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Default June 2001: Road to the Great American Bash

Our first PPV was in the books, a resounding success. But there was no time to bask in it; we all knew going in that it would take a lot of work to rebuild the tarnished reputation of WCW. The only way to do that is by putting out a quality product night after night, week after week and month after month, so no sooner had The Big Bang ended than my attention shifted to the Great American Bash.

With Booker T set to be cleared to return a couple of weeks after the Big Bang, we'd be able to feature a world title match this time around. The obvious direction was a continuation of his feud with Scott Steiner, especially since Steiner never got his rematch after dropping the title on the final Nitro of the TNT era. We've worked Booker's shoulder injury into the story here. We teased the idea that he wouldn't be cleared and might have to forfeit the title, until Booker insisted he was going to defend his belt whether the doctors cleared him or not. He had his first match back on the go-home Nitro, against Rick Steiner, who did all he could to further weaken Booker's shoulder until Scott interfered for a DQ and show-closing beatdown. A babyface fighting off injury is a tried and true story, and I think it's worked pretty well to build this main event up.

Rey Misterio was red hot after his main event-worthy performance against Lance Storm. and we put the two into a rematch the next night on Nitro. Rey retained again in another very good match, but the real story was Mike Awesome attacking him after the match and delivering an Awesome Bomb. That was the beginning of the build for this month's US title match. In both an Awesome interview and a pair of tag matches with champion and challenger on opposite sides, we've been pushing the David vs. Goliath idea here. The size disparity makes that an obvious direction to take, but Awesome's also a pretty good worker, so I have high hopes for this one.

Sting felt his battle with Ric Flair was unresolved and demanded a rematch, but Flair saw it differently. Sting finally got him to agree to it, but on the condition that it would be the last singles match ever between them, and if he lost he would bow down and admit that Ric truly was 'the man.' The promos have been great, but let's just hope that the final match in this legendary rivalry can deliver between the ropes.

Kanyon gloated over his count out win over Diamond Dallas Page, mocking DDP and making various jokes related to his age and not being able to get back into the ring in time. He didn't find it quite as funny when Arn Anderson announced a Falls Count Anywhere match between the two for the PPV.

Jeff Jarrett insisted that he was not scared of Rob Van Dam despite having run away at The Big Bang. That was a story we continued to tell over the next four weeks, with Jeff refusing to fight RVD head-on and only attacking him from behind (with a guitar no less.) There won't be any running now though, because they'll go one-on-one at the Bash.

Billy Kidman cut a promo about being inspired by watching his good friend Misterio's big US title victory, and challenged Shane Helms to a title match. Helms accepted the challenge, and our cruiserweight title match was set. We haven't built any animosity here; this has been presented as friendly competition between two great cruiserweights, and may the best man win.

Lance Storm was dejected after losing to Misterio on back to back nights, and he did not appreciate Ernest Miller's advice to "dance his bad mood away." He interfered and cost The Cat a match the following week, which set this one up.

The Natural Born Thrillers said they were willing to take on any and all challengers, and 3 Count (looking to impress Stacy Keibler and convince her to 'join the band') dared them to put their money where their mouths are. As O'Haire said in the interview where they accepted the challenge: be careful what you wish for.

CM Punk has done pretty well right out of the gate in delivering some solid matches and promo segments for an unknown newcomer, so I decided to wrap up the Dustin Rhodes/Shane Douglas feud on TV in order to free up a spot for Punk to have a match. He issued an open challenge on the go-home Nitro, daring anyone in the locker room to try and stop his straight edge crusade.


Quote:


May 14th, 2001

From Mercer University Center in Macon, Georgia

Attendance: 3,110

Announce Team: "The Professor" Mike Tenay and Bret "The Hitman" Hart

Stacy Keibler appeared at ringside during the opening match to take notes, but Air Raid (AJ Styles and Air Paris) didn't let that stop them from scoring a big win over former Cruiserweight tag team champions Elix Skipper and Kid Romeo. (C+)

Lance Storm interrupts Rey Misterio Jr's interview, calls win a fluke and demands immediate rematch tonight; Rey accepts. (C-)

Jeff Jarrett made his first in-ring appearance of the new era, handily defeating Jason Jett. (B-)

RVD taunts Jarrett for running at The Big Bang; Jeff insists he's not scared of him. (C+)

Ric Flair celebrates his win over Sting by throwing a party out on the town with girls (played by Alexis Laree and Cheerleader Melissa.) (C)

Jaime Knoble showcased his technical skills in a win over local talent Mike Maverick. (D+)

CM Punk interview with Bobby Heenan: "My straight edge lifestyle will take me to the top of WCW!" (C-)

Shawn Stasiak looked lost without Stacy Keibler on his arm, and things didn't turn around tonight when he was beaten by Alex Wright. (C-)

Arn Anderson says Booker T's health is still up in the air, but if he can't make his contractually-obligated defense against Scott Steiner at Great American Bash, he'll have to vacate the title. (A)

Natural Born Thrillers interview: "We'll defend these belts against all comers!" (C-)

A cruiserweight dream team of Billy Kidman and Shane Helms soared to victory over Alan Funk and Cash. (B-)

Kidman says his friend Rey's big win inspired him, challenges Helms to title match; the champ accepts with a handshake. (D+)

Kanyon taunts DDP backstage, saying he might need a walker if he can't beat a ten count back to the ring; DDP has to be held back by security. (B-)

Sting had little trouble defeating young Johnny Swinger with the Scorpion Deathdrop. (B)

Sting grabs the microphone: "Enjoy your partying now, Nature Boy, because we've got unfinished business!" (B+)

Scott Steiner makes fun of Booker T and his injured shoulder, says Booker should avoid a world of pain and just hand him the title. (B+)

United States Heavyweight Championship: In a replay of last night's epic main event, Rey Misterio and Lance Storm had another lengthy encounter, again won by Misterio thanks to a Springboard Hurricanrana. (B)

Mike Awesome lays out an exhausted Misterio after the match with an Awesome Bomb. (C)


Show Grade: B
Quote:


May 21st, 2001

From Vadalabene Center in Edwardsville, Illinois

Attendance: 3,008

Announce Team: "The Professor" Mike Tenay and Bret "The Hitman" Hart

Cruiserweight action opened the show, with Kaz Hayashi of the Jung Dragons prevailing over Cash. (C+)

Arn Anderson tells DDP and Kanyon they'll have a rematch at Great American Bash under Falls Count Anywhere rules; DDP is pleased, Kanyon much less so. (B+)

Tony Norris (the former Ahmed Johnson) resurfaced for one night, only to lose to a debuting CM Punk. (C-)

Punk post-match interview: "Norris is just like all you fans: fat slobs who destroy your bodies with your unhealthy lifestyles!" (C-)

Johnny Swinger might be impressing some industry insiders, but he posed no real threat to Rob Van Dam in RVD's debut match. (B-)

RVD's post-match promo is ruined when Jeff Jarrett runs down and smashes a guitar over his head! (C)

Bobby Heenan interview with Air Raid: "We are the future of the tag team division!" (D-)

With a motivated Big Poppa Pump taking charge, there was no chance for The Mamalukes to defeat the Steiner Brothers tonight. (B)

Scott Steiner after the match: "If Booker T doesn't hand me that title, I'll end his career!" (A)

Post-Nitro footage from last week: Ernest Miller approaches a dejected Lance Storm and tells him to dance his troubles away; Storm does not react well. (C)

Former cruiserweight champion Chavo Guerrero Jr. got back on the winning track against Yang of the Jung Dragons. (C+)

3 Count try to convince Stacy Keibler to 'join the band'; she says they're beneath her notice. (D+)

Ric Flair promo: "I've got nothing left to prove against you, Stinger, so the answer's no!" (B+)

Lance Storm interfered and attacked Ernest Miller mid-match, making it all the easier for Fit Finlay to pick up the win. (C)

Shane Helms and Kidman chat; both men looking forward to a great match at Great American Bash. (C-)

In a match that combined two ongoing issues, Rey Misterio Jr. and Dustin Rhodes came out victorious against Mike Awesome and Shane Douglas when Rey stunned Douglas with a Flying Sunset Flip. (B-)

Upset by the loss, Awesome and Douglas assault their foes after the bell. (C-)

Booker T recorded message: "I ain't givin' nothing back! I'll fight Scott Steiner at the Great American Bash no matter what the doctors say!" (A)

Show Grade: B+
Quote:


June 4th, 2001

From Pontchartrain Center in Kenner, Louisiana

Attendance: 3,061

Announce Team: "The Professor" Mike Tenay and Bret "The Hitman" Hart

CM Punk showed the strengths of his straight edge lifestyle by defeating Jason Jett in the opener. (C)

Mike Awesome interview: "At the Great American Bash, I'll prove that size counts when I break little Rey Misterio in half!" (C)

Dustin Rhodes and Shane Douglas pre-tapes promoting their climactic third match tonight. (C)

Chris Candido returned to WCW, and the lovely Tammy Sytch was there to cheer him on as he dominated local Kevin Northcutt. (D+)

Candido and Sytch post-match promo; declare themselves the power couple of WCW. (D+)

Scott Steiner promo: "Tonight, I'm gonna destroy AJ Styles' career before it even begins--and if Booker shows up at Great American Bash, I'll do even worse to him!" (B+)

Hugh Morrus, Konnan, Billy Kidman (w/Torrie Wilson) and Shane Helms prevailed in eight man tag action over Elix Skipper, Kid Romeo, Shawn Stasiak and Mark Jindrak. (C+)

3 Count interrupt Natural Born Thrillers interview, challenge amused champs to give them a shot. (D)

Ernest Miller had a ringside seat as Lance Storm clinically picked apart Lash Leroux. (C+)

Booker T demands match against Rick Steiner next week; Arn Anderson reluctantly agrees. (B-)

Kanyon had one eye on guest commentator DDP, but he was still able to come out on top against veteran Terry Gordy. (B)

Heenan interviews RVD and Jarrett; Van Dam goads JJ into agreeing to match at Great American Bash. (C)

In the rubber match, Shane Douglas got the last laugh over Dustin Rhodes after hitting the Franchiser. (B-)

Sting challenges Ric Flair to one final battle in their long war, promises to bow down and call Ric the man if he loses; Flair agrees. (A)

Stacy Keibler wishes AJ Styles luck as he prepares to go to the ring. (D+)

AJ Styles knew this was the biggest match of his young career and gave it everything he had, but he had to submit to the Steiner Recliner lest he risk serious injury. (B)

Steiner refuses to release Recliner after the match, Rick joins in; chair-wielding Booker T chases them out of the ring. (B+)


Show Grade: B+
Quote:


June 11th, 2001

From the Santa Monica Auditorium in Santa Monica, California

Attendance: 2,500

Announce Team: "The Professor" Mike Tenay and Bret "The Hitman" Hart

Disco Inferno could not dance his way past Rob Van Dam in the opener once RVD landed the Five Star Frog Splash, much to the displeasure of guest commentator Jeff Jarrett. (B-)

RVD dared Jarrett to come into the ring so they could get an early start on the Great American Bash, but Jeff declined and walked to the back. (C+)

CM Punk interview: "I'm issuing an open challenge for the Great American Bash, because there's no one in the WCW locker room who can halt my crusade!" (C-)

Mike Sanders may be above average, but that wasn't going to be enough to prevent a loss to Alex Wright. (C)

Booker T interview: "I might not be 100%, but I can take the Steiners out even with one arm!" (B)

Debut vignette for Steve Corino, who is appalled by the so-called 'new era' of WCW and declares himself the 'King of Old School.' (E+)

Six days before his chance to become a four time cruiserweight champion, Billy Kidman got a big win over former champion Chavo Guerrero Jr. in a back-and-forth match. (B-)

Chavo jumps Kidman after the bell; Shane Helms makes the save and helps Kidman up. (D+)

Natural Born Thrillers respond to 3 Count's challenge in interview: "We accept, boys--but be careful what you wish for!" (D+)

Terry Gordy was so impressive in his match against Kanyon that he got another opportunity this week, but fellow veteran Fit Finlay was just too much for him. (B-)

Kanyon mocks DDP in skit, complete with a walker and old man wig. Page chases him off: "This old man's gonna kick your butt through every inch of the building at the Great American Bash!" (B-)

Scott Steiner psyches up his brother Rick, encouraging him to tear Booker T apart tonight. (B+)

Lance Storm and Mike Awesome of Team Canada teamed up against their rivals, Ernest Miller and Rey Misterio Jr. Six days before their PPV match, Storm got the psychological edge by pinning Miller after a Superkick. (B)

Chris Candido and Tammy Sytch promo about how the 'power couple' of WCW will reshape the company. (D)

A video package recaps the entire Sting/Ric Flair saga, from the first Clash of the Champions in 1988 to the present day. (B+)

Sting and Flair pre-taped promos on what the rivalry has meant to them and why they'll be the one to prevail in the very last encounter. (A)

In Booker T's first match in months, Rick Steiner was more interested in trying to do further damage to the injured shoulder than in winning the match. When Booker seemed to be closing in on the victory, Scott attacked for a disqualification. (B)

Steiners do further damage to Booker's shoulder; Scott poses with the belt and says it's coming back where it belongs on Sunday. (A)


Show Grade: B+





Quote:
Originally Posted by scarletspeed7 View Post
Of course Bret wants to sign Sunny.

Of course.
How dare you question Bret's integrity, sir!

Last edited by The Final Countdown : 07-19-2017 at 03:30 PM.
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