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Please click through for the vintage Best and Worst of WCW Monday Nitro for October 23, 1995.
Worst: Macho Man Gets The Laziest Victory Ever
About a month before this, Kurasawa — aka New Japan Pro Wrestling’s Manabu Nakanishi when he was young and had luxurious hair — stole the show on Nitro with an absolute barnburner against, of all people, Sgt. Craig Pittman. The first match on this episode is Kurasawa vs. THE MACHO MAN RANDY SAVAGE, which is basically the biggest possible step up from “Sgt. Craig Pittman.” I settled in for an under-the-radar classic. What I got was one of the worst, lamest matches I’ve ever seen.
Macho Man wrestles this match standing still. Kurasawa “works the arm,” which means he holds it for a while, and does a bunch of stomping. That’s IT. It’s nothing but stomping. Kurasawa hits Savage in the arm, Savage doubles over onto all fours, Kurasawa puts the boots to him. It’s clear one or both of them doesn’t want to be here, and literally nothing happens until the finish of the match, which could not have been more horseshit if a fully-grown horse had eaten, digested and shat it out.
Kurasawa goes for a Fujiwara armbar. Savage barely teases going along with it, then runs Kurasawa into the ropes. Not an Irish whip, he just holds him and runs into the ropes. This violently incapacitates Kurasawa, complete with an AAOOOOHHH RIGHT ACROSS THE ROPESSSS call from Bischoff. Savage limply clotheslines Kurasawa in the back to knock him down, then climbs the ropes and hits the flying elbow for the three. No momentum, no offense, just “whoops, you hit the ropes and fell down, here’s my finisher.” John Cena’s flying shoulderblocks are somewhere side-eyeing this match. It’s so bad that as Savage is climbing the ropes to end the match, Bischoff says, “Kurasawa down. Savage in control for the first time in this contest!” When the sentence is over, so is the match.
Colonel Robert Parker furiously running around in the ring ALMOST saves it, but nope. Worst match on Nitro so far.
This Week’s Pepe Costume: Denim Camouflage (?)
Pepe doesn’t get a close-up or an explanation for his costume this week, so … he’s dressed as Mongo’s chest? I can’t even tell. The Marlboro Man?
Best: The Master Makes Bray Wyatt Sound Like Fandango
Okay, so, The Master. Holy shit, you guys.
To give you a little background, “The Master” is notable 1960s wrestling villain King Curtis Iaukea, a man so old he once appeared in a Three Stooges movie. So, slightly younger than Hogan. Like a lot of wrestlers of his (and our) era, he became a pro wrestler when football didn’t work out. He spent the 60s and 70s making a name for himself in Australia with his gross Old Wrestler Forehead and awesome mic skills. He returned to wrestling as a manager in the 80s, where he connected with Kevin Sullivan. When it was time for Sullivan to have a massive stable of helpless jerks in Halloween costumes, King Curtis became “The Master,” the powder-covered, throne-bound head of the Dungeon Of Doom.
The Master’s role was to Bring It Via Satellite from deep within a cold-water cave and scream as much crazy shit as he could before they stopped filming. Here, the Master shuts off all the lights in the arena and announces the arrival of the INSURANCE POLICY: a failsafe for destroying Hulkamania in case The Giant loses his monster truck sumo battle, or whatever.
“From north of Katmandu, from the Himalayas and the north face of Mt. Everest. The Sherpa guides have dug out a 13 ton of ice.”
The camera pans back to reveal a GIANT BLOCK OF ICE in the arena housing a mysterious, red, glowing penis (?). The Master says that since Sullivan clipped the whiskers of “the rare white bengal tiger” (their pet name for Hogan), he’s been wandering in darkness. But “the eyes of the demon will come calling on Hulk Hogan at Halloween Havoc,” and in case they don’t, well, you know. Himalayan ice monster.
Worst: Kevin Sullivan Has No Idea What He’s Talking About And It’s Fairly Obvious
Mean Gene interviews The Giant and Kevin Sullivan to get to the bottom of this whole “who snuck a glacier into a wrestling show without anyone knowing” thing, and it’s clear that nobody knows what the hell is going on. Sullivan cuts an Ultimate Warrior promo about “darkness” and “immortality,” but with really shifty eyes so you know he’s pulling it out of his ass.
He ends it with the most backhanded brag ever: “This is the only insurance this big man needs!”
Oh really? The only insurance policy he needs is an evil sorcerer ordering a group of Sherpas to scale Mt. Everest and die retrieving an ancient, wrestling-hating mummy from a block of ice and ship it to the American midwest so it can be placed in a sports arena and sit near a wrestling ring in case the 7-foot tall guy driving a monster truck can’t win his match. Cool, got it.
Best: Hulk Hogan Is Literally Evil Jesus
“Not Hollywood” Hogan shows up to respond to BLOCK OF ICEGATE. What would you think if I told you Hogan’s promo made even less sense and was even MORE insane than The Master’s or Kevin Sullivan’s?
It’s one of those promos I can’t even make jokes about. It is batshit. Hogan repeatedly tries (and fails) to quote the Bible, writes himself into cheesy religious poetry and explains how the color of your clothes can make you a SHOOT MURDERER. I am not making this up. I watched it with the closed captioning on to make sure I got the wording right.
“But even though I walked through the valley of the Dungeon of Doom, brother, I fear no evil, dude, because the only thing to fear is evil himself, brother. And even though I walked through that dark valley, there’s only one set of footprints, brother. I don’t fear no man, because on my back, I carry all those little Hulkamaniacs that believe in the prayers, the training and the vitamins, brother. Well, Mean Gene, you know, my concerns this week have been a lot of things about what to do with the black gloves, with the black bandana, about what to do with the Giant’s carcass. Well, number one, after Detroit, brother, after everybody sees what I do with this nasty giant, I just might hang on to the black gloves, brother, because everybody knows what a man with a pair of black gloves on and a black rag on his head is capable of doing, dude.”
He then says he’s going to get a new Harley, tie to the Giant to it and drag him around until he disintegrates.
You’d think that’d be enough, but OH NO, Hogan has to make sure to be both the best good guy AND the best bad guy by throwing every other WCW face under the bus. He says that when he’s done beating the Dungeon of Doom, he’ll line up Sting, Macho Man and Lex Luger and beat them all in a row. “You little dogs better get on the porch and decide who’s got the biggest bark, brother.”
When I was suffering from anguish, sorrow, or defeat,
I could see only one set of footprints.
So I said to the Lord, “You promised me, Lord,
That if I followed you, you would walk with me always.
But I noticed that during the most trying periods of my life
There have only been one set of prints in the sand.
Why, When I have needed you most, you have not been there for me?”
The Lord replied,
“Hulk Hogan is in the arena here tonight. I wonder what he’ll have to say??”
Best: Benoit And Malenko Vs. Guerrero And Mr. JL, Or
Worst: Alex Wright Is A Cheating Bastard
The next match (thank God) is Chris Benoit and Dean Malenko teaming up against Eddie Guerrero and Mr. JL. It was supposed to be Guerrero and Alex Wright, but he injured himself on WCW ADDITIONAL SHOW and is stuck managing on crutches at ringside. The problem is that he straight-up cheats to help his team win, tripping up Malenko with one of his crutches when the referee isn’t looking. JL scores the pin, and Mongo and Bobby go HEY WHAT THE HELL while the faces celebrate. Bischoff tries to explain it in the style of Michael Cole, but fails: “It’s not like there wasn’t a little bit of, uh [pause] extracurricular tag team effort [pause] on the part of Malenko and Benoit.”
Bischoff calls the match like he’s a guy halfway through his first comp tape from Highspots and thinks he’s an expert. Benoit’s in the ring and Bischoff starts in with, “now here’s the difference between Benoit and Malenko, Malenko will use the entire ring to attack his opponent, Benoit stays focused on his attacks, and whoops, he just suplexed a guy across the top rope and ruined my entire talking point, let me see if The Suicidal Dragon has any Top 10 lists that might explain this.”
It’s saved a little when Brian Pillman runs out for no reason (cough, Horseman reasons, cough cough) and DDTs Eddie Guerrero on the concrete. I wish he’d pulled out his handgun and shot Alex Wright in the leg.
Worst: What We Cut Away From The Match For THIS Week
I’m giving this a Worst because of the weird 1995 WCW presentation battle between the guy who finds cool cruiserweights from around the world and books them on his wrestling shows, and the production guy who insists nobody finds cruiserweight wrestling enjoyable. Remember when they cut away from Malenko vs. Guerrero to show Hulk Hogan arriving in a limo? They do it again here, cutting away to show THE SHARK AND SCOTT NORTON SHOVING EACH OTHER BACKSTAGE. It’s the Shark and Scott Norton, guys. Have the cameraman tape it and show it when the match is over.
It gets a supplemental Best, though, for one of my new favorite moments of unintentional comedy. When trying to explain why Shark and Norton are at each others’ throats, Bischoff says, “evidently this left over from September 11th!”
Now all I want is a feud where Scott Norton says we have to support our President and The Troops, but Shark won’t stop explaining how there wasn’t any airplane debris at the Pentagon.
Worst: Eric Bischoff Waits For a Harlem Heat Match To Make The Whitest Comment In The History Of Wrestling
Worst: Quick, Give Me Something Whiter!
Or, “our frat went to Nitro and all we got was this shit on our face.”
Worst: Sting Doesn’t Know How Home And Away Uniforms Work
There’s a lot of talk about “the colors” on this episode. Hogan wore red and yellow, but now wears black because he’s walking through the valley of dudes and brothers. Kevin Sullivan’s wearing Hogan’s red and yellow and won’t stop yelling about Hogan “surrendering the colors.” During Hogan’s promo, he throws shade at Sting for being an also-ran and wearing his colors. The issue I have is that Sting decided to wear red and yellow IN A MATCH AGAINST HARLEM HEAT.
So yeah, you’ve got Lex Luger standing on the apron in black underpants while three man-shaped masses of bright-ass red and bright-ass yellow wrestle. It’s such a weird match to book, too, because they’ve got a swerve storyline happening around Luger and Savage, a second swerve storyline happening about Sting teaming with Ric Flair and a third, totally unrelated story about Hulk Hogan being emo and fighting mummies. So instead of picking one thing and advancing its story, they cram them all into one, and nothing gets accomplished.
Sting and Luger team up without incident and cleanly beat Harlem Heat. The Giant shows up and starts chokeslamming people, so Hogan and Savage show up to fight him off. Sting and Luger just disappear. Pretty soon you’ve got Hogan handily punching away like 8 Dungeon Of Doom guys by himself AND manhandling The Giant, which makes perfect sense because Hogan’s had his neck broken twice in the last month. Anyway, as the fight draws to a close and the show’s about to go off the air, this happens:
Best/Worst: This Episode’s Ending Is So Obnoxious A Giant Ice Mummy Is Compelled To Debut
Penis Rock starts shaking and EXPLODES, briefly revealing THE YETI. If you haven’t been following all these subtle “Hogan’s fighting a f*cking mummy” jokes, they spend an hour talking up something called “The Yeti” (pronounced “yeh-TAY” when Tony Schiavone gets ahold of it) and you think it’s gonna be an abominable snowman or sasquatch of some kind, but nope, Big Mummy. Also, the ice he’s trapped in explodes into styrofoam chunks instead of melting (you know, like ice) because that would be crazy. We get about a second of The Yeti, and the show goes off the air.
I’d give anything for footage of what happened after that. In my dreams, The Yeti just stands there on the stage waving his arms around in the air like an inflatable tube man while Hogan makes shocked faces in the ring. Then, when everybody realizes the show’s over, Yeti just calmly walks to the back. I think “a giant ice mummy has appeared and walked away for no reason” is WAY scarier than “a mummy’s after me.”