Best: The Final Days Of Surfer Sting
One of the interesting things about going back and revisiting these early Nitros is that they mark the final days of Surfer Sting, my favorite wrestler from the late-80s through the mid-90s. The announce team insists that Sting is a “man on a mission,” but as the episodes drag on he gets more and more detached, growing out his hair, losing the bleach-job and, eventually, becoming the Crow. He got so popular in that persona that it’s the only one he’s carried with him, and now if we get a big nostalgia Sting run in WWE, he’ll have black and white face paint. His entire TNA run was in monochrome, even if he tried working in splashes of color. Surfer Sting will not and cannot come back, and there’s beauty to that, sad as it is. When he changed he really changed, and no amount of fiction can undo it.
Best: This Weekend, DISCO INFERNO Debuts
Crap, how long do I have to wait before they start adding episodes of WCW Saturday Night?
Best: Scott Norton Loses Because Of Another Man’s Fatness
Scott Norton is AWESOME. Capital letters. In a profession where a lot of guys work out for vanity muscles, Scott Norton is a literal barrel of a man who has eaten and gained the powers like five weightlifters and is ready to SQUEEZE YOU TO HELL. He destroys Macho Man here, catching him, snapping him like he’s Bane and basically no-selling everything but Macho’s most enthusiastic bursts of offense. It’s exactly the kind of match these two should be having … Macho is a wily veteran who excels in gathering up his guts and fighting from underneath, and Norton just spent a few years hanging out in Japan and is not f*cking around.
The finish is equally enjoyable: before the nWo was around, WCW’s evil heel faction was the DUNGEON OF DOOM, a bunch of comically-dressed He-Man villains who couldn’t really accomplish much, even if they attacked 10-on-1. Their squad included a giant mummy, a fat guy who thought he was a shark, Kevin Sullivan with a spear (!!), Brutus Beefcake in zebra cosplay and KAMALA THE UGANDAN GIANT, who was great but also kinda out of place as a “mindless black savage” on national TV in 1995. They’ve got a War Games match against Savage coming up in a week, so they send Kamala and The Shark out to rough him up. Savage tosses Norton into Shark, which knocks Shark out and knocks Kamala off the apron. Shark then FALLS ACROSS THE LEGS OF NORTON, holding him down with 500 pounds of fatness long enough for Savage to drop an elbow from the top and get the win. Referee Randy Anderson is totally fine with this for some reason, and Savage flees when Goldar and Lord Zedd and the rest of these idiots show up.
I would pay good money to see Scott Norton in a fight to the death against the entire Dungeon Of Doom. Maybe give them all spears so they have a fighting chance.
Worst: Stupid Hulk Hogan
These are the final days of Surfer Sting, but they’re also the final days of classic red and yellow Hulkamania. If you’re frustrated with John Cena in modern WWE, magnify it by about a hundred and you’ve got 1994-95 Hogan. He could not take ANY DAMAGE. He was the most invulnerable, least believable wrestler in history, with most of his matches starting with him just manhandling whoever until whoops, he accidentally gets cheapshotted or hurt in some way. Maybe he breaks his leg, gets taken to a local hospital and then WALKS BACK TO THE ARENA ON A BROKEN LEG. This is a thing that happened.
Here, Hogan is squaring off against Lex Luger, the multiple time heavyweight champion WCW just got back from the WWF. Luger has been here for exactly one week and is being portrayed as Hogan’s equal … a sort of “chaotic neutral” Hogan nobody’s sure if they can trust. How does Hogan react to Luger’s appearance? By facing him in a one-on-one match IMMEDIATELY, no-selling all of his offense and having him cleanly beaten before the Dungeon of Doom runs in and breaks it up. Seriously, they pretend like it’s an equal match, but Hogan no-sells the Torture Rack, big boots him and basically has him down for an 11 count before the fat cosplay guys pop in. Infuriating.
After the match, Hogan has a stern talking-to with Sting and Macho Man about whether or not Luger should be allowed to join TEAM HOGAN at War Games. Everyone kinda stands around in a semi-circle and waits for Hogan to make his decision. Keep in mind that Hogan could go into War Games by himself and beat these dudes. Which, uh, he does in a few months at Uncensored 96. At this point you could’ve put the entire Dungeon of Doom on a team WITH Sting and Macho and Luger and Hogan would’ve found a way to strap bombs to his boots and leg drop them all at once.
This Week’s Pepe Costume: Mexican Guy
Look at their faces.