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Default January 27th, 2002: Sin

January 27th, 2002

From Pepsi Coliseum in Indianapolis, Indiana

Attendance: 8,200 (sell-out!)

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

Official Theme Song: "Sin by Stone Temple Pilots

AJ Styles vs. Kaz Hayashi (w/Stacy Keibler)

Styles and Hayashi opened us up for the second PPV in a row. Just like at Starrcade, they delivered in that spot. There were still some occasional gaps in the match structure because neither of these guys have the experience or knowledge to hold a match together, but the action was strong. It wasn't an all-out spotfest, but there was plenty of good aerial work. The match was dragged down a bit by the color commentary of King Corino, who I put at the desk so he could still get on the show even though he was injured. He criticized most of the flying stuff as all style and no substance and said neither of these guys were TRUE wrestlers like him. It made sense for his character, but this wasn't the match for it.

Keibler played a big part in the finish at Starrcade, and she did so once again tonight. As AJ was standing on the top rope, she climbed onto the apron and started yelling at him. Last month this distracted him and gave Kaz enough time to recover, but this time he just gave her a little smirk and hit the Spiral Tap to win the match.

Grade: B

Arn Anderson walked down the ramp after the match. (With the new year I've decided to bring back a modified version of the old elevated ramp WCW used in the early 90's, which we'll use on all of our PPVS going forward.) He was out to introduce the fans to Manami Toyota, who was sitting in the front row. He called her the most talented female wrestler in the world today and said she was going to be one of the leading competitors in the upcoming women's division in WCW, which would feature legitimate competition between the greatest female athletes in the sport rather than women who didn't know a wrist lock from a wrist watch rolling around on the mat and tearing each other's clothes off. This was a last-minute angle I threw in as a teaser for what's on the horizon. Bobby Heenan approached Arn as he made his way back up the aisle and asked him if Toyota was the free agent we'd heard him talking with on Nitro, but Arn told him that was not the case. While he was thrilled to bring in Manami, the individual he'd invited to the show tonight for further negotiations was from "up North." He was in fact expecting them to arrive very soon, so he excused himself to go await their arrival.

Grade: C-
American Dragon vs. "Sugar" Shane Helms

I had confidence that Dragon would do well in his PPV debut, and he did not disappoint. I told he and Shane to really go all out, and I thought both guys responded well to that direction. Dragon did lots of painful-looking submissions and suplexes with the occasional aerial move mixed in, while Shane worked a more aggressive heel style. Helms did a nice job continuing the story we'd built up, acting like a jerk and taunting Dragon whenever he had the advantage, making sure he knew that he was beneath him. It was a well worked match but Corino was again a detriment on commentary, spending most of his time insulting Dragon's mask and ring gear rather than actually contributing to the characters or story.

Dragon put together a late match rally and looked to apply his Arms Across America submission, but Helms was able to quickly get a foot on the ropes before the hold could be locked in. It wasn't too much later that Shane suckered his inexperienced foe into attempting and missing a diving headbutt, and a Vertebreaker subsequently ended the match. I see big things in Dragon's future, but in this match we established that he's young and still has a lot to learn (at least in kayfabe.)

Grade: B

Bob Backlund came down in between matches and confronted Corino. He claimed that the only reason Corino turned down his challenge is because he was afraid to step into the ring with him!

"As much respect as I have for Terry Funk and Jerry Lawler, neither of them are half the technical wrestler that I am! I was stretching opponents up and tying them in knots while you were still in grade school, and you know I could do the same to you, young man! You're just a great big chicken!"

My god, Bob was just cringeworthy here. Corino was much better as he got all red in the face and vehemently denied Backlund's claim.

"I refused to wrestle you because you aren't worth my time! Look at your career. You're the guy who's sandwiched in between the Sammartino and Hogan eras. Everyone who grew up in either of those eras thinks of it as the glory days of wrestling, but anybody who remembers your heyday would rather forget it! Unlike you, Backlund, I'm forging a REAL legacy, and I don't have time to waste on the likes of you! I'm not going to sit out here and listen to another second of this, so everybody watching at home who is about to be lost and disappointed because you're going to be deprived of my intellectual insights for the rest of the night, just know that you have Bob Backlund to blame!"

Corino threw down his headset and stormed off to the back. He was fantastic all the way around in this segment, as he was able to focus solely on his own character and storylines rather than being asked to comment on others. I'm glad I decided to do this angle early, because it means he isn't going to be around to hurt any of the other matches with subpar color commentary.

Grade: C

Billy Kidman (w/Torrie Wilson) vs. TAKA {} (w/Eric Bischoff)

It had already been well established by this point that Kidman does well in matches built around a series of high spots, and I saw no reason to go away from that formula here. TAKA was up to the challenge as well, and both guys looked in their element as they pulled off crowd-pleasing aerial acrobatics. Kidman popped the crowd with a nice dive through the middle rope, but the champion was not to be outdone: a beautiful top rope Asai moonsault to the floor was probably the highlight of the match.

Torrie Wilson went to check on Kidman following that move, but Bischoff ran over and chased her away, telling her to mind her own business and not get involved. That naturally didn't make Kidman happy, as he grabbed Eric by the lapels of his jacket. TAKA rushed to the defense of his manager, pulling Billy away and tackling him into the guard rail. Both guys lost track of the referee's count due to all the commotion, resulting in a double count out finish.

Grade: B

A camera was there to see Kanyon sitting in a deserted hallway with a blank look on his face. The camera man asked him if he'd figured out what his next step was, and all Kanyon could do was shake his head. He said he'd been so sure nobody was "betta" than Kanyon, but then he wrestled the biggest match of his life, a two out of three falls match for the United States title at Starrcade, and he lost. If the true answer to "who betta than Kanyon?" isn't "nobody", then what was he supposed to do with himself?

"I can answer that for you, Chris."

Kanyon squinted up at Father Isaac as he stepped into the hallway. Isaac had a sad look on his face while looking down at Kanyon.

"Chris, it grieves me to see you in such a state, but don't despair! Others may not see you for what you are, and you may even be doubting it yourself, but my faith in you has never wavered! I've always seen the potential in you, just waiting to be tapped. That's why I recruited you to my side five years ago. You did not reach the heights I knew you were capable of back then, but that was my own failing. I apologize for not leading you to the promised land in 1997, but I am a new man now. I redeemed myself. I found Salvation. And you can too. Join us, Chris. Remember your true face, and embrace it."

Isaac held out a bag, and after a moment's hesitation Kanyon took it. He opened the bag and pulled something out of it, and had an unreadable look on his face when he saw what it was. The camera zoomed in to reveal that it was his old Mortis mask.

Grade: B-
Sting vs. Fit Finlay

As I expected, both of these guys were hurt by the fact that they aren't what they used to be physically. Also as I expected, they're both talented enough to make up for that to a large degree. Despite a combined age of 85, this was one of the better matches on the show. Finlay kept at his persona of a tough Irishman who loves to fight, punishing Sting with brawling tactics as well as sprinkling in the occasional mat wrestling hold. The story was all about Sting taking Fit's best shots and coming back for more as the fans cheered the 7-time world champion on.

In a cool spot, Finlay caught Sting out of the air on a Stinger Splash and planted him with his rolling fireman's carry. He then went for the kill with his Tombstone, but Sting kicked his legs to regain his feet and converted it into a Tombstone of his own for the victory.

Grade: B

Bobby wasn't giving up on getting "the scoop"; he led a camera man to the office of Arn Anderson to try and get an answer out of him. As they got close you could hear Arn talking to someone from behind the closed door, and it was clear he was talking to the free agent. Based on what we could hear, it was made obvious that negotiations were going very well.

Bobby knocked on the door, and Arn opened it just enough to poke his head out, preventing any outside eyes (or cameras) from seeing who his guest was. Bobby tried to get Arn to let him in, but he was refused. He then tried to get Arn to spill the beans on who was in there, or at least give him a hint, but Arn refused on the grounds that contract negotiations were a delicate business and he didn't want to risk anything going wrong. Bobby was desperate enough to try and rush past Arn and into the room, but he ran into and bounced right off of the chest of The Enforcer, falling down on his ass. Arn chuckled at the sight and slammed the door shut. I thought Arn was solid here in his role, but Bobby's comedic timing was not as sharp as it usually is.

Grade: C+
Doomsday vs. 3 Count

I thought it would be a good idea to cool the crowd off a bit before we got to the home stretch of the show, and Doomsday and 3 Count succeeded in that role. This was a fun little match, with 3 Count trying and failing to convince Brian Adams to claim their third green circle and dance with them. Karagis and Moore wanted nothing of a physical fight with Doomsday, but eventually realized they had no choice. They tried to use stick and move, in and out aerial attacks, but had only minimal success. Adams (who I thought showed some improvement in his general performance and even a little bit of technical wrestling) tossed Moore over the top rope and to the floor, and Karagis was finished after a double chokeslam.

Grade: C
Diamond Dallas Page and The Natural Born Thrillers vs. Shane Douglas and Totally Buffed

This was primarily a way to keep the DDP/Douglas feud going without putting them in a singles match, and a chance to get the Thrillers and Totally Buffed onto the show in the process. With that in mind I told all six to worry more about advancing the story rather than trying to have the best match they could. Not that Lex Luger was capable of much else. He was so much worse than everybody else in the match, with phony looking slams and crappy punches. It wasn't even like he was having an off night or anything; he just stinks.

Thankfully we did have Dallas and Shane there, and they were not only the best performers in the match, they took center stage as well they should have. The entire match was built around their confrontations, or lack thereof; Douglas played mind games by tagging in and out to avoid DDP. His main offense against Dallas was cheap shots, especially when he was the illegal man and could attack DDP when his attention was elsewhere. One such opportunity arose when Buff threw DDP through the ropes and onto the ramp. With the referee's attention drawn to an in-ring brawl between the NBT and Luger and Bagwell, Douglas saw his chance and picked up a steel folding chair.

Before he could take a swing, Kimberly ran down the ramp and grabbed the chair. They had a tug-of-war over the chair, obviously won by Douglas, but when he turned back around with the chair he was met with a discus clothesline from DDP. After giving Kimberly a hug and asking her to return to the back, Dallas went back into the ring and took an unsuspecting Luger out with a Diamond Cutter to win the match.

Grade: B-

Roddy was quick to remind all of tonight's guests that any violence would result in a fine from the WCW front office, and on behalf of Piper's Pit he could not condone such behavior, wink wink. (He literally did wink.) He said we'd seen and heard a lot of things since Starrcade. We heard Eric Bischoff explain why he created this "Empire" and why he'd targeted Ric Flair, and we'd heard Flair say that when he got back from his office-imposed break, he was coming for Bischoff. The one thing we hadn't seen was what would happen when Flair and The Empire were in the same place at the same time, and what better place to find out than right here on Piper's Pit?

Candido spoke first, and honestly he may have been the best performer in the entire segment. He was absolutely great as he told Ric Flair that he shouldn't be upset at Eric; he should be thanking him! If he really loves WCW as much as he always claims to, he should recognize that no one ever did more to improve WCW than Mr. Bischoff! He'd changed the entire sport of wrestling forever, and for the better! And as much as people loved to pretend that Bischoff only cared about the likes of Hogan and Savage, his track record said different. Look at the modern WCW. Rey Misterio Jr? Booker T? Kanyon? All of them were taken from obscurity and became stars in Eric Bischoff's WCW! Look at the "other guys" and their top tier talent. Jericho? Benoit? Guerrero? Giant? All of them got their big breaks thanks to Eric, and then took Vince McMahon's money and ran! But that wasn't going to happen this time. He and TAKA were being given the opportunity of a lifetime, and they owed their loyalty to the man who made it all possible, Eric Bischoff! Together this Empire was going to lead WCW into the future, and the bitter old men like Flair could either get out of their way or get run over!

Ric said that he admired Candido's spirit, but he'd made a big mistake hitching his wagon to Bischoff. He would use Candido and TAKA as long as it suited him, and then he'd throw them out like used garbage the moment he was done with them. He'd done it before and he'd do it again. There's a reason guys like the ones Candido mentioned earlier, as well as Austin, Cactus and others, got the heck out of WCW.

"Bischoff, you may have these kids fooled, but I know what you really are! You are POISON! You took everything that was good about WCW and you KILLED IT, just like you tried to kill my career! But you failed! Not only did WCW survive even after you ran it into the ground, I'm still standing here! Despite everything you did to try and ruin me professionally and personally, the Nature Boy is still alive and well, still stylin' and profilin'! And if you think for one second that I'm going to sit back and let you have another chance at tearing down me OR WCW, you're an even bigger delusional bastard than I thought you were!"

Ric was pretty good here as well. Roddy tried to transition into Bischoff's rebuttal and did so rather awkwardly, but Eric was there to jump in before he could veer too far off track. He laughed at Flair's speech and said it was refreshing to see that the more things change, the more they stay the same.

"You're still the same old Nature Boy, always wanting to be the life of the party and the center of attention. But Roddy, if you want to get to the heart of why Ric and I have always been at each others' throats, here's the truth: it's because I'm the only one who had the foresight to see that Ric isn't as great as he thinks he is. With Ric Flair's name at the top of the marquee, WCW was forever a bridesmaid, a footnote in professional wrestling. So I went out and signed the man who was capable of taking WCW straight to the top. I signed the biggest star in the history of wrestling, Hulk Hogan! And with Hulk as our champion, and later the leader of the nWo, my ultimate objective of global domination was THIS CLOSE to being fulfilled before I had the rug ripped out from under me! But no matter how people try and frame it, the fact is that my vision for professional wrestling was correct! The suits at Turner got in the way and messed everything up, but bringing in Hulk was the right call, and so was creating the nWo! Hulk was better than Flair ever was, both in the ring and at the box office. The nWo was a bigger deal than your Four Horsemen ever were, and both of those facts eat you alive, Ric! I wasn't kidding when I said I was going to build another empire, and the first thing on our agenda is getting rid of you. Make no mistake, "Nature Boy"; there is no room for old has-beens like you in the new WCW, and our Empire will not rest until you are nothing but a distant memory!"

Ric had heard enough and tried to attack Bischoff, but Candido and TAKA were ready for him. Ric tried to fight off both men and did a decent job at first, but eventually they overwhelmed him. Candido held him in place for a springboard dropkick from TAKA, and after he was sufficiently weakened they both propped him up so Bischoff could get in a few slaps and a martial arts kick to the face. They left Flair lying in the ring, pleased with their night's work. I was pleased too; this was a very good segment, and aside from Piper everyone delivered.

Grade: B+

Alex Wright and Jamie Knoble vs. True Heroes {}

They might be a makeshift team, but Knoble is one of our best young talents and Wright is a young veteran (seriously, how is he only 26? It feels like he's been in WCW forever.) Their skill offset their lack of experience as a team, and we already know how good a combination Storm and Punk are. The four of them put on a very entertaining tag team match which was very close to the same level as True Heroes' match with the Thrillers at Starrcade. It was more about athleticism and less about the tried and true tag team formula we used last month, but it was a very good match in its own right.

There was some great action here, and we gave Wright and Knoble plenty of offense and several near-falls. Wright seemingly had the titles won when he hit his German suplex on Punk, but Storm was there to make the save. In the end the teamwork of the champions made all the difference, as Punk whipped Knoble into Wright, cracking their heads together. That knocked Wright off of the apron and left Knoble wide open for the Heroic Finish and the first successful title defense for True Heroes.

Grade: B

Vampiro vs. Rey Misterio Jr. {}

The pressure was on Vampiro here. His matches have been generally underwhelming, and Rey might be our most consistently great in ring performer. If this match underachieved, we knew who would shoulder the blame. I decided to tell them both to go all out and do everything they could to try and make this great. Fortunately for Vampiro, this went pretty well. While this isn't in contention for Rey's best match since I took over, it was one of the best matches of the night. Vampiro enjoyed throwing Rey around the ring, including a cool-looking gutwrench suplex off of the top rope. Rey did his usual exciting aerial offense, but it does have to be said that my all out instructions might have hurt him here. It felt like he was trying to do too much and fit in as many of his big spots as possible rather than working them in at the proper time. I guess I'll need to keep that in mind and tell him to slow down a bit in the future.

Rey went for a diving hurricanrana but Vampiro caught him, repositioned him and hit the Nail in the Coffin! Ref Charles Robinson dove into position and counted once...


...but Rey got a shoulder up just before the three! Vampiro shook his head in frustration and went to the top rope, coming off with a flying spinning heel kick. Rey ducked the ill-advised move, and when Vampiro got back to his feet he was treated to a springboard hurricanrana that ended the match.

Grade: B

Rey's celebration was cut short when Booker T walked out onto the ramp holding a microphone. He was out to reveal his big plan on how he was going to get his world title back. And the way he was going to do that? He reminded everyone that he still had a guaranteed shot at the United States title from the first Ultimate Fan Series. While the United States title was a coveted prize, it was the World Heavyweight championship he had his sights set on.

"Let me clue all you suckas in on somethin! In March WCW's bringin' back the Clash of the Champions as a PPV event, and the main event is gonna be the reigning United States champion gettin' a shot at the World Heavyweight title! Since the office suits ain't gonna give me my rematch any other way, I'm just gonna have to take it by force! Rey, nothing personal, dawg, but you're in my way. At Superbrawl I'm comin' for your title, sucka, and then after I have that I'm gonna get my World Heavyweight championship back at the Clash! Now!"

Grade: B

The Destroyer (w/Father Isaac) vs. Rob Van Dam {}

My expectations for Van Dam's Starrcade main event with Scott Steiner were sky high, so when the match wound up being merely good it was a big letdown. His previous two matches with a (then maskless) Awesome were fairly good but not exactly the kind of match we're looking for in the main event spot. Given all of that, I had no clue what to expect here. I went in basically just crossing my fingers and hoping for the best. A lot was riding on this match, and I knew RVD felt the pressure of needing to prove he belonged in the main event. I was cautious about letting him get out of control with a bunch of high spots, and I definitely didn't think it would be a good idea to let this veer into the ECW-esque hardcore style they used in their two PPV matches last year. I basically told them not to try and do too much, and just wrestle a standard match. No weapons and no theatrics; RVD was to use his kicks and his flashy acrobatic stuff without diving into the crowd or using chairs or anything like that, and Destroyer was instructed not to use any weapons or break any tables. I was hoping that this would take some of the pressure off and let them just have a solid match without overthinking it.

Boy, did they over-deliver! This was a fantastic main event; our best since that Steiner/Mutoh match in August. It was right on the borderline between what I would consider a B+ and an A. Ultimately I went with a B+, but I was beyond thrilled with that. If Rob can keep up this level of performance then nobody's going to be able to second-guess whether he deserves to be in this spot.

One of my goals in this match was to establish The Destroyer as a big threat, and we did that by having him really punish Van Dam with power moves while also absorbing some of Rob's best shots and barely even budging. He launched RVD over the top rope with a gorilla press, then showed his athleticism by laying out with a running dive over the top rope! Not too many guys Awesome's size can pull that off, and it really sets him apart. He continued his attack with a suplex on the ramp (thankfully padded) and set up for the Destruction Bomb on it as well. RVD countered with a hurricanrana and hit Rolling Thunder on the ramp, then dragged Destroyer back into the ring. A second Rolling Thunder inside the ring wasn't enough to finish the match, and neither was a split-legged moonsault. RVD resorted to his coup de grace, the Five Star Frog Splash, and that was enough to finally finish The Destroyer.

Grade: B+

RVD barely had time to exhale before Scott Steiner appeared out of nowhere and dumped him on his head with a release German suplex! Scott gave him a pretty extended beating, with lots of kicks, punches and suplexes. Van Dam tried to fight back, throwing some (pretty weak-looking) punches, but he had little chance to prevail after having just gone through a grueling match. Scotty eventually locked on the Steiner Recliner, contorting RVD's neck and ignoring the pleas of officials. Once he released the hold, Steiner grabbed the microphone.

"You've been carryin' my title around long 'nuff, Rob-Van-Dam! I hope you enjoyed your little fantasy month of pretendin' to be a world champion, 'cause I'm takin' my belt back, boy!"

True to his word, Scott grabbed the world title and walked off with it. I complained on commentary about it not belonging to him anymore, but Tenay asked who was going to have the guts to tell him to give it back. Scott was good here, maybe because his message was simple and he didn't go off track as he sometimes has a tendency to do. (Even if those moments are usually entertaining in their own right.)

Grade: A*

Show Overall Grade: B+

Credit to K-Nection for providing a PPV poster for the second show in a row. EXTRA credit because he had to photoshop that mask onto Awesome!

I wasn't sure if everyone would understand what I was talking about with the ramp similar to what WCW used in the early 90's, so I wanted to find a picture. I'm not sure if this gives a good shot of the height, but it's the best I could find.

Last edited by The Final Countdown : 07-23-2017 at 11:51 AM.
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