The Best And Worst Of WCW Monday Nitro 5/5/97: Tradition Bites

Previously on the Best and Worst of WCW Monday Nitro: The show is back to being an hour long to make it a sort of pre-show for the 1997 NBA Playoffs on TNT, which is great, because the most interesting things that happened were Jeff Jarrett challenging for the United States Championship in a picture-in-picture and some nWo leaflets falling from the ceiling.

Click here to watch this week’s episode on WWE Network. 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 Best and Worst of WCW Monday Nitro for May 5, 1997.

Worst: Arguing About Purses

Last week’s episode ended with Rowdy Roddy Piper forgetting he’s supposed to help Ric Flair if he sees Flair getting beaten up by three nWo guys. It took him like two whole minutes and Flair yelling “PIPER! PIPER! PIPER!” for him to get involved. This week’s show starts with Flair, Piper and their Ludo from Labyrinth Kevin Greene at the announce booth being questioned about it. Before Piper can explain himself, an nWo “Tradition Bites!” banner unfurls in the background. As they’re trying to tear it down, another one unfurls in front of them. Piper flips out and storms to the ring during the Nitro opening video, presumably to buy some more time to think of an excuse.

When they finally get to the ring, Piper announces that he didn’t help Flair because Flair had things under control, which is funny, because it looked like one guy was holding his arms behind his back and two other guys were punching him in the face while he yelled RODDY PIPER PLEASE LEAVE THE RING AND HELP ME, I AM ACTUALLY DYING. More nWo fliers fall from the ceiling and we find out that the New World Order’s only agreed to face Piper, Flair and Green and Slamboree if they get 75% of the purse. Piper’s response, predictably, is that he DON’T WANT NO PURSE because he DON’T CARRY NO PURSE. Because he likes SEX WITH WOMEN.

To make this segment even worse, new head of the WCW executive committee James J. Dillon shows up working from a completely different script and tells PIper (on the microphone) that he can’t do anything about the nWo demanding 75%, but if Piper doesn’t show up to fight them he’ll be in breach of contract and will be letting everybody down. First of all, since when was Piper under contract to WCW? Second of all, Piper JUST SAID he didn’t care about the purse and would be there. This is the beginning of the episode.

It’s so bad that Flair only gets to talk for a minute, and when Greene starts talking the production team plays Public Enemy’s music to cut him off and start the first match. We’ve only got an hour, guys.

Worst: Konnan Wins By Losing

Here’s a picture of Johnny Grunge executing his most thrilling and athletic manuever, the “fall off the top rope through a bunch of tables for no reason.”

With Grunge taken out in the same way he’s always taken out, Flyboy Rocco Rock is left to fight Dungeon of Doom customer service representatives Hugh Morrus and Konnan by himself. He does pretty well, setting Konnan up on another table, but gets stopped by Hugh … who superplexes him through the table. The table with Konnan on it. So the finish is Morrus covering Rock, and Rock technically covering Konnan. The ref just counts to three and gives the match to the Dungeon of Doom, because seriously, we can’t be wasting time paying attention to what people said or what wrestlers are doing.

The Dungeon of Doom was awarded 65% of a Vera Bradley purse for winning.

Worst: Power Is Meaningless

This is how Rey Mysterio Jr. takes an Outsider’s Edge. Tony Schiavone calls it the “nWo Drop,” because he knew it wasn’t a sidewalk slam, but he didn’t know what to call it.

But yeah, Mysterio gets a rematch against Syxx, following their Cruiserweight Championship match a couple of weeks ago where Kevin Nash interferes. This one only goes about 60 seconds before Scott Hall interferes, and … well, does this:

Syxx locks the Buzzkiller on an unconscious Mysterio and gets the victory, but once again refuses to release the hold. This brings out James J. Dillon again, flanked by strawweight referee Mark Curtis and hoping-to-be-reinstated former nWo ref Nick Patrick, who wore an airbrushed shirt he bought at the county fair to work for some reason. The refs try to break things up, and Dillion tells Syxx that if he doesn’t release the hold, he’ll reverse the decision.

Before that can happen, Eric Bischoff and the rest of the nWo show up, and Bischoff calls Dillon’s bluff.

He says Dillon has “no stroke,” and guess what? He’s right. Dillon has no power, can’t do anything, and does nothing. Syxx lets go of the hold when he wants, the decision is never announced as being reversed, and the nWo threaten Dillon and laugh in his face. So … great? The villains are never even briefly at a disadvantage, and the heroes are these worthless, ineffectual, limp old men who can’t back up anything they’re saying.

Worst: Speaking Of Old Men And Heroes Who Can’t Back It Up …

Hollywood Hogan cuts a promo challenging Sting. Sting doesn’t answer, so Hogan plays air guitar with the World Heavyweight Championship and leaves. This takes five minutes, which is one minute longer than the longest match on the show.

20-Second Match Lightning Round

The most offensive of the show’s several seconds-long matches is Lord Steven Regal vs. Meng, which shouldn’t be bad under any circumstances. Meng charges Regal and they throw hands for seriously like 10 seconds before Taskmaster Kevin Sullivan runs out, Regal dives out onto him and they brawl for a disqualification. Then Meng puts Regal in the Tongan Death Grip, and Sullivan, Jimmy Hart and Jacqueline try their best to make him stop.

O … kay? Why did Sullivan interfere at all? Last week Regal tried to help Benoit escape an attack from Meng, but what was the plan here? To beat the guy up, but not let Meng specifically help do it?

The closest thing we get to an As The Haliburton Turns this week is Debra McMichael distracting the referee so Jeff Jarrett can defeat a dancing Alex Wright. They don’t even use the briefcase, it’s just a chop block and a figure four, because Jarrett couldn’t topple the juggernaut that is Das Wunderkind. They could’ve done a spot where Jarrett tried to hit Wright in the dick with the briefcase, Wright no-sold it, and Mongo spent the next six months carrying around a Haliburton with a big eggplant-shaped dent in it.

The best of these matches is Glacier vs. Lizmark Jr., which lasts exactly one irish whip, one backflip, and one kick. That’s the entire match. Glacier has acquired a taste for luchador blood since murdering Ciclope on live television two weeks ago and absolutely fucks up Lizmark’s Christmas here:

After the match, Mortis and Wrath beat down Glacier for about 10 times the length of the match. This is to set up matches with Mortis and Wrath at Slamming Jamboree and the Great American Bash respectively, and to show Glacier that he’ll need backup if he plans to survive. If you listen closely, you can hear the faint sounds of a fake James Brown song, and a 3-time karate champion asking someone to lock the doors of an arena so he can beat up everyone inside with karate.

Let’s Check In With Lee Marshall

He’s in Baltimore, which is where Edgar Allen Poe was born, which is why they call their football team the “Ravens” and not the “Weasels.” Get it? Even Lee thinks that’s not a great weasel joke, so he uses a crab festival to warn Bobby Heenan about STDs. Get it? Do you get it.

Really hoping I’ve forgotten how this angle pays off, and that at some point the 1-800-COLLECT road reports involve the nWo running Stagger Lee off the road.

Worst: The Zero-Second Main-Event

This week’s main is supposed to be Lex Luger and the Giant against Harlem Heat, but Luger has apparently been injured, so Diamond Dallas Page is taking his place. As Page is entering, Macho Man Randy Savage shows up on crutches and taunts him. Page rips the crutch away from him, so Savage uses Liz as a human shield. This is all a distraction to allow Hollywood Hogan to sneak up and attack Page with the other crutch. This devolves into an nWo beatdown of everyone, because of course it does.

To further drive home the helplessness of WCW, Flair, Piper and Kevin Greene run out and are immediately crushed. Nash puts Piper in the world’s most melodramatic sleeper hold for like three minutes, and Hogan and Savage hop on commentary to make fun of them. Sting is nowhere to be found.

“Hope you enjoyed literally nothing, see you next week!” — WCW