If Fusient Bought WCW #95: Three Men, One Iron Man

WCW’s first-ever Triangle Iron Man Challenge sees the cruiserweights continue to shine.

If Fusient Bought WCW: AJ Styles

OCTOBER 16, 2002: AIRTIME #41

Tonight AirTime adds another one-match show to its history as AJ Styles defends the cruiserweight title against Low Ki and Jerry Lynn in a 45min Iron Man Challenge. All three have exchanged the title in some of the summer and fall’s hottest bouts but this will test them like no other match, even the ladder spectacle from the last PPV.

Taped on October 15, along with the following Nitro, in Nashville.

The commentary team welcome us and go over the rules for tonight’s one and only contest. All three men will be legal at all times. A point is scored by pinning either opponent, or making either submit. If a competitor is counted out or disqualified, both opponents receive a point apiece. If there is no clear winner after 45 minutes, the match will continue in sudden death overtime with only those in the tie for first place involved.

The match itself begins 10mins into the broadcast, after the intro and ring entrances. A three-way feeling out process sprang to life when Ki caught Lynn in a crucifix pinning combination to take the lead after 8:58.

Ki was then double-teamed for a short period by the two trailing combatants until AJ and Lynn argued over who’d make a cover following a double DDT. Styles backed down only to nail a Pele kick, and their subsequent brawl gave Ki the chance to mount a comeback. As he sent AJ out of the ring, however, he was pulled into a sunset flip by Lynn for 1-1-0 after 14:36.

Lynn then found himself in a two-on-one arrangement for a while, though AJ and Ki were extremely distrusting of the other man and reluctant to make a cover until the time was right. Styles appeared to hurt his knee then the two sandwiched Lynn with flying kicks, so Ki went in for the kill on Lynn and put him in position for the Phoenix Splash… only for AJ to shove him all the way to the floor, seemingly faking the injury much like Shane Helms had done to him earlier this year. He then hit a springboard 450 on Jerry… for two and three quarters.

AJ attempted to keep the pressure on in search of his first fall of the match but eventually found himself facing both angry opponents. Lynn and Ki then pinballed Styles around with strikes before hitting him with both a Cradle Piledriver and a Ki Krusher and rolling him to the outside. Any attempt by the referee to count AJ out was interrupted by counting pin attempts by the other two on each other, and eventually Styles made his way back into the thick of the action.

Ki caught AJ up top and went for a superplex, then changed his mind and attempted to hook a super Ki Krusher as he did to win the belt at BATB. Lynn came springboarding in from the apron and hit a sunset flip powerbomb on Ki before flipping over for the pinfall bridge, but AJ had clung onto the top rope and broke up the fall at two-and-a-half with Spiral Tap. He pinned Lynn for a three-way tie at 32:06 and went for the lead with an immediate cover on Ki after that… but the martial artist got a foot on the bottom rope.

We then entered a frantic closing stretch which included a Cradle Piledriver from Ki to Styles (!), a Ki Krusher from AJ to Lynn (!!) and a Styles Clash from Lynn to Ki (!!!). As time began to run out and overtime loomed, Ki went for the super Ki Krusher on Styles once more, even thwarting a Lynn springboard attempt this time. AJ fought it off as hard as he could and Jerry came back once more, this time dropkicking Styles so that he fell into a tree of woe on the outside of the turnbuckles, his head resting on the apron.

Lynn attempted a Cradle Piledriver off the ropes on Ki, only for AJ to lunge up and forearm Jerry to the floor outside. Ki landed gently in the ring and nailed a Tidal Crush on AJ as he attempted to get up to the top rope and went for the super Ki Krusher a third and final time. This time, AJ blocked, hoisted Ki up in his own suplex on the ropes and dropped him down seamlessly into a Super Styles Clash to take the lead at 44:24!

HOW ABOUT...
Is It Time To End The Brand Split?

As soon as a tired AJ eventually got back to his feet, Lynn was there to attack but AJ fought off the Cradle Piledriver attempts until finally back bodydropping out with five seconds to spare before the bell rang at 45:00 and Styles retained.

The three participants received a standing ovation after regaining their bearings. Lynn and Ki looked at each other, then at Styles, before deciding to congratulate the winner.

As the trio embraced, they were suddenly struck down by a trio in street clothes… who it then became apparent were Elix Skipper, Christopher Daniels and Sean Waltman. Beating down the exhausted faces didn’t take long, but Triple X then held Styles for Waltman to add an X-Factor onto the cruiserweight title belt. Message sent.

OCTOBER 19, 2002: SATURDAY NITRO #76

Though Jeff Jarrett is just eight days away from receiving the WCW title shot he surprised many by earning legitimately many months ago, his daunting encounter with the fearsome champion Ken Shamrock has received a new curveball from his former friend and 51% owner Vince Russo as he, via his Commissioner/puppet Stacy Keibler, made the Halloween Havoc main event the first ‘Spin The Wheel, Make The Deal’ match in nine years.

The match stipulation will be decided by a random spin of a wheel on the night, leaving both men with an hour or less to prepare. Speaking of being unprepared, Sting could not have been ready for a second New Church assault in as many weeks while he tried to participate in the Starrcade Series. Father James Mitchell’s men may be poking the bear – even his monster Malice.

We began the show with a match, despite Russo’s recent trend of opening talk segments to spew his SEX propaganda. Curt Hennig looked fully recovered from his steel cage war with Ric Flair when he opened his Starrcade Series campaign versus Chuck Palumbo.

Palumbo seemed to think Hennig was still in league with his faction and expected the veteran to lie down for him, but was in for a shock when Hennig took the fight to the larger man and eventually won when his work on Chuck’s leg paid off. Palumbo struggled to hold his opponent up for a crucifix bomb and when he buckled, Hennig pounced with the fisherman’s suplex – hooking the stronger leg – to earn two points in 10:25.

We cut to the Commissioner’s office, where Russo is none too pleased that Hennig is no longer following his instructions. He asks Keibler to terminate the contract he promised Curt. Keibler says he’s now locked in, and firing him without justifiable grounds would be blocked by Bischoff.

Russo starts to throw stuff around the room only for Keibler to calm him down. She succeeds in doing so by telling Vince that AJ Styles vs Sean Waltman is set for Havoc with the cruiserweight title on the line – and that she has a plan for the other belt they want.

Lance Storm opened his account in the Starrcade Series with victory over Dustin Rhodes, shoving off a bulldog attempt and almost sending Dustin into the much smaller referee. Dustin was able to avoid maiming the official, but turned around into a superkick and a cover with two hands of jeans that secured two points in 8:17.

We see a brief overview of the Series and the matches so far, which concludes with the news that the tag match at Havoc will pit four members of Block A against four from Block B.

HOW ABOUT...
On This Day In Wrestling History...9th June

Sean Waltman and Triple X faced the three men they invaded AirTime to attack earlier this week: Jerry Lynn, Low Ki and the cruiserweight champ AJ Styles. Clearly fresher than their adversaries, the SEX members were in control much of the match and just when the faces were mounting a comeback, Waltman snuck around the ring and pulled Styles all the way into the barricade before hotshotting him onto the walkway. Low Ki dived out onto him but hurt himself in the process, and XXX finished off Lynn with the Powerplex in 7:54.

Commissioner Keibler is backstage, stood next to a giant wheel. At this time, the panels are blank. Keibler says that these panels will be filled with some of the most gruelling and violent match types in eight days, but tonight they’ll be filled with a host of opponents for both Jarrett and Shamrock, with each man facing whomever the wheel decides.

Shane Douglas earned a degree of revenge on Chris Kanyon by pinning the US champion in a non-title Starrcade Series bout. Torrie Wilson distracted the ref during a clear pinfall following a Flatliner, and when Kanyon dragged Torrie into the ring and humiliated her with a spanking, Simon and Swinger ran out and slipped Douglas a chain. The Franchise loaded up the fist and KOd Kanyon for the three count in 6:48.

Keibler then appeared on the stage and said over the mic that she finds it despicable that Kanyon would try to use the Series to escape his “mandatory title defenses”. She says he’ll now defend the US title against…

…Ron ‘The Truth’ Killings, who appears to have been appeased by Russo and Keibler with this ‘opportunity’. He immediately covered a prone champ for… two!

Killings fumed at the ref, which allowed Simon and Swinger to sneak in with a Problem Solver which was enough for the pin and a NEW United States champion in 1:01.

As the fall was being registered, Diamond Dallas Page rushed out with a chair but was too late to stop the title change. He did get a good shot in on Simon before the heels all fled the scene together, however.

Backstage, Waltman, Skipper and Daniels are with Jeremy Borash. Sean says he cannot believe how dumb AJ is, choosing sportsmanship over career advancement and now, that means his days are numbered as Waltman has forgotten more than he’ll ever know when it comes to light-heavyweight wrestling. Skipper and Daniels then laugh at Lynn and Ki for being so happy to be losers, which Daniels says is why Ki isn’t fit to be in XXX anymore.

We cut to Ken Shamrock with Russo, who is about to spin the wheel now loaded with names from across the WCW roster. It lands on The Amazing Red. Russo and Shamrock smile at each other and the champion heads to the ring.

Red was out of his depth against the dangerous champion, but was able to stun him with a few aerial moves after being toyed with for a few minutes. When Red floored the champ with a spinning heel kick, the crowd were into his chances but Shamrock avoided the Infra-Red before belly-to-belly suplexing the cruiserweight from the ring to the walkway! He dragged his opponent back into the ring and slapped on the anklelock for an immediate tapout after 4:36.

Shamrock refused to let go of the hold until Jose and Joel Maximo rushed the ring and tried to pull him off, which earned them each a high kick and belly-to-belly. He brought a steel chair into the ring to deal even further damage, but the music of Jeff Jarrett hit.

JJ comes out with his guitar and a weapons stand-off is on the cards. Jarrett sees the chair in Ken’s hands, pauses at the ring ropes, then hops through and deftly dodges the immediate chair swing before clobbering the champ with the six-stringer! His attention is then drawn to Russo calling his name on the big screen. Vince says it’s time to spin for Jarrett’s opponent… and the wheel lands on Malice. “What…bad…luck,” says an emotionless Russo as the commentators speculate just how ‘legit’ the wheel is.

HOW ABOUT...
On This Day In Wrestling History… June 19th

Los Guerreros had somewhat of a Latino World Order reunion with Juventud Guerrera as they took on Matt Bentley, Sonny Siaki and Johnny Stamboli of SEX. Again, Siaki found himself plagued by the presence of Jorge Estrada who was being stopped by security from rushing the ring. This allowed Eddie and Chavo to trip him from outside and post him crotch-first.

Chavo then used wrist tape to tie his legs together and cause a 3-on-2, but as it looked like an Eddie frog splash was going to follow the Juvi Driver to Bentley, Glenn Gilbertti shoved Eddie all the way to the walkway for the DQ in 6:46. Mark Jindrak and The Rejected rushed out for the SEX beatdown, but Super Crazy, Psicosis and America’s Most Wanted cut them off. When AMW checked on Los Guerreros, however, it didn’t go down too well.

After the break we are shown footage of AMW and Los Guerreros arguing backstage, while the luchadores try to calm things down.

DDP made his second appearance of the evening, in Starrcade Series action against the returning CW Anderson who received quite the positive reception from the fans. However, it was a losing return for CW as he fell to a Diamond Cutter out of nowhere in 12:26.

The announcers recap the Halloween Havoc so far, only to be cut off by a video package that splices into the broadcast. It’s a mixture of clips from the Goldberg video packages so far that ends with a shot of the man himself who speaks his first words since the injury: “Sports Entertainment Xtreme… Vince Russo… you’re NEXT!”

Jeremy Borash gets a word with Page backstage about his winning start to the Series but before he can finish a sentence, he’s jumped by Simon and Swinger. Kanyon flies into view and attacks the tag champs but the two fresh heels are able to overwhelm them both and send them flying into a nearby wall.

Finally, Jeff Jarrett used stick-and-move tactics to keep clear of Malice, only for the monster to finally get his hands on the number one contender and break him down with power moves. When he grabbed Jeff by the throat and looked for a chokeslam, Jarrett was able to twist around that right arm and into Stroke position, connecting with his big move out of nowhere! We’ll never know how effective it was on Malice, as Tempest, Sinn and Slash immediately leapt into the ring for a DQ at 5:22.

Jarrett was subject to a New Church beatdown for a few moments, with Father James Mitchell also entering the ring to direct traffic, before the lights went out. When they returned, Sting was in the ring with his baseball bat – and he despatched Sinn, Slash and Tempest with single shots apiece!

He cornered a cowering Mitchell with a bat pointed at his throat, only for Malice to get his bearings and grab around the back of Sting’s neck. Jarrett hit a low blow on the monster and Sting followed up with three bat strikes to send him out of the ring. Sting and Jarrett stood tall as the show ended.

Halloween Havoc 2002 card so far:

  • Spin the wheel, make the deal – WCW World title: Ken Shamrock (c) vs Jeff Jarrett
  • WCW Cruiserweight title: AJ Styles (c) vs Sean Waltman
  • Sting vs Malice
  • Starrcade Series eight-man tag: Block A vs Block B
  • Cruiserweight tag title contendership gauntlet

Starrcade Series standings after week two (everyone has fought once):

Block A: Hall 2pts, DDP 2pts, Storm 2pts, Sting 0pts, Rhodes 0pts, CW 0pts

Block B: Booker 2pts, Hennig 2pts, Douglas 2pts, O’Haire 0pts, Kanyon 0pts, Palumbo 0pts

Next time: the go-home show for Halloween Havoc 2002!

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