SEPTEMBER 4, 2002: AIRTIME #35
Vince Russo dropped the charade on Saturday and made his plot for a total takeover abundantly clear. However, WCW is pushing back against S.E.X and the two tribes will battle in WarGames. Not only that, but the cruiserweights continue to defy the man who finds their athleticism deplorable and the singles title remains the one belt Russo’s army does not own. Can Jerry Lynn, AJ Styles and Low Ki survive a triangle ladder match at Fall Brawl, though?
Taped on September 3, along with the following Nitro, in Nashville.
The masked and mysterious American Dragon continued to look impressive as he picked apart Jorge Estrada and scored a quick tap-out in 2:48 with Cattle Mutilation.
Backstage, Brian Kendrick watches on a monitor and moans to anyone who’ll listen about how Dragon is clearly Bryan Danielson. Just then, Paul London rushes the scene and takes down the man who cheated him out of victory last week and security is required to pull the two apart.
Joey Matthews defeated Tony Mamaluke in singles action, with their tag partners Christian York and Guido Maritato in their respective corners. York scuppered a Guido attempt to help Tony sneak a win, leading to a float-over DDT giving Matthews the duke in 6:53. Y&M said over the house mic after the bout that they’ve proven their superiority over the cruiser tag champs in recent weeks and it’s time for them to fulfil their promise to hold WCW title belts before 2002 draws to a close, formally challenging the FBI to a match at Fall Brawl.
We get a video package looking at the tremendous wrestling put on between Jerry Lynn, AJ Styles and Low Ki for the WCW Cruiserweight title. It concludes by looking at their three-way ladder match at the PPV.
Curt Hennig knocks on Stacy Keibler’s office backstage and enters. He asks her for the latest on him getting a contract, since he’s heard nothing back from Russo. Keibler says they’re all very busy and Hennig doesn’t really have much to offer them. Hennig snaps, shouting at Keibler all of his accomplishments and his legacy in the business and points out that this is the third time Russo has treated him like garbage. Keibler lets him cool off and asks if he wants work or not. Hennig admits he needs one last run. Stacy says she’ll see what she can do.
Elix Skipper, Christopher Daniels and Matt Bentley defeated The Amazing Red and the Maximos with an assist from new SEX member Sonny Siaki, who grabbed Joel’s foot before Bentley could taste the Spanish Fly. Bentley and Jose then crashed to the mat together and Skipper walked the ropes into his stunning top rope huricanrana on Joel for the three-count in 18:31.
The four heels beat on the defeated trio after the bell before Daniels took the mic and said he prophesied long ago that WCW’s squeaky-clean vision of cruiserweights would be destroyed by the darkness and that the good lord Vince Russo has declared ‘end of days’ for the cruiser division and AirTime.
Out on the ramp comes pretty much everyone who stands in SEX’s way: Kidman, Rey Mysterio, Super Crazy, Juventud Guerrera, Psicosis, Paul London, American Dragon, Jerry Lynn, Low Ki, York and Matthews, Tajiri, Jung Dragons and AJ Styles. Kidman speaks for the group, telling Daniels and SEX that nothing will terminate the lifeblood of WCW and that they know the same goons from last week are in the building. Kidman says the war continues tonight and this time, they’re running SEX off the broadcast entirely.
Indeed, through the crowd comes The New Church, The Rejected, Glenn Gilbertti and his men. The two sides meet in the ring and the fight is on! Red and the Maximos are able to recover enough to join in as well, but the heels are on top of things until Los Guerreros of all people arrive with steel chairs and powder to the eyes, and help turn the tide in the cruiserweight division’s favour! SEX do indeed retreat clear off the show as Eddie, Chavo and Rey hold aloft a huge WCW banner to close the show.
SEPTEMBER 7, 2002: SATURDAY NITRO #70
The battle lines have been drawn in WCW and in just eight days the battle rages into WarGames. Who will represent Sports Entertainment Xtreme and who will Sting select to defend the name of World Championship Wrestling?
Vince Russo once more makes the start of Nitro all about himself as he addresses the audience from his office. He says entitlement is the biggest cancer known to entertainment. When people expect to be front and center based on their family tree or some hackneyed tradition, it stops the cream from rising to the top and makes people want to do something else with their free time.
He says he wouldn’t allow Eric Bischoff to repeat his mistakes with the new WCW and he won’t repeat mistakes himself with entitled failures like Sting, Jeff Jarrett and the Guerrero family. He says Jarrett hasn’t been seen since he was forced to lay a few home truths on his old friend, Los Guerreros will pay a similar price for not falling in line and Sting and anyone dumb enough to join him inside WarGames will be destroyed in the name of Sports Entertainment Xtreme.
He finishes by saying the cruiserweights think they won a battle on Wednesday by running SEX out of AirTime but from this moment on neither Stacy Keibler nor himself will lift a finger to produce a show on Wednesdays. He says AirTime will rot until the TV station terminates the deal to stop the rot. And after that, cruiserweight wrestling as a whole will die under his rule.
Ironically, this monologue is followed by an opening match of Rey Mysterio teaming up with Tajiri to face Sinn and Slash of the New Church. The four men renewed their hostilities from the end of AirTime, as did Crowbar and Kidman when the former tried to interfere.
Tajiri locked Sinn into the Tarantula and Mysterio performed his old ‘legs-through-the-ropes’ dodge from the apron which brought his feet crashing into the trapped Sinn’s midsection, before Tajiri released and finished with the Buzzsaw Kick at 9:01. Post match, the monster Malice emerged, laying out Kidman at ringside before destroying both Rey and Tajiri inside the ring.
York and Matthews are in Stacy Keibler’s office. She says it was agreed that Y&M would get at least one more opportunity at WCW gold during the current deal that will see them forced to leave the company if they cannot become champions this calendar year. She informs them that their challenge to the FBI for Fall Brawl has been accepted and that this is their one and only mandated chance, since she doesn’t see Russo being generous enough to give them a second no matter how many other matches they win. Y&M say they will fulfil their destiny at the PPV.
Everyone is thrown off back in the area by the sound of the old Three Count pop song as the Jung Dragons come out with the old green ‘spots’ to stand on while dressed as goofy as Moore and Helms from back in the day. They mock their recent tormentors who come out to the stage looking none too impressed. The brawl is on and the Dragons get the better of it, nailing stereo dives off the entrance platform to the floor below before things are finally broken up.
A groggy Helms then makes his way to the ring for a non-title match with Cruiserweight champion Jerry Lynn. The fracas with the Dragons proved critical in their back-and-forth encounter as the fresher Lynn flipped out of a Vertebreaker attempt and nailed a bridging German suplex in one fluid motion for the victory in 12:14. A livid Helms tore up some furniture at ringside after the loss.
We get an injury update on CW Anderson, who may miss as much as two months of action after hurting himself last week against Kanyon. The commentary team note that not only is CW on the shelf, but his buddy Jeff Jarrett has been AWOL since being destroyed by Russo’s SEX troops seven days ago.
Backstage, Los Guerreros explain to Jeremy Borash that they live by a certain code in the ring, as repeated by Eddie: lie, cheat, steal. They do not, however, like to associate themselves with people who do those three things but try to disguise themselves as saints.
Chavo says he saw Russo was a snake the first time he nearly ran WCW into the ground, but if he just kept out of their way and gave them their title rematch things would have been fine. Now, they’re doing to bury SEX for sticking their nose in their business and disrespecting the Guerrero family name.
That burial was put on a delay by the next match, as Simon Diamond, Johnny Swinger and Ron Killings defeated Los Guerreros and Sean O’Haire when Killings laid out O’Haire with the ring bell at ringside, leading to a 3-on-2 that finished with a Problem Solver to Chavo after 9:52.
Booker T and Sharmell are at home in a pre-tape. Booker says WCW is currently in a state of turmoil but one thing remains the same: all he cares about is becoming world champion again and being the top of the mountain, whether it stands tall or becomes a pile of rubble.
He says that means he has a lot in common with Lance Storm, someone with a very similar viewpoint. But while he and Sharmell thought at first that meant the two men could do business together, it became clear that only one could succeed.
At Fall Brawl, they go one-on-one to determine who deserves a shot at the title. Booker says Storm will go back to Canada as an also-ran while Booker becomes the six-time champ.
A video package looks at the MMA reputation, WCW title win and eventual SEX reveal of Ken Shamrock.
Low Ki defeated Shannon Moore, who was also worse for wear after the brawl with the Jung Dragons earlier, with the Ki Krusher in 8:30.
Lance Storm tells Jeremy Borash that Booker T and himself have more in common than T chose to let on, more than just world title aspirations and disdain for most of the roster. Lance says both of them were regarded as future stars and big hopes in 2000 when the company was on the verge of collapse and Russo was there pulling the walls down.
They both saw, first hand, that all of Vince’s big talk is just talk. It’s why neither of them stand alongside SEX and it’s why they stood against Russo at Bash At The Beach. They both also know that whatever Russo does in charge this time, every wrestler remains driven by becoming World champion because guys like himself and Booker made it valuable again compared to 2000 and the days of David Arquette.
And that’s why the WCW vs SEX war means nothing to them. All they want is the big gold belt, and the right to say they’re the best in the world. After spending the summer trying to make it happen together in the face of war, at Fall Brawl it’s one or the other.
AJ Styles defeated recent SEX initiate Sonny Siaki with the Styles Clash in 5:25. After the bout, Triple X ran down and attacked AJ after the bell, but before they could continue the attack with a ladder they had brought out from under the ring, Low Ki and Jerry Lynn ran out for the save. After the SEX troops retreated, all three men glared at each other and the ladder.
Father James Mitchell, with his stable flanking him outside the arena, says that under the New Church, the self-righteous will be one of the first to burn. Cruiserweights like to think they are special, he claims, but Mitchell asks the Kidmans and the Tajiris of the world if they feel so special when Malice picks them up above his head and hurls them with the force of a bullet? He says that Fall Brawl will be the beginning of the end of the cruiserweight division: his New Church will break their bones and their spirit before ‘Pastor Russo’ ends what’s left of them.
Diamond Dallas Page is in the dressing room with Kanyon, where he says that he’s lost count of the number of bad dudes, monsters and wrestling machines he’s challenged for championship gold. Yeah, Ken Shamrock is the world’s most dangerous man and yeah, he’s sold his soul to Vince Russo but to Page this is another shot at the top like any other he’s had and he knows there may not be too many more for him at his age.
DDP adds that Shamrock will have to kill him to make him tap out at Fall Brawl. He goes on to say that tonight, he and Kanyon will take the fight to SEX in another form and Kanyon finishes by saying Shane Douglas will get a preview of what’s to come at the PPV when he gets his ultimate redemption and wins the United States title to a hero’s reception.
Page and Kanyon defeated Shane Douglas and Mark Jindrak by disqualification at the 10:36 mark when Chuck Palumbo broke up an inverted Boston Crab by Kanyon on Douglas. Douglas and Jindrak have had their history, of course, but the commentators touched upon how Russo reportedly expects the two to gel like their Chosen Few days for the greater cause and that appeared to be the case here, with even Torrie Wilson, the cause of their falling out, rallying the two to co-operate from ringside. Things got worse for the faces when Scott Hall, Sean Waltman and Ken Shamrock also came out and got their licks in on Page and Kanyon before kicking them out of the ring.
This led to Hall introducing Russo himself, who came out to the ring and declared that if Sting wanted war, he’ll get Russo’s war. He announced that he was using the Ready 2 Rumble triple cage once again for WarGames, and that the winning team would have to go to the top, retrieve a briefcase and bring it back to the bottom.
This brings out Sting, who says that Russo has spent his career trying to shock people but in fact has only made himself predictable. So predictable in fact, that signing a WarGames match and protecting several WCW mainstays wasn’t all The Cat was able to do before he was fired.
He says the contract is binding that the two-ring cage of last year and of years gone by will be at Fall Brawl, and that this war with Russo’s “New School” will be settled the “Old School” way – submission or surrender.
A frustrated Russo rants and moans about politics and haters stifling his “vision” but tells Sting he’s going down on his own terms, and introduces most of his team right there in the ring: Hall, Waltman, Jindrak and Palumbo. Russo says the New World Order and the Natural Born Thrillers rocked WCW’s boring, washed-up, old-timey traditionalists to their core before and will do so again, combined under his Sports Entertainment Xtreme banner.
Sting says he’s glad Russo is up for naming rosters as he would like to introduce his own: Dustin Rhodes, America’s Most Wanted and of course, Ric Flair! Flair takes the mic and wonders why we’re standing around talking when we could get a taste of the WarGames tonight? Russo says bring it, and the faces rush the ring!
It’s 5-on-5 with Shamrock fighting on the SEX side despite not being available to participate in WarGames, but the mystery of who’ll round out Team Russo appeared to be solved when, of all people, Curt Hennig appeared and took out AMW with a baseball bat.
He then lined up a shot on Rhodes and Sting while others held them before finally setting his sights on longtime rival Flair. Hennig actually hesitated, before Russo shouted “you want a job? Do it!” and compelled Hennig to destroy Flair’s leg with repeated bat shots. Russo’s main men looked over their dirty work as the show faded to black.
Fall Brawl 2002 card so far:
- WarGames 2002: Sting, Ric Flair, Dustin Rhodes & America’s Most Wanted vs Scott Hall, Sean Waltman, Curt Hennig, Mark Jindrak & Chuck Palumbo
- WCW World Championship: Ken Shamrock (c) vs Diamond Dallas Page
- WCW World Tag Team Championship: Simon Diamond & Swinger (c) vs Los Guerreros
- WCW Cruiserweight Championship, ladder match: Jerry Lynn (c) vs Low Ki vs AJ Styles
- WCW Cruiserweight Tag Team Championship: Full Blooded Italians (c) vs York & Matthews
- The Jung Dragons vs The Rejected
- Disciples of The New Church vs Members of WCW’s Cruiserweight Division
Next time: The go-home show before Fall Brawl and WarGames!