Previously on the Best and Worst of WCW Monday Nitro: WCW spent most of the show advertising an appearance from the “President,” only to reveal that Hollywood Hogan’s pretending to run for President. Also, Eric Bischoff literally kicked some attorneys.
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. It’s almost time for WCW World War 3 1998, featuring almost nothing as advertised!
Up first, let’s see what happened on the show where nothing but strobe lighting happens.
The One-Page WCW Thunder Report For November 12, 1998
You can watch this week’s episode of Thunder here. As a fun (and true) aside, this show happened in Roanoke, VA, while I was going to school in Salem. So this set of Thunder tapings was the first time I ever brought a date to wrestling.
It’s probably worth noting that while I don’t remember any of the actual date, I do remember being hype that Glacier won his match against Gentleman Chris Adams with a new submission finisher, the Ice Pick. He just jams his presumably frozen thumb into your neck until you die. It’s Umaga’s Samoan Spike, only learned through intense, ongoing martial-arts training rather than savage intuition. Next time I try to share my interests with someone I’m just gonna put on some suspenders and take them to a model train convention instead of excitedly discussing the long, storied history of guys jamming their thumbs into other guys’ throats. Play the percentages.
Also On This Episode
- The Giant defeated Konnan by disqualification in the main event, which included Giant jumping through a table (pictured). Konnan’s supposed to move out of the way “at the last second,” but is a unique combination of super slow and way too quick on the draw, so he moseys out of the way as soon as Giant starts his walking animation and the brother has to shoulder-block the furniture like it was an accident.
- There’s actually some good wrestling on this episode, as Rey Mysterio Jr. defeats Juventud Guerrera to earn a shot at the Cruiserweight Championship, and Cruiserweight Champion Bill Kidman retains over Chavo Guerrero Jr. The latter was due to interference from Chavo’s Uncle Eddie and the Latino World Order, leading to purported future opponents Kidman and Mysterio making the save.
- Also on this episode: Stevie Ray vs. Jerry Flynn (woo) and Kenny Kaos vs. Kendall Windham (WOO).
And now, the Best and Worst of WCW Monday Nitro for November 16, 1998.
West Texas Rednecks: ORIGINS
Are you Ric Flair? Do you want revenge against Eric Bischoff for orchestrating a plot wherein a legendary wrestler from the 1980s showed up and joined the Four Horsemen, only to almost immediately turn heel on you and embarrass the team into obscurity? Why not suddenly bring in a legendary wrestler from the 1980s and have him join the Four Horsemen, even after Eric Bischoff shows up immediately following his introduction and is like “HEY YOU, FLAIR, I DON’T NOW HOW YOU SUDDENLY HAVE THE POWER TO SIGN WRESTLERS AND PUT THEM INTO MATCHES, BUT I’M GONNA GET TO THE BOTTOM OF THIS!”
Enter the returning Barry Windham, low key one of the greatest professional wrestlers to ever lace up a pair of boots, but sadly going through a noticeable twilight of his career. He’d just spent a few years in the World Wrestling Federation as a complete afterthought, either as the camouflaged THE STALKER or as one half of the “New Blackjacks” alongside the only actual Texas cowboy who can’t convincingly play a Texas cowboy, Bradshaw. Now he’s back, and will presumably be the first aging star from the other company to randomly show up and not join the New World Order. Things are looking extremely positive for the Four Horsemen!
In related news, this week’s show features the WCW debut of Bobby Duncum Jr. …
… the son of former AWA star [checks notes] Bobby Duncum Sr. Senior was big evil cowboy who was a member of the o.g. Heenan Family and would occasionally step up to face (and lose to) some of the era’s untoppable babyface juggernauts like Brumo Sammartino and Bob Backlund. Duncum Jr. kinda looks like what would happen if you used an evolutionary stone on Hangman Adam Page.
I’ve always had a soft spot for big lanky cowboy guys, and I think BDJ would’ve really gotten somewhere had he been born about a decade earlier. He might’ve even gotten to hold the 10 Pounds of Gold for a few weeks while Ric Flair was busy. Here, Duncum (who really should’ve had a basketball gimmick at some point) wins his TV debut against TV Champion Chris Jericho when Jericho gets tired of the Cowboy Shit and walks away.
As you might already know, both Windham and Duncum would follow unconventional paths over following months but eventually come together due to their shared interest in one of the core tenets of World Championship Wrestling: that rap is crap. Man, I can’t wait until Master P shows up. Sorry, getting ahead of myself.
Speaking of the Four Horsemen, by the way, they — stop me if you’ve heard this one before — have a bad night. Dean Malenko and Steve McMichael, aka the Best and Worst of WCW Monday Nitro, go up against the nWo all-failure team of Stevie Ray and Horace Hogan. If Malenko could’ve gotten a great match out of these three he would’ve been observed as a true miracle worker and ascended to Heaven in a flaming chariot. As it stands, it’s pretty bad, at least up until the point when Arn Anderson hops into the ring with one of Tony Falk’s tire irons and whomps the shit out of Virgil, et al, on the Horsemen’s behalf.
Unfortunately for the Horsemen, Mongo gets hit in the head with Stevie Ray’s dreaded Odor Eater Of Doom — shout-out to DDT Digest — and has to be taken to the hospital. You’d think a guy who’d just spent a year and a half getting bashed in the forehead with a metal briefcase wouldn’t be put into intensive care by a size 15 shoe-filler, but whatever. Ric Flair blew his appearance on the power move of reintroducing Barry Windham, Mongo and Arn Anderson are off to the Local Medical Facility, and the other Horseman, Chris Benoit, has a match coming up against the nWo guy who specifically tries to cripple and injure everybody he meets. Wonder how that’s gonna go?
Badly. It goes badly.
Bret Hart beats the dog shit out of Benoit and decides to lose the match by disqualification in the interest of punching him in the cock and breaking his arm with a steel chair. Bret’s gonna Bret. Dean Malenko, who I guess didn’t want to go to the hospital with Mongo, tries to make the save and also gets easily beaten down, because the late 1998 Four Horsemen are just 95% promos about tradition and 5% getting their asses beat. It’s only when non-Horseman Diamond Dallas Page shows up is Bret finally sent scampering away to plan his next limb massacre. The Horsemen should’ve recruited Jim Neidhart and The British Bulldog and been like, “THESE are the guys who are gonna help us defeat Bret Hart!” You either die embarrassing Sting, or you live long enough to become him.
Worst: Subtle Political Satire
Last week, Hollywood Hogan announced that he would ALSO like to be Jesse Ventura and will be running for President of the United States of America. This week, he makes sure you know how serious his announcement was by bringing out a Monica Lewinsky impersonator (pictured) to give him a cigar.
If you don’t follow late ’90s American political scandal, the story at the time was that then White House intern Lewinsky had masturbated with a cigar in the Oval Office while the President watched and masturbated along. Basically, President Clinton’s big loophole for hooking up with trainees was, “you can do stuff in front of me and TO me, but as long as I don’t do anything back, I’m not technically ‘engaging in sexual acts.'” It was concerning on a lot of levels, and precisely what you want to think about during a Hulk Hogan promo.
Also, I love that the shadows make it look like Doug Dellinger pissed his pants on the way to the ring.
After all the high-brow political humor is done, Scott Hall and Eric Bischoff get into an argument amid Hogan’s balloon party and come to blows over how each appears to be a different kind of inattentive to the larger New World Order goals at hand. Hall accuses Bischoff of not being nWo for a full life sentence, as agreed upon. Bischoff says that’s ironic coming from Scott Hall of all people — I mean, he’s not lying — and gets punched in the face for telling Hall to talk to him about it backstage. Hogan, of course, sticks up for Bischoff. Hall’s legal guardian, Kevin Nash, makes the save. Will these two be able to co-exist?? Anyway that’s as much as we’ve written, please do not ask us if this is all going to end up being “fake” and “meaningless” “waste of time” as part of a grander nWo swerve. NO WE DIDN’T MENTION THAT FOR ANY PARTICULAR REASON, GO TO COMMERCIAL
Best: The Day They Drove Old Judy Down
The most truly insane moment of this Nitro, somehow beating out “Hulk Hogan receives a cigar from Monica Lewinsky, who loves him and supports his run for Presidency,” is the sudden hospitalization of WCW Tag Team Champion Judy Bagwell. Judy was supposed to team up with Rick Steiner to face her son, Buff, and Rick’s brother, Scott, but now … now, who knows? You can’t expect even an in-ring workhorse like Judy Bagwell to compete injured.
Judy, looking like Marc Summers got cast as Immortan Joe, issued a suitably vague statement from her hospital bed:
“Marcus, how could let Scotty do this to me? You stood by and let Scotty put me in the hospital. Have you not realized yet what’s happenin’? Do you not know your mother’s in the hospital havin’ to undergo surgery? What’s your problem, Mark? What is your problem? When’s it gonna EEN, Mark? What else can you possibly do? What else can possibly happen before you see it’s gotta stop? Like I told ya th’ other day Mark, I’m a mother on a mission. And my mission is to do away with Buff. And make Marcus come back, the way he used to be. We cain’t take no more, Mark. What are you doin’? Please stop and think about what you’re doing. Please. You’ve got to. You’ve got to, Mark.”
Bobby Heenan chimes in afterward with, “another trip to bedpan city!” If you watch any part of this episode, watch this segment and listen to Heenan. Dude is either drunk or stoned or both, and not trying to hide it. As they throw to the video of Judy he’s in the background yelling, “MIKE! MIKE!” When Tony Schiavone bags on him for insulting Judy and says even HE shouldn’t be able to condone that, Heenan loses his shit.
“I didn’t say I did, I didn’t say I did, it’s a shame the poor woman’s in the hospital riding that, uh, sliver streak. But then I hope she feels better [starts laughing] uhhhh later on in the day when [laughing more] I DON’T KNOW, DEAR, help yourself, hit the button, call for more … [laughing even more] I don’t know what you do with nurses.”
Tony tries to recover and move on, but you can hear Heenan still going, “bedpan city!” in the background. Then he just makes a loud fart noise into the microphone. Incredibly, impossibly, the angle gets weirder from here.
Before they explain themselves, Buff Bagwell and Scott Steiner introduce a new member of their extended cinematic universe: their own personal evil referee, with football helmet lines drawn on his head and their names written above his ears. The idea has been that no referee will work Steiner’s matches these days out of fear, so he’s brought in a random Adult Swim cartoon character to do the work. Here’s the referee showing us the “proper way” to count to three:
And if that’s not enough, Scott decides that since Buff game him the okay to put his own mother in the hospital, Scott’s going to allow Buff to attack HIS mom and put HER in the hospital. So you get this random guy who looks like a Kids in the Hall mom character getting kicked in the stomach.
Scott, discussing the incident with grace and candor:
“I WANNA MAKE THING, ONE THING PERFLY CLEAR, I AM NOT TALKING TO THE 10,000 FAT CORN-FED HEIFERS THAT YOU PEOPLE IN WITCHITA CALL WOMEN! I AM TALKIN TO THE 10,000,000 WOMEN OUT THERE WHO ARE VIEWIN’ ME ON TV, AND I’M SAYIN’ DON’T ADJUST YOUR KNOB, I DO LOOK THIS GOOD AND I’M HERE TO TELL YA, THERE’S NOTHING FINER, THAN SCOTT STEINER! AND WHEN I LAY YOU DOWN SO SWEET, YOU’LL CALL ME YOUR SUGAR DADDY! AND WHEN I GET YOU BETWEEN THE SHEETS AND THIS BADAAAAY ROCKS YOUR BADAAAY YOU’LL KNOW RIGHT THEN AND THERE THAT YOU’VE BEEN WITH MORE THAN JUST A MAN, MATTER FACT, IN THE MORNING, YOU CALL ME SUPERMAN! SO THIS GOES TO ALL YOU FREAKS OUT THERE, BIG POPPA PUMP IS YOUR HOOKUP, HOLLER IF YOU HEAR ME!”
Rick finally shows up to run them off, but because this is WCW Monday Nitro (where you can’t be happy, not even for a second), he’s almost immediately intercepted by Scott Norton and beaten down 3-on-1. Man, I hope Judy can make a big recovery in time and help Rick win that tag team match at World War 3, otherwise … wait, hang on, part of my brain is leaking out through my ear. BRB.
Best: Latino Heat
Hasbro Interactive’s GLOVER presents Juventud Guerrera winning the Cruiserweight Championship from Billy Kidman in the show’s opener, calling into question that previously announced Rey Mysterio title shot earned on Thunder. This becomes important later. This is probably the match that raised WCW’s eyebrows and made them realize they could really do something with a Juvy vs. Kidman program, especially if they worked Rey Mysterio Jr. into it. It’s great, ends clean (despite some light desperation cheating from Kidman, who isn’t doing bad guy heroin anymore but probably still has some of it in his system), and even has a great post-match moment where Kidman makes sure to personally present Juventud with the championship belt. You’ve gotta make sure you’re being professional when Barry Windham’s in the building. He’s the Caucasian Ricky Steamboat!
The Latino World Order are a nuisance for most of the episode, including running in to ruin (?) a Perry Saturn vs. Konnan match. That match was already compromised due to Nitro cutting to a backstage segment for almost the entire middle of it, but we’ll get to that. The general story here is that the lWo wants WCW’s most notable and high profile Hispanic wrestler, Konnan, to join their crew. Konnan’s already got membership in the Cool Guy version of the New World Order, so moving down several notches into the heritage-specific jobber version of the group would be a bad career move. They’re playing fourth dimensional chess out here, by the way, attacking Saturn until Konnan makes the save, and then watching Saturn get pissed and try to fight Konnan for helping him.
Later in the episode, we get another bout between Eddie Guerrero and Rey Mysterio, with the stipulation expanded to, “if Guerrero wins, Mysterio must join the Latino World Order, but if Mysterio wins, Guerrero has to leave him alone.” There should be more, “if you lose you have to leave me alone” stipulations in wrestling. If I was a wrestler, I’d Ravens Rules that shit and make EVERY match a “loser leaves me alone” match.
Anyway, the lWo tries to interfere again here, so Good Dude Juventud Guerrera runs in to even the odds. He tries a springboard leg drop on Guerrero behind the referee’s back, but Eddie sees it coming and doges. Juvy accidentally hits Mysterio, so Guerrero shit-cans Juvy and pins Mysterio to win the match. The luchadores put a t-shirt on Rey without letting him put his arms through the arm holes, and then parade around his semi-conscious body on their shoulders in victory. Juventud is distraught, unless we consider for a moment that (1) Juvy might already have some ties to the Latino World Order, and that (2) this is a pretty easy way to keep his first Cruiserweight Championship challenger under his thumb and out of the way.
Best: Bam, And I Cannot Stress This Enough, Bam
The other match that you assume is going to have Latino World Order interferencia, Chavo Guerrero Jr. vs. the dread pirate Scott Putski, ends with goddamn Bam Bam Bigelow showing up from out of nowhere, stomps his way through the back looking for Goldberg, and then storms down to the ring to throw them to death.
James J. Dillion, Eric Bischoff, and WCW’s crack security team try to get Bigelow out of the ring, but he’s not leaving until gets GOAL-BARG! Goldberg — who is not your bro, bro — shows up upon request, and have the rare pull-apart brawl with a believable amount of people available to pull them apart. If they did this modern WWE style, Bigelow and Goldberg would be held back by three referees, Norman Smiley, Alex Wright for some reason, and a random guy in street clothes you don’t recognize. In response to how badly this was handled, and because he’s a massive dickhead, Bischoff fires Dillon. He also refuses to sign Bigelow vs. Goldberg since, you know, Bigelow doesn’t actually work for the company, but Goldberg threatens him into agreement.
Because WCW would never bait-and-switch a main event, Goldberg vs. Bigelow ends before it even starts when Bam Bam attacks mid-pyro and ballyhoo. Looking back, I wish more wrestlers had just run up the ramp and blindly dropkicked into the cloud of sparklers to get the jump on Bill. This honestly could’ve been a great match for Starrcade ’98 if they’d wanted it to be, but I guess it’s more important to have three random December Nitro segments bulit around making Kevin Nash looking good and set up a match where Kevin Nash looks good, so he can then turn around, put over Hulk Hogan with a finger point, and creatively fart in our faces for the remainder of his career. I’M NOT STILL JADED ABOUT THIS 20 YEARS LATER, IT’S FINE, PLEASE SCROLL DOWN.
Also On This Episode
On this episode of Nitro, we learn that Kaz Hayashi is the Japanese Alex Wright. I’m just gonna type that and let you figure out which part of the screencap you’re supposed to look at to figure it out. The angle here is that evil manager Sony Onoo wants to look like a tough guy, too, so he’s paid off some no-name luchador named “El Gringo” to take a dive for him. Only, Kaz Hayashi found out about the ruse, presumably beat up El Gringo backstage, and stole his look so he could infiltrate the match and get revenge. I guess El Gringo was also clearly a Japanese guy?
Remember how loud and crazy the crowd was when Ciclope unmasked to reveal himself as Dean Malenko ahead of a match against Chris Jericho? Kaz Hayashi obviously being Kaz Hayashi and then unmasking himself as Kaz Hayashi was the opposite of that. A real “Sting in a Sting mask” scenario.
Finally, blood is running colder than ever as Wrath, not wanting to be left out of the Additional Goldberg conversation, is the focal point of two non-match matches. First, he’s supposed to face Raven one-on-one, but Raven’s going through some shit and doesn’t want to wrestle. He says that when he was a kid everyone bossed him around and told him what to do, but now that he’s a man grown, he’ll do whatever he wants. The announcers play up mental illness as a joke because it’s 1998, but Raven as a bipolar guy who just feels extreme highs and lows and controls people out of fear of self rather than have them be autonomous and suggest he work on his issues is a pretty deep and believable character. See also: most dudes you know.
Kanyon tries to be a friend and tell Raven to work on himself, but gets hung out to dry and beaten up by Wrath. You’d think Wrath would be better friends with Kanyon given all the time they spent together in Thai fighting pits or whatever, but maybe he doesn’t recognize him without his irradiated skeleton costume.
Heel Glacier shows up looking to get an easy, thumb-centric win over his blood rival, Kanyon, but Wrath is not only into wanton destruction, he’s into FAIR PLAY. He pulls Glacier down off the ropes and Melts him Down in the middle of a snow storm to even the playing field. If you’ve BOTH been decimated by Wrath, you’re the same! All this needed was Ernest Miller randomly showing up to get the entire band back together, but he’s too busy navigating the Machiavellian mindfield of “El Gringo.”
It’s time for the fourth edition of World War 3, which I believe technically makes this World War 6. Regardless, 15 important WCW wrestlers, 2 or 3 believable winners, and 45 extra guys compete to see who will challenge for the WCW Heavyweight Championship at Starrcade. Who will it be? Better question, will the winner have access to any electrical farming equipment? I think that’d do really well against Goldberg.
See you again next week!