FEBRUARY 19, 2003: AIRTIME #57
Matches taped before the Superbrawl PPV aired tonight, and were all announced as being first round matches in the ‘Spring Breakout Grand Prix’, a single elimination tournament featuring only wrestlers who had never held the cruiserweight title. The winner would get a shot at Jamie Knoble at Spring Breakout.
- Jimmy Yang defeated Tony Marinera with Yang Time in 6:33.
- Bryan Danielson defeated debutant Chris Sabin in 4:50 with Cattle Mutilation.
- Christopher Daniels defeated Julio Dinero with Last Rites in 7:15.
- Paul London and Brian Kendrick battled to a 10-minute time limit draw.
FEBRUARY 22, 2003: SATURDAY NITRO #94
Nobody has heard from Goldberg since his shocking defeat to Sean O’Haire at Superbrawl. The demonic champion’s ‘purge’ of WCW’s biggest names continues, but tonight something has to give when he defends the title against Ken Shamrock in a No Holds Barred match.
Also, what’s next for Raven and Jeff Jarrett after their brutal war at the PPV? How will the New Church react to Mike Awesome defecting to the Hardcore Revolution? And can Rey Mysterio and Billy Kidman’s friendship weather their recent troubles after failing to win the WCW tag team titles?
Taped on February 20 in Atlanta.
Ric Flair comes to the ring at the top of this week’s show with a very serious demeanour. He begins positively enough, talking up the success of Superbrawl and plugging the replay showings, before getting down to business and offering a public warning to the WCW champion, Sean O’Haire.
He says he warned O’Haire not to carry out any more assaults on WCW talent, and while as of late his dirty deeds have taken place within the confines of official matches, he has no time for this ‘purge’ of his roster and if it continues, he’ll take action within the confines of official matches, too. He warns O’Haire and Vince Russo to start acting like a champion and a champion’s manager, or else.
Spring Breakout Grand Prix continued its first round action in the evening’s opening bout, as Guido Maritato made short work of the comical but popular Shark Boy in the latter’s Nitro debut. The masked sensation tapped out to a wakigatame armbar in 3:33.
A video then reveals that Guido is one of six World Cup captains in this year’s event, as Italy, Mexico, the USA, Canada, the UK and holders Japan battle it out on the road to the finals in Mexico City. It’s confirmed that Lance Storm will lead Team Canada into the Cup, Rey Mysterio heads up the hosts, Tajiri will strive to inspire his nation to two straight trophies, Billy Kidman will skipper the Americans and the debuting United Kingdom team will be led by Doug Williams.
Jeff Jarrett is asked about his loss at Superbrawl to Raven by Jeremy Borash, which leads to Jarrett bypassing the Raven topic altogether and instead targeting Vince Russo for his crucial interference. He says Russo has been the bane of his existence for almost a year now, and that one way or another he is going to not only decimate Russo but run him out of wrestling for good and do the entire industry a favour.
Kid Kash teamed with York & Matthews to defeat Jamie Knoble, Matt Bentley and Sonny Siaki. Kash and Knoble’s on-off vendetta led to them brawling to the back before an appearance from Glenn Gilbertti led to a pull-apart between he and Shane Douglas at ringside, distracting Bentley enough to lead to a Rebel Yell from York for the pin in 7:04.
After the adverts we see the triumphant trio greeted in the Hardcore Revolution changing room by the rest of the faction. Y&M respond to RVD’s congratulations by saying they won’t be satisfied until they win the cruiser tag titles back in their rematch, and Van Dam tells them to at least be happy they’re getting a rematch. He never did when the WCW title was ripped from his injured hands, and now they’ve put the New Church in their place, he continues, perhaps now is the time for him to right that wrong. Mike Awesome, newest member of the crew, says the New Church grew pathetic while he was injured and when he saw what was in the pipeline here, his decision was easy. Now, he says, it’s time to finish off the Church once and for all.
In the New Church’s early days, Chris Kanyon fought their crown jewel Awesome tooth and nail alongside DDP. Now, the two face off in singles competition with Mike out of Father James Mitchell’s clutches and Kanyon very much in them thanks to a mysterious piece of information fed to the Father by Vince Russo. Their latest all-action encounter concluded when Tempest passed Kanyon a chair, which the reluctant team member was even more reluctant to use. The hesitation allowed Awesome to boot it back into his face and finish the job with an Awesome Bomb in 8:45.
After the bout, Tempest chop blocked Awesome before Mitchell demanded Kanyon drill Awesome with the chair this time, as Tempest held him in place. Kanyon threw down the chair after a pause to a decent reaction. Mitchell threatened him and slapped him twice before handing him the chair one more time. It looked as though Chris would cave, but instead he snapped and drove the butt of the chair into Tempest’s ribs. The wounded footsoldier and his minister retreated, vowing revenge the whole way. Will that revenge end up being the airing of Kanyon’s secret?
Lance Storm says Team Canada were robbed of the 2000-and-Three Invitational because of “cheating Americans using unfair numerical advantages”. He says he is going to make sure Canada “levels the playing field” in time for the World Cup.
Next was a one-fall four-way tag match to determine America’s Most Wanted’s next challengers. In somewhat of a surprise result, Sinn and Slash defeated Los Guerreros, Kidman and Mysterio and Simon and Swinger. Harris and Black joined commentary for the bout, which saw the issues between Rey & Kidman and Eddie & Chavo heat up. Malice stuck his nose in, which drew Simon and Swinger away from the bout to keep the monster at bay. When Rey took out both Guerreros with a dive, it left Kidman to fall to a double chokeslam for the pin in 10:20. Kidman did not appear very pleased with his partner after the bout.
A staredown between the new top contenders and AMW was cut short as Tempest gingerly ran back out to join Malice in fighting Simon and Swinger. Soon, another HR/New Church fracas filled out in the arena and the endgame was Malice chokeslamming Awesome through the announce table.
In a pre-tape, AJ Styles says he’ll defend the United States title against all comers, heavyweight or cruiserweight, as he continues to prove he isn’t just the best of the high fliers, he’s the out and out best.
A big tussle between two perennial world title contenders was next, as Jeff Jarrett squared off against Lance Storm. Though Jarrett won the bout by disqualification in 9:19, his tough 2003 continued as it came via being jumped by Eric Young, Johnny Devine and two unknown yet sizeable men dressed in Team Canada garb. It took Mike Tenay to recognise the duo as Joe Legend and Bobby Roode.
We see footage of 3 Live Kru in the recording studio, struggling to get any work done as they bicker over who is going to get which title shots now that they have won the 2000-and-Three Invitational.
Shane Helms and Shannon Moore run off Jeremy Borash when he tries to ask them about their cruiserweight tag title win. They then tell the camera that nothing has changed. Wrestling remains bleak, life remains pointless and anyone who sees a target on their backs will learn that the target is very much on their own necks.
The Rejected’s first match as champs wasn’t a victorious one, however, as they got themselves disqualified against Paul London and Brian Kendrick when the underdogs had them on the ropes after 6:51 of non-title action. The belts to their opponents’ skulls left the new champions standing tall, and they did a similar number on Bryan Danielson when he ran in for the save. However, the subsequent arrival of Juventud Guerrera, Psicosis and Super Crazy convinced Shane and Shannon to flee through the crowd. Juvi then told the champs over the mic that since they took their hair just three weeks before they won the titles, they’d be happy to take those too.
Raven is at an undisclosed location as he documents that Jeff Jarrett paid the price for his sins, but no matter what the machinations were that led to his WCW return, it comes down to one thing: it is his destiny to finally become the World champion. And after enduring politics and hell the first time he was here, it is his turn to start dishing out the judgment and the punishment.
It was then time for the main event. No holds barred for the WCW championship and the rubber match between Sean O’Haire and Ken Shamrock in the rivalry which sparked the current dark cloud hanging over the company in 2003. The lack of rules allowed Palumbo and Jindrak to interfere freely, but the dangerous challenger handled both rather well the first few times.
Eventually, the numbers caught up with him and O’Haire repeatedly drove a chair into the midsection of Shamrock as his henchmen held him in place. O’Haire then hit an F5… but Shamrock kicked out! Three more chair shots to the ribs followed as Shamrock began to cough up a little blood, and this time after hitting a second F5, Sean neglected to go for a cover and instead hit a third. This led to the referee calling it off after 14:27, which made O’Haire the winner via stoppage.
The trio stood over a seriously injured Shamrock after the decision and Vince Russo even threw the referee out of the ring as they planned further damage to the MMA fighter. The announcers wondered if a continued assault outside of the title match would lead to Ric Flair taking serious action… just then, the lights went out and when they came back on, O’Haire Palumbo and Jindrak were surrounded by Rob Van Dam, Jerry Lynn, CW Anderson, Christian York, Joey Matthews, Kid Kash, Simon Diamond and Johnny Swinger.
The Hardcore Revolution then entered the ring and laid waste to the champion and his two helpers as Russo slipped straight out of the ring, picking his cowardly moment perfectly. A Five Star Frog Splash from RVD to O’Haire served as a fitting exclamation mark for the obvious point being made by the Extreme stable – and perhaps even Flair himself – as the show concluded.
Spring Breakout 2003 card so far:
- WCW tag team titles: America’s Most Wanted (c) vs Disciples of the New Church
Shamrock has opted to return to the world of MMA so his contract has been terminated by mutual consent and he has been written out. Sean Waltman has also been released after personal issues led to him violating the terms of his deal.
Next time: Will O’Haire and his footsoldiers be able to hit back against the much larger Hardcore Revolution faction?