Bash at the Beach 2001 wasn’t as controversial as some previous instalments of WCW’s summer spectacular, but it wasn’t far off, either.
Not only did Booker T appear to discard his friendship with Goldberg and good relationship with the fans in order to regain the WCW World title, but Elix Skipper ended the cruiserweight championship reign of ‘Sugar’ Shane Helms, halting the prospect’s impressive 2001 in the process, with the help of what seems to be a new alliance alongside Christopher Daniels and Low Ki.
What will Booker and Sharmell, who appears to be in her man’s corner full-time these days, have to say about their actions? Will we hear from the new, two-time cruiser champ and his new crew? What will become of Ric Flair, Sting and Bam Bam Bigelow after they were outnumbered by The Chosen Few, no thanks to Shawn Stasiak? And what’s next for O’Haire and Palumbo after they won the ‘Champions vs Champions’ match at BATB?
Amidst all that, it’s easy to overlook the return of the Lethal Lottery!
Saturday Nitro #12: taped along with episodes 13 and 14 on July 25, first aired on July 28
The Cat opens the show on the stage with the Lethal Lottery draw all set up. He hypes the action from BATB and underscores that the next PPV sees the return of Battlebowl, with the winner getting a World title shot.
He lays out the details, saying there will be 10 tag matches over the next three weeks, featuring randomly-drawn teams. The 20 men who win their matches will compete at Battlebowl where the Lethal Lottery again decides their fate with order numbers of 1 to 20.
1 and 2 begin, with the next entrant joining every 60 seconds. Elimination is over the top rope until two men remain, at which point it’s pinfall or submission to decide a new top contender.
He adds that since DDP earned a title shot at BATB and Goldberg has been AWOL since losing the belt to Booker T on Sunday, Page will challenge Booker at the PPV while Goldberg is free to invoke his rematch clause some time after Battlebowl.
Cat proceeds to draw three matches for tonight out of LL – which are…
Simon Diamond and Johnny Swinger (what luck) vs Johnny The Bull and Mark Jindrak; Chavo Guerrero Jr and Shannon Moore (again, what luck) vs Air Paris and Kaz Hayashi (not so much luck); and Norman Smiley and Johnny B Badd vs Dustin Rhodes and Mike Awesome (about as unlucky as it gets!)
The last match of the three drawn, Cat said, would be up next…
Smiley arrived, followed by Badd. Mike Awesome made his entrance… only to immediately be jumped by his ‘partner’ Dustin Rhodes! The two continued their rampant brawling from Sunday, stitches and all, as the referee began and quickly threw out the ‘contest’ with about 0:12 on the official clock. Smiley and Badd celebrated their first win as a team as if they’d just won the tag titles in a 60-minute iron man match.
In a pre-tape, new cruiserweight champ Elix Skipper confirmed that he, Daniels and Low Ki had been playing everyone for fools from the start. He says they did it to fast track right back to the top of the division after Ki and Daniels were only getting pre-show tryout matches and Skipper was constantly held back despite holding this belt in 2000 and being one half of the first ever cruiser tag champs. From here on out, Ki adds, Triple X rule the Cruiserweight division – and that, says Daniels, is the gospel.
The new trio got off to a winning start, victorious in a six-man tag against Billy Kidman, Rey Misterio and a man XXX had shafted out of a cruiserweight title shot a week ago, Jason Jett. Ki, cheekily, faked the same injury which gave Skipper an easy bye in the tournament so that Daniels could sneak up on Misterio and get the win with the Last Rites at 11:21.
As Cat returns back to his office, he finds Jeff Jarrett sat in his chair, feet on the desk, helping himself to Miller’s snacks. When asked why he was trying to piss Cat off, Jarrett replied on the contrary; he thought Miller would be thrilled by the hot new team he has put together in the Chosen Few before bragging about their win at BATB.
Cat admits, despite their tactics, that the group are talented and on the same page, but asks JJ what he really wants from him. Jarrett says the group all deserve title shots after a great first month – not just himself, he stresses, as he claims he doesn’t use them as Flair used the Horsemen, but all four guys. Cat says one month of attacks and numerical advantages isn’t enough to just waltz into the world title picture, but he will test out this stance that the Chosen Few are more than backup.
He grants Jarrett’s request, under the conditions that a) they can challenge for any title but the world title; b) the title shots must be requested and approved in advance by Cat himself, and c) they are for everyone BUT Jarrett. JJ doesn’t look pleased at first, but quickly hides his reaction to Miller’s shrewd counter and says that’s more than fair, and that he cannot wait to tell the boys.
Cat stops him and points out that RVD has Shane Douglas tonight, and they’re welcome to make that for the US title if Jarrett, “Mr. Inspirational Leader”, says the word right now. Jeff says to make it happen and departs.
Simon Diamond and Johnny Swinger advanced to Battlebowl with a win over Johnny The Bull and Mark Jindrak. Jindrak got fed up and left his makeshift partner in the lurch to suffer defeat to JTB’s well-oiled machine of a rival team in 6:22. Big Vito confronted Jindrak in the aisle but MJ walked right past him, and Vito opted to prevent a post-match beatdown on his partner in the ring rather than chase after Jindrak.
DDP makes his way out and says he is on cloud nine – after winning a tough three-way at BATB, he is next in line for the World title. He says he doesn’t know what has gotten into Booker T but plans to get answers between now and Battlebowl.
He’s interrupted by Kanyon, who says he was robbed at the Bash while Page once again got all the luck, but rather than chase the US title he wants to step up a level and Chris claims he knows exactly how he is going to do that. Kanyon points out that he pinned DDP a week ago, and also beat him at Superbrawl.
He challenges Page to prove he’s not a fluke contender by putting the title shot on the line against him, tonight. Page says he has no problem defending his contendership. He closes by saying if he cannot beat Kanyon at the third time of asking, he doesn’t deserve a title match anyway and will voluntarily give up his opportunity. But that won’t happen, because he says he will get his revenge on his old friend before going on to reclaim the Big Gold Belt.
In a non-title match, O’Haire and Palumbo beat Chris Harris and James Black clean in 8:44, and helped the duo to their feet afterwards for handshakes. The commentators play up the similarities in the two sides, and how Harris and Black have the potential to be the next breakout team like Sean and Chuck were.
Backstage, Okerlund is with Flair and Sting. After the obligatory MEEEEEEAN, whoooo! BY GOD GENE, Ric wonders aloud if Jarrett thought his little phone call trick would work on two guys who’ve seen and used more tricks than he’s had hot dinners. He says at BATB, they lost pure and simple to the numbers game, but that the war isn’t over. In fact, he wants Jarrett one-on-one, one more time. Any time, any place, any type of match.
Sting says while Flair wants Jarrett, he’s looking at the other factors behind defeat last weekend. Bigelow was taken out by Douglas and that chain, and Sting says he’ll leave that particular vengeance down to Triple B. But the Stinger has a bone to pick with Shawn Stasiak, not only for grandstanding his way onto the team and then storming off when his little girlfriend got her hair pulled at, but for breaking Lex’s arm and walking around as if he’s anywhere near the star Luger was. He’s asked Cat for Stasiak tonight, and he’s got it – so, ‘Mecca of Manhood’, it’s showtime!
Shane Helms, fuming over his title loss at BATB, has no dancing entrance as he takes on Tajiri. Helms wins with the Vertebreaker in 9:17, showing a little extra aggression that usual in the process, though Tajiri’s competitiveness in the match dropped slightly when Super Crazy arrived on the stage and stared a hole through him all the way up to the three-count.
Rob Van Dam and his new title belt were in WCW HQ earlier in the week for the latest sit-down interview. It begins with a light-hearted reference to how RVD faces Shane Douglas on Nitro, and that when Douglas gave one of these interviews, he went on to lose to RVD. Van Dam says he’s going to make sure he isn’t hit by the ‘curse of the studio’ on Saturday.
The US champ talks about how WCW has been a great experience for the last few months, and that he’s thrilled to have finally won his first championship. He says he is sad that ECW is no more but was a fan of the days of the nWo, the cruiserweights and guys like Sting and DDP. Van Dam adds that he wants to become the next name people associate with WCW, just like he was associated with ECW.
When asked, he admits he does have a healthy ego but that unlike others, he doesn’t try to disguise it and people seem to respect it. He wants to have the best match every night and win every accomplishment possible. He finishes by saying he’ll defend the US title against all comers before he targets the big one.
Of course, since that was taped, his first defence was set up – and Van Dam did indeed avoid the ‘curse of the studio’ to beat Shane Douglas a second time, this time in a US title bout. Bam Bam Bigelow played a role in this one, coming down to snatch Shane’s chain from him as he prepared it while Torrie Wilson distracted the ref, leaving him prone to a roll-up for the three at 7:33. Bigelow then busted Douglas himself open with the chain, as the Franchise had already done a few times to BBB, while RVD helped keep Anderson and Jindrak from getting into the ring.
Bigelow arrives backstage and tells Mean Gene he will settle this with Douglas next week, if he has the guts… and since he loves chains so much, how about they take the biggest one they can find and lock it to each guy’s wrist?
Booker T and Sharmell had an elaborate championship coronation ceremony, themed around the number five, as it’s his fifth reign. Five of various props, ‘5x’ on balloons, etc. Booker coined the phrase ‘five-time five-time five-time five-time five-time WCW champion’ and said Goldberg knows he robbed Booker of a month as champ which is why he is hiding with his tail between his legs.
The champ goes on to explain that he has spent the last year, ever since BATB 2000, trying to restore fans’ faith in WCW. And as soon as the compant was finally back to good health, they forgot who he was and embraced Goldberg instead. Now, Bill is MIA and that proves, says Book, that he’s not cut out to carry this company on his back.
T says nobody, not DDP, Kanyon, Sting, Flair, Jarrett, or anyone else, will take this belt and stop Booker from being the benchmark of the new WCW. And whether these fans like it or not, that’s how it’s going to work because he earned that right, not them.
Chavo Guerrero and Shannon Moore reached Battlebowl with a win over Air Paris and Kaz Hayashi, unsurprisingly showing more team-work than the two men who did battle over the last few weeks with their real partners. Moore in particular continued to show extra fire, just as he has ever since Chavo gave him purpose once more, despite the one-sided nature of their friendship.
Once Shannon hit Bottom’s Up on Paris and Kaz and Leia Meow decided just to let it happen, however, Chavo demanded the tag and got the pin and the glory at 6:29. Nonetheless, that win puts both men into Battlebowl – and the Dragons/Air Raid situation is only getting worse.
Sting defeated Shawn Stasiak in 5:09 thanks to a cameo appearance from Lex Luger, who pulled Stacy Keibler down from the apron and carried her to the back. Stasiak then tapped to the Deathlock in a satisfying bout of retribution for both the Stinger and the Total Package.
Footage from earlier today is replayed when Scott Steiner shows up with Midajah in a foul mood. After finding out he wasn’t drawn in the Lethal Lottery and doesn’t even have a match this week, he attacks two staff members until a swarm of backup gets him out of the arena almost as soon as he arrived. Commentary apologise profusely to the fans and their own staff for Steiner’s behaviour.
Finally, DDP remained the #1 contender to the world title after beating Kanyon in a good, competitive match lasting 14:51 with the Diamond Cutter. As he celebrated the win, Booker T returned to blindside him with the belt and taunt his former friend as the show ended.
Battlebowl card so far:
- WCW World title: Booker T v DDP
- Battlebowl – confirmed entrants: Norman Smiley, Johnny B Badd, Simon Diamond, Johnny Swinger, Chavo Guerrero, Shannon Moore.