– In case you missed it, the retro Best and Worst of WWF Monday Night Raw column has jumped ahead to 1996. The episode that aired against this Nitro should be up on Monday.
– Share the column! At least use the “share video” button under the beach video. Trust me.
And now, the vintage Best and Worst of WCW Monday Nitro for July 22, 1996.
Best: This Kid, And Basically Every Person In These MGM Studios Crowds
See that kid? He is 1996. He’s got a Home Improvement kid haircut, a pair of jean shorts and a Marvin The Martian tee, and he’s SO EXCITED about everything that happens. He’ll stand up, pump his fists, yell at the wrestlers and sit back down to lean over and ask his family if they saw him. I love him because I’ve been him. Compare and contrast him with this picture of me looking like a fat, female Ronald McDonald in a Carolina Panthers sweatshirt at Universal Studios in the ’90s. Yes, that’s Popeye. Yes, I am a nightmare.
Sadly, there aren’t a lot of sincere Bests on this episode. The opening match is Scott Norton vs. Squire Dave Taylor, which would probably be awesome if it wasn’t a minute-45 long and didn’t end with an over-the-top-rope disqualification. You’d think WCW would’ve gotten rid of that the second Rey Mysterio showed up and started rana’ing people over the ropes, but nope.
They fight a little on the outside and the timekeeper keeps ringing the bell, as if that’s ever stopped anyone. Just once I want a crazy brawl to happen and the timekeeper to ring the bell a bunch, only for the wrestlers to look around all, “wait, it’s OVER? Oh man, my mistake, I thought we were still wrestling.”
Worst: VK Wallstreet Is The Worst Attack In ‘Earthbound’
To illustrate how interesting most of hour one is, the big story here is VK Wallstreet being so rich he’s lost focus on wins and losses. He beat Jim Powers on Worldwide, you see, so now he’s turned it around and is on a winning streak. If he beats Konnan here, that’ll make it two in a row. Keep in mind that all Jim Powers has going for him in 1996 is a big-ass vein running up the side of his armpit because all he buys at the grocery store is “steroids” and “chest press,” and that my grandmother could’ve pinned him.
Anyway, Wallstreet promises a HOSTILE TAKEOVER of Konnan, because business, get it? He goes for the STOCK MARKET CRASH, also because business, but Konnan crucifixes him and rolls him over for a surprise 3-count. The streak is over. Paul Heyman starts managing Konnan from here on out, and constantly refers to him as the ONE in ONE AND ONE. No, not that one, the other one.
Woof. Come on, WCW, you’re ruining my “Nitro was actually way better than Raw” gimmick.
Well This Isn’t Helping
His debut isn’t for another two months. Hope you enjoy watching a gym teacher do level-one karate on some old Mortal Kombat: Annihilation sets!
Best: The Handjob Squad
Okay, forget everything I said about Nitro being bad.
The Dungeon of Doom have an eight-man tag against the jobber super team of ‘Das Wunderkind’ Alex Wright, Jim Powers, ‘Desperado’ Joe Gomez and The Renegade. To make them seem important, WCW puts over the jobbers in a beefcake video WWE.com titled, “WCW superstars have fun on the beach.” It’s the cheesiest and least sexually arousing thing this side of the Thrillseekers in bumper cars.
Behold, in all its glory:
- wear sunglasses, pensively stare
- suddenly notice yourself being filmed
- walk on the beach until it makes you angrily remove your Nitro shirt
If you’re Joe Gomez, pick your nose. God, this is so horrible and great. I wish they’d kept them together as a team and called them the SEXY BEACH PALS.
Worst: Also, There’s A Leprechaun
The Dungeon of Doom has featured a shark and a buttf*cking Himalayan ice mummy, so why not add a leprechaun?
Meet THE LEPRECHAUN, the cleverly named new character of the former Sgt. Buddy Lee Parker. He’s got sharp teeth and runs around the ring because he’s going for a supernatural horror thing instead of a “they’re always after me Lucky Charms” vibe, but he’s on a team with Hugh Morrus and Kevin Sullivan, so he can only go so far. The Belfast Bruiser was on a break during this time, so my new headcanon is that this dude is the biological father of Hornswoggle. Or mother? What I’m trying to say is that Kevin Sullivan f*cked a leprechaun and that’s Hornswoggle’s secret origin.
Don’t worry, we don’t actually see any of this match.
As soon as it starts, we find out that Scott Hall and Kevin Nash have infiltrated a production truck and are ordering the crew to scan the crowd instead of filming the match. They’re looking for a “buddy” who’s supposed to be there tonight, and I guess using a national television feed to look for him was easier than physically walking around that tiny-ass Disney World set as HALL AND NASH. It takes forever, you can’t really see anything, Tony Schiavone won’t shut up about how they’re depriving him of “wrestling action” and eventually security Living Tribunal Doug Dellinger shows up to escort them away. Nash says everyone’s invited to his trailer for “pot pies and Mountain Dew.” As a reminder, we thought this was super cool.
If you’re wondering how the WRESTLING ACTION went, Teddy Long showed up to give Jim Powers a pep talk, and it empowered him to valiantly fight back for like 30 seconds until The Giant showed up and chokeslammed everybody. I’m claiming Jim Powers and VK Wallstreet as the John Cena and Randy Orton of terrible 1996 WCW undercarders. Anyway, Giant says he’s a CANCER THAT CAN’T BE CURED, and he’ll use his FATAL INCURABILITY to rid WCW of the CANCER that is Hulk Hogan. Can we start throwing garbage now?
Best: See You Never, Prince Nakimaki
This episode of Nitro’s like trying to make lunch the day before payday, when all you’ve got in your pantry is half-eaten boxes of stale cereal and cans of sh*t you’ll never eat, like “great northern beans.” What even ARE those?
DDP squares off against Prince Iaukea, the Hawaiian Alex Wright. Prince Iaukea was TERRIBLE. He was trained by Dean Malenko, but you’d never be able to tell. He pushes Page around a little and eats a Diamond Cutter, and that’s all she wrote. For real, only ever did two things worth mentioning:
1. Losing his entrance skirt to Chris Jericho, and
2. Changing his name to “The Artist Formerly Known As Prince Iaukea” and doing a Prince gimmick, which was awesome but did not Febreeze the fact that his wrestling was loose butthole.
Best/Worst: Dean Malenko Is MEXICO
Up next is the Nitro debut of future Lucha Underground old man Chavo Guerrero Jr., weakly dropkicking and cradling his way through a match with Dean Malenko. The thing about Malenko is that he’s technically brilliant, but if he’s wrecking someone with armbars and they don’t know how to connect with the crowd, it’s boring. It’s just beautiful armbars. Chavo is fresh from the lucha scene (and New Japan Pro Wrestling, randomly), not totally sure what he’s doing and absolutely not Eddie, so what should’ve been an entertaining squash turns into 8 damn minutes.
You know things are bad for an episode of Nitro when I’m not losing my mind for Dean Malenko. Malenko could’ve wrestled that tree in the middle of the entrance and it would’ve been good. Chavo tries his best and all, but yeah. Until the “Eddie Guerrero Is My Favorite Wrestler” shirt shows up, Chavo’s basically a non-entitity.
Worst: Meng Vs. Ice Train
What is this show?
Meng vs. Ice Train had the potential to be something cool, I guess, but it’s basically the slowest, worst version of Shawn Michaels vs. Shelton Benjamin you’ve ever seen. Ice Train was stuck in tag team matches for a reason. Here, he’s left drifting in the wind while Meng farts around looking for a chinlock. It’s aggressively terrible. Scott Norton runs in for the disqualification at the 6-minute mark, which feels like minute 62 of an Iron Man match. He’s got a match against Ice Train at the upcoming pay-per-view, you see, and doesn’t want Train to get beaten up before then so he can beat him up. So, uh, he let him wrestle for a while and get beaten up but only directly ruined the lateral press that would’ve ended it. Whatever you say, guys.
Best: Oh Thank God
The closest thing resembling an Actual Wrestling Match on the show is Eddie Guerrero vs. Psicosis, which isn’t either man’s best match, but feels like Savage/Steamboat after an hour and a half of Ice Train restholds and diagonal looks at The Renegade’s junk.
The joy of Psicosis is that he seems to have no regard for his safety or well-being, and will do shit just to freak you out. For example, one of his signature spots is trying a running dropkick in the corner, missing it, smashing his ass into the top turnbuckle pad and flipping backwards onto his head. His finish was a guillotine leg drop, and sometimes he’d do it from the top rope to the outside. That’s basically jumping 15 feet into the air and falling butt-first onto concrete. This guy really hated his own asshole. It also would occasionally result in him f*cking up basic moves and pissing off his opponents, like during this match when he catches a diving Guerrero with a shoulder to the sternum and ends up eating a brutal frog splash for his troubles. Sometimes Eddie would be gentle, and sometimes he was just like, “nope, you’re catching all my weight on your ribs.”
I don’t think Psicosis is ever winning a match, but this was good. Somehow it didn’t involve a leprechaun.
Worst: WCW Car Mystery #1
The Outsiders were looking for a friend in the crowd, so everyone’s suspicious when a white limousine parks on set. Arn Anderson tries to get into it and see through the tinted windows, but he can’t figure it out. The main event is supposed to be The Four Horsemen vs. Sting, Lex Luger and the Macho Man, but Flair no-shows … the suggestion is that maybe Flair is in the limo, and he’s the newest member of the New World Order. The other Horsemen have to go it alone, and it costs them.
You wouldn’t think this match would be bad, too, but it was. It’s one of those times where it looks like they put together the match as they were walking to the ring, so nobody knows their cues and everyone’s just kinda doing stuff. It’s actually worse than that Joe Gomez/Renegade/Rock n’ Roll Express match from a few weeks prior, if you can believe that. The finish is Debra trying to hand Mongo the DEADLY HALIBURTON, Woman trying to take it away from her to hand it to Mongo herself (?) and Macho Man intercepting. He blasts Benoit in the back of the head with it, and Team WCW gets a cheap win.
The best part is when they jump back to the limo to speculate about who’s inside, just in time to see a production guy calmly open the passenger side door to have a conversation with the driver:
Hahaha, whoops. Maybe Sid was driving. Tell whoever you’re talking to to take the limo back to the dealer and switch it out for a Hummer.