Volume 3 of The Very Best of WCW Nitro does leave you wondering if it’s a case of diminishing returns. At what point, for example, does “the very best” step down to being “the best”?
Running at seven hours, DDP hosts a compilation of more than thirty matches, with backstage segments filling in some of the WCW stories that were taking place at the time. There’s very few bad matches here, though not all of them are the most memorable. It’s a great catalogue for the wrestling greats, with many championship matches and marquee events showcased.
Watching the likes of Guerrero, Malenko, Guerrera, Jericho and others in action is a reminder of how great WCW was in its day. Whilst the bigger names are well represented through the nWo and the all encompassing nature of that group, women’s wrestling is massively understated, as is the contribution of Chris Benoit. That said, it’s a package that covers the breadth of WCW Nitro, with heavyweight matches of Hogan, Hall, Nash, Flair and Sting mixed in with the cruiserweight action of Guerrera, Jericho and Eddie Guerrero. Elsewhere, there’s matches that can only be described as oddities - Rick Steiner vs Hak, anyone?
Matches are shown in their entirety, with commentary intact - so, viewers will be able to familiarise themselves with the occasionally questionable commentary as the promotion descended into the madness that it would later become.
Occasionally, additional context is added to matches by DDP, as he reveals his own recollections with the humour, but for the most part it’s a collection of isolated matches, scattered throughout the years, from 1995 to 2001. It’s possible, for fans unfamiliar with WCW, to pick up the ongoing stories thanks to the commentary, and it certainly does leave the viewer wanting to find out more - it would have helped immensely if the matches were introduced with an on-screen graphic showing the date, instead of having to wade through the DVD menus to find out what happened when. More DDP offering context to the matches would have also helped immensely.
|nWo Black & Red: Lex Luger, Sting, Kevin Nash & Konnan|
The decision to replace three themes - Jericho gets his WWE theme, Sting gets his Crow-era theme and Hollywood Hogan gets… a generic rock guitar theme - does stand out a bit at first. That said, it’s not a deal breaker for the action on show here, just a tad anachronistic for anyone who is more familiar with the product.
From start to finish, it’s an entertaining, though occasionally bewildering, package - some of the backstage segments drag on with nWo takes over Nitro being longer than most matches - and there’s only so much of the nWo getting the upper hand that you’ll be able to take before it gets boring. Despite the prominence of the nWo, the wrestling action is still superb and any opportunity to relive the cruiserweights, Flair, Bret Hart and others in action is worth watching.
If you’ve already purchased volume 1 & 2, chances are you’ll be up for purchasing volume 3. Starting with volume 3 would be an unusual buying decision, but it’s certainly worth picking up if you’re after a bit of classic wrestling action.