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Default March 2002: Road to Clash of the Champions


February 25th, 2002

From the McMorran Place Arena in Port Huron, Michigan

Attendance: 4,800 (sell-out!)

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

Spotlight Segment:

We opened with Booker T in the ring, and he was in a much better mood than he had been seemingly ever since he lost the world title to Scott Steiner last July. Booker looked like a star as he explained why he was so happy: it was because justice was finally about to be served.

"The whole dang world knows I should still be the heavyweight champion of the world right here and now! And there's not one person with any brains who thinks it's fair that those stooges in the WCW front office have denied me my rematch ever since! But all that's comin' to an end now, because last night I beat that sucka Rey Misterio Jr. up so bad that he couldn't take it anymore, and he got himself disqualified on purpose just so I wouldn't hurt him anymore! You know what that means, dawg: at Clash of the Champions I'm finally gonna get my world title rematch! So Rob Van Dam, enjoy holdin' onto my belt for a few more weeks, fool, because when we go down under for Clash of the Champions I'm taking it back! Now"

"Hold on just one second there, Booker,"
a voice said, interrupting Book in mid-sentence.

Commissioner Anderson joined Book in the ring, and he was the bearer of bad news.

"Book, you seem to have misinterpreted something, and as a result you've jumped to the wrong conclusion. It is true that you beat Rey Misterio Jr. last night. That's official, that's in the record books, and nobody's taking that victory away from you. But you are NOT going to be challenging for the world heavyweight championship on March 24th."

Booker was outraged, demanding to know what the hell Arn was talking about. Arn explained that the title shot at Clash of the Champions was going not to "the winner of Booker T vs. Rey Misterio Jr.", but the United States champion. Booker might have won last night, but he DIDN'T win the US title, and so he WOULDN'T be getting the title shot at RVD. This segment didn't go as well as I'd hoped and I'm not really sure why, but it did what it needed to do.

Grade: B-

After going 50/50 in their UFS singles matches last night, the Hardys were back together in tag action and got a win over the oddball team of Fit Finlay and Disco Inferno. (B)

Satyr's Hopeful Few backstage promo; while all the other UFS teams fight for their lives tonight, they're already looking forward to demolishing whomever emerges to meet them in the Semifinals. (B)

Ultimate Fan Series, Opening Round: #4 The Dead Jesters vs. #5 Uncrewed's Crew (series tied 2-2)
Shane Douglas and Lance Storm took on Sting and Lex Luger in the first of three UFS tiebreakers. Between the technique of Storm and the savvy of Douglas, they were definitely a match for their more famous opponents. The Empire tired of watching the standstill and came out to the ring to take matters into their own hands, but Sting jumped down from the apron and yelled at them to stay out of it. As that was going on, Douglas hit the Franchiser on Luger and pinned him to send The Dead Jesters to the Semifinals. (B)

RVD and Misterio are interviewed while fellow K-Nections teammates AJ Styles and American Dragon stand in silent support. Both men agree that they're going to give it their all at Clash of the Champions in what is sure to be a classic title match, but tonight they'll have no problem working together against the Natural Born Thrillers to make sure the team advances. (B+)

We cut to Sting yelling at The Empire in their locker room while Lex Luger unsuccessfully tries to play peacemaker. Bischoff places the blame for their elimination squarely on Sting, and Candido and TAKA attack him! Luger flees, and Sting is beaten down. (B-)

The first televised women's match in WCW in quite some time featured Alexis Laree against Takako Inoue. Mike and I spent the match introducing both women to the audience, presenting Alexis as a plucky 22-year old prospect while the more experienced Inoue considers herself not only the best women's wrestler in the world but the most beautiful one as well, and she isn't shy about voicing that opinion. Women's champion Etsuko Mita watched the match from the aisle, and she saw Inoue attempt to humiliate her opponent, only for Alexis to catch her cocky opponent off-guard with a swinging DDT for a surprising pinfall! (D+)

Backstage skit: 3 Count try to recruit Stacy Keibler into "the band" while Kaz Hayashi watches on blankly. She laughs but gives them no real response. (C-)

Cruiserweight tag team action saw Jamie Knoble and Billy Kidman team up against Cash and Elix Skipper. Kidman redeemed his loss to TAKA at SuperBrawl by pinning Skipper with the shooting star press. (B)

King Corino backstage promo; "Who is left for me to defeat? Who is left to challenge The King?" (C+)

Ernest Miller's dancing did not impress The Unnatural. The Cat was put down for the count by Unnatural Selection. (B-)

Christopher Daniels interview: "TAKA? Billy Kidman? AJ Styles? None of them can hold a candle to the Fallen Angel, God's gift to the cruiserweight division!" (C+)

Ultimate Fan Series, Opening Round: #1 The K-Nections vs. #8 The Wild Cards (series tied 2-2)
All four were babyfaces, but there was significant intrigue thanks to RVD and Rey teaming up even though they'll be wrestling each other for Rob's world title at Clash of the Champions. The two champions worked together well enough to have a very even match with the Thrillers, but when RVD attempted a flying side kick off of the top rope, O'Haire got out of the way and he kicked Rey instead! Palumbo knocked a surprised RVD out of the ring and O'Haire hit the Widow Maker to finish Misterio (the second time he's defeated him in the last month.) The Wild Cards are on to the Semifinals, and the defending champions are out! (B+)

RVD helps Rey up after the match, but Rey shoves him! Rob tries to apologize, but Rey leaves the ring in a foul mood. (B-)

Ultimate Fan Series, Opening Round: #2 Agents of Chaos vs. #7 The League of Extraordinary Grapplers (series tied 2-2)
In our main event, the Steiner Brothers, Ric Flair and DDP fought to determine who the final UFS Semifinal team would be. Flair and DDP have been in plenty of huge matches, and that big match experience helped them avoid some of the pitfalls that would derail most first time teams against a tried and true duo like the Steiners. That said, there's simply no replacement for teamwork, and the Steiners have few rivals in that area. They cut the ring off, isolated DDP and forced him to submit to the Steiner Recliner. (B)

Shane Douglas comes out after the match and taunts the fallen DDP. "Last night, Kimberly showed up and handed you that win. Tonight she's not here, and look what happened! You lost like the worthless piece of crap you are! You haven't done anything but prove me right over the last two nights. Without that bimbo there to support you, you are NOTHING, Page!" (A*)

Show Grade: B+

Taped immediately after Nitro

Announce Team: Tony Schiavone and Don West

American Dragon made relatively short work of Alan Funk. (C+)

Backstage: True Heroes approach Totally Buffed, invite them to join them in their locker room and "discuss business." (B)

Takako Inoue may be conceited about her looks, but she's also supremely talented and proved it by defeating local Cindy Rogers with a spinning backfist that she calls "Night Night." (C-)

Alex Wright defeated the slumping Mike Sanders in the main event. (C+)

Wild Cards backstage promo: they shocked the world by eliminating the #1 seed and defending champions, and they'll continue all the way to the championship. (B-)

Show Grade: C+


March 4th, 2002

From Te Rauparaha Arena in Porirua, New Zealand

Attendance: 3,000 (sell-out!)

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

The show is supposed to open with a match between Norman Smiley and Disco Inferno, but Booker T comes to the ring and orders both men out; Smiley doesn't comply and Booker attacks him, throwing him over the top rope. He demands that Arn Anderson come to the ring and "make it right" by giving him his world title shot; if not at Clash of the Champions, then tonight! Arn comes out and says his decision is final; the next world title match will be held at the Clash, and it will be reigning US champion Rey Misterio Jr. who challenges for the belt. Booker says that if that's the way it's going to be, Arn's forced his hand: he's going on strike, and will not wrestle another match for WCW until he gets the world title shot he deserves! (C+)

The first match of the night to actually get underway was a triple threat between American Dragon, Shane Helms and Kaz Hayashi to determine the next challenger for TAKA's cruiserweight title. All three men had a chance to shine, with Dragon's technical wrestling, the flying of Hayashi and the impact moves of Helms all coming into play, but it was the young masked grappler who got the win with a quick cradle on Helms. (B)

Bobby Heenan interviews Alexis Laree and Etsuko Mita. Alexis says she's seen plenty of tapes of Mita in Japan and respects her ability, but she won't be afraid at Clash of the Champions. "It's my dream to be women's champion, and I want to make the most of it!", she explained. Mita just shook her head, rolled her eyes and walked off. (D-)

Ultimate Fan Series, Semifinal Round: #2 Agents of Chaos vs. #8 The Wild Cards
The Semifinal round opened with a match between Mark Jindrak and Matt Hardy. Jindrak got in some power offense, but Hardy looked to be in a different class and won the match with the Twist of Fate. (C)

Totally Buffed confront both Hardys after the match and say that they're sick of all the "geeks on the internet" talking about the Hardys all the time. "You may think you're something special because you jumped off of a few ladders, but you're not stars and have never been stars, and we're not gonna let you come in here and steal attention from true stars like us!" Bagwell shouted. They challenge Matt and Jeff to a match at COTC, and the challenge is accepted! (C+)

Roddy Piper gives a short teaser for Piper's Pit tonight with guests Rob Van Dam and Rey Misterio Jr, which is sure to be explosive after the incident we saw last week where Rey shoved him after their tag match. (B-)

The two preeminent factions in WCW today, Salvation and The Empire, wound up on opposing sides in a singles match. Tammy Sytch was all smiles when Chris Candido won the match for The Empire with a fisherman buster on Vampiro. (B-)

Candido does some boasting after the match, but is chased away by Ric Flair! Flair challenges Candido to a match "any time, anywhere, so I can kick break both your legs with the figure four! And after you're out of the way, I'm taking Bischoff out!" (B)

AJ Styles and Sting, who still have a tag team title shot in their back pocket from last year's UFS, took on and defeated 3 Count courtesy of a Styles Clash on Karagis. (B)

Lance Storm is warming up for his main event UFS match against Mortis while CM Punk laughs about how easy it was to manipulate "those two musclebrained morons" Luger and Bagwell to go after the Hardys. Arn Anderson interrupts the snickering champions to introduce the men who will challenge them for their titles at Clash of the Champions: the Natural Born Thrillers! Palumbo smirks and says they'll see them at the Clash. "After we beat the world champ AND the US champ in the same match last week, we're gonna make it a clean sweep at the Clash and take our belts back!" (B+)

Konnan's career has been fairly stagnant recently, and it didn't improve any when King Corino hit the piledriver to hand him a loss. (B)

Vignette: Shane Douglas mocks the absent Diamond Dallas Page, who is still in the US this week. Douglas gives a history lesson, complete with clips, about how DDP's career was going nowhere until Kimberly joined him as the Diamond Doll, and then how his career-making feud with Randy Savage only came about because of Kimberly's nude photoshoot. He then shows more recent footage: Kimberly helping DDP beat him at SuperBrawl, and then Page losing in last week's tiebreaker when she wasn't there. "You're nothing without her, Page! If you didn't have a hot wife there to prop your worthless career up, you'd still be running some damn nightclub!" (B+)

Backstage: Scott Steiner gives the rest of Agents of Chaos a pep talk. ('Pep talk' in this case meaning he threatened to beat up "wannabe Big Poppa Pump" Jindrak for losing earlier, and warned The Unnatural that if he lost his match, he'd "smack that stupid makeup right offa ya!") The Unnatural doesn't back down. "I will win, Steiner, do not worry about that. What you need to worry about is what I'll do to YOU should you fail." (B+)

Ultimate Fan Series, Opening Round: #4 The Dead Jesters vs. #6 Satyr's Hopeful Few
Lance Storm against Mortis was an intriguing matchup. Storm is a supremely talented technician, while Mortis built a reputation as a practitioner of innovative offensive moves during his time as Kanyon. He still had those moves at his disposal, but he's also wrestled with a more aggressive, almost maniacal edge since putting the mask of Mortis back on. That made all the difference here, as some rough brawling put Storm on the defensive and left him open for the Flatliner. (B+)

Spotlight Segment:

The world title feud took center stage to close out the show as RVD and Misterio joined Roddy for another edition of Piper's Pit. While I usually just give my workers a few bullet points to cover in their promos and leave the rest up to them as I feel it's more natural and has a greater chance of producing something truly memorable, I did not do so here. Rey usually seems to struggle cutting promos off the cuff, so Dusty Rhodes and I collaborated with the guys involved to create a detailed script for this segment. I think it was a good decision. Rey's performance was still generally underwhelming, but at least he was able to stick to the words we'd scripted for him instead of trying and failing to come up with something in the moment.

Roddy replayed the ending of last week's tag team match where RVD came off the top rope and accidentally kicked Misterio in the face, and then the post-match altercation where RVD tried to help Rey up only to be shoved away. He asked whether that was just Rey blowing off some steam and losing his cool in the moment after the frustration of losing the match and being eliminated from the UFS, or if there was something deeper at work here.

Rey admitted that he uncharacteristically lost his temper there, just like he'd lost it at SuperBrawl when Booker was assaulting him with a steel chair. But he felt his reaction was justified in both instances.

"When you were helping me up after the match, you said you were sorry and told me the kick was just an accident. But how do I know I can believe that? How do I know you didn't kick me on purpose so you could try and soften me up for our title match?"

RVD frowned and again insisted that it had been an accident. He pointed out that the footage clearly showed that he was aiming for Sean O'Haire, and he was already in mid-air by the time O'Haire got out of the way. Rey was still skeptical.

"That sounds real nice, but why should I trust you? You're already the world champion, so being eliminated from the UFS didn't mean as much to you. And we know you're very selfish; you say it every time you hold a microphone, and show it every time you get up and point to yourself like you're the only person that matters. Every chance you get, you tell everybody how 'Rob-Van-Dam' is special. 'R-V-D is one of a kind; no one can do the things that R-V-D does!' Well I've got news for you, Rob; no one else can do the things I do either! You're not as special as you think you are, and at Clash of the Champions you're going to find out that you're not 'one of a kind' after all, vato!"

RVD continued to profess his innocence, but Rey blew him off and left the ring as the show went off the air. This was a great segment; likely the best non-wrestling appearance of Rey's career. Going with the script was definitely the right way to go.

Grade: A

Show Grade: B+

Taped immediately after Nitro

Announce Team: Tony Schiavone and Don West

Chavo Guerrero Jr. defeated Air Paris. (C+)

Christopher Daniels is interviewed again about his plans to "bless" the cruiserweight division with his presence. (D+)

Totally Buffed picked up a win over The Mamalukes. (C-)

Fit Finlay spiked Ernest Miller with a Tombstone in order to defeat him. (C-)

The Unnatural cuts an ominous promo; says "in order to reach the light, you must first embrace the darkness as I did." (B)

Show Grade: C


March 11th, 2002

From Challenge Stadium in Perth, Australia

Attendance: 4,500 (sell-out!)

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

The opening match saw the legendary Ric Flair join forces with young American Dragon to take on their mutual adversaries The Empire. Flair wanted to get his hands on Chris Candido in the worst way ahead of their match at Clash of the Champions, but Candido played mind games and evaded him. Flair caught up with Candido and they brawled on the floor while Dragon got TAKA in Arms Across America and forced him to submit. (B)

RVD promo; he doesn't know what Rey Misterio's deal is, but he hopes Rey can retain his US title against Sean O'Haire tonight so their match can truly be a Clash of the Champions. (B+)

AJ Styles prevailed in a high spot-filled match against Cash. (B)

King Corino promo; he again asks if there is any competition left for him to defeat. (C+)

Ultimate Fan Series, Opening Round: #4 The Dead Jesters vs. #6 Satyr's Hopeful Few (S.H.F. lead 1-0)
It was a 'Showdown of Shanes' as Shane Douglas tried to even this series at one win apiece, and Shane Helms attempted to put the Hopeful Few one win away from a sweep. Helms did a solid job at keeping up, but Douglas was able to ground his lighter opponent and submit him with a crossface. (B)

Pretape with Roddy Piper, who says he's heard Booker T is going on strike. "That's just about the stupidest thing I've ever heard, and I've heard a lot in my years in this business! Kid, I'm giving you an open invitation any time you wanna come on Piper's Pit instead of sitting at home wasting away!" (B+)

3 Count approach Fit Finlay about joining the band; after all, that Michael Flatley dude is Irish and he's almost as good a dancer as they are! (He's actually an American, but don't tell Evan Karagis.) Fit tells them that they have three seconds to leave before he beats them over the head with their own green circles. (D)

Norman Smiley wouldn't be doing any Big Wiggling tonight after Mortis defeated him with the Flatliner. (B)

Eric Bischoff and Etsuko Mita interrupt an Alexis Laree interview for, and Eric announces that Mita has joined his Empire! "Etsuko needs an agent, someone who can watch her back and take care of the unfamiliar backroom politics in American wrestling while she does what she does best, which is dominate in the ring. She'll be a huge asset to our growing Empire, and you, missy, will NOT get in the way of that!" Alexis is saved from further harassment by the arrival of Sting, who tells Bischoff to beat it before he's introduced to the big black bat. (C)

Sean O'Haire is interviewed about his US title shot tonight. "I've already pinned little Rey twice in the past month. What's one more time? And then after Chuck and I take our tag belts back at the Clash, I'll be a double champion!" (C+)

Ultimate Fan Series, Semifinal Round: #2 Agents of Chaos vs. #8 The Wild Cards (Wild Cards lead 1-0)
The unpredictable Unnatural represented his team against Chuck Palumbo in the second match of the series. Palumbo was not affected by the bizarre behavior of the former Dustin Rhodes, but the young veteran slipped out of a running powerslam attempt and tied the series with Unnatural Selection. (B)

The Hardys and Totally Buffed argue in a backstage hallway. Luger and Bagwell do some flexing and dare the Hardys to top that, but Matt and Jeff aren't impressed. Matt says they don't show their value by posing for magazine covers; they do it in the ring, and that's just what they'll do at Clash of the Champions. (C+)

It was a battle of former tag team champions as Doomsday took on the Steiner Brothers. The big brawl of a match went in the favor of the brothers thanks to Scott, who finished Bryan Clark off with the Steiner Recliner. (B)

Spotlight Segment:

DDP was in the building tonight, and he was there for one purpose: to confront Shane Douglas in the middle of the ring. With Kimberly standing at his side, he called Douglas out to the ring. Once he arrived, he called Shane's video presentation last week "cute" but said he was tired of this back and forth between them.

"Shaneo, along with all the garbage you've been spewing, there's one thing you ain't wrong about: Kimberly has played a role in every one of our matches. At Starrcade you used her as a shield like a coward and that's why you beat me. In our six man tag at Sin she stopped you from hitting me with a chair, and at SuperBrawl she knocked you out cold with the ring bell. By the way, even though I asked her to stay home and not interfere that night, I have to say that it was pretty damn funny!" Dallas came across really well in this segment, and his delivery was good as well.

Douglas gave a sarcastic laugh and asked if any of this had a point, and Page explained the purpose of his visit. He proposed that they have one more match, one on one, at Clash of the Champions, with just them and no Kimberly. Shane rolled his eyes and said DDP said the same thing before SuperBrawl, and she'd still saved him just like she'd been saving his entire career from day one. Page admitted it was true, and even though he understood that she was concerned that Shane would try something dirty and that's why she'd shown up at SuperBrawl without his knowledge, he knew that in order to settle this once and for all she needed to be out of the picture.

That's why he would get in touch with the WCW matchmakers and put a stipulation in the match contract that if Kimberly interfered in any way at the Clash, he would automatically be suspended for 90 days! Douglas stroked his chin thoughtfully. He liked that idea, but he wanted to insert a clause of his own.

"I've said it all along, Page: your mere presence here all these years has denied opportunities to more deserving wrestlers, wrestlers like me! You should have quit years ago and allowed someone with some actual talent to take your place, someone that didn't need the help of some bimbo to become relevant! But since you didn't quit back then, I want to make you quit now! If we're going to fight one more time at Clash of the Champions, I want an I Quit match!" Shane's content maybe wasn't quite as strong as DDP's, but it was still above average in its own right.

DDP said that was just fine with him. The challenge was accepted and the match was on: DDP vs. Shane Douglas in an I Quit match, and if Kimberly gets involved DDP is suspended for 90 days! This was another great segment from these two.

Grade: A

CM Punk joined color commentary to watch as Sean O'Haire had the biggest singles opportunity of his career, but he also had plenty of confidence after pinning Rey twice recently. This was largely your typical big man versus little man match, except O'Haire is quite athletic himself and demonstrated that several times. O'Haire went for it all when he lifted Rey onto his shoulders for the Widow Maker, but the champion swung around and countered into a spinning headscissors. He quickly followed up with a springboard hurricanrana to retain his gold. (B)

Rey gets on the mic after the match and says he thinks it's very unfair that people are questioning his integrity after his reaction to RVD's actions. "The person you should be questioning is Rob Van Dam. He's the one that kicked me in the face and cost us the match, and he's the one that always makes everything about him!" RVD steps out into the aisle to respond. "If you don't want to believe that the kick was an accident, hey, that's fine. That's on you. But when I kick you in the face at Clash of the Champions? THAT will be intentional, dude!" (B+)

Show Grade: B+

Taped immediately after Nitro

Announce Team: Tony Schiavone and Don West

The search for a third band member isn't going so well, but 3 Count did pick up a win tonight over Air Paris and Jim Duggan. (C-)

Christopher Daniels cut a generic promo ('Gods gift to the cruiserweight division', etc.) (E)

Kaz Hayashi put a smile on Stacy Keibler's face by defeating Jason Jett. (C)

Eric Bischoff cuts a promo on behalf of Etsuko Mita, promising that Mita will be the women's champion for as long as she sees fit, and there's nothing Alexis Laree can do about it. (C-)

CM Punk flew solo tonight and forced Yang to submit to the Second City Stretch. (C+)

Show Grade: C


March 18th, 2002

From ETSA Park in Adelaide, Australia

Attendance: 3,200 (sell-out!)

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

Ultimate Fan Series, Semifinal Round: #2 Agents of Chaos vs. #8 The Wild Cards (series tied 1-1)
Two men who have achieved their greatest success in tag teams met in singles action, and the winner would put his team one win away from the finals. Rick Steiner had almost two decades of experience on Sean O'Haire, but the younger man was clearly the better athlete at this stage. The Widow Maker helped O'Haire bounce back from last week's failed US title challenge. (B)

True Heroes come out to the ring and taunt O'Haire, saying that he might be an impressive athlete but forget about being a double champion: he would remain beltless after Clash of the Champions! O'Haire doesn't back down, but Punk and Storm do once Chuck Palumbo comes out from the back and joins his partner in the ring. (B+)

Backstage, Scott Steiner confronts Jamie Knoble. "If you think you're gonna beat me and knock us out of the Universal Fan World Series at the Clash, you're even stupider'n you look, and that's sayin' something!" Knoble corrects his pronunciation and says we'll find out who advances in the Ultimate Fan Series on Sunday. (A)

We had mixed tag team action, as Sunday's title challengers American Dragon and Alexis Laree took on the championship Empire duo of TAKA and Etsuko Mita. Laree was caught and planted with Mita's Death Valley Driver to end a competitive match. (B-)

Christopher Daniels interview; he tells Heenan that he'll debut when the time is right for him to grace the cruiserweight division with his presence. (D-)

Sting doesn't have a match scheduled for the Clash, but he came away a victor tonight after slapping the Scorpion Deathlock on Shawn Stasiak. (B-)

Ric Flair corners Eric Bischoff backstage and tells him he's going to drive him out of WCW right here and now! Bischoff cowers and makes pleas for mercy that fall on deaf ears, but Chris Candido makes the save! He beats Flair down onto the floor, and after straightening his jacket Bischoff joins in, both of them putting the boots to Flair. (B)

Their partners were up next in a UFS match, but first Matt Hardy took on Lex Luger. Luger did some of his power moves, but simply couldn't keep up and was taken out with the Twist of Fate. (C)

Ultimate Fan Series, Opening Round: #4 The Dead Jesters vs. #6 Satyr's Hopeful Few (series tied 1-1)
On Sunday they'd meet in tag action, but right now Jeff Hardy and Buff Bagwell battled to give their teams the edge in the UFS. Bagwell was unable to counter Hardy's energetic offense and was defeated with the Swanton Bomb. (B-)

Backstage: Salvation confront Kidman. Vampiro warns Kidman that he is on a mission, a quest for immortality, and Kidman will not intervene in that by defeating him at Clash of the Champions and eliminating the S.H.F. from the tournament. (C)

Pretape: Booker T accepts Roddy Piper's invitation, says he'll see him in Piper's Pit at Clash of the Champions. (B+)

Our main event featured AJ Styles going one on one with Shane Douglas. Styles is loaded with potential and is already pretty great, and he showed it by really taking Douglas to the limit with some great aerial tactics and solid wrestling. Douglas was reeling, but he was able to cut Styles off on the top rope and deliver a superplex. From there he locked in a crossface for the submission win. Mike and I pointed out that this was the second straight week he'd won a match with this hold, and it could come in handy in the I Quit match with DDP. (B+)

DDP steps out into the aisle and tells Douglas what's coming. "That was a nice hold there, Shane. But I'm not going to wrestle you at Clash of the Champions--I'm gonna kick your ass until you can take no more and scream the words 'I Quit!' Douglas, winded after a tough match, responds: "You're overrated trash, Page. You always have been and always will be, and on Sunday I'm going to expose you as the hack that you are!" (A*)

Spotlight Segment:

The commish was out in the ring for the official world title contract signing, but Arn was very much a background character in this one. He stayed out of the way and left all of the talking to RVD and Rey. I again scripted their words out ahead of time, as that seems to work best for Misterio.

Rey spoke first, and he began by saying that RVD seems to be all anyone can talk about these days.

"Everybody's amazed by the things that Rob Van Dam can do. And I'll be honest: they should be. You're one amazing athlete, Rob. You definitely have a style all your own, and I can understand why everybody's so impressed with you. But here's the thing: I've been raising the bar for athletic wrestling for YEARS! And I haven't been doing it in the underground; I've been doing it here in WCW, the greatest wrestling company in the whole world! While the old guys like Hogan and his friends stole all the headlines and made all the money with their boring, slow, out-of-date wrestling, it was the cruiserweight revolution that stole the show every single night! And nobody did more to usher in that style than Rey Misterio Jr.!

"Now WCW is changed. The Hogans and the Nashes are gone, and the modern style of wrestling is at the top where it shoulda been all along! Now Rob, I'm not taking anything away from you, vato. Like I said, you're one heck of an athlete. But the only reason you were able to come in here and achieve the kind of success you have, get the kind of opportunities you've gotten so quickly, was because guys like me broke that glass ceiling down and introduced WCW fans to the style of the future! Whether you meant to kick me in the face a few weeks ago or not, this match is about more than that. It's about me reminding the whole world that the trend-setting style of the modern WCW wasn't ushered in by Rob-Van-Dam. No, as great as you might be, you're just following in the footsteps of Rey Misterio Jr! I changed the game forever, and I'm going to change it one more time this Sunday at Clash of the Champions, when I defy every single person who ever told me I was too small to make it in pro wrestling by winning the HEAVYWEIGHT championship of the world!"

Rob had listened to all of this calmly and with a smile on his face, and he actually applauded once Rey finished speaking and signed the contract. He admitted that Rey made some good points. He'd been a huge trend-setter from the moment he'd entered WCW almost six years ago.

"Even I was impressed by the things you were doing--and I'm not easily impressed, dude! You've been doing cool things here in WCW for years, and good for you. But here's the thing: I wasn't in 'the underground' because I had to be or couldn't make it anywhere else. I coulda left ECW for a big money deal from WWF or WCW years ago, but I stayed. I stayed because I was having the time of my life, and because while you and the cruiserweights were revolutionizing the style here in WCW, we were having a little revolution of our own down in Philadelphia! You guys changed the game, but so did we! A better businessman took what we were doing, renamed it 'Attitude' and made millions off of it, but anybody who lived it knows that all he really did was copy ECW!

"But that's the past, man, and I don't live in the past. I live in the moment, and at this moment I'm the WCW World Heavyweight Champion! Anybody who knows me knows I've never been greedy or worried about material things, but I'm proud to hold this belt. I'm proud to hold it because it means that I can go out and put on the best show possible against the very best opponents, and they'll give me their best shot every single time because they want to take it away from me! And you, Rey, you're one of the best. I've been looking forward to this match for a long time, dude, because I know we're going to tear the damn house down like only we can!"

RVD signed the contract, and afterwards held his hand out for Rey to shake. The challenger did shake it after a pause, but you could see that there was still some tension and competitive fire from both guys despite the sportsmanly gesture.

Grade: B+

Show Grade: B+

Taped immediately after Nitro

Announce Team: Tony Schiavone and Don West

In a battle of wrestlers with no momentum to speak of, Johnny the Bull got his hand raised against Mike Sanders. (E+)

Mean Gene tries to join 3 Count, but Shannon Moore tells him he'd break his hip five seconds into the first performance. (D-)

True Heroes breezed through a non-title match against Air Paris and Jason Jett. (C+)

Jamie Knoble promo on his match against Scott Steiner. "I may be the underdog, but if Scotty thinks I'm gonna be a pushover he's in for a surprise!" (B-)

Chavo Guerrero Jr. used the Gory Special to defeat Yang. (C+)

Show Grade: C+
What will we get from RVD vs. Rey Misterio? Two out of RVD's three PPV main events have underachieved, and there's also the all-babyface thing to consider, but if both of these guys are 'on' this should be amazing from an athletic standpoint.

We've held off on the Thrillers getting their rematch at True Heroes for several months, but this felt like the appropriate time, especially with the NBT getting a high profile win over RVD and Misterio.

American Dragon is young, but the guy is already really fundamentally sound. I think he and TAKA could deliver a sleeper candidate for MOTN if all goes well here.

The Women's title will finally be defended on WCW programming. I considered having Mita defend against one of her fellow AJW alumni, but decided to start with young Alexis Laree instead. Alexis wasn't going to improve much more down in Wildside, and I'm trying to be more deliberate with my introduction of the Japanese women since they can't cut live promos on any of our shows held in English-speaking regions (which is basically all of them, aside from our trips to Japan.)

Scott Steiner looks to keep the Agents of Chaos alive in the UFS against Jamie Knoble of The Wild Cards. This could be really good, as long as Scotty doesn't take any liberties with the kid.

The other UFS match sees Vampiro trying to keep Satyr's Hopeful Few in the hunt. To do so he'll have to beat Billy Kidman of The Dead Jesters.

DDP and Shane Douglas will finally close out their program with an I Quit match, with Kimberly truly barred from ringside this time unless she wants to get her own husband suspended. The matches have been very good; the angles have been great. There should be tons of heat here.

Ric Flair and Chris Candido are back at it in Flair's first singles meeting with a member of The Empire since Bischoff arrived and the group got their name. This story has been good for Candido, but I worry about Ric's ability to deliver in the ring anymore.

The Hardys are in their first PPV match as a team here in WCW. Will their cutting-edge style prevail against the strength and flexing of Totally Buffed. The answer seems obvious...right?


Fan Scorecard:

World Heavyweight Championship: Rey Misterio Jr. vs. Rob Van Dam {}

World Tag Team Championship: The Natural Born Thrillers vs. True Heroes {}

Cruiserweight Championship: American Dragon vs. TAKA {}

World Women's Championship: Alexis Laree vs. Etsuko Mita {}

Ultimate Fan Series, Semifinal Round--#2 Agents of Chaos vs. #8 The Wild Cards (Wild Cards lead 2-1): "Big Poppa Pump" Scott Steiner vs. Jamie Knoble

Ultimate Fan Series, Semifinal Round--#4 The Dead Jesters vs. #6 Satyr's Hopeful Few (The Dead Jesters lead 2-1): Billy Kidman vs. Vampiro

I Quit Match: Diamond Dallas Page vs. Shane Douglas

"Nature Boy" Ric Flair vs. Chris Candido

The Hardys vs. Totally Buffed

What will be match of the night?

How many championships will change hands?

TIEBREAKER: How long will the main event be? (minutes and seconds)

General diary comments/questions/critiques:
Here's a specific question I'd like to ask, which you can answer in the critiques section if you'd like: do you think I should continue to post the TV shows in a monthly batch like this, or would it be better to try giving each week a post of its own? The style worked previously, but I'm wondering if four weeks in one post might be a bit much now since the introduction of the spotlight segment.

Last edited by The Final Countdown : 07-26-2017 at 05:24 PM.
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