The end is here, everyone.
It is my final Nitro review for the week and what better way to end it then with the final episode of Monday Nitro.
We all know the story. A group called Fusient was ready to purchase WCW. The group was led by Eric Bischoff and he had plans in place completely rebrand the company and bring in some former ECW people to mix with WCW people.
But then Jamie Kellner came in and nixed all of that. He cancelled WCW programming on Turner Networks. Without the TV deal, WCW wasn’t worth it to the Fusient group. (But you can see what could have happened if Fusient bought WCW with the weekly pieces on this site!)
Vince McMahon swooped in and bought WCW for next to nothing. And everyone wondered what Vince would do with the company. I remember even as a kid at the time being disappointed that WCW was ending. I would always watch the first hour of Nitro then flip to RAW. I would tape Nitro and watch it the next day. But I would always flip channels as well. Though I did less of that come 2000.
ECW had just gone out of business a few months prior. Everything seemed to be falling apart in the wrestling business and now the WWF was left standing. I really didn’t know what to expect in the months ahead at the time. Little did I know that what I thought would become a huge invasion angle turned into nothing of the sort.
We start with Vince McMahon in front of the RAW interview chain link set. Vince of course brags about buying WCW and being able to address WCW fans and wrestlers. The fate of WCW is in his hands. And that is bad news.
At least we get the final WCW Nitro in a cool outdoor setting in a Panama City, Florida. Tony Schiavone and Scott Hudson are on commentary. Even now, it just feels so weird hearing Tony Schiavone talking about the fate of WCW being in Mr. McMahon’s hands.
The classic Ric Flair music hits and out comes the Nature Boy. Flair says Vince isn’t going to hold anybody in the palm of his hands. Flair says he was a part of the greatest wrestling organization in the world. Flair brings up Vince’s dad voting for him to become World Champion in 1981 while Vince was just trying to be an announcer.
I don’t think Flair really had any point to this promo. But I will never turn down a classic crazy Ric Flair rant. I think Flair is now going after Vince for never being on the road and busting his ass like every wrestler in the back did. Flair finally says his greatest opponent ever in WCW was Sting and Flair challenges him to a match tonight.
It amazes me WCW was still airing Macho Man Slim Jim commercials in 2001.
Champion vs Champion, Title for Title: WCW Champion Scott Steiner vs United States Champion Booker T
No, we do not get an intro to this match in Vince’s voice like we did for Wrestlemania 6. I’m kind of surprised this went on first. I mean obviously Sting vs Flair should be the last match with Vince’s simulcast in the main event. But you could have done this at the top of the second hour.
It takes Steiner about five seconds of being out there before he starts shouting at a fan. Crazy Scott Steiner is great. Midajah slaps Booker T right in the line of vision of the worst referee ever, Nick Patrick. Steiner tries hitting Booker with a lead pipe but Booker ducks. Hudson says Steiner tried to kill Booker T. I don’t think that is anywhere true.
Steiner is in control of the match until he runs right into a Booker T dropkick. Booker hits the Harlem Sidekick. He goes for the Book End but Steiner counters into a northern lights suplex for two. Didn’t have the same bridge that Alicia Fox does. Booker counters a powerbomb attempt into the Book End for the win and is now a double champ.
A WCW Spring Breakout promo, brought to you by 1-800 COLLECT. Yes kids, at one point you had to call that number to make a long distance call.
The Jung Dragons vs 3 Count vs The Filthy Animals
This match is a number one contenders match for a shot at the Cruiserweight tag titles later in the night. Yes WCW had those in its dying days. I can’t believe the Filthy Animals were still a thing at this point.
Rey dropkicks one of the Jung Dragons to the outside then takes him out. This leads to a succession of dives until they all hit one. Kidman catapults off the ropes and hits a shooting star press, but no one catches him and he lands hard.
Now we are back in the ring, and now everyone is hitting some big moves inside the ring. There is no flow to the match. Just the next move. Rey still has those stupid horns on his head. He ends up hitting a guillotine leg drop on Moore for the win. Sadly this means no more 3 Count performances and that is a damn shame.
Trish Stratus and Vince celebrate as Vince makes out with her. Gross.
WCW Cruiserweight Championship: Shane Helms (c) vs Chavo Guerrero
Helms has dancers with him for his entrance but I can’t tell what they are dancing to because we get some awful dub music. WCW was starting to push Helms as the face of the Cruiserweight division. He hits a nice sunset flip pinfall attempt off the top for two.
We get some nice back and forth action between both of these guys. This is a cruiserweight match with an actual story in the ring rather than just move for move for move. Helms ends up hitting a superkick, called the Sugar Smack, then connects with the Vertebreaker to retain the title.
WCW Tag Team Championship: Chuck Palumbo and Sean O’Haire (c) vs Team Canada (Lance Storm and Mike Awesome)
Too little too late for Mike Awesome in WCW. He was brought in as a big signing and then saddled with the Fat Chick Thriller and That 70’s Guy gimmick. I will always be a Mike Awesome mark so I hated everything WCW did to him.
Palumbo and O’Haire were pegged as the breakout stars of the Natural Born Thrillers. Everyone thought O’Haire was going to be a big deal. He gets the hot tag and goes to work on Team Canada.
Storm does a nice sliding duck of a clothesline and hits one of his own. Awesome goes for an Awesome Bomb but Palumbo escapes and hits a super kick. O’Haire follows it up with a Seanton Bomb for the win.
Tattoo Match: Bam Bam Bigelow vs Shawn Stasiak w/Stacy Kiebler
So the loser of this match has to get tattooed. Has anyone had more of an irrelevant wrestling career than Shawn Stasiak? Maybe Van Hammer, since he is awful.
Bam Bam comes out with a tattoo kit so he is ready. Hudson says Stasiak doesn’t want to feel the needle but given his physique, I have a feeling he used a needle or two before.
Stacy distracts the ref to stop from counting three on Stasiak. She then pulls Stasiak away from Bam Bam and Stasiak wins with a neckbreaker. Well, that was a waste of everyone’s time.
DDP cuts a video promo thanking the fans.
William Regal tries talking Vince out of buying that wretched WCW.
WCW Cruiserweight Tag Team Championship: Elix Skipper and Kid Romeo (c) vs Kidman and Rey Mysterio
Romeo is only 25 but looks 50. Schiavone rips on Regal for trashing WCW, saying “we had to put your ass over on TV.” Tony is giving no damns tonight. The heels work over Kidman as Romeo hits a nice launch off the top over Skipper for two. Romeo goes to the top again but Kidman catches him with a dropkick coming off the top for two.
Rey gets a hot tag and he connects on a nice tornado DDT. Rey sends Romeo to the outside. Kidman slides into the nuts of Skipper then Rey hits the Bronco Buster. Romeo comes back in and hits a double underhook slam.
Some near falls from both teams as Kidman ends up hitting the Kid Crusher for the win. Not bad action.
Sting accepts Ric Flair’s challenge and says the only thing certain about Sting’s future is that nothing is for sure. I remember being so disappointed when Sting never came over to WWE at the time.
Ric Flair vs Sting
I understand why they wanted to do this match on Nitro, but poor Ric Flair was in no shape to wrestle on this night. He’s wrestling with a shirt on as he comes out with his trademark robe. Flair also just doesn’t look right with the short hair that he had at this time.
Schiavone and Hudson don’t care right now as they say these two put on a classic the same night of Wrestlemania 4. Flair lands some chops in the corner but it is one too many as Sting hits some of his own then a nice dropkick sending Flair to the outside.
Sting hits a gorilla press slam then corner mount punches Flair as we get a Flair Flop. Flair begs off and grabs the ref, hitting a low blow out of the site of Little Naitch.
Flair gets control for a bit but then goes to the top. Come on Ric, when has that ever worked for you! Flair gets press slammed off the top by Sting. Flair blocks a Scorpion Death Drop by holding the ropes and applies a Figure Four. Flair uses the ropes for leverage but Sting eventually reverses the hold and Flair breaks it.
More chops from Flair but they don’t phase Sting. Sting throws Flair into the corner and hits a superplex followed by the Scorpion Death Lock and Flair taps. Sting picks up Flair and shakes his hand and they hug.
We get a weird cut right to the RAW Simulcast. Vince says this is not only being seen on TNN, but also TNN, Turner Network Television. Yeah he meant to say TNT obviously. Vince says Time Warner is begging him to buy WCW, but he will only sign the contract at Wrestlemania. And he will sign it when Ted Turner delivers it himself. That would have actually been cool.
Vince said he did this all on his own. I mean, WCW imploded on its own so he isn’t too far off in some ways. Vince says he wants to have Ted Turner watch what he does to his son Shane. A classic Vince line about grabbing your competition and squeezing the life out of it.
Now Vince wants to know what to do with WCW. He says maybe he will sit back and watch the old videos on TV. Hey we can do that now! Vince says maybe he will turn WCW into a huge media conglomerate. Who should be in he asks?
- Hulk Hogan- crowd boos
- Lex Luger- crowd boos
- Buff Bagwell- kind of a mix. Cleveland knows Buff is the Stuff
- Booker T- mix
- Scott Steiner- 75/25 cheers
- Sting- cheers
- Goldberg- huge cheers
This promo by the way is going on wayyy too long. Vince is just listening to himself talk at this point. Vince makes fun of WCW’s last show being in a beer hall. I mean, is a beach really a beer hall? Vince says WCW is buried and will remain buried. Vince starts screaming about demanding respect.
No Chance in Hell hits. Vince is ready for Shane to come out, but Shane is over in Panama City on Nitro. Shane lets know that the contract reads McMahon, but it says Shane McMahon! WCW kicked his ass in the past, and Shane will do the same this Sunday at Wrestlemania.
So we all know how the Invasion ended up happening. Triple H got hurt so they rushed it, but they didn’t want to bring in any of the big names because of their contracts. And it would “upset” the locker room that these guys were paid more. You know what I say to that?
You know why guys like Goldberg, Nash or Hogan were making more than the “locker room leaders” like Undertaker, JBL and Hardcore Holly? Because they earned it. And because of this jealousy those guys left the opportunity to make MORE money on the table.
The Invasion PPV did great for a non Big Four show. But imagine if they would have done Goldberg vs Austin on that show. It would have topped a million buys and paid for Goldberg’s contract in one night.
But the key is you would have to make Goldberg and WCW look like a threat. Have Goldberg win in under five minutes. Then slowly but surely you have more WCW guys showing up and challenging others to matches. At Survivor Series this leads to a 5-on-5 match for control of RAW:
Sting, Goldberg, Ric Flair, DDP and Hulk Hogan vs Steve Austin, The Rock, Undertaker, Kane and Kurt Angle.
WCW gets the win and gets control of RAW. So essentially you get Nitro again. But this gives you the opportunity to showcase WCW talent and see what you have with some of the younger guys. It shows you who can be a team player under the WWF umbrella. And if it failed? Then you have something to hang your hat on if you are WWF guy and say “I told you so.”
At Wrestlemania, we get a best of 9 series between WWE and WCW with one promotion winning, and one promotion going away forever.
The Outsiders vs Kane and Undertaker
Hulk Hogan vs The Rock
Sting vs Kurt Angle (I’m not doing Taker vs Sting since this is American Bad Ass Taker still)
Ric Flair vs Triple H
DDP vs Chris Jericho
Booker T vs Edge
Scott Steiner vs Big Show
Eric Bischoff vs Vince McMahon
Goldberg vs Steve Austin
Austin gets his revenge on Goldberg. WCW and their top guys go away for a bit as you slowly integrate who you want to keep into the WWE. Obviously you could go longer with the WCW/WWE split, but that was a rough outline of how I thought it out.
I hope you have enjoyed my reviews this week folks. It was a nice trip down memory lane for me and I hope for you the reader as well!