APRIL 2, 2003: AIRTIME #63
Matches filmed at the last Nitro taping were:
- Bryan Danielson, Brian Kendrick and Paul London defeating Guido Maritato, Tony Marinera and Sal Rinuaro when Danielson made Rinuaro tap to Cattle Mutilation in 9:58 ahead of his cruiserweight title match on Nitro.
- Eric Young and Johnny Devine finally giving Canada their first points in a tainted victory over Juventud Guerrera and Super Crazy when Bobby Roode crotched Crazy behind the ref’s back on a moonsault attempt. While Psicosis beat up Roode at ringside, Devine hit a Death Valley Driver on the hurt Crazy for the pin in 6:45.
- And, Doug Williams led Jonny Storm and Jody Fleisch to victory over Tajiri, TAKA and Dick Togo after planting Tajiri with a rolling Chaos Theory suplex in 13:12.
World Cup 2003 standings (everyone has wrestled three times):
- USA: 6pts
- UK: 4pts
- Japan: 2pts
- Mexico: 2pts
- Italy: 2pts
- Canada: 2pts
APRIL 5, 2003: SATURDAY NITRO #100
Two years after WCW was temporarily off the airwaves altogether, their new reinvented and reinvigorated form celebrates the 100th edition of the Saturday night version of Nitro.
All the championships will be on the line tonight, as well as the first confrontation between America’s Most Wanted and Triple X, a grudge match between the Hardcore Revolution and the Extreme Horsemen in some form or another, and what WCW.com has called a ‘Mexican wrestling showcase’ ahead of Mexico City hosting the World Cup finals in two weeks.
Filmed live in Atlanta, GA, with a special three-hour runtime.
The night of champions wasted no time in getting the show off to an action-packed start, as The Rejected defended the cruiserweight tag team titles against Paul London and Brian Kendrick. The challengers had the crowd on their feet more than once, biting on several very close near-falls, but Shannon Moore grabbed the ropes as Kendrick went over with a Sliced Bread #2 attempt, sending Brian down to his knees alone and putting him in prime position for Helms to sneak in and blast him with the Shining Black before keeping London at bay while Shannon covered at 14:11.
Dustin Rhodes challenged Raven to a match after what happened in last week’s main event, and the malcontent unsurprisingly demanded Raven’s Rules. The brawl began with both men appearing unannounced from the side of the walkway, with Rhodes pelting Raven with a trash can until he stumbled to the apron and rolled into the ring to retreat. This allowed Raven to snatch the can away as Dustin followed him in and take over with the weapon shots.
The two traded blows with and creative wrestling moves involving the mangled can and a chair, before Raven shoved Rhodes off an attempted bulldog and into the chair that was wedged between the turnbuckles, following with a low blow and the Evenflow for the pin at 7:29.
Raven wasn’t content, however, and fetched a kendo stick from under the ring post-match. But as he aimed a strike, Rhodes had recovered enough to jab the chair that had fallen out of the buckles into his gut, and Raven fled before Rhodes could land a blow as hard as the one from last week.
Ric Flair is out in one of his most stylish suits yet to personally mark the occasion of Nitro 100. He says back when Saturday Nitro first landed, he was in an uncertain place. He didn’t know who his friends were, what he should be doing or even whether WCW staying alive was a good idea. Now, here we are, 100 strong, with an even more talented roster and he’s here in the right place: running the ship and making the best matches possible for the fans.
He’s then cut off by Vince Russo and Sean O’Haire, with Russo bragging that this so-called talented roster is wearing thinner and thinner thanks to the WCW champion’s purge, while Flair’s position of power is laughable since he has turned corrupt through power even more often than Russo has. Flair retorts that unlike Vince, he holds his hands up and learns from his own mistakes and unless he and the champ do that, their reign of terror will end badly for them.
O’Haire takes this as a threat and wonders aloud what Flair could possibly do if he came down there right now, an action even Russo tries to talk him out of. Flair says they have been over this: touch him and he’s out of here. Not only that, but he’s already warned Sean about his assaults and while he cannot stop him within actual matches, what he did last week to the Maximos after the bell didn’t fly under his radar.
O’Haire brazenly asks what Flair’s going to do about it, as he reaches the ring and goes right up to his face. Flair says actually, he won’t do anything, because there’s someone else who has asked to handle the situation personally. Russo, from the stage still, laughs and asks if it’s that “little pipsqueak Red”. Flair says no, and that Russo and O’Haire probably won’t find out who until the playing field is levelled. Ric takes his leave at this moment as the champ and his handler glance back over at each other, confused.
AJ Styles and his United States title were thrust into the middle of the Hardcore Revolution/Extreme Horsemen war as he defended against both Jerry Lynn and CW Anderson, with all other parties banned from ringside. After a few opening minutes of every-man-for-himself three-way wrestling, CW began to wear both men down by targeting Lynn’s leg and AJ’s arm.
Eventually, the two former cruiser title rivals pooled their resources to fight off Anderson’s systematic game and a Cradle Piledriver followed by Spiral Tap led to Styles pinning CW for the first elimination at 7:28. AJ and Jerry then added another chapter to their classic series of contests with a pulsating closing stretch, which ended with the champ blocking a superplex attempt and hitting a Super Styles Clash to retain in a total time of 15:20.
A cameraman picks up an altercation backstage where Mark Jindrak has been found badly beaten in the changing room with trainers tending to him. Next on the scene are O’Haire and Russo, who fume at what has happened and even more so when Russo finds a note that reads “One down”. They realise they need to find Chuck Palumbo, ASAP.
Rey yisterio teamed with Los Guerreros to defeat Juventud Guerrera, Psicosis and Super Crazy in a lucha showcase six-man. Rey’s ups and downs with Eddie and Chavo were documented by the commentary team but a more tentative show of unity from the trio before the match was followed by a far happier one after they secured the win, via an Eddie frog splash to Psicosis in 13:48.
Psicosis at one point connected with the Guillotine Legdrop to Chavo but took longer to recover than the recipient of his finisher, casting fresh doubt over whether his leg is fully healed from injury. It led to his downfall and the eventual loss to Eddie. Members of Team Japan and Team Italy were shown watching from various points of the arena, as well as Billy Kidman, who watched Rey and the Guerreros’ post-match celebration in particular.
The two warring Extreme factions agreed upon a one-on-one encounter between Rob Van Dam and Mike Awesome, which lasted all of 3:52 before Kid Kash, York and Matthews and Lynn brawled with CW, Simon Diamond, Swinger and Steve Corino on the outside. It then spilled into the ring and ruined the contest. Even more security was required to defuse the pier-six.
Backstage after the break, we see RVD pinned back by two members of security as he attempts to get at Corino in particular. Ric Flair comes over and demands order, before saying that if it’s gang warfare they all want, that’s what they’ll get at the World Cup PPV in a 5 on 5 match. Corino immediately backs out, saying he’s a manager not a contracted wrestler, but that his four Extreme Horsemen will happily teach four of Van Dam’s goons a lesson.
Flair tells Steve that his attempt to rip off the Horsemen name hasn’t escaped him, but that 4vs4 works if he’s too scared to put on the boots. Corino tries to act as if he’s man enough to fight but just can’t for whatever reason, yet flees when RVD slips past the loosened grip of security and lunges at him.
Bryan Danielson was, to the surprise of many, on the front foot for most of his challenge of cruiserweight champion Jamie Knoble who just couldn’t get out of first gear thanks to Danielson’s technical prowess and offensive intensity. However, it was the experience of the champ that got him through another title defence as he weathered the submissions, the strikes and the counters before catching the challenger with a vicious desperation hotshot on the ropes and quickly capitalising with a Tiger Bomb for the pin in 7:50.
We cut to O’Haire and Russo searching for Palumbo backstage. They eventually find him – in the otherwise-vacated green room, in a very bad way. Russo picks up another note, and this one reads: “too late”. A furious O’Haire rips up the note and throws furniture around, while Vince tries to get him to focus on the fact he still has to defend his title tonight.
Sinn and Slash retained their tag titles against BG James and Konnan in a no-DQ rematch. It didn’t take long for Tempest and Malice to take advantage of the lawless nature of the bout, but Ron Killings ran down and brawled with Tempest to the back while an attempt by Malice to chokeslam BG James through a table was thwarted by a guitar shot from Jeff Jarrett. As JJ chased a protesting Father James Mitchell out of sight, however, BG remained in a bad way and the champs quickly used the intact table to finish Konnan with a double chokeslam at the 8:43 mark.
Lance Storm took the mic before the evening’s only World Cup bout and accused WCW of screwing him out of the chance to be a double champion by the end of the World Cup PPV, before saying he’ll get his championship back in due course but first he will help steer Team Canada back on course in the World Cup by leading by example.
And he did a pretty good job of that, beating Billy Kidman of Team USA in a thrilling back-and-forth singles battle. Kidman enjoyed the better of the early going but an SSP attempt hit the knees and Storm worked on the tender midsection of his opponent from then on. After the two traded a dozen duelling pinfall combinations, Storm hit another desperation knee to the hurt ribs and added a half nelson cradle for the three at 17:27.
Backstage, JB catches up to Jarrett to ask him why he did what he did in the tag title match. He says as much as he doesn’t care for the members of 3LK, they had his back against Team Canada and he returned the favour. But on top of that, he knows James Mitchell has been pulling strings behind the scenes with “that scumbag” Russo which led to him being shafted at Genesis. He says the New Church deserves everything that happens to them, and hints that there may be more to come.
America’s Most Wanted and Triple X brawled around ringside immediately in their grudge match, and when things finally found their way to the ring it lasted only 5:17 before the official threw the match out as all four men brawled to the back.
Dustin Rhodes tells JB backstage that the fight under Raven’s Rules has only made him want to kick Raven’s ass more. He challenges Raven to finish this in another brawl next week – a Bunkhouse Brawl. Come as you are, falls count anywhere – and Rhodes says he’ll make sure there are far more weapons for them to “play” with.
Finally, Sean O’Haire retained the WCW title against Chris Kanyon despite having his henchmen Jindrak and Palumbo wiped out earlier. He survived Kanyon’s best shots before wearing the challenger down by working on his previously-injured neck, ultimately dropping Kanyon with two vicious jumping piledrivers. When the official warned him that he would disqualify the champ if he went through with a third without at least going for an elementary pin, O’Haire turned the piledriver setup into a Diamond Cutter, adding insult to injury. He then locked in the cobra clutch with body scissors and the ref quickly called it at 9:09.
Despite this, O’Haire refused to release the hold as more officials came down to the ring. Try as they might to pull him off a dangerously-hurt Kanyon, however, it took the music of one Diamond Dallas Page to finally get the champion’s attention!
An enraged DDP rushed down to the ring and traded blows with O’Haire until Russo hopped up on the apron, distracting Page long enough for the champ to scoop him up into an F5. He demanded Russo fetch him a chair as Commissioner Flair rushed down to demand the seemingly possessed O’Haire stop the carnage, which only led to Sean drilling Flair over the skull with the chair instead!
As O’Haire stood over the bloodied boss, chair in hand, with Russo despairing over the consequences from the apron, Sean decided to turn back to the stirring Page. He raised the chair above his head… and the lights went out. Some thunder and lightning appeared on the stage, before a spotlight showed a crow on the turnbuckle nearest Russo, causing the cowardly manager to fall off the apron. O’Haire stared down the bird, uncertain what to do as the announcers put two and two together, just before we ran out of time.
World Cup 2003 card so far:
- WCW tag titles: Sinn & Slash (c) vs Los Guerreros
- Quarter-final six-way singles elimination match
- Semi-final four-way tag elimination match
- Final: ?? vs ?? vs ??
- Hardcore Revolution vs Extreme Horsemen
World Cup 2003 standings (everyone has wrestled three times except USA and CAN ):
- USA: 6pts
- Canada: 4pts
- UK: 4pts
- Japan: 2pts
- Mexico: 2pts
- Italy: 2pts
A large number of contracts were set to expire on April 30. Some of those wrestlers were re-signed to improved deals, including the current champion Sean O’Haire, cruiser champ Jamie Knoble, Kid Kash, Elix Skipper, Chavo Guerrero Jr., Super Crazy, Tajiri, CW Anderson and The Amazing Red. However Jorge Estrada and The Maximos are done with the company, Mark Jindrak and Chuck Palumbo have agreed deals with the WWE while Chris Kanyon has opted to attempt a full-time career in TV and movie production.
Next time: Will Commissioner Flair fire the WCW champion for his vicious assault? And does the appearance of that crow mean what we think it does..?