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Default March 2003: Road to Slamboree, Part II

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March 10th, 2003

From the Tingley Coliseum in Albuquerque, New Mexico

Attendance: 10,360

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


Ultimate Fan Series, Semifinal Round: #2 The Phenomenal Enigmas vs. #3 Sin-free Society (Society leads 2-0)
Sean O'Haire was fighting not only to retain his title against Kaz Hayashi, but to keep the Enigmas alive as well. Kaz wrestled a smart match with plenty of flying and leg work, but O'Haire softened him up with a few big power moves and finished him with the Widow Maker to make his third title defense. (B)

Shane Douglas cuts a promo while lounging in the locker room with his feet propped on a chair: "Enjoy yourself in your champion vs. champion match tonight, Rey. I know I'll be enjoying it!" (B+)

The Unbound made quick work of Jason Jett and Lash Leroux. (B-)

After the match, Mortis grabs the microphone and issues an open challenge to any team who dares test themselves against The Unbound. The Shooting Stars come to the ring, and Kidman accepts the challenge on behalf of he and Teddy. (B)

Bobby Heenan interviews Bryan Danielson and The Unnatural, who are tentatively scheduled to wrestle at Slamboree if the UFS series between Uncrewed's Crew and Satyr's Hopeful Few is still going at that point. Unnatural advises Danielson to pray to whatever deity he believes in that the series ends prematurely, because he won't like the outcome otherwise. Danielson is not intimidated. He reminds Dustin that he beat The Destroyer to clinch the opening round series for the Crew, and he'd be happy to do the same against another Salvation member if necessary. (A)

Volador and Aguila wrestled Jamie Knoble and TAKA of The Empire in tag action. The tag experience of Volador and Aguila had them in the driver's seat, until King Corino got in a cheap shot on Aguila. Knoble saw it and got down off the apron to argue with Corino, but in the meantime TAKA was happy to hit the Michinoku Driver and win the match. (B-)

As The Empire celebrates the win in the ring, Knoble gets on the mic and says that he saw the footage of TAKA interfering to help him win his #1 contender's match against Chavo, and now he caught Corino in the act. He doesn't appreciate this interference in his matches and wants it to stop. Corino tells him his opinions don't matter. "You played by the rules like a good country boy, and it got you nowhere! You're on a winning team now, and we'll show you how winners operate!" (B)

Vignette: Made in Italy tell the Steiners that they can rearrange their schedule and squeeze in a match with them at Slamboree, but in order to make it worth their while, they will require the Steiners to put their guaranteed tag team title match (earned in last year's UFS) on the line. Scott immediately accepts, telling them that the Steiners will still have that title match in their pocket at the end of the night, so if Dawn Marie wants to go home with a future champion she knows where to find Big Poppa Pump! (B)

Rob Van Dam survived an aerial assault from Psychosis and beat him with a split-legged moonsault. (B)

Ric Flair steps into the aisle and goes on a tirade about Van Dam daring to put his hands on him last week. "Slamboree's going to be the highlight of my life, the night that I take my place in the Hall of Fame. But I'm also gonna make time for you, Van Dam, because I've got something special planned for you!" (A*)

The Phenomenal Enigmas and Sin-free Society come face to face backstage. CM Punk says that O'Haire's win tonight just delayed the inevitable. If by some chance AJ beats Finlay next week to tie the series, there's no way he'll let Jeff Hardy beat him at Slamboree. Jeff says we'll see about that (and holds his tag title in Punk's face to remind him what happened the last time they were on opposite sides of the ring.) (B+)

Harry Smith gave everything he had in a match against Booker T, but the experience of the 5-time World Champion was too much. (B)

Post-match: Booker is celebrating when Steve Austin runs to the ring. Booker narrowly escapes a Stunner and slips through the ropes. As he slowly backs up the aisle, Chuck Palumbo enters the ring from the other side and tries to attack Austin from behind. He swings, but Austin ducks, boots him in the gut and drops him with the Stunner! He locks eyes with Booker and talks trash as the latter backs towards the curtain. (A*)

Ultimate Fan Series, Semifinal Round: #1 Uncrewed's Crew vs. #4 Satyr's Hopeful Few (S.H.F. leads 1-0)
The UFS frequently provides unique match-ups, and such was the case here as we saw the World Heavyweight Champion competing against the Cruiserweight champ. Daniels did not look at all unnerved to be in the main event. He took the fight right to the champion, and came very close to giving the Hopeful Few a 2-0 lead in what would have to be considered an upset. Rey persevered in the end though, countering an Angel's Wings with a back body drop and then hitting a swinging hurricanrana off the top rope to win the match. (A)

Mysterio's celebration is short-lived: Shane Douglas knocks him down from behind and then slaps on the crossface! He eventually releases the hold and taunts Rey. "At Starrcade, you realized a lifelong dream, and what a story it was! Straight out of a fairy tale! Well, at Slamboree the fairy tale will come to an end! You've had your moment, but mine has been denied to me all these years by jealous, bitter old men! But now, I TAKE my moment!" (A*)


Show Grade: A*






March 15th, 2003

From the Sapporo Ice Arena in Sapporo, Japan

Attendance: 8,839

Announce Team: Joey Styles and Tracy Brooks

Takako Inoue stayed one step ahead of freelancer Tanny Mouse and beat her with a Dragon Sleeper. (B-)

A brief graphic announces that we'll see a Dancing with the Devil rematch next week when Our Generation faces Daffney and LuFisto. (D)

Chigusa Nagayo is chosen to come to the ring and announce the final member of the 2003 class of WCW's Hall of Fame: the legendary Rikidozan, the father of Japanese puroresu and one of the most influential wrestlers of all time. She informs the fans that the late legend's son Mitsuo Momota will be on hand at Slamboree to accept on his father's behalf, and then she's cut off by Etsuko Mita. Mita says everyone in Japan knows that Rikidozan belongs in the HOF, and she suggests Chigusa retire immediately and hope WCW puts her in the 2004 class, because that's the only accomplishment she still has any hope of getting. (B)

Kyoko Inoue, Toshiyo Yamada and Alexis Laree defeated Sonoko Kato, Aki Kombayashi and Yuu Yamagata in a six woman tag when Laree hit Kombayashi with a tornado DDT. (C)

A video recap shows Booker T narrowly avoiding a Stunner on Nitro. (A)

Ultimate Fan Series, Semifinal Round: #1 Uncrewed's Crew vs. #4 Satyr's Hopeful Few (series tied 1-1)
Devil Masami and Melissa Anderson met in a match to give their team a 2-1 advantage in the series. Melissa had Devil well scouted and was successful at avoiding and countering her sleeper hold, but Masami drilled her with a sitout powerbomb to put her away. (B)

Since she couldn't apply it during the match, Masami wants to put Melissa in the sleeper after the bell. Meiko Satomura runs down to prevent it. She says she's tired of Devil thinking she can do whatever she wants to whoever she wants, and wants to put a stop to her in the ring. Devil laughs and says she's welcome to try, but she'll fail and fail painfully. (C+)

I came in from Japan to oversee the contract signing between Manami Toyota and Aja Kong. Both women sign the contract, agreeing to put their respective championships on the line in a title unification match. Kong says that both belts belong to her anyway, again referencing the fact that she vacated what is now the WCW World Women's Championship when she left All Japan Women. She'll take them both at Unified and prove that she's the undisputed best. Toyota thinks Kong shouldn't whine so much, since it was her decision to leave and give the belt up in the first place. But if anyone has any doubt whether or not she deserves to be recognized as the top woman in the world, she'll erase all doubt at Unified. Kong laughs--then nails Manami with the Uraken! That backfist rocks Toyota, and Kong follows it up by powerslamming her through the table! Kong holds both belts in the air as Toyota is left laying among the rubble of the table. (A)


Show Grade: B+

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March 17th, 2003

From the Carolina Coliseum in Columbia, South Carolina

Attendance: 11,389

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

We opened with a preview of a tag match on Slamboree, with Kidman of The Shooting Stars wrestling Mortis from The Unbound. Mortis won a competitive match with the Flatliner. (B)

Post-show footage from last week: The Jung Dragons corner Sean O'Haire in his locker room. Yang says Sean was lucky to beat Kaz Hayashi earlier that night, but he wouldn't get that lucky again if he defended the TV title against the other Dragon. O'Haire seems amused by Yang's swagger and agrees to give him a title match (officially announced for Slamboree.) (B)

Ultimate Fan Series, Semifinal Round: #1 Uncrewed's Crew vs. #4 Satyr's Hopeful Few (Uncrewed's Crew leads 2-1)
Shane Helms had a chance to wrap this series up for the Crew by defeating Alexander. Helms looked like he had a renewed focus now that Kimberly was no longer in his corner, but Alexander slipped out of a Vertebreaker and used a German suplex to even this series at 2 wins apiece. (B-)

Bobby Heenan conducts a sit-down interview with Rey Mysterio Jr. Rey says he's heard everything Shane Douglas has to say, and he isn't impressed by it. "When things don't go Shane's way, he just complains. His career hasn't turned out the way he wanted and he hasn't fulfilled his potential, and he tries to blame everyone else for that. But if you ask me, he's got no one to blame but himself." He openly wonders what Shane will say and who he will blame if he fails to make the most of his opportunity on Sunday. (B+)

Made in Italy didn't have much trouble against Ernest Miller and Lash Leroux, beating Lash with the Catwalk. (B-)

Parisi and Mamaluke cut a promo after the match mocking the Steiners, saying they'll be taking that guaranteed tag team title match for themselves. Rick and Scott begin to make their way to the ring, and the heels quickly back off. Scott picks up the microphone dropped by Parisi and says that if Dawn Marie wants to hang out with a real man, she can join Big Poppa Pump after the match for a night on the town in Baltimore! (B-)

Bryan Danielson is cutting a backstage promo on his Slamboree match against The Unnatural when the man in question interrupts. "You shall look back and remember the night that my brother Alexander extended this series as one of the worst nights of your life," he vows. "Because now you stand between me and my calling, and I will be forced to remove you from my path." (A*)

The Sandman popped in for a surprise appearance, but he was rudely welcomed by Chavo Guerrero Jr, who defeated him with a frog splash. (C+)

Shane Douglas cuts an in-ring promo on Rey Mysterio Jr. "Rey, you think I have no one to blame but myself? Clearly you know nothing about the way pro wrestling really works! The establishment, the old guard, they've done all they could to hold me back from day one! I had to go into the hardcore underground and desecrate the most historic championship in wrestling history in order to carve out any notoriety for myself! But now, at last, I will do something I should have done a decade ago, and become the World Heavyweight Champion in a truly worldwide promotion. Rey, it's not me who will be looking for answers and trying to pass blame after Sunday. It'll be you, and let me help you out with that: you can blame Shawn Michaels, Scott Hall, Kevin Nash, Ric Flair and every other jealous 'superstar' who ever held me down! Because on Sunday at Slamboree, I'm going to take every bit of that frustration that's built up for more than a decade and use it as fuel to kick your ass all over Baltimore!" (B+)

Corino, Palumbo, TAKA and Knoble of The Empire worked together in a six man tag against Christopher Daniels, Harry Smith, Hugh Morrus and Konnan. Knoble didn't approve of some of the tactics employed by his partners, but there was even more distrust between Daniels and the rest of his team. An argument between Daniels and Morrus led to Hugh's downfall, with Corino beating him with a piledriver. (B)

Both RVD and Ric Flair give pre-taped promos. RVD says he doesn't know what Flair's "something special" is, but he's tired of Ric's games, and he'll be at Slamboree to deal with whatever Flair has planned. Flair doesn't give anything away, but he promises that his Hall of Fame induction won't be the only highlight of Slamboree for the Nature Boy. (A*)

Ultimate Fan Series, Semifinal Round: #2 The Phenomenal Enigmas vs. #3 Sin-free Society (Society leads 2-1)
AJ Styles could've been forgiven for giving less than maximum effort here considering that he'll be defending his United States title against Lance Storm on Sunday in a rematch of their classic at SuperBrawl. He did no such thing, however. He busted out his full arsenal of exciting offensive moves in an attempt to defeat Fit Finlay. Fit responded with a physically bruising brawling style. The 44 year old kept up and made this a very competitive match, but youth was served as AJ tied this series with the Styles Clash. (B+)

The rest of the Phenomenal Enigmas hit the ring to celebrate the series-saving win with AJ, but they're interrupted by CM Punk and Lance Storm. Lance stands back and allows Punk to do all the talking. Punk congratulates AJ on digging deep to beat Fit Finlay tonight, but says he can't beat Lance on Sunday no matter how deep he digs. He couldn't do it at SuperBrawl and he won't do it at Slamboree, and this time there won't be a time limit to save his title. Punk then turns his attention to Jeff Hardy. "Jeff, as much as I was pulling for Fit to end this here tonight, I think it's fitting that it'll come down to me and you to decide who goes to the finals and who gets eliminated. You and your brother have been a real nuisance from the day you showed up here in WCW. You've taken our tag titles away not once but twice, and it's because of you that people doubt the fact that True Heroes are the best team in the world! But after Slamboree there will be no doubt that straight edge means I'm better than you, Jeff!" (A)

Steve Austin comes to the ring to cut a promo on Booker T. He says that people are making a big deal out of Slamboree being his first match in WCW in eight years, but he doesn't see it that way. Sure, a lot's changed since 1995, both here in WCW and in his own career, but the name of the game has always been the same. "It's all about stepping into this ring and beating the hell out of the man standin' across from ya, and that's exactly what I'm gonna do to Booker T this Sunday!"

Booker offers a response...but via satellite, from his home in Houston. He says that Austin can try and tell himself nothing has changed, but EVERYTHING has changed. "You see Austin, I did what you couldn't. You could never make it to the top here in WCW, so you had to go somewhere else. But me, I didn't give up when I saw that glass ceiling. I broke that dang thing down, man! You're lookin' at a FIVE TIME, FIVE TIME, FIVE TIME, FIVE TIME, FIVE TIME WCW World Heavyweight Champion! And at Slamboree, you're gon' find out just what that means, SUCKA!" (A*)


Show Grade: A






March 22nd, 2003

From the Kyoto Prefectural Gymnasium in Kyoto, Japan

Attendance: 8,200

Announce Team: Joey Styles and Tracy Brooks

Toshiyo Yamada employed a kick-heavy offense to defeat freelancer Tsubasa Kuragaki. (B-)

Yamada is enjoying the win when Takako Inoue enters the ring and mocks her. She says that it was quite strange seeing Toshiyo out here on her own; after all, she's best known as Manami Toyota's sidekick and flunky these days! Toshiyo says she's more than capable of winning on her own, and she'd be happy to prove it to Takako. (C)

Meiko Satomura and Devil Masami cut pre-taped promos on not only their announced match on the Unified PPV, but a big tag match next week on Renaissance where Satomura and Manami Toyota will face Masami and Aja Kong. Meiko says it'll be an honor to team with the reigning champion of the world next week, while Devil says she still has unfinished business with Toyota and will be happy to put her to sleep once again. (C+)

In a Dancing with the Devil rematch, Our Generation was back in the ring against Daffney and LuFisto. Nattie was interested in revenge on Daffney for blinding her with the mist in that match and was chasing her around ringside when Melissa finished off LuFisto to end the match. (B-)

Last week's contract signing is recapped, with Aja Kong putting Manami Toyota through the table. Afterwards we cut to backstage post-show comments from both women. Kong finds the whole thing funny, saying that looking down at that broken table and Manami's broken body will always be a fond memory for her. Toyota is doubled over, clutching her neck and back, but vows that she'll be the last champion standing at Unified. (A)

Tomorrow night's Slamboree event is hyped; some of the major matches are previewed, and viewers are given information on how to watch the show in their corner of the world. (A*)

Tonight's main event saw two serious vets going at it; there was nearly forty years of experience between Chigusa Nagayo and Shinobu Kandori. There were no major mental mistakes or errors in execution here, so it came down to who could hit that one move at a crucial time. It was Nagayo in this case, as she pinned Kandori with the Super Freak. (B-)

Nagayo grabs the mic after the match and is thanking the fans for coming when she's attacked by Etsuko Mita! Mita says she's tired of Chigusa trying to hog the limelight and convince the fans and her fellow wrestlers that she's still someone to be respected. She wants to prove it's time for Chigusa to step back, and that's why she's challenging her to a match at Unified! (A*)


Show Grade: B+




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Fan Scorecard:

World Heavyweight Championship: Shane Douglas vs. Rey Mysterio Jr. {}

No Time Limit for the United States Heavyweight Championship: Lance Storm vs. AJ Styles {}

World Television Championship: Yang vs. Sean O'Haire {}

Cruiserweight Championship: Jamie Knoble vs. "Fallen Angel" Christopher Daniels {}

Ultimate Fan Series, Semifinal Round (#1 Uncrewed's Crew vs. #4 Satyr's Hopeful Few): Bryan Danielson (Crew) vs. The Unnatural (S.H.F.)

Ultimate Fan Series, Semifinal Round (#2 The Phenomenal Enigmas vs. #3 Sin-free Society): Jeff Hardy (Enigmas) vs. CM Punk (Society)

"The Hellraiser" Steve Austin vs. Booker T

Steiners' guaranteed title shot from last year's UFS at sake: The Steiner Brothers vs. Made in Italy

The Shooting Stars vs. The Unbound

What will be match of the night?

How many championships will change hands?

General diary comments/questions/critiques:





Quote:
Originally Posted by JMike View Post
No! Don't put Aries in the Cruiserweight division! He's just gonna walk out!
Don't worry; I won't leave his matches off of the DVD.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Beejus View Post
I am really liking Booker joining up with Uncle Eric and his Empire here. It's a natural move for him in this position of not being sure of himself, and the add-on effect is that his overness should rub off on all other members of the group, who I would imagine have almost capped off after their previous feuds ran their course. In that I mean to say that there's only so much that they were going to gain by just hanging around Bischoff and having matches with aging Flair and Sting, but being around Booker and Austin are going to add a whole new level for them to reach.
It gives the group another legit top star for sure. Corino at least doesn't need any help from Booker to get over, because he's already over in his own right. He's basically right at Booker's level in US popularity, and the only people in the company clearly above him would be RVD and Austin.

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I always liked Tony Mamaluke, he may not have been quite as sound as Guido was but he definitely is a solid hand. If I remember correctly, his selling is through the roof as well, which will help if the Steiners ever get their hands on him!
His selling is adequate, but nothing to jump for joy about or anything. He really doesn't have any one area that stands out aside from maybe basics and safety, but he's developed into a good utility player.

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I like the signing of Aries as well, he should improve pretty fast in Wildside and be a strong player soon. I don't think he'll be quite "A-Double, Best Wrestler in the World" or anything for some time, but he can for sure be the intense killer that he was in his early Ring of Honor career.
Wrestling Machine Aries was pretty cool. He probably had his best matches during that phase of his career, even if he became a more well-rounded performer after he started letting his "greatest man that ever lived" charisma shine through.

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Originally Posted by K-Nection View Post
I can't help but say if you ever need a gimmick change for Tony you could start calling him the "Ultimate Opportunist" Tony Mamaluke as a rib.
I feel like such a gimmick change would require him to hook up with Lita. (Something tells me Tony would be fine with that!)

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Originally Posted by kinnikuniverse View Post
Yay, Aries! Should be a feud against arn over the double a nickname! Speaking of Aries, he wouldn't have been the one to dethrone joe for the roh title. It should have been punk, as he was more over and he had a feud with him.
I actually thought it was a good idea the way they did it. Punk was so over with the ROH crowd that he didn't really need the title. Letting Aries win the title and end Joe's legendary run basically built a new star overnight.

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Anyway, how's nakamura?
He's fine; just down there working and improving in Wildside.

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Man, waiting for a new update is so frustrating! Yet I know it's worth the wait, cause it's just so good! Can't blame ya for the wait tho, since it's the busiest time of the year, what with the holidays and all.
Yep, I'll only be busier over the next several weeks. I think getting away from the game for a few days every once in awhile is good for my long-term interest in it anyway.

Quote:
Originally Posted by James The Animator View Post
TFC, I've gotta say I love your diary so far. I'm VERY far behind (page 46!), but I'm determined to catch up with everyone else.
Happy reading!
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