JANUARY 4, 2003: SATURDAY NITRO #87
WCW enters 2003 with Vince Russo ousted from control of the company – and yet, his shocking ‘contingency alliance’ with new World champion Sean O’Haire has rocked the promotion to its very foundation. The exclamation mark came in the form of a vicious assault on the Icon, Sting. Nobody has heard from the legend since.
With Jeff Jarrett earning another crack at the belt with victory at Starrcade, one has to wonder if the well-documented former friend and now bitter enemy of Russo is next on the hitlist of the new, ruthless O’Haire.
Also, two other O’Haire enemies make for strange bedfellows tonight as Goldberg and Ken Shamrock team up to face Russo loyalists Mark Jindrak and Chuck Palumbo.
Taped on December 29 in Orlando.
Shane Helms and Shannon Moore’s vendetta towards luchadores led to our opener this week, as they took on Juventud Guerrera and Psicosis in a grudge tag team encounter. The referee struggled to impose traditional tag rules on these two pairings, and even when things were settled down it wasn’t for long. Ultimately, with four men brawling outside the ring for an extended period of time, the bell was sounded at 8:33 for a double count-out.
The fight continued after the match was thrown out, but a pair of steel chairs gave The Rejected the upper hand. They laid out the Mexican stars in the ring with multiple shots before producing their foes’ old masks from their tights and forcing them back onto the heads of Juvi and Psi. The heels prepared to introduce the chairs to the masks one final time, but Rey Mysterio and Super Crazy rushed out to chase them off before things got even more violent.
Backstage, Simon Diamond and Swinger are chewing out Glenn Gilbertti over last week’s screw-up. GG is begging the two to forgive him, saying they’re his main men and they’ll get the tag titles back with his help, but they walk off.
Crazy and Rey stand by while Juvi and Psicosis are checked by doctors. Juvi says they appreciate the help but there’s two of them and he and Psicosis plan on settling this themselves. Psicosis implores their friends to focus on their championship quests.
We were set for Curt Hennig and America’s Most Wanted vs Team Canada, but there was no sign of Hennig as AMW came out. The ringside camera appeared to pick up Chris Harris explaining to the official that Hennig was running late.
Lance Storm then led out his troops and had zero sympathy for the circumstances, initiating a 3-on-2 as the referee reluctantly kicked this one off. A few minutes in, out rushed Dustin Rhodes to attempt to offer his longtime proteges a third man in Hennig’s absence. After pleading with the official for a moment, he was given permission to join the fray as the ref acknowledged his hot tag from James Black.
Rhodes ran through Eric Young and Johnny Devine only for Storm to blind tag in and drill him with a leg lariat. Lance then went for the Maple Leaf, only for Dustin to twist onto his stomach and wheelbarrow forward into a victory roll-esque cradle for the shock three! A furious Storm leapt right up and levelled Dustin with a superkick, before leading his men on a beatdown of the tag champs to boot.
As promised all night, we finally hear from WCW champion Sean O’Haire and his new manager, Vince Russo, backstage. Russo says he finally had his chance to save the wrestling business when he took control of WCW, but WCW was too blind to see that and insisted on sabotaging itself. Even his own troops, he claims, were too stubborn to follow his vision to the letter.
So, when he saw the writing on the wall, he decided that he was going to be the one who destroyed everything the company holds dear – and he found just the device to do it. A man he claims he discovered in 2000. A man he says has always had all the tools to reign WCW, but had his killer instinct suppressed by people who feared his full potential. Now, Vince says, he is unleashing the full wrath of Sean O’Haire upon WCW until there is nothing left but the champ, the belt and himself stood on a pile of rubble.
O’Haire finally chimes in, merely saying that a purge is coming to WCW, and nobody is safe. Just then, Scott Hall wanders into the shot and starts complaining to Russo about Shane Douglas and why SEX hasn’t made him champ yet rather than “this chump,” pointing at O’Haire.
Russo gives Sean a subtle signal and the champ blindsides Hall, beating him down viciously. Russo fetches O’Haire a chair which is then placed over Scott’s head. Sean stares Hall in the eyes and murmurs “out with the old…” before ramming Hall and the chair into a nearby support beam. Hall goes down in serious pain, clutching his throat as Vince and O’Haire walk off.
The newly-reinstated Bryan Danielson defeated Brian Kendrick and Paul London in a one-fall triangle match, tapping Kendrick out to Cattle Mutilation in 9:50. Afterwards, Bryan took the mic and said he’s sick of fighting with brothers when the three of them could be taking the cruiserweight division to new heights. He implores Kendrick to agree to a truce…and Brian accepts! All three men embrace in the middle of the ring, almost a year after finally making it to WCW.
Backstage, Billy Kidman catches up to Rey Mysterio. He asks Rey if they’re going to do “this” or not. Misterio says he spoke to the luchadores and they’re gonna handle their business, so he and Billy can reclaim what they say is theirs. Kidman says it’s noble of him to help Team Mexico, but if they’re gonna do this he needs Rey to be all in. Mysterio says “you got it”.
There was another late hiccup to a planned six-man match as Shane Douglas, Matt Bentley and Sonny Siaki jumped The Amazing Red and the Maximos as they made their entrance and laid waste to the high-flying trio.
Douglas then took the mic in the ring and introduced his all-new Triple Threat, with Torrie Wilson by their side as the head cheerleader. He says 2003 will be the year of The Franchise as he brings two of the hottest young talents in the world to the top alongside him. Red, Jose and Joel attempt to get some revenge but they’re far too beaten up to stand a chance the second time around, as the new Triple Threat put the boots to them again. No match.
Now we see Gilbertti sucking up to Johnny Stamboli and the FBI backstage, attempting to keep them on board. He says he got the Italians their rematch for the cruiser tag titles on the live AirTime special, and it’ll be 2/3 falls to avoid another “fluke” from Y&M. Guido says it makes him sick that York and Matthews are running around as part of some ‘Extreme’ group when they were extreme for five minutes. Marinera says they’ll show York and Matthews the true meaning of extreme.
In a match featuring the three men battling for the cruiserweight title on AirTime, Super Crazy and AJ Styles were team-mates for the evening against Tajiri and his compatriot Jimmy Yang. Unsurprisingly, the World Cup winners were much more on the same page and Tajiri pinned AJ with the Buzzsaw Kick in 13:22 after the champ was caught by an errant Crazy missile dropkick.
We finally find out what happened to Ron ‘The Truth’ Killings, as it appears via pre-tape footage that he was tracked down to a recording studio where he’s been in hiding since being taught a lesson by former friend The Cat.
The footage then shows BG James arrive, as the two end up bickering over who booked the studio for this timeslot. It’s cleared up by the studio manager who says it’s actually someone else’s booth for the next hour… as Konnan walks past the two and in to record. James and Killings continue to bicker as the footage ends.
Next was the in-ring return of Mike Awesome, as he teamed with fellow New Church members Sinn and Slash to face Rob Van Dam, Kid Kash and Jerry Lynn. Awesome was hard to stop as he looked to make up for lost time, but just as the Hardcore Revolution trio were beginning to get the upper hand, Kash was shoved off the top rope by his former tag partner, Jamie Knoble. Awesome then hit the top rope splash for the pin in 12:48. RVD’s new group seems to be fighting wars on several fronts in their early weeks.
Tempest and Malice come out after the decision with a table, with the ringside Father James Mitchell appearing to want to put their enemies out of commission. York and Matthews ran out with chairs to make the save, but while the New Church retreated Mitchell took a mic and suggested that this be settled in a 5-on-5 at Genesis.
Next, Triple X and Los Guerreros did battle in a rematch from their inconclusive contest last week. However, the second attempt at this bout failed to settle anything, either, as Kidman and Mysterio ran out and took out both teams with an array of their most dazzling moves for a no-contest after 5:53. Kidman said on the mic afterwards that there’s only one cruiserweight tag team that deserves a shot at the heavyweight belts, and it’s them.
Mike Tenay caught up with Chris Kanyon earlier today. He says life without Diamond Dallas Page on the WCW roster will be tough. Whether friends or enemies, they’ve been synonymous with each other for years but now it’s just Kanyon. He says that era will be a successful one and it will begin with reclaiming the United States title from Booker T tonight. He says Page has a ticket tonight and will be in the crowd to watch Kanyon start the journey towards doing what DDP himself did after becoming US champ: going all the way to the WCW title.
Page was indeed in the front row as Kanyon challenged Booker for his newly-acquired US title, but Chris came up short in a great contest as T turned a Flatliner attempt into the Book End after 14:02.
We see Curt Hennig in the medical room with Scott Hall. He tells the medics that he found Hall in a bad way when he arrived not long ago. Despite the two men not always being on the same page, it appears Hennig is distraught at seeing his longtime friend assaulted in such a manner.
Jeff Jarrett is with Jeremy Borash. He says it seems his PPV opponent, Sean O’Haire, is trying to make a statement in his first World title reign by taking out some of the veterans of WCW. He says he’d love to see O’Haire and Russo try that with him, promising that at Genesis he’ll leave Sean without a belt and Russo without a meal ticket – and maybe without a head.
Goldberg and Ken Shamrock main evented a WCW PPV less than two months ago but recent circumstances placed them on the same side as they took on Palumbo and Jindrak, who have seemingly pledged allegiance to Vince Russo and Sean O’Haire. The dream team overcame some early kinks before Goldberg speared both opponents and Shamrock tapped Jindrak with the anklelock in 7:26.
After the match, new Commissioner Ric Flair came out onto the stage and congratulated both men. He says he knows they’re only doing this towards a common enemy and he gets that: the inconclusive end to Victory Road left some questions unanswered.
Flair says he wants to fix that at Genesis, where the two men will meet one more time, and there must be a winner. That winner, Ric continues, will be number one contender to the WCW title at Superbrawl! Shamrock and Goldberg stare down for a moment, then nod and shake hands.
Suddenly, Jindrak and Palumbo mount a second attack on their conquerors, and while the four are tied up in a brawl we see Russo and O’Haire rush through the crowd. O’Haire lamps both rivals with the WCW title belt before posing over them. He’s not finished there, unfortunately, as Russo points out DDP still in the front row.
O’Haire stalks Page, who defiantly throws a punch at the champ only to be hauled over the guard rail and viciously beaten down. O’Haire drills Page with the steel steps while Palumbo and Jindrak keep Goldberg and Shamrock down. Russo then puts DDP’s arm on the remainder of the steps as Sean brings the top half down onto the shoulder three times, leaving the WCW legend in serious pain as the show ends.
Genesis 2003 card so far:
- WCW title: Sean O’Haire (c) vs Jeff Jarrett
- #1 Contenders match, there must be a winner: Goldberg vs Ken Shamrock
- Hardcore Revolution vs The New Church
Next time: Will O’Haire target more legends after taking out Sting, Scott Hall and DDP? Plus, a huge special edition of AirTime!