Previously on the vintage Best and Worst of WCW Monday Nitro: Randy Anderson won a referee vs. referee match against Nick Patrick to get his job back, but it turns out he was helped by a SECOND noble/shady WCW referee and they BOTH got fired. Oh, also, Rowdy Roddy Piper locked himself in Alcatraz to prepare for a match against Hollywood Hogan. And the Steiner Brothers possibly died in a car accident caused by the paparazzo nWo. Nitro is CRAZY right now.
Remember, if you want us to keep writing 20-year-old WCW jokes, be sure to click those share buttons, recommend the column to friends and drop down into our comments section to let us know what you thought of the show (or our jokes). “Roddy Piper looks like he’s masturbating into the ocean” jokes don’t write themselves.
And now, the vintage Best and Worst of WCW SuperBrawl VII, originally aired on February 23, 1997.
Best/Worst: Eddie Guerrero Makes Syxx A Champion
Let’s start off SuperBrawl (which is like a regular brawl but off the top rope) with a match for the Cruiserweight Championship, built around the idea that Dean Malenko’s father helped train Syxx so they know each other well. Malenko knows how to instantly dispatch the guy if he wants to — which he doesn’t, because his temper keeps getting in the way — and Syxx knows Malenko’s weakness is his neck, which has gone through a bunch of injuries and surgeries. It’s honestly a really good story for a show-opening championship match. So good that I had to move the “you may know Dean Malenko’s dad as the Insane Clown Posse’s best album” joke until the end of the paragraph.
The problem with this match — and many, many WCW matches — is that the ending is not only hacky, it doesn’t fit the work they’ve done before it. In this one, Syxx and Malenko are so evenly matched that they keep almost knocking each other out. So after like 12 minutes, Syxx suddenly decides to stop wrestling and just steal the championship again. What? Maybe he was going to use it as a weapon and draw a DQ or something, but the announcers sell it as him stealing it, so it is what it is. Eddie Guerrero runs out to stop him and grabs the other end of the championship and a COMICAL TUG-OF-WAR ensues, and in the moment Mark Curtis goes from checking on Malenko to admonishing Guerrero, Guerrero lets go and the belt snaps back and hits Malenko in the face. Because it’s not a piece of leather, it’s a Stretch Armstrong the sh*tty neighborhood kid convinced you to stretch really far so he could let go and make the hard plastic part hit you in the nuts.
Syxx is the new Cruiserweight Champion, and Eddie Guerrero has cost WCW a championship. Eddie acts upset, and we should believe him, because he’s not the type to ever love the nWo so much he forms an ethnically-specific parody version.
Best: Total Lucha Garbage
Up next is an absolute pile of wrestling trash that makes me happily clap my hands: Konnan, La Parka and definitely not Ray Mendoza Jr. in a mask vs. Juventud Guerrera, Ciclope and the patron saint of falling on his goddamn head, Super Calo. If you couldn’t already figure it out, that picture is La Parka setting up a chair to make Super Calo sit in it so he can dive onto him in a seated position. It doesn’t look any better, but it hurts way more. BECAUSE SUPER CALO. They set this up by Calo going for a springboard dropkick to the outside and just falling 10 feet onto his face.
Amazingly, all of that is topped by Ciclope, who performs maybe the worst lucha libre crash and burn of the year.
Worst: RIP Ciclope
Oh my God, what are you doing? And furthermore, why is a guy with no depth perception trying to dive?
The match is a total clusterf*ck, and ends (?) with Juventud Guerrera kicking out a crucifix powerbomb from Konnan. Mike Tenay calls it, “that power-drop!” Juvy kicks out at 2 1/2, and the referee’s just like, no, that’s three, I don’t want to look at Ciclope anymore.
Worst: Rey Mysterio Mails It In, But Honestly, Can You Blame Him
In case you missed it, WWF booked a Pacific Islander to upset their arrogant blue-blood for his championship only a few days before their pay-per-view. In response, WCW decided to put their Pacific Islander over THEIR arrogant blue-blood for his championship only a few days before the pay-per-view. Of all the ideas WCW could be directly copying, they chose, “give a title to a guy who isn’t ready and ruin some pay-per-view matches we’ve already announced.”
So instead of REY MYSTERIO JR. CHALLENGING LORD STEVEN REGAL FOR THE TELEVISION CHAMPIONSHIP IN A NO TIME LIMIT MATCH, we get Mysterio wearing the mask of a postal worker and mailing it the f*ck in against a guy who isn’t good enough to be beating Jumpin’ Joey Maggs on Worldwide, much less pinning REY MYSTERIO on pay-per-view. The worst part is that Prince BEATS HIM. This is actually the first of two straight Prince Iaukea pay-per-view victories over Rey Mysterio, believe it or not.
Rey goes up top near the end of the match and wants a hurricanrana, but Prince is woefully out of position and doesn’t know what to do. So Rey has to jump off and basically rana Prince’s torso, wrapping his legs around Prince’s waist and just kinda folding himself over and hoping Prince flips. It’s sad as hell. Rey sets up for the springboard rana and looks like he’s going to win the match, but Sneaky Giles shows up and yanks him off the apron.
Prince ends up getting a tainted victory, but nobly tries to give Mysterio the TV title when he realizes what happened. Rey is like, “no, no, you keep it.” The story here is that NOBODY WANTS THE TELEVISION TITLE. Fun fact that I swear I’m not making up: the title eventually ends up in the garbage, and garbage-dweller Jim Duggan recovers it and names himself TV champion. Not a joke. That is the legacy of this championship.
Best: RIP Prince Iaukea
Mailing it in doesn’t stop Rey from taking out his frustrations in one of the most “oh my Christ” inducing sentons ever:
If he’d tried that sh*t in WWE, Sin Cara’s head would’ve looked like Mr. Gone at the end of The Maxx.
Best: DDP Truly Understands How This Terrible Booking Works
Upcoming Cult Hero Diamond Dallas Page signs on for a match against nWo TBD, and finds out in a backstage interview with Mean Gene that it’ll be Buff Bagwell. Page actually watches the show and has been paying attention to how the nWo operates, so he’s like, “whatever, it’s just gonna end in a run-in, I’m gonna Diamond Cutter the sh*t out of him.” I’m paraphrasing.
So the match happens, and it goes well. Buff goes Full Carnie and breaks out the “shove the referee and get shoved back” bit Triple H loves, and Scott Dickinson gets the biggest pop of the night by backing Buff into a corner and berating him until he’s practically bridging. Really shocked Eric Bischoff didn’t stop the match to fire Dickinson and give Buff a trophy.
Anyway, as soon as Page hits the Diamond Cutter — in a great moment where Buff sticks his arm out to pose before a neckbreaker and Page reaches back and uses it to spin him around into the cutter — the nWo hits the ring. Page bails into the crowd, licking his hand a la Brittany Murphy in 8 Mile to blow them a kiss. Everyone around him is an amazing human being.
Best: And Speaking Of The Crowd …
He’s never around anyone that could be his parents, he’s always in the front rows at shows, and he goes to both WCW and WWF shows around the country. One day we’re gonna find out he’s Austin Aries or whatever and our lives will be complete.
Worst: The Best Worst Match You’ll Ever Watch
Okay, so imagine that you’re watching one of those first round Cruiserweight Classic matches where both guys are trying to prove themselves, so they do too much and kick out of everything. Now imagine that they’re doing it in front of a Raw crowd, two hours into a boring show. That’s Chris Jericho vs. Eddie Guerrero at SuperBrawl VII.
When WWE does their “growing up, they idolized Eddie Guerrero” thing, I think back to matches like this. He’s clearly working hard and he’s good at what he does, but WCW crowds largely never gave much of a f*ck about Eddie, especially compared to Chris Benoit and even Dean Malenko. If you grew up idolizing Eddie, you probably grew up watching him in WWE, where they made him into a ridiculous caricature and accidentally burst open his personality and allowed him to connect with fans. Here, the crowd is borderline booing him for existing, and would rather be watching anything else.
He’s wrestling Chris Jericho, too, before Jericho got a personality. So it’s whitebread, cardboard cut-out Chris Jericho vs. boring workhorse Eddie Guerrero with zero story in the middle of a long show, doing a bunch of mat wrestling when people expected more high-flying cruiserweight stuff. They just watched Ciclope make like the Ballad of the Green Berets and jump and die.
So if you watch the match objectively, it’s technically very good. Lots of great moves, lots of fun exchanges, even a triangle splash from inside the ring to the floor. All to dead silence. It’s crazy how quickly an uninterested crowd can turn great wrestling into a chore, and really speaks to how important it is that you pay attention to ALL aspects of your wrestling presentation. It’s important to know whose ass it is and why it’s farting, you know?
Worst: Flyboy Rocco Rock’s Weird Head
The major development of the triple threat tag team match that was originally a fatal four-way before the Steiner Brothers got vehicularly manslaughtered is that Flyboy Rocco Rock shaved his head, and it’s weird, man. He went from looking like one of the Dick in a Box guys to looking like chocolate chip Barry Darsow. What’s going on with your head, brother? Some people look better with a shaved head. The back of Rocco Rock’s head looks like somebody bruised their thumb.
The action highlight (lol) is The Barbarian going for a Styles Clash (LOL) …
… and losing when Johnny Grunge comes off the top rope, hits an upside-down Rocco Rock and knocks them both down. The trick to knocking The Barbarian unconscious is to hit someone he’s holding, apparently. Public Enemy becomes the new #1 contenders to the Tag Team Championship, which is great news for anyone who wished Kevin Smith split into two dudes and got into hip-hop.
Worst: Debra Shockingly Betrays Mongo
Regular readers of the Best and Worst of Nitro may be asking themselves, “I haven’t seen the Four Horsemen stand in a huddle and complain about their relationships yet, is something wrong?” Don’t worry, regulars, the Horsemen get their horrible segment at SuperBrawl, and yes, it involves someone getting hit with a briefcase.
For those of you who haven’t been following along, former Chicago Bears defensive tackle and small dog costume warehouse owner Steve “Mongo” McMichael is married to a gossipy, aging beauty queen. She’s illogically enamored with a failed country musician in suspenders and possible Bob’s Burgers character Jeff Jarrett, and wants him to be able to join her husband’s rich guy gang. Some people in the gang are okay with it, some aren’t, and some are too busy having sexual chess matches with belligerent trolls in bath robes to have an opinion. Mongo wrestles Jarrett at SuperBrawl, and if Jarrett beats him he gets to become the fifth member of a team of four.
Near the end of the match, Mongo kicks out too hard and knocks out the referee. Seriously. He kicks out and Jarrett kinda flails his arm as he’s being thrown off, which blinds the referee and also possibly puts him into a coma. Mongo orders Debra to give him the briefcase, but metal briefcase shots are the leading cause of bad Jeff Jarrett match endings these days and she resists. He insists, so she turns her back to him and throws the briefcase over her head. Jarrett catches it, Haliburtons Mongo in the dome with it and gets the pin to become the Fifth Horseman. Debra winks at the camera, because a 37-year old in a ball gown chucking a metal briefcase into a wrestling ring isn’t a master of subtlety.
Surely this is the last we hear of the Horsemen and their relationships.
Best: SHE KICKED HIM IN THE THING
Oh, speaking of the Horsemen and their relationships (god dammit), here’s the SAN FRANCISCO DEATH MATCH betwixt Community lovers Chris Benoit and Woman and Neighborhood lovers Kevin Sullivan and Jaqueline. If you’re wondering what a San Francisco death match is, it’s a tornado mixed tag where anything goes, and the women are tied to one another with a leather strap. HEY, WHO’S UP FOR SOME CHRIS BENOIT HANGING IMAGERY?
I LOVED this match as a kid. It’s just bonkers chaos the entire time, with Sullivan and Benoit doing their now standard “fight everywhere and hit each other with sh*t while Dusty Rhodes loses his mind” act. Jacqueline kicks Benoit in the dick at one point, causing one of my favorite non-Andy Griffith-related Dusty calls of all-time: SHE KICKED HIM IN THE THING.
Dusty: [gasping with excitement] SHE KICKED, SHE KICKED HIM
Tony: [lol] yes she did
Dusty: SHE KICKED IN THE THING, I GUARANTEE IT. OH MY GOD, SOMEBODY HELP ME.
Tony: They’re beating the other woman’s man!
Tony and Dusty forever. The match ends with Benoit trying to put Sullivan through a table with a flying headbutt, and Jacqueline trying to cover him up to keep it from happening. Benoit, of course, just jumps off onto them anyway, flying headbutting both of them so hard that three people bounce off the table without it breaking.
Everyone ends up injured, sending Trainers EMTs Referees down to help take them away on stretchers. The best part is Lee Marshall showing up for some reason in a pair of white pants and sneakers, I’m guessing to tell Mark Curtis to take them to WEASEL Memorial Hospital:
Really sad we didn’t get a somber 1-800-COLLECT Road Report from the emergency room with a sad picture of Lee Marshall on the phone.
Best, For Now: Luger And Giant Take Out The Outsiders
I love you, Mark Curtis.
If you feel like the show’s been low on spectacularly WCW things, here’s the Tag Team Championship handicap match between the champions, the Outsiders, and the Giant. Lex Luger was supposed to be Giant’s partner and got medically cleared to compete despite a broken bone in his hand, but he took too long getting the doctor’s note and Bischoff banned him from ringside.
During the match, Kevin Nash pulls off the incredible feat of powerbombing the f*cking Giant, which you can (and should) watch here:
Enjoy that clip, because it’s the only time you’ll ever see it. Nash tries it again in January and almost kills him.
Anyway, just as all seems lost, Luger shows up from the back, cast-in-hand, ready to help. Bischoff jogs out and tries to block him, so Luger grabs him and throws him at the ground. It’s great and pops the crowd something fierce, and every single person paying attention should’ve said, “welp, there’s the reason this is all gonna be ignored tomorrow.”
Luger tags in and blasts everyone with cast shots, Torture Racking Kevin Nash (who’d already thrown out his back and probably torn 2 1/2 quads powerbombing a nearly 500-pound man) and leaving Giant open to chokeslam Scott Hall and win the Tag Team Championship. They make a big deal out of Giant being the legal guy in the match and how HE got the pin, which means it will DEFINITELY stand and won’t be thrown out on Nitro. I super bet you can’t guess what happens on Nitro.
Ironic Best: Rowdy Roddy Piper In Alcatraz
Finally, let’s get to one of the worst pay-per-view main events of all-time.
Six days earlier on Nitro, we found out that Rowdy Roddy Piper had locked himself in Alcatraz Federal Penitentiary to prepare for his championship match against Hollywood Hogan. He did this because Hogan made him feel weird in front of his son, who he brought to the ring during the main event of a Nitro because he, uh, didn’t want to fight or get his kid involved. I don’t know. Piper went nuts and decided the best way to prep for a title match would be to lock himself in a small cell in a prison that’s been closed for 30 years and not eat, drink or sleep for a week. All so he could be slightly better at sleeper holds and eye pokes?
The hilarious part is that Piper’s in there by himself and somehow his shirt is all ripped up like he’s been fighting prisoners all week. In the abandoned prison. What, did he fight the WCW camera crew?
Actually the hilarious part is the opening video that shows Piper “getting out of prison,” which follows him all the way down the steps and out the front door while he grimaces at security guards who are like, “uh, is the wrestler done yet?” Seriously, put the Monty Python laugh track over this and it’s the funniest thing in the world:
Piper slowly walks down the steps, then SPRINTS TO THE DOOR. Once he’s out he sprints to a boat, and clings to the front of it like a psychotic, feeble old man in sock and sandals who, need I remind you, hasn’t eaten or drank anything or slept for a week. A WEEK OF FIGHTING GHOST PRISONERS.
Also, he straight up looks like he’s about to blow a load into the ocean. It doesn’t help when he starts gripping a pole like he’s about to spin around it and yells I’M COMING into the wind:
Hope that week of bizarre, child-abandoning isolation prepped you for 10 minutes of awkward straddle-punching!
Worst: Sting Is Stupid
A while back on Nitro, the Macho Man Randy Savage returned and was told by Eric Bischoff that he was blacklisted from WCW, but could get back into the company by joining the nWo. Sting, a man forced into Piper-esque isolation by everyone in WCW turning on him to join the nWo, sees Macho in a black and white f*cking jacket and is like, “this is fine.”
At SuperBrawl, Macho Man and Sting show up. Sting tries to go to the ring, but Macho stops him. Macho goes and stands at ringside by himself, and Sting has to just awkwardly head to the back alone. HAVE YOU FIGURED OUT WHY? IT IS A MYSTERY.
Piper grabs Hogan in a sleeper with Macho standing right there watching him, and cleanly wins the match. Hogan is knocked out and his arm drops three times, and the referee calls the match. After that’s done and everyone turns their back, THEN Macho Man grabs Hogan by the legs and drags him under the ropes. I don’t know if Macho missed his cue (or missed his cue on purpose to make Hogan look like a chump) or what, or why the referee would turn back around, see Hogan balls-deep under the ropes and be like, “surely I missed that during the like 40 seconds Hogan was on the ground in a sleeper during the finish, and surely Macho Man didn’t do anything fishy even though he’s still standing RIGHT THERE IN FRONT OF HOGAN.” But WCW in capital letters, so Macho slips Hogan some brass knuckles and the match is restarted.
Hogan instantly punches Piper in the face and pins him missionary style to retain the championship.
The show goes off the air in the happiest and most reasonable way possible, with Macho Man and Hogan hugging in the middle of the ring, then beating down and spray-painting Piper for like 10 minutes while nobody tries to help.
No Giant and Luger showing up to further stand up for WCW, no Sting running out to be like, “HEY MAN, WHAT THE HECK.” Nothing. Piper just gets beaten to death by an nWo that barely cares after his second straight clean victory over the World Champion. After spending a week in prison. Great job, everybody.