May 2001: Road to The Big Bang
Our grand relaunch was a go. Not only did we have our big return to television on April 30th, but the first PPV under my ownership, The Big Bang, was locked in for thirteen days later. All in all, I thought we were as prepared as we could be for our reopening.
There was just one problem. The World Heavyweight Champion was injured.
Booker T beat Scott Steiner on the final Nitro under Turner to win the World Heavyweight title but hurt his shoulder in the process. Our medical staff assured me that it was not an injury that would require surgery, but he still needed some time to recuperate. I was hopeful that he'd be okay to go by the time we relaunched, but days before the first Nitro our doctors estimated he would still be out for another month or so. This left me in a dilemma: did I keep Booker as champion and go without a world title match on our first PPV, or vacate the title and use the Big Bang to crown a new champion?
I ultimately decided to keep Booker as champion once our doctors assured me he'd be ready to go in plenty of time for our second PPV, the Great American Bash. In the meantime former champion Scott Steiner got to continue the feud by insisting that Booker was faking the injury just so he could get out of the rematch he was owed. When Arn Anderson was appointed as our new commissioner on the May 7th Nitro, Steiner confronted him and demanded that Booker T be stripped of the title so it could be given to the rightful champion. Hugh Morrus and Konnan came to Double A's defense, setting off a brawl with the Steiners that led us to a tag team match at The Big Bang.
Even if Booker hadn't been hurt, I was still going to have him vacate the United States title. Much of our first two Nitros were dedicated to the first two rounds of an eight man tournament to crown a new champion. Rey Misterio Jr. and Lance Storm found their way into the finals, and I think the two of them should put on a great match at Big Bang. We also used the tournament to set up another PPV match, as Shane Douglas complained of an alleged fast count in his first round loss to Dustin Rhodes, then turned around the next week and cost Rhodes his Semifinal match with Storm.
Chavo Guerrero Jr. felt he deserved one more shot at Shane Helms's Cruiserweight title, and after beating Billy Kidman on May 7th he'll get that shot.
At the last PPV of the Turner era, Chuck Palumbo and Sean O'Haire squashed Totally Buffed in under a minute. I used that as fodder for a story here, as Luger and Bagwell were embarrassed and attacked the Thrillers following a successful title defense on the first Nitro. They look to erase the embarrassment in a return title match on the PPV.
DDP was thrilled about the new era of WCW, but one man who wasn't happy to see HIM there was Kanyon. Kanyon called DDP a relic of the past, someone who belonged to the previous era and should have stayed there. He'll try to prove DDP's time is past at the Big Bang, but one Diamond Cutter could spell differently.
We haven't built this match at all, but Alex Wright vs. Fit Finlay will also be on the card. Hopefully the action will make up for the lack of hype.
Oh, and there's also a little match involving a couple of guys named Sting and Ric Flair. Sting was out to close the first Nitro, thanking the fans for always believing in WCW and promising that we'd be better than ever, but Flair had other ideas. He said he couldn't stand the thought that the last Nitro of the Turner era ended with him being defeated by Sting. He'd heard people call Sting the icon, the franchise player of WCW, and it made him sick. There was only one franchise of WCW, and his name was Ric Flair! That was how we got to the most star-studded match on the PPV. I initially envisioned it as the main event of the Big Bang in lieu of a world title match, but the quality of matches both Misterio and Storm produced on the first two Nitros has me considering putting them in the feature bout instead. That truly would ring in a new era, one based more on your ability in the ring than your name value. I'll probably continue to mull over this decision until right before showtime.
April 30th, 2001
From Knott Arena in Emmitsburg, Maryland
Announce Team: "The Professor" Mike Tenay and Bret "The Hitman" Hart
Tenay and I welcome everyone to the new era of WCW, announce a tournament for the vacant United States title beginning tonight. (C)
Scott Steiner says Booker is faking an injury because he's afraid to give him his rematch; WCW should hand him the title. Booker: "I can't wait to heal up so I can shut your mouth, sucka!" (A)
US Title Tournament, Opening Round: Lance Storm outwrestles the larger Bam Bam Bigelow. (B-)
Konnan/Hugh Morrus vignette; call themselves the leaders of the locker room. (C)
US Title Tournament, Opening Round: Despite some prolonged dominance from Shane Douglas, Dustin Rhodes pins him with a quick cradle. (B-)
Chavo Guerrero interview: "I deserve one more rematch with Shane Helms!" (D)
Shane Douglas complains of a fast count to Mean Gene, says he should be competing in the tournament semifinals next week. (D+)
World Tag Team Championship: The Natural Born Thrillers retain over Mark Jindrak and Shawn Stasiak (w/Stacy Keibler.) (C)
Keibler gives Stasiak the cold shoulder after the match. (C+)
Victorious O'Haire and Palumbo are attacked from behind and laid out by Totally Buffed. (C)
US Title Tournament, Opening Round: In a battle of world-travelled veterans, Fit Finlay advanced over Norman Smiley. (B-)
DDP tells Mean Gene he's excited for the new era of WCW; Kanyon interrupts, says DDP belongs in the past and should have stayed there. (C+)
Ernest Miller (w/Miss Jones) may think he's the greatest, but he was no match for the power of Mike Awesome in the ring tonight. (C+)
Jeff Jarrett calls the intelligence of the new management into question: "Why am I not in the US title tournament? Why am I not in the main event of this show, where I belong?" (C)
US Title Tournament, Opening Round: He gave up plenty of size, but that didn't stop Rey Misterio Jr. from soaring past Rick Steiner into the Semifinal round. (B)
Sting thanks the fans for showing up, promises WCW will be better than ever; Ric Flair comes out uninvited, says that his loss in final match of the Turner era is eating him up. He wants to prove he's the true icon of WCW by beating Sting at The Big Bang! (A)
Show Grade: B+
May 7th, 2001
From the Levien Gymnasium in New York City
Announce Team: "The Professor" Mike Tenay and Bret "The Hitman" Hart
Arn Anderson introduced as new WCW Commissioner; he promises to lay down the law just like he did for all those years as the Enforcer. (C)
Billy Kidman had a chance to earn a Cruiserweight title match with the champ himself watching from the announce table, but Chavo Guerrero Jr. cradled him after a missed Shooting Star Press to secure one more shot at Shane Helms. (C+)
Bobby Heenan interviews Natural Born Thrillers: "We'll dominate Totally Buffed at The Big Bang just like we did at Greed!" (C)
Mike Awesome demolished Tito Santana in a one-sided match. (C-)
Jeff Jarrett barges into Arn's office: "Give me a match at The Big Bang, or else!" (C+)
Shawn Stasiak did his best to impress Stacy Keibler, but he was forced to submit by Norman Smiley. (C-)
A disgusted Keibler tells Stasiak she doesn't waste her time on losers, walks away despite his pleas. (D+)
Diamond Dallas Page made quick work of Johnny Swinger with the Diamond Cutter. (C-)
Kanyon interrupts DDP's celebration: "Your time is over, and I'll prove it at The Big Bang!" (B)
US Title Tournament, Semifinal Round: In a battle between the aerial artistry of Rey Misterio Jr. and the ground and pound of Fit Finlay, it was Rey who soared to victory with a Springboard Hurricanrana. (B)
With brother Rick in tow, Scott Steiner berates Arn Anderson and demands he be given the world title since Booker T's too scared to fight him; Hugh Morrus and Konnan intervene, leading to a brawl between the teams. (B-)
US Title Tournament, Semifinal Round: We will unfortunately never know who should have won between Dustin Rhodes and Lance Storm, because a vengeful Shane Douglas interfered when the ref's back was turned and handed the win to Storm. (B)
Booker T pre-taped promo, says he'll be at The Big Bang to present the belt to the new United States Champion. (B+)
Alex Wright was game, but one mistimed move was all it took for Ric Flair to trap him in the Figure Four for the submission. (C+)
Flair on the microphone after the match: "I'm the icon of WCW, Sting!" Sting steps out into the aisle: "Beating you up is my favorite pastime, Nature Boy, and I'll be happy to do it one more time!" (B+)
Show Grade: B-
Last edited by The Final Countdown : 07-19-2017 at 12:43 PM.