Sean O’Haire’s reign of terror as WCW World Champion and ruthless ‘purge’ of some of the biggest names on the roster may be under serious threat tonight, as the maniacal champ, his manager and the brains of the operation Vince Russo and even his henchmen Mark Jindrak and Chuck Palumbo find themselves seriously outnumbered, outgunned and out-Extreme’d.
Rob Van Dam was a two-time and reigning champ last summer until he became an early casualty of Russo’s attempted Sports Entertainment Xtreme hostile takeover. Russo, mad that RVD declined to join his side of the WCW civil war, hired Father James Mitchell’s Disciples of the New Church to put Van Dam on the shelf for months, leading to the belt being vacated.
RVD made his return and fought fire with fire to gain revenge on the New Church, recruiting a host of fellow former ECW wrestlers in a ‘Hardcore Revolution’ that ultimately got the better of Mitchell’s cronies. However, in the midst of all this, Russo’s contingency plan in the wake of SEX’s downfall grew more and more dangerous.
Tonight, Rob finally invokes his right to a rematch for the title he never lost. Tonight, O’Haire must find a way to overcome a confident and capable challenger knowing that his cohorts have less than half the manpower of Van Dam’s backers. Tonight, WCW’s traditional Spring Breakout party goes to the Extreme!
Elsewhere on the card, one final remnant of the Hardcore Revolution vs. New Church war will be settled, as the monster Malice seeks revenge on former and original disciple Mike Awesome for choosing to side with the ECW alumni, despite his frosty relationship with that company back in the day. Jeff Jarrett, Dustin Rhodes and the 3 Live Kru form an unlikely alliance against Lance Storm’s growing ranks in the new Team Canada. Plus, title matches and more!
MARCH 16, 2003: WCW SPRING BREAKOUT – Orlando, Florida
Bouts are taped for the following Wednesday’s AirTime during the usual pre-show.
Opening match, WCW United States Championship: AJ Styles (c) vs Tajiri
The first PPV contest of the evening saw Styles retain the US title against Tajiri, finishing with the Styles Clash in 19:19. The two popular and familiar opponents tore the house down in their back-and-forth battle for the secondary championship, and shook hands after the bout.
WCW Cruiserweight Tag Team Championship: The Rejected (c) vs Juventud Guerrera & Super Crazy
Though they were able to defend the honour of lucha libre at Genesis, Team Mexico were unable to win the cruiserweight tag titles as The Rejected escaped with their titles versus Juventud Guerrera and Super Crazy.
After surviving Juvi being isolated for a while, Crazy hot tagged in and the challengers enjoyed a hot closing stretch where they enjoyed almost all the offense but just couldn’t put the champs away. Helms then crotched Crazy hard on the top turnbuckle while he went for the third straight moonsault of his trifecta, allowing Moore to hit a neckbreaker from the tree of woe and cover with Helms holding one of Crazy’s feet from outside for good measure, which was enough for the win at 13:30.
Grudge match, Tables Are Legal: Mike Awesome vs Malice
Mike Awesome next faced Malice in a match where tables were completely legal. The New Church beast attacked before the bell and immediately threw Awesome over the top and through a set up table, before getting a near fall later on with a hiptoss through a table propped up in the corner. Members of the Hardcore Revolution came out and forced a New Church retreat before Awesome rallied and hit an Awesome Bomb through another propped-up table. Then, a top rope splash onto Malice, laid out on another table, finished the war at the 6:21 mark.
Billy Kidman & Rey Mysterio vs Los Guerreros
Los Guerreros defeated Billy Kidman and Rey Misterio to earn a WCW tag team title shot. Kidman accidentally wiped out both Chavo and Misterio with a spectacular SSP dive to the outside, which did more damage to Rey than anyone else. Kidman soon found himself outnumbered and a Chavo brainbuster followed by an Eddie frog splash secured the fall in 16:37. Rey recovered enough to check on Kidman after the bout, but a hurt and angry Billy shoved him away and hobbled to the back alone.
WCW Cruiserweight Championship: Jamie Knoble (c) vs The Amazing Red
Exciting rookie Red received his biggest career opportunity to date when he challenged Knoble for the cruiserweight title. Unfortunately for the underdog, tonight wasn’t his night. Knoble weathered some breathtaking aerial offense to keep Red grounded for a while, and when the challenger rallied and went for the Infra-Red, Knoble was able to move and quickly follow up with a Tiger Driver to retain in 8:49. After the bout, Knoble looked to send a message with a second Tiger Driver but was chased off by Kid Kash.
WCW World Tag Team Championship: America’s Most Wanted (c) vs The Disciples of the New Church (Sinn & Slash)
Next was America’s Most Wanted defending the tag team titles against Sinn and Slash of the New Church. Though the heels were able to work over Black for a while, Harris eventually got the tag in and the champions took over. Father James Mitchell attempted to distract the ref to facilitate a Tempest run-in, but Harris saw him coming and levelled him with a superkick.
Just as it looked like a Death Sentence was coming, Christopher Daniels was next to show up at ringside. His presence allowed the returning Elix Skipper to slip into the ring and KO Harris with a tag title belt, leaving Sinn to drape an arm over for the shocking three count to crown NEW champions in 11:22!
Raven’s Rules: Raven vs Chris Kanyon
Raven had been targeting Kanyon in recent weeks, ever since Chris walked away from an apparent blackmail attempt by Father James Mitchell. We never did find out the apparent secret about Kanyon’s personal life, despite that: Mitchell announced he would rather punish him physically, indicating he continued to have hold on Raven of some variety stemming from the deal he cut with Vince Russo.
Given their lengthy history, the two beat the living hell out of one another in a typical weapons-laced Raven’s Rules match, but it was the recently-returned Raven who came out on top, using a desperation low blow to avoid a shot to the head with a STOP sign and set up the Evenflow onto that very sign at the 12:26 mark.
Jeff Jarrett, Dustin Rhodes and the 3 Live Kru (BG James, Ron Killings & Konnan) vs Team Canada (Lance Storm, Eric Young, Johnny Devine, Bobby Roode & Joe Legend)
All five members of Team Canada defeated the makeshift team of Rhodes, Jarrett and the 3 Kru when Lance Storm smashed Jarrett’s guitar over BG James’ head behind the official’s back, leading to Joe Legend covering for the win in 11:35.
The babyfaces actually got along well for the entire match, determined to teach the Canadians a lesson. However, the backhanded tactics that most of them had used themselves in the past proved the deciding factor.
WCW World Championship: Sean O’Haire (c) vs Rob Van Dam
The two brawled back and forth and traded martial arts kicks early on, with only Vince Russo (and a manager’s licence he showed off to a nearby cameraman at every opportunity) at ringside. RVD took over with some of his trademark moves in and around the ring, which led to Chuck Palumbo and Mark Jindrak running down. They were soon attacked by Jerry Lynn and CW Anderson, with Kid Kash, Christian York, Joey Matthews, Simon Diamond, Johnny Swinger and Mike Awesome also coming out. The Hardcore Revolution surrounded the ring for the final few minutes after sending Palumbo, Jindrak and even Russo scurrying for cover.
O’Haire almost won it with an F5, only for RVD to kick out at two. Van Dam managed to avoid being locked into O’Haire’s new cobra clutch hold, but only got two himself from the Five Star frog splash when he took too long to gather his bearings and cover. A desperate O’Haire slid out of the ring and fetched a chair, which Mike Awesome grabbed as he returned to his feet inside the squared circle. The resulting tug of war led to the official being hit hard by the chair. Sean went for a wild swing but RVD ducked before connecting with the Van Daminator.
He slowly crawled towards the corner, noticing that Sean was in prime position for another Five Star, only for Diamond to shout “NOW!” which led to Simon, Swinger, CW and Awesome taking out Lynn, Kash, York and Matthews on the outside!
RVD’s trademark leap to the top for his finish was understandably halted by the shocking turn of events, but his disbelief over this apparent fracture in his Hardcore Revolution allowed O’Haire to recover the chair and nail him between the eyes. The F5 onto a chair followed and the referee slowly edged into position to count to three at 15:07.
Palumbo, Jindrak and Russo returned to help O’Haire out of the war zone while CW, Awesome, Simon and Swinger made sure their four so-called stablemates remained incapacitated at ringside before they entered the ring and put the boots to Van Dam. The PPV ended with the quartet stood over RVD. But exactly how long were they planning this whole thing?