Remembering The Time Scott Steiner Walked A Tiger To The Ring
Only one of many surreal WCW moments in the year 2000.
BY PETE STEGMAN
On the October 23, 2000 edition of WCW Nitro, we return from a commercial break in anticipation of the main event of the night to our commentary team announcing the death of Yokozuna. As the gang is reflecting on the character of the late WWE Hall of Famer, they are interrupted by one of the wackiest moments in WCW’s colorful history as Scott Steiner begins walking a tiger to the ring.
Scott Steiner is infamous for a gamut of eccentricities: nonsensical math equations, the chainmail headdress, and nicknaming himself “the Big Bad Booty Daddy,” just to name a few. None of these things are as ridiculous, however, as this often forgotten moment. From the second this segment starts, it’s instantly clear how bad this idea is when the tiger is startled by a fog machine at the transition from backstage to the entryway and starts to resist Steiner and the professional animal trainers accompanying him. With all of variables of a live event environment, such as the lights, pyro, and a roaring, and sometimes unpredictable, crowd, there was plenty of room for this to go completely wrong in the worst way. Luckily, the Genetic Freak was able to regain control of the situation and continue on his way to face “That 70s Guy” Mike Awesome.
In the edition of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter following this incident, Dave Meltzer writes that “backstage, when he was trying to get a photo with the tiger, the tiger nearly took a chunk out of Rey Mysterio's eye.” As WhatCulture points out, Steiner elaborated on this during his 2016 speaking tour of the UK for Inside The Ropes. According to Steiner, Mysterio was wearing zebra print pants and crouched down to the tigers level, upsetting it. He also went on to explain that the animal handler had been backstage at a house show with the cat, leading Steiner to the idea that he should walk it to the ring on live TV.
Why waste such a dramatic, showy, entrance on a throwaway match on an episode of Nitro? Why didn’t Steiner even acknowledge or reference the tiger in the promo he cuts immediately after handing the animal back to the trainers? “Nobody has any idea why they brought a live tiger from the zoo to accompany Steiner to the ring on Nitro,” Meltzer stated in the Observer. Some questions about WCW are just better left unasked, but it’s sure a fun moment to go back and revisit.