March 18th, 2001
Live from the Memorial Coliseum in Jacksonville, Florida
Announcers: Tony Schiavone & Scott Hudson
Our opening video package hypes up Diamond Dallas Page as the last man standing against Big Poppa Pump. DDP’s strategy against Steiner…two words; Diamond Cutter. DDP cuts a pretty good promo where he admits he doesn’t have the physical gifts of Steiner but he’s smarter and scrappier than Steiner. These two had a legit beef with each other a few months earlier that culminated in a backstage fight. Luckily, they were able to settle their differences and work together in a feud that probably made WCW tens of dollars.
I’m not sure why WCW did a wide shot for the pay per view opening. It just shows the thousands and thousands of empty seats. Somehow, TNA does a better job of making a crowd look better than it is with much less resources than WCW had.
Kwee Wee Vs Jason Jett
We open up with a special bonus match. I had no idea Kwee Wee stuck around in WCW till the bitter end. Jason Jett is having his second match in WCW, having won his debut in a HUGE upset against Alex Wright (another guy I didn’t know lasted till the end of the company). Jason Jett is former ECW star EZ Money, who signed with WCW after ECW folded. Man, I felt bad for the guy. He jumped off one sinking ship onto another. Kid Kash did the same thing (he had his first and last WCW match on the very last episode of Thunder three days after this pay per view) but at least, he had a fair amount of success after those companies folded. Jason Jett pretty much disappeared after ECW and WCW ended.
Which is too bad. He’s got a unique and well delivered moveset. He’s insanely athletic to boot. Kwee Wee’s character is a lot less goofier than it was in his early days (although Tony & Scott Hudson mention his explosive temper). They’re pretty much eliminated the flamboyant aspect outside of the pink pants/boots. and awful haircut. It seems like a lot of these later WCW Cruiserweight matches use a similar formula; explosive, fiery babyface Vs bully heel who tries to slow down the tempo. Hey, it worked for Rey Mysterio Vs Dean Malenko five years earlier. This a really, really fun opener. Kwee Wee definitely more than handles his own with the very talented Jett. Crowd starts off kind of apathetic but they manage to get the crowd really into it. Scott Hudson mentions this as the inaugural Greed pay per view. Excuse me while I unroll the eyes from the back of my head. I’m not sure what timeline was here. I think WCW had pretty much realized they were shit out of luck at this point but that might have happened a few days after this show.
Unique finish with Jett playing possum-Eddie Guerrero style to sucker Kwee Wee into a missed Flying Elbowdrop and then hitting his finisher The Crash Landing (Rolling Release Suplex that looks dangerous as fuck). Finish was goofy as fuck but I don’t mind it too much since Kwee Wee’s character was kind of a dope. Great way to start the show. ****
We get a recap of the tournament to crown the first WCW Cruiserweight Tag Team Champions. Again, not great timing here. A young AJ Styles makes a brief cameo here.
WCW Cruiserweight Tag Team Titles Tournament Finals: The Filthy Animals Vs Elix Skipper & Kid Romeo
Elix Skipper’s theme is dubbed over I’m 99% sure (it was a blatant ripoff of DMX’s “Party Up”). Kid Romeo is another guy who debuted on WCW TV in the last month of the promotion although he appeared sporadically on WCW Saturday Night during the dying days of that show in late ’99/early ’00. He had a dancing Latin Lover gimmick. For some reason, I thought he’d be a huge superstar. I guess this is why I’m writing this and not scouting for WWE right now.
I got to say one thing I’ve noticed on these later WCW shows is the crowd seems to be into it a lot more than I remembered. Obviously, smaller than they were during WCW’s peak but it’s not like they’re reacting negatively to shows (even the dumb shit). Of course, if a crowd doesn’t react to a match with these guys then they’re probably comatose. Another thing about these last few WCW shows is it seems like after being constrained by the diminished role of the Cruiserweight Division in ’99/’00 (and the dumb storylines of Russo, no fan of cruiserweights), they seem to be acting with reckless abandon. Some of Jett’s spots could never be done today plus you get Kidman hiptossing Romeo off the ramp onto Skipper and faces diving off the ramp. Plus Shane Helms’ god damn ridiculous Vertaebreaker which we might see later. It seems like the guys were saying “Screw it. We might be out of business tomorrow. I’m doing some ridiculous crap.” Rey Mysterio in particular seemed more rejuvenated during the last few months of WCW than he had been since he lost his mask in February ’99.
Romeo seems like if he were around today, he’d be a member of the BroMans in TNA. Kidman is wearing a gray wifebeater instead of his usual white ones. He dressed like a bassist in a nu-metal band. Kid Romeo trolls by clapping along with the fans and Rey Mysterio during the face in peril spot. Romeo & Skipper win in what had to be considered a massive upset at the time when Romeo catches Mysterio off the ropes with his finisher The Last Kiss. Romeo & Skipper were basically a makeshift tag team of two undercard singles guys with nothing better to do while Mysterio & Kidman were probably the most established in WCW at the end. I think it’s the type of upset that works since it puts over the new guys while the established vets remain strong. Of course, it’s wishful thinking as Mysterio & Kidman won the rematch on the last Nitro and Romeo went on to obscurity (although Skipper had a nice mid-card run in the early years of TNA) Another really, really fun and energetic match. **** Skipper & Romeo celebrate by boogieing down in the ring.
Backstage, obnoxious jackass Buff Bagwell and a cameraman he hired to document the life & times of The Magnificent Seven enter WCW CEO Ric Flair’s locker room. Ric Flair is talking strategy with Jeff Jarrett about their tag team match later. Road Warrior Animal is there (still wearing his facepaint even though he’s in street clothes) too. Flair wearing a Hawaiian shirt and khakis doesn’t look right. There’s framed Harry Chapin & Blue Oyster Cult posters behind Flair because I guess the Jacksonville Arena hasn’t booked any notable acts since 1975. Flair says The Magnificent Seven are gonna have a clean sweep tonight.
We get a lookback at last week’s Nitro where Bam Bam Bigelow returned to take exception to Shawn Stasiak’s remarks insulting fat, bald, and toothless guys. Scott Hudson is proud that Bam Bam stood up for his community.
Shawn Stasiak (with Stacy Keibler) Vs Bam Bam Bigelow
Stacy Keibler comes dressed up in her Ms. Hancock getup. Bam Bam Bigelow is another guy I don’t remember sticking around until the end of WCW. I don’t remember much of his output after mid ’00 or so but he did have a match with Mike Awesome at the last Starrcade too. He’s probably the most notable WCW guy to not have a run in WWE or TNA after WCW folded.
Stasiak’s entrance is more elaborate than I remembered. About as elaborate as you could get for a ’01 WCW midcarder. Very reminiscent of EC3’s current entrance. Shawn throws out 8x10s of himself to the fans. Great man. Somehow, I doubt this match will be as good as the first two. This is kind of a cooldown match after the first two fast paced matches. Old school house match with Stasiak doing a lot of stalling and mugging. I forgot Referee Billy Silverman was a New England guy until he yelled at Stasiak to “Let ’em out of the caw-nah!” Wikipedia tells me he’s a Maine guy. Who knew? If my Kickstarter project to build the Maine Pro Wrestling Hall of Fame ever goes through, he’ll be in the first (and last?) class with Tony Atlas and Scotty 2 Hotty. Stasiak wins with a neckbreaker after Stacy distracts the ref and Stasiak sprays the dreaded hairspray in Bigelow’s face. WTF? Way to rub in the fact that Bam Bam’s bald as a cuelball even more, Meat. Match was simple but effective. *1/2. I’m still not sure why this arena is so well lighted. We can see the upper deck is almost completely empty. Stasiak wants a picture with the wounded Bammer. Scott Hudson is disgusted!
Backstage, hidden security camera footage shows The Cat telling Ms. Jones to stay backstage while he handles his business with Kanyon. He doesn’t want Ms. Jones to get hurt because what would WCW do without such a memorable and beloved personality like Ms. Jones?
Elix Skipper & Kid Romeo gloat about being the first WCW Cruiserweight Tag Team Champions.
Konnan & Hugh Morrus Vs Team Canada
Really not sure why Konnan & Hugh Morrus are teaming. I’m guessing they’re just combining The Filthy Animals feud with Team Canada and Hugh Morrus’ feud with Team Canada. They seem like a BattleBowl team. I don’t really remember how Mike Awesome ended up joining Team Canada either. WCW fan site DDT Digest tells me he just showed up on the first Thunder of 2001 with a Canadian flag painted over his groovy ’70s bus. I’m guessing WCW just realized that they saddled him with such dumb gimmicks after he jumped over from ECW that they decided to stick him with a semi-successful heel stable to try and salvage things.
Lance Storm says after they win this match, they’re going after the WCW Tag Team Match. Storm wants everyone to stand for the Canadian National Anthem. It doesn’t play. Not sure if it’s intentional. Hugh Morrus’ “The Zoo” ripoff theme cuts them off. Hugh Morrus runs down and stupidly tries to fight off Team Canada for a minute before Konnan runs down. Entrances on this match seemed wonky. Storm & Awesome seem like they had the makings to be a pretty good team. Too bad WCW ended before we could see more of them. Honestly, they might have been better opponents for Brothers of Destruction than DDP & Kanyon but eh, whichever WCW team Undertaker & Kane feuded with in the Summer of ’01 was probably gonna get squashed anyway.
I roll my eyes at Tony & Scott talking about Konnan’s heart and drive, remembering that this was right around the time that Rick Steiner (allegedly) was ordered by the office to legit rough up Konnan in the ring because Konnan was dogging it repeatedly in the ring. That being said, he does seem to be showing more energy here than he usually did in the dying days of WCW. Scott Hudson’s explanation of Storm’s hatred of Konnan is kind of lame. He hates Konnan because Konnan acts too much like an American. A guy who raps in Spanish totally seems like a jingoistic, Stars & Stripes waving monster! Team Canada wins when Mike Awesome wins a running Awesome Bomb on Hugh Morrus. Match was less competitive than I expected but the right team definitely went over. Match was fine but nothing to write home about. **
Backstage, Dusty Rhodes is reading the paper if you weel. Dustin Rhodes tells him to be more serious about their match against Ric Flair & Jeff Jarrett. It’s a Kiss My Ass match. Losers have to kiss the winners’ rear end. Dusty ordered 240 bean burritos. He calls the guy who delivers the tray of burritos “Pancho” and tells him he’s going to tip him but Pancho better not use the money to bet on horses. Dusty’s says Flair’s face is gonna be all up in his ass. WHY DID THIS COMPANY GO OUT OF BUSINESS!?
Buff Bagwell interviews Rick Steiner (chowing down on a vegetable tray). Rick Steiner is going to thump Booker T’s butt. Between this and the last segment, I’m starting wonder why people think pro wrestling is homoerotic.
Chuck Palumbo & Sean O’Haire says they will defend their WCW World Tag Team titles to the death, literally. Only way Totally Buff can win is by killing them! Interesting to note, no backstage interviewers tonight. They must have gotten rid of Gene Okerlund and Pamela Paulshock. I don’t think there were any interviewers at SuperBrawl either.
We get a look at Shane Helms winning a shot at the WCW Cruiserweight title at SuperBrawl last month
WCW Cruiserweight Title Match: Chavo Guerrero Jr (c) Vs Shane Helms
Shane Helms dances to the ring with the remaining members of Nitro Girls (dubbed “The Sugar Babies”). This seems like it would make him a heel in 2001 but he’s the babyface. His theme says he started in ’91, which seems baffling. *checks Wikipedia* I guess Helms is older than I thought he was and he did debut in ’91 when he was 17. I thought he was slightly younger than the Hardys but he’s the same age as Matt and three years older than Jeff.
Shane’s wearing short trunks and has his tapes all fisted up, as opposed to the lime green cargo pants that he usually wore in WCW. This match is a lot slower than the first two cruiserweight matches. Chavo’s dictating the pace. Just as I type that Scott Hudson talks about how these two are actually wrestling as opposed to just flying around the ring. Way to bury the rest of the Cruiserweight division! It *almost* seems like these guys are working WWF style cause it seems more like a mid ’00s WWE Cruiserweight title match than classic WCW Cruiserweight title match. Maybe Chavo & Shane knew more than the rest of the locker room. Match ends with Chavo going for his own version of the Vertebreaker but Shane reverses it into the Vertebreaker for the win. He celebrates by getting down with the Sugar Babies. This is the second title match that ended with the champ dancing. Hope the winner of Steiner-DDP shows off their nifty dance moves to celebrate their victory. Match was kind of a letdown after the first two cruiser bouts but overall was fine. ***
Double J crashes Ric Flair’s locker room. Flair’s disgusted! Him and Jeff Jarrett aren’t gonna kiss anyone’s ass!
Booker T tells Rick Steiner to save the drama for his mama because tonight, he’s going down and the U.S. Title is Booker T’s!
DO YOU SMELL WHAT THE ROCK IS COOKIN’? JUST BRING IT! Don’t Hate The Playa! Hate The Game!
WCW World Tag Team Titles Match: Sean O’Haire & Chuck Palumbo (c) Vs Totally Buff
Buff Bagwell tells the crowd to shaddup! Lex Luger boasts about his WCW World and US title runs. Buff Bagwell says he’s won Tag Team titles with four different partners and he’s gonna make it five tonight. Bagwell & Luger don’t know who is who in O’Haire & Palumbo. O’Haire and Palumbo steambroll over Buff & luger and win after Luger eats a Superkick from Palumbo and the Seanton Bomb from O’Haire. Bagwell eats a Seanton Bomb too. Can’t rate this match but immensely satisfying to see the washed up egomaniac buffoons Bagwell & Luger get squashed by the young guys. It was about time that WCW told one of its old main eventers to shove it—a week before they went out of business. 🙁
Scott Steiner does pullups in the bathroom and screams nonsensically at Diamond Dallas Page.
We take a look back at the events leading up to Kanyon Vs The Cat.
Lex Luger and Buff Bagwell limp out of the ring after the last match. Got to say, at least they did the J-O-B here instead of throwing a hissy fit like some of their contemporaries might have done.
Kanyon Vs The Cat (with Ms. Jones)
Last month, Kanyon got a pinfall win over three time WCW World Champ Diamond Dallas Page. If you think that’d elevate him up the card, nope. He immediately started feuding with The Cat after! Kanyon jumps Kanyon on the entrance ramp. Scott Hudson calls Kanyon “The Innovator of Offense—ive Behavior!” God Bless Scott Hudson for trying—he seems like the only WCW announcer in the last year he was but he seems like he’s trying too hard sometimes! Kanyon’s a guy that I definitely think works down to his opponent’s level. The Cat’s a guy who is an entertaining personality but is very limited in terms of workrate. I think if he were around in an era/promotion with more of an emphasis on tags & six man matches, he would have done well. But boy, it’s kind of absurd to see WCW try and sell a one note comedy wrestler as a legit upper mid-card level dude, even with their roster. Miss Jones accidentally kicks The Cat but it doesn’t matter because she decks Kanyon with a roundhouse kick and The Cat finishes it. Match was about as good as a Cat match could be but waste of Kanyon. *1/2. After the match, The Cat and Ms. Jones celebrate but Kanyon wallops The Cat with the Flatliner.I feel like this might have been one of those WCW matches where neither guy wanted to job so the booker came up with the lazy compromise of “OK, The Cat will win but Kanyon, you can lay him out with your finisher after!” M.I. Smooth (Ice Train doing a limo driver gimmick) runs in for the save. Urm. OK. Him and The Cat celebrate. M.I. Smooth’s theme blasts, giving me the opportunity to find out what M.I. Smooth’s theme music sounded like (it was, not surprisingly, a ripoff of Sade’s “Smooth Operator”)
Backstage, Lex Luger and Buff Bagwell argue. Will Totally Buff EXPLODE?
Dusty Rhodes is pounding some burritos. He’s it worked all the way down to his saddlebags and it’s gonna get smelly tonight. WHY DID THIS COMPANY GO OUT OF BUSINESS!?
Tony laughs at Dusty talking about shitting his pants but Scott Hudson is appalled. They then get to the important subject of the dissension in Totally Buff.
Hype video for Rick Steiner Vs Booker T. I never noticed it before but vocally Rick Steiner sounds a lot like Eric Young. Especially during this era.
WCW United States Title Match: Rick Steiner (c) Vs Booker T
Booker T had just returned a few weeks earlier after being out of action since Mayhem 2000 five months earlier. Rick Steiner’s “Welcome to the Jungle” theme somehow isn’t dubbed over. WWE is uaully very sensitive to these knockoff themes. Rick Steiner during this era is one of my least favorite wrestlers ever. He’s just one of those guys who fell off hard in the last years of WCW. He was still a servicable power wrestler in ’96/’97 but after he turned heel in ’99, he was the most boring wrestler imaginable. He immediately chucks Booker T into the crowd. He calls the match so it’s pretty boring and resthold heavy. I wonder if Booker was injured legit a bit in late ’00/early ’01 or if he’s just selling the storyline.
Scott Hudson brings up the rivalry between Harlem Heat & The Steiner Brothers which I’m surprised wasn’t brought up more when Steiner-Booker T had their singles feuds. I always thought of Scott Steiner-Booker T as WCW’s version of Bret Hart-Shawn Michaels (although not nearly as good workrate wise as HBK-Hitman obviously). It was two guys who started as tag team rivals then moved up to feuding for the TV Title then US Title then World Title.
Rick Steiner has 80% of the offense in this match before Booker launches a comeback. Tony Schiavone calls the Axe Kick “The Ghetto Blaster” which is, uh…first off, I don’t remember them calling it that at all. Second, that was Bad News Brown’s move. Three, kind of questionable to call it that in 2001. Rick Steiner pulls Mickey Jay in the way of another sidekick. A cast wearing Shane Douglas pops out of nowhere (in a moment that should be a gif if it isn’t already) and whacks Steiner with the cast because Steiner beat him unfairly for the U.S. Title. Booker T hits the Bookend on Steiner to become the last WCW United States Champion. Wow. They really, really didn’t put over Booker T much in his first PPV match back. He got beat up for most of the match then only won due to outside interference. Not a great way to buildup Booker T to try and win back the World Title. Match might be Worst of the night. Booker’s a good worker but he wasn’t given much to work with. At one time, these two against each other would’ve been OK but 2001 was not that time. *
Buff Bagwell is laid out in the Magnificent Seven’s locker room. Road Warrior Animal is wondering what happened. Lex Luger barges in and accuses Animal of wrongdoing. Animal says he got laid out last week on Nitro. Who is the mystery man who keeps attacking the Magnificent Seven? I’m assuming we’ll never find out because the company is going out of business in eight days!
Video package for Dusty & Dustin Rhodes Vs Ric Flair & Jeff Jarrett. This match came about because Dustin Rhodes refused to join The Magnificent Seven then Flair & Jarrett responded by trolling his dad. I’m not sure if they acknowledged Dusty & Dustin’s tumultuous relationship this time. Buildup seems mostly focused on Naitch and The American Dream yelling about ass kissing.
Kiss My Ass Match: The Rhodes Family Vs Ric Flair & Jeff Jarrett (with Road Warrior Animal)
Ric Flair is going to wrestle in a Hawaiian shirt, dress pants, and dress shoes. Even Scott Hudson is bewildered by this. Road Warrior Animal is wearing a fantastic/terrible LOD leather jacket. Dusty Rhodes and Dustin Rhodes are wearing workshirts with cutoff sleeves and jeans but at least, that fits their characters and would anybody want to see Dusty wearing trunks in 2001?
I think Flair wore street clothes during this era because he had earth shatteringly low self confidence in the last year or two of WCW and even in his first year or so in WWE. Either that or his trunk & robes kept getting stolen…which is not a ludicrous idea because Bret Hart got every one of his leather jackets stolen during his time in WCW!
Ric Flair grabs the mic and says he’s not gonna wrestle. Him & Jarrett stalls. Lil Naitch throws Road Warrior Animal out of ringside. Lil Naitch is finally standing up to his hero. I feel like this match will be surprisingly fun or horribly embarrassing. No middle ground Dusty dancing around gets sadly little reaction. I’m not sure if it’s sad because the crowd isn’t responding to Dusty’s schtick or that Dusty was doing his “Funky Like A Monkey” schtick in 2001. Scott Hudson asks how Flair can kiss Dusty’s butt with his humongous schnozzz. WHY DID THIS COMPANY GO OUT OF BUSINESS!?
Hudson says this is the first time that Flair & Dusty have faced off on pay per view. I think he might be right actually. Well, I’m glad WCW got it in just in time, I guess. Shame they couldn’t have come up with a less dopey idea for Ric Flair Vs Dusty Rhodes: The Final Battle. I wonder if the reason that they hotshotted this idea was because they knew this was the end. Fans actually wake up for the Flair-Dusty showdown. Their interactions are short obviously given their age (and mental disposition in Flair’s case) with Dustin & Double J doing most of the work. Naitch & Dream having their last battle is really the only time that the match comes alive. Finish comes when Dusty and Dustin break out of Figure Fours from Naitch and Double J and Dustin pins Ric Flair with a crappy cradle. Match was lousy for the most part with some fun nostalgia sprinkled throughout. *1/2
Duthtay wants Flair to kiss his big white ass. Ric Flair freaks out.Double J tries to stop this but it backfires and he ends up taking the most halfhearted stinkface ever from Dusty. Flair runs away. I did not need to see Dusty Rhodes’ underwear.
We see what’s led to our main event. Scott Steiner has defeated everybody except DDP. Steiner somehow takes credit for taking out Goldberg even though he was nowhere near the scene when Goldberg was retired. Steiner did beat Goldberg by KO at Fall Brawl ’00 but I guess the truth isn’t good enough for WCW.
Falls Count Anywhere Match for the WCW World Heavyweight Title: Scott Steiner (c) (with Midejah) vs Diamond Dallas Page
I never got why WCW had Buffer announce the pay per view main events until the end. I can’t see why they wouldn’t think $25,000 appearance fee would be better spent elsewhere but maybe they were locked into a long term deal. DDP enters through the crowd because he’s a common man (but not THE common man, who we saw earlier). Buffer says DDP’s a Son of the Jersey Shore, this was before that would be considered an insult.
Actually, that was probably always considered an insult. DDP outspeed Steiner before they take it into the crowd. Fan in crutches mysteriously placed next to the Spanish announce table (WCW had a Spanish announce table at this point?) Hey! Pedro Morales! Of course, Steiner steals the fans crutches to hit DDP with them. The meanie. DDP and Steiner do a very ginger table spot. I think a past being past their prime LOD and a morbidly obese Public Enemy had more dangerous table spots at one of the legends PPVs from Australia they did around this time. Scott Steiner shoves another “fan”. That young fan is Paul London! Steiner and DDP had underrated chemistry. They always had good intense brawls and seemed like they legit hated each other—probably because at various points, they did actually legit hate each other. It’s a good story here with Steiner being the unstoppable terminator and DDP being the plucky, lovable underdog who just won’t quit no matter what. We get it our second ref bump in the last three matches. Diamond Cutter. Rick Steiner runs down to break it up but it backfires. Steiner hits DDP with the belt but DDP kicks out. DDP is busted wide open.. There seemed to be more blood in these last WCW PPVs than there had been in years. SuperBrawl Revenge’s main event had both guys bleeding. DDP won’t tap to the Steiner Recliner. Midejah distraction. Steiner beats DDP with a pipe and DDP finally passes out in the Steiner Recliner. Match wasn’t quite as good as I remembered but still better than most later WCW main events. ***. WCW really wanted to have it both ways with Scott Steiner as champ. They wanted him to be an unstoppable monster but he had to cheat to win most of his matches. I feel like the cheat to win aspect might have had something to do with the creative control clauses of his opponents.
There must have been some time to fill as we get a quick 2-3 minute recap of what went down earlier tonight.
Obviously, there were some flaws and some forgettable bouts on this show but there were also some fantastic moments and some signs of life for WCW. Sure, the midcard might have been immensely forgettable and all of the uppercard matches sucked except for the main event itself but you can’t field too many complaints about a show that opens with two **** matches. Overall, this was WCW’s best PPV since Spring Stampede ’99 almost two years earlier. Unfortunately, time ran out on WCW. These last few months of WCW really had the energy of a sports team that was mathematically eliminated from the playoffs but was still plucky enough to win some exciting games at the end…that ultimately meant nothing. It was too little, too late but god damn, there were some moments that were very fun to watch!
Match of the Night: Filthy Animals/Elix Skipper & Kid Romeo
Worst Match of the Night: Rick Steiner/Booker T
MVP: Jason Jett
The “Oh WCW” Moment of the Night: Way too much time focused on Dusty Rhodes talking about his ass and how bad his ass was gonna smell after he ate burritos.