The Best And Worst Of WCW Monday Nitro: Legend Of The Diamond Skull

Previously on the Best and Worst of WCW Monday Nitro: The mystery of “who will be Diamond Dallas Page’s tag team partner at Bash at the Beach” heated up as Sting showed up, Curt Hennig made his Nitro debut and ECW’s Raven appeared. Also on the show, Ric Flair yelled at a Rowdy Roddy Piper mannequin. If you liked that part, you’ll love this week.

Click here to watch this week’s episode on WWE Network. You can catch up with all the previous episodes of WCW Monday Nitro on the Best and Worst of Nitro tag page. Follow along with the competition here.

Remember, if you want us to keep writing 20-year-old WCW jokes, click the share buttons and spread the column around. If you don’t tell them how much you like these, nobody’s going to read them. People need to know about the time Desperado Joe Gomez wrestled Konnan and it was so boring the world almost turned off its axis.

And now, the Best and Worst of WCW Monday Nitro for July 7, 1997.

Worst: Ric Flair, Stupid Sex Pimp

Almost a year ago now, WCW signed away a second-generation blonde star from the World Wrestling Federation. Despite him having just been a heel, WCW tried to make him a face. Ric Flair saw this person and said, “I trust that person and want them to be in the Four Horsemen.” It ended badly for him. Last week, he kicked that guy out of the group.

A few seconds later, WCW revealed that they’d signed away a second-generation blonde star from the World Wrestling Federation. Despite him having just been a heel, WCW’s trying to make him a face. In the opening of this week’s show, Ric Flair sees this person and says, “I trust them and want them to be in the Four Horsemen.” Can you guess how this ends?

So yeah, Curt Hennig opens the show with a “sure, Mr. Perfect, whatever, that’s fine” reaction from the crowd and cuts a mild, heelish promo until a screaming, convulsing Flair flops out with the most Go-Bots-ass Debra McMichael you’ve ever seen to (1) insist that Hennig is joining the Four Horsemen, and (2) provide Hennig with tail. Hennig seems reluctant and says he’s a free agent with allegiances to no one. Spoiler alert, it totally turns out that the free agent WWF heel guy has an allegiance to someone.

Sting might be hanging out in the rafters, but he left his trusting bullshit with Ric Flair.

Later in the episode, Flair and the blonde reemerge, this time with a FULL Rowdy Roddy Piper mannequin, as opposed to the halfie they had last week. What’s funny is that last week it didn’t have legs and just lied in the corner for most of the promo, but this week it has legs that are too long and make it super tall. So Flair has to like, go up on his tip-toes and point a lot to get in “Piper’s” face. Also, they thought it would be a good idea to have the greatest wrestler in the history of the company throw shade at a fashion mannequin for two weeks.

There’s also this, because of course there is:

Note that this is the second week in a row that Ric Flair has (I guess) paid an escort service to deliver him women in ball gowns so they can publicly ask why a guy named “Rod” gets called “Hot Rod.” Because, sexually, they assume it is not so! Gene makes fun of her for having a southern accent, because between him, Flair and Hennig, this Nitro has been a real Minnesota sausage party.

Speaking of sausage parties, Flair repeatedly calls Piper a “stiff” and tugs at the crotch area of the mannequin (including a moment where he looks under the kilt, and Mean Gene sells it like he just saw it hanging fiberglass dong) until Piper shows up, drags him to the ring and rips off his pants.

No, really.

Noted heterosexual Rowdy Roddy Piper knows there’s nothing straighter than refusing the company of women to rip off your enemy’s pants and whip him with a belt for calling you stiff! Also, my very favorite part of this GIF is that the only crowd reaction whatsoever is a lonely fist-pump is a guy in a homemade “I AM WCW 100%” iron-on t-shirt and full clown makeup with a rainbow afro. That guy went home and made Frank the Clown that night, didn’t he.

Flair is beating beaten within an inch of his nude life until Chris Benoit and Steve McMichael show up to save the day. Nobody understands this situation better than the guy who spent the past year letting a southern dandy in white suspenders stuff his wife and the guy who just stole his girlfriend from a dwarven satanist in command of a Himalayan fuck-mummy. The best part of the entire thing is that Jeff Jarrett runs down to make the save for Piper, but he does it while we’re in a wide shot going to commercial. The announcers are like, “WHO IS THAT IN THE RING??”

Anyway, speaking of dwarves that worship The Devil and why you shouldn’t seduce their snake-handling wives, here’s the finish to Chris Benoit’s match:

Worst: The Canuck And Cuck Connection

It’s Chris Benoit and Steve McMichael vs. the Steiner Brothers, which I’m legitimately shocked isn’t a number one contender match to set up their number one contender match at Bash at the Beach, which was already set up by two different number one contender matches.

The full finish is insane, so let me try to type it out. Mongo’s on the outside fighting both Steiner Brothers, so Jeff Jarrett (of course) runs out and starts attacking him. This doesn’t cause a disqualification, despite the fact that the referee is standing on the ropes looking directly at them and yelling at them. In the ring, Jimmy Hart appears and distracts Benoit. As Benoit is grabbing him by the lapel — Jimmy’s one great weakness — we jump over to Kevin Sullivan ripping a wooden chair out of Jacqueline’s hands so hard it appears to knock her out. She goes face-down on the floor. Sullivan smashes the chair over Benoit’s head, then picks up a wooden spike and starts toward him like he’s going to stab him to death with it. He doesn’t, as Rick Steiner slides in the ring to prevent it, but that moment is gonna be a really key episode of my WCW Quantum Leap crossover fan fiction.

Having saved Benoit from a stabbing, Rick turns, drops an elbow on Benoit’s abdomen and pins him. The referee turns around and counts the pin like nothing happened despite (1) witnessing Jeff Jarrett interference, (2) seeing like five people at ringside, (3) seeing the ring covered in balsa wood and (4) HAVING JUST WITNESSED AN ATTEMPTED STABBING. As Sullivan is leaving, he creams Jackie again by accidentally backing over her, then fights her all the way up the ramp.

Note: everything I’ve typed about the show so far has just been the Four Horsemen. This includes:

  • prostitution
  • inadvisable talent management
  • sexually assaulting a mannequin
  • being pantsed and whipped
  • bad WCW tag team match finishes
  • domestic abuse
  • attempted murder

Nobody else is gonna almost get killed on this episode, are they?

God dammit.

Worst: Hector Garza Almost Gets Killed Again

If you’ve been following along with the rise and repeated falls of Mexican wrestling star Hector Garza, you’ll know that he has a marketable signature move — the spectacular Corkscrew Plancha — that would make him the biggest star in the world if he could ever actually hit it. Most of the time he undershoots his opponent and, best case scenario, smashes his face into their leg.

This week, his landing pad is dos Villanos. One Villano sees the takeoff and is like, “nope, not taking that.” Garza ends up OVER-shooting the dive this time, catching uno (1) Villano in the ear with his thigh and eating face-first-to-the-floor shit on the landing.

In fact, if you watch closely, he wouldn’t have connected with ANYTHING if the Villano hadn’t caught his leg on the way over. He would’ve just like, sailed into the barricade. Important note: if you don’t have the depth perception for a frog splash, maybe don’t do a dive where you’re looking at the ceiling the entire time?

Special shout-out to Villano IV and V here, who are tasked with keeping both Hector Garza and Juventud Guerrera alive for an entire tag team match. Here’s a Villano looking on in fear as Juvy goes for the very simple Poetry In Motion, ends up landing ass-first on the top rope and accidentally moonsaulting himself from the top rope to the cement.

*record scratch*
*freeze frame*

“Yup, that’s me. You’re probably wondering how I ended up in this situation.”

Worst: Harlem Heat Loses A Member

No tag match finish on this episode of Nitro is going to top Kevin Sullivan trying to preemptively, vampirically murder Chris Benoit, but you know that Members of Harlem Heat have got to try.

They’re up against Public Enemy — whew — and appear to have the match in hand until the homie Vincent runs out again to cause a distraction. Sister Sherri notices him, gets on the apron and physically stops Booker T from wrestling so he’ll notice too and CONTINUE to stop wrestling to go beat him up. This happens, and Stevie Ray’s left alone. He easily beats up Public Enemy by himself. Sure! As he’s trying to piledrive Johnny Grunge, Rocco Rock climbs to the top rope. Sherri once against interjects, pushing Rock in the butt. Rock flies off the top rope into Johnny, which somehow knocks out Stevie Ray and the Heat lose. That makes the finish the People Who Shove Flyboy Rocco Rock In The Butthole Use Valvoline™ of the week.

After the match, the Members bring Sherri into the ring and fire her for always ruining their matches. But it turns out they can’t fire her, because get this: she quits!

Now she’s free to join the Legionnaires!

Worst: Desperado Joe Gomez Vs. Konnan Is The Tenth Circle Of Hell

Here is an extremely accurate GIF of me trying to watch Konnan vs. Joe Gomez:

Watch it on loop for five minutes and you have my full experience. Konnan wins by moving Joe’s leg slightly, causing Joe’s entire torso to go into a panic seizure.

Best: Sunday Night Heat’s GM Shows Up

Later in the episode, Raven’s rando appearances pay off when another Mike Tenay attempted interview is interrupted by Raven’s former ECW tag team partner, lackey and summer camp pal Dancin’ Stevie Richards. If you aren’t up on your Extreme Championship Wrestling lore, Richards desperately wanted to be (and/or be with) Raven so much so that he tried to emulate him, and followed him around. Raven would treat him like crap, but he’d take it. In fact, the Steve loves Raven loves Beulah McGillicutty loves Tommy Dreamer summer camp love rectangle is one of the defining stories of the promotion, and managed to somehow be the most progressive and offensive angle to only sometimes involve crucifixion.

Anyway, Stevie shows up and tells Tenay to go ask the Mexican wrestlers about their favorite movies — look how dejected Mike is — and says he’ll get to the bottom of whether or not Raven has signed a contract with WCW. He asks twice, so Raven stands up, smacks the shit out of him and leaves. Very excited to continue recapping this angle, and also my weekly fall down the rabbit hole of Beulah McGillicutty YouTube videos.

Worst: Lee Marshall Is Going To Disney World

This week’s ‘On The Road’ comes to us from Orlando, FL, so of course Stagger Lee Marshall is wandering around Disney World asking about Alice in Weasel Land and trying to ride ‘It’s A Small Weasel.” What’s pissing me off here is that there are actual Disney weasels he could’ve referenced. He could’ve worked in those evil Roger Rabbit-ass weasels from The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad. He also could’ve gone the “Heffalumps and WEASELS” route and accurately compared Tony Schiavone to Winnie the Pooh. Take pride in your work, Lee.

A supplemental Best to Bobby Heenan, though, for absolutely ETHERING Lee in response.

“He not only is in Orlando, he looks like Tony Orlando. Idiot.”

Best: Vicious And Delicious Are Vicious

First of all, yes, supplemental Worst to Larry Zbyszko for saying that of COURSE Eddie and Chavo Guerrero couldn’t get along as a tag team, because they can’t even agree on how to make a taco.

Second of all, Los Guerreros vs. Vicious and Delicious is by far the best match of the night, non-swerve division. The Guerreros obviously know what they’re doing, but they’re helped by an active story: Eddie is manipulating Chavo into taking a bunch of beatings for him, but is too short-tempered and impatient to let his plan work. He keeps setting Chavito up to get his ass kicked, then getting mad that Chavito’s getting his ass kicked. It’s wonderfully complex, like the dude wants Chavo to surprise him and start winning on his behalf, despite being completely thrown to the wolves.

Also, and you may not know this, Scott Norton is dope. He’s like the Caucasian Meng, a shoot bad-ass who only loses wrestling matches because it’s a TV show. If this was real life, Scott Norton would beat the god damn out of any non-Meng person in a heartbeat. Guarantee it. This match features him double-suplexing both Guerreros, and holding up Chavo’s lifeless body so Buff can come off the ropes with an elevated Blockbuster. Norton’s little “done” gesture after Buff hits it is wonderful. To the modern fan, Vicious and Delicious were like a heel version of Enzo Amore and Big Cass, if Enzo got swole and Cass looked like a guy who could actually win a fight.

As you might’ve guessed, Eddie leaves Chavo in the ring to take a beating, gets frustrated about it, walks out on him so he can’t tag out but stays on the stage watching in disgust. I love that Eddie’s entire character growth from Mexico to WWE Champion was about a man learning how to love and be loved in return.

Worst: Silver King Needs To Invest In Some Bigger Trunks

Silver King and Psicosis team up to face Glacier and Ernest Miller, but it’s just an excuse for Mortis and Wrath to run in and attack everybody. I’d write more about it, but I can’t stop stressing out about the screengrab. I know that’s technically a wedgie, but it feels like so much more than that. Is it possible for a guy to have severe camel-toe of the ass? More like Sliver King.

Worst: The Main Event Is Trash

The highlight of this week’s Nitro is actually what appears to be a throwaway match somewhere in the middle, so I’ll go ahead and knock out this week’s “main event,” which is Hollywood Hogan rambling on about nothing while fans fill the ring with a Death Star trash compactor full of arena garbage.

Lex Luger and the Giant show up to stand up to him, and by “stand up to him” I of course mean “beat up the worst nWo guys while Hogan holds up his hands and walks away and does nothing.” I don’t think this guy’s taken a bump since March. Luger Torture Racks Eric Bischoff, which should be a big deal, and The Giant chokeslams Buff Bagwell and Vincent while the crowd keeps hurling every concession in the house at them. Seriously, you could feed an impoverished nation for a week with what the Mid-South Coliseum threw at this.

BEST: Macho Man Gets L.A. Parked

Near the end of hour one, Scott Hall, Miss Elizabeth and an unusually laid-back Macho Man Randy Savage take over the announce booth to say how lightly they’re taking Diamond Dallas Page and his Definitely Not nWo For Life mystery partner at Bash at the Beach. To illustrate this, Macho Man says he’s going to give someone in the locker room a “rasslin’ lesson.” He wears a headset mic AND talks into a microphone, just to make sure you hear him.

Larry Zbyszko refuses to leave the announce table and actually stands up to Scott Hall for once, instead of Classic Larry where he’d call them the “New World Odor” for an hour and flee if one of them got within 15 feet of him. Hall begs him to throw hands and Larry refuses. This becomes important later.

It turns out that Macho Man’s opponent is none other than La Parka, WCW’s own chubby, dancing, chair-swinging, Super Calo-hating Mexican skeleton guy. He’s looking unusually tall and slim here, but as a guy who watched it live when it happened, I have to be honest: nobody noticed.

Macho Man beats him up with basic clotheslines and arm drags to show what a good wrestler he is, and eventually Hall gets bored and decides to wander back up to the announce table to harass Zbyszko. While this is happening, La Parka miraculously counters a flying elbow drop by getting his feet up, then, you know, hits a Diamond Cutter on Savage and pins him.

How great is that? As Dean Malenko will eventually show, there’s nothing better in the WCW storyline playbook than a vengeful babyface disguised as a luchador. Hall moseys back to the ring with his Too Sweets in the air thinking Savage has easily won, and doesn’t find out what’s happened until L.A. Page is celebrating in the crowd. Spectacular.

Wait, did that random Villano hit a Diamond Cutter in the middle of his match a few weeks ago to set up that moment of disbelief between the move and the unmasking and make the Page swerve even better? Oh man, I hope so.

Next Week:

We finally make it to Bash at the Beach, which features:

  • Dennis Rodman arm-drags
  • Dennis Rodman shoulder tackles
  • Dennis Rodman hip-tosses
  • some non-Dennis Rodman wrestling
  • the end of the 18-month long Chris Benoit vs. Kevin Sullivan angle
  • not the end of the six times as long Jeff Jarrett vs. Steve McMichael angle
  • DDP’s mystery partner getting revealed
  • DDP’s mystery partner definitely not turning on him after almost one match

And mannequins? Maybe mannequins.