The fourth PPV of the Fusient era is one that has been laced with controversy over the years.
In 1996, Hulk Hogan shocked the world when he formed the New World Order with Scott Hall and Kevin Nash. In 2000, a confusing political situation involving Hogan, Vince Russo and Jeff Jarrett damaged the promotion almost beyond repair.
But in 2001, World Championship Wrestling has secured its independence from the corporate complications of life at Turner while retaining the final few AOL Time Warner contracts and a spot on TBS. Will things change?
And if they do change for the better, who will be the man who leads the way? World champion Goldberg interrupted the 21st century momentum of Booker T one month ago when securing the title, but the battle between the two for the position of company ‘Ace’ isn’t over yet. Tonight, their rematch is our main event.
Meanwhile, Jeff Jarrett’s quest for revenge against Ric Flair for abandoning the diminishing Magnificent Seven and defeating Double J at the Great American Bash saw him put together an anti-Horsemen, of sorts, known as The Chosen Few.
The Nature Boy will try to take the faction down in an eight-man tag alongside Sting, Bam Bam Bigelow and… Shawn Stasiak? Not only is the ‘Mecca of Manhood’ volunteering to fill out the side a bit strange, but this is the man who broke the arm of Flair and Sting’s longtime buddy Lex Luger, not to mention a recent rival of Bigelow’s.
Not only that, but Jarrett on Nitro appeared to be hinting towards the whole thing being a swerve to reunite the Magnificent Seven. Is the Stinger walking right into a Halloween Havoc 1995 situation all over again?
Taking place live on the afternoon of July 22, 2001 from Daytona Beach, Florida.
In a pre-show match, Kid Romeo, Jamie Knoble and David Kash beat Christian York, Joey Matthews and Lash Leroux in six-man action. York and Matthews were still banged up from two straight attacks from the bitter rednecks. Romeo’s personality and dancing didn’t endear himself much to his partners, but the heels won nonetheless with Romeo nailing Lash with the Last Kiss at 8:31.
Also on the pre-show, Mean Gene Okerlund attempted to speak to Ric Flair’s quartet for tonight’s match with the Chosen Few. Only Ric, Sting and Bigelow showed up at the interview set. When questioned about the makeshift nature of his squad, Flair explained that this is about a common enemy for three of them, so they will work together just fine. Gene then asked about Stasiak, and Ric admitted he wasn’t crazy about it but 4vs4 works better than 3vs4 and Shawn has shown how eager he is to succeed in recent weeks.
Sting interrupts this and points out that breaking Luger’s arm, while karma for Lex’s old ways, isn’t exactly a huge display of ambition. Not only that, but what if Stasiak is only there to join this new Magnificent Seven in Luger’s place? Flair cannot believe Sting is falling for what he calls blatant mind games by Jarrett, but Sting lists off a catalogue of times The nature Boy has pulled the wool over his eyes. Bigelow plays peacemaker through the arguing as Gene has to wrap this up.
Opening match: Super Crazy vs Tajiri
Tajiri had misted The Insane Luchador three times in the weeks leading to BATB, but tried – and failed – to do so three times during the match behind the ref’s back, with Crazy avoiding it in different and creative ways each time. However, he could not avoid a low blow as the ref dodged being bumped, and the Buzzsaw Kick got the three after 15:17, bringing a sour end to an otherwise-fantastic bout, reminiscent of their classic starmaking ECW series.
Air Raid vs The Jung Dragons
The Dragons defeated Air Raid despite AJ Styles debuting the Styles Clash and Spiral Tap in a match-stealing performance, with Leia Meow distracting the ref during a visual three-count post-Clash and Yang Time finishing off AJ in 12:50. It certainly doesn’t feel like this particular issue concluded here – in fact, we could be witnessing the beginning of another classic feud in WCW’s cruiserweight ranks.
Grudge match: Dustin Rhodes vs Mike Awesome
Dustin Rhodes and Mike Awesome fought to a wild double disqualification in a match which hardly got started but for all the brawling around the arena, including on the BATB-themed set. The ref felt he had no choice but to throw it out at 6:58. Their fight disappeared backstage, with security struggling to keep them apart every bit as much as the camera crew struggled to keep tabs on them.
WCW Cruiserweight title: ‘Sugar’ Shane Helms (c) vs ‘Primetime’ Elix Skipper
In a surprising result, Skipper ended the reign of Shane Helms and became a two-time Cruiserweight champion. Elix’s recent ally Christopher Daniels once again came to ringside towards the end of the bout and Low Ki soon followed… only to use Daniels’ distraction of the ref to level Helms with a kick to the head and allow Skipper to hit the Play of the Day for the pin and the title after 13:50. The three men all celebrated together and it seems the last few weeks of shenanigans were all a ruse!
Outside the arena, Rhodes and Awesome still cannot be separated, with both men busted open from their violent fight.
Champions vs Champions for the WCW World tag team titles: Sean O’Haire & Chuck Palumbo (c) vs Rey Misterio Jr & Billy Kidman
O’Haire and Palumbo retained their heavyweight straps from the challenge of cruiserweight tag team champions and former holders of the heavyweight belts Kidman and Rey. A blistering, action-packed duos battle came to a head after Kidman hit the Shooting Star on Palumbo and made the cover and O’Haire broke up the pin with a Swanton, allowing Palumbo to drape over an arm at 17:11. Both sides shook hands afterwards.
It looks like Awesome and Rhodes have finally been broken up, after both men lost a fair amount of blood and did tons of damage to backstage equipment.
#1 Contenders Triangle match: Diamond Dallas Page vs Scott Steiner vs Lance Storm
Diamond Dallas Page is the new #1 contender to the WCW World title after hitting the Diamond Cutter on Lance Storm at the 13:25 mark. A temporary alliance between Lance and Big Poppa Pump couldn’t last, and though the Canadian broke up a Steiner Recliner on Page with a huge superkick, he could only get two counts on both opponents, shortly before DDP hit the finish to secure a spot in the main event of our next PPV, Battlebowl.
No DQ, no count-out for the WCW United States title with Commissioner Cat as the special guest referee: Chris Kanyon (c) vs Rob Van Dam
RVD finally pinned Kanyon to lift the US championship in a match which took advantage of the no holds barred environment with a lot of innovative offense and ECW-style exchanges. The Cat, serving as referee, actually stayed completely out of the bout and Van Dam got the win and the title with the WCW debut of the Van Terminator in 19:20.
Eight-man tag team warfare: Ric Flair, Sting, Bam Bam Bigelow & Shawn Stasiak vs The Chosen Few (Jeff Jarrett, CW Anderson, Mark Jindrak & Shane Douglas)
Our chief support bout was a huge tag team grudge match with plenty of subplots brewing beneath the main rivalry between Flair and Jarrett.
Bigelow was the first of the eight to make his entrance and was immediately jumped by the heels, bringing out Sting and Flair for the ringside fight. Bigelow’s bandages from recent head injuries were soon off and he was bleeding a gusher once again, with Douglas and Anderson putting him through the announce table with a double suplex for good measure.
Stasiak finally made his full, slow entrance as the bout made it to the ring, but did nothing but pose on the ring apron until Stacy Keibler and Torrie Wilson got into an altercation. Shawn and Stacy then decided to abandon the whole thing and left, much to Sting’s annoyance as Flair was being isolated by the Few.
Down four-to-two, it looked like it may even be five on one when Jarrett continued to try and convince the Stinger that Flair was luring him in… but the duo responded by taking the fight to their four opponents, showing that JJ was likely speaking into an empty phone just to cause doubt.
Nonetheless, though Sting and Flair fought hard they eventually succumbed to the numbers and Mike Sanders’ outside interference, giving Jarrett the pin over Flair at 16:27 after a Douglas chain shot and an Anderson DDT while Jindrak and Sanders kept the Stinger at bay.
Main event for the WCW World title: Goldberg (c) vs Booker T
Finally, Booker T pinned Goldberg to regain the WCW title and begin his fifth reign. After spending the last month showing signs of a jaded new attitude, Booker T turned fully heel with help from Sharmell and a concealed object for the cheap pin and the title at 16:33.
It appears that being dethroned and upstaged by Goldberg, whom Booker regarded as the face of a failed era in WCW’s history, really got to him. For good measure, he laid out Goldberg with the title belt after the bout. Booker is back on top… but at what cost?
Up next: Lethal Lottery returns to WCW as 40 wrestlers compete to take part in August’s 20-man Battlebowl!