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Default September 2002: Road to War Games, Part II


September 2nd, 2002

From the RiverCentre in St. Paul, Minnesota

Attendance: 9,000

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

We opened with our ten men battle royal, filled with only men who had never held the WCW World title before, to determine who challenges Booker T next week. Several storylines were continued within this match, such as Billy Kidman and Psychosis butting heads, and Disco Inferno (who was not in the match) attacking Davey Boy Smith and causing his elimination. In the end it came down to AJ Styles and The Destroyer, with AJ slipping out of a Destruction Bomb and getting a surprise elimination. Unfortunately, there was a dark cloud hanging over this match as Buff Bagwell landed awkwardly on his bump to the floor and had to be taken out on a stretcher (not a work.) (B)

Booker T comes out after the match and taunts AJ, telling him he's stepping out of his league and will be embarrassed next week. AJ is unmoved, and lets Booker know that he won't need to worry about demanding respect after next week, because there will be a new champion for WCW to present to the world. (B+)

A brief announcement promotes a special sit-down interview Bobby Heenan will conduct with Rey Misterio Jr. next week. (B)

Manami Toyota was way too much for local rookie Hailey Hatred to handle. (C+)

Post-match: Etsuko Mita attacks Toyota, plants her with the Death Valley Driver and poses with the World Women's Championship. (B-)

Chavo Guerrero Jr. barges into American Dragon's locker room and chastises him for suggesting to the championship committee that Christopher Daniels deserves the next title shot. "Where's the loyalty, esse? Why didn't you repay me by making sure that title shot went to me?" Dragon says he agreed to Daniels' challenge because he's been winning matches and is a worthy challenger. "If you want a shot, go and earn it." (C+)

The Empire's Corino and Palumbo had no trouble beating The Mamalukes. (C+)

Ric Flair and Sting are seen watching on a monitor in a backstage hallway, discussing the War Games match and scouting their opponents. Sean O'Haire approaches and tells them that if Palumbo's stepping into War Games on behalf of The Empire, he's stepping into that cage too to get his hands on his ex-partner. Sting and Flair like the sound of that; Sting welcomes him to the team with a slap on the back while Flair lets out a 'whoo.' (B+)

DDP comes to the ring and asks Kimberly to join him, but gets no response. She does not show up despite repeated attempts, and Page leaves in frustration as we cut to commercial. (B-)

Jamie Knoble beat Cash in cruiserweight action. (B)

In a brief teaser for the main event, we see a split-screen shot of the Steiner Brothers warming up and encouraging each other, while their opponents (The Unnatural and Shane Douglas) stare at each other with silent distrust. (B-)

Rob Van Dam and Mortis cut pre-taped promos to hype their No DQ match at War Games. RVD says that it was a mistake for Mortis to ever think that he could recruit a man like him to Salvation, because he blazes his own trail (heh) and refuses to follow orders from anyone else, but it was an even bigger mistake to accept a No DQ match against a man as extreme as himself. For his part, Mortis admits that it was an error in judgment to try and recruit him. "It was my idea and I take responsibility for it," he says. "That's why I'm also taking responsibility for eliminating you." (A*)

Hayabusa defeated Kaz Hayashi by DQ when Yang interfered. (B)

Christopher Daniels interview; he doesn't care about the dispute between American Dragon and Chavo Guerrero Jr. "Argue all you want, but neither of you truly matter. You'll both be rendered irrelevant once God's gift to the Cruiserweight division ascends to his spot on top at War Games." (C)

Spotlight Segment:

The Hardys and True Heroes were guests on Piper's Pit. The idea here was for the Heroes to claim that they'd lost their titles only because of being forced to defend in a match that allowed the Hardys to use weapons and tricks, and in a straight-up rematch they would win the titles back no problem. Punk was good here as he promised to repay both Hardys for putting him through the table at Bash at the Beach and (kayfabe) injuring him, but the real star of the segment was Storm. Lance isn't generally thought of as the talker of the team, but his dry and straightforward style worked perfectly tonight as he matter-of-factly told the Hardys that they may have stolen those titles through their "circus nonsense", but everyone knew that the greatest tag team in the world is True Heroes, and that has not changed.

Piper did a fairly good job in his role as the instigator, stirring the pot and getting both teams even more fired up. Matt was good as well, so even though Jeff didn't so great, it was more than made up for by the strong performances of everyone else involved. Jeff referenced the Heroes attacking them with a chair at the Great American Bash and said that putting Punk through the table with a Swanton the following month was nothing but payback. Matt backed his brother up, and also said that the Hardys have nothing to fear from Punk and Storm and would be happy to give them a rematch any time they wanted and prove that they're the best tag team in WCW.

Out came Arn Anderson, who said that the Hardys might be champions, but they don't make the matches and they don't decide who gets to challenge for the titles. He reminded everyone that WCW has eliminated automatic rematches for ex-champions, and said that Punk and Storm weren't going to receive a rematch simply by asking for one. The Heroes obviously protested, but Arn didn't budge. He continued the trend of strong performances in this segment; he was very good at playing the no-nonsense man in charge. He DID authorize a singles match between Matt and Storm for next week's Nitro, but neither team was entirely pleased by that.

Grade: A

It was main event time. There was obviously no questioning the teamwork of the Steiner Brothers, one of the greatest tag teams of all time. Questions abound for their opponents though, and they were warranted. Shane Douglas eventually decided he'd had enough. He left ringside rather than accepting a late-match tag, abandoning The Unnatural to a double team assault and a Steinerizer finish. (A)

Show Grade: A

Taped immediately after Nitro

Announce Team: Tony Schiavone and Tracy Brooks

Melissa Anderson defeated Hailey Hatred. (D-)

Disco Inferno defeated Lash Leroux. (C-)

Norman Smiley defeated Shawn Stasiak. (C)

AJ Styles cuts a lengthy promo, hyping this Monday's title match against Booker T as the biggest opportunity of his career. (B+)

Show Grade: C


September 9th, 2002

From the Colorado State Fair Center in Pueblo, Colorado

Attendance: 8,225

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

Earlier in the day: AJ Styles is approached by Ric Flair, Sting and Sean O'Haire as he arrives at the building. Flair and Sting wish him luck as former world champions themselves. Sting voices his confidence in AJ from their time together in the first UFS, and says that's why he's sold Ric on the idea that AJ will be the perfect final member of their team for War Games. After some thought, AJ shakes their hands and accepts the offer to complete the lineup for War Games! (B+)

Psychosis put on an impressive showing in defeating Air Paris. (C)

Kidman comes out after the match. He again insists that he could beat Psychosis if they wrestled again and challenges him to a rematch. Psychosis accepts the challenge, and we've got another match set for War Games. (C+)

The Jung Dragons cut a promo about a just-announced match between themselves and Hayabusa and Jinsei Shinzaki at War Games. They welcome the chance to put that "unfair surprise" at the Japan Supershow behind them with a convincing victory. (D+)

In a battle between the next challenger for the Cruiserweight title and the man who THINKS he should be getting the next shot, Christopher Daniels avoided a Frog Splash and beat Chavo Guerrero Jr. with the Angel's Wings. (B-)

In a backstage confrontation, Shane Douglas calls Rick "the forgotten Steiner", who nobody cares about now that Scott's gone on to bigger and better things. Rick promises that NO ONE will forget the butt kicking he hands out at War Games, especially Douglas! (A)

Rob Van Dam showed off some of his kicks and aerial innovations before easily finishing Mike Sanders with a Split-Legged Moonsault. (B-)

Mortis attempts to attack RVD from behind after the match, but Van Dam sees it coming and fights him off, knocking him over the top rope with a spinning kick. RVD grabs the mic and tells Mortis he'll need to do a lot better than that if he wants to hang with him in a no DQ match. (A*)

A brief shot shows AJ Styles and Booker T warming up for their main event title match. (B-)

The four male members of The Empire (including the returning Chris Candido) showed off their teamwork in defeating Hugh Morrus, Konnan, Norman Smiley and Animal in an eight man tag. (B)

Davey Boy Smith comes to the ring to say he's tired of dealing with Disco Inferno's nonsense and wants to get him in the ring. Disco dances out from the back to decline his challenge on the basis that the people want to see him shake his booty, not kick Davey's British booty! (C)

Vignette: Both Scott Steiner and The Unnatural hype their match at War Games. (A*)

Both teams might have preferred a rematch for the titles, but tonight they had to settle for Matt Hardy against Lance Storm one-on-one. It was a competitive back-and-forth match until CM Punk got in a cheap shot which propelled Storm to victory. (B-)

Arn Anderson informs Manami Toyota and Etsuko Mita that their title match will NOT be happening at War Games. Both women protest, but Arn assures them that they aren't being overlooked. Quite the opposite, because it's being saved for something special. (C+)

Bobby Heenan goes to Rey Misterio Jr's house to conduct a sit-down interview. Rey says he's been physically cleared to return to the ring, but he's done a lot of soul searching after what happened to him at Bash at the Beach courtesy of Booker T. He says he'll be showing up to War Games to address the fans in person. (B)

The night's main event was a rare sight: a World Heavyweight Championship match, live on Nitro. This wasn't some Attitude Era schmozz either; these two guys did everything they could to try and have a PPV-caliber match. Styles showed he could hang with the big boys, giving Booker all he could handle and then some. He got several close falls, but when he went for his big Spiral Tap and missed, Booker was there to finish him off with the Book End and wrap up a hard-fought title defense. (B)

The Empire hits the ring after the match to rough up the newest member of Team Flair, but Flair, Sting and O'Haire run out for the save. It's an all-out brawl to close the show! (A)

Show Grade: B+

Taped immediately after Nitro

Announce Team: Tony Schiavone and Tracy Brooks

Jamie Knoble defeated Elix Skipper. (B-)

The Jung Dragons beat Jason Jett and Lash Leroux. (B-)

Bobby Heenan gives his thoughts on Rey Misterio Jr; he thinks the fight has been sapped from Rey and it'll be a long time before he wrestles again. (B)

Shane Helms defeated Ernest Miller. (B-)

King Corino cuts a promo about a big match he'll be having against Sean O'Haire on Nitro. The match has huge implications, because the winner will get the all-important man advantage for his team at War Games. (B)

Show Grade: B-


September 16th, 2002

From the Wicomico Civic Center in Salisbury, Maryland

Attendance: 6,747

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

The opener highlighted two cruiserweight matches scheduled for War Games. Cruiserweight Champion American Dragon forced Psychosis to submit to the Arms Across America, earning victory for himself and Billy Kidman over Psychosis and Christopher Daniels. (B)

RVD and Mortis give pre-taped promos on their No DQ match at War Games. RVD says that some people might think he's too laid-back to hurt people, but there's a reason he was so successful in the land of extreme, and on Sunday Mortis is stepping into his world. Mortis says it was his mistake to think that RVD was worthy of a spot in Salvation. He owed his brothers for his error in judgment, and he's going to make good by putting an end to Van Dam. (A*)

Fit Finlay's third title defense saw him pitted against the Disco Inferno. Disco's goofy dancing was the polar opposite of Finlay's no-nonsense desire to inflict pain, and it no doubt gave Fit great pleasure to beat Inferno up and retain his title. (C)

Post-match: Davey Boy Smith rubs salt in the downed Disco Inferno's mood by informing him he won't have any time to shake his booty on Sunday, because Arn Anderson has signed a match between them for War Games! (C)

Yang caught Jinsei Shinzaki by surprise with a flash pin in a singles match, building some momentum for the Jung Dragons ahead of Sunday's tag rematch against Shinzaki and Hayabusa. (B-)

Booker T cuts a promo from his home. He eats popcorn while bragging about his victory over AJ Styles, and sarcastically says it could have been a great PPV main event if Arn Anderson weren't giving his best friend some undeserved spotlight. But he evidently wasn't needed, so the champ was enjoying his time off. (B+)

With Etsuko Mita on color commentary, complaining about not getting to defend her title at War Games, #1 contender Manami Toyota fought off free agent wrestler Miss Maulie. (C-)

King Corino's promo on tonight's match against Sean O'Haire is interrupted by an unknown woman:

He asks "Allison, what are you doing here?", but she just shakes her head and says she's disappointed in him. (C+)

Interview: Bobby Heenan asks Shane Douglas if he's afraid his disrespect will fire Rick Steiner up and make him tougher to beat. Douglas laughs and says Steiner is stupid at the best of times, so if he's wrestling even less intelligently than normal it'll make him even easier to beat. (B)

DDP partnered with Jamie Knoble to beat 3 Count, but Mike and I spent the match wondering where Kimberly was and why she wasn't responding to DDP's requests to talk. (B)

Roddy Piper reveals that when Rey Misterio Jr. shows up to address the fans at War Games, he'll do so in Piper's Pit! (A)

Sean O'Haire took on King Corino in an all-important match, because the winner would earn the man advantage for their team at War Games. Chuck Palumbo was the difference-maker, attacking his former partner while the referee was entangled with Eric Bischoff. That allowed Corino to win the match and give the heels the advantage on Sunday (shocking!) (B)

The rest of The Empire (minus Bischoff, who will be doing a satellite promo with Flair later that we spent some time hyping during the match) attempt to do further damage to O'Haire after the match, but a bat-wielding Sting and chair-wielding AJ Styles make the save. (B)

Arn Anderson summons the Hardys and True Heroes to his office and informs them that there will be a singles match between Jeff and CM Punk at War Games. Both Hardy and Punk welcome the opportunity, though Punk remarks that it's ridiculous that the greatest tag team in the world didn't earn a rematch even after Lance beat Matt last week. Jeff points out Punk's interference in that match, and Punk calls him a sore loser. Arn calls in security to make sure the tension doesn't boil over inside his office, and both teams stare each other down as they're escorted away. (B)

Our main event saw Scott Steiner against The Destroyer. The idea here was The Destroyer was using his strength to try and hurt Steiner, focusing more on softening him up for Sunday's match against The Unnatural as opposed to trying to win. Steiner eventually cut his opponent off on the top rope and hit a flying belly to belly suplex to win the match. (B+)

The Unnatural attacks Steiner after the match, planting him with the Unnatural Selection. He stands over Steiner and vows to introduce him to unnatural nightmares of the scariest sort, whatever that means. (A*)

Spotlight Segment:

We did a satellite promo deal where both Flair and Bischoff spoke from "different locations" to make sure nothing physical happened (they were actually just in different rooms backstage, but kayfabe.) Their objective here was to talk about their years of personal strife, both in and out of storyline, and use it to hype up Sunday's War Games match. They more than delivered on that. Ric's improv was pretty good. He talked about putting in a good word for Bischoff to the execs at Turner back when he was just an announcer and called it the worst mistake of his life. All he'd ever wanted was to help WCW and make it #1, and that's the same thing Bischoff wanted. If Bischoff had treated him with respect there would've been no trouble between them. He still has no idea why Eric developed such hatred for him, whether it was insecurity or Hogan's doing or something else entirely, but it doesn't matter any more. What matters is that Eric has spent years trying to destroy him, but on Sunday it all comes to an end. He'll run through Bischoff's Empire inside War Games, and afterwards he's going to unleash years and years of vengeance in those five minutes that Eric will be locked inside the cage with him.

As good as Ric was, Eric was even better. He said that the reason he and Ric didn't get along was simple: Ric represented the old guard. He represented the old way of doing things, and the old way of doing things never brought WCW anything but failure. Eric was a visionary, and he knew that to take WCW to the top, he needed to revolutionize the business. That's just what he did. People like Ric who were left in the cold could resent it all they liked, but he made no apologies for his success. He remade the business once in the mid-90's, and he and his Empire were going to do it again in this new millennium. Ric's time had passed years ago, but nobody had ever had the courage to tell him--nobody but Eric, that is. All that was left was to finally end Ric's career and bring his legacy to a sad, tired end. The Empire would do it on Sunday, in Flair's match, in the heart of "Flair Country". After that, it was on to new horizons and new innovations.

What a fantastic segment to close the go home show and build anticipation for the PPV. I'm sure we sold quite a few people who were on the fence with this promo. Great work from both guys.

Grade: A*

Show Grade: A

Taped immediately after Nitro

Announce Team: Tony Schiavone and Tracy Brooks

Melissa Anderson defeated Miss Maulie. (D)

DDP promo; he hopes Kimberly will either call him so they can talk about what's happened, or otherwise show up at War Games so they can talk in person. (B-)

Ernest Miller beat Alan Funk. (D+)

Unseen Nitro footage: American Dragon and Christopher Daniels have a backstage war of words after their match, with Dragon holding the Cruiserweight belt up and Daniels telling him to enjoy it while he could. (C+)

True Heroes dominated Lash Leroux and Jason Jett. (B)

Show Grade: B-


Fan Scorecard:

War Games Match: Team Flair ("Nature Boy" Ric Flair, Sting, Sean O'Haire and AJ Styles) vs. The Empire (King Corino, Chris Candido, Chuck Palumbo and TAKA)
*If Team Flair wins: Flair gets 5 minutes alone in the cage with Eric Bischoff
*If The Empire wins: Flair must retire

United States Heavyweight Championship: Rick Steiner vs. Shane Douglas {}

Cruiserweight Championship: "Fallen Angel" Christopher Daniels vs. American Dragon {}

No DQ: Rob Van Dam vs. Mortis

"Big Poppa Pump" Scott Steiner vs. The Unnatural

Jeff Hardy vs. CM Punk

Hayabusa and Jinsei Shinzaki vs. The Jung Dragons

Billy Kidman vs. Psychosis

Davey Boy Smith vs. Disco Inferno

What will be match of the night?

How many championships will change hands?

Who will start the War Games match for each team?

Who will earn the submission in the War Games match?

Who will submit in the War Games match?

Will Rey Misterio Jr. announce his return during Piper's Pit?

Will we see Kimberly tonight?

General diary comments/questions/critiques:

So yeah, almost all of the previous posts are still broken for now. K-Nection and Rateddc have volunteered to help me clean them up, but even with three of us I'm sure it'll take some time. I've done a couple of months already (starting from the very beginning), but I wanted to get the thread going again, and I also can only do a little bit of that cleanup at a time without wanting to throw my computer and curse Photobucket, so I'll be alternating between doing that and working on continuing the story.
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