The Best And Worst Of WCW Monday Nitro 10/19/98: New Man On The Minnesota Vikings

Previously on the Best and Worst of WCW Monday Nitro: Rick Steiner tried to convince a doll inhabited by the soul of a serial killer to “come down” and say something to his face, if it had something to say. Make fun of Scott Steiner all you want, but at least he never thought a deadly Teddy Ruxpin could fight him in real life.

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 Halloween Havoc, brought to you by the end of the Ultimate Warrior’s career.

Up first, let’s see how democracy dies: with Thunder.

The One-Page WCW Thunder Report For October 15, 1998

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You can watch this week’s episode here. It’s getting hard to even get a page of content out of these Thunders.

The most important development from this week’s show is that Ernest Miller is challenging “anybody in here” to get in the ring and try to fight him. The “anybodies” who accept are, of course, hard-to-recognize jobbers and/or WCW Power Plant trainees, but the mission statement seems clear: WCW is openly encouraging you to hop the rail and get into the ring to get kicked in the throat by a three-time World Karate Champion. On Thunder, Miller’s civilian victim is actually former WCW World Heavyweight Championship challenger Al Green. Oh, how the mighty have fallen. From competing for WCW’s top prize to being unrecognizable by his co-workers in less than two months.

As a side note, the “Ernest Miller assaults a stranger” segment from the following Nitro is actually cut from the WWE Network version, which is a shame, because the “fan” was actually future Tag Team Champion and GLAAD gravy boat recipient Chuck Palumbo. Maybe they edited it out because it showed Palumbo wasn’t naturally born as a thriller?

Also On This Episode

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  • Chavo Guerrero Jr. defeats Prince Iaukea after exploiting the Prince’s biggest weakness: inner-ear dryness. By the way, AEW should team up Michael Nakazawa and Willie Mack and call them, “Wet Willie.”
  • Dean Malenko defeats Stevie Ray by disqualification in the show’s main event — wait, really? The main event? — when nWo Vincent interferes. This causes a big Horsemen vs. nWo B-Team fight. Flair tries to put Malenko over, but Malenko still looks more like a high school science teacher than a Horseman.
  • Other can-miss matches include Sick Boy vs. Hammer in a battle for Kenny Omega’s hair, La Parka losing to Konnan because WCW has no idea what’s cool, and Sonny Onoo failing to turn Kaz Hayashi into a deadly heel during a Cruiserweight Championship match with Kidman.

And now, the Best and Worst of WCW Monday Nitro for October 19, 1998.

UNICEF And The City

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Hey, remember when Sarah Jessica Parker showed up on WCW Monday Nitro? She’s here in a professionally, generously-lit pre-tape on behalf of UNICEF, the United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund, which ’90s kids will remember as the only way to get Spider-Man Special Edition #1. Park taking a break from trying to murder children to be a Sarah Jessica Warrior and help UNICEF sell little trick or treat fundraiser boxes. Sadly she doesn’t appear on the in-arena video screens and threaten to bring the full wrath of Mr. Big down on Rick Steiner.

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“See what your money can do!” between a WCW logo and a TNT logo is pretty ironic in retrospect.

Teaming up with UNICEF and Sarah Jessica Parker is Bill Goldberg, famous for uniting the nations of the United States and Saudi Arabia in hating a specific wrestling match. Goldberg gets a weirdly staged video as well, not lit by anyone from HBO, where he’s signing autographs while a bunch of people stand around and unenthusiastically chant “Gold-berg, Gold-berg.” This one kid staring at the screen the entire time tells you everything you need to know. Goldberg gives UNICEF a thumbs up, which is a lot easier than entrusting him with dialogue.

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Imagine how much money WCW could’ve given UNICEF if they hadn’t been paying Lanny Poffo to sit at home doing nothing for five years? Tank Abbott made $650,000 a year. That could’ve bought a bunch of little UNICEF happy meals. No, you’re right, it’s us, the WCW fans, who should donate money. WCW donated five valuable minutes filming Goldberg, that’s more than we could ever ask.

Worst: The Brexit Bulldog

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Speaking of people who desperately need our charity, Fit Finlay takes on The British Bulldog in what would be the Bulldog’s final WCW match. If you’ll recall, Davey Boy Smith basically broke his back on the Ultimate Warrior’s ridiculous trap door apparatus at Fall Brawl and has been trying to “walk it off,” more or less, despite his upper body turning into a grotesque beanbag of drugs and pain. Here he is about to take a Tombstone piledriver, which is great move to be taking if you’ve got a life-threatening spinal infection you’re trying to ignore.

“Best wrestler in European history” Alex Wright shows up during a ref bump to attack Davey Boy, giving Finlay the win. The highlight here is actually the ref bump, as Nick Patrick turns “falling down over nothing” into a complex ballet of clumsy sadness. Bulldog would finally go to the doctor after this, which begins his six-month battle to avoid death and paralysis while WCW fires him via FedEx for accidentally getting thrown onto the worst wrestler of all time’s teleportation machine. You know, normal business stuff.

As for Goldberg himself …

Best: DDP Puts The Boots To Ralphus

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First of all, this screenshot should win some kind of award. It’s the peak of the form.

Second of all, Chris Jericho gets mad at Diamond Dallas Page, whom he calls “Pah-jay,” for trying to get involved in his World Heavyweight Championship feud with Goldberg. Page shows up, reacts to Ralphus by telling Jericho to “get this old man out of my face,” and then KICKS RALPHUS IN THE STOMACH. It’s more of a foot push than a kick, but hitting Ralphus is like hitting a puppy. He doesn’t know any better!

This sets up Page vs. Jericho for later in the night, which of course ends with Goldberg hopping the ropes and spearing Jericho before Page can Diamond Cut him. Page pulls Jericho out of a Jackhammer to Diamond Cut him anyway, and Goldberg and Pah-jay nearly come to blows over who can beat up Chris Jericho the most. I can’t imagine why Chris Jericho would feel like WCW doesn’t value him or take him seriously, and might want to go work somewhere else!

Worst: Horace Is Horace, Of Courace Of Courace

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This week’s biggest plot reveal is that former Flock member Horace, aka Horace Boulder, is actually Horace Hogan, nephew of nWo leader and hood legend Wood. Hollywood Hogan gets a Michael Buffer entrance for a promo and goes full Randy Orton trying to explain to the crowd that he’s related to a guy.

“Tell ’em what your whole name is, tell ’em! Wait a minute! Shoot with this thing, and tell the world what your real name is! Is there anybody in here that doesn’t understand what that means? This is blood. My brother was his father. His dead father, my bread … my blood, god rest his soul, is his father, do you understand that? The blood in his veins came from my brother’s body. The same blood that’s in Horace runs through my veins.”

“He’s my nephew,” also would’ve worked, Wood. To show the Warrior what a true thug he is, Hogan inducts his dead bread’s brother’s son with the blood in his veins into the nWo and then smashes him in the face with a chair. If he’ll do this to somebody he loves, imagine what he’ll do to you, Warrior! Spoiler alert: what Hogan does to the Warrior is in fact way worse than this, but not in the way he’s talking about.

Warrior jogs out with a baseball bat to a suspiciously quiet reaction. It’s almost like the bloom’s already off the rose, and people remember how bad he is when he’s actually tasked to do things besides sweating and illogically snorting philosophical non sequiturs into a microphone. The nWo actually gets the better of him for once, and Hogan gives him the old nWo spray-paint gimmick.

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In a normal wrestling promotion, Warrior having the advantage for the entire feud but getting beaten up on the go-home show would mean an obvious win for him at the pay-per-view. In Hulk Hogan terms, it means, “Hogan’s literally marking his territory.” Please join us again for Halloween Havoc, wherein the Warrior shits the bed so hard WCW decides to throw out every bed they own.

A Night Of Increasingly Believable nWo Swerves

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Unfortunately, this week’s Rick Steiner content doesn’t involve him trying to hit a second-rope bulldog on Annabelle from The Conjuring. It mostly centers around him trying to fight his brother, getting kicked in the red rocket, and needing to be saved by his very good real friend who is not going to betray him as soon as possible, Buff Bagwell. Bagwell shows up to steal away a steel chair from Scotty and swing for the fences, causing Scott to bail. Buff removes his nWo shirt and throws it on the ground, as improper laundry disposal is the key to any major life change.

That’s just a filler paragraph, because I’m mad that Blade, Pinhead, and Jester didn’t show up at Halloween Havoc to have a six-man tag against Buff and the Steiners.

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Throughout the episode, we get little video updates of Scott Hall hanging out at an arena bar with a bunch of confused women who I guess paid to get into the arena, but didn’t want to watch the wrestling show? It’s just a bar full off disinterested housewives and RAZOR RAMON getting tipsy and wearing his bandana backwards. Super weird.

Hall’s supposed to be the third man in a six-man tag, teaming up with Members Of New World Order against the dread traitors to the “4 life” ethos, the Wolfpac. As a side note, Scott Norton shows up wearing the IWGP Heavyweight Championship he’d defeated Yuji Nagata to win at Big Wednesday in Yokohama only a few weeks earlier. I’m sure New Japan loved seeing their top championship on the sixth most important guy in a mid-Nitro six-man tag centered around how the important guys are drunk and don’t give a shit.

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Hall shows up drunk but so does Kevin Nash, surprisingly, who is of course just swerving him for the sake of a rude swerve. I like that Nash has a red cup and Hall has a white one, though. Nice touch, guys. The referee calls for the bell shortly after this for no reason, because … Embriaguez Excesiva? Even the announce team can’t figure out why the match would be over, so I guess the answer is, “they forgot to book anything after the solo cup swerve.” Sure, it’s fine.

Best: Kirby’s Adventure

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If Sarah Jessica Parker wasn’t a random enough guest star for you, Minneapolis mayor Sharon Sayles Belton makes a guest appearance to announce Ric Flair Day in Minneapolis alongside Minnesota Vikings great John Randle and Minnesota Twins legend Kirby Puckett. They run interference between Flair and Eric Bischoff, who shows up trying to ruin things as per usual.

I’m sad we couldn’t get more Minnesotan celebrities involved here and have Scott Norton and Stevie Ray brawling with Prince and Mitch Hedberg. I can’t believe we got this close to Kirby Puckett wrestling on Nitro, though. Sharon Sayles Belton should’ve gotten out of the Twins outfield and brought in their first baseman. Kirby might not protect her, but Kent always has Hrbek.

Anyway, Bischoff storms away having unsuccessfully vetoed Ric Flair Day and finds that Minnesota police types have towed away his car. Brother’s doing his best to absorb some of the Vince McMahon TV character’s chaotic vulnerability, but he’s just not enough of a cartoon character. If Chucky shows up on Nitro, it feels weird. Bugs Bunny could’ve guest starred on Raw in ’98 and hit Vince over the head with a mallet and we would’ve been like, “yep, checks out.”

Super Calo: Horseman

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In other Horseman and “swerve for the sake of a swerve” news, Super Calo and Silver King show up for a tag team match against Alex Wright and the Disco Inferno only to reveal that they AREN’T their opponents. Chris Benoit and Dean Malenko are. I don’t know why Benoit and Malenko needed to swerve Alex Wright and Disco using luchadors, but here we are. Even Bischoff stops in on commentary to make fun of them for “working for free,” as I guess Calo and King are the ones who were booked and are getting paid. They just gave the other guys their spot? Are the luchadors sympathetic to Reid Flair? I don’t really understand any of this. Can we get Super Calo and Silver King versus Doug Mientkiewicz and Marty Cordova?

Best: The Latino World Order Gets Boned

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Damien, El Dandy, Hector Garza, and Psicosis of the Latino World Order defeated Chavo Guerrero Jr., Ciclope, La Parka, and Lizmark Jr. when La Parka starts hitting his own teammates with a chair. Eddie Guerrero shows up and inducts La Parka into the group. I guess the lWo is mad at Eric Bischoff for booking luchadors to wrestle luchadors every week because they’re LA RAZA and need to stick together, but La Parka is lWo material because he betrayed and attacked his own partners, who are luchadors? All right, whatever gets the funny skeleton into a Latino World Order shirt. Chavo Guerrero once again walks out on the group and announces that he doesn’t need a shirt, presumably because he doesn’t want to be in a faction with his Euron Greyjoy-ass uncle who drove him insane by physically and emotionally manipulating him for the past year.

The highlight of the match itself is during the opening, when Damien decides to mock the solemn and dignified traditions of the skeleton tribe and gets kicked in the head for it.

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In Other Lucha LIbre News

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Rey Mysterio Jr. returns to Nitro and has a time-limit draw against Cruiserweight Champion Billy Kidman. This seems like it’d e an easy “best” for the episode, but something about it just doesn’t click. It’s weirdly grounded and slow, neither guy really seems to know what they’re supposed to be doing, and the crowd couldn’t give a shit. Possibly because they had to sit through, you know, the rest of Nitro. The time limit expires and the bell rings, and you can’t tell if the crowd is mad because they got a non-finish, or because they wanted to keep not reacting to a wrestling match.

The only thing really worth noting here is that Mysterio breaks out a Tommy Rogers ‘Tomikaze,’ causing someone in the World Wrestling Federation to lean over to the newly signed Christian Cage and say, “hey, you should do that really slowly as your finish.”

Also On This Episode

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The Chicken Sandwich Wars are officially underway as Saturn defeating Kenny Kaos of High Voltage is this week’s Wendy’s Spicy Chicken Sandwich ‘Biggie’ Disappointment Of The Week. The announce team spends the entire match putting over how strong Kaos is, and he replays them by hitting probably the saddest press slam ever recorded.

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Kanyon continues to be under-the-radar hilarious with his “who betta than Kanyon” bit, making sure to say, “THE ANSWER TO THE QUESTION IS ‘NOBODY,’ NOT EVERYBODY … WHO’S BETTA THAN KANYON?” and then pointing the mic at the crowd and still getting “everybody.” It’s simple, but timeless. Speaking of simple, Kanyon defeats Scott Putski.

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By looking at this image, who do you think won the match between Wrath and Tokyo Magnum? I hope the purpose of the mass Toryumon excursion was for a generation of ace students to get really good at losing to former WWF stars n 30 seconds or less.

Please Do Not Watch Halloween Havoc

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If you’re like me, you’re looking at the Halloween Havoc card and thinking, “wow, there’s really nothing on here I want to see enough to pay fifty dollars, except maybe Sting versus Bret Hart.” Well hey, you’re in luck, because WCW decided to do Sting vs. Bret Hart in full, for free, six days before the pay-per-view.

Bret shows up and completely steals the show on the microphone again, calling Sting, “the stupidest there is, the stupidest there ever was, and the stupidest there ever will be,” and nailing THIS line, with a disguisted emphasis on the ending:

“By the way, I wanna say hi to my one little fan out there, hello, Smokey … my cat.”

Them’s fightin’ words, so Sting shows up and completely dismantles him in the ring for like five minutes. It ends with Sting putting on the Scorpion Death Lock and refusing to break it, telling the referee he might as well go get help, because he’s not letting go. Sting showing he can easily win a fight against this guy means Sting’s going to have a good time and an easy win at the pay-per-view, right? It’s not going to end with him looking stupid and getting his ass kicked again, is it? Man, I can’t even get through this bit anymore. At least Smokey will enjoy it.

Next Week:

It’s finally time for Halloween Havoc, featuring great wrestling action like this!

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Jesus Christ. See you next week. Sorry.

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