After recapping the fallout of WWE‘s In Your House: Badd Blood pay-per-view, we’re turning our attention to World Championship Wrestling (WCW). I’ll admit my knowledge of this period of WCW isn’t great and is probably influenced by numerous WWE-produced documentaries. Oh, and playing WCW/nWo Revenge on the N64.
Anyway, the show was live from Minneapolis, Minnesota. Tony Schiavone welcomed us as we saw the Nitro girls do their thing in the entrance way before Eric Bischoff and WCW/nWo World Champion ‘Hollywood’ Hulk Hogan made their way out. We’re on the road to Halloween Havoc where Hogan was set to face ‘Rowdy’ Roddy Piper, WCW’s commissioner, in a steel cage. Yet the pair decided to comment on Sting, who’s been watching from afar for months. Unlike Michaels’ never-ending promo on RAW, Bischoff and Hogan kept things short.
The first match of the night saw Jeff Jarrett (with Queen Debra) against Booker T (with Jacqueline). Jarrett was currently feuding with Debra’s husband, Steve ‘Mongo’ McMichael. The future Hall of Famers produced a decent but standard TV match. Like him or not, Jarrett always was a solid worker. Mike Tenay spoke about how Booker T wasn’t used to being a single competitor, yet got in plenty of offence. Wait, here comes Mongo! He’s slapped by Debra before he hit Jarrett back into the ring for Booker to get the win. We learnt Mongo and Jarrett would go against each other at Havoc. However, Jarrett would leave the company before the show.
Schiavone, Tenay and Larry Zybsko gave us a rundown of what’s to come as newcomer Billy Kidman made his way down to the ring to face ‘Das Wunderkid’, Alex Wright. Partway through, Kidman got knocked outside the ring and became distracted by Raven and Perry Saturn sitting in the front row. Tenay mentions Saturn and Raven’s association in “another wrestling organisation” (ECW). A split-screen saw Mongo confronting Jarrett and Debra backstage. Kidman went up top but is again distracted by his future Flock pals. Wright won in a match that went on longer than it should have.
Back from the break, Schiavone encouraged fans to send in their Nitro Party VHS’s. Mortis (Chris Kanyon) with James Vandenberg (James Mitchell) took on Ernest ‘The Cat’ Miller. The latter showed off his karate skills before Mortis botched a leg lariat takedown across Miller’s back off the top. “I think Mortis took the worse of it,” said Schiavone. Miller eventually secured the win in a forgettable match that aimed to highlight his ability.
A nWo announcement praised ‘Macho Man’ Randy Savage hyping up his ongoing feud with Diamond Dallas Page. We’re reminded that Hector Garza upset Scott Hall two weeks ago. Hall, along with Syxx-Pac, “too sweet” their way to the ring. Hall sold his rib injuries which Bobby ‘The Brain’ Heenan doubted. Hey Yo! Everyone is here to see the nWo. Hall explained that he hurt his rib laughing at old Zybsko tapes, while an absent Kevin Nash hurt his ankle too. Hall sent out a warning to Lex Luger. He’s set to face Luger at Havoc with Zybsko as the special guest referee. Garza came out for the rematch but the result is different. Hall manhandled the referee as Syxx hit a bronco buster, which the ref could clearly see. Post-match, Hall gave the ref a torture rack before spraypainting a ‘Z’ for Zybsko on him.
The broadcast team discussed the recently debuted Bill Goldberg. Tenay highlighted his American Football career but noted that he refused to answer to ‘Mean’ Gene Okerlund’s questions.
It’s TV title match time as Disco Inferno defended his title against DDP (minus the ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit’ rip-off entrance music). He’s impressive against the cocky champion, although the match went back and forth. DDP hit a fireman carry into a diamond cutter as Macho Man sprinted into the ring to end the match. Just as he’s about to hit Page with a piledriver on open concrete, Roddy Piper stopped him, spat in his face and then received a diamond cutter from Page. Piper and Page escaped through the crowd as the nWo ran down. A concerned Miss Elizabeth came down with EMT’s as Savage was taken away on a stretcher.
Back from the break, Okerlund welcomed out Piper. He called himself the chairman (I thought he was the commissioner?) He mocked Hogan’s balding hair and called Hall a liar. Piper says the Outsiders have to defend the Tag Titles next week on Nitro, whether they’re injured or not. He announced DDP and Savage as a Last Man Standing match. Hogan and Bischoff walked down to the ring. “The icon crap stops right here,” says Hogan. “You could never be an icon because I still exist.” Hogan rambled on, threatening Piper ahead of their steel cage match before beating him down. Bischoff missed a kick hitting Hogan and Piper beat down the pair of them. The nWo pulled them out to rescue them.
Mike Tenay narrated a guide to Lucha Libre wrestling. We’re told about rudos and técnicos and the co-promoted When Worlds Collide PPV. This led into Cruiserweight Champion Eddie Guerrero defending against Ultimo Dragon. It’s no surprise this is a good match although far from being the Guerrero vs Rey Mysterio classic that would take place in a matter of weeks. Guerrero retained after hitting a massive frog splash.
We’re shown a recap of Chris Benoit vs Curt Hennig from WCW Saturday Night. Their rematch is the main event as US Champion Hennig replaced an injured Savage. The Wolverine doesn’t wait and attacked Hennig in the aisle. The bell rang as Benoit dominated and Hennig sold as good as ever. The US Champion countered and worked on Benoit’s knee. They went back and forth until Benoit whipped Hennig into the exposed turnbuckle and landed a German suplex before chopping Hennig out of his boots. Hennig managed to gain momentum back and won with the fisherman suplex pin.
This night is not over. We’ve got eight minutes left. Cue a nWo (B-team members) beat down before local resident Ric Flair came in for the save. Flair chased Hennig to the back yet can’t catch up with him, even though you could see Hennig stop running outside. Back in the arena, Flair is interviewed by ‘Mean’ (woooo!) Gene. A crazed Flair cut a promo in the ring about “reality” as he warned Hennig ahead of Havoc, and then took aim at Hogan. “I’m Ric Flair and you’re not!”
As a standalone episode of Nitro, it’s certainly not as significant as its RAW counterpart yet it sets up the main matches for Halloween Havoc well. The first hour of the show dragged with the focus on showcase matches for Ernest Miller and Alex Wright, but picked up the pace in the second half, mainly due to the appearance of WCW’s bigger names.
Will I be checking out next week’s episode of Nitro? Probably not. Will I go and watch Halloween Havoc 97? Not quite. I know Piper and Hogan’s steel cage match isn’t great, but I may seek out DDP vs Savage. And I’ve watched Guerrero vs Mysterio endless times, so I may as well enjoy it again.
If you’ve enjoyed this two-part “Revisited” column, let me know in the comments below or on Twitter.
Photos and video courtesy of WWE.