The Best And Worst Of WCW Monday Nitro 1/20/97: Savage AF

Previously on The Best And Worst Of WCW Monday Nitro: The Giant and Hollywood Hogan fought during the commercial breaks of The New Adventures Of Robin Hood, causing WCW and the WWF to get into a post-wrestling-show hour-long passive-aggressive fuss-fight about that and La Femme Nikita. In actual wrestling news, DDP duped the nWo into thinking he’d joined them only to Diamond Cut Scott Hall and bail, setting up his transformation into one of the biggest stars in the company. But Robin Hood tho.

Click here to watch this week’s episode on WWE Network, and here to watch the pay-per-view before it. You can catch up with all the previous episodes on the Best and Worst of Nitro tag page.

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And now, the vintage Best and Worst of WCW Monday Nitro for January 20, 1997.

Best/Worst: Macho Man Randy Savage Returns And Saves Us From A Chavo Guerrero Vs. Maxx Match

Remember Halloween Havoc ’96, when Macho Man Randy Savage got revenge on Hollywood Hogan for destroying his place of business and sexually manipulating his ex-wife by comically wearing a toupee, losing a title match and vanishing from the company so Roddy Piper could get all the attention for a few months? Well, HE’S BACK (from unsuccessful contract negotiations) and he’s enacting PEACEFUL PROTEST.

The opening match of this week’s show is supposed to be Chavo Guerrero Jr. vs. Dungeon of Doom member MAXX, known for having maximum muscle, but Savage hijacks the ring and says he’s going to sit in it until he can talk to “somebody with stroke.” So … Jeff Jarrett?

Chavo shows up and tries to talk Savage off the ledge (of his seat), and the whole thing is so boring that Savage standing up and appearing threatening gets a massive pop. Macho eventually punches Chavo in the face and tosses him (to further cheers) and resumes his sit-in. Maxx shows up next and is all, “I wish it was time for Cheers, but it’s not. It’s time for vengeance!” but Savage beats him up and sh*t-cans him, too.

It looks like we’re going to have two straight hours of an emotionally stressful shadow-biker having a mental breakdown from a folding chair until a very important Nitro moment happens:

The Chicago Bulls win the 1992 NBA Championship!

Actually no, this is the first time that The Vigilante Sting™ rappels from the ceiling — that I can remember … maybe he did it 30 Nitros ago and I got so beaten down with Jim Duggan matches that it slipped my mind — and it’s to have a face-to-face bat-pointing with Hulk Hogan’s fragile frenemy who definitely isn’t going to turn on him. Sting points the bat at Savage, hands it to him and turns his back. Savage tosses the bat back to him, and they leave together.

The best-worst part of this is that Sting’s supposed to be this enlightened creature of the night now or whatever, but he’s still gullible-ass Sting, God bless him. Hope this works out well for you!

Best: Hollywood, Look Out For BIG BOB PROBERT

We’ll get into how impotent Ric Flair and the Four Horsemen are (again) here in a minute, but check out this promo from Slick Ric and NHL “Bruise Brother” “Big” Bob Probert about how he was going to walk that aisle with the Horsemen and beat up the nWo, but he’s in Buffalo so that won’t be happening. I can’t even make that up.

by vsplanet

I’m going to pretend Hogan was deeply threatened by this, which is why he eventually went out and found Dennis Rodman for backup. Sports guys who fight more than they’re supposed to are the SCARIEST! If Nitro had been on 10 years later, this would’ve been Chicago Cubs relief pitcher Kyle Farnsworth.

If you’re wondering about the payoff here, Probert does eventually show up on Nitro … three-plus years later, jumping the rail to help keep one of the owners of the Blackhawks from getting beaten up by Tank Abbott. The highlight of THAT scene was Tank pulling dude out of the stands into a piledriver position and transferring him into the ring without actually piledriving him. Get excited for that full episode review in three years!

Worst: The Horsemen, Oh My God You Guys


[deep breath] Okay.

Arn Anderson and Steve McMichael team up in what appears to be a randomly-selected Battlebowl tag against Jeff Jarrett and Eddie Guerrero. What transpires is one of the most unbelievably garbage finishes in the history of WCW, and by proxy professional wrestling.

Syxx shows up during the match, luring Eddie Guerrero away and into the back. The only problem there is that we don’t actually SEE Syxx, so Eddie just kinda bolts to the back for no reason without explanation. That leaves Jarrett alone against Arn and Mongo, who double-team him with a Boston crab and some Heavy Boots My Friend. As this is happening, Debra McMichael gets into the ring and begs the Horsemen to stop. When they don’t, she removes her beauty queen sash and hands it to the referee, which constitutes “throwing in the towel” somehow. Let me type that in capital letters so you understand the seriousness of the situation: DEBRA MCMICHAEL THREW IN THE TOWEL FOR THE OTHER TEAM BY HANDING THE REFEREE HER BEAUTY QUEEN SASH.

How can you even do that? Mongo would’ve had a Goldberg-like undefeated streak if Debra had just jumped into the ring and de-sashed in the middle of every match. “Stevie Ray gives up, that’s what throwing in the towel means! No I’m not Stevie Ray’s manager JUST STOP THE MATCH I CAN’T TAKE IT ANYMORE.”

Yeah, no sh*t. Too bad you couldn’t get Basil McRae to run out here and hit Jarrett with a briefcase.

The “This Is Happening Again Tomorrow Night On Clash Of The Champions So Here’s The Worse Version Of It” Lightning Round

Clash of the Champions XXXIV, the penultimate Clash of the Champions (before WWE takes it over next month), takes place the night after this Nitro. To celebrate, WCW announces two matches for the show and does them on this Nitro too, because dot dot dot question mark question mark question mark.

The first is Dean Malenko vs. Ultimo Dragon for the Cruiserweight Championship. The match at the Clash is dope and the first time Dean Malenko’s ever SECRET CICLOPE over, and the Nitro match is about half that match’s everything. Half the length, half the quality, half the effort. Everybody knows they’ve gotta go out and do the same match tomorrow, why would they give it their all here?

It’s a fun four minutes — Malenko and Ultimo Dragon standing still near each other nodding politely would be pretty exciting — but it doesn’t have enough time to go anywhere and ends out of nowhere with La Magistral. The announce team spends 4:11 of 4:12 talking about the nWo.

The other preemptive Clash preview is Kevin Sullivan vs. Chris Benoit, who have combined their Human Game Of Sex Chess with their love of wandering into bathrooms and hurting each other’s brains with sh*t into this series of hardcore matches. It’s about eight minutes of brawling with about two minutes of actual match, featuring the most horrifying Chris Benoit finish ever: a flying headbutt into Kevin Sullivan hitting him in the face with the ring bell. Like, straight up forehead to bell from 12 feet in the air.

The highlight of their Clash rematch is Randy Anderson getting tossed into a urinal.

The “Why Is This Happening” Nothing Match Lightning Round

Also featured at the Clash is a ton of throwaway matches to fill time, because they stopped using the Clash of the Champions as a mini-pay-per-view and started producing it as “extra Nitro.” They hype that by filling THIS Nitro with a bunch of sh*t you wouldn’t watch if someone was paying you in 1-800-COLLECT gift certificates.

This is Chris Jericho pinning Alex Wright despite Wright’s shoulder being so high off the mat Jericho could stand under it. I guess Randy Anderson couldn’t see that from his obstructed viewpoint of right-the-f*ck-in-front-of-it. Also, I can’t tell if that’s Alex Wright’s thigh or just his massive German member wrapping around the side and into the back of his trunks.

Up next is Scotty Riggs vs. The Bogus Sting™, which ends in about two minutes when Buff Bagwell shows back up to announce that he’s sexy and Scotty Riggs is less sexy. I’m not sure which side of this feud WCW was expecting southern wrestling audiences in 1997 to cheer for. The extremely in-shape guy in the backwards leather Kangol who won’t stop talking about how wet and sultry he is, or the Color Me Badd-looking dude in suspenders who puts women in “critical condition” if they listen to his unwanted advances.

The finish here is weird, but feels like Flair/Michaels at WrestleMania 24 compared to that Horsemen match. Riggs is politely winning when Buff shows up, so Buff runs to the ring and Riggs bails into the crowd. That’s a DQ, I guess, but don’t worry, this feud will be settled once and for all at nWo Souled Out. Who is the most American? Who is the most male? FIND OUT SOON!

Later in the show we get Lord Steven Regal vs. Jaques Rougeau, which should be pretty good on paper but in practice is about a minute and a half of two foreign heels mindlessly grappling with each other in Chicago until the sh*tball Legionnaire plantation owner gets involved and ruins everything. I have no idea who put this show together, but if it was a f*cking manatee in a HULK RULES shirt I wouldn’t be surprised.

But yeah, Colonel Parker gets in the ring and tries to hit Regal with his riding crop but WHOOPS, he accidentally hits Jaques and that’s a disqualification. Regal gives Parker the atomic drop INTO Jacques, because suddenly it’s WrestleMania 2 and Lord Steven Regalmania is running wild.

Squire Dave Taylor shows up to lose to Masahiro Chono and two notable things happen:

1. Dave Taylor is dressed like he’s on safari for some reason, and now all I want is for a DAVE TAYLOR SAFARI PLANET talk show on Nitro. “This is Craig Pittman, he’s a 38-year old pitbull …” “I’M DAVE TAYLOR.”

2. Eric Bischoff is on commentary and won’t stop calling Chono “Masa My Hero Chono.” For real, he calls him that in full like 15 times. He thinks it’s the funniest joke. I firmly believe that he booked himself to take over commentary for this match because he couldn’t trust Tony Schiavone to deliver it with the right timing and inflection.

Speaking of Tony, he spends this episode looking like me dressed like CM Punk:

Worst: Don’t Worry, Jim Duggan Is On The Show And He’s Cheating His Ass Off

We can’t have an episode of Nitro without the LEADER OF THE WCW, the one and only cheating-ass, trifling-ass, flag-waving-ass Hacksaw Jim Duggan. He’s in action against Pierre Oullet, who might’ve been created by God using one of Jim Duggan’s ribs to create the perfect Jim Duggan opponent. Also in this scenario, Jim Duggan has like 70 ribs because look at him. He’s nothing but ribs from the neck down, at least until that weird Spider-man gland in his crotch that produces athletic tape.

Things are going well (haha) until the Steiner Brother show up. The Steiners are mad at the nWo, so they … uh, help Jim Duggan cheat to beat one of the Amazing French-Canadians. No, seriously.

In a display of total heel cheating, Rick Steiner attacks Jacques Rogueau and distracts the referee, allowing Scott Steiner to get up on the apron and hammer Pierre in the back of the head. That gives opportunistic shaven American Harambe Jim Duggan a chance to DOUBLE CHEAT, reaching into his tights to whip the wrist-tape of doom around his hand in plain view of the referee and knock him out. Thanks a lot, WCW, you’ve made me hate the Steiner Brothers AND America AND adhesives and now I’m cheering for two French-Canadian guys who don’t know how to believably be French or Canadian.

The “Harlem Heat Is Bad At Winning Matches” Lightning Round

This week’s main event is a HARLEM HEAT DOUBLE FEATURE, in case an hour-45 of non-finishes featuring go-nowhere midcard tag teams wasn’t enough for you. Note: not to be confused with Biggs and Wedge, who were a go-nowhere Midgard tag team.

Up first, Booker T does pretty well against Scott Hall until everyone remembers Nick Patrick is the referee. You know, the guy in the nWo shirt. Booker goes for a few pins but Patrick counts them super slow, so Booker gets in his face. That distracts him long enough for Hall to club him from behind and hit the SCOTT’S EDGE for the win. Pretty much a squash, with Bobby Heenan dropping timely FOGHAT references throughout.

Stevie Ray doesn’t fare much better against Lex Luger, who at this point of the year is John Cena plus Roman Reigns plus prime Mark Henry plus the actual Lex Express he used to drive around in. Dude can’t be stopped by ANYTHING. Sherri (who was a babyface like five minutes ago during the Hall/Booker T thing) tries to choke him to death with a scarf, but he powers through it and Racks Stevie to death anyway. I’m honestly shocked Luger didn’t just hoist Sherri onto his shoulders on the floor and hop in place until she was paralyzed.

The weird thing is that nWo referee Nick Patrick gives Luger the win before he can even hop around for anyone to see Stevie Ray’s reaction, which sorta plays as the nWo trying to suck up to Luger to get in his favor, but is dramatically undersold by the announce team.

Speaking of the nWo …

Worst: Aw Nuts We’re Out Time AW NUTS

The ACTUAL main-event is Hollywood Hogan talking about nothing until Giant runs out to fight him, and sorry everybody, that Safari Dave Taylor match ran a little long so we can’t show you what happens. Join us during the commercial breaks of The New Adventures of Robin Hood for … well, commercials, but we promise Hollywood Hogan and the Giant are fighting SOMEWHERE for SOME REASON!

Next Week: The Clash of the Champions and … oh God, Souled Out. Sorry in advance, everybody.