June 23, 2011
The Powerdriver Review
The Very Best of WCW Monday Nitro
Released: June 7, 2011
Your host is Diamond Dallas Page.
DDP admits that 1999 was the first time WCW started to show cracks in its armor. Sometimes the best laid plans don’t always work out, and this next match is certainly evidence of that statement.
WCW World Heavyweight Champion Kevin Nash (w/Scott Hall) vs. Hollywood Hogan (w/Scott Steiner) – (1/4/99, Atlanta, GA)
What an historic episode of Nitro for all the wrong reasons. Not only is this the episode where Tony gives away the Mick Foley world title win that apparently a large portion of the wrestling audience wanted to see that was happening on WWF’s show, but this is the episode that also includes the poorly planned out Finger Poke of Doom match. Originally scheduled to be Goldberg-Nash II, Goldberg gets “arrested” for some flimsy reason the nWo sets up and instead we get Hogan’s first match back since he defeated the WO-YAH at Halloween Havoc. It’s the head of nWo Wolfpac against the head of nWo Hollywood. What appears to be a BLOCKBUSTER main event in front of nearly 40,000 people in the Georgia Dome no less – they stand around to build the drama only for Hogan to poke Nash in the chest. And then the unthinkable happens. Nash oversells a bump to the mat and lays down for Hogan for the 1-2-3. (1:40) And just like that, the nWo pulled a rib on the entire WCW fanbase and reunited. This ended up getting the wrong type of heat not just for those in attendance who had spent their hard earned cash to come to Nitro, but also to the fan watching at home because they had hyped this big main event all night and then there was zero payoff. It was all just a ruse for ratings! After the match, Goldberg makes it back to the Georgia Dome just in time to lay waste to the reborn new World order. That is until Lex Luger comes out and stops him. Yeah, okay. If anyone ever tells you that anyone’s interest in WCW storylines ever got any better after this match, they are flat out lying to you or lying to themselves. Most of people’s opinions about wrestling are subjective, however this is fact. CRAP
From 3/29/99, we are in Toronto and Bret Hart is in the ring wearing his Calgary Hitmen hockey jersey. Outside of his match with Chris Benoit, this was the best thing he ever did. Bret complains how he can’t get a match with anybody – not Flair, not Hogan, nobody. He came to WCW to earn a reputation, not to lose the one he already had. He makes a challenge to Goldberg. Bret even mentions how Goldberg is putting up all this money to take on Stone Cold Steve Austin when Bret beat that guy every time they got in the ring together. YES. Bret takes off his Calgary Hitmen hockey jersey to reveal a Toronto Maple Leafs jersey to send the crowd into an even bigger uproar. Bret demands he lay down his football helmet and come out to face him. And here comes Goldberg. Bret keeps daring Goldberg to come at him, so he does with a Spear. They both lay there for a few moments. Goldberg doesn’t move, but Bret has to lift an unconscious Goldberg off himself. He turns Goldberg over and covers him to count his own pinfall. Bret then gets up and peels off the hockey jersey to reveal a huge steel plate strapped around his waist. Afterwards, Bret gets on the mic and announces that he officially quits. If WCW had any sense, they would have had their next super hot angle on their hands and could have made some serious bank. Instead, there was never any real rebuttal from Goldberg.
WCW World Heavyweight Champion Diamond Dallas Page vs. Sting – (4/26/99, Fargo, ND)
Desperate ratings grabbing match? You bet. But as a fan, I don’t even care. DDP looks like he’s in the best shape of his life and Sting looks to be in much better shape than he was back in October 1998 when he took some time off. Headlocks and shoulderblocks to start. DDP takes a breather. Back in, Page starts talking junk which leads to a great slugfest that puts DDP back on the floor. He LOVES milking that heel reaction. Back in again, DDP cheapshots Sting to take control, but bails out again. This time, Sting decides to go out after him and slams DDP’s face off the announce table. Back inside, Sting hits a pair of clotheslines and then the Stinger Splash! He wants the SCORPION DEATHLOCK, but Page finds the ropes and escapes to the floor again. DDP rinses out his mouth with Mike Tenay’s water. Yeah, Tenay doesn’t need it. He’s only talking for THREE HOURS STRAIGHT. Back in, Sting continues where he left off beating the crap out of DDP. Page trips him up and grabs a hammerlock to slow things down. Sting fights out and ducks a clothesline, but gets caught on the second attempt. He goes for the kill with the DIAMOND CUTTER, but Sting shoves him off to the floor. Sting beats Page all down the aisle for a whole bunch of what I like to call guardrail action. He calls DDP ‘white trash’ which is about as vulgar as Sting gets. That eats up a good two minutes. Back to the ring, DDP low blows to stop a ten-count corner punch and follows up with a hotshot. Page hits a back suplex and steps on Sting’s head all violent-like. Double-KO leads to Sting falling forward head first into DDP’s balls. You know the bit. That scores DDP a nearfall. Page rips at Sting’s face during a chinlock. More trash talk just serves to fire up the Stinger, but he gets cool down with a swinging neckbreaker for two. He delivers a couple elbow drops to the groin and then plays to the crowd some more. DDP posts the knee a couple times, but then gets kicked back into the safety rail. DIAMOND CUTTER? Nope, Sting grabs the top rope. HERE COMES STING! He delivers a bunch of atomic drops and hits the running face slam. Flying splash gets 1-2-NO! DDP dumps Sting out to put a stop to his comeback. Back inside, Sting hits a jawbreaker and uses all three turnbuckles to smash DDP’s face. Why not. DDP cuts Sting off with a knee, which Tony calls a *nifty* move. Sitout powerbomb gets 1-2-NO! Sting gets a couple quick pin attempts on DDP, but the champ keeps kicking out. Sting calls for the crowd to get louder and then gives DDP a piledriver! Cover, 1-2-NO! He calls for another boost from the crowd. Tombstone gets reversed, but Sting reverses again and drops DDP for 1-2-NO! Hiptoss gets countered to a DDT from Page. That gets two. He lowblows out of a backslide attempt and tries for the DIAMOND CUTTER out of the corner, but then Sting blocks and counters as he comes out the corner with a SCORPION DEATHDROP for the 1-2-3! (19:57) Awesome match that saw great comebacks from Sting and a great finish to boot. They succeeded in making you feel like you were seeing the two top wrestlers on the planet battling over the top title in all the land – as well as the most hated wrestler and the most beloved wrestler. And that’s really what wrestling is all about, Charlie Brown. ****
DDP calls that last match the best one he ever had. We get a few clips of DDP reclaiming his world title later in the show over Kevin Nash in a fatal four-way to become the first ever to lose and win back a title in the same night in two different matches. DDP goes on to explain how winning a world title makes you feel that you have the respect of your peers and it’s a time period where you are able to reap all the rewards of your labors and the sacrifices you had to make. Good thing this isn’t a Thunder 3-disc set.
Eddie Guerrero vs. Juventud Guerrera – (6/21/99, New Orleans, LA)
This is Eddie’s return match after his near-fatal car wreck back in December. There’s some LWO allusion going on here inside the ring, but Tony and Bobby both fail to mention them. Eddie gives him a good slap across the chops to start. He delivers a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker, but fails on a corner charge and gets launched onto the top turnbuckle. Juvi maneuvers out of another backbreaker and counters a powerbomb because YOU CAN’T POWERBOMB JUVI! Hurracanrana gets two. Now Guerrera slaps Eddie, who bails to the outside. Back in, Eddie dropkicks the knee and gives Juventud a back suplex before taking him to the floor for some guardrail action. He yells stuff at Tony and Bobby at ringside, but they seem to have no clue at what he said. Back inside the ring, he hooks a sleeper as we take a commercial break. When we return, Eddie now has Juventud in an ab stretch. A hard slam sets up the Hilo from Eddie, but Juvi rolls out of the way and sunset flips Eddie for 1-2-NO! Eddie goes for the knee again and then follows up with a Brainbuster. Back to the sleeper. Juvi fights out and delivers a back suplex for two. The crowd seems glad to have Eddie back. Juventud comes back with a wheelbarrow bulldog and a headscissors. Missile dropkick connects and Eddie rolls out to take a plancha from Juventud! Back inside, Juvi hits the Springboard Spinning Heel Kick and calls for the JUVI DRIVER. That’s no good as Eddie counters and delivers a helicopter spin neckbreaker of sorts. He heads up top and gives Juvi the FROG SPLASH for the win. (8:47 shown) Not sure if Juventud was the best first opponent for Eddie, but they made it work into a decent match. **¼
Hulk Hogan, Goldberg & Sting vs. Kevin Nash, Sid Vicious & Rick Steiner – (8/9/99, Boise, ID)
That’s right. This is the night Hogan randomly returns with the red and yellow. Tony and Bobby act like they can’t hear each other talk because the crowd is SO loud. Come on guys, you’re in BOISE, IDAHO. What else do they really have to get excited about? Since we are five days away from Road Wild, Hogan wants Nash. Instead, he gets Rick Steiner. Headlocks and shoulderblocks to start as Tony continues in hilarious hyperbolic mode. Hulk fights out of the headlock and hits the Big Boot. Next up, there’s three elbow drops and a barrage of right hands that Tony calls a ‘handful of taters’. Steiner pokes the eyes, but Hogan fires back with the windmill punch. In comes Nash and Sid, they’re only muscular seven foot tall men. Why should they be any problem for Hulk Hogan? He eats guys of their stature for breakfast. After a NOGGIN KNOCKER on Sid and Nash, Hogan stuns Nash some more with a ten-count corner punch. And that’s enough to clean house. Is it just me or is the crowd getting louder for Goldberg? Tag to Nash, Tony reminds us of Goldberg’s win streak that Nash had to ruin. Goldberg hits the jumping shoulderblock followed by the single-arm suplex. DFG breaks up the pin. Sid tags in, but Goldberg ducks a clothesline and slams Sid no problem. Sting gets a tag and hits Sid with the Stinger Splash. DFG and Nash try to stop the Stinger to no avail. Flying splash by Sting hits knees though. Nash tags and hits the Side Slam for two. The top turnbuckle gets exposed as Nash goes for the Snake Eyes, but the ref gets in the way. Sting shoves off Nash and the bumped ref spot gets screwed up. However, it still happens. Sting delivers a bunch of Stinger Splashes anyway. With the ref down, Steiner finds a chair and uses it on Sting’s back. Next thing he knows, Goldberg spears him into next week. Now Sid nails Goldberg with the chair across the back. It’s Hogan’s turn as he sends Sid rolling out to the floor with a chairshot. Nash wants to JACKKNIFE Sting, but there’s Hogan to drill him in the back with the chair. With Nash out of it, Sting applies the SCORPION DEATHLOCK and another ref calls for the bell to give Hogan’s team the win. (8:09) Definitely a send us all home happy match and to hopefully pop a decent buyrate for Road Wild, which actually got WCW’s highest buyrate of the summer and the final buyrate above a .5 that would ever happen for the company. **
Diamond Dallas Page vs. Billy Kidman – (8/16/99, Colorado Springs, CO)
Before the match, Gene Okerlund brings Kidman out and calls him a *chick magnet*. So that’s where CM Punk got his name: this very interview! Kidman tells us about this new clique he and some guys are forming. You know, Kidman, Eddie Guerrero, Rey Mysterio, and Konnan. They call themselves the Filthy Animals. Speaking of chicks, Gene asks him who his favorite Nitro Girl is. Uh oh. He says Kimberly is his personal fave, which brings out her hubbie who happens to be DDP. Boy is he mad. Kidman says he has all the respect in the world for DDP, but DDP doesn’t think Kidman can even spell respect, so he starts to spell the word and then gives Kidman a uranage slam. GIT HIM A REF DOWN THURR! Page gives Kidman a tilt-a-whirl side slam and then chokes him using his DDP t-shirt that you can now purchase at WCWwrestling.com! Big slam and an elbow drop gets two. More disrespectful choking, but Kidman comes back with a tilt-a-whirl headscissors. DDP shoves off the tornado bulldog and delivers the sitout powerbomb. He pulls up Kidman after an arrogant cover. Kidman stops a corner charge with a knee, but runs into a AA spinebuster for two. Again, DDP lifts Kidman off the mat. Time for the DIAMOND CUTTER. He puts Kidman up on his shoulders to deliver a TKO variation, but Kidman slips out and O’Connor rolls DDP for the 1-2-3! (3:22) Now DDP is SUPER pissed. He nails Kidman from behind and BANGS the ref. After that, he BANGS Kidman for real this time with a backpack DIAMOND CUTTER. Oh, but he’s still not done. He puts Kidman in the tree of woe and steals ref Billy Silverman’s belt right off his pants! DDP rips off Kidman’s wife beater t-shirt and the whipping ensues. Here comes Kimberly in a fancy Nitro Girl outfit to make the save. I mean, since this new clique Kidman was talking about won’t do anything to help. She tells DDP to simmer down now and takes her hubby backstage. This wasn’t bad, although DDP was already involved with other angles at the time. They would do this same angle later in 2000 with BUFF! DADDY! *
Bret Hart vs. Bill Goldberg – Winner gets the vacant WCW world title (12/20/99, Baltimore, MD)
Before the match, they show Jeff Jarrett backstage sitting in front of a TV monitor apparently not watching Monday Nitro because he would just be watching himself right now. Anyways, he’s sitting back enjoying a can of Surge: the soda for people who aren’t slapnuts. This is the night after Bret and Goldberg was the main event at Starrcade and Goldberg kicked Bret’s head off to unknowingly end his career. Bret had vacated earlier in the night because of the finish at Starrcade, now we’re getting the rematch to hopefully settle this once and for all. Goldberg overpowers Bret all around the ring to start. Bret goes for the knees, but Goldberg punches him back and puts the boots to him to send Bret walking on the outside. Goldberg follows him out and continues the beatdown. Bret tries a whip into the guardrail, but Goldberg reverses. Back inside, he hits the Press Powerslam and then grabs a kneebar. Bret makes the ropes and goes back to the knees. “Goldberg” chants go out. Goldberg chokes and backs up Bret as he limps across the ring. The ref eats a back elbow, so Bret kicks Goldberg between the goal posts. Bret hooks on a figure-four and here comes the world tag champs Scott Hall and Kevin Nash. What do you know, they’re armed with baseball bats! Just when it appears they’re going to nail Bret, they start unloading on Goldberg! SWERVE~! Bret then lets loose of the figure-four and uses Nash’s baseball bat on Goldberg. SUH-NAP! Roddy Piper comes out to save, but he gets nailed by Nash. As Piper lays on top of Goldberg to protect him, ref Billy Silverman counts the pinfall. (5:44) What is going on. Well, that somehow gives Bret Hart the win as he becomes a two-time WCW world champ. The U.S. champ Jeff Jarrett joins the crew and KA-BONGS Piper. Jarrett pulls out some spray paint and as Piper and Goldberg get tagged, the nWo 2000 are here. Tony never saw this coming. Just so YOU know. ½*
Kevin Nash vs. Sid Vicious – Winner gets the vacant WCW world title (1/24/00, Los Angeles, CA)
There’s no more Chris Benoit, so the world title is vacant! Kevin Nash as the Commissioner of WCW? Yeah, that makes sense. No powerbombs allowed in this one, says Tony. Sid slams Nash out of the lock up and drops the leg for 1-2-NO! He clotheslines Nash out so he can pose. Back in, Nash wants a test of strength. Sid first tries to get the half-empty Staples Center crowd behind him. They take the test of strength over to the corner where Nash lays in the knees. They trade corner clotheslines, but then Nash decides to take a powder. They brawl into the front row for a moment. Back in again, Nash grabs a sleeper. Sid’s arm drops once, twice, but not three times. Sid backs Nash into the corner, which conveniently sandwiches the ref as well. Sid hits a Big Boot and a Leg Drop, but there’s no ref bro! He tries working the crowd into a mild frenzy until Jeff Jarrett comes down to break up a POWERBOMB attempt. Sid knocks him away and steals his guitar. Nash gets KABONG’d. With all the guitar debris in the ring and a revived referee, Sid lays down to act like he was the one who got hit. Maybe he doesn’t only have half the brain that I do. He starts crawling towards Nash and covers him for the 1-2-3! (6:18) So Sid becomes one of the many to have won both the WWF and then the WCW world titles. By Thunder on Wednesday night, this would all get nullified. However, Sid would end up leaving that show a two-time world champ in the span of just three days TV time. ½*
DDP says when Eric Bischoff left WCW in September 1999 and the creative team of Vince Russo and Ed Ferrara took over, it felt like the air being let out of a balloon. It just didn’t feel right. In April 2000, Bischoff returned in what was a last ditch effort to save his beloved creation.
From 4/10/2000, thus begins the Bischoff-Russo era. A special meeting was called at the start of the show by Vince Russo and so what appears the entire WCW roster is in the ring. A lot of them I recognize, but there’s a TON of them that I don’t. I had already given up on WCW altogether back in January and had become a FULL time WWF mark by this point. I mean, how could you not during that time period. Jeff Jarrett hypes up the first on-screen WCW TV appearance of what he calls Vince McMahon’s best kept secret: Vince Russo. He’s the man behind the Powers That Be. Russo comes out to a “Iron Man” knock off theme. He announces that after giving Vince McMahon his life for the past several years, he’s here to beat Vince McMahon at his own game. Anyways, he starts shooting on the old timers in WCW that got up and left because they didn’t like the direction Russo was taking the company for fear of change and losing their jobs. Then Kevin Sullivan took over Vince Russo’s job in early 2000 and failed when he brought back the same old timers who put WCW back at #2, so now WCW has put Vince Russo back in charge. Eric Bischoff interrupts and gives Russo a big hug. Bischoff mentions how he and Russo have a lot in common because they were both screwed by the same good ol’ boys network. Now those days are over. He apologizes for the mistakes he has made with WCW – specifically Scott Hall, Kevin Nash, Sting, DDP, Sid ‘wished he was’ Vicious, and the biggest one of all being Hulk Hogan. We see DDP, Kimberly, Sting, Lex Luger, Elizabeth, and Sid Vicious watching on from the backstage monitor. Bischoff expresses his support for the new blood of WCW and wonders where the old timers are at. And here they come and stand by the jumbo tron. Bischoff begins to denigrate the old WCW franchise players and dishes out some shoot comments. He sarcastically thanks for showing up to work, but assures them that this time around, there will be a level playing field between them and the new blood. Vince Russo gets on the mic and calls Ric Flair a piece of crap on the bottom of his shoe and he can’t to scrape off that crap and personally flush him down the toilet. Russo then announces that all the titles will be vacated tonight and that they should all trust him. All the champions are already in the ring (where’s the cruiserweight champ TAFKA Prince at?), except the world champ Sid Vicious. Bischoff tells Sid to give up the belt, but then Sid tells Russo to come and take it away himself. Bischoff obliges and walks over to Sid to try and provoke him. Either he punches out Bischoff and he’s fired, or he gives up the belt. He’s only got two options. Bischoff even mentions the scissors incident, which nobody in the crowd gasps over because it’s just Y2K and not everyone knows about such things. Of course, no one is flipping out over these comments quite like Mark Madden on commentary. Sid reluctantly gives up the belt, to which Bischoff responds that he’ll see him at Spring Stampede where the REAL world champion will be crowned. As Bischoff returns to the ring with the world title in-hand and pats on the back from the new blood, the crowd starts chanting up Goldberg’s name. It’s all they really wanted. Long story short, the New Blood is born.
WCW World Heavyweight Champion Jeff Jarrett (w/Vince Russo) vs. Diamond Dallas Page – Cage Match (4/24/00, Rochester, NY)
I say again, I didn’t watch WCW at the time, so I have no real backstory for this match other than what I heard on commentary, which is DDP’s wife Kimberly turned on him at Spring Stampede and joined the New Blood. The match doesn’t start inside the cage, but starts as a fight that spills into the crowd and back around. Now we’re in the cage. DDP is in control as he tosses Jarrett into the cage a couple times. He even catapults Jarrett into the cage. Ten-count corner punch ends early with a low blow. Jarrett stomps a mudhole and walks it dry. Some cage violence ensues at the hands of Jarrett. More stomping from the world champ. DDP comes back with right hands a discus lariat leads to the DIAMOND CUTTER. Maybe? Nope, but something happens off-camera that we don’t get to see. Mike Awesome suddenly appears at the cage door and he’s trying to get inside. Jarrett DDTs Page and throws up the Diamond Cutter sign for some reason. I guess that means he’s about to get BANGED, which he does. Mike Awesome finally just rips the door open and stops the count at two. Kanyon follows him inside the cage and knocks him away so that ref Charles Robinson can finish the three-count. WHAT. (4:59) We’ve got a new world champ. Kanyon and David Arquette (?!) celebrate DDP’s third and final world title victory before they head out into the crowd. Two days later at Thunder would prove to be the site of the biggest atrocity to ever happen to a world title ever in the history of wrestling. Maybe I should just say, it has yet to get any worse than that. YOU know what I’m talking about. ¾*
3 Count (w/Tank Abbott) vs. The Jung Dragons (w/Leia Meow) – Ladder Match (7/18/00, Auburn Hills, MI)
Hey it’s Tank Abbott! The man who was Kimbo Slice before Kimbo Slice was around. According to him, 3 Count > N’Sync. I can’t imagine anyone would actually argue that point. In case you’re unaware, 3 Count is the future Hurricane Helms, and pretty much the present Shannon Moore and Evan Karagias. Whatever happened to Evan Karagias? Apparently, he’s soap opera acting now. As for the Jung Dragons, they are the future ROH world champ Jamie Noble (here disguised as Jamie-san), the future Jimmy Wang Yang, and Kaz Hayashi who these days is actually kind of a big deal in All-Japan. 3 Count brings a long ladder with them to the ring and their “gold record” hangs from the ceiling. Tony announces these two teams will meet at the New Blood Rising PPV in a ladder match over the “gold record”. According to original recaps, the Jung Dragons stole their fake gold record, but that doesn’t explain why it’s hanging from the ceiling right now. This makes ZERO sense. Instead of just climbing the ladder and retrieving their stuff before the Jung Dragons come out, they dance to their “hit song”. While they dance, Jamie-san try to sneak up and grab the record before they notice. It doesn’t work however, as we now have a match on our hands. Moore and Yang end up in a chicken fight that takes them over the top rope to the floor. While Karagias and Jamie-san trade punches at the top of the ladder, Hayashi and Helms turn it over. Karagias and Helms close up the ladder and then lay it down on the top turnbuckle. Yang interrupts and launches Moore for an awkward landing on the ladder. Yang then sets the ladder back on the top turnbuckle as Jamie-san gives Moore a superplex off the ladder. Okay? How is that supposed to be more effective? It’s maybe only six inches higher. Yang follows up and gives Moore a flying splash. Here comes Helms with a flying legdrop to Yang. Hayashi tries something on Helms, but he moves out of the way. Now Karagias grabs the ladder and turns into Terry Funk – even wipes out his own teammates. Karagias gives up on that and climbs the ladder, but the ladder gets turned over as he falls down on top of Tank Abbott and possibly breaks his own ankle in the process. Jamie-san then goes up and retrieves the gold record for the win, I guess. (3:18) This was somebody’s imitation of a spot fest and it just didn’t work. None of this made any sense to me. Apparently Evan’s ankle isn’t broken, since he showed up for that PPV match. ½*
WCW World Heavyweight Champion Booker T vs. Lance Storm – (8/7/00, Denver, CO)
So in the first six weeks Lance Storm entered WCW, he had already captured the WCW U.S. title and made it the Canadian title, the WCW Cruiserweight title and renamed it the 100 kg and Under title, and he won the WCW Hardcore title and turned it into the Saskatchewan Hardcore International title (S.H.I.T. GET IT?! Genius, right? Not.) all in that short span of time. Now I love Lance Storm, but that’s ridiculous for anyone to do that. So now Lance Storm is looking to become the first-ever Grand Slam champion by winning all the belts at once. There’s five people on commentary by the way: Tony Schiavone (who is past the point of caring on any level), Scott Hudson, Mark Madden, “The Fat Chick Thriller” Mike Awesome, and his recent fat chick girlfriend Heidi. Why is he out here? In six days at the New Blood Rising PPV, Awesome faces Lance Storm for a “Canadian” title shot. Haha, Booker has a mustache. Okay, here we go with the match. This crowd is surprisingly hot. Here comes a fat guy with a platter of Arby’s roast beef sandwiches for Heidi. Mike has to take care of his lady. Booker has an injured knee and we can see that because of the huge knee brace. Basic stuff until they go to the floor where Storm hits Booker with a springboard plancha. Back inside, Booker does a nice counter out of a Northern Lights suplex into a suplex of his own. Storm tries for the CANADIAN MAPLE LEAF on the bad knee, but Booker kicks him off. Superkick is blocked, which allows Booker to hit the SCISSORS KICK (using the bad knee). Jumping leg lariat (which completely whiffs Lance’s head) gets 1-2-NO! Booker connects with a superkick, but runs into a boot in the corner. Lance comes off the top and gets caught on the way down with a powerslam for 1-2-NO! Storm counters a possible German suplex into a CANADIAN MAPLE LEAF. Oops, he fell over. Okay now he has it locked in, but Booker makes the ropes. Storm catches Booker standing up with a Superkick, but charges into the 110th Street Slam for 1-2-NO! Missile Dropkick gets 1-2-NO! Storm knees out of the BOOK END one time, but takes it on the second try for 1-2-3. (5:25) Jeff Jarrett interrupts the celebration and starts kicking on Booker’s knee that doesn’t have a brace on it. Ummm? Jarrett uses Lance’s Canadian flag pole, which pisses him off. They brawl to the floor. Jarrett grabs his GEETAR and goes to KABONG Lance Storm, but he ducks and Heidi gets wiped out. Mike Awesome chases Jarrett into the ring where Booker gives him the BOOK END. This was probably as good of an example of WCW at the time as any I’ve seen. **½
WCW World Heavyweight Champion Kevin Nash, Jeff Jarrett, Scott Steiner & Vince Russo vs. Sting, Booker T, Bill Goldberg & KroniK – Triple Cage Wargames Match (9/4/00, Dallas, TX)
This is from Nitro’s fifth anniversary show. Regular Wargames rules, but you have they have to climb up to the top level to reach the WCW world title and then escape the cage to win, which makes teams seem irrelevant. Apparently you can win at any time too. Holy crap, wrestling’s biggest metrosexual Jeremy Borash joins Tony and Mark for commentary. Sting and Jarrett start us off here. There are ladders everywhere in this Hell in a Cell type cage where it encompasses the mats around ringside. Sting takes Jarrett around ringside and throws him into all sides of the cage. He does more of the same with a ladder leaned up against the corner inside the ring. Two minutes elapse, and Scott Steiner enters Wargames. Hey, at least they stuck to the heels always win the coin toss tradition. Steiner comes out wearing a nose guard. Since we get no context to what’s happening, I have no idea why he’s wearing a nose guard. Sting tries to climb up to the second tier, but Jarrett and Steiner jab him with a ladder as he falls and crotches himself on the top rope. They beat the crap out of Sting until KroniK enters the match together. Somehow since they won a match together to be in this match, they get to come into Wargames at the same time. Oddly, that makes sense. Scott Steiner climbs up to the second tier and finds bolt cutters to try and get out so he can climb up to the top tier. Meanwhile, KroniK deliver HIGH TIMES to Jarrett and then head up to try and stop Steiner from winning. Next up, here comes Vince Russo wearing a hockey helmet, a NJ Devils jersey, and a baseball bat in hand. Oh wait, and also the Harris brothers are with him. Meanwhile, Sting is setting up Jarrett for the SCORPION DEATHLOCK. Not sure why. The Harris brothers climb up the cage up to the second tier to possibly help Scott Steiner. They end up just getting in a kendo stick brawl with KroniK as Steiner returns back down to the ring. Now Sting gives Russo the Stinger Splash and puts him in the SCORPION DEATHLOCK. Just for fun. The world champ Kevin Nash is out next. He saves Steiner from a Stinger Splash and drops Sting with a Chokeslam. Russo wants a high five from Big Sexy. Wait a minute, Nash GOOZLES Russo and just chokes him for a good while. Jarrett and Steiner try to stop him, but they just can’t seem to come up with the right words. Somehow, the Harris Brothers and KroniK have all brawled from the second tier of the cage down into the crowd. Now Nash takes turns individually choking Jarrett and Steiner. I’m so confused! Here comes Booker T as he enters Wargames. AXE KICK to Jarrett! AXE KICK to Steiner! Even Russo takes an AXE KICK. There’s the Spinaroonie, but he stands back up into a Big Boot from Nash. Just as Sting and Booker seemingly have no choice, Goldberg enters the match. He destroys everybody until Russo knocks him out with his baseball bat. Meanwhile, Booker T finds himself on the second tier. After Goldberg gets handcuffed to the ropes, Steiner goes after Booker. Sting and Jarrett follow after them. While Sting tries to fight off Jarrett and Steiner, Booker climbs up to the top level and retrieves the belt. Now he has to climb back down and make it out the door. Booker nails both Jarrett and Steiner in the face with the title while now Sting gets handcuffed to the second cage. Steiner gets the belt away from Booker and then cleans his clock. Over comes Jarrett with a guitar and KABONGS Booker. As Steiner tries to climb down into the ring, he drops the belt down to Russo. The Cat, who I believe was the commissioner of WCW, comes out and kicks Russo in the face! He picks up the world title and acts like he’s going to win, but Nash who has been standing by the door ever since Goldberg came into the match, won’t allow this to happen. He JACKKNIFES Ernest Miller and poses with his belt. GOLDBERG MAD! He breaks the handcuffs and starts unloading on Nash, Steiner, and Jarrett. Russo goes to whack Goldberg again with the bat, but he blocks and decks Russo. As Goldberg starts to walk out the door with the world title, Bret Hart of all people hops the railing and slams the door in his face. Jarrett tosses the belt over to Russo as he and Steiner take care of Goldberg. Nash looks like he’s going to violently stop him, but then they share a big hug. Nash takes his belt back and walks out the cage together with the rest of his team for the win. (18:45) The one thing you can say here is the Wargames certainly got worse as the years went by, and I didn’t think it could get worse than the one from 1998. I’m sorry, but Wargames matches are designed for the faces to win and this just mostly felt ridiculous. Like most of WCW 2000 that I’ve seen which carries over into the TNA of today, it appears they are merely imitating what a wrestling company is supposed to be doing. I’ll be real kind with the rating though as some of the early Sting-Jarrett exchanges and Goldberg’s comeback at the end was somewhat entertaining. Of course that was before Bret Hart appeared in a moment that I have absolutely no clue as to why he was there. And I’ve read Bret’s book! If WCW was smart, they would have just let Goldberg win this one. *½
Onto one of the biggest blunders in wrestling history, Vince McMahon appears on the 3/26/01 edition of Monday Nitro and announces that he has purchased WCW. The very fate of WCW is now in Vince’s hands – and what arrogant hands they are.
Sting vs. Ric Flair – (3/26/01, Panama City, FL)
They started on Nitro against each other on Labor day 1995, now they will end it together. Sting had been absent from WCW programming since November when Scott Steiner laid him out with a chair during the Lethal Lottery finals (that’s right, I did SOME research), but he wasn’t going to miss a chance to wrestle Ric Flair in the last ever WCW match televised for anything in the world. Flair would later admit to feeling out of wrestling shape for this match, which is why you see him wearing a t-shirt here. Headlocks and shoulderblocks to start. Flair goes to the eyes and starts chopping. Sting turns the tables on him and hiptosses Flair out of the corner to set up a dropkick. You know the drill. Flair begs off and tries to start up the mind games, but takes a press slam instead. Ten-count corner punch leads to the Flair Flop. Where chops fail, a low blow to the balls will work. Flair drops the knee pad and delivers the Rolling Knee Drop. More chops. He heads up top which means he’s getting slammed down. HERE COMES STING! Clotheslines abound, but he whiffs on a dropkick. WOO! He applies the FIGURE-FOUR and cheats with a handful of ropes. Flair gets a few nearfalls off that. The crowd gets behind Sting as he pulls Flair away from the ropes and reverses the hold. The chops have no effect as Sting gets fired up again. Flair can’t flip out of the corner, so instead Sting takes the match up a notch with a superplex. SCORPION DEATHLOCK! Flair gives up. (7:19) And since it’s the final show and what could have been the final match they ever worked together (we still have our fingers crossed on TNA!), they break kayfabe and embrace. This was standard Sting-Flair. Nothing more, but nothing less either. **½
DDP closes out the program mentioning how realizing WCW was over didn’t really hit anyone until Shane McMahon walked out on camera. He calls it an emotional time for a lot of people. Yes, that’s true. Happiness is definitely an emotion. DDP says he can already hear the internet blowing up saying that condensing nearly six years of television into one production is a crime. DDP says he’s ready for volume two! Really? I feel like I need a week-long beach vacation after disc three.
WCW World Cruiserweight Champion Rey Mysterio vs. Mr. JL – (8/26/96, Palmetto, FL)
From my original Nitro broadcast review. Larry Z proposes investing in the wrestling mask market. Basic mat stuff to start until we HAVE to go outside where the nWo are spray painting graffiti on the production trailers! Oh man, we have to go to commercial after that. After the break, Tony and Larry spend the rest of the match talking about disgusting the nWo are for doing such a thing. Meanwhile, Mysterio springboard dropkicks JL to the floor for a somersault plancha. Looks like Dean Malenko comes out of the tunnel to get a closer look at the match. Mysterio gets a little distracted and decides to engage in an amateur wrestling contest. JL drops to the mat and lets Rey ride him, but then JL stomps Rey when he drops to the mat in classic heel fashion. A pair of backbreakers sets up a sitout powerbomb for 1-2-NO! JL applies a Boston crab and works off that for a while. Rey gets a couple nearfalls off hope spots, but JL manages to regain control. Boy, lots of distractions in this match as we head into the second hour of the show. Rey flips JL out to the floor and tries a baseball slide, but JL ducks and backs Rey into the guardrail. He tries to whip Rey into the steps, but Rey catches himself and jumps up on the steps and leaps onto JL for a headscissors down the aisle! Back in, the SPRINGBOARD HURRACANRANA gets the 1-2-3. (11:33 shown) Makes me wonder if a Mysterio/Malenko match was planned for Fall Brawl. **½
Final Thoughts: I think the best way to judge this set is by comparing it to the best of Raw of the first two seasons DVD set that was released last summer. What separates this Nitro set from that one is that you don’t necessarily need context to enjoy the better parts of the Raw set. For example, you don’t need to understand any kind of context to enjoy the Doink matches with Mr. Perfect and Marty Jannetty or Bret Hart against the 1-2-3 Kid. They are great matches by themselves. However, the matches we get on this Nitro set more times than not require you to understand the context of what is actually happening. Like, why did Kevin Nash start choking Jeff Jarrett and Scott Steiner in the Wargames match? Without context, it makes zero sense. Why is Kevin Nash and Sid Vicious fighting over a vacant world title? I thought Bret Hart was the world champion just a month earlier. What happened there? These are questions that the majority of WCW fans would need to be reminded of unless you’re a WCW fan who has no other thoughts or memories of life besides WCW, which in and of itself is truly sad. You might have had found on this DVD set a few feel good nostalgic moments, might even laughed and cried a time or two, but the great matches that do not require context are few and far between, although I am certainly glad Sting-DDP made the cut. That match is so much fun. So with that I say, no matter how big of a WCW fan you are, I would still give this set a slight thumbs in the middle. Not worth rushing out and buying, but it won’t kill you to have it in your DVD library.