This week Throwback Thursday, with the help of the WWE Network, revisits a memorable (and infamous) edition of WCW Monday NITRO that aired 19 years ago today!
With the departure of Eric Bischoff the month prior and the additions of former World Wrestling Federation writers Vince Russo and Ed Ferrara, World Championship Wrestling was in a state of flux, with many in the TBS/Time Warner family wanting nothing more than to shutter the now-plummeting promotion. After dominating the WWF for 83 consecutive weeks WCW found itself on the wrong end of an ongoing 46-week losing streak, and would draw only the second 2.9 rating since February 17, 1997.
This edition of Monday NITRO, only the second major wrestling event held in the Kemper Arena since the tragic death of Owen Hart nearly five months prior, is best remembered for the Owen Hart tribute match between Bret Hart and Chris Benoit as well as the ridiculous Sid Vicious “Why me?!” moment.
But what about the rest of the show? How well does it hold up 19 years later? Let’s hit ‘play’ and find out!
Edits, for those worried, aren’t that much of problem. Context, meanwhile, is hit-and-miss. Though all prior editions of NITRO and all previous WCW PPVs are currently available on the Network, Thunder, as of this writing, only runs to August 26, 1999.
WCW Monday NITRO #211 (WATCH)
Date: October 4, 1999 – Location: Kemper Arena, Kansas City, Missouri
Attendance: 6,942 – TV Rating: 2.9 (>3.4 million viewers) (RAW: 5.9)
Commentators: Tony Schaivone & Bobby Heenan – Interviews: Bobby Heenan & “Mean” Gene Okerlund
CHAMPIONS AT THE TIME
WCW World Heavyweight Champion: Sting
WCW United States Heavyweight Champion: Sid Vicious
WCW World Tag Team Champions: Harlem Heat (Booker T & Stevie Ray)
WCW World Television Champion: Chris Benoit
WCW Cruiserweight Champion: Psychosis
The show opens with Goldberg arriving and parking his car as Sid Vicious watches nearby. After Goldberg goes in the building Sid makes note of Goldberg’s parking spot (“22”) and disappears.
After the usual NITRO open we see footage from last week’s NITRO first of Sid attacking Goldberg and Goldberg having Sid’s rental car crushed followed by footage of a heel Sting taking out Hulk Hogan’s injured left knee and Hogan getting revenge later in the show.
In the arena Tony welcomes us to the show as the pyro goes off. At the announce position Tony and Bobby Heenan chat about World Champion Sting attacking Hogan ahead of their Halloween Havoc ’99 showdown and the upcoming main event featuring Sting and Lex Luger versus Hulk Hogan and Ric Flair.
Tony then talks about Owen Hart’s fatal accident and the upcoming tribute match between Bret Hart and Television Champion Chris Benoit. After a break we return with opening match in the ring and ready to go.
— Singles Match (WATCH – 6:28)
Dean Malenko vs. Rey Mysterio, Jr.
Tony goes out of his way to let us now that Rey is the lone member of the Filthy Animals in the arena. These two were all but guaranteed to have a great match every time they touched and this match is no different. After Rey sends Dean to the floor via a springboard missile dropkick Malenko’s Revolution teammate Shane Douglas runs in, knocks the referee to the floor, and prepares to crack Rey with a chain when Saturn shows up and swipes the chain. Saturn teases attacking Douglas before glomming Rey. As an oblivious Malenko stumbles back in the ring Douglas revives the referee. Moments later Malenko cinches in the Texas Cloverleaf and the referee drops an unconscious Mysterio’s arm three times to give the submission win to Malenko at 9:55.
WINNER is Dean Malenko (Submission, 9:55)
After the match Malenko sees a replay of the interference and is upset with both Saturn and Douglas. As Saturn and Douglas leave Malenko tends to the injured Mysterio.
Next we get a promo for the Monday Nitro: New Year’s Evil event that would never happen and a plug for the WCW Mayhem “Match of the Week” sweepstakes and the frighteningly horrendous Mayhem game.
As Psychosis makes his way to the ring Tony talks about fans being able to chat online with Vince Russo and Ed Ferrara, “who were recently signed to a part of the WCW creative team”. Heenan quips that the names “Russo and Ferrara” “sounds like two cheap bottles of wine.”
— WCW Cruiserweight Championship (WATCH – 18:57)
Disco Inferno vs. Psychosis(c)
Thanks to fear over heat with GLAAD, TBS standards and practices had WCW pull the West Hollywood Blondes (Lodi & Lenny) from TV. Lenny, the Cruiserweight Champion, was set to drop the strap to Disco here but, to avoid further incident, Psychosis, via a phantom win, was given the strap to pass to Disco instead.
Psychosis is all smiles a week out from losing his mask to Kidman. This is the basic cruiserweight match of the day and full of timing issues. In the end Psychosis misses the big guillotine leg drop allowing Disco to hit the Chart Buster for the pin at 3:55 to win the first and only Cruiserweight title of Disco’s career and end Psychosis second and final reign at just a few hours.
WINNER and NEW WCW Cruiserweight Champion, Disco Inferno (Pin, 3:55)
After a break we see Sid on a payphone talking to someone about picking up Goldberg’s car in space 22.
Back in the arena Kevin Nash, who hasn’t been seen since August thanks to losing a career match to Hulk Hogan at Road Wild ’99, and Scott Hall, who has been M.I.A. since the spring, walk though the fans to their front row seat. Heenan takes a mic and interviews the two. Nash says he’s retired while Hall says “when it starts bein’ fun again, Outsiders are gonna pop back on the scene.” Nash ends the interview saying, “we’re gettin’ the band back together!”
— WCW United States Heavyweight Championship (WATCH – 29:29)
Brian Adams vs. Sid Vicious(c)
Though Adams wasn’t doing the KISS Demon gimmick he’s rocking the Demon gear. Adams takes the fight to Sid until Rick Steiner interferes to distract Adams. In the end, after Adams takes out Steiner with a back breaker, Sid kicks Adams in the pills and, with the help of Rick Steiner, delivers a powerbomb to score the fast pin at 2:38. Afterwards the referee, Charles Robinson, displays the updated “Record for the Millennium” at 120 – 0 which Tony laughs at.
WINNER and STILL WCW United States Heavyweight Champion, Sid Vicious (Pin, 2:38)
Jerry Flynn and Jimmy Hart come to the ring and Hart calls out Goldberg, who does the usual ring walk from the back. Sid Vicious, whom Goldberg is forbidden from touching before their Halloween Havoc ’99 showdown, taunts Goldberg along the way (“I own you, Goldberg!”).
— Singles Match (WATCH – 36:03)
Jerry Flynn w/Jimmy Hart vs. Goldberg
The crowd is hot for this short, fun nonsense. Flynn gets in a bit of awful looking offense until Goldberg takes over. Hugh Morrus and Brian Knobs come to ringside and, as Jimmy Hart distracts the referee, beat the bejabbers out of Goldberg. Goldberg survives Flynn’s attacks and, after powerbombing his way out of an arm bar, spears the stuffing out of Flynn before ending the match with the Jackhammer at 3:28!
WINNER is Goldberg (Pin, 3:28)
After the match Goldberg gets on the mic, saying that Sid can have his mind games but that Goldberg will prevail at Halloween Havoc, saying he’ll whip Sid “from one end of the country to the next” should Sid go after Goldberg before Havoc and that the U.S. title is a “stepping stone” to getting back the World title.
After a break we see Berlyn standing in the back, shouting in German at Brad Armstrong. Armstrong grabs Berlyn by the lapels and tells him that’s he’s in America and to “speak English to me!”
Next we go to “Mean” Gene at the foot of the ramp who brings out World Tag Team Champions Booker T and Stevie Ray who, Okerlund announces, will defend the titles against First Family members Hugh Morrus and Brian Knobbs at Halloween Havoc. Booker T and Stevie Ray talk trash about Morrus and Knobbs as well as The Outsiders before Hugh and Brian attack. The four brawl in the aisle and around ringside until Knobbs decks Booker T with a chair before clobbering Stevie Ray. Booker T tries to save his brother to no avail as Jimmy Hart takes the straps. Referees arrive to break it up as Knobbs gets on the mic to talk trash to Harlem Heat.
After a break we see a vignette hyping the search for the new NITRO Girl. In the arena Okerlund interviews Kimberly and Spice about the semi-finalists. This leads to footage of Lovena and Nicole dancing and talking about their backgrounds. Lovena and Nicole then come out to wave at the fans while Kimberly tells us how we can vote at WCW.com.
Next we cut to the parking lot where Goldberg, apparently already showered, changed, and packed, loads up his gear in his rental car and takes off.
— Singles Match (WATCH – 1:02:48)
Brad Armstrong vs. Curt Hennig w/Kendall Windham & Curly Bill
This one, though short, isn’t bad until the gaga breaks out. This was Hennig’s first singles match on TV since the August 2, 1999 edition of NITRO. As Armstrong makes the comeback Berlyn and Wall appear. Armstrong wallops Berlyn but is hammered by Wall. As Armstrong staggers backwards Hennig grabs Brad, cinches in the Hennig-Plex, and picks up the pinfall win at 2:41.
WINNER is Curt Hennig w/Kendall Windham & Curly Bill (Pin, 2:41)
After the match Berlyn attacks Armstrong, stretching him until Wall tells him to let go.
Suddenly we cut to the back where Rey calls Kidman out of the shower where Kidman was having some fun with Torrie Wilson.
In the locker room Sid’s told his car needs moving. Sid hands over the keys and tells the guy to move it himself.
— Singles Match (WATCH – 1:08:51)
Juventud Guerrera vs. Kidman
These two had great chemistry. This is a great match, in spite of Juvi’s gyrating. Heenan, meanwhile, can’t get over seeing Kidman in the shower with Torrie. Late in the match Psychosis comes out to attack Kidman but ends up taken out with a big springboard crossbody from Juvi. In the end Kidman evades the 450 Splash and fights off Psychosis until Rey comes down to even the sides. As Kidman goes up for the Shooting Star Press, and with Rey distracting the referee, Psychosis stops Kidman before Juvi lands an incredible Juvi Driver for the 1-2-3 at 9:17. After the match Rey and Kidman take out both Juvi and Psychosis.
WINNER is Juventud Guerrera (Pin, 9:17)
Next we see the parking attendant moving Sid’s car to spot “22” as the wrecker comes to pick up “Goldberg’s” car.
After a break Harley Race, the special guest ring announcer for the forthcoming bout, puts over the Kansas City wrestling fans before introducing Chris Benoit and Bret Hart.
— “Special Non-Title Owen Hart Tribute Match” (WATCH – 1:21:21)
Special Guest Ring Announcer: Harley Race
Special Guest Commentator: Mike Tenay
WCW World Television Champion Chris Benoit vs. Bret “Hitman” Hart
This was a truly remarkable moment in time in wrestling. Two contracted WCW wrestlers paying tribute to a WWF Superstar who died tragically at a WWF PPV event. No matter the politics of the day this continues to stand as a final high point for WCW that neither time nor tragedy (in the case of Benoit) has managed to tarnish. The match is, plainly, everything good about professional wrestling. This is an exceptional wrestling match that tells a compelling, competitive story through brilliant psychology that manages to never lose the fans. In the end Bret blocks the Crippler Crossface and eventually maneuvers Benoit into the Sharpshooter for the submission win at 22:58.
WINNER is Bret “Hitman” Hart (Submission, 22:58)
After the match Bret looks to the ceiling and salutes Owen before he and Benoit embrace to a standing ovation.
After a break “Mean” Gene brings both Ric Flair and Hulk Hogan to the ring to talk about the big main event to come. Hogan starts by putting over Flair as “the man” while Flair puts over teaming with Hogan as “history”. Flair then calls out DDP, Flair’s foe at Halloween Havoc, saying that DDP is at the bottom in Flair’s eyes. About teaming with Hogan, Flair says, “For the first time in my life, Gene, I’m gonna take my vitamins, I’m gonna say my prayers, and I’m not goin’ in one bar till Halloween Havoc!” Hulk says the main event is just a sample of Halloween Havoc and that Flair has taught Hulk the figure four leglock. “And when it’s all said and done, brother, we’re gonna train, say a prayer, and then we’re gonna kick your ass!” Hogan tears the shirt, Flair has a strut stroke, and we get some posing!
Again we go out to the parking lot where Sid finds spot “22” vacant. “Yeah,” Sid says, “I got him now!”
We come back from break and see DDP kissing his wife Kimberly before coming out to the ring for the next match. Once in the ring DDP grabs the mic and does his usual “two-time” shtick.
Buff comes down and he, too, grabs the mic to say he’s going to “two-time, two-time, two-time, whip yo ass!”
— Singles Match (WATCH – 1:57:24)
Buff Bagwell vs. Diamond Dallas Page
We get more plugs for the Russo/Ferrara chat with Tony calling them the “two leading creative minds in the industry”. This is a fast-paced battle that is quite a bit of fun. Buff is on fire to start, tossing DDP around ringside, until DDP whaps Buff in the berries. Buff escapes a sleeper hold and eventually goes for the Buff Blockbuster when DDP blocks it by holding the top rope. DDP then misses one Diamond Cutter only to float over, a la The Rock, to hit a beautiful Cutter for the pin at 3:24. This was only the third match of the night not to feature interference of some kind.
WINNER is Diamond Dallas Page (Pin, 3:24)
After replays and a break we get a plug for the WCW Mayhem “Match of the Week” sweepstakes.
— Tag Team Match (WATCH – 2:05:47)
“The Total Package” Lex Luger w/Elizabeth & WCW World Heavyweight Champion Sting vs. “Nature Boy” Ric Flair & Hulk Hogan
Despite his heel antics of late Sting comes out as a babyface. This one starts out as street fight before settling down. This a good main event with both teams looking great, particularly Flair and Sting who beat the dog snot out of one another. Eventually Hogan gets the hot tag and takes out Sting and Luger. As Liz distracts the referee DDP runs in to attack Flair but ends up trapped in Luger’s Torture Rack by mistake. In the commotion Hogan hits the three punches, the big boot, and the Atomic Leg Drop on Sting for the pinfall victory at 7:07.
WINNERS are “Nature Boy” Ric Flair & Hulk Hogan (Pin, 7:07)
After the match Hogan and Flair bail out of the ring and celebrate to the back.
Suddenly we cut to the parking garage where Sid discovers that his rental car, not Goldberg’s, has been crushed into a cube. “WHY ME?! WHY ME!? WHY ME!?” And the show fades to black.
This edition of NITRO highlights both the good and bad of WCW at this time in 1999.
The matches, with the exception of Disco/Psychosis, are all good to great (despite the constant interference and poor finishes), with the Hart/Benoit match mandatory viewing for any wrestling fan. The long stretches of talking, though, and the hokey Sid/Goldberg stuff is, beyond being poorly edited, childish at best. For the cynical fan who thinks all things WCW 1999 are trash, check this NITRO out. You won’t be disappointed.
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Thanks for reading – until next week, see ya at ringside!
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I have a autograph picture of sid vicious. Dennis winship Lynn massachusetts
Scott Hall was M.I.A? No surprise, he did like to fly like paper and get high like planes…