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Default May 19th, 2002: Mayhem



May 19th, 2002

From the Worcester Centrum in Worcester, Massachusetts

Attendance: 10,000 (sell-out!)

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







Quote:

We opened with a graphic in remembrance of the late Lou Thesz, and then Dusty said a few words about the man. I thought Dusty was tremendous during this brief segment as he talked about Thesz being one of the all-time great world champions whose legacy he tried to live up to during his own world title battles.


Grade: B
Quote:
Vampiro vs. American Dragon (w/Chavo Guerrero Jr.)

It's the facepainted malcontent/locker room pariah against the 20 year old masked kid I have very high hopes for. I think you can see where this was going. Dragon controlled the match with some mat wrestling early, but Vampiro started mounting a comeback after hitting a spin kick. It all led up to Chavo getting in a cheap shot, ramming Vampiro's head into the ring post behind the back of both Dragon and the referee. Dragon, none the wiser, used a dragon suplex to pin Vampiro.

This match wasn't as effective at getting the crowd going as our PPV openers usually are, but I'm placing most of the blame on Vampiro. Dragon was a much better performer and should only get better and more over, while it's almost a guarantee that Vampiro will be gone before the end of the year. These two guys are going in completely different directions.



Grade: C+
Quote:

Christopher Daniels was a guest on Piper's Pit, where he explained to Roddy that he could've joined the Mayhem match but elected not to, because his immediate destiny is to be the greatest cruiserweight WCW has ever seen. I have to say that Chris looked highly uncomfortable. Perhaps he was intimidated by being on a PPV segment with a legend like Piper, because his promo was poor and he looked lost in general. Thankfully Roddy did a good job covering for him and preventing the segment from bombing. His delivery was solid and his performance was fantastic as he took issue with what Daniels said.

"''I'm Christopher Daniels, and I'm God's gift to the cruiserweight division!' I swear we've been hearin' that for months now. Now I always talked a good game. but when it was time to fight, everybody knew Hot Rod would come out there with his fists clenched ready to fight! But you? You keep talking and talking and talking about how you're the greatest dang cruiserweight ever, but it's way past time you step into this ring and prove it! Don't just talk about it, and don't wrestle older and slower heavyweights who are past their prime--take on the best cruiserweights WCW has to offer! Get in here and beat a Billy Kidman or a Shane Helms or a TAKA, and then maybe people will actually start listening to the words you speak instead of tuning you out!"



Grade: C+
Quote:
Manami Toyota, Alexis Laree and Melissa Anderson vs. Takako Inoue, Shinobu Kandori and Daffney

With thirty guys being in the Mayhem match, this was a great opportunity for me to work in a second women's match and feature more of our female wrestlers. The storyline for this match began with Toyota and Inoue butting heads and those two women took center stage for a good portion of the match. They also were the clear standouts in the match, which wasn't really a surprise to me given their skill. Simply being in the ring with women these talented could only be a positive experience for youngsters like Alexis, Melissa and Daffney, and indeed I noticed Alexis showing off an improved technical wrestling skillset.

We did our best to give all six women a chance to be featured a bit and get over their individuality, from the bubbly enthusiasm of Laree to the no-nonsense, Enforcer-esque attack of Arn Anderson's kayfabe niece Melissa to the judo skills of Kandori and the screaming ferociousness of Daffney. In the end Inoue refused to tag in and fight Toyota head on, so Manami took out Kandori with her finisher that we've shortened to the Ocean Cyclone. She celebrated with her young teammates, and Mike and I again sold her as one of the greatest pound for pound wrestlers in the world, male or female.



Grade: C+
Quote:

The fruits of Lex Luger's labor were revealed at last: he'd arrived at his destination, and he and his camera man (who intentionally shot the scene in an amateurish way to give the impression that it was being done by a shoddy unpaid intern) stepped out of the bus, with Lex excitedly exclaiming that it was now time for the Call to Action Campaign 2002 to take off in earnest.

"Now's the time the whole world has been waiting for! No more Totally Buffed, no more Total Packaged--I'm made in the USA, YEAH! I couldn't get a helicopter to fly me in this time, but the Express will do just fine. Now let's go see all the members of my legion...no, wait, my LEXGION!"

Lex stepped off of the bus and the camera man followed, giving us a glimpse of the old school bus Lex had crudely painted red white and blue. Plastered on the side in big block letters was 'THE FLEX EXPRESS.' Lex was all smiles as he began waving to his adoring fans...

...Who weren't there. The camera panned back to reveal that the Flex Express had pulled up to the Ariake Coliseum in Tokyo, the site of last month's Slamboree. Oops! He walked back onto the bus with his head down and his shoulders slumped, and told the bus driver to start driving back to the US. Lex told the camera man he wanted to be alone with his thoughts, so the camera man left him to slump in a seat at the back of the bus and walked to visit with the driver.









Yep, Lex hired Mean Gene to drive the bus. Truthfully Gene's contract was ending and he was all but gone, but I decided at the last minute that it would be funny to use him in this role. I think Gene's just happy to still have the paycheck. He shook his head and muttered that he was too old for this as he started the crappy old school bus back up.


Grade: C-
Quote:
Hayabusa vs. Evan Karagis vs. Shannon Moore

I instructed these guys to pack as many high spots as they could into this match. Karagis and Moore did fine, but Hayabusa excelled. He was obviously in his element as he was able to fly all around the ring and use his exciting offense on both members of 3 Count. The story of the match was 3 Count working together and making it a glorified handicap match, only for Hayabusa to overcome both of them and pin Evan with the Falcon Arrow.


Grade: B-
Quote:

Bobby Heenan introduced all the members of the Agents of Chaos, as well as team manager Beejus Pilgrim. He did some comedy with Beejus, but Bobby's jokes fell pretty flat this time. Pilgrim shook Heenan's hand (which led to Bobby discretely swiping Beejus' watch right off his wrist and slipping it into his own pocket) and accepted the UFS trophy on behalf of his team. He thanked all the members for their performances in helping the Agents of Chaos win the 2002 UFS, and got into the title shot distribution. He went pretty much as I expected him to with this, with Scott Steiner getting the world title shot, Rick's opportunity being a tag title match for the Steiners, and both Dustin and Jindrak going for the US belt.

Scott took the mic, and was pretty entertaining as he said he and Rick were the only reason the team had won and really should've gotten a shot at every title in the company, but at least "Beetlejuice Pilgrim" had been smart enough to pick he and Rick and recognize they carried the team, so he wasn't a total idiot. The Unnatural snatched the microphone out of Scott's hand, drawing an angry look and some verbal threats from Scott.

"Congratulations are in order, but you fail to comprehend reality, Mr. Steiner. You and your brother think yourselves above the rest of us, but if there's one thing I have learned, it is that there is no 'I' in 'team.' If there is one other thing I have learned during the peaks and valleys of my life, it is that pride goeth before a fall."








The other two members of Salvation struck, attacking Jindrak and the Steiners from behind as Heenan and Beejus ran for the hills. Jindrak was quickly overwhelmed and tossed over the top rope, leaving the Steiners to fend for themselves. They did a fair job of it, but all three members of Salvation working together were able to claim the upper hand. They wore out Rick and Scott with a series of chair shots, and Rick was pitched out onto the entrance ramp by The Destroyer. The Unnatural delivered the exclamation point with the Unnatural Selection on Scott, driving his head and neck into one of the chairs.


Grade: B+
Quote:

Chuck Palumbo vs. Shane Douglas {©}

Mike and I again stressed the point that Douglas turned down a spot in the Mayhem match because as far as he was concerned, the United States title was the most important championship in wrestling now that it belonged to him. Palumbo isn't awful, but he's not the greatest worker in the world either, so I told them to focus on telling a story and trusted that Shane would deliver the goods. He did precisely that. Palumbo didn't stink the joint up or anything, but there was no doubt who was responsible for this match being as good as it was.

After a simple match centered around Douglas targeting Palumbo's knee to keep him on the mat and negate his size and strength, Chuck used a discus elbow to seize control. He went to the top rope for the same diving shoulder block he used to earn this title shot, but the damage done to his knee meant he was moving slower than usual, and Douglas had enough time to cut him off. He shook the ropes to crotch Palumbo on the buckles, then hit a superplex to retain the title.



Grade: B
Quote:

Arn had been told by the doctors that the Steiners and Mark Jindrak could not be cleared to compete in the Mayhem match after the assault by Salvation earlier. To compound the problem, Lex Luger was off in Japan for God knows what reason. Arn had to scramble to find replacements for all four of them, and he found said replacements in Cash, Hugh Morrus, Konnan and Norman Smiley. He showed all four men the numbers they'd drawn and wished them luck.


Grade: C-
Quote:

The Empire cut a promo about tonight's events. Bischoff was good as he hyped up Etsuko Mita, saying that up next she was going to send Toshiyo Yamada to the back of the line and retain that World Women's Championship, ensuring that The Empire would still have gold in its war chest. Corino said that it didn't matter if it was a young upstart like AJ Styles or a legend like Sting hanging on for one last moment in the sun, because no one was gong to hold The Empire back tonight. Tammy's job was to transition to Candido, but she did a very poor job of it. Candido succeeded where his fiancée failed, doing a good job at saying that whether it was himself, The King or TAKA, The Empire would prevail tonight and claim the world title at the Great American Bash.


Grade: B
Quote:

Toshiyo Yamada vs. Etsuko Mita {©} (w/Eric Bischoff)

I'm sure this match would've gotten a much bigger reaction in Japan where both women are more established, but the action itself was pretty solid here. The match was built around Yamada throwing lots of kicks, and Mita spending all her time softening up the challenger's neck in preparation for her lethal Death Valley Driver. She went for the move a few times, but Yamada was able to slip out and keep the match going.

Yamada escaped yet another DVD attempt and connected with a roundhouse kick to the head, which brought her about a half a second from winning the championship before Mita got a shoulder off of the mat. Bischoff pounded the mat and shouted encouragement to Mita, who did her best to shake off the cobwebs before Yamada could press her advantage. Toshiyo aimed another kick at the side of Mita's head, but she showed her champion's instincts by blocking the blow and catching Yamada's foot. She held on and used the counter as an opening to hoist Yamada onto her shoulders for another go at the Death Valley Driver. There was no escape this time, and Mita had finished another successful title defense.



Grade: C+
Quote:

Beejus Pilgrim approached Shane Douglas as Shane was being interviewed for WCW.com and congratulated him on retaining the United States title tonight. He said he was a big fan of Douglas and would've liked to have him on his team, to which Shane scoffed. Douglas was really good here in this short segment, especially when he correctly pointed out he had won his match in all three rounds of the UFS.

"If you really believed in me, you would've picked me in the first round instead of that muscle-brained idiot Scott Steiner! You doubted me just like everyone else has, and I'm proving you wrong! Maybe next year, if you make it into the UFS again, you'll be smart enough to draft me so you can be guaranteed to repeat as the winning manager!"



Grade: B
Quote:


THE MAYHEM MATCH


#1:

AJ Styles


#2:

Lance Storm

The match began with a pair of reigning champions. I thought these two would deliver an exciting two minutes to open the match, and they did just that. They did some crisp technical wrestling, with a couple of aerial spots from AJ sprinkled in.



#3:

Chavo Guerrero Jr.


Still Alive:
AJ Styles, 02:00
Lance Storm, 02:00

Chavo entered the ring and quickly formed an alliance with Storm (kind of continuing off of the cowardly traits he's shown as American Dragon's 'mentor'.) The two men worked together to put a beating on Styles, who fought as best he could but spent most of the two minute period on the receiving end of a double team. Still, he was able to hold on until the two minutes passed and the fourth entrant walked down the ramp.



#4:

Alex Wright


Still Alive:
AJ Styles, 04:00
Lance Storm, 04:00
Chavo Guerrero Jr, 02:00

The odds evened when Alex Wright entered. He went after Storm, leaving Chavo and AJ to fight one on one. This two minute period saw a near elimination when Wright connected with a back elbow smash to the jaw off of the top rope, but Storm got a shoulder up.



#5:

Konnan


Still Alive:
AJ Styles, 06:00
Lance Storm, 06:00
Chavo Guerrero Jr, 04:00
Alex Wright, 02:00

Konnan attacked Styles upon entering the ring, while Alex and Lance continued their struggle. This left Chavo all alone, and he rolled out to the floor to catch a breather. He pulled up a chair and theatrically lounged back as he watched the action, with Mike and I both criticizing him and calling him a coward.



#6:

Davey Boy Smith


Still Alive:
AJ Styles, 08:00
Lance Storm, 08:00
Chavo Guerrero Jr, 06:00
Alex Wright, 04:00
Konnan, 02:00

Our first surprise entrant ran down the ramp and went straight for Chavo. Guerrero pleaded for mercy, but Davey pulled him out of the chair and threw him back into the ring. He was greeted by a rolling clothesline from Konnan, and then AJ used the Spiral Tap to pin him for the match's first elimination. Bulldog entered the ring and began battling Lance Storm. Davey got a respectable ovation for his surprise appearance and return to wrestling after finishing his drug rehab.



#7:

Billy Kidman


Still Alive:
AJ Styles, 10:00
Lance Storm, 10:00
Alex Wright, 06:00
Konnan, 04:00
Davey Boy Smith, 02:00

Once Kidman entered the ring, he and AJ hooked up and started trying to outdo each other, popping the fans with some high flying. Konnan and Storm battled out onto the floor to give them some room to fly, but were so occupied fighting each other that Styles was able to knock both of them down with a flip dive over the top rope.



#8:

Matt Hardy


Still Alive:
AJ Styles, 12:00
Lance Storm, 12:00
Alex Wright, 08:00
Konnan, 06:00
Davey Boy Smith, 04:00
Billy Kidman, 02:00

Matt Hardy unsurprisingly went straight after Storm, attacking him and peppering him with punches as Lance was just starting to come back around following AJ's dive. They spent the entire two minute period brawling around ringside and eventually into the ring, with the fresh Hardy controlling the majority of it. The other highlight of this period was Davey hitting Konnan with the running powerslam for the second elimination of the match.



#9:

The Destroyer


Still Alive:
AJ Styles, 14:00
Lance Storm, 14:00
Alex Wright, 10:00
Davey Boy Smith, 06:00
Billy Kidman, 04:00
Matt Hardy, 02:00

The Destroyer made his presence felt immediately, grabbing Alex Wright and eliminating him with the Destruction Bomb. AJ Styles flew at him with a springboard attack, but the former Mike Awesome caught him and effortlessly launched him over the top rope and onto the entrance ramp hard. In addition to the standard pinfall and submissions, we included a TKO as a third way to be eliminated from the match if a wrestler was down and unresponsive for more than thirty seconds. Such was the case with AJ after that crash landing, and he became Destroyer's second elimination. This was an eventful two minutes, because after blocking a Lance Storm superkick, Matt Hardy hit him with the Twist of Fate and sent 1/2 of the tag team champions out of the match.



#10:

Norman Smiley


Still Alive:
Davey Boy Smith, 08:00
Billy Kidman, 06:00
Matt Hardy, 04:00
The Destroyer, 02:00

Norman was saved from having to deal with The Destroyer thanks to Davey, who went after the big man head-on. Kidman, Hardy and Smiley gave the two a wide berth and battled amongst themselves. Kidman and Hardy did some cool stuff, but the focus was very much on Bulldog vs. Destroyer. Davey had him rocking and wobbling after several hard right hands, but a running clothesline attempt was thwarted by a spinebuster from The Destroyer. From there he went to the top rope and hit a diving splash to eliminate Davey.



#11:

Buff Bagwell


Still Alive:
Billy Kidman, 08:00
Matt Hardy, 06:00
The Destroyer, 04:00
Norman Smiley, 02:00

"The Stuff" wisely bypassed The Destroyer and attacked Matt Hardy instead, dragging him to the floor by his hair so they could brawl well away from the monster. Smiley and Kidman decided to work together to try and take the big man out. It didn't work too well though; after knocking both men down with a double clothesline, he scooped Kidman up and finished him with the Destruction Bomb.



#12:

Disco Inferno


Still Alive:
Matt Hardy, 08:00
The Destroyer, 06:00
Norman Smiley, 04:00
Buff Bagwell, 02:00

Smiley was finished off seconds after the buzzer rang for #12. Disco had a very different approach: he entered the ring and busted out his dance moves. The Destroyer stared at him, and Disco smiled and encouraged him to join in. I think you can see where this is going. He picked Disco up and gave him a Destruction Bomb over the top rope and onto the ramp for his second TKO of the night. Hardy and Bagwell stopped their outside brawl to watch in awe as Inferno was decimated. The two men conversed and agreed to head back into the ring and work together. It was a swerve from Buff though; he faked going in but stayed on the floor, so Matt slid into the ring and was left to fend for himself against The Destroyer. Matt did his best, but The Destroyer was an imposing physical presence. He ragdolled Hardy with some power moves, but to his credit Matt hung on until the buzzer.



#13:

Rey Misterio Jr.


Still Alive:
Matt Hardy, 10:00
The Destroyer, 08:00
Buff Bagwell, 04:00

Rey ran down the ramp and entered the ring in spectacular fashion: he flew at Destroyer with a springboard sunset flip and pinned him! That got the biggest pop of the match so far, both because the fans like Rey and because Destroyer had been looking so dominant. Buff tried to be a party pooper by attacking Rey from behind. He knocked him down and started working him over, but Matt Hardy repaid him for his earlier backstabbing by spinning him around and delivering the Twist of Fate for the elimination.



#14:

The Unnatural


Still Alive:
Matt Hardy, 12:00
Rey Misterio Jr, 02:00

The Unnatural entered the ring and quickly sought vengeance on the man who had eliminated his brother in Salvation, but he also had Matt Hardy to deal with. All three men fought hard for the next two minutes, with Unnatural very nearly finishing Hardy with a running bulldog and Rey in turn getting a close call on Unnatural with a flying crossbody, but no one could record an elimination.



#15:

Mortis


Still Alive:
Matt Hardy, 14:00
Rey Misterio Jr, 04:00
The Unnatural, 02:00

The entrance of Mortis marked the halfway point of the match, and it also marked trouble for Hardy and Misterio as they now had two members of Salvation to deal with. Mortis and Unnatural turned this into a makeshift tag match of sorts, and given their freshness in comparison to Hardy, the Salvation duo claimed the upper hand and battered their opponents throughout the period.



#16:

Sean O'Haire


Still Alive:
Matt Hardy, 16:00
Rey Misterio Jr, 06:00
The Unnatural, 04:00
Mortis, 02:00

O'Haire hit the ring and demonstrated the every man for himself nature of the match by attacking anyone he could get his hands on. As the Thriller took shots at both Rey and The Unnatural, Mortis was able to hit the Flatliner and finally eliminate Matt Hardy.



#17:

Brian Adams


Still Alive:
Rey Misterio Jr, 08:00
The Unnatural, 06:00
Mortis, 04:00
Sean O'Haire, 02:00

Brian Adams showed his toughness by going right after the members of Salvation, and he and O'Haire were able to put Salvation on the back foot for really the first time since Mortis had entered the match. That alliance ended as quickly as it began, with Adams and O'Haire trading punches before the two minutes were up. That allowed Salvation to devote their attention to Misterio, planting him on his face with a dual flapjack.



#18:

TAKA


Still Alive:
Rey Misterio Jr, 10:00
The Unnatural, 08:00
Mortis, 06:00
Sean O'Haire, 04:00
Brian Adams, 02:00

TAKA leapt right over the brawlers and entered the match with a springboard moonsault on Misterio, who kicked out just in time. Salvation stood back and allowed TAKA to keep up the attack by throwing Rey to the floor and diving out onto him with a spaceman plancha. Inside the ring, the lack of unity between O'Haire and Adams meant that Salvation was able to control the action once again.



#19:

Chris Candido


Still Alive:
Rey Misterio Jr, 12:00
The Unnatural, 10:00
Mortis, 08:00
Sean O'Haire, 06:00
Brian Adams, 04:00
TAKA, 02:00

Candido promptly partnered up with TAKA, and the two Empire members worked Misterio over on the floor, picking him up and dropping him throat-first on the guard rail. The Salvation duo focused on trying to finish O'Haire off, but we got over Sean's toughness by having him survive and continue to kick out despite everything they were throwing at him.



#20:

Bryan Clark


Still Alive:
Rey Misterio Jr, 14:00
The Unnatural, 12:00
Mortis, 10:00
Sean O'Haire, 08:00
Brian Adams, 06:00
TAKA, 04:00
Chris Candido, 02:00

The arrival of Bryan Clark meant that there was now a regular unit in the match to combat Salvation. Clark and Adams worked together to turn the tide against Mortis and Unnatural, but it came to an abrupt halt when Unnatural got out of the way and Clark accidentally hit Adams with a big boot to the face. Clark's surprise left him wide open for a Flatliner and an elimination from Mortis, and Adams was also pinned moments later after Unnatural Selection.



#21:

Sting


Still Alive:
Rey Misterio Jr, 16:00
The Unnatural, 14:00
Mortis, 12:00
Sean O'Haire, 10:00
TAKA, 06:00
Chris Candido, 04:00

Sting made a beeline for Candido, who slid into the ring and crawled through the traffic of bodies inside of it to create obstacles between himself and Sting. TAKA attacked Sting from behind to kept him from following Candido into the ring, but Sting walloped him with a punch and gave him the Scorpion Deathdrop on the floor! That led to another TKO finish as the referee on the floor made the count. He then went into the ring to chase after Candido, but found his path blocked by Salvation.



#22:

"Sugar" Shane Helms


Still Alive:
Rey Misterio Jr, 18:00
The Unnatural, 16:00
Mortis, 14:00
Sean O'Haire, 12:00
Chris Candido, 06:00
Sting, 02:00

Just when Rey finally got back to his feet on the floor, he was blasted with a running clothesline to the back of the neck from Helms. Shane put the boots to him on the floor, while in the ring Sting tried to get through Salvation so he could get to Candido. Mortis tried to give him the Flatliner, but Sting broke free and shoved him forward, right into Unnatural. The members of Salvation cracked heads, and it allowed Sting to hit the Scorpion Deathdrop on Mortis to finish him off. He went straight for Unnatural, taking him to the mat with a double leg and turning him over into the Scorpion Deathlock. Unnatural tapped, and it left just Sting and Candido inside the ring. Candido stood back in the corner as Sting stared him down and did his caveman chest pounding thing to a great reaction from the crowd.



#23:

Fit Finlay


Still Alive:
Rey Misterio Jr, 20:00
Sean O'Haire, 14:00
Chris Candido, 08:00
Sting, 04:00
Shane Helms, 02:00

Finlay, always ready for a fight, went straight for the biggest name in the ring. He and Sting battled, which left Candido free to go after Sean O'Haire. Shane Helms set up for a Vertebreaker on the floor, which I think it goes without saying did not happen. Rey slipped out of it and hit a headscissors that sent Shane into the railing.



#24:

Jeff Hardy


Still Alive:
Rey Misterio Jr, 22:00
Sean O'Haire, 16:00
Chris Candido, 10:00
Sting, 06:00
Shane Helms, 04:00
Fit Finlay, 02:00

Jeff made a quick splash, hitting both Candido and O'Haire with a flying single leg dropkick. Candido rolled out to the floor upon impact, but O'Haire was stuck in the ring and finished off with the Swanton Bomb. Misterio and Helms returned to the ring, and it became a bit of a free-for-all amongst all six active participants.



#25:

Hugh Morrus


Still Alive:
Rey Misterio Jr, 24:00
Chris Candido, 12:00
Sting, 08:00
Shane Helms, 06:00
Fit Finlay, 04:00
Jeff Hardy, 02:00

Hugh Morrus came in and started brawling with anyone he came across, but there were bigger stories developing. One was the elimination of Shane Helms courtesy of a Misterio springboard hurricanrana, and the other was Sting cornering Candido and unloading with a flurry of punches and backhand strikes. He gorilla pressed him to the mat and then called for the Scorpion Deathlock, but Finlay hit Sting with a forearm to the back and then used his rolling fireman's carry for a near-fall.



#26:

CM Punk


Still Alive:
Rey Misterio Jr, 26:00
Chris Candido, 14:00
Sting, 10:00
Fit Finlay, 06:00
Jeff Hardy, 04:00
Hugh Morrus, 02:00

The Hardys/True Heroes rivalry was renewed before CM Punk could even get into the ring. Jeff Hardy had been perched on the top rope for a potential Swanton on Candido, but saw Punk coming and dove onto him with a crossbody on the ramp instead. That fight continued on the floor for the entire two minutes, while inside the ring Candido and Finlay double teamed Sting until Morrus evened the odds.



#27:

Kaz Hayashi


Still Alive:
Rey Misterio Jr, 28:00
Chris Candido, 16:00
Sting, 12:00
Fit Finlay, 08:00
Jeff Hardy, 06:00
Hugh Morrus, 04:00
CM Punk, 02:00

Hayashi targeted Rey Misterio with a high flying attack, and given Rey's fatigue as he neared the half hour mark, Kaz was able to claim the upper hand. The Hardy/Punk battle continued on the floor, with Punk blocking a suplex and hitting a suplex of his own on the floor. The field was thinned out a bit when Candido dropped Morrus with a fisherman buster and pinned him, while Sting used a top rope clothesline to finish Finlay. This allowed Sting to go right back after Candido, hitting him with a Stinger Splash in the corner.



#28:

Cash


Still Alive:
Rey Misterio Jr, 30:00
Chris Candido, 18:00
Sting, 14:00
Jeff Hardy, 08:00
CM Punk, 04:00
Kaz Hayashi, 02:00

Cash decided to run in and ambush Sting, but it was an ill-conceived strategy. Sting saw him coming and sent him tumbling over the top rope with a back body drop, then returned his attention to battering Candido in the corner. The blindside attack of CM Punk was more effective though, and he and Candido worked Sting over until Jeff Hardy knocked them both down with a springboard crossbody. Kaz Hayashi tried to finally eliminate Misterio with a diving senton, but Rey still had enough left in the tank to roll out of the way.



#29:

Diamond Dallas Page


Still Alive:
Rey Misterio Jr, 32:00
Chris Candido, 20:00
Sting, 16:00
Jeff Hardy, 10:00
CM Punk, 06:00
Kaz Hayashi, 04:00
Cash, 02:00

The second mystery entrant walked down the ramp. Cash, still recovering from his tumble over the top rope, tried to attack him halfway up the ramp. DDP blocked it, hit the Diamond Cutter on the ramp and got a TKO. Dallas entered the ring and went for Candido, giving him a punch combo and then dropping him with a discus clothesline. Meanwhile, Jeff Hardy pinned Hayashi with a rolling prawn hold. He didn't have long to celebrate that elimination though, because Punk rolled him up from behind for a sudden 3-count. As the two minute period came to its end, Sting turned Candido over and sat back into the Scorpion Deathlock.



#30:

King Corino


Still Alive:
Rey Misterio Jr, 34:00
Chris Candido, 22:00
Sting, 18:00
CM Punk, 08:00
Diamond Dallas Page, 02:00

Candido finally tapped out to Sting, but the hold hadn't even been released before Corino nailed Sting with a lariat to the back of the head. He hit the piledriver to eliminate Sting, and we were down to our final four.

They split into pairs, with DDP battling Punk while Misterio and Corino fought. This struggle lasted for awhile, but Rey was just a half a step slow on a springboard hurricanrana attempt due to his fatigue. It was all the opening Corino needed to yank his leg mid-springboard and send him crashing to the mat awkwardly. A sliding lariat ended the night for marathon man Rey Misterio Jr at well over thirty minutes.

Corino and Punk attacked DDP 2-on-1, getting some heat on the "People's Champion" as they battered him. Punk went for the double-cross as he took Corino to the mat and attempted to lock in the Second City Stretch, but Corino was still too fresh. He escaped the hold and rolled out to the floor to regroup. Punk stared down at Corino, but was suddenly spun around and hit with the Diamond Cutter! Punk was pinned, and we were down to two.

The story here was that Corino was wary of the Diamond Cutter and tried to get Page off of his feet so he could do some mat wrestling and not have to worry about DDP's devastating finisher. He also focused on the neck, hoping to soften him up for the piledriver. Eventually he saw an opportunity and went for his piledriver, but DDP blocked it and countered with a back body drop. Corino used the ropes to pull himself to his feet--but turned right into the Diamond Cutter! DDP covered, Charles Robinson counted three, and we had our winner. I think this match type took a little getting used to, for the fans, the wrestlers and even myself, but it wound up being a very good match as a whole. The fans enjoyed it even if they were disappointed once they realized it was going to be rattlesnake-free (but that's a story for another time.)



Grade: B+
Quote:

We aired a brief vignette hyping the Great American Bash, with a Tony Schiavone voiceover revealing it would be held this year on June 16th.


Grade: C+
Quote:

Booker T vs. Rob Van Dam {©}

A pre-match video gave a detailed recap of this feud and these characters. Great stuff.


Grade: A*


Was it a mistake to have this match main event? Battle royals are somewhat unpredictable, but this Mayhem match went about as well as I could've hoped. RVD and Booker would need to deliver the goods if they were going to top it.

Did they? Holy crap, did they ever! It became obvious very early on that we were witnessing something special here. The crowd was white hot for it, and the action was great. There was the occasional moment where in watching it, I put my own ring psychology to work in identifying some minor alterations they could've made to the story they were telling that I thought would have really taken it over the top. That's honestly just nitpicking though, because this match was fantastic.

Booker must have been highly motivated to prove he belongs in this spot, because I saw noticeable improvement both in his mat wrestling and in the execution of the few flying moves he did. He was good, but RVD was definitely a cut above. Van Dam was the star of the show, wowing the crowd with his unique athletic spots and throwing some kicks that looked great. They called him the "Whole F'n Show" in ECW, and he lived up to that moniker tonight. With him leading the way, this was the best match WCW has ever put on under my ownership.

The key element to the story told in this match was Booker's increasing desperation. Every time RVD kicked out of a big move, Booker's insecurity was written all over his face and he raised his aggression. Finally he used the chaos of a near-collision between RVD and referee Nick Patrick to catch Van Dam with the Harlem Sidekick, and then hit his signature Book End. He hooked the leg and Patrick counted once...



twice..



...but RVD again got a shoulder up! Booker started pulling at his hair in fury, then pummeled Van Dam with closed fists. It eventually led to RVD getting back to his feet and engaging in a unique standoff, with Booker throwing punches while Rob used kicks. Booker was staggering, and RVD jumped onto the second rope for a flying side kick. Booker got out of the way, forcing Van Dam to adjust and land on his feet. The challenger took him to the mat with a double leg and folded RVD in half for a pin attempt. One...



two....





Booker's feet were on the second rope, but Patrick didn't see it and counted the three!



Grade: A


Show Overall Grade: A


Credit to the wonderful K-Nection for the poster.

Last edited by The Final Countdown : 08-26-2017 at 11:28 PM.
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