MAY 15, 2002: AIRTIME #19
WCW.com broke the story on Tuesday that AirTime would be run for the first time by Commissioner Cat’s assistant, Stacy Keibler, while Miller investigates the recent actions and motives of GGE further. Keibler has apparently promised a huge announcement that will change the face of WCW.
Taped on May 14 in Orlando, along with the following Nitro.
We begin with a 10-man tag with potentially big ramifications, with so many cruisers staking a claim to a title opportunity at the moment. Low Ki, Super Crazy, Psicosis, Jason Jett and Shannon Moore defeated the FBI, Air Paris, Sonny Siaki and Jorge Estrada with Crazy pinning Paris with a sit-out powerbomb in 11:43.
Stacy Keibler comes to us from Cat’s office, confirming that the commish couldn’t make it to this week’s show as he continues investigations into the attack on Eric Bischoff so she is in charge. She says Slamboree, with Cat’s blessing, will see the cruiserweight contention situation cleared up as the entire division is invited to compete in a battle royal for a title shot, if they’re not booked elsewhere on the card.
She also says tonight’s previously advertised non-title match between AJ Styles and Billy Kidman will see Kidman added to Shane Helms’ PPV rematch if he wins, meaning we’d have a Superbrawl return match instead. She finishes by saying Cat finally heard out her idea and gave it the green light, and she’ll reveal a little more on that later, promising it’s a game-changer.
Kid Romeo took on The Amazing Red, who returned to WCW programming after being assaulted by his former Team Italy team-mates after their World Cup failure. Red was understandably fired up and took the fight to Romeo until the FBI ran out and distracted the ref after the Infra-Red.
Red took them both out with a dive but as he attempted to flying crossbody back in on his opponent, he was caught and defeated by the Last Kiss in 6:15. The trio put some extra boots to their outnumbered victim after the bell and left together.
We’re back in the office with Keibler, who this time has a whiteboard beside her showing a diagram of a wrestling ring that has a peculiar structure over it. Keibler explains that if you take a ring, extend the four posts to ten feet above the canvas and attached two cables to the opposite posts, you form an X high above the ring mat. Keibler says this X represents the ‘neXt generation’, as written on the board, of the cruiserweight division and of wrestling entirely.
She says that Cat likes the idea so much that the next level of cruiserweight wrestling will come as soon as Slamboree. Before she can continue, York and Matthews arrive having apparently been summoned by Stacy herself. She says she wanted to inform them that their recovery from XXX’s attack setback and great recent form will be rewarded, and their vow to win gold before 2002 ends may well come true as soon as Slamboree as they’ll challenge Los Guerreros for the tag team titles!
Tajiri teamed with Team Japan colleague Kaz Hayashi, with Jimmy Yang still seemingly out with a shoulder injury, in a bid for revenge against Yang’s attackers, Knoble and Kash. Tajiri got the hot tag and ran through his trademark moves only for Kash to smash a chair over his back while he held Knoble in the Tarantula for the DQ in 6:34.
Kash added a few more strikes with the object to a prone Tajiri in order to leave Kaz all alone… but before the cruiser tag champs could take Hayashi’s shoulder out as well, back came Yang for the save! He knocked both men down and then landed chairs shots to each to send them running. Slamboree’s cruiser tag match looks to still be on and is more heated than ever before!
We hear from Los Guerreros, who evidently have already been informed of York and Matthews being named number one contenders. They take credit for running “old timer” Ric Flair out of active duty (despite the opposite being true) and say that now all the old fogies have tried and failed to overthrow them, they’re being challenged by a bunch of “young cream puffs” like AMW and Y&M. They say their experience will always win over these “punks”, because they’ll do anything to get the job done.
Billy Kidman defeated AJ Styles by countout after 10:55 of a non-title match and, as a result, will face Styles and Shane Helms in one more three-way title match at Slamboree.
The two were having an exciting, respectful encounter with Styles enjoying a slight advantage due to Kidman being banged up from Nitro. However, Helms decided to slowly stalk his way to ringside in the latter stages and when Styles climbed the turnbuckles, he decided to leap out to ringside and land on the man who left him laying on Saturday instead. Unfortunately, he hurt himself doing so and was unable to make it back to the ring in time.
Kidman recovered to unexpectedly get his hand raised, then he noticed Helms at ringside. Billy made a beeline for his rival, who assaulted him after their street fight on Nitro, and laid in the right hands. Styles, perhaps hot over the defeat, shoved Kidman off and started gingerly putting the shots to Helms himself. This led to a brawl between AJ and Kidman, halted by a pair of Sugar Smacks.
Keibler finally comes out and orders the brawl to halt – despite it pretty much being over already – and says the three way at Slamboree will be the perfect debut for the ‘Ultimate X’ match!
MAY 18, 2002: SATURDAY NITRO #54
The unsettling conclusion to the one-year ‘rebirthday’ Saturday Nitro sticks in the mind, but leaping to the forefront of WCW since then has been the formation of a blockbuster Slamboree 2002 thus far, as an ‘Old School Style’ tribute to the early days will merge with several thrilling modern match stips.
In addition to a wealth of title bouts, the WCW championship rematch will be a ladder match and the cruiserweight strap will be decided in the first ever Ultimate X!
Eight-man tag action kicked off Nitro, encompassing Slamboree’s two tag title bouts. Cruiserweight champs Knoble and Kash teamed with heavyweight tag champs Los Guerreros to beat York, Matthews and the Jung Dragons when Eddie was caught trying to sneak one of his belts into the ring, distracting the referee long enough for Knoble to waffle Kaz with his own title belt for the pin in 16:32. Yang took lengthy heat with all four working on his bad arm during the match, casting doubt over just how healthy he’ll be in eight days.
A promo recaps the AirTime introduction of an innovative new match: Ultimate X. It’ll make its debut at Slamboree in the triple threat rematch between AJ Styles, Billy Kidman and Shane Helms for the cruiserweight title and the promo goes on to offer closer looks at a mock set-up along with a detailed explanation of the rules: the belt will be attached around where the two cables over the ring meet at the centre of their ‘X’.
The winner will need to climb one of the turnbuckles and scale the elevated ringpost to get on the cable and go arm-under-arm to the middle to unhook the belt. Ladders and other such shortcuts are strictly forbidden. The promo promises that the three generations of cruiserweight will usher in the next chapter at Slamboree.
Father James Mitchell is alone in the ring, the lights out but that ominous red hue spotlight on the Father. He says his monster has been selected. His monster has been reborn and all that remains is for his monster to be coronated.
He reminds us that Mike Awesome pinned the US champion last week on Nitro and he says Sean O’Haire should come out and accept his challenge on Mike’s behalf or else his New Church will reduce the entire WCW to rubble.
O’Haire comes out to the entrance walkway and says he’ll face Awesome anytime, any place only for Awesome to blindside him. Awesome lays in the forearms before hurling O’Haire off the walkway and down to the concrete a good few feet below.
Jeff Jarrett is in Cat’s office and he doesn’t seem to be there by choice. The tone is very tense as Miller runs through the evidence pointing at collusions between he and GGE, including Jarrett’s history for making power plays in WCW.
Cat demands to know why he had GGE attack Bischoff and Jarrett swears he is not in league with Gilbertti and he has no idea why they’re doing what they’re doing. Cat says he cannot prove it for sure just yet, but he’ll have his eyes on every move Jarrett makes.
He adds that at Slamboree, he and CW Anderson will face DDP and Chris Kanyon in a grudge tag team match. Jeff is fine with this news – he says he wants another piece of those two “punks”. Cat then cuts the interrogation short when he hears chaos outside.
That chaos is O’Haire, wounded and furious, throwing furniture around. He sees Cat come over and demands a piece of Awesome, tonight. Cat says he saw the challenge and was planning on making a title match for the PPV. O’Haire screams that he wants it tonight. Cat says if a doctor checks him and says he can go, it’s on.
Shane Helms defeated Jason Jett with a new move, the Shining Wizard in 8:05. He cuts a promo afterwards saying he is the leader of ‘Generation X’ and the rightful cruiserweight champion. At Slamboree, he’ll become the first ‘Ultimate X’ winner and undisputed king of the cruiserweights.
Backstage Kidman is with Jeremy Borash. He heard every word Helms said and claims Shane has proven he lacks the character to lead the division. He adds that he respects AJ Styles but he’s sick of him sticking his nose in his personal affairs and is going to prove once and for all that he’s the greatest cruiserweight champ of all time by winning the first ever Ultimate X match.
Super Crazy and Psicosis beat the Full Blooded Italians by DQ thanks to Kid Romeo interfering at the 5:11 mark. Juventud Guerrera made the save and helped his compatriots run off the heels, but things were clearly tense between the newly-minted tag team and the ambitious and outspoken Juvi, especially with all three expected to compete against each other in the Slamboree battle royal.
AJ Styles gives a pre-recorded interview discussing Ultimate X. He says it’s the most important match of his career so far because there’s more than just his belt on the line: the winner of this first-ever match will forever be in the history books as the man who started the trend with their hand raised. He says he’s only just begun to show what 21st century pro wrestling is all about.
Ric Flair hits the ring, clad in an expensive suit as per usual. He gets straight to the point and calls out Glenn Gilbertti and tells him to show a set and come alone. Gilbertti does come out alone, and Flair proceeds to rip him a new one for desecrating the WCW re-birthday. He says he’s seen Glenn’s little group disrupt huge matches and try to make some noise, but they took it a step too far by attacking their boss, unprovoked.
He adds that he has his history with Bischoff but says he looked Eric in the eye and had it out with him man to man, even in the ring. He demands Gilbertti explain his actions and confess to which member of the ownership he’s working for. Glenn simply laughs. Flair then slaps him across the face!
He starts getting worked up and reminds Gilbertti that WCW made people like him famous and if there was no rebirth, Gilbertti would be working in some store somewhere. He screams at Gilbertti to tell the world what he’s up to. Gilbertti acts like he’s going to reveal something, only to buy time for Chuck Palumbo to sneak into the ring behind Flair and level him. He drops Flair with an Outsider Edge then the two flee before security can catch them.
The commentators revealed that Cat has suspended Gilbertti and Palumbo for two weeks – meaning they miss Slamboree – as their GGE cohorts Simon Diamond, Johnny Swinger and the Mamalukes took on America’s Most Wanted and two partners of their choosing – which turned out to be DDP and Kanyon, who clearly still remember GGE’s involvement in the World Cup elimination match. The bout ended in a DQ in 10:23 when Jarrett and Anderson jumped Page just after he hit Swinger with the Diamond Cutter.
Meanwhile, Vito and JTB jump AMW in the melee and finish the attack by putting Black through a table at ringside.
Cat is waiting for Jarrett and Anderson as they return through the curtain after putting the boots to Page and Kanyon. He points out another link between they and GGE, and says even if someone’s blocking terminations he has complete authority to suspend for up to 30 days at a time, proven by the two-week bans for GG and Palumbo. Jarrett swears blind the attack was purely aimed at their enemies, regardless of who their opponents were. Cat re-iterates: thin ice, Jarrett!
O’Haire only just received clearance to defend his United States title against Mike Awesome (w/ Father James Mitchell) during the course of the previous match and the champ had his ribs taped. He nonetheless gave a great account and seemed to have Awesome beat until two men dressed as druids ran down and hopped onto the apron as O’Haire climbed up ready for a Seanton Bomb.
As the ref dealt with them, a third emerged to shove him off the top, jarring his torso once more. One Awesome Bomb later at 8:13 and we had a NEW United States champ. Even more unsettling, it seems Mitchell’s prophecy of a New Church is coming together.
Mike Tenay is overseeing a studio interview where WCW champion Lance Storm and top contender Rob Van Dam are face to face. The duo talk about their history of matches and how it goes beyond WCW but back to ECW too. Storm says even though their in-ring skills are similar, he’s always been seen as the super serious, even bland one to RVD’s brash colourful personality. He says it’s true and he hates everything Van Dam’s personality represents.
RVD says the big difference between the two of them is that Storm harbours so much resentment while Van Dam handles whatever is thrown his way. Storm cuts in and gloats about beating RVD for the belt and RVD rebuts that Slamboree will end his reign short. It gets heated and less articulate in a hurry, before Tenay is thrown aside and a brawl breaks out until security stops it.
A Slamboree event center is presented just as it would have to hype a PPV in the early 1990s, and is presented by the confirmed host of Slamboree, Gary Michael Cappetta. He runs down the card and acknowledges just how much of the awesome new wave of professional wrestling will be on the nostalgic-themed show, and that The Cat and Eric Bischoff have agreed that this show will be the Old School meeting the New School. Cappetta tells us to be ready for a treat when some of the classic WCW motifs and styles merge with ladder matches, cruiserweight melees and the first-ever Ultimate X match!
In the main event, Booker T and Shane Douglas beat Sting and Dustin Rhodes after T stopped a Death Drop with a low blow only for Douglas to steal a tag after a Book End and pin Sting himself at 12:41. It’s every man for himself at the PPV with a title shot to the winner, and that was a harsh lesson to former champ Booker.
Sharmell took it even worse at ringside and decided to yank a cheering Torrie Wilson to the floor, starting a catfight. This led to Booker and Shane’s argument turning into a brawl and all four men continued their fighting from previous weeks as the show ended.
Slamboree 2002 card so far:
- WCW World title, Ladder match: Lance Storm (c) vs Rob Van Dam
- WCW World tag team titles: Los Guerreros (c) vs York and Matthews
- WCW Cruiserweight title, Ultimate X match: AJ Styles (c) vs Shane Helms vs Billy Kidman
- WCW Cruiserweight tag titles: Knoble and Kash (c) vs Jung Dragons
- For a WCW title shot: Sting vs Booker T vs Dustin Rhodes vs Shane Douglas
- No Disqualification: America’s Most Wanted vs The Mamalukes
- Cruiserweight Battle Royal for a title shot
- DDP and Kanyon vs Jeff Jarrett and CW Anderson
Next time: The go-home show for Slamboree 2002: Old School meets New School!