The Best And Worst Of WCW Monday Nitro 8/12/96: Hog Mild

Pre-show notes:

Click here to watch this week’s episode on WWE Network. Be sure to also watch WCW Hog Wild, which will put you in the correct mood for the report.

– If you’d like to read about previous episodes, check out the WCW Monday Nitro tag page.

– 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 week’s show will be posted on Monday.

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Up first, let’s ride to Sturgis and get our hogs wild.

Before We Begin

Here’s what you need to know about WCW Hog Wild, live from in front of 5,000 horrible people at the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally in Sturgis, South Dakota.

Everyone Looked Spectacular

We need to take a moment to appreciate the spectacular, themed-attire of WCW Hog Wild. It’s at a biker rally, so the announce team (and most of the wrestlers) dressed like bikers. This doesn’t seem weird until you mentally picture the WCW announce team, and then Jesus take the wheel.

Up first is the core announce team, anchored by Dusty Rhodes in a two-color denim shirt and jorts combo with cowboy boots. It looks like Oogie Boogie possessed Garth Brooks and is trying to burst out of his skin. Dude looks like a porcelain baby doll in precious baby biker clothes you’d buy from an ad in a women’s magazine, and because it’s Dusty Rhodes, it absolutely works. Tony’s giving it all he’s got in his leather Brando cap and Danielle Matheson sleeveless denim vest, and Bobby’s on the far right, showing them both up, looking like one of the damn Stray Cats.

If you’re wondering if Mean Gene can top his TBS cap and red polo from the last time they had to do a pay-per-view outside, here’s your answer:

Gene Okerlund never met a free promotional cap he didn’t like.

The Steiner Brothers are backstage on Netscape Navigator or Prodigy or whatever the hell people were using to talk about wrestling on the Internet wearing those same denim vests, so I guess they gave them (and Village People biker hats) out to everybody.

When is one of these vests gonna pop up on eBay, and how much do I have to pay to own one? I’d wear it everywhere. I don’t care, I’d wear it over my pajamas.

In Less Important News, Hulk Hogan Won The WCW World Heavyweight Championship, Spray-Painted It And Renamed It The nWo Title

If you’ve ever wondered when the WCW World Heavyweight Championship got “nWo” spray-painted across it for the first time, it was here. Hulk Hogan takes on the champion, Giant. As you may recall, these two have a storied history that includes Hogan killing Giant’s dad with a bodyslam at WrestleMania 3 [citation needed], a monster truck sumo battle on the roof of an arena that ended in attempted manslaughter and a double-team bearhug buttf*ck sneak attack involving a thawed-out Himalayan ice mummy.

This one is the most cookie-cutter, minus-five-stars Attitude Era main event you could imagine, featuring interference from both Scott Hall AND Kevin Nash in plain sight of the referee with no disqualification called, a belt shot to the head and Randy Anderson literally having to crawl over Kevin Nash’s giant, interfering body to count the three.

The Booty Man Is Temporarily nWo For Life

When WCW was trying to figure out who on their roster might be a mole for Hulk Hogan, they never thought to check with the Booty Man, who was Hulk Hogan’s mole in the Dungeon of Doom. Whoops! After Hogan wins the title, Booty Man brings out a birthday cake to help celebrate and joins the nWo, which they celebrate by beating the sh*t out of him. What’s great is that they turn on him here, and bring him back two years later as “The Disciple.” I guess you just need a break from a dude when he’s spent a few months wearing white, skin-tight pants and slapping his ass to give his punches more power.

Note: Brother Booty ranks dead last on our ranking of the original 33 members of the nWo — behind a NASCAR driver, the hosts of TBS’s Dinner & A Movie and a 6-year old — and I stand by it.

Nick Patrick Is Secretly The nWo Referee, Don’t Tell Anybody

Also joining the nWo (but not yet) is WCW referee Nick Patrick. Sting and Lex Luger team up to face The Outsiders and look to have the match won, but Luger accidentally bumps Patrick during a Torture Rack attempt. Patrick “accidentally” chop blocks Luger in response, costing WCW the match. He pretends he’s not on their side for a while, but eventually he turns into Kenny Powers and starts owning it. This is the start of that.

Also, Meet The Most Ignorant Crowd Of The ’90s

Finally, a quick note about the Sturgis crowd.

I get that they were there for a motorcycle rally and the wrestling stuff just kinda happened near them, but the Hog Wild ’96 crowd is a legitimate contender for worst wrestling crowd ever. They cheer Hogan’s title win because they recognize him, and don’t recognize anybody else. They get a 25+ minute Chris Benoit vs. Dean Malenko match that is objectively a work of art, and boo it the entire time. When it goes to a time limit draw and gets restarted, they boo harder. When Harlem Heat shows up, they rev their motorcycles and hold up Confederate flags because they’re being forced to see black people. It’s horrible. You haven’t felt ashamed of a wrestling crowd until you’ve seen little white kids giving Booker T the finger because he’s black. Holy sh*t.

Here’s our own David D. with more:

The Sturgis crowd had been pretty dead for the last 45 minutes and it’s clear they didn’t know who to cheer or who to boo throughout the night. Then Harlem Heat came out and everyone lost their sh*t. Harlem Heat got the most heat of the night and it’s only because they were two black guys in the ring. Sure, Ice Train came to the ring earlier but he was bandaged and clearly the babyface.

But Harlem Heat got a nuclear reaction from the 99.9 percent crowd because they were two Black guys. The crowd is yelling, incensed, holding up Confederate flags and yelling at Booker and Stevie more than they yelled at anyone the entire night.

Basically, the whole match devolved into a glorified Klan rally. Now would be a perfect time to talk about the stereotypes of Black wrestlers through the years and how it perpetuates racism in the same way some portrayals of women contribute to sexism. But I’m not convinced this crowd has watched enough wrestling to have been programmed that any Black character not shucking and/or jiving is a heel. No, these f*cks are just racist all on their own.

Watching this back makes me have a newfound respect for Booker T and Stevie Ray as they didn’t get rattled and used the crowd reaction to get even more heat by playing into the chants and cat calls. Still, this is horrible to watch and I can’t even think of all the things the crowd yelled at Harlem Heat.

Meanwhile Shiavone and Dusty are all, “this is what it’s all about! Crowd is getting into it! Woohoo” as if they’re totally oblivious to WHY the crowd is revving its engines and little kids are flipping the bird.

Way to go, Strugis. Enjoy your Jay Leno main event in a couple of years.

And now, the Best and Worst of WCW Monday Nitro for August 12, 1996.

Worst: A Whole Lot Of Nothing

We open this week’s show with maybe the most pointless match in The History Of Our Sport™, pitting the less important members of the Dungeon of Doom against the 1996 jobber dream team of High Voltage and Rough & Ready in an 8-man tag. The Dungeon gets cheered, because who in their right mind would cheer High Voltage, and get the win in about 2 minutes. The best part? After the match, Rough & Ready turn on High Voltage and beat them up. Yes, folks, this is the first battle in the storied HIGH VOLTAGE vs. ROUGH & READY rivalry that shot pro wrestling to new heights in the late-90s. Don’t you remember when Dirty Dick Slater was on The Tonight Show?

I’d type a shrug emoticon here, but unless WordPress has some kind of code to make it wither into dust and blow away in the breeze, I have no accurate way to express my indifference.

Best: Kevin Sullivan, Though

It looks like he lost his gear in Sturgis and decided to wrestle in whatever he could buy at a Wyoming gas station. He’s gonna choke Robbie Rage to death with a “workin’ hard or hardly workin'” beer koozie.

Worst: Larry Zbyszko Didn’t Watch Hog Wild

Sting and Lex Luger were screwed out of their match with The Outsiders at Hog Wild, but they aren’t here to talk about controversy; they’re calling out Hall and Nash for a match right here, right now. Tony Schiavone’s like, “yeah, get ’em,” because he was at Hog Wild and watched it. Larry Zbyszko wasn’t and didn’t, so he has no idea what they’re talking about. Don’t think this prevents him from indignantly yelling about it anyway.

Sting and Luger get in the ring and the crowd’s fired up, and Larry’s yelling, “WHERE WERE THEY AT HOG WILD WHEN WE NEEDED THEM??” Tony keeps trying to correct him — “they were in the ring against The Outsiders, Larry” — but he’s not having it. Larry’s convinced the story is that Hogan won the belt from The Giant, and the only reason it happened is because WCW’s big stars weren’t like, working security to keep it from happening. Eventually Tony covers his microphone and makes MOTHERF*CKER PAY ATTENTION faces at him (I’m assuming), and Larry concedes. He’s “proud” of Sting and Luger for making this challenge to The Outsiders, because “at least it’s manly.”

As a quick note for new readers, Larry is f*cking obsessed with manliness. Imagine if the John Cena character was a 44-year old golfer with the body and social skills of George Costanza. That’s Larry Zbyszko. The nWo don’t answer the challenge because I guess they’re in the back reading Redbook, clipping out ads and ordering Dusty Rhodes babies.

Don’t Worry, Glacier’s Still Coming, He’s Just A Glacier So It’s Taking A While

If his opponents stand still and let him do this one Karate Fighters routine he’s been practicing in his foam ice castle for the past three months, they won’t stand a chance!

Best: North-going Zax vs. South-going Zax

Diamond Dallas Page takes on The Renegade as the “irresistible force” meets the “easily-moveable object.” As you might have guessed, Page puts him away with a Diamond Cutter, which is only a signature hand signal away from being the most over move in wrestling. I don’t know what else to type, so here’s another Karate Fighters commercial.

Worst: Off-brand nWo T-shirts

One of the worst First World Problems for wrestling fans in the 90s (and today, I can only assume) are the off-brand wrestling shirts your family would find at K-Mart and buy for you because you liked wrestling. So instead of the black shirt with AUSTIN 3:16 in white block letters on the front you’d see Stone Cold Steve Austin wearing on Raw, you’d get “Austin 3:16” in red Comic Sans with a picture of like, Austin’s head on a monster truck on the back. Instead of a black shirt with the nWo block, you get clip art of Hogan, Nash, Hall, Konnan and VK Wallstreet over a pack of wolves with NWO in all caps on the front. It was terrible. It was the Socks As A Christmas Present of wrestling fandom.

WCW hasn’t figured out how to put that cool nWo logo from the paid advertisements on a black f*cking t-shirt yet, so they’ve gotta hang out in the green room wearing homemade, airbrushed numbers. They’ll get here soon, guys. Be strong.

Also funny: they’re still teasing a fourth nWo member and say he’s in the room with them, then say “stay there!” off-screen to what I’d say with 1000% certainty is an empty chair. Maybe they had The Booty Man over there holding cue cards.

Worst: Konnan Has No Idea What He’s Doing

Konnan wrestles Jim Powers and manages to best him, despite Powers being on so many steroids he’s got Kuato growing out of his armpit. I don’t want to know what a 57-year old Jim Powers looks like today. I bet he looks like the Ghost of the Tree from The Witcher 3.

Anyway, Konnan wins with his feet on the ropes, because he’s heel now. The crowd boos him, so he cuts a promo about how they should shut up and applaud him. If they hate him so much, why’d they buy a ticket to see him? Mean Gene asks him about it, and Konnan tells him to shut up if he doesn’t sign his checks. Then, in a masterstroke of nobody on WCW television thinking before they talk, Konnan calls out the “New World Odor” and says he’s standing with WCW in the war. O … kay?

I’m worried that when the Bella Twins came back, WWE told them to “watch tape,” and the only thing they saw was this Konnan interview.

Best: Remember The Yeti? He’s Back, In Terrible Giant Jobber Form!

A quick history lesson on WCW Superstar The Yeti, aka “The Yeh-TAY.”

Back in 1995, “The Taskmaster” Kevin Sullivan decided that Hulk Hogan was a menace corrupting the populace, and needed to be destroyed. He was right, but that’s beside the point. To accomplish this, he put together a “Dungeon Of Doom” — a collection of comical, monster heels from around the world, all focused on ending Hulkamania. The group included a mindless African savage, an overweight Canadian guy pretending he’s a shark, the 7-foot tall secret son of Andre the Giant, a redneck who is super into the band Confederate Railroad, and more. None of their efforts seemed to work, so Sullivan and his flour-covered Hawaiian mystic father sought out the greatest and most unstoppable monster of all: THE YETI.

According to them, a sherpa team was sent to the “north face of Mt. Everest” to unearth The Yeti in a block of ice. This block was transported to Nitro and set up near the stage for some reason, and exploded when Hulkamania began running wild near it. Inside was a 7-foot tall mummy. Now, you’d think a guy called “The Yeti” would be a Sasquatch or, like, a yeti, but nope, he’s a mummy. He walks to the ring at the end of Halloween Havoc ’95, rubs his dick on Hulk Hogan’s butt and practically puts him in a coma. Then, as bizarrely as he arrived, he’s gone.

A few months later at World War 3, The Yeti returns to the ring as … uh, a ninja. A ninja FROM THE MOON. He’s eliminated from the battle royal early with no fanfare, and disappears to WCW’s weekend B-shows where he becomes “The Super Giant Ninja.” I know that sounds like a joke, but it isn’t, and at least it’s more accurately descriptive than “The Yeti.”

On this week’s episode, the man inside the ninja costume inside the mummy costume inside the block of ice inside the north face of Mt. Kilimanjaro returns to action as “Ron Studd.” They don’t give him any character development beyond, “look how tall he is,” so here’s our going theory: “The Yeti” was actually a giant Middle Eastern ninja — stay with me here — who got into a battle on Mt. Kilimanjaro and was mortally wounded. His ninja brethren thought he was dead, so they wrapped him up like a mummy and buried him in the ice. After years and years somebody figured out there were inconsistencies in their story (I don’t know), The Master found out because he frequents East Africa Ninja Lore forums, and they dug him out. He was still fresh from the dig when he showed up as the mummy, so he didn’t have time to get cleaned up. A few months later he’d gotten to rest, and returned to form as a ninja. He sucked ass because his muscles were frozen and his body had atrophied or whatever, so he gave up and became this lonely tall dude. Pro wrestling legend Big John Studd discovered him, took him in, taught him the ropes and ultimately adopted him, naming him “Ron.” So now here’s Ron Studd, a tall motherf*cker with no discernible skills or abilities, lost to time.

Note: Big John Studd died in 1995 so the timeline doesn’t work, but honestly, does it get weirder if I say the ghost of John Studd adopted him?


Studd debuts here against Chris Benoit, a man 1/3 of his size, and gets his ass beat because CHRIS BENOIT. He tries to kick out at 3 on a superplex, so Benoit pins him anyway and boots him on the way out for being a terrible wrestler.

Worst: Every Harlem Heat Match Finish Is A Scene From It’s A Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World

Every week there’s a Harlem Heat match, and every week they find a stupider way to finish it.

This week, they wrestle the Steiner Brothers. The match is going fine until the finish, which requires a Yeti-esque novel of explanation. Scotty Steiner tries to suplex Booker into the ring, but Sister Sherri grabs his foot. He falls, and Booker falls on top of him. Nick Patrick is busy on the outside dealing with Rick and Stevie Ray, but sees the pin and crawls back in to count it. He has to basically crawl over Sherri to get to it and should’ve seen the interference, but this is the goober that was practically straddling an interfering Kevin Nash to count the three in a world title main event, so whatever. As he’s counting, Rick chases Colonel Parker into the ring. Parker runs up to the pinfall, turns and “trips” backwards over it. That’s what you see in the picture. Nick Patrick’s finally like, HEY, and calls for the DQ. Did Harlem Heat win the titles via Monkey Paw or something, so they get to stay champions, but all their matches end terribly?

The highlight of the match (surprisingly) is commentary, which plants a lot of seeds for the future. Bobby Heenan asks Bischoff where he was last week, and Bischoff’s like, “uh, taking care of some stuff” and changes the subject. He’s also super into the idea that Nick Patrick is on the level, and that him seeing a DQ in a Harlem Heat match GUARANTEES FOR A FACT that he would call a DQ on the nWo if he saw it. We can’t see him, but I hope Heenan was making “not sure if” Fry face the whole time.

Best: This Dragon Is ULTIMATE

This is only a few minutes long and they’ll have much, much better matches in the future, but I wanted to take a minute to say how much I love Ultimo Dragon. He’s “The Ultimate Dragon” here, because WCW isn’t totally confident in their audience’s ability to understand basic character histories and language differences.

If you’ve never seen Dragon wrestle before, imagine a Japanese Dean Malenko dressed like Rey Mysterio. That’s the best way I can describe him. He looked like a luchador, but wrestled like a Japanese junior heavyweight, and then sometimes he’d just say f*ck the tropes and lucha you to death. The wrestling Gods were like, “hey teenage Brandon, here’s this Japanese guy dressed like a dragon who has 8 championship belts at once. Bruce Lee trained him, he’s a submission specialist and he invented a bunch of cool wrestling moves. He’s also gonna train a bunch of wrestlers you’ll love in 10 years. Also, HE’S A DRAGON IN A CAPE.” 20 years later I still look at Ultimo Dragon and feel like I’m discovering something new.

WCW paired him with Sonny Onoo, because all Asian people are on the same evil team.

Worst: Hulk Hogan’s Chair Shots Are Still The Worst

Last week, they announced that Macho Man Randy Savage was getting a world title shot against whoever walked out of Hog Wild as WCW Champion. This week, everybody on the show forgets about it, and Macho Man wrestles Ric Flair. If you’ve seen Flair and Savage wrestle on Nitro before, you’ve seen this. It’s fine.

The money is the Hulk Hogan run-in, though, because it not only involves two referees somehow not seeing him mosey to the ring with a chair and attack people, but centers around Hogan’s endlessly hilarious inability to throw a convincing chairshot. Hogan is huge and has arms that could snap my torso in half if he hugged me too hard, but put a chair in his hands and he’s the most gunshy person you’ve ever seen. He’ll pull the chair back like he’s gonna kill you, then just hold it flat and press it into your head like he’s flattening a burger with a spatula. Hogan couldn’t squash a grape with that sh*t.

The best part of the match by far is the pin, because Savage has been knocked out by Hogan’s gentle chair press, but Flair puts his feet on the rope anyway. Love you, Ric.

Worst: Nick Patrick Is DEFINITELY Cheating For The nWo, Probably

In our main event, Sting and Luger finally get another shot at The Outsiders, but it’s ruined by (1) a Four Horsemen run-in, and (2) Nick Patrick very obviously pulling Scott Hall out of the way of a Stinger splash. Patrick even leaves with them, but the announce team’s still all, “DID HE DO IT ON PURPOSE??” Patrick could’ve reffed this match in an nWo shirt and sunglasses and they would’ve tried to turn it into a mystery. My favorite thing is that the Horsemen showing up to help WCW fight off the nWo leads to Sting deciding Ric Flair would be a great guy to trust at War Games. ARE YOU SERIOUS MY DUDE.

Clash of the Champions 33 happens a few days after this, so most of the wrestling is just “look, Wyoming, WRESTLERS ARE HERE.” The important shows were in Sturgis and Denver. Amazingly enough, this was the highest rated Nitro ever up until this point, and it went up against what turned out to be the lowest-rated Raw. People had to tune in to find out what was gonna happen with Jim Powers, I guess.

Next Week: The Clash, the return of cheating-ass Jim Duggan, and GLACIER! A commercial for Glacier, I mean.