The Best And Worst Of WCW Monday Nitro 6/16/97: Up In Smoke

Previously on the Best and Worst of WCW Monday Nitro: We took a look at the Great American Bash ’97, a show full of people accidentally betraying each other. Or betraying each other on purpose. Long story short: DDP got a concussion trying to be a good dude, nobody helped him, and WCW is boned.

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.

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And now, the Best and Worst of WCW Monday Nitro for June 16, 1997.

Worst: Dennis Rodman Is Going To Kick Lex Luthor’s Ass

Did you ever have a moment in school where you had an oral presentation due but forgot about it, so when the teacher called your name you had to stand in front of class with only the vaguest idea of what Ethan Frome was about and shoot from the hip about it for five minutes?

That’s how this week’s Nitro begins. Hollywood Hogan, Dennis Rodman and Eric Bischoff come to the ring to talk in the broadest strokes about the Great American Bash and the upcoming Bash at the Beach. Hogan kills most of the time by vaguely recapping his relationship to the other New World Order members — “I love those guys! And my man the Syxx-pack, he can do it all night long!” — and Rodman calls out “Lex Luthor.” Twice. Oh, and Hogan brings back the old “big stinky Giant” chestnut. They want to fight Lex and the Giant tonight, which of course means they do not.

Additional notes:

– Hollywood Hogan continues to be the worst by not showing up for several weeks at a time, not knowing the stories, trying to be the biggest heel in the company and still cutting straight-up babyface promos. Rodman even does the “I can’t hear you” bit to make the crowd cheer louder, and gets them to chant “the harder they fall” as part of his threat to the Giant. You’d think somebody would’ve pulled Rodman aside and said, “hey, we’re bad guys,” but Hogan’s not going to do that — he wants to be loved — and nobody’s ballsy enough to make sure the celebrity has the correct wrestler names. I fully expect one of these Nitros to involve Rodman draining a hookah and being like, “Alex Wright, more like Alex Wrong, WHEN I SAY HEY YOU SAY HO.”

– The nWo arrives in a limo and most of them are smoking cigars, which continues through the promo. I can’t think of many things grosser than sweaty-ass Hollywood Hogan and his half-beard sucking on a cigar. It’s like watching someone de-bone a chicken wing. I don’t know if it triggers something Freudian in my brain or what, but no me gusta.

– Superman’s arch-nemesis and the big stinky stupie Giant butt-face show up later in the show and are like, “yes, we would also like to fight you tonight, let’s have our Bash at the Beach match here immediately,” which of course means it 100% doesn’t happen. Just trying to protect you from disappointment here.

Best: The Cat Returns

People remember the nWo as revolutionary and Blood Runs Cold as a joke, but honestly, which would you prefer to see now; fifteen minutes of Hulk Hogan audibly and somewhat visibly fellating himself and a celebrity guest, or an ice ninja and his friend karate kicking monsters in the face? Imagine if the next new episode of Lucha Underground‘s first match had Pentagon in it, but you had to sit through a quarter hour of Matt Striker vaping and talking about how great DeAndre Jordan is?

This week’s Glacier vs. Mortis confrontation (which should really have taken place on a moonlit bridge over some spikes) starts off quickly, and feels more like a grudge match than a karate standoff, which it should. Also, this happens:

The referee’s sell really makes it.

The larger point of the match is to bring back Ernest ‘The Cat’ Miller, who ran out to save Glacier from a beatdown at Slamboree and hasn’t really been around since. Glacier wins with a murderous Cryonic Kick after some heel miscommunication, and Gato pops in to once again run off a beatdown through the power of FACIAL SHOOT-KICKS. At this point Ernie was just spinning and jumping and going for it.

Worst: Queen Of So Long Style

At the Great American Bash, Madusa lost a title vs. career match to WCW Women’s Champion Akira Hokuto and was forced to retire. Before she could even leave the ring, Mean Gene Okerlund was in her face like, “DO YOU REALIZE WHAT YOU’VE DONE, OH MY GOD, YOU ARE SO RETIRED, YOU CAN’T WRESTLE EVER AGAIN.” It was so bad that the crowd started chanting “leave her alone.”

That rivalry (?) continues on Nitro, as Mean Gene brings out Madusa dressed like Shinsuke Nakamura to once again rub it in. She starts crying and thanks everyone for their support, and the crowd just murmurs. Man, there’s nothing more uncomfortable in the world than a wrestler retirement promo that doesn’t get a reaction.

As I mentioned in the Bash write-up, the funniest thing here is that Madusa comes back two years later, but Hokuto and the WCW Women’s Championship never appear or are mentioned again. Wrestling match stipulations are extremely important!

Best: You Didn’t Specify

Dean Malenko lost the United States Championship thanks to interference from a returning Eddie Guerrero, so he announces with all the zest and charisma of a pre-hat Frosty the Snowman that he’s issuing an open challenge. He wants Guerrero to come out and fight him, right now. Unfortunately for Malenko he didn’t specify which Guerrero, so Chavo shows up and answers the challenge. As you might have guessed, Dean Malenko vs. Chavo Guerrero Jr. is like a lion vs. a plush gazelle, so Malenko wrecks him to “send a message” to Eddie.

Eddie shows up on the stage (in a haute couture couch-print vest) just in time to watch Dean put Chavo away with a Neutralizer and the Texas Cloverleaf. The swerve here is that Eddie doesn’t look like he cares that much, because come on, honestly, even Eddie didn’t want to watch a Chavo Guerrero match.

Worst: Lee Marshall Is A Liar

“As a rock and blues historian I can tell ya, ‘Long Tall Sally’ was not the original name of that song, Little Richard intended to call it NO CLASS HEENAN! But he couldn’t find enough words to rhyme with WEASEL!”

1. A rock and blues historian, really
2. Lee Marshall should’ve managed a returning Johnny B. Badd in his quest to beat up Bobby Heenan for making his life so difficult
3. Easel, diesel, measle, these’ll, try harder Little Richard

Best: This Is A Picture Of Super Calo Hitting A Dive On La Parka


A week ago on Nitro, everyone’s favorite boneless rap mascot Super Calo did his best to break La Parka’s neck, and La Parka responded by beating the shit out of him with a wooden chair after the match. It wasn’t pretty. This week they get a one-on-one match to settle their differences in the only way they know how: by Super Calo almost breaking La Parka’s neck again, and La Parka responding by beating the shit out of him with a PLASTIC chair.

Jesus. The sad crumple to the ground makes it even worse. Super Calo better tighten up before La Parka finds out about the metal chairs.

Best: I Love That Screenshot

At the Great American Bash, members of Harlem Heat defeated the Steiner Brothers by disqualification in a number one contender tag team match when Vincent of the nWo — aka Virgil — showed up for seemingly no reason and elbow-dropped Booker T in the face. Vincent made black power fists at them after the match, because Virgil is nothing if not subtle.

On Nitro, The Members get a quick win over the Amazing French-Canadians, who (1) are just straight-up dressing like the Quebecers now, and (2) try and fail to enact one of Colonel Parker’s zany schemes. This one involves Parker slipping off his boot and handing it to Jacques Rougeau, then distracting the referee while Rougeau slips around behind him and smashes Booker with the boot. Because in pro wrestling, a boot without a foot in it hurts way more, somehow. Booker’s able to kick out, though, because the power of contendership compels him.

After the match, James J. Dillon announces that since the victory at Great American Bash was tainted, there is STILL no number one contender to the Outsiders, and Harlem Heat will have to face the Steiner Brothers in another number one contender match next week. Good lord. Vincent shows up again and explains that the assist at the Bash was an “early Christmas present from the nWo,” seemingly unaware that they just got fucked out of it. So, because suckas gots ta know, they beat the crap out of him.

I just wish one of the announcers had been like, “Virgil’s out here trying to taint all the number one contender matches so the Outsiders will never actually have to defend against anyone.”

Worst: The Cruiserweight Championship Is Still Meaningless

You’ve seen this before. Hall and Nash are just standing at ringside before the match even starts, because there’s no more element of surprise left. Mysterio tries to fight them off, but Syxx grabs him in a Buzzkiller and retains the championship. Again. Nash doesn’t even remove his cigar when he jackknife powerbombs Rey, who takes it like this:


After the match, Hall, Nash, Syxx and the Macho Man Randy Savage alternately smoke and cut promos on whatever they want. It turns out that Savage and Hall are teaming up (because they are not the Tag Team Champions) to face Diamond Dallas Page and a mystery opponent at Bash at the Beach. Page pops in from the crowd and says he made a few calls and secured the best partner, and that everyone knows who he is.


This is especially underhanded storytelling, because:

  • They want you to think the partner is Sting, but it isn’t
  • This happened the same week as the Bret Hart vs. Shawn Michaels backstage fight with Michaels seemingly walking out on the company, and it’s already such public knowledge that there are SHAWN IS NWO BOUND signs in the crowd. The partner isn’t either of them.
  • Page’s partner shows up two weeks early and turns on him during the match, so

Best: Ultimo Dragon vs. Chris Jericho

Dragon pins Jericho quicker than he should’ve, probably, with a Tiger Suplex. Jericho is still about half a year from becoming Chris Jericho, so every time he shows up I’m like, come on, man, shit or get off the pot. Before the match, Sonny Onoo tries to offer Jericho a bribe and take a selfie but gets pie-faced, making Chris Jericho the first pro wrestler in history to refuse someone’s money to take a picture.

Worst: Roddy Piper Is Very Straight

Rowdy Roddy Piper shows up to address the elephant in the room: Dennis Rodman WANTING TO WEAR HIS SKIRT! Sorry, I meant to type, “Ric Flair abandoning him in their tag team match at the Great American Bash.” But even Piper is like, “before I begin, Dennis Rodman is a gay.” But somehow he goes straight for the tired old “kilt = dress” jokes instead of pointing out that the nWo spent the first 15 minutes of the show holding a cigar party. I guess sometimes a cigar is just a cigar.

The funniest part of this interview needing to happen at all is that Flair comes out and says, “I was fighting Syxx,” and Piper’s like, “aw, when I saw you fight Syxx I didn’t think you might’ve been fighting Syxx, I believe you, we are friends forever.” They aren’t. Here’s hoping Piper and Flair can get to Bash at the Beach without Piper calling him Liza Minnelli a dozen times and trying to shove a tartan dildo up his ass to prove a point.

Up next, Mongo joins the nWo.

Wait, that’s not right …

Best: As The Halliburton Turns

You know how we keep finding evidence that Steve ‘Mongo’ McMichael wasn’t a terrible pro wrestler and was actually a savant genius? Here’s another one.

Mongo and Jeffrey “Baratheon” Jarrett take on Vicious and Delicious. Near the end of the match, they hit some double-teams on Bagwell, and Jarrett tries to do the two-person Fargo Strut. Mongo fakes him out, and when Jarrett turns around to be like, “hey, wha hoppen,” Mongo scoops him up and Tombstones him in the middle of the ring.

Here’s the best part: Mongo gets in the camera and says, “I WATCHED THE TAPE FROM LAST NIGHT.” At the Great American Bash, Mongo lost his match with Kevin Greene when Jarrett showed up and smashed him in the back with the Halliburton, and Mongo is apparently the only wrestler or personality or employee in the company who realizes these shows are taped and that he can go back and watch them. Whether it was on purpose or not, there have to be consequences, and he’s tired of getting briefcased to death every week while a southern dandy ruins his luggage and marriage. He also says he’s going to “leave Jarrett to the wolves,” if you’re wondering why Mongo ever Too Sweeted.

I think he said it best when he said,

And that’s real talk.

Worst: Womp Womp

Here’s a picture of your main event. Bet you couldn’t have guessed it’d all turn out like this!

Rod the Bod and Terry the Talking Hot Dog return to the ring to once again call out Flexy Lexy and the big stupie stinky pee-pee worm Giant. When their challenge is finally answered, it turns out the entire thing was a ploy to get them into the ring so the nWo could beat them up. Swerve! The highlight is either Rodman prematurely jumping for a chokeslam lift and being so tall he’s gotta bend his legs to look like he’s very far off the ground, or his series of increasingly terrible elbow drops, which are basically sentons:

Lex and stinky winky poo-poo doo-doo Giant get spray-painted, and that’s the end of the show. Piper and Flair are still so far up their asses they don’t come out to help, Diamond Dallas Page is somewhere in the back on the phone with a guy who’s gonna turn on him, and Sting I guess is standing 20 feet behind the announce table, pointing his bat at Tony Schiavone for saying he’s gonna show up at Bash at the Beach. The nWo win again.

Join us next week for basically this show, minus Hogan and Rodman. Plus High Voltage!