Previously on the Best and Worst of WCW (Tuesday) Nitro: Hollywood Hogan accepted a match against Lex Luger at Road Wild on his terms, which I guess include promos where you’re lying down in the middle of the ring. Also, a skeleton fought a second skeleton, and a dragon won the TV title.
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.
Remember, if you want us to keep writing 20-year-old WCW jokes, click the share buttons and spread the column around. If you don’t tell them how much you like these, nobody’s going to read them. People need to know about the time the Great Muta went under the ring and a cameraman followed him.
In case you missed it, we posted the untold story of WCW’s Glacier, Ray Lloyd. It’s a longform interview and an original video, and I consider the best thing I’ve ever done at UPROXX. If you love WCW — and if you’re reading this, you either love it for real or you love it ironically — please, please click over and give it a read. It’ll make your blood run surprisingly warm, because your heart’s growing three sizes.
And now, the Best and Worst of WCW Monday Nitro for July 28, 1997.
Worst: This Is The Weirdest Coppertone Ad I’ve Ever Seen
Up first on this historic 99th edition of WCW Monday Nitro is the endless saga of ‘The Nature Boy’ Ric Flair, a once glorious and sophisticated champion driven to insanity thanks to a year spent hanging out with a murderer, the homophobic version of Michael J. Fox’s dad, one of the 1985 Chicago Bears and Jeff Jarrett. Flair is currently involved in two stories:
- He hates nWo member Syxx, because while most of the New World Order guys are tall and tough, Syxx is kind of a benchwarmer and needs to get the shit kicked out of him, and
- He’s convinced that Curt Hennig, a man who has been helping the nWo for several weeks and openly refuses to join the Four Horsemen, is the perfect new member of the Four Horsemen
Those stories collide in this week’s opener, which teams up Flair and Hennig against nWo B-teamers (and secretly the best tag team in the world) Vicious and Delicious. For the most part, Hennig plays ball, but he approaches the match in an extremely less-than-perfect way: by trying to go toe-to-toe with Scott Norton. We’ll get back to the story in a second, but first:
Best: Selling For Scott Norton
I don’t know if you’ve ever seen him wrestle, but Scott Norton weighs about 1,400 pounds. He’s not fat, either, he’s shaped like a Goron from The Legend of Zelda and made of the same material. He is literally a brick shit-house. Hennig is like, “let me try to chop this guy in the thickest part of his chest.” And don’t forget, Hennig is the guy who if like, TATANKA touched him, he’d backflip onto his neck.
So here’s a taste of how that goes for him.
This is 20-pounds heavier, 5 years into semi-retirement Curt Hennig. WWF Mr. Perfect with a perfectly functioning back would’ve gotten chopped in half. Norton would’ve pulled a Geralt of Rivia dismemberment finisher on him. It’s great.
Flair goes with the much smarter SPASTIC SEX FIEND plan of eye pokes and low blows, which does much better, but he also gets some moments of glorious selling. As a reminder, he’s fired up to be wrestling the nWo and/or anyone who isn’t Roddy Piper. Remember last week when Flair wrestled Kevin Nash, and would collapse to the ground like he got an anvil dropped on his head if Nash touched him? This week’s version of that is internally combusting when Norton runs into him. I don’t wanna make you load two GIFs on the same page, but watch this and try not to smile. It’s like Norton opened the Ark of the Covenant on him.
Worst: Anyway, Back To The Bare-Assedness
Syxx runs down and tries to cost Flair the match by pulling down his underwear, but Flair spent like 10% of his time in the ring in the Greensboro Coliseum in legendary championship matches with his ass hanging out, so it doesn’t phase him. Flair fights him off and manages to trip Buff at the same time, allowing Hennig to hit a bee-yootiful Perfect Plex — actually caught on film this week — for the win.
Later in the show, Curt Hennig tells Mean Gene that he’s still a free agent and not the newest member of the Four Horsemen. Ric Flair shows up with a random blonde and is like, WE’RE GONNA GO TO THE CLUBS AND EACH HAVE SEX WITH FIVE WOMEN BECAUSE WE ARE ALL FOUR HORSEMEN GUYS, ESPECIALLY YOU. And Hennig is like, “no,” practically adding, “I’m actually in the New World Order” at the end, but Flair is too busy Cosby dancing with a stranger to listen.
Worst: The Most Awkward Opponents Chris Benoit Has Ever Faced
To make things worse, their names are “Psycho” and “Killer.” Let’s hope nobody put K-Dogg in the enclosed pool area.
So yeah, these AWA-ass looking dudes with uterus faces are the Texas Hangmen. This version of the team is masked versions of Tough Tom and Mean Mike of epic WCW Saturday Night jobber tag team Disorderly Conduct. A different version of the team — featuring future WCW Also Jobber and, amazingly, Chikara star “Bull Pain” — held tag titles in the USWA and WWC.
On Nitro, they provide awkward bodies that Steve McMichael can’t figure out how to Tombstone without falling down.
Careful, buddy. Between this and last week’s attempted paralyzing of Dean Malenko, I’m starting to think most of the crap Mongo gets for being a “bad wrestler” comes from someone making the Tombstone his finish and never really teaching him how to do it.
The highlight of the match is Scott Hall and Kevin Nash calling in from Michigan, where they’re supposedly looking for Steiner Brothers fans. Hall asks Tony if he’ll accept a collect call, and Tony, I swear to God, responds with, “I will if you used 1-800-COLLECT.”
Best: Please Let Scott Hall Take Over ‘On The Road’ And Visit Nitro Parties
Lee Marshall is also in Detroit, and Tony mentions that next week we’ll be able to start sending in our pictures and videos from our Nitro parties to try to get on the air. Brother, Lee Marshall’s been going to Nitro parties for a YEAR and the best he’s ever gotten on TV was a U.S. map and a picture of him on the phone.
Lee’s joke this week is that Detroit is where cars come from, and Henry Ford’s original plan for the horseless carriage was “weasels on a treadmill,” but all they did was “whimper, complain and sniff each other.” Bobby: “He should be like Tiger Stadium, they should tear him down, too.” I’m still so mad we got matches from Randy Anderson, Mancow, the Insane Clown Posse and the Howard Stern Wack Pack on NItro, but Lee Marshall and Bobby Heenan never threw hands.
Best: Lex Luger Is Peaking
Gene’s got the right idea, you have to stand at least a body length from Luger when he’s peaking.
In the most important news of the week, “Package In Toto” Lex Luger announces that he’s talked to the WCW Executive Committee, and they agree that Hollywood Hogan should have to defend the WCW Heavyweight Championship every 30 days. Keep in mind, he hasn’t defended it since February. But now instead of Luger facing Hogan for the title on Hogan’s own terms at a motorcycle rally, Luger’s getting a title shot next week on the 100th edition of Nitro. This and next week’s match are GREAT if (1) you’ve never seen it, and (2) you don’t remember what happens immediately after.
Anyway, speaking of peaking packages, comma,
Is that a WEASEL in your pocket, or are you just happy to see me?
Worst: 1997 Can’t Handle Beautiful Wrestlers
Chris Jericho won the Cruiserweight Championship from Syxx on the still-totally-counts-as-an-episode “Saturday Nitro” audiocast on WCWwrestling.com, but he hasn’t turned heel yet and figured out he’s a billion times better that way, so he’s cold booger on a paper plate. The good news here is that the new, arrogant Alex Wright is able to drag him around by his hair and German suplex him to become the new champion. Don’t worry, Jericho puts it together in about five months.
The bad news is that this show takes place in central West Virginia in 1997, so you can imagine how much they like seeing one of the German New Kids on the Block with his bratwurst stuffed into some dreamscicle panties. They start chanting “faggot” at him like he’s Adorable Adrian Adonis in 1986. C’mon, West Virginia. You’re definitely probably not better than that.
In an unrelated note, if time travel ever becomes a reality, my first trip is gonna be to Charleston in ’97 to start a counter-chant of, “I WISH.”
Best: There Is So Much Going On In This Picture
Dean Malenko is entering week two of his, “I’ve agreed to be on your team, I’ll tell you my decision about joining your team later!” world tour. Mean Gene’s Steve Harvey suit. Jeff Jarrett looking like the angel of a dead Bee-Gee. Debra in the background checking out Alex Wright’s junk while nobody’s paying attention. Bro, I love that Debra is systematically trading up.
So back in April, Malenko was mad at Eddie Guerrero because he thought he was joining the Dungeon of Doom, so he ended up wrestling Eddie’s older brother Hector on Nitro. On this episode, Malenko is mad at Eddie Guerrero and suspicious that Jarrett’s trying to get him on the team they just kinda-sorta formed, so he ends up wrestling Hector. The only difference is that this time, Dean has a bag of Jiffy Pop from the CMAs looking out for him.
Chavo Guerrero shows up after the match to help Hector, so Malenko pops him in the back of the head and the Guerreros get beaten down. Dickbag rudo Eddie is nowhere to be found. Really all this segment did was solidify the Malenko/Jarrett alliance, and make me notice that Debra and Jeff have a real Cheryl and Jason Blossom thing going on.
Worst: That Face You Make When You Have To Work Prince Iaukea
Poor Ultimo Dragon. He was a little loosey goosey himself sometimes, but nobody should have to wrestle Prince Iaukea in a live wrestling match this deep into 1997. Instead of actually writing anything about the match, I’m gonna post a GIF of the finish.
Worst: Konnan Ruins All Of La Parka’s Hard Work
Over the past several months, La Parka has become a cult favorite. He spent several weeks trying to actively cripple Super Calo, then Diamond Dallas Page dressed up as him to get the jump on Macho Man in one of the greatest swerves ever. Even last week he had a cool match with Mortis and Wrath, who might as well be Mama and Daddy in the underrated family.
This week, Konnan takes a huge, slow, stumbly dump on the entire thing by squashing La Parka and making him look like shit. Parka tries to salvage it by showing up with a chair with Konnan’s name on it, literally, but Konnan just dropkicks him in the face with hit and makes him tap out. After the match, Psicosis shows up to back up La Parka, setting up Konnan making him look like shit next week.
Reminder: Curt Hennig Is SUPER Not In The nWo
That’s why he shows up to attack Diamond Dallas Page from behind for the third time, helping the nWo score yet another victory over him. Hennig is pulling Ric Flair’s blood rival Syxx onto the most WCW guy on the roster for a cheap pin after a sneak attack and Flair is just like, “you’re so great, let’s go get drunk and have sex with moms.”
Best: Assault Suit Larry
The Giant gets a rematch with The Great Muta and wins by utilizing Muta’s one weakness: not realizing people could, like, put something in front of their face so the mist wouldn’t blind them. Giant goozles Muta, Muta spews, and Giant just puts his other arm up to block. SCIENCE.
Note: My favorite Hulk Hogan match ever is when he wrestled Killer Khan in The Spectrum in ’87 and not only blocked the poison mist with his hand, but then rubbed his misty hand in Khan’s eyes. Hulk Hogan being smart instead of just typing in a cheat code at the end of the match is a rare sight.
Eric Bischoff sits in on commentary for the match and makes Bobby and Mike Tenay leave so he can mess with Tony the whole time. When it’s over, Larry Zbyszko shows up and gets in Bischoff’s face, screaming about how he’s got no power and how he’s gonna kick his ass if he starts something. FINALLY. Bischoff logically assumes that Larry’s not going to do anything, because Larry’s NEVER done anything, so Larry hooks him in a front chancery, drags him to the ring and dumps him in for a Giant chokeslam. The crowd is HOT, man.
Because we can’t be happy, not even for a second, I’ll go ahead and tell you that next week’s Nitro not only starts with an Eric Bischoff promo, it features TWO (2) Eric Bischoff promos where he shits on the Giant, shits on Larry, and threatens to sue everybody. Good times.
Best: This Shot Of The Great Muta Crawling Under The Ring
Oh, right, during the match Muta tries to escape the Giant by crawling under the ring, and instead of just wondering where he went, the cameraman actually lifts up the apron and films him crawling.
I wish the Ultimate Warrior had just randomly been down there.
Worst: Your Weekly nWo Run-In Main Event
Here’s a picture of Macho Man Randy Savage vs. Scott Steiner:
As it turns out, Kevin Nash and Scott Hall weren’t actually in Detroit when they called in earlier, they were just on the phone. What?? Next you’re gonna tell me Lee Marshall’s just calling in from backstage (or his house) and not actually traveling the country a week ahead of Nitro like the world’s corniest Silver Surfer.
There’s actually a really great moment in the post-match attack when the Giant makes the save and the Outsiders are in the aisle surrounded by security. Giant challenges Nash to a match right here, right now, but Nash declines because he doesn’t want to also have to fight a bunch of security. So the security parts and lets him pass. That’s great. Of course, Nitro actually goes off the air before anybody fights anybody. [tap dancing] ♫ Because Nitro ♫
Next Week: Join us for the historic 100th (or 99th plus one audio) episode of Nitro, featuring
- Lex Luger vs. Hollywood Hogan for the Heavyweight Championship in a match that could Change The Face Of The New Era®
- James J. Dillon offering a contract and an opponent for Sting to try to get him back into the ring
- Two (2) Eric Bischoff promos
- The Nitro debut of Coach Scott D’Amore (no, really)
- THREE HOURS OF NITRO
Please be here and help me get through that.