It’s that time again friends! We are jumping in the way back machine and going to January of 2001. Voted on by you the fans, I’ll be reviewing an episode of Nitro this week. Now fans know that at this point Nitro was a rough show to watch and WCW wouldn’t be long for the wrestling world. With that said this show actually flew by which says a lot, especially if you saw my struggle with last week’s Nitro. Strap in and get ready folks, the flux capacitor is running and we’re about to hit 88 mph. Let’s get to the action!
Chavo Guerrero Jr defeated Crowbar to retain the WCW Cruiserweight Championship
The Filthy Animals (Kidman/Mysterio) defeated 3-Count (Moore/Helms)
The Thrill Seekers defeated Kronik to retain the WCW Tag Team Championships
Konnan defeated Mike Awesome in a Hair vs Hair match (Kidman’s hair on the line)
The Cat defeated Bam Bam Bigelow
Shane Douglas defeated General Rection to retain the WCW US Championship
Kevin Nash defeated Scott Steiner by DQ (Steiner remains WCW Champion)
If you follow any of my work with Wrestlaholic you know I try and point out the stories in the shows. I try and break down the matches and find what they really boil down to. This episode of Nitro had really just one story going on and it was evident from start to finish.
To open the show Buff Bagwell and Lex Luger held a funeral for the career of Bill Goldberg. This is a fallout from the previous nights PPV, Sin. At Sin, Ric Flair staged a coup against Goldberg and WCW and finally turned on the company he defended for so many years. Flair would join forces with Luger, Bagwell, Steiner, and Jeff Jarrett. The hero that WCW could always count on to defend its honor, had finally fallen.
During the funeral Bagwell and Luger put on a hell of a show, they even brought out Jarrett and Steiner and that’s when things turned. They began to run down the career of Goldberg and Steiner would even spit on the casket. Flair then came down and cut a promo that I can only describe as, interesting. He would bounce back and forth between praising his gang while tearing down Goldberg and telling fans his team would hook up with their wives. Seriously, in 2001 Flair was telling fans he was gonna steal their wives like he was still in 1987.
Nash finally came out to put a damper on the party and he challenged Steiner. Nash made it clear that he wasn’t alone and brought out DDP and Rick Steiner. Flair shot down the request but the WCW Commissioner, The Cat, made the match official. This lit the powder keg that would explode at the end of the night.
During the rest of the night Flair and his cronies would infiltrate the WCW locker room and try to recruit talent to their side. The Cat was aware of this and began to fill his squad as well adding Kronik to the existing Nash, DDP, and Rick Steiner. Flair was able to get the services of Bam Bam Bigelow and The Thrill Seekers as well as their manager. The show would end with a World Heavyweight Championship match between Nash and Steiner. The match was going strong and then devolved quickly into a melee between WCW and Flair’s group to close the show.
The battle for WCW would begin tonight and would be waged for the next few weeks. Big players such as Goldberg and Sting would eventually become factors but tonight was the first chapter in the final act of WCW. Not knowing that their days were numbered, WCW aimed to kick 2001 off with a bang to regain a foothold in the Monday Night War.
I actually enjoyed this show. It had some good in-ring action, some solid promos, and just pure wild WCW insanity. As bad as WCW got towards the end there were always small glimmers of hope that they could figure it out. This show may not touch what the WWE was doing at the time but it definitely wasn’t their worst. Honestly, it would hold up to most weeks of RAW or Smackdown today.
Overall Rating: 6/10
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