Imagine an all-new, revamped World Championship Wrestling (WCW) continuing to foster the competition created in the Monday Night Wars by conducting weekly tapings out of a 3,000-square-foot Hard Rock Cafe arena in Las Vegas. That was part of Eric Bischoff's grand plan prior to the WWE buying the company from Turner Broadcasting System Inc. An ad in WCW magazine prior to its final Nitro show depicted the potential rebirth, billed as The Big Bang and scheduled for May 6th, 2001. It featured Bischoff and Goldberg, with the tagline stating, "The creation of the new WCW."
For better or worse, that PPV never happened and, instead, the Atlanta-based promotion was bought by the WWE, putting an end to the Monday Night Wars that had been dominated by the WWE. For many WCW Superstars, the sale didn't affect their careers too much as they became big names in the WWE; others, however, were used sparingly or were forced to look for work elsewhere. The majority of the company's Superstars never achieved the same success they did in the WCW. With that in mind, here's a look at the last WCW match for some of its biggest stars.
15 Diamond Dallas Page: Scott Steiner
A classic late-bloomer, Diamond Dallas Page made his WCW debut in 1991 at 36-years-old. He jobbed to numerous wrestlers such as Johnny B. Badd, Ron Simmons and The Steiner Brothers, among others, before finally earning his first victory against Mike Graham in his 16th match.
It's somewhat fitting that his final two matches were against Scott Steiner and Rick Steiner respectively, who he lost to in tag team matches at the start of his career in 1991. DDP beat Rick Steiner by disqualification on Monday Nitro in March of 2001 and the following week lost a WCW World Heavyweight Title match against Scott Steiner at the WCW Greed PPV. At the very least, he was able to get the upper hand over The Steiner brothers the week prior on Nitro when he and Booker T defeat them in a tag team match.
14 Scott Steiner: Booker T
Although he handed DDP a loss in the yoga practitioner's final WCW match, Scott Steiner appeared on the final episodes of Thunder and Nitro before migrating to the WWA and eventually WWE. On the March 19th episode of Thunder, Steiner and Jeff Jarrett defeated Dustin Rhodes in a two-on-one handicap match.
Steiner faced Booker T in a title unification match during the final Nitro on March 26th. In just over five minutes, Booker T, the United States title holder at the time, defeated Steiner and secured himself the title of five-time WCW World Heavyweight Champion, which he would remind everyone of in the WWE. The match ended with Booker T surviving a northern lights suplex and then reversing a power bomb to land The Bookend for the win, to the delight of fans everywhere.
13 Chavo Guerrero Jr.: Shane Helms
Before launching a lengthy career in the WWE and TNA, which included a stint as Kerwin White, Chavo Guerrero was an integral figure in the WCW's impressive Cruiserweight Division. The two-time Cruiserweight Champion had an opportunity to regain the title on the last ever Monday Nitro against Shane Helms, better known as The Hurricane in the WWE.
Helms was an up-and-coming talent in the WCW and was feuding with Guerrero at the time, as the two met in each of Chavo's final six WCW matches. Helms won the title at Greed the week prior to the final Nitro and then successfully defended it against Chavo in just under five minutes. Months later, the two met in Chavo's first house show match with the WWE.
12 Shawn Stasiak: Bam Bam Bigelow
If there was ever an appropriate Beauty and the Beast match, it was Shawn Stasiak (with Stacy Keibler at his side) against Bam Bam Bigelow. The two met in the final Monday Nitro: Night of Champions, with Stasiak coming out victorious in just over one minute thanks to some timely interference from Keibler.
Had Bam Bam secured the win over Stasiak, as he did the week prior, he would have been able to tattoo the blonde beauty. As short as the match was, it was still a minute too long with Stasiak in particular offering up his all-too-common spotty in-ring work. There's a reason he only lasted just over a year with the WWE and was out of the industry by 2007. He's now a Texas-based chiropractor.
11 Sting: Ric Flair
"We started it years ago Ric, and tonight, we're going to end it once and for all."
An excited Sting proclaimed prior to the last ever WCW match on Monday Nitro: Night of Champions. Arguably two of the most successful wrestlers in the promotion had won a combined 14 World Championships during their time in the WCW. They had last fought in singles competition a year ago on Nitro, but had met in numerous tag team matches since.
On the final Nitro, Sting got the better of The Nature Boy by locking him into the Scorpion Deathlock, which caused Flair to tap immediately. In a surreal moment as the broadcast went off air, Sting and Flair hugged it out post-match with Tony Schiavone commenting on the uncertainty of everyone's employment going forward.
10 Billy Kidman & Rey Mysterio: Elix Skipper & Kid Romeo
WCW simply couldn't get away with televising its final Nitro without including a tag team match featuring two of its most high-flying and exciting athletes in Billy Kidman and Rey Mysterio Jr. The former Tag Team Champions earned the number one contendership for the Cruiserweight Tag Team Championship earlier in the night by defeating 3-Count (Shannon Moore and Evan Karagias) and The Jung Dragons (Kaz Hayashi and Yang).
It was only fitting then, that later that night they defeated current champs Elix Skipper and Kid Romeo to go down as the last Cruiserweight Tag Team Champions in WCW history. The match ended with Kidman delivering the Kid Krusher to Elix Skipper after reversing the play of the day, while Mysterio kept Romeo from breaking up the 1-2-3 count. It was the second last match in WCW history.
9 Konnan: Rick Steiner
Though he had a solid run in the WCW as a member of the nWo and nWo Wolfpac and won multiple titles, Konnan wasn't included on the final Monday Nitro card; instead, the former United States champion whose reign lasted 160 days, had his final match with the company on the second last Nitro.
After a feud with Mike Awesome and Lance Storm culminated in a tag team match loss by Konnan and Hugh Morrus on WCW Greed, K-Dogg was put up against Rick Steiner on the March 19 edition of Monday Nitro. A somewhat eventful match was abruptly ended when Shane Douglas came through the crowd and smacked Steiner in the head with a cast covering his right arm, giving the dog-faced gremlin the win by disqualification. It was also the final match of Steiner's WCW career.
8 Chris Jericho: Kidman & Rey Mysterio Jr.
Before debuting in the WWE in legendary fashion and becoming an iconic wrestler, Chris Jericho was an underutilized Superstar on the rise in WCW, having only risen to Television Champion status. He was, however, a cruiserweight at the time and most of his last matches in the WCW were against Rey Mysterio Jr. In fact, his last match in the promotion came on July 21 during a house show, in which he and Eddie Guerrero lost to Mysterio Jr. and Billy Kidman.
Jericho's last televised match in the WCW came months earlier when he was part of the United States Heavyweight Title eight-man tournament. After beating Chris Adams on Thunder, Jericho lost by disqualification in the semi-finals to Booker T on the next episode of Monday Nitro.
7 Kanyon: MI Smooth
One-time WCW United States Champion and mediocre in-ring performer Kanyon was part of the second last WCW Monday Nitro show on March 19, 2001. For some reason, he was just beginning a feud with MI Smooth, who had previously wrestled in the WCW years earlier under the name Ice Train. Smooth, who was in just his eighth match since returning to the company (talk about bad timing), had previously interfered in Kanyon's WCW Greed PPV match against The Cat, but was beaten handily on Nitro by Kanyon.
It was a match as memorable as the two wrestlers careers. Kanyon, at the very least, went on to earn a cup of coffee in the WWE and held two championships. Smooth, meanwhile, never wrestled again after that match.
6 Disco Inferno: Jason Jett
Like many of the middle card wrestlers on this list still with WCW when the company was bought by the WWE, Disco Inferno wrestled on the second last episode of Monday Nitro, though he only went by Disqo at the time.
The man with one of the best and worst gimmicks of all-time lost to Jason Jett, better known as EZ Money, who the WCW had hired just one month before its final show. Jett scored wins over Alex Wright, Cash, Kwee Wee, and Disqo during his time with the company, which likely meant they were ready to give him a push, but the sale of WCW left him out of work until he signed with Heartland Wrestling Association. The real life version of Simpsons' character Disco Stu, meanwhile, had a decent run in TNA before touring the independent circuit.
5 Air Raid: The Jung Dragons
Long before he was one of the most dynamic, all-around wrestlers in the WWE and a veteran of the independent circuit, A.J. Styles began his career as Air Styles and teamed with Air Pairs to form Air Raid, an exciting tag team that only had the opportunity to compete in four matches before the WWE bought WCW. Air Paris had competed in a few singles matches on WCW Worldwide and Saturday Night in late 2000, but he was joined by the up-and-coming Styles early in 2001.
The two scored a win over The Boogie Knights (Alex Wright and Disqo) during one of the final Thunder tapings, but lost in a high-flying affair against the Jung Dragons on the final episode of Thunder. Styles, as we known, went on to bigger and better things, while Air Paris ... not so much.
4 Jeff Jarrett: Dustin Rhodes
A little over a week ago, Jeff Jarrett won the not-so-coveted River City Wrestling Heavyweight Championship. Sixteen years earlier, however, Double J was one of the biggest draws in the WCW and a four-time World Heavyweight Champion. He was with the company during its last days, although he didn't appear on the final WCW Monday Nitro. Instead, Jarrett and Scott Steiner took on Dustin Rhodes (Goldust) in a two-on-one handicap match on the final episode of Thunder.
Jarrett and Steiner were victorious in the handicap match, which provided some sense of retribution for Jarrett, who, along with Ric Flair, lost in a tag team match to Dustin and Dusty Rhodes at WCW Greed, the promotion's final PPV. Jarrett, who left WWE years prior on a sour note, wasn't one of the 25 wrestlers retained in the company's purchase of WCW.
3 Totally Buff: Chuck Palumbo & Sean O'Haire
Totally Buff was a perfect tag team combination based on style and gimmick, though that doesn't mean they were entertaining, or even watchable for that matter. Yet, WCW felt it a good idea to pair Buff Bagwell and Lex Luger together during the company's last few months. Bagwell had won the WCW Tag Team Championship five times with four different partners, so why not give him another one?
However, duo was unsuccessful in its title shot against Chuck Palumbo and Sean O'Haire at WCW Greed, the promotion's final PPV. After five minutes of mic work in which Bagwell and Luger spent mostly pointing out how great they looked, the pair was beaten handily in just 52 seconds by Palumbo and O'Haire, to the delight of everyone watching.
2 Goldberg: Totally Buff
The undefeated streak, the two World Heavyweight Championships, and the undeniable intimidation factor; The man they call Goldberg was a force in WCW, but sadly and unfortunately, his last ever match with the company was a no-disqualification tag team match loss against Totally Buff, the team which later jobbed to Palumbo and O'Haire in pathetic fashion at WCW Greed.
Goldberg was paired with Dewayne Bruce, best known as Buddy Lee Parker, for the WCW Sin match in January of 2001. He had been on a new undefeated streak after Vince Russo threatened to fire him if he lost a match; the PPV loss was designed to buy him time to recover from shoulder surgery, but, as we know, the company was sold months later while he was still sidelined.
1 Hulk Hogan: Jeff Jarrett
Hulk Hogan's final WCW appearance was similar in nature to the infamous Montreal Screwjob of Bret Hart, but infinitely more odd and confusing. Hogan, who had creative control in his WCW contract, was of the belief he was to win the WCW World Heavyweight Title at Bash at the Beach 2000, vacate the championship and ride off into the sunset, potentially to return at Halloween Havoc to claim he was the true champion. Vince Russo didn't want it that way, however.
Instead, Russo had Hogan's opponent Jeff Jarrett lay in the middle of the ring and Hogan pin him, though the title was kept by Jarrett, who later lost it to Booker T. Fans were outraged and confused, and conflicting stories about whether or not it was a shoot or a worked shoot have since become popular. Russo promised fans they wouldn't see the Hulkster in the WCW ever again and he was right.
Hogan, meanwhile, left with the following words for Russo: This is the reason this company is in the damn shape it's in, because of bullshit like this.