Previously on the Best and Worst of WCW Monday Nitro: In one of the very strangest episodes of WCW television ever, Macho Man Randy Savage was honored by Harvard University only to get turned on in a tag team match by Grimace from McDonald’s, Stuck Mojo debuted a music video featuring them kicking the Flock’s ass as World Champions, Dean Malenko invented the One-Winged Angel, and so much more. Please go read that column immediately.
If you’d like to watch this week’s episode on WWE Network, click here. In the coming weeks you’ll be able to read all the Thunder recaps on its UPROXX tag page, and of course if you’re reading these, you’re hopefully reading the corresponding Nitro bits as well.
Note: This is still a relatively new vintage column in the rotation, so if you like it, please make sure to comment below and share the column on all (or at least some) of your social media. It helps, especially for shows most people didn’t even watch 20 years ago.
And now, the Best and Worst of WCW Thunder for March 5, 1998.
Best: Another Episode About Macho Man Getting A ‘Real Man’ Award From Harvard And Fighting McDonald’s
In case you’d like the Cliff’s Notes for the shoot strangest forgotten segment of 1998, which is saying something, here goes: Kevin Kline was given Harvard University’s Man of the Year award for 1998, so the Harvard Lampoon decided to give the REAL Man of the Year award to Macho Man Randy Savage and, to not understate it, openly mock him to his face. He ended up in a wrestling match with a bunch of frat guys in costumes, including bootleg fast food restaurant mascot costumes, and then came back to WCW to brag about it on TV. And then Hulk Hogan got mad that he hadn’t gotten any of the shit I just typed, and that’s like 40% the basis for a steel cage match that’s about to main-event a pay-per-view.
Here’s the best part, and something I didn’t realize until multiple people pointed it out to me. You see that nerdy Harvard nerdlinger on the left, hoisting the Ivy league Dinner for Schmucks trophy over his head? That’s Nicholas Stoller of The Harvard Lampoon. He’d grow up to be Hollywood director Nick Stoller, director of Forgetting Sarah Marshall and writer of a ton of theatrically released comedies including two Muppet movies. They’re currently filming his adaptation of Dora the Explorer. No, seriously.
Unbelievable. This event was like the Lemarchand’s Box of wrestling segments. One day I’m gonna find out the guy in the Grimace costume was Harvard alumnus Barry Obama.
Worst: By The Way, I Think The nWo Might Be Up To Something
I don’t want to speculate about the motivations of a legitimate sporting organization like the New World Order, but since the second show this week opens with Hollywood Hogan and literally everyone in the nWo besides Macho Man cutting a 10-minute promo about how mad he is about Macho Man winning a fake award, I’m thinking this whole angle and maybe even the main event of an upcoming pay-per-view — let’s say, Uncensored — could be an attempt to swerve somebody. It’d have to be somebody really stupid, though. Like, stupid enough to fall for anything. Stupid enough to get his feelings hurt so badly he’d take a year and a half off from his job, stop working out, and only go to work to cosplay his favorite comic book movie from five years ago and rappel from an arena ceiling once or twice a month. I’m not up on my WCW history, can you guys think of anyone like that?
Oh who am I kidding, Hollywood Hogan wouldn’t lie. Not ever!
Ultimate snaps highlights include Macho Man zinging Hogan with, “like a horse with a broken leg, Hollywood, you’re really no good to anybody. And at Uncensored! In that fifteen foot high steel cage, I’m gonna send you to the glue factory!” Hogan later responds with, “I know after Uncensored, your new career is going to be a comedian!” Shout-out to the guy who wrote the Resident Evil for PS1 dialogue for getting a job at WCW.
I also think this Thunder’s main event, which features Macho Man Randy Savage taking on Brian Adams for a couple of bad minutes before Hulk Hogan causes a disqualification and pretends like he’s going to punch Miss Elizabeth in the face until Sting has to show up is all on the level.
Best: Chris Jericho Just Made The List
The highlight of this episode for any longtime Chris Jericho fans is the continuation of his feud with Dean Malenko, in which he reveals in a pre-match promo that he took a minute to count up all the holds he knows, and it turns out he knows 1,004, four more than Malenko. If you don’t believe him, he’s willing to print out a big list of them and read them off to you in one of the undisputed greatest comedy segments in the History of Our Sport™.
Another great highlight: Jericho wrestles Ciclope, which is important in reminding the crowd who Ciclope is, and that he wrestles in a full Halloween-themed body suit. If you don’t know or remember why this is important to the Jericho/Malenko feud, join us again at WCW Slamboree 1998 in a couple of months for the best and craziest pop anybody in the company ever got. I’m so excited to write about that moment, you guys.
In the meantime, let’s see how good this Ciclope match is.
Worst: Ciclope Has No Goddamn Idea How To Wrestle
I don’t know if this is actually Ciclope or if they smashed Super Calo in the back of the head with an ironing board and dressed him up like a plastic jack-o-lantern while he was sleeping, but this is one of the worst performances I think I’ve ever seen in a WCW cruiserweight match. Above you’ll see Ciclope going for a big dive, barely clearing the ropes and tumbling to the ground on his ass. Jericho thankfully doesn’t sell it, and boots him in the face. As you know if you’ve ever played The Legend of Zelda, you can easily defeat Ciclope by shooting him in the eye with your arrows.
Maybe you’re thinking, “botches happen to everybody, why single out Ciclope?” Well, immediately after that he goes for what looks like it’s supposed to be a reverse hurricanrana, and he falls on his stupid face, and Jericho has to angrily kick him again.
Around this time, Jericho decides to stop screwing around and locks on the Lion Tamer, sitting all the way down on it — I mean all the way the hell down — to get the win and presumably send a message to the random person on the street WCW put in a high-vis poncho and threw into a wrestling ring. Dean Malenko shows up to save the segment and deliver a little instant karma with a Texas Cloverleaf on Jericho.
You’ve got better days ahead of you, Ciclope. Well, your clothes do.
Worst: The Chase Advantage
This tall drink of bull shark testosterone is Chase Tatum, a former Mr. Georgia bodybuilding competitor who is famous for being the first person in history to eat all of the steroids. Imagine if they made an entire man out of Jim Powers’ armpit. Tatum’s in there against “Ethnically-Nonspecific Thunder” Scott Steiner and manages to DWARF him, which would really make him dangerous if he could take two steps in any direction without toppling over. Steiner destroys him, thankfully, and Tatum shows his preternatural wrestling acumen by being put in the Steiner Recliner, moving one of his arms out of the hold to tap out, then putting it back.
Tatum would have brighter days (cough) a year later when he joins Master P’s pro wrestling branch of the No Limit Soldiers for some reason, and even appears in the 2007 Big Boi cinematic classic, Who’s Your Caddy? Then, in an extremely sad and depressing note that will probably not surprise you if you look at him, he dies of a drug overdose at age 34. In the interest of not dwelling on that, let’s talk about something positive, and not about forgotten pro wrestlers from the ’90s who died too young.
Worst: The Renegade
In a performance that looks to rival Ciclope’s for the worst on the show, Renegade has a match with Scott Norton that is entirely him cowering in the corner while Norton pummels him, waiting for The Giant to run out and hit his cue. Giant misses it by like a minute, though, so Norton has to stand there punching Renegade in the gut over and over while the referee makes big “NO I DON’T KNOW WHERE THE GIANT IS, JUST KEEP PUNCHING HIM” gestures. Or “counting toward a disqualification,” whichever you prefer.
Giant eventually figures out where he’s supposed to be, though, and ends the match by powerbombing Scott Norton and chokeslamming Renegade into Parts Unknown. The best part of this is that Doug Dellinger’s snitching ass shows up to arrest him for doing a banned wrestling move, but the handcuffs from Local Law Enforcement won’t fit around Giant’s wrists, so they have to literally wrap a chain around his arms to take him away. They also could’ve like, asked him to leave, but apparently Columbus, OH, policemen are like White Walkers and just carry chains around wherever they go.
Worst: The Nitro Girls … Cut A Promo?
Speaking of Columbus, Ohio, what’s the first thing you think of when you think “Columbus, Ohio?” If you’re like everyone on earth (except maybe Midwestern hockey fans), you think of The Ohio State University. It’s the Brian Kendrick of universities.
The Nitro Girls sure didn’t think of that when they were asked to cut a promo about how they just got back from a great Nitro party at one of the best colleges in the world, the University of Tennessee, and how they’re challenging their next Nitro Party winners, DUKE UNIVERSITY, to top them. They go on and on about how Duke is the best school in college sports, and the boos keep increasing, and they just plow through it with their weird “standing still on MTV’s The Grind” mannerisms. Spice is up there accentuating everything with a big Barker’s Beauties gesture, and the crowd’s just screaming BOOOO, BOOOOO, BOOOOOOO in their faces. At one point the Nitro Girls are yelling GO BLUE DEVILS GOOOO in unison. In Columbus. Amazing.
They also try to work in some character development for the Nitro Girls with “improvisational” dialogue, and it’s so, so funny.
“We’re gonna have free pizza from Domino’s!”
“Chae is gonna love this one!”
“That’s the truth!”
So Chae is the Usagi of the gang, got it. Are y’all low-key calling her fat, or is she not in this segment because her alarm didn’t go off and she’s late for school?
Worst: Yeti, But Cooler
Remember on Nitro when Big Ron Studd, the artist formerly known as The Yeh-tay and the Super Giant Ninja, randomly showed up as a member of The Flock in that Stuck Mojo music video and nobody questioned it? Well, he shows up at the end of a Diamond Dallas Page vs. Raven match to help Raven DDT DDP into a free-standing section of security railing, and the announcers are like, “WE’VE NEVER SEEN THIS MAN BEFORE!” Tony Schiavone’s call is pitch-perfect Tony: “I have no idea who this big man is or where he came from, but he’s awfully shabbily dressed!”
To catch you up on my ongoing theory, back in ancient times, an evil sorcerer from Egypt was trying to take over the world. Stay with me here. He traveled to Asia and found a 7-foot tall ninja to be the leader of his armies, and when that ninja died during a battle in the Himalayas, the sorcerer mummified him per the traditions of his culture and abandoned him to be frozen in a block of ice north of Katmandu, on the north face of Mt. Everest. Thousands of years later, Dungeon of Doom paterfamilias The Master found this block of ice and brought it to the United States so he could set it up at various wrestling arenas and make Hulk Hogan watch it thaw, knowing that when he was freed, he would kill Hulkamania with sexy butthole mummy hugs.
With his mission completed, The Master granted him life, and he returned to his original job: big ninja. When he was easily eliminated from a battle royal, he was forced to come to terms with the fact that his new life did not come with his old life’s power, and he gave up pro wrestling and went into exile. After a while, he decided to come back as a regular guy, but didn’t know any big guy wrestling names. So he used Webcrawler or Altavista or whatever to search “big + wrestler,” saw the name “Big John Studd,” and decided to call himself Big RON Studd. When he still sucked, he got depressed again and started hanging out with the burnout kids, and here we are.
Or, as WCW would eventually explain in much greater detail, “his name is Reese, fans, and look at the size of him! That is all.”
Also On This Episode
Eddie Guerrero has a match with Prince Iaukea, which is like Stephen Hawking having to debate theoretical physics with Larry the Cable Guy. It’s our 1-800-COLLECT People Who Know Make Their Parents Pay For Phone Calls® of the Week.
Juventud Guerrera, seen here being manhandled by the Mad Titan Thanos, is once again confronted by K-Diggity Dogg Who Is Bout It Bout It, and by “it” we mean “being upset that Juventud lost his mask but is still trying to be a wrestler.” He repeatedly calls him by his real name, Anibal Gonzalez, which is technically more respectful than calling a grown man YOUTH WARRIOR to his face. These two are set to have a match at Uncensored, which will definitely be 10 minutes of Konnan wrestling.
Curt Hennig is feuding with Bret Hart, but since Bret can’t be bothered to even show up to most of these shows, much less wrestle, he’s stuck feuding with random members of the Hart Foundation who aren’t technically associated with Bret in WCW. Still though, he has to get his ass kicked by Jim Neidhart until Rick Rude decides to go all Hacksaw Jim Duggan and attack Neidhart with a board. They then beat him down until Davey Both Smith runs out to make the save.
Great note for a lighthearted wrestling column: Everyone involved in this match is now dead. If you pay attention, apparently this is a really macabre episode of Thunder.
Best: Finally, Goldberg Had A Match With Vincent And Yes, This Is Basically The Entire Thing
More people should shoot a double-leg takedown while they do a spear, it makes it look super impactful. I don’t know why nobody in WWE thinks to scoop up the legs, and just dive into people’s stomachs with their shoulders. That’s not really how you tackle people if you actually want to knock them down, guys! Unless you’re super attached to the jumping hug, or Edge’s version, which is whipping your hair while touching someone’s torso with your forearm.
Jim Duggan takes on Kendall Windham, Konnan squares off against Lizmark Jr., and Johnny Grunge has a singles match. Woof. Maybe I’ll skip that report and just recap whatever happens on WCW Saturday Night.
SHIT WAIT NO