OCTOBER 2, 2002: AIRTIME #39
The Round Robin Challenge for the WCW Cruiserweight title kicked off last week when Jerry Lynn retained the title against AJ Styles. This week, the champ can wrap up the series a week early if he also keeps the belt away from Low Ki. Plus, Knoble and Kash have secured a cruiserweight tag title shot against the FBI that goes down in seven days – what will happen when SEX is contractually obliged to reappear on AirTime if they’re to attempt to keep their stranglehold on the company gold?
Taped on October 1, along with the following Nitro, in Orlando.
A four-way stemming from last week’s show kicks us off, as it’s The Amazing Red vs Paul London vs Brian Kendrick vs The American Dragon. Kendrick, somewhat of a thorn in the side of all three of his opponents as of late, spends the early going playing human pinball between strikes from the trio.
We then get almost a triangle match between them while Brian recuperates at ringside, before he recovers to pick off each one in turn. His attempts to again unmask the Dragon perhaps deny him the chance to win the match and are thwarted when London tackles him through the ropes and onto the walkway.
Red wipes both out with a spectacular springboard corkscrew but ends up springboarding back in towards AmDrag and straight into an armbar, transitioned into Cattle Mutilation for the submission win in 10:38.
Jorge Estrada comes to the ring in his street gear and says he wanted answers from Sonny Siaki. He realises he kinda got answers as early as when Siaki joined SEX without saying as much as a word to him then went silent, and then he and his new buddies made it clear when he went to Nitro to speak to him face-to-face. So, this past Saturday he showed Siaki he’s no expendable source and he can fight back.
He’s out here because now he has Sonny’s attention he wants him to show some guts and return here to AirTime for a fight. He’s surprisingly cut off by the SEX music, as Matt Bentley breaks their absence from the show albeit alone. He tells Estrada that this show isn’t worth their time and will soon be history. If he wants to fight Siaki, he says, then come to Nitro and meet him in the ring rather than in the locker room.
Just as Estrada appears to accept the challenge, however, he’s blindsided by Siaki in the ring. Bentley runs down for a two-on-one before The Maximos, Tajiri and security run them off back through the crowd.
Psicosis and Super Crazy defeated Quiet Storm and Chris Devine with stereo sit-out powerbombs in 4:11. Psicosis then said over the mic that they should be in the cruiser tag picture before promising to take care of any SEX who show up to try and help the FBI next week.
We see AJ Styles sat on a car in the parking lot. He says he’s one wrong result in tonight’s main event from being frozen out of the cruiserweight title picture, a scene he has been front and centre of throughout 2002 and one he’s given his body mind and soul to. People are knocking him for his attitude as of late but he says they have no idea how it feels to find yourself at the top so quickly then spat out just as fast.
Just then, Siaki and Bentley scurry past from their invasion but stop to tell AJ that he’d be “a perfect fit” for Sports Entertainment Xtreme. They then exit.
Knoble and Kash tell Jeremy Borash that they don’t give a hoot about WCW vs SEX. They want their titles back and will punch “those eye-talians” in the face over and over again until they get them. And if anyone tries to “help” them against SEX, they’ll punch them in the face too.
Finally, Low Ki defeated Jerry Lynn in Round Robin Challenge match two to become the NEW Cruiserweight champion. Ki went for the Super Ki Krusher that won him the belt the first time late on, but Lynn fought off and moved himself into position to attempt a Cradle Piledriver off the ropes. Ki countered this by flipping up and grabbing an incredible avalanche DDT, adding the Phoenix Splash for the pin and the title after 16:27.
Lynn did the right thing and congratulated the new champion after the match. Next week, it’s Ki vs Styles with the title on the line and a successful defence for the new champ will clinch him the series.
OCTOBER 5, 2002: SATURDAY NITRO #74
One of the most anticipated main events in Saturday Nitro’s short history is on tap tonight, as Ken Shamrock defends the WCW title in a first-time-ever encounter with the one and only Sting. We’re also set for a ‘Starrcade Series opening ceremony’ featuring the men who will battle for a spot in the biggest PPV main event of the year, plus Jeff Jarrett and Los Guerreros look for revenge after their beatdown at the hands of SEX last week.
The opening ceremony kicks things off as Stacy Keibler introduces the Series, says matches begin next Saturday and brings out 10 of the 12 participants: Booker T, Diamond Dallas Page, Kanyon, Lance Storm, Dustin Rhodes, Scott Hall, Shane Douglas, Curt Hennig, Sean O’Haire and Chuck Palumbo.
We are told by commentary that CW Anderson has been cleared to compete in the Series and will be back in time for his first bout, while the 12th slot will be decided when we know who doesn’t come out of the main event as WCW champion. Keibler reiterates the rules, that two groups of six will wrestle all five opponents in their group with the best points scorer of each group facing at Victory Road in the finals.
She says the groups will be confirmed at the start of next week’s show, and Halloween Havoc will feature a special tag match where wrestlers will represent their groups in a tag team bout for the chance to win their group an advantage over the other group.
It isn’t long before things get heated in the ring, with Booker and Storm attacking DDP, while Rhodes and Douglas brawl to the outside. Kanyon helps Page out while O’Haire and Palumbo go at it. Hall, meanwhile, takes a powder and checks his reflection in the ringside trophy while Hennig also retreats, a wise move considering how taped up and visibly tender he remains from last week’s brutal steel cage war.
When we return from the break, the ringside area has been cleared save for Storm, Booker and Page who have begun their triangle match. Kanyon is the last of the others to leave, having to be dragged away while his friend is double-teamed throughout the early going.
Though it appeared that DDP had managed to reunite Lance and T, it was only a matter of time before their true colours showed and they made their attempts to betray each other and win the match.
The finish saw Storm block a Cutter attempt and send Page crashing into Booker, sending him to the outside. Lance then rolled DDP into the Maple Leaf which Page fought valiantly for a while until Booker came back from out of nowhere with Ax Kick to Storm to break the hold. Booker covered Lance and got the pin at 13:26, with a wounded Page not fast enough to break the cover. Booker and Sharmell fled the scene gloating about the win and vowing to conquer the Starrcade Series.
We cut to Vince Russo reading the riot act to Sonny Siaki and Matt Bentley for showing up on AirTime on Wednesday. He says SEX is playing a long game with the show and need it to be cancelled to help get rid of “everything that’s holding WCW back” and warns them to never defy his orders again. The two trudge out like naughty schoolchildren at the headmaster’s office.
Somewhere in the darker corners of the building is Sting. He says he promised to take down Russo and SEX and after the first blow was struck at WarGames, he will rescue the WCW title tonight when he shows “The World’s Most Dangerous Man” just how dangerous a pissed-off icon can be when you back WCW into a corner.
Super Crazy, Psicosis and Juventud Guerrera took on Johnny Stamboli and The Full Blooded Italians next in a Mexico vs Italy six-man tag as well as WCW vs SEX. Johnny’s recent positioning as the FBI’s ‘muscle’ paid dividends as he pulled Guido down from a Juvi Driver attempt, leaving him in perfect position to hook Guerrera into a Kiss of Death for the pin in 8:18 while Stamboli sent Crazy and Psicosis crashing off the apron to the floor.
Knoble and Kash were shown watching in the crowd, drinking beer and eating pretzels, but they did nothing to disrupt the match involving the men they’ll challenge Wednesday for the cruiser tag straps.
Jeff Jarrett and Los Guerreros tell Jeremy Borash that they’re united by a common hatred of Russo and SEX but Vince’s goons need to remember that they are bad SOBs despite fighting the good fight. They say tonight they’re going to make Hall and Waltman pay for the last few weeks, as well as whoever is foolish enough to team up with them.
We get a recap of the first two matches in the Round Robin Challenge from AirTime, where Jerry Lynn retained the title against AJ Styles but lost it on Wednesday to Low Ki. Ki defends against AJ this coming week and we get a soundbyte from Lynn where he says he wants his contracted rematch no matter who wins Wednesday.
A video package looks at the injury suffered by Goldberg earlier this year, some clips from his surgery and rehab, then finally brief footage of the man himself training, seemingly close to 100% in recent weeks.
Chris Kanyon took on Simon Diamond with his US title on the line, as his schedule set up by Commissioner Keibler continues to stack the deck against him keeping the belt away from SEX for very long. He was, however, able to put away one half of the WCW tag champs with the Flatliner in 9:20.
Afterwards, Diamond’s partner Johnny Swinger came out and challenged Kanyon for next week. Perhaps knowing he’ll be put into another title defense against another SEX henchman anyway, the champ accepted.
Jorge Estrada again shows up unannounced, this time calling Sonny Siaki out to a Nitro ring. He is instead met by Glenn Gilbertti, who tells Jorge there’s a reason why SEX recruited Siaki and not him. With that, Mark Jindrak and Matt Bentley arrive either side of GG and the three men walk to the ring.
Estrada, to his credit, doesn’t back down but it’s not long after the trio enter the squared circle that he finds himself overwhelmed and beaten down. Jindrak and Bentley hold an arm each so Gilbertti can repeatedly smack Jorge, calling him a “loser” the whole while, until Jarrett, Eddie and Chavo run down to clean house.
They’re attacked in turn by Scott Hall, Sean Waltman and Ron Killings, who apparently is the third man in the match that then starts…
…Gilbertti remains ringside after flashing his manager’s licence but Jindrak and Bentley are shooed backstage by officials as Jarrett and Los Guerreros brawl around ringside with Hall, Waltman and Killings. We finally get a regular tag match system going with Chavo beaten down by all three before making the tag out to Jarrett.
JJ runs through the SEX members until he’s low blowed by Killings. As Hall sets up for the Outsider’s Edge, however, the official is getting ‘The Truth’ back onto the apron which allows Eddie to waffle Scott with Jeff’s guitar which leads to a Jarrett pin on Hall at 12:48.
We see footage from when last week’s Nitro went off the air and a victorious but bloodied Ric Flair made his way back to the trainer’s room to get treated. He tells the cameraman that he feels fights like that even more as a part-time than when he was doing it every week, but that the rush is still the same. He says he has no idea when he’ll be back in the ring next but he’ll keep fighting SEX until WCW is back to normal.
Finally, it was time for the main event. Sting made his way out followed by Ken Shamrock who had Vince Russo by his side. The two felt each other out for a while, with the challenger wary of the champ’s dangerous grappling and striking whilst using his experience to hit fast and counter wisely.
It was only a matter of time before Shamrock went to work on the ankle, but he struggled to get his foe in a good enough position for the anklelock. Sting fought back on almost one leg but foolishly went for a Gorilla Press which caused him to buckle and finally gave Shamrock the chance he needed to slap on his finishing hold. Sting fought the pain and made the ropes, but Russo kicked his hand off.
This angered the ref who attempted to eject Russo from ringside with Vince trying to overrule the appointed official as owner. Shamrock used this opening to fetch a chair but he was thwarted mid-swing by a quick shot to the gut by Sting’s baseball bat! The challenger kicked both weapons out of there and managed to get enough speed on the bad foot for two good Stinger Splashes, but as he turned the champ over for the Scorpion Deathlock he found a hand around his throat as soon as he sat back.
That hand belonged to Malice, who had appeared out of nowhere to deliver a massive chokeslam to Sting while Russo kept the official occupied by acting like a mad man and trying to enter the ring. The monster left and stood ringside with Mitchell and the rest of the New Church as Shamrock covered for the three count at 15:18 to retain.
Mitchell then ordered his troops into the ring as Russo and Shamrock celebrated on the walkway. They stood over the fallen Icon as the show came to an end.
Halloween Havoc 2002 card so far:
- WCW World title: Ken Shamrock (c) vs Jeff Jarrett
- Starrcade Series tag team match
Next time: The conclusion of the Round Robin Challenge for the WCW Cruiserweight title and the beginning of the 2002 Starrcade Series!