May 2002: Road to Great American Bash, Part I
May 20th, 2002
From the Springfield Civic Center in Springfield, Massachusetts
Attendance: 5,000 (sell-out!)
Announce Team: "The Professor" Mike Tenay and Bret "The Hitman" Hart
AJ Styles beat Elix Skipper in non-title action to start the show. During the match, guest color commentator Chavo Guerrero Jr. complained about AJ 'unfairly' eliminating him from last night's Mayhem match after what Chavo described as a heinous group attack. (B-)
DDP got a nice reaction from most of the fans as he made his entrance, and you could tell that he enjoyed it. He thanked the fans for greeting him warmly last night, and even thanked the few who booed him as well because nothing motivated him more than proving his doubters wrong. He talked about how it had been a rough few months for him, both professionally and personally. He referenced his breakup with Kimberly without really going into details, and some of the smarkier fans started a "CM Punk" chant. That threw Dallas off, and he stumbled quite a bit for the rest of the promo until he finally moved on to discussing what came next.
"Personal problems aside, nothing can match the rush I get every time I walk through that curtain and step into this ring! Last night, from the moment I walked out until the moment I pinned Corino to win the Mayhem match, it was like everything wrong in my life went away. That rush, man--nothing beats it! And now I've got a shot at the heavyweight champion of the world. Booker, I know you're riding high after finally getting that belt back last night, but you've been here four times before, so you know the drill. You and I both know that winning the belt, that's the easy part. Now comes the hard part, because now every single guy in that locker room has their sights set right on you! But they'll all have to wait their turn, because I'm first in line. And all it'll take is one Diamond Cutter for me to win that championship for the fourth time!"
Booker stepped out into the aisle with the world title over his shoulder. He got the belt back, but he wasn't very happy. He explained that after almost a year of being screwed out of what was rightfully his, finally he'd taken it back last night! By all rights he should've received a red carpet parade tonight, but instead WCW didn't give him a dang thing. Instead they chose to give DDP the time that should've been his, and it made him sick.
"Ain't nothin' changed around here! I got my belt back, but those suits still wanna give my time to somebody else! But you ain't the story, Page. This ain't about you. It ain't about your personal life falling apart, because nobody cares about that. It ain't about you winning the Mayhem match last night, because the only thing that mattered last night was Booker T getting the belt back! Now I'm a five-time, five-time, five-time, five-time, five-time WCW champion! And you think you're gonna take it away from me at the Great American Bash, after all the crap I had to go through to get it? Ain't no way, sucka!"
Dallas invited Booker to come to the ring and "don't sing it, bring it", but the champ said he didn't have time for this and walked to the back. Booker did really well here and more than did his part in putting this angle over the top.
Christopher Daniels competed in the ring tonight, albeit not against a fellow cruiserweight. He still showed he wasn't all talk, because he used Angel's Descent to defeat Vampiro. (B-)
Arn Anderson announces that due to their performances in the Mayhem match, Rey Misterio Jr. (the iron man of the match) and The Destroyer (most eliminations) will meet in a match at the Great American Bash to decide the next challenger for the World Heavyweight Championship. (B)
Post-Mayhem footage: a furious Scott Steiner shoves the on-site doctor away and screams to the WCW.com camera crew that "Dustin's a dead man!" (B-)
Daffney and Takako Inoue defeated local talent Lizzy Valentine and Japanese freelancer (on excursion in the US) Kaori Yoneyama in a tag match when Daffney hit Valentine with a move we're calling the Banshee Knee (a top rope knee drop preceded by her signature scream.) (C-)
Unnatural responds to Scott Steiner's anger: "Feel free to rage and make threats, but it is yourself who you should be angry with. You brought this upon yourself with your selfish behavior, and there's no changing this river's flow now." (B)
More WCW.com behind the scenes footage from Mayhem: Rob Van Dam unlaces his boots in his locker room after his defeat to Booker T, looking dazed and confused. Bobby Heenan tries to get some post-match comments, but RVD doesn't respond. (B+)
Davey Boy Smith took down 'Above Average' Mike Sanders with the running powerslam. (C-)
Onboard the Flex Express: Lex and Gene are still pressing on with the Call to Action Campaign 2002, but for some reason the Japanese populous hasn't taken to it. Gene suggests some eye candy to draw people's attention, and when Lex says that's a great idea and starts making plans for a public flexing display, Gene specifies that he means adding a female to the campaign. (D+)
The Empire cut a promo on tonight's #1 contender's match against The Hardys, with Candido and Corino saying they should've just been given the title shot after last night's performance (over twenty minutes in the match for Candido and runner-up honors for Corino), but if Arn Anderson's going to make them jump through hoops they'll just have to make an example out of Matt and Jeff. (B)
Mark Jindrak approaches Shane Douglas in his locker room and tells him he'll be using his UFS title shot at the Great American Bash. Douglas laughs and mocks Jindrak for even thinking he has a prayer against him. (C+)
Billy Kidman defeated Kaz Hayashi in a high-flying cruiserweight bout, which earned a smile from Torrie Wilson and a shake of the head from Stacy Keibler. (B)
Arn Anderson calls both Etsuko Mita and Manami Toyota to his office to inform them they'll be wrestling for the World Women's Championship at Great American Bash. Toyota is obviously pleased, but Mita and manager Eric Bischoff aren't happy. Eric says that Toyota is undeserving and this is just another example of Anderson punishing The Empire for "ridding WCW of that cancer you call a best friend, Ric Flair!" (B-)
Natural Born Thrillers promo; they've been wrestling as individuals a bit more recently as they chased Shane Douglas' US title, but they're still a dominant tag team and welcome the challenge of anyone who doubts it. (B-)
Mortis confronts Rey Misterio Jr. and challenges him to a match next week as a preview for what awaits him against The Destroyer at Great American Bash, Rey accepts. (A)
The Hardys met Corino and Candido of The Empire to decide who will challenge True Heroes at Great American Bash, and CM Punk sat in on color commentary to observe. There was some great action here, but The Empire came to realize that the Hardys' team experience would be tough to overcome and began resorting to shortcuts. Bischoff tried to slip Candido the baseball bat, but Sting came running out from the back! Bischoff fled, and Candido fell victim to a Twist of Fate/Swanton Bomb combo. (A)
Show Grade: A
Taped immediately after Nitro
Announce Team: Tony Schiavone and Tracy Brooks
Melissa Anderson pinned Kaori Yoneyama after a spinebuster. (D-)
Mortis cuts a promo promising pain and anguish for Rey Misterio Jr. during their match on Nitro. (B-)
Alex Wright went down and grabbed his leg while attempting a leap frog, and was pinned by Shawn Stasiak immediately thereafter. (More on this later.) (C)
Manami Toyota and Etsuko Mita comment on their title match upcoming at the Great American Bash. (C-)
Johnny the Bull gave a great effort, but in the end was outwrestled and forced to submit by American Dragon as Chavo Guerrero Jr. watched on at ringside. (C)
Show Grade: C
May 27th, 2002
From the Kaiser Convention Center in Oakland, California
Announce Team: "The Professor" Mike Tenay and Bret "The Hitman" Hart
In the opener, #1 contender DDP kept his momentum rolling after hitting the Diamond Cutter on Shawn Stasiak. (B-)
Booker T attacks DDP after the match, laying him out with a belt shot and continuing to beat on him until Arn Anderson leads a force out to break it up. (A*)
Luger and Gene held "open auditions" for the female addition to the campaign that Gene suggested last week, and it brought us to two finalists: Kristi Myst, who used to be with XPW but is probably more known for her career in the porn industy, and Katarina Waters from the British indy scene. Lex went through some shtick as he told both women what a life-changing opportunity this would be for the lucky winner. He was pretty bad tonight, but Gene was much worse. He was playing sort of a lecherous old man (without being too trashy about it), but he was just awful in everything from his facial expressions to his delivery as he awkwardly tried to talk Lex into letting both women join the campaign.
Lex asked both women to introduce themselves and give their background. He was appalled when Katarina told him she was born in Germany and raised in England.
"Didn't you see the colors on the bus, ma'am? This is the Flex Express, and we represent the red, white and blue, YEAH! When I rode that helicopter down onto the USS Intrepid and bodyslammed that no-good sumo wrestler on our nation's birthday, do you think the pilot was Gerbritish? NO! I don't know why you thought you were fit to join our Call to Action Campaign 2002, but as long as Miss Myst here was born in the land of the free and the home of the brave, the position is hers!"
Kristi confirmed that she's an American, which made Lex smile. He complimented Gene on a great job of scouting, and Gene remarked that he was a big fan of Kristi's work in the film industry. Lex was further impressed and asked if she'd been in any movies he might've seen. Gene suddenly got embarrassed and mindful of the camera. He leaned in and whispered in Lex's ear, and Lex was suddenly horrified. He looked back and forth between both women and slowly shook his head.
"Welcome aboard," he said to Katarina, as the German-born Englishwoman was still a better choice than the former porn star. This kind of skirted the line of the sleazy TV I'm not a fan of, but we were careful to keep this silly rather than scandalous. This was a one-off appearance for Myst anyway, so it won't be an issue going forward. Katarina is sticking around as part of the Luger entourage though.
Christopher Daniels took on a cruiserweight this week, albeit one rather low on the totem pole, as he defeated Air Paris. (B)
Daniels boats about his greatness during an interview with Bobby Heenan until Yang interrupts and challenges him to a match at the Great American Bash so we can find out how great he actually is. Daniels accepts. (C)
Chavo Guerrero Jr. interrupts American Dragon's locker room warm-ups to tell him he's very disappointed that he accepted a spot in a #1 contender's match for the cruiserweight title tonight instead of recommending it go to Chavo instead. Dragon shrugs it off. (C-)
#1 contender Manami Toyota joined with regular partner Toshiyo Yamada to take on World Women's Champion Etsuko Mita and Shinobu Kandori. Toyota pinned Kandori with the Ocean Cyclone as Mita scowled on the apron. (B-)
Doomsday approach the Natural Born Thrillers backstage and tell them that if it's a fight they want, Doomsday will give it to them. (C+)
True Heroes had no problem running through The Mamalukes in non-title action. (B-)
Punk and Storm cut a promo on the Hardys after the match, calling them one trick ponies and sideshow freaks who will be embarrassed at the Great American Bash. Afterwards there's a shot of Matt and Jeff watching on a backstage monitor, looking amused and unimpressed. (B)
Konnan versus The Unnatural ended in a disqualification when Scott Steiner attacked Unnatural, battering him until Dustin caught him with a low blow and ran off. (B)
The Empire cut a pre-taped promo in which they promise retribution against Sting for ruining their chance to earn a tag title shot last week. (B+)
American Dragon and Jamie Knoble did lots of ground wrestling, exchanging holds and counter holds in this cruiserweight #1 contender's match. The masked man won the match with a dragon suplex, earning a shot at AJ Styles whether his mentor Chavo liked it or not. (B)
Shane Douglas relentlessly mocks Mark Jindrak in a live show chat on WCW.com, saying that he's just a muscle freak with no talent and he's got no chance at the Great American Bash. Jindrak barges in and glares at him, daring him to fight then and there. Shane vacates the premises with a smirk. (B-)
Arn Anderson is checking on an angry DDP in the trainer's room when Sting comes in. Sting suggests a blockbuster tag team main event next week, with he and DDP teaming up against Booker and any member of The Empire. Arn and DDP both like the idea, and the match is made. (A)
Rey Misterio Jr. and Mortis was tonight's main event. They rekindled their old chemistry in a back-and-forth athletic contest, but the match was marred when The Destroyer came down and launched Rey head-first into the ring post while Father Isaac distracted the ref. It was easy after that for Mortis to hit the Flatliner and pin Rey. (B+)
Show Grade: B+
Taped immediately after Nitro
Announce Team: Tony Schiavone and Tracy Brooks
A Vertebreaker gave Shane Helms the win over Jason Jett. (B-)
Yang and Christopher Daniels are interviewed about their match signed for Great American Bash. (C)
Hayabusa's daredevil high flying was way too much for Alan Funk to handle. (C)
Chris Candido used the fisherman buster to defeat Norman Smiley. (B-)
American Dragon and AJ Styles profess their respect for each other during an interview, but both men agree that they'll give it their all at Great American Bash with the cruiserweight title on the line. (C+)
Show Grade: C+
Originally Posted by smartman
Actually, he's referencing CW Anderson who was mainly noted for being in MLW as a member of Corino's Extreme Horsemen. I actually liked the guy from the few matches I saw, but he never did anything after that that I saw. Ken Anderson would be a hoot depending on what his personality is. Most have him at Bagwell-level douchebaggery so I wouldn't recommend that.
Yeah, I picked up on that later. Obviously I read through too fast and missed the Obvious Capitalization Beejus used to Show Who He Was Talking About, but I'm surprised I didn't think of CW on my own. I watched MLW every week and so saw that whole Extreme Horsemen run. I was even thinking of MLW earlier that same day, for reasons I won't go into for fear of an accidental spoiler. I wouldn't expect CW to show up here either though.
Originally Posted by michgcs
Yeah, TFC-- C
restling Anderson seemed like a pretty big clue LOL
...Shut up you.
Originally Posted by Wolfman84
So Booker T is officially a five time WCW champion? Great Mayhem show TFC and must say I did not expect DDP to return so fast. My bold predictions is Steve Austin doesn't debut/return to WCW into Starcade.
That's 5-time, 5-time, 5-time, 5-time, 5-time
Originally Posted by GnarlsFunk
I originally started reading this just to make sure my basic idea for my own WCW lives dynasty wasn't a rip on one that was so popular. 3 or 4 days later I've read the whole damn thing. Great work, I've enjoyed it throughly. And will continue to follow. Whether I ever actually post my game on the board or not is up in the air. But I'm super excited to start playing again as I had taken a break from the game and the board for a while.
Question for you. How far out did you actually plan when you started and how far out do you plan now?
I didn't have nearly as much planned out when I started as I usually do. Even now, while I have a couple of matches penciled in for Starrcade and have the potential main event narrowed down to just a handful of options, I don't have as clear a long-term picture as I usually do.
My rule of thumb in this and every other dynasty I've run is that I essentially book month to month. After I finish a PPV, I jot down a match lineup for the following month's PPV and start piecing together the TV shows from there. I do have plans and ideas that stretch well beyond that, but I don't really write anything down further than a month at a time.
Originally Posted by shawn michaels 82
I finally managed to read the whole deal. It is a great diary as the parts I had read before indicated. But iirc, (and I might be wrong, since it might have been mentioned way in the back pages) you are still not national, right? So I assume that's why Austin didn't sign and you did a good job of explaining why in character? Now that I finally finished reading everything, I might try my luck at getting a shot at the next UFS. Keep up the great work.
Yep, still at Cult.
You came in at a good time if you want to try to qualify for the next UFS. The Great American Bash ends the current prediction contest, and then the contest for the UFS starts the next month.