As the first ever WCW Genesis PPV edges closer, the overall shape of the roster continues to change.
The Chosen Few appear to be finished with Shane Douglas and Mark Jindrak at each other’s throats while Jeff Jarrett has chosen to align himself only with his Enforcer, CW Anderson, going forward. Scott Steiner, of course, is gone after Starrcade – and Goldberg hasn’t been seen since that Caged Heat war due to his own battle wounds.
Meanwhile the cruiserweights have moved into the spotlight left behind. AirTime’s debut was a rousing success, AJ Styles is exploding as the new singles champion and Rey Misterio Jr has returned… mask and all.
This week features the follow-up AirTime plus an action-packed Nitro in which WCW World champion Rob Van Dam will confront his PPV challenger, Booker T. And Commissioner Cat hinted in an interview on WCW.com that he may be looking to add a stipulation to their Starrcade rematch.
JANUARY 12, 2002: SATURDAY NITRO #36
Taped along with the second AirTime in Orlando on January 10.
This week’s Nitro began with 10-man cruiserweight action as the announce team raved about the debut of cruiser show AirTime. Air Paris, Knoble/Kash and the FBI beat Super Crazy, Tajiri, Jason Jett, Shannon Moore and Psicosis when the Italians planted Psicosis with their double-team Rubik’s Cube only for Air Paris to blind tag in and add a Lionsault for the pin at 11:19. Crazy and Tajiri brawled at ringside with their next cruiser tag title challengers, Knoble and Kash, during the closing stages.
As Paris celebrates in the ring as if he beat all five opponents single-handedly, and officials break up the four men fighting at ringside, Glenn Gilbertti stops Maritato and Marinera on the entrance walkway and begs them to reconsider quitting his firm. The already-angry Italians ignore him and trudge back to the changing room.
Footage airs from earlier as a cameraman caught Stacy Keibler verbally laying into her man, Shawn Stasiak, for his recent run of failures. She demands he do something to make this right and then storms off.
Christian York and Joey Matthews beat the Mamalukes by DQ in a bit of a grudge match when the heels, still fuming over last week’s upset loss to the Dragons, flagrantly broke the rules to teach Y&M a lesson and forced the ref to call it at just 4:27. They walked away after leaving their opponents hurt in a heap via a chair and the ring steps.
Dustin Rhodes continued his close monitoring of AMW, speaking to them in the changing rooms once more. He finishes by mentioning he caught XXX’s statement that they were the best trio in all of WCW, and that perhaps ‘someone’ should put that to the test.
US champion Sean O’Haire and his next challenger, Mike Awesome, were given ‘random drawing’ tag partners which led to O’Haire and Johnny B Badd beating Awesome and Mark Jindrak. The turning point was when Shane Douglas made his way ringside to pester Torrie Wilson, distracting Jindrak long enough for O’Haire to finish him with a fireman’s carry into a spinebuster at 7:12.
Douglas then went backstage, laughing all the way, while a furious Awesome powerbombed Badd through a table at ringside before O’Haire, watching Douglas walk away, could realise in time. Awesome left through the crowd, making threats to the champ as he retreated.
Mean Gene interviewed cruiserweight champion AJ Styles and Rey Misterio. Rey said he would begin his vengeance on XXX tonight versus Daniels and Ki, while Styles mentioned that it was an honour to team with the greatest cruiser in WCW history whilst also teaching the heel faction a lesson.
AJ and Rey beat Daniels and Ki, as this time it was the Fallen Angel who nailed his partner by mistake and opened the door for Misterio to get the pinfall with a springboard legdrop in 9:33. The former cruiser tag champs really haven’t been on the same page as of late.
As the faces celebrated the win, Air Paris was spotted by the camera watching from the curtain, as the commentators noted he was next in line for a shot at former partner Styles.
We were then taken backstage where cameramen picked up an altercation between Knoble/Kash and Crazy/Tajiri, as the heels resumed the brawl from earlier and ultimately laid out the champs.
Ric Flair and Sting looked for revenge against Jeff Jarrett and CW Anderson after the latter duo brought weapons into last Saturday’s big 2002 kick-off tag match. They won by DQ in 7:22 when another thorn in their side, Lance Storm, ran in and once again went after Flair. The three-on-two led to both legends being left down and out in the ring.
The Jersey Triad called out Los Guerreros to the ring, at which point DDP told them they wanted their tag title rematch and were calling in their rematch clause for Genesis. The four men traded insults while Bigelow stood and watched, before the champs opted to retreat given the odds.
Shane Helms once again levelled the Best of Seven Series versus Billy Kidman in match four, seamlessly countering the Kid Krusher into a Vertebreaker for 2-2 in 9:49.
Another Goldberg video package aired, this time hyping his return to WCW rings as ‘soon’ and formally announcing that he would face the winner of RVD/Booker T at Superbrawl XII.
Finally, those two gentlemen scheduled for the main event of Genesis came face-to-face as RVD called Booker T out and said he wanted to exact brutal revenge for T’s recent attacks in Book’s contracted rematch come the PPV, so he asked Cat for the bout to be no disqualification, anything goes – and Cat has apparently granted it!
Booker reacts at first but then regains his composure and warns RVD he has only ensured his brief title reign ends in a more violent fashion. Sharmell then gets in Van Dam’s face with a barrage of big talk, which allows Booker to attack. RVD fights back, but a low blow and a belt shot put him down. T posed with the belt he used to own and wants back as the show ended.
JANUARY 16, 2002: AIRTIME #2
AirTime’s debut was a success and now it was time to see if the cruisers could keep that pace going. Set for the main event was Triple X leader Elix Skipper attempting to regain a little momentum on Rey Misterio in the re-masked man’s return to singles action after being shelved by XXX for months.
The first of two singles contests between the participants in the cruiserweight tag title match at Genesis opened the show, as Super Crazy immediately took the fight to David Kash in the wake of the brawls on Nitro. The Insane Luchador flipped out of a tiger bomb attempt and into a sunset flip for the three count in 8:28.
The Jung Dragons continued their renaissance post-Leia Meow by winning a triangle tag match against the team of Jason Jett and Shannon Moore and new faces Mark and Jay Briscoe. The commentators emphasised the fact that the Briscoes were still only teenagers, as their highspots won over the Orlando crowd pretty quickly. Mark ultimately fell to the Dragons’ Wrath double-team for the pin at 5:35, however.
Air Paris explained in a pre-tape how AJ Styles has never beaten him one-on-one, and how at Genesis he will prove once and for all that he was the star of Air Raid. He finishes by saying that winning his first cruiserweight title from AJ will be the sweetest possible crowning moment.
Tajiri defeated Jamie Knoble by DQ after 3:29 when Kash ran in. Super Crazy made the inevitable save before the champs ran their redneck challengers off.
A video recap looks at the history between Rey Misterio and Triple X, including their gang attack which put him on the shelf for months, leading to his return back under the mask.
Misterio then defeated XXX leader Elix Skipper in the main event, completing his revenge tour against the faction after a win over Ki and Daniels alongside AJ Styles on Nitro. After a springboard huricanrana into a pinning sequence finished off Skipper in 10:51, Rey’s celebrations were cut short by a blindside attack from Shawn Stasiak, of all people. Is this how Shawn plans on returning to Stacy’s good books?
Card so far for WCW Genesis:
- WCW World title, No Disqualification: Rob Van Dam (c) vs Booker T
- WCW World Tag Team titles: Los Guerreros (c) vs DDP & Kanyon
- WCW United States title: Sean O’Haire (c) vs Mike Awesome
- WCW Cruiserweight title: AJ Styles (c) vs Air Paris
- WCW Cruiserweight tag titles: Tajiri & Super Crazy (c) vs Knoble & Kash
- Best of Seven Series: Billy Kidman vs Shane Helms
Next time: Several huge tag bouts on Nitro on the road to Genesis, plus a novel tag match variation on AirTime!