Right now I'm neck-deep in our forthcoming Best 200 Matches in WCW Monday Nitro History project so you'd think the last thing I'd want to watch in my free time would be more WCW. But, with this blog, I always intend on finishing what I start, so here's the third and final piece of my trilogy of articles reviewing the Monday Nitro events I was fortunate enough to attend live in Cincinnati. This one was a lot of fun, as far as the card, it's clear the level of talent had dropped considerably, but I went with lifelong friends (and NHO co-founder) Jessie and his two cousins Chris and Daryl so we enjoyed ourselves.
1. Big Vito vs. Buff Bagwell - 3
2. Kwee Wee vs. the Artist - 3
3. WCW US & WCW Hardcore Champion Lance Storm vs. WCW Cruiserweight Champion Chavo Guerrero Jr. - 3
The show opened with a ten-bell salute to Gordon Solie. Booker T and Jarrett had a pretty wild brawl to open the program including Booker doing a pretty epic sell on a chair shot. Opener starts off surprisingly fast-paced but Buff's mom Judy is on commentary and that distracts. Vito had nice punches. Backstage Kwee Wee slaps Ernest Miller with a fluffy pink slipper. Artist meets Kwee Wee in the aisle and they start pummeling each other. I don't think I've ever seen Austin get such lift off a Thesz Press as Wee did here. Artist eats a backdrop and sells like an alien mollusk is ripping through his back. Artist is in jeans and a t-shirt, they say it's "hardcore gear" but it looks like he just lost his luggage. There's too many goofy backstage skits to mention here. Chavo shows some fire missing from, well, most of his WWE career. Chavo takes a bump to the floor off of a phantom dropkick. Storm targets the leg and Chavo twirls around like a little girl playing ballet princess in her room. This moved quick but nothing had time to settle nor mean much.
4. Sting vs. Jeff Jarrett - 4
5. WCW Tag Team Champions Kronik vs. Mark Jindrak & Sean O'Haire vs. Vampiro & the Great Muta - 2
6. Shane Douglas vs. Billy Kidman - Viagra on a Poll Match - 2
This is the sort of laissez-faire brawling around the ringside and ramp that Jarrett did to death in TNA. Still, nicer seeing them here when they were still able to move around easier, Sting today looks like he's aged twenty years from then. The crowd was hot, though, and my fears of a screwy finish were alleviated, so this was fairly good for a shorter sprint and left Sting looking strong going into the main event later. Next was a huge mess that left my head hurting. People weren't even standing in the corners waiting for tags instead just casually wandering around the apron and interjecting themselves. The referee was of no help. The finishing sequence was overly elaborate and they didn't pull it off. Kronik, the faces, needing to use a chair? Jindrak completely no-selling a bodyslam to pop up and bust out a super hurricanrana off the top? Clark lying on his side like he was on a sofa waiting to cover Muta so they could do their stupid "two pinfalls at the same time" routine to cause further confusion? To quote my inspirational mentor Charlie Brown, "Good grief!" Viagra on a Poll Match? Fuck you Vince Russo. You ruined wrestling you sycophant scoundrel. Fatass Mark Madden spouts off some nonsensical shit about all the past classic VonP matches over time including classics with Baba, Thesz, etc. Sticking Torrie Wilson with Shane Douglas was about as good an idea as sharing a needle with Magic Johnson or watching a Uwe Boll film. Douglas brings shame to Bret Hart by aping his sternum-first bump into the buckles. This match felt like it was on fast-forward with them never stopping to let anything resonate. The funny thing is the Viagra bottle errantly breaks on a blown spot and slices Douglas' back open. Post-match Torrie rubs Billy's face in a pile of pills not unlike a usual weekend at their residence. Madden says, "I don't want to even get into the time Andre the Giant won one of these things".
7. Ms. Hancock vs. Major Gunns - Hardcore Match - 2
8. Scott Steiner vs. Kevin Nash - Straightjacket Match -
9. WCW World Champion Booker T vs. Sting - 4
The women start fighting backstage and Gunns' blows a spot in the shower being too dumb to figure out how to turn on the water so Hancock sells phantom aqua. They brawl in catering and stuff pastries into each other's faces while Sgt. AWOL and David Flair are inexplicably fighting out in the ring. Not the first time Stacy Keibler had white stuff all over her face. Hancock wins with a bodyslam? Probably the second most important bodyslam in the history of the business right behind Hogan/Andre. If you believe that I've got a Best of Sal Thomaselli that I'd love to sell you. Kidman is backstage and approaches a group of girls with a raging erection in his gym shorts: why do I think Russo was feverishly beating off to this? They do a horrible job explaining the straightjacket gimmick. They change tunes a couple times, Steiner looks like a sausage that's been on the grill too long and its casing is about to pop, and Rick Steiner's interference and inability to assist in involuntarily stuffing someone into a straightjacket all kill this thing dead.
Next match could have been a big deal on PPV but they wasted it here. Tony says Booker's ax kick hurt him worse than it did Sting, which I found odd, considering Sting was face-down and motionless on the mat and Booker calmly crawled over to make a cover after it. Sting rolled out of the ring only to be dragged under it by some mysterious, meaty hands -- when he escapes he's now sporting a suspiciously clean cut on his forehead that appears it was made be a razor but that wouldn't make sense, right? A neat little finishing sequence that saw some counters and Booker ending up hitting the "Book End" and retaining the title. Even if Sting was "weakened" it was still nice seeing Booker getting a big win. Post-match Sting drags his earlier assailant the Demon out from under the ring but the "Brothers in Paint" Vampiro and Great Muta race down to assist in the mauling. The show ends with Jarrett hanging Booker by his ankle from an 80-ft. rope (don't tell the NAACP) and Sting being stuffed into some sort of coffin-structure that's set afire in a sort of art instillation even Banksy wouldn't touch.