How to read this edition of The Best And Worst Of WCW Monday Nitro: Last week I was supposed to cover the October 30th episode, but accidentally jumped forward a week and covered November 6th. This is the make up report. The proper reading order is the Halloween Havoc ’95 recap followed by this report, then the remainder of 11/6. Sorry for the inconvenience, and I’ll try not to let it happen again.
– You can watch this episode here.
– Comments, likes, shares and other things are appreciated. Please don’t tell me I accidentally wrote up 11/13.
Please click through for the vintage Best and Worst of WCW Monday Nitro for (I hope) October 30, 1995.
This Week’s Pepe Costume: Winged Halloween Witch
I’m glad I’m going back and doing a Best and Worst for this episode, because Pepe is dressed like a Halloween witch with bat wings. He’s even got a little Jack o’ Lantern trick or treat bag. The hat keeps falling off because his head’s the size of a peanut, and whenever Mongo puts it back into place it irritates Pepe’s entire face and gives him watery eyes.
Also great: the entire time Bischoff and Heenan are trying to get over the severity of what happened to Hulk Hogan at Halloween Havoc, Mongo’s bobbing Pepe up and down in place to make the wings flap. Mongo is basically George and Lennie from Of Mice And Men at the same time, and the two halves of his brain are operating independently.
Best: Craig Pittman, Secret Nitro Super-Worker
Back on the September 25 episode of Nitro, Sgt. Craig Pittman had a show-stealing match against Kurasawa. Pittman was a legit United States Marine Corps sergeant with a championship amateur wrestling background, but I always remembered him as an awkward, military Charles S. Dutton. Looking back, Pittman had a string of shockingly watchable matches, including this one against Eddie Guerrero.
The best Pittman matches work with his awkwardness. Instead of having him make ridiculous faces and try to do a bunch of dynamic running, Pittman stands his ground and lords his size over Eddie, daring him to come in and try to pull some catch-as-catch-can shit. Guerrero’s got a noble heart so he tries his best, and most of the time he gets gut-wrenched up and thrown on his face. When he realizes that won’t work, he allows Pittman to get more and more overconfident, to the point that he’s going for rollups without any pins. Pittman will just schoolboy him over, let go and kinda wander around. It doesn’t work on paper, but in the ring it all makes sense. Eddie uses his intelligence and ingenuity to build up Pittman’s bravado, then counters a hiptoss into a sweet victory roll for the flash three. Very understated, very watchable.
I’m sad that Pittman’s pro wrestling career doesn’t last much longer, because I want to see him against Benoit, Malenko and the rest of that crew. Put him in against Regal or Fit Finlay and let them European uppercut each other into unconsciousness.
Worst: The Twin Towers Resolve Their 9/11 Feud
In case you missed it, Scott Norton and The Shark are feuding because of September 11th. Nope, not giving you context.
Unfortunately, they blow off this feud by doing that awful thing wrestlers who think they shouldn’t have to lose do: the double count-out brawl to the back. I’ve seen so many people pull this. The Road Warriors would do it any time they faced a team tougher than the Mulkeys. I once watched Jimmy ‘Superfly’ Snuka and Tommy Rich do it after like 40 seconds of wrestling at a Cleveland All-Pro show. Shark and Norton do it here, and there’s literally nothing to it. They punch each other, they sorta sell it, and they walk to the back. The end.
I’m currently working through a few conspiracy theories about this match. It couldn’t have fallen apart like that on its own. There had to be explosives planted throughout the arena. And seriously, I see a Shark and Norton shaped hole in the episode, but where are Shark and Norton?
Best: Arn Anderson Is Working Overtime To Make Sting Not Look Like The World’s Biggest Goober
Tony Schiavone, aka The Greatest Announcer In The History Of Our Sport, interviews Arn Anderson, Ric Flair and Brian Pillman about the SHOCKING SWERVE they pulled on Sting at Halloween Havoc ’95. If you’re reading these reports in chronological order, it turns out Sting was a stupid idiot for agreeing to be partners with a guy who has hated him for six years and calls himself “the dirtiest player in the game” in a tag team match against that guy’s best friend.
The point of the interview is that the Four Horsemen are back, but the only one trying is Arn. He’s doing everything in his goddamn power to point out how Sting’s NOT stupid, he’s just an honorable kinda guy, and that he did the impossible by hanging in there and fighting two Horsemen for ten minutes by himself. Meanwhile, Ric Flair is screaming and Fargo strutting around while Brian Pillman basically reenacts that scene from Teen Wolf where the background rando pulls out his cock and waggles it around. After Arn’s carefully applied model glue to the pieces of the feud and set them in place to dry, Flair gets the microphone, yells STINGARR!!! AAAH SHIT AAAHH, STYLINPROFILE, WAOOOOH and runs away. Pillman has yet to develop a character beyond “smile and bug out your eyes,” but it’s on its way. Meanwhile, poor Arn has to sigh and clean up everybody’s trash so they have a nice place to wrestle.
They mention a fourth Horseman joining the group soon. I’m hoping WWE Network edits out Horseman Benoit complete and gets right to the era where the three richest, smartest and most conniving men in wrestling thought teaming up with a chihuahua-hoarding yokel football player was a great idea.
Best: Sabu vs. Disco Inferno Happened, And It Was So Weird
As you may remember, Sabu had a cup of coffee in WCW in 1995. On the second episode of Nitro, he puts Alex Wright through a table. He gets a match against Mr. JL at Halloween Havoc. They don’t have a feud to speak of, though they’ve wrestled once before. The match features a cameo appearance from The Sheik, who causes two near-death experiences:
1. he doesn’t tell anybody he’s going to walk to the ring holding a sword, and Sabu goes Asai moonsaulting all willy-nilly backwards into him and almost impales himself
2. he throws a fireball in Mr. JL’s face for absolutely no reason. JL’s already lost the match and is on his back in the ring, but Sheik still wanders over and hurls a damn line of for-real fire into the ring at his face.
The next night on Nitro, Sabu has the absurd WCW opponent you always hoped he’d have, the Disco Inferno. Strangely enough, Sabu is over HUGE as a babyface, and Disco controls THE ENTIRE MATCH. This isn’t late era, complex Disco Inferno either, this is brand f*cking new Disco Inferno. Late in the match Disco goes for a STINGER SPLASH and misses, landing on the top rope belly-button first and selling it by staggering backwards and positioning himself parallel to the ropes for a slingshot leg drop. Sure enough, Sabu hits a slingshot legdrop and pins him.
You’d think that’d be the end of it, but Sabu continues the attack and tries to put him through a table. He tries to slingshot himself over the ropes and land ass-first on Disco’s chest, but Disco dodges it and Sabu eats nothing but table. UNBREAKABLE table, no less, which sends Sabu into a total no-selling rage. He lies there for a second, gets up like nothing happened and throws the ring steps. Bischoff audibly gets tired of having to call a match without Hulk Hogan in it and says, “While this madman overreacts, we’ve gotta take a break!”
Sabu is never seen in WCW again.
Worst: These Kids Didn’t Get The Memo That Hulk Hogan Is Now A Murderer And A Purveyor Of The Dark Arts
Don’t you know what a man in a pair of black gloves, with a black rag on his head can do? Anyway, sweet Rockets jersey, kid in Dayton Ohio.
Best: Out Of Context Mongo Quotes
Worst: The Tongal Package vs. American Males
This week’s main event is Meng and Lex Luger vs. Scotty Riggs and Marcus Alexander Bagwell. If you ask me, this match should’ve been about three minutes long, involved two minutes 50 seconds of Meng screaming and kicking the American Males in the face and 10 of Luger Torture Racking them. Worst case, it should’ve been a lightly competitive match that didn’t completely bury the Males, but established that Luger is a dominant superstar who has instantly made the Dungeon of Doom credible in a way that Butt-f*cking Himalayan Ice Mummies might not.
Instead, the American Males basically kick Meng and Luger’s asses until they’re cheated out of a win. I’m not kidding. They even get a visual pin on Luger when Riggs pulls out the Rock ‘n Roll Express “dropkick my own partner in the back” counter to a bodyslam. Jimmy Hart has to get up on the apron and distract the ref to keep them from losing. It’s embarrassing. I don’t know why Luger hadn’t thrown up his hands and gone groveling back to WWF by this point. The guy was brought back as a big “get” on the first episode of Nitro, immediately fed to Hogan and emasculated, stuck in a midcard feud with Randy Savage where he’s OBVIOUSLY a bad guy, reveals his big heel turn as background noise to a post-Monster Truck Sumo Battle mummy attack and is taking visual pins from MARCUS ALEXANDER BAGWELL. Meng is RIGHT THERE. Meng can look like an ineffectual stooge and Luger can swoop in and rack them to death, right? NOPE. YOU’RE CRITICAL’D WHEN SCOTT F*CKING RIGGS KICKS HIS OWN PARTNER IN THE BACK.
Anyway, after all of that the helpless-ass Dungeon Of Doom wins the match and sticks around to cut promos. Let’s bring out the 3-foot tall Bostonian devil worshipper and the 7-foot guy who talks like a kid playing a lion in a school play.
Worst: Mummy Footage And Time Killin’
Eric Bischoff spends the entire episode telling people they aren’t going to believe what happened to Hulk Hogan, but they can’t talk about it because they’re waiting for the footage. The footage from the WCW pay-per-view. They are WCW, and have to get it from WCW? No idea. Anyway, spoiler alert, Hulk Hogan got surprise butt-sexed by a dead, lanky pharaoh and lost the WCW Championship in a match with a DQ finish. Because WCW.
Tony Schiavone rightfully points out that The Giant shouldn’t be World Champion, and everyone else in the ring kinda laughs and says WAIT UNTIL NEXT WEEK WHEN WE EXPLAIN IT MORE. I love that the main event segment of a Nitro was seriously “we don’t have an explanation for this yet, so bullshit your way through 10 minutes of non-explanation so we can spend an extra week figuring it out.”