If Fusient Bought WCW #29: When Five Become One

The winning team at WarGames face each other in a five-way main event for the next shot at Booker T’s World title.

David Kash suffered a shoulder injury during the grudge match on last week’s Nitro and will miss around three months.

At the start of October, WCW addressed some key talent contracts that would expire over the next few months. The promotion were able to successfully negotiate a number of Time Warner deals and will officially add the following wrestlers to the Fusient payroll upon completion of the previous contracts:

  • Johnny The Bull: 75k pa until December 15 2001 – with Fusient for 100k pa until December 31 2003
  • Rey Misterio: 425k pa until December 31 2001 – with Fusient for 450k pa until December 31 2003
  • Shane Helms: 75k pa until December 31 2001 – with Fusient for 150k pa until December 31 2003
  • Shannon Moore: 75k pa until December 31 2001 – with Fusient for 150k pa until December 31 2003
  • Sting: 1.5m pa until January 1 2002 – with Fusient for 1m pa until December 31 2002
  • DDP: 1.25m pa until January 1 2002 – with Fusient for 1m pa until December 31 2002
  • Booker T: 750k pa until January 31 2002 – with Fusient for 750k pa until January 31 2003
  • Christopher Daniels: 75k pa until February 28 2002 – 100k pa until February 28 2003

The following Time Warner deals will not be renewed by Fusient, and the wrestlers will move on:

  • Ron Harris: 130k pa until October 24 2001
  • Don Harris: 130k pa until October 24 2001
  • Dave Finlay: 250k pa until November 15 2001
  • Scott Steiner: 750k pa until November 30 2001
  • Rick Steiner: 750k pa until November 30 2001
  • Leia Meow: 26k pa until December 15 2001
  • Alex Wright: 400k pa until December 31 2001
  • Evan Karagias: 85k pa until December 31 2001

Finlay has signed on to work as an employee, training wrestlers at the Power Plant. Alex Wright was offered a deal, but has decided to instead return to Europe. Scott Steiner has agreed a 30-day extension worth an additional $50,000 to work through to the end of the calendar year.

And after walking out earlier in the year, the following two Time Warner deals were bought out by the contracted talent so that they could work for another organisation:

  • Bryan Clarke: 175k pa until December 31 2001
  • Brian Adams: 175k pa until January 18 2002

Fall Brawl was a huge victory for Ric Flair and the veterans of WCW, who stood united to conquer Jeff Jarrett, his Chosen Few and the mercenary, Mike Awesome.

Will Jarrett consider his war against Flair to be truly over, however? Will Awesome’s blood feud with Dustin Rhodes end by way of their mutual participation in Sunday’s bloodbath?

What will Goldberg’s response be to Scott Steiner brutally costing him the chance to regain the WCW title? What’s next for Booker T? And why did Air Paris turn on AJ Styles?

Saturday Nitro #22: first aired on October 6; taped along with episode 23 on October 3

Stills of the bloody and brutal WarGames precede the opening credits, after which the announcers introduce the show and mention that The Cat has rewarded the victorious team by pitting them all in tonight’s #1 contender match to decide Booker T’s next challenger.

Speaking of Book, they also discuss an apparent ‘passing of the torch’ ceremony Booker and Sharmell have demanded for tonight. We then get stills of the title match between T and Goldberg at Fall Brawl, including the vicious attack by Scott Steiner which cost Bill the belt.

The first bout of the evening pits Triple X against three of their chief targets over the last few months: Billy Kidman, Super Crazy and the new cruiserweight champion Jason Jett. Kidman got the pin on Low Ki with the SSP in a 12:16 match which saw Skipper constantly foiled at every turn by the man who dethroned him at the PPV.

The Cat is preparing for a live take in his office to explain more about the Starrcade Series, but is interrupted by Triple X. A frustrated Elix says Jett was ‘lucky’ at the PPV and ‘lucky’ tonight, and he wants his rematch next week.

Cat says he’ll have to wait two weeks if he wants it before the PPV, and to get out of here so he can do his job. After the heels leave, Cat says something to himself about finding a new challenger for Halloween Havoc.

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Bam Bam Bigelow says in a pre-tape that 2001 has been a rollercoaster for him so far, and he cannot think of a better way to cap his year so far by bagging a world title match at a PPV.

Air Paris won his first contest as a singles competitor, having attacked his team-mate AJ Styles at Fall Brawl, pinning Lash Leroux with a quebrada moonsault in 4:41.

He follows up with a short in-ring promo about how AJ spent months trying to ‘steal the spotlight’ and that their team was doomed because of Styles’ selfishness. Now, Paris says, he will shine bright on his own without dead weight holding him back.

DDP says tonight he earns a second chance to have what could be a final World title run. It will be weird going up against the men he went through hell with a week ago, but that’s the nature of the game.

The Cat finally has his live tape ready after the interruption and announces the Starrcade Series will begin next week.

He explains that he will pick 12 of WCW’s top athletes to compete in two blocks of six over the next two months, with the best performer of each block doing battle in the finals at the November PPV, Victory Road. The winner of the Series overall will be in the main event of Starrcade challenging for the world title.

An on-screen graphic during this depicts that victories in the group stage give two points for pinfalls or submissions, one point for wins via DQ or countout, a draw is 1pt each while anyone who is deliberately DQed, counted out or ruins the spirit of the tournament in a contest in any way will be deducted one point. Each group stage match will have a 15 minute time limit while the finals will have no time limit.

RVD teamed with America’s Most Wanted to beat Shawn Stasiak, Simon Diamond and Johnny Swinger when RVD pinned Swinger with a split-legged moonsault in 10:10, but the champ was subjected to a hit and run attack by Stasiak and the US title belt after the decision. Gilbertti, meanwhile, regrouped his tag team and swore revenge at AMW from a distance.

Dustin Rhodes says Fall Brawl brought a lot of closure – closure with Ric Flair, closure on his years-long dispute with Jeff Jarrett and his anti-Rhodes agenda… maybe not closure on Mike Awesome, but he says he’ll deal with that in due time.

Tonight, however, he says he takes on his comrades for a shot at the belt he still has never held in 10 years: the WCW World title. And tonight, we see just who wants it more.

An ill-tempered Lance Storm was victorious against the out-of-sorts Shane Helms with the Maple Leaf in 8:38. After the bout, he cut a promo about the ‘travesty’ of Fall Brawl when the ‘incompetent’ American referee counted a pin which should have been broken by his foot under the rope. He adds that it’s repulsive that RVD can just march around here as if nothing happened, like he’s the true champ. He promises consequences for Van Dam’s ‘cheating’.

Sting says victory was sweet last weekend, and though he’s a little banged up and has to go through his friends, a title shot at Havoc would be even sweeter. It’s showtime!

Backstage, Helms arrives after his latest defeat and is slamming doors, etc. He’s approached by Shannon Moore, who attempts to console him over his recent slump, to little effect. Moore says he has been challenged by the two recent thorns in his side, Chavo Guerrero and Kid Romeo, to find a partner for a tag match.

Moore puts it to Helms in a way that suggests Moore has problems coping with these two, whereas Helms despatched of both while cruiser champ, and that Moore needs someone like Helms. Shane says, for one night only, Three Count will reunite and he will end his bad run once and for all.

Mike Awesome defeated AJ Styles, overpowering the cruiserweight for much of the match only to be rocked by an impressive late rally from Styles. As AJ mounted the ropes, however, Air Paris came onto the stage and locked eyes with his former partner allowing Mike the chance to bring him down with a belly to belly superplex and finish with the big splash in 5:48.

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Ric Flair tells Mean Gene that honestly, tonight he doesn’t mind who wins the title shot, since it’s the men who helped him take down Jarrett’s army last week.

Maybe the Stinger or himself will rise to the top one last time. Perhaps DDP will become a five-time champ. It could even be Dustin Rhodes or Triple B’s first ever WCW World title.

Either way, Flair says the five of them bled, sweat and paid the price in WarGames and will battle like gentlemen for a shot at the biggest prize in the sport at Havoc.

This week’s sitdown is an interesting one, as it’s with Scott Steiner just six short days after returning from suspension to specifically cost Goldberg the world title out of the blue.

Mike Tenay sought, and received, legal assurances in writing that he would not be harmed during this interview given Steiner’s mental state most of the time, and to the heavyweight’s credit he was actually quite calm throughout – which made it even more chilling.

When asked about Fall Brawl, Steiner says he has been disrespected almost on a weekly basis ever since WCW came back from the ashes. He says he is the face of this company, rebirth or not, but everyone from Kevin Nash to Rick Steiner to DDP and Lance Storm to Sting to Sean O’Haire has cost him his rightful place to the point that he hasn’t even won a PPV bout yet in this era.

He snapped at Battlebowl because of all this and Cat suspended him but it was the best thing that could have happened because it gave him 30 days to take stock of the situation and that’s when he realised the root of all his problems: Goldberg.

He says when he and his buddies ran Goldberg out of the company, things were at a peak. Yet when he came back, Steiner had to take a back seat and ended up being messed around in tag title matches, three-way matches, and battle royals. He says he has made it his personal mission to run Goldberg out of WCW… for good this time.

He finishes by saying the company is only big enough for one of them and that he will rule WCW as its true, undisputed super-heavyweight, to the point where, in Steiner’s mind, a second World title reign will swiftly follow suit.

It looks like Booker’s ‘passing of the torch’ ceremony has been set up in the ring, only for the championship couple to make their entrance looking very displeased and set about everything, saying this is nowhere near good enough.

After berating several staff members, Booker and Sharmell demand that it be torn down and done better next week. At this point, DDP makes his entrance for our main event, so the champ and his girl take a seat at the announce table for a front row view.

Page, Bigelow, Rhodes, Flair and Sting – all still feeling the effects and sporting the bandages of WarGames – faced off in a five-way contendership main event, with two in the ring at any one time and three on the apron to be tagged in and out. We saw combinations of all five men wrestle, with Rhodes v Flair and then Sting v Flair saved for last.

Flair himself appeared to hurt his knee finally landing a top rope axe handle on Bigelow, and spent the rest of the contest being looked at ringside by a trainer. Bigelow and Rhodes ended up brawling the other side of the ring after running in to make saves only to be wiped out by Mike Awesome and a steel chair, leaving legal men Page and Sting.

After a frantic run of reversals, Sting finally countered a Diamond Cutter by pulling DDP’s head back into a Scorpion Death Drop for the pin at 17:28 and the title shot at Halloween Havoc! He and Booker stared down to close the show.

Halloween Havoc 2001 so far:

  • WCW World title: Booker T vs Sting

Next time: The Starrcade Series begins!

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