The Best And Worst Of WCW Monday Nitro 5/18/98: In Rod We Trust

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Previously on the Best and Worst of WCW Monday Nitro: WCW held The Slamboree, and boy was it eventful. Dean Malenko returned as a clandestine pumpkin to become Cruiserweight Champion, Rowdy Roddy Piper revealed himself to be a terrible referee, and Sting teamed up with the nWo to face the nWo and won when the nWo turned on the nWo.

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 May 18, 1998.

“The Reason For The Ratings”

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Welcome to a special one-hour edition of WCW Monday Nitro, once again preempted by the 1998 NBA Playoffs. There was a pay-per-view the night before and the company’s down two hours, so they do what you’d expect: mailing it the hell in.

The show opens with Eric Bischoff celebrating his “win” over Vince McMahon at The Slamboree by (1) wearing a crown that he takes off as soon as the promo starts, so he might as well have not even been wearing it, and (2) sitting on (but not riding) a motorcycle that has cables hooking it to the ceiling, making you think maybe he’s gonna ride it to Heaven or something, but no, it was just to get it through the ropes for some reason. Last night he used “Vince McMahon didn’t show up to fight me, even though he never said he would” to get a big face reaction from the crowd, and tonight he uses, “I’m saying I beat Vince McMahon even though he didn’t show up” to get a heel reaction.

Bischoff says he’s going to start a streak that will be even bigger than Goldberg’s, which … I guess sets up him not competing again until August, when he has a tag match against Jay Leno at a racist biker rally? Yes, this all checks out.

Worst: Hollywood Hogan Is Still Not Defending That Championship Any Time Soon

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The only real angle development on the episode is Rowdy Roddy Piper taking a few minutes to watch the footage of his botched referee job at The Slamboree and realize it was Bret Hart who hit him in the back of the head with an international Object, not the Macho Man. Piper calls out Savage, refuses to apologize, but then kind of apologizes anyway by reversing the decision and naming Savage the new winner by disqualification.

This brings out an irate Bret (® Michael Buffer), and eventually Hollywood Hogan himself, who Piper declares to be, and I quote, “the reptile, the bald dreaded, bald headed, legged, slimy climin’ Hogan reptile.” They agree to have a tag team match against each other, which Mike Tenay quickly puts over as the biggest tag team match ever conceived. Piper and Savage want to get it awn right here right now, but Hogan recommends the Great American Bash, so he can go another pay-per-view without defending the World Heavyweight Championship.

I’d be madder about it if I didn’t know this leads to him getting steamrolled in the Georgia Dome, and the whole “these episodes are 20 years old” thing.

There Are Also Some Matches, But Barely

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stares in Flock

If you ever wondered what Nitro would look like on an NXT format, here you go. Up first is Perry Saturn squashing Psicosis (aside from a couple of dives), and reminding the audience that he and Glacier are apparently feuding over who invented kicking. Saturn wins the match about how he has the best standing side kick in wrestling by hitting a Death Valley Driver.

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Match two features Damien, seen here busting Juventud Guerrera’s muscles. Juventud gets revenge by turning Damien’s internal organs into pancakes, under-rotating on a 450 splash and accidentally turning it into a somersault foot stomp. Heenan: “He got about 435 of it.” Please enjoy the sad little elbow drop he uses to win:

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Finally we have Glacier getting melted by the hot heart of William Scott Goldberg in probably the weakest of their encounters. No dope backflipping here, just a badly mistimed finishing spot where Glacier’s supposed to kip up and get speared, but doesn’t put enough kip in it and rookie baby Goldberg doesn’t want to shoulder him in the face for real and kill him. It’s still fun to see Goldberg’s big football ass blocking karate strikes like he’s in The Matrix, though.

Best: Chris Jericho Is Handling His Cruiserweight Championship Loss Well

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He screams about how there’s a conspiracy against him, which becomes important later. Tony Schiavone responds in the most 2018 Fox News pundit way ever: “So what there’s a conspiracy? Too bad, okay? Even if there was one, which there’s not, so what? You lost. Right now you’re a loser. So try to come back and win the title. He’s a jerk.”

Worst: Finally, Here’s Very Smart Sting

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The show ends with Hollywood Hogan and his Cronies™ organizing nWo Hollywood by finally bringing out new members Bret Hart, Scott Hall, and The Giant. They have a not entirely terrible idea to invite Sting to join the group, because he’s currently one half of the WCW Tag Team Champions with an nWo Hollywood guy. Instead of just not answering them and staying in the back — or even better, rappelling from the ceiling or something and beating them all up with a baseball bat — Sting walks down the ramp, spits in the Giant’s face, then turns around and starts to slowly walk away. Even the announcers are like DUDE, STING, YOU CAN’T SPIT IN A 7-FOOT TALL GUY’S FACE AND THEN TURN YOUR BACK ON HIM, HAVEN’T YOU EVER HEARD A GODDAMN JIM CROCE RECORD.

So The Giant brutally massacres the helpless jobber Sting with no resistance until none other than Kevin Nash makes the save, looking like a picnic table that just took a shower. Seriously, his weapon of choice to fend off The Giant appears to be a curtain rod, or one of the “clangy poles” from backstage at Raw.

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And that’s your entire show. It’s Vince McMahon who is the problem, you see …

Next Week:

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  • Nitro is back to three hours and Thunder’s back, so the column will take me all day to write
  • Glacier and Saturn try to decide who actually invented lifting your leg slightly
  • Chris Jericho doubts a man he shouldn’t
  • The legendary JOHNNY ATTITUDE gets a United States Championship shot he definitely deserves, at least as much as Len Denton
  • Booker T and Chris Benoit decide to settle their score once and for all, seven times

And more! Be there!