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Join Date: May 2008
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Default September 9th, 2001: Fall Brawl

September 9th, 2001

From Hinkle Fieldhouse in Indianapolis, Indiana

Attendance: 9,943

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

Official Theme Song: "Toxicity" by System Of A Down

Billy Kidman (w/Torrie Wilson) vs. "Sugar" Shane Helms

The show opened with some cruiserweight action which also served as the conclusion to this three month story. I thought Billy and Shane did a good job straddling the line between having a flashy and exciting opening match and working like they genuinely disliked each other. All of our PPV openers have done a good job getting the crowd into the show right away, and this one was no exception.

There was a pretty good stretch run where both guys went back and forth with near-falls and finisher teases. Kidman hit his sitout spinebuster and was all set to deliver the shooting star press, but...

Chris Candido and Tammy Sytch walked down to ringside and began taunting him. He took his eye off the ball long enough that Helms was able to roll out of the way once he finally took flight, and moments later Shane gave him the Vertebreaker to win the match.

Grade: B-

Mike and I began speculating that Candido and Sytch's search for allies had led them to Helms, but that tease was squashed when Helms went to the back with no acknowledgment from either side. Candido and Sytch entered the ring, and Chris said that he and Tammy knew that in order to accumulate power, anyone they chose to align themselves with would need to be exceptionally talented. Then he handed the mic over to Tammy.

"Luckily for us both, I still have some friends in high places up in New York, and when a certain superstar in the making was about to hit the open market, I found out right away and got to him before anyone else could. There was a man up there with all the ability in the world who was being looked over, ignored and held down. He knew he needed a change, and that's exactly what we're going to give him. We're all about power, and power means championships. Our new ally is going to be the cruiserweight champion of WCW very soon, but for now we'll settle with having him make an example out of you, Billy Kidman."

Out came Taka Michinoku (who we'll be referring to simply as TAKA.) He entered the ring, picked Kidman up off of the mat and gave him a Michinoku Driver (guess I'll need a new name for that.) Torrie Wilson watched helplessly from the floor as TAKA shook hands with Candido and Sytch, cementing their new alliance.

Grade: C
The Jung Dragons vs. True Heroes

This was not only the PPV debut of the True Heroes team, but the first PPV match for the Jung Dragons since our relaunch. It was obviously a big spotlight for both teams, and all four guys delivered. The great chemistry between Storm and Punk was evident once again, but Kaz and Jimmy held up their end too. All four guys performed well under my instructions to go all out and produced a sleeper candidate for match of the night.

The Jung Dragons got plenty of chances to show some cool aerial stuff and were presented as a quality team, but I don't think anyone really thought they had much chance to win. This was ultimately about establishing the new kids on the block in the tag team division and everybody knew it. They beat Yang with a sequence where Storm connected with a superkick just as Punk was delivering a russian legsweep, and then Punk transitioned right into his Second City Stretch for the submission. That's going to be their primary match-ender, and we're calling it the Heroic Finish.

Grade: B

We gave Scott a live microphone backstage, and I crossed my fingers and hoped for the best. Fortunately, he stuck to promoting the match with DDP. He was shockingly coherent tonight, with some good lines that actually made sense. Some might say insane and illogical promos are part of his appeal, but I digress.

"Diamond Dallas Page, you think you're gonna be a 4-time champion? You think you're gonna beat the man with the largest arms in the world? Think again, Page! Tonight I'm gonna prove that I'm the only man great enough to be WCW champion, and you're gonna have to go home to your trailer park and cry about it!"

Grade: A
Rey Misterio Jr. vs. "The Total Package" Lex Luger

I think everybody knew what was coming here, and who I value more. The way this match played out validated my opinions on both guys. Luger was really off of his game, and considering his mediocre level of work when he's actually 'on', that's a frightening thought. His basic power offense looked like garbage here, and I swear he was moving in slow motion. Thankfully Rey is one of the best around, and he was able to drag Lexy kicking and screaming to a pretty good match. Misterio escaped an attempt at the Torture Rack and hit a speedy hurricanrana to win the match.

Grade: B-

We did a backstage promo with Satyr's Hopeful Few, and all four guys got a chance to speak. Chavo didn't do very well as he talked about wanting to use the UFS to regain the cruiserweight title, but the other three picked up the slack with some good performances. Bagwell was pretty entertaining as he said he was going to show that he was 'the stuff' tonight and earn a future championship to go around his buff waist, and Kanyon was also good as he talked about adding more gold to go along with his United States title. To no one's surprise, Flair stole the show.

"All I hear is Booker T and Sting arguing about who should get a world title shot, like they've already won. Boys, let me tell you right now: NEVER underestimate the Nature Boy! I am the greatest professional wrestler OF ALL TIME, and don't you ever forget it! Stinger, I respect you, but you know better than anybody that I'm at my best when titles are on the line, and tonight might as well be a title match! Booker, pal, you're a great athlete and a great champion, but you haven't stood the test of time like Ric Flair! Tonight, with these three men by my side, I will walk that aisle and prove that even at 52 years old, I'm STILL the man! WOOO!"

Grade: B
Extreme Rules:
Rob Van Dam vs. Mike Awesome

Yeah, with no announced notice, this was another extreme rules match. Boy did I screw the sequence of this storyline up. Shane Douglas, back from vacation, was on color with us, and we played up the ECW connection between him, RVD and Awesome. Shane was pretty bad on color, sadly.

The focal point of this match was Van Dam's kayfabe leg injury. Awesome worked the leg throughout, and RVD made a show of moving gingerly at times and not executing his usual offense with the kicks and acrobatic stuff. Awesome was free to work his normal style, though I have to say he looked a little rough at times with some poorly delivered moves. It was still a good match; one of the best of the night in fact. A lot of that is down to the hardcore format, because both of these guys are so comfortable working that style.

Rob tried to use his Van Daminator, but Awesome adjusted and swung the chair into the injured leg instead. Several chair shots to the leg followed, and RVD really sold the agony of the attack on his leg. He was easy pickings after that for an Awesome Bomb and a 3-count.

Grade: B

We did a ringside interview where Dustin discussed his recent struggles. He admitted being frustrated at coming up short in big matches recently, including against Shane Douglas at The Big Bang, in the UFS against Sean O'Haire and in the #1 contender's battle royal. Bobby was entertaining as he grilled Dustin on what he was going to do to turn his fortunes around, and Rhodes was also good as he calmly said that he wasn't going to change anything. He was going to keep putting in the work, and eventually his luck was bound to change.

Vampiro and Father Isaac interrupted, which wasn't much of a surprise to our fans given the comments I've seen on our website. Vampiro said they had the answer to all of Dustin's troubles. They had come to offer...salvation. (There's that word again.) He talked for a bit more, then handed the mic to Isaac.

"You have everything, Dustin. You have the genetics, you have the size, you have the talent, you have a long career of modest successes. But why, with all of your attributes, have you never reached the pinnacle of your profession? I know you entered this business to please your legendary father, and what better way to do that than by following in his footsteps and becoming heavyweight champion of the world? That elusive dream can be yours, Dustin. You've allowed your failures to cloud your vision, but we can help you see clearly. Join us, Dustin. I offer to you salvation--and I guarantee that if you accept, you will finally achieve your dream and become the world champion."

Dustin was baffled by all of this and walked away without giving an answer, but Isaac smiled and laughed. Isaac's delivery was strong here. So was Vampiro's, and his overall performance was great too.

Grade: C

Jamie Knoble vs. Jushin Thunder Liger {}

What an opportunity this was for Knoble. His first PPV match since the relaunch, and he was in there with one of the best in the world. I told these guys to go out there, lay it all on the line and do their best to steal the show. I don't know if they quite accomplished that, thanks in part to Jamie's submission holds just not looking as good as they normally do, but it was still a pretty good match that got the fans in the arena buzzing. The match obviously wasn't as heated as it could have been since both guys are faces, but the action was still good.

Knoble spent a decent portion of the match working Liger's legs with submissions, but Mike and I played up the idea that Liger is versatile enough to change his strategy on the fly. He did little flying and eschewed his rolling koppu kick during his late match comeback, relying instead on countering a modified figure four into a really painful-looking surfboard/dragon sleeper combination. Knoble had nowhere to go and was forced to submit, but I really need to find ways to get this kid more exposure. We could have something special there.

Grade: B-

It was time for the K-Nections to cut a promo. Styles and Wright were basically relegated to the background here, with Booker and Sting doing all the talking. Predictably both of them made it clear they hoped to get a world championship match out of the UFS, though it was played as a respectful thing with no animosity. This wasn't a great night for Sting on the mic; I think he got a little overexcited and it hurt his performance.

Grade: B+

Hugh Morrus and Konnan vs. The Natural Born Thrillers {}

I didn't really expect much when I made this match. The Thrillers' previous title defenses haven't been BAD, but outside of last month's match in Japan with Gedo and Jado they haven't been particularly good either. Given that this was an all-face match, I figured we'd get something around the level of the matches they had with the likes of 3 Count and Luger/Bagwell. Instead, for whatever reason, this match was a real pleasant surprise. It very nearly walked away with match of the night honors in fact.

This was pretty much a back-and-forth match where neither team held the edge for long, with Morrus and Konnan able to brawl their way to a standstill in the face of the Thrillers' power. Eventually Konnan was taken out of the picture with a diving shoulder block from Palumbo, and O'Haire finished Hugh off with a fireman's carry into a facebuster.

As the match ended, Mike and I openly wondered whether any tag team could hope to end the dominant run the Thrillers had been on since the start of 2001. That's called foreshadowing, folks.

Grade: B

Moments after our question was asked, Brian Adams and Bryan Clark came to the ring and got in the Thrillers' faces. The two teams stared each other down, with Adams and Clark making it clear they were back and coming after those titles. I thought this segment did exactly what it was designed to do, which was show that the Thrillers aren't the only asskicking tag team in WCW. This was the TV return of both Adams and Clark after they recovered from nagging injuries suffered in the old WCW. I don't want to use the name 'Kronik' with its obvious drug connotations, so we'll need to come up with a new name for them.

Grade: B

DDP cut an intense promo about what tonight meant to him.

"This isn't just about the title. Between me and you, Scotty, it's always been personal. You talk about me, that's one thing, but talking about my wife is WAY over the line. I'm gonna take your title tonight, Scott, but first I'm going to hurt you. BAD."

I'm not sure Dallas totally hit the mark with this one, but the crowd was so hot for both the show and this feud that it didn't matter much.

Grade: A
UFS Final Round Tiebreaker:
#1 Satyr's Hopeful Few vs. #2 The K-Nections

As noted, this was worked under the classic Survivor Series set-up. Booker started off for his team, with Mike and I saying he obviously wanted to get things off to a great start and state his case for deserving the world title shot if his team wins. Book was great both in kayfabe and in actual performance, having good battles with first Chavo and then Kanyon. He refused to tag out, intent on making his statement. It didn't seem like it would hurt him, as he had Flair down and out and was all set to finish him with the Harlem Hangover. But Flair wasn't nearly as down and out as he appeared. Ric rolled out of the way, and after Booker's crash landing he cradled him for a surprising three count in the match's first elimination.

The K-Nections rebounded from Booker's elimination with Styles getting a pin on Bagwell (thank god we got him out of there quick, because he looked terrible tonight.) Buff was angry, and he responded by giving Flair a sucker punch as he stepped into the ring and then DDTing him! Buff shouted down, demanding to know why Flair didn't make the save for him (he was in the best position to do so.) Flair was caught off-guard by the cheap shot and was easy prey for a Scorpion Deathdrop that eliminated him.

Satyr's Hopeful Few was at a numbers disadvantage, but not for long: Chavo blocked an Alex Wright german suplex and pinned him after a brainbuster. It was now 2-on-2, with established upper card guys Sting and Kanyon supported by talented cruiserweights AJ Styles and Chavo Guerrero Jr. It remained two on two for a good deal of time, with both teams going back and forth, knowing full well that the next elimination would be a crucial one. Sting and Kanyon did their job as stars, really shining when they were in there either with either opponent and joining Booker as the standouts of the match from a performance standpoint.

Chavo had AJ up for his grandfather's Gory Special, but Styles countered it into an amazing-looking sunset flip powerbomb to get the pin. That left Kanyon all alone against Sting and Styles. He fought as best he could, but with both faces tagging in and out to stay fresh it was only a matter of time. AJ softened Kanyon up with a springboard forearm, and Sting finished the job with the Scorpion Deathlock. Sting and Styles survive, and the K-Nections win the UFS!

Grade: B

Wright and Booker came back out to celebrate the win with their surviving teammates, and Bobby also came out to interview the victors. He only got a few words out before Booker grabbed the microphone and said that this was exactly what he was talking about! They'd won the UFS, and now he could get the world title rematch he should've gotten the moment he lost his title without even being pinned or submitted!

Sting naturally took issue with that, saying that he eliminated two guys and survived until the end while Booker was the first man out, so the results spoke for themselves as far as who deserved to challenge either Scott Steiner or DDP for the world title. Even if he himself wasn't chosen, AJ Styles had done more to earn a world title shot than Booker during this final round. Booker brushed it off, saying that their victory wouldn't have been possible if he hadn't come out like a house of fire and gotten the match started hot, and Sting replied by reminding him that this entire tiebreaker wouldn't have even been necessary if he had just beaten Flair last week on Nitro. It got pretty tense between the two top picks of the K-Nections after that, but Styles and Wright kept the peace while Heenan said that the decision would ultimately belong to team manager Kevin Gaines, and we'd find out his choice next month at Halloween Havoc during the official trophy presentation.

Booker was really good here as the energetic, somewhat delusional ex-champion trying to justify why he should be getting the title match, but Sting wasn't all that great in his role as the guy providing the reality check. Bobby didn't do very well either; it looked like he almost forgot to mention the role Kevin Gaines will play in all this.

Grade: A

Diamond Dallas Page vs. "Big Poppa Pump" Scott Steiner (w/Midajah) {}

In looking to play off of the real-life animosity between these guys, we structured this as much less a match and more a fight. They had the classic uncontrollable pier six brawl, beating the crap out of each other in the ring, out of the ring, up the aisle, etc. They didn't hit each other with weapons or anything like that, but they did throw each other into the guardrail, the steps and the ring post. On commentary we made sure to credit referee Nick Patrick for understanding the emotion here and giving the guys plenty of leeway despite having cause to disqualify and/or count either or both men out. It was a fun brawl, but there wasn't a whole lot of psychology on display. Dallas' age is catching up to him too, which you could see as he struggled to keep up physically.

Scott looked to have things all set up for the Steiner Recliner, but Page blocked it and punched his way back to his feet. A discus clothesline dropped Steiner, and DDP flashed the Diamond Cutter sign. Steiner got back up, and Page struck.

Or tried to at least. Steiner blocked the Diamond Cutter and shoved Page towards the turnbuckles, with Patrick having to scramble out of the way to avoid being trampled. That put him out of position, and Steiner exploited this by kicking DDP in the groin. Patrick got back into position just in time to count the tainted pinfall.

Grade: B

The match was over, but the action was far from finished. DDP tackled Steiner to the ground as he was being handed his belt, and they started trading punches on the mat. Patrick was completely incapable of pulling the enemies apart so he started waving to the back for reinforcements. They rolled underneath the bottom rope and out to the floor, still fighting the entire time. Officials were finally able to pull them apart out on the floor--but then DDP broke free and tackled Steiner right on top of our announce table! The crowd popped big for that. They were hot for this entire segment really.

Mike and I put the headsets down and scurried out of the way as the brawl continued, and that seemed as good a way as any to close this show out. The match may not have been a blowaway, but that brawl was magic.

Grade: A*

Show Overall Grade: B+

Last edited by The Final Countdown : 07-23-2017 at 10:33 PM.
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