Previously on the Best and Worst of WCW Monday Nitro: Nitro is still stuck in these one-hour versions before NBA playoff games on TNT, so … nothing? Is “nothing” an okay recap?
Remember, if you want us to keep writing 20-year-old WCW jokes, click the share buttons and spread the column around. Things have officially gone crazy in 1990s professional wrestling, and we want to write about it at least until the Howard Stern Wack Pack and Insane Clown Posse become regulars. And the Misfits.
And now, the Best and Worst of WCW Monday Nitro for May 12, 1997.
Worst: Let’s Get Ready To Suck It
This week’s episode begins with boxing announcer Michael Buffer hyping up the Baltimore crowd with his trademark, “let’s get ready to rumble!” A couple of things.
One, the main event of this episode is Konnan and Hugh Morrus versus Alex Wright and Ice Train, which absolutely does not require main-event boxing announcing and also might be the match if you made me hypothetically answer, “what’s the worst Nitro match you can think of?” Two, via a quick Google search,
How much does Michael Buffer make to say “Let’s get ready to rumble”? Depending on the match, Buffer typically earns between $25,000 and $100,000 every time he utters those five famous words. On a handful of extremely rare occasions, Buffer has been paid $1 million.
Adjusting that back 20 years for inflation and then adjusting it back up for how much WCW overpaid everybody, it’s safe to say Buff was making more than most of us make in a year to show up on a half-sized, NBA Playoffs pre-show version of Nitro to say “let’s get ready to rumble” 40 minutes before Eric Bischoff interviewed the fake Sting and the Dungeon of Doom took on Ice Dick. Jesus Christ.
The best part of the bit is that Buffer gets interrupted by Macho Man Randy Savage and Elizabeth, and now all I want is a Nitro where Michael Buffer gets beaten down and spray-painted. Even better if he returns a month later for revenge, illogically joins the nWo instead and starts announcing in a top hat with his face airbrushed on the top.
Anyway, Savage says he’s healed, and that last week he slapped Diamond Dallas Page so hard that Page has to use his old crutches. He calls him out for a fight, threatening to slap him “Hollywood style,” but Page isn’t there so he doesn’t answer. Really hoping a Hollywood-style slap is removing an elbow-length opera glove and dramatically slapping DDP in the rain.
Best: Regal’s Sweater
Up first in Actual Wrestling this week is Ultimo Dragon versus Juventud Guerrera, highlighted by a picture-in-picture promo of Lord Steven Regal challenging Dragon for the Television Championship at Slamboree. He’s also wearing the most Dawson Leery sweater I’ve ever seen.
Juventud is a great choice for these quick openers, because he has the high-flying aptitude and disregard for his own body that Rey Mysterio Jr. has, minus Rey’s ability to slow down and tell a story. Rey will do that against guys like Dragon, but Juvy’s just like, “hey, sit on the top rope, I’m going to springboard up to the perpendicular rope and stagger around until I can push off on one leg and like, thigh you to the ground.” You gotta build to that emotional stuff, you can’t always sit me down cold in a wrestling arena with a fresh bucket of popcorn and a stiff XL nWo shirt and say, “keep clapping during these chinlocks or the little guy gets it.”
Dragon wins after some Sonny Onoo interference, and also being like, “I’M ULTIMO DRAGON, HERE’S ATLANTIDA, HERE’S ME KICKING YOU IN THE FACE SIX TIMES, DRAGON SLEEPER, SUCK MY DIIIIICK.”
Worst: Finish The Promo
On last week’s episode, Ric Flair and Rowdy Roddy Piper went long hyping Slam Jamboree and ranting about how they don’t want to carry purses, so their six-man tag team partner Kevin Greene got cut off by a Public Enemy match. I guess they were like, “WHY DIDN’T KEVIN GREENE GET TO SAY THIS THING ABOUT BREAKING HIS FOOT OFF IN THE NWO’S ASS,” so this week they pick up the same promo with Greene saying he’s going to break his foot off in the nWo’s ass. Then, as you might expect, Flair and Piper get additional promo time. Did gamma radiated Jeff Foxworthy really have to talk? Couldn’t Schiavone have been like, “we just got word that Kevin Greene is ALSO excited about Slamboree?”
Flair doesn’t really add anything, but he screams it so everyone enjoys themselves. Don’t worry, Roddy Piper has some extra thoughts on the nWo being homosexuals.
Piper mentions Kevin Nash saying the nWo had some “young lions,” arbitrarily says “lions, tigers and bears,” connects that to The Wizard Of Oz and says “I AIN’T DOROTHY” while like, flapping his kilt. He also takes offense to them calling him a dinosaur, but he IS a dinosaur … he’s a Tyrannosaurus Rex, and at Slamming Jamboree, he’s gonna be starving! I don’t know, man, you’re more like a dilophosaurus that spits bullshit.
Best: Down There
You may not know this from the fact that I can’t stop talking about Alex Wright’s cock, but I appreciate a good dick joke, and my favorite wrestling dick joke ever is Scott Hall’s unofficial, wonderful catchphrase of “down there/down where?/DOWN THERE.” He usually sets it up by saying his crotch is an all-you-can-eat buffet. I think the conversation you have to have to set it up is my favorite part. It’s so procedural.
So yeah, the nWo interrupts the promo via satellite from somewhere that’s DEFINITELY not Baltimore to tell Piper that if he’s starving, they know of an all-you-can-eat buffet right down there. Syxx says he hooks up with Flair’s wife when Flair’s out of town, and Nash reveals that the Slamboree match is now no disqualification, no count-outs. I’m telling you, the nWo should’ve paid off Mongo to hit Greene with a Haliburton again for everyone forgetting him.
Later in the evening, cameras head backstage to find three guys in nWo shirts and jeans with bandanas over their faces — WHO COULD IT BE — jumping and trying to injure Piper.
He’s gonna have to lock himself in a hospital for a week and ride to the arena in an ambulance if he’s going to be ready for Slamboree!
Best: Larry Zbyszko Asks Why Lee Marshall Hates Bobby Heenan So Much
Come for Stagger Lee saying the Biltmore Estate’s policy is “no shoes, no shirt, no weasels,” stay for Heenan’s amazing response when Larry Zbyszko asks him why Lee’s such a prick all the time.
Best: Mumbling [Indistinct]
In an extremely WCW Monday Nitro match, Wrath takes on Scotty Riggs. This is actually the match where Wrath gets his name — James Vandenberg calls him “the” Wrath, so, close enough — and Riggs, despite being several months out of a feud where the American Males broke up and the other guy from the team beat him at two consecutive pay-per-views, is still dressing like an American Male and coming out to ‘American Males.’ I wish they’d given him a Shark/John Tenta promo where he was like, “I’M BIOLOGICALLY A MALE AND I WAS BORN IN AMERICA, I DON’T KNOW WHAT ELSE TO BE.”
Wrath finishes him off quickly to set up a tense post-match staredown with the Georgian ice ninja whose eyeball he tried to scoop out with a mystical helmet. Basic wrestling storyline. Larry tries to come up with a story about Mike Tenay telling him what Glacier was walking around mumbling in Japanese, which is somehow less believable than scooping out sub-Sub-Zero’s ghost eye with a fucking ornate hat.
Best: Wait Is That Ray Lewis?
Members of the Baltimore Ravens are in attendance for the show, including 13-time Pro Bowler and 2-time Super Bowl Champion Ray Lewis. As you know, he’d go on to be one of Bret Hart’s favorite players and almost tag with The Rock at a WrestleMania.
I’m sad they didn’t show him watching a Chris Benoit match, because that joke would’ve murdered.
Worst: As The Haliburton Turns
If you’re wondering what all the OTHER football players are doing on this one hour of pro wrestling TV, Mongo takes on Dean Malenko, which is the total possible spectrum of wrestling talent. It’s like Michael Jordan going one-on-one with a dead body.
Mongo has three choice allies, though: his wife, the guy fucking his wife, and a suitcase. He uses all three of these to distract and chop-block Malenko, but when it looks like he’s about to win, Reggie White comes jogging out of the locker room dressed like a toddler on picture day. He clotheslines and splashes Mongo, shoves Jarrett off the apron and helps Malenko win. That’s like, seven football players in the episode so far, including three that are wrestling at the next pay-per-view.
After the match, Reggie sticks around to cut a babyface promo about how Green Bay vs. Chicago is the “best rivalry in the game,” and how if Mongo wants to talk about him that’s fine, but he needs to leave “the people of Wisconsin” out of this. Keep in mind that (1) they’re in Baltimore, (2) Baltimore also has a football team, (3) members of that football team are SITTING IN THE AUDIENCE, and (4) Baltimore and Green Bay aren’t like, sister cities. The crowd’s like, “woo,” because what are they gonna do, cheer for Mongo and the cuckold handbag assault squad?
Worst: The Festival Of Acquaintanceship
As mentioned, this week’s main is Representatives From The Dungeon Of Doom vs. the all-star squadron of ‘Das Wunderkind’ Alex Wright and ‘Ice Train’ Ice Train, collectively known (to me) as SNOWPIERCER. Amazingly, the match is a set up for Alex to suddenly turn heel, faking a knee injury to get out of tagging in and bailing on the match. This blows up the friendship between Wright and Train, which … like, are they even friends? I know everyone in that Teddy Long Jim Powers Desperado Joe Gomez posse of losers knows each other, but we haven’t like, seen them backstage palling around.
Train’s left to face the Dungeon 2-on-1, which mostly involves him not even being able to lie down properly. Hugh Morrus sets him up for No Laughing Matter, then has to hop down off the ropes and just stomp him a few times because he’s not in position. Eventually they give up and Konnan locks in Tequila Sunrise for the win. This is Ice Train’s last Nitro appears for THREE YEARS, and his last ever as “Ice Train.” He’d return in 2000 as “M. I. Smooth,” the wrestler whose name answers its own question. “No.”
Best/Worst: Sting Speaks!
For the entire episode, the announce team assures us that Eric Bischoff has promised to get a one-on-one interview with Sting, who hasn’t spoken in months. Nobody’s like, “Eric Bischoff is the leader of the nWo, and the nWo has a fake Sting that follows them around, it’s probably just a way for him to wank on us again.” Then, we get to the segment. What do you think happens?
The funny part is that FAKE STING DOESN’T TALK EITHER. He just stares Bischoff down a bunch and plays along until Actual Sting shows up and punches him in the face. Fake Sting catches a Scorpion Death Drop, Bischoff escapes out through the crowd without “interviewing” Sting, and that’s the show. Everything I typed is this episode of Nitro.
Can’t wait until this weekend’s pay-per-view event, Sunday Night Football, featuring a halftime show from Ultimo Dragon and Lord Steven Regal.
(I meant that to sound sarcastic, but shit, that sounds pretty good.)