– We’ve started up a vintage Best and Worst of WWF Monday Night Raw column, so if you like these Nitro reports, you’ll probably like those too. It’s just like Nitro, only two years earlier and Doink the Clown is there.
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Please click through for the vintage Best and Worst of WCW Monday Nitro for December 18, 1995. Goodbye, innocence.
This Week’s Pepe Costume: Bandito
Unfortunately, we don’t get Mongo’s dumb explanation for his chihuahua being dressed like Cormano from ‘Sunset Riders.’ He said “FIRST OF ALL LOOK AT THE LITTLE GUY, HE’S EXCITED-” and is interrupted by stupid wrestling history.
Best: Whoops, Madusa Starts A War
This is Madusa. If you don’t remember her, she used to be in WCW as the flea market Sherri Martel; a good worker without any competition stuck in a valet role based around how less pretty she is than the popular girls. If you want to know how bad stateside women’s wrestling was in the early 90s, she had a Clash of the Champions match against Paul Heyman. In case you were wondering why it’s “Madusa” instead of “Medusa,” it means “made in the USA.” Not a joke.
She left WCW in 1993, winning a six-woman tournament to become the new WWF Women’s Champion. They wanted to build the women’s division around her and revitalize it, so they supplemented her with some of the best female workers ever. Female wrestling in Japan in the early 90s was as good as the US stuff was bad, and is arguably the best any wrestling has ever been. WWF brought over Aja Kong and Bull Nakano, and from 93-95, WWF women’s wrestling was one of the coolest things in the world. In 1994, Madusa (calling herself Alundra Blayze) lost the WWF Women’s Championship to Nakano at Big Egg Wrestling Universe in Tokyo in front of 40,000 fans. It was a big deal.
1995 happened, and attitudes started to change. WWF brought in Stampede’s Rhonda Singh as “Bertha Faye,” an overweight lady who lived in a trailer park. Faye broke Alundra Blayze’s nose so she could take time off to get fake boobs and a nose job. A few years later the Women’s Championship would be held by folks like Miss Kitty, Mongo’s ex-wife Debra, a 76-year old Fabulous Moolah and “Harvina,” Faye’s ex-boyfriend Harvey Wippleman in drag. At some point between that — December 18, 1995 — Madusa unexpectedly returned to Nitro. With the WWF Women’s Championship. And she threw it in the garbage.
You’ve probably seen this clip on all the Monday Night Wars shows, and with good reason. Before, WWF and WCW rarely acknowledged one another. They’d say something passive-aggressive in passing, like Bischoff’s “we’re the only show on Monday night’s that’s LIVE,” but it was nothing. Luger showing up on the first episode of Nitro was something, but he didn’t show up and rip a WWF shirt in half and call Bret Hart a homo. Madusa stood in the center of the screen, said “the WWF belongs in the garbage,” then tossed it in the f*cking garbage. Shots. Fired.
Fun fact: the WCW Women’s Championship was around for less than a year, and Madusa never won it.
Worst: The Fridge Is Bad At His Job
The hilarious part of the segment nobody mentions is that Mongo is tired of wrestlers barging onto the announce set, so he brings up WILIAM “THE REFRIGERATOR” PERRY to guard it. Yes, that William Perry, the NFL legend and WWE (celebrity wing) Hall of Famer who is one of two shoot G.I. Joes to compete at WrestleMania. Fridge walks up in a Cosby sweater (and a Cosby hat, an underrated piece of Cosby fashion) and crosses his arms.
The best part? He’s a total failure. After the next match. Sgt. Craig Pittman storms up to the announce table to ask Bobby Heenan to “manage the Pitbull to the world title.”
Heenan politely blows him off, and at no time does the Fridge charge in and tackle him off the stage. At the end of the show Hulk Hogan goes nutso and Mongo and Fridge jog down to ringside to stop him … Fridge whiffs trying to stop Hogan from swinging a chair, gets dragged around by his Koos and totally buried. More on that later, but seriously, way to help nobody ever Fridge.
Worst: Ric Flair vs. Eddie Guerrero, Unbelievably
If you’re making a list of the 10 greatest wrestlers ever, there’s a chance Ric Flair and Eddie Guerrero make that list. Them wrestling against each other on a 1995 episode of Nitro should be AWESOME, but … it isn’t. Two reasons:
1. Augusta, Georgia. This is one of the worst wrestling crowds I’ve ever seen, especially for the mid-90s. They sit on their hands for everything, and only come alive when someone they didn’t expect to see walks in. During Flair/Guerrero they no-sell EVERYTHING, then pop when Arn Anderson walks to the ring at the end to be in place for a promo. They don’t care about Ric Flair taking hurricanranas or Eddie falling from the top rope to the floor, but Arn Anderson walking lights them up. And oh God, wait until HOGAN shows up.
2. Some guys just don’t have the right chemistry. There’s a novelty to watching Ric Flair take springboard hurricanranas and tornado DDTs, but aside from that the match is just awkward punching and set-ups for things that SHOULD be exciting, but aren’t. Like, Flair’s trying to do these Dean Malenko move exchanges and Eddie’s either too fast or Flair’s too used to Barry Windham-sized dudes and they mess it up. Flair goes for a punch that Eddie’s supposed to counter into a backslide, but it doesn’t work and Flair ends up doing two phantom Mike Tyson uppercuts to nothing. Flair randomly hits the ropes in the middle of a punch exchange to set up a punch. It’s just so off, and I spent most of it with my head cocked to the side like a dog.
The finish is bad, too, with Flair nonchalantly putting Guerrero in the figure four and using the middle AND top ropes for leverage. Randy Anderson has the peripheral vision of a Big Daddy and can’t see this 230 pound guy with a floppy man-body physically pulling himself into the air like six inches to his left. Eh, whatever. They’d have much better matches in ’96, but even those aren’t good enough for FLAIR VS. GUERRERO.
Best: This Week’s Other Historically Important Thing
On last week’s show, new Four Horseman Brian Pillman ran off at the mouth and Paul Orndorff took exception. Orndorff ended up having his career ended by a spike piledriver on the arena floor. This week, another veteran steps in to warn Arn and Flair about Pillman: Taskmaster Kevin Sullivan.
This show happens in December. In February, Sullivan wrestles Pillman in Pillman’s final WCW match, and the wall surrounding and protecting the secrets of the wrestling industry gets an Armored Titan put through it. We’ll get to it when it happens, but if the words “I respect you, booker man” mean anything to you, you know what’s coming.
It’s surreal to recap a show where so many important things happened, or started to happen. Maybe I’ve been reviewing Raw too long.
Worst: Lex Luger, Over-Explainer
Sure, but what does “pinned” mean?
Worst: Sting’s Awkward Transitional Hair
The next match on the show is Sting vs. “Earl Robert Eaton,” aka “Bobby Eaton pretending to be Lord Steven Regal.” The most notable thing about the match is Sting’s hair, which is in full Zack Morris College Years transition from “California surfer” to “regular person.” And then, uh, the Crow. But seriously, look at it, it’s weird:
He looks like Don Sutton. Pretty soon his hair would grow out a little more and just be brown and styled to look like one of the kids from ‘Home Improvement.’ People say the whole “living in the rafters for a year” thing was based on Sting being betrayed by WCW and losing his faith in the wrestling business, but I think it was to get from JTT Hair to Brandon Lee hair without another period like this.
Best: Earl Robert Eaton Is A Thing I Probably Should’ve Appreciated More
I grew up on the Midnight Express and experienced his extremely underrated singles babyface run (Alabama Jam for life), so I’ve always had the exact idea of “Bobby Eaton.” An extremely ugly guy in bad shape with a bad mullet and no personality who is probably one of the most technically skilled wrestlers ever, the undisputed king of worked punches and a man who could beat Ricky Morton within a centimeter of death better than anyone in human history.
WWF gets a lot of grief (and rightfully so) for that odd period in the 90s where they put veteran stars into occupational cartoon characters, but WCW did it too. WWF dressed up Ricky Steamboat like an actual dragon and made Tito Santana pretend to be a matador, but WCW handed Terry Taylor a laptop and said “you’re the computerized man of the 1990s.” They put Bobby Eaton in Steven Regal’s gear and said “you’re British now.” So if Bobby wanted to keep his job he had to go out there and be BRITISH AS SHIT for no perceivable reason.
In my brain I’ve always hated it, but watching him here makes me realize how well he was doing it. He wasn’t just Bobby Eaton in a powdered wig … he transformed the way he acted, the way he carried himself, the way he wrestled. He’s doing a Regal impersonation, sure, but it’s on. He adopts Regal’s posture and mannerisms, and has a pretty good (though extremely short and formulaic) match against Sting in front of comatose-ass Augusta. He misses a flying knee drop, gets Stung and then gets Stang for the loss.
There really isn’t an ending to that point. WCW did a dumb thing to a lot of guys who deserved respect, but I guess that’s wrestling.
Worst: Hulk Hogan Ruins Everything
SPEAKING OF DOING DUMB THINGS, here’s Hulk Hogan.
The main event of the show is Macho Man Randy Savage defending the WCW World Heavyweight Championship against The Giant, and it’s … almost good. The Giant was still a rookie here and had no idea how to sell. Like, none. The best he could do is blink his eyes real big and wave his arms around in a circle. When that was over, he’d forget it and be 100% fine. Savage knows this, so he OVER-sells everything. EVERYTHING. There’s a moment late in the match where The Giant tries to suplex Savage on the floor, and Savage grabs on to the ropes on his way over to save himself. It’s a creative spot, and The Giant takes a big splat on the floor. The aftermath of that should be Savage recovering and The Giant selling, right? NOPE. Savage walks to the middle of the ring for no reason and staggers like a drunk until The Giant pops up totally fine, gets back into the ring and chokeslams him.
Anyway, like everything else Savage does on Nitro in the 90s it doesn’t matter, because HERE COMES HULK. The Giant beats Savage clean in the middle of the ring, but before the ref can count the three, Hogan slides in with a chair and breaks it up. Giant wins by DQ, which Hogan celebrates by giving him an endless chain of chairshots, all in that weird Hogan style where he holds the sides and sorta presses it into peoples’ faces. Hogan could hit a baby with 100 unprotected chairshots and the it’d be fine.
If ruining the main event wasn’t enough, Hogan (who is on probation, if you’ll recall) GRABS THE REFEREE BY THE THROAT and shoves him down in the corner. He then just arbitrarily attacks everybody he sees with the chair, including Kevin Sullivan and RINGSIDE SECURITY. Old men in business suits show up to be like HEY STOP IT DUDE WFT and Hogan smashes them in the gut. It reminds me of Dewey Cox rampaging through town in his underwear. Mongo and Fridge run down to stop Hogan, and he drags them around by their clothes until he calms down.
Why did he do this?
Why do you think? He wants a title shot.
Dude, I don’t know either.
Hogan wishes Savage well at Starrcade and assures him that he can beat Ric Flair next week on Nitro, which is real f*cking funny considering he’s been dead in the water since winning the belt and would’ve lost it on Nitro a minute ago if Daddy hadn’t slid in with a chair. Savage says something about Jupiter and Mars and agrees to give Hulk a future title shot, and Hogan celebrates by hitting every man, woman and child in the front row with unprotected chair shots. I don’t know, I turned it off.