The return of Battlebowl to World Championship Wrestling not only gave the month of August a new themed PPV, but also gave Sean O’Haire a golden opportunity. His upset of Sting in the closing stages of the 20-man free-for-all means he will challenge Booker T for the WCW World title in one week.
The jaded champ also has Goldberg to worry about, after Da Man returned from a month in the wilderness to beat down the man who sold out to steal back the big gold belt at Bash at the Beach. Bear in mind, Goldberg is still due a rematch.
Also back from some time off will be Rob Van Dam – the United States champion will make his first Nitro appearance in several weeks tonight, but you can bet Lance Storm won’t be far off after his repeated claims for a title match during RVD’s brief injury layoff.
Meanwhile, The Chosen Few continue to get the upper hand on their various rivals. Not only are CW Anderson and Mark Jindrak the tag team champions, but Jeff Jarrett got what he couldn’t achieve at the Great American Bash: the last laugh on Ric Flair. He outlasted the Nature Boy in a brutal Bunkhouse Brawl on Sunday, but is that issue truly over?
And Triple X well and truly rule the cruiserweight division, now that Low Ki and Christopher Daniels have won the cruiser tag titles and their leader Elix Skipper retained the division’s singles title against the man he dethroned, ‘Sugar’ Shane Helms. Can anyone stop this new alliance?
Unfortunately their attack of Rey Misterio Jr on the PPV pre-show was because of a legit knee injury sustained by the cruiserweight just before the PPV, which will see him miss around five months.
Saturday Nitro #17: first aired on September 1; taped along with episode #18 on August 29
The show opens in Cat’s office, with the Commissioner addressing the state of WCW post-Battlebowl. He congratulates Battlebowl winner Sean O’Haire and confirms he will challenge Booker T for the World heavyweight title seven days from tonight. He also addresses the return of Goldberg, saying that though he’s none too pleased with his month-long absence he understands that he’s pissed at Booker.
Cat then welcomes back RVD from injury, saying that because he did not strip Van Dam of the US title while he was out he is a little behind on defenses. So, tonight RVD returns in a title match against Mike Awesome, winner of last week’s Ambulance war with Dustin Rhodes.
Lastly, Cat says that due to the actions of Scott Steiner after the Battlebowl match, he is suspending him for 30 days and suggests Scotty attends anger management in his time off.
The ringside coverage kicks off with a six-man tag as Super Crazy teams with new top contenders to the cruiserweight tag titles Air Raid against his longtime rival Tajiri, Chavo Guerrero and Shannon Moore.
Crazy and Tajiri end up brawling through the crowd, leaving the tag teams to battle. Styles has Moore beat with the Styles Clash only for Air Paris to blind tag in to get the fall, adding an Asai Moonsault at 9:22. Styles is a little baffled by this but lets it slide since they won the match.
Afterwards a furious Chavo again verbally and then physically abuses Moore – Shannon looks like he will finally answer back to this, but backs down. Suddenly, Crazy is caught by another camera hitting a moonsault press onto Tajiri and security from the bleachers!
York and Matthews explain in a pre-tape that while they’re disappointed in their loss to Knoble and Kash on the Battlebowl pre-show, their issue is far, far from over.
Guido Maritato and Tony Marinera defeated Norman Smiley and Alex Wright with a little help from their hotshot agent Glenn Gilbertti for a cheap roll-up finish in 6:06. The heels fled afterwards, having stolen the win.
Backstage Mean Gene is with the new #1 contender to the WCW title, Sean O’Haire. O’Haire says it still hasn’t sunk in that he managed to pin a legend like Sting and earn a title shot, but he is determined to prove next week that the new era of WCW is real and that he’s right at the heart of it. However, tonight he and his boy Palumbo have the chance to regain the tag titles that were robbed from them by the Chosen Few, and that’s his priority until then.
He’s interrupted by Booker T and Sharmell, with the champ belittling and patronising his challenger and advising him to stay in the tag division. O’Haire replies that, just like Booker did years ago, he is breaking out and will shock the world – and especially this ‘happy couple’ – next week… “ain’t that right Goldberg?” This quote causes T and Sharmell to panic and look behind them, leaving Sean to laugh and walk off.
Billy Kidman took on Elix Skipper, looking for some revenge after XXX took out Rey Misterio’s knee at Battlebowl. The commentators confirm Rey is set to be out for a little while as a result. Skipper, Daniels and Ki all come out together and show off their triple gold, and of course the new tag champs got involved when Kidman had a Shooting Star all lined up on the singles titlist, drawing a DQ after 8:17. Jason Jett, wielding a chair, made the save from the ensuing triple team.
Jeff Jarrett appears in a pre-tape as he smugly explains how he outsmarted the world – and especially Ric Flair – at Battlebowl. He says when his stablemates were banned from the Bunkhouse Brawl, he had a good mind to beat down the old dinosaur on his own anyway. However, after teaming with Mike Awesome that same night, the two of them got talking and he decided he was going to prove he could outsmart, outmaneuver and out-cheat the ‘dirtiest player in the game’.
So, he had Shane Douglas help Awesome take care of Bigelow when he answered the open challenge, because it would pass off as BBB and the Franchise still having animosity, as a show of good faith to Mike. In return, Awesome agreed to give Flair a little ‘surprise’ in the Bunkhouse match.
He says Awesome hasn’t officially joined the Chosen Few as he is his own man, but comments that he’s perhaps the finest mercenary money can buy, finishing the segment with a hearty laugh at his own plot.
America’s Most Wanted continued their intensifying feud with Simon Diamond and Johnny Swinger in tag action, which ended prematurely thanks to an attack by Glenn Gilbertti’s other clients the FBI for the DQ at 4:43. After the Italians’ cheating earlier, Smiley and Wright made the save alongside Crowbar and Johnny B Badd.
DDP defeated Shane Douglas clean with the Diamond Cutter in 8:01. He took the mic post-match and said even though he lost his world title challenge last week at the PPV, when he gets knocked down he keeps getting back up again and will become a five-time champion one day. With that, a slightly-recovered Douglas blindsides Page with a low blow and leaves him laying.
Our sit-down interview this week comes courtesy of Shane Helms, who admits that he’s feeling pretty peeved after becoming 2001’s hottest new star and then losing the belt via shenanigans to Elix Skipper. What hurts the most, he says, is that he lost the rematch, straight up. He says sometimes this industry will build you up just to send you careering back down, but he’s not done with Triple X and he will have his title back because he is the face of the division.
When asked for his thoughts on Shannon Moore’s treatment at the hands of Chavo, Helms says his former partner needs to start standing up for himself and that it’s only gonna continue while he sits there, takes it and follows Chavo around the way he has. He finishes by saying it’s his life and he doesn’t particularly care if Moore wants to get thrown around like that.
CW Anderson and Mark Jindrak retained the tag titles against former champs Sean O’Haire and Chuck Palumbo thanks to a run-in from Booker T, of all people. He pulled his challenger for next week off the apron and waffled him with the title belt when Torrie Wilson had the referee’s attention, leaving Palumbo nobody to tag and the two-on-one led to a spike brainbuster for the win after 12:41.
As the champs headed back with their belts and Booker remained to stand over O’Haire talking trash, the music of Goldberg hit and the man himself sprinted down to ringside. Booker T ran as fast as anyone has ever seen him go, hopping the rail and fleeing the arena.
Rob Van Dam retained the United States title in his return bout against Mike Awesome, a back and forth contest with Lance Storm on commentary. RVD quickly pounced after a missed Awesome splash off the top with a Five-Star for the pin in 13:55.
Storm had been lobbying for a title match since before RVD’s minor injury, and after the bout Van Dam took the mic and addressed Storm. He accepted his challenge for the next shot – but if he wants a piece of RVD, how about a preview now? Storm left the desk and hopped onto the apron, before thinking better of it and walking backstage.
Ric Flair came to the ring and addressed Battlebowl, saying that Jarrett did indeed pull off a hell of a masterstroke and won the ‘Battle’, but this war isn’t done yet – echoing Jeff’s words after losing to Flair at the GAB. In fact, he adds, speaking of war… however Flair is cut off at that very moment by Jarrett’s music, as the entire Chosen Few comes to the front of the walkway.
JJ says he’s going to guess what Ric was going to say: Flair wants another beating at the hands of the Chosen Few? He says if Battlebowl wasn’t enough to teach him that Jarrett has taken his place in WCW, maybe they should finish the job now.
The heels take a side of the ring each and slowly close in on Flair, until Sting comes down with his baseball bat. This is enough to keep the Chosen Few from entering the ring, and Jarrett waves the whole thing off, saying they can take care of Flair another time.
Flair gets back on the mic and says sure he can, because he was having a good chat with the Cat before coming out here about a WCW tradition, so how about they ‘take care of Flair’ at Fall Brawl, since there’s all this talk of ‘battles’ and ‘wars’, the only true way to finish a war like this is… WarGames!
No tweaks or twists, Flair adds, just a down-and-dirty, old-school double ring surrounded by steel. Two teams, submission or surrender. Ric says WarGames has settled many scores over the years and after a few years since the last ‘proper’ WG, this ends at Fall Brawl! The announcement leaves the bad guys speechless as Flair and Sting pose and ‘wooooo’ at the close of the show.
Fall Brawl 2001 card so far:
- WarGames 2001: Team Flair v Team Jarrett
- WCW Cruiserweight title: Elix Skipper v Jason Jett
Up next: Will Sean O’Haire ensure that the future is now when he challenges Booker T for the WCW World title? And who will take part in the return of WarGames?