MAY 22, 2002: AIRTIME #20
The cruiserweight division will be represented in some style at Slamboree in just a few days.
A cruiser battle royal will determine a new top contender after a month full of verbal challenges, the tag straps will be up for grabs in a grudge match, set up as a result of the rewards for World Cup victory, and Ultimate X will make its debut with the cruiserweight singles title on the line.
Tonight, we’ve been promised a live demonstration of the first-time-ever match as well as big matches with Slamboree implications.
Taped on May 21 in Atlanta, along with the following Nitro.
The Ultimate X structure is set up over the actual ring in the WCW arena live for the first time and we are joined by Don Callis, Mike Tenay, Bryan Kendrick and Bryan Danielson in the ring. The two announcers introduce us to the first public demonstration of the match concept and it involves Kendrick and Danielson climbing the posts and going arm-under-arm to the middle to show what is required. They also discuss the sort of conditioning and agility it takes to do.
Callis asks them for one more demonstration but this time, as they hang from the cables, Knoble and Kash rush out and grab their legs, yanking them down hard onto the mat.
Knoble yanks the mic from Tenay and says there’s your demonstration of what can happen Sunday. Kash then announces a demonstration of what else will happen Sunday – to the Jung Dragons.
Just as they prepare to do some damage to the shoulders of the rookies, the Dragons and Tajiri rush out for the save. Out comes Air Paris to help the heels and it segues into the advertised match…
…Tajiri and the Dragons beat Knoble, Kash and Paris when Tajiri wiped out Paris with the Buzzsaw Kick in 7:27. However the big development was the cruiser tag champs yanking Yang off the apron near the end and doing more damage to the arm.
The Amazing Red comes out and calls out Kid Romeo. Romeo comes out smirking, with the FBI flanking him, and wonders on the mic why Red hasn’t yet had enough and why he cannot take the hint that he doesn’t belong in WCW, all the while slowly approaching the ring. When Romeo finishes his threats, they are in the ring with Red.
Red, to his credit, doesn’t stand down and challenges all three to a match vs himself and two partners. They laugh and Maritato asks who would possibly agree to team with Red. With that, two twin brothers rush out and they and Red take the fight to the heels! They send Romeo and the FBI running, as it seems Red finally has some backup.
Jorge Estrada, Sonny Siaki and Julio Dinero defeated The Briscoes and Cassidy O’Reilly after Estrada hit O’Reilly with his swinging Fisherman at the 5:12 mark.
The Cat and Stacy Keibler praise the art of the six-man tag match, after we saw two action-packed trios battles tonight as well as a challenge being made for one by Red. Cat says Red and his buddies can wrestle Kid Romeo and the FBI on the Slamboree pre-show and if they win… suddenly Stacy cuts in and says they will hash out a longer deal for the two unnamed wrestlers if they win! Cat looks a little miffed he was beaten to his own announcement, but rolls with it and tells fans to watch this space.
Juventud Guerrera defeated Shannon Moore in 9:16 with the Firebird Splash in another hotly-contested encounter between two men hoping to earn a cruiserweight title shot at Slamboree in the battle royal.
A video package recaps the controversy surrounding Glenn Gilbertti Enterprises. Then, we get a clipped look at the RVD/Storm confrontation from Nitro.
Finally, Elix Skipper defeated Rey Mysterio and Low Ki in a three-way after his buddy Christopher Daniels kept Rey outside the ring, going under the ring to hide himself from the ref’s view, allowing Skipper to roll up their former colleague and grab the ropes for the three in 11:31.
Triple X mocked Low Ki’s commentary-appointed ‘king of the multi-man match’ moniker and claimed one of them would win the Slamboree battle royal. Their gloating was cut short by a revenge attack from Rey and Ki.
Air Paris, Jorge Estrada, Sonny Siaki and Julio Dinero rushed out to jump the faces they likely see as big threats to their chances in the battle royal and then out come Jason Jett, Tajiri, Shannon Moore and pretty much everyone involved in the Slamboree contest in what was a wild preview of sorts to end the hour.
MAY 25, 2002: SATURDAY NITRO #55
Slamboree is 24 hours away, the card is stacked and part of GGE has been suspended for their recent actions, with the remainder of the group set for a reckoning on the PPV. It certainly doesn’t feel as though the recent chaos rippling its way into WCW is quite finished yet, however – especially after Gilbertti and Palumbo laid out the legendary Ric Flair last week.
The Slamboree go-home Nitro began with the former World champ, Rob Van Dam, defeating Shawn Stasiak with the five-star frog splash in 5:37 as the announcers hyped his ladder title rematch in 24 hours. Speaking of which, Lance Storm slipped into the ring as the three count was being registered and nailed RVD as soon as he got up with a superkick.
The WCW champion then fetched a ladder from underneath the ring and brought it crashing down onto Van Dam’s back as he started to come to. Lance finished by setting up the ladder over his foe’s prone carcass and posing with the belt at the top of the object the two will be doing battle with on Sunday.
Booker T and Sharmell are interviewed backstage. Booker says 2002 should have been the year of Booker T but so far it has been the year of Booker T being screwed. He plans on fixing that tomorrow when he beats three other contenders on his way back to regaining the title he feels he never should have had taken from him. Sharmell essentially echoes his sentiments in a more aggressive, shouty tone.
York and Matthews proved themselves as ready challengers for Los Guerreros by beating Simon Diamond and Johnny Swinger with Full Effect in 7:40, who appeared without the suspended Glenn Gilbertti or Chuck Palumbo. Post-match, Eddie and Chavo snuck down and looked to potentially blindside their challengers but were seen entering the ring by the faces, causing them to do a quick about turn and retreat up the walkway.
In his dressing room, Dustin Rhodes talks about how he has won the United States and Tag Team belts across more than a decade of wrestling on-off for WCW. He mentions that for years, the World title has been the last big step, that one accomplishment left. He wondered at times if he could even manage it.
But on Sunday he’s one win away from the opportunity to win the big one and answer that question once and for all. And tonight, he faces Booker T in singles action. He warns Booker that he hasn’t forgotten Superbrawl and wouldn’t mind making sure T doesn’t even make it to Slamboree.
Dustin at least gained a measure of revenge for Superbrawl when he pinned Booker in singles action, countering a missed Axe Kick with an Oklahoma Roll after 8:52 in a result that’ll put Rhodes’ confidence and self-belief at maximum going into the four-way contenders bout tomorrow.
Ric Flair tells Mean Gene that he plans on being at Slamboree to enjoy another WCW PPV as ambassador because one cheapshot from some punk isn’t enough to get rid of the Nature Boy. He also promises to get answers from Glenn Gilbertti regarding the motives for his peculiar and controversial actions as of late, once he’s back from suspension.
New United States champion Mike Awesome makes his way out alongside Father James Mitchell for a promo, presumably. We never find out because Sean O’Haire, clearly sick of the blindside attacks and the interference of three mysterious druids last week, runs out and attacks Awesome as the commentators confirm his title rematch is in 24 hours at Slamboree. Security breaks it up but it was all O’Haire and the champ is left bruised and furious.
We get a quickfire barrage of short promo clips from various cruiserweights competing in tomorrow’s battle royal, the winner receiving a title shot against whomever emerges from the first ever Ultimate X match with the cruiser title.
The two challengers in Ultimate X teamed with the two duos competing tomorrow over the cruiserweight tag belts as Shane Helms, Jamie Knoble and David Kash beat Billy Kidman and the Jung Dragons.
The heels worked on that bad arm of Yang’s and after Jimmy stubbornly tagged back in as Kidman’s hot tag cooled off, an attempt at his inverted Tombstone gave way and allowed Knoble to get a tap-out with an armbar in 8:25. Will the same fate await the Dragons when they attempt to finally acquire WCW gold in 24 hours?
During that match, the Ultimate X structure was above the ring the whole time and as Helms and Kidman continued to brawl at ringside after the bell, cruiser champ AJ Styles left commentary, grabbed a nearby cable from the top rope and swung and dived onto the two!
Shane Douglas and Torrie Wilson say that while Booker T has spent 2002 complaining, Dustin Rhodes has spent 2002 being the pathetic nearly-man he always is and Sting has spent 2002 being a washed-up relic, 2002 has been the Franchise’s year. He’s got the girl and soon, he’ll have the WCW title.
The commentators have their DDP vs CW Anderson preamble cut short as we switch to the Mamalukes jumping AMW backstage. Though Harris and Black fight back initially, they’re overwhelmed and get the worst of it 24 hours before their no-DQ war with their bitter rivals.
DDP (w/Kanyon) beat CW Anderson (w/ Jeff Jarrett) via Diamond Cutter in 11:10 one day before the two duos fight in tag action to hopefully blow off their simmering dispute from the last couple months. Jarrett looked like he was going to sneak in after the fall with his guitar only for Kanyon to grab it and start a tug-of-war. As they did this, Simon Diamond and Swinger hopped the rail and entered the ring, blasting Page with a Problem Solver.
Kanyon let go of the acoustic equaliser and slid in, only to be met by a barrage of boots and a Problem Solver of his own. Jarrett watched on, looking genuinely surprised by the development but of course perfectly happy to have his two opponents at Slamboree left in a heap the day before the bout.
After the break, a steaming Cat heads to the GGE dressing room where the Mamalukes and Simon/Swinger are pretty proud of themselves for the last couple of segments. Cat asks them exactly that, then tells Simon and Swinger to be proud of their one-week suspension, adding that they’ll be missing a PPV paycheck just like their boss and their ‘big lummox buddy’.
He warns the Mamalukes that they’re avoiding a suspension because their PPV match is set in stone and AMW will want to dish out their own punishment, but informs them he’ll be having them escorted from the arena straight after their bout because nobody will be getting Jeff Jarrett out of trouble at Slamboree. He then demands to know where Jarrett is. The foursome rather suspiciously plead ignorance. Cat tells Simon and Swinger to pack up their things before he has security do it for them.
Lance Storm and Mark Jindrak went to a no-contest in 2:14. After just a couple of Storm-controlled minutes, RVD came out and grabbed the same ladder from beneath the ring that Lance used on him earlier. As Storm stomped down Jindrak in the corner, Van Dam lined him up for a ladder lariat before doing the same to Jindrak and then finally to an outrushing Stasiak! Between the title loss, last week’s brawl and now the assault from earlier, the former champ has had enough and will be in an ‘extreme’ mood for his big rematch!
A bat-wielding Sting is up in the rafters with a rather brave cameraman. He says year two of WCW’s rebirth is plagued in chaos and that it needs a ‘bat-man’ of sorts to restore the peace. He says nobody knows the Great American Bash like he does and 2002 will be just like 1990 after he wins the four-way at Slamboree.
Cat finally finds Jarrett talking to CW in the trainer’s room as Anderson gets his neck iced. Cat tells Jeff he has him all figured out: he’s made friends with one of Bischoff’s investors so the ‘Chosen One’ has his ‘Stroke’ back. Next, he gets GGE to do his bidding as his new little ‘Chosen Few’ and he uses them all to politic his way back to the WCW title.
Cat tells Jarrett that his job position as Commissioner is iron-clad and that he also has 100% authority over matchmaking. He promises not to let Jarrett get back on top like this.
Jeff swears for the last time he has nothing to do with GGE or with the money men behind WCW. Cat says he can keep this up for now, but at some stage he’ll slip up and leave a trace of evidence behind, and that’s all he’ll need.
Finally, Shane Douglas scored a surprising win over Sting, albeit thanks to a trademark Torrie distraction combined with a chain shot to the head after 11:51.
Dustin Rhodes, who has felt that chain recently from his rival, ran down and took Douglas down before mounting with punches only to be pulled up by Booker T and planted with the Book End. Booker then took the chain and blasted Douglas with a shot to the head, as Sharmell attacked Torrie at ringside. One more shot to Sting from Booker and it was the five-time former champ standing tall as we went off the air.
Next time: An old-school presentation meets new-school action as WCW presents Slamboree 2002!