The Best And Worst Of WCW Monday Nitro 11/13/95: Thunder In Eternal Paradise

Pre-show notes:

– You can watch this episode here.

– Last week we accidentally skipped an episode. We did 11/6 and called it 10/30. In case you missed the makeup report and want to keep up with the specifics of this Shark/Scott Norton feud, here’s the actual Best and Worst of Nitro for 10/30.

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Please click through for the vintage Best and Worst of WCW Monday Nitro for November 13, 1995.

Worst: Hulk Hogan Dresses Up Like The Phantom Of The Opera, Goes Into A Cemetery With A Decorative Broadsword And Demands Macho Man Bring Him The Decapitated Head Of Meng

If you thought Hulk Hogan teleporting into a cave and being surprised by the water temperature was bad, hold on to your butts.

Last week, The Hulkster hung and bung with homeless people on Venice Beach. This week, he dresses up like a Sith Lord on his way to a swingers orgy and cuts melodramatic Beastmaster promos in a f*cking graveyard.

WCW should’ve handed Hogan over to social services after this promo. He declares that the first task on the “destruction hit list of Hulkamania” is for Macho Man Randy Savage to deliver “the head of Meng on a silver platter.” As you may recall, he’s really into loosely quoting The Bible right now. He’s also into saying shit that makes him sound like a Sailor Moon villain:

Two major points are covered here.

1. The Dungeon of Doom is powered by an essence called “the doom.” The Doom is a darkness that can be breathed in and turns you into a creature. This intangible concept of breathable darkness is “in fear” of “the training, the prayers and the vitamins.” So yes, Hulk Hogan thinks he avoids demonic possession by taking B12 supplements. His end game is to pair his power with Savage’s to “take the darkest of the doom and turn it against” the Dungeon of Doom.

After that, he commands Savage bring him the “Legendary Silver Crystal!”

2. Hogan: “I feel a strange presence!” He says he doesn’t know “where Sting’s head’s at, brother.” Uh, have you checked the silver platter? If Sting is on “the doom side,” Hogan will “move his name to the top of the list” and murder him first. How great would it have been if the final episode of Nitro had just been Hollywood Hogan appearing from the shadows with Excalibur and slicing Sting in half?

I have no idea what was going through Hogan’s brain here, or why anyone thought this was cool. “You know what would make him more popular? Dressing him up like a Lord of the Rings character and having him threaten people from the grave.” Imagine if you turned on Raw next week and John Cena was suddenly wearing devil horns, prancing through a field of wild flowers and saying he’s gonna eat Heath Slater’s heart. That’s what we’re working with here.

I kept waiting for The Giant to drive in in a hearse with monster truck wheels and run him over.

This Week’s Pepe Costume: Superdog

“The little guy’s got on the Superdog outfit because all you can say is you’re seeing superhuman wrestling on Monday Nitro, baby. Period.”


Worst: Hulk Hogan Has Lost His Damn Mind, So Macho Man Becomes The New Hogan

Back on October 23 (of 1995), Randy Savage had one of the most frustrating matches I’ve ever seen. Kurasawa beats him up and tries to break his arm for five minutes. Savage gets in no offense. Then, out of nowhere, he hits one clothesline to the back of Kurasawa’s head, drops an elbow on him and pins him. This week, Savage has the exact same match with Meng.

He’s supposed to be beheading him or whatever, but he just gets his ass kicked for a few minutes before (as I said) hitting one clothesline to the back of Meng’s head and dropping an elbow on him for the win. After the match, the Dungeon of Doom attacks him and tries to break his arm, assumedly because it’s absurdly overpowered and can beat people in one move.

I’ve given Hogan a lot of grief over the past month and a half of Nitro reports for needing to have his neck broken twice in a month and win a manslaughtery monster truck sumo battle before letting The Giant make him look vulnerable, but Savage is just as bad. The guy’s swishing these easy victories against high-ranking mid-carders and has to get his arm “broken” so it’s not 100% obvious he’s winning a SIXY-MAN BATTLE ROYAL for the world title. Also, how funny is it that they needed to get the belt from Hogan to Savage, and instead of, you know, having Savage pin Hogan they had two neck breakings, an arm breaking, a 60-man battle royal, a power of attorney contract loophole and a Himalayan ice mummy attack?

Best: Lex Luger Sneak Attacking A Guy While Dressed Like An Extra From Chicago

Lex Luger is gonna break your arm, bum bum bum, and all that jazz!

But yeah, Luger shows up dressed like a sexy gangster and slams Savage’s arm into stuff until they have to take a commercial break. I just wish they’d prefaced it with The Master sitting on the toilet, yelling BRING ME THE ARM OF MACHO MAN RANDY SAVAGE IN A DUFFEL BAGGG.

Best: Probably The Best Under 3-Minute Match Ever

What’s the best short match you’ve ever seen?

My normal answer is Goldberg vs. Raven for the United States Championship on Nitro. It’s just under five minutes long, but it’s one of the most exciting things that ever happened on the show. The crowd is MOLTEN HOT, Raven and The Flock are bumping their asses off and Goldberg looks like the most terrifying, dominant human being to ever step foot inside a wrestling ring. Go back and watch it. 16 years later it still gives me goosebumps. It’s proof that you can get a great, memorable, important match in under 5.

So what happens if you try to do one in under 3?

Chris Benoit vs. Kensuke Sasaki isn’t Raven vs. Goldberg, but it’s probably as good as a wrestling match can be in under three minutes. Benoit is quick, sharp and powerful. Kensuke (called “Kensuki” here for the people who want to say “Ultimate Dragon”) is basically a Japanese Super Benoit, stronger and sturdier than anyone his size should be. Benoit keeps rushing forward and hitting as hard as he can, because he knows he’s tough enough to break through that exterior. Kensuke just throws him or lariats his dick into the dirt whenever he gets too close. At about 2 1/2 minutes in, Benoit gets the right counter at the right time, reverses a standing switch with a well-timed elbow to the face and throws his biggest move: two consecutive German suplexes rolled into a DRAGON suplex. That’s enough to put Sasaki down for three seconds. It might not’ve kept him down for four, but he got three.

The next time you see two guys leaning into chinlocks to drag a 4-minute match out to 15, remember that it’s what you do, not how long it takes you to do it.

Additional note: Benoit vs. Sasaki was 2:40. Hulk Hogan farting around with a sword in a graveyard was 2:27.

Best: Eddie Guerrero And Johnny B. Badd Gets Heated

One of the cool things about the WCW Television title is that it came with 10-minute time limits. That can benefit you no matter what kind of character you are. If you’re a heel, you can stall and connive and “escape” title defenses by running out the clock. If you’re a face, you can fight valiantly and outlast your challenger because you’re too tough to get put away that quickly.

Eddie Guerrero challenges John Badd and they go the full ten minutes. The fact that they’re both scrappy good guys and evenly matched isn’t what I liked about the match … what I liked is how they got to 10 minutes. They didn’t just do moves and kick out of a bunch of stuff, they came up with a reason to lose a chunk of their time and get the crowd involved.

These guys are supposed to be “role models” according to Eric Bischoff. Nothing but sportsmanship and fair play. The problem with that is that Johnny B. Badd is a former boxer who spent most of his early heel days knocking people out with closed fists, so when he gets angry, the fists come out. He gets hot and pops Eddie Guerrero in the jaw with a right hand, then just blatantly pulls back and hits him in the face again. Badd gets angry eyebrows and Guerrero rolls out to the apron to make sure his head bones are all still attached. When Eddie gets back in, he doesn’t go “okay, now let’s do more wristlocks,” he charges him, tackles him to the ground and starts punching him in the face. That leads to a wild minute or two of both guys saying nuts to the wrestling and trying to knock each other out, and it feels real. Not UFC real or whatever, but it feels like a wrestling match between two good dudes got heated. That’s awesome. Eventually they calm down, but they start throwing hands again as the time ticks away. Badd retains via the draw, and Eddie sorta begrudgingly holds up his hand and makes up.

That’s how you do an effective babyface character. You have them be honorable and decent, but not a pushover. If somebody punches them in the face, they’re gonna punch back, but when it’s over they’ll understand why it happened. They aren’t just mindless rage machines that punch and kick and cheat because that’s how wrestling works. Sheamus, I’m looking in your direction.

Best: Sting Makes Dean Malenko Look Like A Million Bucks

Raise your hand if you’ve ever seen Hulk Hogan put over a guy half his size for no reason.

This week’s main-event is Sting vs. Dean Malenko. Despite it having no prior history or heat, Sting EATS IT the entire match to make Malenko look good. He sells his ass off, lets Malenko escape the Scorpion Death Lock and goes up and over for one of the biggest and best German suplexes I can remember:

Sting wins the match, but only after Malenko hits a flurry of offense, goes for the Texas Cloverleaf and gets rolled up. Even after the win, Sting hobbles around and tries to catch his breath. The announce team does an audible “wow, I can’t believe Dean Malenko did as well as he did” thing that makes it pretty clear this was all Sting, and I love him for it. I’m sad that Sting’s about a year away from cosplaying the Crow in a year-long rafters hiatus, and two from decades of apathy.

Worst: Next Week, Hulk Hogan Shows Up And Gets Whatever He Wants And It’s Starrcade 97 Two Years Early

From BEYOND THE GRAVE, Hulk Hogan has announced that he’ll be at Nitro next week and wants a match with Sting. He doesn’t want a match with the guy who broke his neck twice, survived a murder fall and DP’d him with a mummy. He doesn’t want a match with the wormy head of the mid-carder Legion of Doom that’s been trying to assassinate him for months. He doesn’t want to fight the manager who turned on him a week ago, or the guy he thought he could trust who not only turned on him, but tried to break his best friend’s arm. Nope, he wants a match with Sting, the chummiest and most trustworthy guy in the history of the company. It’s like passing up the Evil Queen so you can get a shot at Dopey.

The worst part? It’s an ominous foreshadowing of Starrcade 97, the very worst of all Hulk Hogan moments. Enjoy these beautiful little moments with Dean Malenko while you have them, Stinger. Things are about to get real orange.