The Best And Worst Of WCW Monday Nitro 12/9/96: Piper View

Previously on the Best and Worst of WCW Monday Nitro: You asked for it, and they’re back. A combination of WrestleMania Season and “nobody wants to read about 20-year old WCW shows” put these retro reports on hiatus, but enough people have tweeted and messaged us about it that we’re picking the up again. Your job as a reader is to share and incessantly praise these columns, drop comments, engage in discussion and make WWE Network archive footage the most popular thing in the wrestling world. Or, you know, at least click the like buttons a couple of times. Let’s get caught up!

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.

And now, the vintage Best and Worst of WCW Monday Nitro for December 9, 1996.

Worst: A Night Of Weird Roddy Piper Motivations

This week’s episode of Nitro is like Lucha Underground filtered through the brain of a 65-year old man. Watch how it all ties together!

We open with Rowdy Roddy Piper in a Carolina Panthers t-shirt, because local sports team. He reiterates that he used to live in Charlotte, and launches into what was actually a main-event program at the time: a guy with a fake hip saying he’s got to win this fight to feed his six kids, then saying it’ll be hard because wrestling is usually fake, but this is real. It’s more subtle than the normal execution of that angle — usually dudes just explicitly say THIS PART OF THE FAKE SHOW IS REAL, especially when Goldberg starts to cool off and everybody runs out of ideas — but it’s the same thing.

For real, he opens the show by saying his biggest regret is wearing worked boxing gloves when he boxed Mr. T, because “they” (try to figure out who “they” are) wanted him to “take a dive” for an actor. He’ll never do that again, he swears. Keep in mind how real this fight is when we get to Starrcade ’96, and the best part of the match is The Giant holding Piper in position for a chokeslam for like five minutes while everyone beats up a fan.

Oh, also, Piper sees an nWo sign in the crowd and decides to throw shade at them for being on the down-low.

“Point of interest! I saw a promo the nWo did, and they had six of them in a room, right? They were all dressed in leathers, they’re drinking Dom Perignon, not ONE WOMAN. So you keep putting that sign up, brother, ’cause we know exactly where you’re coming from!”

Piper doesn’t want to wait until Starrcade to fight Hogan, he wants to fight him right here tonight. He gets cut off by his own entrance music before he can finish the promo. This is the OPENING of the program.

A few matches later, former Mongo swerve victim and human form of Pepe McMichael “Mean” Kevin Greene to talk about the very heterosexual topic of playoff football. Greene reminds us that he hasn’t forgotten what Mongo did to him and that he still plans to return to WCW during the NFL offseason, but the Panthers are playoff bound so prowres revenge will have to wait. “When we’re done winning the Super Bowl,” he says, “I will beat Joe Gomez’s dad to death with his own Tesseract briefcase.” What he actually said was “woo” and “yeah baby,” so I’m paraphrasing.

Keep all of this in your head, because it becomes important later.

A few matches after that — wait until we get to the matches, hoo boy — Mean By God Woo Gene interviews “The Nature Boy” Ric Flair, who is still injured and easing into his role as disrespected, shuffling babyface ambassador. Flair puts over Piper and says that he wants to see Hogan get his ass kicked, so he’s offering the service of the Four Horsemen as backup.

That brings out Piper, and after a few minutes of them kissing each other’s asses about being gimps and owning gyms (not a joke), Piper refuses Flair’s help. He says this is his last shot because he “ain’t a part of nothin’,” and kisses Flair on the forehead. Imagine the cast of Grumpy Old Men if that movie ended with everyone choking each other into unconsciousness.


We bring it all together for the final segment. The main event is supposed to be Rick Steiner vs. Scott Norton, but Piper walks out AGAIN looking to fight Hogan. The crowd is getting hot to lob garbage, so Piper’s appearance gets some. He tells Hogan to get his “big bum” out here. Hogan is here to chew bubblegum and kick bum, and he’s all out of bum, so he sends out Eric Bischoff instead.

That quickly devolves into Piper beating up Bischoff and threatening him with a chair, then using him as a hostage/human shield to keep from being attacked by the nWo. Piper looks like he’s hopelessly outnumbered until he’s saved by Kevin Greene, and … uh, the Four Horsemen.

So what we end up with is Piper repeatedly saying he doesn’t need help from the Horsemen and getting help from the Horsemen. Kevin Greene says he doesn’t have time to wrestle and will get Mongo when he does, then he ends the show getting into a wrestling fight alongside Mongo.

That does it for this week’s Nitro report, hope that dose of pure WCW doesn’t … wait, there are matches? TWO HOURS of matches? Holy sh-

The Best And Worst Of The Parts Of WCW Monday Nitro Not Involving Rowdy Roddy Piper

Worst: Mike Enos Is An Idiot


The first one is underrated superworker “Mean” “Kevin Greene” Mike Enos taking on M. Wallstreet, who has degenerated in the ring so severely he moves like a sloth and wrestles in money pajamas. Ted DiBiase shows up with a mysterious nWo contract for one of the wrestlers, and everyone wonders which of the two it’ll be. I don’t know, will it be Ted DiBiase’s old tag team partner, or that gentrified Beverly Brother Scott Hall ignored when he debuted the nWo in the first place.

Enos pops a squat to try and read the contract from far away, giving M a chance to F him in the A and win the match. M. Wallstreet is the newest member of the nWo, which is a game-changer for anyone who wants their wrestlers to look and move like tired grandpas.

Worst: Nicknames For The Renegade

If Mike Enos vs. M. Wallstreet was too hot and intense for you, slow it down with the next match, Hugh Morrus vs. The Renegade.

The highlight here is Larry Zbyszko nicknaming The Renegade “Mr. Perpetual Motion,” which is funny for like five reasons. The easiest one is that most of the match is Renegade getting armbarred and bearhugged. If you’re jumping into these columns and haven’t done your research, read a little about The Renegade here. If you don’t know Hugh Morrus, read about his legendary career in our 20 Greatest Hugh Morrus Matches Of The Modern Era. There’s no link to that because an actual perpetual motion machine will exist before Hugh Morrus wrestles 20 matches people like.

Morrus quickly beats Renegade with No Laughing Matter, because the Dungeon of Doom is all about destroying the laws of thermodynamics. I mean, it would explain the Yeti.

(No it wouldn’t.)

Worst: The Onscreen Cuckolding Of Kevin Sullivan Continues

As a reminder, Kevin Sullivan was booking an angle where his wife left him for Chris Benoit, featuring his wife actually leaving him for Chris Benoit, and them hitting each other in the face with sh*t as hard as possible about it. Even without the horrible situation that’s in your mind whenever Benoit and Nancy are onscreen, this is some of the creepiest stuff WCW ever pulled.

Like, is Benoit the face here? The guy who started f*cking his pseudo-supernatural co-worker’s wife, took her to Europe and won’t stop sending in winky winky foreplay videos to air on the wrestling show to rub it in the dude’s face? Pretty sure I never want to see Benoit staring at me over a wine glass again.

Best? Sigh, No: Dean Malenko vs. Jimmy Graffiti

Somewhere in the middle of Dean Malenko working overtime to make a possibly asleep Jimmy Graffiti look like Juventud Guerrera, I said “THE F*CK IS GOING ON WITH THIS SHOW” and did some research. As mentioned in the Benoit segment, half of the roster was on tour in Germany during this show, so it’s just non-wrestling Piper, non-wrestling Flair and like the absolute bottom of the barrel of the roster. I’m surprised we didn’t have 20 minutes of Desperado Joe Gomez vs. a Kevin Nash body pillow.

Anyway, this is the closest thing we get to a good match on the show, and the first half of it seriously plays like Jimmy Del Rey took half a Xanax and thought he was in The Can-Am Express. It gets okay by the end, but the whole time you’re like, “Why is Dean Malenko struggling against Jet Set Radio Abraham Ford?”

Worst: The Nasty Boys vs. Do You Even Need An Opponent

Here’s a screenshot of the finish of the Nasty Boys/Faces Of Fear match. Can you guess what’s happening?

Stop me if you’ve heard this one before. Brian Knobbs has the Barbarian beaten in the middle of the ring. Instead of paying attention to that, the referee’s trying to keep Jerry Saggs from fighting Meng. Saggs and Meng take it outside of the ring, so the referee follows them out and walks around with them with his back to the ring. That gives Jimmy Hart a really f*cking opportune time to interfere, which he doesn’t do.

Saggs and Meng break it up but Hart hasn’t interfered, so the referee has to just follow Saggs around for no reason while Knobbs stands up, looks at Hart, CUES HIM WITH HIS HANDS to get onto the apron, then walks (slowly) over to the apron to “intercept” him. While this is happening, Barbarian no-sells to attack Knobbs from behind. Not done yet, hang on. Barbarian decides to hold Knobbs in place so Hart can come off the top rope with a megaphone shot, but WHOOPS, Knobbs moves and Hart hits Barbarian. Instead of that leading to the finish, Knobbs follows Hart around pointing at him and taking off his jacket against his will. Meanwhile, Meng and Saggs have to fill time so Meng starts HITTING SAGGS WITH A CHAIR IN FRONT OF THE REFEREE to no response.

So after all of this, Knobbs ends up military pressing Hart out of the ring onto Meng. The aftermath of that is what you see. The camera holds on Meng and Hart on the outside, completely missing what we assume is Barbarian with the megaphone, which was the attempting cheating to begin with. The referee slides back in and counts the three, and everyone involved is immediately fired. Sorry, they continue wrestling and getting paid hundreds of thousands of dollars to be f*cking terrible at it.

Worst: Chris Jericho vs. Bobby Eaton

In a brief reprieve from looking at Rowdy Roddy Piper, Chris Jericho defeats the alternate future version of Chris Jericho where he never went to WWE and just wrestled on the independents as “former WCW star Chris Jericho.”

Worst: Trying To Out-Do That Nasty Boys Finish

Thought the finish for the Nasties vs. Meng and Barbarian was bad? Here’s Craig Pittman to try to top it.

The Sarge wrestles Arn Anderson, which should be way, way better than it is. Late in the match the fight goes to the outside, and referee Mickie Jay (the same ref as in the tag match, even) follows them out. This leads to him getting in Debra McMichaels’ face and just aimlessly reprimanding her for some reason. This is supposed to distract him long enough for Mongo to hit Pittman with the Haliburton, but it doesn’t really work like that. Mongo’s on one side of the Debra/ref dispute and Pittman’s on the other, so Pittman has to stumble INTO the ref, physically touching him in the process (which the ref no-sells), and Mongo has to hit Pittman when he’s practically in the ref’s armpit.

Like, look at that picture. Do you believe the referee can’t see Pittman? Holy sh*t, this episode. When you click it on the Network it should just be video of a fireplace.

Best/Worst: A Cuppa Try-Hards

What ends up being the main event is a United States Championship tournament match and the battle of the try-hards: Diamond Dallas Page vs. Jeff Jarrett. If you couldn’t tell from the picture, yes, this one has a terrible finish too. WCW’s doing a great job of living up to its stereotype on this episode.

Page and Jarrett have a pretty good match that you know they rehearsed move-for-move all week, until it’s time for Page to fall to the floor and be comatose. Cue a run-in from Hall and Nash, who are apparently in the United States and NOT wrestling on a show that has a Renegade AND a Jimmy Graffiti match on it. Nash distracts the referee and Jarrett, who gets up on the turnbuckles to get aggressively pointy. Hall sneaks in behind him, pulls him off the ropes in a crucifix and Razor’s Edges him. The nWo bails, and Page picks up another cheap victory on their dollar. This puts Page into the tournament finals with a bye, as Luger vs. Anderson had ended on a count-out.

Go back to the beginning of the column now and read the entire Roddy Piper thing again. That’ll simulate the experience of actually watching the episode.