Coming up short at WarGames and the Starrcade Series, combined with the loss of the WCW tag titles, has caused The Chosen Few to go on the rampage against everyone they regard as standing in their way. However, those targets fought back at the end of last week’s Nitro and it feels as though the war has only just begun.
We also saw Goldberg and Scott Steiner as well as Booker T and Rob Van Dam get into it at the end of last week’s show as Starrcade’s huge double main event looms, and it’s guaranteed they’ll cross paths again as we edge nearer to the big event with a huge tag team main event set for tonight.
Saturday Nitro #31: first aired on December 8; taped along with episode 30 on November 28
Jason Jett and Shannon Moore marked their recent bonding with an impressive tag team showing to win the opening four-way against Jung Dragons, York and Matthews and the FBI when Jett pinned Yang with a Crash Landing in 10:31. Leia Meow’s furious berating of her luckless charges continued to intensify after their latest loss.
Backstage, Sting told Mean Gene that he will finally have his ‘battle of the WCW originals’ match with Buff Bagwell at Starrcade – but first, he meets Jeff Jarrett tonight for a little payback after the Chosen Few went on the rampage last week. He says after he’s done with Double J, the only thing he’ll be choosing is which straw to eat through.
Lance Storm made short work of Lash Leroux with the Maple Leaf in 3:57 and then cut a promo on facing Ric Flair at Starrcade, promising that at the biggest show of the year, the hottest star in the company will rip the ‘torch’ from Flair’s wrinkled hands.
Shawn Stasiak came out with Stacy Keibler and announced that, since his three contenders last week proved they are not worthy of a title match, a US championship bout at Starrcade will be replaced by a special edition of the Shawn and Stacy show.
He’s cut off by Mike Awesome, who instead of responding simply walks down to the ring for revenge after Stasiak’s attack last week. Though Shawn and Stacy slip out in time and retreat up the walkway, the champ is soon cut off by Sean O’Haire!
The other victim of Stasiak’s sneak attack last Saturday beats him all the way back to the ring, where Awesome gets some shots in on Shawn before also targeting Sean.
The Cat sends officials down to break up the melee before announcing Stasiak isn’t getting out of defending his belt on the biggest show of the year that easy – and will face both Awesome and O’Haire in a triangle match!
Alex Wright vs Glenn Gilbertti was scheduled in a rematch with nobody else at ringside. However the slimy agent came out with his neck in a brace, claiming he injured himself rescuing schoolchildren from a blazing fire and the bout would have to be postponed.
The Cat has to come back out and say that he can’t believe he’s confirming this but the doctor’s note is somehow legit and the match will be pushed back – but he warns Gilbertti that he will not be able to put off his one-on-one confrontation with Wright forever.
This week’s sitdown interview was with recent breakout star AJ Styles. Styles admitted the last few months had been crazy, and that the ladder match with the Jung Dragons was definitely the turning point – not just as a match which turned heads, but as the moment his former partner Air Paris decided he wasn’t happy being a team and decided to turn on him.
He admits he was disappointed Paris couldn’t just tell him verbally that he wanted to part ways, and says even though he pinned Paris at Victory Road, he still ‘owes’ him from their 1-on-1 match at Halloween Havoc which Paris won.
Styles says he respects Elix Skipper and knows XXX are a tough obstacle to overcome, but says fate has timed his rise to a first solo title shot with a show like Starrcade for a reason and that he will come of age at the PPV.
Speaking of XXX, their aura took a bit of a dent when Low Ki and Christopher Daniels were beaten by Super Crazy and Tajiri, crowning NEW cruiserweight tag champions in the process!
Skipper attempted to run down and interfere, only for Jason Jett – a longtime victim of Triple X’s shenanigans – to cut him off and drag him backstage again. This led to a hot closing sequence before Tajiri nailed both opponents with Buzzsaw Kicks and Super Crazy finished off Low Ki with a moonsault in 15:12 as the former rivals became championship compadres.
After the title celebration scenes in the ring, the commentary team are alerted to a commotion in the back where it turns out that Scott Steiner had tracked down Goldberg and blindsided him, leaving him laying in a wreckage of furniture. The comms guys speculate over what that means for the scheduled main event of Goldberg and RVD vs Steiner and Booker T.
Billy Kidman vs Shane Helms went to a 15 minute time limit draw – and though Kidman was game for another five minutes to truly decide who was the better man, Helms shrugged it off and went backstage.
DDP and Kanyon came to the ring and addressed the last two times they appeared, both of which led to ambushes from Chavo Guerrero and his recently-returned uncle, Eddie. Page says it’s pretty obvious what the Guerreros want, and that title belts in this business are like targets.
He calls out the two ‘greaseballs’ and they promptly answer. In his first mic time back in WCW, Eddie says the last time he was in WCW it was a hellhole, and that unfortunately the place he escaped to was also a hellhole. Even worse, he adds, he comes back to WCW and it’s still a hellhole.
He says all he has left in life is family and that’s why he and Chavito are going to run through everyone on the roster – starting with his old rival Page because they do indeed want those tag titles. Kanyon says if they want a shot at Starrcade, all they have to do is come down to the ring and sign a contract on the Jersey boys’ fists with their jaws.
Los Guerreros slowly approach the ring, stop to head back as they reach the apron, then suddenly lunge in when they think they can catch the champs off-guard again. However, Page and Kanyon fight them off and send them packing.
Jeff Jarrett (w/ the entire Chosen Few) defeated Sting thanks to an attempted run-in by Buff Bagwell. The Stinger weathered attempts by the Few to interfere without getting their man DQed, and decked Buff when he came out and hopped onto the apron before a Scorpion Deathlock could be applied. But, as the ref ejected Bagwell, Jarrett was handed the guitar by Mike Sanders and an El Kabong got the three-count in 11:57.
Post-match, Dustin Rhodes came out and told Jarrett that if he wanted a gangfight, he can have one at Starrcade. Rhodes was then joined by America’s Most Wanted and Bam Bam Bigelow quickly evened the sides and the two sides brawled through the crowd and out of the arena, leaving Sanders alone with the recovering Sting. The furious Icon decimated Sanders with his baseball bat and three Death Drops.
Rob Van Dam is asked about the tag main event by Mean Gene, only for Ric Flair to walk over and introduce himself. Flair says RVD is the future of WCW and it’d be his honour to replace Goldberg as his partner tonight. Van Dam accepts and says the honour is all his. They finish with a rather one-sided ‘whoooooooo’ contest.
As Sting arrives backstage, Jeremy Borash asks for his thoughts on Buff Bagwell constantly trying to make his life miserable. In a rare sight, Sting shouts across a furious promo, saying that if Bagwell won’t stop until he has taken the Stinger out of WCW, then he’ll take Buff out of WCW first.
He tells his foe to watch what he did to Mike Sanders on tape, rewind it and watch it again over and over because that’s nothing compared to what he will do to Bagwell at Starrcade.
RVD/Flair vs Steiner/Booker ended in a DQ win for the faces when Lance Storm ran in to attack Ric after 16:44 when he looked to set up a figure four on the world champion. The three-on-two was ended by the music of Goldberg, who gingerly jogged down the walkway bandaged up and helped turn the tide with a Spear on Storm – though he couldn’t get his hands on Steiner. The three faces celebrated to close the show.
Starrcade 2001 card so far:
- WCW World title: Booker T vs Rob Van Dam
- Caged Heat, loser leaves WCW: Goldberg vs Scott Steiner
- WCW World tag team titles: DDP and Kanyon vs Los Guerreros
- WCW United States title: Shawn Stasiak vs Sean O’Haire vs Mike Awesome
- WCW Cruiserweight title: Elix Skipper vs AJ Styles
- Ric Flair vs Lance Storm
- Sting vs Buff Bagwell
Mike Sanders has requested a release from his deal and has been granted it, effective December 31. The revenge attack by Sting effectively writes him out of the company.
Also, Leia Meow will finish up with the company at the upcoming double TV taping for the final two Nitros before Starrcade. Kaz Hayashi and Jimmy Yang, however, have extended their deals.