– You can watch this week’s episode here. It’s honestly worth it just for the Pepe costume.
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Please click through for the vintage Best and Worst of WCW Monday Nitro for October 9, 1995.
Best: The Announce Team Goes To Chicago
GET GRANMAW OUT THE ZOO CAGE BABY CAUSE IF YOU AIN’T IN CHICAGO FOR MONDAY NIGHT NITRO YOU GOT ROCKS IN YOUR HEAD
Best: “From Tsunami”
I’ve grown up a lot since 1995, but one thing remains: I think The Shark hailing “from Tsunami” is f*cking hilarious. It’s one of the best hometowns ever, because every explanation makes it worse.
Theory 1: His name’s “The Shark,” so he’s got to come from a large body of water. But you can’t say “from the ocean,” that’s not scary enough. “From a rough, stormy ocean” lacks the racial specificity of “from deepest, darkest Africa,” and sounds like the start of a bad novella. So what’s really big and holds water? A tank? Can The Shark hail from A VERY BIG SALT WATER TANK? How about a seismic sea wave? BINGO. The Shark lives in water and is violent so his hometown is a SEISMIC SEA WAVE. It’s a mobile home!
Theory 2: Some white guy in charge of WCW thought “Tsunami” was a place. Because yeah, it’s not “from A tsunami,” it’s “from tsunami.” That’s somewhere in the Philippines, right?
I have gotten 19 years of humor out of a cosplaying wrestler’s fake-ass hometown. Wait, John Tenta was dressed as a big animal … is The Shark a furry? Can sea creatures be furries? What do you call fish furries? “Scalies?”
Best: Sting Jumps The Shark
The opening match is The Shark vs. Sting. Shark jumps Sting from behind and gets in a little offense. He whips Sting into the ropes, charges in, misses, gets hit with two Stinger Splashes and a high crossbody for the loss. Those two sentences are the entire match and it’s over in about a minute, much to the chagrin of all the Shark Marks in the crowd. Shmarks?
Worst: The Cheering Fans They Cut To During Sting’s Entrance
And you wonder why he spent the 18 years after this dressed like The Crow.
Best: Sabu Really Should’ve Been A WCW Regular
The next match is Sabu vs. Mr. JL. If you aren’t familiar with JL, he’s Jerry Lynn (hence the “JL”) dressed like a Kamen Rider character. They build him up as mysterious and say we don’t know much about him, but never pay that off. I kinda wish they’d had a purple ninja guy in a mask and called him “Mr. Jerry Lynn” with no explanation. How unexpectedly bad-ass is that?
His role here is to get his ass kicked by Sabu, who is riding high off his demolishing of Alex Wright in episode 1 and about three weeks from being fired. The great thing about Sabu is how organically crazy he seems. He messes up a lot, but it’s always so ambitious. Instead of like, awkwardly taking a clothesline instead of ducking like most wrestlers when they botch, Sabu sets up chairs and tries to do triple jump springboards into things. There’s always so much FRENZIED EFFORT happening, and when he no-sells big moves to hit a convoluted spot you don’t really see it as “no-selling,” it’s just Sabu’s Rube Goldberg rage instincts kicking in and brainlessly compelling him forward.
This is a pretty solid match, with great moments like Sabu leaping off a chair to leg lariat JL against the guardrail and eating a SICK hanging DDT from the top turnbuckle that is not even KINDA the finish. The actual finish is him falling on his head trying to hit a hurricanrana off the top, doing his taunt when he should probably be selling and countering a missile dropkick from JL into a camel clutch. I’m sad Sabu didn’t stick around very long after this, because the glory days of WCW Cruiserweight action are nigh, and watching him wrestle guys like Malenko, Benoit, Guerrero and Mysterio on national television every week would’ve been great, absurd, or some combination of the two.
Worst: Randy Anderson
Randy ‘Pee Wee’ Anderson has always been one of my least favorite referees. He doesn’t trust the wrestlers. When he knows something isn’t the finish, he won’t count and let them kick out at the last second; he goes ONE, TWO, then trusts his arm under their shoulder and pushes them off the ground before three. It’s THE WORST. If you’re the referee, your role here is to count the pin. If Sabu doesn’t kick out, that’s on Sabu. Besides, there’s a camera staring you in the face from about a foot away. If you’re going to physically affect the outcome of the match, find a more subtle way to do so than “whoops, accidentally wedged my entire body under you. TWO!”
Best: Justin Roberts Sighting
I wish they’d brought him into the ring to announce JYEEEERRRRRRRRRRRRN Tenta.
Worst: Sting Has A Solution!
Sting notices that Lex Luger and the Macho Man Randy Savage have been feuding a lot recently, so he brings them to the ring and proposes a solution: they should forget about their scheduled matches at Halloween Havoc and fight each other. Macho Man instantly agrees, but Luger’s all, “hey, I’ve got an important match with Meng. Are you the booker now? I’m going to turn on you. Wait … I’m going to not turn on you.”
What’s funny is that Sting gets Luger to agree to the match by saying “I THOUGHT YOU WERE THE TOTAL PACKAGE” over and over. Eventually Luger goes I AM THE TOTAL PACKAGE and AGREES, confirming that in addition to being the most gullible person in the world, Sting is the best debater. I wish Savage had said no, too, so we could get five minutes of Sting going I THOUGHT YOU WERE A MACHO MAN, HUH? YOU AREN’T EVEN A MACHO MAN!
Fun note: at Halloween Havoc, Lex Luger is one of three (THREE!) shocking swerves. DTA, Sting.
Best/Worst: A Limo For Another Debuting International Star Has Arrived, And Out Steps … Oh No.
“The dogs are in the pool house and I’m ready to see where the BIG BOYS PLAY!”
Best: The Storied Disco Inferno/Road Warrior Hawk Feud
See that purple and yellow thing on Hawk’s shoulder pad? Disco Inferno stole a fan’s hat, ran up behind Hawk and stuck it on a spike without him noticing. See that white blob in the entrance to the right? That’s Disco running away. Disco Inferno kinda ruled, guys.
The actual match is Road Warrior Hawk vs. BIG BUBBER, and it’s pretty good while it lasts. Hawk was never an ace singles wrestler, but he was strong as hell and still a few years away from WWE turning him into a stumbling, sub-Puke drunk, so it works. Bubba was always dynamic and quick for his size, so watching a 300+ pound man zip around the ring and get caught with a hossy powerslam is delightful. But, alas, Disco Inferno returns to dance on the apron, distracting Hawk and drawing him out of the ring long enough for Bubba to win by count-out.
The followup, of course, is an epic series of Starrcade main-events between Disco and Hawk. Remember their triple cage match? Remember the 60-minute broadway that went into overtime? Those were the days.
Unrelated question, does anybody know how much cough medicine you’re supposed to drink, because I just drank six bottles
Worst: Hollywood Hogan, The Prequel
Hulk Hogan boasted that he could beat that “big, stinky giant” The Giant, and it ended with him getting his neck broken. So he showed up in a neck brace, said he could rip off the brace whenever he wanted and beat The Giant anyway. That ended with The Giant breaking his neck AGAIN. So, after two broken necks in the span of a month, what does Hulk Hogan do? Show up on Nitro in a BLACK neck brace wearing BLACK clothes instead of red and yellow (gasp) to say he could rip off the brace whenever he wanted and beat The Giant. Kevin Sullivan could sneak up and shoot him in the back of the head with a revolver and the only thing that’d happen is Hogan wearing a blue shirt.
I love that Hulk Hogan’s clothes are a mood ring. Feeling bad? ALL BLACK EVERYTHING. He’s like a 12-year old who just discovered The Cure. The best part of his promo is how much shade he throws at Vince McMahon, claiming he only wore the red and yellow for a “promoter” who is currently “dying and choking on his own ego.” I feel like the more decent people at WCW should’ve looked at this and gone, “hey, so this guy’s physically unstoppable and flies into a color-coded rage when promoters make him mad. Maybe we should do something about it.” Maybe they did, and someone responded with “nah, until the ring fills up with garbage we can’t do anything.”
Worst: DX Invasion, The Prequel
The Monday Night Wars have begun!
This Week’s Pepe Costume: Chicago Bears Player
This was easily the best part of the episode. Possibly the best part of ANY Nitro episode.
Worst: Flair vs. Anderson In The Shortest Cage Ever
The main event is Ric Flair vs. Arn Anderson inside a steel cage. I use “steel cage” loosely, because look at it. That’s got to be the shortest cage of all time. When they stand on the top rope, it comes up to their waist. Who is that gonna keep out? Brian Pillman shows up to interfere and scales the cage in about a quarter of a second. Kevin Nash could probably step over that cage into the ring.
It was a total Raw main-event, too. They can’t give away the best-possible Flair vs. Anderson match (and we’re about 6 years removed from when that would’ve been legendary), so Flair does his weird pretend babyface act until Arn hits him with TAPED KNUCKLES and scores a cheap victory. WCW loved its taped fists. Hacksaw Jim Duggan in WCW had an entire family legacy based around how the Duggans were the best at putting a thin strip of adhesive fabric around their fingers, and how that gives you SUPER PUNCH POWERS. Arn basically KO’d a 16-time world champion by holding a roll of scotch tape and swinging for the fences.
This was such a weird episode. Maybe next week will be better?
Aaaand now I’m sad again.