– Click here to watch this week’s episode on WWE Network.
– In case you missed it, we’re attempting to catch up to the Nitro timeline and wrote about the 3/25/96 episode on Monday. Make sure to read that one first. If you’d like to read about previous episodes, check out the WCW Monday Nitro tag page. We’ve also started up a vintage Best and Worst of WWF Monday Night Raw column, so check that out.
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And now, the Best and Worst of WCW Monday Nitro, originally aired on April 1, 1996.
Worst: Warning, Nothing In This Episode Makes Sense
This is one of the worst episodes of Nitro I’ve ever seen. None of it makes sense. None of it. It happened on April 1, so maybe it’s an April Fool’s joke? It feels like they forgot to write the show, and then at 7:45 on Monday night or whatever they realized they had a building full of wrestlers at a live wrestling show and went SHIT, WAIT, WHERE ARE WE, WHAT’RE WE DOING?
Let me put it to you this way: last week’s episode ended with The Giant chokeslamming Kevin Sullivan and Arn Anderson, ending his relationship with the Dungeon of Doom and turning face. That last part’s arguable, but they did a heel vs. heel main and had him beat up a bunch of heels for cheers, so it’s close enough. On WCW Saturday Night we learn that Lex Luger’s challenging Ric Flair for the WCW Championship this week, but the tag team championships ALSO have to be defended (against Harlem Heat), so Sting’s left without a tag team partner. Enter: The Giant. Sting and The Giant vs. Harlem Heat for the WCW Tag Team Championships is made for Nitro. Nitro starts with Sting and The Giant fighting each other. The explanation is that Jimmy Hart — the second manager of the Dungeon of Doom, mind you — showed up and paid off Harlem Heat to skip the match and let The Giant beat up Sting. Are you following any of this? Basically The Giant attacked the leader of the Dungeon of Doom and agreed to help Sting out in a tag titles match so that he could work with the Dungeon of Doom to beat up Sting and not have a tag titles match. Instead of, you know, walking up to Sting in the back and punching him in the face, or whatever.
The worst part is that the finish is NOTHING. They fight for a few minutes and then Lex Luger shows up. The guy who wouldn’t team with Sting in the first place because hew as busy. Luger slides into the ring to help Sting fight off The Giant despite it being a fairly contested one-on-one match in which Sting was doing fine, so the referee calls it off.
This is the beginning of the show.
This Week’s Pepe Costume: Leopard-Print Cowboy
Like last week, this is another rerun Pepe costume. Mongo says the animal print on the little guy is “apropos” because things are gonna get wild here tonight. I guarantee you this costumed dog knows more about what’s happening on Nitro than anyone at the announce table.
Worst: Nobody Has Any Idea What’s Happening
Before the commercial break, Bischoff says we’re gonna have a triangle match between the Road Warriors, the Steiner Brothers and Public Enemy. When we come back from break, it’s the Road Warriors, the Steiner Brothers and the Nasty Boys. Bischoff says, “I know Public Enemy wanted to be in this match, we saw them back in the locker room, nothing happening there.” Uh, sure! “Nothing happening there” is Bischoff’s version of “a wizard did it.”
It’s brutally obvious that nobody in the match knows what they’re supposed to be doing. They don’t even tag, they just come in and out of the ring and interfere as they please and Nick Patrick makes these vague “okay YOU’RE in” gestures. At one point Rick Steiner comes in and starts punching everybody and Patrick’s like, “hey, you aren’t the legal man.” Steiner ignores him, so Patrick claps his hands and points at the Steiners’ corner. Heenan desperately tries to explain the rules to the audience at home by asking how the tags and pinfalls work, but Bischoff confidently yells “There ARE no rules!!” A few minutes later, he explains the rules. I AM HAVING A NIGHTMARE.
It goes on for like 15 minutes because nobody knows how the match is supposed to end. By the end of it the cameraman is just ignoring it and filming a Nasty Boy lying around outside. They seriously hold on Brian Knobbs for like an entire minute as he kneels by the ring apron and waits for the finish. If you’re wondering what that is, the Public Enemy show up (spoiler alert), attack Knobbs and roll him in the ring for Scott Steiner to pin. I’m telling you, a dog could shit in the center of a WCW Magazine and it’d be less of a mess than this.
Worst: And Now Here’s Hulk Hogan And A Tag Team Match About Shoes
Hulk Hogan and The Booty Man team up against The Taskmaster and Arn Anderson and the story’s built around WCW’s deadliest foreign object, the LADIES’ SHOE. If you’re a regular reader of the column you’ll know that Miss Elizabeth basically wears nuclear warheads on her feet, and if you remove one of them and hit somebody in the face with it that person will die. Hulk Hogan got jabbed in the face by a shoe once and it not only busted him open, it almost blinded him and he had to wrestle in a flesh-colored eyepatch. Well, Hulk Hogan’s flesh colored. An orange eyepatch.
The match itself is Booty Man doing that weird thing where he’s a constantly shaking, squatting Ultimate Warrior dressed like a jazzercise teacher, and Hogan reacts to it all by bugging out his eyes and making an o-face. You don’t want to watch it. The finish is a SHOE CARNIVAL. The referee is distracted so the heels’ cadre of aging women slip Kevin Sullivan a shoe. Booty Man sees this happening and pulls Hulk Hogan into the corner so the Booty Babe can remove HER shoe and give him an EQUALIZER. I have to type so much of this in caps. Hogan blocks the shoe shot with his free arm and shoes Sullivan in the face for the pin. The worst part is that The Booty Babe wears flat heels, so Hogan isn’t even hitting Sullivan with a spike, he’s just hitting him with a loose, tiny square of shoe. It’s like someone hitting you over the head with a doily. Sullivan, of course, is comatose.
After the match, The Booty Man gets attacked by the heels and Hogan has to bail him out to get back the heat they lose winning the match, or something. And yes, don’t worry, they stick around for a promo.
Worst: The Booty Man Has A Great Idea He Wants To Tell You About, But It’s A Secret
The hook of this interview is that The Booty Man has devised a match concept that is guaranteed to get them “satisfac-shone!” That’s him saying “satisfaction” like the Cajun Man, because Brutus Beefcake was taking all the drugs Hulk Hogan couldn’t. He won’t reveal the match, though, saying he doesn’t want to “play their down card.”
Nitro goes to commercial, and when they come back Bischoff’s like, “so that interview with the Booty Man, what kind of match was he talking about? I bet he meant a MIXED TAG TEAM MATCH where The Booty Babe could mix it up with Woman and Elizabeth. Hulk Hogan in a mixed tag team match, that’s never happened before!”
how did he get your down card, booty
Worst: Lex Luger’s Hot Coffee Mod
Somehow, Nitro saved the worst finish for last.
Lex Luger wrestles Ric Flair in the main event, and it’s every throwaway Ric Flair match you’ve ever seen. Basically Luger just intimidates him with poses and powerslams him 500 times until Flair can get a thumb to the balls or whatever and take over. Figure four, figure four reversal, lots of begging off, more powerslams and then a finish that doesn’t make sense. That is 1996 Ric Flair. You could’ve put him in the ring with Rey Mysterio Jr. on Nitro and it would’ve been Mysterio press slamming him for 10 minutes.
Anyway, Luger has the match won with the Torture Rack, but of course the referee gets distracted. That allows Woman to steal a HOT CUP OF COFFEE from a fan in the front row, sneak into the ring and throw it into Luger’s face. That allows Flair to win, and allows me to side-eye my TV for like five minutes while the announcers try to explain how (1) a fan at a wrestling show was drinking a hot cup of coffee at an arena at like 9 at night, and (2) how they had a full cup of steaming hot coffee at the end of the main event. What, did the lady hit up concessions as soon as the match started? Did she have a long drive home or something? Who drinks coffee at wrestling shows? COTTON CANDY HERE, GET YOUR COTTON CANDY. ALSO A QUAD VENTI SOY LATTE, QUAD VENTI SOY LATTE HERE.
To recap this show:
1. Sting and The Giant who are not the tag champions defending the tag championships against Harlem Heat ended with Harlem Heat taking payoff to bail on the match and let Sting and The Giant fight each other to a non-finish
2. A triangle tag match between The Steiners, The Road Warriors and Public Enemy saw Public Enemy replaced by The Nasty Boys because “nothing was happening there” and ended with Public Enemy interfering anyway
3. Hulk Hogan stabbed a dude to death with a flat shoe
4. The Booty Man is cajun now
5. Lex Luger jobbed to a mysteriously occurring arena cappuccino