Monday Nitro – December 29th, 2001 – Caliber
Before we get started, I just wanted to let you cats know about my fitness website over at fatbuff.wordpress.com. I know I’m a little biased when I say this, but I think I’d say it anyway, it’s the greatest fitness website ever. OK, let’s get to the hotness..
We’re live from Baltimore this evening, with Tony & Scott.
Elix Skipper vs Yang vs Shannon Moore vs Jamie Noble
First impressive move is Elix hitting an over-the-top-rope log-roll. Meaning he came at Noble horizontal, but spinning. After that there were a ton of high-lights, including a tombstone on the outside to Wang via Noble, Elix hitting Noble after grabbing Shannon from on top of the turnbuckle and slamming him down onto Jamie, which was great. Brought the match back after Shannon screwed up an Air-Hardy move and got the rightful chant. All in all, it was a rather typical Crusierweight match, which is a good thing, and ended with Shannon hitting Noble with an off-the-top-rope Fame Asser. Good stuff, and I’m more than happy to see the show kicked off with an actual match.
Shannon wins with a Super Fameasser at 4:58 | **1/2
Flair comes out with Animal in tow, disses the Baltimore Ravens, who won the previous night’s Superbowl, and follows that up by talking down The Cat. He’s got a match tonight, and if he loses, said person becomes the new Commish. He then talks about Nash winning the right to face Scott at the PPV, Superbrawl, and how Kev & DDP showed up drunk at Thunder. He shows us footage of DDP laid out in his room, apparently drunk. Because of this, Nash has to fight once again for the right to give us a MOTYC at Superbrawl by beating Totally Buffed tonight in a handicap match. If there’s any outside interference, then the match is over. However, the crack team at WCW have done their detective work and it turns out Flair’s team had beat the hell out of them before that video was shot, hence why they were laid out & incoherent.
Midajh bumps into a backstage crew member, prompting Scott to show up and break his leg. Sounds about right to me.
The Cat vs Shawn Stasiak
Cat gets the opening shot, but ends up having to work for all the others as Stasiak runs this show. He works The Cat’s lower back in the ring before taking it outside and smashing him into the ring post. Back in, Cat keeps trying a comeback, but Stasiak won’t have it. Cat can’t get any purchase until Stasiak misses a giant off-the-top elbow drop, and finally eats a front kick and pin. Honestly, this was a far better match than it had any right to be. It was smooth, no botches, limited BS from The Cat, and some decent near falls. Good stuff.
Cat pins Stasiak after a side-kick to the face at 4:58 | **
The Wall is sitting outside Chavo’s room when the artist formally known as General Boner, now Hugh Morrus, attacks, and screams it’s all about revenge.
We then see what’s suppose to be a book signing of DDP’s book, Positively Page, and an over-zealous fan, played by AJ Styles. He creates a rukus, gets into a verbal altercation with another fan, DDP goes over to see what’s going on, gently touches one of the guys who goes down like he was shot by a battleship, at which point AJ says that is indeed what happened to security. What the hell? Is this suppose to lead to DDP vs a fan or something? Did Russo spend $100,000 of WCW’s money in order to have a court-room set built for them to brawl in, and then have them compete in a subpoena on a pole match?
A Hummer shows up, apparently it’s a big name that Flair has signed. I’m very much willing to bet it’s someone that everyone still cares about, like Tito Santana. Or the Warlord.
Chavo laments to Totally Buffed that he doesn’t have a tag-partner because The Wall was taken out. They say they’ve got it taken care of.
Holy crap, a Filthy Animal jersey is $40! I’d rather pay someone to punch me in the jaw.
Rey Mysterio & Kidman vs Chavo & Road Warrior Animal
Chavo starts off with Kidman, as the FA work damn well together, getting in and out with the quickness and hitting Chavo with multiple double-team moves. They keep this up until Animal is tagged in and starts beating the hell out of the both of them. However, they do start chopping him down to size for a minute until he catches Rey with a jumping-sit-down-powerbomb, which is pretty fucking awesome. He tags in Chavo who gets the pin. By all rights, this was a very entertaining match, and would have liked to see it go on a bit longer.
Chavo pins Rey after Animal hits him with a jumping-sit-down-powerbomb at 3:26 | **
Flair comes out to say he’s gonna make WCW the number 1 company in the world. To do that, you sign big names. And his big new name? Well, it certainly didn’t fail to disappoint the HELL out of everyone, as it’s Dustin Rhodes. Yeah, the guy who came in as Se7en. Then did some crappy hardcore matches with Terry Funk. You remember those. Standard matches where Funk would just get on a mic and say it was an I Quit match, then say it was Last Man Standing, then say it was First Person To Punch The Moon In The Asshole Wins match. They’re making a big deal about Dustin aligning himself with Ric, meaning he’ll turn on him. And as if on que, he tells Ric to shove it. Soon Animal comes out and helps Ric beat down Dustin. You know, the major star. The guy who is gonna help WCW become number 1. His dad, Dusty Rhodes comes out to help, delivering a few Atomic Elbows. I’ll admit, it was a cool segment, but is this what they thought would help WCW? 3 out of these 4 guys were literally doing this same exact thing 15 years prior in the same company. Dusty cuts a promo, and here are the main points:
Dusty has beat Flair a lot.
WCW is about the young guys.
Dusty has beat Flair a lot.
Animal is buff.
Dusty is fat.
Crowbar vs Lance Storm
Storm is such a freaking athlete that he attempts to drop kick Crowbar but misses. Because he jumped higher than Crowbar’s freaking HEAD. That’s like going out with a chick, but not getting laid because your hangdang is too big. Crowbar is actually able to hang with Lance’s skills for the most part, and I’m not sure if it was done on purpose, but he nails Lance with a Lionsault. From then on it’s a damn solid match with a lot of big-time moves, as well as interesting reversals. The company was so stupid for not having Lance be their champion, that guy is absolute, fresh-printed money, wrapped with a bow. Crowbar goes for a top-rope hurricarana, only for Lance to halt it mid-air and turn it into the Maple Leaf, drawing the submission. So far, this has been the best match of the night, during a show that hasn’t had a terrible one yet. I think that’s a record for this website. I’d actually like to see these guys feud, because I think they’d only get better together and be able to build a lot on their already solid chemistry.
Crowbar taps to the Maple Leaf at 6:51 | **3/4
Jarrett comes out and says he’s not waiting for Superbrawl, he wants DDP now. Page comes out to oblige Jarrett’s request, and the police stop him. He’s under arrest, on assault & battery charges, stemming from his attack on the fan during the book signing. Schiavone wants to know if this was all a set-up. The fact Tony has picked up on something fishy has proved to me what I’ve thought all along. Tony Schivaone is Batman.
Shane Douglas vs Rick Steiner
Not a bad match, pretty hard hitting. Shane is the US Champ, but not on the line here. They trade momentum for a bit before Shane tries to hit Steiner with a chained fist, only to get the top-rope Bulldog for his troubles. This only manages to get a 2 and a half count, so Rick hits Shane with a Death ValleyDriver for the win. Pretty surprising finish, because this actually builds well for the rematch at Superbrawl, as we now know that Steiner is capable of beating Shane clean. The match itself was a lot better than I thought it’d be, as the two have decent chemistry.
Steiner pins Shane after the DVD at 5:45 | **
Totally Buffed vs Kevin Nash – #1 Contendership
They gang up on Nash in the beginning, but naturally he’s able to over power them most of the time. He has it won, but Buff knocks out the ref. Alex Wright comes out in a ref shirt, who was apparently the #1 contender last week before Nash upseated him. He stops at a 2 count, Nash promptly beats him up as well, then goes back to work on Totally Buffed. He Jackknifes Buff, but there’s no ref. The Cat comes running out in a ref shirt, and just before the 2 he’s pulled out by Alex, only for Wright to get his ass kicked again. The Cat comes back in again and counts the three. Geez, did Buff sleep with Ted Turner’s wife or something? I mean, the guy can’t even hold his own when it’s 2-on-1, then once he gets Jackknifed he has to sell the damn thing for like an hour and a half. Also, it was nice to see WCW playing it smart as always, taking a tag-team they’re acting like are main event guys, and having them lose to one man in less than 4 minutes. I mean, that happened to the Road Warriors all the time. This was hardly even a match, to be honest, as once the bell rang there was about a minute or so of shenanigan-free wrestling before all the WCWness started.
Nash hits Buff with the Jacknife, then waits three days to pin him at 3:54 | *
Nash calls out Steiner, but the show ends just as Scotty comes out from behind the curtain.
Honestly, this was a pretty good show. Up until the main event we had a lot of fun matches that, much to my shock, that all ended clean. Almost all the promos & backstage bits contained Flair which is great, and those that didn’t were thankfully kept short. This definitely ranks up there as one of the Top 3 Nitros of the 2000-2001 Era.