APRIL 23, 2003: AIRTIME #66
Matches taped prior to the World Cup PPV for this episode included:
- Chris Sabin and Frankie Kazarian upsetting Tony Marinera and Sal Rinuaro when the Italians began to take their foot off the pedal while in control, allowing the unsigned babyfaces to fight back and get a huge win via Sabin’s sit-out Fireman’s Carry Bomb to Rinuaro in 6:04.
- The broadcast then showed backstage footage of a furious Guido Maritato and Johnny Stamboli chewing out Tony and Sal for not taking the contest seriously, with Guido also blaming their attitude for their poor performance at the World Cup. Marinera and Rinuaro storm off.
- The Amazing Red beat Julio Dinero in 6:36 with Infra-Red.
- The Rejected retained the WCW Cruiserweight tag titles against Sonny Siaki and Matt Bentley where the scowling champs found themselves in a de facto babyface role for the first time in an eternity. That didn’t stop them from snatching the win in typical fashion, however, weathering Glenn Gilbertti and the valets’ cheating attempts and hitting stereo low blows to Matt and Sonny before Moore’s Bottom’s Up ended Siaki in 11:50.
- At the end of the show, a recorded message from Commissioner Flair was shown, where he talked up the volume of fantastic cruiserweight talent stepping up into heavyweight action as of late. He says this means there are spots on the roster for fresh faces and gaps in the rankings when it comes to Flair making championship matches. So, he’s pleased to announce the inaugural Cruiserweight Chase, which will see 12 junior heavies battle in a Starrcade Series format for the right to challenge for the title at the Great American Bash. He notes that experienced cruisers and newcomers will both be part of the round robin tournament, namedropping Sabin and Kazarian as the type of prospects who deserve the chance to step up to the full-time roster after what happened earlier.
APRIL 26, 2003: SATURDAY NITRO #103
Last weekend, Mexico pulled off an emotional World Cup victory in front of their own fans in Mexico City. Not only that, but Los Guerreros were roared on to a third tag team title success by the rabid crowd to cap an emotional night for lucha libre and its passionate fans.
Tonight, the official victory celebration is scheduled for Rey Mysterio, Juventud Guerrera, Super Crazy and Psicosis, while Eddie and Chavo will have no time to celebrate when Sinn and Slash invoke their rematch at the earliest opportunity.
Meanwhile, WCW champion Sean O’Haire remains suspended for his horrific actions but appears to have both Sting and Raven hunting him down. That is, of course, if Sting ever actually shows his face…
Taped on April 24 in Orlando.
The arena is decked out in ‘El Tricolor’ and a mariachi band kicks off the party atmosphere which leads out Misterio, Juvi, Psicosis and Crazy, with Ric Flair already in the ring stood next to the World Cup trophy. Each victorious team member shakes the Commish’s hand as they enter the ring before Flair formally presents each man with a medal and hands the trophy itself over to captain Rey.
Ric puts the team over on the mic before reminding them that they each have the right to a title match of their choosing with a minimum of seven days’ notice. Juvi takes the mic and says he knew almost immediately what he would be doing with his, saying it’s been his goal since he returned to reclaim the WCW cruiserweight title. He says he wants Jamie Knoble at the next PPV, Slamboree.
Psicosis then tells us that he and Crazy have their sights set on the cruiser tag titles, reminding champs The Rejected that they’re 1-1 this year with the luchadores after the hair vs hair loss to Juvi and Psi and a narrow title retention over Crazy and Juvi. He says that at Slamboree, they want to end it once and for all: one final title match, this time vs Psi and Crazy and to a decisive finish, two out of three falls.
Ric then asks Rey which title match he would like. Mysterio says, if he’s honest, he’s not sure yet. He is going to give it some thought but for now, he’s happy to just celebrate one of the biggest wins of his career with his Mexican brothers. Flair says they earned that right, and he’ll leave them to bask in the spotlight before making his way up the walkway.
That Mexican celebration is cut short, however, by an assault from Team Canada. Dustin Rhodes rushes out to make the save with a chair before Flair re-emerges on the stage and demands order, saying if Canada are still bitter about the PPV result we can have a tag match right here, right now.
The four members of Team Mexico and Rhodes beat the five-strong Team Canada thanks to interference from Jeff Jarrett, who himself still has a bone to pick with the Canadians. He smashed his guitar over the head of Joe Legend while the ref was occupied with brawling at ringside – which was highlighted by a particularly heated brawl between WC final participants Mysterio and Lance Storm – and Rhodes covered for the pin at 14:21. It took a fair few security staff and the respective members of Mexico and Canada to finally separate Lance and Rey.
We are reminded of Flair’s AirTime announcement of the Cruiserweight Chase, a Starrcade Series-esque tournament for a cruiser title shot at the Great American Bash. This then leads to a promo backstage from Kid Kash, who says he was half an inch, one false move, one spot of bad luck away from shutting Jamie Knoble’s mouth and becoming champion and he knows he can make it happen if he can earn one more chance. So, he’s entering the Chase.
Suddenly, a none-too-pleased Rob Van Dam comes into the frame and scolds Kash for not having the Hardcore Revolution’s back at the PPV despite them letting him handle his cruiserweight business first. Kash says he was too hurt to come down later in the show, but RVD isn’t buying it, saying Kash is fine now and is already talking about another title shot when the HR have lost York and Matthews and are in danger of being wiped out by the Extreme Horsemen. Kash has enough and tells RVD to get out of his face, adding that Van Dam isn’t his boss before storming off.
Raven defeated Kidman with the Evenflow in 7:10. Kidman didn’t look at 100% after an injury scare put his World Cup participation in doubt. In fact, it looks like the USA captain named himself as the fourth of the four to wrestle in order to have another few hours to prepare, only for the relatively inexperienced other members of the team to fail to get the US into the final.
Instead, a disgruntled and unfocused Kidman was easy pickings for his former leader in the Flock, who then took the mic and reiterated his claim to number one contendership. This brought Commissioner Flair up onto the big screen, where he said he doesn’t like the circumstances that brought Raven back to WCW, but he cannot knock his results. He has been unbeaten for three months and so at Slamboree, Flair tells Raven that the title match is his.
After the break, we see Kidman leaving the building straight after his match. When JB catches up to him and asks him about his recent downturn, Kidman simply utters “screw this” and drives off.
Jeff Jarrett defeated former stablemate Shane Douglas by DQ after Sinn, Slash and Tempest ran in for the 4-on-1 attack after just 3:49. The 3 Live Kru ran down for the save and fought the three New Church interlopers while Father James Mitchell and Douglas retreated to the back.
Then, Storm, Young, Roode and Devine from Team Canada ran down to attack Jarrett for what he did earlier in the evening which brought out Los Guerreros for a save and added to a mass brawl all around ringside. Eventually, the new tag champs and the duo they beat at the World Cup ended up going at it and their fight made it to the ring while security cleared up the chaos elsewhere and a referee came down to start our tag title rematch…
…and Los Guerreros kept hold of the belts after vanquishing Sinn with a Chavo Tornado DDT in 12:27 following a run-in attempt by Malice, which was thwarted by the official and only served to allow Eddie to drill both his opponents with one of the tag title belts leading to the finish.
Backstage, the Extreme Horsemen look pretty pleased with themselves in their own private locker room. Steve Corino says they proved at the PPV what a pathetic attempt at reliving old glory the Hardcore Revolution were, and that York and Matthews won’t be able to return to the ring for a long time after what they did to them.
Corino adds that since Kid Kash also sees the writing on the wall and wants no part of this one-sided carnage being portrayed as a ‘war’, that only leaves RVD and Jerry Lynn for them to run out of WCW before they can focus on the next step of their plan: championship gold. He finishes by formally introducing Justin Credible and claiming the Horsemen have their “closer” and are now the complete package combined with Simon and Swinger’s tag greatness, Awesome’s vicious power, the enforcer CW and Corino’s self-professed genius.
AJ Styles retained the United States title against an old rival, Shane Helms, with the Styles Clash in 17:14. His celebration was cut short by Helms’ tag partner Shannon Moore and a shot to the back from a cruiserweight tag title belt, but Crazy and Psicosis ran out to prevent a further two-on-one assault.
Jamie Knoble is hanging out in some woodlands, the cruiserweight title hanging over a nearby tree branch. He says he and Kash were brought together by common interests and a common hatred of most people but that when he thought about it, he couldn’t stand Kash either. Without him, he is once again a champion and why be a tag champ when he can be the king on his own? He says Team Mexico can come at him one after the other with their guaranteed title shots, for all he cares, but he’ll send each of the “hoochadors” back across the border because he will be champ for a long, long time.
JB approaches Father James Mitchell backstage, who is in the middle of chewing out Malice for what happened earlier. Mitchell snaps at JB for interrupting, even though he was doing so because James requested the presence of Borash and a cameraman. Mitchell then sends Malice on his way and gets to why he summoned them: to issue a public message to Raven.
He congratulates Raven on securing his shot at the WCW title, and tells him that it’s the right time for him to stop playing coy and make a decision. Join his New Church and all but guarantee his destiny of becoming champion, or bite the hand of the man that allowed him to return to the company. He says he considers seven days to be more than enough time.
In a match to determine the next contenders to Los Guerreros and the tag team titles, Triple X beat America’s Most Wanted in 8:08 after provoking their bitter rivals into getting disqualified with a constant wave of rulebreaking without getting caught. The enraged AMW kicked some XXX backside until the heels retreated afterwards, but the damage was done: the next title shot was going to Elix Skipper and Christopher Daniels.
Finally, we were joined by Vince Russo who called out Ric Flair. The Commissioner obliged before Russo attempted to sweet talk the boss and convince him that the two of them were now cool. The upshot of his transparent snivelling was that he wanted Sean O’Haire’s suspension to be cut short. Flair shoots the idea down immediately.
He reminds Russo that the only reason O’Haire wasn’t fired was because someone wants to dish out their own punishment, and he’s only still champion because he believes in reigns being ended inside the ring, adding that he feels Raven’s return could end up biting Russo on the backside.
Russo quickly changes topic and calls Flair on the whole “someone”, saying enough of the cryptic BS. He says that someone is Sting and after almost a month of all this talk about Sting coming back, there hasn’t been an actual sighting of him. Vince says he’d go as far as to say it’s all a mirage. There is no Sting, and he’s in some retirement home rueing the day he ever encountered O’Haire.
Suddenly, the lights go out in the arena. And, after a lengthy pause, a familiar painted face shows up on the big screen, staring a hole through a petrified Russo in the ring.
Slamboree 2003 card so far:
- WCW World title: Sean O’Haire (c) vs Raven
- WCW Cruiserweight title: Jamie Knoble (c) vs Juventud Guerrera
- WCW Cruiserweight tag titles, ⅔ falls: The Rejected (c) vs Super Crazy and Psicosis
Next time: Will Raven accept Father James Mitchell’s proposal? Plus, the Cruiserweight Chase begins!