The road to Superbrawl XII is heating up as Goldberg returns to the ring on Saturday Nitro ahead of his WCW World title challenge of Rob Van Dam at the PPV.
Meanwhile, the feud between Ric Flair and Lance Storm is intensifying, we’re set to find out whether Billy Kidman or Shane Helms will challenge AJ Styles for the cruiserweight title, and will US champ Sean O’Haire really have to defend against his own tag team partner?
FEBRUARY 6, 2002: AIRTIME #5
Perhaps the biggest AirTime of the five so far was on tap this week with a two-out-of-three falls match and match seven of the Best of Seven Series.
Taped on January 31 at Centre Stage, Atlanta, along with the following Nitro.
The show kicked off with a recap of the finishes so far in the Best of Seven Series between Billy Kidman and Shane Helms. And before the deciding match seven began, AJ Styles made his way out to join the commentary team.
However, we had no conclusive #1 contender as the two went to a 45 minute draw in an epic bout which touched upon all six prior finishes.
Kidman had just hit a bulldog counter off the top, similar to what his old partner Rey Misterio used to do, when the time expired. The Cat came out and spoke to the referee, who stuck to his decision. Plus, there was no TV time remaining for overtime.
The commentators had already, at the 35 minute mark, told viewers that Psicosis vs Kid Romeo in a ⅔ falls match would be postponed until next week.
The show ended after one amazing yet inconclusive match with everyone wondering what would happen to the cruiserweight title match at Superbrawl.
FEBRUARY 9, 2002: SATURDAY NITRO #40
It appears that Superbrawl is quite distant from Commissioner Cat’s mind after recent events. Miller would be happy with just maintaining order in Nitro arenas, and hopes his ‘Pier Six Brawl’ concept will stop things from bubbling over each and every week. We’re also due an in-ring return from Goldberg, who could become WCW champion once more at the PPV.
The show in fact began with the brawl which kicked off last Saturday, albeit as a (barely) sanctioned six-man fight. The ‘Pier Six Brawl’ pitting Ric Flair, DDP and Kanyon against Lance Storm and Los Guerreros involved no tags, no disqualifications and street fight attire.
It went all around the arena and ended when Flair made Chavo submit to the figure four in 12:59 when Page and Kanyon were able to put Eddie and Lance down for long enough to add boots and chair jabs to Chavo mid-hold.
Chavo’s uncle and Storm were able to get back in time to kick off a post-match beatdown, however, laying the victorious trio out with chairs before Eddie crawled up to the top turnbuckle for a frog splash through Page and a table that hadn’t been used during the match itself. It looks like only Superbrawl can potentially settle these intertwined issues!
After the commentators give a belated introduction and rundown of the show. We quickly cut backstage before the next match as Kanyon is helping Page get medical attention. A furious DDP suggests they up the ante for their final shot at regaining the tag titles at the PPV, demanding a steel cage match! Kanyon adds that though the Guerreros tried to make it happen tonight, at Superbrawl he guarantees only one team will walk out.
US champion Sean O’Haire defeated Air Paris in non-title action next, making quick work of the former cruiserweight title contender thanks to his superior strength and yet comparable speed and agility.
After the Seanton wraps it up at the 3:45 mark, Gene Okerlund enters the ring and again attempts to bait a reaction from Sean, noting that he heard rumours over the past week that he and Palumbo made a promise to each other while tag champs that if either became a singles titlist, they’d give the other a championship match without hesitation.
O’Haire admits that the pact was indeed made but that he hasn’t heard from Chuck since his injury and has no idea what’s running through his head now. Okerlund follows up by asking if he thinks Palumbo is coming for his title, and O’Haire simply walks off.
On the topic of former O’Haire partners, we see Mark Jindrak watching this transpire on a TV in the changing rooms. He is soon joined by Shawn Stasiak who attempts to bond with his former ally over their recent bad luck with their ladies.
At first seemingly too dejected to respond, Mark starts to come around when Shawn mentions that at the last Superbrawl, they challenged O’Haire and Palumbo for the tag titles and they could easily be in that position again soon if they combined forces once more.
Shane Douglas defeated Sonny Siaki in a swift 3:18 bout with the Franchiser, during which he had his returning ‘head cheerleader’ Torrie Wilson hold up a ‘10’ scorecard for his performance.
This brought out none other than Johnny B Badd, who took a mic into the ring and said there’s only one cat in WCW who earns top marks. Douglas attempted a sneak attack but Badd blocked and caught him cold with the Tutti Frutti punch, before taking the card from Wilson and awarding himself a 10!
The Cat has AJ Styles, Billy Kidman and Shane Helms in his office. He says that the inconclusive nature of the Best of 7 decider so close to Superbrawl has left him with one real choice, and that’s to make the PPV title bout a three way dance.
Kidman is happy with the official ruling, champion Styles has no issues with it but unsurprisingly Helms has a face like thunder. Cat mentions that this means the bout will feature three of the best of three recent eras of cruiserweight competition: pre-millennium, post-millennium and post-WCW rebirth.
Glenn Gilbertti leads Simon and Swinger to the ring and mocks Bam Bam Bigelow for being left all alone after vowing to bring the Triad to this week’s six-man showdown before they were booked in a brutal brawl at the top of the show. Triple B comes out and says he managed to find a couple replacements who hate Gilbertti and his goons as much as he does, and with that the music of America’s Most Wanted hits!
Towards the end of the grudge match, Bam Bam got Gilbertti on his own and dished out some righteous punishment before Gilbertti tried to stop the pain by offering Bigelow a spot in GGE.
Bigelow paused, though it was hard to tell whether he was seriously considering it or just luring Glenn in, before finishing with Greetings From Asbury Park at the 6:42 mark.
A clip from earlier today airs, showing Mike Awesome arriving to the arena to find he has no scheduled match tonight. He pulls out his cell phone and asks “Father” what he should do, before noticing the cameraman and disappearing somewhere more private.
Dustin Rhodes makes his way to the ring in casual attire and says tonight, AMW were planning on finding Booker T and exacting some revenge for his needless and unprovoked attack on them last Nitro. Then, they were drafted into action at the 11th hour by Bam Bam Bigelow, but he doesn’t want to allow Booker T to go another week without explaining himself.
He says he knows T’s attitude has been changed by the world title over the last 12 months but he considers Book an old friend of his and he wants answers, “or else AMW will be the least of his worries”.
He finishes by saying that AMW are two young up and comers he sees a lot of potential in, just like many saw that potential in Booker and himself in the early 1990s. He’s aware that nobody has even seen Book arrive for the show tonight let alone spotted him around backstage, but gives him a one week warning to explain himself to AMW, Dustin or both.
Chuck Palumbo makes his in-ring return from injury, defeating Johnny The Bull in singles competition. Both men are much more accustomed to tag matches over the last couple of years but Palumbo displayed a ruthless edge which more than negated his ring rust before finishing off JTB with a Crucifix Bomb in 5:09. Post-match, The Cat comes onto the stage and says “Chuck, I spoke to Sean. You want it, he wants it… at Superbrawl, it’s on.”
Super Crazy and Tajiri received their rematch for the cruiserweight tag titles against Kash and Knoble, only for Jamie to break up a pinfall attempt on his partner with a steel chair for the DQ at 14:24.
Soon, the Jung Dragons and the FBI got involved and all three contender teams actually focused their anger on the champions who have spoiled both a routine return defence and a match to determine the next challengers in recent weeks.
With Knoble and Kash beaten down and ejected from the ring, the three other duos then started to brawl with each other, culminating in Crazy and Tajiri producing a ladder from under the ring and Crazy diving off it and onto the others at ringside as his partner held it steady.
Ric Flair interrupts a Mean Gene Superbrawl hype segment to rant at Lance Storm, saying Storm has been a man possessed since Flair ended his hot streak at Starrcade and while he proposed a submission match to prove who the better man is, he’s now looking forward to using the no-DQ nature of the match to prove who the dirtiest player is, too. He promises to make Storm sweat, bleed and pay the price for turning their battle into a war.
Rey Misterio Jr vs CW Anderson went the same way as Sting vs Jeff Jarrett last week in a role reversal, with Jarrett ruining the match and Sting making the save after 9:38 This time, after the faces clear the ring the Stinger challengers Jeff and CW to a tag match against he and Misterio at Superbrawl to settle this.
RVD is interviewed backstage about Goldberg’s in-ring return in the main event. The world champ says he’s looking forward to it, as a Goldberg fan himself, but he also has some business to conduct after the match, win lose or draw, with his new top contender. He promises to confront Goldberg before the show is done.
Goldberg was successful in his first bout since his Caged Heat war at Starrcade which ran Scott Steiner out of WCW. He weathered an attack from Big Vito before the bell and then an attempt at a run-in from Vito’s cornerman and partner Johnny The Bull before hitting the Spear and Jackhammer in 4:39.
As soon as the bell rang, RVD’s music hit and the champion headed to the ring for a tense staredown with Goldberg… before he extended a hand which his challenger accepted.
Superbrawl XII card:
- WCW World title: Rob Van Dam vs Goldberg
- WCW World tag titles, cage match: Los Guerreros vs DDP & Kanyon
- WCW United States title: Sean O’Haire vs Chuck Palumbo
- WCW Cruiserweight title: AJ Styles vs Billy Kidman vs Shane Helms
- Submission match: Ric Flair vs Lance Storm
Next time: A four-corners trios match, ‘pick your poison’ and RVD and Goldberg must join forces ahead of their Superbrawl showdown!