WCW goes off the air,
promises exciting finale Monday; 'Raw' features ECW talent
Ed De La Garza
"I've been working with a group of people
whose goal it was -- and is -- to acquire World Championship Wrestling,
and to grow it once again to become a competitive, dominant wrestling organization
worldwide. But recently, we've hit a couple of roadblocks that may be in
fact, brick walls."
-- Eric Bischoff
Those ominous words were spoken by
Bischoff on Nitro. It was the first statement he or anyone associated
with the company made about World Championship Wrestling's situation.
WCW announced its sale to Bischoff and
Fusient Media Ventures in January. But that was before the deal was finalized.
It was also before Turner Broadcasting System Inc. (TNT and TBS included),
now owned by Time Warner AOL, decided to give wrestling the boot.
Without guaranteed exposure, Fusient supposedly
backed out of the deal, though it is still attempting to come to some sort
of agreement provided a new television deal is secured.
New reports have surfaced that Vince McMahon
could be back in the hunt to buy the troubled company. McMahon, who definitely
has deeper pockets than Fusient and Bischoff, would run it as a separate
There is also a possibility Bischoff and
Fusient could buy the WCW name only and begin a brand new promotion.
But Monday's Nitro will in fact
be the final show to air on TNT. Today's Thunder will be the last
appearing on TBS. Bischoff announced Nitro would be a "Night of
Champions," with all belts being on the line. He invited all former champions
to show up, basically hinting at the return of Hulk Hogan, Scott Hall,
Sting and Goldberg.
Though WCW was in dire straits, no one
expected it to just shut down. While it doesn't have a TV home, there's
been no mention of its permanent demise. It could be more hope than reality.
Now more than ever, the WWF has a stranglehold
on the wrestling market.
'Greed is good'
If WCW's Greed was the last pay-per-view
in the company's history, it finally did a few things it should have been
doing all along.
Scott Steiner successfully retained the
World Title in his match against Diamond Dallas Page, Booker T. wrestled
the U.S. Title away from Rick Steiner, and "Sugar" Shane Helms defeated
Chavo Guerrero to win the Cruiserweight Title.
Chuck Palumbo and Sean O'Haire held on
to the Tag Team Titles in a squash match vs. Lex Luger and Buff Bagwell.
Luger and Bagwell actually dropped in under one minute.
Elix Skipper and Kid Romeo won the Cruiserweight
Tag Titles in their match against Billy Kidman and Rey Mysterio Jr.
In other matches, Dusty and Dustin Rhodes
defeated Ric Flair and Jeff Jarrett. It was an ode to a classic feud, with
the erstwhile Jarrett squared off with the "fruit of Dusty's loins." But
it was the elder statesmen that stole the show. It wasn't a great match,
but it made you remember when the Bionic Elbow was the most electrifying
move in wrestling and "Whoo!" meant something.
Also, Lance Storm and Mike Awesome defeated
Konnan and Hugh Morruss, The Cat defeated Kanyon, Shawn Stasiak pinned
Bam Bam Bigelow and Jason Jett defeated Kwee Wee.
ECW invades the WWF
Though it didn't need to, the WWF featured
hotshot booking on Raw. Edge and Christian won the Tag Team Titles
with help from a debuting Rhino. The Extreme Championship Wrestling World
Champion ran in from the audience.
This was followed by a run-in by Spike
Dudley that allowed the Dudley Boys to win the belts later in the show.
The main event, pitting The Rock and Chris
Jericho against Chris Benoit, Kurt Angle and William Regal. Steve Austin
showed up at the end only to be on the receiving end of a Rockbottom. The
WWF also teased a Benoit/Angle match for Wrestlemania.
Speaking of the flagship of all PPVs, next
week's Wrestling Report will feature an in-depth look at Wrestlemania X-Seven,
to be held at the Reliant Astrodome on April 1.