If Fusient Bought WCW #139: Great American Bash 2003

If Fusient Bought WCW: Great American Bash 2003

Back at Starrcade 2002, moments after World Championship Wrestling thought they were rid of Vince Russo’s hostile takeover and his Sports Entertainment Xtreme army for good, Russo played his trump card and betrayed defending World champion Ken Shamrock, aligning with the man who dethroned him, Sean O’Haire.

The physical specimen earmarked by many as the surefire breakout star and face of the company when WCW survived near-certain doom in 2001 underwent a chilling transformation under the man who gave him his first big break in 2000 as part of the Natural Born Thrillers, becoming increasingly vicious and ruthless with each week.

O’Haire embarked on what he called a ‘purge’, taking out some of the company’s biggest names. His first target was none other than the Icon, Sting, who had just helped spearhead the company’s fightback against S.E.X.

When O’Haire’s reign of terror showed no signs of letting up, however, a beacon of hope arrived in the form of a solitary crow. Was the Stinger coming back?

We got our answer at Slamboree, when he finally made his return and attacked O’Haire. Sting wanted more retribution than just one ass-kicking, however, and demanded a match against the champ. Russo and O’Haire saw the opportunity to leverage a title vs. career scenario out of it. And tonight, if Sting cannot end the purge once and for all, he will indeed become a permanent member of it.

Elsewhere, tag team champions Triple X and America’s Most Wanted take their building animosity into a title bout between two of the company’s hottest new duos; Los Guerreros bid for the cruiser tag titles against The Rejected after just about making weight last night on Nitro; Kid Kash gets one more crack at former partner and cruiser singles champ Jamie Knoble; Hardcore Revolution and Extreme Horsemen take their gang fighting to the next level in Extreme Warfare; Jeff Jarrett and Lance Storm bid to be next in line for the World title; Raven takes on Shane Douglas in a chain match and more!

JUNE 22, 2003: WCW GREAT AMERICAN BASH 2003 – Baltimore, Maryland

Matches were taped before the PPV went on air that will be screened on Wednesday’s AirTime.

Opening match, six-man tag: The 3 Live Kru vs Disciples of the New Church

On a night filled with championship matches and grudge showdowns, the night began with one of the former as BG James, Ron Killings and Konnan faced off with Sinn, Slash and Tempest, who strangely did not have Father James Mitchell with them. 3LK were all business in their pursuit of the Disciples, but their natural charisma whipped the crowd up into a frenzy regardless.

The Church trio worked over Killings for a while before he hot tagged to BG, who cleaned house. Sinn and Slash broke up the pin after a pumphandle slam to Tempest, but their double-team attempt allowed Konnan to blind tag in and nail Slash with a rolling clothesline while BG shake, rattled and rolled his punches to Sinn, followed by a kneedrop. Killings then re-entered and put Tempest down with an ax kick before he could properly get back up, and Konnan applied Tequila Sunrise for the submission in 8:26.

WCW Cruiserweight Championship: Jamie Knoble (c) vs Kid Kash

Since their team had split, Knoble had won a showdown shortly after abandoning his former partner. Kash then defeated Jamie in a streetfight and Knoble won a title match two months ago in Mexico. It was 2-1 to the champ and Kash had yet to win in a straight-up singles wrestling bout, only earning this additional opportunity by winning the recent Cruiserweight Chase.

This particular contest was perhaps the best of the lot, taking into account moments from previous chapters of their rivalry and having the crowd invested from the get-go, certainly moreso than at the World Cup. After a Tiger Bomb and Money Maker respectively only earned dramatic near-falls, each man took it up a notch and when Knoble looked for a Super Tiger Bomb, Kash reversed into a tremendous top rope huracanrana before hitting two rolling brainbusters and another Money Maker to finally capture the cruiserweight singles title after 16:55. An emotional Kash celebrated with the belt afterwards, while Knoble was helped to the back by an official.

Extreme Warfare: Hardcore Revolution vs Extreme Horsemen

Next, Kash’s comrades in the Hardcore Revolution looked to end the Extreme Horsemen’s efforts to destroy them in a match the two sides always seemed destined to have. The match pitted Rob Van Dam, Tajiri, Super Crazy, Jerry Lynn and Guido Maritato against Mike Awesome, CW Anderson, Simon Diamond, Swinger and Justin Credible with no disqualifications, no count-outs, no tags and just one rule: a winner would only be determined by pinfall or submission inside the ring.

The Horsemen arrived in street clothing, carrying a few items such as a trash can and Credible’s trusty Singapore cane. Next out were Hardcore Revolution, who wheeled a cart full of goodies to ringside while similarly dressed for combat. The fight started on the walkway and stage, culminating in Super Crazy moonsaulting off the video screen onto a sea of bodies beside the stage!

The nature of the match meant the war was fractured throughout the arena, usually with two or four men fighting in the ring or nearby at one time. Lynn and Credible in particular had trouble focusing on anyone but each other, while RVD was hell bent on bringing the monstrous Awesome down a peg or two. Ultimately, Lynn stopped Justin from hitting That’s Incredible on Crazy with his own cane before drilling him with a Cradle Piledriver onto a chair. Meanwhile, RVD sent Awesome flying off the stage and through two tables next to each other.

Tajiri and Crazy were dealing with Simon and Swinger somewhere in the crowd and it looked like things were going the Revolution’s way, after months of hardships. Guido and Lynn set CW up for a Van Terminator as RVD made his way back to the ring, but Steve Corino tried to get involved. Johnny Stamboli pulled him off the apron and prepared to beat him up as Van Dam climbed the turnbuckles… only for Guido to kick Lynn between the legs and throw the chair they placed on Anderson at RVD’s skull!

He called Stamboli off of Corino and, with CW’s help, hit a Sicilian Slice to Lynn onto the chair. CW covered for the win at 13:40 as Guido and Stamboli beat on the returning Crazy and Tajiri with weapons and for the third straight PPV, the Horsemen stole one from the Revolution just when it looked like they would get what was coming to them.

Commentary asked over and over again: why did a man who had fought alongside HR and taken some serious damage from the Horsemen, including tonight, decide right there and then to betray RVD’s side?

To become #1 contender to the WCW World title: Jeff Jarrett vs Lance Storm

Jarrett and Storm’s rivalry, bubbling under for months before kicking into high gear at Slamboree, at first appeared to be about USA vs Canada. But a very clear personal battle for supremacy between two men desperate to be back in the world title picture has emerged, and Commissioner Flair had gone on record in saying that the winner would indeed challenge for the WCW title down the road.

The entire Team Canada faction came out with Storm, but only made it to the end of the walkway when Flair caught up with them and had extra officials escort them all to the back. This would be a good old-fashioned singles tussle for a title shot, and that’s exactly what unfolded.

Jarrett showed he’s no technical slouch when he matched Storm move for move early on and even got the better of him here and there, but before long the bad leg became a target and Storm almost resembled a prime Flair as he dissected the left wheel of JJ. Jarrett fought back as the match heated up and the two traded near-falls, but every time Storm was struggling he could just kick or stomp the bad leg.

Jarrett gave him a taste of his own medicine when he started working on Lance’s own leg before locking in the figure-four, but Storm reached the ropes. In the end, a desperate Storm went and fetched a chair at ringside and brought it in, only Jarrett to snatch the other end and start a tug of war. Lance gave in rather easily before the ref stopped Jeff doing something that would get him DQd. But as the official got rid of the chair, Lance grabbed Jarrett’s guitar from the apron and smashed it onto the bad knee!

The Maple Leaf followed and though Jarrett fought it for some time, he was eventually dragged back into the middle of the ring on a second occasion and with Jeff incapacitated by the pain, the referee saw no option but to stop the match at 21:07. Lance Storm was now next in line for the WCW World title!

WCW Cruiserweight Tag Team Championship: The Rejected (c) vs Los Guerreros

Thanks to a creative weight-cutting idea by Eddie on Nitro, Los Guerreros were eligible to challenge The Rejected for the cruiserweight tag titles in their bout. And the challengers appeared to be goofing around early on as they had fun with the dour champions whilst bending the rules in trademark fashion.

Eventually, Helms and Moore isolated Eddie and worked him over until he was able to tag out to Chavo, who handled both opponents and even took them both down with a plancha. Near falls came thick and fast before Eddie attempted to pull off the old classic of pretending Helms hit him with a tag title belt. Shane was perfectly happy to be disqualified but found himself rolled up by Chavo for two.

Shannon then tried to replicate the gag on Eddie, who simply sidestepped the belt when it was thrown to him. However, it was all just a distraction to allow Helms to low blow Chavo and set up a Vertebreaker while Shannon held Eddie for the pin to retain in 14:49.

WCW United States Championship: D’Lo Brown (c) vs AJ Styles

Brown and Styles had been trading the title since D’Lo’s debut at Slamboree, and after heated words on Nitro this was set to be their most interesting battle of the four so far. They didn’t disappoint, but for the first time it was the incumbent who came out on top as Brown retained with a Super Sky High after 15:10 of superb action. After the match, we finally had a true show of respect from the two as they shook hands and embraced.

Chain match: Raven vs Shane Douglas

Things were nowhere near as sportsmanlike in the next match, as Raven and Douglas were attached by ten feet of thick, potentially dangerous chain link with only pinfall or submission inside the ring determining a victor. Father James Mitchell made his first appearance of the night alongside his new henchman Douglas as the two rivals engaged in a brutal and bloody fight, a stark contrast to the stunt-addled chaos of Extreme Warfare.

Both men lost plenty of crimson as they pummelled each other with the chain and attempted to subdue one another in creative and violent spots. Douglas tried to hang Raven with the chain as he dangled ringside, an effort to one-up the way he successfully choked out his nemesis several weeks ago, but Raven was able to use the chain to pull Shane off the top rope and down hard onto the walkway. He then got him back inside and hit the Evenflow for victory in 9:38.

Mitchell got into the ring immediately and started kicking at Raven, who shrugged off the weak strikes and set up another Evenflow, only to be pulled away by the hair by a gigantic man wearing rags and a leather facemask. The behemoth easily overwhelmed a tired and bloodied Raven, chokeslamming him not once but twice. Is this the monster Mitchell had Russo and O’Haire train for him? He left with the monster, indicating that perhaps it was.

Rey Mysterio vs Billy Kidman

The next grudge match was less of a freak show but perhaps far more personal, as Mysterio and Kidman prepared to face off as they never had before. Their friendship was well and truly over as they went at it with fast paced wrestling laced with throws by the hair or mask and personal touches such as stomps to their prone opponent.

The animosity added another dimension to their often-excellent contests of the past, and Torrie Wilson stayed out of things until the closing moments when sweet revenge appeared to be on the cards for Rey after he evaded Kidman’s recent favourite move, the top rope elbowdrop.

The distraction only led to a wild Kidman lunge that put him on the ropes for a 619 kick, but when Mysterio looked ready to follow with a springboard assault, Glenn Gilbertti of all people ran down. Mysterio turned his springboard into a dropkick to Glenn on the walkway but that gave Kidman the chance to yank off Rey’s mask before small packaging a flustered Mysterio for the win in 18:24.

Kidman held the mask aloft at ringside after the bout, which prompted a furious Mysterio to wipe out both he and Gilbertti with a suicide dive. Sonny Siaki and Matt Bentley rushed out to put the boots to Rey until Juventud Guerrera and Psicosis made the save. Kidman and GGE left with Rey’s mask. Has Gilbertti convinced Kidman to join his resurgent group?

WCW World Tag Team Championship: Triple X (c) vs America’s Most Wanted

The final two bouts of the evening could certainly be labelled as both championship matches and grudge matches, and Triple X’s defence of the WCW tag titles against America’s Most Wanted had six months of bad blood behind it. Despite this, both teams kept to the rules for the most part which made it clear that a decisive win and possession of the titles would stick it to the others more than anything seen in Extreme Warfare or the Chain match.

That said, a form of chain proved decisive late on as AMW looked to have the upper hand. Daniels low blowed Harris outside the ring while the ref focused on legal men Black and Skipper. He then handcuffed Wildcat to the guard rail!

Daniels rushed the ring for the 2-on-1, which Black bravely fought off until Skipper brought him down hard with a single-arm DDT. The official enforced the rules from there but the champs were happy to tag in and out with Harris unable to help at all. They viciously worked over Black’s arm as the commentary team referenced Skipper’s two-month layoff thanks to AMW. Ultimately, Skipper locked on a Fujiwara armbar and though Black fought through the pain, Harris could not watch. He yelled at the ref to stop the match, and that he did at the 17:42 mark.

Unfortunately, Triple X weren’t done. They fetched a steel chair each as one went over Black’s bad arm before Daniels smashed it with the other, leaving Black in absolute agony. A furious Harris could only look on as security tried to free him but by the time they did, Triple X were heading to the back with their titles and, in their mind, a degree of redemption after breaking the recent PPV curse of those belts changing hands.

WCW World Championship vs career, No Holds Barred: Sean O’Haire (c) vs Sting

It was now time for the main event. One that had also been brewing in six months of animosity after a serious injury and one that could spell the end of a legendary career. Sting’s darkness-soaked entrance for the big match was suitably epic, as was Sean O’Haire’s most eerie walkout yet with red lights and smoke, wearing a sinister cloak as Vince Russo walked out alongside him dressed sharply in a black and red suit, almost like the devil when he has to walk the Earth as one of us.

The atmosphere for the two locking horns was incredible and the two finally locked up at the start of the WCW title vs career main event. Sting soon took control with right hands and a Stinger Splash had O’Haire retreating before he could receive a second. The champ regrouped with Russo, who got out of there when Sting leapt over the ropes and onto O’Haire!

The challenger continued to punish Sean around ringside, keeping his promise of a renewed killer instinct, until a Stinger Splash found nothing but guardrail and the champion took over. His period of control over Sting was notable for a series of moves employed, such as a fisherman’s suplex, Flatliner, Outsider’s Edge, Jackhammer and Diamond Cutter, at which point the commentary team noted O’Haire’s efforts to retire Sting with the trademark move of someone else he had put out of WCW.

All of them were only good for two, and when Sting fought off a Cobra Clutch attempt O’Haire then went for an F5 which Sting slipped out of to hit a desperation Scorpion Deathdrop that left both men down and out. Both up at 9, they traded blows once more until O’Haire went low – perfectly legal in the No Holds Barred environment.

He demanded Russo get him a chair, which he brought down on the back of the challenger twice. He then placed the chair over Sting’s neck with an intent to ram him into the turnbuckle, only for Sting to block at the last second and kick O’Haire low in retaliation! He brought the chair into the ribs of the champ and then onto his back, at which point the two masked men from previous weeks ran out. Sting was ready with chair shots to both as Ric Flair ran out not to have the intruders kicked out as Commissioner, but to send them scurrying personally with right hands, with Sting’s help!

As they fled before they could have their identities exposed, Sting returned to the ring where O’Haire had grabbed the chair again – but it turned out that Sting had brought his bat in with him. He used the bat to avoid a wild lunge before jabbing the chair out of his hands and over the ropes entirely the second time.

Surprisingly, O’Haire dropped to his knees and begged for mercy as Sting twirled the bat around – but this was so Russo could slide into the ring and try to wrestle the bat away. That earned him another right hand and a Stinger Splash, to a huge reaction. O’Haire had the bat now, however, but his swing was ducked and followed up with another Scorpion Deathdrop for the pin and the title in 13:00.

Against all odds and with his entire career on the line, Sting had ended the O’Haire reign of terror and more importantly, regained the World title! A huge celebration followed with confetti, pyro and a swarm of babyfaces joining Sting in the ring, including Flair himself. Sting and Flair embraced as the PPV concluded.