Previously on the vintage Best and Worst of WCW Monday Nitro: We tackled SuperBrawl VII, featuring Lex Luger and the Giant definitely winning the Tag Team Championship, Eddie Guerrero costing Dean Malenko the Cruiserweight Championship against Syxx, and Jeff Jarrett became a member of the Four Horsemen. Also on the show, Rowdy Roddy Piper lost to Hollywood Hogan after putting him asleep, but falling victim to sudden but inevitable betrayal by the Macho Man Randy Savage.
Also, Piper stayed in Alcatraz for a week and got sexy on a boat:
Remember, if you want us to keep writing 20-year-old WCW jokes and not abandon the column entirely to write more 180-word stories about Paige and Alberto Del Rio turning into Mickey and Mallory from Natural Born Killers, click the share buttons and spread the word.
And now, the vintage Best and Worst of WCW Monday Nitro for February 24, 1997.
Worst: As The Haliburton Turns
Damn, we’re barely five still-frame photos of SuperBrawl VII courtesy of WCW Magazine into Nitro and we’re already to the part where Steve McMichael copes with his wife constantly cucking him on national television by attacking people with an empty metal briefcase.
At SuperBrawl, adorably called “The SuperBrawl” by Mongo, Jarrett used an errant-on-purpose Haliburton toss from Debra to hit Mongo in the face, win the match, and officially become a member of the Four Horsemen. On Nitro, they get paired up against the new #1 contenders to the tag team titles nobody’s allowed to win, the Public Enemy. As you might’ve guessed from that screencap or from reading about the past 60 episodes of Nitro, Mongo decides to hit JARRETT with the Haliburton and cost his team the match.
It was going pretty well, too. The crowd is molten for anything anybody does, popping for bad Public Enemy leapfrog attempts like they just watched them hit a phoenix splash, and Jarrett dips his toes into being a strong-style motherf*cker by like, muscling TPE into hossy powerbombs. Yes, Jeff Jarrett is powerbombing people. The crowd doesn’t even seem to care that they’re watching two thirds of an awkward rich hillbilly MMF fight a couple of pinheads dressed as Los Ice Creams.
After the match, you guessed it, the Horsemen show up en masse to stand shoulder-to-shoulder to talk about how much they suck.
Arn Anderson points out that since he’s injured, orchestra conductor Ric Flair is hurt and Chris Benoit got put in the hospital last night, it’s important for the only two active Horsemen — Mongo, and now Jarrett — to get on the same page. Mongo’s like, “IT AIN’T NOTHIN’ BUT FIGHTIN’ BETWEEN TWO BROTHERS BABY,” and I’m dying for Flair to be like, “your wife wants to f*ck this guy, Mongo.” Hard on the outside, empty on the inside. Mongo McMichael, the human Haliburton.
Worst: Galaxy, Hi
Up next is the WCW debut of GALAXY, a Go-Bots version of Abismo Negro who looks like a shrunken down human Megazord. We haven’t seen him before but WCW’s cruiserweight division is popping, so I’m sure he wrestles a high-flying superstar like Rey Mysterio Jr., or a brilliant mat technician like Dean Malenko.
I’m sure they wouldn’t waste this on-
Oh God dammit.
Galaxy gets slotted in against Hacksaw Jim Duggan, now soft-rocking WCW colors in his player two palette swap. Underpants the Brain-Damaged Giant is at his all-time trifling-ass, cheating-ass worst here, cheating his ass off against a non-threatening newbie luchador who is literally half his size. Look at them. Galaxy could be the Krang in Jim Duggan’s belly.
Duggan wants to send a message to the New World Order, which he does by PULLING UP THE RINGSIDE MATS and BODY-SLAMMING THIS HELPLESS, CHILD-SIZED MEXICAN ONTO THE CONCRETE.
Galaxy’s entire offense in the match consists of:
1. One (1) kick, no-sold
2. Four (4) punches, no-sold
3. One (1) rake to the eyes, sold for about a second
4. One (1) shoulder to the stomach so no-sold it should be stored in the TNA warehouse
Once Ray Jackson is done beating the sh*t out of Mascarita Sagrada he allows him one (1) moonsault press attempt, then casually walks out of the way of it. That’s followed by the three-point stance that SHOULD’VE ended the match, but nope, Duggan chooses to jam his hand up his ass, pull out the dreaded athletic tape and closed-fist Galaxy in the face in plain sight of the referee. Even Larry Zbyszko is like, “Jesus Christ, ref, he’s CHEATING, STOP LETTING HIM CHEAT JUST BECAUSE HE LIKES WCW.”
After the match, Duggan cuts another shoot promo about “Terry,” and about how the Macho Man betraying WCW at SuperBrawl really “knocked his socks off.” Check out this threat:
That’s not censored, he really says he could kick Hulk Hogan’s “A.” You S a D, Jim Duggan.
Oh, and speaking of S’ing a D, the remainder of the interview appears to be Duggan trying to get Mean Gene to corpse by getting hyper sexual about Big Bubba. Remember last week when Bubba got attacked in the parking lot and had to be taken to the hospital, and everyone assumed it was Diamond Dallas Page? Duggan says he’s not responsible, because Bubba is … handsome?
“I didn’t do Big Bubba. You can tell, Mean Gene, I didn’t do Big Bubba. He looked too darn good for me to do him! So Hogan, I’m not coming through the back door!”
I swear to God he says that. Jump to the 7:17 mark in this video.
So to recap, a luchador debuted on Nitro, got in zero offense, got hit in the face with some dick tape and had to lie in the ring unconscious for five minutes while Jim Duggan screamed about the Special Olympics and how Big Bubba is sexually out of his league. Got it. Great wrestling show, everybody.
Best: Flight Of The Navigator
Hey, Spanish-speaking audiences, did you love watching your guy get emasculated by a sweaty, jingoistic Shrek? Log on to NETSCAPE NAVIGATOR and talk to Pedro Morales about it! Now available in Spanish Japanese.
You can also listen to Lee Marshall simulcast Nitro in WEASEL by logging on to 1800Collect.org.
Throwaway Match Lightning Round
This episode has long stretches of absolutely nothing happening, and since I’m a thousand words in after the first two matches, I’m gonna knock out the ones I don’t have much to say about.
Don’t you draw the Dungeon of Doom, boy, they’ll beat you if they’re able.
The definition of “I don’t have much to say about this” is Hugh Morrus vs. Desperado Joe Gomez, a match somebody at WCW thought was a great idea despite having seen like two years of Hugh Morrus and Desperado Joe Gomez matches. I can’t believe Gomez was an actual successful pro wrestler sometimes. Slap some black leggings and a Crystal Gayle wig on a husky toddler and you’ve got exactly as good a wrestler as Desperado Joe Gomez.
Anyway, Gomez is losin’ all his highs and lows. Ain’t it humorous how the feeling goes away?
Attempting to follow that Shoshone Joe classic are Ice Train and La Parka in a rematch from that February 3 affair where Train straight-up dropped La Parka on his face. This is a better and safer (and ultimately more forgettable) match, overshadowed by a bizarre, unexplained picture-in-picture about Teddy Long catching feelings for Jacqueline.
Seriously, Teddy’s like, “Jacqueline, you got beat up for Kevin Sullivan but ask yourself, would he do the same for you?” It’s the ultimate, “hey girl, why are you so sad, tell me what’s wrong, oh your boyfriend sounds like he sucks,” especially in terms of San Francisco death matches where you were strapped to a lady and got sandwiched between a tabled dwarf and a flying headbutt. Poor Teddy finally ran into a black girl in this company and she’s dating satanic Ed Asner.
Ice Train wins thanks to Teddy’s advice, which I’m guessing was, “you are made out of steroids, just stop pretending the stuff the fat skeleton’s doing to you hurts.”
Finally, we’ve got Somehow Still The Television Champion Prince Iaukea vs. Pat Tanaka in a battle of the stereotypes. Prince won’t stop making Jimmy Snuka “I love you” hands and throwing squatting chops. Pat Tanaka is dressed like he went to the Chinese Guy section of a Halloween Express, and keeps trying to do the E. Honda hundred hand slap. Prince wins after a high crossbody to a completely dead crowd of people who, need I remind you, popped for Flyboy Rocco Rock getting chop-blocked by Mongo.
Best: An Underrated Classic
Last September (in 1996), Chris Jericho and Mike Enos f*cked around and put on a cult classic. The 1997 version of that is Chris Jericho and Eddie Guerrero vs. the Faces of Fear, which, if you’ve never seen it, is one of the best Nitro matches of the year. Probably one of the best WCW matches of the year, period.
I love this match. The Faces of Fear were always cooler than their matches were, but this is them fully realized and utilized perfectly. They’re in the ring with two top level cruiserweights who just had a competitive match at SuperBrawl and aren’t sure if they’re friends or enemies. They’re forced to figure that out quick, though, because the Faces of Fear have stopped being a Public Enemy-quality throwaway WCW heel team and decided to be the bastard love children of the Usos and the Miracle Violence Connection. They F*CK THESE CRUISERWEIGHTS UP, my dude.
Every few minutes you get something that makes you say, “Jesus.” Meng powerbombing Guerrero so hard it gives him an out of body experience. Meng and Barbarian doing that backdrop/powerbomb combo on Jericho that combines the danger of f*cking up a Styles Clash with the fun of being thrown from a great height. Barb sending Eddie to the Upside Down with a press to the ceiling. Jericho getting folded in half at the neck by a Meng backdrop. Jericho takes such an A-beating here that Meng and Barbarian were the first two names on The List.
The story’s great, too. Eddie keeps being forced to begrudgingly make the save for Jericho but slowly starts to respect him more and more, until he’s actively in the ring being a general and orchestrating teamwork to help his team get the edge. He sets up the finish perfectly — Jericho’s gonna hit a Lionsault to set up the frog splash — but Meng trips Jericho up behind Eddie’s back, and a pissed-off-from-SuperBrawl Dean Malenko shows up to shove Eddie by the ass and send him flying into a Barbarian big boot.
If you get 10 free minutes, watch this thing. It makes you wonder why it still took Jericho and Guerrero so long to become folk heroes, and it’ll make you physically angry that the Faces of Fear rarely got to be this f*cking dope.
Best: Rey Vs. Juvi
As you’ll read in this week’s vintage Raw report (which should be up a couple of days after this), half of the WWF roster was in Germany doing the European Championship thing, leaving Raw to run an ECW invasion angle. To counter that — maybe by accident, maybe not — WCW was like, “here’s ECW’s Chris Jericho and ECW’s Eddie Guerrero, followed by ECW’s Rey Mysterio Jr., followed by ECW’s Dean Malenko.” They really managed to snag all of ECW’s top talent before ECW realized it could be a thing. That “make the most of what we have” vibe is part of what made ECW so passionate and cool, but man, comparing Rey Mysterio Jr. to the Blue Meanie must’ve been like comparing LeBron James to Moondog.
Anyway, Rey Mysterio and Juventud Guerrera have a fun little match we’ve seen/will see several hundred more times. The highlight is Mysterio turning a baseball slide into a headscissors takedown, and Juvy getting powerbombed for trying that ridiculous Robbie Rage flipping nothing. Rey picks up the strong win, and we try not to think about how he’s between bullsh*t Prince Iaukea losses.
Best/Worst: When You Take A Selfie vs. When Someone Tags A Photo Of You
Dean Malenko faces Ultimo Dragon — sh*t, this show’s card is GREAT if you pretend Pat Tanaka is Glacier (and won) — and it’s their standard wonderful affair, marred slightly by the ongoing and probably pretty necessary “Dean Malenko is losing it” story.
Before SuperBrawl, Syxx was getting under his skin. Malenko’s dad helped train Syxx, so they’ve known each other forever and are keenly aware of the other’s strengths and weaknesses. Syxx is also a horrible nWo sh*t-talker, causing the normally composed-to-a-fault Malenko to lose his temper. At SuperBrawl, Eddie Guerrero showed up to try to keep Syxx from bailing on the match and stealing the Cruiserweight Championship, but accidentally distracted the referee, got Malenko smashed in the face with the belt and cost him the title. Now Malenko is (1) mad at Syxx, (2) FURIOUS about apparently being betrayed by the last person he thought would do him wrong, and (3) unreasonably frustrated when matches don’t go his way.
That comes into play late in this match, when Malenko gives up on catch-as-catch-can karate lucha libre and just starts choking the piss out of Dragon. It gets him disqualified, but he doesn’t care. He chokes him into actual unconsciousness, more or less trying to kill him, and everybody’s like, “damn Dean Malenko, when did you become a serial killer?”
Worst: Vivien Lee
He follows this with, “frankly my dear, weasels can’t BUILD a dam!” Because you need TWO shoehorned-in weasel gags in one phone call. Heenan should’ve garroted this dude the second he got home.
Worst: Fan Sided
Diamond Dallas Page makes quick work of unexplained safari enthusiast Squire David Taylor. I think this is his last appearance, so sadly there’s no followup of like, Lord Steven Regal making poop faces while ostriches stick their heads through the windows of his Range Rover or whatever.
After the match, the Outsiders show up to put the boots to Page. He stands guard to hold them off, but doesn’t notice TOP SECRET TURNCOAT Macho Man Randy Savage sneaking into the ring behind him. Savage bops him in the head with a can of spray paint and paints stripes on his back, officially joining the New World Order (and getting a t-shirt).
The moment is most notable for what happens immediately afterward, when a fan jumps in the ring to celebrate with them and gets punched in his goddamn face by Scott Hall. Note Savage taking a little too long to figure out what’s happening and getting a little too enthusiastic with legally acceptable knees to a stranger’s ribs, and Nash saving dude’s life by dumping him out of the ring:
In other words,
Worst: The “Main” “Event”
All show long they’ve been advertising a World Tag Team Championship match between the new champions, Lex Luger and the Giant, and Harlem Heat. Not sure why Harlem Heat gets the first shot instead of the #1 contenders Public Enemy, but whatever. The match never happens — Vince McMahon isn’t bullsh*tting about their love of the bait-and-switch — and the main turns into Eric Bischoff reversing the decision from SuperBrawl and demanding the tag titles return to the Outsiders.
Raise your hand if you saw that coming.
Luger agrees to give back the titles, but leverages Bischoff’s “betting man” reputation into a match at Uncensored. Without going too deep into the specifics or getting anything in writing, Luger proposes a match for ALL the titles. All of them, all at once. WCW vs. the New World Order, winner take all. I don’t want to spoil too much for you, but literally none of that happens.
The show ends with a dramatically weird moment featuring Sting, who walks to the ring to confront the nWo and … uh, get hugged by them?
Sting accepts the hug without incident, and that’s the end of the show. A trench coat mime responding to a hug by standing still. The announcers are like, STING IS DEFINITELY A MEMBER OF THE NEW WORLD ORDER NOW, because they scream sh*t like that while they’re brushing their teeth.
Next Week: The worst segment in Nitro history. Not a joke. Not even hyperbole. You can’t wait.