Wednesday, 30 September 2015

Blu-Ray Review: WWE The Very Best of WCW Monday Nitro Vol. 3

WWE's The Very Best of WCW Monday Nitro Vol. 3 is out on on DVD and Blu-Ray from and all other good home video outlets. The set takes the form of a match and segment compilation, with Diamond Dallas Page appearing intermittently to narrate and lead into certain portions of the content. There 34 matches and 8 segments (with a further 6 matches and 2 segments as Blu-Ray exclusives) with the likes Chris Jericho, Eddie Guerrero, Bret Hart, Sting, The Outsiders and more feautring throughout the set.

Disc One

The opening match between Lex Luger and "Macho Man" Randy Savage (October 1995) is decent start to the set, with the pair stringing together some nice looking sequences, although like a lot of the matches on this set is harmed by having a "TV finish" (To be expected, really!) Johnny B. Badd clearly is up to wrestling Eddie Guerrero (November 1995) in the style of bout that is laid out, and despite some quite clever ideas, the end result is kind of shitty. Diamond Dallas Page and Sting (January 1996), put on a solid TV clash, that is certainly helped along by a lively Charleston crowd. The first real quality bout of the set is Savage and Ric Flair's (January 1996) World Heavyweight Championship clash, which features an electric finish, even if the commentary is more interested in pushing SOME GUY called Kevin Greene.  

Having Scott Hall and Kevin Nash on commentary makes a match between Rick Steiner and Sting (December 1996), that becomes more of a segment, ridiculously entertaining, as the two discuss whether is not Sting is part of the nWo. Another cracking in-ring segment with the nWo kicking out The Giant (December 1996) follows, with the amount of debris thrown into the ring by the fans being quite a site. nWo continues to dominate as the entire group and what feels like the entire roster brawl in the ring (May 1997), with Hollywood Hogan and Randy Savage's commentary adding something a little extra to proceedings. I'm convinced that the match compilers saw Chris Jericho vs. Juventud Guerrera (June 1997) and went "Yeah, that'll be all-right" isn't, it's botchy and Guerrera looks like he's never stepped foot inside a ring. 

Scott Steiner battles Randy Savage (July 1997) in a bout that features some competent action, but lacks urgency, harming the pace as the pair plod along and wait for the nWo run-in. The Outsiders are on sterling form in a tag match opposite Diamond Dallas Page and Lex Luger (August 1997), with one of the hottest crowds on the entire set and quite clever finish for television that left me wanting to see what would come next. nWo bitch-boys Vincent, Konnan, Buff Bagwell, Scott Norton and Rick Rude replacing the WCW signs (December 1997) with the nWo logo is interesting for about ten seconds, but quickly becomes a bore and runs WAY too long. The segment continuing all the way through to include the nWo Monday Nitro intro is a nice touch, but Eric Bischoff giving Hollywood Hogan two motorcycles and a limo (with a hot tub in it, because WCW) is mind numbingly bad. 

A cruiser weight tag team pitting Chris Jericho and Eddie Guerrero against Chavo Guerrero and Dean Malenko (February 1998) is one of the best bouts on the entire set, as one would imagine, but is hurt by Eddie trying to heel it up and the El Paso crowd not having any of it. nWo trying to recruit Rick Steiner (March 1998) did absolutely nothing for me, because I just couldn't give a fuck about Rick Steiner. The Giant chucking Scott Hall into a pool (March 1998) is at least a novelty to see, in a time when all WWE's venues look the same, but is still really quite silly, SPRING BREAK! Michael Buffer is the bane of my life, seriously every time this guy turns up I want to fast forward. He does the intro for a confusing Randy Savage vs. Hollywood Hogan bout (May 1998) where I'm pretty sure that everyone was heel. 

There's more nWo antics as Lex Luger joins the Wolfpac (May 1998), with so many of these jumps and without any real context it's difficult to get too involved. There is however, a superb segment featuring some back and forth between Hollywood Hogan, Eric Bischoff, Diamond Dallas Page and Karl Malone (June 1998), that's paced to tee and the crowd laps up every minute of. Things take a down-ward turn with Scott Hall's alcoholic "gimmick" in a match opposite Kidman, where Vincent refuses to give Hall a drink until he wins the contest (September 1998). It's easy to forget just however over Diamond Dallas Page was, but his over-booked contest with Kanyon (October 1998), is testament to Page's popularity if not anything else.

There's pretty cool stunt in a segment involving Bret Hart, Diamond Dallas Page and The Giant (December 1998), with Page offering a decent insight into it in his lead-in prior. A three way bout between Bam Bam Bigelow, Goldberg and Kevin Nash (December 1998) is at least an interesting combination of guys, but with the match coming just before Goldberg and Nash's infamous Starrcade bout there's way too much of an eye on that match for this one to get too interesting.

Disc Two

When DDP puts over a match between Booker T and Bret Hart (February 1999) as being "nothing less than a clinic", it's easy to be a bit sceptical, with what has gone before, but this is probably the best match of the set. Plenty of great back and forth between the two, who both look very comfortable in the ring, but it's a major shame that the focus of the show isn't on the pairs quality wrestling match. There's a strong story being told in Goldberg and Ric Flair's (March 1999) entry, but it's hurt by some stupid booking. I had absolutely no idea what was going in Diamond Dallas Page and Hollywood Hogan's brawling bout (March 1999) and quickly lost interest. A hardcore bout between Rick Steiner and Hak is thoroughly entertaining (June 1999), but the booking is mind-boggling as Sting makes an appearance. 

Whilst a tag match with Kevin Nash and Sid Vicious on the opposite to Sting and Hollywood Hogan (July 1999) might be star-studded, this is WCW...and the hallmarks of the promotion are all over the bout towards it's conclusion. There's a decent match between Sting and Bret Hart over the World Heavyweight Championship (October 1999) but even this bout isn't quite as smooth as it should have been. A Ladder match between Hart, Vicious, Scott Hall and Goldberg with Kevin Nash as special guest referee (November 1999) is a steaming pile of wank...perhaps one of the worst matches I've ever seen. Hart puts on another sound match, this time with Jeff Jarrett (November 1999) but similar to the earlier Sting bout it's nothing to go out of your way to see. 

A Tornado Tag Team match (which is also apparently Falls Count Anywhere) with Sting and Vampiro taking on Team Package (March 2000) is utter silliness throughout, but is actually very entertaining. Booker T and Mike Awesome's World Heavyweight Championship bout (July 2000) is another satisfactory encounter with some nice back and forth between the two and a CLEAN FINISH! To close off the set for the banter, there's a pre-match promo from SCOTT STEINER! A SCOTT STEINER PROMO! Scott teams with brother Rick for a bizarre match with Booker and Diamond Dallas Page. (March 2001)

Blu-Ray Exclusives

The Blu-Ray exclusives kick-off with a Scott Hall promo, oh you are treating us WWE. Hall teams with Wolfpac brother Syxx in a short but sweet bout opposite the Steiner Brothers (October 1997). Gene Okerlund interviewing Ric Flair and Bret Hart is a diamond of a segment with and shows just what both men could do when motivated (January 1998). I found Hart's match with Lex Luger (August 1998) rather absorbing, the bout tells a sound story, with the commentary team (Tony Shiavone, Mike Tenay, Larry Zybyszko and Bobby Heenan) being on their best form of the entire set. 

The bout between Bret Hart and Hollywood Hogan (September 1998) is going strong for the portion of the match just between those two, but as soon as the booking team and Sting get involved it quickly became a pile of horseshit. The two nWo factions brawling backstage (leading to the Wolfac flipping Hollywood's limo) is a lot of fun with plenty of stuff going on throughout it's very enjoyable in isolation. The exclusives conclude with an "Everything is happening" bout between Jeff Jarrett, Goldberg, Kevin Nash and Scott Steiner (June 2000) and not wanting to break from tradition, we close things with a truly wank finish.


I think the first point I need to make here is that the idea of having a third volume of a "Very Best" series is pretty ridiculous...if the first volume was the "Very Best" then this volume surely can't be?

Diamond Dallas Page is a fun host once again, offering some nice personal stories to go behind some of the matches, however, I can't help feeling having a different narrator for different matches and segments could have added the extra context that certain bouts could have done with. Eric Bischoff and Vince Russo explaining some of the booking decision could have been very interesting...

The entire set is pretty watchable from start to finish and whilst some of the moments are cringe-inducing or head-scratching, a lot of them are decent television outings. That being said there isn't a lot that is worth searching out to watch, with only three matches standing out as true quality bouts (Savage vs. Flair, Guerrero & Jericho vs. Guerrero & Malenko, Booker vs. Hart). If you're a big fan of average, television matches then you'll enjoy yourself here. The segments are hit and miss, but there is some absolute gold at points, with the Bret Hart and Ric Flair interview on the Blu-Ray exclusives standing out as one of the best of the bunch.

The set comes across as a good representation as the overall feels of Monday NITRO with a solid mixture of match types and segments. If you don't fancy trawling through every episode on the WWE Network then this could be a good purchase for you, although I'd imagine the first two volumes would be first on your list here.

You can find the set at WWEDVD, Amazon, Base, eBay, Hive, Rakuten and Blackwells. With WWEDVD offering the best price at £22.99 for the Blu-Ray.

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