Battle lines are being drawn and the annual showpiece event, Starrcade, is filling up with grudge matches and title deciders alike.
It seems The Chosen Few have awoken a sleeping collective giant with their recent rampage, and are now a member short after WCW.com confirmed Mike Sanders will be out “indefinitely” from his pummelling at the hands of a Sting sick of being targeted by the Few and Buff Bagwell.
DDP and Kanyon have offered to put the tag titles on the line to get their hands on Los Guerreros and Triple X are two belts light thanks to a very unlikely duo, rivals turned allies Super Crazy and Tajiri.
You know Goldberg will want to get his hands on Scott Steiner while WCW champ Booker T won’t appreciate being upstaged by his next challenger, Rob Van Dam. With eight days until the big one, we’re set for a bumpy ride on the latest edition of Saturday Nitro!
Saturday Nitro #32: first aired on December 15; taped along with episode 33 on December 12
We begin with the entrance of Dustin Rhodes, who gets about halfway down the walkway before summoning AMW and Bam Bam Bigelow to join him. The four, all denimed up and in casual attire, enter the ring before Rhodes says that Starrcade has for two decades been a showcase of both the biggest legacies in the sport as well as the stars of the future.
He adds that before the crowd tonight are two veterans steeped in heritage as well as two men set to carry WCW in the 21st century. Rhodes says they were brought together by a common enemy, that being Jeff Jarrett and his Chosen Few. And since they want to play dirty with sneak attacks and gang warfare after they lost WarGames and the Starrcade Series, he proposes they settle this at the PPV, 4 on 4, in the most down and dirty way possible: a Bunkhouse Gangfight!
Jarrett and his men arrive on the stage and Douglas accepts on their behalf, before Jarrett proposes that as a Starrcade preview, Rhodes’ “three little boys” take on his “elite men” in a six-man tag tonight. The challenge is accepted.
Billy Kidman won a brisk encounter against a Jamie Knoble still struggling with the knee repeatedly targeted by a vengeful Evan Karagias. Commentary inform us during the match, won by Billy with the Kid Krusher in 6:01, that Evan has been banned from the building but will get his chance for revenge in a Last Man Standing match next week.
Kidman is greeted in the ring post-match by Mean Gene, who seeks quotes on Kidman’s inconclusive draw against Shane Helms last week. Kidman publicly challenges Helms to a rematch for Starrcade, saying that the fans deserve to see who the better wrestler truly is.
Jason Jett heads out for a non-title match against Elix Skipper, stemming from last week’s interactions between the two during the cruiserweight tag title match which saw XXX lose the belts. Triple X jump him and put a good beating on him in a 3-on-1 before anyone is able to react quick enough to prevent it. The eventual save is made by Jett’s new ally Shannon Moore, as well as Super Crazy and Tajiri themselves, leading to…
…Triple X defeating Moore, Crazy and Tajiri when Ki hit the Ki Krusher on Crazy in 9:18, avenging the decisive fall from last week. Afterwards, the heels add a few stomps and some trash talk to their foes, during which Daniels seemed to indicate that they wanted their rematch at Starrcade.
AJ Styles is shown watching the match backstage, as his title showdown with Skipper draws closer. He turns around to find former partner Air Paris stood there. The smirking Paris taunts Styles about how Halloween Havoc proved he was the star of Air Raid and that at Starrcade, AJ will choke so badly he’ll want to retire from the sport. AJ simply asks Paris: “What happened to you?” Paris laughs at the question and leaves.
Simon Diamond was flanked by Johnny Swinger and a still-neck-braced Glenn Gilbertti for his match with Johnny B Badd. Diamond dominated early on only for Badd to rally back, but the cover off a Tutti Frutti was spoiled by Swinger distracting the ref before Gilbertti leapt in and nailed Badd with a chair for the DQ after 5:28.
He then removed the brace and revealed the world’s most obvious con before Alex Wright and Norman Smiley came down to stop the 3-on-1, but they were jumped on the walkway by the FBI. GGE departed, leaving all three men laid out.
In his office, Cat is fuming over what he just saw and is promising to himself that Gilbertti will pay the piper very, very soon. At that moment, the Mamalukes barge in and demand to be the ones who challenge DDP and Kanyon at Starrcade – especially since Eddie has only just shown back up and is getting a title match immediately.
Cat says DDP/Kanyon vs the Guerreros is set in stone for the PPV as Page and Kanyon demanded those two and it’s already arranged. He does tell the Italians, however, that they can meet the champs non-title tonight and if they win, he will grant them a title shot against whoever leaves Starrcade with the titles on the special year-end Saturday Nitro six days later. The duo seem satisfied with this.
The Mamalukes, however, fell to Page and Kanyon in their immediate tag match courtesy of a Diamond Cutter to Vito in 11:21. DDP cuts a promo afterwards, saying that they don’t care what Eddie has to say in his so-called ‘explosive’ sitdown interview to air later tonight – because he and Eddie have a long history and by attacking him and his boy, the Guerreros have re-ignited that war. At Starrcade, Page says, Los Guerreros will feel the BANG!
Buff Bagwell hits the ring and says that not only did Sting put him out for a few months, but he also cost him a US title shot “unprovoked”. He says because of this, he turned the tables and cost him his match last week. Next, he says he will end Sting’s career at Starrcade.
Sting heads down to the ring himself to confront Buff, but says he’s not going to start kicking ass tonight because he’s had seven days to regain his composure and with the match set for Starrcade, he can wait until then because this ends at the PPV, one way or another. For tonight, he just wants to know… what has got into Buff’s head?
Is it because of Luger? The end of the Magnificent Seven? He adds that they’ve all suffered injuries by accident but they’re all par for the course in wrestling. Sting then suggests that Buff’s anger is because he’s been here as long as Sting and isn’t seen as on the same level as a Sting or a Flair or a Goldberg or a Luger.
Sting, as Bagwell silently seethes, explains to Buff that respect is earned – and certainly not by running around shooting one’s mouth off while others do the dirty work. Buff sarcastically thanks Sting for the lesson then offers one of his own: never write a cheque you can’t cash… suddenly, Bagwell kicks Sting low and produces a riot baton to deliver a few shots to the ribs of the fallen ‘Stinger’!
Shane Helms defeated Lash Leroux with the Vertebreaker in 4:20. Afterwards, Helms took the mic and said he heard Kidman’s challenge but doesn’t get why he should be accepting desperate challenges from ‘washed-up’ cruiserweights when that time limit draw last week was the closest Billy will ever get to being the better man. Helms then claims that a time limit draw with Shane Helms is the only remotely positive result Kidman could possibly score over him in 10 attempts.
He’s interrupted by The Cat, who asks if he heard Helms right – does he really think he would decisively beat Kidman in 9 out of 10 attempts? Shane says that’s right. Well, Cat continues, how about 4 out of 7 attempts? Because he is making Kidman v Helms official for Starrcade but it won’t just be one match: it’ll be match number one in a best of seven series! Cat concludes by saying the winner will be rewarded with a cruiserweight title shot.
CW Anderson, Mark Jindrak and Shane Douglas defeated Dustin Rhodes and America’s Most Wanted when Jarrett shoved Chris Harris off the top rope before they could hit the Death Sentence on Shane Douglas, allowing the Franchise to grab a quick cover with the trunks at the 9:25 mark while the Wildcat was still stunned. Bam Bam Bigelow ran out soon after and the four men again turned the arena into a war zone, requiring mass security to get them separated and out of the building.
A six-man main event stemming from the end of last week’s Nitro – Goldberg, RVD and Ric Flair vs Scott Steiner, Booker T and Lance Storm – was put in jeopardy when Goldberg tracked down Steiner backstage and returned the favour from Big Poppa Pump’s beatdown last Saturday. That’s two straight weeks this has happened before the scheduled main event.
Sean O’Haire and Mike Awesome went one-on-one ahead of their dual challenge of Shawn Stasiak for the US title in eight days at Starrcade. Stasiak, again on commentary with Stacy, once again tried to spoil the match and get a jump on his two contenders but this time fell victim to both. Nonetheless, the ref threw it out after 7:00. Awesome then attempted to attack O’Haire but ate a superkick, leaving the former tag team specialist to hold aloft Stasiak’s belt in the ring.
The Cat, from his office, confirms Scott Steiner won’t compete tonight but replaces him with Buff Bagwell. He says if Goldberg and Steiner get physical one more time before Starrcade and put one half of the double main event in jeopardy again, he’ll just go ahead and cancel it and fire both: since he’s losing one big star anyway, he may as well make it two if they’re going to spoil his plans week after week.
The much-hyped sitdown interview with Eddie Guerrero is next. Eddie very frankly discusses how he was so fed up with the old WCW that he left for the WWF, but claims he was sick of there being as many ‘backstabbers’ and ‘scumbags’ as there was in Atlanta. Worse, he explains, he was again struggling with the worst scumbag he knew: himself.
He says demons have plagued him wherever he has been and there’s only one thing that will save him from his demons and the worms that operate in the wrestling business: familia.
He says coming back to work alongside Chavo is all that’s keeping him sane in life right now and he will make sure they thrive and succeed at the expense of everyone else: especially old enemies like DDP.
He warns Page and Kanyon that he and Chavo care about nothing else but victory, and will ‘lie, cheat and steal’ to get everything they want.
Sting is being treated by medical staff after Bagwell’s attack earlier. Ric Flair comes in and asks how bad it is. Sting says he’s a little banged up but fit enough to maybe hunt down ‘Buffy’ before the night is up. Flair says perfect: he just spoke to Cat and he has permission to give up his spot in the main event to the Stinger if he wants it, since Bagwell is now in the match. Sting is rejuvenated by the news and can now hardly feel his sore ribs at all as he leaps up and promises “Showtime”.
That main event – now Sting, Goldberg and Rob Van Dam vs Booker T, Lance Storm and Buff Bagwell – saw Booker pin his Starrcade challenger RVD in 12:34, casting doubt over the winner of the Starrcade Series and his ability to climb to the top of the mountain in eight days.
That said, the fall came after a wounded Steiner came back down the walkway, with a dozen security guards trying to prevent him reaching Goldberg in the ring and ruining one half of the Starrcade main event.
Goldberg had lined up a Spear on Booker until noticing Steiner, and now even more security had to make sure the two stayed separated on the walkway. Van Dam had tagged Goldberg as he made his way out to follow up on the momentum his side had, while Bagwell pranged Sting’s hurt ribs into the ringside barriers.
As Van Dam floored Booker with a kick and prepped the Five Star, Lance Storm hit a low blow as Bagwell came in to distract the ref and shoved RVD straight into a Book-End for the fall.
Starrcade 2001 card so far:
- WCW World title: Booker T vs Rob Van Dam
- Caged Heat, loser leaves WCW: Goldberg vs Scott Steiner
- WCW World tag team titles: DDP and Kanyon vs Los Guerreros
- WCW United States title: Shawn Stasiak vs Sean O’Haire vs Mike Awesome
- WCW Cruiserweight title: Elix Skipper vs AJ Styles
- WCW Cruiserweight tag team titles: Super Crazy & Tajiri vs Triple X
- Ric Flair vs Lance Storm
- Sting vs Buff Bagwell
- Best Of Seven Series, Match One: Billy Kidman vs Shane Helms
Next time: The go-home show for Starrcade 2001!