Previously on the Best and Worst of WCW Monday Nitro: WCW got Souled Out just in time for the nWo to humiliate Goldberg, the nWo to humiliate David Flair, and the nWo to humiliate Konnan. And this was the pay-per-view with the “nWo” part crossed out!
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. Follow along with the competition here.
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And now, the Best and Worst of WCW Monday Nitro for January 18, 1999.
Best: Hair-ic Bischoff
Ric Flair is understandably enraged by the fact that his son was brutally whipped and mildly humiliated at Souled Out, so he wants a piece of Hogan’s ass, pal. The nWo pulls up to the arena in a limo at the top of the program, prompting Flair and the Horsemen to suddenly appear to do what everyone should do when Hulk Hogan arrives at a wrestling show: attack him with a tire iron until he speeds away in terror.
Flair, who is President, comes to the ring and announces that he’ll be challenging Hogan for the WCW World Heavyweight Championship at SuperBrawl. If you’re in charge of WCW and don’t book yourself to be world champion, are you really in charge of WCW? He also wants to fight Eric Bischoff again right here tonight, because that’s a pretty easy win when you don’t have Virgil and Brian Adams up your ass the entire time, but Eric shows up and says he’s not a wrestler so it’s a no-go. Flair presumably watched last week’s Raw and loved the bit where The Rock wants a match against Mankind and keep suggesting stipulations until he agrees, so he does that and offers Bischoff the chance to get his company back from Ric 80 days early and shave Ric’s head if he wins.
None of it works until eternal deer in the headlights David Flair stagger-jogs out and puts on his PROMO VOICE where he HOLLERS THE LOUD FUNNY WORDS and takes of his shirt for MASCULINE EMPHASIS. The camera man is either so enamored with David’s nude torso or so confused by why this very normal-bodied teenage boy would show off his A.V. club chest as a threat that he slowly zooms all the way in until the shot’s nothing but little pecs and high school snail trail:
David also screams, “GET OUT HERE, GYETTTT OUTTT HEREEEE” which is funny because Bischoff was “out here” already. Bisch decides to leverage Big Dave’s ignorant, pubescent enthusiasm into swerve and agrees to Flair’s match, only he’ll be wrestling David, not Ric. Ric agrees to that, as long as Bischoff’s hair is on the line as well. Or, as Ric puts it, “WAIT A MINUTE! WAIT A MINUTE! WAIT A MINUTE! YOU GOT HIM IF HE WANTS IT, HE’S GOT IT, BUT IF HE BEATS YOU, WE SHAVE YOUR HEAD, AND YOUR ASS!”
The call from Tony Schiavone and Larry Zbyszko is deeply revealing.
Larry: [deadpan] “Can’t we just shave the head?”
Tony: “No, I’d like to see all of it!”
That feels like it’s supposed to be the main event, but they do it at the top of hour two to try to prevent people from switching over to Raw. Mick Foley won’t put butts in seats, but Ric Flair’s weird son who can’t bend at the knees or waist will! Dave shows up for his match wearing a Horsemen t-shirt (not even the good one) and some gym shorts, and sadly without his legendary TitanTron video. Non-wrestling executive vs. non-wrestling teenager with five matches of experience between them goes about how you’d expect, with Bischoff dancing around and throwing some bad karate kicks while David “sells” them by looking backward and falling down with his arms outstretched to break his fall with his hands.
If you’re wondering if David pulls off a miracle and wins using heart, grit, and Genetic Superiority™ … no, it’s the Attitude Era. He cheats his ass off, because he’s the good guy. Recently rehired referee Randy Anderson shows up and slips him one of my favorite old-timey foreign objects, the dreaded ROLL OF QUARTERS, and Dave KOs Eric with the greatest right cross you’ve ever seen. He also hooks the inside leg for some reason, puts his arm under the shoulder (which is what you want to do when you’re trying to pin someone’s shoulders to the mat), and makes sure that Bischoff’s foot is on the rope. He’s just the worst, you guys.
The Horsemen take advantage of the early match time, Hogan’s limo escape, and the five or so minutes in 1999 when they aren’t getting beaten down and humiliated by 13 nWo guys to shave Bischoff’s head. The rub is that Bischoff’s actually completely grey under his Jerry Lewis-style jet black hair, so it’s a nice way to transition from everyone thinking he’s 30 years old to realizing he’s a solid 43. It’s a better look, honestly.
They only shave the top, though, and shave a big stripe up the back so he can’t cover it with a hat (which he tries to do anyway later in the episode, when the regularly scheduled nWo beatings finally take place). It’s like Hulk Hogan with a reverse rat tail. Steve ‘Mongo’ McMichael, who is obviously a huge fan of Aristophanes and the Augustan poet Propertius, puts two quarters from David Flair’s roll of quarters over Bischoff’s eyes so he can pay Charon to ferry him across to the land of the dead. Which is how he ended up in Impact, I guess.
David Flair is now 2-0 lifetime, echoing Bill Goldberg’s epic winning streak, and has wins over Barry Windham and Mr. Perfect. As mentioned in last week’s column, he’d also eventually pin John Cena. As a fun side note, Bischoff would end up with wins over Ric Flair (but not David), Terry Funk, Kane, Trish Stratus, and even the Young Bucks. But we’ll get to all of that. Well, some of that.
Worst: The WCW Dower Plant
Once the nWo is back in the building, Big Poppa Pump decides to maximize his time by interrupting a Nitro Girls dance routine and trying to hook up with all of them at once. He says he’s here for “romancing,” makes Chae rub his oil-slicked tumor of chest muscles against her will, and reveals that because he defeated Diamond Dallas Page in a Television Championship match on last week’s Nitro, he’s now the legal owner of Kimberly.
No, seriously. His actual quote is, “I wrestled your husband so I could be with you.” I guess he’s been watching his Booty Man tapes. I’m working on a theory that Steiner only calls himself the “Big Bad Booty Daddy” because he’s attempting to emulate the Booty Man — hence the sudden love of white tights — needs Kimberly Page to complete the transformation, and keeps Buff Bagwell around as a Booty Babe placeholder. Also that Buff’s “stuff” is butts. It’s not all the way there yet.
He spends the remainder of the show following her around and barging into the Nitro Girls’ locker room to inform them that he’s going to hook up with Kimberly, but that since they’re all freaks they can form a queue and he’ll get to them when he can. When he’s confronted by security, he calmly explains that, “[Kimberly] wants me, these girls want me, but I picked her first, and they’re all mad.” He also explains to them once again that, “I beat her husband last week. And that was so I can be with her.” The New World Order’s “for life” declaration infers a dowry system, guys, pay attention. When all of this doesn’t work and he gets kicked out, he ends up following Kim into the women’s restroom and explaining romance in the same way he explains complex mathematics: “You’ve got a great body, I’ve got a great body, we’ve got to be together!”
Oh, also he’s still technically the Television Champion, so he has to wrestle. Although he doesn’t defend the championship or bring it to the ring, so I’m not sure anybody remembers. He’s suppose to wrestle Perry Saturn, fresh off a “loser must wear a dress” match at Souled Out that Chris Jericho is following him around and enforcing through the pestering of WCW’s Executive Committee, and oh boy, you know SCOTT STEINER has a level-headed response to wrestling a guy in a dress.
Pro wrestling was all about 20-year old homophobic Full Metal Jacket quotes in the late ’90s. Steiner, who really needs to wrap things up and get back to telling Whisper to smile more, wins when Booty Babe Buff Bagwell causes multiple distractions and Saturn eats a belly-to-belly and the Steiner Recliner. The most notable thing about THAT is that Buff is wearing an nWo Wolfpac jester cap with attached ski-mask goggles that I’m referring to as the Masque Of The Red And Black Death.
Speaking Of Red And Black Death
Stop me if you’ve heard this one before, but the New World Order ruins most of this episode with constant run-ins and burials. Oh, this is THAT episode.
Remember when Rick Steiner teamed up with a guy from the nWo and won the Tag Team Championship from two other nWo guys, and could then choose his own partner, so he picked the second best guy in fucking HIGH VOLTAGE? And then they just kind of disappeared, and nobody’s mentioned the tag titles since October? Rick Steiner is injured now, so the Tag Team Championship has been vacated for the second time in a year and a half. The idea is to have a WCW World Tag Team Title Tournament, but the nWo, being the nWo, refuses to let it take place. Meng and the Barbarian reunited on Thunder to face the crackerjack squad of Mike Enos and Bobby Duncum Jr. — you can’t have “cowboy shit” without a Cowboy Enos — but the nWo showed up and laid waste to everybody. They try to do it again on Nitro, and the nWo shows up and lays waste to everybody. I’m not sure what part of “only Hulk Hogan and Kevin Nash are important, why are you trying to have a tag team division” they didn’t understand.
So the nWo cheated to win the World Heavyweight Championship and then transferred it to a part-timer via finger poke, cheated to win the Television Championship and left it sitting at home, and don’t want anyone to be tag champs. I can’t believe anyone would say this angle has run its course and is now just openly handicapping a wrestling promotion’s ability to function on even a basic level. That’s crazy talk! You’re crazy.
In other nWo news that will end well for everyone involved, Rey Mysterio challenges Lex Luger to a match to get back at him for breaking his back and making him humble and ends up winning by disqualification when Kevin Nash runs in. Yes, they needed the 7-foot tall booker of the company doing a run-in to explain a match finish between the most muscular man in the history of professional wrestling and a guy so smol he was technically a mini and named after a hummingbird until he was 17 years old.
The story here is that Mysterio (in an incredible brown velour mask) refuses to just roll over and let the nWo erase the Latino World Order from existence on a whim, so they have to lift him like eight feet into the air and throw him at the ground about it. The rest of the lWo has already given up and forgotten it was ever a thing, so Mysterio’s only help in this is Konnan, who was recently Lex Luger’d out of the Wolfpac for having Rey’s back. Konnan cuts a surprisingly good promo early in the show about how much the group meant to him and how bad they’re gonna get got for turning their backs on him — you’re not supposed to do that to the Wolfpac, I’ve heard — and rushes out with a chair to make the save and prevent Nash and Luger from unmasking Rey. He’ll continue trying to do that over the next month or so with varying degrees of success. But to take a break from the “nWo is the reason for the season” bit, it’s a rare example of a cohesive and logical story progression in the 1999 version of WCW. Konnan threw in with a bunch of manipulative and self-centered white dudes to further his career, found himself ousted from the group as soon as he stuck up for a fellow Latino, and now has to make it right.
The nWo is the reason for the season, though, so you know how it ends.
Remember when Kevin Nash completely buried Wrath, and the announce team essentially spent a few weeks of Wrath matches insisting, “it’s still good, it’s still good?” It’s finally time to put an end to that, and Wrath’s entire career as a believable main event threat, by having Scott Hall distract him en route to a loss to the goddamn DISCO INFERNO. Yes, folks, it’s come to this. Wrath is getting hit with a Stone Cold Stunner from a guy who couldn’t carry Das Wunderkind’s jock strap and getting pinned in the middle of the ring. It’s a true shame, and one of the most hilariously transparent and unforgivable examples of what happens when you let a tall strong guy book a company where there can only be one tall strong guy.
And to be fair, it would take at least a team of three to lift Alex Wright’s jock.
Finally, here’s a picture of the advertised triple threat main event between Bill Goldberg, Scott Hall, and Bam Bam Bigelow.
The only good thing here is that when the Horsemen and Goldberg start to gain an advantage in the fight and the nWo begins to flee, Ric Flair uses his well-documented super speed to race up the aisle and catch Scott Hall on the stage. Seriously, if you weren’t aware, late 1990s Ric Flair is the fastest man in human history. He could close the gap and chase down anybody whether there were a bunch of pedestrians in his way or not.
It was hard to get a GIF of this because WWE Network brings up a next video/cancel menu when you get to the ends of episodes, but I urge you to go watch the closing seconds of Nitro to see Flair, after having dispatched Hall with a series of chops, haul ass through the ENTIRE BACKSTAGE AREA OF THE ARENA and the length of an entire parking lot to CATCH A MOVING CAR. The camera can’t even catch up with him as he does it. Motherfucker was in tune with the Speed Force, I swear. I bet even 71-year old multiple heart surgeries Ric Flair could run the 40 in 4.3.
Also On This Episode
Triple H and Edge had a three-minute match on last week’s Raw, so it makes sense that Nitro would also feature a short match between future multiple-time world champions. Their version is Booker T versus Chris Jericho, with Booker literally and figuratively going over strong because Jericho’s on the ass-end of his WCW contract. Also because referee Scott Dickinson has finally been suspended for 30 days for believing Jericho’s bullshit and physically making him win wrestling matches. It’s good for what it is, which isn’t as much as anybody wants or wanted. At least Booker doesn’t have to start wrestling in a dress.
Psicosis gets a surprising win over Juventud Guerrera to keep the rankings in the cruiserweight division fresh. He puts him away with a Gourdbuster off the top rope, and I’m not talking the second rope kind of “off the top rope,” I mean they’re both standing all the way up on the top rope and Psico sends him to Hell, face-first. 20 years later and I’m still confused as to why a colorful bull with Weird Al hair doing big-ass top rope leg drops wasn’t the most popular character on the show. I guess that’s just a side effect of me not knowing why more people weren’t into a dancing, chair-wielding skeleton.
Finally, do you want to eat wrestling-themed food in the 1990s but think WWF New York is too pretentious? Try the NITRO GRILL, coming to Las Vegas’ Excalibur hotel in May of 1999. And leaving Las Vegas, Nicholas Cage-style, in September of 2000. There’s a finite market for people who want to eat low quality chicken wings and jalapeno poppers in a casino while Evan Karagias matches play on a big screen, I suppose.
Nitro shows footage from the groundbreaking featuring Mean Gene and DDP, and includes some concept art that show lighting trusses over the dining area and pay-per-view themed sections. Honestly, I wish my house looked like this.
The actual restaurant more or less ended up looking like the drawings, although the placeholder menu from the video package gets replaced by items such as, I’m not shitting you, the “Booker T-bone” and the “Goldberger.” You could say this place was a real Crisco inferno. Anybody want to split a chocolate Barbarian cream pie?
Next Week On Nitro:
The nWo Elite gets their name and a brand new t-shirt color scheme, Mean Gene Okerlund doubts El Dandy, and Big Poppa Pump continues his quest to have a six-way with the Nitro Girls. All this plus Hollywood Hogan kicking Chris Benoit’s ass in the dream match you never asked for, next week on the Best and Worst of WCW Monday Nitro. Who are you to miss it?