The Best And Worst Of WCW Monday Nitro 9/25/95: Frankie Lancaster To The Rescue

Pre-show notes:

– Please consult the Best and Worst of Nitro tag for all the episodes we’ve covered so far. We’re writing them up in mostly-chronological order so you can follow complex storylines like “Hulk Hogan’s being stalked by a castle full of guys in Halloween costumes.”

– Here’s a direct link to this episode on the Network.

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Please click through for the vintage Best and Worst of WCW Monday Nitro for September 25, 1995.

This Week’s Pepe Costume: Horse

GET GRANMAW OUT THE TOILET because Mongo for-real dressed his dog up like a horse. The reason why is funnier than anything I could come up with, and the conversation surrounding it is a flawless encapsulation of the original Nitro announce team. I swear to God this is word-for-word and not bad wrestling column comedy:

Heenan: “I’ll tell ya something, you’re the only guy I know that would show up here on Nitro with a four-pound tarantula wearing a saddle.”
Mongo: “You wanna ride him I know”
Heenan: “I don’t want to ride that rat.”

Nailed it.

Best: The Dancing Fools EXPLODE

The opening contest on this week’s Nitro is the TNT debut of the DISCO INFERNO. If you don’t remember Disco, imagine if Fandango had wrestled in the mid-90s, doing a 20-years-old Saturday Night Fever gimmick. He had flashes of brilliance — I may jump ahead and review whichever episode debuted his version of Konnan’s music video — but was more or less the guy so bad they gave him popular WWF finishers as transitional moves to “embarrass” the competition. His opponent is Das Wunderpackage Alex Wright, last seen being put through a table for absolutely no reason by Sabu. Eventually these guys realized they both loved to dance and formed a team called the DANCING FOOLS. It featured a Japanese cabana boy who was secretly a fantastic wrestler, and it was wonderful.

Disco was always hit-or-miss in the ring and poor Alex Wright was the “high flying guy” between two great eras of WCW high-flying — the early 90s Jushin Thunder Liger/Flyin’ Brian/Too Cold Scorpio days and the late 90s Rey Mysterio Jr./Juventud Guerrera/Billy Kidman days — so I expect this to be much. Spoiler alert: it WAS much.

The wrestling on this episode is KILLER. Disco Inferno is super hossy here, throwing big suplexes and dumping Wright on his head in the corner. Alex Wright’s high-flying is pointed and beautiful, with him knocking Disco off the top rope with a standing dropkick to the chest and breaking out a goddamn Gum Gum Stomp to Disco’s lower back. The finish is Disco going for a running neckbreaker and getting caught in a backslide for the loss. I’d praise it more, but there’s an even better, MORE surprising match coming up next.


Worst: The Ultimate (Monster Truck) Challenge

We join Hulk Hogan backstage, where he’s making Jimmy Hart hold the WCW World Heavyweight Championship against the back of his head while he does neck raises (?) in a neck brace. Jimmy goes “sixtyyy FIVE” to make it look like Hogan’s actually done something, because he’s a character from Full House who has never been to the gym but wants to impress the hot girls walking by the one time he is.

Because Hulk Hogan cannot ever show vulnerability, he says he “hasn’t missed a workout” since HAVING HIS NECK BROKEN BY THE GIANT. As we’ll talk about in every episode of Nitro ever, you could stab Hogan through the heart with a spear in the middle of the ring and he’d fall down dead, but you bet your ass he’d burst through the roof of the hearse and coffin surf his way back to the arena within the hour. This is the promo where Hogan makes the most hilarious challenge of his career: he wants to take on The Giant in a monster truck contest at Halloween Havoc ’95. Because MONSTERS. They’ll drive monster trucks at each other, and when it’s done, they’ll have a wrestling match. A man with a broken neck is going to beat a Giant twice, including once while driving THE BIGGEST MONSTER TRUCK EVER MADE.

The best part is that Hogan always calls him a “big stinky giant,” which is as funny to me in 2014 as it was in 1995. Hogan is so damn PG that “stinky” is his go-to insult. I’m surprised he didn’t ride a bald eagle motorcycle into a children’s hospital immediately after this and apologize for cursing.

Best: Where Did THIS Match Come From?

Sgt. Craig Pittman, an army guy who looks like Roc from the show ‘Roc,’ takes on “Kurasawa,” a man “from the orient” managed by Colonel Rob Parker, who I guess won his services in a game of ORIENTAL POKER. My brain’s all, “come on, get to the Meng match.”

Here’s what my brain never put together: “Kurasawa” is a young Manabu Nakanishi of New Japan Pro Wrestling fame. Craig Pittman is physically awkward, but he also knows a bunch of submissions and isn’t afraid to just run at you and start swinging. That combination is AMAZING, and holy shit, go watch this episode of Nitro and love this match.

Pittman does everything he can to rip off Kurasawa’s arm, bending his hand back and doing that cool “lift them by the hyperextended arm” thing Big Evil Undertaker used to do. He also strikes exclusively in Spike Dudley headbutts, jumping headfirst into peoples’ chests. Kurasawa responds by kicking him to death, throwing him to the outside, pulling up the protective mats and suplexing him on the concrete. As a transitional move. If any two guys had this match on Raw in 2014 we’d be losing our minds.

Worst: Eric Bischoff’s Hard-On For Sorta-Correct Karate Terms

Additional Kurasawa vs. Craig Pittman notes:

— Mongo, on Kurasawa’s concrete suplex: “THAT SPLATTED LIKE GRANMAW OUTTA THE WHEELCHAIR!” Mongo had some really weird issues with his grandmother, didn’t he?

— Whenever Kurasawa is in trouble, Colonel Parker removes his hat, dabs his forehead with a handkerchief and fans himself. Colonel Parker is probably the best manager with the worst-timed gimmick in the history of wrestling.

— One of the things you may remember from Eric Bischoff commentary is how he never pays attention to the match. Sure, he’ll call pins and the occasional move, but he’ll quickly growl through it and drop a WHERE THE BIG BOYS PLAY or some other unrelated promotional phrase. He’ll act like he just saw a miracle and then abandon it five seconds later because of a thought about “the greatest name in the history of our industry” Hulk Hogan. He wants to know what’ll happen LATER TONIGHT. But oh man, if somebody throws a kick or does something karate-related? Bischoff is ON IT.

Every time Kurasawa moves his leg, Bischoff starts screaming “BACK LEG ROUND KICK!” He’s got such a boner for karate terms. It’s like Ahmad Rashad watching a guy jump and punch in Best of the Best and calling it a “vicious jump spinning back knuckle.” I guess “kick to the chest” and “jumping punch” don’t make you sound enough like a WASPy sports expert.

Best/Worst: Brian Pillman Goes Full Joey Lawrence

Arn Anderson should’ve cut a promo on how he’s gonna kick Six’s ass, because the name on the marquee is “Blossom.”

Supplemental Best for Anderson’s logic in this promo, though. In his mind, Ric Flair made “family business” public and personal. He and Pillman have teamed up to show Flair that heel fellowship is the only way to go, and rationalizes that the reason Flair can’t find a tag team partner is because he’s spent the last decade being the world’s biggest a-hole. Guys like Sting don’t want to team up with him because Flair’s been crippling and turning on him for years. It makes total sense. Arn Anderson was one of the best.

Of course, that logic is ruined at Halloween Havoc when it turns out Flair’s in on it and Sting’s still a stupid rube, but still.

Worst: Macho Man Is Dumb

Hey, remember last week when Kevin Sullivan tried to murder Randy Savage on the set of Baywatch? That issue’s being paid off RIGHT THE HELL NOW with a one-on-one match between the two.

The match is good in the way that a lot of Savage’s WCW matches are good — perfectly wrestled, but a little behind the times. Lots of 80s style WWF punching and elbows. Kevin Sullivan’s offense is 100% punching, even when he kicks. He’s the missing link between Finlay and Hornswoggle.

The only issue I have with it is the finish, because it makes Macho Man look like a moron. He’s basically manhandling Sullivan the entire time, right? Well, The Zodiac (aka Brutus Beefcake cosplaying a zebra) is at ringside and gets on the apron. Instead of just punching him once and going back to winning the match, Savage throws Sullivan out, throws the Zodiac IN and starts wrestling him instead. The referee calls for the bell, and Savage — the same man who once eliminated himself from a Royal Rumble so he could attack somebody — loses the match for himself for no reason.

He stacks Zodiac and Sullivan in a pile and tries to elbow drop them. It’s a cool visual, and I kinda wish Savage had adopted an Evel Knievel gag where he kept trying to elbow drop taller and taller stacks of people. The payoff to the Dungeon of Doom should’ve been all of them in a pile.

Worst: Also, Macho Man Has No Friends

Macho Man’s hubris brings out a big stinky giant. Nobody’s there to save Macho because he doesn’t have any friends. His closest friend is Hulk Hogan, a guy he tried to punch for a year because he was jealous. Just last week he got in Lex Luger’s face for helping him win at Fall Brawl, so when the Giant’s wrecking shit, the only people to make the save are the most Rybackian jobbers you’ve ever seen.

Out first is FRANKIE LANCASTER. He tries to cast “land” on the Giant, but gets chokeslammed. Next out is Mark Starr. Bischoff does a funny THAT’S MARK STARR! I THINK I SEE MARK STARR! call, but it’s Mark Starr, so he gets chokeslammed too. Alex Wright shows up as the first real wrestler to lend a hand, but he’s only a few minutes removed from being Disco Inferno’d and is quickly dispatched. Then, Luger.

The Luger bit is weird, because they pull a “will he or won’t he help the Macho Man” thing and give us BOTH. Luger stands over Savage for a minute, then leans down like he’s gonna pick Savage up by the head … and then the Giant attacks him. So Luger WAS kinda joining the Dungeon Of Doom, but the main Dungeon guy ruined it? I don’t know. Luger gets beaten up for a while to justify him losing another match, and sadly nobody runs over the Lex Express in a monster truck.

Best: Meng, Master Of Accessories

The main event is Lex Luger vs. Meng, with Luger having severe dino damage and not being able to do anything. That results in like ten minutes of rest holds, a brief Lex Luger comeback and then Meng having to cheat to beat the already injured guy he controlled the entire match. When people say “WCW sucked and didn’t make sense,” they mean “the WCW main event scene sucked and didn’t make sense.” Every bad thing you hear about WCW describes the last match of the show.

I’m Besting it, though, because Meng has an hilarious collection of accessories. As you might’ve noticed in the header image for this report, Meng started rocking an evil hog mask with Predator dreads. He also carried around a “golden spike” in his draws and used it to stab people in the throats. It’s wonderful to imagine that the golden spike was simply a detachable penis, which (1) makes Meng seem like the most mysterious dude in history, and (2) makes the “he pulled it from the front of his trunks” thing finally make sense.

Best: Next Week On Nitro

Shit just got real.