This will be interesting. For those of you who have read the blog for awhile, this is the weekly post in which I watch along with the At Odds with Wrestling podcast for whatever classic wrestling event they are watching. In 2023 there’s going to be a theme! Joe’s picks will cover the period of WCW in between Vince Russo’s booking reigns. This show, the January 10, 2000 Monday Nitro from Buffalo, NY is the last show that Russo books under his first round. At least that is my understanding. The show is a mess, but is it any more or less of a mess than current wrestling has been this week? That’s a much longer conversation for another post. Let’s see what was happening over 20 years ago as WCW continued to lower their value.
There are a ton of highlights from last week’s episode of WCW Thunder throughout the episode. Future episodes of Thunder are rumored to be included as part of this assignment throughout the year, so I’m not going to recap the recaps. While we did not watch this episode of Thunder it’s easy to get caught up to speed along the way.
Terry Funk, the current acting commissioner of WCW, pulls up in a limo along with legends Larry Zybysko, Paul Orndorff, and Arn Anderson. Nitro is six days away from the WCW Souled Out pay per view. I’m sure that event has the matches written into stone and nothing could possibly change the upcoming stories.
Saturn, Shane Douglas, and Dean Malenko (with Asya) – the Revolution – come out. The Filthy Animals of an unmasked Rey Mysterio, Konnan, and Kidman come out. Shane Douglas joins for commentary.
Saturn and Dean Malenko vs Konnan and Kidman.
David Flair and Crowbar (WCW tag team champions) come out with Daffney. They attack everyone in the ring. Oh, this is a three way match for the tag titles. Well that was made not clear at all. Who will be the mystery partner at Souled Out? That’s a more important question than actually paying attention to anything in this match. There are no tags. All six men keep fighting. This match is a mess. Malenko and Saturn go after Rey, who is not wrestling, and appear to abandon the match. The fight goes off to the side and Saturn into the crowd. Why? Oh, so Saturn can jump off of a higher tier of seats and put Rey through a table. Sounds like a crash pad of some sort pops. Saturn is clutching himself in pain, even though he was on the offensive, allowing Flair to run over to pin Saturn. Apparently this match was also a Falls Count Anywhere match as well?
I’m watching this episode on Peacock and I’ll say it once, some of these music edits are horrible. Mike Tenay, Tony Schiavonnie, and Bobby Heenan are the announce team for this evening. It is announced that Funk has decided he will book on the fly tonight. More on that in a bit. But first, many more highlights from Thunder.
The nWo limo pulls up with the current roster of Bret Hart, Kevin Nash, Jeff Jarrett, and Scott Steiner. A second car is alongside featuring many lovely ladies who will be partying with the nWo. No, not the nWo, but just Scott Steiner, because it’s his birthday! Funk and the legends watch all from their locker room. Rey is put into an ambulance. Back to Steiner with the ladies and April Hunter bounces. This might be the best a woman is booked all night.
Oklahoma comes out with barbeque sauce and a broom. Hey, whatever happened to Ed Ferrara? I mean, I don’t really want to know, but he seems to have disappeared as much as Vince Russo hasn’t. Oklahoma befriends all women with lines including a hootchie’s place is in the kitchen. All of this is directed at Madusa. He challenges any woman in the back. Asya comes out. She does a moonsault entrance into the ring and lands on her feet. Despite being a rip off she does look great. Maybe she could have been something in a better company that also would have given wrestlers more training before putting them on TV. Oklahoma attacks her from behind, she fights back for a bit. Medusa now shows up and slowly walks to the ring in her fighting heels. Oklahoma breaks the BBQ sauce bottle over Asya’s head. Medusa gingerly gets into the ring, giving Oklahoma plenty of time to attack her and break the broom over her. Oklahoma takes off with Madusa’s cruiserweight title.
I’m convinced that Russo hates women or at best doesn’t believe they belong as wrestlers on a wrestling show. Only objects of desire or scorn. I’m a longtime fan of Madusa and I know she doesn’t do it for everyone but she’s always done it for me.
Funk and the legends walk. The nWo check in on Steiner during his sexual marathon.
Funk and the legends are in the ring. Funk cuts a promo on Nash. Funk calls his group the Old Age Outlaws. Let’s check that match. At the time Funk is 55, Arn is 41, Larry is 48, and Paul is 50. I’m sure Arn Anderson looked like an old man as an infant. Paul points out the guys in the front row, his Power Plant trainees, who are soon to become the New Blood. The nWo come out to have words with Funk. Funk makes matches for most of the nWo tonight. Jarrett will wrestle three times. Bret Hart will face Kevin Nash for the WCW title. Bret refuses because, “we’re like brothers”. That line might be the best acting Bret has ever done. Steiner has his mic bleeped out. I have no idea if that’s on Peacock or on the original airing. This segment goes on forever. For ever. For ever!
DDP and Buff are shown walking. Arn meets with a limo outside, but it’s not who he thought it would be. Kimberly Page arrives. Highlights of the Page vs Bagwell feud. Mean Gene brings out DDP and Buff. They can’t attack each other for five minutes and need to spend that five minutes having an adult conversation or else be fined $50,000. There’s even a clock on screen counting down the five minutes. DDP suggests Gene leave the ring for his own safety. Buff pulls a surprise microphone out of his pocket! In his kind of work it’s always good to keep anything you might need stuffed in your pants. The story is that DDP and Kimberly are having marital issues and Buff is Kim’s friend. But might he be more than friends? Buff says he’s “a good listener” and for some reason that’s one of the best lines of this back and forth. Kim is watching from the back. A birthmark is mentioned. The five minutes are up. Buff says everyone has seen the birthmark. Page punches Buff. Buff pulls a baton out of the same place he keeps his microphone and beats Page with it. Correct me if I’m wrong, but hadn’t Kimberly posed nude in some issue of Playboy before this? If so, everyone has seen the birthmark. (Yeah, Playboy’s Nude Celebrities in 1997.)
The nWo is in the locker room getting ready by talking. Arn meets a car in the lot.
Jeff Jarrett (US champ) with a bunch of plunder comes out for his Bunkhouse match. Chris Benoit is the special referee. The first mystery opponent is – the 63 year old George the Animal Steele. Steele throws the plunder around. Steele with a first terrible shot on Jarrett but the second and third connect better. Steele rips open the turnbuckle and takes off his shirt. He honestly looks the same as he did in the 1980s. Jeff hits Steele with a guitar. Arn hits a spinebuster on Jeff. Benoit puts Steele onto Jeff and then fast counts the three. Steele wins.
In the back Steiner continues his birthday celebration. Bret and Nash are getting taped up.
Jarrett talks to Nash. The legends hang out.
Mean Gene brings out Stevie Ray. Stevie his mad at his brother. Calls Booker T a sell out. Booker T and Midnight come out. Booker says he won’t fight his brother. Stevie hits Booker. Booker now immediately agrees to fight his brother. Well that was some compelling longterm booking.
Jarrett talks to Bret. Arn welcomes another car.
Benoit is back out to be the special referee. Funk and the legends come out. They introduce the second opponent, Tito Santana (47 years old here). Jarrett is out. Jarrett pushes some members of the Buffalo Bills that are sitting ringside. One is dressed as a Minion. This is apparently a Dungeon Match which can be won by pinfall, submission, or leaving the ring? Tito is doing alright but is clearly a little out of practice. It takes him three times to go over the top rope. A member of the Bills gets up to distract. Paul Orndorff hits a piledriver Tito pins Jarrett.
Tank Abbot walks.
Tank comes out to the ring to cut a promo. Not on his upcoming opponent, Jerry Flynn, but on the head of security Doug Dillinger. Doug comes out. Tank calls him a duck. Tank grabs Doug, Doug punches in self defense, Tank takes him down. Security and police grab Tank. Flynn comes out and kicks Tank down and Tank immediately pops back up. He’s as good at selling as he is at promos.
Arn welcomes the third car to the building and its Jimmy Superfly Snuka. Alright, let’s now talk about this. Funk says he’s going to book on the fly tonight. Apparently that meant one match, Bret vs Nash. Because one match had already happened before Funk’s promo. The only other matches this evening are Jarrett’s three against wrestling legends. Legends who if they were booked on the fly would not have made it all the way to Buffalo on a moment’s notice. Clearly Funk had this planned in advance!
Bret and Nash are getting ready. Someone has attacked Benoit backstage.
Jarrett is out for his third and final match which is a steel cage match. Jarrett says he took out Benoit to the shock of no one. Snuka comes out. Benoit is back. You just can’t keep a good man down. Benoit attacks Jarrett. Jarrett leaves the cage to get his guitar. He comes back in but now Larry Zybsyko and Paul Orndorff are also in the cage to attack Jeff. Look at Jarrett, even back in 2000 he’s putting the younger talent over. Superfly climbs up and jumps from the top of the cage, landing on Jarrett with a big splash. Benoit comes off the top of the cage with a headbutt and no lasting consequences for these actions. Benoit pops up to count the three and Snuka wins.
Bret and Nash walk. Steiner is getting exhausted. Tony Schiavonnie announces that fans can suggest their favorite matches for a WCW Fan Favorites home video release that I’m pretty sure never comes out. Oh, Jeremy Borasch will host the WCW.com post show. The legends have handcuffed a weakened Steiner in the back. Funk puts soap in Scott’s mouth.
Kevin Nash vs Bret Hart (WCW world champion).
We got an actual match! I thought this was going to be finger poke of doom level. Nash punches. Bret takes out the leg. It is announced that Jarrett has suffered a concussion after the double splash he just received. Well, I’m sure any concussions in WCW will be treated with the best medical care and plenty of time. This match should have been the end of the nWo. I wonder what will happen next? Nash is outside to grab a chair. Arn rushes out and hits Nash with a pipe. Arn is in a referee shirt and asks the actual referee to leave. Sid comes down and kicks a chair into Bret. I don’t know what was worse, Steele’s first chair shot or Sid’s kick. The cage lowers. Sid choke slams Bret. Sid powerbombs Bret and Arn counts the three for a match that wasn’t happening. Funk comes out with a flaming branding iron and places it on Nash’s stomach over the tights.
We’re out of time!
Five matches this evening. Three featuring Jarrett against legends who are not part of the roster. A three team tag match that makes up the rules as it goes along. Then Bret vs Nash that ends with Sid pinning Bret. I still don’t know the card for Souled Out. I think the only person who looks good is Funk, who might also be the oldest wrestler on the show. I suppose Benoit was given something but he also needed an army of retired wrestlers to take out his peer. If wrestling is all about money, and after this week I don’t think it’s about anything else, this episode gives me no reason to order a PPV in six days.