Previously reviewed on the Rack:
Did WWE screw up the 2001 purchase of World Championship Wrestling? Yes. And no.
Sure, I don't think too many people would argue that the InVasion angle was... shall we say, the opposite of awesome. But if you look at some of WWE's DVD releases over the past decade (The Monday Night War; nWo Back In Black; Ric Flair & The Four Horsemen; Starrcade: The Essential Collection and
The Rise And Fall of WCW, among others), it's hard to underestimate the importance of the videotape library that came with the acquisition.
The Very Best of WCW Monday Nitro is another DVD collection that strip-mines the WCW archives and does so using a surprising amount of previously-unreleased footage. The three-disc collection features matches involving Sting, The Steiner Brothers, Ric Flair, Lex Luger, the new World order, and many other WCW alumnae.
Having said that, the real star of this DVD set is former ClubWWI.com guest Diamond Dallas Page, who hosts the collection. Absent from WWE for almost a decade, DDP appears as a fresh and entertaining voice, offering a perspective that isn't often used in the promotion's releases.
For example, Page praises then-WCW President Eric Bischoff for being a visionary. Considering that WWE didn't go out of their way to praise the guy when he was working for their company (let alone at a competitor), this is progress.
In fact, my major complaint about this collection is that there isn't enough of Page narrating the story. Or at the very least, some video packages could have been used to set up the matches and vignettes shown. Between WWE's crack production team and the recap packages that probably already ran back in the day, this would have been quite easy to facilitate.
The selection of matches was, as I'd indicated, somewhat unique to WWE's expansive DVD collection. For example, I don't remember previous seeing a tremendous match between Flair and Eddie Guerrero before. Or a wild "parking lot brawl" between Lord Steven Regal (William Regal) and The Belfast Bruiser (Finlay) that had Bischoff pleading for the camera crew to use wide shots and show as little blood as possible. Even a six-man match featuring Hulk Hogan, Sting and Bill Goldberg against Kevin Nash, Sid Vicious and Rick Steiner was unique for what it was.
Of course, you also have some of the better-known Nitro matches and moments in this collection, including Scott Hall's debut as an outsider; Hogan vs. Goldberg; the infamous Four Horsemen parody by the nWo; the "fingerpoke of doom" match between Hogan and Nash; and Rey Mysterio vs. Chris Jericho. Nothing wrong at all with any of these inclusions; it's just more likely you may have seen them before.
All said, The Very Best of WCW Monday Nitro delivers on what it promises: About 30 matches from the program's nearly six year run, a half-dozen memorable promos and vignettes and, of course, a look at how WWE ended up winning the Monday Night Wars.
They tend to bring that one up every now and again.
Canadian Bulldog has been writing about
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