Previously on the Best and Worst of WCW Monday Nitro: Hulk Hogan completely no-sold losing at Road Wild and just pretended he didn’t, like he did with Sting, Lex Luger, and Goldberg. Plus, Flexy Lexy began his long run as United States Champion!
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. We’re almost to the terrible version of War Games WWE decided to reproduce 20 years later!
Up first, let’s talk about one of AC/DC’s favorite topics: thunder.
The One-Page Thunder Recap For August 13, 1998
You can watch the episode here.
So, remember a long time three days ago when Lex Luger won the United States Championship from Bret Hart and gave the fans a rare happy moment? Well folks, this is WCW, and WCW doesn’t allow you to be happy, so Bret just wins it right back on Thunder. Seriously. How it goes down is somehow even more depressing.
Luger’s taking Bret to university, so Bret escapes out to ringside and grabs a steel chair. They get back in the ring and Bret tries to use it, but Luger hits him with the deadly Steel Forearm Of Instant Death and knocks him down. Luger decides to do that big dramatic chair attack where you smash it against the top turnbuckle to let people know it’s real and then do a big long windup behind your head so the referee (or whoever) can grab it out of your hands. As this is happening, Bret miraculously recovers, shoves Lex’s face into the chair so it hits the referee, and everybody goes down. Bret DDTs Lex on the chair and goes for the pin, but Lex heroically kicks out! Maybe this won’t be so sad after all! So cool to see WCW subverting our expectations by … wait, nope, Bret just locks him in the Sharpshooter immediately and taps him out. Oh, Sorry. This is fine.
Also On This Episode
- Chris Jericho stomping a hobby horse to death is your THUNDER-burst® Slam of the Night™. WCW should probably talk to the makers of Blank-a-Burst gum about what they think a “slam” is, and why they think the destruction of a mentally ill adult man’s beloved children’s toy is the best thing that happened on the wrestling show.
- It was, by the way.
- Chavo puts the decapitated hobby horse head on the end of a baseball bat to create what Lee Marshall calls the, “Mark McGwire model of Pepe,” and hits Jericho with it to get disqualified. It must be one of Sting’s old bats, because you can see it bend while Chavo’s swinging it. Why were baseball bats such a thing in WCW?
- If you’re wondering why I used up three bullet points for one cruiserweight match, it’s because the rest of the show is a Konnan match, a Public Enemy match, a Kevin Nash non-match, and Stevie Ray somehow having a horrible match with Eddie Guerrero. HIGHEST POSSIBLE RECOMMENDATION TO SKIP.
And now, the Best and Worst of WCW Monday Nitro for August 17, 1998.
Worst: WCW Will Not Bait-And-Switch You Like SOME Wrestling Promotions, They Swear
The August 17 edition of WWF Raw Is War was taped instead of being aired live, and the WCW announce team just can’t handle it. Throughout the show — I’m talking truly throughout the 3-hour show — they can’t stop talking about how the other wrestling show’s going to have a “10-second main event,” and how WCW would never do that to you. When WCW promotes something, they deliver.
Look, I’m probably the biggest WCW homer that still walks upright on the Earth this far into the 21st century and I can say with great certainty that this is the grandest and most rancid pile of horse shit I’ve ever seen and smelled in my life. World Championship Wrestling, the show that is (and even was as of the time of this episode) infamous for bait-and-switching every pro wrestling concept under the sun and waiting until exciting shit started happening to scream AW NUTS FANS WE’RE OUT OF TIME WE GOTTA GO while fading to black, is seriously out here shading someone else for not keeping their promotional promises. It’s the equivalent of the Raw announce team making fun of Scott Hall’s “down there” catchphrase and swearing they’d never allow Shawn Michaels’ friends to stand in the middle of the ring and point at their dicks.
The best part is that this narrative push starts up during a Sick Boy vs. Steve ‘Mongo’ McMichael match, featuring SICK BOY TOO AWESOME DROPKICK.
What’s funny to me is that they could’ve easily shitted on Raw for pretending the President was calling in multiple times to make Monica Lewinsky jokes, or for doing cheesecake arm wrestling matches, or for having a porn star shoot a Japanese man’s child bride with a dick-shaped-and-colored Super Soaker, or for letting a fan lick jam out of an Indian manservant’s toes, all of which happen on this same episode. But no, “we’re live and they taped their show,” is the talking point.
It comes up again during the Alex Wright and Disco Inferno vs. High Voltage match. WCW’s not going to give you a 10-second main event! Even if that “main event” is just a segment featuring the world’s most popular wrestler as he builds to a pay-per-view championship main event against an iconic character with mystery, disguises, and hearse magic. Why would you want to watch that when you can watch a disco dancer and his German EDM friend wrestle a bad, short tag team match against electricity-themed jobbers? Especially one that lasts about 2 1/2 minutes and ends in a no contest when a completely unrelated character (Meng) shows up and beats them all up as a joke?
It comes up again during a Curt Hennig vs. Dean Malenko match. Why watch our competitor’s 10-second main event when you could keep your televisions dialed to TNT, where you can watch the unstoppable heel army cheat to win for the 10,000th straight match? It’s very important that you stay here and know that that Four Horsemen group you used to think were cool are actually big time losers who will never accomplish anything. Don’t be happy! That’s crazy talk!
Oh, and you know who’s in that “not 10-second main event” on Nitro? Goldberg. Bill Goldberg, champion of the 60-minute Broadway.
And it ends in 3:25 — three minutes, fifteen seconds more than Raw! — with Brutus The Biker Beefcake hitting a double axe-handled and causing a disqualification. Goldberg tries to get his shine back after the match, but accidentally spears Kevin Nash when he’s trying to spear a member of the unstoppable heel army, just like last week.
Thank goodness none of this is on tape. That would’ve been awful!
Worst: The Fart Of War
James J. Dillon opens the episode (not counting the pre-opening Hollywood Hogan promo they had to sneak in, so he could have two on the episode) by saying WCW wants, “to do this thing right,” at Fall Brawl with War Games. Therefore, in the interest of doing things right, Dillon has decided to turn the two-team, 10-man, submit-or-surrender War Games concept that everyone who watches WCW loves and enjoys by turning it into a THREE-team, NINE-man, “every man for himself except there are teams” gag where whoever scores the winning submission or PINFALL gets a championship match against Goldberg at Halloween Havoc.
So not only have you broken every perfectly fine foundational construct of the match, you’re advertising that a month later the winner will be fed to the guy who never loses. At least War Games will last more than 10 seconds, which we can’t say for this week’s VHS-ass Raw main event, am I right folks?
Dillon also announces that the captains of the three every-man-for-themselves teams will be Kevin Nash of nWo Wolfpac, Hollywood Hogan of nWo Hulk Hogan, and Diamond Dallas Page of WCW. Page makes two announcements in a followup promo:
- he’s gone “out west” to look for the first member of his team and this person hates Hollywood SCUM Hogan more than anyone, so much so that they’ve agreed to appear later tonight and confront him, and
- he wants another shot at Bret SCUM Hart for jumping him in the back and winning the United States Championship on Nitro under dubious circumstances. Cir-SCUM-stances, I guess
In response to this challenge, Bret Hart shows up goes maximum 1998 by quoting Dr. Evil.
You see, his father was a relentlessly self-improving boulangerie owner from Canada with low grade narcolepsy and a penchant for buggery. His mother was a fifteen year old French prostitute named Helen, with webbed feet. All you really need to know is that Bret recommends a shorn scrotum.
If you’re wondering how that United States Championship rematch ends, it’s “by disqualification,” of course. What are you, new? Bret does that great old school heel spot where he uses a foreign object, stuff is down the front of his opponent’s trunks, and then frames them for using it on him. I’d love the hell out of that finish if it wasn’t stuck in the latter third of a night of rampant bullshit while the announcers put over how on-the-level and traditional they all are.
So … about the first member of Page’s team. Hang on, let me tie off both arms and snort some drywall.
Worst, Possibly Ever: SMASH BROTHERS, ULTIMATE!
As previously mentioned, Hogan gets an in-ring promo before the show even officially starts. They air the “Avenue of the Americas EXPLODES” opening after Hogan’s promo. It sets up the fact that Hollywood is unbeatable … again, the fact that the big heel character just lets losses roll off his back like water off a duck’s ass and doesn’t change because of them or even REACT to them is a big problem with WCW ever growing, creating new stars, or maintaining the stars they already have … and that The Giant’s going to wrestle a not-10-second main event against Goldberg later.
Promo #2 happens in hour two, so it can go up against that unforgivably prerecorded Raw. Hogan isn’t upset about the new War Games rules, he’s actually laughing, and there’s nobody in the world Diamond Dallas Page can bring in that would scare him. “Sorry you didn’t recognize me without my sandals, Page!” He goes on to weirdly specify that there’s “no warrior” he can’t beat. CUE THE SPECIAL EFFECTS!
Bischoff on a Prodigy chat from four months earlier about the Warrior:
“There’s nothing to comment on. I’ll reiterate what I said earlier. There is no place in WCW for him given his track record and past history. I don’t know him personally. I can go by what those who have worked with him in the past have said. I’m not willing to put his company at risk by bringing in someone with his track record.”
So here’s Eric Bischoff putting the company at risk by bringing in someone with the Ultimate Warrior’s track record: The Ultimate Warrior. Or just, “WARRIOR,” now, in all caps, as he’s legally changed his name from “Jim Hellwig” to a Final Fantasy character class to avoid cease-and-desists from the World Wrestling Federation. Warrior shows up and cuts an 18-minute promo, yes, 18 full minutes of the Ultimate Warrior speaking on a live microphone, with full paragraphs of dialogue like:
You need to open your eyes and ears, take control of the limited ability you have to understand the words I am about to say. For years, I have watched while this industry, with you as it’s figurehead, try to recreate what is simply UN-RE-CRE-ATE-A-BLE. I have heard, listened to all the innuendoes and speculation that something ULTIMATE or WARRIOR may soon re-appear. Welcome to the re-appearance! Those things, Hogan, which are irreplaceable, whether they be people, places, or things, are never forgotten. You are witnessing that RIGHT NOW!
I remember watching this as a kid and buying into the hype machine, and all the rumors and spoilers on the Internet that were like, “OH MY GOD, THE SKY IS FALLING, ULTIMATE WARRIOR IS GOING TO SHOW UP ON NITRO THIS WEEK!” I also remember sitting in a living room with my friends watching Warrior show up and having our hype go from YEAH KICK HIS ASS WARRIOR to a confused, nervous, “take it home, Warrior,” in the span of a quarter-hour. It’s honestly kind of spectacular to watch a man with no self-awareness sail a massive warship into the harbor, cannonball off the side, swim down into a submarine and torpedo his own goddamn efforts.
As the segment marches on, Hogan drops a reference to those long-forgotten, “the original Ultimate Warrior DIED and was replaced with a new guy, that’s why he looks different and isn’t as muscular,” rumors people on the mid-90s Internet came up with because they didn’t know how steroids work, and Warrior claps back at him by calling The Disciple his, “barber.” Everything else on the show is fake, but this guy in a Nasty Boys trench with tassels on his arms getting into a sass-fight with the world’s phoniest-bologna wrestler is real.
Warrior then confronts Bischoff with more choice dialogue, and a reference to his own history of holding people up for money, for some reason:
“Different than you wanna make people believe, I never received an invitation. I showed up on my own accord. And let me tell you, Mr. Eric Bischoff, if you stick your nose in my business, you will only very quickly prepare for your own demise. Furthermore, when I get done with my business here, I’m gonna be sending you a bill. I suggest you pay it.”
You know your promo’s dragging when it has a “furthermore” in it.
Anyway, Warrior finally ends his soliloquy by parodying the old Adam West Batman show — a timely reference even in 1998 — by asking us to tune in next week, “same Warrior time, same Warrior place, same, Warrior, CHANNELLLLL.” And then the camera zooms in onto static on the Nitro video screens (?) and Warrior TELEPORTS AWAY IN A CLOUD OF SMOKE. Despite, you know, opening the promo by walking to the ring like a normal person?
Also, because Warrior is Batman now, there’s a “Warrior signal.”
Doesn’t Gotham City shine the bat signal when they want Batman to arrive? Why did this start shining when Warrior left? Do they want him to come back? Who’s shining it anyway, the WCW police force? Will Warrior even see it if he’s not sitting in the crowd?
The best part of this entire segment is that it’s the best Warrior segment of his entire run. Wait until he creates his own faction by reversing the letters in “nWo,” gets The Disciple to service him in the rafters of the arena like they’re Spike and Buffy at The Bronze, and starts inadvertently handing out career and life-threatening injuries with his ridiculous mid-ring trap doors. Don’t get me started on when he becomes the Mirror Master.
I’m only 153 episodes into Nitro’s run. I can stop now, can’t I?
Worst: Your You Know What, Eric Bischoff
If all that wasn’t bad enough, this episode also features one of my favorite bad promos ever: Eddie Guerrero “shooting” on Eric Bischoff.
Eddie, who has been a nephew-abusing heel for the past several months and a bad guy for most of his WCW run, walks to the ring with a plastic cup of water and a rolling suitcase. His intent is to cut a promo about how WCW management ignores young talent and doesn’t pay attention to anyone’s concerns in the back — valid — and that he’s willing to walk out on the company and head to the World Wrestling Federation if shit doesn’t change. The problem is that Eddie isn’t very good at public speaking yet, and apparently someone told him to make sure he says Eric Bischoff’s name during the promo, because he says it a lot. He uses it like punctuation.
He also doesn’t want to curse on TV, so any time he needs to say “ass” or “hell” or “damn” or “balls,” he says, “you know what.” This is verbatim, and not exaggerated:
“Yeah, that’s right Eric! Do I got your attention now, Eric Bischoff! I can’t get it in the back, huh, I try to go in there and talk to you about business and I get screamed at and kicked out. Well if this is what I’ve got to do to get your attention, Eric Bischoff, then this is what I’m gonna do! Fire me, do whatever it takes, I could GIVE … a YOU KNOW WHAT, Eric! Eric Bischoff!”
Other great lines include, “You’ve got me tied down in my contract, Eric, and I could give … I’m telling you this right now, okay!” and, “If you’ve got the … YOU KNOW WHAT come out here and say it like I am, Eric Bischoff, I’m telling you this!” He ends it with, “as far as I’m concerned, Eric Bischoff, you can take this job and shove it up your, you know what.” There’s also a bit where he says, “I don’t care about these people,” and then like five seconds later notes, “this has nothing to do with these people.”
Oh, and because we’re referencing insider gossip on this episode, Eddie throws “coffee” on himself, referncing a meeting in which Eric Bischoff threw coffee on him. It’s water, though. You guys couldn’t find a cold cup of coffee anywhere? The Bischoff/Guerrero coffee incident would later be downgraded to, “we were in a meeting and Bischoff accidentally spilled some coffee and some got on me,” in Eddie’s book. “My boss knocked over his drink during a meeting” is definitely the kind of thing you want to devote five minutes of your primetime wrestling show to.
Feel free to watch the promo in your spare time and take a drink every time he says, “Eric Bischoff.” Sip when he says, “Eric.” Finish your drink when he says, “you know what.” Actually, please don’t, I don’t want you to get alcohol poisoning in your you know what.
Also On This Very Good, Not Taped Episode
Remember earlier when I mentioned Meng showing up to beat up everyone in the not 10-seconds long, not pre-taped High Voltage match? I just wanted to bring it up again because he no-sells a can of mace to the eyes, sprayed by a random security guy (identified by Tony Schiavone as “Morgan”) with the funniest haircut I’ve ever seen. It looks like he went to the barber and said, “make me look like I’m wearing a coon skin cap at all times.” No way that shit on his head’s got fewer than two baby birds living in it.
Continuing the trend of casting the worst looking people from behind the scenes at WCW, Scott Steiner and Buff Bagwell show up to cut another “I’m too hurt to face Rick Steiner” promo alongside “Dr. Cecil Schwartz.” He’s the one in the back that looks like Billy Connelly just got prepped for surgery. His gimmick is that he’s a super fake burnout doctor, and whenever you ask him his opinion on something, he says, “right on!” It’s exactly as funny of a joke as you think.
Between him and the Right Reverend Billy Wurtz, I’m starting to think WCW exclusively stocked their crew with vagabond stowaways from the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally. If you were willing to put on a silly costume and say “daddy-o” on TV, they’d find a job for you.
This week’s Ben Gay® Stop Sign To The Face Of The Night™ goes to Horace Boulder for hitting Kanyon in the face with a stop sign.
This is supposed to be a tag team match where Raven teams up with rival Saturn against his … friend? Horace, and his also possibly friend but possibly enemy Kanyon. J.J. Dillon says he’s tired of all the Flock nonsense, and that if anyone swerves their partner they’re suspended for 90 days. Saturn wins thanks to Horace’s boner — not like that — and Raven immediately DDTs Saturn, Horace, and (randomly) Billy Kidman. Tony Schiavone with the extremely accurate call: “I duh … I don’t know. I don’t know.”
Scott Norton defeats Scott Putski in the Battle of the Scotts in about 60 seconds. Here’s Norton not even waiting for Putski to remove his blouse before attacking.
Finally in the wrestling promotion that would never give you a shitty non-ending to an advertised title match on their flagship program, a triple threat Television Championship match between Stevie Ray (the former champion, who was not actually champion), Chris Jericho (the current champion, who became champion by defeating not the champion), and Chavo Guerrero Jr. (a crazy person) ends when The Giant (not involved) shows up and chokeslams Stevie Ray. Stevie completely sandbags him on it, too, in 2019 Goldbergian fashion.
This leaves all three men in the match down, and the referee starting a 10-count. The title can only change hands on a pinfall or submission, but nobody in WCW or the WWF understands how a triple threat match is supposed to work yet, so they go with it. Chavo starts to get to his feet first, so Jericho pulls the referee down onto him so he doesn’t see it. Once Chavo falls back down, Jericho stands up, the referee counts out Stevie Ray, and Jericho wins.
Tony Schiavone with the extremely accurate call: “I duh … I don’t know. I don’t know.”
Oh, one more thing: this week is the debut of the technologically advanced WCW Bash’n’Brawlers. They’re like the old WWF Wrestling Buddies, except when you punch them in the leg a little voice from inside their heads goes, “OW, you’re breakin’ my [long pause as it tries to compute which part of the body you’re touching] LEG!”
No kid will want to be without a WCW Bash’n’Brawler, especially after seeing the Nitro Girls unconvincingly try to have “fun” with them. “ARGH! Quit ruinin’ my ….. push!”