And Another Thing: The Best Nitro Ever!!!! 

Posted by Hyatte on 03.27.2001 

This is the biggest wrestling news of all time. General McMahon marched into Atlanta and stripped the carcass clean. 

After today, Monday, March 26 2001, WCW Monday Nitro will cease to exist. At least as a WCW produced show. After today, any programming that works under the name "World Championship Wrestling" will in actuality be operating under the umbrella of Vince McMahon's World Wrestling Federation. Truly, this change of the sports entertainment landscape is so monumental that even mainstream media outlets sat up and took notice. This is the biggest wrestling news of all time. General McMahon marched into Atlanta and stripped the carcass clean. The war was over, WCW has been dead for a long time now, it just took some higher-ups a few months to realize this. 

With this Monday being the final outing of WCW as an (somewhat) independent wrestling organization, a lot of writers on the Internet are discussing the rise and fall of WCW Monday Nitro and how all it's failures and mistakes had eventually led to it's downfall. Many of these writers are having fun with it, enjoying the moment, savoring the taste of seeing WCW implode within thanks to overpaid egos, inexcusable business decisions, and shoddy production values. They are allowed to do this. They are allowed to enjoy the moment. WCW has put it's fans through a lot of grief since they debuted on September 4, 1995. The fans deserve a little time to rub WCW's nose in it's own waste. 

Yet, there are other fans who are heartbroken. There are still die hard WCW fans who cheered for their favorite company and longed for a time when it would get it's act together and retake the ratings throne from the WWF. These hardcore fans, who stayed mostly silent on the Internet knowing full well they were outnumbered by the Internet's strong WWF fanbase, deserve something for their loyalty. They deserve something for supporting the one company that was able to defeat Vince McMahon a his own game for a couple of years, and continuing to support them even when the end was so clearly in sight. 

So, for the die hard WCW fans out there... I invite you to read on. Let's celebrate the one night when WCW did everything right. 

Out of the two hundred and sixty or so editions of WCW Monday Nitro, some have actually been good. Some of those good ones were really very good, and out of those, there may be one or two honest-to-goodness excellent shows in the pile. Now, you all have you personal favorites, the arrival of Scott Hall, the debut of "Hollywood" Hogan, Goldberg's road to defeating Hogan for the WCW title at the Georgia Dome, the return of Ric Flair, the arrival of the Warrior, etc. All of them, outstanding shows, proud editions to put in anyone's time capsule. 

For me, I have my one favorite Nitro of them all. One that worked on every conceivable level. It was one that, for one night, showed the fans just what WCW was capable of when inspired. 

Where’s the Dog when you need him the most? 

Kevin Nash: Nitro, April 10, 2000 

On April 10 of last year, WCW launched it's most aggressive attempt to compete with the WWF on Monday night. With the union of Eric Bischoff-still the only person to ever successfully fight RAW-and Vince Russo-widely acknowledged as the chief architect behind revamping the WWF for the 90's audience-as co-producers, WCW Monday Nitro scrapped any and all pre-existing storylines, wiped the slate clean, and announced that "The World Has Changed". Bischoff and Russo revamped the talent, restructured the storylines, and took their best shot at the WWF's Monday night juggernaut. 

On that first night, we saw practically everything. Catering heavier-than-normal to the inside crowd, Bischoff and Russo got the ball rolling by injecting the old "Us vs Them" formula with a dose of creativity. Instead of a stable of established Heels running the company against a smattering of established Babyfaces, Bischoff and Russo gave longtime WCW critics some hope by establishing a "Youth vs Veteran" storyline. Playing up to WCW's longtime use of "Over the hill" stars. Bischoff and Russo put themselves behind the "Future" Stars of WCW and accused the "Established Millionaires of today" of being too paranoid, too selfish, and too greedy to let anyone else have a shot. Instantly, the game had changed and those who were so used to being chased, Ric Flair, Hulk Hogan, Sid Vicious, Kevin Nash, Dallas Page, Lex Luger, and Sting now found themselves outnumbered and outgunned. 

The Best Nitro ever spent two plus hours telling a singular story with many different sub-plots. Set up properly in the opening segment, Eric Bischoff played with his reputation as being star struck by the veterans by focusing all blame for WCW's current woes on the veterans. He stripped all champions of all their titles and declared that new champions will be decided at the next pay per view. Bischoff promised a "level playing field" will now be on order for all WCW wrestlers. They were going to do things right this time. 

The rest of the show was spent focusing on the reactions of the veterans, and the various angles that would spring from this new planting. Veterans like Dallas Page and Lex Luger had their theme music cut out sharply. Various New Blood members were paired up against their old style counterparts. Lex Luger had Buff Bagwell trying to entice Elizabeth, Scott Steiner was allowed to give a silent Ric Flair a piece of his mind for Flair having him suspended a few months earlier for shooting heavy on the company. Flair also had to deal with Shane Douglas, who was looking for a little payback of his own from a few years back. Kevin Nash limped to the ring on crutches to cut a delightful promo lamenting about what happened to the "sweet little RASSLIN’ show they were doing every Monday?" remembering all the times he had to "save Russo from being decapitated by Shawn Michaels in the WWF." Before too long, Mike Awesome made his WCW debut and took Nash out. 

There were other pairings on this night. Shawn Stasiak debuted to show Curt Hennig who was really "perfect", Sting saw a younger, scarier version of himself in Vampiro attack him. Even Sid Vicious had a counterpart in the form of the Wall. For comic relief, Mark Madden was stripped topless and stomped on by Tank Abbott. It was for all, a sickening sight that was impossible not to laugh at. 

Then there was the oddest, coolest match-up of the night. Hulk Hogan was called out by none other than Billy Kidman. Kidman accused Hogan of all the crimes that Internet and Dirt Sheet writers have carried on about for years, of keeping the fabled "glass ceiling" alive and how all those years in the spotlight gave him his "grotesque orange tan". Hogan came out and tried to laugh off Kidman's insane challenge. Kidman got a few shots in and even knocked Hogan down once. Finally, it was Eric Bischoff with a chair that finished Hogan off for the segment. The stage was set and brilliantly, the top worker in WCW, Hulk Hogan, had a program with a man who stood a good foot below him and weighed at least one hundred pounds less... yet he was a wrestling machine that offered Hulk Hogan something new for the first time in ages, a feud with a high flyer. 

By the end of the show, the New Blood had ganged up on all the old timers. The "Millionaire's Club" had been coined for this pack of confused veterans. Even Bret Hart made an appearance sitting quietly in the seats, turning up at the very end to confront Russo and Bischoff just as the show ended. WCW Monday Nitro had relaunched itself in the very best way it could, and gave the viewers something very special to watch. 

Of course, the next few weeks left something to be desired. David Arquette was given the world belt. The real life egos of the "Millionaire's" would not be denied as Dallas Page was able to situate himself in every pay per view main event. Kimberly Page was given a major push and ate up enormous time prattling on about herself. Billy Kidman was never given a fair chance to prove his worth against Hogan. Vince Russo tried to suspend Lex Luger for chronic complaining only to have Bischoff overrule him.. Bischoff and Russo themselves spilt up, with Bischoff finally leaving the spotlight and rarely even showing up for the shows. The great programs laid down on that night quickly dissolved away and WCW slipped back into the malaise that held it down for the preceding two years. 

So, why is that my pick as the Best Nitro Ever? Why do I like that show the most even though it ended up filled with false promises and imaginary hope? 

I'll tell you why. Because on April tenth of last year, for the first time in years, the employees of WCW, from the talent to the writers to the production members, gathered together as a whole and jointly decided to work together. They didn't just do things because they were promised incentives... they did it for the good of the show. For one night they put aside all differences, all egos, and all selfish behavior and as a group, rose up and told the world that their was another wrestling show on Monday night, and they were proud of the show. For one night, everyone in WCW cared. 

If you still refuse to call it "The Best Nitro Ever", that's okay. 

But it was definitely their best Nitro ever. 

This is Hyatte too