Monday Nitro – March 5, 2001: And Down The Stretch They Come

Monday Nitro #280
Date: March 5, 2001
Location: Bi-Lo Center, Greenville, South Carolina
Commentators: Tony Schaivone, Scott Hudson

After last week, it’s really hard to say what we should expect here as Nitro worked very well but Thunder was every bit the show you would have expected it to be. I’m liking Scott Steiner vs. Diamond Dallas Page but the rest of the show is so all over the scale that it’s hard to guess what you’ll get. Let’s get to it.

We open with Rick Steiner in the ring ranting about how Booker T. was nothing without his brother. Booker eventually comes out and it’s time for a match.

Rick Steiner vs. Booker T.

Non-title I believe. Booker starts in with his kicks but Rick no sells most of them (of course) and does his brawling punches in the corner. Some right hands to the head actually stagger Rick but he gets caught in a belly to belly for two. A tiger bomb gets two more on Booker, who escapes the Steiner Driver by pulling Rick down in what looked like a botch. Not that it matters as Scott comes in for the DQ.

Rating: D. Booker did what he could here but as usual there’s only so much you can do when Rick is barely doing anything but punching and that sloppy offense of his. He’s taken the US Title hostage just like Scott did before as there’s almost no way he’s dropping it to anyone other than a big star, leaving most of the midcarders to have nothing to fight over.

Diamond Dallas Page comes out for the save and clears the ring. Insults are exchanged and a tag match is made for later.

We recap the Cruiserweight Tag Team Title tournament.

Cruiserweight Tag Team Title Tournament First Round: Elix Skipper/??? vs. AJ Styles/Air Paris

The mystery partner is…..Kid Romeo. Wow what a bombshell. Romeo and Styles start things off with Romeo being sent to the floor, only to catch a sliding AJ and drop him face first onto the announcers’ table. All four wind up on the floor and Romeo dives off the steps to clothesline Paris. Apparently that’s enough for a tag as Romeo takes over on Paris back inside. A superkick puts Skipper down as Hudson talks about NWA Wildside announcer Steve Prazak and I wonder if he’s talking about ROH’s Dave Prazak.

The hot tag brings in AJ as everything breaks down and we hit the big dives to the floor. The announcers would rather talk about an upcoming (as in on Thunder) Mike Awesome vs. Lance Storm match which really puts these titles in context. Romeo powerslams Paris off the apron as Chavo Guerrero comes out to watch. Back in and Skipper dropkicks Air into a Snow Plow for the pin.

Rating: C+. Lack of star power aside, this was a fun match and a more low key high flying match. Romeo was nothing special and Paris continues to not really offer anything great but Styles and Skipper were doing all their flips to make up for it. As usual though, as is almost always the case in tournament matches, there’s no story and it all relies on the action. On that standard this match was good but not excellent by any stretch.

Sean O’Haire says Lex Luger is in for a real fight tonight. His promos could use some work.

Lex Luger vs. Sean O’Haire

Luger runs him over with a clothesline to start as he’s already gone through a good chunk of his offense. Sean’s clothesline gets two of his own but Lex calmly pounds him down again. A whip into the corner sees Sean backflip over Luger’s head but he tweaks his knee on the landing. Cue Chuck Palumbo to check on his partner and punch Luger in the face a few times. This brings out Buff Bagwell with a few chair shots but that’s still not enough for the DQ. Instead Sean grabs a small package for two before having to sidestep a Blockbuster which takes Luger down instead. The Seanton Bomb gives O’Haire the pin.

Rating: D+. I’m assuming this was supposed to be a big win for O’Haire but all the shenanigans to go with Luger’s offense held it back quite a bit. That being said, this is what Luger should be doing: jobbing for the young up and coming stars instead of being given completely unnecessary wins that only help himself.

Bagwell gets in a Blockbuster on O’Haire.

Shawn Stasiak and Kanyon arrive in Shawn’s limo. Kanyon is going to visit Miss Jones in the hospital so Stasiak gives her an autographed picture as a present.

Chavo thinks Shane Helms should be the one who is scared.

Team Canada beats Konnan down but Hugh Morrus makes the save.

Jeff Jarrett vs. Dusty Rhodes

And it’s a guy in a Dusty mask. Jeff does some signature Dusty stuff and finishes with the Bionic Elbow in less than a minute. Is there ANY POINT to this story that I’m just missing? They’re so desperate for content that they’re making fun of someone who made one cameo a few weeks ago?

Jarrett promises to make Dusty kiss a certain body part but here’s Dustin Rhodes for the save. Dusty gets up and rips off some makeup to reveal Ric Flair for a double beating. The real Dusty comes out for the save with Ric and Jeff running. Ric yells a lot and wants to know why Dusty is in his building. Dusty goes on a rant about Jeff Jarrett’s dad and laughs about getting to call Ric fat boy. He calls Ric an extra in WCW so Ric sets up a tag match for Greed. Did I mention this was the start of the second hour and what was opposing Raw?

Chavo Guerrero Jr. vs. Shane Helms

Non-title again. Shane has a huge entrance now with dancing girls (the Nitro Girls, who I didn’t know were still a thing), a lot more lighting and new music. Chavo jumps him at the bell and scores with a belly to back suplex, only to charge into a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker. The announcers talk about Rhodes vs. Flair and apparently the losing team will have to, ahem, kiss up to the winners.

Shane makes his early comeback with a dive to the floor as Kid Romeo and Elix Skipper come out to watch. Skipper trips Shane up to cut off the comeback but Helms gets two off a backslide anyway. A superkick gets two on Chavo and Shane dives onto Skipper and Romeo to keep them away. That draws them into a ring and we STILL CAN’T GET A DQ. Romeo is sent outside while Skipper helps Chavo hit a Hart Attack. The brainbuster puts Shane away.

Rating: C. What was the point of this one? Shane gets the big entrance and looks like a star (as well as a face in a turn I must have missed) but loses here to set up the pay per view match? Have Shane win via DQ due to the interference and then clear the ring but don’t have him lose like this.

Spring Breakout video.

Kanyon is in Miss Jones’ hospital room (why she’s in a Greenville, South Carolina hospital after getting injured in Huntsville, Alabama isn’t clear) when the Cat, minus a shirt, comes in for the brawl. Crutches and bottles are broken over both guys as Jones keeps screaming for a nurse. Not security mind you, but a nurse. Cat makes sure to tell Kanyon that he hates him while also getting in a few “I’M THE GREATEST” lines. Kanyon gets electrocuted by the defibrillator to wrap this up. My goodness this was stupid.

Hugh Morrus vs. Mike Awesome

Mike kicks him in the face to start and drops a leg for an early two count. They head outside with Morrus being sent into the post, followed by a slingshot splash for two back inside. Morrus catches him coming off the top and grabs a suplex, only to miss a charge into the post. Cue Lance Storm to beat on Morrus (with the referee seeing it and still not doing anything about it). That’s not enough to set up the Awesome Splash though as Morrus rolls away and drops Mike with a DDT. No Laughing Matter puts Awesome away.

Rating: C-. This could have been worse as both guys can hit the other hard enough to keep this entertaining. Awesome jobbing again is a bit annoying but you kind of have to expect that at this point. I’m not sure why we’re getting Morrus/Konnan vs. Team Canada but at least it’s something for all of them to do.

Konnan comes out to save Morrus from a post match beatdown.

Booker T./Diamond Dallas Page vs. Steiner Brothers

The Brothers have separate entrances. Before the match, Rick accepts a challenge from Booker T. (who isn’t actually here to make said challenge), presumably for Greed. Scott on the other hand calls Page a coward who will get what’s coming to him at the pay per view. Booker comes out and seems to like the idea of being US Champion at Greed. It’s a big brawl to start with Scott being sent to the floor for a dive from Page.

Back in and Scott ties Page in the Tree of Woe for some choking. The discus lariat puts Rick down and the hot tag brings in Booker to clean house. Scott grabs a belly to belly for two as the announcers talk about the new owners again. Booker slugs away but walks into another suplex. A double clothesline puts Rick down and there’s the hot tag to Page. Everything breaks down with Booker and Scott fighting to the back where Booker gets beaten down by the Magnificent Seven. A German suplex drops Page but he grabs the Diamond Cutter for the pin.

Rating: C. It was basically a formula based match until the screwy ending and that’s a good thing. You would think the Steiner Brothers’ return would be a bigger deal but it was barely mentioned by the announcers and the match was really just a run of the mill TV main event. Page pinning Rick is a logical ending and it’s not like the US Title has any real value to lose at this point.

Page bails from the Seven but Scott jumps him in the crowd to end the show.

Overall Rating: C-. This was hit and miss all night long and that seems to be the norm once again for WCW. There’s definitely good stuff and it was nice to not have the crusierweights stuck in the opening spot for a change. The wrestling was the standard fare but the booking was a bit tighter tonight and that’s the more important thing going forward. You know, for the next three weeks. Unfortunately there’s so much bad stuff like the Rhodes segment or the hospital scene as WCW really can’t put on a complete show without something stupid holding it back.

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