JUNE 26, 2002: AIRTIME #25
The New Church have taken somewhat of a curious interest in the top contenders in the cruiserweight division as of late, and the main event of the last pre-GAB AirTime will see Billy Kidman face Tempest, the one Churcher eligible for cruiserweight titles. Also, we’re set to see York and Matthews compete for the first time since failing to win the big one at Slamboree and we’ll hear from The Amazing Red about what’s next for the dazzling rookie.
Taped on June 25, along with the following Nitro, in Atlanta.
Brian Kendrick beat Paul London to kick off the show. London won over the arena with his daredevil offence but a risk too many led to him being easy prey for Sliced Bread #2 at 6:06. Kendrick proclaims himself Texas’ top student after the win.
Commissioner Cat and Stacy Keibler announce in a pre-tape that Sean O’Haire and Lance Storm will do battle at the Great American Bash due to the actions of Storm on Nitro. Also, he wants to bring an end to the drama between Jason Jett and Shane Helms. They’ll go one-on-one at the Bash also, with Shannon Moore at ringside.
York and Matthews picked up their first win since failing to become tag champions at Slamboree in a one-fall four way dance against the FBI, the Briscoes and Siaki and Estrada. Their Full Effect top rope finish was enough to defeat Estrada at 9:28. Y&M were interviewed on the walkway afterwards and said their six-month deadline starts now. They promise to finally become WCW tag champions before the year ends. As this is going on, an altercation is happening in the ring as Siaki cheapshots both Briscoes. Jay and Mark upset Sonny and Jorge a few weeks ago. It turns into a four-man brawl until broken up.
The Amazing Red is interviewed backstage. Having finally proven himself by beating Kid Romeo, he’s asked what’s next. Unfortunately for Red that answer appears pretty much the same as before as Romeo jumps him from behind. The Maximos attempt to help but are cut off and beaten down by the FBI, who were heading back from their match.
Bryan Danielson beat Matt Bentley by DQ when Brian Kendrick ran in to break up the Cattle Mutilation submission hold at the 5:15 mark. The duo put the boots to Danielson, then to Paul London as soon as he ran into the ring to help. Suddenly, Bentley then levelled Kendrick with a superkick! Matt leans over Kendrick and is picked up by the camera as telling him that Brian’s not the top student – he is.
Stacy Keibler tells Cat backstage that she thinks she has the GAB pre-show match figured out, as he requested. In fact, she has two. First, she thinks a ‘top of the class’ four-way between Kendrick, Bentley, Danielson and London would be great. Also, she suggests Red/Maximos and Romeo/FBI get one final blowoff bout. Unlike the Slamboree pre-show, she suggests this time they make it elimination rules. Cat says that’s great and they will make both official to give the fans twice the pre-show action.
Finally, Billy Kidman defeated Tempest by disqualification in 12:18. Kidman endured attack after attack on his sore knee until finally launching a comeback. He seemingly had it won with the Kid Krusher until Sinn and Slash ran in. Father James Mitchell looked to the back, wondering where Mike Awesome was. We then saw on the big screen via a backstage camera man that Kanyon had cut him off with a steel chair. The rest of New Church was then overwhelmed by Tajiri and Juventud Guerrera, with Kidman summoning enough left in the tank to help. The three finally made peace in their battle with a common enemy as the hour of action concluded.
JUNE 29, 2002: SATURDAY NITRO #60
In the days leading to the go-home show for the Great American Bash, WCW.com was rife with reports that The Cat would again punish Glenn Gilbertti and his faction despite being restricted in what sanctions he can dish out and despite not knowing exactly who smashed the guitar over Ric Flair’s head dressed as Mr. Wrestling III. If true, it would seemingly pave the way for a huge PPV in 24 hours filled with top matchups. That said, the Bash will also host its fair share of grudge matches and those various rivals will all be under the same roof tonight as well.
From his office, Cat formally confirms what went up on WCW.com on Thursday: the entire Glenn Gilbertti Enterprises are once again suspended, and will miss tonight’s show as well as tomorrow’s PPV. Cat adds that he and Eric Bischoff actually decided earlier today that isn’t enough, and the group will be banned from the premises until Mr. Wrestling III is revealed.
Cat implores MW3, since he claims we all know that this guy is the investor and benefactor stopping anyone from firing these goons, to try and block the suspension but reminds us all that non-dismissal disciplinary remains in the hands of the Commissioner. Cat finishes by saying all they have to do is stop the guerrilla warfare and make themselves and their motives known.
A special 10-man AirTime showcase previewed tomorrow’s pre-show bouts as Brian Kendrick, Matt Bentley, Kid Romeo and the Full Blooded Italians defeated Bryan Danielson, Paul London, The Amazing Red and the Maximos in an all-out aerial sprint. Kendrick and Bentley remained at odds after the events of AirTime, but London and Danielson were on the same page regardless of being opponents in 24 hours.
London’s underdog routine fired up the crowd late on and he looked set to finish Romeo with something off the top rope, but Bentley crotched him on the ropes and enabled Romeo to pull London into a Last Kiss for the three-count at 8:44. The tension remained after the bell and all 10 men continued to go at it, leading to a sequence of dives that concluded with London pulling off an insane springboard shooting star dive to everyone outside the ring.
Shane Helms comes to the ring and says lately people have been calling him out but what they fail to realise is that they don’t call out Shane Helms, Shane Helms calls them out. So with that in mind… he’s calling out, right now… Shannon Moore.
Moore joins Helms in the ring as his former partner reminds him of the time a few months back when Shannon tried to make amends with Helms only for Shane to cost him the cruiserweight title. Moore doesn’t respond. Helms explains that he didn’t do that because he hated Moore, or even because he disliked him. Helms did what he had to do in this business, just like when Moore kicked him out of Three Count.
He says he knows deep down Shannon Moore isn’t a sidekick or a gopher or a flunky. He says it makes him sick when he clings onto a Chavo Guerrero or a Jason Jett because he’s his own man and he doesn’t have to be Shannon’s buddy to tell him that. He tells Moore to do the right thing at the Bash when he’s ringside for Helms’ match with Jett.
This brings out Jason who tells Moore not to listen to him. He’s never ordered Shannon around or treated him like anything but an equal. If Shannon wants to dissolve their team and go singles, so be it – but don’t do it because of a ‘snake’ like Helms. Shane angrily dares Jett to come and say that to his face, so Jason obliges and hits the ring… only for Helms to bail. Moore and Jett look at each other with a tension in the air as the segment ends.
Jimmy Yang vs Christopher Daniels vs David Kash vs Super Crazy saw Triple X go 2-0 heading into the cruiser tag titles elimination four-way. This time, Daniels rolled up Crazy and got his feet on the ropes for the three at 8:01 while Kash had Yang’s bad shoulder in a wakigatame armbar, meaning XXX snatched one from under the noses of Knoble and Kash once more. All four partners were at ringside for this, and a brawl broke out with the luchadores and the Dragons standing tall then facing off with each other.
AJ Styles asks Rey Mysterio to join him in the ring. He starts by telling Rey that whatever happens this weekend, he’ll always respect Mysterio and the doors he opened for cruiserweights. But he felt he had to make a few things clear.
He says Rey probably feels pretty confident after getting a pin on AJ last week but the fact is, Rey only got a title shot because the real number one challenger is injured. He says he only beat AJ Styles because his partner last week was taken out of commission and it became a handicap match. He also says Rey is only fighting in the cruiserweight division again because he knows he cannot win any heavyweight titles. That last one gets an ‘ooooh’ from the crowd.
Styles finishes by noting that what he’s trying to say is while he respects Rey’s credentials and Rey as a person, he doesn’t have any respect for his current status as challenger to his belt and that tomorrow, he’ll see what AJ Styles is all about.
Rey looks angry at first, but gets his composure and says he understands where Styles is coming from. Rey says he’s a huge AJ fan and it’s an honour to get a shot at him, even via the ‘back door’ the way this one came about.
Rey says AJ is almost the complete package to be the top cruiserweight for the next 15 years or more – but win or lose tomorrow, he’ll help add the missing piece of the puzzle by beating some respect into him. In fact, why not a little sample now? Rey slaps AJ hard across the face! Styles himself looks angry, but like Rey keeps his cool. “Well then, here’s to a great match!” and AJ slaps Rey right back! The two look ready to fight right now, but the staredown holds until the break.
What was supposed to be a tag match pitting Sean O’Haire and Dustin Rhodes against Lance Storm and Shane Douglas never got off the ground. Storm was jumped during his entrance by O’Haire and the two brawled around ringside. Rhodes and Douglas then fought their way out from the entrance positions as the two Bash singles bouts got heated 24 hours prior. Torrie Wilson came out brandishing the dog collar chain that’ll be used tomorrow but as she handed it to Shane, Dustin intercepted it and the two engaged in a tug of war with their hands that will tomorrow become one with their neck muscles alone as security swept down to cool off both fights. N/R
Backstage, Cat is apologising to Ric Flair for what happened last week. Flair says not to worry about it, that he is a grown man who made the choice to confront Gilbertti last week. Cat says he and Bischoff spoke about it and wanted to make it up to Flair anyway, so rather than sitting front row tomorrow at the Bash, how about he dons the stripes and officiates the main event? Flair says it’d be an honour, and Cat replies that the honour is having one of the Bash’s greatest names oversee one of the biggest title bouts in WCW history.
Sinn and Slash of the New Church defeated Shawn Stasiak and Mark Jindrak via double DDT to Jindrak at 7:21, with an assist from Tempest while James Mitchell distracted the ref. As Mitchell instructed the three to put the boots to the duo after the bell, the trio of Kidman, Juventud and Tajiri ran out and sent them packing as the commentators reiterated what they revealed during the match – a six-man had been added to the Bash card between Mitchell’s henchmen and the united front of cruiser talent.
America’s Most Wanted cut perhaps their best promo yet about their background, their early days in wrestling, becoming a team and what it means to them if they can finally claim WCW gold. Los Guerreros interrupt and mock Harris and Black, calling them “lovable losers” who don’t possess the “cajones” to win the big one. AMW promise that tomorrow Eddie and Chavo will see just how badly they want it and tell them to bring their A-Game.
Friends DDP and Kanyon reunited for a tag bout against the men they fight in singles on Sunday – Booker T and US champ Mike Awesome. Page hot tagged in and took on both men before being overwhelmed, but ducked a Harlem sidekick which hit Awesome enabling him to tag Kanyon back in and a Flatliner got a telling three on the champ at 16:52 ahead of their title bout tomorrow!
Afterwards Page took the mic and pointed towards the retreating Booker and Sharmell, promising that whatever “this broad” has done to his friend, Page will beat it out of him tomorrow.
Finally, out came Sting to talk about the Great American Bash, its history and his history with it. He says 12 years ago in the very same building, he won his first world title from Ric Flair who will now be the referee tomorrow. He says RVD has taken the new WCW to great heights but until he beats Sting, he hasn’t truly been tested.
RVD comes out and says he understands what Sting is trying to do, making the bout out to be the biggest of Van Dam’s WCW career, hoping it’ll daunt him. But RVD warns Sting that it’s just another title defence to him and it’ll end with the Five Star Frog Splash and the announcement “your winner, and still WCW champion… Rob…Van…” Sting cuts him off by jabbing the bat at his chest and yelling “I don’t think so.” RVD shoves it away and a brawl is on! The two trade blows in the ring as the show fades to black.
Next time: The 2002 Great American Bash!