APRIL 30, 2003: AIRTIME #67
The participants for the Cruiserweight Chase were formally announced at the top of the broadcast:
- Block A: Kid Kash, Paul London, Sonny Siaki, Chris Sabin, Julio Dinero, Jerrelle Clark.
- Block B: Jimmy Yang, Amazing Red, Brian Kendrick, Guido Maritato, Matt Bentley, Frankie Kazarian.
And the following matches were taped at the last Nitro:
- Paul London earned two CC points from a dazzling sprint against Jerrelle Clark, avoiding the 630 and capitalising with a Shooting Star Press in 5:35.
- Sonny Siaki defeated Chris Sabin in their CC opener, going to the eyes to avoid Sabin’s ‘Cradle Shock’ finisher and landing Siakilypse at the 6:21 mark.
- The Amazing Red got off to a winning start with victory over Frankie Kazarian, weathering some strong pressure before landing a blitz of offense and finishing with the Infra-Red in 5:59.
- And Guido Maritato defeated Jimmy Yang after an interview aired of himself and Johnny Stamboli declaring that Tony Marinera and Sal Rinuaro were through with the FBI. Stamboli put Guido’s foot on the rope to save him from near-certain defeat after a flying spin kick from the top and after Johnny ate an Asai Moonsault from Yang, Guido recovered in time to hit the Sicilian Slice as Jimmy came back in through the ropes for two points in 11:00.
Cruiserweight Chase standings:
- Block A: Paul London 2pts, Sonny Siaki 2pts, Kid Kash 0pts, Julio Dinero 0pts, Chris Sabin 0pts, Jerrelle Clark 0pts.
- Block B: Amazing Red 2pts, Guido Maritato 2pts, Brian Kendrick 0pts, Matt Bentley 0pts, Jimmy Yang 0pts, Frankie Kazarian 0pts.
WCW have given one-year deals to a handful of promising young wrestlers who had been working per-appearance for a little while:
- Julio Dinero: 50k pa until April 30 2004
- Chris Sabin: 50k pa until April 30 2004
- Frankie Kazarian: 50k pa until April 30 2004
- Jerrelle Clark: 50k pa until April 30 2004
- Cassidy O’Reilly: 50k pa until April 30 2004
- Chase Stevens: 50k pa until April 30 2004
- Shark Boy: 50k pa until April 30 2004
MAY 3, 2003: SATURDAY NITRO #104
It’s official: Raven will challenge Sean O’Haire for the WCW title at Slamboree. And on this final Nitro before the suspension of the champion concludes, Father James Mitchell claims he will officially unveil the challenger as the newest member of his New Church.
It was Mitchell who opened the door for Raven to return to WCW, cutting a deal that led to him helping O’Haire retain the title back at Genesis. But now an asset has become a very dangerous obstacle for Vince Russo and his dangerous charge.
Speaking of the New Church, their vendetta for Jeff Jarrett and the 3 Live Kru doesn’t appear to be over by a long shot. But Jarrett is also embroiled in a war with Team Canada. For how much longer can he continue to fight on two fronts?
Taped on April 25 in Orlando.
The show kicked off with AJ Styles retaining the US title against Shannon Moore via Styles Clash in 8:34. Shane Helms considered interfering at one point but was kept from doing so by Super Crazy and Psicosis, The Rejected’s next challengers for the cruiser tag titles. The fighting champion’s run of impressive defences continued.
Lance Storm is with Jeremy Borash backstage. When asked about his particularly heated exchanges last week with Rey Mysterio, Storm says Rey is a fraud. He was held aloft by his countrymen at the end of the World Cup PPV when it should have been him being held aloft by his Canadian team. Storm says the ridiculous three-way final format robbed him of a one-on-one victory as glorious as his WCW title win the year before in Toronto, and if it were just Storm and Rey one-on-one, the result would be embarrassing for Mysterio.
Sinn, Slash and Tempest fought to a no-contest with the 3 Live Kru when Malice and Jeff Jarrett got involved at the 4:57 mark. This only escalated the 6-man tag into an 8-man brawl, but it was the involvement of a ninth man – Shane Douglas, that turned the tide in the Church’s favour and allowed them to lay waste to the babyfaces.
Kid Kash says Rob Van Dam last week proved everything he claimed since last year about the purpose of the Hardcore Revolution group was a farce. His supposed brotherhood of ECW alumni, Kash says, was in RVD’s mind just a vehicle to get him the WCW title back. He says since their ‘leader’ only really cared about a singles title, that’s what matters to him too, above all else. He says the Cruiserweight Chase and one more shot at Jamie Knoble is more important to him than helping Van Dam deal with a problem he created for himself.
Elix Skipper defeated Chavo Guerrero in 10:42 in a battle between two wrestlers involved in the Slamboree tag title match. Chavo hit rolling vertical suplexes like his uncle Eddie and signalled for a frog splash, but Christopher Daniels rushed over for the distraction as he reached the top rope. Eddie made his way around and pulled Daniels down but as the two seconds brawled at ringside, Skipper had enough time to recover and hit his stunning ropewalk huracanrana from the top for the fall. XXX fled the scene after sneaking a big win over one half of the tag titlists.
Glenn Gilbertti is overseeing his clients Sonny Siaki and Matt Bentley receiving VIP treatment in a private dressing room. He turns to the camera and says his wrestlers are always looked after, and that he’s looking to recruit new talent all the time. Glenn says his boys were robbed against The Rejected on AirTime, but thanks to the Cruiserweight Chase one of them will win the division’s singles title at the Great American Bash after they both reach the finals from their respective block.
Lance Storm, Bobby Roode and Joe Legend come out for what is supposed to be a tag bout pitting Storm and Roode against Dustin Rhodes and Jeff Jarrett. Storm takes the mic and says after what happened to Jarrett earlier, he doubts he is in any condition to compete tonight and he wants Commissioner Flair out here right now to declare them the winners via forfeit. Rhodes instead comes out alone, and says since Lance brought two of his friends out here with him, how about they have a six-man tag instead against Dustin and two of his friends? With that, the music of America’s Most Wanted hits and the trio rush the ring together, leading to…
…Rhodes and AMW defeating Storm, Roode and Legend when a run-in attempt by Eric Young and Johnny Devine was stopped by a hurt Jarrett. As the two teamed up to damage JJ further, the distracted official missed Rey Misterio sneaking in and drilling Storm with a springboard dropkick, before AMW finished Roode with the Death Sentence at 9:50.
Backstage, Ric Flair is telling Steve Corino that the rest of the Extreme Horsemen are banned from ringside for the upcoming match pitting the duo of Simon Diamond and Swinger against the two remaining Hardcore Revolution members, RVD and Jerry Lynn. Corino produces a manager’s licence and says he is legally allowed to manage his clients. Flair says very well, but he will have security ensure Mike Awesome, CW Anderson and especially Justin Credible are nowhere near the premises. Corino says that’s fine because tonight, the former world tag team champions will eliminate the last remaining members of the “pathetic” Revolution.
RVD and Lynn vs Simon and Swinger ended with a disqualification victory for the HR duo after 12:12 when Corino shoved Van Dam off the top rope and onto the walkway before he could hit the Five Star Frog Splash on Swinger. Even with half their ranks banished from the building, the Horsemen were 3-to-2 up on the depleted Revolution and put the boots to the babyfaces while Corino fetched a steel chair.
However, he turned around and received a blast of green mist to the face from Tajiri! The Japanese Buzzsaw had crept in via the crowd to incapacitate Corino before catching both Diamond and Swinger with hard kicks to force a retreat.
We cut backstage where a cameraman has tracked down a noisy altercation which turns out to be Vince Russo yelling at Father James Mitchell, their meeting this time coming in a far less discreet and much more impromptu manner than in the past. for directing Raven towards Sean O’Haire when, in Vince’s mind, they were simply there to protect the champion. Mitchell laughs as Russo’s rant runs out of steam and merely thanks them for training his monster before adding that this time, it’s Russo coming out on the short end of their deal rather than himself. A frustrated Vince storms off leaving Mitchell feeling rather pleased with himself.
Juventud Guerrera defeated CM Punk in an impressive exhibition ahead of his title match at Slamboree against Jamie Knoble. The Juvi Driver made short work of the promising but overwhelmed rookie in 4:21, as Knoble himself came out to the stage to watch the closing moments.
In the trainer’s room, Corino is having his eyes and face cleaned out from the green mist attack. He says he’s sick of Van Dam and the Hardcore Revolution bending the rules to get unfair advantages, saying they needed Flair to kick half the Horsemen out of the building before they suddenly grow in members. He issues a challenge to the HR for next week when Nitro returns to Philadelphia: no bans, no post-match surprises: Hardcore Revolution vs Extreme Horsemen, both sides bring whatever armies they can put together and, Corino finishes, then we’ll see who is outnumbered, who is outgunned and which entity will be eliminated.
We’re quickly directed back to the same backstage area from moments ago, where Mitchell remained to this time talk to his New Church faction. He was filmed by the same cameraman briefing his troops on his upcoming in-ring talk with Raven, telling them they know what to do if Raven “does something Raven” and singling out Malice in particular with a warning to not screw up.
Suddenly, 3LK attack the Church and their 5-to-3 disadvantage is soon remedied by a bandaged up Jarrett who destroys Malice with a vicious guitar to the head before Konnan, Killings, James and JJ brawl out of the arena with Tempest, Sinn, Slash and Shane Douglas.
A flustered Mitchell makes his way out to the ring anyway and calls out Raven, quickly regaining his composure as he speaks to focus on the task at hand. Raven makes his way out before Mitchell heaps praise on his unbeaten run since returning, claiming he only opened the door for his return because he felt he was ready to realise his destiny of becoming WCW champion.
And, at Slamboree, Mitchell says it will be his pleasure to guide Raven to the top of the mountain because not only does he know Russo and O’Haire’s weaknesses, but he is after all the brains of Raven’s WCW comeback. All he wants Raven to do, after being so frosty towards Mitchell the other week, is publicly thank him for the opportunity and officially confirm himself as being in Mitchell’s fold. Raven instead just stares a hole through Mitchell.
James tries again, reminding Raven of all he has done for him. He says they are a team, regardless of whether co-operation is a good look on a loner like Raven or not. He implores Raven to swallow his pride and join James in strategising for Slamboree with the champion due back into the arena starting next week. Raven finally replies: “…or else what?”. Mitchell laughs nervously, saying he’s not here to threaten Raven. He’s just a manager, but one who deserves credit and involvement for all he’s done for Raven so far.
Raven says that’s funny, because the world has already seen him on camera pretty much preparing his goons to ambush Raven if he didn’t comply, at least until all the other enemies they’ve made caught up with them. Mitchell tries to deny it but Raven continues, saying that James doesn’t believe in partnerships, even if Raven did. He believes in controlling people, conning people, blackmailing people and abusing people.
If he thinks Raven is that stupid, he has exposed his own lack of intelligence to the world, he claims. Whether Mitchell is around or not, at Slamboree he will achieve his destiny as WCW champion and since Mitchell’s backup has been taken care of, he doesn’t mind admitting that he’d much rather he wasn’t around. With that, Raven pulls the Father in for a brutal Evenflow DDT that leaves Mitchell out cold on the ground. The crowd respond very positively towards Raven’s choice as he stands over the manager in his trademark crucifix pose to close the show.
Slamboree 2003 card so far:
- WCW World title: Sean O’Haire (c) vs Raven
- WCW World tag titles: Los Guerreros (c) vs Triple X
- 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: What will happen when WCW champion Sean O’Haire returns from suspension to an arena in which Raven will be gunning for him?