As I stated in the review for the first volume of this series, WCW was my favourite Wrestling promotion of all time. Sure it got goofy and self-indulgent when it was in it’s death throes but when it was good it was glorious.
The problem with this DVD is two-fold.
1: It seemingly rushes through the timeline to get to the buyout. I think they could have gotten at least one more, possibly two more volumes out of Nitro had they paced it better
2: Too much emphasis on the old guys and not enough on the remarkable talent WCW had to offer (most of whom have had successful careers in WWE since)
I should’ve loved this release. But I just thought it was good. The reason why is the same reason I get angry when there’s an ECW DVD put out. ECW wasn’t just stupid gimmick matches, it was well rounded characters and amazing Lucha Libre and Cruiserweight action with those hardcore matches as well. WCW wasn’t just the nWo and Eric Bischoff. It had wonderful Lucha action, Japanese imports, strong divisions and fabulous homegrown talent (Sting, Ric Flair, Booker T, DDP, Chris Jericho, Eddie Guerrero, Rey Mysterio et al)
WCW Nitro was on for three hours and unlike Raw which is often shambolic, Nitro had a system. Promo opening from the main eventers, straight into Cruiserweights, TV Title contender level matches, into US Title contender level matches, showcase, Tag Teams, then the nWo/Hogan/Piper/Flair etc to finish. Everyone was given time, TV matches had importance, build and time. It was a great show. There was often too much nWo, just as in WWE there is too much John Cena, but it wasn’t the whole show and when watching these compilations it always feels like “Here are the old/main eventers and then a few other bits”.
The Cruiser/Lucha action on this DVD is too sparse but is magnificent. I feel they could make a DVD set of “The Best of WCW’s Cruiserweight Division” and have enough for an absolutely fantastic 3-disc set. Here they are playing second fiddle to some matches that don’t even deserve to be shown again, or have out of context run-ins which the host doesn’t really explain.
There is a hell of a lot of filler here. Diamond Dallas Page hosts once again, but despite his magnetic personality, he isn’t a great host. He speaks like he is attempting to be cool, which is jarring enough, but then he spouts of weird soundbites or half-stories and it all lends to the feeling of a rushed together DVD set. It’s a shame, it could have been so much more.
Although impossible since he works for TNA, I would have enjoyed hearing Mike Tenay host this, since he has a photographic memory of WCW history and would explain things in detail and with a clear narrative. DDP is a nice guy, but he is not a host and his limitations show. He’s slightly annoying.
Some selections on here are very well chosen. Steiner Brothers are probably the most well-oiled team in wrestling history, so it’s nice to see them on here. The same can be said for the insanely popular Diamond Dallas Page, as well as the mat technician Dean Malenko and a plethora of other excellent performers. Even so, it’s still the Hogan and cronies show and those guys are a clear afterthought. It’s so maddening.
I can only hope in the future WWE decide that the Nitro releases were too thinly spread and they use their WCW library for more specific anthologies. They could do a “Best WCW Tag Teams” “Best WCW Cruiserweights” “Best of the WCW TV and US Titles” series and it would be a much better indication of what World Championship Wrestling had to offer.
There is a lot of great content on here, don’t misunderstand me, but it’s too erratic and it never clicks. I can’t help but feel there is still some overriding resentment toward Nitro’s success that even a decade later can’t be forgotten. It seems like they wanted to produce a decent compilation of the phenomenon that was WCW, but they couldn’t manage it in spite of themselves.
With the proper love and attention WWE could produce some magical WCW DVDs in the future, this isn’t one of them, but it’s still good. I just can’t believe this is the best they could do.