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Default May 2003: Road to Mayhem

The Backstories:

The King Comes for his Throne

-Even if it was extremely tainted, the fact remained that King Corino pinned Steve Austin at Clash of the Champions. In the face of that, he was made the new #1 contender for Rey Mysterio Jr's world title, which was revealed on the April 28th Nitro when a Mysterio highlight package transitioned into a pre-taped promo from Corino. In a fantastic segment, Corino said that Rey's inspirational, improbable world title run would surely become a box office smash if the people from Hollywood got their hands on it. But the feel-good story of the year was about to come to an end, because the King was coming for his throne at Mayhem.

Champion and challenger met in Piper's Pit, where Corino bragged about The Empire being united in their goal to make sure he brought home the World Heavyweight Championship. To prove the point, Eric Bischoff ordered the group to attack. Rey had brought his friends Konnan and Kidman out with him to even the odds in the event something like that happened, but Jamie Knoble getting in on the action caught them by surprise. With the rest of the group dealing with Kidman and Konnan, a seemingly reluctant Knoble blindsided Mysterio and locked him in the guillotine choke. Corino and Bischoff watched with glee as the champion was choked out.

Mysterio met Knoble one on one in the main event of the go-home show. Knoble worked over Rey's surgically repaired knees extensively, almost to the exclusion of anything else, before Mysterio did eventually come away with the win. Corino tried to attack him after the match, but with the rest of the group having already left the building for the night (thanks to a certain Hellraiser), it was a fair fight. Champion and challenger fought, neither one getting a clear upper hand as the show faded to black.

These two had a great match in the finals of the Stu Hart Classic, and then an even better one on Nitro in February when they went to that double count out in a UFS match. Now, with both guys being hotter than ever before, in a PPV main event and the world title worked in, my expectations are sky high.
We Can't Always Get What We Want

-After being forced to take a week off by management in a futile hope to let things blow over, Steve Austin was back on May 5th, and he wanted one thing: Goldberg! Unfortunately for him, Eric Bischoff had some bad news: he employed Goldberg personally, instead of him being a normal contracted WCW wrestler. That meant it was up to him to sign off on any matches WCW wanted to put Goldberg in, and he promised that he would NEVER agree to a match between Austin and Goldberg! "I'd say I'm sorry to disappoint you, but who am I kidding? I love it!" Bischoff said with a laugh. When Bobby Heenan caught up to him later in the night, Austin said that if Bischoff didn't want to make that match, he'd just have to convince him--and he'd been told he was a VERY persuasive SOB!

Arn Anderson met Austin in the parking lot the next week, saying he knew his blood was running hot and he understood the feeling, but he warned him not to do anything rash. Austin didn't heed the advice, because he later crashed an Empire backstage promo wielding a chair, forcing Bischoff and most of the group to flee the building! Later still, Arn called Austin into his office and said that his hands were tied, and action had to be taken. Since Austin had violated the restraining order Bischoff had on him, Arn was compelled to suspend Steve effective immediately--meaning his spot in the Mayhem match was now gone!

Austin wasn't happy with that, but he said he respected Arn as a "straight shooter" and knew he was only doing what he had to do. However...

Steve Austin, 5/12/03

"You can take me outta that match if that's what you gotta do, Double A. But if Bischoff or Goldberg think they're safe from me this Sunday, they've got another thing comin'!"
Company Man

-Everyone was waiting to hear Bill Goldberg explain why he'd aligned himself with Eric Bischoff upon his return to WCW. They didn't have to wait long, because he cut a promo at the beginning of the next Nitro. He talked about bursting onto the scene and picking up the torch as the leader of WCW, a position he'd held with pride. But when WCW left Turner and the 'new era' began, where was he?

Bill Goldberg, 4/28/03

"I sat there waiting for a phone call I knew was going to come. WCW was here to stay, and Goldberg was ready to continue being 'the man' as soon as they offered me a contract! But the phone call never came.

"The new owners had a different vision for what WCW was gonna become, and Bill Goldberg just didn't fit. Or at least that's what they told me. Personally I think somebody was jealous of my success and didn't want me around anymore, but it doesn't matter. What matters is that even though I was the biggest superstar in the history of WCW, there was no longer a place for Bill Goldberg. And it pissed me off. Then I saw Steve Austin show up in WCW, and it REALLY pissed me off. There's no room for me, but you roll out the red carpet for THAT guy, on MY turf? You might as well have spit right in my face! And you fans, you cheered him! You turned your backs on me, just like the company did!

"Then Eric Bischoff called me. Now I know a lotta people hate Eric, but fact is, it was him that first gave Goldberg an opportunity. Eric agreed that it wasn't right for a guy like Austin to come back and collect a nice big fat paycheck in the company that I helped keep alive, and he offered to hire me personally. If WCW didn't want to pay me, that's fine, because I could work directly for Eric.

"A lot of people have been telling me I 'sold out', but WCW didn't want me anymore, and now I've found a new home! And if you don't like it, you can try and do something about it! But be careful, or you might get hurt just like Austin did!"
Sting appeared when Goldberg was done and said he was disappointed in Bill. He thought Bill was smart enough to see through a guy like Bischoff, who is a user and a manipulator. After a short squash on May 5th, Goldberg grabbed the mic and called Sting a hypocrite, because how dare Sting question him when WCW kept Sting around like an old relic of the past while the hottest star of today, Goldberg, was left out in the cold? But if Sting was so disappointed in him, he'd happily give Sting the chance to show him the "error of his ways" one on one at Mayhem, a challenge Sting was quick to accept. Goldberg had another relatively quick squash on May 12th, but when he tried to inflict further punishment on Ernest Miller after the match, Sting hit the ring with his baseball bat. Goldberg backed down that time, but there'll be no bats allowed at Mayhem.

Who knows what to expect here? Sting's way past his prime and Bill is still rusty, not that he was ever a ring general anyway. At least the fans should react.
Not So Hardcore?

-Bobby Roode and Ric Flair continue to play up their chair assault of Rob Van Dam, laughing at the idea of one-upping "Mr. Hardcore" at what's supposed to be his own game. RVD was seen speaking on the phone backstage on May 5th, and he agreed with the person on the other end: he really has been missing something lately, especially after being left lying by Bobby Roode and the steel chair. He was having another chat on the phone the next week, and was saying he didn't need any help and would be fine on his own when Roode and Flair interrupted. They advised him to call that person back and tell them he'd changed his mind, because he was going to need all the help he could get if he found himself in the ring with "the new hardcore icon", Bobby Roode, during the 30-man Mayhem match.
30 Men Enter, One Stands Tall

-Our answer to the Royal Rumble returns with the second annual Mayhem match. 30 participants entering at timed intervals, just like the Rumble, but there are no over the top rope eliminations here. There are four ways to be eliminated: pinfall, submission, knock out or referee stoppage. With a World title shot at Great American Bash going to the winner, all the contenders are lining up. Will it be CM Punk or Lance Storm breaking out from True Heroes? Will Shane Douglas command the spotlight again, and this time claim the ultimate prize? Can Scott Steiner put on a show for all his freaks en route to becoming a three time champion? Might DDP win the match for the second year in a row? Or will it be a member of Salvation, who staked their claim by interrupting a True Heroes pre-taped promo and beating both Punk and Storm down? Or, perhaps, could it be a dark horse? Hopefully we've presented multiple viable options that can keep the fans guessing.
Palumbo Looms Large

-In an interview, AJ Styles said he was obviously disappointed to lose in his World Heavyweight Championship match, but he was proud of his effort and gave all the credit to Rey for being just a little bit better. Chuck Palumbo strolled in, laughed in his face and said that AJ and Rey might both be really good, but a good big man like himself can always beat a good little man. Palumbo sat in on color commentary during AJ's match against Psychosis the following week, where a title match for Mayhem was announced. Palumbo spent the match giving AJ backhanded compliments, calling him a "great little wrestler", but saying that everybody knows size matters in the ring. They didn't have any interaction on the May 12th show, though The Empire did comment on the match and on bringing the US title under their control before they were chased out of the building by Austin.

This will be an interesting test for Styles to see how good a match he can get out of the limited Palumbo. AJ's stock has never been higher after last month's match with Rey, and he'll want to produce something great here.
Dragon vs. Phoenix

-Bryan Danielson joined commentary for Hayabusa's win over Psychosis on 4/28, and he said he respected the death-defying aerial style of "The Phoenix" and knew his first title defense would be a tough one, but he couldn't afford to lose the title quickly for the second time. Danielson had a tune-up win over Hayabusa's frequent partner Jinsei Shinzaki on May 5th, with the challenger watching on from the aisle.

It's a babyface vs. babyface match here, but the action should be really good. Though I haven't mapped it all out yet, this is a strong candidate to open the show and get the crowd rocking.
A Makeover for the Tag Team Titles

-Made in Italy won a three-way match against Volador & Aguila and The Shooting Stars, in the process earning a title shot against the Hardys at Mayhem. They took the mic after the match to say that Matt and Jeff had disgraced the tag team titles with their outlandish fashion sense and multicolored hair long enough, and it was time that the division got a much-needed makeover on top.

The challengers made a nuisance of themselves the next week, with Tony, Johnny and Dawn Marie all getting involved to help The Unnatural beat Matt in a singles match. The two teams were on opposite sides of a six man on May 12th, with the Hardys' side winning when Sean O'Haire beat Mamaluke.

Their feud with the Steiners was big, but this is the biggest spot yet for Made in Italy. Hopefully they can deliver.
Revenge via Roadblock

-Sean O'Haire's win over Hugh Morrus on 4/28 was his 9th successful defense, putting him just one away from being able to vacate the title and challenge for the US belt. Fit Finlay reached this same mark before O'Haire won the title from him, and it was for this reason that he attacked O'Haire following the match with Morrus. O'Haire called Finlay a baby for doing something like that. If he'd wanted a rematch, all he had to do was ask. He was going to talk to the front office and insist that match was made, and it would be perfect for him to make his tenth defense at Mayhem by beating Finlay. In a six man tag on May 12th, Finlay could only watch from the apron as O'Haire pinned Tony Mamaluke. But he knew that on Sunday, it'd be all up to him to return the favor O'Haire dealt him in January by ending his title reign one defense shy of the US title benchmark.

Show Summaries:


Notes from this show:
-This was Booker T's last appearance before leaving for WWE. He was furious about putting Knoble over clean, as if I was going to care.

-The Harry Smith/Shawn Stasiak and Minoru Tanaka/Elix Skipper matches were billed as qualifiers for the Mayhem battle royal, a gimmick we ran with some lower card matches to add a bit of intrigue.

-You could see Bobby Roode showing some more charisma in his promo just from hanging around Flair.

-"You need to get ridda this Mini Coop Tanaka guy. Nobody wants to watch no karate man doin' that UFC bull--!" -Scott Steiner


Notes from this show:
-The Jung Dragons beat Volador and Aguila in a Mayhem qualifier.

-Chuck Palumbo was on color commentary for the AJ Styles/Psychosis match.

-Jamie Knoble officially turned heel during the Piper's Pit segment by attacking Mysterio. The turn went well.


Notes from this show:
-One week after his heel turn, Jamie Knoble moved away from his old young lion gimmick and into being a glorified lackey for The Empire. It's looking like a big success to start with.

-This was the debut of Brian Kendrick after his developmental call-up. Mike Lockwood, aka Crash Holly, was furious about putting over the unknown kid in this Mayhem qualifying match, but he was only here for one day, so that's his problem.

-Kendrick's cocky youth character got off to a very good start.

-Lisa Moretti, the former Ivory, didn't convince the crowd very much with her attempt at an old school heel.

-The Shooting Stars beat 3 Count in a Mayhem qualifying match.

-"Who the hell's Brian Candlestick? Nobody wants to see that skinny geek!" -Scott Steiner

-"Kendrick's going to be money. You should give him a big push right away." -CM Punk


Fan Scorecard:

World Heavyweight Championship: King Corino vs. Rey Mysterio Jr. {}

Sting vs. Bill Goldberg

World Tag Team Championship: Made in Italy vs. The Hardys {}

United States Heavyweight Championship: Chuck Palumbo vs. "The Phenomenal" AJ Styles {}

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

Cruiserweight Championship: Hayabusa vs. "American Dragon" Bryan Danielson {}

What will be match of the night?

How many championships will change hands? (the Mayhem match does not count)


Name the three mystery entrants (one point each):
Most eliminations:
Longest time in match:
The Final Four:
Runner up:
Winner (worth 3 points):

General diary comments/questions/critiques:
Mayhem entrant list:

1. Alexander
2. Billy Kidman
3. Bobby Roode
4. Brian Adams
5. Brian Kendrick
6. Chavo Guerrero Jr.
7. Christopher Daniels
8. CM Punk
9. Diamond Dallas Page
10. Harry Smith
11. Hugh Morrus
12. Jamie Knoble
13. Kaz Hayashi
14. Konnan
15. Lance Storm
16. Mark Jindrak
17. Minoru Tanaka
18. Rick Steiner
19. Rob Van Dam
20. Scott Steiner
21. Shane Douglas
22. Shane Helms
23. TAKA
24. Teddy Hart
25. The Destroyer
26. The Unnatural
27. Yang

Plus three mystery entrants!

Originally Posted by Wolfman84 View Post
Serious question how close was Rey Mysterio to leaving? Also with so much new talent the lost of Booker T. can't hurt long term but might short due to remaking one key story line. All and all great show TFC and interesting signing of Goldberg.
It was very close. I could never get him to the point that he clearly favored one offer over the other. He remained at 'seriously considering both offers', so all I could do was cross my fingers and hope for the best, because I decided I wasn't going to cheat the system by going back to a prior save and renegotiating if things didn't go my way. Fortunately he agreed to the deal the day of the Clash go-home show. If he'd taken even one day longer, that PPV would have looked very different.

Originally Posted by K-Nection View Post
Wow Sean O'Hare squashing Book really helped him in Japan for him to take RVD's spot????
Yep, it gave him a nice little boost in popularity worldwide. He's at B+ in Japan now. RVD is still more over than him in every region, but O'Haire's not too far behind in Japan now, and his star quality puts him over the top. His star quality is equal to that of Mysterio (who bulked up, don't forget), and the only males who are above them are Goldberg (#1), Austin (2), Jeff Hardy (3) and Punk (4).

Originally Posted by kinnikuniverse View Post
SEAN O'HAIRE is big in japan? HOW??? I mean, yeah, this is the country that turned Bob Sapp into a national icon, but still...
Speaking of sean, how's his growth skill wise and pop wise? Considering that he just squashed booker t AND he's big in japan, it must be big, right?
I just covered his popularity gains, which have been nice. In-ring and on the mic he's okay. He's never going to be one of the best workers in the company, not with the roster I've got, but he should be able to have very good matches with strong opponents to work with. Fortunately there is no shortage of great workers to choose from.

As for why he's more popular in Japan than elsewhere, that's a byproduct of getting a strong TV deal there earlier. I got a good one early on in Australia as well, so if you were to look at my roster, you'd see that most of the guys who weren't as over at the start and were built up by me are more popular in Japan and Australia than anywhere else. That gap is starting to close a bit now that I'm on the USA Network though.

The national battle is getting tighter and tighter! Boy, this is an exciting time!
That's the single biggest reason I signed Goldberg. I do have plans for his character that I'm excited about, but he's a huge difference-maker in the national battles. I still have some catching up to do outside of Japan though.

Man, new japan becoming cult. Well, this is 2003, so it's realistic, but damn... really want to see how dragon gate in this universe would be like. Would the toryumon wrestlers come back, or will it use its own roster?
The situation is VERY bad in New Japan, which you'll hear a bit more about in the next news update.

Also, how's ROH in this timeline? Did candido get a job there?
ROH is just kind of there. They've actually lost popularity in their region since their debut, but they were at a lower point several months ago and have been bouncing back so far in 2003, so there's room for a bit of hope at least. Their big problem is that so many of the great young workers that made up the foundation of early ROH are in my WCW.

Candido hasn't been signed by anyone. He's done a big pile of absolutely nothing since he asked for his release. He hasn't even worked on an indy show!

Originally Posted by Satyr24 View Post
I'm wondering if the WWE signing will put you higher then WWE in the national battle, I'm guessing he isn't appearing on it yet as his contract has started yet
If we're looking at the US, I'm about 70-80 points behind WWE. So his score would need to be 70-80 points higher than RVD's, assuming everything else from both companies remained the same as last month. Not too many of those guys around.
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