SEPTEMBER 11, 2002: AIRTIME #36
Vince Russo claimed at the top of the last Nitro that he and S.E.X would “leave AirTime to rot until it was cancelled”. Would he seriously do such a thing to something in which he has a 51% stake? We were about to find out.
Taped on September 10, along with the following Nitro, in Orlando.
After the opening credits and a rather peculiar intro from the announcers where they pretty much admit that they have no idea what’s scheduled for tonight’s show, we have a bit of an awkward silence with David Penzer in the ring, unsure what to announce.
Eventually, Christian York and Joey Matthews come to the ring and take the mic. They say that last week’s victory for the cruiserweights over SEX has led to Vince Russo and Stacy Keibler abandoning AirTime entirely. There’s no SEX here, no schedule, nothing… except for a roster of dedicated cruisers determined to make the most of tonight after driving Russo’s destructive forces away.
So they’re going to get the ball rolling by issuing an open challenge ahead of their big title match at the PPV on Sunday. The call is answered by Knoble and Kash.
Y&M win the opener by count-out after 10:28 when the Briscoes rushed out to confront their rivals, leading to Knoble and Kash brawling with the brothers. The referee, deeming the brawl to be initiated by the duo in the match, started his count rather than call straight for the bell and awarded the bout to the number one contenders to the cruiser tag titles.
Backstage, the Jung Dragons are with Jeremy Borash. Yang explains that while Helms and Moore are ashamed of their pasts, the Dragons appreciate that their humble and difficult beginnings in WCW enabled them to find the success they did. On Nitro they reminded The Rejected of who they were before they became pathetic thugs for Vince Russo, and at Fall Brawl they’ll remind them that they always were and always will be inferior to the Dragons. Kaz adds that tonight, they’ve challenged a team who could be the future of the cruiserweight division and they have accepted.
The Dragons then beat the Maximos in a competitive match with Unleash The Dragon in 7:13, tuning them up nicely for their grudge match on Sunday.
Jerry Lynn says he’s fighting a far on two fronts – not only is he helping to lead the charge against SEX and their efforts to destroy cruiserweight wrestling, he’s taking on all comers to remain the champion of the division. Tonight, days before the biggest match of his career, he says, he’s going to do both.
He issues a challenge to his Fall Brawl challengers to each find a tag partner for a three-way tag match in tonight’s main event. Together, they can prove that they and the fans are the lifeblood of WCW, not Russo. And he says he also plans to prove that on Sunday, it will be him and only him climbing that ladder and taking back his belt.
Brian Kendrick squashed Shark Boy, a masked and costumed cruiserweight who nonetheless amused the fans with his appearance and antics before being put down by Sliced Bread #2 after 1:39. After the bout, the New Church came to the ring through the crowd. Kendrick saw them coming and fled. The prone Shark Boy, meanwhile, wasn’t so lucky and was blasted further by Tempest’s finisher as well as a Sinn/Slash double-team.
Father James Mitchell then said that while Sports Entertainment Xtreme have washed their hands of this show, his style is not to abandon or leave things to rot, but rather to take a torch to things and stick around to watch them burn. If the cruiserweights want to fight the good fight, they can try to do so at Fall Brawl or they can meet their makers right here, tonight if they choose.
Kidman, Rey Mysterio and Tajiri came out and rushed the ring. The 4-on-3 was too much, especially with the monster Malice who allowed his colleagues to engage in a brawl with the attackers before picking them off one-by-one.
Super Crazy, Psicosis and Juventud Guerrera ran down for the save with steel chairs, which was enough to compel Mitchell to call for a retreat. The luchadores helped up their allies before Juventud spoke to the other two, seemingly indicating to the trio that he will join them in the eight-man tag at the PPV.
We are taken to footage backstage where York and Matthews were leaving the building only to be attacked in the parking lot by the Full Blooded Italians, Glenn Gilbertti and Johnny Stamboli. The SEX foursome left the duo in a heap then fled in Glenn’s waiting car before anyone inside the building could find out and retaliate.
It was confirmed that Knoble and Kash would settle their feud with the Briscoes on Nitro in a no-disqualification match.
AJ Styles came out for the main event and brought with him Paul London. Low Ki made his entrance alongside The Amazing Red. Finally, the cruiserweight champion Jerry Lynn introduced the American Dragon as his partner. A breathless three-way tag main event ended when Low Ki downed London with the Ki Krusher at the 14:49 mark.
After the bell, Styles set up a ladder at ringside and scaled to the top while Lynn and Low Ki helped up and showed respect to the rookies inside the squared circle. When Jerry and Ki turned around, they were met by a spectacular double clothesline from the ladder and over the ropes. Styles picked up the belt he held twice and glared at it and his two fallen PPV opponents as the hour concluded.
SEPTEMBER 14, 2002: SATURDAY NITRO #71
Fall Brawl is 24 hours away, and so is WarGames. The company truly is at a state of civil war, especially now 51% owner Vince Russo’s maneuverings to snatch power from Eric Bischoff, oust his so-called friend Ernest Miller and shaft any wrestlers who would not drink his Kool-Aid are pretty much out in the open. Russo and his S.E.X crew have control, and only a select few members of the WCW revival can stop them from completely taking over.
After the WCW ident but before the Nitro opening sequence, we see footage from earlier today as a limo arrives at the arena. From it alights Glenn Gilbertti, Simon Diamond, Johnny Swinger and the Full Blooded Italians, all decked out in expensive suits. Gilbertti tells the guys that they deserved all these rewards for bringing home the tag belts, just like he promised they would over a year ago. He says they’ll remain the champions at the end of the weekend after their tune-up bouts tonight and title defences on Sunday. As they leave the shot, we see Eddie and Chavo Guerrero peek out from behind a nearby car and grin.
The opening bout of the night involves the FBI, as they team with fellow SEX members The Rejected to meet their PPV opponents, York Matthews and the Jung Dragons, in eight-man action. The vendetta between the Rejected and the Dragons saw all four men brawl backstage, leaving Y&M to finish off the cruiser tag champs with a fireman carry/neckbreaker combo to Maritato after 11:54 as they continue to have the incumbents’ number.
Backstage, Shane Douglas with Torrie Wilson at his side tells Jeremy Borash that he’s heard all the soundbytes and the promos from Chris Kanyon about how much it’d mean to him to win the United States title again, only fair and square this time. He says not only does it make him sick to the pit of his stomach, but it proves how inferior Kanyon is to the Franchise.
He admits he applauded Kanyon’s road to the US title last year and the way he kept hold of the belt at all costs, but says he’s since gone soft. Douglas, on the other hand, is ruthless 24/7 and will prove that at Fall Brawl when he does whatever it takes to keep his belt because he simply wants it more. To prove that point, he’s used his stroke in SEX to have Stacy Keibler book Kanyon in a non-title match with Ken Shamrock tonight.
Juventud Guerrera defeated Tempest by DQ after 6:41 when the New Church jumped the luchador, leading to Kidman, Tajiri and Rey Mysterio making the save with steel chairs. Single shots sent Sinn, Slash and Tempest scurrying but it took one from each of the three members of the cavalry on Malice to compel Father James Mitchell to order a retreat for his monster.
Backstage, Gilbertti is hanging up the suits as the FBI shower off-screen, while Simon and Swinger finish putting on their gear. He fumes about how Y&M “cheated” to fluke a pin on the Italians but tells Simon and Swinger that their night will go to plan because Keibler has green-lit a couple of schmucks to take a beating from the champs tonight. He tells them he specifically asked for two dingy, scrawny, part-time gardeners from Mexico to send a message to Los Guerreros. Just then, a backstage staff member comes in to tell Glenn that there’s a situation with their limousine.
Knoble and Kash finished their grudge with the Briscoe Brothers by beating the teenagers in a brutal no-disqualification street fight. With all four decked in denims and sporting taped fists, the bout was physical and featured a cowbell, a couple of broken tables and a loose piece of guard rail, which led to the finish as Jamie and David hit stereo tiger bombs onto the metal for the three-count in 9:06.
We cut backstage, where it appears Ron Killings has commandeered a cameraman and forced him to film Killings challenge Sean O’Haire to meet him in the parking lot later tonight. Truth says we’ll see if Sean can even make it to Fall Brawl.
Lance Storm and Booker T, opponents in 24 hours in their quest to force Vince Russo to grant them another WCW title shot, were forced to team up against two of Russo’s troops in Mark Jindrak and Chuck Palumbo. Despite being underdogs to the decorated veterans, the former Natural Born Thrillers proved their worth as unlikely members of Team SEX at WarGames before taking advantage of a Storm/Booker communication to pin Lance after a Palumbo superkick in 9:43.
Post-match, the PPV opponents argued until Sharmell got in Storm’s face and the Canadian technician shoved her pointing finger away, triggering a brawl that had to be stopped by a host of refs.
In the parking lot, Gilbertti, Simon and Swinger find their limo covered in derogatory spray-painted comments. The FBI come out and join them in their wrestling gear. After all of them fume over the vandalism, Glenn asks the Italians why they’re back in their gear. They explain that something else has happened…
Back in the ring, a ladder is set up in the middle of the ring. Out comes cruiserweight champion Jerry Lynn who climbs up the ladder with his belt and a mic. He says the cruiser division was what lured him to WCW. It’s the competition that makes him proud to be on the roster. And while the company wages war with SEX, this belt is one of the beacons of light.
He says AJ Styles and Low Ki are the future of wrestling, but Jerry Lynn is the present and he’ll prove it tomorrow by climbing this ladder. Low Ki interrupts and climbs the other side of the ladder, taking the mic from Lynn and saying he respects Jerry and those who came before him but his title reign was swept away from him prematurely before he knew what was happening. As a result, he will show Lynn and Styles no mercy at Fall Brawl.
‘I Am’ then hits and out comes Styles with a mic of his own. He enters the ring and remains on the canvas. But as he brings the mic up as if to speak, he suddenly drops it and shoves the ladder over, crotching both men on the ring ropes. Styles lifts up the cruiserweight title belt as the commentators discuss his surprising and somewhat uncharacteristic choice of actions.
Super Crazy and Psicosis were due to wrestle Elix Skipper and Christopher Daniels, only for Triple X to attack them during their entrance and throw them from the walkway onto the floor below. No match.
The FBI bring Gilbertti, Diamond and Swinger back to the changing rooms where four expensive suits have been cut to ribbons. Gilbertti flips out then realises something and asks Guido and Tony where the heavyweight tag belts have gone. The FBI, still in possession of their own belts, shrug. Glenn deduces that if the culprits stole two belts when they could have taken four, it must have been Eddie and Chavo. He tells his men to stay here and hold fort so they can’t pull any more stunts while he goes to Russo to ensure the champs get their belts back tonight.
Ron Killings is pacing back and forth in the parking lot when Sean O’Haire shows up and the two get it on. Their brief brawl is soon joined by SEX members Matt Bentley and Sonny Siaki, who help in a 3-on-1 on O’Haire which pretty much underscores the fact that ‘The Truth’ is in cahoots with Team Russo. The duo help set up a sit-out gourdbuster on the roof of Glenn Gilbertti’s vandalised limo.
Ken Shamrock defeated Chris Kanyon in a competitive outing with the anklelock in 12:16. He refused to break it after the bell until DDP ran out to save his friend. He and Shamrock brawled ahead of their title bout at the PPV until the world champ went for the ankle lock only for Page to roll through and send Shamrock into the corner where he staggered back out and into a Diamond Cutter! DDP covered him and Kanyon counted a phantom three count to send a message to the seemingly unstoppable destroyer: his reign of terror could end in just three seconds, from out of nowhere.
Glenn Gilbertti storms into Russo’s office whining about what Los Guerreros have been up to tonight, only for his chair to turn around and reveal Chavo. Eddie then blindsides Gilbertti from behind the door and the duo strip Glenn down from his own expensive suit before pouring some sticky substance over him and adding a bag of feathers for the finishing touch.
Chavo tells Glenn that while they are fighting for the good of wrestling and tradition unlike SEX, they’re still bad, bad hombres. Eddie finishes by adding “see you at Fall Brawl, mother clucker!” as they leave with Simon and Swinger’s belts.
Russo, in the meantime, is heading out to the ring with Scott Hall along with Sean Waltman, Curt Hennig, Palumbo and Jindrak. Hall will face Dustin Rhodes in a match to decide who gets the WarGames advantage in 24 hours. Rhodes, with Sting, AMW and a hobbling Ric Flair in his corner to even things up, looked to have it won on a couple of occasions only for SEX members to stick their noses in. As things kicked off around the ring with a mass brawl, Hall took advantage with a low blow and a roll-up, holding the top rope for good measure to get the win after 9:15.
The fight continued after the bell with both factions going at it, with Flair in particular wanting old rival Hennig’s blood. Unfortunately, Ric appeared to further hurt the leg Curt damaged in the process and was beaten down by Palumbo and Hall.
As SEX took over the fight, Russo directed traffic from the walkway. Suddenly, Waltman was wiped out by a guitar to the head – Jeff Jarrett was back on the scene!
Like a man possessed, he tore through Hennig next before he saw Russo alone on the walkway. He stalked his former friend while Team Sting kept his goons busy. Shane Douglas ran out to save Russo only to get the ass-kicking from Jarrett himself, concluding with a Stroke on the stage. Jarrett exits the same way he arrived – via the crowd – before other members of SEX can get their hands on him.
Final Fall Brawl 2002 card:
- 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
- Booker T vs Lance Storm
- The Jung Dragons vs The Rejected
- Disciples of The New Church vs Kidman, Rey Mysterio, Juventud Guerrera & Tajiri
- Sean O’Haire vs Ron ‘The Truth’ Killings
Next time: WCW vs SEX… let the WarGames begin!