Out: 28th Sept / 518 minutes / Rating: 15 / WWE Home Video / Also available on DVD
WWE Home Video looks to the WCW vaults again in it’s latest release The Very Best of WCW Monday Nitro Vol. 3. Diamond Dallas Page does the hosting duties again as the set takes a look at various key moments and matches of the flagship show’s 1995-2001 run.
As is the case with a Best of Nitro release, the set is loaded. There are very few moments when the it feels weak or boring. Even matches from Nitro’s dire mid-1999 till early-2001 period manage to provide some entertainment value.
The strongest moments belong to the dozens of bouts on Vol. 3. Johnny B Badd (Marc Mero) v Eddie Guerrero (November ’95) shows that Mero was a talent who could connect with fans. It ends in what feels like a shoot, the two wrestlers make up after the bell. Chris Jericho v Juventud Guerrera (dubbed ‘Hoover Dude Gorilla’ by this writers father) from Summer 1997 was a taster of the feud the pair would have in Spring ’98. Hollywood Hogan v DDP (March ’99) is shockingly a good, arena-wide wild scrap. Hogan was abysmal during this period of his career, Page carries the match (Steve Austin even phoned him afterwards to say so). Booker T v Mike Awesome (July ’00) is a spirited World title affair, one of the rare moments when WCW allowed the late Awesome to shine.
The segments included are a mixed bunch. The nWo booting The Giant (aka Big Show) out of the group has incredible crowd heat (December ’96). There is prolonged footage of when the nWo ‘takeover’ Nitro in November ’97. The jobbers of the faction interrupt Nitro, destroying all WCW signs and banners, erecting ‘nWo Nitro‘ ones in their place and run a video package for the opening credits of their own version of Nitro. This was WCW boss Eric Bischoff’s attempt at testing if fans would watch an nWo only show. Based on the fact that ratings dropped sharply during this ‘test run’ it was decided Nitro would stay as it was. Which is a good thing, the segment goes on for way too long and drags. The Giant throwing Scott Hall into a swimming pool, and Kevin Nash willingly throwing himself in after his mate, is good for a laugh (March ’98).
The dross to be found is, as mentioned, brief compared to the good to be had on Vol. 3. Sting v Macho Man (June ’99) is dull. Hak (aka Sandman) v Rick Steiner is a tedious, prop filled Hardcore match (also June ’99). Sting & Hogan v Sid Vicious & Nash (July ’99) feels like everyone apart from Sting is moving in slow motion. Note: all those bad bouts are from the same period that WCW lost the plot in mid 1999, which would cause it’s eventual demise 18 months later.
There are several matches included, many are decent. But the best to be viewed are Kanyon v Raven (July ’98) and Bret Hart v Lex Luger (August ’98). The Luger bout is probably the last great match Lex had in his career.
Like previous installments, this is an excellent set with plenty of good action.