Previously on the Best and Worst of WCW Monday Nitro: SPEAK TO ME, WOYERS! The Ultimate Warrior has arrived for what’s sure to be a legendary, unforgettable run in World Championship Wrestling. Plus, Bret Hart is United States Champion again, the Horsemen are still trying to get their shit together, and Eddie Guerrero wants Eric Bischoff to kiss his you know what, Eric Bischoff.
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.
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Up first, let’s see what’s going on with Team Blue!
The One-Page WCW Thunder Report For August 20, 1998
You can watch this week’s Thunder here.
Not much going on on this week’s Thunder, as the production team coasts more on Ultimate Warrior footage from Monday and even angle development from WCW Saturday Night to fill two hours. It’s such a bare-bones episode that even the interviews are clearly filmed somewhere else, possibly backstage at Nitro itself, with a bespectacled Mean Gene talking down to folks in front of a giant 2019 Mac Pro.
- The major WCW Saturday Night story is that Perry Saturn’s trying to enroll his former Flock teammates in a Scared Straight program to get them away from Raven. At Fall Brawl, Raven and Saturn will be having a Raven’s Rules match where if Saturn loses, he becomes Raven’s servant, but if he wins, the Flock is disbanded.
- In the aforementioned interview segment, Stevie Ray tells the Giant he’s “COMING FOR YOU” multiple times, but doesn’t have his brother there to accidentally drop n-bombs and complete the Harlem Heat team motto
- Juventud Guerrera retains the Cruiserweight Championship against Psicosis, and I’m really missing the random pack of jobber luchadores that used to show up all the time. Where’s my Super Calo content, you bastards?
- cheating-ass trifling-ass Hacksaw Jim Duggan defeats Barry Darsow and is extra sassy about it. Bobby Heenan is on fire here, though, referring to Darsow as a, “big tough Gene Okerlund,” and responding to Tony Schiavone’s, “boy, they love Duggan, don’t they,” with, “yeah, I know a lot of people who like burnt toast, too.” <3
And now, the Best and Worst of WCW Monday Nitro for August 24, 1998. It’s not on tape!
Worst: Team WCW Is Really COMING Together
Last week’s show began with a Hollywood Hogan promo cold open, which was apparently such a great idea they decided to do it again. To do the exact same thing again. This time around, Eric Bischoff has an ink pen as a prop, announcing that he’s the President of the company and the booker, so what he says goes. Because everything else is fake, but this part is real. Two quick notes:
- Bischoff confirms his heel character by announcing that his pen is the reason Vader went to the WWF (boo), but then turns face by reminding us he’s the one that ran off Johnny B. Badd (yay). Mixed messages, brother!
- Bischoff also has to mention that Hollywood Hogan is actually stronger than his pen, because Hulk Hogan is emasculated by colloquialisms and won’t even broadly put over a figurative writing utensil
What’s Diamond Dallas Page to do with Team WCW, if anyone he tries to bring in can just be booked to lose to Hogan in this sports-entertainment Hell World caught between fiction and non-fiction? Why, get help from the one guy Bischoff can’t fire, of course: a guy who doesn’t actually work there, but also has executive committee power for some reason! GET ON THE BOAT, LOSERS, WE’RE SAILING TO ALCATRAZ.
Yes, ladies and germs, the third member of Team WCW is none other than Rowdy Roddy Piper, who has used his time away to come up with a sick burn about how when he sees Hollywood Hogan and Eric Bischoff together he, “can’t tell which one is Bill Clinton and which one is Hillary” … “or which one has the dress!!” Clinton watches Raw, man, I don’t know what to tell you. He hits some timely references — Bischoff looks like Eddie Munster, and with his shirt off he looks like, “Mick Jaggers from the Rolling Stones” — and says he’s going to help convince the Warrior to join the team before the end of the night, even though Page going out to the west coast and finding Warrior to help the team is the entire reason Warrior showed up in the first place.
Regardless, Team WCW is now Diamond Dallas Page plus two completely off-their-rockers old dudes who don’t actually work there. It’s like Piper’s Family again, but in reverse.
Worst: A Harsh Self-Own
The Warrior confirms his membership on a three-man team by announcing the creation of a ONE WARRIOR NATION. I’m actually disappointed that they don’t have Mike Tenay jumping in and screaming, “that’s nWo backwards!” every time he says it. Warrior’s promo here is calm and understated, in an almost Arn Anderson or Jake ‘The Snake’ Roberts style. He lets his actions speak louder than his words, and … nah, I’m just fucking with you, he drank a bucket of cough syrup and bashed his head on a coffee table before wandering out to the ring.
“TONIGHT HOGAN YOUR ENTIRE WORLD IS GOING TO TURN COMPLETELY UPSIDE DOWN FOR TONIGHT HOGAN I LAUNCH UNLEASH THE POWER OF THE WARRIORS I LET LOOSE THE O.W.N. REVOLUTION THE ONE WARRIOR NATION REVOLUTION A HERO A ONETIME HERO WITH AN UNLIMITED YET UNDISCIPLINED MIND IS A DANGEROUS THING I INTEND THE WARRIORS INTEND TO ERADICATE THAT DANGER. YOU HOGAN WILL BE DESTROYED I INTEND TO SHOW THE WORLD THAT A REVOLUTION IS BUILT ON BETTER IDEAS NOT BELLIGERENT IDIOCY I INTEND TO SHOW THE WORLD A REVOLUTION IS BASED ON COURAGE NOT COWARDICE AND THAT HOGAN IS ALL YOU NEED TO KNOW NEXT WEEK HOGAN THE REVOLUTION CONTINUES SAME WARRIOR TIME SAME WARRIOR PLACE SAME WARRIOR CHANNEL!”
He also drops the incredible snort, “IF YOU WANT TO EXCEL IN MY FIELD, YOU STUDY THE MASTERS, EMULATE THE CHAMPIONS, MODEL THE VIRTUES OF THE PREEMINENT INDIVIDUALS IN THAT PARTICULAR FIELD,” confirming that part of his WCW contract was, “buy me a thesaurus.” Warrior’s definitely the current front-runner for the Montgomery Burns Award for Outstanding Achievement in the Field of Excellence.
The night’s main event is supposed to be Hollywood Hogan and his good friend who he once murdered for breaking his neck twice, The Giant, teaming up against Kevin Nash and Goldberg. Goldberg has accidentally speared Nash twice in the past two weeks, and in an earlier Konnan’s Catchphrases Presentation Segment, Nash explains that the first spear was okay because they got together and “had a beer.” The second spear is unforgivable, though, unless Goldberg teams with him tonight and, you know, doesn’t running shoulder-thrust him in the intestines.
In true hilarious WCW fashion, this ends with Goldberg pinning Curt Hennig.
I wanted to leave that sentence by itself so you could really let it sink in, and maybe wonder if it was a typo. It is not. Once Hogan’s done getting all the heat on Goldberg, he steps aside and lets Curt Hennig and a few other nWo dopes who aren’t in the match step in and let Goldberg beat them up. Hogan’s a real team player. Goldberg spears and Jackhammers Hennig, pinning him, and the referee counts the three and calls for the bell. The rationale from the announce team is that Hennig “wanted to be involved,” so the referee didn’t call a disqualification and let him be a part of the match. Are we … are we doing that now? Because if so, that changes the match result of like 85% of Nitro’s matches in 1998.
Goldberg gets clotheslined out of the ring like a chump, allowing Team WCW to do a 15-second 40 down to the ring and even the odds. Hogan no-sells a punch from Piper, no-sells a punch from Warrior, then falls out of the ring to let Hennig take all the offense again. Thank goodness Team nWo Hollywood at War Games is going to be Hennig, Vincent, and The Disciple! Wait, what do you mean, “it isn’t?”
Best: Are You Stevie Ray? Who Wants To Know, Who Wants To Know
This week’s biggest moment of actual character development and story advancement is the return of Booker T, who rightfully wants to know, “what the hell is going on,” with his brother, Stevie Ray, pretending to have “power of attorney” over the Television Championship, somehow being allowed to defend it, and losing it. Booker’s explanation for his absence is that after Bret Hart injured him, he “left the country” to get away from the pro wrestling scene and let his body heal 100% so he could return and entertain The WCW Universe®. He seems shocked that he’d lose the Television Championship somehow, after I guess leaving it at home in a duffel bag and disappearing for months.
It’s not all bad, though; because of Bret Hart’s zest for pro wrestling treachery, James J. Dillon and the WCW Executive Committee and presumably Roddy Piper somehow have named him the new number one contender to Bret Hart’s United States Championship. They’re going to have a match right here tonight, which pisses Stevie off. Booker wants Steve to have his back, but Steve wants them to put on the flame spandex and be Members of Harlem Heat again. It’s his meal ticket and got him into the WWE Hall of Fame. WWE Hall of Famer Stevie Ray. Can you blame him?
Bret Hart shows up to complain about the match being signed, doing a Sami Zayn 20 years ago act about how it’s actually us, the people, who are the reason Nitro has been so bad lately. The good news for Bret is that Booker T has been mysterious transformed into a fallen Peter Griffin backstage, and poor Stevie Ray can only stand around in his fancy golf pants and gawk.
Stevie shows up to confront Bret, presumably to use his power of attorney over his brother’s life to take his spot and challenge for the United States Championship. Bret uses the ultimate Canadian blackmail to get him to abandon the match and, instead, join the New World Order: be a buddy. AND IT WORKS, because mysterious reasons I’ll allow you to piece together.
Now if only Hart could get Madusa to join the group by telling her to be a Kid Sister.
Elsewhere On This nWo Hollywood Dominance Episode
Remember how The Giant’s been randomly helping Chris Jericho win matches for the past few weeks? He does that again here, showing up and goozling his own teammate, Curt Hennig, to keep the Television Championship on Jericho. This is never explained, and I think this is the last time it happens.
From what I can tell via a killer combination of Googling and forum conjecture, the idea at the time seemed to be, obviously, Jericho joining nWo Hollywood. The rumor is that Hogan felt bad about Kevin Nash and Konnan being able to clown him on Nitro all the time, and needed a guy in his faction who could fire back. Scott Hall wasn’t reliable enough, Bret Hart’s too much of a dowdy Canadian dad, and what, is Crush gonna spit bars? Scott Steiner and Buff Bagwell are too busy doing injury fetish play to participate in these nWo segments, so he needs a young guy who can talk but still be cannon fodder to basically ghostwrite about Hulk Hogan’s coolness. That never materialized, Stevie Ray joined the group instead, and any Chris Jericho microphone magic is replaced by the worst member of Harlem Heat talkinga bout milk-drinking, crackerjack fruit booties who ride tomato yaks, or whatever.
Vincent, seen here openly protesting Scott Norton’s deletion of regular Lex Luger jobber Rick Fuller … well, that’s it. That’s the entire thing. Scott Norton kills Rick Fuller in like 90 seconds and Vincent screams incoherently at the camera about it. Some of these segments don’t actually give me enough content to write jokes about them, unless you want to read my extended “Rick Fuller’s wife dies and leaves him alone to raise their three daughters” fan fiction. Still trying to come up with a good name for it. I’m thinking Rick’s House.
Scott Steiner returns with Dr. Cecil Scwartz, now simply known as “Doc,” and announces that he’s healed up and ready to fight his brother on Nitro. Doc convinces him that he’s still too injured to compete with a well-placed and super hilarious, “right on,” and yeah no it turns out it’s just Buff Bagwell dressed as Rick again. A segment so good you should do it twice! Scott pins Buff Doggy after commanding him to roll over, which is mildly amusing, and the real match is set for Fall Brawl.
Fun spoiler alert: the match doesn’t really happen there, either, and it takes 15 minutes. Fall Brawl ’98 is a trip, y’all.
The only time the nWo Black and White gets to look bad is when Brian Adams dares to challenge league leader Lex Luger in the “over 6-foot-5 with nothing to do” division. If you’re too tall and heavy to be a Cruiserweight and too bad at wrestling to get a reaction on your own, Lex Luger is ready to put you on his shoulder and hop up and down in place until you’re dead!
Also, In Rare Non-NWO Related Content
We follow up last week’s epic Mongo vs. Sick Boy match with Mongo vs. Riggs. Talk about a step sideways!
After Mongo wins, The Flock attacks him. Horseman Wannabe Dean Malenko hits the ring to make the save, and Mongo’s like, FORGET ARN ANDERSON’S BLESSING, LET’S JUST BE HORSEMEN NOW, presumably so he can bring back his, “look at the little guy,” catchphrase from when he was an announcer. Mongo seriously should’ve started dressing Malanko up in cute costumes and carrying him around under his arm.
Anyway, Perry Saturn shows up and gets mad at Malenko for helping someone fight The Flock, because he’s trying to rehabilitate them and get them away from Raven, and I guess you can only do that by letting them win 4-on-1 fights? Saturn also hilarious goes from staredown to diving through the ropes into nobody in 0.1 seconds, as seen here:
Pro-tip: don’t rely on someone in the Hulk Hogan family to make you look good in or around a wrestling ring.
Finally, Wrath defeating Mean Mike The Mauler Enos is this week’s Slim Jim’s™ Cylindrical Tube Of Racoon Meat And Shoe Leather Of The Week®.
I really can’t figure out why people would prefer to watch Stone Cold Steve Austin fight The Undertaker on a literal highway of fire than watch the second best Beverly Brother wrestle the fourth best Blood Runs Cold guy.
Thankfully next week’s Nitro is a huge change of pace, as it centers around several rambling old man promos, a ton of meaningless jobber matches, and a tag team main event that puts over Hulk Hogan and goes nowhere.
… wait, what