The Ten Greatest WCW Moments from the Nitro Era!
After doing some hard work for LuchaTemple recently, I thought this evening would be a nice chance to get back to some other stuff. Like say, WCW. As much as I love Lucha Underground these days, WCW will always be my first love, the Paige to LU's Sexy Star if you will. And thus, I thought it would be a good time to countdown the ten best moments of the Nitro era (1995-2001). Not best matches, not best promos, best moments. Which...is pretty much a fancy way of saying everything is included. What do you want from me, I'm just a fan boy! Anyways, as per usual, this list is based off the opinions of me and me alone. If you have any gripes, take solace in that. Unless you think the Starrcade 1997 match should be on this list. Then you and I are going to have words after. But enough about reasons for me being a miserable punk. ON WITH THE SHOW!!!
The Ten Greatest WCW Moments From the Nitro Era
10. Bischoff Joins the nWo (Nitro, 11/18/96)
This was actually a better build up than a moment, starting with Easy E mysteriously disappearing on the night of the nWo's formation. No big deal right? Then there were more subtle absences, curious decisions, so on and so forth. Still no big deal right? WRONG! All it took was for Roddy Piper and his hip made of recycled water bottles to reveal that Bischoff had been in cahoots with the New World Order for months, effectively creating the tyrannical heel boss that Vince McMahon would later make famous. It's not the Hamlet of this list, but it's pretty good, especially when you consider how well WCW did quietly building up the angle and how well Bischoff played the role after. Could you imagine a Bischoff vs. Dario Cueto evil boss off?!
9. DDP Swerves the nWo (Nitro, 1/6/97)
You gotta love Diamond Dallas Page. Not only did he have the greatest finishing move that ever lived, he also made himself into a top level talent despite starting his career much later in his life (mid to late 30's). Bravo to you Dallas! One of the reasons he became such a big star (aside from the Diamond Cutter) was this moment, one coined by DDP himself. After weeks of getting hotter and hotter and being courted by the nWo, DDP was officially offered a spot after a short, but sweet match against future Cult Tribute candidate Mark Starr. It appeared he would accept, hugging Scott Hall and shaking his hand...and then Diamond Cuttering the life out of him. One swift dodge of Nash and a trek through the crowd later, and a main event babyface was in the works. By the way, I'm putting this in the top three Diamond Cutters of all time, just ahead of the one he hit on Goldberg and just behind that one he hit on Eddie Guerrero from the powerbomb position. That still remains the greatest Diamond Cutter that ever lived, I don't care what anyone says.
8. Goldberg vs. DDP (Halloween Havoc, 10/25/98)
Hey, speaking of the third best Diamond Cutter, here's the match where it happened! You could argue this could potentially be one of the bad moments of WCW history, considering most people didn't see it till the next night on Nitro because the Hogan-Warrior epic of suck went too long. But let's be real, this match was simply too good to be left out. For just over ten minutes, DDP and Goldberg worked to give WCW fans one of the best matches in Halloween Havoc history (right there with Rey-Eddie from a year prior) and the best match of Goldberg's career, an edge of your seat thriller that nearly saw the beloved underdog DDP upset the unbeaten champion with an unbelievable Jackhammer to Diamond Cutter counter. Should DDP have beaten Goldberg that night? Perhaps. Then again, in hindsight, anything would've been better than the taser. Even David Arquette...never mind, not David Arquette.
7. Flair Calls Out Bischoff (Nitro, 12/28/98)
Time for some confessions people; the Ric Flair-Eric Bischoff feud in 1998 was all sorts of epic. I shit you not; it may have been started by some very real shit and I wouldn't doubt the Nature Boy wanted to shove a boot up Bischoff's ass ala Out Cold, but it was still good. The second best moment (spoiler alert; more of this feud will be featured on here) came on the last Nitro of 1998 and the last great Nitro ever. Flair, having lost to Bischoff due to truckloads of interference the night before, came out to the ring for an interview with Mean Gene. What happened next was, what Flair considered, one of the greatest promos of his career. Money was ripped up. Clothing was rifled into the stands in Baltimore (remember when Baltimore was a hot wrestling city? Pepperidge Farm remembers). Stripping was done for all the ladies who ever wanted to ride Space Mountain. Handcuffs got involved (not in that way!). Flair let out one of his greatest, "MEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAANNNNNNNN, WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO! BY GOD GENE!" lines ever. And at the end of it all, Ric got the match he wanted, a match with Bischoff that night for control of WCW for 90 days (spoiler alert; Ric won). The match later was fine. The promo leading to it was legendary. And we're only at number seven here!
6. Scott Hall Invades WCW (5/27/96)
In many ways, this moment is just as important as Hulk Hogan dropping the leg on Savage a few months later. And man, what a well done way to kick things off? For all of Vince McMahon's great decision making skills during the Attitude Era, I think we can all agree that if he had booked this intro, he would've had Hall lay out both guys in the ring and cut some short, cryptic promo that led nowhere. Hall went against the grain here, immediately grabbing a mic and ignoring the two in ring competitors to declare that he was going to bring war against WCW for their various barbs thrown at WWE. Even nineteen years later, Hall's debut remains one of the most shocking moments in wrestling history, and perhaps the best promo of his career. And it's only at number six here. This list is getting to be like ranking the greatest Lakers ever.
5. Goldberg's Triumph (7/6/98)
Hey, didn't I write about this not too long ago? Why yes I did! I won't go into too much detail, other than to say that Goldberg's night long journey to becoming WCW Champion only had the largest crowd for a Monday night wrestling show ever, gave WCW the ratings lead back against WWE and is one of the best examples of a wrestler being made in the history of the western hemisphere. Other than that, no big deal. Could it have been on PPV instead? Sure. But I'm pretty sure this moment would've made the list even if it was on an episode of WCW Saturday Night. Which might've made it better actually. Am I the only one now picturing Goldberg walking through those awesome sci-fi doors? That would be about 9,000 times more awesome than Universal Solider: The Return was. Sorry Goldberg, wasn't a fan.
4. FIRE ME! I'M ALREADY FIRED! (Nitro, 9/14/98)
The crowning jewel from the greatest Nitro episode of all time. And this was a Nitro that featured a MOTY candidate in Juvi vs. Kidman and an awesome clash between Sting and Goldberg for the WCW Championship (resisting the urge to wonder what a Goldberg vs. Sting Starrcade 98 match would've been like!). In the end though, the sight of the Four Horsemen reforming and Ric Flair making his triumphant return after a vicious legal battle with WCW is the moment that stands the test of time. Even Mongo's presence couldn't ruin it! Highlights include a great speech by Arn Anderson introducing the Horsemen, Flair spilling his soul to the fans that loved him so, and of course, the segments infamous closing line. One of my favorite moments in wrestling history, and a segment that consistently reminds me why I love wrestling so damn much. And yet, it's only #4.
3. LUGER WON THE TITLE! (Nitro, 8/4/97)
It's August 4th, 1997, the 100th episode of WCW Monday Nitro. It's the main event, between the WCW Champion Hollywood Hogan (nearly champ for a year at this point) and the criminally underrated Lex Luger. It looks like it's just going to be another run of the mill Hogan title defense, with the champ dominating, the challenger roaring back and interference ending the match in a no contest. But then, Luger gets the advantage and won't slow down. The nWo's interference doesn't end the match. And suddenly, Tony Schiavone is screaming at the top of his lungs, "HE'S GONNA RACK HIM!!!!!". Not even ten seconds later, Hogan is squealing like a pig, Luger is celebrating like he just won the World Title, and oh yeah, that's because he just won the World Title. Another one of my favorite moments in wrestling, the best moment of Lex Luger's career in my opinion, the best call of Tony Schiavone's career and the match that launched the scale of one to LUGER WON THE TITLE! Somewhere, the Great Epic T.O. is nodding in approval.
2. Sting Shows His True Colors (Uncensored, 3/16/97)
Now the Great Epic T.O. is really nodding his head in approval. Your mileage may vary wrestling fans, but it's the opinion of yours truly, the Great Epic T.O. (who is really getting a lot of play here in these past few sentences) and others that Uncensored 1997 is one of the best PPV's WCW ever put on. Almost all of the matches were good to great, the main event (a match reeking of TNA if I ever saw one) was as compelling as ever and the ending...my goodness the ending. You know how great the Crow Sting angle was? You know how awesome Daniel Bryan turning on the Wyatt's was? Mix those two things with the feeling you get after having a bottle of Mountain Dew and every Jack Nicholson scene in Batman, and you get this. After months of speculation on whether Sting would join the nWo or stay with WCW, he descended from the rafters following the main event (an nWo victory of course) and proceeded to beat the ever living tar out of the nWo. Hall? Scorpion Death Drop. Savage? Scorpion Death Drop. Nash? A near quad tearing Scorpion Death Drop (couldn't resist)! And in the end, Hollywood Hogan, the man untouchable to everyone other than Roddy Piper, even fell to the Death Drop. Amazing moment, and one that should've been the start of Sting's ascendance to the top of the wrestling pyramid. But we're not going to talk about Starrcade 1997.
1. The nWo formation (Bash at the Beach, 7/7/96)
What else could this be other than the most important moment in wrestling history? What more do I have to say after what I already said earlier this month? Not only was Hulk Hogan's heel turn the freshest idea in wrestling at the time, not only did his turn help give WCW the ratings lead for nearly two years over WWE, and not only was it the formation of, arguably, one of the greatest factions in wrestling history. No, more than any of those things, Hogan's shocking betrayal was a tour de force of booking, a moment that was both equally surprising as it was great. Even nineteen years later, people still talk about this night in hushed tones, the sort of moment where you remember where you were when it happened. There's many great moments on this list, but none come close to this one, and I don't think anything will. The only question left to answer is how much did Bobby Heenan ruin it for you? My buddy Pen knows what I'm talking about.
That'll do it guys. I'll be back on LuchaTemple tomorrow with my review for tonight's Lucha Underground episode, and I'll be back here either tomorrow or Friday with...something. Who knows what it'll be?! Till next time, Kevin Dunn sucks. That is all.
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