On tonight’s Nitro, the main event picture for the biggest show of the year begins to take shape as a new concept called The Starrcade Series begins. Two pools of six top WCW wrestlers compete to reach a final match at the November PPV, and the overall victor will challenge for the WCW World title at Starrcade 2001.
Meanwhile, WCW champion Booker T and his ‘first lady’ Sharmell demanded a do-over of their ‘passing of the torch’ ceremony for tonight, after turning their collective nose at the efforts made last week. They now also know who is next in line to face the champ, as Sting defeated his WarGames team-mates to earn the next shot.
Dustin Rhodes and Bam Bam Bigelow were wiped out by a vengeful Mike Awesome and appear to still have unfinished business with the ‘Career Killer’, and perhaps we will once again hear from The Chosen Few after they were absent and licking their WarGames wounds last week.
Saturday Nitro #23: first aired on October 13; taped along with episode 22 on October 3
The Cat opened the show and welcomed us to Saturday Nitro, as well as the start of the Starrcade Series! He said that both the US title and the World tag titles would be decided tonight, and we’d also have the first five singles contests to decide who ends the year – and main events the biggest PPV of the year – battling for the World title.
He finally unveiled the 12 men competing in the Series, first pointing out that Sting would not be involved as he fights for the title this month at Havoc, and that Flair has requested himself that he not be in the Series as “he doesn’t want to challenge for the World title until he is at his absolute best”, referencing perhaps the mounting injuries he has suffered since WarGames.
With that being said, here are the two groups of six:
Pool A: Goldberg, Scott Steiner, Jeff Jarrett, Chris Kanyon, Dustin Rhodes, Lance Storm. Pool B: DDP, Rob Van Dam, Mike Awesome, Shane Douglas, Bam Bam Bigelow, Billy Kidman.
The first bout of the 2001 Series pit old enemies Kidman and the Franchise against one another. Former girlfriend of both, Torrie Wilson (albeit very much on Team Douglas still via the Chosen Few) ran down halfway through and tried to hand Shane a chain, only for Kidman to intercept, land a shot while Torrie had the ref, conceal the chain and finish with the Kid Krusher in 7:09 for the first two points of the tournament.
This week’s sit-down interview comes in Spanish with subtitles as Super Crazy speaks to Armando Quintero, who worked on WCW’s Telemundo broadcasts, about his path from Mexico through ECW to here, his years-long rivalry with Tajiri and how there seems to be a bit of begrudging respect showing between the two these days.
He finishes by mentioning that Cat has made a four-way cruiserweight tag title contention match and that AJ Styles has asked him to be his partner. He says he looks forward to finally earning his first gold here in WCW.
That match followed the interview airing, and featured not only AJ picking a partner, but Air Paris too… and he selected Jamie Knoble, currently without his regular tag partner, the injured David Kash. It also contained the FBI and York & Matthews.
Paris avoided AJ at all costs during the bout, to no surprise. But one team who weren’t invited were the Jung Dragons, and Leia Meow led them out to try and spoil the match as a result – however they only ended up having an altercation with the FBI and Glenn Gilbertti.
In the ring, York and Matthews finished Knoble with the Full Effect in 7:22 after a hooded individual in casual clothes snatched the ring bell from the timekeeper and clobbered Knoble on the back as he slumped on the ropes. The attacker hopped the rail and disappeared into the night.
In what can only be described as a huge upset, Shawn Stasiak pinned Rob Van Dam to become the NEW United States champion. However, the win came with an assist from Lance Storm, who seemingly followed through on his promise for consequences after RVD’s controversial Fall Brawl victory, levelling Van Dam with a superkick when Stacy Keibler had the referee distracted after a frog splash. Stasiak draped the arm for the 1-2-3 after 7:53 and he barely knew he was the champ afterwards, with an ecstatic Stacy doing most of the celebrating for him.
Backstage, The Chosen Few (sans Douglas) are with Mean Gene, who asks about them missing last week’s Nitro after their WarGames defeat. Suddenly, Douglas storms onto the screen and berates Torrie for the screw-up that cost him his first Starrcade Series match, with Jindrak getting in his face in turn and Sanders, Jarrett and Anderson restoring the peace.
Jarrett says the Series is a marathon, not a sprint, and they will bounce back from Fall Brawl when Anderson and Jindrak retain the tag titles tonight and then Jarrett and Douglas win their groups and make it an all-Few final at Victory Road… at which point, he says to Douglas, the ‘Franchise’ knows what to do. Shane looks puzzled at this as the promo ends.
The first SS bout of block A saw Dustin Rhodes defeat Kanyon with a bulldog off the second rope at 10:42, in what could be seen as a little bit of redemption after Kanyon’s tainted win over ‘The Natural’ in the United States title tournament back at Slamboree.
Afterwards, Dustin gets the mic and says that while he plans on winning the Series and challenging for the world title at Starrcade, he has some unfinished business that even WarGames could not solve… and he calls out Mike Awesome!
Awesome arrives on the stage as Rhodes says he wants to settle this, one on one, nobody else getting involved. He adds that as long as any sort of interference whatsoever is banned and it’s just the two of them, he’ll accept any match Mike wants for Halloween Havoc. Awesome says he put Rhodes in an ambulance, through several tables and has dominated Dustin this year.
He says Rhodes needs to just “quit while he’s behind – way, way behind”. Rhodes replies “why don’t you make me” and suggests maybe Awesome just challenged him to an I Quit match at Havoc. Awesome, not wanting to back down, says fine – one final time he’ll torture and abuse Rhodes to the point that he quits in front of the whole world on PPV.
Shane Helms and Shannon Moore defeated Chavo Guerrero and Kid Romeo in Helms’ first win in ages – though it was Moore who pinned Romeo with the Bottom’s Up at 9:29. Afterwards, Moore extended a hand to his former Three Count colleague… and Helms, after hesitation, accepted!
We get quick pre-tapes, first from Elix Skipper alongside XXX, then from cruiserweight champ Jason Jett ahead of their title rematch next week on Nitro.
In an interesting Starrcade Series bout, Jeff Jarrett met on-off ally Scott Steiner. The whole time, Steiner kept proclaiming that he wanted Goldberg – and, after a couple minutes of basic grappling with JJ, a frustrated Steiner shoved down the ref and kicked him in the ribs! That’s a DQ for Steiner after 2:23 and -1 point for him already, while Jarrett picks up perhaps the easiest point he could have possibly imagined in what was a very tough assignment on paper.
Cat comes out post match and warns Steiner that he’ll kick him out of the tournament outright if he harms an official or staff member like that again – and that the suspension will be more than 30 days, plus he’ll never get a match with Goldberg that way, whereas they’re certain to meet in the Series if he plays ball. He has Steiner ejected from the building.
CW Anderson and Mark Jindrak retained their titles against Sean O’Haire and Chuck Palumbo despite losing by DQ when the Mamalukes ran in on the 5:13 mark and jumped the faces before also getting some shots in on the champs, too. Jarrett tried to stick around at ringside for this, but was ejected early on in the bout. No sign of Douglas at all.
DDP claimed two SS points with a win over longtime friend Bam Bam Bigelow. The two shook hands after Page floated out of a Greetings From Asbury Park attempt and won with the Diamond Cutter in 6:44.
Backstage after the break, Page and Bigelow have just returned from their bout against one another and DDP says he misses fighting alongside Bigelow. Though the two have been on opposite sides the last two weeks, Page says it just felt right at WarGames fighting side by side and suggests maybe the two could run at the tag titles on the side, now the champs need new challengers. Bigelow points out that they handled Anderson and Jindrak quite well at Fall Brawl, so why not?
In tonight’s fifth and final SS bout, Goldberg defeated Lance Storm. RVD ran down and prevented Storm using a chair when the ref went down by accident, leading to a Spear and Jackhammer for the win at 8:03. Van Dam seemed hot about Storm costing him the US title but made sure he did nothing to cost Goldberg anything here.
After the bout, Bill took the mic and said that all he can think about is Steiner… but, thankfully, the luck of the Series draw means they WILL fight sooner rather than later. He implores Cat to make it happen next week!
Finally, Booker T and Sharmell came out for their ceremony which was even more elaborate and decorated than the first attempt. The two spoke about how Booker proved himself to be the star of the new WCW and how he demands the ‘old fogies’ come out to endorse him personally as their replacement.
The lights then went out, and when they returned, Sting was behind Booker in the ring! Booker turned around into right hands, but fled the ring just before a Stinger Splash as Sharmell recovered the title belt and the two retreated as the show closed.
Halloween Havoc 2001 card so far:
- WCW World title: Booker T v Sting
- WCW Cruiserweight tag titles: Triple X v York and Matthews
- I Quit match: Dustin Rhodes v Mike Awesome
Starrcade Series Block A:
Goldberg 2pts, Rhodes 2pts, Jarrett 1pt, Kanyon 0pts, Storm 0pts, Steiner -1pt (everyone has competed once each so far)
Starrcade Series Block B:
DDP 2pts, Kidman 2pts, RVD 0pts, Awesome 0pts, Bigelow 0pts, Douglas 0pts
(everyone but RVD and Mike Awesome has competed once each so far)
Next time: A title rematch, a battle royal, more of the Starrcade Series, and a huge ‘Challenge’ made between RVD and Lance Storm!