Once again we join together to watch a classic wrestling event thanks to the At Odds with Wrestling podcast. The homework discussion is now part of their Patreon but you can enjoy the play by play alongside me each and every week.
This episode of Nitro takes place the night after the Souled Out PPV. Chris Benoit won the WCW title that night after injuries to Bret Hart and Jeff Jarrett caused the card to change. Then before Nitro – Benoit alongside Eddie Guerrero, Perry Saturn, Dean Malenko, and Shane Douglas walked out. Shane walked back in but the other four have a hell of a WWE debut soon. With so much chaos happening, what kind of Nitro will this be?
A limo pulls up with “Nash NL” on the license plate. Nash, Jarrett, and Scott Steiner arrive.
Kidman vs Psicosis starts the show. Mike Tenay, Tony Schiavone, and Bobby “the Brain” Heenan (once his headset works) are the announcers for the evening. “As soon as this match is over we’ll discuss the last 24 hours.” There isn’t enough time in your two hour show to discuss everything that happened. This match is actually really fun and the crowd is HOT. Good chemistry, no bullshit match, just fun cruiserweight wrestling. Kidman hits a face jam for the pin. I see a steel cage above and, spoiler alert, this is never in play nor mentioned during the evening. I don’t know if there was a steel cage dark match or if the original booking plans involved a cage and when everything changed that had to as well.
The announce team give some updates. Arn Anderson appears and says he made a mistake in last night’s match and because of that error he is reversing his decision and the WCW World title is still vacant.
The Harris Brothers act as security for new commissioner Nash. Mean Gene interviews Booker T and Midnight.
The “New” Harlem Heat – Stevie Ray and Big T – come out. Stevie says he’ll give Booker another chance. Booker comes out and hits Big T first. Stevie says start the match – this is a match?! Big T hits a shitty tiger bomb. Booker fights back, Stevie distracts the ref, Big T pulls a slapjack out of his fanny pack – oh so that’s what’s in those things – to get the win. Stevie says Booker has no street smarts. Midnight comes out, and the New Heat let her by. Really a nothing segment and it shows how bad Big T is and will continue to be.
The Mamalukes and Disco walk.
Disco Inferno (with the Mamalukes or whatever they’re called now) vs Vampiro.
There will be World title news on Thunder. Which is recorded tomorrow. But will air on Wednesday. Don’t forget. This match isn’t too bad. Disco tosses Vampiro outside. The Mamalukes beat him up a bit. I thought the referee was throwing them out, but no. Disco is outside later and the Mamalukes try to help him back in but they help him right into a Nail in the Coffin and Vampiro wins. Yeah it’s Disco, but this wasn’t bad.
Tylene Buck, April Hunter, and two more ladies present themselves for the nWo.
Oh WCW Surge cans! I think I still have an empty one or two somewhere.
3 Count come out to dance. It’s so cheesy and I still love it. David Flair, Crowbar, and Daffney come out. Daffney is wearing the tag title.
Flair and Crowbar vs Shannon Moore and Shane Helms.
Ms Hancock comes out with Standards and Practices – the former Lenny and Lodi – to take notes. Why was Daffney never in WWE? She’s a rookie here and just captivating. Evan Karagias stalks Daffney, Flair attacks him with a crowbar. Crowbar is wrestling this match alone for his team. Flair picks his spot which causes Shannon to fall outside. Crowbar hits an inverted DDT on Shane for the win. 3 Count want to finish their song. Again, it’s enjoyable. Flair is terrible as a wrestler but the gimmick is fun. All of the gimmicks here are fun, and there’s nothing wrong with fun in wrestling.
Backstage with Nash, what’s left of the nWo, and the ladies. Same segment after a commercial break. Nash wants to get rid of the Old Age Outlaws and that’s the only mention of them tonight I believe.
The Maestro (with Symphony) vs Tank Abbott.
By the time I was done writing down the names in my notebook this match was over. Tank knocks out the ‘Stro. Norman Smiley comes out, maybe to challenge Tank, but then Meng shows up too. That’s about it. Nothing segment.
All of the wrestlers come out for a state of WCW address. There are a lot of people in the ring that I had no idea were still in WCW at the time. Nash comes out and bequeaths gifts to the wrestlers. “I sound like Oz.” Okay, that was funny. That’s also about the only funny line in this segment which goes on far far too long. Nash gives Jarrett back the WCW United States title. This does count as another reign for Jarrett. Padding his accomplishments. Jarrett says he has two words for us, “holy slapnuts”. Well, slapnuts as one word does not have a red line under it as I write this so I guess that’s proper English for the word. Nash makes new rules and it’s just putting on a comedy show for an audience of one. Sid is in the back, watching on a monitor, drinking Surge, like one does.
Backstage, Nash give Kimberly Page her referee outfit.
Mike Rotunda and Rick Steiner – the Varsity Club (with Leia Meow) vs Masahiro Chono and Super J.
With everything else happening in WCW at this time, this is the most WTF moment of the show. First, we’re informed that Super J is also known as Jeff Farmer and was nWo Sting. Alright, good for him. We get a run down of the history of nWo Japan and Team 2000. Know what would have been great? Seeing any of this on TV. Saturday Night, Power Hour, Worldwide, Thunder. Any of it. But we’re up to speed on everything except why Chono and J are wearing jumpsuits.
(The following announcement has been paid for by the Council of Grease. Holy crap Leia Meow. Wow. Granted she looked beautiful in ECW but whoever signed her to a contract just to jump up and down in a barely cheerleader outfit is a creative genius. I remember some of the other stuff she would do with the Varsity Club and I will wait to see if her warm ups are on future Nitros or Thunders. Side note, ever think someone is hired at a place just because the person who did the hiring wants to have sex with that person?)
Rotunda is so good here. One forgets how good he is, and he should really be in WWE Hall of Fame. Maybe one of his kids can induct him. What are they up to right now?
On the other side, what the hell is wrong with Steiner here? Is he drunk, pilled up, concussed? Someone of his experience should not be acting like this in this match. It looks like everyone else is giving him Lita level protection for the brief times he’s in the match. The tags are confusing. Chono and Steiner fight in the aisle then Steiner comes back, walks right through the ring and the match going on, to get into his corner. Rotunda has Chono pinned, then over the next ten minutes the referee is distracted and Super J reverses the roll up allowing Chono to get the win. This is by far the worst segment of the night.
The Wall walks.
Sid Vicious vs the Wall.
Sid attacks the Wall right away. He’s in a foul mood after the events of the last 24 hours. Big brawl outside of the ring. Meanwhile, Nash meets with the Mamalukes and Disco and sends them out to the ring to take out Sid. Sid chokeslams and pins the Wall. Then Sid waits for the Mamalukes to finally show up. He takes out Johnny the Bull and Big Vito. Disco shows rare wisdom and runs away.
WCW Credit Card commercial. I wouldn’t want an active one but a dead card could be interesting in a collection.
Scott Steiner comes out and clotheslines the Buckeyes mascot. Scott is out with two women and where did this cheerleader come from? I don’t remember her from the nWo backstage segments. Also isn’t this Varsity Club gimmick infringement? Leia has this girl beat. Steiner runs down the local college and attacks a “fan”. This is still better work than his brother did earlier in the evening.
Lex Luger and Miss Elizabeth walk.
The Total Package, or Lex, I don’t know what to call him anymore (with Elizabeth) vs Bam Bam Bigelow.
Everything about Bigelow looks so cheap. WCW Mayhem shirt, sneakers, indie level tights. He’s wrestling alright though. Much better than Rick Steiner. I don’t think anything is physically wrong with Bigelow, just maybe financially. Liz distracts the referee and Chris “Champagne” Kanyon comes out. Mr Biggs gives Package a bottle of champagne which he smashes over Bigelow to get the pin.
This is over booked, no one looks good, and it’s still not the worst segment of the night. WCW everyone!
DDP walks. Buff walks. (The following announcement has been paid for by the Council of Grease. And Kim walks. I have always been a big fan of the sexy woman referee outfit. Kim pulls this off quite well. Also if we didn’t already know this match takes place in the year 2000 we could date it to the era of the golden age of the whale tail. Low cut pants and thongs were a popular, beloved, and greatly missed fashion trend.)
“Diamond” Dallas Page vs Buff Bagwell.
How is Kimberly going to referee this match in heels? Well, her footwear wasn’t going to save her no matter what. For someone who has been in the industry and ringside many a time she has no concept of being a referee. One would think she would have picked up something. However, she was also the worst dancer of the Nitro Girls too. The fight goes into the crowd. Page grabs a crutch away from a fan and breaks it over Buff’s back. Always a good spot. Back into the ring. Kim makes horribly slow two counts. Brain with the line of the night and one that my younger self wishes he thought of, “what is she wearing, a sling shot?” Kim is a terrible ref but still not as bad as Rick Steiner was earlier. This isn’t a bad match but between what she is wearing and being terrible, Kim is a distraction. Buff hits a Blockbuster and that should be it. Kim runs into Buff. I have to imagine this is a horribly mistimed spot. I’m guessing Buff was supposed to raise his arms in triumph and when he does he accidentally hits Kim. But she was out of place so she just runs into him like a five year old into a wall. Kim falls. Page hits a Diamond Cutter for the slow three count. Kim looks upset and immediately gets out of the ring. So confusing.
Overall the show isn’t bad and we’ve definitely seen worse. In ring probably had better matches than Souled Out. While the main event scene is chaos, there are many reliable talents that could have been used to rebuild and become something special. It’s a good effort after a crazy couple days and while we know the end of the story I would have seen potential in the moment to course correct the company.