I attended this Nitro live on basically a whim. Friend and (at that time) fellow backyard wrestler Tim, or as I dubbed him, Jerry Cherry, and I ventured towards Cincinnati with no real plan but to get into the arena. Tim's now independent wrestler Pompano Joe for you trivia buffs. Anyway, we commandeered a ride from his mother, made some crude signs (his were pro-WWF and confiscated) and got dropped off. Our seats were on the floor and not bad at all. We didn't have an arranged ride home. After the show, wearing my new Monday Night Jericho t-shirt, we walked down the dark, dangerous streets of the nasty 'Nati awaiting my dad who I'd called to bail us out.
1. Meng vs. Jerry Flynn - 4
2. Rick Steiner vs. Chris Adams - 6
3. Billy Kidman vs. Rey Mysterio - 6
4. Chris Benoit and Dean Malenko vs. Barbarian and Hugh Morrus - 5
5. Stevie Ray vs. Horace Hogan - 3
6. Konnan vs. Disco Inferno - 3
7. Booker T vs. Chris Jericho - 5
8. Hollywood Hogan and Kevin Nash vs. Ric Flair and Goldberg - 5
The opener was quite physical, just two big beasts throwing everything at each other, with Meng being the tougher of the two, withstanding Flynn's kick-based arsenal, etc. The next match just completley caught me by surprise. I've always been a big proponent of going back and watching old, misc. TV episodes because you'll never know what gems might be hiding and this is definitely the case of that. I don't know why, maybe something happened backstage, but these guys, especially Steiner, were out to kill each other. It wasn't a wrestling storyline, though, but a viewer with a sharp eye to detail can see Rick's potatoes, trying to smash in Adams' face, and Chris' desperate attempts at fighting back against the bigger, stronger guy out to maim him. There's a strike exchange in the corner that is as violent as any street fight you'll likely to witness.
Kidman and Mysterio was a lot of fun, the title ended up changing hands, which, being there live, was real exciting to see firsthand. With the time given they kept it fast-paced with back-and-forth action. You wish that this could have been longer, more fleshed out, to be more meaningful but for what it was you can't complain. I liked the following tag match a lot. It's the sort of tag action sorely missing from today's TV wrestling landscape. Benoit's savagery was on full display and Malenko played a good face in peril to the heels.
The next two matches were a step in the wrong direction. Ray and Hogan were involved in in-fighting in their stable and did a short brawl that was marred by laziness. The next match was longer and more competitive than I'd expected, but I'm continually embarrassed by Konan every time I see him work, his shtick is translucent, running through his rote string of clunky offense that never feels polished or believable.
I liked Jericho vs. Booker, don't really remember these guys working each other much and either company, but they clicked and this was a pleasent surprise. Jericho pulled the ref in-front of an oncoming kick to garner a disqualification but the bulk of the match was made up of solid in-ring work. If I had any say little gems like that would have been included in Jericho's recent multi-disc DVD career retrospective.
The main event I'd remembered just being insane for the crowd heat and sheer magnitude of it. My friend and I left out seats and made our way as close to the ring as possible, ending up near ringside, and I'll never forget being that close and seeing those four megastars under the lights like that. It was really a cool moment. I recalled the match being a mere throwaway but upon revisiting it it's actually a damn good tag match. I only shaved off a point due to its lack of a finish as the show basically just ended. Still, for ten minutes or so, these guys went at it, Hogan and Nash mainly ran the match, but it was never dull, and the crowd was fanatic throughout. Any fan of this period or someone interested in seeing it for the first time should seek this match out.
Overall the show was a lot better then I remembered. At the time I was more caught up in everything and didn't have a lot of strong memories of the in-ring itself. Out of eight matches there were only two I'd really suggest avoiding. I've got one more Cincinnati Nitro I attended live to review so look for that in the weeks to come.