Previously on the Best and Worst of WCW Monday Nitro: Bret Hart announced that Sting was being screwed, Eric Bischoff announced that Steve Urkel was nWo black and white, and Hollywood Hogan announced that he was going to saddle up and ride Diamond Dallas Page’s butt through the straddle of the night. Lots of great things happening on Nitro!
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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And now, the Best and Worst of WCW Monday Nitro for August 3, 1998.
Worst: Not Tonight
A quick recap: after having him lose the WCW Heavyweight Championship to William Scott Goldberg in the Georgia Dome, WCW’s Executive Committee gave Hulk Hogan a 3-month long “make-good” where he gets to wrestle celebrities and still main-event pay-per-views despite not being champion. He wrestled NBA star Karl Malone at Bash at the Beach, and now he’s set to face talk show host Jay Leno as the opening act for a Travis Tritt concert at Road Wild.
Unfortunately for anyone trying to go back and watch this today, WWE Network doesn’t have the rights to any of the footage from The Tonight Show, so we’re left watching these 15 minute Eric Bischoff nWo Nightcap parody segments where Bischoff and Hogan vaguely reference Tonight Show material we haven’t seen, with no evidence that they’ve done anything but waste time promoting a much more popular show. I mean, they don’t even sell tickets to Road Wild, as it’s part of a biker rally, so Leno’s getting a huge paycheck and a month of free commercials on cable TV to but zero butts in zero seats.
Shout-out to fellow wrestling journo @ZanderEzekial for helping me find the clip, which is shockingly difficult to find. In it, Leno introduces a midget version of Hogan, gets confronted by the actual Hogan and Bischoff, and then has an unconvincing shoving match where he’s forced to bail on his own show so he doesn’t get his ass kicked. PAY-PER-VIEW MAIN EVENTER, HAVE YOU SEEN THIS, HAVE YOU HEARD ABOUT THIS?
Fun fact: To make things make even less sense, Road Wild is only five days away — happening on a Saturday instead of a Sunday — and Leno’s match isn’t official until this Nitro. So they had a whopping five days to try to get people to go to Sturgis, South Dakota, and stand in a crowd of 80,000 bikers to watch a 48-year old stand-up comedian defeat the 45-year old who’s supposed to be the greatest wrestler of all time.
Also fun: Leno’s not even technically the “main event” of Road Wild, as the show’s set to end with that 30-something minute country music concert I mentioned. Only I guess WWE Network doesn’t have the rights to that either, as all the commercials advertising Travis Tritt are cut from the show, and the archived pay-per-view cuts out before the concert begins. If you aren’t familiar with Tritt, he’s what would happen if Jeff Foxworth went Super Saiyan. Brother looked like the Cowardly Lion’s hillbilly brother.
Please enjoy the missing commercial, featuring Travis driving motorcycles and failing to successfully pick up a woman with an Elvis cover at a Travis Tritt concert.
This is such a lazy concept for a commercial that they did it again for Budweiser. I say hey! I say hey! I SAY HEY! I SAY HEY!
So, knowing all this, what else could WCW do to sell the match at Road Wild? How about physically abusing a Nitro Girl?
The nWo shows up to unexpectedly cut a bad routine short and backs Kimberly Page into a corner. Bischoff basically calls her a dumb slut and trailer trash, which brings out her husband, DDP.
Page, who’d already appeared earlier to put over Jay Leno’s rampant masculinity and defeat The Barbarian with a rare “struggle” variant of the Diamond Cutter, is immediately stopped and shit-kicked by nWo Hollywood. They make fun of him, slap him in the face a bunch, and chokeslam him in front of his terrified wife. It’s not getting slapped in the back of the head as you’re wheeled away on a gurney face-down bad, but it’s in the ballpark.
Is The nWo Wolfpac Still Being Dumb And Helpless?
Did you even have to ask?
With the pay-per-view being five days away it’s probably time to, you know, announce some matches, so Heavyweight Champion Goldberg …. enters himself into an nWo battle royal. He says he’ll beat up everyone, whether they’re nWo Hollywood or nWo Wolfpac, and says he’ll even throw out Sting if he has to. Sting, who definitely has his priorities in order, shows up and goes nose-to-nose with him for some reason despite them never, ever interacting or mentioning each other before right now. Sting and Lex Luger have a Tag Team Championship match against The Giant and Scott Hall later, so nWo Hollywood creeps into the end of the segment, drops a bunch of leaflets from the ceiling, and buries both guys.
While Sting is in the ring puffing up his chest to one of the two babyfaces on WCW’s roster, Lex Luger gets attacked. Whoops! Whoopsie!
The best part of this is that the announce team can’t tell for sure who that blonde guy lying on the ground in the back wearing a Wolfpac t-shirt is, even with Sting kneeling over him. This is the same team that thought nWo Sting was Sting Proper, though, so what can you expect?
With Luger taken out, Bret Hart tries to knock on Sting’s locker room door and offer his services as a tag team partner, because even though he’s a fan of Hollywood Hogan, the only man on the roster he really “looks up to” is Sting. It’s important to note that Sting had “left the building” at this point, and that Bret Hart is the guy who cost him the Tag Team Championship in the first place, and that there’s a followup segment in the hallway where Mean Gene catches Hart talking to Scott Hall before nervously walking away. AND STING STILL AGREES TO LET THIS DUDE BE HIS TAG TEAM PARTNER BECAUSE HE IS THE DUMBEST BRICK IN A PILE OF STUPID ASS BRICKS.
To make this all even worse, the rest of the nWo Wolfpac are “in the house,” and could’ve easily taken Luger’s spot on Sting’s team. Remember when Sting and Kevin Nash won the Tag Team Championship in the first place, and they announced that they could defend under Freebird Rules, so Sting and Luger started teaming up? Kevin Nash isn’t wrestling or doing anything, and only shows up at the end of a Konnan match to try to keep Curt Hennig and Rick Rude from beating him up. Nash is in the back watching Sting team up with EVIL MANIPULATOR BRET HART and is just totally fuckin’ fine with it.
When it’s time for the title match, Sting shows up in his white and black face paint, because his face is now a mood ring I guess. Red means he’s happy, white means he’s sad. Anyway, it ends with Bret Hart trying to hit him in the mood ring with a baseball bat, because Bret Hart is a good friend who Sting can trust.
To make this EVEN WORSE SOMEHOW, Sting ducks the bat, Hart hits Hall, and Sting pins Hall to win the Tag Team Championship for himself and Hart. Hart takes both title belts and leaves Sting to get beaten up 2-on-1, because of course he does, and then we find out that the referee has thrown the match out and that the titles didn’t actually change hands because of the foreign object, even though the referee didn’t see it. So they bait-and-switched a title change without doing even the most basic legwork to explain it. It just is, because they say so, they guess.
Goldberg shows up to help his good enemy Sting and spear The Giant, effectively using the time between the “we gotta go” graphic and fading to black to promote the World Champion’s appearance in a middle-of-the-show battle royal.
The rest of the show is probably good though, right?
Nope, nWo Hollywood Is Still Destroying Everybody
What could’ve been a pretty fun Psicosis vs. Tokyo Magnum match ends almost immediately with a run-in from Scott Norton, who destroys both guys with powerbombs. Norton’s in the middle of a push to make him seem like a threat to Goldberg, even though Goldberg’s currently the World Champion and feuding with a 7-foot tall 400-pound former World Champion and nobody thinks he’s going to struggle against the nWo B-Team’s Caucasian Meng.
Trifling ass cheating ass Jim Duggan cheating his trifling ass off against Brian Adams is your Masterlock Lock of the Week. Don’t worry though, Duggan loses when nWo Vincent gets involved, Duggan gets distracted by the chance to clobber a black man with a wooden plank, and Adams drops him with a piledriver. I know Duggan’s stopped doing the “tape in his trunks” gimmick, but every time he gets hit I want office supplies to fly out of him like he’s a character from WrestleMania The Arcade Game.
In fact, the only time in the entire episode when someone gets one-up on nWo Hollywood is when Scott Steiner and his muscle pal Buff Bagwell dress Buff up like Rick Steiner and have him do dog tricks until the actual Rick shows up and chairs them. Buff definitely gets a supplemental Best here, both because of how committed he is to these bad comedy bits, and because him “shaking” and “rolling over” are probably more intelligent and dexterous than whatever Rick has been doing,
Did Anything Happen That Wasn’t About The nWo?
Stevie Ray, who is not a member of the nWo (yet), shows up with a “notarized document” proving that his brother gave him “power of attorney” over the Television Championship (which is something you can do) and that he’s allowed to defend it. His opponent? The “number two contender from Mexico,” Lizmark Jr. WCW got a lot of mileage out of having big strong heels talk shit about luchadores, didn’t they?
Stevie kicks Lizmark’s ass, but is upset when Chavo Guerrero Jr. wanders out wearing his Harlem Heat gloves and says he found a notary stamp in Stevie Ray’s bag. It’s just like the one on the document Stevie showed to Mean Gene! You know you’re living in a sad, depressing world when the Lizmark Jr. matches on Nitro aren’t on the level. How dare they.
Chris Jericho is shocked, shocked we tells ya, to find out that James J. Dillon has made Stinko Malenko the special guest referee for Jericho’s Cruiserweight Championship defense against Juventud Guerrera at Road Wild. Apparently Eddie Guerrero cost Juvy a match on one of the weekend shows, so they gave him a PPV title shot. As you might remember, Malenko lost to Jericho last week and doesn’t get any more title shots, although I guess he’s allowed to referee and interfere in them? Who knows.
Jericho ends up trying to save the show in a very good match against Rey Mysterio Jr., which features Rey’s trademark high-flying and innovation paired with Jericho’s trademark trying to actually murder Rey Mysterio. Here he is turning a gorilla press into a piledriver because Mysterio weighs like 65 pounds, and he can.
Jericho pulls referee Mark Curtis in the way of a Mysterio springboard hurricanrana and Curtis absolutely eats it. Mysterio then counters the Lion Tamer into a pin, and dirty-ass Dean Malenko (who is not the referee, and does not become a referee until Saturday at the biker rally) slides in to count the pin.
If you’re thinking, “wow, it’s pretty modern WWE of WCW to have the Cruiserweight Champion lose a non-title match to someone he isn’t wrestling at the pay-per-view in five days,” don’t worry … Juventud Guerrera, the guy challenging for the championship, also loses clean to Eddie Guerrero five days before the pay-per-view. It’s a loser vs. a loser with a loser as the referee, this Saturday at Road Wild!
Finally, Here’s Raven Inventing Pete Dunne
The only other match announced for Road Wild is a triple threat between Raven, Saturn, and Kanyon, which they put over on Nitro by having Raven break Flock member Lodi’s fingers for talking out of turn. Saturn shows up to make the save, only to … also break Lodi’s fingers. The hook is supposed to be that Kanyon’s allegiances are unknown, and that he might be a member of The Flock and he might not, but no, it’s mostly about the worst Flock guy getting beaten up by everybody.
To recap, this Nitro features:
- nWo Hollywood destroying everyone for three hours, again
- nWo Wolfpac being stupid, easily injured dorks
- missing footage of both Jay Leno and Travis Tritt
- both people in the Cruiserweight Championship match at the PPV losing
- the Tag Team Championship changing hands, then immediately not changing hands after all
- the Television Championship being defended against a jobber via forged legal documents
- the World Heavyweight Champion entering a battle royal full of bad guys for no reason
I say HEY!
It’s finally time for the catch-as-catch-has-heard-about-this wrestling style of James Leno and band leader Kevin Eubanks, in the semi-main event of a Travis Tritt concert. All this and some stuff they came up with on the drive to South Dakota, at WCW/nWo Road Wild ’98!
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