DDP vs Mark Starr- January 13th, 1997
Page makes short work of Mr. Starr in under a minute, who botches the ending a bit by going down via the Diamond Cutter without even being in it. Afterwards, Hall & Nash come down to celebrate with Page and give him an nWo shirt, solidifying his membership. However, in a moment that turned him into a bonafide main-eventer, he turns on them, drawing a monster pop. At age 13, I thought this was the coolest thing I’d ever seen, and was in love with the Diamond Cutter. To this day it’s still one of my favorite moments in wrestling. Fantastic stuff.
Page gets the pin on Starr after the DC at .52 | ***** for the whole ordeal
A Large Bit of Randomness For You – March 17th, 1997
Bischoff comes down to talk about Luger’s challenge, as well as the upcoming Uncensored PPV, when Harvy Schiller, President of Turner Sports comes down to rain on his parade. He suspends Bischoff, meaning he can’t have access to the finances, nor can he sign any contracts. Why this was included is beyond me.
He’s Pointing At Me! – March 17th, 1997
The Steiners & Harlem Heat were in the middle of a match when the nWo show up. Luger & Giant come down to even things out, and soon Sting follows, showing for the first time on TV his allegiance to WCW. Hogan plays it perfectly as he backs down the aisle screaming “He’s pointing at me! He’s pointing at me!”. It’s great.
Syxx [C] vs Rey Mysterio – WCW Crusierweight Championship – April 21st, 1997
A little after gaining the momentum, Syxx hits a pretty sweet move where he tosses Rey in the air, and on the way down he pushes him toward the ground. Mysterio eventually mounts an offense with an especially hard off-the-top-rope hurricarana that drove Syxx’s head into the mat, and sends him outside. As Syxx is being counted out, Nash comes in and powerbombs Rey, allowing Syxx to come in and put him in the Buzzkill. Honestly, is there anyone who could name 5 nWo title matches that ended clean? A decent match, but felt like something that was setting up for a PPV return.
Syxx wins the match with an unconscious Mysterio in the Buzzkill at 5:55 | **
Lex Luger vs Hulk Hogan [C] – WCW Heavyweight Championship – August 4th, 1997
Hogan controls the entire match, with Lex only getting a taste of momentum here and there. At one point, Luger kicks out of Hogan’s leg-drop, which you’d think would result in a monster pop but they don’t make a sound. However, they do pick up once the nWo show up and Luger starts taking them out one by one before finally putting Hogan in The Rack and winning the title. His reaction is actually step for step to the one when he body-slammed Yoko. Perhaps he always does this. I wonder if he has a turnbuckle set up in his house in case he gets some good news. Anyway, I never understood the point of this. Sure, it’s the 100th episode of Nitro, but this title win did nothing good. It make Luger look like a fluke when he lost it a week later, and it took a bit of the build up out of Sting vs Hogan, which was only 3 months away. Sting was suppose to be the savior, but then it appeared that Luger could do it too.
Luger wins the WCW title after Hogan submits to the Rack at 8:58 | **
Not My Dog Spot, Not A Liver Spot, But MY Spot! – September 1st, 1997
This was the first, the original, and the best. All other “group impersonating group” pay homage to the man when it comes to this bit. “One thing you could say when Arn Anderson was coming to town was ‘Arn Anderson is coming to town’”. They actually did a sequel to this with Disco as Mean Gene, Hogan as Flair, and Nash reprising Arn. It was in March of 1999 when they were trying to redo everything that had made WCW note worthy in ’96 and ’97. An absolute classic bit.
Buff Bagwell vs DDP – September 29th, 1997
A pretty solid TV match. Buff works heel to perfection here, faking injuries and using other unscrupulous tactics, all while talking shit to the camera in perfect Buff fashion. My favorite being when he tells us to not adjust our TV sets, he truly is this good looking. Soon after, the ref is knocked out, so Vincent gets involved. DDP gives him a brutal DC with such a snap that when Vince’s head hits the mat, his feet are up in the air where his head once was. Eventually it’s the same fate for Buff as DDP pulls out a well earned victory. Between Buff’s verbiage & DDP’s workrate, this is definitely a match worth inclusion.
Buff eats a DC and a pin at 6:34 | ***
The Stinger – October 27th, 1997
We join a match between Hogan & DDP, and as Page works up his comeback, a fake Sting shows up drawing the DQ. Soon after the nWo shows up to pummel DDP. God, the fucking timekeeper WILL NOT STOP RINGING THE BELL. Did this not drive anyone else insane? Finally, Sting shows up, but it’s just him walking through the crowd & beating up the nWo. Why this was included instead of the thousands of other much better Sting moments is beyond me. This moment flat out sucked compared to some of the others, like the dummy Sting that fell through the ring, then later that night was the real deal. Or the Sting army. Pretty funny watching him destroy a fleet of guys, and then seeing what happened at Starrcade.
Macho Man Randy Savage vs Sting – February 2nd, 1998
Macho isn’t having much to do with Sting until he misses a splash on the guard rail. After that he has control until Stinger pops up following a pile-driver. However, it’s once again the splash that reverses fortune, as Macho took off a turnbuckle and Sting crashed into the bolt. An elbow drop later, and Hogan is breaking up the 3 count. It’s the usual Sting fighting off the nWo after that. I have no idea why this was included, because it wasn’t much of a match and didn’t have anything note worthy. They should have used the Hogan vs Sting match from the night after Starrcade instead.
Sting is DQ’ed when Hogan runs in and pulls Macho off during the 3 count at 3:55 | *
Hold # 2 – ARM BAR – March 30th, 1998
One of the funniest moments in wrestling, curiosity of the greatest wrestler of all time. GIMMIE MY HOLDS!
Goldberg vs Hulk Hogan [C] – WCW Heavyweight Championship – July 6th, 1998
They should have had the match with Raven instead. It’s much better, and the pop is just as big. This one, well, is between a guy who’d been wrestling for less than a year and didn’t have a passion for the sport, and a mid-40s, very well paid Hulk Hogan. But the crowd helps. Funny to think that Goldberg was to lead WCW into the future, but because of the pathetic politicking he only had one successful year and just one reign as WHC.
Goldberg wins the title with the Jackhammer at 7:01 | **
Sting & Kevin Nash [C] vs Scott Hall & The Giant – WCW Tag-Team Championship – July 20th, 1998
To anyone who thinks the nWo was cooling off when they split up, just watch this match. The pop for the Sting & Nash when they clear the ring is massive. The Wolfpac was just as over, if not more over than the original nWo. This was a fun match, as Hall played the chickenshit to perfection, with The Giant being able to back up his shit-talking. Sting was cheered with practically everything he did, and since he was no longer the b&w Sting, he could bounce around the ring with a ton of energy. Match ends when Bret comes into the ring, distracts Stinger, and Hall hits him with the Outsiders Edge. I’m, not sure what the deal was, but Kevin Nash was unstoppable. He was hit once, and kicked the shit out of both the Giant & Hall whenever they were in the ring together. That took away from the match a bit, but overall it’s worth checking out.
Hall pins Sting at 9:38 to win the tag-titles | **3/4
Chris Jericho vs Rey Mysterio – August 3rd, 1998
Match is your typical greatness at the start, with one of two highlights being a botch from Mysterio. He whips Jericho into the ropes, but Chris holds. However, Mysterio thought he was gonna run at him, so he was going to leap-frog. Well, even though Jericho held the ropes, and had been there for a full second, Rey just stares at him and leaps for no reason. The other one follows immediately afterward, Jericho puts Mysterio up for a Gorilla Press Slam and drops him into a Tombstone, which is fucking awesome. Later he hits Mysterio with a release German suplex, but Mysterio flies so far he lands in a belly flop. Rey goes for the Westcoast Pop, but Jericho pulls the ref in the way, and without a ref there’s no one to count the pin when Rey has him in a pinning combination. But ah-ha! Malenko runs in and makes the count, which is allowed since he’ll be the guest ref this Sunday for Jericho’s match. Hell, what did you expect? It’s Jericho & Mysterio, this match was fantastic. A lot of hard-hitting, innovative stuff that would leave motherfuckers agog back then, and hell, even today.
Rey pins Jericho with a sit-down hurricarana at 8:54 | ***1/2
Billy Kidman vs Juventud Guerrera [C] – Crusierweight Championship – September 14th, 1998
This is apparently the first night that Kidman had broken away from the Flock. Going from an interesting character who seemed like a dirty but talented miscreant who came out to no music, to generic pretty-boy in a white tank-top & jorts. Despite his lame character, Kidman is extremely over tonight, and as always, delivers in the ring. He & Juvi went out there and tore the house down with one of the roughest crusierweight matches I’ve seen. Near the end both guys were trying their damndest to pin the other, but neither would relent. Finally Kidman is able to take advantage of Juvi taking too long to set up for the 450, and hits him with the 7 Year Inch. The crowd exploded for that one, which WCW took as a sign to make sure they do nothing with him. Hell of a match.
Kidman hits Juvi with the Itch for the pin & the title at 10:43 | ***3/4
A Return With Flare – September 14th, 1998
What more can you say? One of the greatest segments in Nitro history, and because it’s WCW, it went absolutely no where. FIRE ME! I’M ALREADY FIRED!
Bret Hart [C] vs DDP – United States Championship – October 26th, 1998
Bret grabs the momentum from the get go and keeps it just out of Page’s grasp for the majority of the match. Everything from superplexes, Russian leg-sweeps, DDTs, and basic kicks to the head are all used to keep DDP away from Bret’s US title. However, Page is a guy who’d keep coming at you even after death, proving so as he throws Bret into quick pin attempts every chance he gets. Near the end, Bret attempts to hit Page with some knuckle-dusters and ends up hitting the mat with his face when DDP ducks the punch and nails Bret with a Diamond Cutter for the pin. A great match that displayed once again what an underrated worker DDP is, while Bret showcased just how bad WCW was screwing up by not having him main event from the get-go. Great stuff from both guys. Afterwards, Bret celebrates by pummeling the hell out of Page with a chair and putting him in the Sharpshooter.
DDP wins the US Championship after hitting Bret with the DC at 10:43 | ***1/4
Ric Flair vs Eric Bischoff – December 28th, 1998
Bischoff tries to leave via a limo, but the Horsemen are waiting inside and drag him to the ring for the match. Flair kicks the hell out of Bischoff for a few minutes until the nWo try to intervene. The Horsemen hold them off until The Giant arrives, and head-butts Flair. Just then, Macho appears in his new, jacked-up version, sporting an nWo black & white shirt. He asks the Giant to let him get a few licks in, but then low-blows him and sends him out of the ring. He then rips off his shirt and leaves. Flair puts Bischoff in the Figure-4, and that’s it. He’s now the President of WCW, which, was pretty fucking stupid to be honest. Afterward, quite a few people enter the ring to celebrate, including Dusty, Schiavone, the Horsemen, Booker T, and DDP. Honestly, this is how the nWo story should have ended. With Bischoff laid out in the ring while all of WCW celebrates around him.
Bischoff taps to the Figure-4 at 4:04, and no, I didn’t make that time up | * for the match, ***1/2 for the whole segment
Disc 2 is just as solid as the first, which makes this one of the greatest wrestling DVDs of all time so far. Even though the next few years were a bit rough, there should be enough quality material to help push this set into 5 star territory.