15 years ago tomorrow — March 26, 2001 — this video opened what would be the final episode of WCW Monday Nitro. It still gives you that same chilling, ominous feeling, and it’s even better now that you’ve lived through 15 years of WWE without competition.
Growing up loving the NWA and WCW, aka growing up in the American South, made you the minority. To most casual fans, it was like growing up preferring the Go-Bots to the Transformers, but it never seemed that way. It was just a different thing. It was a different flavor, that played on the instincts and hidden natural impulses of its audience.
For ultimate sadness memories, I — a diehard WCW fan who once skipped out on meeting Sister Helen Prejean in college because I’d heard Billy Kidman was wrestling Vampiro — watched the final Nitro from a stool in a liquor store in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. That sounds like the beginning of a pretentious indie comedy. I remember feeling like the rug had finally, officially been yanked out from under me. I considered what it felt like to be on the losing side of a war. History from now on, I thought, would be written by Vince McMahon. Every time a new Monday Night Wars show airs, I know it.
“Mr. McMahon is here tonight on the very last telecast of WCW Monday Nitro here on TNT. It has been an emotional four or five days for all of us involved in World Championship Wrestling. This is… The Night of Champions. Tonight on our very last broadcast, all five titles in World Championship Wrestling will be decided.”
If you’ve never seen it, here’s a bit of what you missed.