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Re: The Wrestling Wars
WCW Monday NitroWCW TO SHUT DOWN
‘Night Of Champions’
Panama City, Florida
March 26, 2001
In a title against title match, we saw the WCW World Champion Scott Steiner go up against the WCW US Champion Booker T. This rivalry had seemingly been all about the build of Booker T into a main eventer, and it continued here, as he landed The Bookend and got the three count, becoming both the WCW World and US Champion.
A lot of fans called this one match of the night, as three hungry teams battled it out for the right to be named number one contenders for the WCW Cruiserweight Tag Team Titles. All teams left everything in the ring, but thanks to Rey Mysterio Jr. taking care of Shannon Moore, The Filthy Animals defeated 3 Count and the Jung Dragons.
‘Sugar’ Shane Helms defeated Chavo Guerrero for the WCW Cruiserweight Championship in what was another great match. As usual, the Cruiserweight matches continued to be a highlight of the show.
A division that genuinely seemed to be trying to push some youngsters towards the demise of WCW was the tag team division. That continued here, as the champions, Sean O’Haire and Chuck Palumbo retained their gold by defeating the much more experienced Team Canada, consisting of Lance Storm and Mike Awesome.
Terrible stipulation, terrible everything. In what was an embarrassing tattoo match, Shawn Stasiak was able to defeat Bam Bam Bigelow. This is a match everybody ever associated with WCW would want to forget.
The WCW Cruiserweight Tag Team Championships were then on the line, as the Filthy Animals, consisting of Mysterio and Billy Kidman did double duty. The two have to be the MVP’s of the night, as not only did they put on another watchable match, but they defeated Elix Skipper and Kid Romeo to become the champions.
There was no better way to end an era in WCW then to see Ric Flair against Sting. These two guys have been WCW mainstays, and have never wavered for anything. Despite the hatred and competitive rivalry between the two, there’s also a respect there. Both men love the company they worked for and respect that about the other. The two put on a typical Flair/Sting match, and Sting is able to pick up the win. The final vision before WCW left the Turner Network forever was of Sting and Ric Flair, shaking hands, perhaps showing an end to their feud as well.
Eric Bischoff held a press conference immediately after the final episode of Nitro to announce that WCW would shut down for the next month. They had financial issues to work out, as well as staff and talent relations issues. It was announced that WCW would return on the FX Network on May 6, 2001, and until then, they would keep everybody updated with news on their website.