JUNE 25, 2003: AIRTIME #75
Matches filmed at the Great American Bash included:
- Frankie Kazarian emerging victorious in a six-way cruiserweight showcase against Chris Sabin, Jerrelle Clark, Julio Dinero, CM Punk and Shark Boy when he pinned Punk with the Flux Capacitor in 7:51.
- Sonny Siaki and Matt Bentley defeating Juventud Guerrera and Psicosis with an assist from Glenn Gilbertti at ringside leading to a Siaki pin on Psi with both feet on the ropes at the 8:39 mark.
- Jimmy Yang and The Amazing Red forming quite the makeshift team to beat Paul London and Brian Kendrick with Yang Time followed by a Red Star Press to London in 11:55. Yang and Red offered handshakes after the bout, but London and Kendrick were seething and ended up leaving the ring instead.
JUNE 28, 2003: SATURDAY NITRO #112
After six months of chaos, carnage and corruption at the top of the WCW roster courtesy of a bloodthirsty champion in Sean O’Haire and a devious mastermind in Vince Russo, the company was once again rescued by its very own dark knight, Sting.
The Stinger regained the championship some regard as synonymous with the Icon on Sunday, but that doesn’t mean O’Haire’s path of destruction has ended. If anything, the new champ and this young and exciting roster should be wary of retaliation – especially with a contractually-mandated rematch on the horizon.
Tonight we’re also set to hear from new cruiserweight champion Kid Kash and get an update on the status of James Black. Plus, was that the monster O’Haire had trained for James Mitchell at the Bash, destroying Raven? And will Commissioner Flair face any disciplinary action for attacking the masked intruders during the PPV main event?
Taped on June 26 in Atlanta.
It’s the boss kicking off the show, as Ric Flair struts out in another top-of-the-line suit to a great reception. In the ring, he puts over the GAB, plugs the replay screening and congratulates everybody who was victorious on the card. He says that a special congratulations goes out to his friend and the new WCW champion Sting. He says he’ll let the new champ address the audience personally later in the show in a celebration ceremony… but he’s then cut off by Vince Russo.
Russo demands his music cut rather fast and tears into Flair for ‘helping’ Sting ‘cheat’ O’Haire out of the WCW title, promising that not only will Sean take his belt back and end Sting’s career after all, but that Flair will be fired for attacking the wrestlers and won’t even get to witness it.
Ric quickly cuts in and corrects Russo, saying he has already had disciplinary talks with his superiors and those talks were open and shut inside five minutes because the Commissioner’s contract clearly states he can be fired for attacking members of the roster, but not masked intruders who had no right being in the building let alone doing what they did. So, Flair continues, unless there’s something Vince wants to admit to us all about the identity of those two men, it’s in his best interests not to pursue any further action and let Flair do his job of ensuring his shows run as smoothly as possible.
Vince does visibly react to Ric’s astute deduction and quickly changes tack, saying he wants O’Haire’s rematch set for Bash at the Beach and for the ex-champion to pick the stipulations. Flair says Sean is entitled to a rematch, despite what he has done to so many WCW legends. However, he’s going to let Sting have the final say on what match takes place, since Russo and O’Haire pretty much backed him into a corner with the title vs career stips last time. And, Ric notes, he’s letting Russo know now that any such stips with Sting putting anything on the line other than the belt are off the table, no matter what.
D’Lo Brown defended his United States title in the first match of the night against Team Canada’s Bobby Roode. Though the entire heel stable came out with Roode, leader Lance Storm joined commentary and bragged about being next in line for the WCW title after Bash at the Beach and “ending Jeff Jarrett’s championship credentials for good”.
Johnny Devine and Eric Young were ejected when the ref caught them trying to attack D’Lo on the outside, but that allowed Joe Legend to drop Brown with a DDT for a near fall before a Sky High out of nowhere ended Roode’s quest in 7:17. Afterwards, Legend took the mic and challenged Brown to a title match next week. Storm, on the other hand, was noticeably hands-off throughout, making zero effort to get physically involved or even to blindside Brown after the match, despite his history for such antics.
Chris Harris tells Jeremy Borash that his AMW partner James Black was badly injured by Triple X in the big tag title grudge match at the GAB. However, he says he’ll be back before anyone knows it – and that he will be taking pieces out of Skipper and Daniels’ backsides with or without his buddy by his side.
In a pre-tape, Guido Maritato and Johnny Stamboli are hanging out at an Italian market. Guido tells us that a few blocks away is the ECW Arena, home of a very special employer of his for many years and the site of some very special WCW Nitros recently. He admits to being caught up in the nostalgia and that’s why he helped the Hardcore Revolution. But, he claims, his main man Stamboli wasn’t made to feel welcome by the group because he never worked for ECW. And that’s when he realised that the whole faction and the entire nostalgia trip was a sham.
He says he and Johnny are family and just like those two bozos who wanted to stay up all night partying, anyone who doesn’t commit to the family 100% is an enemy. He says screw the Revolution and screw ECW – from here on out, he and Johnny are going to rise to the top of WCW and add championship gold to their collection of fine jewellery.
In a 10-man tag team massacre, the Extreme Horsemen’s Mike Awesome, CW Anderson, Simon Diamond, Johnny Swinger and Justin Credible (w/Steve Corino) made mincemeat out of David Young, Mike Rapada, Cassidy O’Riley, Chase Stevens and Colt Cabana. Awesome finished the slaughter by powerbombing Stevens onto his four piled-up team-mates and letting CW slap on a vicious armbar for the quick tapout in a total of 3:04.
After the match, Corino came into the ring and said he heard what Guido had to say and he couldn’t agree more. The company that brought all these wrestlers together in the war of the last few months is dead. And now, so is the faction that insisted on trying to fly the flag of that company. All that remains is those who are prepared for the future, not the past.
He says the Extreme Horsemen have won the war against the Hardcore Revolution, that HR isn’t even here tonight and is pretty much dead. Corino finishes by saying he sees championship gold in their future – Simon and Swinger, in his eyes, are the uncrowned tag champions. CW Anderson, he claims, could make D’Lo Brown tap just like “this punk did tonight”. He then adds that perhaps Justin Credible will destroy the US champ first, who knows? And, Steve finishes, Mike Awesome is more than capable of doing what Sean O’Haire couldn’t: end the myth of Sting.
Jeremy Borash is tasked with speaking to the still-surreal collective entity of Billy Kidman, Torrie Wilson, Glenn Gilbertti, Sonny Siaki and Matt Bentley. When he asks how this came together, Gilbertti says nobody is better than him when it comes to recognising underappreciated young talent. He says he has seen guys like Rey Mysterio hold Billy Kidman down as far back as 2000 in the Filthy Animals days.
Glenn claims guys like he and Kidman were better than that group but had to dance around with “those clowns” just to get TV time. Now, look at this squad. One of WCW’s brightest stars and two of its brightest future stars, together with the hottest woman on TV and one who would never have left Kidman’s side if Glenn was allowed to take care of business rather than be treated like a joke. They say Rey Mysterio would be wise to steer clear of them from now on because they are set for bigger and better things, along with anyone else with the potential to become a huge star.
The Amazing Red and Jimmy Yang continued their great chemistry together in a competitive victory over rookies Chris Sabin and Frankie Kazarian after Yang Time ended Kazarian in 6:51. All four men shook hands after the bout as the commentators wondered if the odd couple were putting together enough form to earn a cruiserweight tag title shot.
Father James Mitchell is in a boiler room, perhaps at the arena, perhaps elsewhere. He says the goals of the New Church have been compromised more than once in 2003 so far, thanks in part to “shysters” like Vince Russo and thanks in part to treacherous fools like Raven. He says Russo has paid his debt by having his dark destroyer train a rookie monster for the ring, and now that monster will decimate Raven until he either bows to Mitchell and brings the WCW title to him on a silver platter, or until he simply cannot move a broken bone in his crumpled body. The huge masked figure from the PPV then moves into shot behind Mitchell as he finishes by saying: either way Raven, prepare for the… Abyss.
The Rejected figuratively drag their heels – as well as the title belts behind them, literally – as they head to the ring for what the announcers tell us is a second chance for Los Guerreros at the cruiserweight tag titles. Helms takes the mic and says it isn’t fair that people like Eddie Guerrero just get whatever they want in wrestling, even when they fail the first time and even when they blow chance after chance in real life, too. This particularly personal variation of the champs’ usual emo spiel draws even more heat than usual.
Moore adds that they refuse to defend the belts since they don’t even know if Eddie has made weight this time or if Chavo is cleared to wrestle after the news of his injury. This brings out Ric Flair, who says that the rematch from GAB has indeed been compromised by a serious injury to Chavo. And, Eddie has not weighed in because of this. However, we will be having a match tonight, even if non-title. And he has found a great replacement partner for Eddie… AJ Styles!
Eddie and AJ were an exciting combo in their match against Shane and Shannon, but the champs were able to isolate Styles for a while until he evaded a double-team and brought Guerrero in. Eddie took the fight to both Helms and Moore, weathering a 2-on-1 while AJ recuperated before hitting the triple suplex on Shane and then landing three more on Shannon. AJ was back in position and wanted the tag, but Eddie ignored him and went up for the frog splash – only to be crotched up top by Helms and cradled by Moore for the pin in 12:34. Styles, still annoyed that Eddie didn’t tag him back in, didn’t bother to attempt a save.
Rey Mysterio is sat down in his locker room, holding his mask in his hands and glaring down at it. He says Mexican wrestling culture dictates that a wrestler loses their mask for good when they lose it in a match. But with all due respect to lucha libre, he made the decision to start wearing his again because it represented something else very important to him. It represented a second chance, the same second chance WCW received two years ago. And it represented a second chance after the problems of the late 1990s, which included how he lost his mask in the first place.
He says nobody understands that better than Billy Kidman. Because while Psicosis, or Juventud Guerrera, or Super Crazy or even Konnan ‘get’ him when it comes to lucha, it’s Kidman who he considered his brother in their years-long fight for acceptance in American heavyweight wrestling. No matter what happened – whether he lost, Kidman lost, he got injured, Kidman got injured – he always felt like they were in it together.
Clearly, Billy didn’t feel the same way. By ripping off his mask at the Bash, he wasn’t exposing a secret identity – a face nobody had seen before – look at him right now, here’s his face. What Kidman did – and what he knew he was doing – was ripping away at everything they stood for in the new WCW.
Kidman didn’t want to stand side by side with Mysterio and lead the new generation of athletes, Rey says, he wanted to be the only one on top. And since he wants to take his mask away and all of the pride and rejuvenation it represents, Rey has a good mind to take away what represents Kidman’s vanity and materialism: his hair. He challenges Kidman to one more match next week, either the mask goes for good, or Kidman goes bald.
Kid Kash is with JB, the cruiserweight championship finally over his shoulder after a tremendous battle with former partner Jamie Knoble at the PPV. Borash’s first question is regarding the whereabouts of RVD and the Hardcore Revolution, which irks Kash. He says he is the new cruiser champ after going through hell last weekend.
He’s quickly cut off by the former champion, who says they both went through hell – and one win for Kash means nothing. Knoble says he always has been the better man and one defeat doesn’t change that, declaring that he’ll have his rematch next week and prove Kash as just a fluke.
KK says how about they up the ante and make it a ladder match, to prove once and for all which one of them has what it takes to rule the division? Knoble accepts and departs after a tense staredown with his former friend.
Tempest came out for his match with Raven, but his raging scheduled opponent jumped him on the walkway and kicked the New Church member’s backside all around the arena before taking him to the ring, pummelling him some more, hitting the Evenflow and getting the pin after an official 49 seconds (around six minutes total brawling).
After the match, Raven grabbed a mic before sitting on the fallen Tempest and taking one of his hands. He yelled backstage towards Mitchell, telling the Father that he will break Tempest’s fingers unless he sends his monster down. When nobody arrived, Raven indeed broke one of the fingers, to a scream of agony from the Church member.
Mitchell, Sinn and Slash then appeared on the stage, but Raven told them he wanted Abyss. Mitchell said Raven doesn’t call the shots here and he’ll get more pain from Abyss on the New Church’s time. Raven says speaking of pain… and breaks another finger.
Sinn and Slash want to go and help but Mitchell doesn’t allow them, warning Raven that Tempest can handle the punishment and that anything else he does is only going to be multiplied back onto him by the Church unless he joins them. Raven says wrong answer, and breaks another finger.
Tempest, despite Mitchell’s praise for his toughness, was clearly in absolute agony and this time, Mitchell relented and sent Sinn and Slash down to the ring, which prompted Raven to exit with the mic still in hand. From the crowd, Raven warns Mitchell that he is going to dismantle the New Church, one by one, until he gets to slay the monster. And then, there’ll be nobody left but Mitchell.
We cut backstage to an altercation being broken up by security. It’s AJ Styles and Eddie Guerrero going at it, after having a breakdown in communication during their makeshift tag team’s failure earlier.
It appears the 3 Live Kru have finally completed a song together, as we are treated to the “national debut” of their first music video.
Finally, a large portion of the babyface roster are led out by Ric Flair, and the Commish introduces the new WCW champion, Sting!
Out walks a humbled but proud Stinger as he enters the ring with the others stood outside around it. He says he never imagined such a great reception and he truly doesn’t deserve it, but thank you to everyone on the roster and thank you to every fan for supporting him and making him believe it was worth coming back rather than just accepting O’Haire’s attack and calling it a day.
He says he always knew O’Haire was a tremendous athlete and a great champion in the making, even back when they clashed at Battlebowl 2001 and the prospect surprised the veteran. But whatever had gotten into Sean’s head had to be cleansed, whether it be Russo, a natural bloodlust or both.
He then aims a message to Russo himself, saying his admirable support for young talent will always be blighted by his corruption and sociopathic tendencies. He says he needs a long, hard look in the mirror – BUT, Sean is owed a rematch and if they want to pick the stips, go right ahead.
He promises that Bash at the Beach will be the final battle between them and that either O’Haire will see the light, or he’ll end his aspirations of being the main man altogether if he doesn’t have the heart to lead this company the way Sting, Flair and others have.
This brings O’Haire and Russo out to the stage, where Russo runs down the “pathetic suckups” surrounding the ring, daring them to leave the area so O’Haire can confront Sting, man-to-man. Sting motions that it’s fine and Flair leads them all to one part of ringside before O’Haire approaches the ring with Russo still by his side.
Russo tells Sting that he should have stayed at home, because the O’Haire he gets at BATB will make the turn of the year look like a walk in the park. He says the match at the PPV will ensure only one of them leaves, period – not just as champion. He finishes by saying he hopes Sting is prepared. But as O’Haire teases actually entering the ring, the two masked men slide in from behind and jump the champ!
In comes Sean too and the trio try to juggle beating down Sting with keeping the various babyfaces outside the ring at bay. Eventually, though, Jeff Jarrett pulls one masked man out and Chris Harris gets his hands on the other. With a group effort either side of the ring, both men are unmasked… revealing Elix Skipper and Christopher Daniels.
They both break loose and flee through the crowd while O’Haire eats some Sting right hands on the comeback before opting to bail. Sean and Vince head back up the walkway, their plan failing, where Russo says Sting will pay for stealing the title and for laying his hands on Vince last week because Bash at the Beach will see the two men surrounded by not one steel cage, not two steel cages, but three.
Vince says the rematch will be Russo’s Revenge, in every sense of the term!
Bash at the Beach 2003 card so far:
- WCW title, ‘Russo’s Revenge’ triple steel cage match: Sting (c) vs Sean O’Haire
Next time: Will we find out more about this alliance between O’Haire and Triple X ahead of the triple cage match at BATB? Plus, Kid Kash defends the cruiserweight title against Jamie Knoble in a ladder match!