JUNE 18, 2003: AIRTIME #74
The final matches in the Cruiserweight Chase blocks were taped at the last Nitro taping:
- The Amazing Red overcame Guido Maritato in 11:29 after weathering a host of submissions and weardowns before dodging a Sicilian Slice and following with a Red Star Press.
- That match result meant Jimmy Yang could win his block with victory over Matt Bentley while a Bentley win would schedule a four-way tie-breaker for Nitro. Yang would overcome interference from Glenn Gilbertti and Trinity to drill Matt with Yang Time in 8:54 and advance to the finals.
- And Kid Kash defeated Sonny Siaki in their battle of the unbeaten wrestlers in Block A. GGE this time went for an all-out effort to swing things in their favour, but were thwarted by Guido and Jerry Lynn of the Hardcore Revolution which left Kash and Siaki to battle it out before the Money Maker sent KK to the finals in 10:31.
Final Cruiserweight Chase block standings:
- Block A:Kid Kash 10pts, Sonny Siaki 8pts, Paul London 6pts, Chris Sabin 4pts, Jerrelle Clark 2pts, Julio Dinero 0pts.
- Block B:Jimmy Yang 8pts, Amazing Red 6pts, Guido Maritato 6pts, Matt Bentley 4pts, Brian Kendrick 4pts, Frankie Kazarian 2pts.
JUNE 21, 2003: SATURDAY NITRO #111
Great American Bash weekend is finally upon us, and before an absolutely stacked four-hour PPV card comes an intriguing go-home Nitro. Who did O’Haire and Russo pay off to attack Sting last week? Can Los Guerreros make weight for a cruiserweight tag title opportunity? Who will advance to challenge Jamie Knoble on Sunday when the Cruiserweight Chase final pits Kid Kash against Jimmy Yang? And how will Jeff Jarrett respond to Lance Storm and Team Canada’s insult added to injury?
Taped on June 13 in Nashville.
We wasted no time getting into the big action as the Cruiserweight Chase tournament came to a conclusion with Kid Kash and Jimmy Yang battling for the right to challenge Jamie Knoble 24 hours on at the GAB. Though both were popular competitors with the crowd, Yang seemed to have the edge when it came to support and Kash taking control of the middle portions only served to swing them further in the former Jung Dragon’s direction.
Jimmy fought back and a frantic closing stretch saw both men come within a fraction of sealing it and both the Money Maker and Yang Time get just 2 and ¾. Kash went for another Money Maker only for Jimmy to hoist him straight up for Yang Time, only for it to this time be reversed into a sunset flip for three after 15:35 to give us another instalment of Knoble vs Kash at the PPV.
After the bout, Kash celebrated before a distraught Yang eventually shook the hand of the better man on the night. Kash had won all six of his tournament matches and was undoubtedly worthy of one more crack at his former partner, but that didn’t stop Knoble from coming out and attempting to rain on the parade. He ran down Kash and said he’d have nothing left come tomorrow. Kash promised Knoble that he would finally get his, if it was the last thing Kash did.
Speaking of former cruiserweight tag team champions, Tajiri and Super Crazy reunited under the Hardcore Revolution banner to face Simon Diamond and Swinger just 24 hours before the huge HR vs Extreme Horsemen brawl. With all four men primarily technical wrestlers, the match was a pretty functional one albeit with extra added spice. Tajiri took a beating but hot tagged to Crazy, who eventually finished Swinger with a straitjacket powerbomb in 8:29.
The rest of the Horsemen appeared on the stage during the closing stretch and stalked the ring after the bell, but were convinced to think twice of an attack by the arrival of most of the Revolution plus Johnny Stamboli from the crowd on the other side. We eventually got both factions facing off from opposite sides of the arena – but the tense standoff was unlikely to remain this non-physical with another tag bout coming later tonight between the two groups.
Backstage, Ric Flair oversaw Eddie and Chavo Guerrero weighing in for their potential title challenge the following night. The Rejected were also in attendance as they insisted to watch the proceedings and ensure they were legit. Several referees also watched on to ensure things remained peaceful.
Chavo, as expected, easily made weight as he came in six under the limit at 219. Eddie, however, was slightly over. He even stripped down to his underwear, but still had half a pound too much. Flair apologised to them but said if Eddie isn’t making weight tonight, the match would be non-title. The champions taunted Los Guerreros which triggered a pull-apart, so Flair told Moore to get ready to compete tonight against his old friend Chavo, one-on-one.
Lance Storm led out his Team Canada rookies – Bobby Roode, Joe Legend, Johnny Devine and Eric Young – to face Chris Sabin, Frankie Kazarian, Cassidy O’Reilly and Chase Stevens. The Canadians were impressive as a cohesive unit against the talented but thrown-together quartet across the ring from them, with Roode and Legend throwing their literal weight around. As the Canadians closed in on victory, Storm was suddenly jumped at ringside by a raging Jeff Jarrett!
Young, Devine and Legend hopped off the apron to deal with JJ as he rained punches down on a stunned Storm, as AMW ran out to ensure there would be no gang attack this time and Roode finished off O’Reilly with a Northern Lariat in 5:44. Security eventually separated the two brawling teams at ringside, though Jarrett was noticeably limping in what could well have been a flare-up of his recent knee issues.
Next was scheduled to be another match pitting Billy Kidman against a friend of Rey Mysterio’s. But as Juventud Guerrera waited in the ring and Kidman, alongside Torrie Wilson, took his sweet time making his entrance, Billy was attacked on the walkway by the returning Rey! This time there were no apologies or efforts to make amends as Mysterio kicked his former best friend’s backside down the walkway, around the ring and, when Juvi stopped Kidman from sliding into the ring to catch a break, over the guard rail and through the crowd, out of sight! No match.
Triple X were out in regular clothes, tag title belts on their shoulders. They claim that after having some time to think about it, they’re glad AMW won the gauntlet two weeks ago. They say the Great American Bash is one of WCW’s flagship annual shows and they cannot think of a better platform to gain the ultimate revenge on the team who tried to cripple them and put them out of the entire tag division. They say not only will they retain the belts tomorrow, but if they have their way one or both of AMW will be on the shelf for a long time.
Harris and Black are out on the stage to respond, and they point out that they did nothing intentional to XXX at the top of the year. What they did in return, however, was intentional, so, AMW claim, what they do to the champs in 24 hours will not only be intentional, it will be personal and it will be permanent.
Shannon Moore defeated his former (abusive) mentor Chavo Guerrero. And although much has changed in the two years since they were on the same side, each man’s natural tendency to do whatever it takes to win remained very much the same. However, it was The Rejected who showed the extra edge here as Helms blindsided Eddie at ringside with a forearm to the back of the head and the distraction allowed Moore to roll Chavo up with the tights in 6:40.
After the bout, an annoyed Eddie took the mic and offered Helms the chance to have a singles match of his own, if he wanted to run around attacking people. Shane accepted and the referee remained for Guerrero vs Helms.
Eddie had an extra spring of energy about him, perhaps motivated from the cheap shot, and kept the match as a fast-paced, rope-running aerial encounter as much as possible. Helms grounded him for a bit, but Eddie fought back and ran the ropes four times before hitting a flying back elbow. He followed with vertical suplexes one and two, only for Moore to break up the third for a DQ in 10:53. Chavo made the save but, at uncle Eddie’s insistence, it was Los Guerreros who retreated from the situation and ran to the back.
We then cut to the big screen where Eddie, with Chavo in tow, jogged all the way back to Flair’s office where the scales were. He asked for another weigh, while Helms and Moore watched bemused from the ring. This time, after stripping down again, Eddie made weight having burned off just over half a pound in his 10-minute match! Just like that, the titles were on the line as The Rejected fumed inside the arena.
Glenn Gilbertti is with Sonny Siaki, Matt Bentley, Desire and Trinity. Sonny and Matt say they would have been cruiser tag champs AND one of them would be singles champ by now but the backup Gilbertti promised would come still hasn’t come. Glenn tells them to relax, and that their close calls so far were just an appetiser for the success coming their way. He says the crown jewel of GGE is on his way, but he has some business to handle first. He finishes by saying he’s also actively looking for additional recruits that’ll help make his stable even better than the first time.
Father James Mitchell led his entire New Church faction to the ring, where he took the mic and promised that this weekend the 3 Live Kru would be taken out of the charts for good while Raven will finally kiss the ring after his skin and flesh is ripped from his bones by the Franchise. He warns his troops not to let him down like Malice did time and time again, because it’s important for their own sake that they all remain useful to him.
Just then, Raven’s familiar theme music hit – and for the first time in weeks, he came out to the arena! Preparing for an early fight, Mitchell and Douglas placed Sinn and Slash in front of them and sent Tempest out to meet Raven who destroyed the minion with punches. Sinn and Slash were sent over next and Raven took the fight to them too until the numbers caught up. BG James, Konnan and Ron Killings rushed out and engaged Sinn, Slash and Tempest in a fight which allowed Raven to head to the ring where Mitchell fled as fast as he could.
Douglas, holding the chain he and Raven will use at the Bash, aimed a wild swing and missed. Raven beat on Shane before wrapping the chain around his neck in a turning of the tables! Mitchell came back to swipe at his foot, which allowed Douglas to escape and flee with Mitchell while their stablemates also retreated via the stage entrance.
Mike Tenay moderated a sit-down interview with both United States champion D’Lo Brown and his challenger tomorrow, AJ Styles. Tenay recapped their three title matches so far and the big moments that led to the title changing hands three times. Both are respectful at first but the competitiveness begins to show when talk moves onto their fourth battle at the PPV. D’Lo mocks AJ’s remarks about WCW needing him to be champ more than D’Lo, and Styles even brands Brown a ‘flash-in-the-pan washout from another company’. AJ says the honeymoon period ends for D’Lo at the Bash, while the champ finishes by warning Styles that not only is he bigger than him, he’s simply better.
Rob Van Dam and Jerry Lynn teamed to face, perhaps, their two biggest adversaries within the Extreme Horsemen: Mike Awesome and Justin Credible. This was far more of a heavyweight slugfest than the first tag bout between the factions on the show, which favoured the heels. However, RVD and Lynn fought back until CW Anderson got involved to get it thrown out after 10:00.
This, unsurprisingly, led to both factions pouring out and this time there was no stand-off, only war! Weapons were used and Revolution members dived onto Horsemen as Flair eventually sent out as much security as he could to preserve one of his marquee Bash matches.
Finally, Sting came out to address the fans in what could be his last Nitro as a member of the active roster. He says whatever happens tomorrow, he wants everyone to know that the last two decades have been a blast. He says he’s been in, he’s been out and he’s been on the fence but nothing felt wrong or filled him with regrets – that is, until O’Haire put him on the bench for months. He knew that he wasn’t going to go out like that so he trained harder than he did when he was breaking into the business to get back. He says if he does retire, it’ll be with a fight and not as a victim which is why the stipulations were so easy to accept. However, don’t assume this is it because he has every intention of slaying the demon and ending the alliance that has crippled WCW once and for all.
This brings Russo and O’Haire to the stage, with Vince saying that Sting needs to accept what he has been saying since S.E.X: the time has come for some of the veterans to step aside, and the time is now for people like O’Haire. He says Sting isn’t vicious enough or dangerous enough to withstand O’Haire and a week from now, everybody will be paying tribute to his career while WCW continues to kneel before O’Haire. This fires Sting up, as he responds in particular to Russo saying he lacks killer instinct.
He’s then blindsided, presumably, by the same two hooded men as last week. This time, however, Sting has his baseball bat in his coat and he’s soon able to turn the tide with a shot to each masked man’s midsection. The thugs retreat and disappear while Sting points the bat at O’Haire. Russo reacts with fear while Sean raises the belt above his head, and before we go off the air Sting promises Sean that we’ll see who has the killer instinct on Sunday.
Next time: The 2003 Great American Bash!