MARCH 13, 2002: AIRTIME #10
With less than a fortnight until Spring Breakout hits PPV, we’re set for a special AirTime with AJ Styles defending the cruiserweight title against top contender Psicosis in lieu of a title bout at the main event, courtesy of Styles volunteering to team with the otherwise-friendless Low Ki against Triple X at the big event. Speaking of the former three-man unit, their messy divorce is also bound to rage on tonight.
Taped on March 12 in Orlando, along with the following Nitro.
This week’s opening words from our announce team are interrupted by Christian York, who says he has shown up for work for two weeks now expecting action to be taken against Skipper and Daniels for putting Joey Matthews on the shelf. Instead, they get to run around doing what they want and York says he isn’t going to sit quietly and watch it happen anymore.
He adds that maybe AJ Styles trusts Low Ki, but he sure as hell doesn’t and will take out both Elix and Christopher himself, tonight. Both members of Triple X appear on stage and look happy to oblige, but Stacy Keibler rushes out and appears to tell them that only one can hit the ring for a sanctioned singles match.
It’s Daniels who takes on York – but that doesn’t stop Skipper from sneaking back out and tripping up Christian to set up Angel’s Wings for the pin in 8:22.
We see Commissioner Cat backstage in his office, thanking Stacy for handling that business. He tells her he had his doubts at first but feels she is working hard and following his directives, so perhaps Eric was onto something in recruiting her to the front office. Stacy replies: “Eric?”. A confused Cat clarifies “yeah, Eric Bischoff… our boss?” Keibler quickly says “Oh, of course, right. Sorry, I’m tired.”
Cat tells her she can take the rest of the evening off and he’ll see her at Saturday Nitro. As she leaves, Rob Van Dam enters and demands Storm AND Booker T for the title at Spring Breakout for what they did on Nitro. Cat says he understands Van Dam’s anger and that the attack did not go unnoticed, but that he has to take his request under consideration.
Billy Kidman teamed with Jason Jett and Shannon Moore to defeat Shane Helms, Jamie Knoble and David Kash when Moore pinned Kash with Bottom’s Up in 10:59, giving the cruiser tag champs more reason to fear the upcoming threat of their next challengers. Afterwards, Kidman took the mic and asked Jett and Moore to join Team USA for the World Cup – and they accepted.
AJ Styles was asked backstage before his main event title defence if he wanted to be the fourth and final US team member. He admitted that while he’d love to represent his country in such a big tournament, his duties as cruiserweight champion come first and he has to keep that the case tonight when he defends against Psicosis.
And Styles did indeed retain in a great title contest against Psicosis, who had Mexico captain Super Crazy in his corner in a show of support. Crazy stayed out of the contest, which could have gone either way but ended when Styles rolled away from a guillotine legdrop and scooped up those legs of Psicosis’ into a fluid Styles Clash to wrap it up in 15:35. AJ, Psicosis and Crazy all showed respect to each other as the hour concluded.
MARCH 16, 2002: SATURDAY NITRO #45
WCW champion Rob Van Dam has overcome every obstacle since winning the belt at Starrcade, but is insisting on defending the title in a triple threat match against Booker T and Lance Storm, seemingly to prove a point after he was assaulted by the duo.
Would a potential handicap scenario where he could lose the belt without being defeated really be an effective way of dishing out revenge? We await confirmation of that bout but Ric Flair and Sting teaming for one last title tilt is set in stone as they challenge Los Guerreros, who showed up the veterans at the end of the last Saturday Nitro.
The show opens with Cat, from his office, stating that the world title match at Spring Breakout will be one of three scenarios. Both Booker T and Lance Storm must win singles matches tonight to remain in contention. If Booker loses and Storm wins, it’s RVD/Lance at the PPV. Vice versa means Van Dam vs Booker. And, if both lose, RVD can instead handpick a challenger other than those two.
Jeff Jarrett and CW Anderson head to the ring immediately after the announcement. Jarrett says that after he conquered Sting and rid WCW of Rey Misterio, he should be rewarded with a world title shot. Instead, the likes of Lance Storm and Booker T are in line ahead of him despite achieving half of what he has as of late. He demands Cat come out here and explain himself.
After a lengthy pause with no music hitting, Jeff says his patience is wearing thin… only for the music of Rey Mysterio to strike up instead! Rey makes his return with a new mask after that brutal attack and sprints for the ring… only for Jarrett to flee and CW instead going on the attack. Rey reverses and sends the New Enforcer scurrying with a snap huracanrana. Jarrett stares at Rey with a sense of fear from the entrance walkway.
Sting defeated Chavo Guerrero in a competitive singles encounter, rallying from Chavo’s work on his leg to pick up the win with a Deathdrop in 9:46 to send a message to one of the men who cost him the Street Fight against Jeff Jarrett.
Shane Helms enters the ring in street clothes and demands Billy Kidman come out as well. When a bemused and wary Kidman arrives, Helms tells him that he doesn’t like him, and that he doesn’t care for his ‘values’ or his ‘personality’ but he assumed that there was a mutual respect between the two, when it comes to actual wrestling, despite their rivalry.
Obviously that isn’t the case, Helms continues, because surely Kidman would have looked past their differences and recruited Shane to Team USA for the World Cup? Kidman replies, saying that despite that sea of backhanded compliments he does respect Helms as a competitor and recruited Jett and Moore rather than Helms because he figured Shane would not care for working as a team for an international tournament.
Billy finishes by saying that since Helms seems genuinely interested, and because AJ Styles has admitted that his duties as cruiserweight champ take priority, the last spot is Helms’ if he wants it. Shane hesitates but then surprisingly shakes the extended hand of Kidman!
Helms warns Billy that although he wants World Cup glory as much as anyone, that come Spring Breakout he’ll do whatever it takes to earn the next shot at AJ. Kidman says he wouldn’t have it any other way.
Sean O’Haire teamed with Tajiri to beat Shane Douglas and Air Paris when Tajiri Buzzsaw Kicked and pinned Paris in 6:41. The main story of the tag bout, however, ended up being Douglas sneaking around the ring near the finish to yank the US champion off the apron before busting him open with a chain-wrapped punch while the referee dealt with the action in the ring.
We see more clips of Jindrak and Stasiak bonding as ‘bros’, this time at the gym.
This week’s World Cup update analyses the big news from earlier on the show, as rivals Kidman and Helms, who fight for a title shot at the PPV, will seemingly put their differences aside to attempt to bring the cup to the States. That takes captain Kidman from being the final guy to recruit anyone to the first to complete his line-up of four. The update also breaks the news that the Amazing Red will provide his decision regarding joining Team Italy when he competes live on Wednesday’s AirTime.
Mike Awesome, with Father James Mitchell in his corner, attacked Johnny B Badd before the bell and then made short work of the WCW veteran. After a pin via Awesome Bomb in an official 1:54, Mitchell slid a table into the ring and Mike splashed Badd through it from the top rope. The message was clear: with the devious one in his ear, Awesome was on a rerouted path of destruction.
Super Crazy and Psicosis are interviewed backstage by Armando Quintero in Spanish. Via subtitles, we see that Crazy apparently has team member number three signed up and will reveal who it is in due time. He also says he knows who he wants as team member number four: cruiserweight legend Rey Mysterio! It has the announcers wondering if Mysterio can focus on a sportsmanlike tournament given his grudge with Jeff Jarrett.
Booker T will indeed fight for the world title at Spring Breakout after beating recent foe Dustin Rhodes via Ax Kick at 10:20 thanks to a distraction from the gentlemen who have had recent issues with ‘The Natural’, Glenn Gilbertti Enterprises. America’s Most Wanted run out and start a brawl, which Dustin joins and has to be broken up by security.
Cat is running Stacy Keibler through a few things in his office when Los Guerreros walk in, playing it polite and brown-nosing. They talk about how we’re nearly a year on from the end of the old days of WCW, and that even though they’re fighting Sting and Flair at the PPV, Chavo says he was there when the two battled each other and everyone thought it’d be the last time.
He says whatever happens at Breakout, he’s so happy it wasn’t the last time WCW ran a show, or the last time iconic rivals Sting and Flair faced off. Eddie butts in and says it was actually the last time, since Flair isn’t going to be wrestling much anymore – as it becomes clear what they are trying to achieve here.
And it works, as Stacy bites and says it’d be a great idea if Sting and Flair met in a match next Nitro, a year on from the 2001 season finale. Cat, despite sensing the Guerrero scheme, says it would be a very cool homage to a crucial time in company history… but warned the Guerreros that their challengers won’t be the only ones to wrestle 24 hours before the huge tag title bout.
Elix Skipper and Christopher Daniels are in the ring and Skipper says that when he formed Triple X last summer, he wanted two of the top unknown talents to flank him and watch his back. Two talents who shared his view that the cruiserweight division was ripe for the picking if someone was ruthless enough to reach out and take it.
And while they dominated for months, Elix says he noticed week by week that one of his recruits was just like him and a worthy equal in the faction while the other thought he was better than the unit and had remorse about the things they did to get ahead – things that made that someone a household name, Skipper claims. He says there may no longer be three of them, but they are Triple X and they have tossed the dead wood.
They’re interrupted by Ki, who accuses Skipper of talking complete BS. He says Skipper wanted a pair of flunkies and that only Daniels continues to fall in line, so that put Ki on the outs. He says he did desperate things to get a high-profile spot but from now on he’s going to prove his worth as his own man – well, after Breakout at least, because he will be taking care of business at the PPV with a man who has his back. Here comes the cruiserweight champ AJ Styles, and the two hit the ring only for the heels to flee.
A video package looks at Goldberg’s unfortunate injury from last week, speaks to ‘Da Man’ after his successful surgery about his impending absence from the ring, and details the title implications for tonight.
DDP vs Bam Bam Bigelow is hardly a match as the referee is forced to throw it out 3:37 into the fight. Awesome and Kanyon join in and the brawl goes all the way around the arena!
The Cat finishes telling Stacy Keibler off for her rashness earlier, before getting word that security have finally separated DDP/Kanyon/Bigelow/Awesome. Cat says maybe their tag fight at the PPV needs to be Anything Goes, Falls Count Anywhere.
Lance Storm’s qualification opponent is Chris Kanyon, who is obviously still sore from the brawl he just got into. And that allows Storm to take control of much of the match and ultimately weather Chris’s comeback before winning with the Maple Leaf in 9:18. It’ll indeed be a three-way at the PPV for the world title.
After the match, Storm calls out RVD and tells him to come get a look at his fate next weekend. Van Dam does indeed show up, but is jumped on the entranceway by Booker T! The heels put the boots to the champ and leave together.
Finally, Eddie Guerrero beat Ric Flair with a backslide and his feet on the ropes in 12:46. Both men had tried to out-cheat the other. Flair took the fight to Eddie after the cheap loss but was blindsided by Chavo. Sting came out and made the save as the show went to black.
Spring Breakout card so far, per WCW.com on Monday morning:
- WCW World title: Rob Van Dam vs Booker T vs Lance Storm
- WCW World tag team titles: Los Guerreros vs Ric Flair and Sting
- WCW United States title: Sean O’Haire vs Shane Douglas
- 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
- Anything Goes, Falls Count Anywhere: DDP & Kanyon vs Bigelow & Awesome
Next time: It’s PPV week on the way to Spring Breakout, and Sting takes on Ric Flair a year after they nearly had the last match in WCW’s history and 24 hours before they team up to challenge for the tag team titles!