This week Throwback Thursday revisits a pivotal edition of World Championship Wrestling’s Monday NITRO from 19 years ago today, as found on the WWE Network!
By August 23, 1999 WCW’s epic free fall was beginning to take hold. Their last PPV, the final Road Wild in Sturgis, would be the last WCW PPV to exceed 230,000 buys. The near 6.0 ratings of the prior August had plummeted to the high twos, with this edition of NITRO being the lowest rated NITRO since May 19,1998 (2.51). With The Giant and Chris Jericho already on World Wrestling Federation TV (and a slew of other WCW talent on the verge of joining them) as well as booking committee turmoil and continued corporate cannibalism, the future of WCW looked bleak. Morale was so bad that prior to this edition of NITRO Eric Bischoff offered any wrestler who wanted it their release. Only Raven accepted the offer.
Eager to get back on track and gain some modicum of publicity Eric Bischoff partnered with KISS frontman Gene Simmons to develop a “Warriors of KISS” stable (with characters based on each member of the band to follow the Simmons-inspired “Demon”, including a “Wild Child” and “Lady Demon”) and proposed New Year’s Evil event at the Fiesta Bowl on December 31st, a simultaneous wrestling event and KISS concert. The debut and KISS live performance at the MGM Grand were hyped as nothing short of a game changer. The expected “pop” backfired, though, drawing one of the lowest ratings in NITRO history. 18 days later, on September 10, 1999, Eric Bischoff would be sent home, killing the “Warriors of KISS”/New Year’s Evil plans and paving the way for Vince Russo to be the “savior” of WCW.
But, aside from the KISS debacle, is this edition of NITRO as bad as fans remember? Let’s hit ‘play’ and find out!
In respect to edits, this is a pretty chopped up show. Thanks to rights fees any and (nearly) all mentions of KISS, including their performance, are gone (though you can still see it here). Context, meanwhile, is complete with all prior editions of NITRO and Thunder, as well as all past PPVs, available on the Network for you to enjoy today.
WCW Monday NITRO #205 (WATCH)
Date: August 23, 1999 – Location: MGM Grand Garden Arena, Las Vegas, Nevada
Attendance: 8,940 – TV Rating: 2.9 (>3.1 million viewers) (RAW 5.9)
Commentators: Tony Schiavone & Bobby Heenan – Interviews: Mike Tenay & “Mean” Gene Okerlund
CHAMPIONS AT THE TIME
WCW World Heavyweight Champion: Hulk Hogan
WCW United States Heavyweight Champion: Chris Benoit
WCW World Tag Team Champions: Harlem Heat (Booker T & Stevie Ray)
WCW World Television Champion: Rick Steiner
WCW Cruiserweight Champion: Lenny
The show opens with footage from last week’s NITRO of the “Millennium Man” Sid Vicious destroying a number of cruiserweights and threatening Hulk Hogan before both Hogan and Sting run Sid off. We see Hogan agree to face Sting on this edition of NITRO before seeing the closing moments of the last week’s Sid/Hogan main event where Rick Steiner ambushed Hogan and Sting made the save.
Next up is the usual NITRO open and our first NITRO Girls number for the night. Tony says there’s “over 18,000 fans” in the MGM Grand, though that wasn’t possible, and hypes the big Sting/Hogan main event while the KISS talk is muted.
As Mikey Whipwreck comes to the ring Tony and Bobby Heenan chat about who the new President of WCW will be, recounting the convoluted chain of events that led us to this point.
— Singles Match (WATCH – 3:33)
Mikey Whipwreck vs. Chase Tatum
The late Chase Tatum dominates what little action there is, including one of the worst dropkicks you’ll ever see, before Sid comes to the ring at 1:54. Flanked by referee Charles Robinson, who is holding signs selling Sid’s “Record of the Millennium”, 66 “wins”, Sid drops Tatum and powerbombs Whipwreck for a three-count to improve to 67 – 0. Moments later Sid powerbombs Tatum and moves to 68 – 0. Sid grabs the mic and announces his updated streak before mocking Goldberg. Sid says he’ll be on top and that in the year 2000 fans will “hear only one name”, Sid Vicious.
NO WINNER declared (No Contest, 1:54)
Next we see Kidman apologize to Kimberly, who says she’ll talk to DDP.
After a break Goldberg arrives to the MGM Grand and promptly gets into a pull-apart with DDP, Kanyon, and Bam Bam Bigelow, the Jersey Triad. Back in the arena the Jersey Triad comes to the ring. DDP calls the fans losers and says that Kidman now knows he doesn’t “breathe the same air” as Kimberly before challenging Goldberg to a match later in the show.
After another break Sting comes to the ring for a promo of his own, opening with “Stizing in the hizous”, which can’t be unheard. Sting talks about facing Hogan in the main event and warns Hogan to watch what he says so that the “Hulkster” doesn’t let his “mouth override your butt.” This brings out Lex Luger, who’s been out with a triceps injury and not seen on WCW TV for some months.
Luger and Sting embrace as the fans chant for Luger. Lex says he’s here tonight to support Sting, the true “franchise” of WCW, and that Sting can’t trust Hogan. Sting says it “doesn’t get any more straight up” than Hogan putting the title on the line tonight and Luger wishes Sting the best.
After a break we see Mike Tenay outside the MGM Grand interviewing an arriving Eric Bischoff about taking over WCW. Bischoff denies the rumors and dismisses the dirt sheets.
The Cat comes to the ring and says he’s beaten everybody, including Bagwell, and calls out Buff for a rematch.
— “Grudge Match” (WATCH – 22:23)
The Cat w/Sonny Oono vs. Buff Bagwell
This was a return match from Road Wild ’99 no one knew they wanted to see. Tony hypes the new Mayhem game to come, which was the drizzling doo doos. As for the match, it’s not good, like The Cat’s martial arts posing. Cat goes low and tosses Buff to the floor where Oono attacks until Luger makes the save and runs Oono off. Cat wanders around the ring and ends up walking into a Buff Blockbuster, which the cameras miss, for the pin at 3:48.
WINNER is Buff Bagwell (Pin, 3:48)
After replays we see a promo for Berlyn, Alex Wright’s new gimmick, that debuts on NITRO next week. The original music is overdubbed.
— “Grudge Match” (WATCH – 31:14)
Diamond Dallas Page w/Kanyon vs. Goldberg
This one never gets started. DDP taunts Goldberg, who is attacked by Bigelow in the aisle. In the ring the Triad jump Goldberg who ends up spearing the hell out Kanyon and Bam Bam before DDP takes a powder through the fans. Goldberg yells into the camera, “Next week, you’re mine, Page!” Goldberg wanders around before grabbing the mic and saying that he was going to “rip [DDP’s] throat out” next week.
NO WINNER declared (No Contest, 0:00)
After a break we see a montage of the West Texas Rednecks set to the lame-ass “Good Old Boys” tune, complete with keyboard fiddle.
Next we see clips of a rowdy Lodi-themed “NITRO Party”. “Ya know, Tony,” Heenan says, “obviously they even like WCW in daycare centers!”
— WCW Cruiserweight Championship (WATCH – 39:10)
Juventud Guerrera vs. Lenny w/Lodi
Lenny, doing a poor man’s Chris Jericho, had just won the Cruiserweight title from Rey Mysterio, Jr. on last week’s edition of Thunder. This is an entertaining, fast-paced match that, thanks to Lenny’s flamboyant antics, draws some unsavory chants. In the end, just as Juvi makes his comeback, Sid (with Charles Robinson) returns to the ring at 7:28. Juvi dives on to Sid who catches and powerbombs Juvi before powerbombing both Lodi and Lenny. Sid pins Lenny and Juvi at the same time before pinning Lodi to improve to 70 – 0.
NO WINNER declared (No Contest, 7:28)
After the “match” the lights fade and Sid cuts one of the best promos of his career. Sid says no one has the guts to stop him and says the Goldberg chants are getting smaller while the “Sid” chants are getting louder. Sid uses the microphone like a pro here and is simply in the zone as he yells about Goldberg, Hogan, and Sting being gone in the year 2000 and Sid being the only one left.
After a break, in what feels like WCW daring their fans to turn the channel, we get a live performance of “Good Old Boys” by the West Texas Rednecks that, considering how bad country music is today, might have actually been a hit in 2018. The highlight is Curt Hennig playing the guitar behind his head and Barry Windham looking lost “playing” the drums. “If that ain’t country” Hennig says, “I’ll kiss your ass!”
Tony tosses to a break and we get a rare KISS mention before coming back to the NITRO Girls.
— “Six-Man Tag Team Match” (WATCH – 58:16)
The First Family (Brian Knobbs, Hugh Morrus, & The Barbarian) w/Jimmy Hart vs. The Revolution (Dean Malenko, Shane Douglas, & Perry Saturn)
Shane Douglas had returned to WCW from ECW on the July 19, 1999 edition of NITRO to help form The Revolution with Chris Benoit, Malenko, and Saturn. This is a fun, action-packed six-man tag but the fans are largely uninterested. The First Family take control of Malenko until Saturn gets the hot tag, at which point the match becomes a brawl, which distracts the referee. In the end Saturn T-Bones Knobbs and is setting up for the Spicolli Driver when TV Champion Rick Steiner appears and drops Saturn with a big diving bulldog. Knobbs dives onto Saturn and hooks the leg for the 1-2-3 at 4:48.
WINNERS are The First Family (Brian Knobbs, The Barbarian, & Hugh Morrus) w/Jimmy Hart (Pin, 4:48)
After the match U.S. Champion Chris Benoit hits the ring and challenges Steiner to a match later in the show which Steiner agrees to and Douglas does his Revolution shtick.
We see another Berlyn promo next. The music and Wright’s comments in German, like before, have been overdubbed.
— Tag Team Match (WATCH – 1:07:58)
The Insane Clown Posse (Violent J & Shaggy 2 Dope) w/Vampiro vs. The Filthy Animals (Kidman & Rey Mysterio, Jr.)
“This is what we’re all about,” Tony says with a straight face. “We are about wrestling, we are about champions, we are about rock ‘n’ roll!” ICP’s music is overdubbed. This match is surprisingly good for what it is with Shaggy bumping his make-up off for Kidman and Rey, who toss more than a few potatoes. In the end Vampiro attempts to interfere but ends up wiping out Shaggy instead, allowing Kidman to score the pinfall at 4:24. After the match ICP beat down Rey and Kidman until Eddie Guerrero makes the save and challenges Vampiro to a match later in the show.
WINNERS are The Filthy Animals (Kidman & Rey Mysterio, Jr.) (Pin, 4:24)
After replays we go to “Mean” Gene in the ring who brings out World Heavyweight Champion Hulk Hogan to a big pop from Vegas fans. Hogan talks about destiny and the truth, saying he gave Sting his word that the title would be on the line tonight. Okerlund asks about Lex Luger and Hogan talks about getting a call from his son “Nitro Nick” asking if Luger “speaketh the truth”. Hogan says he gave Nick, the “red ‘n’ yellow”, and Sting his word, that he wouldn’t stab any of them in the back. Hulk says he’s friends with Sting but “when it comes to this ring” Hogan’s going to train a bit, say a prayer, and “kick the Stinger’s ass!” Afterwards Hogan and Gene pose like it’s 1989.
— WCW United States Championship – “Champion vs. Champion Match” (WATCH – 1:20:45)
WCW World Television Champion Rick Steiner vs. Chris Benoit(c)
This is a decent, physical battle in and out of the ring that the fans are into from the start. Benoit makes the comeback and goes for the diving headbutt when Steiner pulls referee Charles Robinson on top of him and it’s Robinson who absorbs the headbutt, knocking the Robinson out at 4:51, ending the match.
NO WINNER declared (No Contest, 4:51)
After the match Steiner attempts to glom Benoit with the U.S. title when Saturn makes the save. Moments later Sid arrives and chokeslams Saturn from the second rope before, with Steiner’s help, powerbombing Saturn. Benoit rises and chases off the two before getting on the mic and calls out the politics and cliques “that monopolize the top spots in this business” and tells Steiner and Sid that they’ll find out about “true revolution” on Thunder.
After a break we get a cool POV shot following a kid from the concession area into the MGM Grand as the West Texas Rednecks make their way to the ring for the next match.
— WCW World Tag Team Championship (WATCH – 1:30:43)
The West Texas Rednecks (Kendall & Barry Windham) w/Bobby Duncum, Jr. & Curt Hennig vs. Harlem Heat (Booker T & Stevie Ray)(c)
Harlem Heat had just reunited and defeated the Jersey Triad for the Tag Team titles at Road Wild ’99. This is decent for what it is but doesn’t have the time to develop. Just as the match starts to find a groove they rush to an overbooked finish that sees Kendall hit Hennig by mistake before being dropped with Booker T’s axe kick and missile dropkick, all while Stevie Ray and Barry distract the referee. This allows Hennig to clock Booker with a cowbell and for Kendall to score the pin at 4:31 to win the Redneck’s first and only WCW World Tag Team Championship, ending Harlem Heat’s 8th (of an eventual 10) World Tag Team title reign at 9-days. This marked Barry Windham’s fourth and final World Tag title win and the first for brother Kendall.
WINNERS and NEW WCW World Tag Team Champions, The West Texas Rednecks (Kendell & Barry Windham) w/Bobby Duncum, Jr. & Curt Hennig (Pin, 4:31)
After replays we see yet another overdubbed Berlyn promo.
— “Grudge Match” (WATCH – 1:40:37)
Vampiro vs. Eddie Guerrero
This is a fast-paced, hard-hitting fight. There’s a few flubs here and there but nothing that actually hurts the match. This would be one of the final televised matches, singles or tag, between these two despite their obvious chemistry. Eddie lands a beautiful superplex and goes up for the Frog Splash when ICP arrive and are promptly wiped out by Eddie. In the end, as Violent J distracts the referee, Eddie collides with Shaggy 2 Dope on the ring apron to give Vampiro the pin at 4:34.
WINNER is Vampiro (Pin, 4:34)
After the match ICP and Vampiro attempt to maul Eddie when Kidman and Rey Mysterio, Jr. make the save.
After a break we get our final NITRO Girls number of the night and more (muted) KISS talk before going to break.
— WCW World Heavyweight Championship (WATCH – 1:48:55)
Special Guest Ring Announcer: Michael Buffer
Sting vs. Hulk Hogan(c)
The Las Vegas fans are hot for this one. From the start this is a much better match than their Starrcade ’97 fiasco. While there are a few slow spots these two go all-out, in and out of the ring, to tell a decent story and deliver a pretty damn good match. Sting looks to have Hogan beat with a snug rear chinlock when Hogan waves the finger and “Hulks up”, landing the big boot but missing the leg drop. The fans are rocking as Hogan blocks one Stinger Splash before Sting misses the next. Hogan looks ready to close the show when, of course, Sid and Rick Steiner interfere for our fifth no contest of the night and the fans are more than upset!
NO WINNER declared (No Contest, 11:32)
After the match Sid and Steiner beat down Hogan and Sting until Goldberg and Lex Luger make the save, running both Sid and Steiner from the ring. Hogan shakes hands with Sting and Goldberg before confronting Lex Luger and jawing for the camera about giving Sting a “fair” rematch which Sting accepts.
Hogan poses with Goldberg as the show abruptly fades to black.
Even with the KISS segments cut this edition of NITRO is a bloated mess. There’s not much in the way of wrestling seeing as five of the ten matches ended as no contests, and two of those were part of the same Sid storyline.
The Hogan/Sting main event is hands down the match of the night, with Vampiro/Eddie a close second, though every match was hindered by bad/terrible finishes. But it’s not all bad (see Sid’s promo) and is well worth a watch for those who’ve never seen it before.
Already subscribed to the WWE Network? Then you can relive this edition of NITRO right now or see it for the very first time! As always, let us know what you think in the comments section below.
Thanks for reading – until next week, see ya at ringside!
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NO WINNER declared (No Contest)… Pretty much sums up many of WCW’s poor booking decisions.
I’m currently watching Nitro from August 97, not really looking forward to the final years of Nitro, and the PPVs, lol. But I did make it through every Raw from 1995, so I guess it’s possible to watch every episode of Nitro. Might just take some time to get through them. 😉
1998 was a great year for WCW Nitro.I have never seen any episodes from 1995-1997 but I soon will.I say WCW Nitro started going downhill in the middle of 1999 but it started getting good again then bad again.Regardless,WCW Nitro at it’s worse is still better than today WWE RAW episodes