Category Archives: 1997 Nitro Match Reviews

Rey Misterio Jr/Steven Regal vs. Eddy Guerrero/Dean Malenko (11/03/97 – Nitro)

While oddly booked, this kind-of, sort-of parajes incredibles match works. It’s more a testament to the four guys in the ring than anything else but they could have sleepwalked through the match and it still would have at *least* been average. Instead, they do there 1997 state-of-the-art spots and you come out of watching the 3:52 match thinking, “That was way too good to clock in just under four minutes.”

I love finding new takes on arm dragging out of moves. This match has a spot that I haven’t seen done anywhere else. Regal goes for his patented double arm, butterfly suplex. As he lifts Guerrero, Eddy arm drags out of it. Fantastic spot that needs to be stolen by a current luchador or US indy worker.

Eddy continues to be on fire here, getting loud “Eddy sucks” chants at the beginning of the match and when he finally enters after Rey and Malenko square off. Eddy even pulls out the “Fuerza Guerrera clapping spot” to fake his appreciation for Malenko’s opening segment, which works great as Malenko is a tweener, if not a face himself.

Time: 3:52
Rating: ***1/4

Rey Misterio Jr. vs. Dean Malenko (10/27/97 – Nitro)

Rey Misterio Jr. vs. Dean Malenko (10/27/97)

The Rey Misterio Jr./Dean Malenko series of matches in is a somewhat controversial.  John Williams, writing in 2000 for the Death Valley Driver Video Review Top 20 Matches of the 1990’s Pimping Post, was not a fan.

“Dean and Rey didn’t really work all that greatly together. As I said above, Dean often liked to control the match for 11:00, then give Rey 2:00 of high spots before hitting the finish. Perhaps people liked this. I liked Rey working back and forth matches with Psic [Psicosis] and Juve [Juventud Guerrera] in TJ [Tijuana] and Mexico quite a bit better.”

Scott Keith, regardless of what you think about him, had and still maintains a pretty influential presence on the internet with regard to wrestling match ratings.  He had much more praise for their Great American Bash match.

”Those last few minutes were CRAZY. **** Meltzer kind of buried the match, despite giving it the same rating, noting that Rey’s cred was pretty much shot now because he lost his debut to a mid-card guy.”

Dave Meltzer thought the Nitro match was good.

“Rey Misterio Jr. pinned Dean Malenko to retain the cruiser title in 4:35 by turning the Texas cloverleaf into a cradle. Misterio Jr. got a huge reaction coming out since he is actually from San Diego, which is something not mentioned in the commentary. Very good match.”

I’m not a fan of their longer Pay-Per-View matches but found this to be a quick and dirty and ultimately more satisfying version of their match formula.  Almost like a digest version.  I imagine I could find 4-5 spots in a modern day Dragon Gate match and put it to music and the match could come out looking great. This is the real equivalent of that.

They start out with mat work, which is brief but well executed.  The first big spot comes when Malenko tries to snap mare Rey over, who instead flips and lands on his feet, leading to a lucha elbow bump, followed by a terrific rotation arm drag out of a fire man’s carry hold.  Malenko gets to hit his top rope gut buster over the knee, which gets a big reaction from the crowd as possibly being the finish.  Rey and Dean do a spot that current AAA wrestler Aerostar would expand upon in 2015 (GIF coming soon) and then they go to the finish.  Rey had been winning most of his matches over the past couple of months with a springboard into the ring with a rana to get the pin.  Rey goes for that again, but Malenko catches him and power bombs, which gets a nice reaction from the crowd.  While trying to put on the Texas cloverleaf, Rey cradles Dean and gets the “upset” win.  Excellent finish.

I would have liked to have seen what 2004 Rey Misterio Jr. would have done with 2004 Dean Malenko.

Time: 4:35
Rating: ***

Eddy Guerrero vs. Chris Benoit (10/20/97 – Nitro)

Eddy Guerrero vs. Chris Benoit (10/20/97 – Nitro)

Benoit and Guerrero produced many solid matches against each other in WCW, though this may be the best. Their October 16, 1995 Nitro match is a strong match, but lacked crowd heat since both were relatively new to WCW. I don’t like the November 18, 1995 WCW Saturday Night match that others really like.  It’s solid and while Benoit is good in it, Eddy was still growing especially as a babyface.  Here, they work an abbreviated version of “Benoit tries for the knife edge chop but Eddy keeps ducking out of it.” It’s a really nice formula, especially for two guys who were so talented that they could pull it off.  They would work a more extended version of this formula on the March 5, 2001 episode of RAW, though that overall match is not as good as this one.  Since Eddy was the Cruiserweight champion and was defending his belt against Rey Jr.’s mask six days later, he had to go over.  In a finish that I suspect was put together by Benoit and Guerrero, Benoit hits the second turnbuckle with his head and is “knocked out.”  Randy Anderson checks on him and while he does that, Eddy hits a frog splash and Anderson gives a really great displeased look and a little slower count, but Benoit is pinned.  Strong match with a great finish.

Time: 7:14
Rating: ***1/2

Rey Misterio Jr. vs. Silver King (09/22/97 – Nitro)

This is almost an interpromotional dream match, especially for the time period. AAA versus CMLL. Silver King stood out in both of the 1997 CMLL ciberneticos and Rey Jr. in the fall of 1997 is as good as ever week in and week out. Quick holds are exchanged early with the segment culminating with Rey doing running up the body into a rana that takes Silver King over the top rope and to the floor. Though Samurai and Kanemoto do this in their June 1997 Best of the Super Juniors final, I’m pretty sure Rey and Silver King do the first US reverse rana off of the top rope, which gets a huge reaction and a big near fall. A Silver King rana reversal gets another good near fall. Eddy Guerrero comes out to ringside and is greeted with loud “Eddy sucks” chants. Silver King hits a great superkick.  A missed moonsault allows Rey to go to the apron and hit his springboard rana for the pin, the third consecutive week he used this for the win.  The best 4:00 minute match possible.

Time: 4:00                                                                                                                                 Rating: ***

Eddy Guerrero vs. Ultimo Dragon (WCW – September 15, 1997)

Eddy is two for two. That’s not to downplay Ultimo Dragon’s effort as he was very good here but Eddy is the glue. They open with a fast start and some “Eddy sucks” chants which are slightly less loud than the prior week. Eddy targets the arm and Ultimo Dragon sells it the entire match. I’m not someone who is obsessed with selling a body part but if you are, you will enjoy this. This may have actually been a legit injury but either way they work it into the match and it is for the better. Eddy mixes up his usual spots, hitting a drop toe hold, running off the rope and dropkicking Dragon, except it is aimed at the arm. A standing kimura and Anderson style hammerlock behind back slam keeps reinforcing the story that Eddy may be crazy and evil, but he is also good. Late in the match, they do a rope running sequence that is so natural and fluid. That ends with a Dragon tilt a whirl backbreaker and he unleashes some nice kicks. Dragon’s kicks can sometimes look weak and loose but here, they are almost UWF style. They mix up Dragon’s turnbuckle headstand spot, with Eddy pushing the ref into the turnbuckles but   Dragon jumps over the ref and unleashes kicks on Guerrero. Dragon hits a very sloppy rana in one of the only negative spots in the match.  Dragon sleeper gets a nice reaction but Guerrero escapes. Dragon tries for a moonsault but Eddy catches him and uses a shoulder breaker on his worked over arm, hits the frog splash, and that’s all she wrote.

Time: 7:38
Rating: ***1/4