Not only were many scores settled at Genesis, but WCW now finds themselves on the road to Superbrawl, one of their marquee events. Not only that, but their first Superbrawl since their flirtation with complete collapse less than a year ago. A monster main event has already seemingly been set between WCW champion RVD and top contender Goldberg, and the post-PPV AirTime and Nitro should go some way towards telling us what else is in store.
WCW.com, the day before the fourth AirTime episode, announced that appearances from “hot new competitors” such as Jorge Estrada, Sonny Siaki and the Briscoe Brothers would continue as part of a “new talent initiative” on AirTime and also sometimes Nitro, with those appearing having the chance to secure long-term contracts with their performances if the fans approve.
Also, after weeks of negotiations, on-screen figurehead Ernest ‘The Cat’ Miller agreed to a Fusient contract to remain with WCW. The new terms are for a reduced 250k a year, and will also involve limited in-ring appearances and media tours.
- Ernest Miller: 450k pa until January 31 2002, now on 250k pa until January 31 2003
JANUARY 30, 2002: AIRTIME #4
With Genesis in the books, AirTime’s fourth edition looked set to deal with the issue of new challengers for the junior heavyweight titlists in WCW. Not only was a main event set to determine the next cruiser tag title match, but we were promised news on match seven between Billy Kidman and Shane Helms.
Filmed on day of airing with a delay at Atlanta’s Centre Stage, not too far from the scene of Genesis.
The show begins with tag team action as Triple X come out for a 2-on-2 with York and Matthews. It looks as though regular XXX tandem Low Ki and Christopher Daniels would handle the contest, but Elix Skipper took the mic and told Ki that he hasn’t been following the Triple X ‘playbook’ as of late so he was “benching” him and Skipper and Daniels would wrestle. It didn’t work, however: Y&M picked up the win on Daniels with Full Effect at 12:39 as Ki looked on from ringside, too angry to care about the result.
A second ‘World Cup of Wrestling’ video package reveals more info: WCW’s April PPV will be dedicated to the finals after a month-long tournament featuring four nations. A fourth country had yet to be added alongside Mexico, Japan and the USA.
Jason Jett, with Shannon Moore in his corner, defeated Air Paris with the Crash Landing after 6:16.
Backstage, Kid Romeo says Psicosis should go back to wearing a mask because he isn’t pretty, and he should go back to Mexico because he isn’t as talented as Kid Romeo. Unhappy with the fact they’re tied 1-1, Romeo challenges Psicosis to a two out of three falls match next week on AirTime.
Before the main event, which is set to determine a new pair of challengers for the cruiserweight tag team titles, the announcers reveal that match seven of Kidman and Helms’ Best of Seven Series will take place live on AirTime next week!
Finally, two sides building momentum after dropping their managers – and two sides who’ve clashed on and off ever since WCW reformed – battled for a future title shot as the Jung Dragons met the Full Blooded Italians.
A long and even match lacked a finish, however, when the new champs Jamie Knoble and David Kash decided to ruin the bout and attack both for a no-contest at 18:54. Super Crazy and Tajiri, who’ll feel they deserve a rematch for the belts they lost to the duo, ran in for the save and all four teams brawled and nailed each other with dives as the show ended.
FEBRUARY 2, 2002: SATURDAY NITRO #39
Taped after AirTime on January 30 at Centre Stage.
Commissioner Cat, starting the show in the ring, praises the action of the PPV before confirming that Superbrawl XII will be headlined by World champion Rob Van Dam giving Goldberg the title shot he earned at Starrcade.
Cat looks set to discuss other topics but he’s cut off by the spectacle of Los Guerreros brawling their way into the studio with DDP and Kanyon! He has security get a hold on things and has all four men kicked out of the building before they can completely descend the show into chaos.
Simon Diamond and Johnny Swinger defeated Johnny B Badd and Bam Bam Bigelow with a Problem Solver to Badd in 6:33. Still thirsty for revenge on GGE, Bigelow took the mic afterwards and challenged all three of them next week to face the New Jersey Triad!
Back in the locker rooms, a camera spies on a dejected-looking Mike Awesome who is speaking to someone on his cellphone. Whoever it is on the other end appears to be controlling the conversation, and Awesome finishes by saying “yes Father” before hanging up.
America’s Most Wanted were set for action next… however as they made their way down the walkway, they were blindsided by Booker T and a steel chair. A livid Booker, still without the world heavyweight title he held five times, laid waste to the duo thanks to the weapon and element of surprise before screaming at the cameraman something about injustice.
Triple X were with Mean Gene, who tried to instigate tension following the events of the last few weeks. Skipper denied it outright, saying his decision on AirTime was tactical, not personal. “Yeah, and it worked a charm,” Low Ki sarcastically replies as the trio which once dominated the cruiserweight division bicker at the end of the segment.
In eight-man tag action playing off AirTime’s main event non-finish, Super Crazy, Tajiri and the Jung Dragons beat Jamie Knoble, David Kash and the FBI when Crazy pinned Maritato with a straitjacket sit-out powerbomb in 13:03. Knoble and Kash laid out their opponents with their title belts after the fact, before lamping their team-mates, too.
In a pre-tape, AJ Styles is asked about the Best of Seven Series which concludes Wednesday on AirTime, with the winner meeting him for his cruiserweight strap at Superbrawl. He says he doesn’t know what has gotten into Shane Helms as of late, but it would be an honour to prove himself against Billy Kidman, one of the men who helped define the title he now holds.
With Mean Gene is Sting who says he has requested and received a match with Jeff Jarrett tonight stemming from the tag match at Genesis. He says he plans on removing one gigantic prickly thorn from his side tonight in the main event.
RVD celebrated his championship defence at Genesis by making relatively short work of the man he beat in his WCW debut, Mark Jindrak. The dejected Jindrak, now Torrie-less, fell to the Five Star Frog Splash in 5:40. In an impromptu post-match interview, Van Dam was asked if he’s looking forward to meeting Goldberg at Superbrawl. “Am I next? No, I’m Rob… Van… Dam!”
This was followed by a video package hyping Goldberg’s return to in-ring action… next week on Nitro!
Shawn Stasiak is the second wrestler tonight to emerge without his woman by his side. Pre-match he discards his usual “Shut up, listen and learn!” spiel and pretty much just begs Stacy to come back by his side. He’s cut off by the music of Kidman, who beats Stasiak clean with the Kid Krusher in 7:44, no doubt further damaging Shawn’s hopes of getting her back.
Sean O’Haire tells Mean Gene that Mike Awesome took him to the limit on Sunday but once again he proved he’s championship material. He promises to keep knocking back challengers for his US title as he and Chuck Palumbo did with the tag belts. Gene says speaking of Chuck… what was with that staredown at Genesis and would he defend the belt against Palumbo? O’Haire silently scowls and walks off.
Shane Douglas comes out with Torrie Wilson and brags about being back on the top of his game as The Franchise with his head cheerleader back by his side. He says he no longer needs a faction watching his back and that the gold is coming back around the gold and black waist.
He’s cut off by Jindrak, who storms the ring and brawls with Douglas only for a Torrie low blow to turn the tide. Douglas puts the boots to Mark and leaves with Torrie.
Shane Helms, like Kidman before him, also won his pre-decider tune-up against Sonny Siaki with the Vertebreaker in 3:52. Taking the mic, he said AJ Styles was a punk to overlook him and salivate over the prospect of fighting Kidman for the title. He says at Superbrawl it’ll be Helms vs the punk and finally, the return of the cruiserweight title to where it belongs.
Ric Flair makes his way out in his best suit and says he has something to say to Lance Storm: thank you. He thanks Storm for being part of the reason Flair went from being a miserable middle-aged man who hated the business to which he dedicated his life, to the man you see today: smiling, positive, back to great physical condition and ready to compete week in, week out.
He says he has one problem, however. At Genesis, the ref stopped their match but Flair didn’t submit. He says let’s do it one-on-one, one last time at Superbrawl… in a submission match.
Storm’s music hits as he looks set to answer the challenge, but though it plays for a while nobody appears… until Storm sneaks through the crowd and lays Flair out from behind. Grabbing a camel clutch variation, Storm yells at Flair that he accepts and that Flair should give up if he wants to make it to the PPV. Flair doesn’t say any such thing, and referees come down to pull Storm off.
Backstage in his office, The Cat says he had needed reinforcements twice during this show but next week on Nitro those six men can go at each other all they want as it’ll be DDP, Kanyon and Flair against Storm and Los Guerreros in a “Pier Six Brawl” – no tags, no rules. Come as you are, anything goes!
Lastly, Sting looked set to hand Jeff Jarrett a defeat in the main event until CW Anderson ran down and broke up the Deathlock for the DQ after 16:37. Rey Misterio made the save and the enigmatic faces stood tall to close the show.
Card so far for Superbrawl XII:
- WCW World title: Rob Van Dam vs Goldberg
- Submission match: Ric Flair vs Lance Storm
Next time: Who will win the Best of Seven Series? Plus, Goldberg returns to the ring!