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Default May 2002: Road to Mayhem

Quote:


April 22nd, 2002

From the Hakodate Citizen Gymnasium in Hakodate, Japan

Attendance: 4,200 (sell-out!)

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

Shane Douglas defeated Sean O'Haire in singles action to retain his United States title last night, but tonight he teamed with Shane Helms to face both O'Haire and Chuck Palumbo. The teamwork of the Thrillers made all the difference in the world, and Palumbo won the match with a running powerslam on Helms while Douglas watched from the apron. (B-)

After the match, the Thrillers stare Douglas down as he retrieves his championship belt from the timekeeper and slowly walks back up the aisle, looking back at both of them with a glare on his face. (B+)

The Salvation trio had no problem mowing down Norman Smiley, Jim Duggan and Jason Jett. (B-)

Post-Slamboree footage: Etsuko Mita confronts Manami Toyota and Toshiyo Yamada backstage, yelling at them for stealing her thunder. Takako Inoue walks in and agrees with the champion, telling Toyota and Yamada to get in line behind the real stars that launched this women's division. The newcomers don't back down, with Toyota telling both heels that they'll take them on any time. This set the stage for a tag match tonight. (C)

The Mamalukes tried to spoil the celebratory mood of the new UFS champion Steiner Brothers, but completely failed to do so. The Steinerizer bulldog finished Vito off. (B-)

Split-screen locker room pre-tapes: The Empire team of Chris Candido and King Corino are very much on the same page for tonight's main event tag match, but what about their opponents, Rob Van Dam and Rey Misterio Jr? (A)

New cruiserweight champion AJ Styles and new WCW signee Hayabusa made for an electric team, and they showcased some incredible high flying moves en route to defeating 3 Count. (B)

After the match, Styles is ambushed by TAKA and laid out with the Michinoku Driver! (B+)

American Dragon's technical skills versus the high flying of Kaz Hayashi made for an interesting showdown, but the action was marred when Chavo Guerrero Jr., Dragon's self-appointed mentor and apparent manager, gave Hayashi a cheap shot and rammed his head into the ring post. Dragon did not see it, but it enabled him to win the match with Arms Across America. (B)

After the match, Vampiro runs to the ring and goes after Chavo. Chavo sees him coming and throws Dragon in his path, and Dragon is victimized by the Nail in the Coffin while Chavo flees! (C-)

Mike and I stressed the individual traits of all four women throughout the tag match: Toyota was a fantastic all-around wrestler and major star in Japan, Yamada was a lethal kicker, Mita the arrogant champion with an air of superiority, and Inoue a vain woman who possessed beauty and skill in equal measure. It wound up with Mita hoisting Yamada up for the DVD, only for Yamada to slip out and roll her up for a sudden 3-count on the female world champion! (B)

Unseen Slamboree footage: True Heroes are being interviewed by WCW.com after their win when they're attacked by Matt and Jeff Hardy! The two teams brawl and knock equipment over until security pull them apart. (B)

Spotlight Segment:




With holding the show in Japan and thus being severely limited on who could cut a promo that the live audience would understand, the show was more focused on the in-ring product than usual. The highlight was this main event tag match. All four of these guys are way more over in Japan than in the US thanks to being heavily featured on our deal with TV Asahi, and this was a great opportunity for them to show it.

There was an interesting subplot here: Candido and Corino were totally united and on the same page as members of The Empire, but RVD and Rey were only 24 hours removed from battling each other for Van Dam's world championship. We played that story up big throughout the match, with The Empire working well together with frequent tagging and double teaming while their opponents wrestled more as individuals. Unfortunately I'm not sure that Van Dam and Misterio acted quite as untrusting of each other as they were designed to, and it hurt what was supposed to be a dramatic turning point when they came together for a simultaneous missile dropkick on Candido. Van Dam apparently wasn't feeling it on this particular trip to Japan, as he wasn't as crisp as usual. He didn't look quite as off as he did at Slamboree, and he's still good enough and over enough that it didn't hurt the match too much.

Corino shoved Rey off of the top rope as he prepared to take flight on Candido, and The Empire took control from that point forward.










Or at least they did until Sting came out from the back and began chasing a frantic Eric Bischoff around ringside. Bischoff led Sting on a chase to the back, but the incident distracted Candido long enough that Rey was able to catch him with a hurricanrana for the win.


Grade: B+


RVD and Rey shake hands before Rey leaves, ceding the spotlight to the reigning champion (but not before pointing to the belt to let him know he'll be coming for it again.) RVD celebrates in the ring and poses for the fans until he's attacked by Booker T! RVD fights back admirably despite his fatigue, but a low blow and a Book End leave Booker standing over him at the end of the night for the second show in a row. (A*)


Show Grade: B+






Taped immediately after Nitro

Announce Team: Tony Schiavone and Tracy Brooks

Shinobu Kandori used her judo skills to defeat former All Japan Women's competitor/current freelancer Tanny Mouse. (C+)

After the match, Takako Inoue recruits Kandori to help her drive "egomaniac" Manami Toyota out of WCW. (C-)

Jamie Knoble and Billy Kidman defeated Elix Skipper and Cash in a cruiserweight tag bout. (C+)

Etsuko Mita cuts an angry promo on Toshiyo Yamada, promising to return the embarrassment shown to her on Nitro a thousandfold. (D+)

True Heroes took care of Yang and Ernest Miller in a non-title main event. (B-)


Show Grade: C+

Quote:


May 6th, 2002

From the Hammerstein Ballroom in New York City

Attendance: 2,600 (sell-out!)

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

I start the show in the ring and make some veiled references to the USA Network launching Raw in this same building in 1993, but say the new partnership between USA and WCW will take pro wrestling to new heights, and it starts tonight! (B)

To give a little jolt to this first Nitro on USA, we put together a rematch between TAKA and AJ Styles for the title, pushing the idea that AJ requested the rematch himself after TAKA's attack on the previous show. The two guys put on a match filled with aerial high spots, and AJ ultimately retained after delivering the Spiral Tap. (B-)


Spotlight Segment:




Roddy Piper brought both the Hardys and True Heroes into the Pit this week. He began by asking the Heroes why they'd attacked Jeff Hardy and cost him his UFS match at Slamboree, and particularly why Storm would do so since he and Hardy were teammates on The Dead Jesters. Storm did a decent job with his delivery here as he matter-of-factly explained that he had no interest in helping the Dead Jesters win the tournament once he saw the writing on the wall.

"The manager of the Dead Jesters, Marshal Van Black, he's just like the rest of these simple-minded fans. He watches the Hardy Boys come out and jump off of things and can't contain his excitement. He, just like all of these people, is blinded by the flash and stunts of the Hardys and fails to appreciate the substance and skill of True Heroes! From the moment they came into WCW by rudely interrupting our television time, all anyone can talk about is the Hardys. At Slamboree we decisively defeated one of the most legendary tag teams in history, the Road Warriors, but all anyone wants to ask us about is when we're going to wrestle the Hardys! I have no doubt that even if Jeff had somehow forced a tiebreaker, and even if I'd put my skill to use in ensuring we won that tiebreaker, the world title shot would've gone to Jeff Hardy. If I could be serious for a minute, I'd like to ask you a question, Mr. Piper: why should Jeff Hardy reap the benefits of my greatness?"

Roddy was awesome tonight. His delivery was on point and he brought a real star presence to the segment. He suggested that maybe Storm and Punk interfered in the match because they view the Hardys as a threat to their tag team titles, and Storm would rather sacrifice an opportunity for himself to acquire more gold if it meant knocking the Hardys down a peg. Punk scoffed at that accusation.

"With all your years in the business I thought you might be smart enough to be able to see the truth, but it seems you're just as blinded as all the rest of these idiots, Piper! Don't you get it? We have nothing to fear from the Hardys! What is their claim to fame? Jumping off of stuff, destroying their bodies and shortening their own careers with stupid stunts! The only reason they do that crap is because they don't have the skill to come into this ring and WRESTLE! That may have worked in the land of entertainment, but Lance and I, we aren't a couple of sideshow clowns. We are the greatest WRESTLING tag team in the history of WCW! The truth is that it isn't us who needs to be worried about a match against the Hardys, it's the WCW front office! All you need to do is look around at all these people wearing Hardys t-shirts to see that Matt and Jeff are cash cows. But if they ever step into the ring with us, we'll expose them as the frauds they are. We'll show the whole wrestling world that Matt and Jeff Hardy aren't even in the same league as True Heroes, and even these impressionable fans won't be stupid enough to buy their merchandise by the time we're through with them."

Punk was very good here, as he usually is. The Hardys were finally given a chance at a rebuttal. Jeff was the only man in the segment whose performance didn't stand out, but even he still did okay and didn't noticeably struggle with his delivery. He said that the Heroes might talk a big game, and they might be great at attacking people from behind, but they sure didn't seem too eager to wrestle he and Matt in a fair fight. He brought up the news of Punk and Storm entering the Mayhem battle royal, hinting that they entered that match so they would have an excuse to avoid them for another month. Punk angrily said that athletes of he and Lance's caliber deserved the opportunity to enter the match and earn a world title shot, so if the Hardys had a problem with it, too bad. Matt smiled and took the microphone, and he was pretty good himself.

"Funny you should say that, boys. See, we were all set to ask the commissioner to put us in another tag match at Mayhem so we could hopefully prove we deserve a title shot. But when we saw you two guys' names in the battle royal, well, we got another idea. Boys, we just might get a chance to see what happens when the Hardys and the True Heroes collide, because Jeff and I have entered our names into the Mayhem match!"



Grade: B+


What is one Road Warrior without another? Not much apparently, because Animal was defeated by Christopher Daniels after the Angel's Descent. (C)

Chavo Guerrero Jr. explains to American Dragon that he threw him at Vampiro last week to try and toughen him up so he can stand up to bullies like Vampiro in the future. In order to help him with that, he's arranged for Dragon to wrestle Vampiro one on one at Mayhem. When Dragon says he was hoping to enter the Mayhem battle royal, Chavo apologizes but says he was only able to grab one slot (and he took it for himself, naturally.) (D+)

Former ECW competitor Jazz made a guest appearance on Nitro, but was defeated by Manami Toyota and her Japanese Ocean Cyclone Suplex (which I really need to give a new, shorter name.) (D+)

Toyota is attacked by Takako Inoue and Shinobu Kandori after the match, until Alexis Laree makes the save. Laree grabs the mic, professes her respect and admiration for Toyota, and says if Inoue and Kandori want to get to Manami they'll have to go through her too! (D)

Salvation promo: "With all three of us in the battle royal, nothing will stop us from granting Salvation to all of WCW at Mayhem!" (B+)

We get an interior shot of Lex Luger aboard what seems to be some kind of bus. He tells the driver (who we can't see) to hurry, because he doesn't want to be late for Slamboree. (C+)

Shane Douglas watched on from the commentator's table as Chuck Palumbo met Fit Finlay in a match to determine who would challenge for the United States title at Mayhem. Both men landed some hard shots in the brawl, but Palumbo prevailed with a shoulder block from the top rope. (C+)

3 Count approach Hayabusa, saying he impressed them last week and they want to offer him a spot in the band so they can grab "crossover global appeal." Hayabusa just stares at them. (D-)

Eric Bischoff interview about Toshiyo Yamada receiving a women's championship match at Mayhem: "Last week was an aberration, a fluke, the luckiest night of your life! At Mayhem, Etsuko Mita's going to show just why she's part of The Empire!" (D+)

An eight man tag match pitting the team of Rey Misterio Jr, Billy Kidman, Jamie Knoble and Alex Wright against Buff Bagwell, Shane Helms, Kaz Hayashi and Disco Inferno was used as a chance to promote the 30-man Mayhem match, as all eight of these guys were scheduled to take part. Kidman won the match for his team with a shooting star press on Disco. (B)

Steiners promo on the UFS: "Forget that Big Poppa Pump wannabe Jindrak and that face-painted freak Dustin Rhodes! The Steiner Brothers are the only reason this team did a damn thing, so we should get all the titles, hah!" (B)

Pre-tapes: Sting says he's going to Mayhem to win the match and earn a chance to become an 8-time world champion, but he hopes to be in the ring with Chris Candido and King Corino so he can give them a beating along the way. The Empire say that their only concern is winning the match so they can bring the world title to their faction, but if Sting gets in their way they'll have no problem taking him out just like they did to Ric Flair. (A*)

The first Nitro on the USA Network featured a star-studded main event, with RVD and the Hardys meeting their rivals Booker T and True Heroes. Van Dam and the Hardys executed plenty of exciting aerial moves, but the heels were intent on slowing things down and keeping the match on the ground. We gave the fans small doses of RVD vs. Booker and Hardys vs. Heroes, but primarily kept those groupings apart to build anticipation. The finish came when Van Dam hit the Five Star Frog Splash on Punk, with the Hardys holding Booker and Storm back so they couldn't break the pin up. (B+)


Show Grade: B+






Taped immediately after Nitro

Announce Team: Tony Schiavone and Tracy Brooks

#1 contender Toshiyo Yamada defeated Jazz. (D+)

Bobby Heenan interviews Christopher Daniels, who announces he has rejected an offer to participate in the Mayhem battle royal. (C-)

Konnan defeated Mike Sanders. (C-)

Jamie Knoble promo about his excitement to participate in the Mayhem battle royal. (B-)

American Dragon defeated Cash via submission. (C+)


Show Grade: C+

Quote:


May 13th, 2002

From the Show Place Arena in Upper Marlboro, Maryland

Attendance: 5,800 (sell-out!)

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

Hayabusa showcased some of his exciting high flying offense against local talent Sonjay Dutt before finishing him with the Phoenix Splash. (B-)

3 Count again offer Hayabusa a spot in the band, but get upset when he doesn't answer. They decide to attack him, but he fights them both off. When they try to flee, he wipes them both out with a somersault dive over the top rope and onto the floor! (D-)

Alexis Laree struggled to combat the judo techniques of Shinobu Kandori, but found herself in the driver's seat late in the match after a tilt-a-whirl headscissors.





Daffney returned to WCW and spit green mist in Alexis' face! The referee saw it and disqualified Kandori, but the real story was Laree being blinded. The official tended to her as we went to commercial. (C)

Pre-taped promos: Rey Misterio Jr, Sean O'Haire and the Hardys all talk about why they're going to win the Mayhem battle royal. (B-)

Backstage: Eric Bischoff taunting Toshiyo Yamada is just a setup for an Etsuko Mita attack, but Yamada sees it coming and floors the champion with a roundhouse kick to the head! (C)

Chavo Guerrero Jr. teamed with American Dragon against The Mamalukes and gave him frequent advice in his role as mentor (and tagged himself in to hit the frog splash on Vito and get the pin.) (C+)

Vampiro comes to the ring after the match and says it makes no difference whether it's American Dragon or Chavo Guerrero Jr. against him at Mayhem, because he'll take them both out one by one. Chavo hides in the background and goads Dragon on as he says he isn't afraid of Vampiro and will show him he's not easy prey at Mayhem. (C)

Lex Luger is onboard his bus again, and he urges his driver to put the metal to the peddle (not a typo), because his victory in the Mayhem match this Sunday at Slamboree will be a global happening. "It's gonna be the summer of '93 all over again, YEAH!" he says, flexing. (C+)

Salvation's Mortis and The Destroyer were just too much for Doomsday to handle, as a Flatliner finished off Clark. (B)

Alexis Laree and Manami Toyota visit Arn Anderson's office, and Laree says they'll need to find a third partner now that Daffney's in the mix. Arn says he might have just the woman for the job.





Arn introduces his niece Melissa, the newest member of the WCW women's division. Melissa offers her services, and Arn says a six woman tag match for Mayhem sounds good to him. The deal is sealed as Melissa shakes hands with Alexis and Manami. (D+)

Pre-taped promos: AJ Styles, Shane Helms, Jamie Knoble, Alex Wright, Fit Finlay, Billy Kidman and Stacy Keibler (on behalf of Kaz Hayashi) all hype the Mayhem match. (C+)

Bobby Heenan interviews the Agents of Chaos, who will be busy at Mayhem. Not only are all four in the Mayhem match itself, but it will also be the site of the UFS ceremony where Beejus Pilgrim will announce who will challenge for what titles. Unsurprisingly all four men think they should get to challenge for the world title, and Scott says he and Rick are doing carrying Jindrak and Dustin. "If you get in our way on Sunday, we'll take your asses out!" (B-)

King Corino had an exhibition against local Mark Wolf, polishing him off with the piledriver. (B-)

Sting comes out to tell Corino that he's coming for him at Mayhem, and he's got another thing coming if he thinks he's going to drive the Stinger out of WCW. Corino is joined by the rest of The Empire, and they make a point of saying that Sting has no friends. "We are a unit, and nothing will stop a member of The Empire from winning on Sunday and earning that world championship match!" Bischoff declares. (B+)

Shane Douglas and Chuck Palumbo argue during an interview for WCW.com. Douglas tells Palumbo that he refused a spot in the Mayhem battle royal because he doesn't need to jump through any hoops to try and earn a world title shot. "THIS is the only championship that matters, because I'm the man holding it!" he shouts, shoving the Untied States title in Palumbo's face. Palumbo says that HE'LL be the man holding it after Sunday, to which Douglas replies: no chance. (B+)

The main event saw Hugh Morrus and Konnan attempt to put themselves right back into the thick of the tag team title picture with a non-title win against True Heroes. They gave a great effort and made a nice showing, but the flawless teamwork of the Heroes led them to the pay window. (B)

Spotlight Segment:




The final segment on the go-home Nitro was RVD and Booker in Piper's Pit. Roddy tried to get over the magnitude of this match and how important it would be for not only both men, but for WCW itself. Unfortunately, he wasn't anywhere near as effective as last week. He went off on some weird tangent about the designs and color schemes of RVD's singlets. I couldn't figure out what the hell he was talking about, so I'm sure the fans were even more lost. Booker pretty much ignored Roddy's babbling and cut a promo about how long overdue this match was.

"It's been almost ten months since that world title was taken away from me. TEN MONTHS! Ten months I been waitin' for another shot at MY title, which I lost without being pinned and without giving up! Everybody's been tryin' to make me out to be a bad guy, but the only thing I ever wanted was what was owed to me! All these people turned on me once I lost the title. Hell, even my own brother turned his back on me! But none of that matters anymore. These people can cheer you and chant 'R-V-D' all they want to. I know you eat that stuff up, RVD, but they'll turn on you just as quick, dawg. But me, I ain't gonna let any of that stuff bother me ever again! I don't need these people cheerin' for me, and I don't even need my brother's support. I never needed any of that. The only thing I needed was this one chance. Just one chance to take back what was stolen from me, and now I got it. This Sunday, I become a FIVE TIME WCW World Heavyweight Champion, whether any of these people like it or not! Now can...you...dig....THAT?!?!"

Booker was the best performer in this segment, with some solid improv. The best part of his performance was the subtle insecurity he showed, especially once RVD started needling him.

"Maybe you did deserve a title shot sooner. I don't know; that's not my call to make, dude. But this is all you've wanted for ten months. You've spent ten months whining and complaining, and I know most of the fans were just as bored by it as I was! But now that you've FINALLY got this rematch you've been begging for, what's next? What's next if you lose, man? If all those months of whining, if annoying the fans and the boys and even attacking your own brother: what if you lose? Where do you go from there? What will you have left to complain about after you lose to ROB-VAN-DAM?"

RVD was fine, but it was Booker who really sold this with some great facial expressions, really playing up his obsession with getting the title back and his insecurity of what happens next should he fail.



Grade: A


Show Grade: B+






Taped immediately after Nitro

Announce Team: Tony Schiavone and Tracy Brooks

3 Count would have plenty to sing about after beating Air Paris and Mark Wolf. (E-)

3 Count post-match promo; they say that Hayabusa will see why he should have joined the band when they have a three way match at Mayhem. (D-)

Jamie Knoble beat Alan Funk via guillotine choke. (C)

The Empire team of Chris Candido and TAKA defeated Lash Leroux (back from developmental) and Jason Jett. (C)

Bobby Heenan hypes the Mayhem PPV and tells fans not to miss it. (C+)


Show Grade: C





Quote:

Fan Scorecard:

World Heavyweight Championship: Booker T vs. Rob Van Dam {}

United States Heavyweight Championship: Chuck Palumbo vs. Shane Douglas {}

World Women's Championship: Toshiyo Yamada vs. Etsuko Mita {}

American Dragon vs. Vampiro

Manami Toyota, Alexis Laree and Melissa Anderson vs. Takako Inoue, Shinobu Kandori and Daffney

Hayabusa vs. Evan Karagis vs. Shannon Moore

What will be match of the night?

How many championships will change hands?

THE MAYHEM MATCH

Name the two mystery entrants (one point each):
Multiple announced entrants will not actually compete in the match. Name one:
Most eliminations:
Longest time in match:
The Final Four:
Runner up:
Winner (worth 3 points):


General diary comments/questions/critiques:
Mayhem entrant list:

1. AJ Styles (Cruiserweight Champion)
2. Alex Wright
3. Billy Kidman
4. Brian Adams
5. Bryan Clark
6. Buff Bagwell
7. Chavo Guerrero Jr.
8. Chris Candido
9. CM Punk (World Tag Team Champion)
10. Disco Inferno
11. Fit Finlay
12. Jeff Hardy
13. Kaz Hayashi
14. King Corino
15. Lance Storm (World Tag Team Champion)
16. Lex Luger
17. Mark Jindrak
18. Matt Hardy
19. Mortis
20. Rey Misterio Jr.
21. Rick Steiner
22. "Big Poppa Pump" Scott Steiner
23. Sean O'Haire
24. "Sugar" Shane Helms
25. Sting
26. TAKA
27. The Destroyer
28. The Unnatural

Plus two mystery entrants!

Last edited by The Final Countdown : 08-12-2017 at 09:02 AM.
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