– You can watch this week’s episode here.
– Comments, likes, shares and other things are appreciated.
Please click through for the vintage Best and Worst of WCW Monday Nitro for October 16, 1995.
This Week’s Pepe Costume: Alien
“Captain Lovedog” (misunderstood as “Kemp the Love Dog” by closed captioning because of Mongo’s accent) has flown in “from Dogtron” to “see some out-of-this-world action, I’m talkin’ wrestlin’ you’ve never seen on this planet before.” GET GRANMAWMA OUT THE TOILET BABY BECAUSE THESE EXTRATERRESTRIAL BEINGS ARE GONNA NEED SOME BACKGROUND INFORMATION ABOUT THIS JIM DUGGAN VS. MENG MATCH.
Best: A Few Notes On Diamond Dallas Page
1. What’s stranger, the fact that in a couple of years this slovenly, cigar-chomping 35-year old with a curly mullet and no obvious wrestling talent would be one of the best performers on the show and a multiple-time heavyweight champion, or the fact that in 20 years he’d be a beloved yoga instructor?
2. I don’t think WCW realized what they had with the “Diamond Doll,” Kimberly Page. She’s the closest thing wrestling’s had to a Miss Elizabeth since Elizabeth herself; a gorgeous, friendly person in pretty dresses who happens to be in a longterm relationship with an awful-looking sociopath and simultaneously earns our admiration for being a goodhearted person, and our heat for not kicking the a-hole to the curb. If she’d been around in 1985 like Liz, she probably would’ve been a deified princess. Instead, she was around in 1995, which meant she spent a chunk of her career as a braless Brutus Beefcake aside called “The Booty Babe.”
3. The mascot in the picture is “Wildcat Willie” (get it, “WCW”). He was the company’s mascot from 1995 until 1999. He was never a focal point of the show — certainly not as important as DJ Ran — and danced in the ring to entertain crowds during commercial breaks. He was sort of a NASCAR Chester Cheetah, which is a surprisingly accurate anthropomorphic animal depiction of WCW fans.
He’s responsible for one of the best-ever 90s wrestling rumors, too. Via Wrestleview:
It isn’t actually known who Wildcat Willie was. There is a rumor that Lanny Poffo played the role since he had a WCW contract from 1995 to 1999 and was never seen on television. Nobody has ever confirmed the rumor though.
Page pie-faces Wildcat Willie and shoves him down, which is 100% funnier when you imagine The Genius inside.
Worst: Badd Man Alert
This is the worst Billy Ripken error card ever.
Best: DDP vs. JBB
I was dreading having to watch another Johnny B. Badd match, and then boom, Page ends it instantly with a TV Title shot to the back of the head. Badd is out cold and the match has been thrown out, so Page poses on the corners (yelling “I’M A BAD MAN!”), sarcastically pins him and shoots off the Badd Blaster in celebration.
Is Diamond Dallas Page my favorite wrestler? Did I not realize it?
Best: Get All The [Redacted] And ‘He Who Shall Not Be Named’ Jokes Out Of Your System Now, Because He’s Here For Years
Oh, right. My actual favorite wrestler.
I’m going to try not to blow too much smoke up Chris Benoit’s ass in these columns, because it still feels weird. He leaves two conflicting legacies. One is that what he did to his family and himself is both inexcusable and more important than how good he was at wrestling. The other is that he was better at wrestling than everybody else.
The reason he was my favorite wrestler (and the favorite wrestler of jerks on the Internet before Daniel Bryan and CM Punk became things) is because of his absolutely unmatched intensity and technical brilliance. Dean Malenko moved like a dancer, but Benoit moved like he was superhuman. I guess he was, in a way. When he’d pick guys up for backdrops, he didn’t get into position and wait for them to jump and direct them back … he’d explode and shoot them up into the air, then bring them down with a sense of urgency. He felt real. He felt like a top athlete trying to win a wrestling match. It’s why he eventually became World Heavyweight Champion despite having the personality and mic skills of a trashcan. The way he wrestled was special, and so artistically valid that it overruled all the “you’ve gotta be THIS” and “you’ve gotta be THAT” of business expectations. Go back and watch him, if you can. When a guy like Eddie Guerrero or Daniel Bryan wrestles, it’s exciting. Passionate. When Benoit wrestles, it’s Benoit. Nobody can touch him.
This match is an early example of that. On a show with Johnny B. Badd carrying SoBe confetti guns and Meng using a “golden spike” to incapacitate a mentally handicapped giant who loves America, Benoit and Guerrero give us eight beautiful minutes of genre-defining cruiserweight wrestling. It feels organic. Guerrero uses his speed to get the early advantage, countering Benoit until they both flip out to the outside. He tosses Benoit into the ring post but comes in after him too hard, hitting his arm on the steel. It’s part of the match, but it doesn’t feel like a “spot.” Guerrero didn’t back up and hold up his arm and point to it yelling CLOTHESLINEEEE to telegraph a big miss into the post. He just goes in hard and messes up. That allows Benoit to take control, and comes back later for the finish — Guerrero’s second wind is ended prematurely when he connects on a punch with the injured arm, and his recoil of pain allows Benoit to hook him in a full nelson and throw him back in a Dragon Suplex for the three. Because this, then that.
Above all else, I think that’s what made me love Benoit’s wrestling so much. He made things make sense. The irony of that, I guess, is that his career and life ended in a way that never will.
Best: SUPER MENG
A few weeks ago, Meng’s Dungeon of Doom persona was SCARY HOG MASK GUY. This week, he’s LUCHA MENG. He’s wearing a cape with a built-in cowl hood. It has gold sparkles around the eyes.
If Meng spent any part of the 1990s prowling rooftops and foiling criminals as THE GOLDEN SPIKE and we missed it for this wrestling shit, I swear to God.
Best: Meng Silences The Screaming Draugr That Is Jim Duggan
Anyway, Meng interrupts the weekly Disco Inferno dance party and wrestles ‘Hacksaw’ Jim Duggan. Duggan is right alongside the Bushwhackers on my list of Les Incompétents muscularish 80s wrestler guys who don’t do much besides yell and stomp around in a circle, and are beloved for it. The good news is that Meng beats Duggan with the mystical and deadly “taped thumb to the neck” in only a couple of minutes.
Worst: When Mongo Is The Voice Of Reason
Before the match, The Giant and The Taskmaster bring up Halloween Havoc, so Bischoff spends the rest of the show going HULK HOGAN, MONSTER TRUCK, TRABOPOLINE~ into the microphone. It extends to the match, with Bischoff and Heenan openly (and thoroughly) discussing monster trucks despite having no idea what they are or how they work. At one point Mongo goes “yeah, but Meng and Jim Duggan” and gets SHUT DOWN for it. It’s hilarious, and the perfect WCW commentary moment.
Heenan: “Where are you from?”
Mongo: “I’m from Austin, Texas.”
Heenan: “Then you should know what it’s like with people driving big trucks around and smashing into things!”
Mongo: “Let’s stop talking about stuff you don’t know about, how about we talk about this match! Look at these guys having a wrestling match.”
Bischoff: “YEAH BUT BEFORE WE GET TOO FAR INTO THAT, HULK HOGAN IS GONNA HAVE A MONSTER TRUCK BATTLE WHAT DO YOU GUYS THINK ABOUT HULK HOGAN”
They talk about monster trucks until the end of the match, when Bischoff goes WAIT A MINUTE, GOLDEN SPIKE. As soon as Duggan’s done having his windpipe crushed, Bischoff’s like, “whew, how do you think Meng’s thumb would work against A HULK HOGAN-THEMED MONSTER TRUCK, GUYS?” And then Pepe comes out dressed as a monster truck. I don’t know.
Worst: So Many Questions
1. Is Hulk Hogan cutting a promo in front of Beetlejuice?
2. Is Hogan admitting here that he killed and buried Andre The Giant, too?
3. Is Andre The Giant buried in Detroit?
4. It’s okay to rewrite history and say Hulk Hogan was responsible for this, right:
Worst: Sting Still Hasn’t Figured This Out
The main event is supposed to be Sting and Ric Flair teaming against Arn Anderson and Brian Pillman. Sting doesn’t really trust Flair so he doesn’t show up, making it a 2-on-1 handicap match. Flair fights off both men for a little while with his weird babyface Ric Flair punch-and-flying-axehandles offense, and then VOILA, here comes Sting. His excuse is that he needed to see if Flair was an honest man. He tags in, cleans house, clotheslines Arn out of the ring and tosses Pillman off the top and into the ropes balls-first. A lot of screaming occurs, and Anderson and Pillman take a count-out loss.
Now, I don’t know what qualifiers Sting was using to prove Ric Flair’s legitimacy as a friend and tag team partner, but let’s consider the facts. Flair and Arn Anderson keep having matches, and they keep ending for bullshit reasons. Flair desperately needs a tag team partner, and asks the help of Sting. To wrestle the Horsemen. Ric Flair’s stable full of Ric Flair’s friends. The same group that once lured Sting in just to turn on him and hurt him. Sting’s like, “yeah, no thanks,” but changes his mind when he sees Flair EASILY DEFEATING ARN ANDERSON AND BRIAN PILLMAN BY HIMSELF. Seriously, it was like watching John Cena wrestle David Otunga and Heath Slater. Flair basically no sold all of Pillman’s offense and made him look like a chump. Sting rushes out to save the day (from nothing), causing the Horsemen to flee without incident. They do a post-match where Flair’s like YEAH IT’S STING, THREE CHEERS FOR THE STINGER EVERYBODY, STING’S GREAT. At no point during this does Sting go, “hey, wait a minute …”
Worst: Mongo Political Commentary