APRIL 24, 2002: AIRTIME #16
The World Cup finishes its round robin contests tonight, providing all four nations one final chance to move into an advantageous position ahead of the two elimination matches at the PPV.
Can the US arrest their slump in form in time? Are Italy starting to pick up at exactly the right time? Will the late arrival of Jushin Liger get Japan over the finish line first? Or will the collective experience and familiarity Mexico enjoy be the deciding factor during this final week?
Taped along with the following Nitro on April 23 in Atlanta.
The Full Blooded Italians defeated Jason Jett and Low Ki with a double-team Rubik’s Cube on Jett in 12:23. That means all four of Italy’s points prior to the finals at the PPV came via the FBI. There were glimmers of greatness from the makeshift USA team but ultimately they couldn’t stay on the same page well enough to beat the established duo. The Americans won their first three only to lose the next three.
Jamie Knoble and David Kash are at a redneck bar, again talking about the greatness America brought to the world. They once again hype their open challenge to any Canadian duo for the cruiserweight tag team titles on the World Cup pre-show.
Kidman is speaking to his US team in the changing room. He says the great start was all down to those three, and their three losses since are down to him. He singles out Low Ki as being focused and in tremendous form now he’s squashed his beef with Daniels and Skipper, while all this time he still has Shane Helms on his mind for what he did to him and this team at Spring Breakout. He tried to change things up tonight and it backfired.
Billy says, as a result, at the finals it will be Jett and Moore in the tag match and Ki in the singles bout, because they’ve earned it despite Kidman’s poor leadership. All three tell Billy he’s being too harsh on himself, but that they’ll bring the cup home at the PPV and if it comes to a tie, they know Kidman will crush it.
We get a recap promo of the Helms-Styles saga, dating all the way back to Shane’s trickery to beat Kidman and get the title shot. Now the champ, Helms gives AJ his rematch at the World Cup.
Finally, Rey Mysterio and Psicosis defeated Tajiri and Jushin Liger to give Mexico two points against Japan. The match went close to the 20min time limit but Mysterio produced a late dash of offense before Psicosis locked up Tajiri in an innovative cradle for the three at 19:34. All four men shook hands after the match.
The telecast concluded from the commentary booth where we looked at the points table going into the finals and found out that the four teams would pair off in two non-tournament eight-man tags this Saturday on Nitro.
World Cup standings:
- Japan: 7pts
- Mexico: 7pts
- USA: 6pts
- Italy: 4pts
APRIL 27, 2002: SATURDAY NITRO #51
Just 24 hours separates Lance Storm, Rob Van Dam, four teams of elite cruiserweights, AJ Styles, Shane Helms, a host of pissed off heavyweight contenders and more from destiny as WCW leaves the States for the first time in their new streamlined model.
What kind of late twists and turns are in store as the roster competes and/or faces off with their foes one last time before the World Cup PPV? And who will earn a shot at Sean O’Haire’s US title?
The final taping of Nitro before WCW heads to Canada on Sunday began with one of two previews of the World Cup finals. Billy Kidman, Low Ki, Jason Jett and Shannon Moore gave Team USA a win over Team Italy’s Kid Romeo, Guido Maritato, Tony Mamaluke and The Amazing Red. A springboard dropkick attempt from Romeo was ducked by Moore during a pier-six and hit Red, leaving him in position for Kidman’s Shooting Star Press at 10:29.
Mean Gene asks Sting for the scoop on his team for tomorrow. He says that after last week his team was obvious to him – joining he and Dustin Rhodes will be DDP and Kanyon. He adds that he fully expects Booker to recruit Jeff Jarrett and CW Anderson, which to his two newest members is a bigger incentive than a potential world title shot at the moment.
Perhaps it won’t be both Jarrett and Anderson joining the elimination match, as CW won a four-way over Shawn Stasiak, Mark Jindrak and Shane Douglas to get a United States title shot at the PPV. Seeing Douglas and Torrie Wilson brought the rage back out of Jindrak, and he targeted the Franchise as much as possible but when he had Douglas perhaps beaten with a Blue Thunder Bomb variant, CW had Stasiak locked in a vicious armbar for the tap-out after 7:50, at the two-count on Douglas.
We see a video package looking at Lance Storm training for what could be his last crack at the WCW World title tomorrow in his home country.
Glenn Gilbertti’s stable of Simon Diamond, Swinger, Chuck Palumbo, Big Vito and Johnny The Bull defeated five local guys in pretty much an exhibition of their trademark moves which lasted 3:41. Afterwards Gilbertti took the mic and reiterated that big things were coming the way of GGE, whom he branded the “harbingers of change”.
Jeff Jarrett meets with Booker T, and tells him that what they discussed last week – JJ and CW to join his team – can now only be JJ with CW fighting for the US title. Shane Douglas and Torrie Wilson then arrive on the scene and Shane asks Booker to reconsider him, since CW “robbed him” of the US title shot. He asks Jeff to vouch for his team player abilities from the Chosen Few era despite how it ended and Jarrett begrudgingly admits that Douglas was good for the most part. Booker admits he’s running out of time and tells Douglas he’s in.
Elix Skipper versus Joey Matthews lasted a few minutes before Christopher Daniels caused the DQ at 5:10, prompting Christian York to join the fray and the two feuding teams to fight around ringside until broken up.
America’s Most Wanted are interviewed by Mean Gene about their big chance to become tag team champions tomorrow. It’s soon cut short by a patronising Eddie and Chavo, who talk about how “cute” it is that they made it all the way to the finals. Eddie calls them “good kids” and says it’s a shame it’ll end in defeat for them before squeezing the cheek of Harris, which is aggressively shoved away. Black says if they want to start something a day early, AMW will be happy to finish it. Los Guerreros break out into laughter and walk off.
Super Crazy, Psicosis, Juventud Guerrera and Rey Mysterio defeated Tajiri, the Jung Dragons and Jushin Liger in a non-stop aerial exchange when Guerrera dusted off the super Juvi Driver on Yang for the three at 13:58.
The final World Cup Update recaps the eight-man action from tonight and looks at how USA have a slight edge with 6pts, Mexico and Japan sit on five each and Italy need a great effort at the PPV to overcome the slight disadvantage from 4pts. Winners of each four-way get five points, the last eliminated gets three points, second beaten gets one point and the first out get zero.
The presenters also confirm the line-ups, after Kidman selected Jett/Moore for the tag and Low Ki for the singles on Wednesday. A clip shows Super Crazy announce that Rey Mysterio has insisted that his three team-mates get the finals spots as “full-time cruiserweights” so it’ll be Psicosis and Juvi as a team and Crazy in singles, with Rey stepping in if a play-off is needed. Then we see Liger take a similar route with Tajiri announcing himself as singles and the Dragons as their duo.
Finally, a clip from after tonight’s opener shows Red and Romeo arguing over Romeo’s use of Red and Romeo says if Red thinks he’s such a star, he can go in the singles with the FBI as the team and then warns Red not to screw this up.
CW Anderson is interviewed about earning a US title match for tomorrow and Sean O’Haire soon interrupts, with the two having a bit of a pull-apart.
AJ Styles wins an extended squash over Julio Dinero with Shane Helms on commentary. Helms stands atop the table and raises the title belt to taunt his challenger after the Styles Clash – with unbroken eye contact from challenger to champ throughout – ends the bout at 4:51.
After the Storm training video earlier, we see a montage of RVD preparing including some of his incredible stretching and martial arts techniques.
Finally, Booker T and Jeff Jarrett beat DDP and Kanyon when Shane Douglas ran down and lamped Kanyon with a chain-wrapped fist as he lay in the ropes, allowing Booker to get the three in 17:47.
Dustin Rhodes ran down and brawled with Douglas, having been on the wrong end of that chain earlier this month. Mike Awesome soon arrived and laid out all three faces until the lights went out and Sting was in the ring when they returned, sending Awesome into retreat with a gut shot from his bat before dishing out the same to his other three adversaries. Team Sting stood tall as the show ended.
Next time: The World Cup of Wrestling returns, live from Toronto and this time as a full-fledged PPV!