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The Top 7 WCW Monday Nitro Moments

September 5, 2019 | Posted by Steve Cook
Hulk Hogan Goldberg Nitro

September 4, 1995 was a historic date in the history of professional wrestling. That’s when the first episode of WCW Monday Nitro aired live on TNT, and the Monday Night War began. For as much grief as people give World Championship Wrestling these days for all of their failures at the end, WCW Monday Nitro featured some of the most compelling moments in the history of our great sport.

With the anniversary of WCW Monday Nitro, and the oncoming return of weekly wrestling to TNT on the way, now seems as good a time as any to rank the seven most magnificent WCW Monday Nitro Moments.

7. Madusa trashes the WWF Women’s Championship

Women’s wrestling was an afterthought in America for most of the twentieth century. The WWF would go through phases where they would push it for a year or two, then move on. Allundra Blayze (formerly known as Madusa in the AWA, WCW & other places) was the focus of one of these revivals in the mid-90s. She had some kickass matches with Bull Nakano, but there wasn’t a large pool of American challengers to draw from.

Eventually, Vince McMahon decided the division wasn’t really going anywhere and released everybody involved, including Allundra. The only problem? She still had the belt, and WWF had competition on Monday nights.

Madusa didn’t end up doing anything bigger than this in her entire WCW run, but it was enough to make her stint memorable. For the first time anybody could remember, Bobby Heenan was speechless!

6. Lex Luger arrives in the Mall of America

Every television producer knows one thing: You need to have a big first episode. If the first impression people get of your show is either bad or mediocre, they won’t come back for the second one. This even holds true for a wrestling show, especially one running against established competition.

Eric Bischoff knew this. He also knew that Lex Luger’s WWF contract had expired, and Sting was working him hard to bring Lex in. Eric wasn’t too keen on Lex, but he knew it would be a heckuva surprise for their first episode of Nitro and a shot across the bow of the WWF, who thought Luger was re-signing with them. Lex’s appearance on the first Nitro sent the message that you had to watch every week or risk missing something big.

5. The Lawn Dart Incident

The New World Order orchestrated so many beatdowns over their tenure in WCW that you could easily make a top 7 list with just those. To me, their finest & most inspired sneak attack took place backstage at Disney MGM Studios. Arn Anderson & the American Males were taken out, but the highlight was when Rey Mysterio tried to foil the evildoers plans by diving into Kevin Nash…

Bad idea. This attack was so unexpected, and the reaction from the WCW wrestlers was so believable, that fans in the Orlando area actually called the police while it was airing. That’s when you know you have people hooked.

4. Bret Hart & Chris Benoit pay tribute to Owen Hart

WCW was set to air an episode of Nitro live from Kansas City’s Kemper Arena on October 6, 1999. The last time the arena had hosted pro wrestling was on May 23, when WWF held their Over the Edge PPV.

Bret Hart had recently returned to the ring after taking a leave of absence following his younger brother’s death. WCW allowed him to decide what he wanted to do when Nitro made its way to Kansas City. Bret decided that the best way to pay tribute to Owen was to have a classic, Stampede-style wrestling match with one of Owen’s friends & peers, Chris Benoit.

Kansas City wrestling legend & Hart family friend Harley Race served as ring announcer. Bret’s goal that night was to have a match his brother would have been proud of, and he had probably the best match in Nitro history.

3. Scott Hall starts the Hostile Takeover

Nitro had recently gone to two hours, which meant that sometimes you would see random things like a Steve Doll vs. The Mauler match get TV time for no apparent reason. Don’t get me wrong, they were decent hands, but neither man was doing anything important in 1996 WCW.

Then somebody came out of the crowd and changed the course of the business.

Sometimes things seem a bigger deal in hindsight than they were at the time. Scott Hall’s WCW debut was a big deal at the time and a big deal now. The presentation was perfect and set the ball rolling for one of the biggest angles of all time.

2. Ric Flair returns to Greenville

Ric Flair Nitro promos are also something one could make a list of. To me, the most memorable took place on the night he returned to WCW and helped reunite the Four Horsemen. Flair had been home for several months due to a contract dispute with WCW. We wondered if we would ever see him again on Nitro.

The moment for his return had arrived, and the location was right in the heart of Horsemen Country. You couldn’t ask for a better place or time for another Horseman relaunch, and Flair was at his best. Any time Ric Flair was in front of his people doing his thing was peak WCW.

1. Goldberg beats Hollywood Hogan in the Georgia Dome

Everybody says that WCW dropped the ball on this one. They did in a lot of ways. WCW could have at least promoted Hogan vs. Goldberg for a week. They could have put it on a PPV. Using today’s logic, they should have had Hogan beat Goldberg a few times before finally putting the guy over. They could have not had Karl Malone randomly give Curt Hennig a Diamond Cutter to lead into the finish.

Instead, we got the best moment in Nitro history. Look at that crowd. It wasn’t perfect, but it worked, and Goldberg was a made man. Sure, they bungled a lot of what came after, but the dude is still over in 2019.

Everything in the history of wrestling could have been done better. There’s no doubt that the moment worked.

article topics :

WCW, WCW Monday Nitro, Steve Cook