If Fusient Bought WCW #53: A Big Name Recruit

Things heat up in the days before Superbrawl XII…

FEBRUARY 20, 2002: AIRTIME #7

With just four days until Superbrawl, we were set to see the three cruiserweight title combatants face off once more… in a three way tag team main event. Also, will Triple X be able to survive the week without another shouting match?

Taped on a delay earlier in the evening in Orlando.

We got an answer to the latter question pretty fast, as opening the show was a tag match pitting Low Ki and Christopher Daniels taking on York and Matthews. The action began after an in-ring promo from Elix Skipper who apologised to Ki for the last few weeks and agreed that XXX needed to return to the same page in order to return to the top of WCW.

Indeed, the former cruiser tag champs looked their fluid selves in the contest but were rocked by the hot tag and a Y&M rally. It was the ringside Elix who turned the tide with a cheapshot allowing Daniels to finish Matthews with Last Rites in 10:49.

The FBI claimed that Superbrawl would be their crowning moment in a pre-tape, promising to make all three of their opponents wish they never got into wrestling in the first place.

Air Paris went one-on-one with The Amazing Red, in the diminutive teenager’s debut. And not only did Red wow the crowd with his high-flying blitz, he shocked them all by scoring the three-count over the former cruiserweight title challenger! After Paris missed a Lionsault, Red capitalised with a standing shooting star press for the surprise pin at 6:01.

The Jung Dragons spoke of their ‘awakening’ in another pre-tape, claiming that after two years of making mistakes and paying their dues they would climb the figurative and literal ladder to the top of the cruiserweight division.

Triple X are stopped backstage by Jeremy Borash and asked about their tainted win. Skipper and Daniels brush him off and keep on walking whilst Low Ki, behind them, seems a little surprised at the accusation having not seen Elix’s interference. However, he follows them regardless.

Finally, the Superbrawl three-way competitors again did battle in multi-tag action, this time picking a partner apiece. It was Shane Helms and Kid Romeo vs Billy Kidman and Jason Jett vs AJ Styles and Shannon Moore, ending when Jett and Moore ended up opposite each other in the ring and Jason was able to reverse a cradle attempt for the three on his regular partner after 14:34.

Post-match, Kid Romeo floored both Jett and Moore as they showed sportsmanship and Helms took a chair to the back of both Kidman and Styles, making a statement ahead of this Sunday’s blockbuster title showdown.

FEBRUARY 23, 2002: SATURDAY NITRO #42

There are now 24 hours until Superbrawl, and many of the big matches and feuds looked set to reach fever pitch on the go-home Nitro. The World title main event participants will both wrestle in tune-ups and hope to avoid embarrassing defeats so close to a huge match, while we will hear from the three men contesting the cruiserweight title in a ‘clash of the cruiser eras’. And who exactly did Glenn Gilbertti have in mind when he promised Simon and Swinger two additions to GGE?

Things began with a singles contest between Elix Skipper and Psicosis, with Christopher Daniels running in when things looked hairy for his Triple X colleague and causing the DQ after 6:59.

Low Ki ran in soon after, kinda baffled as to why Daniels hit the panic button and threw out the contest for his stable but Skipper soon ordered him to hold one of Psicosis’ arms along with Daniels so Elix could lay in some punishment.

Before Ki could actually end his hesitation and comply, York and Matthews ran down for the save, presumably stemming from AirTime’s match which saw them shafted by XXX.

We see RVD arriving at the arena. Jeremy Borash catches up to him and asks him about the spear from Goldberg last week. The WCW champion says he plans on “having words” with his challenger tonight, just 24 hours before their huge title contest! Not to mention the fact that both are due in singles ‘tune-up’ action…

Meanwhile Mean Gene is with Glenn Gilbertti and his men, Simon Diamond and Swinger, who are about to face the Jersey Triad in six-man action – a bout which would have happened a few weeks ago but for a booking conflict. Gene presses Gilbertti on the information he was caught on camera divulging last week about “two major acquisitions” for GGE. Glenn smirks and says to just watch tonight’s match.

Gene then mentions the other hint given, a name nobody would believe was in discussions to join. Gilbertti made a half-hearted attempt to shrug the question off until Gene kept badgering and provoked him to claim that “come tomorrow at Superbrawl, the two gentlemen in the main event will have a much bigger reason to argue than an accidental spear.

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When a flabbergasted Okerlund follows up by asking for confirmation that Gilbertti has secured the services of either RVD or Goldberg, and asks which one sold out, Glenn says “now that would kill all the suspense, wouldn’t it?” and he and his team walk off.

DDP, Kanyon and Bam Bam Bigelow took on Glenn Gilbertti Enterprises next. After heat on Kanyon, the hot tag was made to Bigelow… who when faced with Gilbertti on this occasion, smirked and extended a hand – only to then nail the sports agent with a massive headbutt!

Things broke down into a brawl and Page got the blind tag in, finishing Gilbertti with the Diamond Cutter at 8:25. Bigelow seemed a little displeased that the bottom line was sealed by DDP when he had things wrapped up, and perhaps also when Page and Kanyon took the mic to cut a promo on Los Guerreros afterward.

A sitdown interview with Billy Kidman aired, during which he praised Shane Helms and AJ Styles for bringing the cruiserweight division further forward since he himself burst onto the scene in the late 90s. He says he considers himself the underdog of the three-way but that his experience in both the flyers’ realm and as a heavyweight competitor is why he will continue to make history with another reign on Sunday.

Los Guerreros defeated America’s Most Wanted in a reasonably competitive non-title match lasting 9:48, wrapping things up with a Chavo tornado DDT on Harris after Eddie had raked his eyes, before throwing some shade of their own towards their steel cage opponents on the mic just 24 hours before the final showdown between the two teams.

As AMW arrive backstage, they’re mocked by Mark Jindrak and Shawn Stasiak for “proving they’re beneath the big boys” and accuse them of being the “flavour of the month”. Harris and Black retaliate by asking the rejected duo where their women had gone. A pull-apart had to be quickly defused by nearby security staff.

Rob Van Dam defeated Big Vito by disqualification when Johnny The Bull threw RVD off the top rope from ringside at 6:33, before we could see the Five Star Frog Splash. The Mamalukes put the boots to the World champion until the music of Goldberg hit.

He sprinted down and took out both attackers, only to turn around into a spin kick from the champ! Are they even now? Will Goldberg see it that way since one was an accident and one wasn’t? Have we just seen Glenn Gilbertti’s claim come true?

Shane Helms says he respects what AJ Styles and Billy Kidman can do but he doesn’t respect their perceived status in the cruiserweight division. He says Styles is an unproven champ and yet is being heralded by the fans as something legendary, while Billy Kidman had the ball and dropped it.

Helms says he, on the other hand, had the ball smacked unfairly from his grasp before he could prove himself as great. At Superbrawl, he says he will put the washed-up cruiserweight and the overrated cruiserweight out of their misery and get back what it his.

Jeff Jarrett and CW Anderson hit the ring wearing ridiculous lucha masks and proceeded to mock the concept, acting like they couldn’t see where they were going and being thankful nobody could see their ugly faces. They then removed the masks to reveal terrible facepaint jobs, proclaiming that even if they lost the masks their ugliness is protected by paint.

It wasn’t long before Sting and Rey Misterio ran out to confront their antagonists and a brawl broke out, which saw the former ‘Chosen Few’ members stand tall after Jarrett again used his guitar to get the edge.

In tag team action, Sean O’Haire paired with Johnny B Badd to meet Shane Douglas and Chuck Palumbo, giving O’Haire his chance to confront his former tag partner ahead of their US title showdown as well as a preview of Badd/Franchise.

However, Palumbo did not tag into the match, at all, and stood on the apron despite the protests of his partner, Shane’s valet Torrie Wilson and O’Haire for him to get involved. Palumbo then hopped off the apron, walked over to the US title belt and picked it up for a long stare.

O’Haire went ringside and snatched it off of him as the two went face to face, without any certainty of just how Palumbo is going to deal with his friend/opponent tomorrow.

Meanwhile, Badd had Douglas in a compromising position only to be low blowed right in front of the referee for the desperation DQ at 6:13. Douglas looked to inflict more damage on JBB but O’Haire ran him off while Palumbo silently walked to the back.

Ric Flair comes out to the ring in one of his finest suits and says that less than a year ago, he honestly thought his days of competing inside the ring against the very best the world has to offer were over. He says he figured he would take a job in New York as a manager, or an ambassador, and watch from the sidelines as the profession passed him by.

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He says it’s thanks to the WCW fans, to Sting, to his shock Eric Bischoff, and to his even greater shock some of his biggest enemies such as Lance Storm and Jeff Jarrett and his stable that he was able to catch a second wind and feel like he was in his 30s again. So, since he doesn’t know how long this final run as a competitor will last, he asks for Storm to come out as he has something to say to him.

When a reluctant Storm complies, Flair assures him that he has no intention of starting a fight, and that the time for that will come tomorrow in their submission match. Flair admits he doesn’t like constantly being targeted, but understands why.

He knows that his career and his legacy make for a huge trophy to whoever takes him out of the game. He knows Storm wants to do that tomorrow and he can handle that fact. Bring it on, he says. But he wants to make one thing clear: he knows Storm is the future of the company but… to be the man, you have to beat the man. And tomorrow he’s going to war as if it was his final match.

Win lose or draw, Ric adds, he will extend a hand to Storm after the bell and he expects Storm to be a man, whether he proves himself to be the man or not. After a long pause, Lance says “Done… but don’t get your facts mixed up, Ric. You’re not a special scalp to me. You’re just an old relic who got lucky at Starrcade.” Storm then leaves and Flair poses for the fans as his music plays.

AJ Styles, in his sitdown, says he hasn’t even had a chance to process his Starrcade win yet. He was immediately thrust into the launch of AirTime, rematch vs Elix, fending off his former partner and now he has two of the best cruiserweights of the last five years coming for his belt at the same time. He says he wouldn’t have it any other way, as this is the only way he’ll prove to the world that he belongs.

Super Crazy, Tajiri and the Jung Dragons defeated Jamie Knoble, David Kash and the Full Blooded Italians in an eight-man tune-up for the four-way ladder tag for the cruiserweight tag titles on Sunday. Yang Time on Knoble was enough for the three-count at 8:08, and to the surprise of nobody ladders were soon introduced to the post-match aftermath.

It began with three dives, one from a member of each challenging team, to a pile of bodies on the outside – but it finished with Knoble and Kash fulfilling their promise to flat-out lay out their rivals with the steps as weapons, before standing tall on a ladder with their belts.

Booker T and Sharmell made their way out as the announcers confirmed that he’d have to face Dustin Rhodes one-on-one at Superbrawl. Booker took the mic and said that he has reached his breaking point. Since WCW’s resurrection, he has been the one and only ace in this company, and yet he’s been given nothing but disrespect until they could get the belt away from him and on their “new meat” Rob Van Dam.

Booker promises to leave a trail of victims just like he has in recent weeks, until he gets another chance at his title. With that, he’s taken down by Rhodes who came in through the crowd and the two have a wild pull-apart brawl.

Before his Nitro main event match, Goldberg was asked flat-out by Mean Gene if he had agreed to join Glenn Gilbertti Enterprises. Goldberg snorted at him with derision. Gene then asked if he thought RVD had, and if his attack earlier tonight was a sign of that more than it was retaliation for the errant spear. Goldberg simply walked off.

Finally Goldberg won his Superbrawl tune-up in a competitive big-man match vs Mike Awesome. The WCW title challenger was given a run for his money, but an Awesome splash from the top missed and led to a Spear and Jackhammer at 9:21.

Goldberg immediately grabbed a mic and barked: “Van Dam! Get out here now!”. It didn’t take long for the champion to oblige and they immediately traded blows in the middle of the ring! This time, when RVD got an edge, Goldberg ducked the spin kick, bounced off the ropes and speared Van Dam – one that was definitely aimed for the champion!

He stood over RVD to a mixed reaction with the world belt in his hand, as Gilbertti and his goons came onto the stage to applaud. As they caught Goldberg’s eye, ‘Da Man’ wasn’t necessarily too thrilled with their presence.

Next time: Superbrawl XII!

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