If Fusient Bought WCW #34: Another Dose Of AirTime

The last time WCW added a second weekly TV show led to disaster. What will happen when they try it again?

Not even Halloween Havoc could contain the fury of Goldberg and Scott Steiner, as the two wiped out most of the staff during a ‘match’ that settled nothing.

Booker T was able to settle his dispute with Sting, however, to retain the title – but will Ric Flair really agree to never challenge for the title again if he faces and loses to Book at new PPV, Victory Road?

The Chosen Few were shown up by DDP and Bam Bam Bigelow, even though it’s shockingly Page and Kanyon who claimed the tag belts. Are the New Jersey Triad back? And what is up with Shane Helms!?

Tonight, the Starrcade Series continues amidst all the fallout of Havoc. And Commissioner Cat told WCW.com he has a special announcement regarding the future of the company, which given the trials and tribulations of the past 12 months sounds extremely ominous.

Saturday Nitro #26: first aired on November 3; taped along with episode 27 on November 1

York and Matthews, fresh off their failed cruiserweight tag title tilt at Havoc, bounced back with a win over the FBI – during which Johnny B Badd ran down and chased Glenn Gilbertti backstage when he tried to interfere. Full Effect wrapped things up after 8:11 of action.

Speaking of bouncing back, Rob Van Dam reacted to his narrow Iron Man Challenge defeat to Lance Storm by defeating Shane Douglas in the Starrcade Series with the Five-Star in 7:47.

The Mamalukes come out and remind everyone that they earned a tag title shot on the Havoc pre-show, and point out that when they weren’t getting what they wanted they started taking it and it will continue when they win back the belts. However, they’re cut short by the two men they’ve attacked and even injured in recent weeks, as Chuck Palumbo and Sean O’Haire came in through the crowd and beat a little payback out of Vito and JTB until they fled the scene.

A fatal-four way for a cruiserweight title shot featured AJ Styles, Air Paris, Super Crazy and Tajiri in a one-fall encounter. Unfortunately, a ref bump halfway through led to a replacement official entering the ring before the groggy original ref attempted to rejoin the fray, just as Crazy sunset flipped Paris and Tajiri had Styles locked in an Oklahoma roll. A ref each counted one of the falls at 8:04 leading to a dispute and confusion as to who would receive a title shot.

Lance Storm cut a pre-match promo bragging about being WCW’s Iron Man and claiming he was on a roll. As it turns out, he wasn’t wrong as he went on to beat Dustin Rhodes in the Starrcade Series, reversing a cradle and grabbing Rhodes’ jeans for the three-count at 8:59. Dustin was selling the after-effects of his brutal I Quit win over Mike Awesome, but nonetheless came close to snatching another big win at times before going down.

The Cat comes to the ring, as opposed to his usual video briefings from his office, for what the announcers have hyped as a huge announcement tonight.

Cat says before he gets to the big proclamation, he confirms Goldberg and Scott Steiner will not be here tonight, that he is going to do his best to keep them apart as much as possible because of the sheer chaos they create, and that for the wreckage at Halloween Havoc they’re not only -1pt each in the Series but he’s fining them fifty thousand dollars apiece for wiping out the entire refereeing team.

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Now that he’s got the bad news out of the way, it’s onto one of the biggest moments WCW has experienced since rising from the ashes this springtime. Saturday Nitro, as of January, will be joined by a second weekly TBS show called AirTime.

Cat says it’s going to showcase the cruiserweights and see a mass influx of new talent trying to make it in World Championship Wrestling. He hails the move as a huge success for a company that almost lost TV altogether a shade over six months ago. AirTime will premiere on the first Wednesday of 2002.

Cat adds that at the next PPV, Victory Road, there will be a 5-on-5 elimination tag ‘AirTime cruiserweight showcase’. Unlike most elimination tags, if more than one team member remains when the other side is completely eliminated, those left will then battle each other, elimination style, until one remains. And that sole survivor will be able to stand front and centre when AirTime debuts, most likely in championship action.

Shane Helms made his first appearance since costing Shannon Moore the cruiserweight title at Havoc, taking on the man who stopped him inflicting even more damage on his old tag partner at the PPV, Jason Jett. A fast-paced, competitive contest ended in an unsavoury DQ at 7:31 when Helms went low on Jett as things were starting to go Jason’s way. Helms put the boots to him afterwards, but as he set up a Vertebreaker, Shannon Moore ran down and Helms got out of there.

Backstage, Sting greets Ric Flair in his dressing room and attempts to get Flair to reconsider accepting Booker T’s challenge for a world title shot if he agrees to make it the final time he ever challenges for that belt. Sting tells Flair that he can easily earn a shot straight-up.

Flair calms Sting down and reminds him that he isn’t getting any younger, adding that if he goes into this match knowing it’s his last chance, it’s the only way he can be sure he will give it everything he has in his mind, his body and his heart. Sting respects his decision and says he’ll see Ric out there for the main event tag match.

Triple X beat America’s Most Wanted and Norman Smiley in 6:56 when Skipper pinned Smiley. Glenn Gilbertti had a large sofa set up on the walkway for his crew to watch their rivals close up, which didn’t help the underdog babyfaces at all.

As XXX arrived backstage, Skipper spotted Cat and told him he wants to captain one of the teams in this showcase at Victory Road, seeing as, he claims, XXX will be the stars of the new TV show. Cat says he has no problems with that but he does have an issue with Skipper blatantly trying to get out of a PPV title defense. So, instead, there will be title bouts in the coming weeks on Nitro – and Elix will defend his belt next week against the two men who scored visual falls in the four-way earlier: Super Crazy and Tajiri!

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Diamond Dallas Page scored another win in the Starrcade Series over Billy Kidman, countering a top rope crossbody attempt with an impressive mid-air Cutter at 13:00. The two men shook hands afterwards.

While DDP was in the Nitro arena in Florida, his new tag team championship partner Kanyon filmed his sit-down interview about an hour or so before the show from WCW HQ.

Kanyon admitted it was all a bit crazy at Havoc when Page of all people, a longtime friend but a man he’s been at odds with for several years in WCW, approached him in Vegas and asked him to replace Bigelow. Kanyon says wrestling is a cutthroat business and you end up going to war with even those closest to you but the likes of DDP and Bigelow, he says, will be his friends long after he retires.

Of course, a chance at winning a second championship in 2001 couldn’t be turned down, either… but as he says that, he’s attacked by CW Anderson and Mark Jindrak, the former champs. They leave Kanyon laying, before badmouthing him and promising that he and Page will pay for ‘stealing’ the belts and leaving.

In the Starrcade Series, Bam Bam Bigelow gained a measure of revenge on the man who put him out for a few weeks in Mike Awesome – who was also not at 100% after the I Quit match – with BBB getting the win with the Greetings From Asbury Park at 8:08 as Awesome took his eyes off the prize by setting up a table and risking a DQ and -1pt in the process.

Shawn Stasiak and Stacy Keibler tell Mean Gene that ‘Mecca’ is the greatest US champion in history, and that Palumbo and O’Haire should head back to the tag leagues where they belong.

Finally, Ric Flair and Sting beat Booker T and Jeff Jarrett in 16:17 when Booker reversed a figure four attempt into a small package, only for Flair to roll it over for a surprise three-count! Jarrett and Booker argued with each other in between moments of disbelief as Flair held T’s world title high above his head as the show ended. Maybe, just maybe, The Nature Boy can roll back the years one final time at Victory Road!

Starrcade Series Block A:
Jarrett 4pts, Goldberg 3pts, Storm 3pts, Rhodes 2pts, Kanyon 2pts, Steiner 0pts
Starrcade Series Block B:
Awesome 4pts, DDP 4pts, RVD 4pts, Kidman 2pts, Douglas 2pts, Bigelow 2pts
(Everyone but Storm and Rhodes (four) has fought three times)

Victory Road card so far:

  • WCW World title: Booker T vs Ric Flair (this will be Flair’s final shot at the title if he fails to dethrone the champion)
  • Starrcade Series final: Block A winner vs Block B winner
  • AirTime Cruiserweight 10-man elimination showcase: XXX and 2 others vs 5 TBA

Next time: Ric Flair must put it in writing if he wants the next shot at Booker T as they sign the contract for Victory Road, complete with stipulations. Plus, competitors will be eliminated from the Starrcade Series as we reach the closing stages of the tournament!

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