JANUARY 8, 2003: AIRTIME #51
After a couple of weeks off, AirTime is back with a special two-hour live broadcast to celebrate a year of midweek cruiserweight action. Though the show will soon downscale its production, with matches filmed before Nitro tapings and spliced with pre-recorded content, a huge evening is planned with two title matches and more.
Filmed live in Orlando.
Christian York and Joey Matthews faced their obligatory rematch at the top of the show, defending the cruiserweight tag titles against the FBI over the best two out of three falls. The challengers had both Glenn Gilbertti and Johnny Stamboli in their corner, leading to the arrival just before the opening bell of Y&M’s Hardcore Revolution leader, Rob Van Dam!
The champs controlled the early going only for a Gilbertti trip on Matthews to be very well-timed and lead to a quick Sicilian Slice off the second turnbuckle from Maritato for the first fall in 6:15. An irate RVD chased Gilbertti around the ring until Stamboli intervened, leading to the former WCW champion kicking Johnny’s backside all the way backstage. The official then told Gilbertti to join them, much to the scheming manager’s chagrin.
The Italians worked over Matthews for a while until he hot tagged to York. Christian kept both men at bay for a while, but when they were able to isolate him with Matthews still recovering, York was able to duck a clothesline from Guido which levelled Marinera. A quick O’Connor roll from York to Maritato then tied the bout up after 13:44.
Things broke down in the third fall, with big move after big move, near fall after near fall. Eventually, the FBI go for a double Rubik’s Cube on York only for Matthews to sneak up the top turnbuckle behind them and drag his team-mate off their shoulders, up onto the ropes with him.
Guido and Tony climbed up and looked for stereo superplexes from the same corner, but Maritato was shoved all the way out to the floor and Marinera then ate two right hands, dropping him into perfect position for the Full Effect double top rope dive to retain the belts after 19:26.
Shane Douglas is backstage with Torrie Wilson, Matt Bentley and Sonny Siaki. He says the Triple Threat is historically a force to be reckoned with, combining some of the most talented, dangerous and underappreciated men in wrestling with his leadership and expertise. He says he saw money in Bentley and Siaki from day one of the SEX era, and 2003 will be the year they dominate WCW. If any ‘midget punks’ like Red and the Maximos have a problem with that, too bad.
In their first match back on the same page, the trio of Bryan Danielson, Brian Kendrick and Paul London defeated CM Punk, Colt Cabana and Julio Dinero. Sliced Bread #2 put Cabana in position for a perfect London shooting star press in 5:29.
A pre-tape brings us the thoughts of Super Crazy heading into tonight’s main event, a big triangle bout for the cruiserweight title. It documents his on-off partnership with Tajiri, his respect for AJ Styles and his desire to be seen as the top cruiserweight in the world – something he claims only the singles title will accomplish.
Jerry Lynn defeated recent addition to the singles ranks Jimmy Yang in 12:05 with the Cradle Piledriver, in a contest that nearly went the way of the relative rookie on several occasions only for the veteran and former champ to edge out his opponent in the end. Lynn showed great sportsmanship afterwards, helping Yang up and offering words of encouragement.
Tajiri is next up for the main event build treatment. He says he and Super Crazy seem destined to do this forever, whether opponents or team-mates. He says he should have known they’d end up causing some sort of controversial finish together at Starrcade because their paths are so intertwined. He says he won’t be denied tonight – not by Crazy, not by AJ Styles.
Matt Bentley and Sonny Siaki defeated Jose and Joel Maximo thanks to Shane Douglas stopping a Spanish Fly attempt on Siaki while Torrie Wilson had the referee distracted. Shane did enough to cause Jose to drop to the apron. Red ran over and hit a big running dropkick to the Franchise, but by this point Sonny had shoved Joel off the top and right into a perfectly-timed Bentley superkick for the pin in 8:33. The Triple Threat got out of there after stealing the win.
Lance Storm is with Team Canada backstage. He says his WCW career has been littered with injustice from biased Americans, but with his squad behind him he’s going to wipe out those prejudiced against them one by one. He warns Dustin Rhodes that the son of the ‘American Dream’ is about to experience a long and painful nightmare.
In a grudge match between two former partners, Jamie Knoble defeated Kid Kash thanks to a run-in from New Church’s Tempest. The psychotic wild card of Father James Mitchell’s group viciously beat on Kash when he took a spill onto the walkway before hurling him back in for the academic Knoble pin in 9:45. Of course, Jamie was all too happy to keep the referee distracted for this.
Tempest’s attack on a Hardcore Revolution member brought out both sides for another huge brawl, as Sinn, Slash, Malice and Mike Awesome helped Tempest overwhelm RVD and a tired Lynn, York and Matthews. That was until CW Anderson, of all people, ran out with a chair to help turn the tide. Shots to Malice and Awesome helped the former ECW men get the upper hand and compel Mitchell to order a retreat. It looks like the Revolution is growing…
AJ Styles is last on the pre-tape segments, as he documents the last year and a bit of his life where three cruiserweight title reigns and countless amazing performances have made him pretty much the poster boy for the new WCW, evidenced by his 2002 Wrestler of the Year award. He says he has no intentions of coasting in 2003, and regardless of an “Extreme revolution in WCW” he will prove he is the absolute best tonight.
America’s Most Wanted joined commentary as a one-fall Triangle tag was set to decide their next challengers for the tag titles. Rey and Kidman, Los Guerreros and Triple X went at it for only 7:34, however, before Skipper and Daniels ended up provoking the champs at ringside and sparking a huge brawl featuring all four teams which forced the official to throw it out.
We have a huge teaser video for the 2003 World Cup, which promises an even bigger tournament than before. It also reveals that the event will this year be staged in… Mexico City, Mexico!
We are joined by Juventud Guerrera and Psicosis, who explain from backstage that Shane Helms and Shannon Moore have been trying to hurt and humiliate them for months. They figured it was part of the WCW-SEX war, but now that’s over and it’s still happening it’s clearly personal.
They say The Rejected have been using their old masks to mock the luchador traditions, but they cannot take something away from them that has already been taken away and hasn’t killed them. They do, however, still have their hair – and so do Shane and Shannon. So, they’re challenging them to a hair vs hair tag team match at Genesis. They finish by promising that the only ones who will be hurt and humiliated by the end of this will be Helms and Moore.
Finally, it was time for the three-way cruiserweight title match, and the first multi-man title bout since Ric Flair’s edict that all such contests will be elimination rules meaning the champion must be defeated for a title to change hands, no matter what. Flair himself joined the official and the ring announcer in the ring for introductions as all three men arrived. Ric then sat ringside and watched the bout unfold – and it started in a manner very few expected.
The champ was quickest out of the blocks with a string of trademark moves to both challengers, but he got a little cocky and gave the two further incentive to work together. They then blitzed Styles with attacks before a Tajiri brainbuster, a Crazy powerbomb, a Buzzsaw Kick and a moonsault from the top were followed by a double cover to relieve the champ of his title in just 5:38! Styles was helped to the back to a good ovation from the crowd as the bout pretty much restarted as a singles to determine the next cruiserweight champion.
Another Tajiri/Crazy classic ensued, culminating in a frantic finishing sequence that saw Crazy duck a Buzzsaw Kick and quickly follow with a snap German and a straitjacket sit-out powerbomb for the pin and the title in 18:41! Tajiri gathered his bearings after the loss and took the belt from the ref, opting to hand it to his longtime rival himself. However, it was then snatched straight away from Crazy by the returning AJ Styles… who after a dramatic pause, strapped the belt around the new champion’s waist. The three men shook hands with each other and with Ric Flair as the special two-hour AirTime concluded.
JANUARY 11, 2003: SATURDAY NITRO #88
Since Eric Bischoff ousted Vince Russo and placed Ric Flair in charge of matchmaking, there has been a refreshing feel to World Championship Wrestling as some of the planet’s finest athletes push each other to the limit in mind-blowing contests.
However, although Russo failed in turning WCW into his Sports Entertainment Xtreme sideshow once again, he has managed to unleash a darker, more violent side to a man he brought onto the main roster, new WCW champion Sean O’Haire.
O’Haire has put Sting on the shelf, wiped out Russo’s former footsoldier Scott Hall and even ensured DDP’s retirement was less Page’s choice than he thought it was. Who can stop his ‘purge’ of WCW’s biggest names?
Taped on January 9 in Orlando.
Jeff Jarrett is out at the top of the show and, when in the ring, he says he’s going nowhere until Sean O’Haire gets out here. He says if O’Haire and Russo want to try and take out all of the veterans, a 10+ year, multi-time champion is right here and they don’t have to wait until their title match at Genesis. After a bit of a wait, the champion and his manager emerge onto the stage.
Russo barks at Jarrett for having the audacity to call out the champ, and says his time will come at the PPV. Jeff then barrages his former friend with insults and questions O’Haire’s manhood to goad him down, and Russo finally gives the signal for his tool of destruction to go to the ring. Just before he reaches those ropes, however, he’s tackled off the walkway and into the guardrail by someone in plain clothes.
As the intruder from the crowd hops down and mounts O’Haire with punch after punch, the camera gets a good shot and we see it’s Kanyon – no doubt incensed over what Sean did to DDP. Jarrett then sees Russo frantically calling for Palumbo and Jindrak, and as they run down he greets Mark with a guitar shot before brawling with Chuck.
A swarm of referees and security break up the two brawls with Ric Flair there at the frontline to try and restore order. Russo screams at Flair over what’s happening to his men, but Ric continues to ensure this is all diffused. Flair then takes the mic and says we’ll settle this in the ring tonight: O’Haire, Palumbo and Jindrak vs Jarrett, Kanyon and whomever wants to join them.
The first match of the night pitted Psicosis against Shannon Moore as the announcers confirmed that the challenge had been accepted and it’ll be the luchadors vs The Rejected, double hair vs double hair, at Genesis. To the shock of no-one, Moore and Psicosis brawled from the get-go in a singles match filled with hatred.
Psicosis fought back from some Shannon pressure only to be shoved off the top rope by the outrushing Shane Helms before he could hit the Guillotine Legdrop. That caused a DQ after 7:00, and Helms then pulled out a wireless set of hair clippers but Juventud’s save came before the heels could remove any locks before the big tag match.
Chris Harris and James Black are warming up backstage when Curt Hennig walks over. Hennig apologises for missing out last week and says he may not be able to help out much going forward because he has some business he needs to take care of now. AMW tell Curt to take care of his, and they’ll take care of theirs before shaking the veteran’s hand and heading to the ring.
AMW then teamed with Billy Kidman and Rey Mysterio to face Los Guerreros and Triple X in a match that came with the announcement that AirTime’s failure to determine new number one contenders means all three teams will challenge at Genesis in a four-way elimination bout for the tag titles.
This week, it was advantage XXX as they pulled a ‘Guerreros’ on team-mates for the evening Eddie and Chavo. Chavo had spiked Kidman with a Tornado DDT before tagging Eddie to follow with the Frog Splash. Instead, XXX crotched Eddie and Daniels took a tag while Skipper dumped Eddie. Daniels then sent Chavo flying out of the ring and gave Kidman a beautiful triple-jump moonsault for the pin in 11:17 while Elix kept Rey at bay and the tag champions remained in their corner, seemingly still seething about a Rey/Kidman stereo dive nailing them by accident earlier.
Mike Tenay caught up with US champion Booker T earlier today. Asked about Sharmell, Booker says she’s staying at home because Booker doesn’t want her in harm’s way, and to be honest while his girlfriend helped restore his focus at one point he is now more focused knowing she isn’t going to be targeted by other wrestlers.
He explains that the US title means a lot to him because it also meant a lot to him when he first won it in 2001 but he only got to defend it once and when he did, he won the WCW title and had to vacate it. This time, he’s daring anyone to take it from him and he’ll defend it every week if people keep stepping up to the plate.
Tenay then brings up that he does have a challenger tonight, another man who never lost the belt, Mike Awesome. Booker says neither of them have been beaten for their US title and after tonight there will be one true champion, but that champ is Booker T and he finishes by saying that we shouldn’t be surprised if this reign eventually ends how the last one did: with Booker winning the WCW title again.
Shane Douglas, Matt Bentley and Sonny Siaki were disqualified against Bryan Danielson, Brian Kendrick and Paul London when Douglas used a blatant low blow to stop Danielson dead in his tracks just when an upset seemed to be on the cards, with 7:49 elapsed. A Triple Threat beat-down ensued, but the heels fled the scene when The Amazing Red and the Maximos ran out to make the save and look for a measure of revenge in the process.
Dustin Rhodes joins us next, as he explains that despite the fact he’s American born and bred and bleeds red white and blue, he has always loved and respected Canada. He says the country is as beautiful as the US, there are a ton of cowboys and plenty of great beers. However he does not love or respect people like Lance Storm being poor losers and then blaming it on America.
Rhodes calls Storm out and says if he wants to make his losing streak about countries and not that Rhodes was the better man that night and at Starrcade, that’s fine by him but the result will remain the same. He waits for Storm but instead finds himself attacked by Johnny Devine and Eric Young, who came in from the crowd. He is able to keep both men at bay for a while but only until he’s suddenly wiped out by another Storm superkick from out of nowhere.
New cruiserweight champion Super Crazy retained the belt he won on the live AirTime special against former champ AJ Styles in the latter’s mandatory rematch. Crazy was able to thwart an attempt at a super Styles Clash, instead bringing AJ down with a huracanrana counter and following up with a moonsault off each turnbuckle for the pin in 15:50. After the bout, Tajiri made his way out and made a short and sweet challenge to his old rival for Genesis, which was accepted.
We see clips of BG James, Ron Killings and Konnan apparently attempting to share studio space and equipment. Offbeat hilarity ensues.
Booker T retained the United States title against Mike Awesome in 13:14. Members of the New Church attempted to interject themselves but were beaten away from ringside by RVD, Jerry Lynn, Kid Kash, York and Matthews and CW Anderson. Malice was able to fight off a couple and returned to the ring apron, only to have Booker send Awesome right into him and then into a Book End to retain.
Jamie Knoble is filming himself in a woodlands somewhere. He says he has proved that Kash isn’t the man or the wrestler he is, and next he will prove that the entire cruiserweight division is full of “little boys” who will fall to the “last real man”.
Ric Flair now moderates Ken Shamrock and Bill Goldberg. It is confirmed that the winner of their Genesis match will be in the main event of Superbrawl, challenging for the WCW title. Shamrock and Goldberg each express respect for the other’s fighting abilities but things get a bit heated when Bill points out Ken’s working for Russo last year and Shamrock reminds us that even Goldberg himself was once lured to Vince’s side. Security rushes to make sure a brawl doesn’t erupt as the two men promise to beat the other once and for all at Genesis.
Finally, Jeff Jarrett and Chris Kanyon came out to face Sean O’Haire, Mark Jindrak and Chuck Palumbo. They then revealed their tag partner… Curt Hennig!
Hennig definitely had a bee in his bonnet about the WCW champ’s treatment of Scott Hall last week and O’Haire was indeed targeted by all three opponents at various points and it took his backup guys to save his bacon more than once. Ultimately, it was next contender Jarrett who got the fall on Palumbo with the Stroke in 13:44. However…
…As soon as Jeff returned to his feet from scoring the pinfall he was blindsided by O’Haire with his own guitar! Sean and Jindrak then beat Kanyon down before turning their attention to a fallen Hennig who had taken quite the beating during the match.
They took Curt outside the ring where Jindrak uncovered the concrete underneath the mats and O’Haire delivered a sickening piledriver to Hennig right onto the hard floor! The heels all made their way to the back as Kanyon and Jarrett slowly crawled over to check on Curt, seemingly the latest victim of the O’Haire ‘purge’.
Genesis 2003 card so far:
- WCW title: Sean O’Haire (c) vs Jeff Jarrett
- WCW tag titles: AMW (c) vs Los Guerreros vs Triple X vs Kidman & Mysterio
- WCW cruiserweight title: Super Crazy (c) vs Tajiri
- #1 Contenders match, there must be a winner: Goldberg vs Ken Shamrock
- Hardcore Revolution vs The New Church
- Hair vs Hair: Juventud Guerrera & Psicosis vs The Rejected
Next time: Who will the maniacal Sean O’Haire, with Vince Russo egging him on, target next on his dangerous path of destruction?