If Fusient Bought WCW #8: Booker T’s ‘Next’ Challenger

Who will challenge Booker T for the WCW World title? And have O’Haire and Palumbo bitten off more than they can chew?

Tonight, Commissioner Cat has promised us a new #1 contender to Booker T’s WCW World title. But how will he set that up? Meanwhile tag team champions Sean O’Haire and Chuck Palumbo have been on a tear since being paired at the start of the year, but looked distinctly mortal opposite legendary WCW duo Rick and Scott Steiner in six-man action last week.

In the wake of Ric Flair officially disbanding The Magnificent Seven, he has incurred the wrath of former protege Jeff Jarrett. Meanwhile, Lex Luger seemed to be genuinely considering a similar approach to Flair, only to now find himself in the midst of a tug-of-war between running buddy Buff Bagwell and longtime pal Sting.

We open the show with fast-paced cruiserweight action in a big 10-man tag match: Shane Helms, Air Raid, Low Ki and Super Crazy vs Kid Romeo, the FBI, Tajiri and Christopher Daniels.

The Fallen Angel gets the win for his side with a roll-up and a handful of tights on Super Crazy after 11:28, avenging his pinfall defeat on the Slamboree pre-show to the ‘Insane Luchador’. Kid Romeo spends the match avoiding, taunting and cheapshotting the man he’ll challenge at the Great American Bash, ‘Sugar’ Shane.

Backstage, The Cat reveals how he will solve the mystery of the number one contendership to the WCW World title. He notes that seven singles competitors won their matches at the last pay-per-view: Rob Van Dam, Chris Kanyon, Shane Helms, DDP, Goldberg and Booker T and Sting.

Since T is the current champion, Sting has business of his own tonight and Helms has a Cruiserweight title defence already set for the Bash, that leaves four men who got the job done at the last big event and they will get the chance to advance to the next big event in a four-way dance tonight.

Kanyon at that moment barges into the room and points out that he won twice at Slamboree, and as US champ should be top contender by default. Cat says that given the way he shortcutted to both of those wins, he should be thankful he’s in the four-way at all. An annoyed Kanyon makes a remark about ‘retiring’ Cat and storms off.

The commissioner barely gets a second to himself before Jeff Jarrett comes into view and says Booker shouldn’t get to just walk into the PPV, declaring that he’ll challenge for the title tonight. Cat says he doesn’t think so – but he can go 1-on-1 with the champ, non-title. The segment ends with Cat being dragged away to help break up a brawl between Dustin Rhodes and Mike Awesome.

The Steiners battle as a tag team one more, destroying two rookies by the names of James Black and Chris Harris before the Recliner ends Black after 3:18. They then call out the tag champions, saying they proved O’Haire and Palumbo are just a couple of punks last week and it’s about time the Steiner Brothers wore tag gold again.

Sean and Chuck come out with microphones, pause, then drop the mics and sprint down to the ring to get themselves some of the Steiners. However, Rick and Scott leave the ring as they arrive, keeping things on their own time.

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Backstage Torrie Wilson says her search for the man she will take to the top of WCW continues. Mark Jindrak walks by and the two exchange mutually-approving glances at each other, but nothing is said.

We cut to The Mamalukes in the locker room. Vito says the Harris ‘Bums’ will pay for their sneak attacks. He adds that the next time they beat the twins down in the ring, they want to make sure they don’t get back up and challenge them to a Sicilian Stretcher match. Johnny The Bull, predictably, concludes by saying he’ll break their thumbs.

Lance Storm beat Rey Misterio with the Maple Leaf after 16:24 of a back-and-forth battle that had the crowd glued. We saw occasional clips during the bout of Rey’s partner Billy Kidman watching on a monitor backstage, until at one point he was jumped by the Jung Dragons on Leia Meow’s orders.

Norman Smiley is with Crowbar and Alex Wright in the dressing room, seemingly trying to convince the duo to team up with him. Crowbar seems enthusiastic, Wright not so much.

In walks Glenn Gilbertti at this stage, along with his first signings Simon Diamond and Johnny Swinger. He mocks the ‘parade of rejects’ and invites them to be the first men to take on Glenn Gilbertti Enterprises.

This gets Wright’s interest all of a sudden, as Glenn’s former tag partner asks if it will be a six-man tag. Gilbertti says if Alex wants some of him, sure – they’ll settle their split in the ring. Smiley and Crowbar are excited that this has got Wright on board.

Jeff Jarrett comes out for his match with Booker T and makes multiple remarks about T’s (lack of) courage to put the title on the line. T comes out, with Sharmell again surprisingly, and says if Jeff wants a title shot he is a fighting champion and for the umpteenth time he’ll prove to Jarrett he is the better man. Just like that, we have a World title match on Nitro!

Booker wins their impromptu title match in 15:53 after Ric Flair makes an appearance to prevent JJ from using the guitar, and shortly after the challenger walks into a Book End. This Flair/Jarrett rift is only getting worse.

Jamie Knoble and David Kash are sat outside a trailer somewhere. Knoble says he tried to do things the ‘dubya see dubya’ way and win over fans with his athletic prowess and he had to deal with punks getting one up on him. Now, he’s doing things his way, the old school way. And so is his friend “Davey”. They say Evan Karagias was the first victim for his sins and anyone who stands in their way will get the same fate.

Johnny B Badd defeated Fit Finlay in 5:09 with the Tutti Frutti punch in a battle of two old school Nitro regulars, before celebrating the win with his Badd Blaster.

We sit down this week with Elix Skipper who says that after they lost their rematch, he and Kid Romeo going their separate ways was best for both of them. He says he hopes Kid beats Helms and knows he can, because he wants to face his ex-partner for the belt.

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He discusses his time with Team Canada and praises how it helped him prepare for the rough world that is WCW, and puts over Lance Storm as a leader and a wrestler. When asked if there could be a third alliance for Elix in the future after the Canada faction and the championship partnership with Romeo, he smirks and laughs it off, not giving an actual answer.

Sting vs Buff Bagwell, a battle of the company’s two longest-serving competitors, ended in a DQ win for the Stinger. Lex Luger walked to the ring during the bout and entered the ring with Sting’s baseball bat when the two went down from a double clothesline. He appeared to contemplate hitting both men with the bat, but ultimately drilled it into Sting’s ribcage at 7:31. Buff celebrated with his tag partner, but Luger didn’t look particularly thrilled with his own actions.

Outside the building, Shannon Moore is approached by Chavo Guerrero. Chavo attempts to comfort Moore, saying he heard the news that Evan Karagias is out indefinitely and how that sucks for Shannon. He says that Moore has had rotten luck with partners since arriving in WCW but he wanted to assure him that he sees the potential in Moore, and always thought it should have been him getting the star treatment, not Shane Helms. Chavo then leaves and Shannon digests his words.

It is confirmed by commentary that O’Haire and Palumbo have accepted the challenge of the Steiners, and that tag title dream match will take place at the Bash.

Finally, it was Kanyon vs Diamond Dallas Page vs Goldberg vs Rob Van Dam for the right to challenge Booker T at the Great American Bash. After various 1vs1 combinations in the ring while two men stood on the apron, things broke down into a melee late on.

Kanyon brought the US title into the ring and aimed at Goldberg, only for Van Dam to thwart him with a flying kick and leave him open for a Spear. RVD looked to set up another aerial attack to prevent Goldberg hoisting Kanyon up for the Jackhammer, but was caught in mid-air by an almighty Diamond Cutter.

Thanks in part to the damage Page sustained in the match, Goldberg’s immediate cover following the Jackhammer to Kanyon came before DDP’s slow crawl to try and pin Van Dam, and ‘Da Man’ is the new number one contender! And while he and Booker T have technically done battle in the past, the GAB is set to play host to their first true main event clash for the richest prize in the sport.

WCW Great American Bash 2001 card so far:

  • WCW title: Booker T (c) vs Goldberg
  • WCW tag titles: O’Haire and Palumbo (c) vs The Steiner Brothers
  • WCW cruiserweight title: Shane Helms (c) vs Kid Romeo
  • WCW cruiserweight tag titles: Kidman and Misterio (c) vs The Jung Dragons

Brian Adams and Bryan Clark will no longer appear on WCW television after refusing to lose a scheduled match on Nitro. Reports suggest they will be attempting to negotiate a buy-out of the remainder of their Time Warner deals amid interest from WWF.

Next time: Goldberg and Booker go face-to-face, while Sting seeks answers from Lex Luger!

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