Author note: Wow. I can’t believe it’s been an entire DECADE since the WCW brand became the property of World Wrestling Federation Entertainment, Inc. A few notes about this article. This is NOT a reprint – this review has never been posted elsewhere, and in fact was written on March 23, 2011. I tried my best to keep my vast knowledge of all things wrestling that have happened in the last 10 years out of this and write it from the perspective of somebody who may have been watching it as it aired on March 26, 2001. The other note is that I had initially pondered creating a graphic and category on the site for WCW Nitro – however I scrapped that idea, realizing that it was far too much work for a one off article. I hope you enjoy this look at the final Nitro, and I hope you feel just as old as I do when you think about the fact that it was ten years ago!
Earlier today, the headline on WWF.com read “WWF BUYS WCW.” What does this mean for Nitro? Will we find out tonight? We’re off and running from Panama City Beach, FL to find out!
Nitro opens up with – of all people – Vince McMahon. I feel like I’m watching TNN right now. McMahon says to imagine that. Vince McMahon on WCW Television. How can that happen? It was just a matter of time before he bought his competition. That’s right, he owns WCW. Therefore, in it’s final broadcast on TNT, he has the opportunity to address us WCW fans and the WCW Superstars. What is the fate of WCW? Tonight, in a special simulcast, we’ll all find out, because the very fate of WCW is in Vince McMahon’s hands.
Tony Shiavone and Scott Hudson ponder what Mr. McMahon has to say as we find out that tonight’s show is being billed as a Night of Champions – indeed, all five WCW Championships will be on the line tonight, including a title for title match between the United States Champion Booker T and the World Heavyweight Champion Scott Steiner.
The Nature Boy, Ric Flair makes his way to the ring, a fitting start to what could prove to be the very last WCW event. Flair lets out a “WOO!” and ponders if he happened to hear that Vince McMahon said he’d hold WCW in the palm of his hands? Does that mean that he’s going to hold Jack Brisco, Dory Funk, Harley Race, The Road Warriors, Sting, Luger, the Steiners, Ric Flair, all of them in the palm of his hand? Flair don’t think so. At noon today, somebody told him to not go into tonight’s show knowing it’s the last time he’ll be on TNT or TBS. Don’t cry, don’t say you’re sorry. Flair’s been a 14 time World Champion for the greatest wrestling organization in the world, WCW. He’s talking about the Stings, Steiners, Road Warriors. He’s talking Arn Anderson and the Horsemen. WCW’s been on par and equal to any wrestling organization in the world. WCW ran neck and neck with WWF for years. Just for trivia, in 1981 when McMahon was trying to become an announcer, his dad was on the board of directors and voted for Flair to be World Champion? How ’bout that? Ever since then, Flair’s been a limousine ridin’, jet flyin, wheelin’ dealin’ son of a gun. WCW’s never been about the boys – it’s always been WWF vs. WCW in the office. The boys going out every night to be the very best. Those boys are here tonight. They’re not going anywhere. Vince McMahon can’t hold them in his hands. They’re WCW – they’ve bled and they’ve sweat. When has McMahon done that? He hasn’t. McMahon can’t hold people’s lives in his hand. WCW is the greatest wrestling company of all time. Flair says that his greatest opponent in this company has been Sting. So tonight, he wants Sting. It’s Sting’s last chance to be the man. To be the man, you gotta beat the man, and Flair is the man!
Up next, it’s title vs. title – Booker T vs. Scott Steiner!
The WCW World Heavyweight Champion, Big Poppa Pump, Scott Steiner is accompanied by Midajah. Can Steiner hang on to his title and add the United States Championship as well? Not if his opponent, Booker T has anything to say about it. Booker makes his way to the ring, and we’re set for title for title action!
Booker T def. Scott Steiner to unify the WCW World Heavyweight and United States Championships.
An exciting start to this match sees Booker T get an early two count after an inverse roundhouse. He nabs another two count off of a clothesline. It’s all Booker T early on. Steiner nails a powerbomb but only nabs a two count. He sends Booker to the floor, where Midajah slaps him in the face. Steiner tries to use a lead pipe, but Booker ducks out of the way. Steiner takes over, nailing a clothesline and dropping an elbow. A confident Steiner does pushups in the ring. He nails a belly to belly for another two count, then starts to stretch Booker. Booker gets crazy eyes, and tries to reverse it, but Steiner hits him with a knee. Booker still manages to mount a bit of a comeback, nailing Steiner with a dropkick. Booker manages to double over Steiner, and he hits the Ghetto Blaster axe kick. He flapjacks Steiner and does the Spinaroonie! Booker hits the Harlem Side Kick, and goes for the Book End, but Steiner reverses it into a Northern Lights Suplex for two. He goes for a powerbomb, but Booker reverses it into a Book End and picks up the victory! Booker T is the new – and possibly final – World Heavyweight Champion!
Still to come, Ric Flair will take on Sting. Mr. McMahon is on the phone in his office, calling the arena in Panama City Beach some redneck beer joint.
We relive Booker T’s title win from moments ago.
The Jung Dragons are in the ring, and they’ll be in a three way match to determine the number one contenders for the WCW Cruiserweight Tag Team Championships later on tonight. Their opponents are 3 Count, and finally, Rey Mysterio, Jr. and Billy Kidman of the Filthy Animals.
The Filthy Animals (Rey Mysterio, Jr and Billy Kidman) def. The Jung Dragons (Kaz Hayashi and Yang) and 3 Count (Evan Karagias and Shannon Moore)
I’m not even going to bother trying… Just know that this is WCW Cruiserweight action at it’s finest. Kidman nails an SSP on everybody on the floor. Mysterio and Yang go at it in the ring, and Yang nails Yang Time, but Kidman breaks up the pin. Kidman goes for the Kid Crusher, but Moore breaks it up. Moore nails his finisher, but Kaz Hayashi breaks up that pin. The Dragons hit a double team move, but – wow, this match is hard to keep up with. Karagias nails a 450 on Yang, and Kidman breaks it up. Kidman takes out Karagias, and Mysterio gets kicked low on a Bronco Buster attempt on Moore. Mysterio nails a guillotine leg drop, and picks up the victory for his team! What a match!
Still to come, it’s Ric Flair vs. Sting!
Vince McMahon is still on the phone in his office, and there’s a knock on his door. It’s Trish Stratus with champagne and a very short dress. Vince knows a way to celebrate – and he jumps on top of her.
A quick video package about Sugar Shane Helms airs, and we’re set for Cruiserweight Title action! Chavo Guerrero, Jr. makes his way to the ring as the challenger, and Shane Helms makes his way out, accompanied by his dance troupe, the Sugar Babies.
Sugar Shane Helms def. Chavo Guerrero, Jr. to retain the WCW Cruiserweight Championship
This match goes back and forth in the early going, and continues on that way. Helms gets a two on a top rope sunset flip, then Chavo gets a two of his own off of a clothesline. Helms gets a two from a top rope cross body. Chavo hits a t-bone suplex, but only gets a two count. Guerrero gets the better of a chain of reversals, getting a two count on a suplex. Helms drops down on a Guerrero sunset flip attempt and scores another two count. Helms takes over, but misses the Sugar Smack. He reverses another Guerrero suplex attempt and hits the Sugar Smack. He goes for the Vertabreaker, but Guerrero escapes – at least the first time. A second attempt results in victory for Helms, who retains his WCW Cruiserweight Championship!
Up next, it’s Team Canada vs. Shawn O’Haire and Chuck Palumbo, and later on tonight it’s Sting vs. Flair!
Backstage, Booker T says that this may be the end of the chapter, but there are many more pages left in this book. He says he’ll prove he’s the best this business has to offer. Don’t hate the player, hate the game!
WCW World Tag Team Championship is on the line! Lance Storm and Mike Awesome make their way to the ring representing Team Canada. Last week, Awesome defeated Chuck Palumbo.
If Lance Storm could be serious for a minute, last week they started a road to the Tag Team Championships. All rise for the next WCW Tag Team Champions and their Canadian National Anthem. Tag titles are on the line, NEXT!
Vince McMahon is still all over Trish Stratus when he gets another knock on his door. Michael Cole wants the reaction from Mr. McMahon about the concern that WCW fans will never get to see their brand of Sports Entertainment again, and that the WCW wrestlers are concerned that they may never be able to compete again. Mr. McMahon asks if that’s right. He asks how Cole feels about his job security, and tells him to get the hell out.
Shiavone and Hudson ponder their own job security. Does nobody know there’s wrestlers waiting to wrestle for the Tag Team Championships in the ring? Chuck Palumbo and Shawn O’Haire know, apparently, because they get to the ring quickly, and we’re underway!
Chuck Palumbo and Shawn O’Haire def. Team Canada (Lance Storm & Mike Awesome) to retain the WCW Tag Team Championships.
O’Haire and Storm start things off in the ring. Storm gets the upperhand, but O’Haire powers out and tags Palumbo. Palumbo’s power game is too much for Storm, until he allows himself to get distracted by Awesome, catching a superkick from Storm, who tags Awesome in. Awesome matches Palumbo in both power and athleticism. Storm gets the tag back in and nabs a two count on a sunset flip. Palumbo manages to tag O’Haire back in, who is now legal with Awesome. O’Haire scores a two count before Storm breaks it up. Awesome and Storm reverse a double team attempt, then their own attempt is in turn reversed by Palumbo and O’Haire. Palumbo nails a big kick on Awesome, and O’Haire nails the Shawn-ton Bomb on Awesome for the victory!
Still to come, Ric Flair vs. Sting!
Last week, Bam Bam Bigelow challenged Shawn Stasiak – if Stasiak loses, he gets tattooed.
Stacy Kiebler makes her way out to the ring and asks how many young, hip, college hunks want to see her dance. Do they want to see her take it off? Too bad, she’s not here to dance. She’s here to once again introduce us to the Shawn and Stacy show. Introducing the Mecca of Manhood, Shawn “The Star” Stasiak. He takes the microphone, kisses Stacy, and tells the fans to shut up, listen, and learn. Before he can go any further, Bam Bam Bigelow hits the ring with a case full of tattoo equipment. Stasiak attacks before the bell…
Shawn Stasiak def. Bam Bam Bigelow
Stasiak uses his pre-match attack to dominate the early going, but misses a top rope attack. Bigelow slams Stasiak and goes to the top rope himself, nailing a diving headbutt. Stacy distracts the referee, preventing the pinfall. Bam Bam goes for the Greetings from Asbury Park, but Stacy holds on to Stasiak’s ankles, allowing him to hit a Hangman’s Noose, and pick up the victory.
William Regal is showing off his WrestleMania X-Seven shirt to Mr. McMahon back in McMahon’s office. Mr. McMahon wonders what Regal wants. Regal says WCW is a bloody awful place. Is Mr. McMahon really sure? He doesn’t want McMahon to get into any trouble. McMahon says he’s on the case.
A cool video package airs showing off WCW Champions of the past.
Mr. McMahon is on the phone in his office. He tells the other person he knows what time it is. He hangs up to get ready.
Earlier tonight, Rey Mysterio, Jr. and Kidman won a triple threat tag team match to earn a shot at the WCW Cruiserweight Tag Team Championships. The champions are out first, the team of Primetime Elix Skipper and Kid Romeo! Their opponents, of course, are the aforementioned Billy Kidman and Rey Mysterio, Jr.
The Filthy Animals (Rey Mysterio, Jr. and Kidman) def. Elix Skipper and Kid Romeo to become the new WCW Cruiserweight Tag Team Champions
Skipper gets the jump on Kidman, but the advantage doesn’t last long before Kidman makes a comeback. Skipper manages to take Kidman down and tag Romeo, who hits a top rope move and instigates Mysterio. Quick tags by the champions, but Kidman’s speed manages to buy him a cross body and a two count. Kidman finally manages to tag in Mysterio, who comes in like a house of fire! It doesn’t last long before the numbers game catches up, but Mysterio manages to take out Romeo! Kidman gets in the ring and he and Mysterio double team Skipper! Mysterio nails the Bronco Buster, but Romeo attacks. He hits a double underhook facebuster on Kidman, but the pinfall attempt is broken up by Mysterio. Mysterio powerbombs Romeo, and nails a springboard diving headbutt. He gets two on Romeo before Skipper makes the save. Skipper hits a bridging Electric Chair drop but Kidman breaks up the count at two. This match is completely out of control! Skipper goes for the Play of the Day, but Kidman reverses into the Kid Crusher – We’ve got new Cruiserweight Tag Team Champions!
Still to come, it’s Sting vs. Ric Flair. Let’s hear from Sting.
Sting says he wouldn’t miss this night. It’s a historic night. One more dance with Ric Flair. They started years ago, and tonight, they’ll end it once and for all. Sting says the only thing for sure about Sting, is that nothing’s for sure. “It’s showtime, folks!”
Mr. McMahon is walking backstage (at RAW).
Meanwhile, in Panama City Beach, Ric Flair makes his way to the ring. Tony Shiavone ponders whether this will be the final walk down that aisle for Flair, who is in his usual ring gear, save for a t-shirt on under his robe.
The familiar sounds of Metallica’s “Seek and Destroy” ring out through the arena on Nitro, which can only mean one thing – THIS IS STING! Hudson points out that even Ric Flair bought in to the World Wrestling Federation, but Sting has always – ALWAYS – been WCW.
Sting def. Ric Flair
Sting shoves Flair to the canvas, and Flair argues with referee Charles Robinson. Flair finally manages to take the upper hand, and he backs Sting into the corner, nailing those famous Nature Boy knife edge chops. Sting turns the tide and uses his quickness to send Flair reeling out of the ring. Flair climbs back in, and we’ve got a standoff. The two tentatively lock up again, and Sting sends Flair into the ropes, who nails a shoulderblock. Sting goes for a leapfrog, but Flair decides to grab the ropes and stay in front of Sting. Sting nails a huge slam, then punches away at Flair in the corner. Flair flops to the canvas, and Sting yells to the crowd. Flair nails a low blow as Sting tries to take advantage. That’s why they call him the Dirtiest Player in the Game. Flair chips Sting in the corner again, and this time it seems to affect Sting more. Flair drops a knee then struts. Flair takes Sting down again and goes to the top rope, but as usual he gets thrown right back down to the canvas. Flair avoids a dropkick, and goes for the Figure Four. Sting screams out in pain, and nearly gets pinned when Flair grabs the bottom rope for extra leverage. Twice. Sting finally manages to pull the hold toward the center of the ring, and he manages to turn it over to reverse the pressure. Flair lets go, and Sting limps away. Flair hits a chop, but Sting almost seems to fuel off of it. Sting sends Flair to the corner, and nails a Superplex. He locks Flair in the Scorpion Death Lock, and Flair has no choice but to submit!
After the match, Sting helps Flair up and hugs him. The two men shake hands and hug again.
Mr. McMahon orders Lilian Garcia to announce him properly, and makes his way back to the ring. He tells us that for the first time ever, this broadcast is not only on TNN and in Cleveland, OH. It’s also being seen across TNN – Turner Network Television. Oops, I think he flubbed his line there. There’s only one way that can happen,and only one man who can make it happen. Everybody knows, Mr. McMahon now owns WCW. He bought his competition. it’s not exactly final. Time Warner can’t sell the property to anybody else, because nobody else knows what to do with it. They’re practically begging him to buy WCW, and he’s agreed. There’s one small caveat that they’re hearing for the first time. Time Warner has signed the contract, but Mr. McMahon will sign it this Sunday at WrestleMania. He’ll sign it when Ted Turner delivers it personally to him at WrestleMania. Now some would ask, how did he do it? He was up against Time Warner and Ted Turner. How could he possibly do it? The truth is, he did it all on his own. It was his effort, it was his money. How can you beat a billionaire? You become one yourself. When Ted Turner comes to WrestleMania and begs him to sign the contract, he’ll sign it, and then he’ll give Ted a great seat, right in the corner, so he can watch Vince beat his own son, Shane. Some would say “Vince, you can’t do that to your own son.” Nobody understands what it means to be a competitor than Vince McMahon. You’ve got to grab your competition by the throat, and you’ve got to squeeze the life out of it, just like he did to WCW. Just like he’s going to do to his son Shane. By the way, in his corner will be his charming and lovely daughter Stephanie, his companion Trish, and Trish will wheel down Vince’s wife Linda in her wheelchair, and she’ll watch what vince does to his son.
Now then, what should Vince do with WCW? He could take it and put it on the shelf. He can watch the videos of Hogan doing his ridiculous schtick. There’s an old expression – WCW used to laugh at WWF – but he who laughs last, laughs best. If they don’t put it on the shelf, they could do something else with WCW. They could turn it into a huge media conglomerate like the World Wrestling Federation, but who should be a part? Maybe the fans can help him out. How about Hulk Hogan? The fans react positively. What about Lex Luger? Fans react negatively. Buff Bagwell? Fans react positively. Booker T? Positive. Scott Steiner? Positive. Sting? Positive. Goldberg? Positive. McMahon had a choice to make tonight. Gloating, which he’s doing a great job of, if he does say so himself, or he could have gotten in his plane and flown down to Panama City Beach, presuming they have an airport, and walk out there to give every WCW star a piece of his mind. How appropriate is it that WCW’s last broadcast is in a beer hall? Surrounded by a bunch of beer drinking rednecks. Nonetheless, Vince opted to come to Cleveland instead of looking in the WCW stars’ faces and telling them, “YOU’RE FIRED!” That’s what’s going to happen, because WCW is going nowhere. It’s buried! Just like anybody else who gets in Vince’s way. When they attempt to compete with him, including Shane, they’ll be buried. Just like WCW is buried. Vince flips on the fans, he owns WCW, he owns the WWF, and they will treat him with respect!
No Chance in Hell plays, and Shane McMahon’s video shows on the Titantron. Shane appears on the Titantron, but he’s not in Cleveland – he’s in Panama City! Shane McMahon is on Nitro! Shane gets a mic, and he tells Vince that while he’s in Cleveland, OH, Shane is in Panama City Beach, FL, standing in a WCW ring! As usual, Vince’s ego has gotten the best of him. He wanted to finalize the deal with WCW at WrestleMania? He had the audacity to ask Ted Turner to come down and finalize it? That’s the opportunity Shane was looking for. The deal is finalized with WCW, and the name on the contract does say “McMahon.” It says “Shane McMahon.” That’s right, Shane now owns WCW. Just like WCW did in the past, how they kicked Vince’s ass in the past – and it will again – that’s exactly what’s going to happen to him at WrestleMania!
Jim Ross is in shock over what we’ve just heard, as is Vince McMahon, and still to come on WWF, it’s Austin and The Rock vs. Undertaker and Kane. As for WCW, Nitro has gone off the air…
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