Another pay-per-view. Another surprise. The thought on every fan’s mind going into the Sin broadcast — those still watching World Championship Wrestling anyway — was who would be the Mystery Man Ric Flair had signed into the Four Way Match for the WCW World Title.

With the other participants (champ Steiner and challengers Sid and Jarrett) in the ring, Flair came out to say he promised a Mystery Man but he never said when he would enter the match. Very bad plotting resulting in a very bad match. Flair’s decision to delay the entrance permitted Steiner and Jarrett to double-team Sid left, right and centre. Sid, apparently seriously injured during the course of the match, mounted some offence like a double clothesline and a poorly executed double suplex that dropped Steiner on his head otherwise Jarrett and Steiner stuck together, never once turning on each other in the heat of battle. The teammates even let each other go for the pin on occasion without interfering.

Flair leans into a limo telling Mystery Man, it was “showtime”. Decked out in the bargain basement white-black outfit on loan from The Black Scorpion, the mystery man stepped into the ring clocking a legitimately-injured Sid once in the skull. Steiner got the pin and retained his title. The Mystery Man took over his mask to reveal himself as Road Warrior Animal! Steiner and Animal hugged while the announcers inferred that Animal had struck a deal with Big Poppa Pump and betrayed Flair.

Was the Mystery Man angle a surprise? Sure. In this, the Internet news age, WCW kept a tight lid on the Mystery Man’s identity. Was it an event that will “change the wrestling world”? I don’t think so. Can Animal even “go” any more or was the WWF’s misuse of The Road Warriors not indicative of their current abilities? Is Animal’s appearance a hot-shot shocker (like Hawk’s short-lived return to WCW several years ago) just because anyone with an I.Q. above that of an empty milk carton guessed it was Rick Steiner under that mask and the stupid get-up on Nitro and Thunder? We’ll have to wait and see.

All in all, Sin came off like a live audition in which everyone was trying to prove themselves worthy to the new management, Fusient Media. That was a good thing. For the first time in a long time, everyone worked with enthusiasm and that enthusiasm spread quickly to the live crowd who were into every match until the main event left them scratching their heads. Even the Reno and Vito “brother versus brother” brawl was mildly entertaining.

To give you an idea how much the buyout has changed WCW’s attitude, the commentary by Tony Schiavone and Scott Hudson couldn’t have been better. After several years of sleepwalking through WCW’s product, Schiavone’s excitement about being a part of World Championship Wrestling was restored and Hudson proved that he can carry a show if he’s left to do his job without deadweight distractions like Stevie Ray or Mark Madden mucking around where they don’t belong.

Now that the Mystery Man has been unmasked, the real question wrestling fans have is will the new-found excitement in the locker room and management offices of WCW be perpetuated or like some many times before will the spark fizzle out long before the federation can catch fire. Again, we’ll have to wait and see.

  • The next WCW pay-per-view is SuperBrawl: The Revenge on February 18th.

    WCW Sin 2001 Results

    Chavo Guerrero (champion) versus Shane Helms (challenger) (WCW Cruiserweight Title Match)

  • Shannon Moore gave Helms some encouragement before the match. Fantastic and quick-paced with Guerrero and Helms going full-tilt. Guerrero comes out on top with a Brain Buster.
  • Winner: …and still WCW Cruiserweight Champion…Chavo Guerrero at 11 minutes and 13 seconds.
  • Match Rating: 7 / 10.

    Reno versus Vito

  • Tough as nails battle with both men carrying each other well. Reno, who has floundered as part of The Thrillers, finally had his breakout match showing why the company has kept him around for so long. He’s not great but he’ll do. Reno Rolls The Dice on Vito and wins.
  • Winner: Reno at 8 minutes and 40 seconds.
  • Match Rating: 5 / 10.

  • Brian Adams accepts a pay-off from Mike Sanders. Bryan Clark comes in with a bigger roll of bills from someone else. Kronik forgets about Sanders’ plans for them opting for the high paying job.

    The Yung Dragons versus Jaime Knoble and Evan Karagias

  • A bonus match and what a bonus it is! Astounding and innovative back and forth action only slightly degraded by the number of near falls before the conclusion. I can’t say enough about the members of Three Count or The Dragons. All one has to do is look at that tremendous Ladder Match about a month ago to clearly see that these guys not only warm up the crowd as is their purpose but are also putting a lot of creativity into their matches. Yang’s inside cradle pins Knoble. Knoble and Karagias beat on The Dragons afterwards, driving them from the ring.
  • Winner: The Yung Dragons at 9 minutes and 21 seconds.
  • Match Rating: 8 / 10.

  • Luger and Buff (the tag team which should be known as Over-Rated) arrive. Their plan is to have someone interfere for Goldberg so he and Sarge are disqualified.

    Mike Sanders versus The Cat

  • The WCW Commissioner’s post is on the line and Eric Bischoff’s stroke plays out. The Thrillers punk The Cat. Kronik comes to his rescue. Kronik stuffs the money Sanders gave them in his mouth. The Cat kicks Sanders in the chops sending it flying everywhere.
  • Winner: …and new WCW Commissioner, The Cat at 5 minutes and 44 seconds.
  • Match Rating: 5 / 10.

  • Flair shows Goldberg the footage of Luger and Buff’s scheme. To help Goldberg out, Flair makes the tag match a No DQ encounter. Goldberg meets with a fan. He signs some autographs and takes some photos. This will figure into the plot later on.

    Team Canada versus The Filthy Animals (Penalty Box Match)

  • If anyone is caught double-teaming, interfering or breaking the rules, ref Hacksaw Jim Duggan has the power to send them to two penalty boxes on the rampway. Everyone spends some time there at least once. One bizarre incident has Mike Awesome penalized for attempting to cut Billy Kidman’s hair with a pair of scissors. Can you say Haircut Match coming up? Kidman taps out to the Canadian Maple Leaf.
  • Winners: Team Canada at 13 minutes and 4 seconds.
  • Match Rating: 6 / 10.

    Terry Funk (champion) versus Crowbar (challenger) versus Meng (challenger) (WCW Hardcore Title Match)

  • They should have left Meng out of it. He’s too darn slow and the “unstoppable monster” gimmick is more stale than the Austin – McMahon feud. Daffney throws a drink on Funk from the entrance way. Funk pulls her over the rail by her pony tails. Crowbar sneak attacks Funk with a chair. They battle to a women’s washroom where Funk bounces Crowbar’s head off every stall door. Roar! Meng jumps in trash-canning everybody. Funk and Crowbar team to drop five or six tables on Meng. Of course, he doesn’t stay down. Funk slams Crowbar on a safety rail propped up on another safety rail. The rail snaps in half closing on Crowbar as he hits. Crowbar lays Funk on a table and jumps on him from the first row balconies. For some reason the camera men miss the shot and we have to see the spot on replay. Meng splashes Funk and Crowbar from the top and second rope. Funk and Crowbar take turns double chair-shoting Meng. Still, he remains standing. He’s a monster don’t you know. Meng kicks Crowbar and locks the Death Grip on Funk to legitimately win the Hardcore Title.
  • Winner: …and new WCW Hardcore Champion, Meng at 11 minutes and 41 seconds.
  • Match Rating: 4 / 10.

  • Ric Flair is so happy to be working with The Cat he gave him the night off. Is Ric Flair really a heel CEO working with Steiner and the other baddies? Hmmmm. I wonder.

    The Natural Born Thrillers (Palumbo and O’Haire) (challengers) versus The Insiders (champions) (WCW World Tag Team Title Match)

  • A replay of their previous pay-per-view match with Flair sending Sanders and the other Thrillers to the back and DDP taking a beating until he hot tags Nash. Lex Luger creeps to ringside with a steel chair. DDP brawls with him into the crowd before he has a chance to use it. This leaves Buff Bagwell with an opening to crack Nash with a wrench. O’Haire Swanton Bombs Nash to win the belts for his team. DDP chases them off with a steel chair in his hands.
  • Winners: …and new WCW World Tag Team Champions…The Natural Born Thrillers at 10 minutes and 52 seconds.
  • Match Rating: 6 / 10.

    Shane Douglas (challenger) versus General Rection (champion) (U.S. Heavyweight Title – Chain On A Pole – First Blood Match)

  • The chain is so high above the ring you’d need a ladder to grab it. Keep that in mind. The official confiscates a chain in Douglas’ trunks. Rection retrieves a ladder from under the ring and pulls the chain down shouting…You want blood?…to the fans. Douglas tips over the ladder on Rection (which also knocks out the ref), pulls out a chain from his boot and socks Rection. The ref wakes, sees the blood and awards the U.S. Title to Douglas. Bleeding in the back, a distraught Rection tells Cajun and A-WALL that he’s “got nothing” as he stomps off.
  • Winner: …and new WCW United States Champion….Shane Douglas at 10 minutes and 59 seconds.
  • Match Rating: 6 / 10.

    Goldberg, The Sarge versus Totally Buff

  • If Goldberg and Sarge lose, Goldberg gets fired. The Sarge, using his cast as a weapon, is battered until the hot tag to Goldberg. Luger manhandles a fan outside the ring. Wouldn’t you know it? It is the same fan Goldberg met in the back earlier. Goldberg pulls Luger off the fan. The fan thanks Goldberg by spraying mace into his kisser. Goldberg is blinded. Luger chair shots him and lifts him up on his shoulders for a Blockbuster. Goldberg is pinned. Mucho footage of Goldberg being escorted to the back and bottled water used to wash his eyes out. Bye-bye, baldie.
  • Winners: Buff and Luger at 10 minutes and 17 seconds.
  • Match Rating: 4 / 10.

    Scott Steiner (champion) versus Jeff Jarrett (challenger) versus Sid Vicious (challenger) versus The Mystery Man (challenger) (WCW World Heavyweight Title Match)

  • Winner: …and still WCW World Heavyweight Champion…Scott Steiner at 7 minutes and 4 seconds.
  • Match Rating: 2 / 10.

  • Total Event Time: 2 hours and 50 minutes.
  • Overall Event Rating: 7 / 10.