Now here's something I haven't said in a while. It's time to step into WCW territory as we dip into the ever-growing pile of DVDs sent to me by the good people at Fremantle Media and Fetch Publicity for a review of The Best of WCW Monday Nitro Volume Two.
As always these things begin with.....
September 4th, 1995
It's the very first edition of Nitro as Ric Flair challenges Sting for the United States title.
So it was in the middle of a shopping centre, and just as the match was about to begin Lex Luger, having run down his WWF contract, made a brief appearance that got everyone talking.
As for the match both guys put in their usual performances. Sting relied on mainly high impact moves, which included numerous press slams, and Flair did his usual routine, including the big bump off the ropes.
But just as they were hitting top gear Flair's then-rival Arn Anderson came down to ringside to get a look-see. A few moments later Flair applied the figure four, but when the referee caught him using the ropes and he refused the referee called for the bell, disqualifying Flair.
It was then that Anderson got into the ring to break up the hold. The two Horsemen then brawled before Flair went scurrying backstage, with security stopping Anderson from following him.
February 12th, 1996
The Horsemen have patched up their differences, and Arn Anderson, accompanied by Woman, takes on Hulk Hogan.
It's your typical Hogan fare for the most part. Hogan got in a few moments of offence early on until Double A took control, and his success brought out Ric Flair and Miss Elizabeth so they could get a closer look.
Anderson then took the Hulkster down with his trademark spinebuster. It wasn't enough to put the big man down though as he quickly kicked out of the pin and Hulked up, taking Anderson down with the big boot.
But instead of going for the leg drop he sought to antagonise Flair by applying a figure four, although at first it looked as if Hogan didn't know how to apply the hold. When he did Anderson distracted the referee so Flair could get in the ring, only for Hogan to pin him with a small package while he still had the figure four locked on.
All hell then broke loose as Hogan clobbered Flair, and while the referee was trying to usher Flair out of the ring Woman jumped onto the ring apron and threw powder into Hogan's previously injured eye. Anderson then clobbered him with Elizabeth's boot, and a three count later the Enforcer had the win.
Hogan then made an immediate recovery, showing no effects from the heinous attack as Randy Savage joined him to attacking the Horsemen before the two factions traded jibes at the commentator's position.
March 11th, 1996
It's the first tag match of the collection as the Steiner Brothers go up against the Road Warriors.
Originally this was meant to be the Nasty Boys against the Warriors, but a backstage attack meant they couldn't make the match.
Basically what we had here was four guys beating the proverbial out of each other, and it was actually quite entertaining. Rick and Scott did something I don't think anyone else has done, and that's throw Animal and Hawk around the ring like a couple of rag dolls. I was quite surprised to see both of them taken down with an array of suplexes like that.
It wasn't all one way traffic though. The Roadies had their fair share of offence, although it was Animal who took the punching bag treatment from his brothers. He eventually managed to get the hot tag to Hawk, thus signalling the start of the mass brawl which saw the Roadies using the doomsday device and the Steiners use their top rope bulldog.
But after Rick had taken Hawk down with that move Animal clobbered him with one of his forearm pads while the referee was trying to usher Scott out of the ring. Then Hawk, despite having just had his skull planted on the mat, suddenly leapt up and covered the fallen Rick for the three count.
May 6th, 1996
It's the turn of the cruiserweights as Dean Malenko takes on Jushin Liger, accompanied by Sonny Onoo.
This was a nice little encounter, although it was spoiled a little by the coverage given to the arrival of Ric Flair, Woman and Miss Elizabeth as they enjoyed champagne in the "VIP section" at Randy Savage's expense.
Apart from that distraction the action here was great as they put on some excellent exchanges, and it's just a shame that this match didn't go a little longer, because I couldn't help but imagine what would have happened if they'd been given fifteen or twenty minutes.
Malenko came out on top in this one, finishing off a fast exchange of moves with a sit-down powerbomb for the winning pin.
September 16th, 1996
It's a battle of the luchadores as Juventud Guerrera challenges Rey Mysterio Junior for the Cruiserweight title.
I haven't seen a match like this in ages. These two spent as much time in the air as they did on the ground, and it was pretty damn impressive.
Mysterio, here looking a lot smaller than he does now, pulled off some great moves early on, but when we came back from the commercial break Juvi had taken control, and he almost took the win after putting Mysterio on the top rope, climbing onto his shoulders from behind, and then spinning round to take him down with a hurricanrana. As Chumlee would say.....awesome.
It was just a few moments later when Mysterio came back and took control. When Juvi tried to take his man down with a top rope powerbomb Mysterio quickly countered, turning the move into a hurricanrana of his own. A three count later and Mysterio had the title retaining pin.
December 9th, 1996
It's the quarter-finals of the United States title tournament, with Diamond Dallas Page taking on Jeff Jarrett.
This was around the time where everyone thought DDP was going to join the New World Order because of his previous connections to both Scott Hall and Kevin Nash, and it was this situation that had a big impact on the outcome of this encounter.
It was a pretty solid outing from both men here. DDP did well early on, with Jarrett controlling the action after the commercial break, almost getting the win a number of times.
But after Jarrett sent DDP flying over the top rope the aforementioned Hall and Nash came down to ringside, and while Nash distracted the referee Hall took Jarrett down with the razor's edge.
The next thing the referee saw was a DDP oblivious to what had just happened getting back into the ring to cover Jarrett. The referee counted to three, and DDP advanced in the tournament.
June 2nd, 1997
The NWO's Scott Hall, accompanied by Syxx, takes on Ric Flair.
The fans were certainly heated for this one. After Hall tried some pre-match mind games Flair went to work on his man's leg straight away, although it wasn't long before Hall took control and took Flair down with his trademark moves and holds, with a little help from his buddy at ringside as well.
But when Flair came back Syxx got even more involved in the action. Flair was actually doing alright against both men until Hall clobbered him with Syxx's Cruiserweight title belt. Then, finally, the referee called for the bell, giving Flair the disqualification win.
Needless to say that Hall and Syxx continued their attack after the bell, and it wasn't until Flair's fellow Horsemen Steve McMichael and Jeff Jarrett made the save that the attack stopped.
Without a doubt the most memorable one on here is Madusa's surprise appearance as she dumped the WWF Women's title belt in the ring. There's also some good promos from Kevin Nash, as well as the segment where Hollywood Hogan got a fake Sting to worship him before the real deal came down from the rafters for a surprise attack.
June 30th, 1997
It's the proverbial David versus Goliath affair as Rey Mysterio Junior takes on the NWO's Kevin Nash.
The best word to describe this one would be mismatch. Mysterio came in and connected with several dropkicks, but when Nash got hold of him it was all but over. Nash began throwing his man around the ring like a stuffed toy before taking him down with the jack knife powerbomb a minute or so later. Then, with one foot on his chest he took the winning pin.
Then, to add further insult to injury, Nash powerbombed him again. But when Konnan appeared on the scene Nash broke off his attack and left the ring. Konnan wasn't there to help though, because as soon as the big man was out of the way he attacked Mysterio and applied a leg lock, leaving him crying out in pain.
July 7th, 1997
It's the turn of the chairman as La Parka faces Randy Savage, accompanied here by his NWO buddies Scott Hall and Miss Elizabeth.
Savage came into this match in a somewhat cocky mood, unable to take his foe seriously. In between taking him down with a couple of arm drags he proceeded to do a lot of posing.
He then sent Hall back to the commentary position so he could antagonise them for a while, but when he went for his top rope elbow Parka raised his feet and connected with Savage's jaw.
Then we got the surprise. After a quick diamond cutter Parka ripped off his mask to reveal that it was actually Diamond Dallas Page. Page quickly went for the cover and took the winning pin. Needless to say that the NWO guys weren't too happy.
September 22nd, 1997
It's the debut of the biggest home-grown star in WCW history as Goldberg faces Hugh Morrus.
Let's be honest here. Goldberg looked as green as hell. This wasn't the bulldozer that went on to win the title. The opening exchange of hammerlocks and leg locks were okay, but there were a couple of times when he looked like a deer in the headlights, especially when Morrus was trying to set him up for his moonsault.
Of course, Goldberg kicked out of the pin, and a few minutes later he took him down with the jackhammer for the winning pin, starting the streak.
October 6th, 1997
It's a battle of future champions as Jeff Jarrett, accompanied by Queen Debra, taking on Booker T, accompanied by Jacquelyn.
Jarrett wasn't exactly taking his opponent too seriously here, mainly because Booker had just entered the solo ranks because his brother and tag partner Stevie Ray was injured. Booker looked okay early on until Double J took control.
The cocky Jarrett soon realised that Booker was the real deal, and although he had some success Booker soon worked his way back into the match with some of his trademark moves before sending him over the top rope with a clothesline.
Then, as the referee tried to stop Booker from leaving the ring Jarrett's rival and Debra's old man Steve McMichael appeared. The anger levels went up a notch after Debra slapped her husband, and after Mongo clobbered Jarrett and pushed him back into the ring Booker rolled him up for the three count.
November 3rd, 1997
It's street fight time as Public Enemy challenge the Steiners, accompanied by Ted Dibiase, for the World Tag Team titles.
These guys began brawling before the bell sounded, and they quickly split off into two groups, with Scott and Rocko Rock fighting through the crowd and near the commentary position and Rick and Johnny Grunge brawling around ringside.
So after some rather ugly moves Grunge put Rick between two tables before climbing to the top rope. However, Dibiase managed to drag his client away, for the most part, before Grunge came crashing down through the two tables. Scott then came over the pin, and the rest is history.
December 15th, 1997
It's a match that looks great on paper as Booker T goes up against Randy Savage, accompanied here by Miss Elizabeth.
It's a shame that this one wasn't a bit longer because it was pretty darn entertaining. Both guys got in a lot of offence in this back and forth encounter, with Booker in particular looking quite good.
There was a momentary distraction when a fan tried to charge the ring before being taken away by the rossers, but that didn't stop these guys at all.
The big moment came when Booker drop kicked Savage into the referee, and while the official was taking forty winks Elizabeth stopped Booker from coming off the top rope. Savage then clobbered him and sent him flying from the top to the floor before following him out and smashing him with a plastic chair. He then pushed him back in the ring and sealed the deal with the top rope elbow, the referee coming to in time to see the Macho Man making the cover.
December 22nd, 1997
The luchadores return in trios action as Rey Mysterio Junior, Juventud Guerrera and Hector Garza faced Psicosis, Silver King and La Parka.
Fast-paced action was the order of the day, but then again that wasn't entirely unexpected. Basically all six guys went around at about one hundred miles per hour pulling off some amazing moves before they all took to the air, with Garza pulling off the most spectacular move with his corkscrew plancha from the top rope to the floor.
This left Mysterio and King as the last two men, and although King tried to use his size advantage at first Mysterio countered with speed as he took him down with a reverse hurricanrana from the top rope before taking him out with a regular 'rana for the pin.
January 5th, 1998
It's back to title action as Chris Jericho challenges Diamond Dallas Page for the United States title.
Before the match began Jericho took to the microphone to apologise for his rather violent actions the previous week, even going as far as to replace the damaged tuxedo of ring announcer David Penzer.
When the match began Jericho tried to wrestle within the rules, but when DDP kept getting the better of him he quickly reverted to his heel-ish ways. It didn't do him much good though. A few seconds later DDP connected with a diamond cutter for the winning pin.
March 9th, 1998
It's back to six man action as the NWO's Hollywood Hogan, Kevin Nash & Scott Hall, with Eric Bischoff in their corner, go up against World Champion Sting, Randy Savage and the Giant, with Miss Elizabeth in their corner.
This was another of those matches that generated a huge amount of heat from the crowd, and it was well played out as well.
After the initial skirmishes the NWO boys began to focus their attack on the Giant's injured neck. The big man hadn't actually been medically cleared to wrestle, and as his three opponents double and triple teamed him our esteemed announcers wondered if he'd be able to come back.
But come back he did, and after a surge of adrenaline he sent all three of his opponents flying across the ring before he made the hot tag to Savage.
This signalled the start of the mass brawl, and after the Giant sent Nash scurrying for cover and Sting took care of Hall it looked like Savage was going to take Hogan out with his top drop elbow, but when Hogan's Disciple stormed the ring and took Savage out with an ace crusher the tide turned immediately, and when the referee turned his attention back to the match he saw Hogan covering his nemesis. A three count later and the boys in black had the win.
March 23rd, 1998
It's on to championship action as United States Champion Diamond Dallas Page challenges Sting for the World title.
I really liked this one. Say what you want about WCW giving away pay per view quality matches for free, but it meant that those who never got to see those PPVs (like us Brits) got to see matches like these.
Both guys went for their finishers early, and after the initial exchanges the match settled down as they exchanged wear-down holds, with Sting the more successful of the two with his reverse chin lock.
Page managed to get his second wind though, and as he came back into the match there were some great back and forth exchanges as both men went all out.
But when Page went for his diamond cutter Sting managed to block the move by holding onto the ropes. He then countered with a scorpion death drop, a move which earned him the title retaining pin.
April 20th, 1998
The championship action continues with Goldberg challenging Raven for the United States title in a Raven's Rules match.
Now this was the Goldberg that we all knew, the unstoppable force that blew away everyone in his path, and this match is a good example of what the man was all about.
He began the match by throwing Raven around the ring and into the barricades at ringside, and it was only when Raven clobbered him with a chair that he was able to get any sort of advantage.
Back in the ring Raven applied a chin lock until Goldberg managed to get his second wind, hitting Raven with the spear a few moments later. That was the signal for Raven's Flock to attack, and these guys just couldn't cope with Goldberg as he ploughed through them.
While this one on three massacre was happening Raven had tried to escape through the crowd, only for the fans to stop him and push him back over the barricade. Goldberg then took him back into the ring, and another spear and a jackhammer later old Bill had won his first ever title.
While not as memorable as Madusa dumping a title belt into a bin there are some pretty good ones on this disc. There's a look at the various celebrities who graced the show over the years (and David Arquette), the NWO announcing Bret Hart as their newest member, and the birth of the NWO Wolfpac.
June 1st, 1998
It's a battle of the NWO factions as World Champion Hollywood Hogan and Tag Team Champion the Giant, accompanied by Bret Hart & the Disciple, take on Kevin Nash and Lex Luger.
This was billed as the match to determine which NWO faction Sting would join. It began with Luger powering Hogan down to the mat, but it wasn't long before the Hulkster used underhanded tactics to get the advantage.
We then had a brief face off between the two giants in the match before all hell broke loose when Nash tried to save Luger when Hogan and the Giant were choking him in their corner, and when Nash got his hands on the Giant again Hogan clobbered him with his title belt, earning his team the immediate disqualification.
Then, as Hogan and the Giant dealt with Nash, Sting came down from the rafters, and when he got into the ring he quickly took off his coat to reveal a black and white NWO shirt. But as Hogan and the Giant celebrated Sting attacked, clotheslining Hogan before body slamming the Giant. He then ripped the black and white NWO shirt off to reveal the black and red Wolfpac show underneath. Needless to say that Nash and his buddies were over the moon.
December 21st, 1998
It's a battle that spanned the big two as the leader of the Latino World Order, Eddie Guerrero, goes up against Rey Mysterio Junior.
This was all about Mysterio's reluctance to tow the LWO party line, as well as Guerrero trying to injure him so his man Juventud Guerrera would have a better chance of winning the Cruiserweight title in the upcoming triangle match involving Mysterio, Guerrera and champion Billy Kidman.
It began with Mysterio taking Guerrero down with a series of fast paced moves, but when Guerrero took control he slowed the pace right down, often working over Mysterio's braced left knee, adding insult to injury at one point by trying to rip the mask off him.
These tactics worked, to a point. It wasn't long before Mysterio took the pace up a notch or three and took control with his impressive speed. But when the referee took an accidental hit Guerrero tried to bring his mystery bodyguard into the equation. That idea soon went out of the window when Mysterio moved out of the way and Guerrero ended up dropkicking the man from the apron to the floor.
A few moments later the aforementioned Kidman arrived on the scene, urging Mysterio to hold Guerrero so he could treat him to a knuckle sandwich, but when that particular idea backfired and the masked man took the hit Guerrero rolled his man up just as the referee came to to take the three count and pin.
January 25th, 1999
It's ladder match time with the NWO's Scott Hall, accompanied by Disco Inferno, taking on Bam Bam Bigelow. The prize on offer here, the taser, specifically the one Hall used on Bigelow and Goldberg a few days before.
This one was pretty decent. Okay, it was basically Hall and Bigelow trying to beat the proverbial out of each other, but as far as ladder matches go it was very enjoyable. Disco got his marching orders early after he tripped Bigelow, and from there these two used the ladder to good effect as they clobbered each other and tried to go for the electrifying prize.
Best move of the match came when Hall was attempting to climb the ladder, and just when it looked like he was going to grab the taser a somewhat groggy Bigelow went under the ladder and lifted it up, sending Hall flying.
A few moments later Bigelow slowly ascended the ladder and grabbed the taser. The only problem was that Hall was right behind him and delivered a blow south of the border, and just as this was happening Disco returned to the scene to give Hall a taser of his own.
But just before the duel of the tasers began Goldberg arrived on the scene, and after spearing Disco in the aisle he stormed the ring and speared Hall and Bigelow at the same time, taking both of the tasers and using them on his rivals. Lucky for Hall Scott Norton ran in for the save, dragging him out of the ring.
February 8th, 1999
It's back to championship action as Roddy Piper challenges Bret Hart for the United States title.
The Hitman came into this one claiming that he was suffering from a bad groin injury. Piper wasn't buying that excuse, and neither was WCW head honcho Ric Flair, hence this match. There was also some fat bloke from Mad TV who I've never heard of who'd also been attacked by Hart sitting at ringside, cheering Piper on.
As for the match there was more brawling than wrestling. Hart kept playing the injury card, and when he was choking Piper on the top rope he suddenly fell backwards grabbing his groin, claiming that Piper had connected with a low blow. It got to the point where the trainer was called in to check him over, but it turned out to be a big fat lie when he suddenly sprang to his feet and clobbered Piper from behind.
More brawling followed, and at one point Hart dragged the fat bloke from Mad TV over the guardrail and attacked him. A few moments later, Piper went for a sleeper hold which the Hitman escaped from by ramming Piper into the corner, with the referee taking an accidental hit in the process.
With the fat bloke from Mad TV urging Piper on Hart reached into his tights for a set of brass knuckles, clobbering the Rowdy man a few times before stowing them away. He then went to grab the referee so he could make the count, until the fat bloke from Mad TV grabbed hold of the official's leg to stop him.
It was then that the now-recovered Piper came up on Hart from behind and rolled him up. The fat bloke from Mad TV then released his grip so the referee could make his count, giving Piper the title winning pin.
May 31st, 1999
It's on to yet more title action with Perry Saturn defending the Tag Team titles against Bam Bam Bigelow and Diamond Dallas Page,
Originally it was meant to be Raven tagging with Saturn, but after DDP and BBB attacked Raven he was taken to the hospital. They later went on to attack Kanyon, sending him to the hospital as well, which meant that Saturn began the match on his own.
Saturn put up a spirited fight at first, but it wasn't long before the New Jersey boys took control. The only problem was that no matter what they did to Saturn he kept kicking out of their pin attempts, and it seemed as if there wasn't anything they could do to keep him down.
Eventually Saturn got his second wind and began to his two opponents down, but after he took both men down with attitude adjuster-like moves it took it out of him. It was then that Kanyon raced down to the ring and jumped onto the apron, urging Saturn to tag him.
The tag soon came, but it proved to be their undoing. Page quickly connected with a discus punch, sending Kanyon into la-la land. A pin and a three count later and there were new champions.
July 12th, 1999
It's a battle of perennial rivals as Hollywood Hogan challenges Randy Savage for the World title.
This was one of those matches that was quite confusing at times, mainly because the main stipulation wasn't actually announced until just before it ended. It also wasn't the best Hogan/Savage encounter I've seen, not by a long shot.
Basically this was one big brawl. Hogan sent two of Savage's ladies packing early on when he rammed Madusa and Miss Madness into each other. The two ladies then started to argue at ringside, with security having to drag them away.
From there these two brawled around the ring before brawling around ringside, and when chairs were brought into the equation I kept wondering why the referee didn't call for the bell. I wondered this again a few moments later when Savage kept whipping Hogan with the Hulkster's own belt.
It was only when Sid Vicious arrived and attacked Hogan that our esteemed announcers said that they "understood" that a no disqualification stipulation was in place. Of course this explained everything as Sting ran in for the save. But if this stipulation was in place then why did Savage hide the fact that he'd used a chain to clobber Hogan from the referee?
The over-booking continued when Kevin Nash came out and took Savage down with his jack-knife powerbomb. A groggy Hogan then crawled over and pinned the Macho Man, winning the title for the umpteenth time.
Nash then took to the microphone to challenge Hogan to a title match, reminding Hogan that he'd handed the title to him twice before. It was a challenge that Hogan readily accepted.
December 13th, 1999
It's back to duos action with the Outsiders, Scott Hall and Kevin Nash challenging Goldberg and Bret Hart for the Tag Team titles.
Well, that was the plan. Hall and Nash had attacked Hart backstage, and after they entered the ring they called Goldberg out, demanding that he hand the belts to them because they'd softened Hart up before their big match at Starrcade. So Goldberg grabbed the belts, went down to the ring, and promptly clobbered both of his opponents.
So big Bill went about demolishing his opponents until the Outsiders took control and used their one man advantage to good effect. But just when it looked all over Hart came limping down to the ring to help out his partner, changing the nature of the match immediately.
It didn't do his team much help though. Although he managed to pull off a few moves his injured knee soon gave out, and just as Goldberg was taking Hall down with the jackhammer Nash covered Hart for the title winning pin.
May 15th, 2000
It's on to a very heated feud as Vampiro faces Sting in a House of Pain match, basically a cage match with a roof on top and handcuffs around the cage.
What's surprising about this match is that it actually opened the show. But then again, we are talking about WCW in 2000, where pay per view matches were often given away for free.
As for the match itself it was quite intense. It began with Vampiro chaining the door shut before Sting could enter, so the Stinger had to climb onto the roof and make himself an entrance with his trusty old baseball bat. Once inside these two proceeded to kick and punch the hell out of each other, adding in a few wrestling moves as well.
Eventually Sting managed to shackle Vampiro to the cage, but instead of going all out and taking his bat to him he just kicked him a few times before leaving the cage and celebrating. But as he stood on the ramp the arena went dark, and when the lights came back on Vampiro had vanished.
February 26th, 2001
It's a battle between former tag partners as Shannon Moore, accompanied by Evan Karagias, takes on Shane Helms.
Fast paced action was the order of the day here as these two put on a series of lightning quick exchanges, with Karagias making an appearance every so often, and after just a few minutes of action Helms countered Moore's bottom's up attempt with his vertebreaker for the winning pin.
Then, as Helms celebrated Cruiserweight title holder Chavo Guerrero Junior attacked him from behind before joining Moore and Karagias into the attack.
March 26th, 2001
It's the very final Nitro, and two titles are on the line as United States Champion Booker T takes on World Champion Scott Steiner, accompanied by Midejah.
If I recall correctly Steiner came into this one with nerve damage in his leg, which would explain why a match of this importance only lasted about five minutes or so.
It's a pretty decent encounter with both guys pulling off big moves right from the start. Midejah got in a slap at one point before Steiner tried to take his man's head off with his trusty old led pipe. Luckily for Booker he managed to get out of the way.
The exchanges were quick when they got back into the ring as both guys came close to getting the win before Booker took his man out with the book end for the winning pin, adding the World title to his collection.
They kind of taper off with this final disc, with Chris Jericho finally confronting Goldberg the main highlight.
As for the extras, they're on this disc as well, a couple of matches for you, with Rey Mysterio Junior & Lord Steven Regal taking on Eddie Guerrero and Dean Malenko, and a United States title match featuring Sting against Bret Hart.
In conclusion - so a few thousand words and over six hours later we've finally made it to this part, and I have to admit I kind of have mixed feelings about this collection.
There is some really decent stuff on here. I really enjoyed the cruiserweight matches on disc one, and some of the other matches and segments brought back fond memories of sitting in front of my TV on a Friday night (that's when we saw Nitro here in Britain) wondering what the NWO was going to do next.
However, there's also some stuff that really shouldn't have been here, and some stuff that really showed how poor WCW could be in it's last couple of years, such as the hugely overbooked Hogan/Savage match, and the intense Sting/Vampiro match which really wasn't that intense at all.
But despite these shortcomings I have to say that overall this collection is quite enjoyable, although it did make me wonder that as I've never seen Volume One maybe I should have watched and reviewed that collection first.
So with all of that being said there's just one more thing to do, and that's to give this thing a thumbs up.
With thanks to Fremantle Media and Fetch Publicity for supplying a copy of this release. The Best of WCW Monday Nitro Volume Two can be purchased online at www.wwedvd.co.uk.