The Best And Worst Of WCW Monday Nitro 1/13/97: The New Adventures Of Old Robin Hood

Previously on the Best and Worst of WCW Monday Nitro: The Vigilante Sting™ continued to use a series of THREAT-WHISPERS to inspire The Giant in his face-turn against the New World Order, and his quest to actually get the World War 3 title shot he earned against Hollywood Hogan. Also on the show, Glacier wrestled Bobby Eaton. That’s your spectrum of public interest. Oh, and nWo SOULED OUT is coming soon. That’s going to be great, probably!

Click here to watch this week’s episode on WWE Network, and here to watch the pay-per-view before it. 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 vintage Best and Worst of WCW Monday Nitro for January 13, 1997.

Best: This Crowd

That looks like the sickest German suplex ever, doesn’t it? Spoiler: it’s a jumping asshole to the face.

This week’s Nitro takes place in New Orleans at the Silverdome, brother, and the fans there are so ready to see wrestling. Let me put it to you this way: the opener is Chavo Guerrero Jr. vs. Mr. JL, and the crowd treats it like it’s Cedric Alexander vs. Kota Ibushi. Trust me, it’s not that exciting.

If you get a chance to watch the episode, watch the end when Chavo climbs the ropes for the moonsault. The crowd stands up in unison and ROARS, and it’s so distracting that the cameraman instinctively pulls away, looking for Sting or somebody from the nWo or whatever wandering through the crowd. That’s generally what that reaction means. But nope, they are just AMPED AS F*CK for Freddie Prinze Guerrero doing some mild high-flying onto a living Visionaries action figure. Hey, cool, that’s how it’s supposed to go.

Wait until Lex Luger shows up later and does the Torture Rack taunt. That sh*t feels like Beatlemania.

Worst: Flag Waving Ass Jim Duggan

That crowd reaction is a little too positive, so here’s Jim Duggan.

Duggan gives a short interview with Mean Gene that involves him (1) announcing that he’s replaced the United States flag with the purple and gold of WCW, because this cross-eyed Ogre with his tongue hanging out isn’t the leader we want, but the leader we deserve, and (2) telling Sting to “be a man” and pick a side. Duggan’s music starts playing before he’s done, which is hilarious in an Oscar “go home” kind of way, but it’s not the only time it happens on the night. There’s some hero production assistant cutting these live promos in half by hitting the music at the wrong time, and I want to travel time just to shake his hand.

Duggan is supposed to wrestle Super Calo (!!), but as soon as he gets into the ring, Sting shows up and drops him with one move.

The announce team, of course, says this definitely means Sting is in the nWo. Because what other reason would he have to jump this flag-bearing Le IncompĂ©tent that just called him out? Tony Schiavone is like, “we should look for a PATTERN in Sting’s victims,” and I want to shake my TV screen and scream THE PATTERN IS PEOPLE WHO CALLED HIM OUT ON THE MICROPHONE OR JUMPED ON HIS BACK, IDIOTS, EVERYONE ELSE HE’S GIVEN BASEBALL BATS TO HELP FIGHT THE NWO, THIS IS WHY HE TURNED HIS BACK ON Y’ALL IN THE FIRST PLACE. But asking Larry Zbyszko to pay attention to trends is like asking a toddler to do calculus.

Honestly, the only heel move by Sting here is preventing us from seeing Hacksaw Jim Duggan vs. Super Calo.

Best: Ouch, My Pitbull Face

WCW scrambles to find a substitute match to replace Duggan vs. Calo — a small touch on a live show that I always, always appreciate — and it ends up being Chris Jericho vs. Sgt. Craig ‘Pitbull’ Pittman. Remember a few episodes ago when Masahiro Chono joined the nWo and wrestled Jericho, and just ate up all his offense and made him look terrible? This is Jericho getting that win back.

Pittman looks especially lost in here, selling clotheslines and spinning heel kicks by just kinda falling over and crawling. About a minute into the match, Jericho goes up top, missile dropkicks the ever-loving sh*t out of him in his face, and pins him. Pittman “kicks out” after the three, but everyone involved is like, “yeah, nope, match is over, bye.” Seriously, look at that screenshot of him being dropkicked in the face.

Drink it in, Pittman.

Best: Don’t Worry, Super Calo Gets His

Calo ends up wrestling after all, stepping into the ring with Konann. That’s him getting Steiner Screwdrivered from a clothesline. Remember how it looked the last time they wrestled? Here’s a reminder:

Konnan is so weird. When he’s wrestling WCW guys like Big Bubba or M. Wallstreet, he’s often slow, lazy and ineffectual. But when he wrestles luchadors, he gets this sense of proprietary rage about him and just f*cks them up. In this match he repeatedly dumps Super Calo on his head, no-sells a crossbody and just lets Calo bounce off him and fall like an idiot, and ends him figuratively and also possibly literally with a Fisherman’s DDT. It’s like Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde is Jekyll had mono and Hyde desperately wanted to paralyze a bunch of Mexicans.


Worst: High Voltage, But
Best: Harlem Heat Kinda Win A Normal Match

The ruthless hammering of enhancement talent continues with Harlem Heat dropkicking the guts out of Kenny Kaos, one half of Steiner Brother chew toys High Voltage. It’s not much of a match, but I’m giving it points for having the most cohesive Harlem Heat finish I’ve seen in months.

The match breaks down and referee Mark Curtis gets super into chiding Robbie Rage, forcing him out onto the apron and then standing in front of him and telling him to go stand on the apron while he’s there. This gives Harlem Heat time to double team Kaos and hit him with the Heat Seeker, a Doomsday Device dropkick. If you didn’t know this was Harlem Heat’s tandem finish, don’t worry, they win or lose most of their matches via a French-Canadian Legionnaire plantation owner and his on-again/off-again girlfriend hitting each other with flags, purses and thrown clouds of dust.

Best: Diamond Dallas Page Becomes A Star

Okay, this is a big moment we’ve been waiting for for a while.

Over the past eight months or so, Diamond Dallas Page has transformed himself from an aging, lowercard jerk with no real visible upside into one of the hottest acts on the card, thanks to a combination of hard work, solid matches and American wrestling fans loving the hell out of cutters. They do, man. Sometimes I wonder if Stone Cold Steve Austin would’ve been half as popular if he’d kept the Million Dollar Dream and never grabbed someone’s head and fallen down with it.

Here, Page wrestles Mark Starr, who has the least appropriate wrestling name ever. Calling this dude “Starr” would be like naming Big Show “Tiny.” He can’t even take the Diamond Cutter correctly, jumping forward into it so Page has to Diamond Cut his torso:

Page grumpily pins him and we instantly forget it because here comes Scott Hall and Kevin Nash, making their what, fifth attempt to get DDP to join the nWo? This time, though, he AGREES, and puts on the shirt. The crowd’s kinda deflated by it because they want to love this guy and don’t want him to be D. Wallstreet or whatever, but then OH SH*T, HE TURNS SCOTT HALL’S HANDSHAKE INTO A DIAMOND CUTTER. That gets Kevin Nash to turn around, so Page dodges an attack and sends him clumsily falling to the outside in one of the worst table bumps ever. Nash just kinda grazes the table as he goes over, grabs it with one of his hands and flings it over him slash into the face of a lady in the front row.

But the point is that DDP is now the cool, not-Jim-Duggan anti-hero WCW’s been desperately searching for, and unlike Sting, he’s actually in the field fighting the battle. Welcome to the best years of your life, DDP.

I’m sure the Four Horsemen are around to help you!

Worst: The Four Horsemen Are The Dirt Worst

The bicker-fighting between this disassociated gaggle of shouting morons continues with a one-on-one match between Jeff Jarrett and Chris Benoit, to see who the real most Horseman is. It ends when Mongo tries to hit Jarrett with his metal Tesseract briefcase and Debra stops him, causing him to actually hit Benoit instead. OH NO.

You see, the story is that Debra wants Jarrett in the Horsemen but nobody else does — well, Ric Flair kinda does, but he’s transformed into a drunken, senile college dad and is too busy dancing to pay attention — and is trying to manipulate Chris Benoit and Woman’s rivalry with Kevin Sullivan to make room for him. I think? The highlight of the match is Mongo hitting Benoit so hard with the briefcase that it opens for the first time since its debut, and we see that it’s empty. That might’ve been fine if Debra didn’t pick it up, show it to the camera and say, “it’s empty.” Some beauty queens just want to watch the world burn.

That’s followed by another (another) interview where they yell at each other about who’s f*cking who and why, and where whoever isn’t there this week is. Benoit once again wins the week by defending Woman in a promo that I’m 99% sure was written by Tommy Wiseau.

“As for you, you wanna bad mouth the Horsemen, that’s fine because that’s just your style. You wanna badmouth me, I could care less! You wanna badmouth Woman … you don’t even wanna go there. Woman … WOMAN is 100% woman from head to toe. And I talk from experience! There’s no plastic, no wax, zero silicone, she is alllll womannnn.”

Good to know her boobs aren’t made out of wax, I guess?


A few segments later, Arn Anderson wrestles Rick Steiner. He’s having trouble and keeps trying to get the other Horsemen at ringside, presumably to help him win via empty briefcase, but they don’t show up. The announce team “gets word” that the Horsemen are “locked in the dressing room” having a shouting match, which is still EXTREMELY INTERESTING after SEVERAL MONTHS and ALREADY SEEING IT ONCE TONIGHT, so Arn just angrily waves off the match and loses via count-out.

Honestly, Jim Duggan’s not looking like that bad of a leader.

I’ll give a supplemental Best to the post-match interview with the Steiners, though, because Scotty is about three-fourths of the way through his transformation into Big Poppa Pump. If you’re keeping score, that’s a Spencer’s Gifts belt, a backwards leather Kangol hat and an EXTREME CASUALS tank top. Also, he’s screaming about how he’s going to tear out someone’s “goozle” at Souled Out. I can’t wait for the hair dye to go in and the glory that is White Thunder to be born.


Best/Worst: Eddie Guerrero vs. Dean MalenAh Who Cares Here’s The nWo

Syxx is back at it with his ladder shenanigans this week, improving upon last week’s plan by taunting Eddie Guerrero from the top of a ladder too far away for him to get caught.

Eddie wrestles Dean Malenko. It’s pretty good at times, as you’d expect, but the crowd has sat through an hour and change of 3-minute jobber muderings and allegiance changes so they don’t know what to make of a bunch of cool wristlocks. When they get restless, Syxx shows up, and everyone just kinda looks at Syxx until they’re done wrestling. Plus, it’s a non-title match with a distraction finish — Guerrero gets up on the ropes to taunt at Syxx and gets powerbombed off by Malenko — so the 2016 WWE reviewer in me can’t really handle it. Let’s just move on.

Best: He Is Reportedly The Stuff

Scotty Riggs was the Roman Reigns of the American Males. When he and Marcus Alexander Bagwell broke up, Bagwell joined the nWo, got a new persona and upgraded his tag team partner. Riggs kept the American Males gear, kept the American Males entrance theme, kept doing the dumb/wonderful American Males clap and even started doing Bagwell’s finisher, hilariously named the “AmeriPlex.” It’s not until Raven comes along that dude truly decides to be his own man. Which is a pirate.

But anyway, Riggs wrestles pre-Crisis Billy Kidman until Bagwell interrupts, extremely happy to show off his now slightly improved physique and brag about how “buff” he is. AW HERE IT GOES. He calls Riggs fat from the entrance until Riggs wins, and … well, that’s pretty much it, but that airbrushed top hat is coming soon, and we’re gonna find out how many words rhyme with “buff.”

Spoiler alert: three, if you count “buff” as one of them.

Best: People Love Lex Luger

Luger continues his winning streak here against … who is that, Braun Strowman? Mike Knox?

Oh, wait, that’s RICK FULLER, regular eventual Goldberg victim and stalwart Thunder jobber who somehow managed to make it into multiple WCW video games despite his highest-profile victory being against Lash LeRoux on Worldwide. This is Fuller’s WCW debut, and it’s in front of a crowd that CATCHES THE SPIRIT when Lex Luger makes his Torture Rack flappy bird arms. Like, I was in that building when Daniel Bryan won the WWE World Heavyweight Championship at WrestleMania 30, and I think Lex Luger Torture Racking Rick Fuller in the middle of this Nitro got a bigger pop.


This is going to take some explanation, so stay with me.

The episode actually opens with the Nitro opening cutting off early and The Giant barging into the nWo locker room, calling Hulk Hogan a coward. We come to find out that despite previously agreeing to give Giant his contractually obligated title match, Hogan has backed out, and now won’t be defending the WCW Heavyweight Title against Giant at Souled Out.

Throughout the show, the announce team is OBSESSED with updating us on this situation, revealing that the WCW executive committee has spent most of the night struggling to find a solution to the problem. Their eventual solution: Hollywood Hogan MUST face The Giant on Nitro TONIGHT, in a … uh, non-title match. Because REASONS. Giant’s okay with this, because I think even he knows he’s gonna get the Souled Out match and that it’s gonna end with an nWo run-in.

Anyway, the other important thing you need to know is that after Nitro, TNT is debuting The New Adventures of Robin Hood, their attempt at Xena: Warrior Princess or Herclues: The Legendary Journeys. Cornball medieval shows were cool as hell before Games of Thrones showed up and taught us that characters could curse and kill each other and relentlessly buttf*ck instead of exchanging gentle, sarcastic repartee for a decade.

Hogan shows up to wrestle Giant with only a few minutes left in the show, and tries to stall so it doesn’t happen. WCW’s plan is merciless: they will have the match anyway, and jump back to it during the commercial breaks of The New Adventures of Robin Hood. SO STAY TUNED TO THE NEW ADVENTURES OF ROBIN HOOD, FANS, BECAUSE HOLLYWOOD HOGAN IS GETTING BEATEN UP DURING THE COMMERCIAL BREAKS, AND YOU CAN ONLY SEE IT IF YOU WATCH THIS FIRST EPISODE OF THE NEW ADVENTURES OF ROBIN HOOD.


You good? You sure? Watch it twice.

Giant beats up Hogan in the most house show way imaginable until [trumpet fanfare] the nWo runs in and the match is thrown out. But hey, at least you got to see what a cool show The New Adventures of Robin Hood is. I bet you’ll want to watch that for several years!