MARCH 5, 2003: AIRTIME #59
Matches filmed at the last Nitro taping were:
- Jimmy Yang defeated Matt Bentley with Yang Time after 10:40 in the SBGP quarter-finals. Bentley wasn’t accompanied by anyone but was consoled heading to the back afterwards by Glenn Gilbertti.
- Bryan Danielson advanced over Sonny Siaki with Cattle Mutilation in 7:55. Gilbertti came out early into this one, but was blindsided by Shane Douglas and his chain.
- The Amazing Red progressed with a win over Guido Maritato in 10:07. The Maximos prevented interference from Tony Marinera and Johnny Stamboli before the Red Star Press followed the Infra-Red for the duke.
MARCH 8, 2003: SATURDAY NITRO #96
For the first time in history, WCW will be coming live from the building known worldwide as the ECW Arena. Commissioner Ric Flair has set up an evening consisting mostly of bouts pitting Extreme alumni against one another, just eight days before Rob Van Dam tries to prove himself the uncrowned champion by dethroning Sean O’Haire in Florida.
Taped on March 6 in Philadelphia.
The show begins with Joey Styles and Don Callis welcoming us to the show from inside the ring in classic ECW fashion. They run down some of the matches set for tonight, such as Super Crazy vs Tajiri vs Jerry Lynn for the right to challenge AJ Styles for the US title, Rey Mysterio vs Eddie Guerrero and Rob Van Dam vs Shane Douglas. They then thank Flair for giving them the chance to return “home”.
Just then, they’re interrupted by Vince Russo and Sean O’Haire. Russo runs down both announcers and ECW as a whole from the walkway before sending O’Haire to the ring, which very quickly clears it for he and Vince. Russo complains that they are the victims of a witchhunt all because O’Haire believes in survival of the fittest, and that the PPV main event is set to be along the lines of 10 vs 1. To make matters worse, they have to spend two weeks in “this dump” before the PPV.
Russo begins to insult individual members of the audience to hammer home their disdain for Philly and ECW, and when one fan in particular reacts to this, O’Haire actually pulls him over the rail and beats the crap out of him. O’Haire is hauled out of the building by a swarm of security. Even Russo looks like he has lost control of his champion during the fracas.
Things return to normal somewhat with our opening match, as Kid Kash, Christian York and Joey Matthews teamed up to defeat fellow ECW alumni the Full Blooded Italians plus their running buddy Johnny Stamboli. Full Effect finished off Stamboli in 8:27.
Lance Storm makes his way out next, flanked by his four Team Canada underlings. He says he spent several years right here at the Arena, but he always knew his abilities would soon move him away from this “rancid cesspit”. He says he swore to himself that he would keep proteges like his new Team Canada away from third world venues such as the Arena, but they find themselves forced back because Commissioner Flair lost his mind.
They’re soon interrupted by the 3LK, who take turns mocking Storm and his troops before vowing revenge on them for being sore losers over Superbrawl. Storm goads them into a fight now, and while the numbers advantage soon takes its toll, Dustin Rhodes and then Jeff Jarrett run out to send the Canadians packing once more. Rhodes takes the mic and says he doesn’t particularly enjoy being on the same side as Jarrett, but if this is what they have to do to deal with Team Canada, then maybe a 10-man tag at Spring Breakout is necessary.
Tajiri defeated Jerry Lynn and Super Crazy in a one-fall triangle match to advance to the PPV and a US title match with AJ Styles. A brainbuster on Lynn got the fall in 14:11 and a staredown with Styles, who came out to the walkway, followed the bell.
We returned from an advert break to find Mike Awesome and Malice once again brawling through the arena – their feud this time enhanced by being surrounded by bloodthirsty ECW fans. Tempest, Sinn and Slash soon arrived to beat down Awesome 4-on-1 in the ring but Simon Diamond and Johnny Swinger rushed out and occupied themselves with Malice and Tempest before AMW ran out and got a measure of revenge on Sinn and Slash. With a recovered Awesome’s help, the New Church thugs were forced to retreat and the tag team champions quickly left before they had to share the ring with longtime rivals Simon and Swinger for too long.
The Rejected sulked their way out, literally dragging the cruiserweight tag team belts behind them in continued disrespect to the titles and their importance, before defeating the Maximos in non-title action after 5:38 with Moore’s Bottom’s Up to Jose. Juventud Guerrera and Super Crazy ran out to prevent any further damage being done.
Backstage, Jamie Knoble tells JB he refuses to perform in front of these ‘white trash’ and only cares about seeing who wins the Spring Breakout Grand Prix so he can destroy them at the PPV. The semi-finals come this Wednesday on AirTime while the final is one week from now.
Rob Van Dam defeated Shane Douglas with the Five Star Frog Splash in 12:55 after Matt Bentley and Sonny Siaki ran out during a ref bump but then stopped at the end of the walkway, flipped Douglas double birds and walked back. The duo then met with Glenn Gilbertti at the stage, who had emerged with a lady on each arm. One left with Matt, the other with Sonny while Glenn stuck around long enough to catch a recovering Douglas’s eye and flash him a smirk before leaving.
Raven came out to the ring and sat in the corner, running through his backstory with Kanyon before saying he has better things to do than making Kanyon regret he was ever trained to wrestle, but debts have to be paid and accounts need to be balanced. He says at Spring Breakout, he will free Kanyon of the burden of being a disappointment to everyone he knows.
Just then, the camera shifts to one side slightly as Raven reacts to something. His free hand has been handcuffed to the bottom rope while he is talking – and right there is Kanyon! Kanyon rolls into the ring and puts vicious boots to Raven before handcuffing his other hand to the other bottom rope, fetching a kendo stick and continuing the vengeful attack until security breaks it up.
Finally, Rey Mysterio had Billy Kidman in his corner as he took on Eddie Guerrero, seconded by Chavo. These two teams will meet at the PPV in a match Commissioner Flair has made for the number one contendership to the tag team titles, we are told by the commentary team.
The two went back-and-forth in a slow-burning and technically sound main event before Kidman and Chavo were ejected for brawling at ringside. Things heated up down the closing stretch but eventually Mysterio countered a Super Splash Mountain attempt into a rana, a la Havoc 97. Eddie was able to switch to a sunset flip at two but Rey rolled it back in his favour for the three count in 19:45.
Spring Breakout 2003 card so far:
- WCW title: Sean O’Haire (c) vs Rob Van Dam
- WCW tag team titles: America’s Most Wanted (c) vs New Church
- WCW cruiserweight title: AJ Styles (c) vs Tajiri
- WCW cruiserweight tag titles: The Rejected (c) vs Super Crazy & Juventud Guerrera
- Raven’s Rules: Raven vs Kanyon
- Tables are legal: Mike Awesome vs Malice
- #1 Contenders match: Rey Mysterio and Billy Kidman vs Los Guerreros
- Team Canada vs Jeff Jarrett, Dustin Rhodes and 3 Live Kru
Next time: The go-home Nitro before Spring Breakout 2003!