The Best And Worst Of WCW Monday Nitro 4/6/98: Open The Nitro Gate

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Previously on the Best and Worst of WCW Monday Nitro: Chris Jericho attempted to read a full list of the 1,004 holds he knows, Rowdy Roddy Piper outed The Disciple as Brutus Beefcake (or “E. Harrison Leslie”), and a couple of nWo matches ended with nWo run-ins. As they do.

Click here to watch this week’s episode on WWE Network. You can catch up with all the previous episodes of WCW Monday Nitro on the Best and Worst of Nitro tag page and all the episodes of Thunder on the Best and Worst of Thunder. Follow along with the competition here.

Remember, if you want us to keep writing 20-year-old WCW jokes, click the share buttons and spread the column around. If you don’t tell them how much you like these, nobody’s going to read them. These are my favorite things in the world to write, and we’ve almost made it to The Summer Of Goldberg.

Up first, let’s make sure we’re covered for our Thursday night content.

The Two Paragraph ‘Malice At The Palace’ Report

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WCW Champion Sting not listed, Hollywood Hogan in a bigger font than everyone else

There’s no Thunder to recap this week, as WCW devoted their Thursday night to Malice At The Palace, a “pay-per-listen” audio-only show on Not much happened, but I wish to God there was video of this somewhere, because the opening match was Hacksaw Jim Duggan teaming up with Bubba the Love Sponge to take on Texas Hangman #1 and Texas Hangman #2. I really need to know if Duggan won by pulling a love sponge out of his trunks.

Fun fact: despite being a radio deejay named Bubba Clem, Bubba was able to leverage his then-friendship with Hulk Hogan to amass an 8-1 lifetime record in pro wrestling and compete not only in WCW, but in the WWF and ECW as well. He was still competing in 2007, when he teamed up with Brutus Beefcake to defeat New Assassin #1 and New Assassin #2. If you’re teaming with a guy who’s you but the second version, The Love Sponge has your number. If things hadn’t fallen out with Hogan he’d be opening the nWo tour by defeating Florida Man #1 and Florida Man #2.

Worst: Who Is Driving? Oh My God, Bear Is Driving, How Can That Be

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Congratulations, everybody, we’ve officially reached the time period in which WCW becomes weirdly concerned with Macho Man Randy Savage vehicular manslaughter stories. Sure, you may remember the time Macho Man tried to kill Kevin Nash with a Hummer and WCW turned “who was driving the Hummer” into a J.J. Abrams-style mystery where they never intended to have an answer, but do you remember this Nitro, which starts with Macho Man being mysteriously run over by a red and yellow car?

Yeah, the show opens with Macho Man lying in the parking lot outside of the arena with a bunch of random people standing around him, and we find out he’s been hit by a car, or something. It takes WCW an hour to “release the footage” of what happened — because, you know, they were there filming it and theoretically saw what happened — and when they do, we see a red and yellow Dodge Viper speeding away while nWo Vincent and nWo The Disciple stand around saying THIS IS NWO BUSINESS. Who could have possibly run over the Macho Man? IT IS A MYSTERY.

Tonight’s main event is Sting defending the WCW Championship against Nash, which … you know what, here’s how it ends:

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Sting hits three (3) Stinger Splash after fighting off nWo interference, but all of that’s not enough to get Kevin Nash to sell a single move, much less an entire series, so he goes for the Jackknife. Nash briefly sells on offense — oh no, his back is hurt, kind of! Which makes sense because he just took THREE STINGER SPLASHES — but only so he can turn his back and allow Hollywood to slide in and punch Sting in the face a bunch for the disqualification. The one thing you can always count on is Sting being the least important person in the ring. Nash and Hogan shove each other over Pecking Order Dominance or whatever until The Giant and Roddy Piper make the save, and aw nuts fans we’re out of time!

In other words, Nitro.txt.

Best: Open The Jerked Curtain Gate

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Now that we’ve gotten the main event scene out of the way, we can talk about what really matters on Nitro: throwaway cruiserweight matches that I would book as my first main event if I could run a show based solely on what I wanted to see. This week’s is an unexpected retroactive dream match, as it pits La Parka, Psicosis, and El Dandy against a trio of debuting Ultimo Dragon students: Judo Suwa, Shiima Nobunaga, and Tokyo Magnum. They’re three of Dragon’s first graduates from Toryumon Mexico, which had been around for almost a year at this point, and expands to Toryumon Japan in January of ’99. When Dragon leaves the gym in 2004, the promotion changes its name to Dragon Gate, and in 2006 a pack of Dragon Gate kids would guest star in ROH and have matches so dope they help change and define American independent wrestling for the next decade. It’s the continuation of the mission Michinoku Pro started in 1997 at ECW Barely Legal, and the WWF completely curbed and turned into dick-based comedy in 1998.

Anyway, you’ll eventually come to know these three as SUWA, CIMA, and Magnum TOKYO, and in 2018 I’m just happy WCW had the foresight to book La Parka and Magnum TOKYO in a dance-off.

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While it’s not very long and Dragon’s kids are still very green — wordplay! — it’s a hell of a Nitro opener, and the kind of match I’d put on a WCW Monday Nitro hidden gems compilation. It’s got everything you’d want from a Dragon Gate vs. Lucha Libre trios match: convoluted team-up spots, a big ridiculous dive sequence with everybody accidentally smashing the backs of their heads against the guardrail, and, perhaps most importantly, Psicosis accidentally kicking La Parka in the front of the pelvic bone where his testicles would be and La Parka smashing him in the face with a chair about it. Really great stuff. MORE OF THIS, PLEASE.

Worst: Continuing That International Flavor, Here Are The Nitro Girls

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Here are the Nitro Girls coming to the ring in a conga line wearing sexy Halloween Baile Folklorico dresses and playing castanets to celebrate Seis de Abril for some reason. Kimberly Page and [whispers] whisper have lime green variants because they’re dancing in the back. Larry Zbyszko: “I’ve got a craving for a banana! Somebody get me a banana!”

For great bonus content, please enjoy this GIF of the Nitro Girls’ routine with the world’s most inappropriate sign dancing along behind them.

Worst: Speaking Of Piper

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Now that Piper’s exhausted all of his “the nWo are feuding with each other because they have SEX with each other” material, he gets to cut promos where he proudly brags about the time he beat up a “transvestite” with a baseball bat. He “made a man” out of Goldust by beating him up, because in 1998 “we should just try to BEAT the gay out of them” was a talking point for rational human beings on popular primetime television.

Oh, and don’t worry, Hogan is still gay. “There’s more possibilities in this match than Clinton’s got girlfriends! … I’m coming eye to eye with you, Hogan, cause there ain’t room enough in this sport for both of us, and by the time I get through with you, Hollywood Hogan, you’ll be auditioning for RuPaul!”

Best/Worst: Chris Jericho Vs. Prince Iaukea

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For some reason this is the Cruiserweight Championship match we’re building up for Spring Stampede. In the past few weeks Iaukea has pinned La Parka clean, pinned Glacier clean, interrupted Jericho’s legendary 1004 moves promo, and has just generally made pro wrestling a miserable experience for me. Here, Jericho christens him “Prince Nakimaki,” explains that winning two matches in a row shouldn’t make him a Cruiserweight Championship contender — where is the lie — and dedicates tonight’s match with Juventud Guerrera to “little trooper” Dean Malenko, who is at home watching and, I quite, “eating potato chips, and drinking Coca-Cola.”

If you need another reason to hate Prince Iaukea (and you don’t), he costs Juventud the match here by throwing in the towel, one of wrestling’s forever-worst finishes. Juventud was in the Lion Tamer, sure, but he was also crawling toward the bottom rope with his arm stretched out. Plus, the man makes such a point of not giving up he stitches NEVER SURRENDER on the butt of his tights. And it’s such a long phrase that part of it has to go down the back of his leg. THAT is how much he’s not going to surrender. Double plus, since when does Prince Iaukea have any guardianship over Juventud Guerrera? Could someone in the nWo just show up five seconds into Sting vs. Hogan and “throw in the towel” for Sting?

You’re the worst, Prince Nakimaki.

Best: The Grandma Guerrero Chronicles

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The only other good thing on this entire episode of Nitro is Eddie Guerrero making Chavo wrestle his match against Ultimo Dragon, and explaining it by saying Grandma Guerrero got kicked out of the “pot luck club” and had her delicious menudo refused because Chavo is a loser. Also, Uncle Mando got kicked out of the low-rider club for the same reason. Chavito really needs to start winning matches soon, his family’s gonna run out of stereotypical hobbies.

Also On This Pretty Terrible Episode That Made Everyone Finally Turn Over To Raw And Watch Austin Vs. McMahon

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Booker T and Disco Inferno have a surprisingly good little Television Championship match, highlighted by this spinning kick that hits Disco so hard it kills two of the Bee Gees. This follows up two straight time-limit draws between Booker and Chris Benoit, so even if one of the guys wasn’t Disco Inferno, you knew Booker wasn’t losing.

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Lex Luger has exhausted his supply of tall and fat jobbers, so he’s forced to defeat Barry Darsow. Yes, Lex Luger vs. Barry Darsow was an Hour Three match a Nitro this close to WrestleMania 14. Can you figure out why anyone would change the channel here? Raw’s like, “hey, the hottest act in all of wrestling is going to fight the owner of the company for the championship and anything can happen.” Nitro is like, “what if Lex Luger and Demolition Smash did arm bars and eye rakes for 10 minutes? Wouldn’t that be better?”

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Also on this star-studded card is Heroin Variant Billy Kidman versus … well, based on the distance between that high-flying move and the person forced to sell it, it’s either Lenny Lane or Charlotte Flair.

Lane’s still in this weird period where you can tell they think he might be good and want to push him, but he keeps shitting the bed every time they put him in even mildly high profile matches. Remember when he almost paralyzed himself trying to do acrobatics with Sick Boy? Kidman picks up the win with the shooting star press, called the “Northern Lights” by Tony. Kidman’s still about half a year away from discovering his love of jorts and Boyfriend tanks.

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Konnan defeats Norman Smiley, but we’re in that awkard period between Smiley being naturally weird and having to tone it down, and full-on in-ring pantomimed butt-fucking. In fact, the only thing I could even screencap was Konnan rolling out of the ring to take a sombrero from a fan and put it on because he thought it’d be funny.

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Speaking of “they thought it’d be funny,” Scott Steiner squashes the gourd out of Sick Boy and wins the Steiner Recliner in a match built around Vincent carrying a trophy to the ring and nobody bothering to explain why. He does this for a couple of weeks and then everyone forgets about it. The idea is that it’s one of Scotty Steiner’s weightlifting trophies, which I guess he’s been working for whenever he’s not out buying fur hats or getting his onesies airbrushed at the flea market.

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Good lord, how many matches are on this Nitro? This is starting to reach Modern WrestleMania Card levels of absurd.

Last week, Buff Bagwell had a match against Raven that ended when Diamond Dallas Page ran to the ring and chased him off into the crowd. Buff was declared the winner, and posed about it. This week, Bagwell has a match against Diamond Dallas Page, which ends with — get this — Raven appearing in the crowd, telling Page to come get him, and Page chasing him off and getting counted out. The only difference is that this week, Bagwell gets on the mic and says he demands to be in the U.S. title picture because he beat the champ and the #1 contender in consecutive weeks, so Page wanders back down and Diamond Cuts him. Sorry you got boofed, Buff!

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Curt Hennig, Brian Adams, Jim Neidhart and the British Bulldog are for whatever reason locked in what I like to call the Dormant Bret Hart division, where they can only ever face each other, and it always ends in some kind of bullshit way that makes Bret meander out in street clothes and complain at them about it.

The past few weeks have been Neidhart and Bulldog getting beaten up so Bret could get on the mic and tell people about how he was screwed, and how now his family is being screwed, and how the nWo SCREWS people, and how he doesn’t want anyone else to get SCREWED like he was SCREWED. This week is the same thing, except they both get beaten up at the same time. Maybe ditch your family, Bret, they aren’t helping. And at this point I don’t know how anyone watching what Vince McMahon’s doing on Raw and what Bret Hart’s doing on Nitro and not want to side with Vince, no matter what happened.

Finally, thank God, we have William Scott Goldberg defeating Grunge Metal Van Hammer in short order. That gives him another win in his [citation needed] undefeated streak.

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Next Week:

Robbie Rage gets a United States Championship match for some reason, Super Calo gets a Cruiserweight Championship match for some reason, and Goldberg faces his biggest challenge yet in Flyboy Rocco Rock. Nitro is definitely going to win the ratings war forever, everyone!