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WCW Monday Nitro - March 10, 1997
by erick von erich

Undoubtedly, the Greatest Night in the History of our Sport, it's an old episode of Monday Nitro! Originally broadcast live from "WCW Spring Break-out" from Club La Vela in Panama City Florida! To kick things off, here's a pre-recorded promo from... Hulk Hogan and Dennis Rodman! Yes fans, the media's been buzzing with the announcement that Rodman might be joining the nWo! Hogan and Rodman talk in front of a movie poster for the upcoming Jean-Claude Van Damme movie, "Double Team". Co-starring Rodman, this is apparently "sweeeet". But enough of that! Fans, we've got fireworks as Nitro is LIVE! Your hosts for the first hour are Tony Schiavone and Larry Zbyszko.

But fans, what's this?! A white limousine has pulled up. Out step Roddy Piper and his "Family"-- John Tenta and two unknown weirdos in kilts! But with so much going on in World Championship Wrestling, let's get down to ringside for...

Match 1: High Voltage (Rage & Kaos) vs. Jeff Jarrett & Steve "Mongo" McMichael (w/Debra McMichael)
Schiavone makes note of the unique set-up at Club La Vela-- for the first time in the History of Our Sport, it's a floating ring in the middle of a swimming pool! Kaos and Mongo go through some elementary arm-wringers, until Mongo decides to go into his stupid "cut block" football move. Jarret whips Kaos for a drop toe-hold as Mongo drops a flying elbow. Jarrett with a swinging neckbreaker and a straddle-splash on the ropes. High Voltage manages a double-team on Jarrett and get a two count. Jarrett fights back with a double underhoook suplex on Rage and a reverse atomic drop. Tag to Mongo, who finishes off Rage with a reverse neckbreaker and tombstone piledriver to get the pin.

Mean Gene Okerlund in-ring interview with Roddy Piper
Piper brings out his "Family", who all won spots on "Team Piper" last week for the upcoming main event at Uncensored. The segment completely tanked, as fans boo'ed the crap out of Piper's selections. It was funny idea-- Piper held "open tryouts" and whoever gave him a hard time would be recruited to his team. Tenta was the last arrival and got a decent pop, but the other two yo-yos were complete unknowns and the fans didn't take to them at all. Anyways, Piper cuts a promo about all of his critics, specifically citing Howard Stern and the WWF. Before this segment can tank too much, out come Ric Flair and the Four Horsemen; Arn Anderson, Mongo and Jarrett (Chris Benoit was very much a member at this time, but conveniently for WWE 24/7 replays, he was overseas or injured at this time). Flair gets fired up, bounces around and offers the Horsemen to Piper. After initially remaining true to his "Family", Piper rescinds and accepts the offer. The "Family" will still back him up, but it's suddenly Piper and the Horsemen on "Team Piper" for Uncensored's main event.

Since it's a big plot element for this show, I think we should mention "the Main Event at Uncensored". It's a big three way, four-man team match, piting Team nWo vs. Team Piper vs. Team WCW. If Team WCW wins, then the nWo must give up all of their titles (World, Tag and Cruiserweight). If Team Piper wins, then Roddy Piper gets a steel cage title match against Hollywood Hogan down the road. If Team nWo wins, then the nWo can challenge for any title at any time. Really, it seems stupid why Team Piper and Team WCW would fight against each other...but it's Logic in Wrestling.

Match 2: WCW World Television Championship:
Prince Iaukea (c) vs. "Squire" Dave Taylor

Oh boy. In a puzzling move, WCW tried to emulate the WWF and their recent upset victory that saw a young Rocky Maivia pin Hunter Hearst-Helmsley for the Intercontinental Title. So, the very next episode of Nitro saw Iaukea become the TV champ. Weird, because WCW had a huge lead on WWF at the time. Why they would emulate their lesser competition was bizarre. Iaukea and Taylor do a criss-cross segment on the ropes, but the match cuts away to the backstage area. The nWo limo has arrived! Out step Hollywood Hogan, "Macho Man" Randy Savage, Scott Hall, Kevin Nash and the rest of the troops. As they're walking to the Club, Scott Norton notices that Michael Wallstreet has suddenly been laid out! A few weeks ago, the same thing had happened to Big Bubba. This angle would slowly die off, but it was suggested that either Sting or Diamond Dallas Page had been picking off nWo flunkies. Back to the ring, where Taylor rolls up Iaukea for a two count. He tries to slam him, but can't do it. Iaukea falls on him and scroes the pin to retain the title. Wow...that's a weak finish. Almost as bad as losing to a hammerlock reversal.

Match 3: WCW United States Heavyweight Championship: Eddie Guerrero (c) vs. Jim Powers (w/Teddy Long)
Not sure if this is a title match or not. I would hope it isn't. But if Dave Taylor just had a TV title shot, it makes sense that Powers would have a US title shot, by virture of his big win over Barry Horowitz in 1988. Dean Malenko joins the booth for commentary and runs down Eddie. "One of us is known as one of the the greatest mat technicians and wrestlers of all time. The other...does a frog splash". Powers actually performs a nice overhead belly-to-belly suplex on Guerrero, yet fails to do his usual "tip-toe dance and arm wave". Guerrero comes back with some elementary offense until Teddy Long gets up on the apron. Eddie, somewhat deceptively, pulls Long into Powers and scores the pin with a roll-up. A mild storyline was going around that Malenko was trying to prove to the world that there's a "real" Eddie-- one who lies, cheats and steals. Mean Gene hops in the ring and questions Eddie about this. Eddie says he's sick and tired of all the accusations (several times)...but there's a match at Uncensored against Malenko.

Match 4: "Diamond" Dallas Page vs. "Pit Bull" Sgt. Craig Pittman
DDP gets his own fireworks as he enters. Pittman had recently come back from an injury and apparently became a heel in the process. In mid-1996, he had become a babyface when he acquired Teddy Long as his manager. I don't think they ever explained his heel switch, or why he was no longer with Long. Pittman shoves around DDP and hooks a hammerlock. DDP elbows him int he jaw and Pittman responds with a snapmare. DDP with an arm-wringer into a standing side headlock. Criss-cross rope fun until DDP hits a "rocker dropper" on Pittman. Pittman rolls out, but catches DDP on the rope. Pittman returns, whips him for clothesline and gets a 2 count. DDP with a small package for 2. Pittman hits him with a belly-to-belly for another 2. Pittman whips him to the turnbuckle, but DDP gets his foot up. DDP quickly runs out of the corner, hooks the Diamond Cutter and gets the pin. Mean Gene comes into interview Page, asking him about his recent troubles with Randy Savage. Page says that Savage shouldn't brush him off....but suddenly the lights and audio go out! After a commercial break, they come back and finish off the interview. In a somewhat savvy move, Page doesn't repeat himself and cuts a slightly different promo on Savage.

Match 5: Rey Mysterio, Jr vs. Galaxy
Another Lucha import, but I don't think Galaxy was around too long. Typical bouncy Lucha Libre match, with lots of somersaults and choreographed reversals. I really liked Rey at this time, but most of his WCW cruiserweight matches looked phony as hell. So I apologize for not covering every blow in this one. Galaxy gets tossed out of the ring and almost falls into the pool. Galaxy misses a moonsault off the top, allowing Rey to spring off the ropes for his flying hurracanrana pin maneuver.

Hour 2 Kicks-off!
More fireworks as Larry leaves the broadcast booth, to be replaced by Mike Tenay and Bobby "The Brain" Heenan. They throw it to the ring for MTV's John Sencio, who joins Mean Gene to announce Miss WCW Spring Break. John Sencio...wow, there's someone I had completely forgotten about. He was an MTV VJ in the mid-90's, who had a bit of a dorky side. I think he made the cardinal MTV sin of aging past 25 and disappeared. Sencio plugs a new MTV show called "Fame or Shame", which will feature guest appearances by Hall and Nash, the Outsiders. The announcers quickly take to calling it "Fame OF Shame". Was that the MTV gameshow where a guy would break someone's personal posessions? Ehh... I stopped watching their gameshows after Remote Control was cancelled, circa 1990. Sencio and Gene bring out Miss WCW Spring Break-- a leggy blonde named Pamela Rogers. This was before women in bikinis were commonplace on a wrestling show, so it gets a decent pop. Tony mentions that Gene made sure to put his glasses on when Pamela came in the ring. Ha!

Match 6: Rick Steiner, Scott Steiner, Lex Luger & the Giant vs. Carl Oulette, Jacques Rougeau, Greg "The Hammer" Valentine & Roadblock (w/Col. Robert Parker)
Squash match for "Team WCW", although the Amazing French Canadians (Oulette & Rougeau) double-up on Rick Steiner and drop him on the top rope. Steiner's selling an "ear drum injury" from a recent vehicular accident involving the Outsiders. Hammer is barely in the ring-- maybe for a few blows with Luger. Roadblock tries coming off the second rope, but the Giant stops him, hits the chokeslam and scores the pin. Mean Gene is in the ring again to interview the winners about Uncensored. Gene points to "an inspiration", off-camera. Probably some broad who took her shirt off.

Match 7: Juventud Guerrera vs. Ultimate Dragon (w/Sonny Ono)
Yeah, they're still not sure whether he's "Ultimate" or "Ultimo". Dragon starts out with a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker, applies a surfboard, then follows up with a slingshot suplex for a 2 count. Release german suplex, but Juvi lands on his feet and delivers a drop-kick. Outside the ring, Juvi delivers a somersault plancha onto Dragon. Back in, Juvi with a corkscrew flying legwhip and a victory roll for 2. Dragon counters with a running Liger-bomb, then both work their way to the top turnbuckle. Dragon pulls Juvi down with a corkscrew hurracanrana, then delivers a tiger suplex to score the 3.

Match 8: Chris Jericho vs. Scotty Riggs
Criss-cross sequence to start, until Riggs gets a flying reverse elbow and a slam for 2. Jericho with an overhead suplex, dropkick off the top and another suplex for 2. Riggs with another slam and two more dropkicks. He tries going up top, but Jericho halts him and tries for a super-plex. Riggs blocks, then lands aflying shoulder block for 2. Jericho with a German suplex for another 2. Riggs connects with a flying forearm shot, but Marcus "Buff" Bagwell runs with a belt to draw the DQ. Jericho and Riggs team up and fight off Bagwell. Fans popped, simply because someone with an nWo shirt ran in. Officially, Riggs gets the win by disqualification.

More filler segments. Mean Gene interviews Madusa (and her two friends) on the entrance ramp, then LEE MARSHALL phones in his "WCW Road Report!" Marshall attempts a "joke" by talking about the Citadel and "W.O.S: Weasel on a Shingle!" Tony and Mike find this hilarious. Heenan compares Marshall to the original "S.O.S".

Match 9: Kevin Sullivan (w/Jacquelyne & Jimmy Hart) vs. Hardbody Harrison
Sullivan immediately attcks and tosses Harrison out to Jacquleyne. She pounds on him a few times, then slams him on the floor. Harrison comes back in the ring and gets a 2 count with a sunset flip, then a small package. Sullivan kicks him out of the ring and the beatdown is ON. Sullivan atomic drops him on the railing. He pummels Harrison some more, drags him down the entrance way and to the balcony overlooking the beach. Sullivan picks up a wooden signs and brains him with it. Jacqie gets a clothesline for good measure. They make it back to ring area, where Sullivan slams Harrison, then tosses him into the pool. The match is thrown out and no winner was announced. Mean Gene gets in the ring for ANOTHER interview.

A Very Special nWo In-Ring Promo
The entire crew comes out, with a seemingly comatose Sting bringing up the ear. Hogan introduces another pre-recorded vignette with Dennis Rodman and the Double Team Movie Poster! Rodman officially joins the nWo and this is, once again, "sweeeet-ah!" Back to live "action", where Eric Bischoff gets the mike and gives Sting his belated gift for "joining" the nWo. They toss a t-shirt on Sting's shoulder, but he just stands there. Macho Man gets the mike and completely no-sells DDP's earlier threats. Hogan concludes the segment by declaring that the "nWo is tits!"

Match 10: Public Enemy vs. Harlet Heat (w/Sister Sherri)
("Flyboy" Rocco Rock & Johnny Grunge vs. Booker T & Stevie Ray)
Mean Gene meets the PE in the entrance way for yet another interview. The big issue is that, with the Horsemen moving to the main event, a proposed 3-way match at Uncensored between PE, Harlem Heat and the Horsemen has been downgraded to a 2-team match. Johnny Grunge runs down the Horsemen a little, then Rock starts singing the lyrics to Rob Base & DJ E-Z Rock's "It Takes Two". Sigh... quoting a 10 year old rap song does not make you a beatnik. Harlem Heat suddenly hits the area and the brawl is on. But fans, we're outta' time!! See you at Uncensored!!

Why'd You Tape This??
Only two decent matches on this card: Juvi/Dragon and (yes) Jericho/Riggs. The rest is pretty much jobber parade. Like most of the Nitros at this time, the big focus is on the nWo angle and the upcoming PPV. Sting's stoic appearance works well, as this was the last time he followed the nWo to the ring. At the end of Uncensored, he rappelled from the ceiling (for the first time) and cleared out the nWo. A pretty cool moment and one that they'll repeat on the next Nitro. Of course, the nWo won the big Uncensored main event and would begin their instant title shots soon. Strangely enough, Piper eventually got his steel cage stipulation, as that was the main event of a Fall 1997 WCW PPV (maybe Fall Brawl). It's also weird how Piper's "Family" angle is immediately killed and pushed away after one week.

This show is not worth tracking down, unless you're making a weird comp tape of certain wrestlers. It's also the last show before a big PPV, so they're deliberately not giving us anything good. Alot of talk centered around Dennis Rodman, which was just a headliner grabber for WCW. Funny how they couldn't get Rodman to actually appear at this show. The Club La Vela setting is interesting for novelty purposes, but it wasn't until the next year when they really had fun with it (chiefly, Kevin Nash declaring himself "Cannonball Champion of Spring Break").

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