EDIT: Welp, apparently I watched them out of order. This is the 11/6 episode, not 10/30. Sorry, everybody!
– Comments, likes, shares and other things are appreciated. Sharing’s the only way to get people interested in 19-year old Cobra matches.
Please click through for the vintage Best and Worst of WCW Monday Nitro for November 6, 1995.
Before We Begin
Here’s what you need to know about Halloween Havoc ’95.
So It Turns Out Sting’s A Stupid Idiot
For the past month, Ric Flair has been feuding with Arn Anderson over some ill-defined “family business” made personal. That turned into a 2-on-1 feud when NOT SUBTLE ABOUT ANYTHING EVER Brian Pillman joins in. So now Flair’s in a series of matches with iffy finishes against a guy he’s teamed with for a decade and he needs a tag team partner. I sure hope there’s someone nice and trusting enough in WCW to team with Flair in this extremely suspicious situation.
Enter: Sting, the most gullible man in wrestling history. Flair asks for Sting’s help and Stinger isn’t sure he’s on the level, so he lets Flair wrestle a handicap match against Anderson and Pillman for a few minutes on Nitro before going SURE NO THIS IS FINE and helping out. Flair’s in the background yelling LET’S HEAR IT FOR THE STINGER, THREE CHEERS FOR THE STINGER, and Sting’s brain goes “this is even nicer than I’d imagined!” Keep in mind that a few years back, the Four Horseman had allowed Sting into the group and strung him along so they could get him in a ring by himself and beat him to death.
A tag team match is made for Halloween Havoc. Pillman and Anderson vs. Flair and Sting. Before the match, Flair is INJURED (gasp), leaving Sting to wrestle the match 2-on-1. Miraculously, an injured Flair — he has some tape on his forehead — stomps down to the ring in street clothes to be the man he’d shown Sting he could be. After 10 minutes, a desperate Sting makes the tag to Flair. Flair gets into the ring, Fargo Struts into the ropes and punches Sting in the face. The Horsemen stand around him in a circle and stomp and stomp and stomp.
Surprisingly, this wasn’t enough to give Sting the “I’m stupid for trusting any of you” epiphany that made him cosplay the Crow and sit in the rafters for a year.
Wait like half an hour, Gene.
They Actually Had The Monster Truck Sumo Battle On The Roof, And Hulk Hogan Accidentally Murdered A Guy
It was not an elaborate joke. They weren’t secretly adding a fat guy named “Monster Truck” to the Dungeon Of Doom. WCW actually put Hulk Hogan inside a Hulk Hogan monster truck, put The Giant inside a The Giant monster truck and had the trucks “sumo wrestle” on top of Cobo Hall. They were welded together inside a circle on the roof, and the winner was the Hulk Hogan who could push the other car out of it. The edge of the circle was rigged with randomly placed explosives, because WHY NOT. They never become important, but they’re built up as life-threatening.
After Hogan wins, an irate Giant gets out of his truck and starts choking folks until they’re on the roof ledge. Hogan escapes a choke, causing The Giant to do big airplane arms and fall backwards off the roof of Cobo Hall and die.
Yes, the Giant falls off the building. Bobby Heenan is rightfully shocked and upset and keeps asking how they’re supposed to go on with the wrestling show when they just watched a dude die, and Tony Schiavone tells him to get his shit together and stop complaining. I’d make fun of this more if I hadn’t seen the WWF do it for real a few years later.
Spoiler alert: The Giant didn’t die.
The Giant Is Totally Fine
Hogan changes back into his wrestling gear and comes to the ring to cut a “sorry about killing a dude, brothers, I didn’t mean to kill the brother, dude,” promo. He’s interrupted by THE GIANT, who is not even dirty from falling hundreds of feet to his death and also took time to change clothes. They have the exact match you imagine them having, and Hogan wins by disqualification when Jimmy Hart attacks the referee, then him with the World Heavyweight Championship.
So, to recap.
Hulk Hogan had his neck broken twice in one month. The Giant fell off a building about 20 minutes ago. Neither man sells the other’s offense, and neither man feels like the trauma they’ve gone through excuses them for taking a pin. So Hulk Hogan’s non-wrestling manager who is literally half the size of The Giant’s leg starts randomly attacking people with a title belt and Hogan wins by DQ. This causes the Giant to WIN THE WCW WORLD HEAVYWEIGHT CHAMPIONSHIP. Not to spoil the next night’s Nitro for you, but Jimmy Hart has Hulk Hogan’s power of attorney and signed a contract saying Hogan would lose the belt if he got DQ’d.
Somehow even this is not the worst part of the show. Remember that HIMALAYAN ICE MUMMY?
Hulk Hogan Falls Victim To An Ice Mummy’s Sexy Hug
Hogan has no-sold two neck injuries, no sold a post-monster truck sumo battle choking WITH a twice broken neck and no-sold most of a 7-foot, 400-pound man’s offense in a wrestling match. Jimmy Hart hits him in the back of his broken neck with a 15-pound gold belt and he no-sells it. The Giant locks him in a bear hug, but THAT’s not going to be enough. So here comes an extremely tall Himalayan ice mummy to bear hug him at the same time but from behind and just sorta wiggle his hips while he does it.
The greatest proof that Hulkamania is immortal is that the only thing powerful enough to stop it is ancient Egyptian DP.
Also, Lex Luger’s A Bad Guy
As Hogan’s being bear-hugged, Macho Man and Lex Luger run out to make the save. When they hit the ring, Luger starts beating up Macho. WHOOPS, HE’S ALSO A BAD GUY! Bet you couldn’t tell from the endless series of bad guy things he’s been doing since returning to WCW! The several matches he’s had against Dungeon of Doom guys and all the chokeslams he’s taken from The Giant were cleverly orchestrated ruses to get us where we are now: Lex Luger running defense on WCW babyfaces so a big mummy a Hawaiian wizard found on Mt. Everest could ass-f*ck Hulk Hogan.
Three heel turns, a monster truck sumo death and a disqualification title change. Halloween Havoc ’95, everybody.
This Week’s Pepe Costume: Clown
Mongo observes that “we’ve got a lotta clowns in this league.” Former Dungeon of Doom fanboy Pepe isn’t happy with what Jimmy Hart did to Hogan at Halloween Havoc, and his clown costume “is just in honor of him.” Mongo said the parts in quotes, not the dog.
Worst: You Call The Shots
Fans, you can vote for tonight’s main event on the WCW app!
WCW reveals their “you call the shots” promotion, where you call the WCW hotline and tell them which good guy you want to see face which bad guy. They have them divided up in color-coded locker rooms like they’re prepping to play Double Dare. It’s just as corny and worked as the polls WWE now, and operates on the same formula. Whenever WWE lets fans vote on a match participant or stipulation, it’s one of two things:
1. All three options are identical, with slightly different wording.
Choose the stipulation for Dean Ambrose vs. Seth Rollins! Do you want it to be a:
A. STREET FIGHT
B. ANYTHING GOES MATCH
C. NO HOLDS BARRED MATCH
2. One option is great, and the others are garbage to make sure you vote for the great one.
Who should be tonight’s special guest referee?
A. Jonathan Coachman
B. Jonathan Coachman’s friend who came to the show with him, we didn’t catch his name
C. STONE COLD STEVE AUSTIN
WCW does the second one. They’ve got a good guy locker room with Sting in it, surrounded by jobbers. They even claimed Macho Man was hurt and not allowed to compete to make sure he didn’t split the votes. Hey fans, who do you want to see wrestle tonight? Your favorite wrestler in the world, or 1/2 of the Nasty Boys? Should Sting wrestle Ric Flair, or should Mr. JL? On the other side, you’ve got Flair, the man who turned on Sting last night. Do you want to see Sting wrestle him, or would you rather see Sting vs. Earl Robert Eaton? Maybe you want to pay three bucks to fantasy book that Big Bubba vs. Evad Sullivan match you’ve been dreaming of.
Here’s a quick Best and Worst of The Heel Locker Room.
Best: The Blue Bloods
While everyone else in the room is screaming and thrashing around trying to get attention, Bobby Eaton and William (then “Lord Steven”) Regal are in the back drinking tea and reading books. Mean Gene points them out like they’re the weirdos. Maybe turn your attention to the fat dude who thinks he’s a shark, Gene.
Worst: Ric Flair’s Worst Fashion Decision Ever
Ric Flair is wearing a powder blue “No Limits” SWEATSHIRT with no pants. I didn’t think he could top hanging out on the set of ‘Baywatch’ in his pink gear and a surf tank top, but he did it. Flair was going through some serious problems in 1995.
Best: Cobra Isn’t Very Good At This
This is COBRA. He was brought in to be Sgt. Craig Pittman’s rival during WCW’s brief attempt at creating a military Blood Runs Cold thing. He’s a G.I. Joe, so his entrance music is morse code. Like this. I don’t know what it said, but I’m assuming it was “help, I’m the worst wrestler in f*cking history.”
Cobra opens the show with a match against The Giant, and by “a match” I mean he walks forward, gets grabbed by the throat and chokeslammed for a loss. It’s the saddest attempt at wrestling you’ll ever see. Shivering-ass Pepe could’ve gotten into the ring with his clown costume and done a better job.
Fun note: Cobra and The Giant would become allies when the nWo formed, and the most nondescript white guy they could find got repurposed as a fake Sting.
Best: The (Kayfabe) Death Of The Renegade
If you’ve never seen The Renegade, he’s a guy in an Ultimate Warrior Halloween costume. Imagine if Ryback and Warrior had an illiterate teenage son who wouldn’t stop running in circles and writing big letter Rs on his arms. He was terrible, and was brought into WCW as “the ultimate surprise,” because occasionally WCW came up with ideas and got about halfway through them before they realized it wasn’t going to work. Renegade was briefly pushed to the moon, then forgotten.
Here, he makes his Nitro debut against Kevin Sullivan. Sullivan double stomps him off the ropes, pins him, then gets Jimmy Hart to splash water in his face and wash off the paint with a towel. Jimmy announces that the Renegade is no more, and that he’s now “just plain Rick.” You don’t see Just Plain Rick getting to narrate any WWE Network videos, so you can figure out how well this goes. Thanks for being on Nitro, Rick. Best of luck in your … well, good luck.
Worst: Hulk Hogan Is Having The Saddest Mid-Life Crisis
Didn’t think Hogan could get lamer than saying buying a pair of black gloves and a black bandana justified committing murder? Check him out on Venice Beach, where he and Macho Man have decided to go goth and ask homeless people what they think of WCW storylines. They’re sung in by street musician Harry Perry, aka “Kama Kosmic Krusader,” and the point of the segment is basically Hogan and Savage suggesting that “hanging out with regular people” was the most evil thing they could do.
To make it worse, Macho Man reveals his secret plan: he’s going to go back to WCW and pretend to be a good guy (note: he is already a good guy) and figure out who’s for or against Hogan. This is the most psychotic shit in the world, right? Not only does Hogan’s happiness revolve around everyone he knows supporting him, he’s sending his ultimate shadow-dweller Randy Savage to like, walk up to Sting and say “hey brother, you heel or face?” It’s STING. He got turned on by The Four Horsemen last night. Lex Luger joined the Dungeon of Doom and put both of you in the Torture Rack. You don’t need a monster manual to figure out their alignment.
(Also, if you’re gonna be a mole, maybe don’t announce it in a crowd of people in the middle of the day with a WCW Monday Nitro camera in your face.)
Best: Benoit Vs. Guerrero II
Benoit and Guerrero are back going one-on-one “by popular demand,” and it’s the same kind of wonderful. The power and velocity Benoit puts behind stuff here is INSANE. By the time these guys were in WWE and winning championships on WrestleManias they were 10 years older. They were still great, arguably more-so, but the timing and physical coordination they have here is absolutely unmatched. Say what you will about ECW, hardcore wrestling and crash TV changing the way people watched wrestling … guys like Benoit, Guerrero and Malenko set the impossible bars in style and substance that wrestling fans reference and beg for today.
Benoit’s spinebuster into a Liontamer makes the entire announce team go WHUHHHHHHHHH??? I love it. Guerrero’s dive over the ring post to the outside is insane, and, like last time, the finish makes sense. Benoit’s been finishing people with the Dragon Suplex. Guerrero has it scouted, so when Benoit grabs a full nelson he rushes over to the ropes and gets his leg through them to block. They fight it out on the apron, Benoit tries to suplex him in and Guerrero reverses. Benoit tries to kick out but can’t, because his legs are under the ropes. The referee was out of position and didn’t see it, meaning Guerrero gets a cheap win without actually cheating or being opportunistic, and Benoit has a legit claim to a rematch. Beautifully done, all the way through.
Well, most of the way through. Here’s the announce team, right before Benoit practically snaps himself in half throwing a top rope superplex.
That’s everything wrong with WCW (and the reason I still hate Hulk Hogan) in one handy picture.
Best: What We Cut To In The Middle Of The Match
Cruiserweights are wrestling. Gotta cut to something!
Masahiro Chono, Masa Saito, Kensuke Sasaki and Jushin Thunder Liger watching a Benoit/Guerrero match?
Supplemental Worst for Eric Bischoff seeing a table full of Japanese people and getting super offended that Bobby Heenan would invite them to the show. “What are you DOING Heenan??” I’m glad we have terrorism and ebola and don’t do that weird mid-90s “Japanese people are robbing America of its innocence” stuff anymore.
Best: The Main Event YOU CHOSE ON YOUR OWN
Sting vs. Flair (surprise surprise) is the main event. Had my money on Regal vs. Saggs.
Anyway, it’s surprisingly good. I say that like I haven’t seen a dozen great Sing/Flair matches, but it’s good. They keep the pace up and wrestle with the intensity you’d expect from a couple of guys in a suddenly reignited blood-feud. None of it seems like filler. They hit their stuff, zip around the ring, go to the outside. At one point Sting does a Stinger Splash to the security railing and looks like he caves in his sternum. The finish makes sense, too, with Sting catching Flair in the Scorpion Deathlock and refusing to let go, EVEN WHEN MR. JL AND OTHER JOBBERS ADVISE HIM TO, because he hates Flair’s guts. I’m normally not a fan of babyfaces doing heel stuff, but yeah, this guy tricked him for the hundredth time and spent 20 minutes stomping dress-shoe mudholes in him last night. He deserves catharsis.
Also interesting: Lex Luger shows up and whispers something in Sting’s ear, causing him to release the hold. Nobody knows what Luger says, and the announce team is shocked because Luger’s technically (officially?) Dungeon of Doom. Luger and Sting leave together, and Hogan gets six more weeks of paranoid conversations with carny street people.
If you’re wondering what Luger said, it was “I have a great ending for my debut screenplay, Lost in Translation.”
(You can tell Luger wrote it because the characters won’t stop saying “THE FACT OF THE MATTER IS THIS.”)
(Now you’re going through your brain trying to remember if anybody in Lost In Translation said “the fact of the matter is this.”)
Worst: Whoopsie Doodle
Remember that thing I said about Jimmy Hart having power of attorney and signing Hulk Hogan into an “if I win by DQ, the other guy can take my title” contract? Yeah, the WCW executive committee (which I hope included Johnny Ace) said that the DQ was “dubious,” and therefore the WCW World Heavyweight Championship would be up for grabs in the upcoming three-ring, 60-man over-the-top-rope battle royal at World War 3. You know, instead of Giant and Hogan having a rematch, or simply picking one side or the other. Maybe they were afraid Hogan would give the belt to a guy he met on the beach. Maybe they were afraid The Giant would lose to an ancient Dracula Kevin Sullivan found in a pile of dirt.
So there you have it. World War 3, the epic pay-per-view where Villano IV becomes WCW Champion.