March 26th 2001 is a date that will reside in wrestling folklore for all eternity, and it’s a night that Chuck Palumbo will never forget.
The night in question was the night that WCW Monday Nitro took to the airwaves for the final time. But it was much more than that. It was also the night that Shane McMahon appeared in Panama City, live from a WCW ring, confirming to the world that the then WWF had brought WCW.
Chuck Palumbo was in the WCW locker room on that famous night and says that no one really knew what was happening.
“We were excited. We didn’t know for sure it was going to happen. We were hearing a lot of different things, but we wanted to believe that . . . At first, I didn’t know what to think. I’ll go back to the Panama City, the last Monday Nitro and just the aura and the cloud that was over that show… You have Shane McMahon coming into the locker room. You have one of the Brisco brothers in the gorilla position. No-one’s telling you much. Shane gave us a little bit of a heads up, but not much. That’s when you knew it was happening. Before that, you just never really knew. Was it going to happen or was just going to fold? Is Vince going to buy it? What’s going to happen?”
The former WWE and WCW Tag Team Champion continued, revealing that the uncertainty over his future was paired with an uneasy feeling about the buyout.
“So, yeah, there’s an uneasy feeling. You’ve got to think about it. Were we going to have jobs? Were we going to get an opportunity in WWF? Were are we going to go over there and sit on the bench? You take away one company, but you still have the same amount of talent – it’s less TV time. So all these things are running through your head. We were hungry and young. From a dollars and cents standpoint, no, that was never in our mind, it was more about us continuing to develop on TV – so we kept our fingers crossed.”
Palumbo immediately joined WWE after the closure of WCW, tangling with the likes of The Undertaker and Kane and the APA. He enjoyed his greatest success with the company teaming with Billy Gunn throughout 2002. The ensuing angle between the two Superstars was notable at the time, with the pair portraying a same-sex couple. However, the team was broken up in storyline with the whole relationship being revealed to be a publicity stunt.