Previously on the vintage Best and Worst of WCW Monday Nitro: Hacksaw Jim Duggan wrestled Galaxy, sending me into a furious rage it took me an entire week plus possibly 19 years to overcome. Also on the show, Sting maybe joined the New World Order via hugging (?) and Teddy Long caught feelings for Jacqueline.
Remember, if you want us to keep writing 20-year-old WCW jokes, click the share buttons and spread the column around. Last week’s column was far and away the most read of all-time, probably because of GALAXY, so let’s keep that going! Nitro is better than Raw 20 years in the future, too!
And now, the vintage Best and Worst of WCW Monday Nitro for March 3, 1997.
Worst: As The Haliburton Turns
This week’s show begins with Public Enemy running in on a Mongo and Jeff Jarrett vs. Konnan and Hugh Morrus match, which is sort of like your collegiate career beginning with you falling down a flight of steps and landing face-first in your professor’s lap. And then the dean of admissions runs in and hits you both with a briefcase.
Yes, in a shocking turn of events, the cuck-welded relationship between a retired football player and his wife’s hillbilly concubine is having problems. At the end of this completely not-on-fire barn, Mongo’s taking the Dungeon of Doom to Shoulder To The Knee church. Debra’s on the outside in a ballgown and tiara, holding an empty metal briefcase and minding her own business when Public Enemy storms out and tries to debrief her. Wordplay!
Jarrett tries to defend her by getting into a tug of war with these paintless Juggalos and, whoops! Accidentally smashes Mongo in the temple with the Haliburton and costs his team the match. And I’m not talking “Eddie Guerrero causes Syxx to brush Dean Malenko in the forehead with the Cruiserweight Championship” either, Jarrett fucking MURDERS him. Mongo isn’t selling, Mongo can’t sell like that, he’s actually dead:
After the match, and I swear to God I’m as tired of writing this as you are of reading it, the Four Horsemen come to the ring to stand shoulder-to-shoulder and talk about how much they suck. They’re like a suicidally-depressed New World Order, showing up en masse to beat themselves up.
It’s finally gotten to the point where Ric Flair can’t even emotionally detach from the chaos to dance in a circle and loudly compare his dick to roller coasters. Dude straight up Animorphs into a swooping hawk to scream at Jarrett for making the Horsemen look bad:
Debra tries to hold the team together by insisting the briefcase shot to the temple was a mistake. Meanwhile, the camera has to film a weird angle on the interview because Mongo’s in the background somewhere bleeding to death. The Horsemen have a match with Public Enemy at Uncensored — spoiler alert, they totally don’t — and Jarrett reassures Flair and Arn that with him as a member, the Horsemen will stay elite. Take a crazy guess as to whether or not that’s accurate.
Best: Fuller Wets The Bed
Diamond Dallas Page gets a quick win over Rick Fuller by countering a scoop slam into the Diamond Cutter, and at this point crowds would pretty much drink DDP’s bathwater.
In different parts of the planet, Okerlund to New York
I’m hollerin’ lifetime, he hollerin’ life’s too short
Parallel lives and jew-els held high
Genehova steps in after the match to make Page watch the footage of Macho Man and the nWo attacking him from behind and spray-painting his back, because he has no chill. Page challenges Macho and tells him to “snap into this.” Slim Jim burns would be the status quo for heel Macho going forward, and I wish every wrestler with an endorsement had it turned against them. “MANKIND, BOYARDEES FANS GOING TO BE DISAPPOINTED WHEN I BEAT YOU!”
Worst: Pick A Face
Back on the February 3 edition of Nitro, a guy with a scrotum forehead and gear with a big Roman numeral 4 on his gear showed up to wrestle Ultimo Dragon. Mike Tenay was like, “this is Ray Mendoza Jr., his father, Ray Mendoza, played a villain in a bunch of old El Santo movies!” A few weeks later at The Super Brawl, Villano IV wrestled. He’s a masked guy with a big Roman numeral 4 on his gear. Mike Tenay was like, “the Villanos are named after their father, Ray Mendoza, who played a VILLAIN in a bunch of old El Santo movies!” This week, Ray Mendoza Jr. and his 4 onesie return to face Juventud Guerrera. Sure?
Best: Juvy Zayn
The highlight here is when Mendoza gets knocked to the floor, and Juvy goes out to the perpendicular apron and dives through the corner ropes instead of over them. This is the first time most of us (or at least me) saw someone do that, years before El Generico or his affable Canadian pal Sami Zayn popularized it:
Zayn really needs to dive through the top and middle ropes like that into the tornado DDT one day. Maybe at a WrestleMania, against a really tall guy. Please sign my petition for Sami Zayn vs. Shaquille O’Neal at this link [add the link later].
Best: Jimmy Hart Airbrushed A Jacket To Express Kevin Sullivan’s Love For Jacqueline Via MC Hammer Lyrics
The confrontational interracial love wing of the Dungeon of Doom briefly takes over the announce booth to remind us that they are, in fact, too legit to quit. Jimmy Hart’s got it on his jacket now, along with a caricature of Kevin Sullivan with little hearts around it. Poor Jimmy stayed up all night with his airbrushing kit, mumbling about how much he hates women while colorfully drawing one on his clothes. I wish all of Jimmy’s overcoats and promos revolved around bad 90s rap. “MEAN GENE, YOU DON’T KNOW WHAT IT’S LIKE HAVIN’ A RONI!”
Anyway, Jackie throws out a challenge to “any woman or man” for a fight, saying she could beat Hulk Hogan, Macho Man or Lex Luger. She also suggests that she got in the ambulance with Chris Benoit and beat his ass on the way to the hospital, which is almost as funny as the image of Lex Luger yelling AAAAHHHH and hitting a running forearm in a competitive match with child-sized Jacqueline.
Worst: Dean Malenko Is Losing His Mind
So Dean Malenko lost the Cruiserweight Championship to Syxx when Eddie Guerrero showed up, tried to keep Syxx from running away with the physical championship, got into an ill-timed and ill-placed tug-of-war and accidentally got Malenko hit in the face with the belt. Eddie’s sorry for what happened, but Malenko is batshit about it. Last week, he showed up to shove Guerrero off the top rope by the ass and cost him a match with the Faces of Fear, and this week he’s cutting two (2) promos about it.
The first one comes after a win against Meanderin’ Mike Enos, built around the idea that Malenko’s no longer a stoic mat technician but a PISSED-OFF LITTLE JEWISH DAD who will PUNCH YOU SO HARD. He’s the NEW AND IMPROVED DEAN MALENKO, which is exactly like the old regular one, except he ground and pounds you for a few seconds between limb grinding. Stinko still beats him by countering a slam into a small package, because you can’t teach an old dog how to fetch.
The second promo comes later in the night, after Eddie Guerrero and Ultimo Dragon have a terrible match. Dude, I know, I didn’t feel right typing it either. They go for like two awkward minutes before Dragon does a sideways cartwheel, crossbodies Eddie into the ropes and everyone chooses to ignore that 85% of the pinfall is happening out of bounds. Look at this:
It’s so bad that when Dragon kicks out after three, Guerrero has to physically roll over Mark Curtis while they’re both in the ropes, and Curtis is still like, “nope, this is fine, legal pinfall.” Sonny Onoo gets on the apron to raise hell about how blatantly unfair it was, but he’s the only person in the world who seems to care. Dragon and Eddie both look pissed, so I don’t know what happened. This is probably the shittiest match between two great wrestlers you’ll ever see. David Sammartino and Despy Joe Gomez could’ve done better.
But yeah, Malenko shows up again to inform Eddie Guerrero that he used to respect him, but no longer respects him, which is “shine it up real nice, turn that some-bitch sideways and stick it straight up, your candy ass” in Malenko-speak.
Worst: Schiller, Scary Good
Last week’s Nitro ended with Lex Luger surrendering the Tag Team Championships to the New World Order on one condition: they take him up on a challenge for a big WCW vs. nWo match at Uncensored, with every championship in the company on the line. Bischoff accepted, and our big PPV blowoff was set.
This week, Bischoff announces that the match isn’t going to happen because Lex Luger doesn’t have any authority, and that he just kinda reversed his own agreeable decision. Because WCW. Because WCW.
This week’s actual episode begins with the nWo pulling up in a hummer limo — nobody ask who’s driving — covered in gun metal print and WCW logos, because why not? They’re quickly followed by a second, more nondescript limousine featuring a bunch of low men in yellow coats identified by Tony Schiavone as representatives of Turner Sports. It turns out one of them is the President of Turner Sports, Harvey Schiller, and he interrupts Bischoff’s promo to tell him that he’s SUSPENDED for months and months of weird, self-serving, counterproductive business practices. Everybody in the world is like, YES, FINALLY, and the segment ends with Bischoff following him to the back, groveling for another chance.
Here’s a fun game. Take out a piece of paper and write on it how long you think they stay with this angle.
Worst: Scotty Riggs Is Definitely Never Getting To Look Good In This Angle
Scotty Riggs wrestles M. Wallstreet, and I think I put my computer to sleep just typing that. It ends with Buff Bagwell running in and beating up Riggs again, to set up AMERICAN MALES EXPLODE DOS at Uncensored. Riggs manages to escape, grab a non-folding bowling alley chair and slide back into the ring to make Bags beg off from AWKWARD HARDCORE VIOLENCE, but he’s also able to escape and nothing happens.
Man, nothing in wrestling is ever weirder than when guys use non-conventional seating to attack each other. Steel folding chair, that’s the aesthetic. When you bring one of those balsa wood chairs into the ring that break when you breathe on them too hard or try to beat somebody’s ass with one of these clumsy cafeteria chairs it’s just a no-go.
Worst: That Feeling When You Regret Taking Out The Trash
A drunk (?) (probably) Madusa talks to Scheme Gene about how depressing it is that she threw a “world class title” in the garbage to “open up” women’s wrestling, only to sit in the back doing nothing for like a year while Eric Bischoff masturbates into a jean jacket. She says nWo stands for “new women’s organization,” which gets the most groany “ughhhhh” pop from the audience you’ve ever heard.
Madusa says she should be the number one contender to Akira Hokuto’s WCW Women’s Championship — raise your hand if you remembered who the women’s champion was — and mentions that she saw LUNA VACHON backstage “in her garb.” Luna thinks she’s number one contender, which makes sense because she’s hanging out backstage before her WCW debut, hasn’t actually appeared on television yet and has had no matches.
Luna gets summoned like the Candyman and slaps Madusa in the shoulders until we go to commercial. Somewhere, a 21-year old Stephanie McMahon is watching this like, “wait a minute … why hasn’t anyone tried women’s wrestling?”
Worst: Mystery King Vs. Super Secret Initials
The final match of the night before I have to write about the Roddy Piper thing is Rey Mysterio Jr. vs. Mr. JL, which looks to challenge Eddie Guerrero vs. Ultimo Dragon as the worst match featuring good wrestlers. That picture is sincerely the highlight. It’s JL coming off the top rope with a flying headbutt, getting the angle of descent wrong and sorta faceplanting in the middle of the ring.
Prince Iaukea gets a picture-in-picture promo here to announce that he’s giving Rey another shot at the TV title at Uncensored, because WCW saw Rey Mysterio Jr. lose to Prince Iaukea on pay-per-view once and thought, “we can make this feel worse.”
Worst: Rowdy Roddy Piper Forms A Family
Oh God. Try to stay with me here.
Earlier in the night, Eric Bischoff announced that the WCW vs. nWo match for all the championships at Uncensored wasn’t happening, because f*ck you, that’s why. He got suspended, but that wasn’t enough for Rowdy Roddy Piper. Piper decides seemingly in real-time that he needs a “family” backing him up if he hopes to fight the nWo on an even playing field, so instead of, you know, aligning himself with the promotion he keeps main-eventing pay-per-views for despite not being employed by that’s currently in a life-or-death war with the group he hates, Piper has arranged SIX CONSECUTIVE LIVE TRYOUT MATCHES for walk-on strangers we’ve NEVER SEEN BEFORE, and he will FIGHT THEM ALL RIGHT NOW and the crowd will decide who is family and who isn’t by GIVING A THUMBS UP OR A THUMBS DOWN.
Let me type that again. A non-WCW employee is hoping to destroy a non-WCW organization by teaming up with three other non-WCW employees he was given permission to shootfight on WCW TV, having a non-WCW vs. non-WCW match in the main event of a WCW branded pay-per-view and strike a victory for … not WCW?
Anyway, here’s Rowdy Roddy Piper shootfighting a bunch of increasingly naked guys in jeans.
Up first is a shirtless guy in jeans you couldn’t name if you had a WWE Encyclopedia and the fucking Infinity Gauntlet. Piper shakes his hand and they horribly grapple for like two minutes until Piper grabs a KIMURA LOCK. I’m not kidding. The guy is forced to tap out, but “tapping out” isn’t really a thing in wrestling yet and UFC isn’t popular enough for every pro wrestler to know what it is, so the guy taps out with big, single, strong slaps of the mat. Like, he hits it once, then looks around for Piper to stop. He doesn’t, so the guy slaps the mat one more time. It’s like watching Elaine Benes dance in MMA form.
Piper asks the crowd if they give it a thumbs up or a thumbs down. Every person with an opposable thumb points that shit at the ground. ENJOY THIS FIVE MORE TIMES.
Opponent #2 escalates the shirtless jeans game by strapping on a pair of DAISY DUKES. You may know him as future WCW jobber stalwart “Horshu” or as Thanksgiving-hating WWE star Luther Reigns. His career peaked in a jeep-tipping exhibition.
On Nitro, he’s playing a Never Nude who throws some stompy forearms at Roddy Piper before getting put to sleep in a sleeper. The crowd gives ol’ Horsey Shoes the thumbs down as well, because the approval rating for gay old/young narcolepsy porn in Atlanta in 1997 was surprisingly low.
I bet the third guy will be totally different!
Wait, is that Battle Kat? Maybe the first guy was Battle Kat, I get them confused. That’s what you get when you hold your anti-nWo army tryouts in the middle of a sexy fireman calendar.
We don’t see much of this guy, because as he’s on the way to the ring he’s attacked from behind by the FOURTH guy:
This guy continues the increasingly naked motif by wrestling in boxer briefs and little shoes. “Wrestling” in quotation marks because like his briefs, he’s a BOXER. An unsolicited walk-on boxer. He tosses Piper a pair of gloves to box with him, because everyone LOVED that WrestleMania 2 boxing match, and the difference in their glove sizes is HILARIOUS. The boxer’s got big Punch-Out-style gloves, and Piper’s boxing him in mittens.
The boxer is Craig Mally, a direct-to-video action movie stuntman and I guess boxer who according to varying reports was either Roddy Piper’s movie buddy who needed a favor, personal young boy who carried around his luggage or Brother Bruti-style down-low love interest. All we know is that he was a terrible boxer everybody hated who just kinda runs at you and punches like a little kid until you hit him once, which temporarily paralyzes him, causing him to fall down. When he hits the ground, he pops back into form, gets up and runs at you again.
He and Piper foxy-box for what feels like an eternity while the crowd dies a thousand deaths, and when it’s over, Piper’s all smiles. He’s like, YEAH, THIS KID’S GOT MOXIE, HE’S A ROOKIE WITH RUTHLESS AGGRESSION, and the crowd is just like, BAOOOOOOOOOOOOO. Proving that this entire thing was Piper’s idea and total bullshit, Piper gets a microphone to tell the crowd they’re being “too harsh,” and decides to try it again. They box MORE, eventually taking off their wacky gloves and BARE-KNUCKLE BRAWLING until Piper calls time-out. He polls the audience with a thumbs up, every living human ever gives him a thumbs down, and Piper’s like, “CONGRATULATIONS, IT’S UNANIMOUS, YOU’RE IN.”
Note: this segment ain’t through with you, not yet by a long shot.
Opponent five (Jesus Christ) is a SHOELESS KICKBOXER who looks like Dr. Death Steve Williams spent a few years doing meth and got a bunch of bad tattoos and windbreakers. Piper is blown the hell up from play-boxing one of Lyle Alzado’s dingleberries for five minutes, so this guy just kinda lifts his bare feet into Piper’s face over and over and Piper can’t do anything about it.
This jerk with an exceptionally NXT-friendly name is Layton Morrison, another movie friend and stunt man. He did some stunt work on La Femme Nikita, so you’d think Vince McMahon would be all over him. He continues literally heeling on Piper until he goes for a military press, has no actual idea how to do it and gives Hot Rod a brutal wedgie. Piper calls time out again and thumbs ups Morrison into the group, while — you guessed it — everyone in the Omni boos and gives the thumbs down.
If you’re going through Hell, keep going.
Opponent number six is John Tenta, last seen on Nitro almost a year ago when Big Bubba changed him from shark to man by shaving off half of his hair and mustache. The crowd pops for him because he’s the first recognizable actual pro wrestler they’ve seen in 20 minutes. The announce team puts him over as a big sumo star in Japan, because dot dot dot question mark question mark shark noises.
Piper barely wrestles him before the Kickboxer and Punchboxer charge the ring and attack Tenta, which … doesn’t seem like the rules, but whatever. Piper stands back and makes googily smiles at the crowd, as if to say, “ain’t these guys crazy?” The crowd stands with their thumbs down making bored angry faces, as if to say, “THE SHIT WERE YOU THINKING, DUDE?”
Piper stops them from fighting, declares them his family and slaps them in the face all in a row like he’s reprimanding the Three Stooges. Roddy can’t decide if he wants to be Antonio Inoki or Moe Howard. Tenta’s body language here is funny as hell to me, as he actually sells the slap like a Stooge might, getting cartoon angry in place before realizing it’s about FIGHTING SPIRIT. Watch him. It’s funnier the longer you watch.
That leaves Piper’s team as:
1. a 43-year old insane man with a replacement hip who once locked himself inside an abandoned prison
2. a non-wrestling boxer who is terrible at boxing
3. a non-wrestling kickboxer without the strength to properly lift a man half his size
4. a fat guy who once thought he was an actual shark and was like the fifth most effective member of the Dungeon of Doom
And that concludes probably the worst actual segment (non-Russo division) in Nitro history. Piper had a bad idea, executed it poorly for 20 minutes, filled up a quarter hour of Nitro with a weird masturbatory brotherhood fantasy for his movie pals, alienated the Omni crowd in the last WCW event held in one of WCW’s most important buildings, further confused his weird story about not working for WCW despite clearly working for WCW and openly ignored his own established rules to get through a bit nobody liked.
Watch the entire thing here, if you dare:
Absolutely unbearable. Like watching a car crash, if it was a seven car pile-up happening slowly for like half an hour.
The segment is so bad that it’s followed almost immediately by the entire nWo coming to the ring and shitting on it, with Savage extensively shooting on how bad Piper is and Hollywood Hogan saying Piper’s Family was Piper fighting “a bunch of wrestling fans.” I mean, he’s not wrong.
Oh, and Eric Bischoff makes sure to come out with them like an hour after being suspended to explain that everything’s fine, he doesn’t care, and that he can’t be fired because he and Hogan are friends with Ted Turner. If you wrote “for a few minutes” on that piece of paper, congratulations, you won!
This is all so bad that it ends up bleeding into the main event, which is supposed to be the Steiner Brothers vs. Lex Luger and the Giant, but turns into the nWo surrounding the ring while the WCW troops and Roddy Piper’s definitely not WCW team hold them off.
I want to tell you that I’m exaggerating when I call this the worst thing a fully functioning Nitro ever did, but I also want to go ahead and tell you that the entire thing gets retconned next week in case you weren’t watching in 1997 and think I’m exaggerating. So last week the Uncensored main event was WCW vs. nWo with all the titles on the line. This week, the main event is, presumably, the nWo vs. WCW vs. Rowdy Roddy Piper and the three most intimidating dudes he could find at the Gothic Asshole for nothing. Next week, it changes.
Spoiler alert: it involves Mongo and Jeff Jarrett. I swear to God. THUMBS DOWN, THUMBS DOWN.