JULY 23, 2003: AIRTIME #79
Matches taped prior to BATB in Miami included:
- Eric Young and Johnny Devine of Team Canada defeating Jerrelle Clark and Frankie Kazarian after a Bobby Roode run-in led to Devine Intervention for the pin on Clark in 8:43.
- Jamie Knoble defeating Jason Cross with the Tiger Bomb in 5:06.
- Lance Storm emerging victorious in a rare AirTime appearance over Chris Sabin, extracting the tapout via Maple Leaf in 16:27.
JULY 26, 2003: SATURDAY NITRO #116
Nobody has heard from Sean O’Haire or Vince Russo since Bash at the Beach, where ‘Russo’s Revenge’ actually became ‘Jarrett’s Revenge’ and ‘Sting’s Redemption’. In an ironic twist, it appears O’Haire was injured in the closing stages of the match after falling from close to the top of the triple cage structure and down onto the roof of the bottom cage. After months of savaging the WCW roster, it may well be O’Haire himself who has been put out by he and his manager’s own thirst for blood.
Commissioner Ric Flair certainly seemed happy to move on without either man on WCW.com during the week when he announced the return of Lethal Lottery after two years to determine the 20 participants in Battlebowl. Tonight, five random teams of two will advance with five more in a week’s time. Sting will certainly be ready to defend against whoever comes out on top, but first on his agenda is Lance Storm, who has earned a crack at the belt he held last year and has done everything in his power to protect that opportunity over the last month.
Before he defends his own title, the Stinger could even add another to his collection as Flair has ordered Triple X to defend the tag team titles tonight against the WCW champ and the returning Dustin Rhodes, as punishment for their attempt to hand the top title back to O’Haire.
Taped on July 24 in Nashville.
Ric Flair comes out to the ring, flanked by Arn Anderson, where the Lethal Lottery tumbler has been set up. Flair congratulates Sting on winning the triple cage match at BATB and confirms he will defend the WCW title against Lance Storm at Battlebowl. He then says 20 men will fight at the PPV for the right to face the winner of that match after Battlebowl. This year, the Lethal Lottery returns.
He says he has 50 names from the WCW roster written on pieces of paper. 40 of them will be drawn into random tag team contests, with the 10 winning duos giving us our Battlebowl match field. Dustin Rhodes, Christopher Daniels and Elix Skipper will be withheld from this week’s draw for the first five tag bouts, to take place tonight. Sting and Storm are not included at all, for obvious reasons.
Anderson then begins the draw, giving us the following five qualifiers for tonight: Jimmy Yang and Jamie Knoble vs Simon Diamond and Paul London; Shane Helms and Chris Harris vs Johnny Devine and Johnny Stamboli; Mike Awesome and Tempest vs BG James and Tajiri; RVD and Juventud Guerrera vs Jerry Lynn and Eddie Guerrero and finally, in the match we’ll see immediately after the commercials, Brian Kendrick and Matt Bentley vs D’Lo Brown and AJ Styles!
Lethal Lottery qualifier #1 of 10 was an intriguing clash of two former allies turned enemies turned allies once more thanks to Glenn Gilbertti and two former US champions whose rivalry over the title led to a begrudging mutual respect. As a result, there was very little miscommunication and the two tandems worked fluidly against one another. However, Gilbertti and Traci at ringside sensed defeat was near as AJ and D’Lo hit high gear and plotted interference only for Glenn’s run-in on Traci’s distraction to earn him a Sky High. Kendrick and Bentley tried to pounce on Brown, but AJ wiped both out with a springboard bodyblock before a spinning sit-out powerbomb from Brown to Brian put the babyfaces through after 10:11.
Backstage, we see RVD giving the rest of the Hardcore Revolution perhaps their first positive debriefing in several months, after they outlasted the Extreme Horsemen in the first ever Guerrilla Gangfight Death Match at BATB. The room goes silent when Kid Kash walks in, but Van Dam extends his hand and Kash shakes it.
The cruiserweight champ apologies to every member of the team for not being a great member of the cause, but reiterated that his first singles title in WCW was a huge deal to him just as it was to every one of them. He honestly thought he was making up for it by bringing in Guido, but he made a point of teaching him a lesson at the PPV with the title on the line.
Van Dam says it’s water under the bridge, they get how focused on the belt Kash was and now they’ve beaten the EH at their own game, they can all concentrate on getting their own gold around their waist. Tajiri then approaches Kash, bringing back the tense atmosphere given that he doubted KK more than anyone, and nods in approval.
He congratulates Kash and suggests that now their enemies have been put in their place, perhaps he and Kash can do battle for the title on his shoulder. Kid says that sounds like a great plan, bring it on… but his body language, especially when the others turn away, doesn’t look quite so keen.
Jimmy Yang and Jamie Knoble have not been on the same page since Knoble was unmasked and kicked out of the Jung Dragons – and considering his career since, one could say it was the best thing to happen for both his results and his lifestyle. But that old teamwork hadn’t just disappeared – in fact, their Lethal Lottery Qualifier #2 against Simon Diamond and Paul London was an even more surprising display of great coexistence than in the first bout.
They took advantage of Diamond and London’s inexperience as a duo and Knoble pinned London with the Tiger Bomb in 7:35 while Yang wiped out Simon with an Asai Moonsault to the outside. As soon as the bell rung, the victorious duo returned to their more natural state of not wanting to be near each other.
The camera heads backstage behind Diamond, where he meets up with his fellow Horsemen and Steve Corino immediately goes off on a rant about how Commissioner Flair and the Revolution are screwing them out of title opportunities and keeping them in a war they won months ago. He says if this is how they want to play it, this is how it’s going to be – and maybe to get the proper title shots they deserve rather than tag matches with random partners, they have to eliminate the Revolution once and for all.
In non-tournament action, Rey Mysterio and Konnan defeated Billy Kidman and Sonny Siaki by DQ in a heated grudge match which struggled to remain as a regular tag contest. Rey did everything in his power to get his hands on Kidman, and even when he did Siaki, Torrie Wilson and Desire did their best to scupper it. Ultimately, the official caught direct involvement from the valets and called for the bell after 9:04.
Rey and Kidman could not be separated after the bell, despite Billy’s best efforts. It took a team of security to finally bring peace, and even then that came after they and Kidman took a Rey dive. Konnan finally cooled down his buddy and took him backstage.
D’Lo Brown visits Ric Flair in his office and after receiving congratulations for his Lethal Lottery win, reminds the Commissioner that he is owed a US title rematch after losing it in Triple Jeopardy. He says he has a few weeks between now and Battlebowl and wants to enter the match as US champ. Flair says he’s right. The rematch will be next week since Eddie is also in the Lethal Lottery tonight, and it’ll be one on one.
Chris Harris and Shane Helms qualified for Battlebowl in Lethal Lottery Qualifier #3 with victory over Johnny Devine and Johnny Stamboli. Wildcat appeared to be in a bind early on when Helms showed no interest in tagging in, even when Harris was in trouble. However, he eventually took a tag and ran through both opponents, eventually pinning Devine with the Shining Black (Wizard) in 7:21 while Chris kept Stamboli occupied.
Jeremy Borash is with Jeff Jarrett, who tells JB that he has been smiling all week for the first time in over a year after finally getting that superb feeling of smashing a guitar over Vince Russo’s head. Last he heard, both Russo and his last meal ticket were AWOL and now that problem has finally been solved, he says he can concentrate his quest to regain the WCW title and at the fifth attempt, become the type of champion he know he can be and bring honour to the title. He says if his name comes up in the Lethal Lottery next week, he has every intention of winning Battlebowl and then on to the title.
There was tension between Mike Awesome and Father James Mitchell as Awesome teamed with former New Church stablemate Tempest against BG James and Tajiri in Lethal Lottery Qualifier #4. Unsurprisingly, Awesome and Tajiri had their sights set on one another, and though Tempest clearly didn’t trust Mike he had plenty of hatred for the 3LK to focus on attacking BG. For the greater good, Mitchell aided the man who stabbed him in the back with a trip on Tajiri to set up an Awesome Bomb for the pin in 8:58. Awesome immediately left on his own following the result, having got exactly what he wanted.
Back to Flair’s office for part two of the Lethal Lottery draw, where he confirms that Rhodes, Daniels and Skipper’s names are now in the tumbler to leave us with 30 names, of which 20 will get the chance to participate. The five tag bouts for next week are: Abyss and Shannon Moore vs Kid Kash and The Amazing Red; Guido Maritato and Psicosis vs Eric Young and Shark Boy; Justin Credible and Sonny Siaki vs the intriguing pairing of Jeff Jarrett and Raven; Dustin Rhodes and Joe Legend vs the even more intriguing pairing of Billy Kidman and Rey Mysterio; and finally CW Anderson and Bobby Roode vs the fortunate pairing of Konnan and Ron Killings.
The fifth and final Lethal Lottery qualifier of the evening was a mostly sporting contest pitting Hardcore Revolution vs Hardcore Revolution and Mexican star vs Mexican star. Rob Van Dam and Juventud Guerrera defeated Jerry Lynn and Eddie Guerrero in 16:36 when the surly US champion grew fed up with Lynn and opted not to stop a Juvi Driver followed by the Five Star Frog Splash for the HR leader’s pinfall over his first lieutenant. Guerrero walked off as the winning duo helped an annoyed but respectful Lynn to his feet.
Backstage, Triple X complain to JB about the fact they missed out on Battlebowl because of an “unfair abuse of power” by Flair to keep them out of half the draw and make them defend the tag titles tonight. They note that Konnan and Killings made it out the draw just in the nick of time – and as partners no less – “proving” the corrupt nature of the draw. They say they’ll shock the world tonight by not only retaining their tag titles but by pinning the singles champion in the process, forcing Flair to give one of them a title shot without a single bogus draw or battle royal in sight.
Raven is brooding somewhere backstage when he’s approached by CM Punk and Julio Dinero. His immediate scowl and front-foot almost makes them turn back around without saying a word, but Punk stops the retreat and introduces himself and Julio nonetheless. He says they’re big fans of Raven and his whole career, that they weren’t going to just stand around while the New Church gang assaulted him and that they’re there for him in the war against Mitchell.
Raven’s expression throughout is stoic, until Dinero adds at the end that they could be like a new Flock. This does not sit well with Raven, who nonetheless remains civil when he tells the duo that this is his war, that it was destined for him to do it alone after years of surrounding himself with “flunkies like you” and that they do not want to ruin their careers by messing around with monsters like the New Church. When they try to respond, Raven yells at them to get lost, and they back down – but not without promising Raven that they’ll prove they can take the fight to the New Church next week.
Now, WCW champ Sting is with JB. He is in high spirits after surviving the three cages and giving Sean O’Haire a taste of his own medicine. He says it may be a while before we see him or Russo again. Just then, Dustin Rhodes joins his friend for the interview, with an arm around the champion’s shoulders. He asks the Stinger if he is ready to add another belt to his collection. Sting says it’s showtime!
Our main event was the aforementioned tag title match, with Triple X defending against Sting and Rhodes. The two WCW legends worked just as well together as the current titlists thanks to their long history, and it took Daniels and Skipper’s best antics to get the advantage and isolate Rhodes for a while. Sting made the hot tag and ran through both tired champions but when he locked Daniels in the Deathlock and Rhodes clotheslined Skipper and himself over the ropes, out rushed the entire Team Canada for the DQ in 12:44.
Lance Storm oversaw a beatdown on Sting as Triple X got the hell out of there. Rhodes tried to help, but he soon met the same fate in a 5-on-2 scenario, punctuated by an implant DDT from his tag partner next week, Legend. Team Canada stood tall over the babyfaces and Young presented Storm with Sting’s WCW title as the show faded.
Battlebowl 2003 card so far:
- Battlebowl match – confirmed participants: AJ Styles, D’Lo Brown, Jamie Knoble, Jimmy Yang, Chris Harris, Shane Helms, Mike Awesome, Tempest, Rob Van Dam, Juventud Guerrera.
- WCW title: Sting (c) vs Lance Storm
Next week: The Lethal Lottery continues!