Before I get into this weeks Nitro I want to talk a little about why I was late. I ended up going to Universal this weekend and didn’t get back until Monday, and was so wrapped up in my own problems with this chick that I was thinking more about than Nitro. And, well, when you’re seventeen, hot chicks>Nitro from 2000s.[Note from Caliber: Well, to be fair, it’s actually “when you’re any age, absolutely anything > Nitro from 2000”] And if anyone is wondering about Universal, its like a giant LSD trip, and I went there without sleep too so I was really disoriented. On one side you have Spiderman and on the other side you have walking fish and dinosaurs. Anyway, onto Nitro.
We get clips of Nash, Steiner, and Goldberg beating each other up last week. Steiner beats up a camera guy with a baseball bat because he can. We cut to the stage and for some reason there’s a giant mud pit to the side of the ramp.
1st Match: Vampiro, Great Muta, and The Demon vs The Japaneese Guys with complicated names
We get a clip of the Face Paint Pals beating up Sting. As we know, this made Russo millions. I don’t really see the point of having a faction attack Sting because you can’t really have a payoff. [NFC: Well, that’s true. Sting vs a large group of bad-guys has never worked] The only two payoffs for this feud is to A) Have Sting get beat up more, or Have Sting beat up all three guys by himself. You could also get Sting to get two tag partners but the only friends Sting has are big main event guys and I feel three main eventers against three mid-carders is kind of unfair.
As for the match, its really just really spotty and almost impossible to do play by play for because the Young Dragons aren’t established characters and the commentators never call them by name. Also the rules of this match aren’t really well established as half the time it will be tornado with everyone in the ring, and then the other half of the time they’ll be tagging in and out. After about four minutes of action one of the Young Dragons does a backflip off of Muta but Muta sprays him with his Green Mist and hits a moonsault for a win.
DUD Just a big spot fest and didn’t establish a story, really sloppily done.
After the match Sting comes down to the ring and cleans house on the Face Paint Pals with his baseball bat. Sting issues a challenge to Goldberg and refuses to leave until he gets down there. We cut to commercial and when we come back Steiner comes out with a pipe and says he’s going to shove his pipe up Sting’s ass. I would love 2000 Nitro’s if they were just an hour and a half of Steiner rambling, he’s just so hilariously bad. Scott hits Sting with the pipe and then throws him in, and chokes him a bit before leaving. We then go back to commercial break. This show is having more commercial breaks than Raw does now, since Raw is pimping their “new way to watch television.” Nitro isn’t pimping anything though, its almost like they want you to switch to Raw.
Ernest Miller comes out and calls Scott Steiner Big Poppa Dump and makes a Pipe on a Pole match. Heh, they’re going to have to get pretty HIGH to get that PIPE! Ernest Miller starts dancing but then Lance Storm comes out and demands a match with Booker T for the title. Ernest tells Lance that his Canadian fans can kiss his ass. Way to gain more fans. Then Ernest says he wants to see Booker T beat up Lance so he gives him the match. Yeah, you showed him, by giving him a title match! Yeah, fuck you Lance! I know that when my Teacher gets really mad at me he gives me extra credit so I can get my grade up. Billy Kidman is on commentary and is talking about the Five Buck Tramp, and says its Torrie Wilson appreciation night, and says that he feels deeply sorry about his actions of the last couple of weeks. Since I’m from Florida I can emote to appreciating tramps.
2nd Match: Kronic (C) vs Mark Jindrak and Sean O’Hare for the Tag Team Championships
Big brawl to start. Clarke brings Mark to the outside and Sean is inside with Adams. Tag out and Mark’s inside when Chuck Pulambo and Shawn Stasiak come down to the commentary booth. Back inside the ring and Sean hits a splash for two but Clakre hits a backdrop suplex and Admas comes in with a chokeslam. Double shoulderblock to Mark and a double chokeslam and they almost have it but Sean breaks up the pinfall. Adam fights with Sean on the outside and Clarke hits a pump handle slam on Mark on the inside and gets two when Sean breaks it up. This match is horribly sloppy, the wrestlers are doing all the big spots without anything in between making the big spots not big spots. No selling or storytelling, just continued big spots. Just horribly sloppy. Pulambo and Stasiak attack and then The Filthy Animals come down to the ring and attack Kronic. What the fucking Hell!? This is such a fucking clusterfuck. Then the Misfits come down and clean house on the heels only for the Filthy Animals steal the title belts.
DUD An absolutely horrible match, no heat segment, no building up to spots, no selling, no continued points, no story telling, just a spot fest that didn’t work with the crowd what so ever. And the shit after the match was such a clusterfuck and didn’t advance any story lines, and has no cohesiveness to the story lines followed before this. The Filthy Animals stealing the title belts doesn’t help advance anything and seems randomly put in there, because, well it is. Yeah, its pretty obvious that Russo’s back.
Okay, backstage we get Major Gunns saying she’s going to strip my Beautiful and Beloved and throw her into the mudpit. I wonder if that’s what Clooney’s into.
Backstage DDK (Dimaond Dallas Kanyon) is looking for a tag partner and gets the women who interviews people, Pamela. So…. he forces her to be his tag partner which leads to this….
3rd “Match”: Buff Bagwell and his Mother vs DDK and Pamlea [NFC: I can’t believe I just read that match title. If this is anything less than -***** I’ll be shocked]
Kanyon and Bagwell do a pretty good wrestling sequence and Kanyon takes out Bagwell, hits his Mom, and then Pamela slaps Kanyon, and I shit you not, Mean Gene comes down to the ring in a neckbrace, low blows Kanyon right in front of the Referee, and Bagwell hits his finisher to get the win.
0.5/5.0 For a good wrestling sequence at the start of the match. This is such horribly illogical booking. How does Mean Gene, a guy who’s been gone for weeks and is an ex interviewer, attacking a wrestler who’s supposed to be a legitimate badass and main eventer, help advance the story line between Bagwell and Kanyon? How is Mean Gene attacking Kanyon going to lead to any kind of compelling story that will keep people’s interest? What is wrong with Vince Russo?
The commentators talk about how Vince Russo is back in control and then talk about how they recorded these tapes of him “shooting from the hip.” Caliber tells me these are great for comedy value and shows how delusional Russo is. Russo says he always speaks his mind but can’t talk about what happened at Bash at the Beach or he’s going to get in trouble with the lawyers. Russo’s smuggish, “everyone knows what I’m talking about” attitude here is really annoying. Most wrestling fans have no idea what the hell is going on and could care less about Vince Russo’s politics backstage. At the time though, you can kind of see were Vince Russo’s idealism comes from. Back in 99/00 you had the Internet exploding with backstage rumors, and news from WCW and ECW because they weren’t as closed up as WWF/WWE is so you can kind of see were Russo’s idea would work. Make a good “shoot” angle that you have these people believing and you have the all the morons who don’t do anything but look for more news, and try act more informed than the other person even though they aren’t, you have these people eating out of your hands because they think that this angle is real but every other angle is fake. Really, its not that bad of an idea, and if done properly is genius. Look at the ECW One Night Stand Paul Heyman promo done in 2005, or if you want a more recent one, Punk’s promo on Raw leading up to Money In The Bank 2011. Shoot angles can work, but they don’t work if no one knows what the fuck is going on. You can’t have people get into a storyline were Hulk Hogan leaves randomly because there’s no side to take, you can’t cheer, or boo, there’s no reason to get invested in it, its just a really weird event. You can’t get into Vince’s idea of “shooting from the hip” because what he’s saying is so obscure and he’ll make some really vague reference and never expand on it.
The reason something like Punk’s promo works is because people were tired of WWE’s malhappy, generic, same/same, 50/50 booking at the time were no one was getting over and John Cena was always in the main event. With Vince Russo you can’t become invested in the shooti-ness because there’s absolutely nothing to get invested in. Even if you do think you’re smarter than other people because you can pick up on what he’s saying that’s the only benefit this angle could have to it. You can’t watch a movie, or read a book if there’s no reason to get invested in it, and that’s what we have here, a horribly done angle with absolutely no reason to get invested.
Anyway, Russo goes off about how he brought up WWF’s ratings and ever since he left in late 99 the ratings haven’t gone up, and he decided to leave to WCW because he thought it was a challenge, and that he could bring up the ratings. Hmm, let me pull up my ratings archives. In 99, when Russo was in charge (I’m looking at January to April here) Raw was averaging around late 5.0’s, maybe early 6.0’s. If you look at 99 altogether the show got its highest rating of 7.1 in July 26th, which I believe is after Russo left. Now if you look at the first four months of 2000, the show was averaging late 6.0’s maybe mid 7.0’s. The point is that if you actually do the statistics (I was actually going to do the whole equation but the calculator on my computer blows) Raw went up in the ratings almost a whole point and a half after Russo left and sometimes in Raw in 2000 they would have two weeks of 7.0’s and during the second half the show would get such ridiculous ratings as 7.9’s! So, Vince Russo is already lying through his teeth or just doesn’t know what he’s talking about. [NFC: It’s actually Secret Option 3: All of the above!]
Anyway Russo shoots a little more about how selfish the wrestlers were and how they were really controlling but now he’s changed that since Booker T has become champion, and there’s going to be a shift with new talent. Which is funny considering that the main angle right now is between Goldberg/Steiner/Nash. Russo says he wants to fight John Rocker, who the fuck is John Rocker? *After a quick Google search* Man, I so wish Russo would’ve tried to do something to that guy, that guy looks like he could Russo and still be hungry.
4th Match: Sting vs Scott Steiner in a Pipe on a Pole Match
Sting attacks Scott before the match starts and rams him into the rail. Hits him a couple times with a chair and rams him into the rail again. Sting works over Scott with the chair and throws him back in. Sting goes up top and hits a clothesline. Nice dropkick. And Sting goes up again and goes for a double axehandle but gets caught in a bearhold by Scott into a belly to belly suplex! Shit, this match could be pretty good. I really like big guy vs small guy matches (Shawn v Vader). Steiner hits Sting with an elbow for two and then works him over in the corner with punches. Steiner jaws with the crowd and hits Sting with some knees. God, Steiner’s offense is so boring. He looks so lost in the ring, he’ll do one thing and then jaw with the fans because he literally can’t think of what to do next. Scott goes for a suplex but Sting dodges under and goes for a clothesline but Scott throws the Referee in the way ko’ing him. Sting hits a bulldog and then a Stinger Splash. Rick Steiner runs in and grabs the pipe but Rick gets Splashed only for Scott to grab the pipe. The Referee walks up and sees that Scott has the pipe so gives him the win. The Steiners start working over Sting when Nash comes in… and then beats up Rick Steiner.
0.5/5.0 Sting made the match exciting for the first like two minutes but Scott brought the match down to a screeching, boring halt. Then instead of trying to let Sting carry Scott we had a clusterfuck ending about four minutes in. I think this shows going to ruin my attention span.
5th Match: Lance Storm (Every Championship ever except for the important one) vs Booker T (C) for the World Heavyweight Championship
This is the well known match that the WWE’s put on two WCW DVD sets (Rise and Fall, and Best of Nitro Vol. 1) and its famous for being a great wrestling match but the production team keeps on focusing on this fat chick eating sandwiches in the commentator booth.
Fans chanting USA. Booker with a headlock into a hammerlock but Lance whips out, cut to a waiter coming out with sandwiches. Booker hits a nice spin kick, punches in bunches, and on commentary instead of talking about the great match, Mike Awesome is mad that the guy brought him sandwiches instead of doughnuts. Cut to Hydey complaining about the sandwiches. Back inside the ring and Lance with some punches. Lance brings Booker into the corner and starts slapping him. Booker tries to fight back but Lance elbows him and goes for a suplex but Booker reverses with his own suplex. Lance goes for a roll up almost into the half crab (which is injured from his match with Goldberg) but Booker gets out and knees Lance. Scissor kick and spinaroonie. Kick to the face for two. Kicks Lance into the corner but runs into boots from Lance. Lance goes up top for a crossbody but Booker reverses into a powerslam for two. Lance goes for a German which Booker reverses but Lance amazingly somehow reverses that into a half crab. Booker fights through the pain to get to the ropes. Booker stands up only to get superkicked but comes back with a spinebuster for two! Booker goes up top and hits a great missile dropkick for two! Fans are really into this by the way, only match all night. Booker goes for Book End but Lance eblows out but Booker ends up hitting it anyway!
4.0/5.0 I’m probably overrating this by a .5 but I don’t care. This match is great, cohesive storytelling! You have Booker, who’s been injured by Goldberg on that leg, and he fights through the pain in his leg to get to the ropes. Booker isn’t this super destructive badass John Cena guy, he’s a likable guy who is actually compelling because its a struggle for him to win matches. Just really well done, and I didn’t pick up on the storytelling on the DVD because I didn’t know about the storyline with Booker’s leg before. A really good, fun match that the crowd got into because WRESTLING!
After the match Jeff attacks Booker on that leg but fucks with the Canadian flag which pisses off Lance so Jeff beats him up and brings him up on the outside, were he goes to hit him with his guitar but he dodges and he accidentally hits Hydey (the fat chick). Awesome is pissed off and chases Jeff into the ring were Booker takes Jeff out with a Book End. Lame, I’ve already seen Booker beat up Jeff ten thousand times and last week Sting did it in three minutes. Why should I care about the main event at the PPV?
Billy Kidman does this really sweet, nice promo for Torrie talking about how he loves her and how he’s sorry about all the things he did. She comes out and accepts his flowers, when SWERVE Kidman says he has another videotape of her sixteenth birthday. We cut to April 17, 1992, and it turns out that Torrie Wilson used to be really fat and ate a bunch of cake. Eh, that’s not really that embarrassing, “Yeah, I used to be fat and had a problem were I couldn’t stop eating but now I’ve lost a considerable amount of weight and am on a diet.” Yeah, that’s fucking hilarious. Most skinny people are skinny because of genetics and can’t really imagine being fat, I’m seventeen and weigh 130. Making fun of someone for being fat is like making fun of someone for having different colored eyes than you. Though I will admit, I do do it sometimes because I’m a horrible person but considering that Kidman’s the face here it doesn’t make much sense. Then again, this is kind of light compared to some of the shit Sheamus and Cena do on Raw. The Franchise runs down to the ring but gets decked by Kidman. Then Kidman kind of pushes Torrie which gets a mixed reaction from the crowd. Then whoever it was that wrestled Kidman on the five star classic Viagra on a Pole match attacks him from behind.[NFC: The guy he wrestled in that stupid match was Shane Douglas] So you have all this stupid Kidman/Torrie stuff and it advances absolutely nothing because Kidman isn’t feuding with Shane Douglas or even going to be involved in an angle with Torrie because he’s feuding with the other guy. Sweet.
The Filthy Animals try leaving the building but Kronic is waiting for them with sledgehammers. They start beating up the car with sledgehammers which Disco Inferno is in. Disco tries getting out of a beating by giving them their belts back but they chokeslam him into the car anyway. Major Gunn grabs Tygress and throws her into the mudpit and slams her. Then My Beautiful and Beloved comes out and Tygress, and My Pretty throw Major Gunns into the mud making her look like, to quote Madden, “The Creature from the Black Lagoon.”
6th Match: Jeff Jarrett vs Mike Awesome
Mike no sells some punches and catches Jeff in a belly to belly. Splash in the corner and Mike hits some punches in bunches. Sick legdrop for two. Whip but Jeff reverses and elbows Mike to the outside. Jeff rams Mike into the rail and hits him with the chair. So I guess all the matches are No DQ? Jeff rams Mike into the other rail and finally Mike reverses a whip and sends Jeff into the rail. Chairshot by Mike. Mike goes under the ring but eats a chairshot which he no sells. Mike does some punchy kicky stuff giving him time to set up a table. This match is becoming really lazy as the two guys are just throwing each other into the rail and hitting each other with chairs. I think the two guys are going for a hardcore brawl here but its just really lazy and repetitive. Back in the ring and Awesome jumps off the top and hits Jeff with an elbow. Mike goes up top but Jeff catches him with punches and goes fur a superplex but a heel never hits a superplex. Jeff pancakes him off and hits a clothesline. Alabama Slam for two as Jeff gets his leg on the rope. Lance Storm comes out and waves his Canadian Flag. Mike hits a clothesline and for some reason goes down. Lance comes to the ring and throws Jeff a chain which Jeff uses as knucks for two. Um, why is Lance trying to help Jarrett when Jarrett attacked him earlier. Mike is about to go for his powerbomb but Lance is on the corner so Mike throws him through the table but eats the stroke giving Jeff the win.
1.0/5.0 Really lame and uninspired, mostly repetitive and there was absolutely no reason to have Lance out there.
Kiwi calls the Pamela (Interviewer chick) a whore and tells his somewhat hot wife to shut up.
Scott Steiner comes out with Rick Steiner to the ring. Rick says they’re not afraid of them and Scott says he’s going to stick his boot up either Sting or Nash’s ass. Sting comes out with Nash and I guess this is the main event. This is pretty lame booking as they didn’t announce this match beforehand what so ever and it could’ve gotten them more views if they did.
Main Event: Steiners vs Sting and Nash
Sting and Nash clean house to start. On the outside of the ring Scott starts jawing with some really skinny guy and the guy tries flexing. Its really weird having Scott Steiner right next to a normal human being because Scott looks like a fucking giant. Back in the ring with Rick and Nash. Rick hits a clothesline for two. By the way we’ve got about six minutes left for this main event as usual with Nitro so they’re probably going to rush through everything in this match. Nash comes back with punches in bunches and Sting gets tagged in, and hits a frogsplash for two. Sting starts attacking Scott and sends him outside. Sting hits Rick with some punches. Rick hits an eyepoke, well kind of, he doesn’t come anywhere near Sting’s eyes because Sting flinches but Sting still sells it. Rick tags in Sting and chokes out Sting in the corner. Scott puts Sting in a tree of woe. Rick chokes out Sting when Nash comes outside to break it up by attacking Rick. The Referee breaks that up. Scott tags in Rick and Rick hits Sting with a belly to belly for two. I think the best thing about this match is a sign that says, “Sting eat my ass.” The fans get so bored during the main event they start chanting for Goldberg. Scott decides he needs to be more exciting so goes to a fucking bear hug. Sting fights out and jumps over Scott to get the hot tag to Nash. Nash does hot tag stuff and goes for a powerbomb on Rick but Scott breaks it up. Nash and Rick fight to the outside and Sting hits a Stinger Splash, and goes for another one but misses and Scott hits a belly to belly while Nash hits Rick with a sick powerbomb onto the table on the outside, and it doesn’t break which hurts more. Scott puts Sting in the Recliner but Goldberg comes down to the ring and attacks Sting right in front of the Referee. Sting gets the pin. Then Goldberg attacks Sting. Goldberg goes to attack Steiner but Nash attacks Goldberg and Nash, and Steiner team up on Goldberg.
2.0/5.0 Mostly boring match that picked up a little near the end. The storyline however makes absolutely no sense and thanks to Russo things like established character go right out the fucking window. Doesn’t Nash hate Steiner? Why would he team up with someone he hates and was literally just trying to beat in a match? Was Sting’s blowoff with Vampiro beating up all three guys after they had a match? Why the fuck should we care about Rick Steiner? He just came back and he gets to be in the Main Event of the show because he’s Scott’s brother?
Final Thoughts: Just an absolutely horrible show with one good match, this show shows you everything that is wrong with Russo. Its almost like he’s flipping you off and hates you for trying to care about the characters on the show. In Russo’s world no one has a character, everyone is just faceless guy with generic names that change from good guy to bad guy with reason. Ha, you want reasons? Well fuck you. You want logical story lines? This is wrestling, you’re stupid if you want logical story lines. This would be the equivalent of having a movie. Let’s say Star Wars, so you have the Luke Skywalker who had his foster parents killed by the Imperil and that’s one of his driving forces in fighting them and teaming up with the Rebellion. He also cares about his friends who have grown on him, Han Solo, Leia, even the Droids. Even when he learns that Darth Vader is his Father he still refuses to go to the Darkside because of that. So what if Russo was writing it? He would have Luke randomly turn the Darkside for about half the movie then randomly SWERVE he’s really a good guy but SWERVE again Han Solo is Darth Vader only to learn that the Ewoks stole Luke’s light saber and that Yoda is the Emperor wearing a holographic disguise; all without any logical motive.
Its not necessarily the fact that Russo’s story lines are ridiculously over complicated and hard to get into, I can deal with that, its the fact that he takes the characters we care about, and the story lines that we care about and changes them completely. It would be the equivalent of making Rambo V and having him as a sweet old man who gives kids candy and is into Dubstep. You can’t get into a story if you don’t care about the characters or the story itself, and you definitely can’t care about a story if the person who’s pulling the strings changes the persons reasoning without any motivation and makes everyone the exact same person that just happens to be good or evil right now. Back in the mid 90s, WCW used to tape their Nitro’s on Disney and they’d have these big Boo, Cheer signs. That’s almost exactly what Vince Russo wants wrestling to be, he doesn’t want you to think, or become connected, he wants you to be mindless and cheer, and boo for whoever he wants you to. You know, I’ve really been enjoying the last couple of shows but Russo is fucking Cancer for wrestling and just has to go and ruin a good thing. I can now officially go back to despising doing these reviews instead of the bright optimism I had for the last couple of shows. Thanks a lot Russo.