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Default May 18th, 2003: Mayhem



May 18th, 2003

From Hughes Stadium in Fort Collins, Colorado

Attendance: 32,969

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






Official Theme Song: "The Leaving Song Pt. II" by AFI


Quote:

Made in Italy (w/Dawn Marie) vs. The Hardys {}

A big spot for Made in Italy here, working with the Hardys. I'd say it was kind of a big one for Matt and Jeff too, who haven't exactly been setting the world on fire with the quality of their title matches after the unforgettable feud with True Heroes ended at Starrcade. I think both teams had something to prove here, but unfortunately I'd say they missed the mark. It's not that the match was terrible. It still was good enough to get the show off to a good start, but they should have been capable of better. Parisi was the weak link here, with Mamaluke doing pretty good and the Hardys being awesome. There were some major storytelling issues at play. Hopefully Jeff can work on his psychology a bit, or else it might be tough for him to be a front line main eventer despite his talent and 'it factor'. When the match in which Made in Italy beat The Shooting Stars and Volador/Aguila to earn this title shot was actually slightly better than the title match itself, that's a problem. It was also the worst tag title match since the Natural Born Thrillers were champions (to be more specific, it was the worst since the Thrillers made their last successful title defense, against Doomsday in November 2001.)

Jeff and Johnny both showed some improved technical chops during their brief mat exchange, and the younger Hardy also looked more convincing with his punches and kicks when the match spilled out to the floor. In the end, Matt hit the Twist of Fate on Parisi to bring this forgettable opener to a close.



Grade: B-
Quote:

Tim, aka Satyr24, joined his team in the ring as Arn Anderson presented them with the trophy for winning the UFS last month. Mortis was noticeable by his absence, which we did not comment on. Tim revealed who would be challenging for what championships:

The Unnatural: World Heavyweight
Mortis: TV
Alexander: US
Christopher Daniels: Tag Team (w/Brian Adams)
Melissa: Women's World

The team got chances to comment on the decisions. Adams' presence there helped Daniels as he talked about him providing the brains and Adams the brawn, which would be just the formula necessary to dethrone the Hardys. Father Isaac's performance wasn't great, but Unnatural carried himself well and ended the segment on a strong note.

"You are a compassionate man, Tim, and I salute you," he said. "You understand the duty I must see through. Unfortunately I failed to take this burden on when I had my opportunity in January, but I will not fail a second time. Your decision gives me a chance to redeem myself, and I will also win tonight's Mayhem match to ensure no one else has to assume this heavy weight of responsibility. It is up to me to save Rey Mysterio Jr. from himself. Me, and no other."



Grade: B+
Quote:

Hayabusa vs. "American Dragon" Bryan Danielson {}

As usual, I trusted Danielson to structure this one himself. His psychology is as sound as ever, but this match was always going to be hurt by neither man working as a true heel. There was still some solid work though, with the technical Danielson targeting Hayabusa's legs and keeping the match on the mat as much as possible, and the challenger always trying to create some space so he could utilize his aerial skills.

Danielson rolled out of the way of an attempted Lionsault, but when he got up he was surprised to find that Hayabusa had landed on his feet and was waiting for him. The masked man rocked Danielson with a palm thrust, then planted him with the Falcon Arrow!

Unfortunately for Hayabusa, the referee had been standing a bit too close and got clipped in the head by Danielson's foot. It wasn't an exaggerated ref bump where he went down like he was shot by a gun and was unconscious for five minutes. It was just a realistic collision that knocked him down for about five seconds before he shook it off, but that was enough of a reprieve for Danielson to kick out once the count was actually being made. The match continued on for a few minutes more, with Danielson eventually retaining the title with a dragon suplex. The booking of the match detracted from it, with Hayabusa being protected instead of it being an open back and forth. I didn't NEED to protect Hayabusa; it was a choice I made deliberately for storyline purposes, knowing full well it would hold this match back from its full potential.



Grade: B-
Quote:

The ladies donned patriotic gear for a short vignette promoting next month's Great American Bash.


Grade: C+
Quote:

Fit Finlay vs. Sean O'Haire {}

I liked the backstory here, with O'Haire having ended Fit's title reign one defense short of the magic #10, and Fit now wanting to repay the favor. Finlay wrestled a different style of match this time. In January he tried to fight O'Haire head on and it was a failure, so in this rematch he tried to take the big man's legs out from under him and avoid his strength. Not the most innovative story in the world, but why fix what isn't broken? The match was good, largely due to O'Haire, who is coming across as more and more of a star with each passing week.

It was all going to come down to whether or not O'Haire could break through the veteran Finlay's gameplan and hit that one big power move. The answer was yes, and the Widow Maker finished off O'Haire's tenth title defense.



Grade: B
Quote:

While they were being interviewed for WCW.com, Tim tried to ask Salvation where Mortis was and why he didn't show up for the trophy presentation tonight. Obviously the real reason is that he's suspended, but we weren't going to say that in storyline. Instead, The Unnatural provided a confusing answer about Mortis "needing to go on a sabbatical to cleanse the darkness corrupting his mind and spirit." Tim didn't know what to make of that, but Unnatural carried this segment and came across as a big star.


Grade: B+
Quote:
Sting vs. Goldberg (w/Eric Bischoff)

This was a test for Goldberg, working his first significant match in years. The ring rust was still readily apparent here; it's probably going to take quite some time before he fully shrugs it off. Despite that, he stood out as the bright spot of the match. I told them to focus on telling a story here, as I usually do whenever Sting appears on PPV now, but his physical decline is becoming more and more noticeable. That said, this match was honestly better than I expected it to be. If Goldberg is capable of this while still shaking off the ring rust and working with a way past his prime opponent, that's a promising sign for the future.

Sting hit a Stinger Splash, but Goldberg stood there and shouted "Is that the best you got?!" Sting went for the move a second time, only to struck down mid-flight with a spear! The Jackhammer ended the match and gave Goldberg a clean win.



Grade: B











Moments after the bell, Steve Austin ran through the crowd and hopped the rail. Bischoff shouted in warning, but could only watch as Austin slid into the ring and charged towards his client. Goldberg stood his ground, and the two iconic figures of the original Monday Night War traded punches in the center of the ring! The crowd came unglued, and the camera flashes lit up the venue as everyone wanted to commit this moment to memory. Bischoff continuously shouted for Bill to leave, but he was ignored.

Officials and security came flooding out of the back to pull them apart, and when that wasn't enough, various wrestlers did as well. Both men struggled to break free, and Goldberg looked like he was about to succeed when Bischoff finally got his attention. Eric shouted "He's not worth it!" and frantically gestured for Goldberg to leave the ring. Bill still clearly wanted to shove through the mass of humanity to get at Austin again, but listened to his employer's instructions. He left the ring and followed Eric back up the ramp, but still looked furious. Austin came across well here; the crowd erupted when they saw him running in. Eric's performance didn't come across the best, probably just because these two guys are both such superstars, but it didn't do anything to harm this fantastic piece of business.



Grade: A*
Quote:

Chuck Palumbo (w/Tammy Sytch) vs. "The Phenomenal" AJ Styles {}

I think we all knew this wasn't going to be as good as AJ's match last month, because let's face it: Chuck Palumbo is no Rey Mysterio Jr. He did have Tammy Sytch with him, and she did good work at ringside, taunting the fans and building some additional heat when Chuck was on the offense. Palumbo also looked a bit better than usual technically. Not that he was doing any actual technical wrestling himself, but it looked smoother when he transitioned out of it and hit his power moves. All in all, I have no complaints about this match. They were out there to put on a quality David vs. Goliath match, and they did just that.

Styles, knowing he couldn't hit the Styles Clash on an opponent this large, knocked Palumbo to the ground and hit the Spiral Tap to wrap this title defense up.



Grade: B
Quote:

Back in the Empire dressing room, a furious Goldberg was destroying anything that wasn't nailed down. The rest of the group kept a safe distance, not wanting to get caught in the crossfire as he raged. Bischoff stayed well back himself, but tried to reason with Goldberg. He said he understood that Bill wanted to tear Austin limb from limb, but he had to understand why it couldn't happen.

"That match, it's exactly what WCW wants! They wanted nothing to do with you before, but now they know that people want to see Austin vs. Goldberg. It's a dream match the world has been waiting for! It's a match people will pay any price to see, and WCW knows it! If we let that match happen, it's WCW who reaps the benefits instead of us, and we CANNOT allow that!"

Goldberg nodded in reluctant agreement with Eric's point, but he was still ready to headbutt the wall at a moment's notice. When Palumbo and Sytch returned to the room after the last match, Eric seized on an opening. He asked them to head back to the hotel suite with Goldberg and keep an eye on him, because in Bill's current frame of mind there was no telling what he might do. If he stayed at the arena his temper could very well ruin everything, and they couldn't afford that tonight. When Sytch objected, saying the world title match was too important and they needed to be at full strength, Eric assured her that the rest of the group would handle business and King Corino would be crowned the champion of the world tonight.



Grade: A*
Quote:

Just before the Mayhem match, Roddy Piper and Bobby Heenan did a quick backstage segment hyping the match, going over the rules and running down some of the major names entered. They both predicted winners, with Roddy backing Rob Van Dam while Heenan humorously declared half a dozen different names throughout the segment were "his pick." Roddy was awesome here, playing off of Heenan perfectly, but Bobby lost his train of thought after blanking on Christopher Daniels' nickname (calling him 'Angel of Death' instead of Fallen Angel) and he struggled to recover.

As the segment was ending, they reacted to someone walking by off-camera by saying this must be "the big surprise debut" everyone had been talking about. "They weren't kidding about the BIG surprise! Look at the size of that man!" Bobby shouted.



Grade: B
Quote:


THE MAYHEM MATCH

#1:

CM Punk


#2:

Brian Kendrick

Seeing as Punk told me I should get behind Kendrick right after his debut, I figured I'd let them work together to get this match started. Punk backed up his words, selling admirably for the newcomer and making him look like a credible threat. They did some fast-paced back and forth stuff, neither coming close to a near-fall in this opening two minute period.



#3:

"Fallen Angel" Christopher Daniels


Still Alive:
CM Punk, 02:00
Brian Kendrick, 02:00

The former Cruiserweight Champion immediately signaled to Kendrick that they should work together, and the cocky upstart agreed. Punk stood his ground and fought them off at first, but they did gain the upper hand and do some double teaming. The heels controlled the former tag champion for most of the two minute period, but could not put him away.



#4:

Hugh Morrus


Still Alive:
CM Punk, 04:00
Brian Kendrick, 04:00
Christopher Daniels, 02:00

Rather than joining in for a 3-on-1 that would've been very bad for CM Punk, Hugh Morrus elected to peel Daniels off and give him a solid punch to the face. With the double team broken, we settled into two one on one bouts for this period. Hugh had the early edge on Daniels, until an eye poke stopped him in his tracks and allowed the cruiserweight to take over. Kendrick continued to press his advantage on Punk, but the Chicago native fought back and hit a leg lariat.



#5:

Brian Adams


Still Alive:
CM Punk, 06:00
Brian Kendrick, 06:00
Christopher Daniels, 04:00
Hugh Morrus, 02:00

The entry of Brian Adams meant only good things for Daniels. The two put their alliance to use against Hugh Morrus, who fought as best he could but was quickly battered. After Adams dropped him with a big boot, Daniels hit the Angel's Descent to make Hugh the match's first elimination. The duo then turned their attention to CM Punk. Punk had been doing well against Kendrick, but now found himself the victim of a 2-on-1 beating.



#6:

Harry Smith


Still Alive:
CM Punk, 08:00
Brian Kendrick, 08:00
Christopher Daniels, 06:00
Brian Adams, 02:00

The son of the Bulldog showed no fear, going right after Adams and Daniels. His head-on charge was bold but effective, as he caught Daniels with a running clothesline that sent him over the top rope and down onto the entrance ramp. Harry then squared off with Adams, and the two had an even brawling battle. Brian Kendrick tried to capitalize on a weakened Punk. He positioned him for his finishing move, Sliced Bread, but Punk countered with a Russian legsweep and smoothly transitioned into the Second City Stretch. Kendrick struggled ineffectually before tapping out.



#7:

Kaz Hayashi


Still Alive:
CM Punk, 10:00
Christopher Daniels, 08:00
Brian Adams, 04:00
Harry Smith, 02:00

The fans didn't react much to Kaz Hayashi carrying a sign that read "Objection!" to the ring, but he did make a quick impact with a springboard dropkick to the back of Harry Smith. As Hayashi did his thing, Adams and Daniels zeroed in on Punk. Adams held Punk's arms back so Daniels could get a free shot. Daniels took flight with a flying clothesline, but Punk broke free and Adams took the blow instead! As Daniels stared at Adams in shock, Punk rolled him up for a 3-count! Adams wrapped his hand around Punk's throat for a chokeslam, but Punk shifted it into a rolling body scissors for another flash pin!



#8:

Rob Van Dam


Still Alive:
CM Punk, 12:00
Harry Smith, 04:00
Kaz Hayashi, 02:00

The fans popped big for RVD, who was the biggest star to enter the match thus far. He made a quick splash, entering the match with a flying thrust kick that sent Smith through the ropes, and then hitting a leaping Hayashi with a spin kick on the way down. That left RVD and Punk as the only two standing, and they stopped for a dramatic staredown that the crowd ate up. Finally they locked up, and thus began a back and forth which saw both men perform several counters and counters of counters, as well as a few quick pin attempts reminiscent of RVD's matches with Jerry Lynn in ECW.



#9:

Fatu


Still Alive:
CM Punk, 14:00
Harry Smith, 06:00
Kaz Hayashi, 04:00
Rob Van Dam, 02:00

As Fatu slowly walked down the ramp, Mike and I remarked that this must be the "big" new arrival we've heard so much talk about online in recent weeks. "Maybe this wasn't the man people thought was coming in, but he's here and he's looking to make an impact!" Tenay shouted. He made his presence felt right away by interrupting the Van Dam/Punk battle with a double clothesline. Fatu knocked Harry down with a headbutt, then turned his attention to Kaz Hayashi. Kaz tried to flee, but Fatu grabbed him by the hair and lifted him over his shoulder for what used to be known as the "Rikishi Driver."

Hayashi would be granted an unexpected reprieve when Smith hit Fatu from behind with a chop block to the knee. That dropped the big man to one knee, and Punk put him flat on his back with a Shining Wizard. Van Dam followed with a Rolling Thunder and made the cover. Punk, Smith and Hayashi all piled on as well, and Fatu was unable to throw all that bulk off before the three count! He'd come in from WWE looking to make a big splash, but his night had come to a sudden end!




#10:

"Big Poppa Pump" Scott Steiner


Still Alive:
CM Punk, 16:00
Harry Smith, 08:00
Kaz Hayashi, 06:00
Rob Van Dam, 04:00

Big Poppa Pump hit the ring and did what he does best: namely, he suplexed a lot of people. All four combatants were on the receiving end of some suplex variation from Scotty, who flexed in the middle of the ring and kissed his bicep while everyone else was down. He eventually focused exclusively on Harry Smith. Harry fought back with some nice power offense of his own that momentarily had Scott on the back foot, but a spinning belly to belly put him down and the Steiner Recliner sent him out.



#11:

Yang


Still Alive:
CM Punk, 18:00
Kaz Hayashi, 08:00
Rob Van Dam, 06:00
Scott Steiner, 02:00

Predictably, the Jung Dragons worked together. Their double team efforts put Scott on the defensive for the first time in the match, and they got in some shots on Punk and RVD for good measure. They very nearly sent Punk packing after a double flying legdrop, but he got a shoulder up just in time.



#12:

Teddy Hart


Still Alive:
CM Punk, 20:00
Kaz Hayashi, 10:00
Rob Van Dam, 08:00
Scott Steiner, 04:00
Yang, 02:00

Teddy Hart was full of energy as he ran down the ramp, and he sprang into action with a moonsault bodyblock off the top rope. Unfortunately he landed on the mat awkwardly, and it was immediately obvious that he was in tremendous pain. After the boys spent a few moments trying to figure out what to do, Punk gingerly covered Teddy so our medical staff could help him. The situation derailed the flow of this period, and the guys were still doing some generic brawling by the time the buzzer rang.



#13:

Diamond Dallas Page


Still Alive:
CM Punk, 22:00
Kaz Hayashi, 12:00
Rob Van Dam, 10:00
Scott Steiner, 06:00
Yang, 04:00

Last year's winner was the immediate target of the Jung Dragons, who attacked him as soon as he stepped through the ropes. He was ready though, back bodydropping Yang over the top rope and onto the ramp as he charged. Hayashi prepared to fly off of the top rope, but Page shook the ropes, causing him to crotch himself. From that position he hit a hanging Diamond Cutter to finish Hayashi. Seeing an opportunity to catch the freshest man in the match off-guard, Punk broke away from his three way battle with RVD and Steiner to run over and connect with a knee to the face which knocked Dallas back into the corner. Punk looked to follow up with a bulldog, but Page put on the brakes, slipped out, spun him around by the arm, and....DIAMOND CUTTER! One three count later, and CM Punk's night was over!



#14:

Jamie Knoble


Still Alive:
Rob Van Dam, 12:00
Scott Steiner, 08:00
Yang, 06:00
DDP, 02:00

Even if Knoble had been forced to join The Empire and had also been reluctant to embrace their methodology, he seemed to be a full-fledged member of the group based on the way that he took advantage of a defenseless Yang. Yang was slowly getting up on the ramp as Knoble walked down, and he struck his unsuspecting opponent with a forearm to the back of the head. From there he locked in the guillotine choke, not releasing Yang until he'd passed out. Though you can't get pins or submissions outside the ring, Yang was eliminated when he remained motionless during the referee's ten count, making him a knockout victim.

Inside the ring, DDP's momentum had cooled thanks to a Steiner clothesline, but Scott himself had been dropped by a Van Dam spinning heel kick. RVD hit a split-legged moonsault, but Scott got a shoulder up just in time.




#15:

Nigel McGuinness


Still Alive:
Rob Van Dam, 14:00
Scott Steiner, 10:00
DDP, 04:00
Jamie Knoble, 02:00

McGuinness isn't much of a name here in the US, but he's had a couple of Japanese tours with Zero One in addition to his work in Premier Promotions and Irish Whip Wrestling, and he's been on my radar due to his technical wrestling prowess. He got to show off some of those technical skills here, as he and Knoble got right into a mat-based exchange. Elsewhere, RVD and DDP had paired up and were double teaming Steiner, and it was all Big Poppa Pump could do just to hang on until the period ended.



#16:

"Dogfaced Gremlin" Rick Steiner


Still Alive:
Rob Van Dam, 16:00
Scott Steiner, 12:00
DDP, 06:00
Jamie Knoble, 04:00
Nigel McGuinness, 02:00

Rick's arrival couldn't have come at a better time for his younger brother. He came to Scott's aid right away, blasting DDP with a Steiner Line and tossing RVD away with a belly to belly suplex. Rick helped Scott up and the Steiners went to work, dominating all four of their opponents. They struck their classic pose for the fans as the buzzer sounded to bring #17 out.



#17:

Minoru Tanaka


Still Alive:
Rob Van Dam, 18:00
Scott Steiner, 14:00
DDP, 08:00
Jamie Knoble, 06:00
Nigel McGuinness, 04:00
Rick Steiner, 02:00

Minoru entered the ring and promptly dropped Knoble with a roundhouse kick to the side of the head. Then he got into a technical exchange with McGuinness, and though Nigel is better than most in that department, Tanaka is a master. He lured the Englishman into a false sense of security, then caught him unaware with a cross armbreaker when Nigel tried to press his advantage. McGuinness had to tap out with his free arm lest he suffer serious injury.

On the other side of the ring, Rick and Scott hit their trademark Steiner Bulldog on DDP, and Scott covered him while Rick attacked RVD.




#18:

Lance Storm


Still Alive:
Rob Van Dam, 20:00
Scott Steiner, 16:00
Jamie Knoble, 08:00
Rick Steiner, 04:00
Minoru Tanaka, 02:00

If anyone in WCW might be able to outwrestle Minoru Tanaka, that man was Lance Storm. The two began trading holds and counterholds, seeking an advantage, while elsewhere the Steiners were doing a number on RVD. They looked to be well on their way to eliminating him, but Jamie Knoble crept up from behind and rolled Rick up for a surprising three count! Knoble was quite pleased with himself for that, but now he had an angry Scott Steiner to deal with. Scott picked a struggling Knoble up, carried him over to the top rope and snapped off a super Frankensteiner! That was all she wrote for Knoble, who probably regretted his sneaky elimination of Rick Steiner now.



#19:

"Sugar" Shane Helms


Still Alive:
Rob Van Dam, 22:00
Scott Steiner, 18:00
Minoru Tanaka, 04:00
Lance Storm, 02:00

Helms came in and broke up the scientific wrestling display by attacking both Tanaka and Storm, putting them both down with a double neckbreaker and grinning. The two longest tenured members of the match had their own battle going, resuming their former world championship rivalry. Scott wrestled Van Dam to the mat and tried to apply his Steiner Recliner, but Van Dam somehow had enough left to roll to his back and knock him back with a kick to the head.



#20:

The Destroyer


Still Alive:
Rob Van Dam, 24:00
Scott Steiner, 20:00
Minoru Tanaka, 06:00
Lance Storm, 04:00
Shane Helms, 02:00

The Destroyer walked halfway down the ramp, and...stopped? No one knew quite what to make of it, but he just stood there and watched as the action continued inside the ring. And speaking of that action, Tanaka and Storm had recovered and were now treating Helms to a double team attack. RVD put Steiner on his back with a wheelbarrow kick and summoned enough energy to deliver a Five Star Frog Splash to eliminate him.



#21:

The Unnatural


Still Alive:
Rob Van Dam, 26:00
Minoru Tanaka, 08:00
Lance Storm, 06:00
Shane Helms, 04:00
The Destroyer, 02:00

The Destroyer remained where he was until The Unnatural came out, and the two of them walked side by side the rest of the way down the ramp. A winded RVD was there to greet them, but Destroyer shrugged off his forearm strikes and almost casually chucked him through the ropes. The two Salvation members worked in concert, knocking Tanaka, Storm and Helms down in turn. Tanaka got up and tried to grab Unnatural's leg to take him down with a submission, but Destroyer put a stop to that and drove him into the canvas with a gutwrench suplex. Unnatural Selection eliminated Tanaka not long thereafter, and then they put Helms on the chopping block. Shane tried to cower away, but Unnatural grabbed him by the hair and fed him to the big man for a Destruction Bomb, and Salvation had claimed their second victim.



#22:

Mark Jindrak


Still Alive:
Rob Van Dam, 28:00
Lance Storm, 08:00
The Destroyer, 04:00
The Unnatural, 02:00

Jindrak showed no fear, going right after the dominant Salvation duo. His courage was rewarded with a debilitating running shoulder block from Destroyer, and then they combined for a spike piledriver! Unnatural pinned Jindrak for the elimination, and afterwards they went after Storm. Lance took a beating, though at least he was still alive by the end of the period.



#23:

Chavo Guerrero Jr.


Still Alive:
Rob Van Dam, 30:00
Lance Storm, 10:00
The Destroyer, 06:00
The Unnatural, 04:00

Salvation was waiting for Chavo, but he wasn't going to come at them head-on like Jindrak had attempted to do. Instead he threw the timekeeper out of his seat and claimed it as a weapon. There was a bit of a stand-off, with Chavo standing outside the ring with his chair and Unnatural and Destroyer motioning for him to come and try his luck. Rather than entering the ring himself, Chavo threw the chair at them, but it sailed way over their heads. What at first looked like a horrible throw was actually a ploy, because RVD caught the chair, and....Van Daminator on The Destroyer! He made the cover, and the three count was made before The Unnatural even realized what had happened! Chavo watched it all happen with a smirk and pointed to his head.



#24:

TAKA


Still Alive:
Rob Van Dam, 32:00
Lance Storm, 12:00
The Unnatural, 06:00
Chavo Guerrero Jr., 02:00

The Unnatural no longer had his man advantage, but he was plenty frightening enough on his own. He was angry with Chavo for his deception and pursued him around ringside, with Chavo jogging around the edges and slipping in and out of the ring, anything he could do to avoid fighting an angry Unnatural. TAKA hit a running dropkick on Storm and then turned to RVD, thinking he'd be an easy out after over a half hour of action. Van Dam still had plenty of fight though, and was able to hold his own against his fresh opponent.



#25:

Bobby Roode


Still Alive:
Rob Van Dam, 34:00
Lance Storm, 14:00
The Unnatural, 08:00
Chavo Guerrero Jr., 04:00
TAKA, 02:00

RVD was waiting for Bobby Roode, who seemed to be in no hurry as he slowly walked down the ramp. He veered off the ramp and onto the floor instead of into the ring, and challenged Van Dam to join him. RVD accepted the challenge, rolling underneath the ropes to go after him. It was all a ploy, though...







Ric Flair came out and hit RVD in the back with a chair! Roode and Flair put the boots to RVD as Tenay yelled that Bobby should be disqualified, which led to me explaining that a wrestler CAN be disqualified from the Mayhem match if someone enters the ring and interferes clearly to help them, but this was happening on the floor rather than in the ring. As such, the referee could do nothing as Flair helped Roode get RVD up onto the Japanese announce table and drive him through it with a DDT! Roode high fived Flair and rolled into the ring, and RVD was eliminated via knock out.




#26:

Alexander


Still Alive:
Lance Storm, 16:00
The Unnatural, 10:00
Chavo Guerrero Jr., 06:00
TAKA, 04:00
Bobby Roode, 02:00

The Unnatural finally got some help in his pursuit of Chavo. Alexander came from one side, Unnatural the other, and Guerrero was trapped. He tried to beg off and play nice, but they grabbed him and dragged him back into the ring. After a two on one beatdown, Alexander slapped on an STF and forced Chavo to tap out. At the same time, Storm ducked underneath a double clothesline and knocked both Roode and TAKA down with a double dropkick.



#27:

Shane Douglas


Still Alive:
Lance Storm, 18:00
The Unnatural, 12:00
TAKA, 06:00
Bobby Roode, 04:00
Alexander, 02:00

Douglas was in no hurry to enter the ring. He walked around ringside, surveyed the situation, and then reached under the bottom rope to trip TAKA by the foot. Then he slid into the ring and applied the crossface, eliminating TAKA via submission. He remained active after the elimination, going after Lance Storm. Bobby Roode found himself the target of the two Salvation members, and it was all he could do just to avoid being eliminated.



#28:

Billy Kidman


Still Alive:
Lance Storm, 20:00
The Unnatural, 14:00
Bobby Roode, 06:00
Alexander, 04:00
Shane Douglas, 02:00

There were plenty of bodies in the ring, and Kidman took down four of them with a quick diving crossbody. Douglas had been wise enough to see it coming and roll to the safety of the floor, but he wasn't prepared for Kidman to then target him with a plancha to the floor. The cruiserweight was ruling the roost, and he got a near-fall on Roode with a slingshot leg drop. His momentum finally came to an end with a short arm clothesline from Unnatural, who gouged at Kidman's face as the buzzer sounded.



#29:

Konnan


Still Alive:
Lance Storm, 22:00
The Unnatural, 16:00
Bobby Roode, 08:00
Alexander, 06:00
Shane Douglas, 04:00
Kidman, 02:00

Konnan came to the ring and started brawling with Roode, backing him into a corner and punching away. The ring was really filling up now, meaning there was less room to maneuver and less space to evade attacks. Salvation cornered Lance Storm with the intent of taking him out, but Kidman helped out with a missile dropkick to the back of the head on Unnatural. That left Alexander open for a superkick from Storm. Lance took a glance over at Douglas, who was crouched in one corner away from the action. Shane motioned for him to have at it, and Lance seized the opportunity to put on the Calgary Clutch and force Alexander to tap.

The conclusion of the match was beginning to take shape. There were six wrestlers still standing, several legitimate world title contenders among them. But there was still one participant yet to enter. Would they be a difference maker, or an also-ran who would quickly gave way to a victory for someone like Storm, Unnatural, Roode, or Douglas?

It was time to find out.



















#30:

Eddie Guerrero


Still Alive:
Lance Storm, 24:00
The Unnatural, 18:00
Bobby Roode, 10:00
Shane Douglas, 06:00
Kidman, 04:00
Konnan, 02:00

It was no secret to the smarks that Eddie had left WWE and was on his way in; they'd been chanting his name intermittently on Nitro the past couple of weeks, and even moreso tonight. Everyone in the entire building reacted huge when he finally stepped out and began his walk down the ramp. This was a guy who'd been the WWE Champion two months ago, and just main evented Mania; truly a big name acquisition! He'd caught the attention of the remaining men in the ring as well, and Bobby Roode tried to catch him with a clothesline as soon as he stepped through the ropes. Eddie ducked it, gave him a boot to the gut and tornado DDT, and things went from bad to worse for Roode when Kidman followed up with a Shooting Star Press. That was the end for Flair's protege. Unfortunately for Kidman, he had no time to bask in his elimination before he was pulled up by the hair and hit with Unnatural Selection to be sent packing himself.

Konnan was the freshest man still left aside from Guerrero, and he proved it by showing lots of movement as he ran around the ring and struck anyone within range. He was able to knock Douglas down with a running dropkick and Unnatural with a forward rolling clothesline, but Storm got hold of him and executed a Northern Lights suplex, maintaining a perfect bridge to secure the pin.

It was down to the final four: Storm, Unnatural, Douglas and Guerrero. They paired off, the more worn down Storm and Unnatural trying to find out who had more left in the tank while Douglas and Guerrero fought for superiority. Lance's best bet was to try and catch Unnatural in a hold, but his time in the ring made him just a half a step slower, and that proved fatal for him when he stumbled into a knee to the jaw and received an Unnatural Selection. He'd lasted almost 30 minutes, but his night was finished.

More or less simultaneously, Douglas and Guerrero were trading punches near the ropes. Shane believed he could win a fistfight, but he was underestimating the fire of his opponent. Douglas eventually realized his mistake and switched things up by grabbing Guerrero for a belly to belly suplex, but Eddie rocked him with an elbow to the face and hit a brainbuster to finish him.

And then there were two. The Unnatural had been out there eighteen minutes longer than Guerrero, so he knew his best bet was to try and take him out quickly. He threw caution to the wind and went on the offensive. Eddie stood his ground and came out swinging as well, but Unnatural proved to be a more effective brawler than Douglas. He got Eddie in the corner and battered him, and after getting a near-fall with a swinging vertical suplex, he took advantage of the no DQ nature of the match by hitting his old 'Shattered Dreams' groin kick. That kick was the prelude to him hooking Eddie for a move that had already claimed several victims tonight, Unnatural Selection.

Eddie was able to not only slip out of that attempt, but hop up to the second rope and connect with a tornado DDT. Pressing his advantage, he went up top and came down with a frog splash! Nick Patrick counted once, twice...




and three times!



Grade: B+
Quote:

King Corino (w/Eric Bischoff) vs. Rey Mysterio Jr. {}

Everyone watching, myself included, had extremely high expectations for this match. Both of their previous matches have been great, and Rey has been on fire since becoming champion. As long as they were on their game this was going to be a fantastic main event, and they were indeed. Both guys were awesome here, with Corino's performance eclipsing Rey's. He's such a great heel, and he drew great heat every time he took control. This was another classic PPV closer, in what is becoming a regular tradition since Rey won the title.

Some suggested I should keep this match short and all-action after the fans had just sat through the lengthy Mayhem match, but I disagreed. They started off slow to give the fans some time to come down off the high of Eddie Guerrero's debut win, with lots of stalling, brawling and mat work from Corino to keep the match at the deliberate pace that favored him. Both guys did well at pacing the match out so that by the time they kicked things into higher gear, the fans had recharged and were fully invested in the match.

Corino went for the figure four, but Rey rolled him up into a small package for a two count. When Corino popped back up, Rey took him down with an arm drag, then a tilt-a-whirl headscissors, and finally a snap rana. Bischoff could see things starting to turn against his client, so he signaled to the back.












Out came TAKA and Jamie Knoble. Referee Nick Patrick was still alert and warned them not to get involved or he would disqualify Corino. Bischoff held up his hands as if to reassure Patrick, then looked into the camera and said they were here only to offer morale support, but the smug grin on his face betrayed him. Everyone knew he had something up his sleeve, and it was only a matter of time before we found out what it was.












Eddie Guerrero slowly walked down the ramp, and everyone from Corino to Mysterio to Bischoff all looked surprised to see him. How would this wild card affect the balance of this championship match, and what were his motives, knowing that his earlier win meant he would be penciled in to challenge the winner at Great American Bash?

Eddie made his move, blasting TAKA with a clothesline! Knoble took a swing, but Eddie blocked it, fired off several punches of his own and hit a suplex on the ramp! Then he stared down Bischoff, almost as if daring him to try anything.

Now it was down to Mysterio and Corino to decide it one on one, as it should have been. Rey got the upper hand and went out to the apron for his springboard hurricanrana, but Corino shook the ropes and he fell flat on his face. Then he picked Rey up and nailed the piledriver! He hooked the leg and Patrick counted once...





twice...







...but Rey got a shoulder up! Corino screamed in disbelief and frustration, threw five or six punches to the face of his downed opponent, and pulled him back up to his feet. He grabbed Rey's arm as if he was going to whip him into the ropes, but the champion surprised him by springing onto the top rope, and...springboard DDT! Now Rey hooked the leg, and the count was made once...





twice...








three times!



Grade: A


As the bell rang, Eddie grabbed the championship belt from the timekeeper and entered the ring with it. There was a pause as Rey stood and waited to see what Eddie would do. Eddie stared at the belt for a moment, then looked up at Rey, and finally held the belt out towards him. Rey accepted it, and Eddie helped him throw it over his shoulder. They shook hands and hugged, and Guerrero raised the champion's arm in the air and encouraged the fans to cheer. It was a nice moment, but Mike and I were quick to wonder if these good feelings would continue next month when it was Mysterio vs. Guerrero for the title at the Great American Bash.


Grade: A*



Show Overall Grade: A*
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