Previously on the Best and Worst of WCW Monday Nitro: The Great American Bash gave us a new Cruiserweight Champion, a new Television Champion, and a new WCW Tag Team Champion (singular). Also, Mongo’s back, The Giant’s smoking cigarettes, and Bob Costas ruined WCW’s big announcement about how Karl Malone’s going to wrestle.
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 Georgia Dome Nitro, which features Reggie White and Thurman Thomas vs. Tim Hardaway and Chris Mullin. Not really, but you’d have believed that, wouldn’t you?
Up first, let’s see if WCW effectively hides its Thunder.
The One-Page Thunder Recap For June 18, 1998
You can watch this Thunder here.
Last week’s Nitro ended with nWo Hollywood trapping Macho Man Randy Savage inside the WCW version of the Hell in a Cell, and on Thunder we find out that he had his leg broken due to vicious, chair-assisted back leg front kicks from Shidoshi Eric Bischoff.
It’s their way of finally writing Savage off television, as he’d been working through an injury since Spring Stampede. Also because if the groundhog sees his shadow, WCW gets six more weeks of everyone humiliating Randy Savage and telling him how much his ex-wife hates him.
Also on this week’s Thunder:
- Konnan debuted his nWo Wolfpac poncho, which is the kind of fashion accessory wrestlers need when they’re working snuggie
- WCW’s announce team spent two hours wondering aloud if William Scott Goldberg would be able to Jackhammer Reese, because he’s 7-feet tall, and presumably hardened from the thousands of years he was frozen in ice on the north face of Mt. Everest. Spoiler alert: Goldberg could’ve Jackhammered him, the Giant, and Hulk Hogan at the same time. And probably at least one of those monster trucks.
- Noted New York Islanders fans Public Enemy are now Philadelphia Flyers fans again, because Metropolitan division loyalty don’t mean shit.
And now, the Best and Worst of WCW Monday Nitro for June 22, 1998.
Best: American Mails
Welcome to the Tops and Bottoms of WCW Monday Nitro, where Diamond Dallas Page is jacked up about how he’s going to bang Hulk Hogan, and how Karl Malone wants the worm. Per an appearance on The Tonight Show (which sadly we don’t get any recap footage from on the Network), it’ll be Page and Malone vs. Rodzilla and Hedorah Hogan at Bash at the Beach. We do get footage from the press conference at Planet Hollywood, which somehow makes this even more 1990s than it already is.
Page’s argument is that while Dennis Rodman is a great businessman and showman, Karl Malone is one of the hardest working men he’s ever met, so when they meet in a wrestling ring, Rodman’s a “dead man.” They’re gonna get hungry and leave no man untested!
Hogan’s response, which of course comes an hour later and is like 15 minutes longer, brings back a gem of a Hogan insult from 1997: DD-Pee-Pee. Only instead of “DD-Pee-Pee,” it’s “DDP, the little pee-pee.”
“Diamond Dallas Page! You know what he’s famous for? He’s famous for his wife being in Playboy, he’s famous for his wife being the leader of the Nitro Girls, and he’s famous for taking the garbage out and washing the dishes, that’s what DDP, the little pee-pee, is famous for! Now as far as Karl Malone goes, he’s famous for being the biggest loser to ever get in the playoff and having his butt kicked!”
He accentuates this by pointing at his dick with both index fingers, somehow ruining crotch-chopping for everyone.
My favorite WCW faction from 1998 is Crotch Point.
Hollywood Hogan promos from this era are brutal to get through. I can’t deny his genre-defining work from the ’80s, wherein he helped popularize the idea that wrestling promos should be Confidently Screamed Insanity, but in 1998 he’s just growl-breathing through whichever nouns and adjectives he can remember between “you know something,” and “the nWo and Hollywood are just, too, [pause for “sweet”].” He looks and sounds like Krusty the Clown’s voice acting.
At least now we know who wrote all the intros for Superstars.
Worst: Greene With Envy
Also appearing on this week’s program from another more popular sport is Mean Kevin Greene, the “Sackmaster” of WCW’s Dungeon of Downs. They’re doing that thing they used to do with Mongo where they’d have him try to cut babyface promos in towns with football teams that hate him, so Greene’s standing in the ring in Jacksonville talking about how he’s going to do everything he can to make sure the Carolina Panthers win. So many boos. He sucks up to them by putting over Mark Brunell, and notes that coming to Jacksonville is difficult, because the crowd comes.
Possibly because they’re jacked and getting banged, that’s unconfirmed.
Anyway, Greene’s promo (in a shirt that looks like The Architect from The Matrix‘s office walls) gets interrupted by Curt Hennig and Rick Rude, who are just there to distract him from a 500-pound smoky Giant sneak-attack. Greene recovers from the attack enough to yell “FAT BOY” down the ramp a few times as the Giant’s leaving, and hollers the loud funny way, “where you punks goin’? That the way you guys operate, you stick me and you bail, you frickin’ punks!” When will they learn that their actions have consequences?
The fight ends up continuing backstage, which sets up almost 30 whole seconds of a Kevin Greene vs. The Giant main event. The only available highlight is Greene starting the match by having a seizure until Big Marlboro puts him down with a thunderous armpit to the chest:
The nWo runs in and causes a disqualification before anything can happen, because I guess Greene was on a bump-count of one. They beat him down with chomps and stomps until Greene’s former roommate with the Los Angeles Rams, Bill Goldberg, runs out and spears everyone into hiding. It’s basically a shot-for-shot remake of that Goldberg vs. nWo finish from Thunder, which I’ll accept because it means more of Dis Man casually steamrolling Virgil without breaking stride.
Worst: This Is Fuller’s House
I’m glad that Goldberg got a big show-ending moment like that to keep his momentum, because his performance earlier in the night is only notable for two reasons:
- it’s the debut (unless I somehow missed it) of that bloody scab on his forehead that always opened up and bled during matches, and didn’t heal until he took like 15 years off. It was a running joke back in the day, as either he speared someone so hard it opened his third eye, or he’s constantly about to be assassinated.
- he defeats Rick Fuller after a spear that … well, look at it
I think the timing is just off and/or nobody told Rick Fuller Goldberg’s going to run into him at full speed at some point, so his kick to the breadbasket gets no-sold and a spear turns into a spinebuster. It ends up looking pretty gutsy, I guess, but as a spear it’s in Konnan “welp, guess we’re just doing a double-leg” territory.
Speaking Of Konnan
I watched a snail do a rolling clothesline along the edge of a straight razor. That’s my dream; that’s my nightmare. Crawling, slithering, along the edge of a straight razor… and surviving. Arriba la raza.
Here’s What The Rest Of The Wolfpac Is Up To, By The Way
I think this one works better out of context. How mad is Dean Ambrose that he never got to join the Wolfpac?
The best Wolfpac content of the week is this little kid in brand-nonspecific Sting makeup. Mike Tenay does his thing where he asks fans outside the arena what they think will happen at Upcoming Pay-per-view (and/or keep an eye out for D-X invaders~) and they respond with “NWO IS JUST TOO SWEET” or “WOLFPAC IS FOR LIFE.” WCW fans only have two speeds: “saying catchphrases,” or “confused screaming.”
Tenay tries to ask this “young man” what he thinks will happen at Bash at the Beach, and he’s already screaming before the question’s over:
“DDP IS GONNA BANG KARL … DENNIS RODMAN.”
He stops being enthusiastic the second he says “Karl,” and I love the look on his face for the rest of the segment, like, “motherfucker did I seriously just get one line on TV and say Karl Rodman?”
Best: Bret Hart, Mega Heel (Who Actually Wrestles)
The actual best part of this episode (which was even better when it was randomly sprung on us in 1998, literally pre-Crisis) is the semi-main event of Bret Hart vs. Chris Benoit. Back in the day that was a true dream match, and thankfully Benoit and Hart go to work with each other several times in WCW under wildly different circumstances over the next year.
This one’s a result of Hart showing up and trying to cheat Benoit to victory in the best of seven series with Booker T. Benoit, being a Good Dude at the time, didn’t want to take a victory that way and snitched on Hart and himself, forcing the series to go to an eighth match at Great American Bash. Benoit lost that, too, and now Hart’s out here serving lewks and cutting promos about how Benoit was a “good Canadian” until he came to the United States and got his priorities all out of whack. Bret is never better than when he’s irrationally pretending Canada is Candy Land and the United States is Detroit from Robocop, but also when it comes to Benoit, you know, where’s the lie?
The match happens, and it’s actually long enough for Nitro to take a commercial during. Raw was a real bad influence on WCW when it came to when and why they’d run commercial breaks. It’s also really goddamn good, which Bret doing his best in defense of German suplexes and selling every one of Benoit’s chops like he’d been slashed in the chest with a sword. He even stooges out to Benoit’s Crossface, and only wins when Stevie Ray shows up (still sore about Benoit trying to be Booker T’s new tag team partner) and distracts him. Bret uses that weird banana hammock pictured above to “knock out” Benoit and, in a moment of true epic heeling, drags Benoit’s unconscious body on top of him for a pretend pinfall attempt to throw off the referee’s trail. Amazing. One KO’d Sharpshooter later and Benoit suffers one of his 365 losses this calendar year.
Also On This Episode
The World Wrestling Federation’s really heating up with an epic story involving Stone Cold Steve Austin, Vince McMahon, The Undertaker, Kane, and Mankind that will soon involve The Rock and D-Generation X and feature a timelessly violent match inside the popular new Hell in a Cell cage, so how does WCW open Nitro? With Lynn Denton vs. Disco Inferno, fam.
You may remember Denton (previously “Len” Denton) from his random United States Championship match against Goldberg a few weeks ago. You may know Disco Inferno as the guy who says stupid shit on the Internet in 2019 when Santino Marella’s busy.
This guy in the crowd left his wife to go to Nitro, so I wanted to make sure I got this screenshot of Alex Wright thrusting in his direction to emphasize his good decision-making skills.
Wright has a match with Eddie Guerrero, which would probably be good if Wright wasn’t on the other side of his career momentum, and Eddie wasn’t a goddamn stallion right now and wrestling rings around everyone. It ends with Chavo showing up and being crazy and causing another distraction loss, so I’ll say the most notable thing is Das Wunderkind’s unexplained sexual assault of security on his way to the ring. Although in those hiked-up key-lime trunks, even looking at Alex feels like assault.
Public Enemy defeats The Flock in tag team action, and they’re back to their I’M THE MIGGITA MIGGITA MIGGITA MIGGITA MACK DADDY sweaters because I guess they left their Caps gear at home. There isn’t a stop sign in that screenshot, by the way, that’s just God willing them to not have any more matches.
The Battle of the Steves features Steve ‘Mongo’ McMichael against Steve ‘E.’ Ray, and it’s just as good as “Mongo vs. Stevie Ray” sounds. Lots of catch-as-catch-can clubbering forearms and irish whips into shoulder tackles with SCREAMING feints. Stevie steals the dreaded padded chair from ring announcer David Penzer and tries to comfort Mongo to death, which brings out Benoit and Booker T for various saves. Keep alienating your brother like this and you’re going to force him onto some evil organization’s B-team, Book.
This NC State college student and definite future disgraced Senator is this week’s Mug Root Beer® Someone Mugged Me On The Way Home From The Nitro Party Of The Week™.
Finally we have a very New Japan-style veteran vs. rookie match between Yuji Nagata and Magnum Tokyo, in which ol’ Blue Justice (in black) gives Ultimo Dragon’s top student both jack and shit in terms of offense before tapping him out to the Nagata Lock. Tokyo Magnum’s awesome pansexual Squirrel Nut Zippers outfit is the highlight.
Actually, the announce team accidentally giving us Nitro’s mission statement is probably the highlight:
Same, my dudes.
- Karl Malone and Kevin Greene are both in the house
- The Eric Bischoff Show gets a Tonight Show parody set, and oh boy
- The Nitro debut of “The Little Dragon”
- The Nitro debut of mild-mannered color commentator IAN HODGKINSON
- Goldberg and Glacier main event!
- And so much more. See you then! Try not to get banged on your way to the parking lot!