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THE 2001 SERIES PART 2: GREED 2001, WCW'S FINAL PPV - SCOTT STEINER DEFENDS THE WCW WORLD TITLE AGAINST DDP, BOOKER T CHALLENGES RICK STEINER FOR THE US TITLE, AND A TON OF GREAT CRUISERWEIGHT ACTION

By Stuart Carapola on 2011-01-19 09:24:52

WCW Greed came at a time of great uncertainty for the company, as they had been on a sharp downward slide for years now coming off the decline of the NWO angle, and had become such a money pit that the newly formed AOL-Time Warner parent company decided that they would be well served to get rid of the company. Since the company had been put on the chopping block, storylines were more or less put into a holding pattern so they could tread water until they met their new owners. Former WCW President Eric Bischoff had put together a group of investors called Fusient Media and most people expected his group to take WCW off of AOL-Time Warner's hands, but until a sale happened there wasn't much of a direction, so we got this PPV which featured some excellent wrestling but nothing really meant anything in the long run, or what would have been the long run if WCW's ownership hadn't taken the dramatic turn it would some weeks after this show.

But we're getting ahead of ourselves, so for now let's turn our attention to what WCW put forward in what would turn out to be its final PPV offering.

The first match on the show was an unadvertised bonus match with Kwee Wee taking on Jason Jett. WCW would do these bonus matches on their PPVs from time to time when they had some extra time to fill, so these guys got to take a place in history as a result of one of those situations by being the opening match on the final WCW PPV. Kwee Wee would later end up in TNA at the very beginning as one half of the Rainbow Express, and would eventually suffer a gravely injured face when Sonny Siaki accidentally landed knees-first on Kwee Wee's face, breaking several bones and forcing Kwee Wee out of the business for nearly two years. Jett actually has the unique distinction of working on both the final ECW PPV (as EZ Money) and the final WCW PPV, having jumped to WCW after ECW closed. Jett, or EZ Money, or whatever you want to call him was such an amazingly talented guy that it's a crime that he never went anywhere after the Collapse, he was so athletic and innovative, such as one spot in this match where they were fighting on the floor and Kwee Wee backdropped him into the ropes, and he bounced off the ropes back to the floor and hit a DDT on Kwee Wee on the way down. This dude seriously bounced around like a pinball in a way that was reminiscent of Shawn Michaels in his younger days, but Kwee Wee held up his end of the bargain as well, and I think the gimmick led to people underselling what he brought to the table as an athlete. He had a lot of intensity and attacked Jett like he owed him money, but had a great sense for timing and working the crowd as well. Jett tried to powerbomb Kwee Wee off the top rope, but Kwee Wee reversed to a Frankensteiner. They had a fast paced sequence at the end where they jockeyed for position until Kwee Wee got a Northern Lights Suplex for 2, then they hit head to head and Kwee Wee spilled out to the floor. Kwee Wee came back in and went for a top rope elbowdrop, but Jett moved out of the way and hit the Crash Landing (a release vertical suplex) for the win. Excellent opener, these guys worked their butts off and had a hell of an opener to get the crowd going.

Next up was the finals of the Cruiserweight Tag Team Title Tournament as Rey Mysterio Jr and Billy Kidman took on Elix Skipper & Kid Romeo. WCW had put a renewed emphasis on the Cruiserweight Division in the final months of its existence, and they decided to expand the scope of the division by introducing a Cruiserweight Tag Team Title in addition to the existing singles title. Presumably the Cruiserweight Division would have been a major part of WCW if it had continued, but the Cruiserweight Tag Team Title never appeared again after the WWF bought the company. The match went from the ring to the top of the ramp where Rey & kidman hit stero dives to Romeo & Skipper on the floor, and then back into the ring where Romeo & Skipper took the advantage. They worked Kidman over for several minutes until Kidman hit a Sky High from the top rope on Skipper and made the hot tag to Mysterio, who came in and cleaned house on both guys. Skipper charged Mysterio in the corner and hit the ringpost, then tumbled to the floor, so Mysterio hit a Swanton on Romeo and then dove out onto Skipper on the floor. Romeo followed Mysterio out with a dive to the floor of his own, and then Kidman topped that with a Shooting Star Press to the floor that wiped everyone out. Rey & Skipper fought on top and Rey hit a top rope sunset flip, but Romeo broke up the pin so the match continued and Kidman hit an inverted suplex on Romeo for 2. Skipper & Romeo hit a Tiger Suplex/Guillotine Legdrop combo for 2, then Kidman hit his springboard bulldog on Romeo and they hit a powerbomb/Frogsplash on Romeo for 2. Kidman and Skipper tumbled to the outside and Romeo countered a Lionsault to the Emerald Fusion for the win to become the first Cruiserweight Tag Team Champions. There was a TON of action in this one and we're 2 for 2 as far as exciting matches by my count.

We go backstage to Buff Bagwell, who has apparently hired a cameraman to record himself and his buddies tonight. He walks into the locker room where Ric Flair runs down the card and predicts victory for all of his guys.

We head back out to the ring as Stacy Keibler comes out dressed as Miss Hancock and introduces "The Mecca Of Manhood" Shawn Stasiak. Stasiak cuts a promo talking about how awesome he is and then hands out photos of himself so everyone can see how awesome he is. This leads right into his match against Bam Bam Bigelow, and I have to think that when people predicted the future of Bigelow's career back in the late 80s, their predictions didn't include throwaway PPV matches against Shawn Stasiak. Stasiak stalled until Bigelow finally got ahold of him and beat him up, but then Stasiak got the advantage via nefarious means until Bigelow turned the tables and hit the top rope headbutt for 2, then Stacy got on the apron and distracted the referee while Stasiak sprayed something in Bigelow's face and hit a neckbreaker for the win. Yeah, the less said about this the better.

We go to a video of Ernest Miller arriving backstage as he says he's going to take care of Kanyon tonight, and then we go to Elix Skipper & Kid Romeo celebrating their Cruiserweight Tag Team Title victory.

Finally, we go to a video package detailing the history of Team Canada (Lance Storm & Mike Awesome) and the team of Hugh Morrus & Konnan, and this leads into a tag match against those same two teams. Storm cuts a promo before the match saying that they're going to win the match tonight and then set their sights on the WCW World Tag Team Title, and to play the Canadian National Anthem. Instead of the anthem, Morrus runs to the ring and attacks Team Canada, joined shortly afterward by Konnan, who I guess needed his own entrance. I loved both Storm and Awesome and think that both of them were far more talented than their actual list of accomplishments would have led you to believe. In Awesome's case, you could at least say that people were reluctant to ever give him a push after the way he left ECW for WCW, but with Storm I absolutely think you could have done more and the way he was treated with the boring gimmick, the dancing, and the "well endowed" gimmick were all really disrespectful and came off like they were going out of their way to bury the guy. Team Canada got the advantage and worked Konnan over until Storm missed a top rope elbowdrop and Konnan made the hot tag. Morrus came in and cleaned house, but Storm superkicked him and Awesome hit a top rope splash for 2, then hit the Awesome Bomb for the win.

We go backstage to Dusty & Dustin Rhodes as they prepare for their match tonight against Ric Flair & Jeff Jarrett by eating a bunch of burritos, and then we go back to Buff Bagwell's documentary of the last night he meant anything in professional wrestling. He's with Rick Steiner and asks what he's going to do to Booker T tonight, and Steiner says he's going to thump his butt. Hey, remember when Rick Steiner and Bagwell feuded because Steiner accidentally messed up Bagwell's neck with that top rope bulldog? Yeah, neither do I.

We go elsewhere backstage to Chuck Palumbo & Sean O'Haire, who are preparing for their World Tag Team Title defense, and Palumbo says that only the strong are going to survive tonight, and O'Haire says that Luger & Bagwell are going to have to kill them to win the WCW World Tag Team Title tonight.

Back out to the ring as the WCW Cruiserweight Title is on the line as Chavo Guerrero, Jr defends against Shane Helms. As I said earlier, there was a major renewed focus on the Cruiserweight Division toward the end of WCW, and as part of that revival, Shane Helms was to be the new centerpiece of the Cruiserweight Division. He had gone from being one of the guys standing behind Evan Karagias as a member of Three Count to getting a strong run at the title in about a year's time, and had unsuccessfully challenged Chavo a couple of times leading into this match, but had earned one last title shot, so this was make or break for Helms. Chavo was doing what he's pretty much always done, serving as a strong worker and holding the Cruiserweight Title until someone better came along. I think everybody kind of hoped that Chavo would some day amount to more than he did just because of the family he was a part of, but the reality is that he was never close to what Eddy was, and was more suited to being a utility worker who was there to make others look good. This was a solid match with Chavo playing the veteran who was controlling Helms just by virtue of his experience advantage, and Helms getting cut off time after time by the more experienced Chavo. Finally Helms hit a neckbreaker and sent Chavo to the apron where he superkicked him to the floor, but Chavo got back in and hit an inverted suplex into a sitout Curtain Call for 2. Chavo went for his tornado DDT,but Helms blocked and hit the Nightmare On Helms Street and went for the cover, but Chavo got his foot on the bottom rope. Helms shot Chavo into the corner and Chavo's momentum carried him over the top to the floor where Helms hit a HUGE dive off the top rope. Helms sends him back in the ring and hits a top rope crossbody for 2, and Chavo went for the Gory Special, but Helms reversed to the Vertebreaker to get the win and become the WCW Cruiserweight Champion.

We go backstage to the Buff-U-Mentary as Buff Bagwell catches up with Ric Flair & Jeff Jarrett, who are aghast that the Rhodes family are sitting backstage eating burritos, and they're going to go beat them blah blah blah. We switch it over to Booker T, who tells Rick Steiner to save the drama for his mama, and tonight he's going to win the US Title that has eluded him his entire career. You would think it wouldn't matter so much since he was already a multi-time WCW World Champion by this time, but I guess we all have our demons.

The WCW World Tag Team Title was on the line in our next match, as Lex Luger & Buff Bagwell challenged Sean O'Haire & Chuck Palumbo. Buff & Luger get their own individual, drawn-out entrances and then inform us that when you look and wrestle like them and have won as many titles as they have, and also ended the career of Bill Goldberg, sometimes even they can become a little overconfident, which may have happened over the last few weeks. They have trouble remembering the names of rookies, but maybe they possess the talent and can one day become as big of stars as them, but tonight they're going to find out why they're Totally Buff, and this won't take long. Buff and Luger were completely correct about how long this match would take, because O'Haire & Palumbo won the match in about a minute when Palumbo gave both men the Jungle Kick and then O'Haire hit Seantons on both men for the win. Well, not much to say about this other than the fact that WCW obviously had really big plans for O'Haire and Palumbo and it's a shame that the WWF decided not to make them a part of their plans.

We go backstage to Scott Steiner doing pullups, and then he stops and tells Diamond Dallas Page that it's falls count anywhere and he's toast.

Speaking of DDP, we go to his fellow New Jersey native Chris Kanyon taking on "The Cat" Ernest Miller in another match that was just kind of there. By this point in the show, you begin to see the divide that you saw in nearly every WCW PPV between the young guys who were killing themselves trying to break through, and the guys who got a spot on every PPV just because they had been there forever. Take a guess as to which one this match is. To be fair, Miller was a hell of a talker and I have no doubt that he could have been very, very successful as a manager or if he had a Piper's Pit-type interview segment, but those were both elements of the past as far as the WWF was concerned and Miller only had a very brief run there. As for Kanyon, I don't think he gets enough credit for his ability, I don't think he ever had it in him to be a main eventer, but I think he made for a fine midcard guy/steppingstone to the main event and would have made a decent US/TV Champion. Kanyon put his feet on the ropes and got the three count, but the referee saw what he was doing and declared that the match continue. Miller came back and hit the Feliner, but Kanyon got his foot on the ropes and then hit Miller with the cast and went for the cover, but only got 2 so he hit the referee and then yelled at Miss Jones (Ernest Miller's manager) to get in the ring. She does so just as Miller revived and grabbed Kanyon from behind so Jones could nail him. Miss Jones went for a kick but Kanyon ducked and she kicked Miller by accident. Kanyon went after Miss Jones but she kicked Kanyon as well and Miller hit the Feliner again to get the win. Decent enough match, but typical late WCW overbooking with the finish. Kanyon laid Miller out after the match and went after Miss Jones, but MI Smooth (aka Ice Train) comes running out to make the save and run Kanyon off.

We go backstage to the Buff-U-Mentary as Lex Luger and Buff Bagwell argue over their loss and then Bagwell yelled at the cameraman for taping it. We then go back to the locker room where the Rhodes family are having trouble with their bowels after eating all the burritos.

Next up is the United States Title Match, as champion Rick Steiner defends against former WCW World Champion Booker T. Booker had lost the WCW World Title to Rick's brother Scott Steiner the previous year and then had taken some time off due to injuries, and had eventually returned to WCW but Scott refused to give Booker a rematch and Booker had to go through Rick for the US Title before he'd be able to get back in the ring with Scott. For you newer fans who are only familiar with Scott and have never seen Rick, or only saw him during his brief TNA run a few years ago, Rick Steiner is legitimately one of the baddest dudes to ever come down the pike in wrestling. He had an outstanding college wrestling career in Division I of the NCAA and had a reputation for being one of the stiffest guys in the business, as he was probably right behind Stan Hansen when it came to tearing people's heads off with clotheslines. Mick Foley talks in his first book about one time he wrestled the Steiners in WCW, and Rick mistakenly thought Foley was going to try and shoot on him and ended up nearly suplexing Mick out of his boots, and Mick said that if there was ever anyone he was going to shoot on, Rick Steiner would not be that man. Beyond that, the Steiners were truly groundbreaking in professional wrestling in terms of their athleticism, blending of amateur and professional wrestling, tag team excellence, vast array of suplexes, and flat out sadism.

So on to the match, as Steiner attacked Booker T before the bell, and I mean attacked in the same sense that Mike Tyson attacked Trevor Berbick. He trashed him with hard shots in the ring before sending him to the floor and beating him up some more out there while throwing in some face gouges, then threw him back in the ring where he nailed him with one of the aforementioned Steinerlines. Booker's not off to a good start. Steiner drills Booker with a Tiger Driver for 2, then kicks him low just for fun. Scott Hudson brings up the history between the Steiners and Harlem Heat and their feud over the WCW World Tag Team Title as Booker reverses an Irish whip into a back suplex, but Steiner recovers immediately and plants Booker with a hard belly-to-belly suplex that Shane Douglas wishes he could throw for 2. Booker with a sunset flip out of the corner for 2 but Steiner turns Booker inside out with another Steinerline for 2. Booker started his comeback and nailed Steiner with the Axe Kick (which he called the Ghetto Blaster during the end of WCW, though nobody's called it that since because it was Bad News Brown's finish) and then gave Steiner a flapjack and did the Spinarooni. Booker went for a scissor kick but Steiner ducked and Booker grazed the referee (though it looked like the ref sold it wrong) and Steiner nailed him and delivered a release German suplex. Suddenly, Shane Douglas hops the rail (and I swear I didn't mention him earlier because I knew this was coming because I didn't), and he nails Steiner with his cast, setting him up to take the Book End (aka the Rock Bottom) and Booker wins the US Title. Just to fill you in on the background on that, Steiner had beaten Shane Douglas to win the US Title, so this was Douglas getting revenge for that.

We go back to the Buff-U-Mentary as Lex Luger and Animal find Buff Bagwell laid out in the back, and Luger insinuates that Animal was the one behind the attack.

We move on to the next match as Ric Flair & Jeff Jarrett take on Dusty & Dustin Rhodes in a Kiss My Ass Match. Flair and Dusty had a famous history that went back decades by this point, and as Scott Hudson pointed out, for as many times as they had faced one another, this was the first time Flair and Dusty had ever wrestled each other on a PPV (since Starrcade 84 and 85 happened before the NWA went to PPV). That's actually pretty staggering to think about, and it's poetic somehow that Dusty got to wrestle on the final ever WCW PPV given what he contributed to that company over the years. He even got to come out to a remixed version of his American Dream WWF music. Flair, who was wearing a Hawaiian shirt, says he's not dressed to wrestle and he's not going to wrestle, and the Chosen One is going to beat them both by himself. Flair looks about 30 years younger than he does now, and it's amazing what a decade can do to some people. Jarrett and Dustin started out, and did most of the match as you'd probably expect, Dustin took control early but Jarrett got the boot up as Dustin came off the top rope and tagged out to Flair, who came in and viciously beat Dustin down while Dusty was forced to watch powerlessly. Flair whipped Dustin to the ropes and Dustin held onto the ropes, flipped Flair off, then tagged his dad in and it was on. They had a feeling out sequence to start before Dusty opened up and killed Flair with chops and bionic elbows, then tagged out to Dustin so he cuold come in and beat Flair up too. Flair hit a low blow and then Jarrett got Dustin in the figure four. Dustin escaped and hit a back suplex then tagged in Dusty, who again beat Flair up and hit the elbowdrop, but Jarrett broke up the pinfall. Dusty hit a double clothesline, then Dustin hit a double clothesline, then Jarret hit a low blow on Dusty, then Flair hit a low blow on Dustin, then Flair and Jarrett went for stereo figure fours, but Dusty & Dustin kicked them off into each other and Dustin got a sloppy figure four on Flair for the win. Dustin continues to beat Jarrett up in the corner as Dusty tells Flair to get in the ring and kiss his white ass, then pulls his pants down and gives Jarrett a stinkface. Then Dusty, a 50-something year old fat guy, starts dancing in the ring with his pants around his knees, a scene I can't say I ever had any particular inclination to see.

All this leads us to the main event as Scott Steiner defends the WCW World Title against Diamond Dallas Page in a Falls Count Anywhere Match, and for as bad a dude as I proclaimed Rick Steiner to be earlier on, it all applies to Scott as well. In fact, these two had been involved in a backstage fight after Steiner made some disrespectful remarks about Page's wife Kimberly in an interview and Page went after Steiner in the back, an honorable decision he nonetheless came up on the shorter end of. As it happens, those same two guys wound up main eventing the final WCW PPV, with the story being that Steiner had put Sting, Sid Vicious, Kevin Nash, and Goldberg on the shelf and now DDP was the last man standing to challenge Steiner. DDP took control with an early flurry and drove Steiner to the outside, but when he went after him Steiner drove him into the guardrail and dropped him with a hard clothesline. DDP made it to the apron but Steiner rushed him and knocked him off and into the guardrail, then Steiner went after him and they brawled over the guardrail and into the crowd. Steiner took a crutch away from a crippled kid that conveniently happened to be standing right by where Steiner was beating Page up and nailed DDP with it, but DDP grabbed the kid's other crutch and nailed Steiner with it, tossed Steiner on top of a table, and hit an elbowdrop through the table for 2. DDP nailed Steiner with a garbage can for 2, then they went back to ringside where Steiner got into a shoving match with a "fan" before they headed back into the ring. Steiner hit a clothesline and elbowdrop for 2, then did pushups before hitting a T-Bone suplex for 2. Steiner is busted open, but shakes it off and locks DDP in a bearhug and turns it into an overhead belly-to-belly suplex for 2. DDP finally started firing back, but Steiner caught him with a big belly-to-belly for 2 and then got DDP in a standing surfboard. DDP got a DDT out of nowhere, then nailed Steiner with a hard clothesline and peppered him with rights but Steiner nailed him with an elbow and got a 2 with his feet on the ropes. Steiner went for a hiptoss but DDP countered into another DDT and went for the Diamond Cutter, but Steiner hit a low blow and a DDT, then went for a powerslam but DDP slipped out and hit the Diamond Cutter. DDP went for the cover but Rick Steiner pulled the referee out of the ring and nailed him. DDP hit a dive over the top rope onto Rick Steiner, then got back in the ring and whipped Scott into his brother when Rick got on the apron and rolled Scott up for 2. Scott grabbed the belt and nailed DDP with it and covered for 2, then got DDP in a Boston Crab, but a now bloody DDP made the ropes. Steiner got DDP in the Steiner Recliner, but DDP stayed alive and made the ropes, so Scott distracted the referee while Rick nailed DDP several more times before Scott picked up a steel pipe and nailed DDP with it several times before locking him back in the Steiner Recliner and DDP passed out, causing the referee to call for the bell and award the match to Scott Steiner. The Steiners draped a University Of Michigan banner over DDP and then Scott gave him a few more shots with the pipe for good measure.

* * *

For as much flak as WCW caught for letting the established names run the asylum rather than trying to elevate younger talent (and all of it was 100% deserved, mind you), you definitely got the feeling when watching this show like they were at least trying to elevate new stars. The Cruiserweight matches were all awesome, Palumbo & O'Haire squashed Luger & Bagwell in about a minute, and Storm & Awesome got a solid win as well. Who knows how long it would have lasted, and the truth is that it didn't really matter much since the walls were caving in by this time, but it was at least nice to see them go out with a PPV like this instead of a Cruiserweight match, maybe one or two other decent bouts, and then five lazy NWO matches like we had gotten regularly in 1998-99. I liked that Booker T and Scott Steiner were the two featured stars on the show because, even though they're kind of looked at with disdain by some of today's fanbase, both were fresh faces in WCW's main event scene at the time and had been standing out in a big way for years beforehand.

There was no Sting, Goldberg, Hall & Nash, Hogan, or any of the other dead weight that had been holding them back all this time, and I have to think that if WCW had kept presenting a product like this show, they might have been able to rebuild their fanbase to some degree. Unfortunately, the plug got pulled before we had a chance to see where it would go and the rest is history.

But this is an entire feature series looking at that history of the tumultuous year that was 2001, and next time we'll go from the final PPV to the real end of the road for WCW, as the company's legacy and future wound up in the hands of the man who had spent years trying to kill it, and would now take great pleasure in finally doing so once and for all. Coming up in Part 3: the March 26, 2001 Raw/Nitro Simulcast!

WCW Greed: 3/18/2001 in Jacksonville, Florida

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