~So it is official; Wednesday Nitro will be going to primetime on NBC. Starting Wednesday, September 4, 2001, WCW’s flagship program, Nitro, will be airing from 8-10 PM EST. Wednesday Nitro had originally been airing from 10-11 PM on NBC, but after strong ratings, the return of a star like Sting, and good publicity, NBC has made the decision to push Nitro to primetime. In the month of August, Nitro recorded ratings of 2.22 for 08/01, 2.20 on 08/08, and a low 2.07 rating, which was featured Jeff Jarrett versus Ric Flair, and Booker T versus Mike Awesome in a tables match, as well as the big return of Sting. The show was heavily hyped on the previous week, but yet, the ratings dropped .13. The 08/22 edition of Nitro, the last one before Souled Out, shot back up to a 2.18, but was still the second lowest rating. The 08/29 edition of Nitro scored a 2.22 rating, fresh off of an Eric Bischoff turn at Souled Out. Although the rating was only 2.22, it will be the final Wednesday Nitro in the late night slot, and also featured the return of the nastiest, but most recognized, faction in the history of professional wrestling, the New World Order.
~The Souled Out buy-rate came in at a very strong 1.18, which improved from the .76 rating Slamboree had back in May. However, the Souled Out buy-rate still could not match up to Judgment Day’s buy-rate, which scored a 1.64 rate. However, WCW officials are still very impressed with the PPV. The show featured a great Cruiserweight Title match between Shane Helms and Chavo Guerrero Jr., a decent ladder match with Lance Storm and Hugh Morris, a relatively disappointing World Heavyweight Title match between Booker T and Scott Steiner, the return of Rey Misterio Jr., and of course, an explosive main event featuring Sting and Ric Flair taking on Jeff Jarrett and Mike Awesome, as well as the turning of Eric Bischoff from a face to heel, as he aligned himself with Jarrett, Awesome, and Steiner.
~WCW creative is apparently quite unimpressed with Booker T. Rumor has it that the creative team think that the Nitro ratings dropped off in August because the crowd was unable to get behind Booker T, and are also upset with his ability to carry Scott Steiner to a good match at Souled Out. Creative apparently thought very negatively about the match, and rumor has it that Booker T will either be dropping the Title on September, 4, when Nitro goes primetime, or at Fall Brawl, the upcoming PPV. The plan is to get Booker away from the Title scene for a while, and then try to re-build him as a main event star. For now, possible replacement champions are Jeff Jarrett, Ric Flair, Scott Steiner, and of course, Sting.
~Fall Brawl, the upcoming September PPV, has always been known for having the War Games at the PPV. In the nineties, the War Games were held at Fall Brawl for 6 straight years, from 1993 to 1998. However, no War Games matches were held in 1999 or 2000. Right now, there is a rumor going around the War Games will be returning at Fall Brawl, however, that is clearly a rumor. The War Games are heavily rumored to return to WCW at some point within the next year, but it isn’t known if the War Games will indeed return at Fall Brawl ’01. If they do, possible teams could be Ric Flair, Sting, Booker T, Cal Anderson, and maybe even Arn Anderson, going against Jeff Jarrett, Scott Steiner, Mike Awesome, and possibly Eric Bischoff. It seems that the roster doesn’t have enough depth right now for the War Games to return, but we shall wait and see if there is any mention of the War Games on the return to primetime for Nitro, this Wednesday, September 4.
~Contracts continue to get closer to their expiration date in WCW. Air Paris and Jim Duggan have only 1 month left on their contract, while Big Vito has 3 months left, and Scott Steiner has 4 months left. As of right now, all signs point to Duggan and Paris’ contracts not being renewed, and becoming free agents. Vito’s contract has just reached the time where it can be renewed, although no word yet on if WCW plans to renew his contract. Big Vito is a part of the tag team, the Mamalukes, with Johnny Stamboli. Steiner’s contract is up for renewal starting next month, so expect contract renegotiations to start after Fall Brawl. Billy Kidman and Chavo Guerrero Jr. has their contracts renewed right before Souled Out.
~With some talent looking to be on their way out, new talent is coming in. Former WCW star Curt Hennig inked a deal with WCW the day of Souled Out. Hennig was invited to Souled Out, and after passing a physical, and then having a “try-out” match with Disco Inferno before the show, Hennig was signed to a new deal. No word on when Hennig is expected to debut, or what gimmick he will use, is known yet. However, Hennig is expected to debut within the coming month. 2 former WWF development workers, Brock Lesnar and Shelton Benjamin, were signed to contracts as well. They, along with TJ Wilson, another signee, have reported to the Power Plant to continue to develop their skills. The final star signed was former ECW wrestler Super Crazy. The Mexican wrestler inked a deal on August 21, and is expecting to debut within the coming weeks. A push is planned for him, as WCW is quite excited with his talents. Alex Wright also signed a contract back at the beginning of August, and returned at Souled Out, losing to Cal Anderson. And although he wasn’t signed to a contract, The Wall is back on the WCW roster after finishing rehabilitation for a cocaine addiction. No word though on if The Wall will be put back on TV, or sent to the Power Plant.
~World Championship Wrestling has continued to make peace with its older superstars. Back at the end of July, it wasn’t known how well things were truly going. It can now be said that WCW is on great terms with Hulk Hogan, Kevin Nash, and Roddy Piper. All three men were backstage at Souled Out, talking amongst the whole WCW roster, as well as Bischoff, Borden, and Flair about making a return to the company. As of this time, it isn’t expected for any of the stars to return to the company, but you never know if WCW will make a deal with the stars or not. Another star WCW has been trying to get on great terms with is The Rock. The Rock, who signed a verbal agreement with the company back in May, walked on the deal after learning that WCW was dropped by the USA Network. The Rock has since been in Hollywood filming his next movie, The Rundown. However, WCW is still trying to get The Rock to sign with the company.