Monday Nitro – March 27, 2000: Please Save No Changes Before Reboot
Date: March 27, 2000
Location: Sheraton Hotel, South Parde Island, Texas
Commentators: Tony Schiavone, Mark Madden
Well this is suddenly a packed show. First of all, it’s the Spring Breakout Show, meaning it’s a party themed show, which also means all of the people in attendance were in for free. Above that though, we’re officially in the last year of WCW as they would air their last show on March 26, 2001. The big story is Sid turning on Hogan last week so it’s time for Old People Theater. Let’s get to it.
Gene Okerlund opens the show in the ring because he’s a party by himself. He has someone to bring out for their return to WCW but gets Kimberly (looking great here) instead. Gene: “I’ve been double crossed!” Kimberly does the introduction for him and of course it’s Diamond Dallas Page.
Gene plugs Page’s upcoming book signing and then gets to the less important stuff: Page’s back injury potentially ending his career. That gets a quick “I’ll be back and my back will be jacked” before Gene is off to Ready to Rumble, which comes out next week. Page basically gives a press junket interview about the movie and the premiere, but after all that’s done, he wants his World Title back (which will be jacked I’m assuming).
Cue the NWO because where would we be without them? Jarrett reminds Page that there’s only one star around here and it’s not going to be long before Jeff shows everyone why he’s the chosen one. There won’t be a three time champion because Jeff has the stroke around here (what stroke is he talking about? That hasn’t been clear since Russo left) and he’s going to crash the Hollywood premiere. Page can see the marque now: Jeff Jarrett in Bada Boom, Bada Bing, Bada BANG. This isn’t the most thrilling feud in the world, but you know it’s going to be better than Jarrett vs. Sid one more time.
The announcers talk for a bit with Tony asking for a bit more time before we go to the b-roll. Of note: a sign between the two talking heads: “I Wish I Was At Raw.” The big news of the week: Eric Bischoff is back to head up creative. However, “you may have heard on the internet”, Vince Russo might coming back as well. Keep in mind that Russo is just a name to WCW fans. I don’t think it was ever announced that the Long Island voice of the flailing arm was Russo so, as is my normal question here, WHY WOULD FANS CARE WHO IS IN CHARGE OF CREATIVE???
As usual, this is WCW/Russo (who was officially back despite Tony saying we get his decision tonight) thinking that everyone is on the internet trying to find out all the inside stuff when that was maybe half a percent of the audience at this point. I mean, even today when that number has grown significantly (but is still the minority), I don’t want the companies acknowledging it. There’s a suspension of disbelief there and it ruins a lot of the mood by saying “yeah this is all scripted.” But hey, it makes Russo feel smart so it’s all fine.
To continue the theme of stupid moments, we get a clip of Jimmy Hart on the Mancow radio show where he got in a fight with the host. Keep in mind that he was in Chicago for the start of ticket sales for Spring Stampede, which was about three weeks after the on sale date. Is anyone surprised that tickets for the show didn’t go so well? Anyway, Mancow wants to fight Hart in the ring. I’m sure this is going to get pay per view time.
Three jobbers are in the back when Paisley comes up to give one of them a Cruiserweight Title match. The one in the middle, better known as Michael Modest, gets the shot.
The NWO was at the pool to discuss the breast stroke. One of the Harris Twins’ arms was in a sling.
Booker rambles about Kidman and threatens the healthy Harris Twin. I think they’re fighting tonight, but given how much Booker was going on, they might be taking in a matinee.
Cruiserweight Title: The Artist vs. Michael Modest
Artist is defending of course. Both guys get in the ring and another song plays but it’s just an error because WCW. Tony talks about fans talking to him about the return of Russo and Bischoff and my goodness just shut up already. Does anyone believe that this is the hottest story among common fans?
Modest throws a nice t-bone suplex and hammers away in the corner as Tony goes on about Russo’s success in the WWF leading to the downfall of Bischoff. Chavo and Candido come to the ring for a closer look. Madden on Russo and Bischoff: “What’s next? The cat working with the dog?” I get the joke, but WCW ran that match on Thunder this past week.
Artist is put in the Tree of Woe as we hear more about Russo and Bischoff before Tony throws in Sid issuing a half million dollar bounty on Hogan’s head. Modest grabs a quick Death Valley Driver for two as Chavo and Paisley argue on the apron. Madden: “Maybe we’re not putting this match over enough.” Artist gets knocked into Paisley and Modest hits something like White Noise for the pin, though this is suddenly a non-title match after the announcers and Paisley both said it was before the match started.
Rating: C. Modest looked fine out there and was a nice surprise, but you can tell Russo is back as there were 19 other things going on during the match. Between Tony and Madden never shutting up about the new writers and three people at ringside for whatever reason, I could barely see the match since the camera couldn’t stay still. But yeah Modest looked good here, which is why we won’t be seeing him in the ring again until January.
The announcers freak out over the finisher before jumping right back to the bounty. To be fair that’s a bigger story than Modest.
The Harris Twins get promo time. Oh sweet goodness the Harris Twins are getting promo time. Don has injured his shoulder from pressing Midajah back at the hotel, so tonight it’s Booker vs. Ron.
Spring break videos.
Hogan arrives but Vampiro flags him down for a chat.
Booker T. vs. Ron Harris
Ron is in an NWO shirt, jean shorts and tennis shoes. Don offers a quick trip so Ron can clothesline Booker to the floor as the announcers talk about Russo and Bischoff again. Booker fights back with a spinebuster and the ax kick but here’s Jarrett for a distraction, allowing Don to sneak in for an H Bomb (arm was fine of course) to give Ron the pin. So now Booker is losing to one of the Harris Twins? Jarrett is one thing but Booker has had singles success. This is too much of a stretch.
Harlem Heat comes out post match but Kidman runs in to save Booker.
Vampiro tells Hogan about the bounty in one of those moments that is so obviously scripted that it hurts my soul.
Gene brings out Hogan for a chat with Hulk taking his sweet time to get out here. Thankfully the announcers pick up on this and suggest that someone got to him already. Hogan talks about girls in swimsuits giving Jimmy Hart a massage to make him feel better after last week. Well he isn’t going to top that all night. Hulk thinks he should just stand out here all night and beat up Sid (who isn’t here) until the sun comes up. The frat boys chant for Hogan, who calls Vampiro the wrestler of the future.
Hogan and Vampiro is one of the most bizarre buddy pairings I’ve ever seen in wrestling. He sees the magic of Hulkamania in Vampiro and promises to watch his back. Cue the Wall’s music and we see him on the roof of the hotel next door where he signals for a chokeslam. Hogan: “THAT’S THE WALL!” Keep in mind that the hotel is about 15 stories high and at least a street away from the show, meaning that Wall would likely be a white dot from Hogan’s vantage point in the ring.
Disco tells the Mamalukes that their match with the Jung Dragons is their final step towards a title shot.
Jung Dragons vs. Mamalukes/Disco Inferno
The Dragons come out to 3 Count’s music with their green circles, meaning it’s time for Japanese boy band music. The Mamalukes sneak in from behind to jump start the beating, complete with their own version of the H Bomb to Jamie. Disco chills on the floor to start as Vito hammers Jamie in the corner. A charge in the corner misses though and Kaz comes in off the hot tag to clean house.
That earns him the wrath of Kung Fu Vito, who slugs Kaz down and brings in Johnny. A huge gorilla press toss sends Kaz over the top and to the floor in a big crash, but Tony is reading the announcement that Russo and Bischoff will work together. Yeah it’s been hyped up all night and it’s mentioned during a nothing six man tag. Vito picks Jamie up for a suplex and runs around the ring with him up in the air. That’s some impressive power.
Johnny jumps from the mat to the top rope for a spinning guillotine legdrop but it’s still not enough to get the announcers’ attention. This is straight out of the NWO era playbook where everything else is important except the match at hand. As Tony keeps going on, he ignores the Harris Twins interfering. I mean literally, it’s like he’s not even watching the match. There’s no change in his tone or anything and he just continues on about the announcement. Disco comes in via a slap to the face but the Dragons take him down and hit Chris Chetti and Nova’s Tidal Wave (FINALLY getting a reaction from Madden) for the pin.
Rating: C-. I’ve always been a fan of the Tidal Wave so this was a good ending. The announcers drove me crazy but that’s par for the course in WCW: focus on everything except what’s going on right in front of you because that’s the real place of interest. The match was decent enough as it got a bit more time than average and the Mamalukes are fine for a midlevel power team.
Tony says the Harris Brothers have come in, a good minute and a half after they got here and started beating people up. The Twins clean house to make sure the Dragons don’t get a rub off this.
Team Package vs. Sting/Vampiro
This is under Texas Tornado rules, meaning the first person to lose their foot and get a really impressive prosthetic wins for his team. I would throw in something about cocaine use but that’s too fair to Flair. Since this is an upper midcard feud, the announcers spend the entrances talking about Russo and Bischoff. It’s a brawl to start with Luger and Sting immediately fighting up the ramp and out to the pool. While that goes on, Flair wristlocks Vampiro, which Tony describes as turning up the heat.
Luger gets backdropped into the water as Vampiro has Flair in some kind of a leg lock. Back poolside, Luger pushes a waiter in as we keep cutting back and forth between the two fights. It turns into a food fight with Luger taking some salsa and sour cream to the face. Flair has Vampiro in the Figure Four but we need to watch Sting and Luger walk down a bridge towards the beach. Sting gets thrown onto a surfboard, but Tony has breaking news.
No, Flair hasn’t made Vampiro submit. No, Sting and Luger aren’t actually doing something interesting. Instead, THERE WILL BE REACTIONS FROM WRESTLERS TO THE RUSSO AND BISCHOFF ANNOUNCEMENT! When you ask? WE’RE NOT SURE YET! Vampiro spinwheel kicks Flair down for two as Luger and Sting are almost down to the water. Luger finally gets the salsa and sour cream knocked off of him and a piledriver on the sand is enough to give Sting the pin.
Rating: N/A. It’s not really fair to rate this as most of it was spent walking around to get to the beach with maybe 45 seconds of Flair vs. Vampiro thrown in. Some of the Luger vs. Sting stuff was amusing but it never reached beyond the lame garbage brawling and jokes about Luger being covered in sauces. I will however give them credit for finally using their surroundings as this could have been a lot more boring than it was.
Booker T.’s reaction to Russo and Bischoff returning: he doesn’t really care.
More spring break videos.
Terry Funk is ready for Hugh Morrus tonight and is still coming for Dustin Rhodes. Madden to Tony: “You and I will be retired long before Terry Funk.” He says this in jest but he’s actually right as Funk was still kicking around the indies about ten years after those two were done.
Meng vs. La Parka
La Parka’s voiceover talks about living large on spring break and how it’s one for him and one for his homies. He calls Meng Jungle Jim and the Tongan Death Grip gets Meng the pin about a minute later after no selling a chair shot.
The KidCam sees Buff Bagwell hitting on the same girls Steiner and the NWO talked to earlier. Is there a point to this coming anytime soon? We’ve been seeing Buff hit on women for like three months now and nothing has ever come of it. The NWO sees this and wants to kill Bagwell.
Fit Finlay thinks Russo and Bischoff can fix things.
Here’s the music video for Bif Naked’s We’re Not Gonna Take It, featuring a bunch of WCW people from Ready to Rumble.
Clips of Wall hurting people.
Terry Funk vs. Hugh Morrus
Funk has dropped the chicken in exchange for a chair. Tony has another announcement so he asks Madden to take over the play by play for a second. Madden: “All right. Morrus rushes at Funk and pounds him in the back with some heavy forearms.” Tony: “Ok that’s enough of that. Now for the announcement.” The announcement: next week’s Nitro and Thunder will be Best Of shows as we wait for the debut of the new Russo and Bischoff controlled WCW.
Funk chops on the ropes and sends Morrus into the buckle over and over. Tony: “Ok I’ve been told by the back to put over these two beating each other up. Well I can’t do that right now.” Instead, we’re told that Russo and Bischoff have two weeks to sort things out and debut their new WCW. Funk misses his moonsault and Tony FINALLY calls something (incorrectly of course), followed by Morrus missing his top rope elbow. They fight outside with Funk being powerbombed onto the sand and Tony finally pays some extended attention.
That lasts as long as an average Funk retirement as he talks about the two week break again. Morrus clotheslines Funk down and then knocks him out to the floor, only to miss a Cactus Elbow off the apron. Funk comes up with a chair for Morrus and a shot to the invading Dustin Rhodes, only to have Hugh plant Funk with a powerslam, followed by No Laughing Matter. Not that it matters though as Dustin hits Morrus with the chair for a DQ.
Rating: D. If nothing else, maybe we can get rid of this stupid story once the show is rebooted. Funk vs. Rhodes isn’t an interesting feud and is based on stuff that happened twenty years earlier. Therefore it’s perfect for WCW but annoying for its fans, which is why WCW keeps running for it.
Funk and Rhodes fight into the crowd as Morrus moonsaults the referee.
Hogan is ready for Wall and has his main man Vampyro (yes pyro) watching his back. “If the Wall tries to get on his boat to China, Vampiro (he got it right that time) will beat him with the hammerhead sharks.” Apparently Hogan is putting up half a million dollars of his own against Sid’s. So if Hogan wins he gets a million dollars? Well half a mil….you know what, I don’t care. Moving on.
Here’s the NWO for their tag match. After Steiner does his thing, Jarrett says he’s turning over a new leaf: the girls can stick around tonight.
Hennig and Bagwell are in the back, where Curt tells Bagwell to ignore the girls. Buff: “Oh come on. Girls are used to being wet around me.” Hennig: “Get your head in the game!” Buff: “It already is.”
The Artist, who doesn’t usually talk, thinks Russo and Bischoff coming in will suck. Oh wait that’s just what the boys want him to say. Instead, his real feelings are that he thinks they’ll give people a chance.
Even more spring break stuff.
Jeff Jarrett/Scott Steiner vs. Curt Hennig/Buff Bagwell
Hennig gets double teamed during Buff’s entrance. Bagwell sees what’s going on and keeps up his strutting before coming in for the save. Things settle down to Bagwell vs. Jarrett with Jeff in control but Buff gets in a knee lift and even more strutting. Hennig and Steiner come in and Scott easily breaks up the HennigPlex attempt. It’s time to ignore another match, but this time it’s to talk about Hogan vs. Wall up next. Bagwell comes back in and gets beaten up as Madden calls Steiner a human suplex machine.
Buff’s double arm DDT puts Jarrett down and the not hot tag (do you have any idea how hard it is to bore a college crowd?) brings in Hennig. Everything breaks down and Buff Blockbusters Jarrett but Jeff pops up and guitars Hennig (who had Steiner loaded up for the HennigPlex. He had Scott’s arm around his head and lifted the leg. Tony: “He may have been going for the HennigPlex but we’ll never know for sure.”) to set up the Steiner Recliner for the win. Buff was on the floor with the NWO girls instead of making a save.
Rating: D. Good night can someone put a gag on Schiavone? It’s amazing how much different things are when Bischoff is around to yell in his ear and make him sound like an idiot. Other than that, this was another lame match with the NWO fighting two guys who are thrown together because the NWO is still a thing for no apparent reason.
Vito thinks Russo and Bischoff are a step in the right direction to get the ratings back in order.
Hulk Hogan vs. The Wall
This is billed as a million dollar match with both guys putting up $500,000, even though Sid isn’t paying Wall anything unless Wall takes Hogan out. So if Wall wins he gets a million bucks total and if Hogan wins he gets……what? He doesn’t get the bounty from Sid and he keeps his own money, so why does Hogan put up any money in the first place? It’s kind of a one sided story and WCW has managed to make it more complicated than it ever should have been.
Wall pounds and chokes to start but Hogan comes back with his variety of right hands. Some more choking with I think part of Wall’s shirt is enough to send Hogan outside. It’s already table time but Hogan is waiting with a chair. Hogan pounds away with the chair but Wall no sells. Back in and Wall scores with the chokeslam but it’s Hogan’s turn to no sell. There are the big boot and legdrop but Wall does the Undertaker situp and goes after Hogan in the corner. Cue Vampiro to go after Wall for the DQ.
Rating: D+. I didn’t hate this as much as I thought I would as Hogan not only lost, but more importantly couldn’t beat Wall. This made Wall look like a monster instead of beating up people like David Flair and Crowbar over and over. It’s not a good match, but it gave Wall a big rub for a change, which is something he really needed.
Hogan and Vampiro knock Wall through the table but Wall still won’t sell to end the show.
Overall Rating: D. I can’t say I blame them for killing this off. Yeah WCW is starting to turn some stuff around, but it’s very clear that Sullivan and Russo/Bischoff’s booking don’t mix. Between all the brawling and boring stories we’ve been having for the last few weeks and now Tony going from a competent announcer to the airhead that he’s best remembered as all over again, there’s very little to get excited for around here and maybe the change will help for the time being.
I’m going to try to find a copy or recap of the Best Of shows for next week but there’s a chance I’ll just skip over them and be back in two weeks.
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