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WCW Nitro
September 22, 1997
Salt Lake City, Utah

Hour 1Hour 2Hour 3Composite
3.803.423.63

Written by: John Petrie

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

- Kimberly works up the crowd over the house mic as the Nitro Girls make
their way from separate directions through the audience to the arena
floor. They converge in the aisle and do a number.

- As Tony and Mike start to hype tonight's show Eric Bischoff comes to the
desk. He warns Larry Zbyszko to stay out of the NWO's business, referring
to Larry's interference at the PPV last week. In a move to humiliate
Bischoff, Larry has the production truck play a clip of Eric getting
powerbombed through the stage by Kevin Nash last year at the Great
American Bash. Larry says his intent is to show what a spineless wimp
Bischoff is. I suspect the real reason was to show-just in case Vince
McMahon were to get attacked tonight-that Bischoff did it first. (Though
the reason Bischoff did it first last year is because there were rumors
at that time too that McMahon was going to be attacked).

- REY MYSTERIO, JR. vs. SILVER KING
An okay match, but it reminded me of one of the things about Mysterio
that annoys me: the guy just can't sell properly! A light tap does the
same damage to him as a powerbomb, and both only get sold for a three
count or so then Rey whips into another offensive move. This has bothered
me since I first saw him in some matches from Mexico and this match
tonight reminded me of that. Anyway, Rey wins with a nasty execution of
his springboard huracanrana. Silver King snapped over and landed on his
head, which made the move look awesome. Rey gets the three count.
Eddie Guerrero then appears and jumps up on the apron. With his hair tied
back partially in a ponytail he now looks like Leif Cassidy from ten
paces away. He drop back to the floor, arguing with the ref. Mysterio
suddenly somersaults over the ref and knocks Guerrero to the floor. Rey
takes a good look at Guerrero's Cruiserweight Title belt, then lays it
across Eddie's waist.

I'm still not wild about them demoting Eddie back into the Cruiserweight
division, but a feud with Mysterio is much better than a lot of the stuff
they've had him do lately.

Somewhere around now Tony Schiavone mentions that the show may have to
run over beyond two hours, as there's just so much on the schedule. Of
course they won't admit why they really want to run over. After all, most
every other Nitro manages to fit in two hours. Why schedule so much that
you know you will probably have to run over? Since they know they will
run over at the start they obviously intended to do so all along. Why not
be honest then and just say "Nitro will be two-and-a-half hours tonight!"
or whatever. I'm sure folks taping the show would have appreciated it.
For those of you out there who may not be sure just exactly when Nitro
will be running over, just remember this: if RAW is live, Nitro will most
likely run over by at least 20 minutes, with at least one show a month
probably going three hours.

Until January, that is.

They also really hype an upcoming announcement by Interim Commissioner
"Rowdy" Roddy Piper later in the show. They promise us earth-shattering,
monumental news.

- HUGH MORRUS vs. "STONE COLD" BILL GOLDBERG
Oh now come on! Goldberg, a newcomer and total mystery to the announcing
crew, opens up a can of whoop-ass on Hugh Morrus, beating him in a major
upset in his Nitro debut. Goldberg kicks out of Morrus' "No Laughing
Matter" moonsault. Goldberg, in his little black boots and little black
tights, pins Morrus following a high vertical suplex. Why? 'Cause Bill
Goldberg said so!

Give me a break.

Going into the commercial they run an NWO paid for promo which plays a
bit of the infamous Arn Anderson parody.

- Nitro Girls in the ring.

- They show the clip of Larry Zbyszko interfering in the Fall Brawl match
between Luger, Page, Hall and Savage. Larry distracted Scott Hall,
allowing Lex Luger to roll him up from behind. Larry then went into the
ring and did a fast three count.

- ALEX WRIGHT vs. DISCO INFERNO
Early in the match they show Raven sitting in the front row.

I'm sure a lot of people totally into Wright's gimmick will say this was
a great match. I wasn't quite as moved. Little happened before they cut
to a commercial. Once back, it was all fairly slow action, with Wright in
control. Wright still can't do a credible looking move off the top
turnbuckle as he comes off and stomps on Disco's chest, which looked dumb
and weak. Disco comes back and it degenerates into a Jim Duggan-esque
stomp and slugfest. Disco gets the crowd behind him as he mounts his
comeback, but gets stopped when he tries a move off the top. In a really
terrible looking finish the two men go into the ropes. Wright goes around
Disco with a cartwheel that looked to throw Disco almost completely off
his timing. The two then come at each other and both launch into cross
bodyblocks. They collide in midair and the two crumple to the mat, with
Disco landing on top of the pile. Disco gets the upset win and becomes
the new WCW World Television Champion. (One long, dark nightmare is over,
while yet another begins).

Mean Gene Okerlund comes out with Jacquelyn, who confronts Disco, saying
we all know why he left WCW earlier this year. Disco says this isn't the
time or the place to rehash that. WCW continues to book with a nod toward
the smart fans.

Another NWO paid clip with more of the Anderson parody.

- Scott Hall and Syxx go to the ring to deliver comments. Insert your own
NWO catchphrases here. Hall taunts Larry Zbyszko. He then calls for Terry
Taylor (another nod to the "smarts") to send Lex Luger out. With Luger
not appearing he calls out Zbyszko. Larry walks to the ring and the two
trade insults.

- SCOTT HALL (w/ Syxx) vs. HECTOR GARZA
Hall spends so much time pestering the ref that he falls victim to a
roll-up at the hands of Garza. Referee Mark Curtis drops and makes the
three count. Hall retaliates by beating the piss out of both Garza and
Curtis.

Not all that much of a first hour. The Disco title win was simultaneously
the high and low point. From this point on I didn't watch any more of
Nitro as it played out live. In fact, I switched over to RAW well before
the Hall/Garza match got underway. I didn't see the rest of the show
until the replay. As always I watched each show again in full on tape in
preparation for this Recap.

HOUR TWO Hosted By: Tony Schiavone, Mike Tenay and Bobby "The Brain" Heenan.

- LA PARKA/PSYCHOSIS/LOS VILLANOS (w/ Sonny Onoo) vs.
ULTIMO DRAGON/JUVENTUD GUERRERA/CICLOPE/LIZMARK JR.
If you were watching this instead of RAW you made a big mistake.

Tons of mayhem, chaos and nonsense. Half the match is used to set up the
expected spot where everyone jumps on everyone else on the floor (though
thankfully Hector Garza wasn't in the match, meaning we didn't have to
wait a minute for him to set up his corkscrew plancha). Juventud
eventually pins La Parka. How? Does it matter? Los rudos rarely ever win
these matches in WCW. Just pick a team and hope they win, because that's
all the match means. A hundred five star moves strung together for a
match which lasted less than five minutes. I'm sure someone somewhere
will rate this match at least four stars. I'm so happy they were pleased.

The best part of the match came when all the guys were jumping on each
other outside the ring. Bobby Heenan asked Tony Schiavone if he'd like
him to hold his headset so that Tony could run in and jump on someone.

- Interim Commissioner "Rowdy" Roddy Piper comes out for his huge
announcement. Wait a minute ... Commissioner? I thought J.J. Dillon was
the "Chairman of the Executive Committee", or something like that? He
wasn't the Commissioner, so why is Piper now the "Interim Commissioner"?
This stuff would make a lot more sense if WCW didn't spend so much time
watching and stealing ideas from the WWF.

Piper takes forever to announce:

1. Scott Hall will face Lex Luger at Halloween Havoc, which Hall himself
had mentioned minutes earlier. Larry Zbyszko will be the special
referee, guaranteeing either an easy win for Luger or a Zbyszko
beating at the hands of the NWO-possibly both.

2. Even though WCW is considering "banning" them (yeah ... right), the
match between Piper and Hogan at Halloween Havoc will be in a steel
cage.

Both of these announcement were not only probably already assumed by the
majority of the regular fans, but were also old news to the on-line fans.

Proving that the WWF isn't the only ones who can do a really bad
promotional tie-in commercial, Randy Savage does a Slim Jim Halloween
Havoc spot. The concept is a cross between "The Home Shopping Network"
and "Elvira: Mistress of the Dark".

- THE STEINER BROTHERS (w/ Ted DiBiase) vs. FACES OF FEAR
I can't say this one was bad, but it sure wasn't good either. After only
a few minutes of action featuring guys about as mobile as those old WWF
action figures, the FOF get the upset win. The Steiners set up the
Barbarian for the Bulldog off the top rope, but Meng pushes Rick off the
top turnbuckle. Rick takes out both the Barbarian and his brother Scott.
Meng then tries a kick but Rick ducks under it. Rick awkwardly grabs
Meng, setting up a belly-to-belly suplex. Meng blocks it by applying the
Tongan Death Grip, driving Rick to the mat and getting the pin.

Gee ... another upset. What's the deal with WCW's tag team division,
anyway? First off, we have two champs who only defend the belts about
once every three months. We then get the Steiners, Harlem Heat and Faces
of Fear as rotating number one contenders. The only other regular team
they have is Mortis and Wrath, who spend half their time wrestling
Glacier and Ernest Miller. When they do face the top ranked teams they
lose. The final two tag teams in WCW are the Public Enemy and High
Voltage, who seemed to be locked into a part-time feud with each other
and take turns serving as jobbers to the other teams. Most recently they
had established the Steiners as once again the top contenders, yet they
turn around and have them lose to Harlem Heat at the big Seattle house
show, and now to the Faces of Fear on live TV. The Steiners were supposed
to face the Outsiders at the next PPV, but now word is that Kevin Nash is
injured and will miss the show. Additionally, Scott Hall has already been
scheduled for a match with Lex Luger. Remember the good old days when
teams engaged in good feuds and after a while the bad teams went away?
WCW, apparently unable to find any more available tag teams on the
planet, are forced to constantly cycle between the Steiners, Heat and FOF
as the team destined to be humiliated by the Outsiders. WCW has proven
that each of these teams is as good (or bad) as the others. Perhaps all
this would be at least watchable if the Tag Team Titles were involved
but, alas, they are firmly planted around the waists of Hall and Nash,
being lowered to the status of costume jewelry. Were this the old days I
can easily imagine articles appearing in Pro Wrestling Illustrated asking
the question "should WCW's Tag Team belts be truly considered WORLD Tag
Team Titles?" (I seem to remember them asking the same question about the
WWF's World Title several years back).

That's not to say the tag team situation is any better in the WWF. If
WCW's tag team division is on oxygen right now, the WWF's is in an iron
lung.

- "Hollywood" Hogan comes out for his weekly gab-fest. This time he is
wearing the robe of Ric Flair which Curt Hennig gave to him last week.
Hogan has cut off the arms, displaying his twenty-four inch pythons.
Hogan challenges Sting to come out. Sting, of course, isn't in the
building this week. He and Bischoff also take a few shots at Piper.

- RANDY "MACHO MAN" SAVAGE (w/ Elizabeth) vs. STEVIE RICHARDS
Savage cozies up to a ring girl on his way in. Savage then says Liz will
accompany Curt Hennig to the ring in his match later in the show. Early
in this match they mention that it has been officially signed: Savage
will face Diamond Dallas Page at Halloween Havoc. Again I ask myself
"didn't we already know this?"

Quick match. Elizabeth, in a real eye-opener of a move, actually chokes
Richards as he lays on the apron (as Savage distracts the ref). She also
directs Savage back into the ring as he gets into a staredown with Raven
at ringside. (Savage had tossed Richards to the floor, then slammed him
into the rail in front of Raven-bringing Raven to his feet). Savage
tosses Richards back in the ring and nails him with an elbow off the top,
planting one boot on his chest for the three count.

Raven hops the rail and enters the ring. After a long staredown with
Savage, he goes over to the corner and DDT's Richards.

Err-umm ... oooookaaaay. this could turn out to be an interesting feud,
but there's still one problem: NO ONE HAS ANY IDEA WHO RAVEN IS!!! This
is supposed to appeal to all the ECW fans, yet most of them consider
Raven and Richards "sell-outs". WCW's fans are still stuck seeing these
two as "that guy who can't win a match" and "that guy who runs in from
the crowd and beats up the first one". If you had no idea what ECW is,
or hadn't seen it, then these guys have been presented to you as a jobber
and an over-eager fan. Not exactly the caliber of competition which you
would want to book in a high profile match against Randy Savage, unless
they plan on pushing Raven by putting him over Savage. Early word is that
these two will compete in some kind of "extreme" match at some point in
the future, in a continuing effort to pull in the "hardcore" fans.

- KONAN/SCOTT NORTON (w/ Vincent) vs. HARLEM HEAT (w/ Jacquelyn)
I'm not going to even try to figure out what the point of this match was,
nor why it was placed so high on the card. Booker T. comes out without
Stevie Ray and tells the NWO that his brother is injured. He says he'll
face either one of the two one-on-one. Norton, who apparently has the
final say in all matches in WCW, tells Booker T. that he signed for a tag
team match, and it's a tag team match that he will wrestle. I guess the
ref has no say in all this?

Booker T. wins the match by DQ a few minutes later when all three NWO
members stomp on him.

Remember what I said above about the various tag teams? I forgot to
mention the on-again/off-again team of "Vicious & Delicious". It seems my
omission of them was justified, as in this match one member of that team-
Scott Norton-tags with Konan instead.

- Nitro Girls.

- JEFF JARRETT (w/ Debra McMichael) vs. CURT HENNIG (w/ Elizabeth)
Jarrett comes out to a smattering of applause and boos, but little else.
Hennig gets a better reaction, though that's probably due in part to his
coming out to the NWO music. They cut to a commercial.

This was, dare I say it, a fairly good match. A nice mix of mat wrestling
and brawling. The crowd even got into, though at an energy level well
below that usually generated by the likes of DDP, Flair, Lex Luger, Hogan
and Sting. Hennig concentrates on softening Jarrett up for a submission
hold like the sleeper, while Jarrett goes to work on Hennig's legs in
preparation for the Figure Four-which Jarrett is eventually able to slap
on. Liz then distracts the ref as Randy Savage comes running in to hand
Hennig the U.S. Title belt. Hennig nails Jarrett, freeing himself from
the hold. Jarrett sells it likes he's been hit by a bus. Hennig hauls up
Jarrett's lifeless form and puts him in the Hennig-Plex, getting the
three count and the win.

Out comes the rest of the NWO to congratulate Hennig. Savage and some of
the others take the opportunity to lay in a little extra punishment,
which continues until the Giant comes out. In a completely insulting
statement, Tony Schiavone signs off by yelling "We're out of time. We've
gotta go!" Baloney ... you had time to show us that Konan/Booker T. crap!
Nitro could run until 5:00 in the morning if it wanted to, so don't
insult our intelligence by suddenly saying you're "out of time!"

- Next week: Nothing announced.

Comments:

I can't call this a bad show, but I can't rave about it either. The obvious
theme of the night was "upsets", and each successive one was less
believable than the one before it. This show also can't claim the top-to-
bottom quality level matches as they could last week. The Wright/Inferno and
Mysterio/Silver King matches were good, with the eight-man lucha match
probably even better. My personal pick of best match was probably the main
event, given the good mix of styles and story behind the match. Actually
though, the weak finish would probably prompt me to name the Mysterio match
as the best if pushed on the matter. Either way, that makes Nitro's best
moment as being right at the beginning or the end, making the bulk of the
show somewhat irrelevant, pointless, or at the very least uneventful.

Sting's continued absence would seem to be due to them trying to push the
Hogan/Piper match as actually meaning something. If that's the case though,
then why does Hogan go ahead and ruin it by making the empty challenge to
Sting? WCW tries hard to get the fans to forget about Sting for a minute and
Hogan goes and puts his foot in his mouth. I did get a kick out of seeing
Hogan wearing Flair's robe though. That's good old fashioned heel heat in my
book.

Piper continues to be a problem for WCW as half the "announcements" he makes
have to be clarified by Mean Gene in the interviews. Piper continues to make
jokes uses references as much as a decade out of style. I'm surprised he
doesn't ask Hogan "wheeeeere's the beef?!"

Anyone else notice how much Halloween Havoc is shaping up to be a PPV of
rehashed matches? Piper/Hogan, Savage/DDP, Hall/Luger to name a few. The
Steiners vs. the Outsiders had been scheduled, but that seems to have been
dropped with Nash's injury and Hall being put in the match with Luger. I'm
guessing we'll now get some combination of the Steiners, Harlem Heat and
Faces of Fear in a match, every combination of which I believe has been on
PPV in the last year. Maybe they'll do another pointless triangle match.
Hennig/Jarrett we just got for free on TV. Like most every other WCW PPV
this year, this should be another one with okay midcard matches and a bad
NWO-involved main event. Piper may somehow get the win, but there's no way
he's getting the belt. Having Hogan lose it for even a day would diminish
Sting's eventual victory and title win at Starrcade (assuming it happens).
WCW is already all but refusing to acknowledge Lex Luger's recent title win
for fear that it will make the prospect of beating Hogan seem too easy.

You know what really bugs me about WCW right now? (And I don't mean the
usual stuff like Eric Bischoff and Glacier and Kevin Nash and the Nitro
Girls). It's the fact that they have five titles, yet not one "dominant"
titleholder who can win based on ability alone. Hogan, Hennig and the
Outsiders all rely on NWO interference. Disco Inferno just won his title,
and you know he'll be at risk to lose it every time in the ring from now
until he actually does lose it. About the closest they have is Eddie
Guerrero, and he often plays the cowardly heel role and resorts to cheating
to win. I'm not calling for an old style Hogan titleholder here, but it is
nice once in a while to have a credible titleholder who proves himself
dominant and wins cleanly over a series of challengers. They can be either
a face or heel (Flair at his best during much of the 80's being a good
example). Taken as a whole, I'd say Taz is right now the best titleholder in
the U.S. wrestling promotions, with Bret Hart close behind. Having weak
titleholders from top to bottom makes to promotion seem less realistic, and
for some makes them less enjoyable to follow. Having it possible for the
belt to change hands in most every match makes the eventual title changes
seem less important and noteworthy, making the titles almost irrelevant.
Take away the titles and wrestling loses a lot of it's appeal. After all,
why watch people simply beat each other up if there's never a way to prove
who is better and who is the best-even if it's only for a short amount of
time? Look at pro boxing, which has about 67 different weight classes and a
title belt for each. Even the UFC gives their champion a belt for winning
(or at least they did in the most recent one I saw).


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