Welcome to my first DVD review. Today, I will be reviewing disc one of The Very Best of WCW Monday Nitro Vol. 2. I will be providing a brief analysis on every match or segment and then rate them on a scale of one to 10, with one being not good at all and 10 being excellent.
Sting vs. Ric Flair, Sept. 4, 1995
With the first volume of The Very Best of WCW Monday Nitro ending with Ric Flair vs. Sting on the last episode of Nitro, it was only fitting to start Volume 2 with their match on the very first edition of WCW Monday Nitro.
While the action inside the ring was solid, the shocker of the match came when Lex Luger made his reappearance in WCW by walking out as soon as the match began and standing on the ramp for a few minutes before leaving.
Once the match really got underway, it was very interesting to see how little the competitors actually did and how much the fans reacted to it. When you think about it, it was not a match filled with spots. There weren't any high-flying spots or displays of technical wrestling, but just the story of the valiant babyface hero, Sting, taking on the dastardly Ric Flair.
Mid-match, another man made his presence felt. This time, it was Arn Anderson, who had a rocky relationship in storylines with Flair at the time. Eventually, "The Nature Boy" was able to lock the figure-four leglock on Sting, using the ropes for leverage.
Anderson finally entered the match and began trading blows with Flair for the disqualification finish.
I thought this was a very good match. While it wasn't physical or technical or high-flying, the crowd was hot for it and both men played their roles well with Flair trying to cheat in order to beat the much stronger and more popular Sting.
Although I do not think that this match is an instant classic or one of the best matches in WCW history, it's pretty good and I recommend going back to watch it.
Trashing the Gold, Dec. 18, 1995
In one of the most infamous WCW moments, this features the former Alundra Blayze interrupting the beginning of a Nitro broadcast to dump the WWF's (now WWE) Women's Championship into a trash can.
Diamond Dallas Page also tells a tale about seeing her backstage with the title and asking what she was doing there. She told him to stay tuned and then walked out onstage. It's always cool to get to hear about the backstage atmosphere, even with small interactions like this one.
Hulk Hogan vs. Arn Anderson, Feb. 12 1996
Before reading the match listing for disc one, I actually had no idea that this match had ever happened on Nitro or anywhere else for that matter. I have to say that it met my expectations. It was a good, solid bout, but nothing spectacular. Both men meshed well together, but this was toward the end of Hogan's tired face run in WCW, so the crowd reaction wasn't the best.
Anderson came out with Woman, also known as Nancy Benoit. Hogan didn't come out with a valet, but instead donned an eye patch. The commentators didn't do a very good job explaining why his eye is injured, but my own personal research states that he apparently got hit with a high-heel shoe in said eye by Woman.
Hogan was more physical here than usual, as he was upset at Arn Anderson and Ric Flair's recent actions, including a cool spot in which he catapulted Double A into the ring post. Ric Flair came out with Miss Elizabeth, who had turned on Randy Savage the previous night at SuperBrawl VI, mid-match.
Flair came into play later when Hogan had Anderson trapped in the figure-four leglock, but he got caught in a small package by Hogan, who continued to wrench on the figure-four. Woman tossed something in Hogan's eyes and Anderson grabbed Miss Elizabeth's high heel and clocked Hogan in the head with it to get a big win.
Post-match, there was a brawl between Hogan, Anderson, Flair and Randy Savage with Hogan and Savage gaining the upper hand on the heels. Hogan and Savage proceeded to cut a crappy promo.
Overall, a good match with an unnecessarily overbooked finish. Huge win for Anderson, though. If I'm not mistaken, this victory didn't end up benefiting Anderson in any way.
The Steiner Brothers vs. The Road Warriors, March 11, 1996
This match was supposed to be The Nasty Boys vs. The Road Warriors, but the Nasty Boys were attacked backstage, so the Steiners took their place in a surprise return.
Scott Steiner and Road Warrior Hawk kicked things off in this tag team match and it was immediately very physical as expected. The Steiners were especially impressive in this match, with Scott Steiner dropping Hawk with a great belly-to-belly less than two minutes into the match. A few seconds later, Hawk caught Scott with a stiff big boot that looked great.
Animal and Rick Steiner entered the match with Rick delivering a nice German suplex on Animal, a belly-to-belly off the second rope and then a belly-to-belly overhead throw in a matter of seconds. The hard-hitting match eventually came down to both Steiners and Hawk, after Animal was laid out by a beautiful Frankensteiner courtesy of the future "Big Poppa Pump."
The Steiners hit the Steinerizer on Hawk, but Animal grabbed one of their signature spiked shoulder pads and smashed it over the head of Rick. Hawk no-sells the move he had just received and covers for the pinfall victory. A physical brawl with a good crowd, but The Road Warriors hurt this match more than helped it, especially with their no-selling of moves that has been well documented in the past.
Jushin "Thunder" Liger vs. Dean Malenko, May 6, 1996
"For my money, the WCW cruiserweight division was unstoppable. The athleticism was second to none and the difference, well, these guys were competing in the prime of their career." —Diamond Dallas Page
Liger came out with Sonny Onoo during his entrance, who was compared to both a Japanese Jimmy Hart and a Japanese Donald Trump by the commentators. Both are apt comparisons, I suppose.
I wonder how different Ultimo Dragon's run would have been in WWE if he had Sonny Onoo as a manager?
Anyway, the action got fast and furious quickly with Malenko and Liger both showing some impressive athleticism. Early in the match, Ric Flair, Miss Elizabeth and Woman made their way out to the VIP section. As a result, the commentators began talking about them and detracted from the match.
Malenko began working on Liger's leg, locking in one of his 1,000 holds. In this case, it was a nice leglock. There was some good storytelling here with Malenko trying to ground Liger's high-flying by taking out his base. Some slightly botched moves by both men take you out of the match a little bit, but it's excusable due to the fast pace they were working at.
After a second-rope gutbuster, "The Iceman" executed a Tigerbomb to get the pinfall victory over Jushin "Thunder" Liger.
This was a good match which was not exactly a spotfest, but it wasn't a technical match either. I was a tad disappointed at how they moved away from Malenko systematically dissecting Liger's leg so quickly, and at how it didn't come into play after he stopped working on it. The finish to the match was a bit abrupt, however.
Rey Mysterio, Jr. vs. Juventud Guerrera, Sept. 1996
One thing that immediately stands out to me is how much muscle Rey has put on since his WCW days. I don't know whether that's steroids or drugs or whatever, but it's very apparent. This match was also for the WCW Cruiserweight Championship, which was held by Mysterio.
This was a rather short match, but it's jam packed with fast-paced, high-flying offense. Juventud had a nice, snap fall-away slam, but it was clear that Mysterio was the star being spotlighted here. As we got into a commercial break, Rey faked the 619 and then hit a Springboard Hurricanrana to the outside.
Back from the break, Juventud Guerrera was back in control. Juvi executed a nice Springboard 450 Splash for a near fall. When that failed to put Rey away, he went for a powerbomb off off the top rope, but Mysterio countered it into a quick Frankensteiner for the win.
Much like the former cruiserweight match, this wasn't the best match involving the cruiserweights that WCW had to offer, but it was still good. This was basically a big spotfest, but it was fun to watch and the match made sense. I wouldn't enjoy this match if it was 20 minutes long, but for it being a 10- minute match, it worked for this viewer.
Eric Bischoff's Biggest Regret, Sept. 1996
In a passionate promo, Eric Bischoff talked about the history of WCW, dating back to 1905 with champions such as Lou Thesz. He called the New World Order "nothing but dirt bags" and stated that the only mistake he's ever made is bringing Hulk Hogan to WCW. Bischoff said he's going to give them the benefit of doubt and that this will stop.
Although this was a very brief promo, I thought it was great. It was full of fire and passion and put the nWo over as unstoppable, even if they didn't need to be put over even more.
Diamond Dallas Page vs. Jeff Jarrett, Dec. 9, 1996
This match was really weird. It was not bad, but was odd. Both men were playing heels here, but DDP was more face-like than Jarrett, although the commentators bash him nonstop for being egotistical and boastful. This match was just here to continue an ongoing angle between the New World Order and DDP, where the nWo wanted to recruit Page and he refused.
There's not much to point out in this match. There were a few nice spots here and there, such as a slingshot suplex by Jarrett, a tilt-a-whirl mat slam by DDP and a Jerry Lawler-esque fist drop by Jarrett, but it's really just ho-hum action that serves little purpose to fill up time until the finish of the match.
DDP, although he was a heel, ultimately made a comeback and almost scored the pinfall off a flying lariat. When Jarrett regained control, The Outsiders came out to the ring and Hall nailed Double J with the Outsider's Edge behind the referee's back.
DDP, oblivious to what just happened, covered Jarrett and got the win.
After the match, Mean Gene Okerlund interviewed DDP about his relationship with The Outsiders. DDP settled the score once and for all, saying that he doesn't need them since he has the hottest finisher on the planet with the Diamond Cutter.
DDP wanted them to do their thing and let him do his. Mean Gene brings up the well-known friendship between Hall, Nash and DDP and, as a result, Page talked about when he was busting his ass years ago and they were not there. He tells The Outsiders to leave him alone and then gives himself a self high-five.
Back in the WWE studio, DDP said he didn't want to be another spoke on the wheel and that it was important for him to be a lone wolf.
As I said, a boring match.
It was all filler action to get to the finish which is what really mattered in this match. By far, this is the worst match on disc one. The promo afterward was pretty good, and DDP's reasoning as to why he didn't want to be in the nWo was definitely logical since a ton of guys got lost in the shuffle just by being nWo members.
Kevin Nash Patches Up Potholes, April 21, 1997
Kevin Nash came out with several members of the nWo. None of them are notable except for Syxx (X-Pac) and it was also noticeable that Scott Hall was missing.
Syxx had the mic first. He said that Ric Flair and Roddy Piper said a few things that made him think. Syxx asked Flair what kind of respect it is when he ripped Buddy Rogers' look, nickname and finisher.
Kevin Nash was the next one on the mic, looking stoned might I add. Nash again referred to Roddy Piper's comments from the previous week. Nash bashed guys like Piper and Flair, stating that they reaped the business' benefits and left the young guys at the time with nothing.
"Big Sexy" then began bashing WCW, stating that it was nothing but a bunch of guys pushing their sons.
He brought up Scott Hall's Diamond Studd days in WCW, saying that he was ready to become a star, but instead, WCW cut down his salary. As a result, they had to go to "New York" (the WWF), where they got punished for trying to dig the business out of the funk that old timers like Flair and Piper left it in.
The former "Big Daddy Cool" claimed that it was the new generation's time to shine and that it was time for the young lions to get more than a nibble on the carcass. He added that while Flair and Piper are out there living the life, him and his crew have no problem flying commercial and renting cars while trying to patch the potholes that they have left behind.
"NWO for life!" closes Nash.
One hell of a promo.
I'm always a sucker for worked shoots as long as they're done right, and this was done very well. While Nash has always been critiqued for his outlook on the wrestling business and his skills inside the squared circle, I don't think there's any denying that he was a very good speaker which was put on display here.
Hollywood Hogan Makes Sting Worship Him, May 26, 1997
For our next promo, "The Hulkster" made his way out to the ring with Eric Bischoff. Hogan's whole beard is dyed black, which looks pretty weird, but still good.
Hogan said that the nWo Belt is on the line and that his brothers in the New World Order have Sting cornered. He called out Sting. Bischoff said that he hates to disappoint Hogan, but unfortunately for all of the people in attendance, Sting isn't going to be here because if he was here, the nWo would make him worship the ground Hogan spit on.
Hogan began ranting about Sting, saying that he wants to be just like him.
As he says this, "Sting" popped up from under the apron. Bischoff and Hogan demanded "Sting" to stay down on his knees and he did just that. Bischoff demanded that Sting tell the truth and asked him whether he wishes he was half the man Hollywood Hogan was. Sting nodded and Hogan spat on the ground to make Sting worship the "great ground" that this man spits on.
As the Fake Sting did this, the real Sting descended from the rafters and dropped Bischoff with the Scorpion Death Drop. Hogan slowly turned around and Sting pointed at him with his signature baseball bat.
Hogan rolled out of the ring as Fake Sting tried to clobber the real Sting with his own baseball bat. Sting blocked the shot and dropped Fake Sting with the Scorpion Death Drop.
"You're in trouble now!" yelled Hogan. Members of the nWo made their way out to the ring and cornered Sting in the ring along with Hogan, but Sting made his way back up the rafters.
In the studio, DDP talked about the return of Sting and the "Crow" character splitting the crowd with nWo shirts and Sting masks. He goes in depth with the Sting masks including a time where unknown men in Sting masks attacked the nWo, with Sting eventually descending from the rafters as a cage lowered down into the ring.
Among the men in Sting masks were DDP and Roddy Piper and as a result, Page went on to tell a funny anecdote about leaving through the crowd with "Hot Rod."
Quite a good segment. The arrival of Sting from the rafters immediately made things better after what was a decent promo by Bischoff and Hogan.
Ric Flair vs. Scott Hall, June 2, 1997
Scott Hall, one half of the WCW Tag Team Champions at the time, came out with Syxx. Flair came out next to a big pop from the crowd.
The bell rang and Hall tossed his toothpick at The Nature Boy. Flair went after Hall right away. He was on fire with backhand chops and began working on Hall's leg to soften it up for his patented figure-four leglock. Syxx made his presence known early in the match, helping Hall stretch Flair out with an abdominal stretch.
While the action wasn't that of a five-star classic inside the Tokyo Dome, the crowd was extremely hot, giving his match a big-fight feel. They were reacting positively to everything Flair did and mostly negatively to everything from Hal.
This is what a wrestling crowd should be like.
Midway through the match, there was a cool spot with Flair doing the classic Flair Flip in the corner and then taking Syxx out with a Thesz press off the apron. After the moment of hope for Flair, Hall slowed down the match and Syxx once again got involved by executing a Bronco Buster on Flair when the ref had his back turned.
Flair eventually suckered in Hall and made a comeback with his signature backhand chops and then a knee breaker. Flair was almost able to slap on the figure-four, but Hall took him out with a lariat. Syxx tried to get involved again moments later, but Flair crotched him on the top rope, mule kicked Hall in the balls (the referee let this slide for some reason) and threw Syxx to the outside.
Syxx once again got involved and once again got beat by Naitch. Super Flair was in full effect, fighting off boyh men until Hall clobbered Flair in the back of the head with his title belt for the DQ finish. Hall and Syxx double-teamed Flair until Mongo McMichael chased away the nWo.
A good match, made especially great by the crowd. Flair was fired up and Hall did his job as a heel well. Syxx's constant interference was annoying and this was not the way to end disc one on a disqualification finish. It was still a solid outing for both men.
Stay tuned to Bleacher Report for a review of disc two, coming soon. If you enjoyed this review, make sure to leave a comment below, "like" this article and follow me on Twitter @AmericanDolphin.