Welcome to part 1 of a multi-part series chronically 5 consecutive months of WCW. To check out the prologue to this series, head over to my profile page.
Nitro 167 – 11/23/1998. Grand Rapids, MI.
Running time (sans commercials) 2 hours 21 minutes.
Initial announcers: Tony Schiavone, Mike Tenay, Larry Zbyszko
Number of Nitro girl dance routines: 4
Right off the bat we’re informed Kevin Nash won World War 3 (A 60 man, Royal Rumble-esque, battle royal), and will face Goldberg (the World Champion) at Starrcade (WCW’s Wrestlemania). Hogan was not at WW3, nor is he at Nitro. He’ll reveal the reason for his absence on the Jay Leno Show (no joke).
Segment 1: Mike Enos vs Lex Luger
Huge pop for the NWO Wolf Pack (Red and Black) theme and then for Luger himself (who is a member of that faction along with Konnan and Nash). Enos looks like a bigger/more in shape Tommy Dreamer.
Physical match where Enos – OH SHIT – gives Luger a piledriver. Insanity. Zbyskzo remarks “Luger has endurance like Rey Mysterio.” Luger hits a top rope clothesline, fires up, hits a superplex, powerslam, calls for The Rack, locks it in, and gets the submission win in 7 minutes. This was pretty great.
Seg 1A: Goldberg arrives at the arena. So do Hall and Konnan. Trash talk. Bleh.
Seg 2: Mean Gene introduces Billy Kidman (Cruiserweight champ).
Gene notes that Kidman is “WCW’s champion” and puts over his match from WW3 against Juventud Guerrera.
Kidman calls out Rey Mysterio. Gives Rey a title shot for helping him at WW3 and leaving the LWO (Latino World Order).
Out come Eddie Guerrero and some guy (not sure who). Eddie says Rey signed a contract, won’t let him leave the LWO. Says Rey acted like a “turd.” Eddie forces Rey to put on a 6X LWO shirt. Eddie was great.
Seg 3: Norman Smiley vs Chris Benoit…. Holy shit, this match-up.
Benoit is one of the 4 Horsemen with Flair, Malenko, and Mongo. He gets a good pop.
This match is the joyful/playful Smiley vs the angry Benoit. Good stuff with Smiley getting the heat to start (surprisingly). Benoit hits his x3 German suplexes, top rope headbutt, locks in the crossface, and gets the submission win in 3 min. Another good match. Two for two.
Seg 3A: WCW fan backyard wrestling footage. “Nitro Party.” Very 90s.
Seg 4: Wolf Pack in-ring promo. Crowd is super hot for this.
Nash and Konnan say nothing. Luger mentions being ok with not winning WW3. Nash says he’ll beat Goldberg. Big ol time waster segment.
Seg 4A: More Wolfpack! Nash and Luger backstage w/ Gene. It’s mentioned that Scott Hall was kicked out of NWO Hollywood (Black and White). Nash is open to taking him back as a friend but Hall has to prove himself first.
Goldberg walks past. Trash talk which Nash no sells.
Seg 5: Tokyo Magnum vs …. Kanyon
Some older, heavier woman in the crowd marks out. She’s great. There’s a long beat before Kanyon makes his entrance. At the guerrilla position, he tries to get Raven to come out. Doesn’t work. Kanyon, a bit distraught, skips his pre-match catch phrase.
Magnum is a Japanese cross between Buff Bagwell and Disco Inferno. Decent match. Kanyon wins with the Flatliner in 2 minutes.
Seg 6: Glacier (yay!) vs Bobby Duncum Jr.
Glacier’s entrance is Undertaker long. Duncum has an “I love Texas” gimmick complete with chaps and bull rope.
This match is terrible. Glacier is a guilty pleasure but he’s awful. Duncum takes 90% of the match. He goes for his bull rope for no reason, gets stopped by the ref, then just wins with his version of The Stroke in 4:30.
Seg 7: Gene invites the Giant (Big Show) out for a promo. He (Giant) looks a mess. Cuts a crap promo trash talking Nash and calling out Goldberg.
Seg 8: Perry Saturn vs Silver King
Pre-match, Saturn cuts a promo calling out Earnest Miller. Silver King looks like a smaller/chubbier Texano (AAA/Lucha Underground). Nothing match. Saturn dishes out some awful kicks.
At the top of the ramp, Earnest Miller and Sonny Onoo cut a trash talk promo with the match still in progress. Saturn gets distracted/pissed but still wins with the Death Valley Driver.
Pre seg 9: Post commercial break, the announcers inform us Goldberg has accepted the Giant’s challenge and they will have a match tonight.
Seg 9: Rey Mysterio (walking to the ring in his massive shirt) vs Kidman in a cruiserweight title match.
Too much action to call it all but here are some highlights: Fast/smooth action to start. A bunch of head-scissor spots. Rey takes a front facing powerbomb onto the apron (ouch). Lots of high risk, back and forth action. Kidman slows it down from time to time with a rest hold. Announcers mark out big for Rey countering an Alabama slam into an arm breaker variation (they ask for a replay that never comes).
Eddie and Juve sneak down to the ring. Kidman takes out Eddie outside the ring as Juve takes out Rey with a Juve Driver inside the ring. Kidman doesn’t see the in-ring interference and finishes off Rey with the Shooting Star Press at 9:30. Really good spot heavy match.
Seg 10: Gene in-ring interview with Eric Bischoff.
They discuss Flair and Bisch says that they’ll settle their issues. Notes that he’s the boss and runs the show.
Enter: Ric Flair dressed like a dad. Regarding Barry Windham, Bisch informs Flair he (Flair) doesn’t have the authority to hire talent. Bisch invites Windham out to the ring.
Bisch tells Flair that Windham, Flair’s friend, will knock him (Flair) on his ass (the implied idea being that if Windham wants a job, he’ll have to do what Bischoff asks). Flair responds by putting over Windham, The Horsemen, and tradition.
Bisch cheap shots Flair. Flair fires up but Windham blindsides him and beats him down. Bisch delivers some of the worst kicks of all time to a prone Flair.
Horsemen attempt a run-in but are cut off by the NWO Black and White in a cool spot. Overall, really liked this segment.
Pre seg 11: Footage from WW3. Tension between Booker T and his brother, Stevie Ray.
Seg 11: Konnan vs Booker T
Konnan cuts the exact same promo from earlier in the show. And it still sucks.