Written by: Kevin Kildenberger
Instead of one long rambling monologue I would stretch it out into three. I had many ideas of what I wanted to write but I keep changing my mind, so I will just roll with it and see where it goes. I got back into wrestling just over two and a half years ago, I did some serious reading and watching on You Tube and WWE produced DVD’s, with my focus being mostly on WCW. As a history guy wallowing in nostalgia I wanted to experience all that I missed. Usually what I got was that WCW was terrible, and that it deserved to die, or former WCW guys now in the employ of WWE happily shat on it. I got angry, not sure why, but I ended up pretty peeved with an axe to grind. How could a show that dominated for two plus years going back from 95 through 98 be so terrible? When I watched in 99 and parts of 00 there was some awful stuff but what about the nWo and so on? How could Death of WCW be so biased against WCW? Only speaking to certain people and not really being a history book but more of a subjective rant. I read it and experienced what I thought was righteous anger at the time. So I decided to watch all the Nitros, and then decided to add in the PPV’s and Thunders. That was my original intention. Then I thought why not watch RAW and SD and its PPV’s? That would give me a truer assessment of the products and the time. I did so, and I am glad that I did. I then thought about ECW but was just too overwhelmed and decided, and in hindsight, wrongfully that I would just get to it later. I should have watched it along with Nitro and RAW and now I know that but I don’t have a DeLorean to correct my fuck up. As stated my goal was to prove to myself and maybe some others that WCW was not that bad and was in fact great. I think I did that. I never hid the fact that I had a WCW bias and I will not start now. Hell I am wearing a DDP shirt as I type this. I will say that I never purposely upgraded a score or downgraded a score on either WWF or WCW due to a bias. I may have overlooked things on WCW or I may have highlighted them more on the WWF, but such is life. No one is perfect, and I don’t pretend to be. If you and I sat down to watch a Nitro and RAW I can almost guarantee that we would have differing opinions. Not being a fan of the Attitude Era is almost sacrilege today but I have made no bones that I am not a big fan. But I will say 1997 was one kick ass year and 97 was really good too. Parts of 2000 were solid, so in no way do I dislike WWF and they have some incredible PPV’s that WCW cannot measure up to outside of their undercard.
One thing I learned: Everyone has biases, and me getting all “righteously” angry was petty and downright stupid. I don’t agree with many of the conclusions of Death of WCW but it is what it is. It is not a bad book and WCW fucked up colossally. They did wait too long to push other guys, rode the same angle etc. But WWF/E are just as guilty, but by 2000 one has to wonder if there was room for two successful organizations. Let’s say WCW managed to stick around, I don’t think it would ever have become as successful as it once had. Now there were things that could have been done to certainly extend its life by a couple to a few years, and the downfall could have been delayed, as Russo may never have come onboard. I don’t blame him, but his type of wrestling is just not that good and he spent as much money as Bischoff did, thinking that money was the answer. I liked Bischoff’s style of running things, sure he was a douche but when running on all cylinders he helped put on some great shows. But there was too much chaos, too much backstage nonsense and the politics had become poisonous. However with all that said, 2001 has been pretty damn good. If Time Warner decided to let WCW continue, I think they could have gotten the ratings back up to near a 3, increased buyrates and attendance. But they would have to settle on a smaller scale. Stay in stronger WCW regions, book smaller arenas and realize the days of a 1.0 buyrate were long gone. Also, I may not appreciate Jamie Kellner, but the fact remains that WCW lost 60 plus million dollars the prior year. They had to go on a smaller scale and cut way back. Losses like that are wholly unacceptable. Now WCW was trying to save money, dumping contracts, less expensive sets, filming Thunder after Nitro and cutting back on expenses. But clearly it was not enough. Now, WCW could have become hot again but with the changing demographic as MMA became more popular, football too as well as so many different choices on TV and the rise of the Internet. Not saying that WCW could not have survived as wrestling is flexible but not at the level it had previously enjoyed and beating the WWF was out of reach. I truly wish it had survived, as I am a fan of wrestling and WCW, and it would have been great to see the current angle come to fruition and maybe see Goldberg return etc. However, everything is ephemeral and WCW could have continued to flounder, the politics return, bad booking decisions and so on could have sunk it anyway. Had Kellner kept it on, it most likely would have been under probation and who knows how Fusient would have felt about that. But even had it lasted a year or two more or even just a couple of months I would be that much happier as I would have more wrestling to watch as my two plus year journey comes to an end.
One last note: I don’t appreciate the fuckery of history with Vince McMahon knowing (or hoping)the average fans short memory span, and the fact that he has a near monopoly that he can skew history to his side. To his credit he has been pretty damn successful. WCW gets buried still. WCW guys get buried, the history of it is buried. Every member minus DDP and Booker T seemingly hated their time in WCW. DVD releases have changed history, mocked WCW, and even the Best Wrestlers of the 90s DVD managed to take pokes at WCW. Hell when the history of Nitro DVD was released, they managed a fucking dig. DDP was hyping it up and Shawn Michaels randomly appeared claiming he was working that day. In fact Shawn you were a prima donna pissant who had lost his smile. This is what I don’t appreciate and WCW needed some of its history in all its rust and glory restored and I hoped to Christ that at least one person out there realizes that WCW for all its problems made wrestling as a whole better and the landscape has not been the same since it fell, and in fact is arguably far worse, and unfortunately many fans will not know or to be fair really care that there was once a wrestling organization that helped revolutionize the business.
Jarrett is walking towards the ring and Schiavone informs us that Monday Nitro is on the air. JJ is in the ring and JJ raises his guitar at the crowd and Dustin Rhodes ambushes him. JJ is tossed over the top rope and hammered. But he comes back, and as Dustin gets back in the ring he is hotshotted off the top rope. But Dustin hammers him in return, hooks him in the corner and punts his nuts. He has the mic and gives JJ a little taunt.
A high positioned camera shows Animal and Luger and Animal getting out of a limo.
Luger had a camcorder, and Buff has it set up. Flair is talking into the camera. Or he is holding it actually as Flair wants it panned around the room bragging that they are an elite group of wrestlers. Flair has wrestled everyone, he is the dirtiest player and the Nature Boy. He brags about himself. He mentions Piper and Savage and all those who tried to run him off and couldn’t. Scotty has his own hitlist and then Scotty brags about all the guys he has taken out. JJ wobbles in and asks where the hell they were. They try to reassure him.
They do some recapping and then sadly (for me) pan to three empty seats surrounded by some suits that are supposedly for the new owners of WCW.
Schiavone bellows that something is happening in the back and they take an hour to get a camera there. Midajah is laid out and Steiner kicks the cameraman out.
Match 1: Elix Skipper and Kid Romeo v. Jung Dragons
All four go at it. Yang leaps on top of both heels on the floor. Romeo and Kaz are going at it. Kaz is decleated with a lariat. Skipper is in and they go at it, and Skipper plants him with a double underhook slam. Romeo gets the tag and Skipper picks him up by his legs and slams him down on Kaz. Two count. Skipper is back in and he manages to reverse the whip and kick Skipper square in the skull. Romeo gets the tag and Kaz has to pull his hand back so Romeo can attack him! But he slips free and Yang gets the hot tag, and he goes off. He tosses both men around. Skipper is mounted and pounded in the corner. Romeo belts him and Yang is powerbombed. Kaz makes the save. He kicks Skipper in the head and then oddly stops so Romeo can takes him down. Yang helps out, and he drives his head into the canvas and Skipper has to make the save. Those two end up on the floor, and the other go at it in the ring. Skipper pulls Kaz out and spikes him on the floor. Yang misses the corkscrew moonsault and Skipper finishes him off with the Play of the Day.
**1/2 Fun match.
More of Buff’s documentary. Scotty is pissed about what happened with Midajah and wonders where the hell everyone was at. He finally realizes he should check the camera.
Storm and Awesome come out. Storm proclaims that the further he gets from Canada the lower the IQ of the crowd becomes. He is smarter than the entire front row. Anthem time and the Mamalukes interrupt it. Vito calls them some sort of name and says something about wiseguys and Italian style.
Match 2: Storm and Awesome v. Mamalukes
All four go at it. Storm takes it to Vito and now Awesome continues to punish him. Vito comes back and he and Bull tee off. Vito though is missile kicked by Storm. Awesome muscles him up and destroys him with the Awesome Bomb. Bull is slow and cannot make the save.
Bull eats a Bomb and the Filthy Animals run down to clear the ring.
Miss Hancock! But they introduce her as Stacy. She has a baby carriage and is wearing an unflattering dress. She claims that she has changed. The fans and her baby changed that. Stasiak comes out and there are some Meat chants. She is caressing him and he tells the fans to shut up and listen. She takes off the dress and starts to dance saucily. Fuck to the yes. Jesus there are pictures of himself in the stroller and he throws them into the crowd. He taunts the crowd for being fat. Here comes Bigelow who takes exception to the fat comment, beats him up and challenges him at the PPV.
Now they are finally getting to watching the tap. JJ leaves and then Rick does. Luger does and Buff tells Midajah he needs to get a new battery and will be right back. The camera is moved and Midajah is wiped out. Steiner is pissed….
Booker takes his time coming out. He is happy to be back and really glad to be in Tennessee, God’s Country. He is willing to take anyone on. Scotty comes out and he is raring to go. DDP is in the crowd and wants some Steiner. Steiner calls him white trash. DDP says that he sucks, really sucks. DDP asks who he wants and Steiner rants for a bit. Booker tells him to get in the ring. Luger ambushes Booker and if DDP intervenes he loses his title match. Luger is dismantling Booker. No ref. Booker is Racked and the ref finally comes and calls for the bell. Luger thinks he has won. Nope. Now the match is starting.
Match 3: Booker T v. Lex Luger
Booker has time to recover. Luger sledges him but Booker comes back and runs him down, kicks him but he is whipped into the corner. Luger runs into a boot and is booted again. Booker sideslams him for two. Luger lures him over and shoves him to the floor. Luger goes after him but he is kicked and chopped but Luger sends him into the railing off the reversal. Back in the ring Luger continues his typically slow offensive. Booker tries to fight back but he is chopped and dropped. Luger is pulling back on the arms. Booker powers up and nails Luger a couple of times but Luger decks him and he goes for a suplex but it is reversed. Both are slow to get up and Booker blocks a blow, axe kick and now the Harlem Kick. He motions for the Book End but Luger tries to reverse the whip but it is right into the Book End. Booker wins!
**1/2 Jesus, Luger is really allowing himself to be jobbed out and an extra half for that.
Booker is ambushed by Rick Steiner and now he and Luger decimate him. Cat comes down to make the save and he initially does well, but Kanyon comes down and Flatlines him. Now DDP comes out and the heels flee.
Match 4: Evan Karagias v. Shane Helms
They go at it. Back and forth the first minute. Helms plants him for two but Evan comes back and he runs him around the ring, and he gets a near fall. Evan counters out of Helms’ finisher and ends up on his shoulders and knocks him back. Helms tries to counters but he is suplexed. Helms leaps back out of the corner nailing Evan and then he superkicks him. They call it the Sugar Smack…Jesus. After the two count Evan comes back and he slams Shane and then stomps away. He follows up with a DDT and goes up top and nearly muffs the spinning splash. He does connect. Two count. But Helms counters with one of his 18 finishers: Nightmare on Helms Street and then the Vertabreaker. Chavo beats him after the match.
**1/2 Okay. Crowd was pretty dead.
MI Smooth is asking Disco something. Disco demurs and gets knocked out. It is just business according to Smooth.
A quick pre-recorded interview with Dusty and Dustin talking about taking Dusty’s pick up to Jacksonville and the PPV.
JJ and Flair are looking forward to the match too.
Match 5: Kanyon v.
It was supposed to be Disco Inferno and that is why MI took him out. Smooth is limping towards the ring. He finally gimps into the ring and is assaulted by Kanyon. Smooth will not give up and so Kanyon keeps pummeling him. Fans aren’t really into it, nor am I. Kanyon starts to leave again and Smooth calls for more and so Kanyon obliges. Jesus this goes on for nearly two more minutes! Smooth is still coming at him.
Match 6: Scott Steiner (c) v. DDP
Steiner does his thing on the mic: Calls DDP stupid and white trash. Damn he rambles for a long ass time. They are really trying to kill some time. He finally finishes and I guess DDP is facing Rick Steiner instead.
After the break the match has begun and DDP is tearing into him. He knocks him to the floor and rails him. Back in the ring, DDP goes up and he is crotched hard enough where he topples to the mat. Steiner goes to work. Slowly. DDP tries to comeback but he is knocked around some more. DDP is crushed with a belly to belly. After the two count, Rick gets in the ref’s face. DDP pounces and he slugs him down. He pulls him down and into the post. Rick is able to block the DC and DDP is down. Using the ropes Rick gets two. He hits the middle rope bulldog. But he only gets two.
Hudson has run backstage as supposedly something major is going down.
Rick shows the signal for the Cutter. DDP is whipped into the corner but Steiner misses. However, DDP is taken back down and hammered. Rick has him up but DDP slips free: Diamond Cutter! Animal runs down to stop the count but he too is Cutted! Luger and JJ and Buff have run out. They pan to Hudson and someone is on a gurney and they promptly pan away from it….Who the fuck is it? They go back to the DDP ass whipping. Page fends them off and starts to leave but is assaulted by Scotty and the beatdown continues as we fade….
**1/2 Disappointing show, probably deserves a half star less and in fact it does. **. It felt really disjointed as the PPV was all but set up so this felt like they were just killing time. They added in another random match with Bigelow and Stasiak. The whole MI Smooth thing is just stupid. It is like they ran out of things to do before the PPV as they decided to have Buff do some sort of Documentary as he called it and it was just him running around in the dressing room with a camera where he put a battery in with little charge. Who attacked Midajah? Maybe I missed it. Probably I just don’t care. A throwaway show and that is sad as this is there is only really one Nitro left. They should have just focused on the wrestling. Book a couple of long matches. Keep the documentary and Smooth stuff out of it. Hopefully Thunder does that.
34-year-old currently living in Syracuse, New York. Long-time fan of the New York Mets, Chicago Bulls, and Minnesota Vikings. An avid fan of professional wrestling and write reviews/articles on the product. Usually focusing on old-school wrestling.