The penultimate WCW Monday Nitro (although to a degree you could argue that this was the last true Nitro) comes at you one night after WCW’s final PPV show, Greed. Dusty and his donkey make an appearance and Steiner pokes fun at DDP.
O’Connell Center, Gainesville FL – TV Rating – 2.1
To that extend we open with an “In Memorium” tribute to Diamond Dallas Page courtesy of Scott Steiner, who retained his World Title last night at the PPV against Page. Commentators Tony Schiavone and Scott Hudson take a look at that main event before Scott Steiner and his entourage kick things off with an in-ring promo.
Steiner says that DDP has joined Sting, Nash, Sid and Goldberg on the list of names that he has banished from WCW and that fans should pay homage to him as the greatest or something. Ric Flair and I must presume that in time-honoured “show me the money” fashion Flair and Steiner have got over their personal legitimate heat, brags about beating Dusty & Dustin Rhodes all over Jacksonville last night at the PPV and says that Dusty isn’t here tonight or he’d get him to “kiss my gator ass”. This is the cue for the Rhodes’ to turn up on the big screen and for Dusty to say that he might not be there tonight but Booker T is. Booker comes out, suggests that Steiner is ducking him and promises to get his hands on the champion tonight.
Buff Bagwell and Animal are in the locker room and Buff accuses Lex Luger of being the attacker in a storyline I’m not aware of as I’ve jumped into this show. They tell the cameraman who is filming them to follow Lex all night long.
Jason Jett Vs Disco Inferno
Scott Hudson tells us all about Jason Jett’s win “last night” as we see clips of him winning on Thunder last WEEK. Disco is with his “new best friend” Mike Sanders. Regardless of any ability Sanders had (or didn’t have) I always got a kick out of his “Above Average” nickname and he could certainly talk.
The match itself is something and nothing and is basically a showcase for Jett who must have the worst timing in the world to get a job and a push in the final month of WCW’s existence. Having left ECW shortly before that when they went bankrupt. His footnote in history is that he was the last person ever signed to a WCW contract. He was picked up by WWE as part of the purchase but never made it to TV.
Anyway, Jett wins when Sanders inadvertently hits Disco , allowing Jett to hit his Crash Landing finisher for the pin. Disco himself would go onto work for World Wrestling All-Stars and TNA and as late as 2020 made appearances for Impact Wrestling. Perhaps not fondly remembered by many, nevertheless Disco worked for WCW for vitually the entire Nitro run so that’s not bad going at all.
After Ric Flair and Jeff Jarrett are sneakily filmed by a cameraman (presumably the same one who Buff Bagwell was talking to earlier), Shane Helms is in the ring cutting a promo. He challenges Kidman to a match for the Cruiserweight Title.
CRUISERWEIGHT TITLE: Shane Helms Vs Kidman
Kidman accepts (well why wouldn’t you when a Champion challenges you to a match) and although they only get a few minutes they do what they can with it. That is, just go straight to flying around and high spots. As the commentators say that next week’s Nitro is the “season finale” the two exchanged moves until Helms hit the Vertebreaker for the win.
After the match Chavo Guerrero runs in for a brawl, with Kid Romeo and Elix Skipper coming down to help him as well. Rey Mysterio makes the save and the good guys clear the ring.
The cameraman didn’t get to Lex Luger in time as we see that he’s been attacked in his locker room and is laid out flat. The cameraman goes to find Buff Bagwell and Animal to, presumably, help. They ask if Luger saw anything (well, duh, he’s out cold) and Animal is freaking out. They peg Rick Steiner as the next possible suspect.
Shawn Stasiak Vs Bam Bam Bigelow
This is a rematch from Greed (where Stasiak won) but I’m not sure it was entirely a much sought after one. Stacy Kiebler is out ahead of Shawn and the two mumble on in an in-ring promo before Bigelow comes out and shuts them up. The match is a fairly unexciting, standard brawl which ends when Bam Bam intercepts the hairspray can that Stacy throws into the ring but as he’s the good guy he doesn’t use it, hits the Greetings From Asbury Park and gets the pin.
Afterwards Stasiak, unlike everyone else who’s watched, wants one more match with Bigelow. Bam Bam says there has to be something in it for him and if he wins Stasiak will have to get a tattoo. Ok then.
Scott Steiner, accompanied by Midajah and Ric Flair, is back in the ring next where Terry Taylor has set up a table for a contract signing. Booker T is next up but his first task is to introduce the Eric Bischoff phone call that has been trailed/hyped all evening.
Bischoff sounds utterly fed-up and it’s probably no act. He acknowledges he’s been trying to acquire WCW but that it all seems to have been for nought and next week might well be the last night of wrestling ever seen on the Turner Network. If we’re going out we’re going out on a high as he books a “Night of Champions” special for next week where every title will be on the line. Including a Champion Vs Champion, winner takes all match between World Champion Scott Steiner and US Champion Booker T. Steiner and Booker brawl and independently sign on the dotted line.
An advert for next week’s “Spring Break Nitro” airs which seems dated after the announcement just made before backstage Buff, Animal and Lex Luger go to see Flair and Jarrett. It’s obvious that this must have been filmed prior to Flair being in the ring for the previous Steiner/Booker angle.
M.I. Smooth Vs Kanyon
Well I have to admit that the existence of M.I. Smooth was a new one on me. I realise that it’s the artist formerly known as Ice Train so any hope that even Kanyon can get a good match out of him seems forlorn. In fact Kanyon appears largely disinterested and perhaps it’s because he can’t even get a clean win in this one as Animal runs in and hits a DDT on Smooth which is enough for the win.
Earnest Miller makes the save and books a tag match for Thunder which will pit him and Smooth against Kanyon & Animal.
Dusty Rhodes is again shown and son Dustin has brought him what looks like 50 burritos. The gag being that tonight, in the main event spot, Ric Flair will have to kiss Dusty’s ass.
Rick Steiner Vs Konnan
The idea of this in 2001 doesn’t not fill one with any confidence. It turns out to be even worse that you might imagine. There’s a plodding, around ringside brawl within ten seconds of the bell that could almost be in slow motion. A Steiner clothesline goes a foot over Konnan’s head but he sells it anyway. Rick then stands over his opponent, gingerly grabs Konnan’s arm and then lies down whilst the commentators insist that he’s locked in an Armbar. I’ve seen more snug submission moves from John Cena. After all that we even get a non-finish when Shane Douglas runs in a gives Steiner a cast-shot.
Of course within ten seconds Steiner has recovered just in time for Hugh Morrus to run in and hit him. A fitting end to one of the worst and dullest matches I have ever seen from a major promotion.
Backstage after a break Buff, Animal and Lex confront Rick Steiner who insists he’s not the attacker they are looking for. Team Canada (Lance Storm and Mick Awesome) cut a promo which says they will win a non-title match tonight to earn themselves a title match. Jarrett and Flair are then being spied on again and they talk about Flair having to kiss Dusty’s ass tonight. They actually see the cameraman and ask him politely to leave.
Sean O’Haire & Chuck Palumbo Vs Team Canada
Lance Storm tries to be serious for a moment but his introduction of the Canadian National Anthem is interrupted by the arrival of O’Haire and Palumbo. What follows is hardly the second coming of The Midnight Express Vs The Rock N Roll Express but on a show that has been devoid of anything remotely exciting wrestling wise this goes down a treat.
It’s a good back and forth match as these things go but it’s 2001 WCW so there has to be a creative finish. This time it’s Awesome cracking Palumbo with a chair shot that the commentators have to acknowledge was so close to the referee that he couldn’t have failed to hear it. Still, it was a nice little match that set up the tag team title match for next week’s Night of Champions Nitro. So job done.
And so what could conceivably be called the last ever “proper” Nitro ends with…Ric Flair in the ring deciding whether or not he should kiss Dusty Rhodes ass. Flair calls out Dusty but it’s Dustin who answers but this is only a segue to Dusty bringing out a donkey. For those who can’t connect the dots the rear end of the donkey has the words “Dusty’s Ass” on it. And yes, this is an actual, real life donkey we’re talking about here. Apparently Dusty has fed it 300 burritos today.
Flair won’t kiss anybody’s ass and tells Jeff Jarrett (who accompanied him to the ring) to do it. He doesn’t want to do it either. They attack Dustin but Dusty makes the save and lo and behold both Jarrett and Flair end up having their faces rubbed into the donkey’s backside. Pro wrestling huh?
It can’t be said that this was a great show. The writing has long since been on the wall anyway and this was merely the next to last stop along the way to what would be, ultimately, the end of WCW and the victory for Vince McMahon. There’s one decent match, one absolute stinker and the usual up and down promos. Still, it’s a show that ties up a few storylines ends and does it’s best to set up Nitro’s final ever show next week as something special. Quite how many of the “former World Champions” that Eric Bischoff cordially invited to show up at that show actually get off their backsides and show up remained to be seen…