JUNE 12, 2002: AIRTIME #23
Although the apparent presence of a conflict between Eric Bischoff and someone who invested in WCW last year is dominating the headlines, the cruiserweight division has its fair share of drama.
Tonight we hope to hear more on the issues between Triple X and the luchadores, Bryan Danielson and Brian Kendrick, The Amazing Red and the Maximos’ ongoing war with Kid Romeo and the FBI and maybe even our champions, AJ Styles and the Jung Dragons.
Taped on June 11, along with the following Nitro, in Atlanta.
During the opening pyro and music, Shane Helms immediately heads for the ring in street clothes and commandeers a mic. He says he has been shafted out of his rightful one-on-one rematch with AJ Styles for the cruiserweight title because the ‘upper crust’ can’t handle the fact that he is no longer a good little soldier who falls in line. This brings out Stacy Keibler, who says he can indeed have a singles rematch – and it will be our main event tonight, so she advises Shane to go get his gear.
Brian Kendrick came out for the tag team challenge he laid out to Bryan Danielson and introduced his partner, a man he claims is the best prospect to come out of Texas since, well, himself… Matt Bentley. Danielson then emerged with a young man beside him, whom Dave Penzer introduced as Paul London. The duo hit the ring and immediately took the fight to Kendrick and Bentley with London hitting a spectacular dive to both on the outside when they retreated.
Brian and Matt eventually worked heat on London until the tag to Danielson, who lit up the crowd with a rally on both opponents until Bentley kept the official distracted to enable a Kendrick low blow. Sliced Bread #2 followed and Kendrick pinned Danielson after 8:50.
We cut backstage to Cat trying to cool down a shouting match in his office between Triple X and Super Crazy & Psicosis. He tells them they’re welcome to settle their issues in the ring and while they all missed out on singles title contention, the winning team can challenge the Jung Dragons for the cruiser tag belts.
The announcers hype a sitdown interview with Jeff Jarrett and CW Anderson, who are currently suspended from in-ring competition, for Nitro where we hope to find out more about their alleged collusion with GGE and their mysterious benefactor.
The simmering dispute between Super Crazy, Psicosis, Elix Skipper and Christopher Daniels wasn’t settled in their tag bout thanks to Knoble and Kash running in and attacking all four men at around the 10-minute mark, as the bout seemed to be nearing its climax. Knoble gets the mic and says nobody is getting a title shot but them.
It’s announced that next week, Kid Romeo and The Amazing Red will compete in a no-disqualification match.
Finally, AJ Styles appeared to well and truly put Shane Helms behind him, retaining the cruiserweight title one-on-one, in the middle of the ring, with a Styles Clash from the second rope after 21:20.
JUNE 15, 2002: SATURDAY NITRO #58
The introduction to this week’s show includes a shot of the steel cage hanging over the ring. Tonight’s main event is the Final Battle between Rob Van Dam and Lance Storm, with the WCW World title on the line. We’re also seemingly set to witness everyone from Glenn Gilbertti Enterprises in action tonight – including the leader himself, one would imagine – as their apparent war with WCW on a mysterious investor’s behalf heats up.
Speaking of which, Dustin Rhodes and America’s Most Wanted defeated Chuck Palumbo and the Mamalukes in our opener when Rhodes slipped out of Palumbo’s Edge attempt and snared a quick backslide at the 9:37 mark for the three-count out of nowhere.
The commentators noted that Rhodes wasn’t at 100% after being choked out by Shane Douglas last week, and that the Franchise received a one-week suspension without pay. The heels did spend some time working on Rhodes’ neck until a hot tag to Harris. Dustin tagged back in when old foes AMW and the Mamalukes brawled around ringside.
Interviewed on the stage, Harris and Black said that they will complete a one-year journey to the WCW tag titles by finally conquering the Guerreros at the GAB.
A creepy New Church pre-tape sees James Mitchell warn Kanyon that his monster Mike Awesome will destroy him before he can even petition for a US title match.
The non-title singles contest between Awesome and Kanyon was next, and actually saw Kanyon on the front foot against a man he knows all too well and who nearly crippled him two years ago. Tempest attacked for a DQ after 6:32, as Kanyon began to build a head of steam, before Sean O’Haire, Mark Jindrak and Shawn Stasiak ran down to prevent a four-on-one.
We see clips of AirTime’s bout between XXX and Crazy/Psicosis that was interrupted by Knoble and Kash. It segues into an announcement that Cat has booked a four-way elimination match for the cruiser tag belts at the Bash with the Jung Dragons defending vs all three.
WCW tag champs Los Guerreros defeated the soon-to-be-rivals of AJ Styles and Rey Mysterio, who do battle at the Bash for the cruiserweight belt. Eddie deliberately shoved Rey into AJ as the faces looked on the verge of perhaps a shocking non-title upset, leaving Styles wide open for a Chavo brainbuster and the pin at 16:24. AJ wasn’t happy with Rey post-match, while Eddie and Chavo declared they were unstoppable and will never be dethroned.
Shane Helms is shown arriving at the arena earlier today, in a foul mood after losing his last chance to regain the cruiser title on AirTime. He crosses paths with Shannon Moore and tells his former partner to take a good, long look at him because Moore will forever be a loser like Helms – and worse still, one who happily accepts being a loser by being a ‘sidekick’ to someone like Jason Jett. This time the comments are overheard directly by Jett himself who interrupts Helms and warns him to shut his mouth. It leads to a brawl that security breaks up – but Moore just stands and watches, looking confused.
Dustin Rhodes says backstage he pitched a idea to Cat that the Commish rather likes. Since Douglas wants to hit people with chains and wrap leather around their necks until they pass out, Rhodes says he suggested a match for the Bash – he then brings a large chain with a dog collar attached to each end into the camera shot. At the GAB, it’s a Dog Collar match to try and settle this issue once and for all.
Glenn Gilbertti joins Simon Diamond in the ring ahead of his man’s singles match with Diamond Dallas Page. He says Simon is the one Diamond that can not be cut. However, despite Simon avoiding three attempts at a Diamond Cutter, he ultimately succumbed to the fourth as Page floated behind his attempt at a third straight suplex as part of his trademark ‘Simon Series’, leading to the fall at 8:25.
With Diamond out, DDP immediately reached through the ropes and pulled Gilbertti into the ring, choking him and demanding he reveal the identity of Mr. Wrestling III – the man who screwed Page at Slamboree. The rest of GGE ran down before Glenn blabbed, however, and DDP escaped through the crowd.
Juventud Guerrera explains in a pre-tape, using English this time, that Super Crazy and Psicosis have proven that they don’t have his back. He says the only person he can rely on is himself and that Wednesday on AirTime he will prove against Kidman why he deserves a cruiserweight title shot, and how the likes of Kidman and Tajiri should be behind him in the pecking order. Tajiri interrupts and shouts at Juvi in Japanese before bluntly telling him “you are not good enough” in English. We learn that since this was recorded, the match for AirTime has been made a three way dance that could have serious contention implications if Low Ki remains on the sidelines.
Booker T and Sharmell tell Mean Gene that at the Great American Bash, he will teach DDP a lesson once and for all not only for disrespecting Sharmell but for ever thinking that he was Booker T’s friend. Tonight, however, he’s been made to wrestle Johnny Swinger. He says he doesn’t care about Swinger or GGE, but Cat wants them punished and Booker says there’s no bigger punishment than being forced to go up against the former five-time champ.
As it turns out, there’s one way to escape a beating from Booker T as Swinger immediately laid down for T in the middle of the ring. A bemused Booker covered Swinger and claimed a win in just 0:08. Swinger and Gilbertti left with smirks on their faces as he commentators speculated that Page – who wants a piece of everyone involved – has been kept on the run by the rest of GGE.
Jeff Jarrett and CW Anderson join us via live feed from an undisclosed location. Suspended from in-ring action for the month, Jarrett immediately fumes about Cat’s vendetta against him.
He cites the inconsistent length of punishments: so GGE are actively doing whatever’s going on around here and get a week or two while JJ and CW get a month for being in the right place at the right time? Jarrett says 2002 has seen the two of them shake off the dead wood and make a serious claim for the world title, the US title and the tag titles. They say they want to hold them simultaneously but they’re being held back and punished for something that isn’t their doing.
The commentators grill Jarrett on that, bringing up his past with the Chosen Few and noting he’s more than capable of such a faction-based strategy. Jarrett explicitly says, on his family’s life, that he is not co-conspiring with Glenn Gilbertti or anyone else. He says after the Great American Bash they will get their title shots and shove this “BS suspension” down Cat’s throat.
Finally, the cage was lowered for the WCW title ‘final showdown’ between champion RVD and challenger Lance Storm. A dramatic and physical battle climaxed with both men battling on the top rope, clutching onto the top of the cage, trying to get rid of the other in order to climb over and out. Storm battered Van Dam down and climbed up top, only for the champ to recover and grab his leg before joining him right at the top.
The two fought again and this time, Lance fell down to the canvas. RVD considered climbing down to retain, but instead nailed a huge Five Star Frog Splash from the top of the cage and covered Storm for the win at the 23:53 mark. Their epic year-long on-off feud over championships and pride was finally over and the world title was RVD’s…
However, the lights went out after less than a minute’s celebration/recovery time for RVD, and flicking lights and lightning SFX introduced Sting. RVD’s next challenger for the title was in the rafters in trademark style, pointing down at the champion with his bat. Rob noticed the Stinger and slowly climbed back to the top of the cage with the belt, taunting Sting with it in an epic visual to close the show.
WCW Great American Bash 2002 card so far:
- WCW World title: Rob Van Dam (c) vs Sting
- WCW World tag titles: Los Guerreros (c) vs America’s Most Wanted
- WCW Cruiserweight title: AJ Styles (c) vs Rey Mysterio
- WCW Cruiserweight tag titles: Jung Dragons (c) vs Jamie Knoble and David Kash vs Super Crazy and Psicosis vs Triple X
- Diamond Dallas Page vs Booker T
- Dog Collar Chain match: Dustin Rhodes vs Shane Douglas
Next time: The build begins towards a WCW World title dream match at the Great American Bash, when RVD defends the belt against Sting! And, will we find out who Mr. Wrestling III is?