Previously on the Best and Worst of WCW Monday Nitro: Attitude Era Superstars Bobby Starr and David Moore challenged The Outsiders for the WCW Tag Team Championship. Also on the card, Lex Luger pronounced “WCW” as “zubbayou sevateet,” and Alex Wright used his penis to make six women run away.
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. Follow along with the competition here.
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And now, the best and worst of WCW Monday Nitro, originally aired on August 18, 1997.
Best/Worst: Raven Is A Bad Friend
♫ I TEAR MY HEART OPEN
JUST TO FEEL ♫
Okay, so as a heads up before we get too deep into this week’s column, this is one of the most trifling-ass, filler-ass episodes of Nitro ever. They’ve got the Clash of the Champions coming up on the following Thursday — the final Clash, in fact, until WWE awkwardly re-branded it 20 years later — and Fall Brawl isn’t for another month, plus everyone’s burned out from the biker rally. That means literally nothing of consequence happens on the entire episode, and most of the ongoing stories don’t even advance. They just sort of appear and disappear in supercut fashion. Good luck finding a social hook to get people to click and read the column, Brandon!
It’s so inconsequential, in fact, that the episode opens with a pre-taped Raven promo about how much it sucks to have acne.
Later in the episode, Raven shows up to ruin the Days of Flock Future Past showdown between Stevie Richards (in his official Nitro debut) and Scotty Riggs. Raven’s WCW debut will happen at the Clash of the Champions, and here’s the weird thing: WCW just spent two months building a non-wrestling, mostly off-television feud between two non-WCW employees who were supposed to be friends but kept beefing over when they’d announce their signing. That’s seriously the story. Although I guess this is the company that spent half a year booking non-WCW employee Rowdy Roddy Piper as the only person who could stand up to also-not-WCW employees the nWo, despite only having one hip and a fighting spirit fueled by uncontrollable homophobia.
Spoiler alert: Raven and Stevie feud in August. They’re friends in September, and then Richards gets released in October. So if you’re really into wrestlers in jean shorts, mind the gap between October 1997 and whenever John Cena starts rapping.
Worst: Restraining Order Angles Sure Are Fun
During last week’s episode, audiences were taken on the non-stop thrill-ride of the Giant being unable to come within 50 feet of Eric Bischoff. He was arrested and removed from the arena, because court orders don’t include loopholes for “heels asking for it.”
This week the fun continues as Bischoff reveals he’s also got a restraining order for Larry Zbyszko. I know the idea’s supposed to be that you as a viewer know this is what experts call a “bitch move” and you wanna see him get his ass kicked for it, but it also leans a little too heavily into the late ’90s obsession with pro wrestlers getting arrested every time they go to work. If you’re the boss and an employee beats you up, why are you getting a restraining order against them but keeping them employed? You’re like, “hey Giant, you can’t come anywhere near me tonight as we work in the same building, but please put on your caveman singlet, you’ll be wrestling if I don’t wander past you and have you sent to Alcatraz.” Just fire the guy. It’s WCW’s #4 babyface, not Stone Cold Steve Austin.
Later in the episode, Giant takes on Curt Hennig. Bischoff shows up waving around his restraining order and orders Doug Dellinger to arrest him, because I guess WCW security counts as policemen. Dellinger is like, “we’ll enforce it when he violates the order, which we have read and understand,” and Bischoff disputes it. That leads to several pulse-pounding minutes of two non-wrestlers arguing the defining terms of a legal document until Giant and Larry Zbyszko pincer attack Bischoff on the ramp. He tries to flee out into the crowd, but Giant pulls him back over the rail. That counts as violating the restraining order, apparently, and he’s swarmed by cops.
Join us next week as we cut away from Ultimo Dragon vs. Rey Mysterio Jr. to watch the WCW executive committee file some paperwork.
Speaking Of Curt Hennig, This Is Still Happening
Curt Hennig debuted in WCW in June. It’s August 18. Ric Flair has been trying to get this guy to say the words, “yes, I am a member of the Four Horsemen” for a month and a half, and he won’t say it. Wonder why? Maybe going out drinking on Monday nights and hooking him up with 40-year old ladies in Nitro t-shirts will work this time.
At Clash of the Champions, Flair and Hennig are teaming up against the nWo all-star team of Syxx and Konnan. That’s the nWo team you get in NBA Jam when you can’t license Hogan or the Outsiders. The highlight of the interview (and of this entire episode) is Flair saying he’s going to “ride Konnan hard and put him up wet,” which pops Mean Gene so hard he’s got to hide his face.
The match ends up being Ric Flair vs. Syxx instead, because I guess Konnan didn’t like the idea of being fucked ragged by the Nature Boy.
Here’s a picture of that match, if you couldn’t have guessed how it’d end before it was even announced:
I’m sad they never sold those hats. Comic-Con would’ve loved my “Amelia Earhart heel turn” cosplay!
The match ends up being a slowed down, abridged re-do of the much better version from Road Wild, so maybe Konnan like, did a warmup somersault backstage and couldn’t recover because he works like a turtle. Seriously, if I told you “Konnan is just a turtle who fell into some mutagen and gained the properties of a man” you’d believe me, wouldn’t you? You’d at least Wiki it to make sure. Look at Tokka from Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II and tell me they aren’t basically the same.
And while we’re tangentially on the topic of Vicious and Delicious, Cait Sith looks really weird in the Final Fantasy VII remake:
Worst, But Best: More Road Wild Rematches
As a reminder, Road Wild happened eight days before this, meaning there was a Nitro between then and now, meaning it’s pretty ridiculous to do all the Road Wild rematches now, especially when this is two days before a Clash.
This one’s a rematch between Vicious, Delicious, and Members of Harlem Heat, done mostly so they could wrestle the match they want without Booker T and Stevie Ray getting booed for being black. It’s also accidentally (on purpose?) one of the first times we truly get to recognize that Booker is the Shawn Michaels of the team, as he manages to fight off three nWo guys in the contractually obligated New World Order Fuck Finish. It’s kinda lost in his post-WCW legacy and his current “shucky ducky quack quack” corporate shell thing, but Booker T was the shit in the ring and deserved all the singles glory he eventually got.
It Is With A Heavy Heart That I Must Announce That Lee Marshall Is At It Again
After the brief scare of last week’s weasel joke-free On The Road report, Stagger Lee is back to focusing on his true destiny, “throwing shade at Bobby Heenan over the phone and hanging up before he can hear the response.”
“By the way, when you guys get to Columbia you’ve got to go to Riverbank Zoo, they’ve got thousands and thousands of BUTTERFLIES. It’s an attraction they call JEWELS OF THE SKY! They did try an attraction called THE WEASELS OF DIXIE, but nobody cared!”
I don’t remember it, but I really hope the final edition of Nitro involves The Outsiders driving Lee Marshall off the road and flipping his car.
Best/Worst: As The Halliburton Turns
The most important development in this week’s chapter of the Steve McMichael/Debra McMichael/Four Horsemen/Jeff Jarrett/Dean Malenko/Eddie Guerrero/Alex Wright/Random Football Players sexual and professional tetradecagon is that Alex Wright lost the WCW Cruiserweight Championship to Chris Jericho on WCW Saturday Night. That means he doesn’t have a title belt, which means he can’t impress Debra enough to get into the group.
Please enjoy this GIF of Alex Wright responding to the denial the only way he knows how: GERMANIC PELVIC DANCES. I can’t decide who has the best response, between Debra’s shock, Gene’s disbelief, Eddie’s embarrassment and Jeff’s unbridled joy.
Also funny: When Debra says she doesn’t want Alex on the team, she says she’d “rather be covered in honey and stuck out in an ant bed.” An ant bed? Gene and Jarrett look at each other like, “did she for real just say ANT BED.” Gene is the gift that keeps on giving in this episode.
To be honest with you, it’s crazy that anybody would want to be on a team with Jeff Jarrett. The guy was trying to be a Four Horseman and couldn’t get anyone in the group to like him, so he teamed up with Mongo and ended up stealing dude’s wife. Then he spent weeks convincing Dean Malenko to team with him, just to throw an elimination match and leave Dean to a 2-on-1 attack. Now he’s got MULTIPLE DUDES trying to team with him?
Anyway, later in the episode we are gifted (cough) with Chris Benoit and Steve McMichael against Jeff Jarrett and Eddie Guerrero. It ends when Mongo startles Debra, causing her to drop the United States Championship and allowing him to use it as a weapon against Jarrett in a very Breath of the Wild scenario. That’s good enough to be this week’s People Who Mongo Use Valvoline®. Only three more months of this!
Best: Blood Runs Cold (But Not Enough Of It)
The issue between the Faces of Fear and James Vandenberg’s Oddities progresses this week with The Barbarian getting a win over Mortis with a loaded boot. The only thing more dangerous than a woman’s shoe in WCW is a man’s shoe with something other than a foot in it. That brings out Wrath to drop Barb with the Death Penalty, and Meng to choke out Wrath with the Tongan Death Grip. Choke out? Pinch out? How does that work? It brings out Meng to GRIP OUT Wrath.
More angry Tongans battling supernatural pit fighters and less football guys having cuckolding arguments with dandies, please.
Worst: La Parka Vs. Ultimo Dragon, Somehow
HOW? This is like when WWE books AJ Styles vs. Kevin Owens and it ends up boring. They should’ve tossed both of these guys into the Blood Runs Cold angle, frankly. Ultimo Dragon had that “last student of Bruce Lee” street cred, and Glacier could always fight a second skeleton. Especially a funny one trying to murder him with seating.
But yeah, La Parka vs. Ultimo Dragon happens and it’s nothing, partially due to this being the one crowd in the continental United States that isn’t into La Parka. Dragon wins with the Dragon Sleeper, and without looking I’m like 75% sure there are two better versions of this match somewhere in the Saturday Night and Worldwide archives.
Worst: This Crowd Though, Seriously
James J. Dillon still can’t figure out what Sting wants, so he’s giving him until EOD on Thursday to let him know. Sting points at a sign that says, and I’m paraphrasing, “STING WANTS TO WRESTLE HOLLYWOOD HOGAN, JAMES, YOU IDIOT.” He even brings one into the ring that says STING VS. HULK. The crowd’s response is to throw full sodas at Sting’s head.
Between this and not loving La Parka, this is the worst WCW crowd of the year. Get your shit together, Birmingham.
Best: The Main Event, At Least Until This Happens
This week’s main event is Diamond Dallas Page and Lex Luger vs. The Outsiders, who have (get this) actually decided to work this week. And it’s good, too, because Hall and Nash are rarely as motivated as when they’re in the ring with Page. Page’s effort and enthusiasm usually brings out something good in the lazy guys. It’s also why he had the best Goldberg match by a mile.
Sadly it ends as soon as Lex Luger gets the hot tag, because Lex got nuked at Road Wild and we ain’t gonna start rehabilitating him now. Or, spoiler alert, ever. Giant and Flair run out to even the odds, and aw nuts we’re out of time.
Clash of the Champions: Final Edition! Things to get hype about include:
- the nWo’s “birthday party,” even though their birthday was over a month ago, or MONTHS ago if you count Scott Hall’s debut
- maybe the worst Chris Jericho botch ever
- Jeff Jarrett vs. Steve McMichael, again
- an unexpected swerve from cable TV cooking show hosts
- an actual bird
All this, plus Raven beating up Stevie Richards! Be there!