Jerry Only w/ Vampiro and The Misfits vs. “Dr. Death” Steve Williams w/ Oklahoma in a Steel Cage Match, WCW Monday Nitro – November 29th, 1999
Sometimes, the inspiration for these comes from the weirdest places.
Last weekend, I was lucky enough to see The Original Misfits (meaning Doyle, Jerry Only and Danzig) at the Prudential Center in beautiful Newark, New Jersey. It was a fantastic and fun show, and one that I have been waiting almost 20 years to see. In High School, after hearing a friend’s band play a cover of Skulls, I became obsessed with the group, mostly the original line-up.
But, that was not the first time I had heard of the band. In late 1999, The Misfits, with their revival line-up of Dr. Chud, Doyle Wolfgang Von Frankenstein, Jerry Only and Michale Graves, appeared to back-up Vampiro on WCW Monday Nitro. After a brief feud with Alex “Berlyn” Wright and The Wall, the attention of the morbid mob would turn to Dr. Death and Ed Ferrara as the Jim Ross parody OK Oklahoma. The group, including Vamprio in his solo appearances, would enter to Kong at the Gates from Famous Monsters. You can even find that on WWE Network, which is a nice surprise since I’m sure it required some extra licensing. Their angle would effectively end at Starrcade 1999, and by mid-2000, that line-up of the band had already dissolved. Vampiro did continue to wear Misfits’ gear for a bit longer, but would soon shift his allegiance to the ICP and The Dark Carnival.
Okay, I’ll admit this isn’t one of the good ones, but it does show a unique moment in wrestling history. Let me run through the match itself. Only, who was admirably willing to take bumps, gets brutalized by the legit legend, Dr. Death. Like, really brutalized. The Other Misfits (that might be a good name for a reunion tour) and Vampiro attack Oklahoma, and then Michale Graves, with an exceptional amount of enthusiasm, covers the rotund commentator in barbecue sauce. Doyle seems fairly bored in all of these scenarios and I can’t tell if it is his Frankenstein-esque persona or legit disinterest. He apparently didn’t know he’d be wrestling anyway, but he did end up meeting and marrying Gorgeous George, so I guess he can’t complain.
(Maybe he can, they divorced in 2013)
Anyway, Steve Williams would get distracted by the beatdown and the open door to the cage would allow Jerry Only to snag the win. Not as surprising as Dr. Chud would have you believe in that picture up there. Sorry, spoiler alert…too late.
The match isn’t the reason to check this out though, it is the scenario. A band was brought in to back up a wrestler (admittedly, this was Vampiro’s idea) and a band member would be given a win on Nitro in a steel cage match. Vampiro would ultimately get the spotlight back but if you want to know how much the mentality of “Sports Entertainment” had changed in the near two decades since this match, look no further. Sure, things aren’t always great and yes, the Attitude Era was innovative. The Attitude Era also made scenarios like this more commonplace and began to erode the match card itself. I’m all for fun, but check out these whole episodes on Nitro, everyone has something weird going on and the audience couldn’t focus on the narrative. Celebrities have to be there to enhance, not distract. If there is a failure of the Attitude Era that has since been corrected, it is this. Ronda Rousey’s effect is going to be interesting. That said, they’ve found some new ways to pull focus away too.
This match, along with more of The Misfits‘ run in WCW, is available on the WWE Network.