Wrestling 365 – 7/31

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Lieutenant Loco © vs Lance Storm

WCW Cruiserweight Title Match

7/31/00

As WCW continued its meandering move towards its demise in the new millennium, Lance Storm was one of the few wrestlers that rose above the quagmire and actually managed to get over. Having jumped from ECW in the middle of the year, Storm was immediately pushed above and beyond what many might have expected from a capable, yet not exactly known for his charisma or star power, wrestler. Within one month, Storm won three different titles – each one given a Canadian twist as the dour faced Canuck dominated the middle of the card.

First, he would win the United States Heavyweight Title in a tournament final (defeating Mike Awesome), choosing to unofficially rename the belt the Canadian Heavyweight Title. Just over a week later, Storm defeated Big Vito to claim the Hardcore Title, dubbing it the Saskatchewan Hardcore International Title (or SHIT as the acronym would go). The following week on Nitro, he would have a chance to hold three titles at the same time as he faced off against Lieutenant Loco in a match for the WCW Cruiserweight Title. Not only would Storm change the names of the belts, he would adorn them with sizeable Canadian flags that covered the original designs pretty effectively.

Storm’s very simple catchphrase of ‘If I can be serious for a moment…’ was met by a chorus of boos as the dual champion spelt out his opinions on hardcore wrestling with the name change for the title, as well as insisting that when he was in the ring, WCW should be addressed as World Canadian Wrestling. With a big Canadian flag hanging above the ring, Storm told the crowd not to blame Canada, but to blame themselves as it wasn’t his fault that he had dispatched the promotion’s champions with relative ease. ‘O Canada’ would ring out from the PA system after Storm implored the crowd to stand up in respect; naturally, the heinous idea of playing another country’s anthem was greeted with a torrent of abuse from the fans.

Luckily for them, Lieutenant Loco (or Chavo Guerrero Jr. in his Misfits in Action incarnation) would run down to the ring with General Rection and Corporal Cajun in tow to jump Storm before the match with a springboard shoulderblock, cutting the anthem short.  Loco slammed Storm and nailed a tiltawhirl backbreaker before reversing an attempted Storm side slam with a headscissors takedown. Caught off guard by the attack, it would take Storm a moment or two to gather his bearings, backdropping Loco over the rope and then clotheslining him on the top rope after the champion managed to land on the apron. A dropkick would send Loco flying backwards into the guard rail and give Storm a moment to recover.

Storm would smash Loco headfirst into the barricade and into the turnbuckle as a brief ‘USA’ chant rang out from the audience. The two men traded chops in the corner but a thumb to the eye seemed to stop Loco from mounting any further offense. However, in a move mostly missed by the production team, Loco managed to reverse something and plant Storm face first into the canvas. A dropkick and flapjack earned Loco a two count, but a moonsault over an onrushing Storm led to Loco injuring his leg.

Like a shark smelling blood in the water, Storm went straight for the injured limb, nailing it with a dropkick after Loco managed to get a two counts from a succession of roll-ups. An attempted huracanrana reversal from a powerbomb sealed Loco’s fate though, as Storm was able to overpower him and turn the move into the Maple Leaf half crab submission hold for the victory. Three weeks, three title wins; not a bad way to announce yourself.

Storm would face Booker T the following week in an unprecedented attempt to pick up his fourth title. This was where the luck ran out as T defeated Storm in just over five minutes. Clearly, the Canadian wasn’t quite ready to mix it with the bigger boys at the top of the card, and his time in WCW would unfortunately never quite live-up to the promise of the first month as feuds with the Misfits in Action and the Filthy Animals dragged on interminably. As for the three belts, the Hardcore and Cruiserweight (now named 100kg and Under) belts would be handed to Carl Ouellet and Elix Skipper respectively just two weeks later.

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