The Best And Worst Of WCW Monday Nitro 11/11/96: I’m Your Man

Previously on the Best and Worst of WCW Monday Nitro: Eric Bischoff traveled to a Nitro Party in Portland, Oregon, to try to get Rowdy Roddy Piper to agree to a match against Hollywood Hogan. He absolutely could not have done this over the phone. The show ended with the second consecutive main-event recap of Piper’s return at Halloween Havoc ’96, and Hogan sorta mindlessly talking about it for several minutes. We are extremely comfortable beating Raw in the ratings, guys!

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 you totally should.

As for now, please scroll through for the vintage Best and Worst of WCW Monday Nitro for Nov. 11, 1996.

Best: Jeff Jarrett Gets His

Since showing up in WCW, Jeff Jarrett’s story has been, “I’m a bad guy from the WWF, but I’m DUBYA SEE DUBYA ALL THE WAY BABY! F*ck the nWo! F*ck that traitor Sting! I cain’t wait to be alone with my baby tonight, and my baby is the dubya see dubya!” On last week’s episode he cut a tone-deaf promo about how he was the leader of WCW and the leader of the Four Horsemen, despite two of the four being there beside him saying, “we hate this guy, he ain’t the leader of sh*t.”

On this week’s episode, Jarrett wrestles one of those four, Chris Benoit. The match itself is fun while it lasts, but it’s all about the finish. Jarrett starts strutting in the ring, and motherf*cking CROW STING shows up out of oblivion to Scorpion Death Drop him for running his mouth. If you’ve ever wondered why WCW fans were so enamored with this version of Sting, it’s for moments like this. Watching from the outside, you can’t really do anything about these Jeff Jarrett types who show up and talk too much and waste the show’s time. Sting, though, Sting can show up from out of nowhere or repel down from the ceiling or jump in from a f*cking helicopter and dish out righteous justice.

The post-match stuff is pretty funny, too, with Woman using the worst logic ever to unite the Horsemen.

Woman: “You should help him up.”
Woman: “He’s WCW! We don’t know who Sting is! But Jeff Jarrett is WCW, so help him up. You should really help him up. Help him up. Sting, the guy who has been a company man for 10 years, we don’t know his allegiances! The guy who beat up the nWo at War Games because WCW doubted him, we have no way of telling which side he’s on. But Jeff Jarrett, the guy who’s been here for a few weeks, the heel from the WWF who has shown up acting real suspicious about how much he wants to lead us in a fight against heels from the WWF, he’s definitely WCW. So help him up.”

(I’m paraphrasing.)

Best/Worst: The Face In Your Dreams Of Glass

As you know if you read our recap of last week’s show, there’s a doomed WCW Women’s Championship tournament happening. Madusa defeated Reina Jubuki (Akira Hokuto’s CMLL gimmick) in round one, only to be confronted by the mysterious ZERO, who looked like what would happen if season 1 Full House John Stamos put Triple H’s trunks on his face.

This week, we get to see Zero in action against Malia Hosaka, who is straight from the 1980s lady wrestling academy of leotards and L’eggs pantyhose. The match is just Zero no-selling everything and sending Hosaka back to The Orient (Hawaii) with a crucifix powerbomb. It’s great in a “tough Japanese woman shrugging off dropkicks and shaking her head ‘no’ ” kind of way, but bad in a “this is to set up a meaningless round two match in a tournament for a belt that almost immediately vanishes” way. Forest or the trees, I guess.

+1 to Tony Schiavone for shrugging off Larry Zbyszko’s sh*tty “I think it’s a her” jokes with a firm, “YES IT’S A HER.”

Best: DDP Doesn’t Want To Be #8

Two weeks ago (in 1996), the Outsiders showed up in the crowd to cheer on Diamond Dallas Page during a match. It makes sense. Page used to team with Nash and manage Hall. Hall was once “The Dimond Studd,” if you’ll recall, which almost caused me to call Zero’s crucifix powerbomb a “Diamond Death Drop.” Last week, Hall and Nash interfered in Page’s match against Ice Train and helped him win by politely bashing Train in the head and back with heavy gold belts. Page missed the whole thing thanks to Nick Patrick trying to “help” him outside the ring.

This week, Hall and Nash make it official: they want Page in the nWo.

Now, by this time next year there will be no logical heel or face turns. It’ll all be about whether you put on a shirt someone gave you. That’s what decided “good” and “evil” in WCW for like three years. If you put on the shirt, you were a jerk. If you didn’t, you were a hero! Here, there’s a lot more to it. Page acknowledges his friendship with both Hall and Nash, but brings up a very good point: If they’re such good friends, why did they wait until now to ask him to be a part of the group? This would make him the eighth guy and have him join the group after Virgil. That’s a slap in the face, man. The Outsiders try to justify it by saying they were looking out for Page and needed to build some political clout before they could ask all their friends to join, but Page knows they’re full of sh*t. I mean, the 1-2-3 Kid is in the group for God’s sake.

When Page doesn’t immediately join, the story becomes, “we couldn’t ask you to join because you’re neighbors with Eric Bischoff.” That sounds a little too much like “you’re only in the company because you suck up to the boss” — ironic, considering what happens with Bischoff himself soon — and the whole thing breaks down. What Hall and Nash are actually saying is, “we didn’t think you were good enough to join up before, but we like you now, and we’re trying to pad our roster so we can have our own show.” What Page is saying is, “you guys are *ssholes for waiting this long to ask me to join, and then saying I don’t deserve to be here.” It’s a great, human conflict, and probably way too three-dimensional for an Attitude Era face turn. But hey, guess what? It worked. It gave us a chance to see Page as a human being for … well, arguably the first time. He has a reason to fight these guys, instead of just “WCW!”

Best: Ciclope Is Out Of His Goddamn Mind

Ciclope is a luchador who is also a cyclops. Plus, he’s f*cking bonkers.

Two important things happen in his match with Rey Mysterio Jr.:

1. Near the end of the match, Ciclope tries to go up top. He’s got terrible depth perception, so it doesn’t work. Mysterio counters by jumping onto his shoulders and flipping him upside down off the top rope to the floor. After like 10 seconds of me holding my breath and trying to remember if I’d blacked out an episode of Nitro where Ciclope literally dies, Mysterio rolls him back into the ring, hits a West Coast Pop and gets the win. Ciclope, be careful with yourself. I hope his Halloween poncho’s got air bags.

2. Both Dean Malenko and Psicosis show up to scout the match, and it turns into the greatest Christian rock album cover ever:

Note: I’m going to start referring to Jesus as “I Am of 1,000 Holds.”

Best: The nWo Is Coming For Your Cable TV Awards

The nWo show up to promise an “nWo Monday Nitro” and … shill? the CableACE Awards. The Bullet Club isn’t legit until they’ve gone after a third-tier awards show. I just want Kenny Omega and the Young Bucks to show up and hit Ariana Grande with a triple superkick because the Nickelodeon Kids Choice Awards are fuh-fuh-fuh-for life.

The best part of this is that it’s the start of the longstanding beef between Scott Hall and Larry Zbyszko. More on that in like, a year. Actually, the best part of this is that it’s the closet Virgil ever came to winning a CableACE Award.

Worst: I Miss You, Early-1996 Lex Luger

We’re already in “hour one of Nitro was great, but hour two blows” territory, suggesting that wrestling shows that aren’t live events or pay-per-views should never be more than an hour long. Lucha Underground is an hour, and it’s perfect. It always leaves us wanting more. NXT is only an hour, and the talent gets rotated out to make sure as many people as possible get over, and you don’t get tired of seeing the same matches and faces every week. Raw is three hours long, and it feels like dental surgery.

Anyway, hour two features Lex Luger vs. Scott Norton, which might’ve been fun earlier in the year when Luger had a personality, and was not just “muscular babyface.” Defaulting Luger to his most basic makes him his most boring, because he’s just Hulk Hogan without the connection to the crowd. They love the Torture Rack, sure, but that’s it. It’s actually more comparable to Randy Orton, who can make tens of thousands of people lose their mind over an RKO setup, but has them sitting on their hands for the other 10 minutes. He’s a less agile, more chill Randy Orton. That might be the meanest thing I’ve ever said about someone.

Anyway, Norton vs. Luger isn’t very good. Luger survives by tucking and rolling out of the way of a flying Norton, then gets him up in the Torture Rack. It’s fine, it’s just that Luger matches without Sting hovering around to do something feel like a waste of time.

Worst: Nasty Booties (And Another Harlem Heat Match)

Speaking of wasting time, here’s Harlem Heat vs. the Amazing French-Canadians. “Harlem Heat Match Finish” kicks in with Sherri accidentally getting rolled into the ring and stomping around like a child for … several minutes, but we miss almost all of it thanks to a super important backstage segment involving the Nasty Boys.

The Nasties are not allowed in the building by security, probably because they (1) sold out WCW to join the nWo, but sucked too much and got kicked out before they even joined, and (2) they showed up a couple of weeks ago to ruin a tag match and more or less declare themselves free agents. As they’re being thrown out, the camera lingers and sees them get pulled to the side by a random crackhead. Sorry, that’s Brutus Beefcake. If you’ll recall, Beefcake is the only other person to try to join the nWo and get turned down. If you’re like, “wow, I don’t remember a Nasty Boys/Booty Man anti-nWo squad,” don’t worry, it doesn’t go anywhere. Maybe Brother Booty pulled them aside to buy some blow.

Worst: Nick Patrick VS. Chris Jericho Is Already So Exhausting They Cut The Post-Match

Hour two really is a mess. The next match is Konnan vs. Chris Jericho, with Konnan at his crankiest and sloppiest and the announce team rambling on about Hogan and Piper. The only point of the match is to get to the finish, which is Jericho narrowly avoiding colliding with Nick Patrick, getting dropkicked from behind so he bumps into him anyway, and Patrick calling for a DQ.

Now, you’d expect some kind of big followup segment where Jericho calls out Patrick for screwing him over, and maybe Teddy Long shows up again to argue with Patrick’s lawyer. Instead, they go to commercial, and when they come back they’re ready to go with the next match. The announce team’s all, “wow, Jericho really wanted to get his hands on Nick Patrick, he wanted his hands on him SO BAD, but I guess we’ll find out what happens there some other time. HERE’S MIGUEL PEREZ, THIS IS MORE IMPORTANT.”

What: Juventud Guerrera Vs. Miguel Perez

Hang on, I think I’ve seen this screencap before.

You may remember Miguel Perez as one of “Los Boricuas” in the WWF, or as a catcher for the Cincinnati Reds in 2005. Probably different guys. But yeah, Perez kinda looks like Chavo Guerrero with Prince Albert’s body hair, cosplaying as Konnan.

I’m giving this a “what” instead of a Best or a Worst because it’s so out of left field (for the Cincinnati Reds). It’s not Chris Jericho vs. Mike Enos cult classic good, but for a sub-4-minute Nitro debut in the middle of an hour two, it’s about as good as you can get. To put it another way, the match features Juventud going for a hurricanrana off the security railing and getting POWERBOMBED TO THE FLOOR. Miguel Perez is doing this. Also, a Space Flying Tiger Drop. MIGUEL PEREZ does a SPACE FLYING TIGER DROP on Nitro. He even gets the win by dodging Juvy’s 450 splash and rolling him up. Why the hell wasn’t Miguel Perez a thing? He’s off to WWF before you know it.

Miguel Perez. Huh.

Worst (With A Small Best): The Bagwell Heel Turn Continues

The main event is a total tire fire, but we get another great moment in the ongoing Marcus Bagwell heel turn. Here, Scotty Riggs seems to have the match in hand. He whips Barbarian into the ropes, and Bagwell (trying to be helpful) trips Barbarian up. That causes Riggs to miss a dropkick, which leads to him getting Mafia Kicked in the dome by the homie Meng and losing. Bagwell once again has time to break up the pin, but doesn’t, because he’s a combination of slow on the take and disgusted at his own futility.

But yeah, tire fire. To make things worse, Jimmy Hart gets on the microphone after the match and demands that the Faces of Fear be added to the tag-team championship match at World War 3. The Nasty Boys currently have that shot. The Nasty Boys, the guys WCW wouldn’t let into the building a few minutes ago. Those guys have a title shot, which nobody knew about until Jimmy Hart was like WHY DO THE NASTY BOYS HAVE A TITLE SHOT.

Hilarious Worst Slash Ironic Best: He’s Your man

In a great change of pace from the past two weeks, your main event is a Roddy Piper video and Hulk Hogan talking.

Earlier in the show, a fan named “Ken McDade” jumped the railing and handed Tony Schiavone a mysterious package, saying it would explain how Rowdy Roddy Piper feels about the possibility of wrestling Hulk Hogan in WCW. Zbyszko rightfully asks if the package is “ticking.” Schiavone just opens it anyway, because it was a more innocent time.

It turns out that the package contained a video tape of a music video Piper made 4 years earlier, which was “a hit in Europe.” Here it is, in its entirety. Tell me what you think it means:

1. It means Roddy Piper wants to have monogamous sex with Hulk Hogan, right?
2. Did Piper send this in via a random barrier-jumping fan? Wasn’t Bischoff just in Oregon trying to get him to agree to the match? Couldn’t he have, I don’t know, said “yes” or “no?” Did the answer have to be communicated via early-90s music television?
3. Roddy Piper seems like a great boyfriend
4. For Hulk Hogan
5. So they’re wrestling?

Join us next week, when the Wrestling Boot Band delivers a thinly-vieled threat to Piper.