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Default July 2002: Road to Bash at the Beach, Part II


July 1st, 2002

From Perth, Australia

Attendance: 7,500

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

The opening match between Norman Smiley and Shawn Stasiak had no winner declared thanks to Booker T, who attacked both men and threw them out of the ring before grabbing the microphone. (D+)

Spotlight Segment:

Booker stood in the ring and said that he was sick and tired of these games the WCW front office was playing with him. It wasn't bad enough that they'd denied him his title rematch for almost a year. Now that he'd gotten his title back, they were doing everything they could to try and derail his title reign.

"I pinned Diamond Dallas Page right in the middle of the dang ring at the Great American Bash, but is anybody talkin' about that? No! All anybody talked about was the tag team title match between the Hardys and the True Heroes! And now that punk sucka Arn Anderson is trying to take MY main event spot away from me at Bash at the Beach, with the help of you fans! Well that's not happening! I'm the world heavyweight champion, and I AM THE MAIN EVENT! Arn Anderson, you betta get those geeks runnin' the website to pull that poll down right now, because there ain't no way I'm gonna sit back and let you take the main event away from me!"

Booker was fantastic tonight. He pulled off his angry rant exceptionally well, insulting Arn, the fans and his Bash at the Beach challenger Rey Misterio Jr. Eventually someone came out to respond, but it wasn't Arn or Rey.

Instead it was True Heroes. The tag champs came into the ring, and at first they only made Booker angrier by saying that the tag team titles belonged in the main event thanks to them. They then tried to get on his good side by saying that if he was looking for someone to blame, he didn't need to look any further than Matt and Jeff Hardy. Storm did well tonight in his straightforward style, talking about how the Hardys were getting a title shot on back to back PPVs and contrasting that with how long Booker had to wait for his own title rematch. Punk's general performance was good as well as he backed Storm up. The champions succeeded in getting Booker even angrier, and giving him a target for that anger.

The Hardys came out to confront the Heroes. Jeff was fine, telling Storm and Punk that they had no idea what they were in for taking on the Hardys in a no DQ match. Matt was awful tonight, tripping over his own words and mangling the intended message of how they were going to push themselves to a whole new level of extreme at Bash at the Beach. He didn't react well to the failure either, and it dragged his performance down even further. The two teams continued to argue until Booker made his presence felt by attacking Jeff from behind. He started brawling with Matt, and the Heroes stood back and laughed until they were dragged into the fight by the Hardys. Booker did not discriminate, attacking the Heroes as well. The segment ended with a wild melee, officials rushing out to try and break it up as we cut to a commercial.

Grade: B+

The reunited Jung Dragons, now with Stacy Keibler in their corner, used their aerial skills to topple the much bigger Doomsday. Yang Time spelled the end for Bryan Clark, and Brian Adams left ringside alone after the match while shaking his head. (B-)

Chavo Guerrero Jr. and American Dragon approach AJ Styles on a house show so Chavo can taunt him about beating him last week on Nitro. He also notes that he's been rewarded with a cruiserweight title shot at Bash at the Beach, and says he'll show his young student how to get it done and become a champion! (C+)

Shane Douglas looked to be well on his way to outwrestling Animal for a non-title victory, but Mark Jindrak attacked him for a DQ finish. (C+)

Davey Boy Smith boards the "Flex Express" to challenge Lex Luger to a match at Bash at the Beach. Lex accepts, saying he'll beat him for the red, white and blue. Gene then points out that BATB will be in Australia, but Lex is too busy flexing in Davey's face to respond. (C-)

The Empire come to the ring and agree to accept Flair's challenge of a match. "If you're so eager to finally begin your long-overdue retirement, we'll be more than happy to help you!" Bischoff states. Flair appears in the aisle and says he can't wait to beat up whoever Empire sends at him. Sting comes down and suggests that they make it a tag team match, but Flair says they've already been there and done that. "This is my fight, and I'll fight it alone!" he insists. King Corino laughs and says that sounds great; to coin a phrase, he'll "beat the OLD man" at Bash at the Beach. (A)

Bischoff stayed at ringside, joining Mike and I on commentary for the next match. He watched on in approval as the Natural Born Thrillers dominated the team of Mike Sanders and Elix Skipper. (C+)

DDP interrupts a Buff Bagwell interview and says that if Buff isn't going to tell him why he attacked him, maybe he'll be more willing to fess up after a Diamond Cutter or two. Buff laughs and says Dallas is welcome to try. (B-)

Alexis Laree and Melissa Anderson tried their best, but Chaos was too much for them. Hokuto finished Alexis off with a Northern Lights bomb. (C)

After the match, Daffney tells Etsuko Mita and Manami Toyota that they can both get what they want--at the same time! Chaos will fight them both in a tag team match at Bash at the Beach! (C-)

Jamie Knoble and Shane Helms had a cruiserweight showdown. It was a competitive back and forth match, but guest commentator Christopher Daniels was ultimately disappointed when Knoble locked on the guillotine choke for the win. (B)

RVD and the Steiners appear on Piper's Pit. Roddy pushes the idea that RVD and Scott Steiner will be as likely to tear into each other as they are Salvation. Neither exactly denies it, but Scott says that as long as RVD stays out of his way and leaves "that painted freak" Unnatural to him, they won't have any problems at Bash at the Beach. Salvation appear on the video screen, mocking their foes for their disunity and saying that they have no hope of defeating their brotherhood. (A*)

It was a huge night for Psychosis to make a statement and revitalize his career. He knew Rey Misterio Jr like the back of his hand, and the two longtime rivals pulled out many of their old tricks in pursuit of victory. Psychosis pushed Rey to the limit, but Rey had the wherewithal to avoid the top rope legdrop and picked up the victory soon thereafter with the springboard hurricanrana. (B)

Arn Anderson makes an announcement from his office. Due to the out-of-control situation we saw earlier, he's making a big main event for Nitro next week: Booker T and Rey Misterio Jr. against the Hardys! (B+)

Show Grade: B+

Taped immediately after Nitro

Announce Team: Tony Schiavone and Tracy Brooks

American Dragon defeated Cash with the Dragon Suplex. (B-) exclusive: after Nitro, an angry Shane Douglas says he'll give Mark Jindrak his US title rematch, but only if Jindrak can beat an opponent of Shane's choosing next week on Nitro. (C+)

Billy Kidman used the Shooting Star Press for an easy victory over Alan Funk. (C+)

True Heroes made short work of The Mamalukes in a tune-up for their rematch against the Hardys. (B-)

Pre-taped promos: Ric Flair and King Corino promote their singles match at Bash at the Beach. (B+)

Show Grade: B-


July 8th, 2002

From ETSA Park in Adelaide, Australia

Attendance: 3,200 (sell-out!)

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

RVD and The Steiners attempted to work out the kinks in their temporary partnership with a tune-up match against 3 Count and Alan Funk. The distrust between RVD and Scott Steiner was obvious, but the trio was still able to win the match pretty easily. (B-)

Post-match: Salvation appear on the video screen and cut a promo about Sunday's match. "We've just seen the dissension present in your unstable partnership. What hope can you possibly have to defeat us when you'll have to look over your shoulder, wondering if one of your partners might stick a knife in your back?" (A*)

AJ Styles and Jamie Knoble teamed up against their respective Bash at the Beach opponents, Chavo Guerrero Jr. and Christopher Daniels, in a fast-paced cruiserweight match. Daniels earned himself some bragging rights in the division, as well as some momentum for Sunday, by pinning Knoble to win the match. (B)

The Natural Born Thrillers reveal that they've thought Eric Bischoff's offer over, and they'll give him their answer at Bash at the Beach. (B)

Shane Douglas comes to the ring and introduces his hand-picked opponent that Mark Jindrak must defeat to earn another US title shot. "I had to find someone just as talented and just as intimidating as you, Marky Mark, and I found that man!" Out came the Disco Inferno. (C)

Douglas sat in on color and taunted Jindrak throughout the next match. Jindrak mowed Disco down for the win and will receive another title shot on Sunday. (D+)

Davey Boy Smith and Lex Luger cut pre-taped promos about their match. Davey doesn't understand what's going on in Lex's head, but he started this fight and now Davey will finish it. Lex promises to follow in the footsteps of men like Paul Revere and George Washington and send Davey Boy running back to England. (C+)

Two of the top cruiserweight contenders met in a very important match for future title considerations when American Dragon took on former champion TAKA. Technical skill won out over agility this time, as a Dragon Suplex gave the masked man the victory. (B)

The Empire cut a promo on Ric Flair. Corino says that they've already beaten him down physically; now it's time to take his pride. (B)

Psychosis earned a full-time contract with his performance against Rey Misterio Jr. last week, and this week he used his flying legdrop to defeat Air Paris. (C+)

Spotlight Segment:

We did a segment where Sting approached Ric Flair in the back and asked him if he was really good to go. He'd been keeping his medical diagnosis a secret from everyone, including Sting, and Sting just wasn't sure if he was ready to get back in there so soon. Sting was pretty good here. I thought he played his part well, showing concern for Ric while avoiding being condescending. Ric didn't see it that way though.

"You too, Stinger? You've stood across the ring from me, what, five hundred times? A thousand? You should know better than anyone that it's going to take a hell of a lot more than a bat to the arm to keep Ric Flair down! Bischoff and Corino think they're going to put the Nature Boy down? They think they're going to take my pride? I'M RIC FLAIR! If I say I'm gonna go out there and take that Corino punk to school, that's exactly what I'm gonna do! And after I'm done with him, I'll slap that son of a (censored) Bischoff right across the face! Watch me!"

If Sting was pretty good tonight, Ric was fantastic. He did his fired up routine, but didn't go too far with it and sound like a crazed old man, which does happen with him sometimes. He brought the intensity, but remained the Nature Boy rather than a raving lunatic. Sting offered to accompany him to ringside to make sure it remained a one on one match without any outside interference from The Empire, but Ric assured him that he could handle it himself.

Grade: A

Manami Toyota and Etsuko Mita don't like each other much, but they both have a grudge against Chaos and know they'll have to work together to beat them on Sunday. They teamed up tonight and put their differences aside to defeat Shinobu Kandori and Takako Inoue (though Mita didn't exactly look thrilled when Toyota recorded the pin.) (C+)

Booker T and Rey Misterio Jr. were at each others' throats before the main event. Rey told him to get over the ongoing fan poll; whether they were in the main event or not, Rey's sole focus was taking that title away from him. Booker told him there was no way that was happening. "I'm the champ, I'm the star, I'm the main event player, and you ain't gonna change that, sucka!" (A)

Booker and Rey's feud carried over into their main event with the Hardys, with poor teamwork, staredowns and tags made with rather more force than necessary. Despite their great individual skills, they had no chance to beat a team like the Hardys without working together. They caught a break though; as the referee tried to keep the bickering partners apart, True Heroes attacked the Hardys. Storm struck Matt with a superkick, while Punk rammed legal man Jeff's head into the post and rolled him back into the ring. They'd been positioned in a way that only Booker T saw it all go down, and he shoved Rey out of the way and covered Jeff for the pin. (B+)

Show Grade: B+

Taped immediately after Nitro

Announce Team: Tony Schiavone and Tracy Brooks

The Jung Dragons defeated The Mamalukes. (C)

DDP and Buff Bagwell cut promos about their match at Bash at the Beach. (B)

Hayabusa used the Phoenix Splash to beat Mike Sanders. (C)

Chris Candido mopped the ring with Lash Leroux in a one-sided squash. (C+)

Bobby Heenan gives the hard sell for Bash at the Beach, going over the major matches to look forward to. (C)

Show Grade: C+


Fan Scorecard:

World Heavyweight Championship: Rey Misterio Jr. vs. Booker T {}

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

No DQ match for the World Tag Team Championship: The Hardys vs. True Heroes {}

Cruiserweight Championship: Chavo Guerrero Jr. vs. AJ Styles {}

"Nature Boy" Ric Flair vs. King Corino

Rob Van Dam and The Steiner Brothers vs. Salvation

Manami Toyota and Etsuko Mita vs. Chaos

Diamond Dallas Page vs. Buff Bagwell

Davey Boy Smith vs. Lex Luger

Jamie Knoble vs. "Fallen Angel" Christopher Daniels

What will be match of the night?

How many championships will change hands?

Will the Natural Born Thrillers accept Eric Bischoff's offer and join The Empire?

General diary comments/questions/critiques:

Originally Posted by Purotastic View Post
Good to see Psychosis brought in. I always liked him.
I would've preferred Juvi, but Vinnie Mac spoiled that idea. We'll see how ol' Hypnosis does.
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