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WCW Nitro
March 09, 1998
Winston-Salem, North Carolina

Hour 1Hour 2Hour 3Composite
5.014.785.054.94

Written by: John Petrie

HOUR ONE Hosted By: Tony Schiavone, Mike Tenay and Larry Zbyszko.

- Randy Savage's comments from last Thursday's Thunder regarding the other
NWO members not being behind "Hollywood" Hogan are played. After the
intro and opening hype the comments are played again.

- DAMIEN vs. THE CAT
Ernest Miller returns, yet again with a slightly retooled image. Less a
karate master as before, he's now made up to look like a kickboxer. His
offense still consists mostly of punches and kicks (and a single
bodyslam). Damien offers virtually no offense OR defense, with Miller
getting the win with a spinning kick after running up the turnbuckles.
Okay looking move, but really worth the effort (as one of these days he's
going to flub it and he'll deserve all the laughs he gets). Acting as
much like Bill Goldberg as possible earns him a good response from the
crowd.

- "Hollywood" Hogan and Eric Bischoff come out for the first of many
appearances on the night. Hogan rags on Savage, saying all his success
and his family's prosperity is due to him. Some of his shots are well
below the belt, as he insinuates that Elizabeth has really "been around".
I love it!

- Mean Gene Okerlund is hanging out at Duke University with the Nitro
Girls. I guess these college parties are going to become a regular
feature. Well, they have to come up with some way to kill all three hours
each week, don't they?

- SICK BOY (w/ the Flock) vs. LENNY LANE
Sick Boy continues to show that he's maybe the best wrestler in the
Flock-or at least has the most potential (though he should probably do
more than just imitate finishers used by top WWF stars). Lane is
something of a mystery: one moment he looks like a good high flyer-the
next he's as thick and immobile as Lex Luger. The high spot of the match
is a running senton by Lane along the apron and over the turnbuckles,
landing on Sick Boy and Lodi down on the floor). Lodi, this time out,
holds up college basketball signs aimed at the North Carolina crowd
(instead of his usual smart mark comments). Sick Boy wins with a
Pedigree, which Schiavone says is called "the Cure". Okeedokee. Ron Studd
came out with the Flock, in case you're interested.

I finally figured out what it is about the Flock members that really bugs
me. It seems that they're all a bunch of fanboy marks who wormed their
way into the business and are content to amuse themselves and each other
by putting together highlight tapes of their own moves. They don't care
if they win or lose-just so long as they look good during their matches.
They probably get together in their off time and watch compilation tapes,
and are all probably huge Steve Austin and Al Snow fans.

- Mike Tenay interviews the Giant, who says he and two of his friends were
in the back listening to what Hogan said earlier. The Giant brings out
his "friends", who-not too surprisingly-turn out to be Sting and Randy
Savage. Very quickly a challenge is tossed out to Hogan and any two other
guys he can dig up for what Savage calls a "six-man tag team match from
Hell!" From this moment on, for the entire remainder of the show, any
semblance of quality commentating goes out the window, as Schiavone goes
into overdrive hyping the upcoming main event. Once again we're forced to
endure a more than two hour build-up to what is sure to be "the greatest
match ever!"

- BILL GOLDBERG vs. BARRY DARSOW
Goldberg actually takes his time this week, spending an extra minute or
so landing punches, knees and delivering a gutwrench suplex. The rapidly
aging Darsow is allowed to get in a little offense, but Goldberg pretty
much no-sells it all. Darsow drives Goldberg into the corner after
working on the shoulder. Goldberg hulks up, spears him in the gut and
Jackhammers him for the win. Without any real attempt at a back-and-forth
match, Darsow comes off without any credibility in front of the crowd,
which actually led to them being a bit restless when Goldberg let him go
on the offense. They began chanting his name, not so much to urge him to
"come back", but mostly out of impatience for the already established
usual Goldberg finisher. In short, WCW has pushed him so hard as a quick
winner that the crowd gets restless if his matches last longer than a
minute. Some of you may be thinking what's the big deal with that? I'd
just point out that in the entire history of the sport, the only model
for success for Goldberg to follow in that vein is the Ultimate Warrior.
Enjoy him while you can, because someday Goldberg is going to be gone
from the sport, living in a shack out in the desert talking to himself.

- Kimberly hypes the WCW website.

- Scott Hall comes out and instead of doing his survey he offers to team up
with Hogan in the main event.

- Kevin Nash comes out and he as well tosses his hat into Hogan's corner.
Hogan, Hall and Nash vs. the Giant, Sting and Savage. Big match ... until
the other NWO members run in, that is. WCW only has themselves to blame
for making me this cynical.

- DEAN MALENKO vs. KIDMAN
Apparently the "Billy" has been dropped. Angst will do that to you. This
is the first (and only) really good match of the show. Malenko wins with
the Texas Cloverleaf. Late in the match Chris Jericho comes to the ring.
After the finish, Jericho urges the other Flock members to go into the
ring. Instead of attacking Malenko, they turn on Jericho. (It made no
sense, but it was funny to watch.)

HOUR TWO Hosted By: Schiavone, Tenay and Zbyszko.

- Hogan and Bischoff come to the ring again: this time to crow over how
easily they put together a team to face the Giant and his friends.

- Some shots at the WCW events which took place on the Duke University
campus earlier in the day are shown. Okerlund then makes a total ass of
himself by killing the enthusiasm of some of the fans by him in the live
shot of the college crowd. More on this later.

- BRIAN ADAMS vs. KAOS (w/ Rage)
... better known as High Voltage. I guess this is supposed to show that
Kaos can't compete as a singles wrestler, as he tries to get his partner
Rage to come off the top rope on Adams. Adams foils the attempt and puts
Kaos away with a tilt-a-whirl slam.

- Bobby Heenan joins the announcing crew, replacing Zbyszko.

- Konan comes to the ring to badmouth Juventud Guerrera (and in the process
alleges that WCW doesn't respect any of the Mexican wrestlers). Konan
says he has an NWO cruiserweight for Juventud to face if he wants to
fight Konan. (Again WCW ignores the fact that Konan already agreed to
face Juventud in a match this week. I should say that this is the angle,
actually, as the two will obviously face off at the PPV, where Guerrera
will undoubtedly get the win.) Guerrera comes to the ring, followed by
Scott Norton, who is Konan's new "cruiserweight".

- JUVENTUD GUERRERA vs. SCOTT NORTON
Norton folds, spindles and mutilates Guerrera, pinning him after a
shoulderbreaker over his knee. This is, of course, all designed to make
the 8 and 80 year olds in the crowd think that Guerrera has no chance in
hell of beating Konan at the PPV.

- A video package showing the feud between Raven, Chris Benoit and Diamond
Dallas Page is shown.

- RAVEN/SATURN vs. CHRIS BENOIT/DIAMOND DALLAS PAGE
The match starts of great. Of course, this being a Benoit match, WCW
takes a commercial right in the middle. Once back they're in the middle
of a lengthy rest hold sequence. DDP gets worked over for a while,
eventually making the hot tag to Benoit. Benoit cleans house, putting
Raven into the triple belly-to-back suplex (which Raven stops at two by
mule kicking Benoit in the googlies). The finish then gets a bit silly,
with Benoit slapping the Crippler Crossface on Raven. Page, meanwhile,
nails Saturn with a Diamond Cutter out of the corner. Page accidentally
lands on Benoit and those two start to go at it, brawling down the aisle
and out of the ringside area. Raven and Saturn win via countout, even
though both lie unconscious in the ring.

Too bad WCW has to push Benoit and Page at each other in this manner in
order to get the fans to accept the notion of the two fighting each
other. (At least they didn't turn one of the heel ... I'll give them that
much.)

HOUR THREE Hosted By: Schiavone, Tenay and Bobby "The Brain" Heenan.

- Mean Gene is still on campus. Dominos pizza has arrived for some well
needed nourishment and product placement. Okerlund asks several kids
questions, then pulls the mic away before they can finish answering. The
Nitro Girls do a number.

- KONAN (w/ Vincent) vs. DAVEY BOY SMITH
Even though Schiavone talks up how great Konan is, the Bulldog has no
problem with him, putting him away in almost no time with a powerslam.

- Mike Tenay interviews Ric Flair. Flair works the Carolina crowd like a
fiddle.

- CHRIS JERICHO vs. DISCO INFERNO
Jericho has only a small amount of trouble getting the win over Disco,
making him submit to the Lion Tamer.

- Okerlund again enters the fray, this time yelling at a fan for excitedly
holding up a Nitro t-shirt. Another fan reaches over to rub Okerlund's
bald head and Mean Gene almost snaps, calling the fans around him
"clowns". Another guy leans into the shot and Mean Gene tells him he'd
look good on a pool table. Huh?! Okerlund has lost all sense of reality!
The Nitro Girls do their best to make us forget that ugly scene.

- CHAVO GUERRERO, JR. vs. BOOKER T.
Eddie Guerrero comes out to confront his nephew before the match starts.
Eddie then gets into a shoving match with Booker T. Chavo lays in on
Booker, with Eddie rooting him on. Booker then takes just over a minute
to land a drop-kick off the top and score the pin. After the match Eddie
adds a suplex to really teach Chavo a lesson.

- CURT HENNIG (w/ Rick Rude) vs. RIC FLAIR
I figured something out this week: Flair wrestles almost the same as Lex
Luger! He gets beat up the entire match, then "hulks up" with a well
placed low blow and a "whooo!" Flair then borrowed the silly ECW spot
where you hang your opponent in the corner and lay a chair on his face.
Before he can kick the chair, however, Konan, Vincent and Rude run in.
Flair is set up in the same position, but this time it's Bret Hart who
runs in for the save. Hart and Hennig go at it and, interestingly enough,
the fans seem almost as willing to watch Hennig beat on Hart as they are
to see Hart beat on Hennig. Needless to say, Flair wins the match via DQ.

- SCOTT STEINER/SCOTT NORTON vs. RICK STEINER/LEX LUGER
The whole gist of this match is "will Scott and Rick go at it or not?"
For a brief moment Scott gets a few shot in on Rick after Norton softens
Rick up, but soon after the whole match is thrown out when all four men
are counted out on the floor. Luger and Scott Steiner brawl out through
the entryway, while Norton and Rick Steiner just seem to disappear.

- STING/RANDY SAVAGE/THE GIANT vs. "HOLLYWOOD" HOGAN/SCOTT HALL/KEVIN NASH
Bischoff accompanies his men to the ring. The bulk of the match is spent
with the Giant being trapped in the NWO's corner, while the referee
spends all his time keeping Savage and Sting out of the ring. After a
week or two of this the Giant breaks free and tags in Savage. Nash runs
to the back with the Giant in not-so-hot pursuit. Sting and Hall seem to
disappear. Savage works over Hogan until Ed Leslie runs in, laying out
Savage with a Stunner. Hogan covers and gets the pin (the referee somehow
managing to miss the interference, yet see that Hogan has a pin cover,
even though he's down on the floor trying to keep the Giant from chasing
after Nash). Hogan yells something to the camera about "the Apocalypse",
which I fear is what Leslie's new name is supposed to be.

- This Thursday: Nothing announced.

- Next week: Nothing announced.

Comments:

A faster paced show than usual, but one which was almost entirely
uneventful. Nothing of note happened, nor anything which significantly
furthered any angles, nor anything which made WCW any different than it was
prior to the show taking place. Unless you happen to be addicted to
wrestling and needed your favorite WCW star fix, there was really no need to
catch this show at all-much less for it to have happened in the first place.
(That may well be the perfect description of a house show: it's nice to see
these guys when they come to your hometown, but there's no real reason to
televise the card.) I guess I'm just not a big enough fan of wrestling in
general and WCW in particular to be all that interested in matches which
simply don't mean anything. For me a match possibly being "good" isn't
enough of a reason to watch it in and of itself. Now, more than ever, the
question of why I watch WCW at all is becoming harder and harder to
answer. As it is now I can watch the Nitro the night after a PPV of theirs
and that would pretty much fill my need for that month. The next three weeks
or so is just the same show over again and again. Even the once present
element of surprise has been replaced with "which wrestler of a small group
of big names is going to challenge which other big name to a match as the
main event?"

Take this week for example: had the Giant and Savage not thrown out the big
challenge, the Steiners/Norton/Luger match would have been the main event.
Does that sound like a quality main event? Why hadn't WCW already scheduled
a match involving Hogan, Sting or Savage already? Did they just happen to
know that one of them was going to challenge one of the other, thus pulling
their asses out of the fire ratings-wise? Lack of logic aside, we're stuck
seeing a minor variation of the same match every week, with almost the
identical finish each time out.

I dunno ... I guess I just feel like I'm gonna puke if I have to watch one
more NWO run-in. At least there was a pinfall this time out. That's a good
thing ... right?


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