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Default June 2002: Road to Great American Bash, Part II

Quote:


June 3rd, 2002

From the Curtis Menard Sports Center in Wasilla, Alaska

Attendance: 5,000 (sell-out!)

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

The cruiserweights opened the show in tag team action, with AJ Styles teaming with Hayabusa against American Dragon and Chavo Guerrero Jr. There was plenty of time spent building the Styles/Dragon matchup for the PPV, but the end came when Chavo tagged himself in and pinned Styles with a Frog Splash. (B-)

Booker T and The Empire talk strategy in the locker room ahead of the night's main event, where Booker teams with King Corino against DDP and Sting. Booker tells Corino to stand back and follow his lead, which The Empire doesn't exactly appreciate, but Bischoff spots the camera man and slams the door closed before anything further is seen. (B+)

Mark Jindrak built some momentum for his US title match by beating the veteran Animal. (D+)

Shane Douglas comes to the ring and insults Jindrak to his face, telling him he shouldn't bother even showing up for their match at the Great American Bash. Jindrak gives him one hard punch to the face that knocks Douglas down to the mat, and the champion retreats back up the aisle while holding his hand to his jaw. (B-)

Aboard the Flex Express: Lex says that now that they've added a member of the fairer sex to the campaign, it's time to make a big splash, and what better time to do it than the Great American Bash? "Put the pedal to the kettle, Gene--our fellow patriots are waiting for us!" (C-)

Daffney used her Banshee Knee to defeat The Nanook (Nattie Neidhart under a mask in a guest spot from developmental.) (D)

After the match, Alexis Laree comes to the ring and says she hasn't forgotten about Daffney spewing that disgusting mist in her face last month. She challenges Daffney to a singles match, and it's accepted. (D)

During a chat session for WCW.com, Stacy Keibler laments the fact that her client Kaz Hayashi beat AJ Styles at Starrcade, yet AJ is now the cruiserweight champion while Kaz is struggling to build momentum. "We need a makeover," she admits. (C+)

The Destroyer lived up to his name, dominating Big Vito and beating him in about 3 minutes. (C)

After his win, The Destroyer and the rest of Salvation go to the back and corner Rey Misterio Jr, making an obvious threat about the strength in numbers they have at their disposal. The message is made less ominous when the Steiners come in for the save. Security is on hand to get the situation under control, but that doesn't stop both groups from shouting threats at each other. (A*)

Manami Toyota is being interviewed by Bobby Heenan when Etsuko Mita and Eric Bischoff interrupt. "You may have been well respected in Japan, but without the might of The Empire behind you, you'll never get to the top in WCW!" Bischoff promises. Toyota isn't intimidated, telling Mita she'd better be ready for the match of her life if she hopes to retain the title at the Great American Bash. (B-)

Sting and DDP cut a promo about the main event, and unlike their opponents they seem to be on the same page. Both of them are looking forward to getting their rivals in the ring and will have no problem working together. Sting also revealed that Arn Anderson had signed a singles match between himself and Corino for the Great American Bash. (A*)

Yang and Jamie Knoble took on Christopher Daniels and TAKA in the penultimate match of the night. Yang wanted a piece of his Great American Bash opponent, but it was TAKA who was the difference maker after hitting the Michinoku Driver on Yang. (B-)

Doomsday and the Natural Born Thrillers cut green screen promos for their match at Great American Bash. Both teams agree it will be a physical battle, and only the strongest team will survive. (C)

A brief Davey Boy Smith video is aired. (C)

Spotlight Segment:




The Hardys and Heroes were guests on Piper's Pit. The idea behind this angle was for the Heroes to claim that the Hardys are sideshow freaks who don't have the talent to even be in the same ring with them. The Hardys would respond that Punk and Storm shouldn't make the mistake of thinking that their willingness to take any risk necessary meant that they couldn't win a straight-up match, and Piper would constantly fan the flames with well-placed comments to keep both teams agitated. That was the plan.

Unfortunately, this was a time where my willingness to let my guys go out there without the safety net of a script backfired. Jeff was pretty poor, with some bland and uninspiring lines. Roddy wasn't great either; his comments that were supposed to raise everybody's ire were generally lame. Matt was even worse. He was really bad, stumbling over his points and saying pretty much nothing of consequence. He was visibly angry with himself for messing up, which hurt his performance even more. Storm didn't drag things down, at least not verbally, but you could see he was flustered by how off-track everything went.

Thankfully for us all, CM Punk took control of the segment. He was really good here, maintaining his poise throughout and basically single-handedly saving the entire thing from going off the rails altogether. He veered off of the original plan and adapted to the situation, which is what the best of the best do.

"Cat got your tongue, Matthew? I can see your lips moving, but nothing's coming out of either one of your mouths except for hot air. That's all you are, Hardys: you're a mirage. Your entire career has been built off of fooling these people into believing you're something that you're not. Because you may be fearless, and you may get all these preteen girls to plaster your posters all over their walls, and you may sell merchandise like few others, but one thing you're NOT is a world championship caliber tag team! Piper knows it, just like everybody in the WCW offices knows it, and that's why they sent him out here to try and cover for you. But it's finally dawning on you two just what you've gotten yourselves into, and that's why you're so nervous out here tonight. You know that at the Great American Bash, the joyride's coming to an end. At the Great American Bash, you're going to have to step into this ring and WRESTLE against the greatest tag team in the world today. Lance and I are going to outwrestle you, we're going to embarrass you, and we're going to expose you for the frauds that you are!"



Grade: B+


Booker and Corino may have been in disagreement about strategy, but they'd need to work together against Sting and DDP. Much of this match was spent getting over the idea that Booker is wary of being hit by the Diamond Cutter, but in the end Corino entered the ring illegally and piledrove Sting, which allowed Booker to cover him for the win. (B)

Booker T poses with the belt after the match and declares that since WCW isn't showing him the respect he deserves and rolling out the red carpet for him as the champion, he'll roll out his OWN red carpet and throw a party for himself next week on Nitro! (A*)


Show Grade: B+






Taped immediately after Nitro

Announce Team: Tony Schiavone and Tracy Brooks

Fit Finlay defeated Jason Jett. (C+)

Shinobu Kandori used her judo skills to beat The Nanook. (C-)

Alexis Laree and Daffney are interviewed about their Great American Bash match. (C-)

Billy Kidman beat Cash in a high flying main event. (B-)

Scott Steiner and The Unnatural give lengthy pre-taped promos in which a singles match between the two is made official for the Great American Bash. (A)


Show Grade: B-

Quote:


June 10th, 2002

From the Jack Stephens Center in Little Rock, Arkansas

Attendance: 5,600 (sell-out!)

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

The show opens with Booker T backstage, and he invites everyone to watch the celebration he's throwing for himself tonight. "Only my true supporters are invited to celebrate with me--which means it's gonna be a party of one, 'cause nobody believed in me but me!" (A)

They'll be opponents on Sunday, but tonight AJ Styles and American Dragon teamed up to defeat the dancing duo of 3 Count. They got along fine and worked together, but you could see that both guys were trying to send a message to the other through Karagis and Moore. (B)

The Flex Express has reached a difficult obstacle to overcome: how does a refurbished school bus cross an ocean? Lex cites 'some Atari computer game' he played with his kids: "The way you won that game was by fording the river, and that's just what we're gonna do!" Gene points out that this is an ocean, not a river, but Lex will not be swayed from his Oregon Trail logic. (C-)

Doomsday meets the Natural Born Thrillers on Sunday, and tonight they met in singles action when Bryan Clark took on Sean O'Haire. Clark tried to outbrawl and overpower his opponent as he usually does, but O'Haire's combination of size, strength and athletic ability made that a poor strategy. O'Haire showed some of that strength by planting his near 300-pound opponent with the Widow Maker for the win. (C+)

Roddy Piper teases a special Piper's Pit at the Great American Bash, where his guest will be Rob Van Dam in RVD's first appearance since losing the title to Booker T. What's next for the former World Heavyweight Champion? (B)

True Heroes effortlessly dispatched Air Paris and Lash Leroux. (B-)

CM Punk cuts a post-match promo for the team in which he says this Sunday's physical beating will be even more embarrassing for the Hardys than their verbal annihilation last week. Matt and Jeff appear on the video screen for a response from Iowa, where they're making public appearances in promotion of the PPV. They admit that Punk has few peers on the microphone, but Sunday won't be about talking. "When that bell rings, you two will find out exactly what the Hardys are made of!" Matt promises. (B+)

#1 contender Manami Toyota took on Daffney, who has a big match of her own against Alexis Laree set for the Great American Bash. Daffney acquitted herself well against her much more experienced opponent, but late in the match things were going against her and she prepared to spit the blinding mist at Toyota as the referee was out of position. Alexis Laree raced to the ring and alerted the referee in time for him to stop it though, and Toyota went on to win with the Ocean Cyclone. (C+)

Etsuko Mita and Eric Bischoff step into the aisle after the match to taunt Toyota. Mita says that Toyota got more recognition and adulation than she deserved in Japan, while Mita's own contributions and talents were ignored. Bischoff says that the attention is right where it belongs now that Mita has the backing of The Empire. Toyota responds that she earned everything she got in Japan, and she'll earn the World Women's Championship as well this Sunday. (C+)

Davey Boy Smith defeated local wrestler Eric Priest in a dominant showcase match. (D+)

Cameras are allowed into a meeting between Stacy Keibler and Kaz Hayashi. Stacy says she's got a plan on how to rejuvenate Hayashi's career. (C-)

Christopher Daniels sat in on commentary and ran down his Great American Bash opponent, but Yang hit his Yang Time finisher to defeat Elix Skipper. (C+)

Handheld camera footage shows Shane Douglas trying to ambush Mark Jindrak at the end of an Iowa autograph signing to soften him up for their match at Great American Bash, but Jindrak fights him off and slams him on top of the table he'd just been signing autographs on! (B-)

Chris Candido and TAKA of The Empire got a nice victory over Hugh Morrus and Konnan when Candido hit the fisherman buster on Morrus. (B)

A vignette promotes the match between Sting and Chris Candido at Great American Bash, with comments from both men. Sting says Corino and all of Empire have payback coming to them after trying to shatter Ric Flair's arm with a baseball bat at Slamboree, and he's just the man to do it. Corino points out his reputation for humbling legends, Flair included, and says it'll be a genuine pleasure to do the same to Sting. (A)

A six man tag main event saw Rey Misterio Jr. teaming with the Steiner Brothers against all three members of Salvation. With the hatred between the Steiners and Salvation and the high stakes for Misterio and Destroyer's match on Sunday, it was no surprise when this match combusted. All six men wound up fighting in the ring, and referee Nick Patrick threw the match out as a no contest. (B)

Spotlight Segment:




It was time for the Booker T championship celebration. He demanded that the ring crew lay out a red carpet the entire length of the aisle for him to walk down and refused to enter the ring until one of them held the ropes open for him. That set the tone for this entire segment, in which Booker berated everyone from the front office to the fans for not believing in him and supporting him on his quest to regain the championship that should've been his all along. Since WCW wasn't giving him the respect he deserved and didn't throw him the coronation he earned when he became a 5-time world champion, he was forced to throw his own celebration.

He spent a lot of time berating anyone and everyone, and I think the fans just got bored with it after awhile. Booker struggled with it, and Tenay and I also ran out of things to say. It was kind of important that he keep going though, because throughout the segment one staff member after another kept presenting him with one thing or another that he demanded, whether it be food or drinks or a fancy napkin to wipe his hands. All this led up to a man entering the ring carrying a large tray of silverware which shielded his face from view. He walked right in front of Booker and stopped, which triggered a rant where Booker yelled at him for ruining his celebration and threatened to destroy the man's career as a caterer. The man tossed the tray aside, revealing his face for the first time.










Yeah, I'm sure most fans saw where this was going, but Page's reveal got a nice pop. Booker only had enough time to make a shocked face before Dallas dropped him with the Diamond Cutter. DDP picked up the mic that Booker had just dropped and cut a promo. The point was simple: one Diamond Cutter was all it was going to take. One Diamond Cutter at the Great American Bash, and that title was his. This segment ended on a major high note, and it was basically all Dallas' doing. His delivery was strong and he really came across like a star, with the crowd popping for the reveal, popping even bigger for the Diamond Cutter and reacting well to his promo to close us out.


Grade: A*


Show Grade: B+






Taped immediately after Nitro

Announce Team: Tony Schiavone and Tracy Brooks

Hayabusa defeated Eric Priest. (C+)

Alexis Laree and Daffney are interviewed about their match on Sunday. (C)

Kaz Hayashi defeated Big Vito. (C)

Jamie Knoble forced Mike Sanders to submit. (C+)

The Unnatural promises that Scott Steiner's pride will be stripped away from him at the Great American Bash. (B)


Show Grade: C+





Quote:

Fan Scorecard:

World Heavyweight Championship: Diamond Dallas Page vs. Booker T {}

United States Heavyweight Championship: Mark Jindrak vs. Shane Douglas {}

World Tag Team Championship: The Hardys vs. True Heroes {}

Cruiserweight Championship: American Dragon vs. AJ Styles {}

World Women's Championship: Manami Toyota vs. Etsuko Mita {}

#1 Contender: Rey Misterio Jr. vs. The Destroyer

Sting vs. King Corino

"Big Poppa Pump" Scott Steiner vs. The Unnatural

Doomsday vs. The Natural Born Thrillers

Alexis Laree vs. Daffney

Yang vs. "Fallen Angel" Christopher Daniels

What will be match of the night?

How many championships will change hands?

Will Lex Luger make it to the show?

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

Who will be the next World Heavyweight Champion? (worth 3 points)

General diary comments/questions/critiques:
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