MARCH 6, 2002: AIRTIME #9
The rosters for April’s World Cup are slowly falling into place, though Billy Kidman is falling behind in consolidating his USA squad thanks in part to he and Shane Helms’ lobbying for a one-on-one cruiserweight title match after three-way defeat at Superbrawl.
And it’ll be interesting to see what happens in the singles title picture, with champ AJ Styles surprisingly rescuing Low Ki from his former Triple X colleagues on Saturday. Who’ll be next in line for AJ? Well, we at least know who is next for the cruiser tag champs…
Taped along with the following Nitro on March 5 in Orlando.
In a result which helped build momentum towards their cruiserweight tag title shot, Jason Jett (w/ Shannon Moore) defeated David Kash (w/ Jamie Knoble) in singles action to open the show. Knoble did attempt to get involved, but was kept at bay long enough by Moore for Jett to land a slingshot clothesline and the Crash Landing at the 8:25 mark.
Backstage, Mean Gene asks Kid Romeo, standing by with the FBI, how he managed to land captaincy of Team Italy for the World Cup of Wrestling. Romeo explains his background as being part Latin, part American and part Milano. When asked who will join as their fourth member, Romeo says he has his eye on someone.
Team Mexico members Super Crazy and Psicosis defeated Bryan Danielson and Brian Kendrick with a moonsault and a guillotine legdrop on an opponent each before legal man Psicosis pinned Kendrick on 6:42. Psicosis motioned to the camera post-match that he wants his title shot against AJ Styles.
Speaking of the champion, he too was interviewed backstage and AJ noted that he had Billy Kidman, Shane Helms and Psicosis all gunning for his title. He said he’s a fighting champion and doesn’t care which of them steps up next.
When asked about helping Low Ki on Saturday and his match tonight vs Elix Skipper, he said he may not be Low Ki’s friend but he isn’t just going to sit around and allow what’s left of XXX to do what they did just because Ki has done what everybody in wrestling has done and made some enemies on his way up the ladder. He promises to show Skipper what happens in a fair fight tonight – and hopes that Ki will take the example to heart.
In their big rematch following a shock outcome the first time, Air Paris took on the Amazing Red. Paris was more aggressive this time around and controlled much of the bout, but missed a Lionsault which led to an awesome Red offensive blitz and another surprising three count at 6:17!
Red retreated and celebrated on the walkway while Paris threw a tantrum in the ring. Meanwhile, as Red went to head backstage, he was greeted at the entrance by an applauding Kid Romeo…
A pre-tape looks at Sonny Siaki and Jorge Estrada. It details their careers up to arriving in WCW on pay-per-appearance deals. They say they’re sick of paying dues and are ready to start turning heads.
The commentators confirmed prior to the main event that Cat had granted Sting and Ric Flair’s request for a tag title shot against Los Guerreros at Spring Breakout, in what could be Flair’s last title opportunity in WCW.
Finally, AJ Styles defeated Elix Skipper by DQ when Christopher Daniels interfered at 16:28, just when the champ appeared to be closing in on victory. Low Ki made the save, and Styles got on the mic to challenge the duo to a tag match at Spring Breakout.
Ki himself doesn’t seem entirely comfortable with the idea, though no doubt eager to get revenge on his former colleagues in a fair scenario. Can he really co-operate with a man he once helped his now-enemies antagonise?
MARCH 9, 2002: SATURDAY NITRO #44
Word was released days prior to this edition of Nitro that not only would there be a huge match to determine a new number one contender to the WCW title, but that it would in fact open the show! With that, an expected Los Guerreros rebuttal to the challenge from Sting and Ric Flair and more set for the episode, things were fixing to explode as the weekly flagship show returned to its new-era home base of Orlando.
As advertised, the show opened with a blockbuster first segment as Goldberg, Booker T and Lance Storm did battle in a three-way dance for the next shot at WCW champion Rob Van Dam.
Unfortunately, after 12:58 of fast-paced action, Goldberg appeared to injure himself quite seriously and the match ground to a halt while trainers and extra officials tended to Goldberg’s knee in-ring.
Eventually, Cat and Stacy Keibler emerged from the back and Cat told Booker and Storm to head back to the dressing room, and that he would handle the title situation later tonight.
Ric Flair and Sting make their way out after Goldberg is helped to the back, and Flair says it is on: at Spring Breakout, he will attempt to win one final piece of WCW gold alongside his greatest opponent, his biggest enemy and one of his dearest friends in Sting.
He says he cannot think of a better way to move into semi-retirement, and says if he and Sting win the belts they’ll vacate on the very next Nitro. He explains that it’s important, after discussing with the Stinger all week, for him to finish in typical Flair fashion: fighting for gold. And, he adds, we’ll see if the Guerreros are worthy of becoming the new ‘dirtiest players in the game’.
Sting then says that is for the PPV, but tonight he has personal business to handle. He says Cat has approved a Street Fight between himself and Jeff Jarrett, where he promises to avenge Jarrett’s assault on Rey Mysterio and the theft of his mask.
They are then interrupted by Los Guerreros, and Eddie immediately begins threatening the duo in Spanish, then English, then back and forth between the two. Chavo attempts to cool his uncle down and says he’s actually really looking forward to the title match at Spring Breakout. He says he cannot wait to see Flair go out with his final and best achievement yet.
Of course, he adds, he isn’t talking about title wins, because they’re going to lose. What he refers to is, in fact, how he thinks Flair is going out with one last ‘dirty player’ swerve. He asks Sting how many times Flair has betrayed him. Five? Six? Twenty-three?
Chavo proclaims that in Orlando, the three dirtiest players in the game will stand over the ‘biggest loser in the history of the company’. Flair laughs at the duo and asks if they really think they can sow dissention like that? He says the Chosen Few tried it a while back and it failed – now, their old leader is going to get taken to school tonight by Sting, says Flair, and at the PPV it’ll be the tag champs’ turn. Whooooo!
US champion Sean O’Haire defeated Johnny The Bull in non-title action with the Seanton in 5:44. Afterwards, he took the mic and said he heard Shane Douglas making threats he cannot carry out. He adds that if the Franchise wants to keep doing the things he does to others, someone will take exception and smack him right in his big mouth – and that someone is him.
From his office, Commissioner Cat says he has some confusion to clear up regarding the duties of cruiserweight champion AJ Styles. Styles has Psicosis targeting a title shot, as well as both Shane Helms and Billy Kidman. In addition, AJ has just thrown out a challenge on TV to face XXX alongside Low Ki at the PPV.
After reprimanding Styles for going out and promising contests without clearance, especially when he has enough on his plate, Cat says he will defend his title against Psicosis on AirTime in four days.
As for Helms and Kidman’s claims that their respective failures at Superbrawl were unjust, the way Cat sees it only one will get a one-on-one crack at the champ after Spring Breakout, with that man being whoever does what the duo were originally tasked to do: win the Best of Seven Series. Match Seven was a tie, so Cat makes a Match Seven do-over for the PPV: two-out-of-three falls, there must be a winner.
Jason Jett and Shannon Moore tuned up for their upcoming title shot at cruiser tag champs Knoble and Kash with a win over Jorge Estrada and Sonny Siaki via Bottom’s Up to Siaki in 6:10.
Their celebrations did not last long, as a blindside attack from Jamie and David came within seconds of the bell. A beaten Estrada and Siaki ended up helping the champs put the boots to Jett and Moore in a four-on-two.
The latest World Cup of Wrestling update documents the teams so far: firstly Team Italy will be led by Kid Romeo alongside the Full Blooded Italians, and it appears Romeo has his eye on rookie sensation Amazing Red – who, it can now be confirmed, has enough Italian American lineage in addition to his Puerto Rican roots to join, if he chooses.
Team Mexico captain Super Crazy recruited Psicosis, who could be cruiserweight champion at the start of the Cup. Team Japan has just one open slot for skipper Tajiri to fill alongside the Jung Dragons, and American captain Billy Kidman has until the recruitment deadline of the end of Spring Breakout to find all three of his team members.
In a singles grudge match that had both AJ Styles and Christopher Daniels banned from ringside, Elix Skipper defeated Low Ki thanks to a low blow while the referee was still reeling from narrowly missing a Ki kick, followed by the Play of the Day at the 13:28 mark.
In a boiler room somewhere, Father James Mitchell stands in front of Mike Awesome and Bam Bam Bigelow. He says that the most dangerous monsters are those who’ve lost their way – they’ll do anything to get back on the right path.
He says most of us already know him, but we will soon find out what he is all about by the destruction his men will cause under his guidance. Mitchell concludes by warning DDP and Kanyon that though they seem to think Mitchell has started a war with them, they are merely the first obstacles on their path – and should think twice before volunteering themselves as obstacles again.
Simon Diamond and Swinger defeated America’s Most Wanted when Glenn Gilbertti gave the signal for Chuck Palumbo to come down just as his men found themselves in deep trouble after a hot tag, and distracted the ref while Palumbo pulled Harris off the ropes before a Death Sentence. Black then fell to the Problem Solver at 11:26. A furious Dustin Rhodes ran the heels off with a steel chair and made a challenge for a six-man match.
Backstage, Jeff Jarrett is sat on a chair in his dressing room, holding Rey Mysterio’s mask in front of him while CW Anderson stands in the background. Jarrett talks to the mask as if it’s Rey, telling ‘him’ that his attempt to magically come back with his mask as if it carried superpowers has failed. He says he took Rey’s powers, his mystique and his fighting spirit in one fell swoop.
He advises Rey to stay away from WCW for good this time – or if he absolutely has to pay the bills, to go flip around with those other cruiserweights and to stay well away from the ‘big boys’. Jarrett then turns to the camera and warns Sting that tonight is his turn to pay for Superbrawl, and that another ‘warrior of mystique’ will be exposed as a myth when he decimates him piece by piece.
After a singles match between the two last month ended in a DQ, world champ RVD decisively beat Big Vito of the Mamalukes the second time around with the Five Star Frog Splash in 7:27.
Cameras catch Johnny The Bull greeting Vito behind the curtain and lamenting their recent failures, and questioning whether they have what it takes anymore. Vito, still selling the loss to the champ, tells him to calm down and that there’s a Plan B. And, after recent results and especially tonight, maybe he should go against his better judgement and go with Plan B. Johnny seems confused, but Vito sees the camera and walks him back to privacy.
Meanwhile, Mean Gene stops RVD before he enters his own dressing room and asks him what he makes of the world title contendership situation earlier. He says he’s awful that Goldberg has suffered what seems to be a serious injury and that he was looking forward to giving him another shot.
He’s interrupted by Lance Storm, who takes offense to RVD assuming it wouldn’t have been he or Booker coming out as #1 contender and before Van Dam can reply, he’s blindsided by T himself! Booker and Storm put the boots to the champ while Sharmell cheers them on and Gene calls for help.
Finally, Jeff Jarrett faced Sting in a Street Fight. Out in jeans and a t-shirt, Jarrett couldn’t get an edge on the Stinger for much of the first half of the lengthy brawl but CW Anderson finally turned the tide his way with a spinebuster. Ric Flair ran out and beat CW all the way to the back and after Jarrett worked over Sting for a while, the man in paint made a comeback.
He nailed three Stinger Splashes, only for Eddie and Chavo Guerrero to run out and beat down their opponent at Spring Breakout before putting him through a table propped up in the corner. Jarrett crawled over and got the three count at the 15:21 mark to close the show.
Spring Breakout card so far:
- WCW World tag team titles: Los Guerreros vs Ric Flair and Sting
- Best of 7 Series Overtime Decider, 2/3 falls: Billy Kidman vs Shane Helms
- AJ Styles and Low Ki vs Elix Skipper and Christopher Daniels
Unfortunately, the injury to Goldberg will put him out of action for at least six months in a big blow to WCW.
Next time: The World Cup squads fill up, and the WCW World title match situation for Spring Breakout is finally resolved!