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Dark Pegasus Video Review: WCW Monday Nitro (04/10/00)

January 8, 2010 | Posted by J.D. Dunn
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Dark Pegasus Video Review: WCW Monday Nitro (04/10/00)  

WCW Monday Nitro
by J.D. Dunn

Since this particular episode is not on my schedule for several more… years, it looks like, but it is relevant as a marker for TNA’s recent “rebirth” episode, I thought I’d take a look at the last Russoriffic reformation.

A little backstory. WCW debuted Nitro in 1995 and immediately became competitive with a then creatively bankrupt WWF. The live show often defeated WWF Raw in the ratings and, with the introduction of the nWo, became the hottest show in cable. They didn’t know when to say enough’s enough, though, and they wound up recycling the same guys in and out of the main event until people found the new WWF stars – Steve Austin, the Rock, DX and Mankind – more appealing.

Ratings took a dip, and WCW found themselves on the losing end. In an effort to combat the WWF’s popularity, WCW fired their creative staff and brought in WWF Golden Boy Vince Russo and his sidekick Ed Ferrara in late 1999.

Crash TV was introduced to the Nitro audience and younger stars were showcased. However, Vince Russo’s brand of entertainment was not for everyone, and WCW decided to go with a booking committee instead of a guy who would turn the heavyweight title over to Tank Abbott.

Russo quit in protest to be replaced by, among others, Kevin Sullivan and Kevin Nash. This January-March 2000 period is, quite possibly, the worst wrestling you’ll ever see, by the way. It’s highlighted by an embarrassing build to a “Yappapi Strap Match” between Hulk Hogan and Ric Flair.

With ratings in freefall following the incident, WCW tucked its tail between its legs and brought in both Vince Russo and Eric Bischoff – the only two guys who had any success with WCW (and “success” is a loose term for Russo’s first era).

So that’s where we are now.

  • April 10, 2000
  • Live from Denver, Colo.
  • Your hosts are Tony Schiavone, Scott Hudson and Mark Madden.

  • We open the show with most of the roster in the ring, sans a few protestors. Jeff Jarrett comes out and says he’s the Chosen One. Mistake #1. He introduces Vince Russo for his first big appearance onscreen and says he was responsible for the WWF’s success. Good intro because otherwise the audience has no fucking clue who this unibrowed clown is.
  • Russo (who gives himself “Iron Man” as an entrance theme) says he came to WCW to beat McMahon at his own game, but the “Good Ol’ Boy Network” conspired to bring him down. Because it’s all about Russo, after all. In protest, Chris Benoit, Dean Malenko, Perry Saturn, Eddy Guerrero and Shane Douglas all saw the writing on the wall and left. Russo promises that all the “young guys” will have an opportunity. That sounds distinctly familiar for those who watched TNA on Monday.
  • Eric Bischoff interrupts and looks to go face-to-face with Russo, but he shakes his hand instead. Bischoff says they were both screwed by the old boys. Bischoff runs down Flair, Luger, Page, Sting and Sid Vicious. Most of his venom is reserved for Hulk Hogan, though. He says he was blinded by the red-and-yellow, but now is “A Brand New Day.” So… he’s not married to Mary Jane?
  • Bischoff rips Luger, Sting and Page for not being ready for work during his tenure. Page tells him to step off, but Bischoff tells him, if it wasn’t for Bischoff Page would be “schleppin’ drinks in a bar in the middle of Florida, telling people he’s friend with Bon Jovi.” Oooh, call the burn unit. He also makes reference to Sid Vicious’ softball games. Why that’s an insider shoot! One that all of about 50 people probably got.
  • Russo takes over, calling Ric Flair “a piece of shit on the bottom of his shoe” but announces that all the belts are vacated because it’s “A New Beginning.” So… it was Roy the Paramedic all along?
  • Sid Vicious, then the world champion, tells Bischoff he’ll have to come get the title belt from him. Bischoff says Vicious can lay him out, but Bischoff will heal while Sid will be unemployed. He then asks if Sid can’t find his scissors. Why that’s an insider shoot! One that all of about 100 people probably got.
  • All of this has been brought to you by Castrol: GTX.
  • The announcers are amazed at all this shooting that’s going on.
  • Outside, Hulk Hogan arrives twenty minutes late, as if to drive home the point that the old guys don’t show up ready for work.
  • In the back, Sting informs Hogan that Bischoff ranked out Hogan before he got there. Well, if he’d get there on fucking time, he might know these things.
  • #1 Contender Match: Diamond Dallas Page (w/Kimberly Page) vs. Lex Luger (w/Elizabeth).
    Page only gets half his music and no pyro, so you know he’s seriously in the doghouse. Same with Luger. The announcers explain that the established stars have to go through a mini tournament for the right to face Jeff Jarrett for the World Title. Page looks ready for work, but Luger still dogs it. He doesn’t even get in a real low blow, lightly mulekicking Page close to his knee. He ‘works’ the back until Buff Bagwell comes out and poses on the ramp. Luger is so distracted that Page is able to low-blow Luger. Buff hits on Kimberly, distracting Page so Luger can attack. How thrilling. Buff gets sick of that, so he hits on Elizabeth. Now Luger is distracted again. That leads to the Diamond Cutter at 4:25. What a load of crap. 1/4*

  • In the back, Hulk Hogan can’t find where Eric Bischoff is.
  • Curt Hennig asks Vince Russo what’s what. After all, he was loyal to Russo. Russo says Hennig can get a title shot if he beats Jarrett tonight.
  • Elsewhere, Hogan still can’t find Bischoff.
  • Tank Abbott grabs the mic. SLOW MOTION: NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO! Abbott objects to all the wrasslers. He’s a superior shoot-fighter. Say, didn’t TNA have a shoot fighter with a superiority complex? Abbott calls out Goldberg and says he’ll continue to kill innocents until Goldberg faces him. It’s just not the same unless it’s delivered by Terrence Stamp. He destroys Mark Madden and rips off his shirt. Talk about a crime against humanity. I really hope Madden didn’t suffer any internal injuries from this because I’m hoping that he survives long enough to be assassinated.
  • In the back, Jeff Jarrett is upset with having to face someone to earn a world title shot… which is exactly what Bischoff and Russo’s charge was against Luger, Sting and Sid. Vince calms him down by saying, “What do I look like – JJ Dillon to you.” Why that’s an insider shoot! One that all of about 25 people probably got.
  • Outside, Billy Kidman tells Torrie Wilson to stay while he takes care of business.
  • Hulk Hogan still can’t find Eric Bischoff until Terry Taylor tells him what’s what.
  • Finally, Hogan finds Bischoff who offers to set him straight… behind closed doors.
  • Kidman comes out to complain about “The New Blood” being held down. So… Lar Park Lincoln is—you know what, two Friday the 13th jokes is too much. Kidman calls out Hogan – who called him a ‘flea market champion who couldn’t draw flies’ in his semi-shoot. Kidman says Hogan would know about drawing flies because he’s a pile of shit. He also makes reference to Hogan’s bald spot, prompting Hudson to say he must not have gotten the memo. Why that’s an insider shoot! One that all of about 10 people probably got.
  • Hogan exits Bischoff’s office and just happens to find an unmanned monitor broadcasting the show from a craft services table.
  • Hulk Hogan gets his full entrance theme, so I guess we’re not doing that anymore. Hulk says Kidman is not even in his league and is too pussy-whipped (he actually says ‘p-whipped’) that he doesn’t know what he’s doing. Man, did Hogan Knows Best ever expose how ironic that comment is. Kidman knocks Hogan silly but comes off the apron right into the barricade as he tries a high spot. Never try a high spot in a fist-fight. It’ll just wind up on youtube. Hogan smacks him around as Bischoff comes out with a chair. Bischoff tells Hogan to pick up Kidman and he’ll hit him with a chair. And the announcers, who make Michael Cole look like Howard Cosell, believe he’s there to help out Hogan. Hudson theorizes the earlier stuff Bischoff said was a “work” and this is a “shoot.” Hogan turns around right into Bischoff’s chairshot, and then Bisch counts Billy Kidman’s pin.
  • In the back, Hogan tears up some boxes and throws a fit.
  • Meanwhile, Flair arrives… an hour late. He watches footage from earlier in the show. Well, if he’d get there on fucking time, he might know these things.
  • Flair walks out to his full entrance theme. So I guess we’re not doing that anymore. Flair says the fans don’t forget about John Elway because Brian Griese throws a touchdown. Griese’s push lasted about as long as Kidman’s. Flair says he didn’t get old, he got great.
  • Scott Steiner interrupts and says Flair is boring him to death. Steiner, btw, shot on Flair a few weeks before this and got suspended because of it. Steiner puts in a set of goofy false teeth and does his Flair imitation. Flair is so distracted that he doesn’t see Shane Douglas jump in the ring and attack him from behind. BUT HE DOESN’T EVEN WORK HERE! Why does Shane Douglas hate Ric Flair? We don’t know. We just know he doesn’t work here.
  • Scott Hudson shows the replay and says “we know the bad blood between Shane Douglas and Ric Flair.” No we don’t. I mean, *I* do, but the audience doesn’t.
  • In the back, Shane Douglas, WHO DOESN’T EVEN WORK HERE, says he hates Ric Flair because of what he did to the business. What’s that? What do you mean, Shane Douglas? You’re speaking in riddles, man!
  • Okay, for those who don’t know, Flair apparently blew smoke up Douglas’ ass back in the day and then refused to have a match with him, so Douglas made a career out of bashing Flair in shoot interviews. How would an audience member know this? Well, they’d have to have something called “AOL.”
  • Bret Hart is the audience, minding his own business. What’s he doing here? Well… minding his own business.
  • #1 Contender’s Match: Sid Vicious vs. Sting.
    Both guys get their full entrance themes. So, I guess we’re not doing that anymore. Sid punches a mudhole and drops Sting on the barricade. Back in, Sting tries a splash, but Sid gets his knees up. I seem to recall Sid being a babyface coming into this show, but he wrestles like a heel here. The Cobra Clutch Suplex puts Sting out. The ref gets bumped, and now here’s the Wall (the late Jerry Tuite, aka Malice in early TNA.). The Wall hits Sid with a chairshot and chokeslams him through a table (two of the weakest shots you’ll ever see). Sting wins by countout at 6:19. What a load of crap. DUD

  • In the back, Hogan is tearing up jobbers and stuff while looking for Bischoff. Not Kidman, mind you. Bischoff.
  • Flair returns to the ring and calls out both Douglas and Russo. No mention of Steiner, so I guess the Steiner-Flair stuff is a “work” while the Flair-Douglas/Russo stuff is a “shoot.”
  • A video package hypes the movie “Ready to Rumble.” Despite the fact that Bischoff called out Page for attending movie premieres, we see a number of New Blood members there.
  • #1 Contender’s Match: Jeff Jarrett vs. Curt Hennig.
    Hudson tells us that Bischoff is hiding in a skybox and now Hogan knows this. You’d think these guys would be able to set aside their differences and just enjoy country music. They scuffle in the aisle and make their way to the ring. Jarrett grabs a sleeper. Great choice for the Chosen One there. Hennig backdrops him as “Exodus” hits. Shawn Stasiak (formerly “Meat” in the WWF) walks out and does the Hennig gum swat… poorly. Hennig is so upset that Jarrett is able to recover and jump him from behind. The ref gets bumped, so Stasiak jumps in and gives Hennig the worst Fireman’s Carry Slam you’ll ever see. That sets up the Stroke at 4:34. What a load of crap. 1/2*

  • Kevin Nash, who limped in earlier, is in the back on the phone with someone. He asks them to get to the arena if they can.
  • Ric Flair vs. Shane Douglas.
    Flair gets his full entrance theme. So I guess we’re still not doing that anymore. BUT DOUGLAS DOESN’T EVEN WORK HERE! Thank God the awesome production staff was able to get music for him, his own graphic, and video package for the big screen. Hudson speculates that Nash was talking to Hall… “and we all know the real story about Scott Hall.” If by ‘we,’ you mean the announcers, the internet, and the local PD, yes. And why would Hall be in Denver anyway? Flair beats the shit out of Douglas, but Vince Russo returns with a bat and hits Flair in the ribs. That’s a DQ at 3:02. What a load of crap. DUD

  • Russo steals Flair’s Rolex, which is what Flair gets for wearing it to the ring. Douglas and Russo hug and walk out together.
  • Kevin Nash limps to the ring. Tony Schiavone asks, “Good God, what’s next?” which, by my count, is the sixth time he’s used some sort of variation on that.
  • Nash complains about the jackoffs in the back attacking the boys. He wonders what ever happened to “the little wrasslin’ show they were doing.” Um… Kevin Nash happened to it. Nash says Hall is sober. Oh, that has to be a work. Nash takes credit for Vince Russo not getting decapitated by Shawn Michaels. He also says if it wasn’t for the Outsiders, Bischoff would be delivering coffee for Verne Gagne. Well, Bischoff had already been in charge for three years by the time the Outsiders came along, so unless Vinnie Vegas and the Diamond Studd deserve credit for Bischoff’s career, he’s a bit off on the timing. ECW Champion Mike Awesome pops up and attacks Nash from behind, beating him to death with his own crutch. Rules G.I. Joe never covered but should have: Never bring a fannypack to a beatdown.
  • Of course, in the long run, this turned out to be the death knell for Awesome’s career as he was relegated to a midcarder with a stupid “fat-chick thriller” gimmick and later “that 70s guy.” By the time of the WWF buyout, his ‘brand’ was so ruined by bad gimmicks and awful matches that he never recovered. He did, however, tear the house down at One Night Stand, despite Joey Styles’s protestations that he should die. In fact, that’s exactly what he did. Also of note, Awesome was supposed to toss the ECW title in the garbage, which probably would have saved Paul Heyman some money in the long-run by killing the promotion a year early, but Heyman the Legal Eagle threatened to sue his mullet off.
  • Hulk Hogan is in his limousine talking about how he’s going to kill Kidman. Suddenly, a white Hummer rams the limo. Kidman and Bischoff get out of the Hummer (note that Bischoff was driving).
  • After a commercial break, Kidman spraypaints NB on Hogan’s chest.
  • #1 Contender: Sting vs. Diamond Dallas Page (w/Kimberly).
    Jeff Jarrett comes out to observe from the announce position. Everyone gets their entrance music. I guess Page is out of the doghouse. Sting hits the Stinger Splash, but he misses a back elbow and gets belly-to-bellied. Jarrett accosts Kimberly, distracting Page long enough for Sting to recover and clothesline him over the top. Page and Jarrett brawl, drawing out the ref. That leaves Sting alone for Vampiro to attack. But they were friends! Vampiro lays him out with the Nail in the Coffin. Page adds the Diamond Cutter and gets the win at 8:22. This was actually marginally decent. *
  • After the match, Jarrett swings his guitar but accidentally takes out Kimberly. As a result, she lost her memory, moved to Cleveland, fell in love with Bischoff, and gave Marc Mero her lottery winnings.
  • Jeff Jarrett returns to take a bow in front of the live crowd. That draws out Page, which draws out Steiner, which draws out Luger, which draws out Bagwell, which draws out Vampiro and the Wall. Bischoff and Russo come out to observe the carnage they’ve created, but Bret Hart steps out behind them to scowl. Does he approve? Disapprove? Have to poop? With his facial expression, it’s kind of hard to tell, but then I didn’t star in “Lonesome Dove: The Outlaw Years.”
  • The 411: Hard to believe that this mind-numbingly awful wankfest got raves at the time. Harder to believe that I was one of the ravers, but well, there you are. I also liked Nickleback during this era, so whaddayagonnado. Everything is predicated on the audience knowing all of the insider jabs, which is highly unlikely because the internet was an even smaller piece of the audience back then. None of the storylines ever caught traction because they were immediately superseded by another, "shootier" storyline. Oh, and did you notice how Bischoff and Russo were the real top heels here, and not any of the wrestlers. Did you also notice how they just plucked career midcarder Jeff Jarrett out of the crowd and stuck him in as the top guy? Guys like Austin, Bret and Shawn progressed to the main event. They weren't just selected.

    Massive thumbs down here, and, in retrospect, the only reason people liked it was because the previous three months were that much worse. TNA's January 4 Impact was like a 2000 Raw compared to this.

    Final Score:  2.0   [ Very Bad ]  legend

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