Previously on the Best and Worst of WCW Monday Nitro: Kevin got fingered.
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. You’d never guess how 1999 ends when you’re reading about how it began.
And now, the Best and Worst of WCW Monday Nitro for January 11, 1999.
Worst: The, Elite! The The, Elite!
Last week’s Nitro ended with United States Presidential candidate Wood coming out of retirement to replace Goldberg in the main event due to an ongoing stalking charge and winning the Heavyweight Championship from Kevin Nash with a jab of his index finger only eight days removed from the Cattle Prod Starrcade. So the next logical step in the story, as we’ll all agree, is the newly reformed New World Order splintering into two separate groups, only this time decided by class.
They haven’t named it yet, but this is the debut of what will become known as nWo Elite, made up of a bunch of young bucks and best bout machines in red and black. All the important people who want to be cool are in that group. Hogan, Nash, Hall, Steiner, Bagwell, and so on. The guys in the black and WHITE shirts are the jobbers and extras the red and black keep around to do their dirty work, so like, Vincent and Brian Adams and Stevie Ray. They’ll eventually be derisively christened by “nWo B-Team.” It’s all about TRIMMING THE FAT, says Wood, which is why he crammed the co-existing nWo groups into a bigger one with conflicting t-shirt colors so the ring will be COMPLETELY filled during beat-downs. It’s WCW math, it’s fine.
Hogan is now officially “Wolfpac,” by the way, which equates to him wearing flannel shirts, a Harley Davidson beanie and JNCOs. He looks like he’s constantly about to gonna haul ass to Lollapalooza.
Efforts to trim the fat include:
- shaming The Giant for getting swerved by the Macho Man Randy Savage and “dropping the ball,” which is one of Hollywood Hogan’s favorite phrases. Giant’s like, “it’s not my fault you come up with plans and don’t tell anybody and expect me to know what you’re doing,” but the rest of the gang’s not buyin’ it, brah, so Hogan signs (lol) Nash vs. Giant on Nitro for NWO BIG MAN SUPREMACY
- completely dismantling the Latino World Order, because the only way to avoid diluting your brand is to eliminate all the bootlegs
New 90-day WCW President Ric Flair actually agrees about the lWo thing and convinces them to remove their t-shirts and formally disband the group, which we’ll remind you is a reaction to Eddie Guerrero getting into a horrifying car accident on New Year’s night and not being able to continue the angle. It’s important to note that Rey Mysterio, the man who was forced to be a part of the group by Guerrero and regularly fought to shut it down, is the only member to NOT remove his colors. Combine this with the fact that Kevin Nash beat down all his friends and emasculated him on Thunder, and you get the start of the Nash vs. Mysterio angle and the “hair vs. mask” match at SuperBrawl IX. Rey’s still wearing his mask on WWE TV in 2020, though, so it’s pretty obvious what happens there. [shifty eyes]
Mysterio has a match against Kaz Hayashi that ends almost as soon as it starts with a run-in — well, more like a “walk-in” — from professional turncoat Lex Luger. Luger destroys Hayashi, who is about the size of his leg, and threatens Mysterio with violence if he doesn’t take off the lWo colors. Mysterio refuses, so Luger Torture Racks him like he’s a goddamn Wrestling Buddy. Luger’s about to end a man’s whole career with that move.
Mysterio’s frenemy Konnan shows up to confront Luger about why he’s doing this, because I guess Konnan didn’t get the memo about the gang merger. This brings out Wolfpac leader Kevin Nash, who hits Konnan with a, “let me speak on this,” before heel turn master craftsman Luger attacks him from behind. They beat him down, spray-paint him, and shock him with Scott Hall’s Ben Franklin dildo.
If you read that and were like, “wow, I can’t believe WCW saw the negative reaction from everyone on Earth about how they ended Starrcade with a taser attack, it seems weird that they’d keep reminding us about it,” don’t worry, they don’t just do it once. They do it three times on this episode. That’ll put butts in electric chairs! Heh! Two taser attacks come at the end of nWo beat-downs, but the other happens mid-Greetings From Asbury Park to give Scott Hall a cheap win over Bam Bam Bigelow, a legendary monster wrestler the company appears to have exclusively brought in to be a stupid accessory to unrelated nWo stories.
Hall versus Bigelow gets two run-ins, because of course it does. nWo pledge Disco Inferno shows up with taser in hand for some sort of electric boogie. Thankfully Wrath also wants to do a run-in at this time, which distracts Bigelow and the referee long enough for Disco to clandestinely slip a forearm-sized billy club made of lightning into the ring. Bigelow tries to hit his finish on Hall, Hall shocks him in the belly, and gets the three.
If all that’s not enough and you somehow couldn’t have predicted it, the “Battle For nWo Giant Supremacy” also ends with a stun gun attack. They’re really going all in on this bit, huh? Hall interferes, of course, and Giant manages to fight off The Outsiders two-on-one until Nash retrieves a MYSTERIOUS WRENCH from under the ring and smashes him in the face for the win. Afterward, the nWo fill up the ring again, break out the spray-paint, and cattle prod The Giant out of WCW forever.
In interviews, Big Show has said that he was making half the salary as the other main-eventers in the company and had asked for a raise, but wasn’t given it. So he let his contract expire and jumped ship to the World Wrestling Federation, signing a giant-sized (cough) 10-year contract and debuting during the Stone Cold Steve Austin and Vince McMahon cage match at In Your House: St. Valentine’s Day Massacre on February 9. At first they call him “Paul Wight,” and then BIG NASTY Paul Wight, and finally settle on “The Big Show,” one of those names that sounds stupid as hell when you first hear it, but you get used to it. It’s the B-Sharps of wrestling names.
I do want to point out that The Giant was brought into WCW to “destroy Hulk Hogan,” and was taken out of WCW forever by Hulk Hogan. He probably should’ve just stayed murdered the first time and saved himself three and a half years of grief.
By the way, WCW Souled Out is in six days. For some reason WCW booked Starrcade, followed it up with Flair usurping control of the company from Bischoff, followed THAT with the Fingerpoke of Doom, and then had exactly one Nitro to build a followup pay-per-view that would almost assuredly feel underwhelming compared to all THAT. Ric Flair books Goldberg vs. Scott Hall in a cattle prod match. Stick with what you know, I guess.
After The Fingering
You know, people always talk about the Fingerpoke of Doom, but they rarely mention the followup segment, wherein Hogan and Nash sit in director’s chairs, watch a giant projection of the match, and compliment each other on their ruthless aggression and fighting spirit.
Per Hogan, Nash taught him to be “focused; mind, body, spirit, and soul,” and used that to knock him out cold with a … nerve poke, I guess. He hit the PRESSURE POINT. Nash explains it away like it’s the Zapruder film (“back, and to the left … back, and to the left”) and asks, “this isn’t one of those Bruce Lee things where I die 20 years later, is it?” Maybe that’s why the nWo is randomly guest starring on Friday Night Smackdown in 2020. It’s finally time to pay off that fingerpoke, which was truly of doom.
It’s a funny segment that’s even funnier when you know how much irreparable damage that Nitro did.
So, Where Did That Wrench Come From?
You’d think they could’ve just said Nash found a wrench under the ring, because the crew needs tools to put the ring together, but nope, we get a multi-segment backstory. For the wrench. Actual main event talent in the company can’t get stories, but the fucking WRENCH gets an episode of dedicated lore.
Early in the night, we get a lengthy … I want to say, comedy (?) bit about how since Eric Bischoff lost control of the company to Ric Flair for 90s days, all of the employees have changed and don’t recognize him and he can’t even get into the building. Flair has set up shop in his Bischoff’s office — the Bischoffice — and is making sure to properly hang up his sparkly bathrobes after cleaning them. He reassigns Bischoff to ring crew under the supervision of Klondike Bill. Bill is a Stu Hart Dungeon graduate who wrestled in Stampede as both Bill “The Brute” Soloweyko and THE KODIAK BEAR before joining Jim Crockett Promotions to build guard rails and rings and, most notably, the War Games cage. He’s probably most famous to modern podcast-listening audiences as the guy Tony Schiavone talked about who tried to satisfy a woman with a kielbasa, failed, and then ate it for breakfast.
His role on Nitro is a lot less controversial, as he mostly yells at Bischoff for being a lazy entitled millennial (or its 1999 equivalent) and is then mildly impressed when he finds out Bischoff brought his own wrench. His own blue handled wrench.
Who says WCW doesn’t pay off long-term storytelling?
In Other nWo News
**Because somehow we’re not done**
WCW’s booking team finally gives the New World Order a win over WCW talent when Diamond Dallas Page accidentally knocks out the referee, gets a face full of powder from Buff Bagwell, takes a steel chair to the back from Scott Steiner, and passes out in the Steiner Recliner. It’s such a breath of fresh air to see somebody in that one t-shirt do the same thing they’ve been doing on every episode for two years.
The only person in three hours to even KIND OF stand up to the nWo is Ric Flair, who teams up with Goldberg’s topless son to fend off an attack from their upcoming pay-per-view opponents, Curt Hennig and Barry Windham.
David Flair shows the quick thinking and natural athleticism here that would propel him to super stardom in the world of professional wrestling. He’s basically a real-time strategy character that Ric has to move around and put in the right place to make him do anything. Ric’s visibly like, “DAVID GO OVER THERE,” or “DAVID STAND THERE, WE’RE GONNA DO THE SPOT,” or (and I’m not making this up) “DAVID, YOU SHOULD TAKE YOUR SHIRT OFF.” Bless poor David Flair’s heart, and he does get better — he never gets good, but he gets better — but I’m not sure I’ve ever seen someone with wrestling in their blood look more lost and out of place. Even David Sammartino could take a body slam without looking like someone lobbed a mannequin out of a second-story window.
How Dare You: The Assassination Of Pepe The Stick Horse By The Coward Norman Smiley
This week’s most historically important moment comes when Chavo Guerrero Jr. tries to have a birthday party for his hobby horse and learns an important lesson about bringing cake to a wrestling show. Chavo and Pepe are interrupted by Norman Smiley, who tricks them into thinking he’s just here to celebrate the birth of a stick with a plush horse head on the end of it, somehow, and attacks. After saying Happy Birthday To The Ground, Smiley “lures” Pepe into the parking lot and, in an act of true villainy, feeds him into a wood chipper.
I don’t know which part I should point out; the idea that Norman Smiley learned about this stick horse birthday party and not only rented a massive industrial wood chipper but brought it to the arena and had it turned on and waiting in case his plan worked out, or the image of a man in his underpants, covered in birthday cake, standing in a parking lot screaming in grief because an adult co-worker elaborately reenacted Fargo with one of his toys.
Also On This Episode
I want to note here that Perry Saturn vs. Ernest Miller in a Starrcade rematch (lol) is the only match in hour one. In the entirety of hour one. That’s 4:28 out of 60 minutes where wrestling is happening, because we need to do full Fingerpoke of Doom recaps, a multi-pronged bit about Eric Bischoff doing ring crew to plant an identifiable wrench for the main event, and a guy who can’t stop humping the air murdering an equine broom.
You might be thinking, “it looks like Chris Jericho’s involved, so he probably saves the segment at least, right?” And that’s where I have to tell you this is where his all-time worst WCW angle begins: he wants Perry Saturn to wear a dress. At first he’s like, “you cry like a woman, so why not wear a dress?” and Saturn responds with, “I don’t do drag!” But Saturn wants a match with Jericho and Jericho holds all the cards, so he agrees to start professionally cross-dressing if he can’t win. This is a “bring a birthday cake to the wrestling show” level of bad on-screen decision making. ESPECIALLY when you’re in a feud with a referee who hates you so much he’s screwing you out of matches and sending other referees to the back so he can personally be in control of being mean to you at work.
In one of the most hilarious disqualifications on record, Jericho interrupts the match by attacking Saturn with a big-ass shovel. Saturn falls down because he’s just been knocked out by a goddamn shovel and gently grazes referee Scott Dickinson, so Dickinson disqualifies Saturn. The repeated strikes with a digging tool doesn’t earn a DQ, but bumping into the referee’s hip with your armpit does. And, because WCW, Jericho tries to put Saturn in a dress after the match, doesn’t know how dresses work, tries to put Saturn’s head through one of the arm holes, and then just gives up. I feel like you guys could’ve rehearsed the dress thing.
Booker T squashes Lenny Lane, meaning the first five matches on the episode are a jobber squash, a referee screwjob, and three nWo run-ins.
Bill Goldberg says he’s made a lot of mistakes. What, did he watch this week’s Nitro too? He also says the Fingerpoke of Doom helped him earn an education and that he’s now got his, “doctorate in professional wrestling,” not mentioning that he only got into WCW University on a football scholarship.
Last and presumably least, we check in on Raven’s move-back-in-with-your-parents rehab and find him playing backgammon with his mom’s friend “Jim.” That’s Jim as in Jim Fullington, as in the original hardcore icon The Sandman Jim Fullington. Former ECW valet and porn star Chastity had also made her first appearance on the Thunder before this show as “Scotty’s” well-meaning sister Stacy, because WCW is dedicated to creating a cinematic universe of former ECW stars as odd neighbor characters in a Floridian gated community. I’m sad we never got Sabu as a deluded local care salesman who’s decided to run for mayor, or whatever.
The segment ends with Raven going into the garage and finding old pictures he’d collected of Rowdy Roddy Piper, which was supposed to set up a Raven vs. Piper feud that (again, because WCW) never happened.
It’s already time for Souled Out ’99, featuring David Flair versus the entire nWo, a stun gun ladder match, a dress match with a referee screwjob, and THOSE ARE THE HIGHLIGHTS. See you then!