Rob Bonnette takes a stroll down memory lane to an oft-overlooked time in pro wrestling: WCW in 2000! How bad did it get? Read on and see!
This may seem like a weird topic, but several times this year I’ve some really hot takes comparing the WWE in 2019 to WCW in 2000. The implication is that WWE is messing up really bad and WCW 2000 is one of the shining examples of a major wrestling company doing bad so there people go. The only problems with that analogy are that if you actually look at WWE on substance this year and not on stupid Twitter takes or dopey podcasts it’s not bad at all. Perfect? Of course not, but unless you have on AEW colored glasses there’s been plenty to enjoy this year. The other problem with that analogy is that you’ve got to have no idea just how awful things were in WCW from summer of 1999 through the fall of 2000 to equate the WWE this year to that. Don’t believe me? Let’s just look at the first half of 2000 and I’ll prove it to you.
WCW in January 2000
We start the year with no WCW World Champion thanks to Goldberg shoot kicking Bret Hart in the head and concussing him into oblivion (as much as I defend Goldberg as a performer, he’s on his own for that one). No worries, they’ll just have a match between two of the top contenders, Chris Benoit and Sid Vicious, to fill the title. Benoit wins…….and leaves the company immediately afterwards, completely unexpected. Not only that, but Eddie Guerrero, Dean Malenko, and Perry Saturn go with him! Now last time I checked no one won either the WWE World or Universal Title on a pay per view this year and signed with AEW the next day. Imagine if whoever wins between Jericho and Hangman Page at All Out says ‘screw this title’ and shows up at RAW on Monday along with all three members of SCU. That’s what happened in WCW!
But that’s only beginning…..
WCW in April 2000
The company did a hard reboot of all storylines on camera and vacated all the titles to start over. Again, this was all done on camera and not in the booking room. Then, with a roster of guys including Hulk Hogan, Sting, Goldberg, Ric Flair, Lex Luger, Kevin Nash, and even former champions Diamond Dallas Page and Sid they decide to put the World Title on……wait for it……..Jeff Jarrett. The same Jeff Jarrett who was the poster child for unsuccessfully trying to make fetch happen in both the WWE and WCW. Imagine WWE bypassing Reigns, Rollins, Daniel Bryan, AJ Styles, Kofi, Braun, and Randy Orton and bringing back Alberto Del Rio to crown instead. Or Ring of Honor saying never mind to Marty Scurrl and crowning Matt Taven at their biggest show ever…..oh wait, that did happen.
But wait, there’s more!!!
You cannot talk about WCW in 2000 without mentioning one man in particular. This man was not just a celebrity who got in the ring for a gimmick match. No, this man was booked in a title match and walked away the WCW World Champion. That man was David Arquette. Imagine if the Fox Sports anchor who won the 24/7 title from R-Truth, Rob Stone, instead won the WWE World Title. People got mad enough at Jinder Mahal, imagine if it had been a barely trained B-list actor instead. WCW did that, and it killed most of the little credibility they had left at that point. Again you have not seen anything on WWE television as abhorrent as that was in 2000.
WCW in July 2000
Bash at the Beach. Hulk defeats Jarrett for the WCW Title when the booker Vince Russo tells Jarrett to lay down and take the loss. Russo fires Hogan on camera, Hogan walks off with the belt, and then Russo declares Jarrett is still champion and would have a new title match with Booker T! While that did give us Booker T, WCW World Champion, the circumstances were absolutely ridiculous. Again, imagine Vince telling Brock to lay down for Seth at SummerSlam, then firing Seth and saying Brock is still champion then randomly calling out Ricochet to have a match with Brock for the title which Ricochet wins. Can you imagine the fallout across social media and on every podcast afterwards?
So no, there isn’t a thing Vince has done this year that even holds a candle to the choices made by his competition in 2000. It’s a bad analogy and not steeped in any level of verifiable facts. So why say it? Well, you and I both know that it’s been open season as far as pot shots towards WWE in 2019 so anything and everything that can be hot taked will be. So it’s good to take a look at just what these people are talking about before you run with anything they have to say. And in this case, they’re dead wrong. Again.
Chairshot Classics: WCW Monday Nitro Episode 23 (5/2/1996)
Josh Wennes is back to cover the 23rd edition of WCW Monday Nitro in this edition of Chairshot Classics!
From the Jenkins Center in Lakeland, Florida, we have episode 23 of Monday Nitro! This episode is touted to feature the Road Warriors taking on Lex Luger and Sting as well as Ric Flair battling Marcus Bagwell. Kevin Sullivan and Hugh Morrus are also set to team against Arn Anderson and Brian Pillman. As a teaser, the WWE Network also says “The rivalry between Hulk Hogan and The Four Horsemen takes a new turn.” I can’t lie, this doesn’t exactly entice me too much, but let’s see what the show brings!
WCW Heavyweight Championship
Chris Benoit vs Randy Savage (champion)
WHY NOT PUT THIS MATCH IN THE TEASER??? The two tie up and roll all the way around the ring before Benoit takes control by sending Savage outside and into the guardrail. Benoit seemingly chops the life right out of Savage’s chest with some brutal shots. Benoit works the head with a sleeper and some strikes before hitting a stunning snap suplex. Benoit delivers a scoop slam and a top rope diving headbutt that, knowing the future, makes me a little uneasy. A big belly to back suplex nets a near fall for Benoit before using a backbreaker and stretching that back across his own knee. Outisde the ring, Benoit puts Savage into the ring post, rolls him back into the ring and sends him over the top rope again. Benoit goes for a suicide dive and Savage moves, sending Benoit careening to the floor and guardrail headfirst. Savage rolls Chris inside and hits a big elbow drop on the back of Benoit. Flair comes out and approaches Elizabeth and Savage goes out to stop him. Woman then attacks Randy from behind and Flair joins the party, ending the match via DQ. Arn Anderson comes down and joins the beatdown on Savage before Hogan comes to the rescue with 2 of the weakest chair shots I’ve ever seen. Mean Gene runs down to talk to Hogan about what has happened. Hogan says they need to put a stop to Ric Flair and Flair sneaks up behind Hulk and attacks the injured eye from last week. The Giant and The Zodiac join the ring and Giant delivers a chair shot to Hogan. Savage comes back and steals the chair while the heels powder out of the ring.
Winner: Randy Savage via Disqualification
Kevin Sullivan and Hugh Morrus vs Arn Anderson and Brian Pillman
Morrus in charge early as he hits both Pillman and Anderson with military press slams before tagging in Sullivan. After a very unusual exchange, Anderson and Morrus are tagged in. Anderson hits the patented spinebuster. Morrus fights out of a reverse chin lock before Arn tags in Pillman. Morrus counters a corner attack and tags in Sullivan. Pillman rushes Sullivan and they trade what look like legit shots before it turns to a four person brawl. Anderson drags Sullivan towards the back, only to be hit by a broom. Morrus and Sullivan double team Pillman and the ref calls for the bell as the a belt is brought in to hit Pillman. This was strange and uncomfortable.
Winners: Anderson and Pillman via Disqualification
Marcus Bagwell vs Ric Flair
Paul Orndorff comes to the announce table and says you never know when payback is going to happen, insinuating he was behind the broom attack on Arn Anderson. Bagwell is in control early, tossing Flair from the ring and hitting a clothesline before Ric begs for mercy and gets a cheap shot kick in around the ref. Bagwell battles back with a bevy of strikes and Flair flops. Marcus gets a dropkick for a near fall and goes for another but no one is home. Both men run the ropes and an awkward exchange sees Bagwell go over the top rope. Flair brings him back in and hits a knee drop before laying in some chops and strikes in the corner but Bagwell fights back. Flair is whipped into the corner but gets the foot up. Flair climbs the turnbuckles and gets tossed to the mat to the shock of no one. Bagwell hits a second rope superplex and float over for a two count. Bagwell goes for his slingshot splash but Flair gets his knees up and locks in the figure four leglock for the submission victory. Not often would we see Flair win with that. Flair refuses to let go and hits the ref, but Randy Savage comes out and chases Ric to the back.
Winner: Ric Flair via submission
WCW Tag Team Championship
Road Warriors vs Sting and Lex Luger (champions)
Sting and Animal start us off and Animal powers out of a top wristlock before powering out of a front facelock as well. Sting eats a big powerslam but avoids the elbow drop before hitting a facebuster and a top rope diving clothesline for a near fall. Hawk and Luger in off the tags, and Hawk no sells a piledriver to gain momentum. He hits a shoulder block and knee drop before Sting gets the tag. Hawk goes to work with strikes but eats a Stinger Splash. Sting tries to get the Scorpion Death Lock hooked, but Animal breaks it up and gets the tag. Running the ropes, Animal goes over the top rope after Luger pulls down the ropes. Luger is tagged in and goes to work on Animal’s back. Sting is back in, but the crowd is behind the Road Warriors. Sting works a front facelock for a time, but tags in Luger who hits a big powerslam on Animal but takes too long celebrating. Animal no sells a suplex and hits a powerslam on Luger. Jimmy Hart comes out carrying something big and heavy that Luger gets and hits Animal with it for the victory. Sting is not pleased with the path to victory here at all. Mean Gene is in the ring with the Road Warriors who demand a match for the belts again.
Winners: Sting and Lex Luger via pinfall
Superbrawl is approaching, and we have 2 cage matches to look forward to. Let’s see how the landscape of WCW changes going forward!
- Dark WCW United States Heavyweight Title Match
Konnan (c) defeats Devon Storm
- Dark Tag Team Match
Bunkhouse Buck & Dick Slater defeat The Barrio Brothers (Fidel Sierra & Ricky Santana)
- Dark WCW World Television Title Match
Johnny B. Badd (c) defeats Diamond Dallas Page
- WCW World Heavyweight Title Match
Randy Savage (w/Miss Elizabeth & Woman) (c) defeats Chris Benoit by DQ (8:17)
- The Four Horsemen (Arn Anderson & Brian Pillman) defeat The Dungeon Of Doom (Hugh Morrus & The Taskmaster) (w/Jimmy Hart) by DQ (7:17)
- Ric Flair (w/Woman) defeats Marcus Alexander Bagwell (7:01)
- WCW World Tag Team Title Match
Lex Luger & Sting (c) defeat The Road Warriors (Road Warrior Animal & Road Warrior Hawk) (8:37)
Results courtesy of CageMatch.net.
Chairshot Classics: WCW Monday Nitro Episode 22
Hogan vs Flair, Giant vs Savage!
From the Canton Memorial Civic Center, in Canton, Ohio, WCW brings us Monday Nitro from January 29, 1996!
This show is advertised to feature Hulk Hogan taking on Ric Flair. There’s a tease about tension between The Dungeon of Doom and The Four Horsemen while The Road Warriors battle The Faces of Fear. We also are slated to see Randy Savage facing The Giant. Bischoff, McMichael and Heenan are on the call as usual.
Ric Flair vs Hulk Hogan
Hulk Hogan is jerking the curtain? How often did this happen? Hogan is getting a sizable amount of boos at this point in 1996. Miss Elizabeth is back too, out in Hulk’s corner. Flair gets shoved a few times so Hogan can look strong to start the match, Flair goes for a couple of chops, but Hogan no sells them, hits a big back body drop and clotheslines Flair out of the ring and poses. Back in the ring, Flair chop blocks a leg to get his heat back after Hogan just ruined Flair’s offense by no selling. Finally Hogan sells the chops, but Flair goes to the top rope and gets tossed off as Hogan starts to come back until he eats a back elbow. Jimmy Hart tries to get involved but Hogan kicks him off. Hulk comes back with strikes a forehead bite because he’s a good guy. Outside the ring, Flair rakes the eyes to regain control and get back in the ring. Ric tosses him back out and Jimmy chokes Hulk with a bandana. Flair continues to work on the leg, hits a shin breaker and HOLDS ON! He locks on the figure four leglock in a sequence I’ve never seen, beautiful. Hogan reverses the hold and Flair gets to the ropes. Hulk blocks a suplex attempt and hits one of his own. Flair chops and strikes but Hogan no sells but his come back is cut off by a back elbow. Flair hits a stalling belly to back suplex, awesome, but only gets a near fall. Hulk starts to, well, Hulk up. Three punches, big boot and a leg drop. Arn Anderson with brass knuckles gets cut off by Hulk. Flair hits Hogan with Miss Elizabeth’s high heel shoe and gets the pinfall victory. Elizabeth and Savage checking on Hogan, who is selling the eye big time. Very stereotypical Hogan match, but it was given some good time to breathe.
Winner: Ric Flair via pinfall
Faces of Fear vs Road Warriors
Hawk and Animal get a huge pop, out in black and blue spikes, looking ready to dominate. This is a pretty typical looking LOD match. Animal is in early, with some shows of strength, then tags in Hawk. Hawk takes a little punishment then no sells a piledriver. Animal back in and eats some more offense from both of the Faces of Fear, seeming to work on the back. Barbarian hits a big back breaker, and Meng is back in with a camel clutch. Animal slams the mat a few times….isn’t that a submission? Apparently not, as Animal is sent out of the ring and into the barricade and turnbuckle by Barbarian. Meng hits a big dropkick, that was pretty impressive! Barbarian hits a big powerbomb on Animal but he kicks out at two. Animal sells a 2nd rope clothesline in a very strange way, falling forward. Barbarian tries it again but Animal clotheslines him and tags in Hawk. Hawk is on fire, striking both Barbarian and Meng before hitting a double clothesline on them. Barbarian puts Hawk up on the top rope and Animal goes for the Doomsday Device, but Meng pushes him off the top rope. Animal eats a piledriver, and Barbarian goes for another but Hawk comes off the top rope with a clothesline for a pinfall victory. Not the typical squash type match for the Road Warriors.
Winners: Road Warriors via pinfall
Mean Gene has Kevin Sullivan in the ring talking about the dissension between The Dungeon of Doom and The Four Horsemen with Hugh Morrus by his side. Arn Anderson and Brian Pillman come down and Sullivan says that Anderson should take care of Pillman. Anderson takes Pillman to task and tells him that all that’s left is tough love. Sullivan and Morrus attack Anderson and Pillman but Anderson fights back and clears out the Dungeon. Anderson tells WCW executives that he demands a match with Sullivan and Morrus, Pillman says he’ll get them out this mess since he got them into it.
Sister Sherri vs Madusa
Mean Gene is back in the ring with Sister Sherri and Madusa comes out and attacks Sherri with a cross body from the top rope. Sherrie comes back and wraps Madusa’s leg around the turnbuckle but Madusa comes back with a snap suplex on the outside of the ring. Bischoff is obsessed with calling these kicks silly martial arts type names like “back leg round kicks” and it really takes away from the action. Sherri comes back and goes up top, Madusa counters it and Sherri holds on to roll her up for the pinfall victory. Madusa snaps after the match, hits a german suplex that drops Sherri right on her head in an ugly landing. Madusa slams Sherri’s head in the mat repeatedly before the refs get control. That all looked rough.
Winner: Sherri via pinfall
WCW Heavyweight Championship
The Giant vs Randy Savage
Savage attacks Giant from behind with the belt before the match and one shot after the bell rings. The ref calls for the bell and there’s a disqualification. Ric Flair is out and attacks Savage before taking a big stalling suplex by The Giant. They knock the ref out and continue to work over Savage. Flair is directing Giant which is odd. Flair calls for the chokeslam and Giant obliges. Out comes Hogan with an eye wrap and chair, takes out Giant and the entire Dungeon of Doom as they come out. Flair grabs a mic and Jimmy Hart and The Giant join him and challenge Hogan and Savage. Flair challenges Savage for the World title in a cage and Giant challenges Hogan in an unsanctioned match in a cage for Superbrawl. Hogan and a ref are helping Savage out as the show closes.
Winner: The Giant via disqualification (title stays with Savage)
What a show this Nitro turned out to be. Entertaining with the story telling. The wrestling was alright, but the big factor was all the story progression here. They’re building to WCW Superbrawl, and we’ll see how that all goes down!
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