Jeff Jarrett vs Diamond Dallas Page
WCW World Heavyweight Title Match
As a means to try and fix a dying brand, WCW’s ‘reboot’ wasn’t the worst of ideas. Realising that things effectively needed to be ripped apart and started again, the decision to strip all champions of their gold could have allowed WCW to book some interesting angles, storylines or tournaments to create intrigue. However, one week after the ‘reboot’ angle began, Spring Stampede saw all the titles decided in one night in what became an overbooked mess. In addition, the poorly booked New Blood versus Millionaires Club storyline that came out of the reboot only served to keep the younger, fresher faces down and continue to promote the guys who were responsible for the stagnant product in the first place.
Having already had tournaments on the PPV to resolve the US and Tag Team Titles, the Heavyweight Title was up for grabs in the final of a tournament that had thankfully started on the past Nitro. Playing up to the ‘Chosen One’ gimmick, Jeff Jarrett had a cursory open round match against Curt Hennig before getting a bye to the final. His opponent in this match would be Diamond Dallas Page, though Page had had to defeat both the Total Package and Sting to make his way to the championship contest.
Having sat through thirteen matches up until the main event, the crowd sound tired as Page took the fight to Jarrett straight away with several punches and a discus clothesline. Never one to phone a performance in, Page would soar through the air with a plancha before inviting Kimberly to slap Jarrett. With ‘relaxed rules’ in place, Page and Jarrett would brawl into the crowd as the fans began to fire up as the intensity was ratcheted up a notch or two.
Jarrett would use Kimberly as a human shield to allow him to punch Page, but it would take Page getting crotched on the top rope for Jarrett to stop the onslaught. Two chair shots by Jarrett targeted Page’s injured back, forcing Charles Robinson to take the steel away. Still, Jarrett’s attack on the back doesn’t last long as Page would get the first real nearfall off of a desperation sitout powerbomb.
With Eric Bischoff watching from the rampway, Jarrett crotched Page on the ringpost after ripping up a copy of ‘Positively Page’. A second attempt, following a Kimberly distraction, would see Jarrett dragged face first into the metal. Moments later, a baseball slide would allow Page to repay the favour, tripping Jarrett up and pulling him crotch first into the ringpost. An attempted Diamond Cutter saw Jarrett hold onto the ropes and also somehow collide with Charles Robinson, allowing him to use the World title behind the ref’s back irrelevant of the ‘relaxed rules’ edict.
The crowd, probably expecting the finish, popped huge for a Page kickout, though Jarrett would instantly slap on a figure four leglock to press home the advantage. As Page struggled, Kimberly grabbed the guitar as Bischoff sauntered down to ringside. After several two counts, Page managed to get the rope to break the hold and even turned a second attempt into a nearfall of his own with a small package.
The ending was, unfortunately for a relatively engaging contest up until this point, all too obvious and overbooked – consistent issues with WCW over the previous year. With Robinson and Bischoff tied up on the ring apron and Kimberly entering the ring after a Diamond Cutter, there was only going to be one outcome. Turning on her husband, Kimberly waffled Page with the guitar to allow Jarrett to hit the Stroke and win his first world heavyweight title.
Jeff Jarrett as world champion is often something that people point to from the dying days of WCW that just didn’t work. Jarrett had spent all too long mired in the midcard, whilst also lacking that spark of charisma or talent that suggested he could lead a company as their champion. People needn’t have worried about his first reign – it lasted eight days, yet further derailing any good will people were willing to give the WCW reboot.