wright goes to the top again but Disco crotches him on the ropes and shakes it up and down as the crowd pops pretty big for it.

This time it is Disco who goes to the top but Wright moves. Both men collide on awkward double crossbody where Disco is lucky he didn’t break his leg. But Disco lands on Wright and gets the pinfall win. Dumb finish.

Jacqueline, who at this point is the manager of Harlem Heat, comes out to challenge Disco for the TV title but Disco turns it down.

Scott Hall comes out with Syxx. He does his survey but it sounds like Salt Lake City, Utah, is WCW country. Hall looks about a 4 out of 10 on the drunk scale. Hall wants Luger, but Luger doesn’t come out. Hall then challenges Zbyszko to a match and Larry walks to the ring. But Larry doesn’t accept the challenge. So out comes Hector Garza instead.

Scott Hall vs Hector Garza

Hall picks on referee Mark Curtis and pulls out his shirt and rips off his pocket. Garza then rolls Hall up for the win. After the match Hall hits the Outsiders Edge on Garza then Mark Curtis. You can’t let Hall get his heat back that quickly after a win. Completely killed any momentum Garza could have had for his win.

La Parka, Psicosis, and the Villanos vs Ultimo Dragon, Ciclope, Juventud Guerrera and Lizmark Jr.

Shit hits the fan real quickly in this match. Lizmark hits an awkward handstand then flip over the top. This leads to five other men coming out of the ring to hit dives. Three of them have their legs hit the railing. Ouch.

Sony Onoo pulls down Ultimo Dragon from the top. Psicosis dives to the outside but accidentally takes out Onoo. Juvi then pins La Parka in the ring. La Parka did a job? Interesting. This was a car crash with everyone jumping all over the damn place.

Mean Gene is in the ring and welcomes interim commissioner Roddy Piper. They have been hyping up a major announcement all night. Piper remakes Hall vs Luger for Halloween Havoc and makes Larry the special referee. Piper hypes up his cage match with Hogan at Halloween Havoc. Do not go and watch it. Unless you are looking to put something on to fall asleep (or unless you like matches involving two middle-aged men biting each other on the arse – Ed).

We’re on the road with Lee Marshall. I always wanted a Nitro party when I was a kid.

Meng and Barbarian vs The Steiner Brothers

This was that weird time where Ted DiBiase manged the Steiners and I never understood that. It was always an odd pairing even if DiBiase just left the nWo. Scott is getting pretty big at this point. Not to his ridiculous 2000 level but you can start to see the changes.

After a couple of blocked attempts, Scott finally takes Meng down with a shoulder tackle. Rick comes in and clotheslines Barbarian as they do their traditional pose down and Rick bites the ropes. A few minutes later Barbarian makes a blind tag and we get a nice spot where Meng flips Scott right into Barbarian who grabs him and power bombs him.

The heels work over Scott for a bit until he breaks a double clothesline and tags in Rick. Rick over head suplexes Meng and Meng almost lands on his head. They go for the Steiner Bulldog off the top but Meng pushes Rick off into Scott. Meng then wins with the Tongan Death Grip. WCW really did a good job of getting that move over.

We get some really crappy generic music playing with Hogan and Bischoff coming out. Of course you can’t play Voodoo Child on the Network. Hogan has Ric Flair’s robe on. Curt Hennig had just turned on Flair at Fall Brawl and slammed the cage door into Flair’s head.

Hogan talks about putting all the old dogs in WCW out to pasture. Did he look in the middle? I tend to hate all these Hogan promos on my rewatch. They lead to nothing and meant nothing in the long run.

Macho Man Randy Savage w/Elizabeth vs Stevie Richards

Mmmm WCW Miss Elizabeth. Yeah she was sweet and innocent in WWF but that ain’t the case here and I am all for it. This is a match you would have never expected to happen.

This is a complete squash with Savage winning. Raven, who was at ringside, comes into the ring to stare down Savage. But Raven instead DDTs Richards then leaves. Raven vs Savage, there is a match I would have liked to see.

Scott Norton and Konnan w/Vincent vs Harlem Heat w/Jacqueline

No Stevie Ray as Booker comes out. Stevie Ray got hurt and Booker says he will challenge any one of them. But Scott Norton says Booker signed for a tag match so it is going to be 2-on-1. That logic makes no sense.

Booker shows some energy early on as he knocks Norton off the apron then hits a Harlem side kick on Konnan. Vincent gets on the apron to distract worst referee in the world Nick Patrick so Norton can pull the ropes down.

For some reason, Vincent joins Konnan and Norton in the ring for a beat down of Booker, causing a DQ. Why not win the match and then beat down Booker? Of course the members of the nWo in this match aren’t the sharpest tools in the shed.

United States Championship: Curt Hennig w/Elizabeth (c) vs Jeff Jarrett w/Debra

Jarrett comes out to no reaction. Pretty much the story of his career. And look at this, he is main eventing Nitros before Vince Russo took over!

In all honesty this match could have been good if it was given time. But there’s only 10 minutes left on timer at the bottom and you know there will be some nWo antics near the end.

Some quick headlock takeovers get Hennig pissed and he has to regroup on the outside. Hennig grabs a chair and tries to use it on Jarrett but Jarrett moves and Hennig hits the post. Hennig gets crotched on the post.

Back in the ring Hennig ducks an elbow and applies a sleeper hold. Jarrett breaks it with a jawbreaker then hits a DDT. Jarrett kicks the leg out of Hennig’s leg a few times and goes for the Figure Four. He applies it but Liz distracts the ref. Savage grabs the US title and hands it to Hennig who hits Jarrett with it. Hennig hits the Perfect Plex and gets the win.

After the match the nWo comes to the ring and beats down Jarrett. The Giant makes his way down to the ring but fans, WE ARE OUT OF TIME as the show ends.

An okay show. No big faces appeared on the show. There was no Luger, DDP or Sting on the show. It was heavily dominated by the nWo. The wrestling was better than the 1996 show but I could have wrestled my dog in a match better than anything from 1996.

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