If Fusient Bought WCW #136: Running The Gauntlet

Who will emerge from a marathon tag team gauntlet with a shot at the champions? Plus, Sting and Sean O’Haire sign the contract for the Bash!

If Fusient Bought WCW: America's Most Wanted

JUNE 4, 2003: AIRTIME #72

Matches filmed at the last Nitro taping for the Cruiserweight Chase were:

  • Jimmy Yang defeating Brian Kendrick in 9:14 with an O’Connor Roll just before Kendrick could connect with Sliced Bread #2.
  • Sonny Siaki seeing off Julio Dinero with Siakilypse in 4:24.
  • Guido Maritato overcoming Frankie Kazarian with the second-rope Sicilian Slice in 5:52.
  • And Kid Kash beating Paul London in 12:20 after evading the SSP and capitalising with the Money Maker.

Cruiserweight Chase standings with one match remaining for everybody:

  • Block A: Kid Kash 8pts, Sonny Siaki 8pts, Paul London 4pts, Chris Sabin 4pts, Julio Dinero 0pts, Jerrelle Clark 0pts.
  • Block B: Guido Maritato 6pts, Jimmy Yang 6pts, Matt Bentley 4pts, Amazing Red 4pts, Frankie Kazarian 2pts, Brian Kendrick 2pts.

Permutations:

  • In Block A, only Kash or Siaki can advance to the finals. They face each other in the final Block match with the winner progressing.
  • Only Kendrick and Kazarian have been eliminated from contention in Block B. Red faces Guido while Yang meets Bentley on the final Block matchday. If Guido or Yang get a superior result to the other, that man will advance to the final. If both Red and Bentley win, there will be a four-way tiebreaker for a spot in the final.

JUNE 7, 2003: SATURDAY NITRO #109

WCW champion Sean O’Haire is being stalked by the very first name on the list of victims he used to make a name for himself at the top of the company at the behest of his ruthless handler Vince Russo. And now, at the Great American Bash, something has to give as the two battle it out, no holds barred, in a fight that will end either O’Haire’s reign of terror or the Icon’s in-ring career for good. Tonight, the two are expected to keep their composure as they share a ring for the official contract signing, overseen by Ric Flair.

Commissioner Flair has also set up a tag team gauntlet to determine Triple X’s challengers at the GAB. Though Los Guerreros were unable to regain the belts in their mandatory rematch, they will be granted a spot in the gauntlet as they weren’t defeated in the return bout, either. Plus, we’ll hear from Billy Kidman after he decisively severed his long friendship with Rey Mysterio.

Taped on May 30 in Atlanta.

Kicking things off was the rematch between new United States champion D’Lo Brown and the man he dethroned, AJ Styles. The two had another state-of-the-art hybrid between cruiserweight action and hard-hitting heavyweight drama, but this time it was AJ who countered the Sky High with a sunset flip roll-through which he converted into a Styles Clash for the three count at 11:58 to become a two-time US champ!

We head to the Hardcore Revolution dressing room where RVD is hyping up some of his comrades over Extreme Warfare taking place at the GAB. Kid Kash walks in late, apologises for his timekeeping, and says he got good news from the Commish. If he goes all the way and wins the Cruiserweight Chase, he’ll be allowed to redeem his title shot shortly after GAB so he’s free for the big fight at the PPV. Van Dam says he needn’t worry about a conflict, as he’s not on the team for Extreme Warfare.

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Kash isn’t best pleased and RVD immediately calms him, telling him that he should be happy – if he earns another shot, he can handle his business and they will handle his. Kash says that’s BS, as he can do both. Lynn immediately chimes in that he hardly did both at Slamboree when he tapped out as fast he as could get away with it. Tajiri stops a bit of a pullapart and tells Kash it’s final. He can chase his gold while the rest of them put the Horsemen in their place. And when KK says they’re going to end up outnumbered yet again, RVD says actually, no they won’t.

Ric Flair announces from his office that the Great American Bash just got greater. After the events of last week, he has added two grudge matches to the PPV: Not only will Rey Mysterio and Billy Kidman go one-on-one, but Raven will face Shane Douglas in a chain match!

Jeff Jarrett took on Joe Legend, a week after laying out the challenge to Legend’s Team Canada leader Lance Storm. Commentary confirmed that Commissioner Flair had approved their match being to decide a challenger for the WCW title before Jarrett overcame a stern challenge to win with the Stroke in 7:34.

We get an update on the condition of Rey Mysterio, who was in a bad way both physically and emotionally after Kidman’s assault last week but will be cleared to compete against his former friend at the GAB. This is followed by a sit-down interview Mike Tenay held with Billy Kidman and, surprisingly, Torrie Wilson.

Kidman has very little time for Tenay’s disapproving tone while asking about his issues with Rey, and explains that Mysterio had spent 2003 so far treating him like a second tier friend for Los Guerreros, Team Mexico and anyone else. When he ended up costing him the chance to compete in the World Cup finals it was the last straw as Rey showed that all he was these days was a lousy excuse for a human being hiding behind a mask. When Tenay asks about Torrie being back on the scene, Kidman tells him it’s none of his business but he’ll say one thing: he wishes he could turn back time and listen to people like Torrie four years ago, not Mysterio.

Malice and Father James Mitchell are walking down one of the hallways with Malice apologising for recent failures. Mitchell tells him to stop with the sucking up and get ready to take action to make up for recent months because there is a war raging against Raven and he and his fellow disciples need to finish the job. He then stops at a door and tells Malice to go and get Tempest and co from inside so that they can execute the next part of their plan.

Malice goes in, but Mitchell quickly locks the door behind him. We then hear loud impact noises and plenty of shouting and screaming. As the noises subside, Mitchell shouts through the door to Malice that as it turns out, his services are no longer required. He then unlocks the door and walks off laughing.

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Up next was the tag team gauntlet, with the winners going on to challenge Triple X at the Great American Bash. Daniels and Skipper joined commentary for the series of matches, which interestingly kicked off with The Rejected facing off against Los Guerreros. XXX liked the fact that Eddie and Chavo would have to beat every entered team to get another shot, but they seemed perfectly happy beating on Moore and Helms after their comments about Mexican heritage last week, which was clear from some of the trash talk they inflicted on the cruiser tag champs during the opening leg.

An Eddie frog splash finished off Helms in 10:25 and out came Sinn and Slash next, accompanied by Tempest. The New Churchers worked over the men who took the titles from them just a couple of months ago, but Los Guerreros fought back, Tempest looked to interfere, but out came 3LK to stop that. This allowed Chavo to roll up Slash in a total time of 13:16 so far.

3LK and the New Church fought to the back as Juventud Guerrera and Psicosis made their way out next. A fascinating all-lucha bout was controlled mostly by the fresher team but Eddie slipped out of a Juvi Driver attempt and pinned Guerrera down with a rolling prawn pinning combination at the 23:59 mark. The crowd began to believe Los Guerreros could go coast to coast at this point and when they weathered a beatdown from Eric Young and Johnny Devine of Team Canada before a Chavo Tornado DDT finished Young in a total of 29:46, that belief started to really grow.

However, Simon Diamond and Johnny Swinger were finally too much for Eddie and Chavo to overcome as the Problem Solver finished Chavo at the 32:50 mark. That left a relatively fresh Extreme Horsemen duo to face Jerry Lynn and Tajiri of the Hardcore Revolution in a typically heated battle – one which Steve Corino helped Simon win over Tajiri with a trip and a grab of the foot for a tainted cover with 38:33 expired.

This triggered a mass brawl between HR and EH and as RVD, Lynn and Tajiri fought Mike Awesome, CW Anderson and Justin Credible to the back, Paul London and Brian Kendrick emerged next. To the shock of many – especially the former tag champs and a cocky Corino – Sliced Bread #2 finished Swinger at 44:42. The embarrassed Horsemen attacked the faces and left them laying after the bell, which gave Glenn Gilbertti’s new men Matt Bentley and Sonny Siaki an immediate edge, after an awkward moment where Simon and Swinger passed their former agent on the walkway. London and Kendrick fought back but Brian was eventually superkicked by Bentley and pinned by Siaki after 50:08.

Next were America’s Most Wanted, which certainly triggered a reaction from XXX on commentary. They overcame an aggressive start from GGE before finishing Siaki with the Death Sentence after a total of 54:27. Then out came the final team entered: BG James and Ron Killings of the 3LK. We were told that the New Church were ejected after the prior fracas but that Konnan was also kicked out of the building as the two popular duos went at it for a crack at the gold.

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A rollercoaster of a last leg of the gauntlet ended when Harris evaded a Killings axe kick and tied him up in La Majistral for the final pin and the title shot in a grand total of 1:05:49. America’s Most Wanted were getting another shot at the belts they held twice – and they’d be facing their bitter rivals for them at the Bash!

Finally, Ric Flair came out for the contract signing between Sean O’Haire and Sting. Before the two participants came out, Flair outlined that this signing would be strictly no physical contact between the GAB main eventers, or else Sting’s career would be over prematurely and/or O’Haire would be stripped and fired.

O’Haire and Russo were out first before Sting made his way to the ring with a typically-haunting light show. The tension was clear as both men signed the contract. Flair then announced that the bout was official and so were the stips. Sting went to leave and it all seemed to be going ahead without incident… until Russo snatched the mic from Ric.

He started to taunt Sting about all of his friends that O’Haire put out of the business for good, prompting the challenger to turn back around and face off with both Vince and Sean. With Flair trying to calm Sting, the heels continued to attempt to provoke Sting into throwing it all away before the GAB. At one point, Sting’s fist was balled and he looked ready to explode… instead he stopped, smiled and told them both: “I’ll see you at the Bash.”

As he turned again, Russo kept trying to provoke him, getting more and more desperate. This time, Sting returned to face them, pulled an arm back… and then drilled Russo right between the eyes! Flair noted that it wasn’t in breach of the terms to hit “that big mouth” as a fuming O’Haire had no choice but to watch his manager slump to the canvas. He frothed at the mouth and told Sting that he would end his career at the PPV.

Sting calmly told him that he already had his chance and couldn’t finish the job. Now, he adds, it’s Sting’s turn as he left the ring and the show ended.

Great American Bash 2003 card so far:

  • WCW World title vs career, no holds barred: Sean O’Haire (c) vs Sting
  • WCW World tag titles: Triple X (c) vs America’s Most Wanted
  • Extreme Warfare: Hardcore Revolution vs Extreme Horsemen
  • Chain match: Raven vs Shane Douglas
  • Number one contender’s match: Jeff Jarrett vs Lance Storm
  • Rey Mysterio vs Billy Kidman

Next time: Sting returns to the ring for the first time in six months!

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