June 2002: News and Summer 2002 Roster Update
King of the Ring was held in Milwaukee on June 30th. No world title match this month, though Mr. Perfect went to a double countout with Headshrinker Samu in a European title match, and Rikishi retained the Intercontinental title against Vampiro in the WCW reject's PPV debut for Vince. Undertaker won the KOTR tournament, beating Bradshaw in the first round, Kane in the Semifinals (which narrowly eclipsed Triple H against Christian in the other Semifinal as the best match on the show), and then Hunter in the finals. That's the second straight year that he's lost in the finals. Chris Jericho beat Boy Toy Michaels in the main event, which wasn't anywhere near as good a match as you would expect. They had a much, much better match on Smackdown in May. Because of that disappointing main event, there's no denying that Great American Bash was the better show this month.
Curt Hennig is getting divorced. That's sad, but unsurprising in this business.
The Rock won an online poll for the most entertaining wrestler in the world.
WWE's signing of Juvi led me to investigate some other luchadors to possibly bring in. Firstly, there's Psicosis coming back full-time. I also signed both Aguila/Essa Rios of WWF fame and Volador Jr, a really talented 21 year old that I think has a ton of potential. I've sent both of them down to Wildside as a team, and they should be called up to give our tag division some more depth later in the year.
Our deals with MTV Europe to air Nitro and Saturday Night are expiring in a month, and I've made the decision not to renew with them. I've arranged better deals for Nitro, which will reach wider audiences on Channel 5 in Britain and Sky Euro throughout the rest of Europe. Our deal for MTV Europe to air our PPV events technically still has 3 months remaining on it, but we're under no contractual obligation to provide them a minimum number of events, so I've also upgraded there with Telewest in Britain and Sky Euro (who required us to guarantee six PPV events as part of the deal.) I'm allowing the Saturday Night deal to expire, both on MTV Europe and the USA Network. Thus begins the fazing out of that show's contracts to make room for the women's show we want to launch later in the year. I do think having a B show is a good idea though, so I'm hoping we'll be able to convince networks that we can handle 3 TV shows and we can bring it back in the future.
I was pleased with the success of Yang's heel turn. I think reuniting the Jung Dragons is a good move for everybody: it gives Kaz, Yang and Stacy something to do, and it gives us some needed depth in the tag division.
There were a couple of title changes down in our developmental territory. Wildside put their heavyweight title on Reno, who dethroned Rick Michaels. Reno has seen some modest improvement in his brawling ability, but he's still pretty limited in-ring. They also needed to crown a new women's champion since we called LuFisto up to the main roster (she's yet to appear on our TV, but has worked some dark matches.) Lacey beat Nattie Neidhart to win the vacant title. That was probably a smart decision, because Nattie's improved about as much as she can in Wildside and her call-up isn't too far off. Lacey is likely to be down there much longer, so she's a good choice to carry the title.
Scott Steiner thinks Christopher Daniels' act is crap. He said it in a much more blunt and expletive-filled fashion, but the point is he thinks I should fire Daniels. Not going to happen.
I saw Shane Douglas watching Doomsday's match with The Empire on the June 24th show and shaking his head at Bryan Clark's selling. He's not alone; Clark has been the low point of basically every Doomsday match since the team returned from injury last year.
CM Punk must have enjoyed working with Jason Jett in their squash match on Saturday Night, because afterwards I heard him telling Jason that he's a fan of his in-ring work.
NOAH held their next big PPV, 'For the Warriors Fell', on June 21st. Akira Taue retained the GHC Heavyweight title over Naomichi Marufuji in what was a good main event, but the runaway match of the night happened right in the middle of the card when Jun Akiyama beat Kenta Kobashi in an instant classic. It was a good show, but imagine how much better it would've been if Akiyama or Kobashi had the title and that match headlined.
XPW ran a show called 'No Escape' (ironic) on June 30th, then folded the very next day. Rob Black, we hardly knew ye. The final match in XPW history saw Shaggy 2 Dope retain the XPW World title over Tony Jones. Perfect.
AAA, who are currently narrowly winning their war with CMLL for the top spot in Mexico, have begun a working agreement with Marco Moreno's International Wrestling Revolution Group. That's interesting since IWRG already has a partnership with CMLL. AAA might have felt it was worth overlooking just so they could form an alliance with someone. It's their only current one, while CMLL has agreements with NJPW, Michinoku Pro, Osaka Pro and the Mexican branch of Toryumon.
AAA held the tenth annual TripleMania, their biggest show of the year. It was okay; slightly better than CMLL's big show a few days earlier. Dos Caras retained the Campeon de Campeons title against Latin Lover in the main event, but there were several matches earlier in the show that were better. The clear match of the night was Hector Garza winning the Mexican National Heavyweight title from Sangre Chicana.
CMLL's 'Juicio Final' PPV was okay. Villano III retained the World Light Heavyweight title in an okay main event, but Atlantis beating Brazo Hermoso to keep the Middleweight title two matches earlier was a much stronger bout.
Summer 2002 Roster Breakdown: (Faces in blue, heels in red)
Main Event:Davey Boy Smith
Diamond Dallas Page
Rob Van Dam
Booker T (World Heavyweight Champion)
Shane Douglas (United States Heavyweight Champion)
Upper Midcard:Chuck Palumbo
Rey Misterio Jr.
CM Punk (World Tag Team Champion)
Lance Storm (World Tag Team Champion)
Midcard:AJ Styles (Cruiserweight Champion)
Road Warrior Animal
Chavo Guerrero Jr.
Lower Midcard:Big Vito
Johnny the Bull
Enhancement Talent:Air Paris
Women's Division:Alexis Laree
Etsuko Mita (World Women's Champion)
Color Commentator:Bret Hart
Road Agent:Dusty Rhodes
Out Injured:Alex Wright (torn quad)
Active Tag Teams:3 Count (Evan Karagis and Shannon Moore)
Chaos (Akira Hokuto and Daffney)
Doomsday (Brian Adams and Bryan Clark)
Jung Dragons (Kaz Hayashi and Yang)
The Natural Born Thrillers (Sean O'Haire and Chuck Palumbo)
The Hardys (Jeff Hardy and Matt Hardy)
The Mamalukes (Johnny the Bull and Big Vito)
True Heroes (CM Punk and Lance Storm)
Factions:Salvation (Father Isaac, Mortis, The Destroyer and The Unnatural)
The Empire (Chris Candido, Eric Bischoff, Etsuko Mita, King Corino, TAKA and Tammy Sytch)
Managerial Assignments:Eric Bischoff (King Corino, TAKA and Etsuko Mita)
Father Isaac (Mortis, The Destroyer and The Unnatural)
Kimberly Page (None)
Midajah (Scott Steiner)
Stacy Keibler (Kaz Hayashi and Yang)
Tammy Sytch (Chris Candido)
Torrie Wilson (Billy Kidman)
1. Booker T
2. Rob Van Dam
3. Scott Steiner
4. Ric Flair
Next Big Things:
1. Jeff Hardy
2. CM Punk
3. AJ Styles
4. Alexis Laree
1. American Dragon
2. Melissa Anderson
3. AJ Styles
4. Johnny the Bull
5. Alexis Laree
Talk the Talk:
1. Ric Flair
2. Roddy Piper
3. Dusty Rhodes
4. Booker T
5. Diamond Dallas Page
1. Rey Misterio Jr.
2. Jeff Hardy
3. Rob Van Dam
4. CM Punk
5. Manami Toyota
1. Rey Misterio Jr.
2. Lance Storm
3. American Dragon
4. King Corino
1. Chavo Guerrero Jr.
2. Fit Finlay
3. Shane Helms
4. Jamie Knoble
5. Sean O'Haire
1. Mike Sanders
2. Big Vito
3. Ernest Miller
4. Johnny the Bull
1. Ric Flair
2. Lex Luger
4. Diamond Dallas Page
5. Fit Finlay
2. El Generico
3. Kenny Omega
4. Simon Diamond
5. Jorge Estrada
Originally Posted by K-Nection
I'm so psyched for Bash at the Beach! It is already looking like a stacked card!
I wonder if Vince is paying attention to WCW starting to nip at their heels?
Those top two matches especially are pretty big. I have high hopes for this show.
They declared war on me, so I'm going to say yes. This time Vinnie Mac's going down though! But don't worry, you'll one day be able to watch old episodes of Raw on the WCW Network.
Originally Posted by LordofGustav
Any chance that you can push Psychosis?
He'll probably slot into the cruiserweight division after this re-debut match with Rey. We'll see how he performs. If his matches are good, he could become one of the bigger stars in the division.