Slamboree is in the books and the Magnificent Seven era looks to be well and truly over, with Ric Flair deciding that his WCW legacy was more important to him than his reign of terror.
What will be next for the other members? Jeff Jarrett will want to personally confront Flair, for sure. And who will be next to challenge Booker T for the World title now that Scott Steiner seems to be out of the picture?
This and the following week’s Nitro were taped on Wednesday May 30.
We begin with ticker tape, a brass band and banners reading ‘Who better than Kanyon?’ as the new United States champion arrives for a celebration ceremony in the ring. After several minutes of bragging about being the first man to beat ‘the big hype’ RVD ‘fair and square’ and throwing in plenty of insults at his expense, Van Dam has enough and rushes out to attack.
He’s soon trapped in a 3-on-1 by Kanyon’s partners for the evening, Lance Storm and Mike Awesome. Billy Kidman and Rey Misterio Jr make the save, causing The Cat to arrive on the stage and decide the six-man would happen now, with everyone out here.
The celebration props were still being cleared out as the competitors went at it, and through the crowd of stagehands and officials came a furious Dustin Rhodes who went straight after Mike Awesome and brawled through the crowd and out of sight with the man who cost him a chance at the US title.
The fracas and the numerical advantage allowed the cruiser tag champs to wipe out Storm with a double dive and leave RVD to pin the new US champ clean with the frog splash after 13:27 of action to rubber-stamp his case for a rematch.
Glenn Gilbertti is in a high-end lounge somewhere, where he claims that the lap of luxury awaits top athletes who get on board with Glenn Gilbertti Enterprises, as do championship belts. He then introduces his first two clients: Simon Diamond and Johnny Swinger.
As CW Anderson makes his way to the ring for his latest bout, we see backstage his previous victims Norman Smiley and Crowbar are watching backstage. Crowbar thanks Smiley for having his back. Norman says guys like them need to stick together. Crowbar asks him about the ‘Big Wiggle’. Smiley begs him not to try it himself.
Anderson moves to 3-0 versus Alex Wright, mostly focusing on an arm as he did in his first two bouts before pinning him with an Anderson Spinebuster in 5:57 when Wright’s arm was too weak for the German suplex.
He attempted to make a statement once more after the bout, but saw Smiley and Crowbar making their way out and hit the road. A hurt Wright shoved the duo away when they tried to help him out, however.
In a match to determine new contenders to the cruiserweight tag titles, the Jung Dragons defeated the Full Blooded Italians and Air Raid in a tag team bout when Leia Meow interrupted an FBI pin on Styles, allowing her men to get rid of the Italians and steal the finish for themselves at 9:19. Again, Gilbertti watched from afar – and this time, after the bout, he avoided the wrath of Meow and went to speak to Maritato and Marinera.
Bam Bam Bigelow beat Shane Douglas by disqualification after 5:32 of brawling when Douglas used a chain but got caught. It left Bigelow with a sizeable cut on his head, and he certainly didn’t look like a winner on the night.
Ric Flair gets the ovation of the evening so far as he heads to the ring. He confirms that the Magnificent Seven is through, and that he is his own man. He says that when you are about to die, your life flashes before your eyes. When WCW looked as though it was about to end, his career flashed before his. He saw Sting. He saw Dusty Rhodes. He saw Harley Race, the Briscos, the Funks and so many more who bled, sweat and paid the price to make professional wrestling what it is.
He said he saw each and every member of the Seven in that flashback… but not in the manner they’ve spent the last six months. Ric implores them all to follow his lead and return to the version of themselves that made them great in the first place.
He admits that on two occasions he has been given power in WCW based on his standing and both times he allowed it to get to his head. Now, WCW is rising from the ashes, from the ground up, himself included. And he wants to right his wrongs and remind people what made the company, and the sport great.
Jeff Jarrett comes out and tells Flair to cut the crap. He accuses Flair of being jealous of members of the Seven when his power was removed because he can’t go in the ring anymore and the authority was all he brought to the table
JJ goes on to add that Flair expects everyone to bend over backwards for him like the Horsemen did – but, it’s 2001, and people like Flair should be the extra Horsemen backing up stars like Jarrett. He says because he likes Flair, he’ll give him one final chance to apologise for Slamboree and The Big Bang and fall in line behind Jarrett.
Flair counters, saying he is asking Jarrett instead to realise he can be one of the key components of the new era and do it the right way. Jeff mockingly acts like it’s a compelling counter-offer, says he will think about it… then swiftly smashes his guitar over Flair’s head and storms off.
A tag exhibition featuring three debutants and a man making his first full-time appearance in a WCW ring saw Super Crazy and Low Ki beat Yoshihiro Tajiri and Christopher Daniels in 10:41 of fast-paced action. The contest gave the live crowd ample introduction to each man’s individual character and style. Crazy’s moonsaults-off-each-turnbuckle combo put away Daniels for the three-count.
The next sitdown interview features Diamond Dallas Page. He goes into detail about how he considered retiring whether WCW survived or not, due to back issues – however yoga is giving him a new lease on life, and makes him believe he can win one more WCW World title.
DDP says he is glad Flair has done the right thing, but that he always will be the dirtiest player in the game and should always be watched carefully. He also doesn’t believe we’ve seen the last of the five remaining heels from the M7 even though the faction is seemingly disbanded, and that he would be happy to get his hands on them all just like he took care of Rick Steiner.
When asked if he knows in his head when he will retire, Page smirks and says you’ll just have to wait and see.
Backstage, Mike Sanders walks up to the female changing room. Torrie Wilson answers. “Just the gal I wanted to speak to,” he says. “I think we have some business to discuss.”
Wilson laughs and closes the door.
Kid Romeo defeated Lash Leroux with the Last Kiss in 6:54. He takes the microphone post-match and says his team with Elix Skipper has been ended amicably. He adds it’s now time for Kid Romeo to strut his stuff as a singles star and that he already has a pinfall over the cruiserweight champion, Shane Helms. Helms comes to the stage and wastes little time telling Romeo that if he wants a title shot, he’s got one.
Lex Luger makes his way to the ring, in regular clothes but carrying his wrestling boots. It doesn’t take commentary long to speculate on whether he’s going to retire, right here and now.
Luger says throughout his career, whether he’s done the right thing or bad things, WCW has been his home and he’s glad they are still here. He says, like it or not, he felt on top of the world when he ran Goldberg out of WCW and rode on top with the Seven.
However, Goldberg’s retribution at Slamboree and the tag title pasting he and Buff took in March made him realise that he can keep breaking the rules but he cannot cheat Father Time. He then said it may be time to start considering… but his music was cut off by Sting.
Lex’s longtime frenemy joined him in the ring and said that he, Luger, Flair and others are from the same cloth – no matter what they’ve done in their career they were destined to all see in the 21st century and usher in the next generation of stars together, with open arms.
He says he wants to spend the new era of WCW helping prepare the future alongside his two best friends and greatest enemies. Luger ponders Sting’s words until they were joined by Buff Bagwell, who mocks Sting for being such a goody-two-shoes and for thinking he can get into Luger’s head.
He points out that while Sting has talked all this “crap” about the near-demise of WCW and the ‘founding fathers of the company’, not once has he acknowledged that he and Buff are the two remaining guys from when the NWA became WCW.
So, from one original to another, he says, how about a match next week? Sting accepts, and Luger is the first to leave the ring, with neither man.
The main event sees the ‘golden trio’ of WCW champion Booker T and WCW tag champions Sean O’Haire and Chuck Palumbo take on former M7 running buddies Jeff Jarrett, Scott Steiner and Rick Steiner. Scott ends up sneaking in a pipe shot on Palumbo and getting the win via referee stoppage with the Recliner after 12:39.
The bad guys continue to attack the champions after the bell until Goldberg makes the save. As he helps Booker up and the ref gives T his belt, Goldberg stares at the gold with intent. The two stars look awkwardly at each other to close the show.
WCW Great American Bash 2001 card so far:
- WCW Cruiserweight tag titles: Kidman and Misterio (c) vs The Jung Dragons
Next time: A #1 contender is decided! Plus, Rey Misterio Jr vs Lance Storm and a 10-man cruiserweight melee!