The conclusion of Slamboree 2003 confirmed beyond a shadow of a doubt that it wasn’t a series of illusions over the last few weeks: Sting is well and truly back, and looking for revenge on Sean O’Haire! The demented WCW champion made the Icon the first victim of his purge, but Sting also became the first name taken out by O’Haire to return in search of payback. What will happen in the aftermath of the PPV?
MAY 28, 2003: AIRTIME #71
Matches taped prior to Slamboree for the Cruiserweight Chase were:
- Paul London defeating Julio Dinero with the Shooting Star Press in 5:45.
- Chris Sabin defeating Jerrelle Clark with Cradle Shock in 4:56.
- Jimmy Yang defeating Frankie Kazarian with Yang Time in 6:26.
- The Amazing Red defeating Matt Bentley with a small package in 8:33 after Brian Kendrick had chased off Sonny Siaki’s attempted interference.
Cruiserweight Chase standings:
- Block A: Kid Kash 6pts, Sonny Siaki 6pts, Paul London 4pts, Chris Sabin 4pts, Julio Dinero 0pts, Jerrelle Clark 0pts.
- Block B: Guido Maritato 4pts, Matt Bentley 4pts, Amazing Red 4pts, Jimmy Yang 4pts, Frankie Kazarian 2pts, Brian Kendrick 2pts.
WCW found out on Wednesday afternoon that Dustin Rhodes would miss 6-8 weeks of action through an injury picked up at the gym.
MAY 31, 2003: SATURDAY NITRO #108
Many expected Slamboree to answer a lot of questions hanging over WCW, and it did – and then some. Raven’s career choices came back to bite him as Father James Mitchell and Shane Douglas cost him the World title. That said, Sean O’Haire is hardly done with the target on his back as we found out that there are no smoke and mirrors: Sting is back and it’s safe to assume he has vengeance on his mind after becoming the first victim of the champion’s ‘purge’.
Jeff Jarrett appeared to settle one half of his double-war at the PPV but Lance Storm denied him a WCW title opportunity in the other half. And nobody saw the nature of Storm’s own victory coming when Rey Mysterio was laid out by his so-called best friend, Billy Kidman.
We should also hear more tonight from new signing and new United States champion D’Lo Brown, while Los Guerreros are invoking their rematch clause on Triple X at the earliest opportunity and Raven looks to begin his revenge mission on the New Church with a Raven’s Rules match against the monster Malice.
Taped on May 29 in Atlanta.
The show begins hot enough with a big moment – the return of the Icon Sting to Nitro! There is no mistaking that it’s the real deal as he walks to the ring, bat in hand. Sting says it feels good to be home! He also says he honestly wasn’t sure if he would ever be back. Not only because of the severity of Sean O’Haire’s assault, but because after helping WCW oust Vince Russo from power at Starrcade he was already asking himself how much longer he would keep wrestling. And as he sat at home recuperating and watching Nitro, he noticed that most of O’Haire’s victims had a lot in common with him: late fall/early winter of their career, some even looking outside of wrestling for different reasons.
O’Haire, Sting says, pounces on the distracted, the slightly less hungry with Russo steering the path. And he admits that included him. Well, Sean, you now have Sting’s full attention. And an Icon who could well have hung up the bat shortly after Starrcade if given the freedom to make his own choice is now hungrier than in his prime. Hungry to end O’Haire’s predatory reign and starving to restore prestige and honour to a championship that means more to him than any other.
He’s then cut off by the champion and his manager, with Russo asking Sting on which planet someone can just wander back in after six months off and give himself a title match? Russo says he doesn’t care how much he wants to fight O’Haire, the title won’t be on the line. And if the title’s not on the line, he doesn’t see why his destroyer should be wasting his time when there are challengers lined up around the block for a shot at the belt.
Sting says he’s well aware of how title contention works and he’s not here to queue jump. He just wants O’Haire, one-on-one at the Great American Bash regardless of the circumstances. Russo says if Sting wants to skip right ahead then he should be putting something on the line, too. Sting doesn’t hesitate to tell Vince to name the stakes.
Russo says he needs to prove he has some guts behind his threatening words and put it in writing that if he loses to O’Haire, he can never fight for this belt again – just like his buddy Ric Flair. As Russo is goading Sting to accept the terms, O’Haire snatches the mic and barks “no – I want your entire career on the line!” This changes the tone of the entire arena and that of the commentary team. But it doesn’t take Sting much time to calmly respond: “Done, and done.”
This brings out Commissioner Flair, who very carefully makes his way past the champion and Russo before attempting to talk Sting out of this from the middle of the walkway. He tells him that he shouldn’t be threatened into such a high-stakes encounter by O’Haire and that he would green-light a title match without the stipulations given Sting’s results before the attack and the fact that it’d be a fitting consequence for the champion.
Sting tells Flair he loves him, but to make the title vs career official. He tells the boss that it’s clear O’Haire wants him out of commission for good, so give him one chance to finish the job. In fact, how about No Holds Barred? Because at the Great American Bash, Sting says, either O’Haire and Russo’s reign of terror will come to an end… or he will. Flair, with some hesitation and a lump in his throat, makes the main event for GAB official.
In the first contest of the night, Paul London and Brian Kendrick teamed with The Amazing Red to defeat Jamie Knoble, Sonny Siaki and Matt Bentley. After the babyface trio wiped out their opponents with spectacular dives, they rolled Siaki into the ring where London and Red hoisted him onto a shoulder each and Kendrick executed a tremendous Doomsday Sliced Bread #2 for the pin in 7:52. After the bout, Glenn Gilbertti snuck in and decked Red. When London and Kendrick grabbed the irritating manager, Bentley and Knoble blindsided them and the heels put the boots to all three of them. Knoble left alone with his title belt as Gilbertti oversaw some more revenge for his proteges.
Father James Mitchell sits alone in a room, looking rather pleased with himself. He begins by saying reports of his demise were greatly exaggerated. They were exaggerated, he says, because he wanted them to be, adding that greasing the palms of a few underpaid doctors at the hospital to ensure word leaked out that he would be in traction for far more than the two weeks he actually needed was the best investment he’s made in some time.
He should be the manager of champions right now, he says. But his tag team champions were robbed, Malice continues to be a disappointment and you, Raven, bit the hand that fed you. Mitchell says Raven was always designed to be his crown jewel in the New Church after he had ‘loaned’ his services to “that ingrate” Vince Russo and that without Mitchell, Raven will never be good enough to hold the World title. Since Raven has decided that he can go it alone, he will take great pleasure in spending his immediate future not leading his men to championships but aiming them all at Raven until he comes to his senses and kneels before Mitchell.
Jamie Knoble is stopped as he’s walking backstage by Jeremy Borash but before he can get a question out, Knoble barks at him for stopping the champ while he’s walking. He says he is the best wrestler and the best fighter in this division and nobody is man enough to take it from him. He them knocks Borash on his backside with a shoulder barge as he storms off.
Steve Corino accompanied Mike Awesome to the ring for his US title challenge of new champ D’Lo Brown, and cut a pre-match promo saying that the Extreme Horsemen have finally ‘eliminated’ the Hardcore Revolution and it’s time to move onto bigger and better things: championship gold, beginning with the US belt right now.
Unfortunately for Awesome and the Horsemen, Rob Van Dam ‘respectfully disagreed’ with Corino’s assertion. RVD rushed out and decked Corino as Awesome climbed to the top rope. More Horsemen came out and more Revolution members followed for a ringside brawl. The distraction led to Awesome’s eventual dive off the top being converted into Sky High for the pin in 8:27.
As a flustered Corino and Awesome led a EH retreat after the bell, RVD entered the ring along with Jerry Lynn, Tajiri, Guido Maritato and Kid Kash as well as Guido’s backup Johnny Stamboli. Van Dam asked them how it felt to be the ones ambushed in the middle of title aspirations. He says this isn’t over, not by a long shot – and it won’t be over until all of the guerrilla tactics are replaced by full-on warfare – Extreme Warfare! RVD lays out the challenge: Revolution vs Horsemen in an anything goes fight to the finish at the Great American Bash.
AJ Styles tells JB that he won’t complain about losing the US title at Slamboree. He respects D’Lo Brown, what he can do and is happy to see him here in WCW. Not only that, but he won the belt as a surprise challenger and he lost it to a surprise challenger, which makes it full circle. However, he’ll say something that some won’t like to hear: that belt belongs around his waist and it will be back there soon. He says he needs that belt more than D’Lo needs it, and that WCW needs him as a champion more than they need Brown as champ.
D’Lo is returning backstage during this promo and catches the last bit. He says he’s sorry about the way it went down at Slamboree but if AJ thinks he’s more entitled to the belt than he is, he’s out of his mind. He reminds Styles that he has a rematch clause, and when he invokes it there’ll be no surprises and no excuses. Styles says fine – let’s do it again next week. D’Lo says that works for him. Just as he proved earlier, he’s every bit the fighting champion AJ is.
Despite Jeff Jarrett and 3LK vanquishing the New Church at Slamboree, Shane Douglas had demanded another match with the oddball musical trio for tonight, with his involvement this time. But as BG James, Ron Killings and Konnan danced their way out for the match with Sinn, Slash and the Franchise, they were jumped by the three as well as Tempest. 3LK fought as hard as they could but in the end they were laid out in the ring and around ringside to the extent that the referee could not in good conscience allow the match to happen. It was clear from the attack, of course, that the match itself was not Douglas’ priority so much as ensuring first-hand that his fellow disciples saved face from the PPV.
We were then joined by Rey Mysterio, who was visibly distraught over the events of Slamboree. He says he had to come out here tonight to take care of some business: some personal business; some very painful and heartbreaking personal business. He says Billy Kidman has been his best friend on the road in WCW for five years now. They are two of the survivors of the 2001 takeover. Kidman has had dinner at his house and played with his son. He says he’s not out here for a fight, but he has some things he has to say to Kidman after what he did at the PPV.
Eventually, Kidman wanders out. No music, not a single facial expression giving away where his head’s at: just a scattering of boos and understandably so. As soon as he enters the ring, Mysterio says what he did at Slamboree has been sat in his mind for six days and he has one thing to say: he’s sorry. This shocks just about everybody, who feel Rey is not the one in the wrong here. He says Kidman’s attack made him think back across the last few months and how their friendship has suffered, and he realised that he hasn’t been a great friend.
He says injuring Kidman where he couldn’t compete in the World Cup was an accident but he’s sorry, and that he hates the fact that international specifications meant they couldn’t celebrate winning together like they have so many titles. He said he’s sorry he let the trios tournament affect their shots at AMW for one more tag title reign and he’s sorry Kidman has felt this way for a while and he didn’t read the signs.
He says he understands if Kidman wants to go and do his own thing but it hurts him that he felt Slamboree was the only way he could do so. He says if those five years meant absolutely anything at all to Billy, the least he’ll do is apologise for the PPV and be man enough to look him in the eye and tell him that this is the end of them teaming together. He says he can handle them going their separate ways but he doesn’t want to lose this friendship.
This actually appears to be bringing some emotion to Kidman’s face, who eventually – with an apparent tear brewing in one eye – tells Rey “I’m sorry” as the two embrace to a good ovation. The commentators gush about how this is the end of the road for one of WCW’s enduring teams but their friendship will live on… until Kidman drills Rey hard with a clothesline when he least expects it!
A possessed Kidman puts the boots to the back of Rey’s prone head before making a point of wiping that crocodile tear away and flicking it down onto him. Kidman exits the ring and grabs a steel chair, but Juventud Guerrera, Super Crazy and Psicosis rush out which compels Kidman to instead hop the nearby rail and leave through an unimpressed crowd.
Los Guerreros’ return bout for the tag titles they lost to Triple X at Slamboree went to a rare, action-packed but dissatisfying 30-minute time-limit draw. The bout followed a typical pattern for the first 20 minutes at which point a Chavo Tornado DDT was followed by Eddie’s Frog Splash to Skipper, only for Daniels to put his partner’s foot on the rope at the last second. The challengers boxed Daniels around for a bit before Chavo’s dive out to a recovering Skipper was dodged.
XXX spent the final 8-9 minutes blatantly playing for the time limit draw as the commentators began to acknowledge its existence. Chavo finally escaped the time-killing rest holds and hot tagged to Eddie after a few false starts with three minutes left on the clock but try as he might to put one of the champs down, they survived the full 30:00 despite a frantic final minute with Eddie hitting triple vertical suplexes on both and climbing up for a frog splash on Daniels, connecting just as time expired.
The Rejected say that, as of Slamboree, they are done with the luchadores and their pathetic reliance on emotion and tradition and sportsmanship. They claim they have proven their superiority and the one time they were able to beat Helms and Moore, it ended up being for the haircut that actually liberated them from their past sins. They say it’s sad how wrestlers such as the Mexicans value pride and championships so much when in fact both are empty vessels – in fact, the one thing that makes them want to remain champions themselves is knowing that it’s killing the likes of the luchas when they come up short every time.
Backstage, Guido Maritato is getting dressed back into his normal clothes for what appears to be a night on the town with Johnny Stamboli. Johnny asks him why he wants to help the Hardcore Revolution. Guido says Kash asked for his help and he accepted. Stamboli asks if it can really be that simple when he’s not said a word about ECW since they’ve hung out in WCW. Maritato says it’s also about opportunity. This war is a big fight for them to sink their teeth into, which is the opposite of what Tony and Sal wanted. He says the two of them will prove that nobody can hang with them in a fight. But for now, it’s time to party. Because unlike their old friends, they play hard after they work hard.
We are then joined by Jeff Jarrett, whom commentary notes did not help 3LK out earlier when the New Church attacked – though Don Callis is quick to point out that Jarrett has not long arrived at the building after a mandatory check on the condition of his knee. He says it felt good to prove people wrong at Slamboree and kick the ass of two groups who have tried their utmost to keep him away from the WCW title. But when push came to shove and one more win was all that stood between himself and another crack at the gold, Lance Storm screwed him.
He says it made things crystal clear to him: this isn’t about Team Canada vs Americans or Storm helping out his little buddies on Sunday. This is about the title. This is about Storm not wanting Jarrett to get to it before he can. And if that’s how it’s gonna be, he’s fine with that. He says he’s happy to prove to Storm that he’s not in fact the best wrestler on the roster and he’s not even the most devious. If taking Lance down a peg or three is what he needs to do to FINALLY get his fair shot at the champion, so be it.
This brings out Storm, who says Jarrett is a fool if he thinks he’s anything more than just another obstacle to Storm and Team Canada, but the idea of beating JJ comprehensively and proving himself worthy of the next title match appeals very much to him. So how about it: Jarrett vs Storm at the Great “Canadian” Bash, Lance says? Jarrett responds by telling Lance it’s on, that it’s the Great American Bash, and in three weeks and change he’s in for an American ass-whooping.
Finally, it was time for Raven and Malice to go to battle under Raven’s Rules. The anger in Raven was visible after the events of Slamboree, as he hit and moved to avoid the wrath of the New Church’s monster. Father James Mitchell was conspicuous by his absence, perhaps not wanting another neck-wrenching DDT of his own if he were in the same area as the man he screwed out of the title.
Malice eventually took over after hurling Raven through a propped-up table outside the ring, but his attempt to chokeslam Raven through another was stopped by a kick to the balls. Sinn, Slash and Tempest then ran out but were stopped on the walkway by Konnan, Killings and James. Those six brawled out of sight as Raven took the monster off his feet for the first time with a barrage of baking tray and STOP sign shots, before putting the remaining table over in the corner and legsweeping Malice through it. The Evenflow followed for the pin in 9:39.
Almost as soon as Raven lifted up onto his knees after the pin, he felt a chain go around his neck as Shane Douglas finally made his presence known. So too did Father James, who was indeed in attendance and waited until Raven was barely conscious from the vicious choking-out before entering the ring and slapping Raven several times. Raven’s lights went out as security desperately pulled Douglas – who has rediscovered his vicious streak since losing everything and finding sanctuary with Mitchell – away before he could do any permanent damage. The show ended with Douglas and Mitchell stood over an unconscious Raven.
Great American Bash 2003 card so far:
- WCW World title vs career, no holds barred: Sean O’Haire (c) vs Sting
- Extreme Warfare: Hardcore Revolution vs Extreme Horsemen
- Number one contender’s match: Jeff Jarrett vs Lance Storm
Next time: O’Haire and Sting make it official at the contract signing. Plus, a tag team gauntlet for a championship match at the Great American Bash!