MAY 21, 2003: AIRTIME #70
Matches filmed at the last Nitro taping were all for the Cruiserweight Chase:
- Brian Kendrick finally got on the board, defeating Amazing Red after working on Red’s neck and finishing with a neckbreaker while Red was in the Tree of Woe in 8:34.
- Sonny Siaki put away Jerrelle Clark after another promising start from the rookie. A Desire distraction led to Siakilypse in 6:00.
- Matt Bentley made it 2/2 on the night for GGE members, seeing off Guido Maritato with a superkick in 7:40. Johnny Stamboli chased Glenn Gilbertti to the back but a quick swipe by Trinity at Guido’s foot as he came off the ropes gave Bentley the opening he needed to hit the finish out of nowhere.
- And Kid Kash overcame Chris Sabin in a competitive showdown between veteran and newcomer, slipping out of Cradle Shock and hitting a brainbuster after 9:31 of a match he came close to losing more than once.
Cruiserweight Chase standings:
- Block A: Kid Kash 6pts, Sonny Siaki 6pts, Paul London 2pts, Chris Sabin 2pts, Julio Dinero 0pts, Jerrelle Clark 0pts.
- Block B: Guido Maritato 4pts, Matt Bentley 4pts, Amazing Red 2pts, Jimmy Yang 2pts, Frankie Kazarian 2pts, Brian Kendrick 2pts.
MAY 24, 2003: SATURDAY NITRO #107
It’s Slamboree weekend and we are 24 hours away from several big questions being answered. But the first question is can the likes of Sean O’Haire, Raven, Jeff Jarrett, New Church, Team Canada, Rey Mysterio, Dustin Rhodes, AMW, Triple X, Los Guerreros, Extreme Horsemen and Hardcore Revolution even make it to the PPV without tearing each other apart?
Also, can Lance Storm, Jamie Knoble and The Rejected survive the momentum of Mexico’s World Cup winning squad as they come in search of championships and respect? Is Jeff Jarrett’s decision to pull double duty on Sunday such a good idea considering the damage he’s already suffered in his war on two fronts, which led to the 3LK being mauled without his help last week? And is Sting really back on the scene, or are all the head games indeed the brainchild of Ric Flair, Raven or someone else?
Taped on May 16 in Nashville.
We begin with an immediate taster of Sunday’s elimination war as Tajiri teamed with Kid Kash and Guido Maritato to face Simon Diamond, Johnny Swinger and Justin Credible. The two warring factions, in this incarnation, put forth quite the technical wrestling contest though the hatred was palpable. Not only that, but Tajiri was visibly far from comfortable with his partners, both of whom he doesn’t completely trust as part of the Revolution.
The match unsurprisingly ended in a DQ when CW Anderson interfered after 15:44. This brought out Jerry Lynn, then Mike Awesome and finally Rob Van Dam for another HR/EH melee which featured a sequence of everybody hitting trademark moves on a rival, something the commentators noted could lead to a spree of eliminations on Sunday, and culminated with Kash hitting an insane springboard dive from the top rope to everybody else out at ringside.
Juventud Guerrera tells Jeremy Borash that he’s encountered challenges similar to Jamie Knoble all of his career. The cheapshots, the arrogance, the discrimination. But it’s taken him three years of mistakes, regrets and redemption to get back to where he belongs: the cruiserweight title match on PPV. On Sunday, the fairytale ending that started at the World Cup concludes with the title back around his waist.
In a pre-tape, Triple X say that the weekend of their careers has arrived, albeit four months late. AMW tried to end their team deliberately, Skipper claims, but they came back, proved they were better than Harris and Black, cost them what they held dearest and will now win those very belts themselves. Daniels says Los Guerreros are loved by everybody even though they’re just the same as XXX: ruthless, take-no-prisoners, do anything to win. It sickens them that they’re booed for it while Eddie and Chavo can do what they want but on Sunday, he says, the only thing they’ll be able to do is fit a few extra items into their luggage when they no longer have the tag team belts.
The two faction wars featuring Jeff Jarrett merged into one next, much to the relief of the man who had been fighting simultaneous battles for weeks. Speaking of Jarrett, commentary confirmed that the hospital found no serious damage but that they had recommended at least two weeks of rest, advice Jeff was quick to ignore. And tonight he teamed with BG James, Konnan, Chris Harris and James Black to face the spliced squadron of Sinn, Slash, Bobby Roode, Eric Young and Johnny Devine.
The bout broke down into the second non-finish out of two on the night when Malice, Shane Douglas and Tempest rushed down for the DQ in 11:25. This brought out Ron Killings and Dustin Rhodes for an attempted save but as close as the faces came to standing their ground while down a man, Joe Legend sneaking in and clipping Jarrett’s bad knee was enough to ensure the Canadians and Disciples left their enemies laying.
In a pre-tape, AJ Styles says he goes into another US title defense in 24 hours and this time he doesn’t have a clue who he’s facing. He says he isn’t too fussed about taking on a challenger without knowing who it’ll be until the bell rings because that was exactly how he won the belt at Genesis, and Booker T showed him respect after the bout. Now it’s his turn to prepare for the unknown and not only will he do that but he’ll walk out US champ once more. He finishes by saying he has proven since going on his own that he’s a born champion and if there’s one thing you can be sure of in this uncertain business, it’s that he’ll have gold around his waist more often than not.
Eddie and Chavo Guerrero are now with JB. They say Triple X are very talented – not just in the ring but at Los Guerreros’ own game. Yeah, they’re right when they say they’re as devious as they are but at the end of the day, Chavo says, they’re the better team and will become the first team since Superbrawl to retain the titles on PPV. Eddie finishes by warning XXX to prepare for a lesson in wrestling and a lesson in being devious.
Next was a four-way tag team showcase featuring wrestlers focusing mostly on the Cruiserweight Chase taking place on AirTime. Glenn Gilbertti’s team of Sonny Siaki & Matt Bentley defeated Paul London & Brian Kendrick, Amazing Red & Jimmy Yang and Chris Sabin & Frankie Kazarian when Bentley low blowed Kazarian to set him up for Siakilypse in 14:42. Humiliated by Kazarian in the CC, Bentley took great pleasure in bringing the promising prospect down a peg or two.
Rey Mysterio came to the ring and said he should be excited headed into Slamboree. He captained Mexico to the World Cup, has a title shot of his choice whenever he wants and gets to face one of the best WCW has to offer tomorrow in Lance Storm. And yet, all he can think about is Storm’s attempts to discredit Mexico’s big win and bully Mysterio to make himself feel better about losing. He says at Slamboree, he’s going to make Storm eat his words and if he gets desperate and falls back on having his friends run down to help, he’ll have 90 whole days to do nothing but eat those words.
This brings out Storm, who talks while heading all the way to join Rey in the ring. He says Mysterio is mistaken. When Storm says Canada should have won the WC, he isn’t to say Mexico were bad or that Mysterio isn’t a fine athlete. He feels the home advantage was the difference and that three-way finals prevented him from showing the world that he is the better man. If Rey wants to come out here and tell the world that Lance Storm hates him or Lance Storm is trying to end his career, it irks him because all he wants to do is prove he is the best on a level playing field. That’s why he had no qualms accepting the ban on interference and that’s why he is here to say this: from the bottom of his heart, may the best man win tomorrow. Storm then extends his hand.
The crowd aren’t buying it, and Mysterio is hesitant. But eventually, he says that’s what he wants too and indeed, may the best man win. The two shake hands and provoke a ripple of applause. But of course, as soon as Rey’s guard lowers an inch, Storm blasts him with a superkick. He leans over the fallen Mysterio and tells him: “I’ll see you tomorrow night.”
Los Guerreros, Super Crazy and Psicosis defeated The Rejected and Triple X when Psicosis schoolboyed Shannon Moore to counter a Bottom’s Up attempt at the 18:35 mark. Eddie and Chavo wiped out Triple X with the cruiserweight tag title belts just as Skipper and Daniels grabbed the heavyweight tag straps just before the finish, and after the bell they presented the CT titles to the men who could become the new champs tomorrow before collecting their own belts and walking over XXX to the back.
Finally, Ric Flair came to the ring to oversee a ‘final confrontation’ debate between Raven and Sean O’Haire, or as Flair himself admitted, likely between Raven and Vince Russo. Indeed Russo was by the side of the WCW champion and Flair reminded both that if O’Haire ever lays hands on him again, he’s stripped of the title AND fired, lineage and bottom line be damned. Russo assures Flair that there won’t be another assault like the 100th Nitro or when Flair, Vince claims, assaulted Russo at Starrcade. They are here, he says, to expose Raven as the pawn in this chess game that he is.
With that, out comes Raven who immediately asks if there would be repercussions if he punched Russo square in the mouth, which leads to O’Haire standing menacingly in front of his handler and Flair warning Raven not to attack another manager, no matter how much they deserve it. Russo plays down Raven’s championship credentials, calling him a degenerate who burns bridges and is only useful as a hired gun for those who are smart enough and talented enough to control the wrestling world. Raven says it’s laughable to hear someone who nearly destroyed this entire company twice trying to run it ‘his way’ talk about being smart, talented and having credentials.
But he’s not here to talk to the monkey, Raven continues. He looks O’Haire in the eye and tells him it’s a tragic shame that someone with all the tools like Sean does has become such a tool. He says tomorrow he will expose O’Haire’s so-called ‘killer instinct’ by taking him to levels of pain he’s never before felt. He will expose his standing at the top guy by outwrestling him, outfighting him and outthinking him. And he will take out the man who took out so many legends who stepped into the ring with him expecting a wrestling match, not the assault they received. Tomorrow, Raven says, this is different. This will be two sadistic killers set upon each other only the real sadist, he claims, will swallow the pretender whole.
O’Haire says his talk of being a killer is all the proof he needs: Raven, he claims, took out Palumbo and Jindrak, but Sean says tomorrow night the last thing Raven will remember is a steel chair being placed around his throat and the next thing he’ll remember in the coming days is “this pathetic old man” – pointing at Flair – handing him his release papers because he can no longer wrestle.
Raven laughs and says O’Haire is so clearly scared of Sting that he convinced himself he no longer exists. He warns Sean that if he stays sidetracked about what Sting does and not on his #1 contender, his reign will be over embarrassingly quick tomorrow. This prompts Russo to get back on the mic and repeat his claims of Raven being a degenerate and a thug, only louder. But this time, it’s to give O’Haire the chance to cheapshot Raven before laying him out with an F5. Flair tries to stop the latter from happening but exits the ring as soon as O’Haire steps towards him, showing everyone knows just how little O’Haire regards consequences.
As he stands over Raven and holds his title aloft, however, the lights go out… before a lightning show provides some aspect of light in the arena. Just before the show fades to black, a look of uncertainty is clear on the usually-menacing champion’s face.
Next time: Slamboree 2003!