Previously on the Best and Worst of WCW Mundy Nite Nitro: Bengay® brought us Alex Wright getting “cocky” and a Nitro Girl’s incidental boob. Also, Curt Hennig almost stabbed himself in the temple with the corner of some ring steps to make Chris Benoit’s chop look like a gunshot.
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 October 13, 1997.
Worst: Please Watch The TNT Original Film Assault on Devil’s Island
In one of the least successful power plays in Monday Night Wars history, Eric Bischoff opens this week’s Nitro by holding up a promotional sign for Hulk Hogan’s new TV movie Assault on Devil’s Island and is like, “some of you fans have these signs, PLEASE don’t take them to the World Series, PLEASE don’t take them to the live Raw next week!” Everybody in the crowd is like, “okay.”
You may know Assault on Devil’s Island under its alternative title, Shadow Warriors, assuming the “you” in question is a huge Carl Weathers mark. It’s the legendary film a Zweitausendeins review describes as, “a harmless and mindless action spectacle, in which everything else as an unnecessary oratory adorns itself.” Here’s the trailer, if you’d like to laugh at Hulk Hogan having a full head of luxurious hair.
A DEA operative (Shannon Tweed) helps a retired Navy SEAL (Terry “Hulk” Hogan) and his partner (Carl Weathers) rescue a gym team kidnapped by South American drug traffickers.
Did Hulk Hogan ever NOT want to be Jesse Ventura?
Best: Raven Is Going To Fight A Baby
Not much Flock development this week, but I did want to share this picture of Raven taping his fists and wearing knee pads to sit in a nursery and cut a promo. Join us next week when the Ultimo Dragon wears his sparkly cape into a PetSmart and spin-kicks the hamster cages.
Best: Yuji Nagata Hates Chris Jericho
And by “hates” I of course mean, “probably had a conversation before the match where Jericho was like, hey man, I’ve worked in Japan, you don’t have to go easy on me, so Nagata understood that as I AM GOING TO DROP YOU ON YOUR HEAD.” Jericho gets absolutely BRAINED on a backdrop (pictured), and a few minutes later eats it just as hard on an Exploder Of Justice.
As an adult, I’m both very into (1) Mr. Saikyo throwing people on their brains on Nitro, and (2) babyface Chris Jericho being violently ruined until he decides to go rogue and grow a personality.
Best: The First BAD-ASS SPEAR~!
William Scott Goldberg returns this week, fresh off a weekend victory over the Roadblock. He takes on Scotty Riggs, who’s stuck in transition between being an American Male and joining The Flock, so he just looks like Dolph Ziggler with black hair.
The match is notable for a couple of reasons. The first is that it’s the Nitro debut of Goldberg’s Viking Death March. He doesn’t get the pyro and the smoke inhalation gimmick until later. The second is that it’s the first appearance of the spear, which in its heyday absolutely TRUCKED a motherfucker. Here’s Dolph Ziggler Dark to illustrate:
It’s not a signature move yet, but once he figures out he should use it to set up the Jackhammer, there’s no turning back. The announce team talks about how Judo Gene LeBell has been calling WCW trying to train Goldberg. They should be finding someone to teach him to be like, 5% less excited and intense so he doesn’t clumsily murder people on the reg. That intensity is absolutely the selling point of Goldberg, don’t get me wrong, but as you can see from the GIF, he couldn’t even lower his head and let someone run into him without running in place like Barney Rubble.
Goldberg is now four-ish-and-0. Everyone over six-feet tall on WCW Saturday Night should be very afraid.
From This Angle, Alex Wright’s Butt Looks Like Squidward
Last week, WCW announced that Jacqueline was challenging Disco Inferno for the Television Championship at Halloween Havoc. This week, they’re like, “heh, actually no, we gave Disco the title to set up a woman being able to beat a man for the TV title, but the Nevada State Athletic Commission won’t let us do it, so they’re wrestling, but it’s for nothing.”
In the spirit of “they’re wrestling, but it’s for nothing,” Jackie tries to distract Disco and cause him to lose the strap to his soulmate, Alex Wright, but Disco somehow prevails. I don’t know. I will say, though, that when I see these two wrestle I’m sad they never had a long-destined rematch in 2008-ish in like, PWG, where the first 10 minutes would be them dancing and the final 10 would be dick and disco-based comedy.
Best/Worst: The Two Longest-Running Angles In WCW End With A Whimper On The Same Episode
Up first we have the Jeff Jarrett and Mongo McMichael beef, which has been going on since about February. Jarrett showed up in WCW, unofficially joined the Four Horsemen, got kicked out of the Horsemen, stole Mongo’s wife, then spent the better part of eight months trading briefcase blows with him. Last week, they set up a match for Halloween Havoc with the stipulation that if Mongo won, Debra McMichael would have to leave WCW. This week, we find out that Jarrett has left the company entirely and the feud is over.
Mongo’s response to the news of Jarrett’s departure is to tell his wife to, “get back home and get back in that kitchen, where you can really be a star!” Debra insists the match will still happen, and I spend most of this afternoon wishing they’d feathered Glenn Jacobs’ hair and brought him in for the match as “Jeff Jarrett.” Or that they’d given Ric Flair a chestful of suspenders.
After that we have the Steiner Brothers versus the Outsiders feud, which has pretty much been going on since the nWo formed, but really kicked into gear (cough) in February when Hall and Nash tried to commit vehicular manslaughter. The Steiners brought in Ted DiBiase to manage them, since as a former member he claimed to know the nWo better than anyone, and they kept participating in this endless circle of number one contender matches with Harlem Heat that would SOMETIMES lead to a title match, but always end with the Outsiders keeping the titles. The Steiners even won the belts once before this, but there was an issue with the wrong referee counting the pin and the decision was reversed.
On this episode, the Steiners finally get their two-on-two title match against … Scott Hall and Syxx, because Kevin Nash is injured. Ted DiBiase shows up again too, even though he hasn’t been around for most of the Steiners’ matches for the past several months. The Steiners hit a Steiner DDT on Syxx and have him pinned, but the referee’s knocked out … so Larry Zbyszko hits the ring and fast-counts to give them the win and the titles. The Steiners, the team that could not win the tag titles because the wrong referee counted the pin, won the tag titles because the wrong referee counted the pin. Over a team that was not actually the tag team champions.
As a fun (not fun) bonus, this is Syxx’s final match in WCW. The Steiners hurt his neck on that DDT, you see — or Larry made it worse at Halloween Havoc, one or the other — and Bischoff fired him via Federal Express while he was on injured reserve as a power play to challenge the backstage influence of Hall and Nash. A week after Jim Cornette showed up on Raw to cut a promo about how Waltman was worthless, Waltman wrestles his final WCW match, and the next time we see him is on Raw.
Best: Scott Norton Is Very Strong
Two great things here:
1. Norton and Ray Traylor wrestle for a few minutes, and decide the best use of their time is to stiff the shit out of each other. Norton’s chopping Traylor like he’s Kensuke Sasaki trying to cut down a tree without an axe, and Traylor’s like, “that’s fine, I am going to punch you for real.” It’s great. Also great is this Dirty Dancing-ass moment where Norton pops Traylor up like he’s a cruiserweight.
2. Somewhere in the middle of the match, Raven is joined at ringside by Billy Kidman, who’s supposed to be goth and troubled (and on heroin) but mostly looks like he should be playing bass for Dag Nasty circa 1985.
Best: Eddie Guerrero Is Such A Jerk
Please enjoy this GIF of Eddie Guerrero and Dean Malenko’s Marvel vs. Capcom Duo Team Attack to steal Rey Mysterio Jr.’s mask. Rey’s been making a fool of Eddie the past few weeks, so Eddie responds by yanking off Rey’s face with the quickness and costing him a match. This is made especially impactful because it happens after like three weeks of vignettes about how important masks are to luchadors.
To make things worse, Eddie’s out to get EVERYONE’s mask. He defeats Psicosis in the opening match and tries to rip off his face. I don’t have a lot to say about that one, other than noting that Psicosis’ senton from the top rope to the floor is the third dumbest regular dive in wrestling history, behind Cactus Jack’s sunset flip on the floor (that isn’t really offense AND can’t pin anybody, it’s just destroying your own spine) and Super Calo’s death-cheating head-first slingshot.
Eddie should’ve stolen Super Calo’s mask only to reveal that he has those sunglasses sewn into it to protect us from his laser eyes.
Worst: The Worst U.S. Title Finish
On a show where the Steiners won the tag titles from not the tag champions and Mongo/Jeff Jarrett got canceled because one of them quit, the most WCW thing that happens is the finish to the United States Championship match between Curt Hennig and Diamond Dallas Page.
The idea is that Ric Flair’s supposed to charge down to the ring because he wants to kill Hennig, and security stops him. Page is supposed to have the match won, but an enraged Flair is supposed to break free and break up the pin with an attack. He’s not trying to screw over Page or whatever, he just wants to murder Curt. That’d create some animosity between Flair and Page for when the Hennig feud was over, or whatever.
Instead, what you see in that picture is Page pinning Flair, Flair missing his cue and not actually attacking Hennig until after the three count. So Diamond Dallas Page completely and fairly wins the United States Championship, to the point he’s demanding the belt and posing with it on the turnbuckles. But the referee knows that’s not supposed to be the finish, so he just starts pretending Page didn’t win for some reason and that interference after the three negates what happens before it. Like, he saw Flair ABOUT to interfere, and that counts. They even send out Piper to be like, “nah.” BOO, HISS.
Best: Sting As Sting
Last week, Piper used the WCW World Heavyweight Championship as a weapon to fend off an attack from the New World Order. It turns out he kept the belt and has HIDDEN IT from Hollywood Hogan, which is a … babyface thing to do, I guess? Especially when you’re the interim chairman of the executive committee, or whatever.
The nWo shows up while Piper’s out here and threatens him a bunch, and they have a standoff where he’s set to fight them all by himself again. WCW just chills in the back, because it’s not like Piper’s done anything for THEM. He takes all the title shots for himself, books himself in the main events despite “not being a WCW wrestler,” took WCW guys out of the War Games to set up Hennig turning on the Four Horsemen and has now stolen and hidden the company’s top belt. So, you know, screw that guy.
But yeah, Piper’s about to fight them when “Sting” with like five extra quotation marks around it shows up to help him. Piper, being what the French call “Les Incompétents,” is like, “yes, Sting is a 6-foot-6 guy who wears a plastic Sting mask and a wig to the ring.” It turns out the Sting is actually Hollywood Hogan (gasp), and Piper gets his ass kicked.
That is, of course, until an army of fake Stings start showing up from all around the arena. Every time they get into or close to the ring, the nWo beats them up. The announce team can’t figure out why this is happening if none of the Stings are any good at fighting, which is a valid question. It turns out Actual Sting is behind it all and he’s making a point about the fake Stings or whatever, but (1) how did he find this many untrained cans to dress up like him and go to the ring just to get punched in the face to prove a point, and (2) why didn’t he just show up and help Piper instead of giving him another five minutes of beatdown during the theatrics?
While that’s all pretty bad, the segment is saved by the greatest thing that ever happens on wrestling shows: Sting revealing that he’s dressed like Sting.
What a twist! Hogan sells this like a cartoon bad guy about to get punched into the sky by the hero, and we’re out of time. AW NUTS!
The first true Goldberg match, a whole lot of pre-Halloween Havoc filler, and everybody dressing as Sting.