World Championship Wrestling’s first PPV offering of 2003 was, on paper, a promising milestone. Eric Bischoff had successfully undone the buy-in of Vince Russo and the crazed writer’s subsequent attempt to take over the company and drive it into the ground once again with his depraved ideas. With retired great Ric Flair installed as the new Commissioner, things should have been really looking up.
However Russo had a contingency plan at Starrcade. Shortly after being forced to accept a buy-out and being beaten down by Flair in a revenge squash years in the making, the battered Russo staggered back to the ring and inexplicably helped Sean O’Haire defeat apparent Russo associate Ken Shamrock to capture the WCW World title.
The link between O’Haire and Russo goes back to the Natural Born Thrillers and Sean’s initial main roster big break. However nobody could have predicted his alarming attitude adjustment almost as soon as he sided with Russo and claimed his first world championship.
In the weeks that followed, the champ grew more sinister, more ruthless and even went as far as to take several legendary stars out of the equation altogether. It started with Sting on the first post-Starrcade Nitro and has since seen Scott Hall, Diamond Dallas Page and Curt Hennig also put on the shelf indefinitely. That DDP had already announced his retirement and Hall was a loyal soldier to Russo’s Sports Entertainment Xtreme takeover attempt meant nothing at all to the increasingly-crazed duo.
However several big names, well aware that they could be the next victim of O’Haire’s ‘purge’, have fought back. Jeff Jarrett, having vanquished turncoat CW Anderson at Starrcade, will challenge O’Haire in tonight’s main event. Booker T, now a two-time United States champion, has even got right into O’Haire’s face and warned him he will be coming for a unification with the Big Gold Belt, as he did at Spring Breakout 2001. However first Book must defend his US title tonight against a mystery opponent, heavily rumoured to be Kanyon, who has also targeted O’Haire in a quest to avenge the attack on DDP.
Meanwhile Father James Mitchell has apparently revisited his old business arrangement with Russo, which saw The Disciples of the New Church ally with S.E.X last year. What will that mean for the group’s tag team war with Rob Van Dam and his ‘Hardcore Revolution’ faction tonight?
Plus, Juventud Guerrera and Psicosis face The Rejected in a heated hair vs. hair grudge match, America’s Most Wanted defend the tag team titles in a four-way elimination bout, and in one of the most anticipated openers in history, Bill Goldberg and Ken Shamrock will actually kick off the PPV with a rematch of their frustrating non-finish from Victory Road!
JANUARY 26, 2003: WCW GENESIS – North Charleston, North Carolina
The pre-show was purely interviews and analysis for the PPV card. Dark matches were taped to air on Wednesday’s AirTime.
Of course, the pre-show made constant reminders that the show would open huge with Goldberg-Shamrock II, in an attempt to really spike the last-minute buys.
Opening match for a WCW Championship bout at SuperBrawl 13, there must be a winner: Bill Goldberg vs Ken Shamrock
The crowd was electric for the slow-built, well-rehearsed exchanges between the two and stayed with it as the match reached fever pitch. The two hard-hitting heavyweights exchanged strikes and submissions, each coming close to earning number one contendership more than once.
The Spear landed but the Jackhammer was countered into a slick German for a close call. Bill survived the Anklelock twice, turning the second attempt into a roll-up for another long two, before Goldberg weathered a huracanrana from Shamrock and got right back up to hit a second Spear of the match, following it with the Jackhammer to advance to Superbrawl at 9:30.
After the bell, Goldberg celebrated briefly before helping Shamrock to his feet. The two warriors showed respect to one another and embraced.
10-man tag team grudge match: Hardcore Revolution vs Disciples of the New Church
From one war to an entirely different type of war in match two, as Rob Van Dam led Jerry Lynn, Kid Kash, Christian York and Joey Matthews into action against Mike Awesome, Tempest, Malice, Sinn and Slash. CW Anderson and Father James Mitchell were ringside with their respective factions.
Though the bad blood between the two sides has been simmering for months, this was a regular 10-man match with both squads forced to abide by the rules if an all-important PPV win was to occur.
That said, it was very difficult for the man in the middle to keep order of all the brawling and rulebreaking during the grudge match, and when he made the call to eject CW and Mitchell from ringside late on, it only allowed for a masked man to run in, drill Lynn with a Flatliner and put Awesome on top for the pin in 17:14.
When the commentators realised the mask was that of former WCW persona Mortis, they put two and two together and realised who the mystery man was just as a triumphant Mitchell pulled his mask off to reveal… Kanyon.
Backstage, Ric Flair watched a monitor and wasn’t best pleased. He mentioned that he was going to give Kanyon another chance at the US title tonight, but isn’t going to reward such behaviour. Booker T came past and asked Flair what’s happening about his match. Ric tells him to go to the ring, and he’ll find a worthy opponent. Booker asks why he hasn’t found one already. Flair says he’ll explain later and to just go to the ring.
WCW United States Championship: Booker T (c) vs ???
Out comes Booker T to defend his United States title. He cuts a promo on Sean O’Haire and Jeff Jarrett, warning whoever wins the main event that he’s coming for them sooner rather than later, before wondering why Flair still hasn’t found an opponent for him.
He says he will defend the US title against anyone who steps up… just then, the music of one AJ Styles hits – and the match is on!
In their first ever singles encounter, Booker and AJ took each other to the limit, kicking out of several of the other’s big moves including the Ax Kick and the Springboard 450. Styles, with the advantage, goes for a spectacular springboard forearm only to be caught in Book End position.
AJ counters the hoist into a crucifix position, turned into a sunset flip which he then seamlessly pulls into a huge deadlift Styles Clash for the upset pin in 14:37! AJ Styles is up in the heavyweight ranks, and he’s the NEW United States champion!
After having the belt handed to him, he offered a hand to Booker, who refused and stormed off. However, after a negative reaction, T turned around on the walkway and re-entered the ring. He offered Styles a fist bump, which was accepted, before strapping the title around the new champ’s waist.
Double hair vs. hair match: Psicosis & Juventud Guerrera vs The Rejected
From a touching moment of sportsmanship to a bitter tag match with high stakes: Shane Helms and Shannon Moore came out with Sean Waltman for their grudge match with the luchadores, who brought with them the very first victim of The Rejected, Jason Jett. Commentary made it clear from the start that whichever team lost the match, BOTH heads would be shaved.
All four men brawled to start before being settled down into a proper tag match, and Shane and Shannon worked over Psicosis after Waltman pulled the top rope down on the luchador behind the ref’s back.
The hot tag finally came to Juvi as he tore through both men only to be distracted by Waltman stalking the still-not-medically-cleared Jett. Jason decked Sean with a right hand but the distraction was enough for The Rejected to take over with brass knuckles shots to both opponents.
It looked like they were going to hit stereo Vertebreakers… only for someone else to walk down the walkway and stare them down from the ropes. That someone was Jorge Estrada, who was put through a car window by the heels a month ago!
The Rejected stopped what they were doing and dragged Estrada over the ropes, beating him down – but that gave the luchadores the chance to recover and rally, and a Juvi Driver to Moore finished The Rejected off in 16:25!
Estrada dragged Waltman to the back as Helms and Moore were forced into chairs and shaved by Juvi and Psicosis, who let Jett take a fair chunk of each man’s hair off himself after what they did to him. The Rejected’s anti-social, anti-cruiserweight, anti-luchador and anti-tradition run of terror over the last six months has well and truly been avenged.
Dustin Rhodes vs Lance Storm
Eric Young and Johnny Devine, Storm’s new Team Canada underlings, were ejected from ringside before the match even started. A slower-paced match after the breakneck start to the show, the match built around Rhodes seemingly having Storm’s superkick well scouted after falling victim to it so many times in recent weeks.
Nonetheless, Lance uncovered a turnbuckle halfway through the contest and used it to his advantage in the closing stretch, shoving Rhodes off a bulldog attempt and into it face-first before strapping on his patented Maple Leaf submission for the tap in 11:44.
WCW Cruiserweight Championship: Super Crazy (c) vs Tajiri
Two men who had feuded throughout their time in ECW, feuded as soon as they debuted in WCW and even went on to form a popular team that captured the cruiserweight tag titles went at it for the big singles belt in the division, and delivered perhaps their best WCW singles match to date.
Each man escaped, countered and even kicked out of the other’s best moves, and they even weathered their opponent stealing their own finisher at one stage, before Tajiri dug deep and used an ‘ultra finisher’ of his compatriot and fellow World Cup winner Jushin Liger, the Avalanche Brainbuster, for the pin and the title in 18:38.
WCW World Tag Team Championship: America’s Most Wanted (c) vs Los Guerreros vs Rey Mysterio & Billy Kidman vs Triple X
The first PPV multi-man title match to feature Ric Flair’s decree that elimination rules must be enforced to prevent a champ(s) from losing a title without being beaten, all four teams went at it fast and furious in the opening minutes only for a Chris Harris Catatonic on Elix Skipper to seemingly injure Primetime’s arm on a bad landing.
Daniels used nefarious means to keep on top of his six opponents at various intervals before the numbers caught up with him, and a Chavo Tornado DDT led to an Eddie Frog Splash for the first elimination at 4:59.
Los Guerreros stayed in control of the bout for a few minutes until AMW, Rey and Kidman fought back with numbers themselves. This caused Eddie and Chavo to resort to an old favourite tactic – cheating – but this time when Chavo brought in a tag belt to distract the ref and Eddie used the other to lay out Kidman, the official turned around and caught the shot, kicking the dubious duo out of the match at 8:10.
AMW and Rey/Kidman then delivered a tremendous final leg of the contest packed with near falls and drama, before Kidman – who had only partially recovered from the belt shot – was isolated and given a Death Sentence for AMW to retain in a total time of 18:55.
WCW World Championship: Sean O’Haire vs Jeff Jarrett
After the challenger arrived to an encouraging reception, given his struggles against Russo and his backers over the last six months, O’Haire was as usual accompanied by Vince Russo, his entrance getting gradually more chilling and sinister with new entrance music that sounded a lot like a well-known System Of A Down song.
Jarrett, who has been keeping the demonic champ at bay recently by dipping into his own devious bag of tricks, jumped O’Haire during the in-ring introductions as the fight was on. They brawled around ringside and into the crowd before returning to the ring where the champ took control.
Jarrett fought back and hit the Stroke, getting just two. Chuck Palumbo and Mark Jindrak then run out only to be taken out of the equation by Goldberg and Ken Shamrock. In all the chaos, O’Haire recovered and drilled Jarrett with the WCW title belt… for two.
Russo slipped Sean a chair and the champ went for an F5 onto the chair, only for Jarrett to turn it into a DDT on the steel. Both men staggered up on the count of 9 and traded further blows, but Jeff ducked an O’Haire spin kick and tripped the champ up into a figure four leglock.
This prompted Russo to enter the ring with Jarrett’s guitar and aim for the prone challenger, but Jeff saw him coming, released the hold and caught his former friend in the act. Taking the guitar back, Jarrett lined up a long-awaited blow to Russo’s head, with Vince even on his knees begging for mercy.
O’Haire grabbed the six-stringer from behind just as Jeff was ready to swing, but JJ won that tug of war and blasted the champ as the ref tried to get Russo out of the ring. The distraction may have been enough to win Jarrett the title, but it was also enough for a familiar figure to hit the ring, pull Jarrett up and drop him hard with a DDT onto the chair that remained on the mat from earlier.
O’Haire got an arm over for the pin to retain after 16:24 as a relieved Russo scampered over to celebrate and the announcers instead focused on what they had just seen, uttering a phrase that has become almost synonymous with the last decade of wrestling:
“Raven doesn’t work here!”