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And now, the vintage Best and Worst of WCW Monday Nitro for April 15, 1996.
Worst: Hulk Hogan Is The Worst Wrestler Of All Time And Also Maybe The Worst Person In Human History
So, this is how Nitro starts.
Hulk Hogan faces Arn Anderson and Kevin Sullivan in a handicap match, with the stipulation that if Hogan can somehow find a way to win (LOL) he’ll get “five minutes alone” with his a manager of his choice. Hogan wins the match clean with almost no effort whatsoever, atomic dropping Arn so hard it ruptures his entire spinal column and puts him in a coma and bodyslamming slash leg-dropping Sullivan. Surprisingly, “Hogan beats two top heels by himself without trying” is the least infuriating aspect of this match.
After he pins Sullivan, Hogan rolls out of the ring and physically forces Woman into it. Like, jamming his arm up between her legs and shoving her in under the bottom rope while she screams. Here’s something you may not have considered: it’s pretty terrible listening to a murdered lady scream. But yeah, then Hogan does the big “YOU!” point to Elizabeth, who is scared to death.
Mongo, in his greatest moment of tact and understanding: “Don’t fight it, darlin’, just get in the ring.”
Hogan grabs them both by their upper arms and parades them around the ring in a circle to ask the audience which non-wrestling woman they’d like him to punch most, and the announce team laughs about how he’s gonna “take them both.” At least when Tommy Dreamer was doing that it was because he was a dorky pervert and not a violent monster. The only thing that saves them is Hogan noticing Jimmy Hart, who is so surprised he loses his sunglasses. That leads to about a minute of Hogan punching and ripping the clothes off of a guy 1/5 his size while the crowd cheers and Bischoff goes “oooOOOOOH.”
That brings out The Giant to save Hart, and Hogan eats a chokeslam. Despite having just wrestled two top-level heels and been Pearl Harbor’d by a seven foot tall giant, Hogan totally no-sells the chokeslam and singlehandedly beats up the f*cking Giant. He’s so into beating everyone up that when Mean Gene gets in the ring to conduct an interview, Hogan almost bodyslams him. That leads to a 5-minute in-ring promo about What We’re Gonna Do when Hogan decides he wants to be WCW Champion again.
Let me put this into a modern perspective for you. Imagine that Raw starts with Rusev and Cesaro in the ring. They don’t even get entrances. John Cena shows up with fireworks and the announcers talk about what a wonderful angel he is non-stop. Cena easily beats both men, incapacitating Cesaro with a hip toss and Attitude Adjusting Rusev in the middle of the ring. His prize for victory is the ability to snatch Natalya and Lana by the hair and drag them around in the ring with a smile on his face while they scream. He stops when he notices Paul Heyman there for some reason, and spends a few minutes pulling down his pants and punching him in the face. Brock Lesnar shows up to save Heyman and hits Cena with an F-5, so Cena just stands up, does the “you can’t see me” hand and Attitude Adjusts Lesnar. Everyone Cena has touched loses 100% of their power and vanishes. Byron Saxton wanders into the ring to get Cena’s thoughts and gets STF’d for 30 seconds before Cena realizes he’s not an additional Top Heel to squash. Cena stands in the ring and cracks jokes about how he’s better than everyone else.
The nWo was the luckiest thing in the world, wasn’t it?
This Week’s Pepe Costume: Orange Camo
“… ’cause them two guys [Randy Savage and Ric Flair] are smokin’ guns and he wanted to make sure he didn’t get hit by a stray bullet.”
LET ME TELL YOU SOMETHING THIS DOG IS WORRIED ABOUT ACCIDENTAL SHOOTING DEATHS, BABY, AND PEOPLE’RE ALWAYS ACCIDENTALLY GETTIN’ SHOT ON ON NITRO.
Best: The Fat Guy Garbage Division
First of all, I need to clarify something from last week’s column. I described the finish of the triangle tag team match as Public Enemy interfering and rolling Brian Knobbs in to be pinned, but I missed some crucial Philadelphia street-tough subterfuge: apparently Johnny Grunge dressed up as Brian Knobbs and rolled into the ring to take the pin. I totally whiffed it, because I’d just spent 4 1/2 hours watching that triangle tag match. The goddamn Loch Ness could’ve come out dressed as Brian Knobbs and I would’ve missed it.
So that sets up this week’s match, a hardcore brawl between Public Enemy and the Nasties. It’s not “good” necessarily, but it’s the perfect use of these teams: telling them to go out there, be kinda fat and hit each other in the face with shit. That’s all you do. You don’t ask them to wrestle, you don’t ask them to tell a story, you ask them to find trash can lids and make the nearest, ugliest person wear it like a hat.
Public Enemy falls victim to their favorite finish, accidentally going through a table they’ve set up. They set up Knobbs on a table and Grunge comes off the top, but Knobbs rolls off and Grunge goes through it butthole-first. Lots of butt trauma in this episode. Knobbs goes full 69 for the cover, and it gets replayed as the “TWIX SWEET REVENGE” moment of the night.
I could think of ways for that revenge to be sweeter. Maybe don’t burrow your face in the balls of the dude you hate?
Best: Elizabeth’s Motivations, Explained
Macho Man Randy Savage squashes the British version of Beautiful Bobby Eaton and that’s all well and good, but the best and most important moment of the show is the reveal of why Miss Elizabeth is suddenly so into trying to steal money from a guy she divorced four years ago.
If you’ve been following the story, WCW’s been playing up the Savage/Liz divorce like it just happened, and she’s been throwing “his money” out to the crowd during Ric Flair’s entrances. This has Savage enraged, and Bischoff casually drops the explanation: Macho Man is set to star in the upcoming Cartoon Network project DIAL M FOR MONKEY, and Elizabeth is getting a cut of it. Savage is furious to the point of attacking strangers because his ex-wife is getting a percentage of his ‘Dexter’s Laboratory’ segment money. AMAZING. It’s like getting an extras role in the background of ‘Arrow’ and being pissed that you’ve gotta send 200 of your $500 to your deadbeat kids.
For those of you who’ve never seen ‘Dial M For Monkey,’ Savage played the character RASSLOR, an intergalactic wrestler who travels from planet to planet challenging people to matches. He’s seafoam green, weighs 84 billion pounds and has Randy Savage’s voice. That was a pretty good show.
Best: Fashionable Alex Wright
Macho won’t stop dropping rage elbows on Eaton, so WCW’s least important people run out with security and handcuff him for his own good. The highlight is Alex Wright, who was chilling backstage in a Nitro tee and some Mil Muertes pants. In my head these are the only kinds of pants Wright can wear because they allow room for his massive German dong.
Best/Worst: Debra Ahoy
Another thing I neglected to mention last week is the beginning of one of the most unexpectedly game-changing stories from this era of WCW: Ric Flair’s infatuation with Debra McMichael.
Despite having a thick cadre of MILFs walking him to the ring already, Flair starts to notice Mongo’s wife in the crowd. He doesn’t respect relationship boundaries because he’s the f*cking Nature Boy, so he flirts with her and causes some tense conversations in the announce booth. “Look, not only is she married to me my friend, but she’s got way too much class for that punk.”
Eventually this story involves wrestling football players, Mongo as a Horseman, the rise of Jeff Jarrett, Bill Goldberg’s first feud and the loss of Pepe. All because Ric Flair wanted a different color of mid-30s wrestling wife tail.
Worst: Hot Coffee Mod, Part 2
The main event is a tag team match with Ric Flair teaming up with The Giant (which makes total sense if you pretend the last month of TV hasn’t happened) against Sting and Lex Luger. If you missed last week’s main, Flair defeated Luger after Woman stole a hot cup of coffee from a fan at ringside (?) and threw it in Luger’s face. I guess WCW creative was tired of booking people to hit each other in the face with shoes and thought “scalding liquid” was the next logical step.
Woman tries to Starbuck Luger again but he ducks, and WHOOPS, the coffee spray hits Sting instead. The planets align and Nick Patrick actually sees the interference, causing a DQ. In response, The Giant instantly gets Infinite Specials and chokeslams Sting AND Luger, leaving them lying. Yes, the show began with Hulk Hogan being chokeslammed by The Giant and no-selling it, and ended with Sting and Luger being chokeslammed by The Giant and being dead. Yes, it’s the most intentional f*cking thing ever.
Anyway, the show ends with a comedy bit where Bischoff handcuffs Bobby Heenan and high-fives Mongo.
Get here soon, Razor Ramon.