Previously on the Best and Worst of WCW Monday Nitro: The nWo Wolfpac got their red and black color scheme, Konnan showed up in like 15 different segments, and Fit Finlay became the Television Champion. We were also introduced to the legendary Bore Us Malenko, who used his one (1) move in a losing effort to Chris Jericho.
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. These are my favorite things in the world to write, and we’re almost to Jericho’s cruiserweight battle royal introductions.
And now, the Best and Worst of WCW Monday Nitro for May 11, 1998.
Before We Begin
An important warning from Tony Schiavone:
Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the most talkingest-ass episode of Nitro you’ve ever seen, featuring so many park and bark segments that a 5-minute Eric Bischoff promo gets replayed three times after it happens. More on that in a minute. And remember that thing I said last week about how 1998 pro wrestling was just the bath house scene from Final Fantasy VII? Hold on to your butts, folks.
Worst: A Lot Of Talk
The episode starts off innocently enough, with Bret Hart coming down from his Hunter S. Thompson fever dream and summoning ever atom in his dad jeans to call Macho Man Randy Savage a “chicken.”
He goes on to explain that it’s “hard to be a hero,” especially in a place like WCW, where being a hero is such a thankless job it makes it pointless to even try to be good. Somewhere up in the rafters, Sting is like, [gestures in mime]. He tells Savage he “looks forward to stomping a hole through your guts” — a bone away from threatening to kick his leg out of his leg — and does my favorite Bret Hart thing, calling the pay-per-view “The Slamboree.”
Macho Man shows up segments later to answer Bret’s challenge like he’s texting an ex over the holidays:
He also makes sure to call Hollywood Hogan a “bald-headed [spin around in place for crowd response] reject from the glue factory [spin around faster for more crowd response] prima donna, carrot-dangling,” and challenges him to a championship match in this very ring. I didn’t leave off a noun, “carrot-dangling” was the end of it. But with Hogan being as blaze orange as he is, maybe that was intentional. Hollywood Hogan, you’re a carrot dangling!
Kevin Nash wanders out for a promo as well, using his TV time to gatekeep ’90s hip-hop, shading Hollywood Hogan for saying nWo is “for life” instead of the proper, Mack 10-inspired “foe life.” Which, you know, would be a valid point if Nash and Scott Hall hadn’t spend the past two years holding up four fingers when they said “for.” Nash got a red shirt instead of a white one so now he’s 16 years old and thinks his dad’s a dork. And I don’t know about you, but I’m a little disappointed Nash didn’t follow up saying he knows for a fact Hogan doesn’t “sit around the house listening to Mack 10,” with, “because he’s super racist.”
So of course then Hollywood Hogan has to show up for promo time, reminding us that the difference between Hulk Hogan and Fred Flintstone is a blonde mustache. I don’t know why he wouldn’t just shave completely and not spray on that Just For Men five o’clock shadow, but I don’t understand a lot of what Hogan does. He announces that his new 3 Ninjas movie is “in theaters” now, and that he’s started a new Thunder In Paradise entitled “Assault on Devil’s Island.” Wrestling hasn’t evolved much since 1998, but at least now we make fun of the wrestler who pretends he’s an A-list Hollywood celebrity for starring in direct-to-video movies.
Hogan then goes in on Scott Hall and Kevin Nash, saying they “slid in” because they were “looking for the rub.” I could probably use a less suggestive subtitle image than that, so let’s try …
Nope, that’s still pretty bad. How about …
Hogan’s “big gun” that Nash can’t handle turns out to be none other than Routine Turncoat The Giant, who is now once again nWo Foe Life because of his hatred for Kevin Nash. Also, because it’s been about five minutes since his last turn, and he can’t stay on either side for very long. It’s his defining trait. As a wise man on his TV Tropes page says, “you hear ‘Big Show’ and think ‘heel turns that don’t matter’ before you think ‘tall.'”
I appreciate WCW attempting to explain Giant’s heel turn by saying his long documented hatred for Nash has clouded his judgment, but if we’re attempting to remember our history, who should the Giant hate more? The guy who almost broke his neck on a botched powerbomb, or the Great White Bengal tiger he was brought to life by a Satanist’s cartoon death cult to destroy via monster truck battles and mummy buggering? It could go either way.
nWo Hollywood beats up Nash and spray-paints him, which the announce team breathlessly announces as the first time the nWo has ever beaten up and spray-painted one of their own men, and I really don’t need to hyperlink something here or drop a bunch of screencaps for you to know how wrong that is. Hogan makes sure to jump in and say that they’re humiliating Nash, and that he “knows who the master is.”
Man, hopefully the Macho Man vs. Hollywood Hogan main event tonight actually resolves something, and doesn’t quickly involve more promo time for people who contextualize everything sexually. That would be–
Ah, sorry, no euphemistic Nitro would be complete without an appearance from Deranged Homophobe Rowdy Roddy Piper, who announces that he’ll be the special guest referee for Macho Man vs. Bret Hart at The Slamboree and tells them to low blow each other over and over, because he’ll “have the doctor write a prescription for Viagra and you’ll all go home happy.” LOL, what? Everyone else on the show has a little Tobias in them, sure, but Piper shows up with a megaphone to mega-scream “EVERYONE BUT ME IS GAY” directly into the camera.
I do, Dusty.
AND WE’RE STILL TALKING
On the April 27 edition of Raw Is War, D-Generation X “invaded” WCW, driving a jeep around in the parking lot before the show began and getting people who were going to the show to say “WCW sucks” on camera. It was pretty lame, even before the next 20 years of WWE pretending it was the “turning point in the Monday Night Wars.”
Nitro had been taped and pre-empted by the NBA Playoffs for a couple of episodes, so now’s the first time they’ve been able to respond to D-X’s antics on live television. Eric Bischoff’s plan is simple: to challenge Vince McMahon himself to show up at The Slamboree and face him in a fight, one-on-one. On WCW’s pay-per-view. If you’re like, “how in the world did anyone think he’d do that,” don’t worry, even Bischoff knows he’s not going to accept it and that the entire thing’s bullshit. In the middle of the challenge promo, he’s like, “if you’re thinking of buying the PPV to see Vince show up, don’t, because he’s not going to.” It’s the same level of safe trolling D-X did by showing up in the parking lot way before the show started instead of actually confronting anyone or invading the actual show.
As mentioned before, this promo is shown three more times in “moments ago” and “earlier tonight” fashion on this same episode, which you can probably tell already had way too much fucking talking. At least Bischoff didn’t tell Vince to make sure he drives to Slamboree in the car with the new rimjob, or whatever.
NO, DON’T CUT TO DDP NOW
GOD DAMMIT DALLAS
So … yeah, on this week’s episode of Nitro, Raven — a man who competes in no-rules “Raven’s Rules” matches and is constantly accompanied by like seven guys who protect him — gets his lawyer to threaten WCW about creating an “unsafe work environment” for him, which is A+ scumbag heeling. J.J. Dillon admits that the sneak attacks from a mystery assailant we don’t yet know is Kanyon and Page’s rope attack from last week “may have crossed some lines,” and rewards Raven with his own personalized swat team, who will definitely not be one of Raven’s rivals in disguise on an upcoming episode.
Tony Schiavone calls them “the riot squad,” which makes me hope one of the masked men is a 4-year old Liv Morgan. DDP quickly dispatches Lenny Lane with a Diamond Cutter and calls Raven out, saying he’ll “bang him at Slamboree,” but he’ll also bang him right now. Tune in to the exciting conclusion at WCW Hit It Or Quit It, an audio-only pay-per-view airing live on Mark’s Bookmarks.
Worst: Raven’s Riot Squad Is Not Very Effective, By The Way
Here’s Nina Master Jerry Flynn running a full lap around the ring, sliding in, running past all the security guys, and jump kicking Saturn. You know you’re slow on the draw when ’80s KARATE STEP-DAD can outwit you.
I complain a lot about modern WWE matches and stipulations being meaningless, so here’s that same talking point for WCW. You remember last week, when Hammer and Saturn had a “loser leaves the Flock” match? No? Well … okay, well, last week, Hammer and Saturn had a loser leaves the Flock match, which Hammer won (by accident) when Kanyon attacked them with some beverages. This week, the Flock decides to just beat up Hammer and kick HIM out instead. Raven says Saturn’s his enforcer and stays with him at all times (quote the Raven, yadda yadda), so … thanks for those multiple weeks of Hammer vs. Saturn matches! We definitely couldn’t have just removed Hammer from the group off-screen and correctly assume no one would notice!
Saturn squashes Flynn with a Death Valley Driver, and (unfortunately) it’s not his only appearance on this episode.
There’s So Much Talking Tonight Even GLACIER Gets Promo Time!
This is the beginning of one of my favorite illogical WCW stories ever: Glacier announcing that he brought the superkick to WCW, which means he’s the sole owner of it, and if you use a kick in your matches, he’s going to “take you out.” Saturn also uses a superkick and says he invented it, and that starts their feud. They are seriously feuding over who invented kicking. Guys, Gentleman Chris Adams is RIGHT THERE. Thankfully Harlem Heat does the “we own the letter T” story not too long after and makes this seem like Gargano/Ciampa.
Anyway, Glacier’s first match with proprietary kick ownership is against Sick Boy, and oh my sweet lord is it a mess. The finish plays out like this: Glacier is supposed to kick Sick Boy in the back of the head and knock him into the ref, which will allow Saturn to run in, hit a superkick, and pull Sick Boy on top of Glacier. Instead, it starts like this:
Glacier tries to kick Sick Boy in the back of the head and misses, so he throws a second kick. Between these two kicks, Sick Boy realizes he’s supposed to have been kicked, so he does a delayed sell and runs Nick Patrick over. This causes Glacier to basically miss BOTH kicks. With the ref down, Saturn runs in and does his thing. The referee comes to, but everything’s confusing now, so Glacier kicks out at two. Then they both just sleepily stand up, Glacier hits another superkick, and wins the match. WHAT.
Since somehow I am actually friends with Glacier now, I texted him to ask him what was up with this finish. He explained that Arn Anderson had the great idea (on paper, but not in practice) to have Glacier start kicking people in the back of the head instead of head-on, because he was turning heel. The only problem is that (1) when you’ve learned to kick for real, it’s hard not to kick people for real, and (2) if you don’t kick somebody in the back of the head for real, they aren’t going to know they’re supposed to have been kicked. So he pulled the kick trying to not legitimately murder Sick Boy, Sick Boy didn’t know he was supposed to sell until it was too late, and it all fell apart from there.
Is it too late to have Sick Boy defect to Glacier’s side and become Kick Boy? Or is that Low Ki’s gimmick?
Best: Who Did This To My Picture Of Dean-Dean?
Continuing Talk-a-thon ’98 is Chris Jericho, who is now carrying around a mannequin leg with a knee brace on it to remind people that he injured Rey Mysterio. He also reveals that someone has vandalized his (talking?) portrait of Dean Malenko, turning Dean into … El Debarge, I think?
This latest disrespect brings out Dean’s brother, SHOOTER Joe Malenko, and oh boy, if you think Dean Malenko’s got a boring personality, Dean is Bruce Vilanch compared to his brother. Joe Malenko can’t eat white bread because the crust is too spicy. Imagine if Bran Stark warged into Dean Malenko’s brain and turned him into Hodor, that’s more or less Joe Malenko.
Jericho pretends to be scared of Joe, says he’s got no beef with him, and offers to give him the Dean Malenko portrait to take away as a peace offering. Joe Malenko’s got the deductive reasoning of a house plant, so he takes Jericho’s offer, and gets blasted in the back with the mannequin leg as soon as he turns around. Great job, Joe.
AND EVEN MORE TALKING
THEN STOP TALKING, LEX.
I can’t even enjoy this week’s Alex Wright Nitro Girls interruption, because it’s just another thing for people to stand around and talk about. Just kidding, I love it. Wright is dressing like such stereotypical Euro-trash right now that I’m pretty sure he abandoned his Charmander on a stump in the rain before heading to Nitro.
And Now The Matches, The Least Important Part Of This 3-Hour Television Show
The Monday Night Wars are in full swing and the World Wrestling Federation just lobbed a huge insult at World Championship Wrestling, so of course WCW opens their next available live show with … Disco Inferno vs. Barry Horowitz. The only positives here are Disco Inferno’s optical illusion kit, and extremely ’90s teenagers pretending to do disco moves to get on camera.
Mike Tenay tries to be funny here and say Disco defeating notably Jewish Barry Horowitz has gotten him “off the schneid,” which is Yiddish meaning “to break a scoreless streak.” Larry Zbyszko has never met a Jewish person in his life, apparently, and reacts to the word “schneid” like Tenay dropped an n-bomb. He spends the next five minutes loudly calling everything he sees a “schneid.” It’s like when your terrible white dad sees a sign in Spanish and has to read it out-loud in an exaggerated Spanish accent.
Up next is Ultimo Dragon vs. Drew McIntyre. Wait, sorry, that muscular guy with the slicked back hair and a jacket made out of chains is actually Johnny Swinger, nephew of WWWF star Tony Parisi and future NWA-TNA Tag Team Champion. His ass asks you to take a “wild swing.”
Anyway, Kenny Key Party loses to Ultimo Dragon via a Dragonrana so lazy it looks like Dragon falls asleep halfway through the move.
Pretty sure I’ve seen Orange Cassidy do that same move. Chavo Guerrero Jr. jogs out to pump Dragon up for the finish, which of course brings out Eddie, and sets up a great bit where Chavo tries to play mediator and ends up accidentally egging on both sides to throw hands. The crowd is DYING to see Chavo stand up for himself and punch his terrible uncle in the face, and the “Eddie sucks” chants are so loud you’d almost think WCW would realize they had one of the best workers of all time on their roster and should do something with him. Almost!
Challenging William Scott Goldberg for the United States Championship this week is Len Denton, who is straight out of a 1987 episode of WCW Saturday Night and looks like Mike Graham had a son with Jake ‘The Snake’ Roberts. If you’re an old person, you know Denton as “The Minnesota Masked Man The Grappler.” He’s had three losses on Saturday in his WCW career, so of course he should be challenging an undefeated monster for the second most prestigious championship in the promotion.
You don’t need to me to tell you how he fares. The only important moment here is Goldberg debuting his “stand in his own pyro” entrance, which is forever the coolest thing about Goldberg. The only way I’d want Goldberg to return in 2019 is if he shows up for a match at the Hardy Compound and no-sells the Hardys shooting bottle rockets at him.
Hugh Morrus defeats the vascular armpits of Jim Powers in about 20 seconds, because they’re building up the first guy who lost to Goldberg as a threatening opponent for Goldberg. I don’t know. Only worth watching for Tony Schiavone’s Peggy Hill-like insistence on calling him “humorous.”
Kidman defeats Juventud Guerrera when the referee is too distracted to see a 7-foot tall Hornswoggle dressed like a 1990s Seattle-area infant gets in the ring and chokebombs Juvy. The Juventud vs. Reese mini-feud continues, and Reese even carries him away like a baby after the match. I don’t totally remember where they’re going with this, so I’ll assume the plan is to mummify Juvy and freeze him in a giant block of ice.
Swoggle jokes aside, does Reese look like David Harbour to anybody else? Someone should bring back Reese and team him up with Leva Bates.
Japanese wrestling fans love a no-sell!
They’re doing a weird thing during Scott Norton vs. Yuji Nagata where Sonny Onoo loves both guys, and I’m like, yeah, me too, but this isn’t going anywhere, is it? It would’ve been cool to have Scott Norton split off from the nWo and become a wandering Gaijin badass, but WCW needs a seventh or eighth guy for Sting to punch at the end of episodes I guess.
Remember a few jokes ago when I talked about Len Denton getting a United States Championship match? That trend continues with Fit Finlay and the TV title, which he defends against top contender anywhere in the country Robbie Rage of High Voltage. WCW’s out here running Len Denton, Barry Horowitz, Johnny Swinger, and Robbie Rage matches on their flagship show, wondering why people are turning over to see what Stone Cold’s doing.
The funniest thing is that Rage is about to win the match thanks to a referee distraction and interference from New Japan Pro Wrestling mash-up Kenny Kaos, but Booker T runs down and evens the odds. Fit wins, which raises the ire of Also TV Title Contender Chris Benoit, who gets in Booker’s face for (I guess) not letting a huge jobber win the belt to make it easier to win back. The Ghost of Teddy Long Past, James J. Dillon, announces that Benoit and Booker will face each other later tonight, with the winner challenging Finlay at The Slamboree.
That match, of course, ends in controversy when Booker almost crescent kicks the referee, checks on him to make sure he’s okay, and gets dragged to the ground in the Crippler Crossface. Benoit gets the title shot, but you know he can’t win shit in WCW, and that sets up a great idea: a best of seven series between the two to decide who should be the number one contender to the TV title. Alternate plan: just wait until next week and ask for a shot, because shit, Robbie fucking Rage just got one without beating anybody ever.
Note: In case you ever wondered, Bert from Sesame Street’s favorite wrestler is Fit Finlay.
Congratulations to H.P. Lovecraft, the winner of this week’s Nitro Party contest.
It’s time for The Slamboree, featuring:
- the Lex Luger vs. Brian Adams match you’ve been dying to see
- the biggest pop in WCW history, in the most unexpected place
- Hulk Hogan not defending the WCW Championship
- Sting teaming with a member of the nWo to take on two other members of the nWo and thinking it’ll end well for him
- Eric Bischoff vs. Vince McMahon, which is definitely happening
And more! Sort of!