JULY 17, 2002: AIRTIME #28
Vince Russo may not care for showing up on AirTime, but the cruiserweight branch of his S.E.X army is already having a devastating effect. A reunited Helms and Moore may well have ended Jason Jett’s career, while Triple X claim Low Ki will return to the group at Bash at the Beach.
The cruiserweight traditionalists are finding it hard enough to solidify against this threat to their ways, and it’s set to be a man lighter after tonight where a ‘Loser of the fall leaves WCW’ match is on tap.
Taped on July 16, along with the following Nitro, in Orlando.
York and Matthews defeated the Full Blooded Italians in the first bout of the hour as commentary speculated over their discussion last week with former enemies XXX regarding Vince Russo and SEX, presumably. Full Effect wrapped things up at 13:46.
Jamie Knoble and David Kash berate the Briscoe Brothers in a pre-tape, having the audacity to call them a pair of “redneck trailer trash punks” while stood outside a trailer park themselves. They promise that the next time they fight the “scruffy fluke kids”, they’ll put them out of wrestling.
Eddie Guerrero defeated Kaz Hayashi with each man’s tag partner in their corner. Or at least, they were at first, anyway.
Chavo was able to convince the ref that Yang was interfering and got him ejected from ringside, before actually intervening himself to help Eddie win with the frog splash at 10:16. Los Guerreros have a pretty strong record against the Dragons in every pairing made, making the defending champs underdogs at the Bash.
Elix Skipper and Christopher Daniels claim backstage that Low Ki will bring the cruiserweight title to SEX at BATB, having seen the error of his ways while injured. Daniels then stops to think and mentions that he has proven he can beat Styles and wonders if the “fighting champ” has the balls to defend against him on Nitro, so that Triple X can bring the belt home sooner than the PPV. Skipper thinks it’s a great idea, and says tonight he Helms and Moore will send a few more dime-a-dozen cruiserweights to the “Jason Jett memorial retirement home”.
Brian Kendrick and Matt Bentley defeated Bryan Danielson and Paul London in their “loser of the fall leaves WCW” match, with Kendrick pinning Danielson to the shock and displeasure of the crowd, sending the popular cruiserweight out of the company and back to Texas. Bentley and London brawled at ringside and Kendrick snuck in a low blow before a cradle with the tights at 8:38 rid the company of his chief rival.
It was confirmed that Tajiri and Juventud Guerrera would face one more time at the Bash to decide who is the better man.
Backstage, Shane Helms and Shannon Moore are moments from their main event tag bout but look set to head to the bar. Dressed in tattered leather and denim street clothes plus shades, the duo are interviewed about their recent reunion and actions and Helms says they came together into WCW and were dressed up as pretty boy doofuses. They were then ripped apart while they held Helms up as the new poster boy and spat out Moore. Eventually, they both found themselves in the same place. Rejects.
Moore adds that along the way, he turned his back on Helms and then Helms turned his back on him. All the time, they failed to see that it was all because the fans and the entire company were the ones who turned their backs on both of them. They got away with it because the duo cared so much about wrestling and being a success. Now, they don’t care at all. And the end result is what happened to Jason Jett and what happens to anyone else who tries to neglect the rejected.
Elix Skipper, Shane Helms and Shannon Moore – all now under Russo’s SEX umbrella – defeated Billy Kidman, Super Crazy and Psicosis in the main event when Moore pinned Psicosis at 11:28 after nailing him with the ring bell.
Helms and Moore looked like they were setting up a spike Vertebreaker on Crazy after the bout as Skipper held Kidman back, but Rey Mysterio and the Jung Dragons were this week’s cavalry to stop another horrific injury. Whatever Russo has said to Helms and Moore, it’s turned them into ruthless cruiserweight killers.
JULY 20, 2002: SATURDAY NITRO #63
Bash at the Beach will decide who is in charge of WCW, with an epic 8-on-8 tag match main event putting either Eric Bischoff or Vince Russo in the driver’s seat.
WCW has been on a roll since surviving nearly folding and conceding defeat in the Monday Night Wars. However, the Sports Entertainment Xtreme movement finds the streamlined business model to be dull and pathetic, with Russo vowing to set the industry on fire once again if he gets control.
Commissioner Ernest ‘Cat’ Miller is stuck in the middle of the two men who got him where he is today in the business, and will be in the middle at the PPV, wearing the referee’s stripes. Speaking of Miller…
The Cat began the show from his office and announced that he was forced to strip Mike Awesome of the United States title after a scan showed that his knee injury from last week will likely keep him out for the rest of 2002. He announced plans to crown a new champ as soon as tonight, via a one-night tournament, to move on from the unfortunate injury as quickly as possible. He confirms recent challengers such as Kanyon and Sean O’Haire will be involved, as will the returning Dustin Rhodes and Shane Douglas. Rhodes will kick off the show in his quarter-final against Tempest, as Cat agrees it is only fair that the New Church have one representative.
Rhodes made his first appearance since the Dog Collar win over the Franchise last month when he beat Tempest via disqualification to advance when Sinn and Slash jumped in at 7:24 as things looked bad for the Church. AMW ran out for the save.
We then head back to Cat’s office, where he has Shane Helms and Shannon Moore. He starts by sarcastically saying how nice it is the two have reunited before snapping and shouting at the pair of them for breaking Jason Jett’s neck. He says he should fire them for such a heinous act but Russo is doing everything he can to protect them so instead, he’s going to convince himself it was a one-off accident and all their recent talk of doing the same to others was to look tough because the Vertebreaker AND the spike Vertebreaker are banned and if that decree is broken, even Russo won’t be able to save their jobs once they defy very clear instructions and endanger more careers. All the while, neither Helms nor Moore have flinched and they immediately leave when Cat’s done, as if they didn’t hear a word.
Shane Douglas joined his bitter rival in the US title tournament semi-finals with a cheap win over Kanyon thanks to the distraction from Torrie Wilson and a run-in by Simon Diamond and Swinger. Their Problem Solver behind the ref’s back made the Franchise three count a formality at 8:59. Afterwards, Douglas was handed – and accepted – a SEX shirt.
Super Crazy and Psicosis speak angrily in Spanish in a backstage interview before switching to very short and sweet English translations: they want Helms and Moore at the PPV, and they will turn the hunters into the hunted.
Sting vs Chuck Palumbo in US title quarter-final three brought the Bischoff-Russo war to the title tourney, with both men seemingly set for the BATB main event if last week is anything to go by. Of course, members of SEX ran down when Sting looked ready to put Chuck away and members of the WCW ‘rebirth’ headed out to even the odds. The entire chaotic scenes led to a double DQ call at 6:55, meaning both men were out and Shane Douglas, newest SEX member, was in the finals. The Cat sent out security forces, as well as Stasiak and Jindrak, to quell things down.
When we returned from a break, Cat had Bischoff and Russo in the ring with their guys sent backstage under security supervision. Russo throws a tantrum about Eric laying a beatdown on him last week but Cat points out that Russo had a gang beat up Bischoff at the rebirthday. Cat says he expects the two to leave the fight for control to their designated men from here on out, unless they intend to join their squads on the front line.
Russo next whines about RVD being on Team Bischoff, claiming that the PPV needs its champions in action and the “integrity and traditions of WCW” demand the champs remain out of the bout and in their own matches. Despite the sheer hypocrisy of his argument, Cat says he agrees, annoying Bischoff at first. However, Cat says that also means no Mamalukes if they’re getting another shot at AMW. Oh, and though Russo politicked them a shot, Cat’s letting the champs pick the stips and Harris and Black actually decided they wanted to beat them at their own game this time, in a Sicilian Stretcher match.
Cat adds it also means no Guerreros, either. Russo replies that it’s fine because his believers are in good numbers and their unified beliefs will defeat Bischoff’s random bunch of ass-kissers and their egos. Cat then adds no Helms or Moore, either, making Russo angry. Cat says he’s booked them vs Crazy and Psicosis and when Russo says that’s unfair, Cat says ending Jason Jett’s career is unfair and reminds Russo that he will enforce the law on his two old friends if he has to.
Russo backs down and says he has an opponent for RVD at the PPV but is cut off by Bischoff who says under no circumstances is he giving Jeff Jarrett a title shot. Russo says he is actually bringing someone in that Van Dam knows very well and the real winners will be the fans when they see this match. Bischoff replies by saying he’s happy with that if he sets an opponent for Jarrett, because he too has a mystery contact who would love a bout at the PPV and will teach JJ a lesson for his attempts to help Russo on the quiet.
Cat finishes the latest round of ownership war squabbles by pointing out that he also has a mystery debutant up his sleeve, as fate would have it. This one will be showing up for the first time tonight, and is in the US title tournament. He then introduces…
K-Krush! The talented former WWE star comes out dancing and slapping fans’ hands and has a sporting quarter-final against Sean O’Haire, but comes up short when Sean slips behind a suplex attempt and O’Connor Rolls Krush for the three at 6:51. Krush shows an angry side as O’Haire celebrates and leaves, getting worse when he starts smashing stuff up at ringside and threatening the commentary team.
Cat is only just back to his office when he sees what his friend is doing after losing his debut match. As he despairs and notes to himself to speak to Krush later tonight, Jeff Jarrett and CW Anderson come in. Jarrett says this witchhunt needs to stop. Not only is he denied the chance to challenge RVD at the PPV but CW was left out of the US tournament completely.
Cat says he’s going to keep calm while saying this as angry responses have fallen on deaf ears so far: JJ and CW have presented zero evidence that they haven’t been colluding with Jarrett’s old buddy Russo.
He continues to say that while he doesn’t want to take sides between Bischoff or Russo, he will not stand for any of the stuff Russo pulled in the run-up to his return and if he ever can prove Jarrett was a part of that, his career is in big trouble especially after the Chosen Few’s reign of terror.
Jarrett swears on his family’s life that he hasn’t been in cahoots with Russo this year. He says he doesn’t know what he can do to prove it but he has no horse in this race and wants to be a champion, that’s all. In fact, he’d love to make his fifth WCW title reign one with zero influence from authority figures or help from above, but as it stands he’s being actively stopped from competing and so is CW.
Jarrett asks Cat to be reasonable and answer one thing – if Jarrett beats Bischoff’s mystery opponent at the Bash, AND can prove he isn’t one of Russo’s masked goons, can he have his world title shot? Cat thinks about it, then says IF both of those are met, then yes. Jarrett thanks him for at least being reasonable and leaves, but not before Cat tells the duo to lace up for tonight’s main event.
Tajiri defeated Julio Dinero in a quick bout via Buzzsaw Kick at 2:37, looking strong ahead of his big BATB clash with Juventud Guerrera.
AJ Styles retained the cruiserweight title against Christopher Daniels, with Rey Mysterio stopping Elix Skipper from even making it to ringside. The champ and challenger seemed a great match for each other but the Styles Clash led to another defence for AJ after 16:10.
Post-match, a Low Ki return video aired, leading to a hurt Daniels and returning Elix taunting the champ, vowing Ki will bring the belt to XXX.
Rob Van Dam, stretching backstage, finds himself face to face with Vince Russo. Russo showers him with praise and says RVD must have loved the strings he pulled to get him off Bischoff’s team. He says Van Dam’s title match at the PPV will be awesome and he envisions RVD being his champ for a long time under the Russo era.
Van Dam says he knows he’ll have an awesome match – he’s Mr. PPV. As for Team Bischoff and Team Russo, RVD is no owner’s pet – but he had no problems kicking some GGE behind after their actions this year. Russo says he wants to be the first to apologise for that. His boys were making a little chaos and he knows RVD has a history of being extreme, so let’s let bygones be bygones. Van Dam says he’ll think about it. Russo says yes, please, think about it.
Juventud Guerrera beat Kid Romeo, matching Tajiri in the tune-up victory stakes. The Juvi Driver wrapped things up at 5:15. Tajiri came to the stage to watch the closing stages and the duo faced off from afar going into commercials.
Shane Douglas, in an SEX shirt, joined commentary as Sean O’Haire and Dustin Rhodes met in the only semi-final for the right to face him for the vacant US title. A tentative babyface exhibition is only a few minutes old when Dustin spilled out to the floor from an O’Haire clothesline and reacted to Douglas’s trash talk with a right hand. After he returned to the ring, Douglas entered moments later and smashed both with a chair and the ref was forced to throw the match out at 10:12, rendering the title situation completely unclear for now.
Backstage, Kanyon catches up to old buddy DDP. He asks if Bischoff still has space on his team. Page says he believes so, especially now Van Dam is out, and asks Kanyon if this means he wants in. He says SEX is about to get blueballed for what they did to the both of them over the last few months.
Ric Flair says in a pre-tape that he made a point of not closing the door entirely when it came to in-ring competition back in March when he fought his last bout alongside Sting. However, part of him really did consider making that Spring Breakout main event his very last match. Then Vince Russo came back on the scene and, in Flair’s mind, threatens the very existence of WCW just like he did the first time around.
Flair says he has fought Russo and his soldiers outside the ring since their declared war on the history of the company, and will do so again to protect the 100-year lineage that rests behind the promotion. At Bash at the Beach, the Nature Boy says he’s lacing up the boots once again! Whoooooo!
Finally, Booker T and Lance Storm teamed together after their apparent alliance last week, alongside Jeff Jarrett and CW Anderson to form a quartet of crowd antagonists who currently find themselves between the two co-owners, it seems. Their opponents were RVD, DDP and America’s Most Wanted.
The heels got heat on Harris before the hot tag to the world champion, who got the pin for his side on CW with the Five Star Frog Splash at 11:09, only to be immediately laid out after the bell courtesy of Jarrett’s guitar.
SEX then swarmed ringside, with the Mamalukes beating up AMW on the walkway and eventually down among the fans beside it, while Kanyon, Kidman, Rey Misterio, Sting, Sean O’Haire and Dustin Rhodes came out to help Page fight off the rest of the squad around ringside. Meanwhile, Storm, Booker, Jarrett and CW remain in the ring and survey the chaos as the show ends.
Bash at the Beach 2002 card so far:
- 8 vs 8, winning co-owner gets controlling stake: Team Bischoff vs Team Russo
- WCW World title: Rob Van Dam (c) vs ?
- WCW World Tag titles, Sicilian Stretcher match: AMW (c) vs The Mamalukes
- WCW Cruiserweight title: AJ Styles (c) vs Low Ki
- WCW Cruiserweight Tag titles: The Jung Dragons (c) vs Los Guerreros
- Jeff Jarrett vs ?
- Tajiri vs Juventud Guerrera
- Super Crazy and Psicosis vs Shane Helms and Shannon Moore
Next time: The final Nitro before the fate of the company is decided at Bash at the Beach! And will we find out who will challenge RVD, or who will try to beat the truth out of Jeff Jarrett?