Previously on the Best and Worst of WCW Monday Nitro: Ric Flair pointed out a fat boy in the crowd, and Roadblock wore a shirt that said ROAD CLOSED and shorts that made his legs look like streets, so when he wore them together it was like two roads were leading to an enormous closure sign. Oh also Eric Bischoff fired Randy Anderson and stripped the Steiner Brothers of the tag straps, but that’s less important.
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And now, the vintage Best and Worst of WCW Monday Nitro for Feb. 3, 1997.
Let’s start off the program with Ray Mendoza Jr., who looks like he kept his forehead underwater until it pruned. You may remember him from like 3 minutes of Lord Steven Regal punching a dude in the face for real from a Nitro back in November. He was “Tony Peña” then. You might also know him as the unmasked Villano IV, or as Kang of the Klingon Empire. Look man, I’ll be straight with you; I miss the glory days of ’70s and ’80s wrestling as much as anybody, but I’m very happy dudes can get in and out of the business now without blading for 20 years and looking like someone stretched a scrotum over their head like a swim cap.
Fun note about the Villanos: Los Villanos are named in honor of their dad, Ray Mendoza, who played a villain in a bunch of old El Santo movies. This is Villano IV, Tomas Mendoza, performing unmasked as “Ray Mendoza Jr.” The actual Ray Mendoza Jr. is Villano V, who formally became Ray Mendoza Jr. when he lost his mask in 2009. So in WCW, Ray Mendoza Jr. is Villano V, but Villano IV is Ray Mendoza Jr. Got it?
This time around, he’s a punching bag for Ultimo Dragon. Dragon has really been into kicking guys as hard as he can lately, and Mendoza’s a veteran so he gives it right back. They do some weird stuff that’s caught between good and terrible, like a counter where Dragon’s supposed to do a forward roll under a leap frog but Mendoza doesn’t jump high enough and gets two boots to the dick. He no-sells that into a pinning predicament. Predickament?
The ending is great, though, with Dragon going for the Dragonrana but not spinning all the way around, so he’s forced to really tighten the grip with his knees and fling Mendoza over for real. Nothing in wrestling looks better than a well-executed rana (or headscissors takedown), and nothing in wrestling looks faker than the bad ones.
Best: Jerk Glacier
So, the crowd’s starting to turn on Glacier. He shows up and does his normal Georgia gym teacher karate and throws some kicks that miss (pictured), and instead of politely clapping like most crowds, Memphis is not having it. Not even when he goes catch-as-catch-can with Billy Kidman, assuming that by “catch” you mean “kicks and maybe an armdrag.” He licks his finger and makes a tally mark, as though Kidman/Glacier is the new Guerrero/Malenko, and the crowd goes, “weeeehhhhhh.”
Look at this. Look how SASSY this is:
The full filename of that image is, “somebody told Glacier to have a personality and he took that to mean ‘act like you just dunked on somebody but also you can’t stop doing karate'” dot GIF.
And hey, instead of having Dragon murk Villano Intravenous and having Glacier phantom-kick Billy Kidman, why didn’t they just open the show with 10 minutes of Ultimo Dragon vs. Kidman? Does Kidman need his sleeveless undershirt to survive those kicks? Oh, better yet, do ULTIMO DRAGON VS. GLACIER and see if Glacier would get tired of having his ribcage exploded and start landing kicks.
Editor’s Note: I did a little research, and it turns out Dragon and Glacier DID have a match on WCW Pro. It’s super short, but kinda great while it lasts, and ends with Sonny Onoo just kicking Glacier in front of the ref. I love that they were terrified to give Ultimo Dragon vs. Glacier on WCW Pro a clean ending. Come on, guys. One was trained by Bruce Lee. The other was trained by one of those VHS tapes of Ninja Turtles episodes from Burger King.
Worst: Please Don’t Kill La Parka, Ice Train
Up next on this extremely Brandon-friendly card is Ice Train vs. La Parka, which would be a classic in the WCW Saturday Night style if it didn’t involve strong-ass thick-ass Ice Train being unable to catch a dive. Parka goes for a corkscrew plancha midway through the match and Train “catches” him by sorta putting his forearms on La Parka’s shins. Parka ends up corkscrewing straight into the ground (pictured), somehow bashing his face AND his knee into the floor.
La Parka spends the rest of the match half-concussed, half-tired of having to wrestle Ice Train and it kinda goes to sh*t. That’s not a problem, though, because we miss a huge chunk of it running backstage to see what the nWo are up to. There are only two guesses:
1. localized hotel room cigar and self-congratulation party, or
2. emasculating anyone with momentum in WCW
If you chose #2, congratulations, now you know why most of Nitro is a huge number two.
Scott Hall and Kevin Nash are backstage (in Lex Luger and The Giant T-shirts, which is a nice touch), holding pipes and standing over a fallen Luger. The announce team is like, WHO IS THAT, WHO IS THAT ON THE FLOOR, IS THAT, IS THAT LEX LUGER?? and I’m sure they’re like five seconds away from deciding it’s actually Sting.
Meanwhile, Ice Train wins a match. You know, looking back, it’s amazing how tone deaf WCW was with La Parka. The guy didn’t do anything in his entire career besides (1) be a fat dancing skeleton and (2) hit people with chairs, yet he was the most over and clapped-about wrestler every time he was in the ring. They could’ve done ANYTHING with him. Hasn’t Lucha Underground taught us how much the wrestling world loves aggro Mexican wrestling skeletons?
Worst/Best: Woman On Film
With Luger incapacitated, the advertised Lex Luger vs. Jeff Jarrett match is now in jeopardy. This is why Raw wouldn’t shut up about baits-and-switches, right? Vince McMahon had such an epic hate-on for Jeff Jarrett during this period.
Anyway, three of the Four Horsemen show up to announce that the Horsemen are back and totally reunited. Great job, everybody! Mongo volunteers to take Luger’s spot against Jarrett and is like, HEY LOCAL CROWD, I HATE Y’ALL BABY, HOW WOULD YOU LIKE TO SEE MAHNGO RASSLE JEFF JARRETT?? The crowd response is somewhere between forced cheering and, “is suicide optional?”
The rest of the promo is your standard catty Horsemen gossip round-up, with both Woman and Debra McMichael going on and on (and on and on) about how much they hate Jacqueline. Debra says that when God was handing out faces, Jacqueline thought they said “cases” and said, “make mine leather.” Woman says Jackie got her leftovers and snaps it out. Seriously, look at this. It tops Friends on the list of Whitest Things That Happened In The ’90s. It’s the Chris Benoit Saying Talk To The Hand of hand gestures.
Worst: Giving Us What We Didn’t Ask For
The result of that promo is Super Bowl champion cuckold Mongo being forced to take a count-out by his wife so her Martina Navratilova-looking bull with the jock strap on his chest could get the win. Hey, you know what’ll get Jeff Jarrett over with wrestling crowds? Having a condescending, aging beauty queen constantly interject to save him, because the slightest physical confrontation causes him to curl up in the fetal position and completely fall apart. It’s like if Princess Peach had to keep stepping in and making sure Bowser didn’t hurt Luigi.
Worst: Mike Enos, nWo Magnet
Mike Enos is wrestling a match nobody cares about, and the camera zooms out to catch the crowd going nuts for an nWo member walking out through the crowd and hopping the rail in the corner. Sound familiar? It’s exactly the same shot and scenario as when Scott Hall debuted. Is Mike Enos an nWo sleeper agent? Is he facilitating these run-ins? Did they need a guy who was both rough and ready?
Here, the nWo member in question is Syxx. Syxx is showing up to steal Dean Malenko’s Cruiserweight Championship, which is the second “Syxx steals a championship belt” angle of the month. Eddie Guerrero just got back his United States Championship from Syxx, so now they’re just starting over with Malenko. Sure? Lord Steven Regal should put one of those exploding dye packs on the TV title for when this feud is over.
Best: The DIAMOND DEATH CUTTER
Diamond Dallas Page squares off against the Renegade, and the challenge is so great (70 seconds into the match) that he’s gotta up his finisher game and go for the DIAMOND DEATH CUTTER, aka a Diamond Cutter off the second rope. Thank God he wasn’t in there with Joe Gomez, he’d have to go from the top to the floor.
After the match, the most threatening characters on the show all converge to stand 50 feet away from DDP. Macho Man Randy Savage appears in the crowd in one corner, Sting shows up in the crowd in another, and the Outsiders (with their Luger-dispatching pipes) show up on the stage. The general idea is that Sting and Savage are looming in the distance to protect Page from the inevitable nWo beatdown he’s got coming, but Page plays it off like everyone’s out to get him.
Renegade does nothing, which he’s great at.
Best/Worst: The Ballad Of Super Calo, Alex Wright And The World’s Worst Fan
At certain points in the show, there are a row of empty chairs in the front row. When they’re filled, they’re filled by a guy in an all-denim outfit and nondescript tan hat accompanied by, I’m assuming, his family. I don’t know who he is, why he’s there, or where he goes for chunks of the show.
When he’s there, he’s the worst possible fan. When big moves happen he’ll stand up with his arms over his head and sorta woo, then he’ll turn to face the crowd behind them to like, make sure they see him react. It’s like that guy at the strip club who “makes it rain,” but turns looks at the people in the bar instead of the stripper while he does it. DO YOU SEE ME? DO YOU SEE THE THING I’M DOING? WE’RE ALL HERE BUT I SHOULD PROBABLY BE THE POINT.
This wouldn’t be a big deal, but he gets physically involved in the Super Calo/Alex Wright match. This is an extremely important moment in Nitro history, so pay attention.
Super Calo is wrestling Alex Wright, and he’s doing well because he wrestles in sunglasses and is therefore not immediately blinded by the Saul-on-the-Road-to-Damascus divine light of Das Wunderkind’s package. Calo tumbles to the outside at some point and backs into the security railing, right in front of this fan. The fan gets bumped, pauses, then realizes he should “play along” and takes an exaggerated bump. Calo heads back to the ring. As this is happening, the fan stands up and once again turns to the audience with his hands up, making sure everyone saw him do the funny thing. What he doesn’t see is Wright dropkicking Calo off the apron, sending Calo BACK into the security railing and actually knocking the dude down.
The best part is when the guy gets up this time, he’s IRATE. He’s like, leaning in and screaming curse words in Super Calo’s face for touching him. Here’s the entire exchange in GIF form, and it’s amazing:
At first you’re like, “that guy’s obviously a plant” (or a stunt granny, or whatever), but I don’t think he is. The camera doesn’t focus on him and actually moves away from him at one point, and nobody makes a big deal about it. So is it real?
My theory is that Calo and Wright were watching this guy act the fool all night and decided to f*ck with him. If that’s not the case, it’s a ridiculous coincidence that two undercard wrestlers in the middle of the show would get TWO physical interactions with the same annoying fan without planning it. Did Alex Wright bring his old college roommate to the show and sneak him into the action by dressing him up like Tony Schiavone at a Road Wild?
The world may never know.
Wait, did that guy go to Nitro with TOAD? Was my “Jeff Jarrett is Luigi” thing that accurate?
Worst: The Dungeon Of Dudes
If you were under the impression that the Four Horsemen were the only heel faction freaking out about having to interact with women, don’t sleep on the DUNGEON OF DOOM, who are currently falling the hell apart because Kevin Sullivan got a new girlfriend.
Remember last week when Jacqueline debuted and said she’d be a better manager for the Taskmaster than Jimmy Hart, because she could “comfort” him in ways Jimmy couldn’t? Jimmy has been pissed about that all week, and confronts Sullivan here with, “women in professional wrestling are trouble, Jacqueline is here for suspicious reasons because women would NEVER go to a wrestling show, I’m gonna get to the bottom of this.” He is the most scorned lover ever. Mean Gene shuts him down with, “You just hate women, Jimmy Hart.” This segment is also every wrestling argument involving a woman in the history of Twitter.
Jacqueline’s contribution to the segment is to say that Debra McMichael is just jealous of her because Debra had plastic surgery and Jacqueline didn’t, which is a lot like Donald Trump saying Hillary Clinton’s jealous of him because she’s got a terrible haircut.
Later in the night, Jacqueline interrupts a Chris Benoit vs. Konnan match by walking out menacingly with a leather strap and confronting Woman. It’s one of those wrestling segments where a character is suddenly overly concerned with a weapon from a gimmick match, because they’ve got to set up a gimmick match. It’s like a chicken or the egg scenario where the frying pan came first.
The best part is when Benoit shows up to defend Nancy and takes the strap away. Jacqueline starts looking under the ring apron for something that clearly is supposed to be there but isn’t, and spends what feels like an eternity trying to improv something. She pulls out a water bottle and tries to make that work, but R-Truth’s still like 15 years away from making that threatening. Eventually Jimmy runs over and kinda dives at her legs to make it look like he’s “holding her back,” even though she’s stood there doing nothing for like a full minute. So happy Jacqueline’s on the show now!
Worst: NAUGHTY MACDADDIES
The Steiner Brothers participate in this week’s Harlem Heat Race Against The Clock To Have A Presentable Match Before The Garbage Finish contest, which lasts about five minutes until Public Enemy and the Faces of Fear run in to attack everybody. You’d think the continuity of Meng loving WCW Monday Nitro shirts would be enough to earn the segment a Best, but nope, Public Enemy is wearing shirts that classify them as VIOLENT MACDADDY and NAUGHTY MACDADDY.
Violent Macdaddy, sure, that could make you good at wrestling or whatever. But NAUGHTY Macdaddy? Why do I want to know that Flyboy Rocco Rock is the “naughty” anything?
Via Urban Dictionary, here’s a quick and super unnecessary reminder of where “macdaddy” comes from:
“Mac Daddy” or Mack Daddy, is a term used to describe a man with an unusual power over women, and is derived from the French and later Louisiana Creole patois term “maqereau,” which means “pimp.” Adding “daddy” makes it mean “top pimp.” The ’70’s black-exploitation movie The Mack, a dramatization of the life of a street pimp, furthered the popularity of the term in urban America. This use of “mac” is quite different from the Scottish/Gaelic term “mac” (son of) used to address an unknown man.
So what you’re saying is that Johnny Grunge is the Macdaddy, but Rowdy Roddy Piper is the daddy, mac?
Worst: Rowdy Roddy Piper Hides Behind A Kid
Hey, I didn’t know Finn Bálor made it onto an episode of Nitro.
No, this is actually Roddy Piper’s son, MMA fighter and sometimes pro wrestler Colt Toombs. Piper’s brought him out here to announce that he’s a man, which means he’s done with wrestling and won’t be accepting Hollywood Hogan’s challenge for tonight or the title shot the WCW executive committee decided on without asking him (apparently) for SuperBrawl.
Hogan, Bischoff and Vincent show up to pretty justifiably give Piper sh*t for bringing out a small child during the main event of a Nitro, using him to prevent another nWo beatdown — remember, last time Piper was here he got taken away on a stretcher — and pretending like he doesn’t know what he’s doing. Piper tries to save himself AGAIN by shoot-groveling. “Terry, I’m asking you from the bottom of my heart, man, don’t do nothing. Just let me go home.” I came into the center of the ring at the end of a Nitro and spoke to Mean Gene on a microphone in front of fans to say I don’t want to be on the wrestling show!
Gawker be like:
Hogan has to dig pretty deep to be the heel here, making Piper admit on the microphone that Hogan beat him at Starrcade, and that Hogan is the “true icon.” WCW guys were always getting so upset about who was or wasn’t the icon. As it turns out, that little kid was the icon, and Shinsuke Nakamura had to fight him on NXT to prove himself.
Hollywood eventually paintbrushes Piper in the back of the head until it drives him past the breaking point. Piper apologizes to Colt and hands him out of the ring, then proceeds to COMICALLY COCO-BUTT Hogan and Bischoff to thunderous applause. The show goes off the air with Piper holding the WCW Championship over his head.
If you’re worried about the legality of this scene, don’t worry: Piper ends up going to jail over it. Not a joke. SEE YOU NEXT WEEK.