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Hogan Knows Best is an American reality documentary television series on VH1. The series debuted on July 10, 2005 and centered on the family life of professional wrestler Hulk Hogan. Often focusing on the Hogans' raising of their children, and on Hulk Hogan's attempts to manage and assist in his children's burgeoning careers, the title of the show is a spoof of the 1950s television series ... Brooke, Linda, Hulk and Nick Hogan arriving at the BIG VH-1 06 Awards on the Sony Studio Lot In Los Angeles. full length eye contact HoganHulk_Brooke_Linda_Nick Event in Hollywood Life - California, Red Carpet Event, USA, Film Industry, Celebrities, Photography, Bestof, Arts Culture and Entertainment, Celebrities fashion, Best of, Hollywood Life, Event in Hollywood Life - California, Red ... Hulk Hogan has been ordered to pay more than $180,000 to his ex-wife's lawyer after a Florida judge said he deliberately created a succession of legal hurdles in a bid to stop her getting her ... Not a great week for Hulk and Linda Hogan. First Hulk's sex tape does the rounds then his ex gets a DUI. ... Chris Kattan Arrested for DUI, Admits to Prescription Pill Use. Splash News TV. 1:18. Celebrities Arrested For DUI. Splash News TV. 0:38. Amanda Bynes Arrested For DUI. Splash News TV. 1:22. Justin Bieber Arrested for DUI, Resisting ... married 18 Dec 1983 divorce 27 Jul 2009. Hulk Hogan Terry Bollea. Linda Hogan Bio Details ... Linda Hogan Partner(s) Other Children. Linda Hogan Children. Brooke Hogan. born 1988, age 30 ... Linda Hogan's former father in law was Peter Bollea jr Linda Hogan's former mother in law was Ruth Bollea Linda Hogan's former half-brother in law is ... Jennifer McDaniel came to limelight when she started dating the Hulk Hogan in 2008. Their relationship was much talked about by the paparazzi for many reasons. Hogan was dealing with his divorce case from first wife, Linda Claridge, after they were married for 26 years. Hogan also had two children from previous marriage. The people of Hogan & Hartson L.L.P. (Hogan & Hartson) are our greatest strength. We come from across the country and around the world. We are committed to preeminence in a full spectrum of legal services throughout the three major areas of our practice — commercial, litigation, and government regulation. Hulk Hogan and Linda Hogan Banned For Life From AEW Tony Khan isn’t taking any B.S when it comes to wrestlers supporting the injustice that’s occurring around the world, especially in the United States after George Floyd was needlessly killed by a police officer. PAUL Hogan, 78, is reportedly “stunned” after reports that his ex-wife, Linda Kozlowski, 59, has married her Moroccan business partner Moulay Hafid Babaa. We have found 78 people in the UK with the name Linda Hogan. Click here to find personal data about Linda Hogan including phone numbers, addresses, directorships, electoral roll information, related property prices and other useful information.
Wrestling Observer Rewind ★ Mar. 21, 1988
2020.08.27 18:18 SaintRidleyWrestling Observer Rewind ★ Mar. 21, 1988
March 21, 1988 Going through old issues of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter and posting highlights in my own words, continuing in the footsteps of daprice82. For anyone interested, I highly recommend signing up for the actual site at f4wonline and checking out the full archives. • PREVIOUS • 1987 FUTURE YEARS ARCHIVE: The Complete Observer Rewind Archive by daprice82
It’s a really slow week for news, so Dave spends a lot of real estate giving his predictions for Wrestlemania and Clash of the Champions. Wrestlemania is first, and he starts with the tournament. There are only three real contenders there: Hogan, DiBiase, and Savage. Everyone else isn’t good enough to carry the company or has loads of baggage the company doesn’t want coming back up. The recent tv taping’s third hour was meant for post-Wrestlemania, so guaranteed non-winners are Andre, Duggan, Reed, Muraco, and Bigelow. Steamboat and Rude probably make it through a round, but not to the final. WWF has foreshadowed things a bit, though. Changing the brackets seems designed to get Savage to the finals, which really necessitates a heel opposite him, which rules out Hogan. Since DiBiase could have won the title in the old bracket without facing Savage in the final (they would have met in the semifinals), changing the bracket to put Savage in the final seems suspect from a DiBiase-must-win scenario. Secondly, the latest issue of WWF magazine has a photo of Elizabeth shopping, captioned “Elizabeth, manager of the World Wrestling Federation Champion Randy ‘Macho Man’ Savage”). Red herring? Misprint? Clue? It’s hard to say. The magazine has been out for two weeks. Lastly, a reader swears they were at the taping and peeked behind the curtain and saw Savage carrying the title while doing a promo. Savage has Dave’s vote, as everything just adds up to it and has been since they changed the bracket. For the IC title match, Dave predicts the match will not only be terrible, but that Honkeytonk Man will no longer be the worst Intercontinental Champion ever. Beefer to win it, because somehow he’s managed to get more over than he has any right to be with this barber thing. The Islanders and Heenan vs. Koko B. Ware and the Bulldogs seems destined to go to the Bulldogs, in part because after Dynamite’s injury last year, somehow the company decided to use their time to get Matilda over and this is Matilda’s return. They’ve only got Heenan in so Matilda can chase him around the ring. For the tag titles, Dave predicts Demolition to win. WWF has booked a title change for the tag titles every Wrestlemania to include a tag title match so far, and curiously, Demolition seem to be getting over real well - the last show at the Cow Palace saw all the fans dutifully cheer every face and boo every heel during the announcement of the card with one exception: Demolition got cheered and Strike Force got booed. Dave really hopes Warrior vs. Hercules won’t be the template for pro wrestling in the 90s, as Dave’s only predictions are that this will be a worst match of the year candidate and that neither man will live to see the age of 50. He’s half right: Herc died at 47, but Warrior managed to make it all the way to 54. Lastly, Dave considers the battle royal, a bad concept that Bret Hart managed to single-handedly save and make work previously. There’s no stakes and no heat, it’s just a way to get everyone a payday. Dave’s predictions: babyface will probably win, George Steele won’t get in the ring, Roma and Powers will smile, JYD won’t do anything, Sam Houston takes the best bump going out if he doesn’t win, Harley Race takes the next best bump.
Over in Greensboro Coliseum, Crockett’s Clash of the Champions offers its own speculative fun. Flair vs. Sting will certainly go over 20 minutes with loads of near falls and all the usual stuff (Sting not selling the suplex, Flair getting plucked off the top rope). It’s a Ric Flair match, so it’s going to be exactly what you expect, which isn’t a bad thing really. But it does kind of take the excitement out of things. Flair’s gonna get destroyed, but he won’t lose the title and the finish will be one we’ve all seen before. Woo. Dusty and the Road Warriors vs. Ivan Koloff and the Powers of Pain in a barbed wire match seems to exist just for the sake of lots of blood, and barbed wire matches aren’t conducive to good wrestling. Dave figures Dusty wins to the disappointment of many while satiating fans’ blood thirst. For the NWA tag titles, Dave thinks Luger has improved enough to hold up his end of things and the other three are some of the best workers in the territory. Probably a DQ win for the Horsemen, but Luger and Windham winning the titles isn’t a negligible possibility either. On paper, it’s an easy 3.5 star+ match. For the U.S. Tag Titles, Midnight Express vs. the Fantastics looks like a title change. Cornette’s spent too long hyping the length of the Midnights’ title reign for it not to be, and you gotta put over the Fantastics now before fans have a chance to turn on them for being small and too much like the Rock & Roll Express. Rotundo vs. Garvin in an amateur rules match, Dave doesn’t have a prediction for the winner, but figures Rotundo will cheat somehow and Sullivan will do something dastardly, and a hot angle should spin out of it. Finally, Zbyszko vs. Shane Douglas will end, Dave guesses, in a time limit draw or some other kind of unclear finish. Shane’s gotten good, but with Magnum managing others for the Crockett Cup and the Dusty/Zbyszko feud going nowhere, it seems his push is being tweaked.
Wrestlemania 4 did finally sell out this past week for the live crowd. You can point out how last year’s show sold over 90,000 tickets to sell out and this show has only 13,500 sold tickets, but there are more things to consider. Last year, all of Michigan was blacked out for closed-circuit and PPV, meaning to see Wrestlemania you either had to leave the state or be in attendance. On the flip side, WWF has eight closed-circuit sites in New York City, eight more in New Jersey, one in Philadelphia, and PPV everywhere. So that’s a huge difference in accessibility, plus tickets this year were way more expensive. Last year’s average ticket price was $16.50, with a lot of $9 tickets for the cheap seats and $100 for the top price. The lowest price this year is $25, and the top price is $150. Overall, this year’s live gate will still be around $1 million, even with the smaller audience.
The Crockett Cup’s top ten seeds will be announced at Clash of the Champions. Dave has word about the top 10, and those are Arn & Tully, Dusty & Nikita, Road Warriors, Midnight Express, Powers of Pain, Luger and Windham, Fanatics, Mike otundo & Rick Steiner, Sting & Ron Garvin, and Ivan Koloff & Dick Murdoch. No big name outside teams look to be involved, since even if the Von Erichs and Inoki were to send teams over, they’d insist on them being seeded, if not outright making it to the finals. Crockett’s dropping hints about Puerto Rico and Japan, but there’s no indication other than that of any deals in the works. Steve Williams is returning, but don’t expect him to have a unification match with Ric Flair on night two - the scuttlebutt is that a face from one of the seeded teams will pull out of the tournament to challenge him.
WWF looks to be going with Andre vs. Duggan as their big angle following Wrestlemania. They shot the first thing for it on March 9 in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, where Jim Duggan interrupted an Andre and DiBiase interview, only to get beat up and headbutted off stage before he tries to charge and is held back. This is set to air the day before Wrestlemania. The second part of the angle, set to air after Wrestlemania, has Duggan interfere in an Andre match until Andre chokes him and Duggan bleeds from the mouth until he can somehow get his 2x4 and knock Andre out. They bring out a stretcher for Andre but he wakes up and goes berserk, chasing Pat Patterson to backstage.
A bigger surprise from that taping, though, is Owen Hart. Apparently he worked the previous night in Bristol, Tennessee as well, but the big deal is he appeared using his real name. He jobbed in a squash in his first match of the show, then had a match in the third hour against Hercules where he got to do a lot of his really cool offense and the crowd was into it, and definitely seems like this match was taped for April 2. No idea if Hart is in for a try-out or what, though it makes little sense to Dave that they’d debut him as a jobber if this was a debut.
Outlet Communications, which owns both WATL in Atlanta and Pro Wrestling This Week, is for sale. They’re using it to fuel an angle on the show, announcing on this week’s episode that someone is attempting a hostile takeover.
AGB, the other national ratings source besides Neilsen, came out with their ratings for The Main Event. They listed it 35th for the week out of 72 shows, with a 15.1 rating and 23 share (Neilsen had them at 31st place). WWF winning the time slot for the night, which looked really clear going by Neilsen, is now disputed, as AGB had the CBS Beauty and the Beast that aired at the same time ahead of it at 32nd place for the week. This is a huge blow to WWF. Vince had been claiming that Andre vs. Hogan would put them right at the top for the week and be the highest rated show in prime time all season. And now he can’t even definitively claim top of the time slot, nevermind beating Dallas (which both groups had ranking in the top 20).
In syndicated ratings, the week ending February 14 saw the WWF network rank 4th place with an 11.1 combined rating. Crockett had a 7.9, falling to 7th place.
The Sammartino family is in the news this week. Last week, Bruno quit WWF to promote a 900 hotline amid many complaints about the state of wrestling and WWF specifically. Bruno’s contentions have to do with insulting the intelligence of the fansand not trying to maintain credibility, but obviously Vince thinks differently about how to promote. He was also upset David never got a push, and when he gave his notice two weeks back, Linda McMahon called the next day to tell him they had the name Bruno Sammartino trademarked so he couldn’t use it in any outside business ventures. Considering Bruno’s drawing power in the 60s is the reason many believe Vince Sr. survived as a promoter and WWF even exists today, obviously that should be upsetting. It may be debatable whether or not he’s the sole reason WWF even exists today, but it isn’t debatable that his popularity is the foundation WWF built off. And to make matters worse, David Sammartino was wrestling in New York on March 9 and apparently assaulted a fan who was heckling him. David reportedly went after the fan and threw him out of his chair. He was arrested and given a court date of April 4, and he lost all of his bookings as a result.
Saturday Night’s Main Event, filmed March 7, aired March 12. The five matches that aired were part of a massive 14 match card that drew a 10,000 fan sellout, though the crowd was heavily papered as only 2,000 tickets had sold by March 4. Local radio did a deal where anyone who could name two WWF wrestlers got two free tickets. The televised matches saw 1. Beefer pin Valentine by kicking out during a double pin situation while Honketonk taunted him from ringside. 2. Hogan pinning Harley Race. 3. DiBiase beat Savage by countout, with Virgil ejected quickly and Andre interfering after a ref bump to cause the countout, then Elizabeth ran back and got Hogan to save him. 4. Islanders beat Killer Bees with Haku pinning Blair, and what aired was just the first fall - the live crowd got a two of three falls match that the Islanders won 2-1. 5. One Man Gang squashed Ken Patera. The unaired main event saw Andre squash Bam Bam Bigelow in 3 minutes, which shows where Bam Bam’s future is. Duggan’s been getting more and more over again and is primed to take the spot Bam Bam was set up for as #3 babyface after Hogan and Savage.
The annual Cauliflower Alley Club banquet took place this past Saturday. The Cauliflower Alley Club is a group of “wrestlers, boxers, and Hollywood types” mainly from the early tv era, and their banquet is something of a class reunion type deal every year. Lots of names Dave’s read about but never seen, and special honors were given to Fred Blassie, Roddy Piper, Buddy Rogers, Moolah, and Clara Mortensen (who was a pioneer in women’s wrestling alongside Mildred Burke). Loads and loads of old names there: John Tolos, Doc & Mike Gallagher, Ox Anderson, Count Billy Varga, Billy Darnell, Paul Boesch, Kit Fox, Donna Christanello, Toru Tanaka, Red Bastien, Ray “Thunder” Sterne, Reggie Parks, Bob Orton Sr., George “Crybaby” Cannon, Vic Christy, Mike Mazurki, and more. Fred Blassie hammed it up the entire night, but Piper was subdued and seemed happy to be out of wrestling, and Dave believes that Piper believes he’s got no intention of wrestling again (though never say never, if his film career doesn’t pan out). Buddy Rogers still has his trademark strut and look of arrogance, and his old manager Bobby Davis was with him. Davis apparently wants to work as a manager in WWF.
[Memphis] Lawler and Eddie Gilbert collide in their first match of their feud on March 14. It all started when Jerry Jarrett made an appearance presenting Lance Russel with a plaque for winning best wrestling announcer for his fourth consecutive year as voted by the fans (fun fact - 1987 was Lance Russel’s fourth consecutive year winning the Observer award for best wrestling announcer) and Russel noted that the tv show also won the fan vote for best tv show. Anyway, Eddie Gilbert and Missy Hyatt came out and started arguing and Lawler did a phone interview at the same time where he said he was waiting for a doctor’s clearance to wrestle. The main event of the show this week saw Gilbert vs. Steve Keirn, and Gilbert kept arguing with Jarrett and then Tommy Gilbert got hold of Jarrett and Eddie threw a fireball at him, and Lawler said doctor’s orders or not he was going to get his hands on Eddie Gilbert.
The Samoans were supposed to win the tag titles in Memphis on March 7. But they quit the week before the match.
March 14 for Memphis will also feature a cage battle royal with a key on a pole. The only way to win is to get the key from the pole and use it to unlock the door and escape. Vinny Russo, is this your idea?
Not a lot new in World Class, except for the fact that Al Perez is set to go to the NWA. He was supposedly meant to regain the title from Kerry on March 25 in Dallas.
The Fabulous Lance, formerly Lance Von Erich, is rumored to be returning to World Class next month. Last Dave had heard of him, he was wrestling in South Africa. It’ll be interesting to see how this plays out, given Fritz tried to bury him and outright stated he wasn’t a real Von Erich after he left.
[Stampede] Scott McGhee has returned to Florida to recuperate from his stroke. He’s made good progress, reportedly, but still no indication he’ll ever be able to return to the ring. Indeed, McGhee’s career is over. He’ll do two more one-off matches in 1989 and 2010, but otherwise, he’s past his wrestling days here.
The 8-man match on February 27 was, according to Ross Hart, one of the best matches in the history of Stampede. Wayne and Owen Hart teamed with Brian Pillman and Jason the Terrible against Akam Singh, Steve DiSalvo, Gerry Morrow, and Makhan Singh in a match that went 47 minutes and came down to Owen getting pinned by Morrow in the end. Wayne was the first eliminated, and Dave doesn’t know it but this was the last match of Wayne Hart’s in-ring career. I tried to find a video, but I couldn’t find one.
Not much news on the AWA front, but they are bringing in a new manager and giving him a big push at their Vegas tapings on March 19. On the one hand, they could have chosen Paul E. Dangerously who is dynamic and great at getting heat with his mic work. But this is the AWA, so they’ll choose someone who has been out of the game for 15 years over a young, hot act. So welcome to the AWA Stan “Big K” Kowalski, whose last relevant work was managing Ivan Koloff and Shozo Kobayashi int the early 1970s.
Global hasn’t folded yet, and they recorded six weeks of tv on March 5. The interesting angle saw the evolution of the feud between Col. Kirchner & G.I. Joe Palardy vs. Dr. Red Roberts and V.C. Minh. Last taping, Minh came out with a photo of American soldiers in bodybags being carried home from Vietnam, which caused Kirchner and Palardy to freak out. Roberts, whose gimmick is based on his real life day job as a psychologist, diagnosed Kirchner as having “Patriophobia” and invoked the Baker Act to get Kirchner involuntarily committed to an institution for evaluation. Given Kirchner’s promos, Dave notes that this is entirely consistent with his character, at least. Anyway, shenanigans and such, and the heels win a squash so bad they send out medics, and the medics turn out to be Kirchner and Palardy, who attack and beat up Roberts so badly he declares he’s retiring from wrestling to use his skills in his field to help young men work through drug abuse. Dr. Roberts’ real name is Dr. Michael Brannon, and he’d find himself embroiled in the world of wrestling again in 2001 when the Lionel Tate case happened, providing testimony as an expert against Tate, arguing Tate knew wrestling was fake all along. Who knew that this would tie in so neatly with one of the stories from a recent 2002 rewind?
About the only news out of Japan is that All Japan’s March 9 card drew a near sellout for Tenryu vs. Stan Hansen. Tenryu pinned Hansen, Hansen’s third pinfall loss in Japan in seven years, to win the PWF Title, making him a triple champion alongside his United National and PWF Tag Titles.
The New York State Athletic Commission showed their double standard against independent groups earlier this month. They wrote a memo to Northeast Championship Wrestling citing Misty Blue’s attire as “too short.” Meanwhile, Vince gets to fly in the face of any and all Athletic Commission rules in the state. Granted, some of the rules are beyond asinine (it’s still illegal for a wrestling promoter to have a financial interest in a wrestler), but come on. It’s ring attire.
The Von Erich story in Penthouse looks pretty set for the July issue now. Nope.
Queen Kong/Mount Fiji from GLOW and POWW is setting up her own tv show called Rasslin Revival. You didn’t hear it from Dave, because he didn’t write it in the issue, but Queen Kong apparently also invented the phone sex line.
Barry Orton was convicted in his vehicular manslaughter trial. His sentence is six years, but he could be out in under two with good behavior. The conviction comes right as he was starting to do some of the best work of his career, but you know, someone’s dead so that should probably be the key takeaway.
A sportscaster who has worked with both Kirk Gibson of the L.A. Dodgers and Hulk Hogan called in to give his opinion on the comparison that was made forever ago and which still comes up in some of the letters. Anyway, the guy says Gibson is an asshole 99% of the time and Hogan is often quite nice and is easily 10 times more popular than Gibson on top of being friendlier in public. Good thing those numbers look reasonable, or I’d suspect the sportscaster’s name was Bulk Bogan.
A lot of Crockett contracts are set to expire in May, so expect WWF to make a play for several of them to retaliate for Clash of the Champions.
Almost everyone who called Dave this week had something to say about Jim Cornette’s comments on TBS this past Saturday. How the hell did he slip “beating meat” past Standards and Practices?
Ted Turner is starting a new tv network in October with a focus on sports and MGM movies, and Crockett may wind up switched to that new network. It’s going to be called TNT. Oh yeah, that network will definitely have wrestling on it in the future.
Something Dave does now and again that I usually skip over here is give rankings for who he feels are the top wrestlers. This week he ranks his top 25 men’s tag teams and top 40 men’s singles guys. Owen Hart is #1 for singles guys. Ric Flair has fallen all the way down to #3.
Fabulous Lance may not be coming into World Class afterall. Apparently his booker didn’t want him as anything but a babyface, while Fritz wanted him to partner with the Freebirds.
The Owen vs. Hercules match was apparently not supposed to be taped, so who knows if it’ll air. It definitely did wind up taped, so that’s all up in the air. It in fact did not air.
All charges against David Sammartino have been dropped in the case of the incident with the fan. It made a lot of press nationally for such a small thing, and it did result in David getting fired while other WWF guys have skated by with worse incidents. Apparently the fan was heckling David by using insider terms, which I guess absolves David from any responsibility for putting hands on the guy?
A reader writes in that as much as Dave complains about bad taste, he’s put out some really tasteless stuff himself. Namely, putting the info to help Al Blake (Vladmir Petrov) pay his legal expenses given his conviction for drug smuggling, and the writer would probably have let it slide if not for it being the Observer and how many readers “seem to live and die by the gospel according to Dave Meltzer.” The other instance he cites is admittedly less severe, but using one of his trademark denigrating nicknames (“Doggie” in this case) to refer to Maurice “Mad Dog” Vachon regarding the hit and run that cost him his leg strikes the writer as blatant and callous disregard for Vachon’s dignity after what he went through. He also throws a plea to Dave to cover GLOW and POWW, “keeping in mind I’m wasting my time.” Or at least, let the readers vote on it. It’d be a better use of space than covering Central States (and if you’re wondering why you rarely see anything about Central States in the rewinds, it’s because nothing and no one of consequence is there).
NEXT WEEK:Interest in Wrestlemania down, Billy Jack Haynes vs. Don Owen promotional war, Dump retirement ratings hit, syndicated ratings rankings, and more
Going through old issues of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter and posting highlights in my own words. For anyone interested, I highly recommend signing up for the actual site at f4wonline and checking out the full archives. PREVIOUSLY:
WWE hit the reset button again with a new storyline assigning general managers to each brand, and it featured the shocking debut of Eric Bischoff. The new storyline will have Bischoff as the heel GM of Raw, while Stephanie McMahon will be the babyface GM of Smackdown, while Vince McMahon will take more of a backseat role and reduce his TV presence. Of course, just 5 weeks ago, Vince panicked and blew up the existing "feuding GMs" storyline between himself and Ric Flair, so now we're re-starting it with new people I guess. It feels like a last-ditch effort to save the brand extension, which has been an utter flop since day one, with no effort to differentiate the shows and only resulting in diluting the talent and falling ratings.
Bischoff and McMahon struck a secret deal about 10 days prior to his debut. Bischoff had talks with WWE last year about coming in during the original Invasion angle, except they only wanted him to do a one-off match with Vince for the PPV (which Vince would obviously have won), but Bischoff turned down that offer. But this time, they agreed to a more long-term deal. Bischoff didn't know he was going to debut on Raw until just a day or two prior, when Vince called him and told him to be there. The whole thing was kept secret and almost no one other than Vince himself knew about it. This is believed to be a unique contract, in which it's a short-term deal with the option to renew it for longer-term if the angle gets over. His only role is as a television character, it's strictly a performance contract. Bischoff is not going to be a part of management or creative.
When Bischoff walked across the screen in the backstage segment, almost everyone in the company was just as shocked as the viewers at home. Bischoff's debut saw him come out and hug Vince, which Dave thinks about is the dumbest possible way to introduce him. Sure, the Invasion angle is over but WCW's corpse isn't completely cold yet. It's only been a year or so. There is probably still plenty of money to be made in Bischoff as an outsider trying to destroy Vince McMahon and the WWE. But as always, that would involve Vince allowing himself or WWE to look vulnerable against an "outsider" and his utter refusal to do that is a big part of what tanked the Invasion. But that's par for the course. Bischoff cut a promo, giving the fake "WWE version" of the Monday Night Wars history (Dave points out multiple inaccuracies that WWE still clings on today, such as claiming they stole Hulk Hogan from WWF. Of course, Hulk had been in NJPW and hadn't worked for WWF for nearly a year at the time WCW signed him. Things like that.). Dave thinks it became one of those promos full of old stuff or inside references where so much of it is about things that the average fan doesn't know or care about. Dave thinks most of this audience in 2002 isn't familiar with Alundra Blayze, they don't know Raw used to be taped instead of live, and they don't care about 83-week TV ratings streaks (Dave also notes that Bischoff said 84 on this show, which is incorrect). And once again, it became one of those promos talking about how much WWE sucks lately, which is something you don't want to keep pointing out to the fans who are still watching because you just make them feel dumb for supporting something that even the people producing it knows sucks. Shit like that is partly what drove off WCW fans. Bischoff also gloated about almost putting WWE out of business, and to the many guys in the locker room who remember that vividly, it wasn't a joke or a storyline. Those are guys who really were fighting for their job against a guy who really was trying to put them out of business. Bischoff has tremendous heat from the locker room, with a lot of people who worked for him in WCW or who resent him from the WWE side....they don't want Bischoff there.
This angle was going to take place regardless, but it's thought that the injury to Kevin Nash may have moved things up a couple of weeks because Vince once again panicked when his plans went down in flames. Nash had surgery last week. Because of the location of the tear, it's not quite as serious as the tear Triple H suffered last year. But Nash is also 10 years older. However, he has vowed to return, noting he doesn't want his career to end like that. With his age and his track record of injuries (this is his 22nd surgery, dating back to his collegiate basketball days), Dave isn't sure how much Nash will be able to offer if/when he returns next year. Also, while nobody wanted Nash to get hurt, the mood in the locker room was said to be much happier this week without him around, as the whole Nash/X-Pac/Shawn/Triple H group isn't very well liked these days (the more things change...)
Speaking of X-Pac, a weird situation with him this week led to him being suspended by WWE. The day of the Raw when Nash tore his quad, X-Pac missed his flight to the show. Why? Well, he was hospitalized earlier that day in Minneapolis. Again, you ask, why? No idea. Sounds like X-Pac sure would like to know also. He called WWE saying he was in the emergency room and had no idea how he got there. He left the ER and made new travel arrangements and he got to Raw 90 minutes before the show started. And then he went out there that night and worked his match (and Dave says looked more impressive than he had in a long time). However, after the match, he still couldn't explain to WWE officials how or why he was in the hospital earlier that day and so they were naturally suspicious. As a result, X-Pac has been suspended and removed from all upcoming bookings until they get a medical report on what the deal is. Dave says X-Pac has been acting out of control for weeks now and it's been well-documented (threatening to quit if match finishes weren't changed week after week). The feeling backstage was that as long as Nash was around to go to bat for him, he was basically protected, but no longer. With Hall fired, Nash out for probably a year, X-Pac suspended, and Hogan a babyface, the feeling within the company is that the NWO angle is dead. Shawn Michaels is still expected to appear at upcoming house shows and Raws in some new role, since much of the advertising for those shows was based around him appearing, but this is probably the end of the road for the NWO. (This kinda flew under the radar, but yeah, X-Pac never wrestled another match in WWE. The match where Nash tore his quad remains to this day the last time X-Pac ever worked a match in a WWE ring. He gets released soon after this and we all know in retrospect that he was dealing with some drug issues throughout this time).
Dave provides some details on Vince Russo's first (and only) creative meeting when he was briefly rehired by WWE last month. Russo apparently proposed a Raw vs. Smackdown feud that would eventually lead to reviving one of them as WCW and reigniting the WCW vs. WWE war. This time, they would have Eric Bischoff leading the WCW side, while Russo suggested Mick Foley as the leader of the WWE side. It was pretty much made clear to Russo during the meeting that if they were to do a Raw vs. Smackdown angle, it would be Stephanie in charge of the WWE side, not Foley, and sure enough, that's what is expected to happen (but without the whole WCW-revival part). Russo's idea was pretty much a combination of the 2001 Invasion angle and the 2000 WCW Bischoff/Russo angle. Dave notes that Russo wanted to essentially start from scratch again, strip everyone of their belts the way they did in 2000, and bring in Bret Hart and Goldberg to be involved as well.
A big recap of UFC's debut show in England, which featured rising star Frank Mir getting beat in what should have been an upset, but word is Mir didn't take the fight seriously and barely trained. As a result, he got murked in the first round. Also, while in England, some people in Tito Ortiz's camp got into a big drunken bar brawl with fellow fighter Lee Murray. Chuck Liddell was somewhere involved too. Anyway, long story short, some people tell the story that Murray knocked Ortiz out. Ortiz denies it (to this day, this is a famous MMA story and both men tell different versions, so depending on who you believe I guess).
TNA's 4th show ended with a strong angle that actually got them some national publicity. It involved Tennessee Titans players Frank Miller and Zach Piller hopping the rail and attacking Jeff Jarrett and some other wrestlers, resulting in a big brawl to end the show. So how much of it was real or shoot? Well, Russo is involved, so who knows. The official story is that Jarrett and Piller were supposed to shove each other from across the rail, but that's it. From NFL sources, Dave has actually heard the same thing. It was supposed to stop at a shoving confrontation, and then Malice would come pull Jarrett away. That was the story as Russo allegedly wrote it. But reportedly, Piller had been drinking and he ended up hopping the rail and straight up overpowered Jarrett like it was nothing and took him down. Whether this was a shoot or a work is still unknown, but it ended up getting them coverage on SportsCenter and Dave says it's possible it was a work that only a few people were in on. If it was a work, nobody else was in on it. Ron Harris, who works backstage, almost rushed to the ring to save Jarrett and Malice (who wasn't supposed to touch the football players) got involved and broke it up quickly. After the show, the players were backstage laughing and joking with Jarrett and Miller has been openly telling people it was all planned and they were told to make it look as real as possible, but it's still unknown if jumping the rail and tackling Jarrett was part of the plan or not. Several other Titans players were at ringside with them and saw it unfold, but mostly didn't get involved. So now after the publicity, TNA is trying to see if they can make a match out of this. Either way, it's starting to feel like an elaborate work that none of the rest of the roster was clued in on, which is exactly the kind of shit Russo used to do constantly in WCW that soured morale among the locker room, and for this to happen on Russo's first night in, with an angle he wrote, sure feels a little familiar.
Puerto Rico's IWA had its most successful show in company history, drawing more than 11,000 fans (without a single WWE name on the card) to see the payoff of an angle with Savio Vega fighting for control of the company. WHO SAID SAVIO AIN'T A DRAW?!
On the other side of things, WWC has postponed its anniversary show from August to September in order to give themselves more time to build up big angles and storylines. Seems like something they probably should have been planning earlier? IWA has become the dominant promotion in Puerto Rico and WWC felt they didn't have the build-up necessary to do a big-money show right now. Especially after this IWA show did such big business, anything less would be an embarrassment.
Bischoff's debut on Raw was a pretty big hit. How big, you ask? During Bischoff's in-ring promo after his debut, Raw added nearly 1.1 million new viewers from the previous segment. Meaning that as soon as Bischoff walked across the screen backstage, tons of wrestling fans started calling their friends telling them, "Holy shit, Eric Bischoff is on Raw, turn it on!" The bad news is that as soon as Bischoff's promo was over, a lot of them tuned right back out, leading to a huge drop-off for the rest of the show. On the flip side, this week's Smackdown, featuring the heavily-hyped return of The Rock ended up being the 7th lowest rated episode of the show in history (4th if you don't count holidays). Rock's not a draw, bet he won't even be in the business in a couple more years.
Kenta Kobashi is finally back in the ring, wrestling undercard prelim tag matches for NOAH. Even though he's in tags and doing limited in-ring work, his knees are said to be already killing him and one of them totally locked up on him after one of his recent matches. But he still hasn't missed any dates.
NJPW announced that Kensuke Sasaki will face Pancrase star Minoru Suzuki at the Tokyo Dome in October. This match was actually planned for the big Tokyo Dome show back in May, but negotiations fell apart because Pancrase didn't like the idea of Suzuki doing a worked pro-wrestling match. Suzuki started his career in NJPW back in 1988 and was being groomed to be a big star for the company, but he quit and joined UWF because he preferred to work shoot-style matches. In 1993, he and a few other guys all started Pancrase, which he's been doing ever since. These days, Suzuki's days of fighting for them at a top level are over and he usually only competes against nobodies or in catch wrestling (grappling and submission only, no striking). Anyway, for those curious, this didn't happen. Not sure why yet, I haven't gotten that far, but Suzuki doesn't return to NJPW until 2003.
Goldberg is said to be leaning very much against going to WWE anytime soon and is instead eyeing his options of working big shows in Japan. He's contemplating an offer to make an appearance at Toryumon's show in Tokyo in September, but only an appearance. He doesn't plan to wrestle until later in the year (don't think the Toryumon appearance happens, but he does end up working a few matches in Japan here soon).
Bret Hart is still hoping to make his scheduled appearance for Jacques Rougeau's upcoming indie show in Montreal. If you recall, Rougeau's big show there last year drew over 11,000 fans and he's got himself another big stadium to fill this year and Bret was expected to be the biggest draw. Whether he'll be healthy enough to make the show, following his recent stroke, remains to be seen but he's determined to try. As of this week, Hart is able to lift his left arm over his head. Just a week ago, he couldn't move it at all. His grip strength is also coming back and he's able to walk short distances. His vocal cords were also damaged but have started strengthening again and he's able to talk again (though he can't cut a wrestling promo yet, Dave says, so he might not be doing much other than coming out and waving to the crowd if he does make it). He's still having some vision problems also, but not too bad all things considered.
Dave says that "no matter what you may hear," a lot of people involved in TNA behind the scenes are very unhappy about Vince Russo being brought in. He also says that a lot of people associate Russo and Ed Ferrara together, but they actually had a major falling out awhile back and hadn't been on speaking terms until now. When it became clear Russo was coming back, Ferrara reached out to Russo and the two sides made up. He goes on record saying for sure that neither Mike Tenay or Bill Behrens are happy about Russo's arrival, among others, but says everyone is being professional.
Notes from TNA Weekly PPV: Crowd of about 1,500, only about half paid. Dave says it was easily the best of the 4 shows they've had so far. About 85% of it was written and booked by Jerry Jarrett and the original writing team before Russo was hired, but Russo did make some changes. Dave says some people are beginning to get tired of Don West on commentary already and he definitely brings a ton of enthusiasm (but nothing else, Dave adds) to the table. During the Ken Shamrock vs. Omori match, the crowd was distracted by one of the cage dancers near the entrance who was apparently showing her ass to the crowd. Former WCW wrestler Crowbar (real name Chris Ford) worked a tag match under the name Tempest and Dave notes that when Ford worked a try-out match for WWE awhile back, he also signed over the name Crowbar to them when he did (guessing Dave is mistaken about this. He never used the name Crowbar in TNA, but he's been using it everywhere else ever since for the last 18 years). Brian Christopher is now going by his real name, Brian Lawler, and cut a promo on Jerry Lawler about being a bad father. It got a lot of heat but now they've made fans want to see a match that they can't deliver. K-Krush faced NASCAR driver Hermie Sadler and got DQ'd. Dave says Krush was absolutely awesome here, actually carrying Sadler to a watchable match. Sadler was awful of course, but the Gayda/Stratus match from Raw was light years worse, so hey, who cares? TNA tried to bring in Hermie's more famous older brother Elliott Sadler, but that fell through because Elliott has some type of affiliation with WWE, though Dave isn't sure what (I did the research and apparently Elliott drove a Summerslam-themed car during a race around this time, so I assume that's it).
More notes from TNA Weekly PPV, since this recap is huge and big, unbroken paragraphs suck: Mark and Jay Brisco worked a brief match until Malice ran in and destroyed everyone (Dave says this was a Russo addition to the show. Dave also says the Briscos will be great some day and notes that on this show, the announcers lied and said both of them are 18, when in fact, Mark Brisco is still 17 and therefore not even allowed to wrestle in many commission states). Former porn star and ECW valet Jasmine St. Claire debuted and gave Jeremy Borash a lap dance, took off her underwear, and was about to strip nude until a big angle stopped it. And yes, in case it wasn't obvious, this was another Russo addition. AJ Styles and Jerry Lynn are the tag team champions and ended up in a big brawl backstage. If you've been paying attention to the show the last 2 weeks, you would have recognized that they were doing a slow build with these two partners having friction, but Russo convinced Jarrett to hurry up and pull the trigger on the split, so here we are. Dave thinks this had no impact at all because it felt completely rushed, the story hadn't progressed far enough yet for these two to already be coming to blows. Another interview with the Dupps saying "shit" repeatedly was, yes, another Russo addition. Try not to cut yourself on all this edginess. Shamrock vs. NOAH star Takao Omori ended in a no contest because of politics. Shamrock was supposed to win clean, but then NOAH decided they didn't want Omori to do a job, so this is what we got. Dave thinks TNA should have said screw them then and just not used Omori because it's not like TNA's fanbase knows who the fuck he is anyway. Omori was said to have been spaced out all day beforehand and looked bad in the match. Crowd didn't care and they pumped in a ton of fake crowd noise for it. Jeff Jarrett ran in and took everyone out with chair shots, including "NWA rep" Harley Race, who ate a brutal unprotected chair shot to the head from Jeff and Dave thinks that's not good for anyone's brain, especially a guy pushing 60. Race was there basically to help Omori since Harley's small promotion in St. Louis has a relationship with NOAH. And finally, the 6-man X-Division #1 contenders match was excellent. Dave thinks WWE really missed the boat on Jerry Lynn and K-Krush. He admits Lynn probably couldn't have ever been a top guy in WWE or anything, but he makes everybody he wrestles look like a million bucks and guys like that are priceless to have on your roster. They also pumped a bunch of crowd noise in for this match, and at one point, the fake crowd noise loop stopped and there was a moment where it went from a loud roaring crowd to dead silence in a blink. Also, a fight in the stands distracted the crowd near the end. But great match otherwise. Show ended with the Titans players angle.
In other news, The Shane Twins have been working as the masked penis wrestlers The Johnsons in TNA but the penis aspect of it has been played down to almost nothing. Upcoming plans were for the team to unmask and revert back to the Shane Twins, but when Russo came aboard, that plan got scrapped and they will remain The Johnsons for now. Because dammit, Russo will get to make penis jokes on TV or he's going to die trying.
Many of the key names in TNA (Shamrock, AJ Styles, Jerry Lynn, Mike Tenay, among others) have now signed 1-year contracts. Scott Hall was rumored to have also signed a 1-year deal, but Hall is telling people it's not true and he's only committed for 4 more dates. Low-Ki is signed through the end of the year.
At the recent K-1 vs. PRIDE show, there was a huge upset when PRIDE fighter Quinton Jackson knocked out Cyril Abidi, one of the top kickboxers in the world. The "plan" was for Abidi to win and then go on to a bigger money match with Don Frye, but that's what happens when you try to plan things around a shoot.
And I'm sorry, I know this ain't an MMA recap, but this is too good: at the UFC press conference for the UK show this week, Dana White showed up with a bag filled with $250,000 in cash and challenged UK boxing promoter Frank Warren to put up any fighter in his stable and White would find a UFC fighter of the same weight to fight him, winner takes all the money. If you recall, Warren made some statements a few weeks back calling UFC fighters unskilled steroid freaks and claiming that his boxers could beat any of them in a real fight. So Dana showed up with a whole bag of cash, doing Dana things.
Notes from Raw: Vince came out to the NWO music and said that's the last time we'll ever hear it and that the NWO is dead, so as expected, that's it for that gimmick. Tommy Dreamer is back to his old ECW gimmick and is already 1000x more over than the jobber-eating-gross-stuff gimmick WWE gave him. There was a Coach/Booker T segment backstage which is when Eric Bischoff walked through the shot, leaving everybody with their mouths hanging open, and then his promo. Another hype video for Rey Mysterio debuting on Smackdown next week. Former WCW wrestler and recent developmental guy Johnny The Bull made his Raw debut winning the hardcore title, and Dave is baffled how he got the call up because he's one of the worst guys they have in developmental and is nowhere near ready. But it's all about how he looks. Undertaker & Lesnar beat RVD & Flair in the main event and afterward, Lesnar turned on Undertaker in a good angle, though Dave doesn't have high hopes for the inevitable match.
Notes from Smackdown: it was a pretty bad show and for a pretty surprising reason. It was all built around Rock and he was awful. Rather than trying to sell a PPV, he came off like he was trying too hard to be a funny, "cool" guy and became a parody of himself. Dave is a huge Rock fan and thinks it was painful. He did a big in-ring promo segment with rapper Busta Rhymes that was just an elaborate plug for his new Halloween: Resurrection movie ("coming out in July?" Dave asks incredulously and, right, wtf?). Even Rock using Angle's own ankle lock against him at the end of the show looked hilariously fake and Dave has no interest in the Rock/Angle match at Vengeance after this show. Edge & Hogan defending the tag titles was a super heated match and Dave can't understand it. The live crowds are still nuclear hot for Hogan, but it's not translating at all into TV ratings or ticket sales. But man, the people who do buy tickets sure do love him. They seem to be slow-burning a Randy Orton heel turn. The Nidia segment at the buffet was great and Dave thinks they may have stumbled across a pretty great gimmick with her.
The crew got a little backstage pep talk before Raw this week, mostly given by the agents (John Laurinaitis, Arn Anderson, and Fit Finlay) as well as Triple H. In particular, Triple H talked about there being too many people in the locker room who think they deserve a push ahead of the newer guys because they've been there longer. He said too many guys are sitting back waiting for someone to give them a push rather than breaking out from the pack and earning the push. He said he got over on his own when management was trying to hold him down after the MSG curtain call incident. Said too many guys are being lazy, playing cards and playing video games backstage rather than watching the matches and learning. He said just because you've had a few good matches on TV doesn't mean you know how to work or deserve a push, and also said everyone needs to work harder at house shows because attendance is down and it was guys like him who worked hard to re-build the company the last time business was down. Needless to say, for a locker room full of people who feel like they bust their asses only to get their legs cut off and hit a glass ceiling (often at the hands of the same guy giving the speech), this went over just about as well as you'd expect with the rest of the locker room. Not that anything Triple H said is wrong. Dave agrees with most of it. But considering who the messenger was, it was not well-received.
Lots of backstage talk about last week's Bradshaw/Trish Stratus vs. Chris Nowinski/Jackie Gayda match, which was among the worst matches anyone has seen in years. Fit Finlay is the usual trainer and agent for the women and usually goes over their matches and spots with them, but in this case, Sgt. Slaughter put together this match. Gayda missed a few spots early in the match and seemed to panic and it all fell apart from there. Backstage, she was fully aware of how bad it was and was said to be extremely upset. There's been talk of sending her down to OVW for more training, but she'll probably still be on TV because she's fresh off winning Tough Enough.
Steve Austin hasn't had any contact with anyone in WWE except for Jack Lanza, who was the agent Austin often worked with for his matches. All that's known now is Austin told Lanza he's still training hard and Lanza felt like he's getting antsy sitting at home and may be ready to return already (I think he's got bigger problems at home). But Austin and Vince still have not spoken and there's still a lot of bad feelings there.
In light of recent events, Dave digs up the transcript from an old Prodigy online chat from 1996, in which Eric Bischoff was asked if he would ever work for Vince McMahon. His response: "I would rather chew off my fingers."
Writer Brian Gewertz reportedly has some heat over Raw's declining ratings. The problem is, no matter who it is (Gewertz, Heyman, Russo, or even Stephanie), the final approval for everything you see on television comes down to Vince McMahon. He deserves the credit when it's good and the blame when it's bad, end of story. It's a common occurrence for Vince to rip up a script and tell the writers to come up with something new, so any bad segment that makes it to TV is on him, and resulting in lots of last minute changes. Some people are even blaming Gewertz for Kevin Nash's recent injury because Gewertz wrote the match into the script the day of the show, so Nash wasn't even aware he was going to be wrestling until a couple hours before they went on the air and I guess he didn't have time to properly stretch and get ready, and ended up tearing his quad 10 seconds in. Same thing with Cena's debut, that was a day-of decision, and luckily Cena was already on the road with the crew working dark matches, so he was available. But again, Dave says you can't blame Gewertz for either of those things because, once again, it's Vince who is constantly changing his mind and forcing last minute rewrites and whatnot every week. How is Gewertz or any other writer supposed to build long-term stories under those conditions? (Man, this sure feels familiar)
Latest on DDP, he and wife Kimberly are planning on moving from Atlanta to Los Angeles to try their hand at acting careers. They've both saved a lot of money from their years in wrestling and can afford to take a chance on this kind of thing I guess. (DDP has done a handful of acting roles, mostly in the mid-00s, but obviously nothing of note. And Kimberly Page did a few movies, including a starring role with DDP in a movie called The Scam Artist that I can't find anywhere, and of course, her most famous role as "chick who's tit fell out" in The 40 Year Old Virgin).
Randy Orton suffered a concussion in a house show match with Batista. Orton was trying to sell a clothesline by flying in the air and taking a big flat back bump, but hit his head on the mat coming down and was knocked unconscious. He should be back in a week or so though, because it's not like concussions are serious injuries or anything. EMT's helped him out of the ring and he walked to the back under his own power but he was knocked clean the fuck out for a bit there.
This week's episode of WWE Confidential featured Big Show and Bradshaw playing a game of HORSE with the winner "getting a shot to sexually harass Linda Miles." So obviously they're out of ideas for this show. (Yeah JBL is on some full-blown Jerry Lawler shit with Miles here).
John Cena is still finishing up in OVW and working the upcoming big Six Flags show in Louisville. Despite being a big babyface on TV, he's still a heel in OVW and is playing a gimmick where his main roster success is going to his head.
The New York Daily News ran a story on the "Sex, Lies & Headlocks" book that is coming out soon about Vince McMahon and noted several revelations in the book, such as Vince being paranoid about his office being bugged in 1993 prior to the steroid trial and how he wouldn't sit or talk near windows because he thought the FBI was listening in. It also talked about how Vince gave a job interview to Matt Lauer to host the WBF Bodystars show but didn't think Lauer had the right look, among other things. When asked for comment, WWE responded "No one in WWE has any interest in reading it. No one cares to." Dave says that's 2002 carny talk for, "Can you get us an advance copy?"
NEXT WEDNESDAY:Raw appears to turn a corner (lol no), WWE making major cutbacks and severing developmental ties, TNA also making major budget cuts, WWE Vengeance fallout, and more...
Going through old issues of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter and posting highlights in my own words. For anyone interested, I highly recommend signing up for the actual site at f4wonline and checking out the full archives. PREVIOUSLY:
NOTE:Sorry about no post on Friday. Real life shit got in the way.
WWF finally took the plunge and went through with the long-rumored brand split this week, all while Steve Austin was sitting at home. Austin walked out after Wrestlemania and didn't appear on TV this week for the draft. He was expected to be the #1 pick fro Raw, so they changed the angle and explained that he couldn't be drafted due to a contract situation. Austin still has a year left on his WWF deal, so he can't go anywhere, but he isn't hurting for money so he can sit at home and be just fine. Austin's issues date back a couple of months and he was vocally unhappy about working with Scott Hall and the NWO in general. Morale in the company has sank since those guys came in, got main event spots, and started getting everything they wanted creatively and professionally. Some in the locker room see Austin's walkout as him protesting the state of the company, with an unhappy locker room that no longer has any leverage since all the other companies are dead, and Austin is the one guy with enough "fuck you" clout that he can stand up to Vince. Most of the wrestlers are said to be on his side, though the NWO guys and Triple H and co. obviously don't feel the same. But it goes back further than that. Austin was telling people 6 months ago that he would go home if the job stopped being fun.
Anyway, Dave breaks down the rosters of each show. Triple H and Jazz (men and women's champs) will float between both shows and work about half the house shows for each brand. Raw gets the IC, Euro, and Hardcore champions. Smackdown gets tag titles and cruiserweights. Several notable names were undrafted. Rhyno, Mike Awesome, Steve Blackman, and Chris Kanyon are all injured and weren't placed anywhere. Developmental names like Randy Orton and Ron Waterman are expected to be called up soon, among others. If Eddie Guerrero and Rey Mysterio are brought in, they'll likely be on SD with the cruiserweight division (Dave says Guerrero canceled his NJPW bookings for April which is a pretty solid sign that he'll be returning soon). Many of the lower-card wrestlers had no idea where they were going to end up and had to log on to wwf.com later that night to legitimately find out their futures. Tag teams like the Dudleyz and the APA were split up in the draft. Dave can't see the logic in splitting the Dudleyz and hopes it's the beginning of an angle that eventually reunites them. As for the APA, that's fine. Faarooq's career is winding down anyway and they've been talking about pushing Bradshaw as a single's star for over a year.
Raw is missing its top draw (Austin) and is pretty weak overall. Lumbering giants like Undertaker, Kevin Nash, and Big Show all ended up on Raw so don't expect a lot of great matches coming out of that brand. Plus they drafted Brock Lesnar to that brand, so his impressive size isn't going to stand out as much among those guys. With the cruiserweight division, plus guys like Jericho, Benoit, and Angle, you can bet Smackdown is going to have the better matches. Plus they have The Rock and Hogan for star power. But much like Raw, Smackdown might be in danger of not having its top draw either. Rock is expected to be gone for much of the summer to film another movie and he's continuing to get more and more movie offers, which means more time away from wrestling. And Hogan can't be a long-term weekly top draw anymore, no matter how much nostalgia popularity he has right now. Which means it's vital that they finally commit to pushing Angle, Jericho, and Benoit as real top stars.
Dave reviews the latest UFC show, with Josh Barnett winning the heavyweight title from Randy Couture in an upset. Long detailed recap full of the usual news and stuff, but it's MMA sooooo...
And the next story is about Cael Sanderson of Iowa State becoming, record-wise, the single greatest collegiate wrestler in U.S. history by winning his 4th NCAA championship and ending his college record at 159-0. So MMA and college wrestling. On to the next...
AJPW notes: after long negotiations, AJPW failed to secure a new TV deal. The normal TV season in Japan is starting next week and they were hoping to have a deal signed by now, but no luck. Also, they're interested in bringing in Super Crazy for their junior heavyweight division but it'll likely depend on whether he gets an offer from WWF instead (neither happens right now. He spends the next 2 years bouncing around NJPW, CMLL, and Zero-1 before he finally ends up in WWE in 2005).
Already halfway through the issue and past the major stories. This seems like a slow issue wrestling-wise, but the UFC and Cael Sanderson stories were both big chunks so....sorry this one kinda blows.
NOAH junior champion Naomichi Marufuji dislocated his knee when landing wrong on a moonsault and had to be stretchered out at a recent show. No word on how long he'll be out of action for (must have been a pretty bad injury. Looks like he comes back 2 weeks later, wrestles a match to drop the title, and then is out of action for the next 10 months).
Hiroyoshi Tenzan and Masahiro Chono won the vacant tag team titles at the latest NJPW show, beating Nagata and Manabu Nakanishi in a tournament final match. The titles were, of course, vacated when Keiji Muto jumped ship to AJPW, leaving his partner Taiyo Kea and the belts behind. Nagata ate the pin here. And in fact, Nagata also recently did several submission jobs to Tadao Yasuda at some shows and Dave jokes that Nagata is getting the Chris Jericho push. You know, beat him to death for months on end until the fans see him as a midcarder, then put the title on him with almost no build-up, and then wonder why he's not over and blame him when business is down (indeed, Nagata wins the IWGP title just a week or two after this and even though he holds it for 13 months, business goes in the toilet. And it's through no fault of Nagata's).
Antonio Inoki announced that he is bringing in Chyna to the NJPW 30th anniversary show at the Tokyo Dome in May. Remember a week or so ago when Inoki talked about how successful WWF's recent show in Japan was and admitted that maybe he has some stuff to learn from it? This is it. Inoki realized the huge popularity WWF has in Japan right now and reached out to one of their biggest stars of the last few years to bring in as a celebrity guest. The idea they teased in the press is that she would come in and work a match and probably defeat one of NJPW's lower card guys, which Dave thinks would be a horrible idea (yeah, that would suck. Better idea: how about she goes over Yuji Nagata and Jushin Liger in her first match, how's that sound Dave? Because that's exactly what we get. Fuckin' Inoki, man...)
NJPW's latest show in Tokyo did a disappointing attendance number and Dave says that's what happens when you make Tadao Yasuda your world champion. No matter how much publicity he got off his upset MMA victory a few months ago, and no matter how nice his underdog comeback story is, he flat out sucks as a pro wrestler and the crowd sees it and don't buy him as champion. Even worse, they had him go over Tenzan by submission. With NJPW's depleted roster, Tenzan is one of the only cool, not-washed-up wrestlers they have left. Anyway, this sets up a Yasuda match with Nagata at the next show in Tokyo and if NJPW has any smarts at all, they'll get that belt off him and onto Nagata ASAP (they do, thankfully).
Bobby Heenan is currently recovering from surgery to remove his lymph nodes. following his recent cancer diagnosis and is said to be in good spirits.
Various notes: Goldberg filmed an episode of the HBO show Arli$$ recently. Ken Patera did an interview and said the strongest men in wrestling from his era were Andre The Giant, Bruno Sammartino, Ivan Putski, Billy Graham, and Tony Atlas, in that order, and praised Bruno for being extra impressive because he never used steroids. Shane Douglas' Time Warner contract is expiring in a few weeks and it's rumored he'll be working with XPW as a wrestlebooker.
Jerry Jarrett's new promotion is expected to start in June and there continue to be rumors that Vince Russo will be ghost-writing the show. Dave says the differences between a Russo show and a Jarrett show should be pretty glaringly obvious within the first few minutes of the first show, so we'll just have to wait and see (I don't know if he was involved in the very first shows or not, but he joins the company within the first month).
Remember the WCW KISS Demon? Well his real name is Dale Torborg and he now works as a coach for the Florida Marlins baseball team (his father Jeff is the manager of the team). Anyway, Torborg recently got into a confrontation with relief pitcher Antonio Alfonseca that is rumored to have gotten physical and resulted in Alfonseca locking himself in a trainer's office to get away. Everyone on the team is being hush-hush about the incident. Alfonseca apparently has a bit of a reputation of being hard to deal with, but since the incident, he's allegedly been on his best behavior because apparently the KISS Demon put the fear of god in him (here's a news article from it at the time. Alfonseca ends up being traded to a new team a few days later, although the Marlins denied this incident had anything to do with it).
Ring of Honor has announced some new rules for its promotion. For starters, they're bringing back tag ropes (yeah, during this era, that was a small thing that sorta just got ignored by everyone for years). They're also not doing any count-outs. ROH booker Gabe Sapolsky said that outside-the-ring counts always go really slow and referees have to stall or find excuses to break the count and no one likes count-out finishes anyway, so why even have them? So now, you can fight on the floor all you want. Dave says AJPW pretty much did the same thing in the 90s. ROH also wants to have very little outside interference or ref bumps and clean finishes.
Apparently, Jake Roberts is being investigated in England by the RSPCA for animal cruelty. After a recent show there, someone complained that he was being cruel to his snake at the show. The next night, the RSPCA sent an agent to another show Jake was working to watch and they weren't happy with what they saw either, so they've opened an investigation (yeah, as a kid, this was of course the coolest thing ever. But as an adult, I hate watching the way animals have been used in wrestling over the years. Jake used to just throw that snake around like it was nothing, fling it across the ring, people would fall on it, land on it, step on it, whatever. Remember the scene where Jake locked Ultimate Warrior in a room full of snakes? Go back and watch it now, Warrior is just kicking the shit out of these poor little snakes. Or another example, I remember watching a British Bulldogs match a few months ago and they had Matilda the bulldog jump off the ring apron to the mat below. That's a 3-4 foot jump. As someone who has owned bulldogs, that is terrible for their spines. As a kid, all this stuff was whatever. But as an animal-loving adult, watching all that old footage now makes me real uncomfortable).
An indie promotion in Pittsburg called IWC had a tournament called the Super Indy Tournament featuring Chris Hero, Christopher Daniels, Low-Ki, Colt Cabana, and some kid named CM Punk.
Early estimates for the WWA PPV in Las Vegas are around 31,000 PPV buys. Keep in mind, early estimates are always about 10-25% higher than what the final number ends up being. WWA needed 35,000 just to break-even on this show so even with the inflated number, they didn't do it. So the show is undoubtedly a money-loser, but no idea just how badly yet (spoiler: pretty badly).
Notes from Raw: it was the WWF Draft show! Dave calls it "the latest Russo-like reset of the promotion." Rock was drafted #1 for Smackdown while Undertaker was drafted #1 for Raw. It was announced that Austin wasn't eligible for being drafted and will be a free agent, so they'll figure that out later. Dave says, if you follow the storylines, it makes no sense why Ric Flair would pick Undertaker as his #1 pick (this being the guy he just had a bloodbath with at Wrestlemania and they didn't even bother to explain why Flair picked him). With his next pick, Flair selected the NWO. Once again, just a few weeks ago, Flair was ready to sign over his share of the company and leave the WWF entirely to keep Vince from bringing in the NWO. And now, with no explanation, he's drafted them to Raw. Billy & Chuck and the NWO got drafted together as a team, but the Dudleyz got split apart. Why?! None of this makes sense and Dave is so frustrated with how little thought they put into this after having a year to plan it. (Rewinderman short rant: everybody talks about all the reasons WWE has declined in popularity over the last 20 years and there's always different theories. Bad booking, not creating new stars, not pushing the right people, etc. etc. But I have my own theory that I never hear anyone say: I think it's the lack of attention to detail. Ever since WCW went out of business, Vince has been painting in broad, dumbed down brush strokes, over-explaining dumb, simple storylines, with none of the attention to detail that makes people get invested in a story. Anyway, enough of my opinions). Brock Lesnar came out and beat up a bunch of people again, which he's been doing on every show since his debut. In this case, he threw Rikishi around like a rag doll and Dave says that's one strong fella. They did an angle where Stephanie lost a match and was forced to "leave the WWF" and she was dragged out by security while the crowd sang the goodbye song to her. But Dave says they did this exact same thing with Stephanie in November and that lasted all of 5 weeks before she was back so don't get too excited (sure enough, she'll be back 3 months after this).
Notes from Smackdown: Rico Constantino debuted as the stylist for Billy & Chuck and Dave says that's a dead-end gimmick if there ever was one. He also got a haircut and looks like a totally different person from his OVW days. Rico is a fantastic wrestler and everyone from OVW to front office guys like Jim Ross have gone to bat for him and said he's ready to be a star. But he's small and he's on the older side, so this is clearly where Vince sees him (yeah, even Bruce Prichard later said that pretty much everyone in the company saw star-potential in Rico.....except Vince). Edge vs. Booker T had a rematch that was much better than their Wrestlemania match. And X-Pac debuted (with "a new physique", wink wink) and joined the NWO and they beat down Hogan and got major heat because Hogan is so over right now.
Kevin Nash and Scott Hall showed up several hours late to the Smackdown tapings in Ottawa and the first thing Nash did upon arrival was complain loudly to anyone who would listen about Rock calling him "Big Daddy Bitch" the night before on Raw, saying Rock double-crossed him and Nash hadn't approved that line. Considering all the times Nash went against the script in WCW, needless to say, there were lots of rolled eyes at that. Especially after showing up late also. To make it up to him, during the tag match on Smackdown, they had a spot where Nash yelled "Who's the bitch now?" at him and Michael Cole made sure to bring attention to it on commentary so nobody missed it, so now they're even and now everything is okay I guess. Dave says Nash and Rock smoothed things over between them later because Nash is smart enough to know that making an enemy of The Rock isn't in his best interest. But he was extremely pissed about the line.
Variety reported the new movie Rock is going to be filming later this year will be called Helldorado. It's an action-adventure movie and Rock plays a bounty hunter who heads to the Amazon jungle to capture someone and ends up joining the guy to trying to retrieve something from a local mine (close enough. The movie ends up being renamed The Rundown).
Paul Heyman has dropped significant weight since he was last on TV back in November. Even if they're not a wrestler, Vince wants everyone on television to be "cosmetically presentable."
Assorted WWF notes: Lita is filming an episode of the FOX show "Dark Angel" soon (spoiler: this turns out very poorly for Lita). Steve Blackman is still out with a neck injury and now he gets crippling migraine headaches when he tries to work out or take bumps and Dave says it's possibly career-threatening (indeed, it forces him to retire). Chris Jericho's band Fozzy will be performing at WWF New York next week. The Rock is about to be featured on every TV show and on the cover of every magazine in existence over the next few weeks as part of the Scorpion King promotion.
Dave talks about the current second season of Tough Enough and how interest is way down from the first season. He also kinda gives it a brief review and just says it's boring and nothing really entertaining happens. In the first season, Tazz was the hard ass tough guy trainer to Al Snow's nice guy routine. When Tazz did it, it felt like he was doing it to teach the students respect and was trying to do it in a positive way. This season, Bob Holly is the "bad cop" and he comes across like a complete asshole who is bullying people without any intention of doing it in a way that makes them work harder or become better wrestlers (yeah, you think it's bad now, just wait until season 3 when he starts beating the shit out of Matt Cappotelli).
WWF is going to be working with the Ozzfest concert tour this summer. WWF wrestlers will sign autographs and introduce bands at many of the tour stops and several of the bands will perform on Raw later this year. "That's what happens when there's no Nitro," Dave deadpans.
Regarding the multiple hardcore title changes at Wrestlemania 18, there was discussions about having some of them happen at the CN Tower in Toronto. With the idea that they would brawl into the elevator and end up fighting out onto the outdoor observation deck (like, 100 floors up). But a few weeks before the show, for whatever reason, WWF changed their mind and decided not to pursue it.
Bret Hart recently agreed to work Jacques Rougeau's next indie event at the Molson Center. If you recall, just a few months ago, Rougeau drew a crowd of more than 10,000 to one of his indie shows there. When Vince McMahon found out Hart was going to work the show, he tried to pull a power move and get the Molson Center to give him an exclusivity deal, which would block Rougeau (and anyone else) from being able to run the building. Didn't work and Rougeau's show will go forward as planned as of now (Vince used to do that shit all the time in the 80s to Jim Crockett).
Rey Mysterio hasn't signed with WWF yet but it's considered just a formality. They gave him a low-ball contract offer, far less than he would make just working indies. Of course, it's just his downside guarantee. When you factor in gate money, merch money, video game money, etc. then he stands to make far more than he would on the indies. But if he gets hurt, he'll be sitting at home making very little money. On the other hand, if he gets hurt on the indies, he'll be making no money so better than nothing. Anyway, sounds like Rey shot down the first low-ball offer but they're expected to agree on a deal soon.
Dave has seen more of the TSN Off The Record interviews they did with several WWF stars last week. Ric Flair talked about how much of a disaster WCW was and put over Vince. Dave says that this isn't just Flair publicly kissing the boss's ass. Privately for years, Flair has only said good things about Vince McMahon, dating back to his first run in the early 90s. Even all the years he was in WCW, Flair only had good things to say about him. During the interview, Flair was asked to name someone who could have been an all-time great but didn't have the work ethic. Flair said he couldn't think of anyone off the top of his head, leading Dave to write, "I was screaming Barry Windham but nobody heard me." Jim Ross was next and blamed the environment in WCW for the backstage problems Hall and Nash caused. Dave points out that Hall and Nash caused all those same problems in WWF before they left in 1996 so that doesn't exactly check out. Undertaker's interview was interesting for the rare experience of seeing him out of character, just being Mark Calaway. When asked about something he hates about how the business has changed, Undertaker talked about the internet spoiling things and how it hurts the product when fans know about things in advance. Dave, of course, disputes this and gives an example using the show Friends. Before this season of the show started, TV Guide reported that Ross was going to wind up being the father of Rachel's baby and it was common knowledge. But the ratings were still through the roof for the "reveal." He also jokes that they could have swerved everybody and made it Gunther instead. Then he says if Russo was writing the show, he would have made himself a character called The Scriptwriter and made himself the father of Rachel's baby. (I've never watched Friends, these references are lost on me)
Latest on WWF pay cuts: aside from the very top guys, the company is trying to get most of the roster down to $125,000-or-less per year downside guarantees. Those who work full schedules will still make a lot more than that with PPV/ticket/merch percentages, plus they're doing more house shows this year and with the split rosters, more guys should be working more dates. Plus they raised the price of PPVs so the PPV pay-offs will be bigger. So these pay cuts won't really hurt the full-time stars. But of course, if you get hurt and you're sitting at home only collecting your downside, that's gonna be a lot less money now. So that sucks. On the flip side, WCW used to do the opposite, where guys were hurt and they still collected their full salary, which led to a lot of guys milking "injuries" so they could stay home and cash big ol' checks. So then WCW decided to start cutting people's pay in half when they were out for too long, and that led to people who were legitimately injured coming back too soon because they had bills to pay. So there's a delicate balance that you have to strike there. Also, as part of the new contracts they're trying to get everyone to sign, they're attempting to lock everyone into 3-to-5 year deals because Vince wants to make sure nobody can jump ship and help one of these new start-up promotions like XWF or WWA or the new Jarrett company get off the ground.
Ric Flair is still working on his autobiography that Mark Madden was helping to ghost-write for him. WWF is now attempting to buy the rights for that book away from the original publisher so they can publish it on their own. No word if Mark Madden will still be included or if they'll re-do it (WWF did eventually get it and released it. It has another author listed but still says "edited by" Mark Madden so who knows how much of his contributions made it into the final product).
After Naoya Ogawa took pictures with several WWF names at Wrestlemania, he went back to Japan and I guess got the media stirred up about possibly working with them. Some media outlets have talked about WWF running a Tokyo Dome event headlined by Ogawa vs. The Rock. Dave says this is pure bullshit.
WEDNESDAY:AJPW Triple Crown champion Toshiaki Kawada injured, more on WWF pay cuts, business analysis, the history of wrestling/shoot fighting, more on Steve Austin walking out, and more...
Going through old issues of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter and posting highlights in my own words, continuing in the footsteps of daprice82. For anyone interested, I highly recommend signing up for the actual site at f4wonline and checking out the full archives. FUTURE YEARS ARCHIVE: The Complete Observer Rewind Archive by daprice82
Starrcade and Survivor Series are in the books It’s far too early to say how they did financially, but Dave’s gut says Survivor Series did well both in terms of hampering Crockett and making money. Starrcade sold out in Chicago, did decent business in a few cities, and did awful in a few others. In terms of the wrestling, Survivor Series wins the day. WWF’s wrestlers had their working boots on while Starrcade was the worst Starrcade to date. A big disappointment when Crockett needed to put on a big show. WWF had excellent production and commentary (as long as Monsoon is with Ventura, Dave’s not even disliking Monsoon much anymore), and the crowd was enthusiastic at all the right moments. Interviews did what they needed to do and everything seemed well planned out. Starrcade was none of that. The live camera missed several key shots (Sting’s tope, JJ Dillon attacking Weaver and stealing the key, the ref bump in Dusty’s match). Comparatively, the only technical issue for WWF was the ten-team tag match, simply because so many bodies led to guys being in the way of the camera. Commentary for Starrcade was disappointing - J.R. and Tony Schiavone just didn’t have chemistry together and tried too hard to sell bad matches as great. The interviews were transparent timewasting for setup and teardown of the scaffold, and the guys who are best at interviews never talked. All that and the matches for Starrcade were rushed. It just did not come off as a good show at all.
Before reviewing both shows in full, Dave gives some bests and worsts for the shows. The ten team tag match was the best match overall for Dave, and Bret Hart gets best performer. WWF gets most spineless booking decision because Hogan must pose even though Andre should have had his triumphant moment. Sting’s tope wins best move of the night, and Garvin’s near win on Flair after the flying press from the top only for Flair to kick out at 2.9 wins the best moment. Dave lists those who could have done a worse job booking Starrcade (“Tony Atlas, David Crockett, Leo Nomellini, Bo Derek, Ed Farhat, Thunderbolt Patterson, Leon Spinks, former Atlanta promoter Paul Jones, Karen Ann Quinlan, Karl Lauer, former Pittsburgh Steeler great Ernie Holmes”) and those who could have done better (“Any human not mentioned, several other higher forms of mammals and a few multi-celled reptiles”).
Survivor Series was a great show, and Dave gives it full review treatment. The Savage/Honkeytonk teams had an okay match, marred a bit by a long period heavy in restholds after Ron Bass got eliminated. Steamboat did the heavy lifting, and Savage’s interactions with Honkeytonk were disappointing. Team Savage winning was the right move, though. The women’s match was okay, but it was very funny watching Moolah get booed every time she entered the ring even though she was playing babyface. The Jumping Bomb Angels had some great spots, though, as they had the finish to the match for themselves. The ten-team tag match gets 4 stars. Everyone worked hard and the match had total unpredictability, especially at the end when it came down to two teams that would have been easy picks for early elimination (Bees going over the Islanders at the end). The main event was very good. Andre didn’t look good and the only action he was involved in was selling some punches for Hogan and the finish, but WWF booked the match really well to keep fans from picking up on that. If anything, WWF strengthened their position going into Wrestlemania here.
Starrcade was not a great show., and the review pulls no punches. Michael Hayes/Jimmy Garvin/Sting vs. Rick SteineLarry Zbyszko/Eddie Gilbert went to a draw. The match was good and started strong, but slowed down while the ref seemed to get in the way. But the match had no flow, so it was only good in the sense that the wrestlers looked good individually. Steve Williams retained the UWF Title against Barry Windham in a dud of a match that got boring chants after the first minute. The match was meant to start a heel turn for Williams, but nobody watching picked up on that and commentary did nothing to tell the story. The scaffold match between the Rock & Roll and Midnight Expresses was good, but Ricky Morton going low and running away was not to Dave’s taste - faces just shouldn’t run away from heels. The match was as good as you could ask for, but scaffold matches have a ceiling and it was pretty much the same as last year’s. Koloff won the TV title unification match, and the first ten minutes were so bad the match very well could have won worst match of the year if that were the whole thing. Somehow they figured it out and the last eight minutes were good. Tully and Arn beat the Road Warriors by DQ in the best match of the card (3.5 stars). The Road Warriors didn’t have their usual entrance of “Iron Man” because the show was being taped for video (need rights if you want to sell a video, while free tv is fine as long as the artist doesn’t mind). Anyway, it was a very solid match, but nobody wanted the Dusty finish (Roadies threw Arn over the top, while the original referee was down after a ref bump, then pinned Arn while Earl Hebner counted. Then the original ref reversed the decision). Dusty Rhodes beat Lex Luger (now spelling his name with an e) for the U.S. Title. Dusty got 50/50 boos and cheers, Lex got mostly boos. Dave loved the finish with Dillon tossing Luger a chair that led him to take a DDT on the chair to lose enough that he gives the match a star, rather than negative stars like his friends would have. The main event saw Flair win back the NWA World title and get cheered by about 70% of live fans, who also chanted “Garvin sucks.” The match was basically the same as their match in Detroit, but worse, and it’s the worst Flair match Dave’s seen in 16 months. The final three minutes were spectacular, though, enough to get the match to 2.5 stars.
NWA’s debut show in New York at Nassau Coliseum was the day before Starcade. Honestly, running this show the night before Starrcade probably contributed to the off feeling for Starrcade, but all reports say this show was excellent. They drew $150,000 and around 11,500 fans.
WWF ran Madison Square Garden two days before Survivor Series and drew 17,000. The Glamor Girls vs. Jumping Bomb Angels was reported to Dave as the best match in MSG in years. Also, they did a stretcher job on Danny Davis following his match with Jake Roberts, so we’re probably rid of him now.
AWA’s Thanksgiving show drew 1,800 fans and Greg Gagne apparently won the AWA World Title. The finish saw Larry Hennig try to interfere, but Verne ran in and hit Curt with a roll of coins and Greg pinned him. The AWA hotline is calling this a win for Greg, but odds are real good they reverse the title change soon enough (indeed, they do just that). The post-match saw Verne and Larry get into it, so the tag match is now built up for Christmas. Another match to avoid for Christmas will be Sheik Adnan al-Kaissey vs. Nord the Barbarian. Madusa beat Bambi (apparently her outfit was something to behold). Madusa also wound up being the prize, as D.J. Peterson won her for 30 days by beating Kevin Kelly. Dave suggests if she’s as good at holding a conversation as she is at promos, Peterson might want to give her back 29 days early.
AWA also ran their last card in Denver on November 27. WWF will be taking over their tv time in the area and coming back with monthly cards starting January. AWA also drew under 50 for their November 22 card in San Jose.
[Alabama] Continental’s Thanksgiving show in Knoxville was built around a tournament for a 1988 Monte Carlo. Interference in a match would result in both wrestlers eliminated from the tournament, along with any who helped (this clause resulted in Jimmy Golden vs. Steve Armstrong eliminating both men from the tournament, as well as Robert Fuller, Tony Anthony, Wendell Cooley, and Tracy Smothers). Doug Furnas wound up winning the final against Mongolian Stomper.**
Dick Slater no-showed AWA’s Thanksgiving show.
Chief Jay Strongbow broke his wrist in WWF’s old-timers battle royal.
Gordon Solie has signed up to do color commentary for Global Wrestling in Florida. That’s the publicly traded promotion with Bob Roop booking.
A couple bodybuilders challenged Nick Kiniski and Kevin Kelly to a fight at the AWA Thanksgiving show. Police broke things up and saved the bodybuilders, because those two aren’t guys you wanna fuck with.
[Stampede] Mike Kirchner has now been promoted to Colonel. WWF doesn’t want him called Corporal Kirchner anymore, so he jumped a few pay grades and also got himself a commission.
Mike Swain of San Jose, a college friend of Dave’s, just became the first American World Judo champion last weekend. Even Badnews Allen, who got Bronze in the 1972 Olympics in judo, never won a world championship in the sport. Swain is now a favorite to win gold in the 1988 Olympics (Swain ultimately gets Bronze, and remains one of only two American men to ever win a world championship in judo. The first American to win judo gold at the Olympics would eventually be Kayla Harrison in 2012 and again in 2016). Even Ronda Rousey hasn't won a World Judo championship.
Mad Dog Vachon was released from the hospital in Omaha on November 21. No other info, but I’m assuming relating to his most recent surgery following the amputation of his leg.
Sgt. Slaughter and Lou Albano are contributing columns to a newsletter called Mat Rap Monthly.
There was apparently an issue of Penthouse Hot Talk with an article on wrestling groupies. One of the readers of the Observer, well, she’d appreciate a copy.
Not a lot in the letters this week, but there is one where Dave responds and outlines some of WWF’s front office. Vince and Linda own the company 100%, and bought out the minority partners years back. Pat Patterson works in talent and booking with Terry Garvin. Jack Lanza, Jay Strongbow, Grizzly Smith (fuck that guy), Rene Goulet, Tony Garea, Pedro Morales, Gorilla Monsoon, and Arnold Skaaland are road agents. So is Nick Bockwinkel, Dave believes. Jim Barnett used to work for WWF and was in operations and headed costume design before he left to work for Crockett. Alfred Hayes is also in the front office in some capacity.
Crockett won’t be coming back to Boston because the Boston Gardens only rented them the one date in April as an experiment. They drew a big crowd (over 10,000 with a $142,000 gate), but the Gardens have not been willing to have them return. Seems strange on the face of it, but WWF would cancel a lot of dates if they did, so the pressure is on the venue to keep that arrangement alive and that means not pissing off WWF.
Dave also thinks a lot of folks lamenting UWF being merged into the NWA and not being run separate are missing something important: to compete nationally, you have to present nationally. Merging UWF and Florida into the NWA was inevitable. There’s no reason a well-run promotion with marketable stars and national reach shouldn’t be successful as a national promotion and not a regional one. But the way Crockett has conducted the “merger” and the result on tv has been a clear example of bad decision-making. They should have set things up after the Bashes and built toward unifications. Instead they tried to show NWA superiority and made a mockery of UWF, alienating a lot of fans in the old Mid South area (and they were planning to move their base of operations to that area, even). Aside from Flair and the Road Warriors, no NWA talent is a better wrestler or more marketable than the top UWF guys, but they’ve never let the UWF guys sniff the main event or get a real push. They’ve ignored Steve Williams and buried Terry Taylor and Eddie Gilbert, who all had potential to add some needed variety to the top of the card. But they’ve let the top of the card continue to grow more and more stale, and when they bought a bunch of ready-made good talent they slapped them down. It’s just terrible business all around, and somebody in WWF should have read this and committed it to memory for 14 years later but nobody did and we got the exact redux of this whole thing with the Invasion and now I’m annoyed about 2001.
Jimmy Snuka is replacing Col. DeBeers as Bruiser Brody’s tag partner in All Japan’s tag tournament.
Dave’s going to Japan, so next issue in two weeks. Sayonara.
THURSDAY (2 issues left in 1987):Dave’s travel adventures in Japan, Fritz sells WCCW, DiBiase/Hogan building, and more
This is a follow up of my booking of Austin as a face in 2001 if you haven’t seen it here’s the link: https://amp.reddit.com/fantasybooking/comments/fq3zgi/rebook_stone_cold_steve_austin_as_a_face_in_2001/ Build to Invasion 2001 Vince McMahon comes out and cuts right to the chase we have beefed up security there will be no NWO or Eric Bischoff and we will have a rematch from last night and it will take place inside a steel cage The Rock vs “Stone Cold” Steve Austin for the WWF Championship. We get to the match and it’s going as normal with Rock and Austin going at it for about 20 minutes when we see the Eric Bischoff take a front row seat and the announcers are like how the hell did he get in here this grabs Rocks and Austin’s attention and while their staring at Bischoff the NWO enter through the cage door with lead pipes and beat down Rock and Austin to close the show. The next week on Raw, Vince McMahon comes out and makes security even tighter to ensure that The NWO and Eric Bischoff cannot enter the building but throughout the night guys like Billy Kidman, The Steiner Brothers, Chris Candido and even the WCW World Heavyweight Champion Booker T appear attacking various wrestlers and interrupting matches Vince cancels the scheduled main event between Rock Austin and Triple H for the title and calls out his security team to find out what’s going on when Eric Bischoff comes out and explains that security wasn’t the problem all he had to do was walk in the front door because I own 25% of the WWF yes your son Shane sold his share of the company to me because he sees you as an out of touch old man who will run the WWF into the ground reminding everyone of 1995 and Bischoff agreed to a point but once Shane sold his share he dumped him like the piece of garbage he is and we see The Steiner Brothers drag a bloodied Shane McMahon onto the entrance ramp and Eric challenges Vince to a match at Invasion they will both have a representative and the if Bischoff wins he gets 50% of the company if Vince wins Bischoff and all of his guys will be gone from the company and Vince hastily accepts the challenge. Vince chooses the biggest company man of them all as his representative, The Undertaker and Bischoff is more secretive and doesn’t reveal his representative until the go home Raw when we have the official contract signing and that man is Goldberg who sneak attacks The Undertaker and spears him through the barricade injuring his ribs. Invasion 2001 Rey Mysterio vs Eddie Guerrero(c) European Championship Eddie regains the European Title with help from a debuting Rey Mysterio and this confuses everyone why would a WCW guy help a WWF guy and Mysterio offers Eddie a place in the invading WCW saying it’s inevitable that WCW will win the war but Eddie declines prompting an attack from Mysterio. They go 15 minutes having an amazing opener with Eddie retaining but Mysterio’s foot was under the bottom rope and the ref didn’t see it and this continues the feud. Chris Candido vs Jeff Hardy(c) Hardcore Championship Candido debuts and talks about his run in the WWF in the mid nineties and cents his frustration about being underutilized and says that’s why the WWF will fall and he targets rising star and fan favorite Jeff Hardy for his Hardcore Championship. Candido wins after Hardy misses a Swanton Bomb through a table. Lance Storm vs Chris Jericho(c) Intercontinental Championship Lance Storm targets his old thrill seekers partner Chris Jericho for leaving him in WCW and wants to take his Intercontinental Championship. Lance Storm wins the match clean claiming his first gold in the WWF. Mike Awesome vs Perry Saturn We bring in Mike Awesome because he’s great and Bischoff wants Perry Saturn punished for leaving WCW when they were at their lowest and Awesome does just that and destroys Perry Saturn driving him out of the WWF. The Steiner Brothers vs The Dudley Boyz(c) Table elimination match for the World Tag Team Championships The Steiner Brothers attack the Dudleys wanting to take their titles and Scott Steiner cuts a promo about them taking splinters out of their faaaaat assesss like he did in TNA because let’s be honest that was pretty funny. The Dudleys eliminate Rick hitting a 3-D through a table but Rick eventually recovers and helps Steiner eliminate D-Von and Scott eliminates Bubba by hitting a top rope Frankensteiner through a table to win the tag team titles. Ric Flair vs Kurt Angle Kurt Angle and his 3 I’s vs the dirtiest player in the game Ric Flair. Flair is used to cheating his way to victory and hates to see someone goody two shoes like Angle at the top and challenges him to a match. Flair almost cheats his way to victory but Angle reverse a figure four into an ankle lock to win the match. Booker T(c) vs Edge WCW World Heavyweight Championship Booker T declares himself the real worlds champion and wants to defend his title at Invasion so Bischoff books a #1 contenders battle royal which is won by Edge. Edge puts in a great showing but is no match for the 5 time WCW Champion. NWO vs “Stone Cold” Steve Austin, The Rock and Triple H Austin and Rock want revenge for the NWO laying them out not once but twice and Triple H still resents his old kliq buddies Scott Hall and Kevin Nash for jumping ship to WCW and trying to put the WWF out of business. But can Austin, Rock and Triple H who have all been bitter enemies for the past couple of years work together to defeat the invading NWO. While Austin, Rock and Triple H are able to work together they don’t have the chemistry that the NWO has and NWO wins clean Hall and Nash hits a double team move on Austin. Stacy Keibler vs Trish Stratus(c) Women’s Championship Trish retains over “WCW’s best” Goldberg /w Eric Bischoff vs The Undertaker /w Vince McMahon Despite having injured ribs, The Undertaker gives it his all against Goldberg hitting him with a choke slam a last rife and a tombstone but nothing puts Goldberg away and he hits multiple spears and a jackhammer to put The Undertaker away. The entire WCW roster come out to celebrate. Build to No Mercy 2001 The fans tune in to see Monday Night Nitro, Bischoff comes out and reveals that he slipped a clause into the contract signing that if Bischoff won that he would have the power to cancel Monday Night Raw and reinstate Nitro but don’t worry WWF parasites you still have Thursday Night Smackdown to look forward to. Eric also addresses the fact that Kevin Nash and Scott Hall beat “Stone Cold” Steve Austin at Invasion and books a triple threat match for the title at No Mercy. On the next episode of Smackdown, The Rock cuts a vicious promo on Booker T about him claiming to be the real worlds champion and challenges him to a match at No Mercy for the WCW Title. No Mercy 2001 Rey Mysterio vs Eddie Guerrero 2/3 falls for the European Championship Mysterio wants a rematch because he says Eddie didn’t really beat him and Eddie gives him a rematch to prove he’s the better man. Mysterio wins the first fall when he rolls up Eddie and puts his feet on the second rope. Eddie wins the second falls making Mysterio submit to the lasso from El Paso and the third with a frog splash. Mysterio shakes Eddies’s hand after the match and raises his arm but them swerve he kicks him below the belt and brings out his nephew Chavo Guerrero and gives Eddie one last chance to join them and Eddie spits on Chavo and they proceed to beat Eddie down and hit him with the European Title. X-Pac vs Dean Malenko Light Heavyweight Championship X-Pac turns on X-Factor joins WCW and challenges Dean Malenko for the Light Heavyweight Championship he nearly cheats to win the match but Albert and Justin Credible cost him the match out of revenge for turning on them. Stacy Keibler vs Lita vs Torrie Wilson vs Trish Stratus(c) Women’s Championship Trish wins after Mike Awesome power bombs Lita yes Trish Stratus joins WCW. Lance Storm(c) vs Kurt Angle Intercontinental Championship Chris Jericho gets his rematch on Nitro for the Intercontinental Championship but Goldberg costs him the match and the next week on Nitro Bischoff books Goldberg vs Chris Jericho to punish Jericho for leaving WCW and Goldberg destroys Jericho. Kurt Angle steps up and we have a great technical match which Lance Storm wins. Chris Candido(c) vs Chris Jericho Hardcore Championship Candido targets another rising star who happens to be a fan favorite in Chris Jericho we also play off their history in Smokey Mountain Wrestling, they have a great hard hitting match and once again Candido retains. Goldberg vs The Big Show Eric Bischoff books Goldberg be The Big Show to punish him for leaving WCW and Goldberg destroys The Big Show for another victory. Hulk Hogan vs Triple H Triple H wants revenge on the man who turned his best friends against him and left the WWF the company that made Hulk Hogan. Hogan tells Triple H he’s just mad that WCW didn’t make him a star. Hulk Hogan wins the match after hitting a low blow and a leg drop when the ref isn’t looking. The Steiner Brothers(c) vs The Hardy Boyz World Tag Team Championships The Steiners talk about the last time they were in the WWF the tag team division was filled with real men but then they see skinny North Carolina white trash like the Hardy Boyz and it pisses them off. The Hardy’s give it their all nearly pulling off the upset but are ultimately no match for The Steiner Brothers. Ric Flair vs Shane McMahon Shane wants revenge for being used by Eric Bischoff and Bischoff sets Ric Flair on him and they have a highly physical brawl at No Mercy where Ric busts up Shane and makes him pass out to the figure four leglock with Bischoffs help of course. Booker T(c) vs The Rock WCW World Heavyweight Championship These two have a great back and forth match which Booker wins clean making him an even bigger star in the eyes of the WWF fans. Kevin Nash vs Scott Hall vs “Stone Cold” Steve Austin(c) WWF Championship Kevin Nash is bitter about how his initial WWF Title reign went and wants to rectify that and Scott Hall has never even won the belt and they fight over who gets to pin Austin when Austin capitalizes and hits both men with stunners pinning Kevin Nash. Build to Survivor Series 2001 Eric Bischoff is satisfied with the way things are going most of the titles have gone over to WCW but he doesn’t just want half the company no he came here to have total control and he challenges Vince to a 5 on 5 tag team match at Survivor Series winner takes all. And Vince says no I’m not risking my life’s work against some shady business man like yourself. And Bischoff says I thought you might say that and says that he’s talked to the board of directors and they are ready to install a vote of no confidence in McMahon because of letting WCW kick the WWF’s ass so far and so Vince agrees to put his whole company on the line against Eric Bischoff at Survivor Series in a five on five elimination tag team match. Survivor Series 2001 Chavo Guerrero vs Eddie Guerrero(c) European Championship Chavo wants to prove he is the best in the legendary Guerrero family. They have an amazing 25 minute match which Chavo lies cheats and steals his way to victory. X-Pac(c) vs Dean Malenko(c) Unification match for the WCW Cruiserweight and WWF Light Heavyweight Championships X-Pac brings in the WCW Cruiserweight Championship and starts defending it on Nitro while Malenko defends the Light Heavyweight Title on Smackdown and X-Pac challenges him to a unification match at Survivor Series. Albert and Justin Credible try to cost X-Pac the match but is stopped by Rey Mysterio with a steel chair X-Pac wins the match unifying both titles. Chris Candido(c) vs The Big Show vs Test Hardcore Championship The two giants want to shut this as they put it vanilla midget up for good and they both challenge him to a title match at Survivor Series. Candido retains after his girlfriend Sunny makes her return and low blows The Big Show. Trish Stratus(c) /w Mike Awesome vs Lita Women’s Championship Trish explains that she turned on the WWF because she never forgave Vince McMahon for making her bark like a dog on live TV and Lita tries to make her come to her senses and says in WCW they didn’t even have a women’s title and you think they’re the answer? They have a great match which Trish retains when Awesome interferes. Lance Storm(c) vs Edge vs Christian Intercontinental Championship Storm retains because Edge and Christian can’t stop fighting each other and Storm capitalizes pinning Christian. The Steiner Brothers(c) vs The Dudley Boyz vs The Hardy Boyz vs The APA World Tag Team Championships The APA do all the work eliminating The Hardy’s and The Dudley’s and The Steiners capitalize on the fact the APA did all the work and pin them to retain the titles. Ric Flair vs Vince McMahon street fight Vince wants revenge for Flair bloodying up his son and books a street fight between them for Survivor Series. They have a great match which Flair wins. Team WCW(Hulk Hogan, Kevin Nash, Scott Hall, Booker T, Goldberg) vs Team WWF( “Stone Cold” Steve Austin, The Rock, Triple H, The Undertaker and Kane) Winner Takes All Goldberg Eliminates Kane. Goldberg eliminates Triple H. Triple H eliminates Scott Hall Goldberg gets eliminated by count out. Hogan Eliminates The Rock. The Undertaker eliminates Kevin Nash. Hogan eliminates Triple H. Booker T eliminates Austin. Sting debuts and hits The Undertaker with a Scorpion Death Drop allowing Booker T to pin and eliminate The Undertaker. Team WCW wins!!!!! Build to Starrcade 2001 Eric Bischoff makes major changes by firing the entire McMahon family and during Jim Ross as Raw commentator and installs Paul Heyman as the new commentator which will give Eric nuclear heat and he cancels Smackdown and replaces it with Thursday Night Thunder and now that Bischoff has full control of the company he has the power to cancel Vengeance and put in Starrcade after all its WCW’s version of WrestleMania and he books a stacked card but first he brings in all of his champions and gives them new belts he gives Chris Candido the WCW Hardcore Championship, he gives X-Pac the WCW Cruiserweight Title, he gives Chavo Guerrero the new WCW European Championship, he gives Lance Storm the WCW United States Championship, he gives the Steiner Brothers the WCW Tag Team Titles. He books a World Title unification match between “Stone Cold” Steve Austin and Booker for Starrcade. Starrcade 2001 X-Pac(c) vs Jeff Hardy vs Rey Mysterio vs Billy Kidman vs Tajiri vs Justin Credible WCW Cruiserweight Championship Great opening match, Rey Mysterio wins pinning Tajiri. Chavo Guerrero(c) vs Dean Malenko WCW European Championship Malenko who is close friends with Eddie Guerrero vows revenge on Chavo for the way he has treated his uncle and guns for his European Championship. Chavo retains in a great match. Chris Candido(c) vs Matt Hardy WCW Hardcore Championship Matt Hardy wants to win the belt that Candido took from his brother. Candido retains in a brutal Hardcore match. Goldberg vs Eddie Guerrero Bischoff sets Goldberg on Eddie for that vicious promo he cut on WCW management back in 1999 and for ultimately leaving the company. Eddie almost lies, cheats and steals his way to victory but is no match for the brute strength of Goldberg. Lance Storm(c) vs Chris Jericho WCW United States Championship Lance Storm retains in a great match. The Steiner Brothers(c) vs The APA bar room brawl Basically the two toughest tag teams in wrestling go head to head in a fight to see who’s the toughest. The Steiner Brothers comes out on top. Mr. Perfect vs Kurt Angle Bischoff brings in another wrestler that the WWF underutilized Mr. Perfect and he challenges Angle to a pure wrestling match which Angle accepts. They go 20 minutes and Angle reverses a perfect plex into an Angle slam for the victory. The Rock vs DDP The Rock is cutting a promo and the lights go out and we hear a familiar voice say I’m the real people’s champion and DDP vs The Rock is booked for Starrcade. DDP wins clean to prove his point. Edge vs Christian TLC match They’ve been feuding off and on since Summerslam and they finally settle it in a TLC match which they made famous which Edge wins. NWO vs DX(Triple H, Road Dogg and Billy Gunn) Triple H reforms DX to take on the NWO but they fall short when Hulk Hogan pins Road Dogg. Sting vs The Undertaker Buried Alive match Sting wins the match clean because as the American bad ass The Undertaker cannot beat Sting. Booker T vs “Stone Cold” Steve Austin Unification Match for the WCW and WWF Championships Despite WCW interference Austin wins the match. Build to Royal Rumble 2002 Eric Bischoff calls Austin out to present him with the new WCW Title Belt but Austin spits on that belt and stunners Eric and wants to keep his original WWF Belt to punish Austin, Eric Bischoff forces Austin to defend his title in a 30 man Royal Rumble match and Austin will be entrant #1 Royal Rumble 2002 X-Pac vs Justin Credible /w Albert Justin Credible finally overcomes X-Pac in a great opening match. Kurt Angle vs Goldberg Goldberg has been unstoppable since coming to the WWF and Kurt Angle challenges Goldberg to a wrestling match playing off the fact Goldberg can’t wrestle that well. Kurt Angle’s technical brilliance nearly gets him the wins but Goldberg just barely manages to get the win. The Rock vs Ric Flair The two most charismatic men in wrestling go head to head in a dream match which The Rock wins. Sting vs Kane Kane wants revenge on Sting for biting his brother. Sting wins the match reversing a tombstone into a scorpion death drop. 30 man Royal Rumble for the WWF Championship Brock Lesnar and RVD both debut in the Rumble. RVD eliminates Sting after The Undertaker’s Gong goes off and Sting destroys RVD with a base ball bat. Austin goes the distance. Hogan eliminates Hall and Nash causing more dissension in the NWO and Hogan eliminates Austin to win the match and Austin’s Title which gets renamed the WCW World Heavyweight Championship. Build to No Way Out 2001 Bischoff brags that WCW has all the gold and the WWF guys have nothing but Austin, Triple H, The Rock and Kurt Angle challenge WCW’s finest to a war games match and those four men are Hulk Hogan, Booker T, DDP and Goldberg. No Way Out 2001 Rey Mysterio(c) vs Jeff Hardy WCW Cruiserweight Championship Mysterio loses by DQ when he hits Jeff Hardy with the Cruiserweight belt. Chavo Guerrero(c) vs Eddie Guerrero WCW European Championship They renew their feud and despite Chavo attempting to cheat Eddie finally beats his nephew to regain the European Championship. Lance Storm(c) vs Chris Jericho WCW United States Championship This is Jericho’s last chance to beat Lance Storm and capture the title if Jericho loses he will never get another shot. Jericho wins making Lance Storm tap to the lion tamer. Chris Candido(c) /w Sunny vs Kane WCW Hardcore Championship Kane wants to see what Candido is made of and challenges him to a match which Candido wins and Kane shakes his hand after the match slowly turning Candido face. Scott Steiner vs Rick Steiner The Steiners drop the Tag Team Titles to the New Age Outlaws and Scott turns on Rick. Scott wins the match and in the process injures Rick Steiner. Sting vs RVD RVD wants revenge on Sting for beating him down at the Rumble and challenges him to a match at No Way Out. It seems like Sting has the match won, but The Undertaker’s Hong goes off once again and RVD capitalizes winning this huge match. Kevin Nash and Scott Hall vs The New Age Outlaws(c) World Tag Team Championships Hall and Nash have something to bribe after being kicked out of the NWO and they challenge for the Tag Team Titles and they win. Team WCW(Hulk Hogan, Goldberg, Booker T, and DDP) vs Team WWF( “Stone Cold” Steve Austin, The Rock, Triple H and Kurt Angle) War Games match The WWF pick up their first big win in ages when The Rock pins DDP. Build to WrestleMania 18 Nitro opens up with every WWF Wrestler entering the ring and basically saying we will take back our company and chaos ensues we see brawling in the ring, the entrance ramp, backstage all of the WCW Wrestlers vs all the WWF Wrestlers and Eric Bischoff cannot get things under control he’s in the middle of the ring watching everyone fight when Vince McMahon’s music hits and alongside him is Shane, Stephanie and Linda and they beat up Eric Bischoff and make him put the company on the line at WrestleMania and we will have 13 matches whoever wins the majority gets control of the company. WrestleMania 18 35 man battle royal Winner faces DDP later in the night RVD wins WWF:1 WCW:0 **Chavo Guerrero vs Eddie Guerrero(c) vs Edge vs Chris Candido /w WCW European Championship Chris Candido wins. WWF:1 WCW:1 Lance Storm vs Chris Jericho(c) 30 minute Ironman match for WCW United States Championship Billed as their final match against each other. Storm wins. WWF:1 WCW:2 Rey Mysterio(c) vs Jeff Hardy vs Billy Kidman Cruiserweight Championship Kidman wins. WWF:1 WCW:3 Scott Steiner vs Brock Lesnar Steiner wants a real challenge at WrestleMania and Brock answers it. Brock wins WWF:2 WCW:3 Trish Stratus(c) vs Lita Women’s Championship Trish retains. WWF:2 WCW:4 DDP vs RVD RVD wins. WWF:3 WCW:4 Ric Flair vs Mick Foley(c) Hardcore Championship Mick Foley comes out of retirement to help the WWF and he beats Candido on Nitro to win the Hardcore Championship and Flair targets Foley calling him a glorified stuntman. Flair wins with a low blow in a gruesome bloody match. WWF:3 WCW:5 The Rock vs Goldberg Goldberg runs right through The Rock to continue his undefeated streak. WWF:3 WCW:6 Scott Hall and Kevin Nash(c) vs DX World Tag Team Championships Triple H brings in the founder of the Kliq Shawn Michaels to straighten out Hall and Nash but they beat him down and Shawn comes out of retirement to team with his best friend Triple H and they beat Hall and Nash to win the titles. WWF:4 WCW:6 *Eric Bischoff vs Vince McMahon * Vince beats the holy hell out of Eric to win the match. WWF:5 WCW:6 Sting vs The Undertaker /w Paul Bearer The Undertaker comes back in his deadman persona and challenges Sting to a match at WrestleMania. Undertaker reverses a scorpion death drop into a tombstone to win the match. WWF:6 WCW:6 Hulk Hogan(c) vs “Stone Cold” Steve Austin WWF Championship The dream match that never happened finally happens and Austin hits two stunners on Hogan to win the match. Hogan turns face and shakes Austin’s hand after the match. This took a while this is how I would have booked The Invasion.
2020.02.06 18:00 SaintRidleyWrestling Observer Rewind ★ Aug. 24, 1987
Going through old issues of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter and posting highlights in my own words, continuing in the footsteps of daprice82. For anyone interested, I highly recommend signing up for the actual site at f4wonline and checking out the full archives. FUTURE YEARS ARCHIVE: The Complete Observer Rewind Archive by daprice82
The end of another long-time wrestling tradition is upon us his month: Gordon Solie will no longer be the voice of Florida Wrestling. Solie and the Crocketts had a disagreement over money, and so Solie has been replaced with Steve Keirn. With Sir Oliver Humperdink jumping to WWF, Crockett canceled Southern Pro Wrestling and are down to just one tv show weekly from Florida. And to keep costs down, they tape two shows at a time and only tape every other week. Solie’s workload would be cut down to 26 dates per year rather than 52, and even though he’d still be working the same amount of time (52 tv shows on those 26 dates) Crockett wanted to cut his pay down to pay him for 26 dates. You can see the problem. Gordon Solie had been the voice of wrestling in Florida for over 26 years at this point.
Rumors abound about what the Road Warriors will do in the future. They were scheduled to meet with Vince McMahon last Friday and Jim Crockett the next day. Other than that, no solid word.
Dave went to the August 10 Stockton, California and the August 11 San Jose Crockett shows and for whatever reason Stockton tends to get very good wrestling coming through. He didn’t see every match, but others in attendance filled him in and all the ratings for this show are basically by committee. He runs down the card. Dave still thinks Ron Simmons has potential, but isn’t quite as good as he had thought earlier. Rick Steiner was injured (pulled muscle or something in his right leg), so Sting got bumped into subbing for Ricky Morton against Arn and Tully. The Steve Williams and Terry Gordy vs. Eddie Gilbert and Dick Murdoch bunkhouse match wins the honors for match of the night. The San Jose card wasn’t as good and the crowd had trouble getting into the matches. It was also an outdoor show, and Dave has decided that outdoor shows tend to suck after this. UWF doesn’t air in the area, so the UWF matches didn’t really have any familiarity for the crowd. If the area had localized tv (the NWA show that airs on channel 26 in San Francisco plugged the card, and that channel isn’t even on cable in San Jose, nor is San Jose channel 48 which is where San Jose fans can watch NWA, so there was basically no localized advertisement) they could probably draw some people, but the only advertisement that San Jose fans could have seen was from WTBS. Only notable thing here is that in the main event between Williams/Morton/Gibson and Arn/Tully/Lex, Williams no-sold a piledriver.
Fritz Von Erich is suing the doctors who did Mike’s shoulder operation a few years back. He’s claiming negligence and that it left Mike physically and mentally scarred, and that the surgery is therefore directly tied to his suicide. Dave wonders, if that’s true, why would Fritz pressure Mike back into the ring? Mike’s toxic shock syndrome left him changed, but Fritz declared him fit and pushed him into the ring again. The tragedy never seems to end here.
A federal judge in St. Paul has prohibited Dru Tossel and Babydoll Promotions (they run indy shows in the midwest) from using “All Star Wrestling” in the promotion of their shows. Using the name is likely to cause confusion with the public and belief there is a connection to the AWA, which has used All Star Wrestling for thirty years and has it registered with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.
Lastly in our legal roundup, Ron Garvin has been ordered by a jury in West Virginia to pay Argel Johnson (a fan) $455,000. Johnson alleges that Garvin headbutted him during a match between the Midnight Express and Garvin/Bruno Sammartino Jr. in 1983. Dave notes that the Midnights didn’t come to the NWA until the summer of 1985, so you do the math here). There was a lawsuit, but Garvin either failed to respond to or failed to show up for, and so the Ohio County circuit court jury has ordered Garvin to pay up. They have not been able to track Garvin down to collect the money, though.
WarGames 3 took place in Chicago on August 16. Ron Garvin was in for Paul Ellering, as Ellering appears to be injured for real, on the babyface side. Animal caused Bubba/War Machine to submit after taking a spiked wristband to the eye. They definitely fudged the clock a bit on the entries, as the match ended in 19:38 but according to the rules the Match Beyond doesn’t even start until 21 minutes in. Lots of blood (six of the ten guys bled), and universal acclaim that the match was great. The undercard, though, was said to be disappointing.
Ken Patera had reconstructive arm surgery last week and is back on the road with WWF. He’s not working yet, but he is showing up in the arenas. They’ve been putting Billy Graham in for him in the matches, which makes for bad main events if you pay attention to the matches. That said, Bobby Heenan has been great at distracting fans from the ring during these matches. Patera says he’ll be back in the ring in 6-8 weeks.
Bam Bam Bigelow’s television debut has been pushed back to the August 25 San Francisco tv tapings. The plan is an angle where he seems to be trying to find the right manager, leading to crossing all the managers off his list until only Slick is left. Then they swerve and reveal it’s Sir Oliver Humperdink.
WWF erased the tape of Ted DiBiase’s first match at Madison on August 4 because he got too strong a babyface reaction. The match with Jerry Allen that aired on Superstars 49 (taped that same day in front of the same crowd) and was promoted as his first match was actually his second, and they took steps to make sure he’d be booed. Dave saw the skit where he made a woman (2020 note: some people believe this was Linda McMahon) bark like a dog and those who watched with Dave started to hate him for not paying her, so the tweak to the character seems like it should work. Dave doesn’t expect he’ll toss money into the audience like he was originally supposed to (can we take a moment to note that Vince apparently thinks giving away free money is a heel act?). Some WWF wrestlers are jealous of DiBiase because in order to make the character more legit he’s being shuttled around in a limo and getting put up in the best hotels, which only Mr. T and Hogan get.
[WWF] ”Mark my words, Rude will not get over as a major attraction here.” Rick Rude’s gonna need more than abs to do that, and Dave watched with some marks who thought it was comedy that they were talking about his great physique on tv. Apparently, Rude has the body of someone with scurvy according to the marks.
The biggest story out of WWF is that they’ve banned blading. The ban is primarily because of fear of AIDS, and they are probably going to implement AIDS testing as well. Dusty’s going to have to eventually follow suit, Dave thinks, but he’s sure it won’t be any time soon.
[WWF] Dynamite Kid has been given August and September off to see if two months of rest and relaxation will help his back issues. Davey Boy was supposed to then head to Stampede to be main event babyface during Owen’s Japan tour, but they kept him to fill in as a partner for the Killer Bees.
[Puerto Rico] Hercules Ayala won the WWC Universal Title from Carlos Colon in a Texas Death match where Colon was deemed to be bleeding too badly to continue. In case you’re wondering, a Texas Death Match is more or less an old school name for a Last Man Standing match (but there's a pinfall required before you can be counted down) and it’s not in the rules to stop it for blood. Dave supposes Carlos is too much like Virgil and Antonio when it comes to doing any kind of job in the middle of the ring.
UWF will be having Black Bart as the challenger for Williams at the next round of shows. Shows that they need a big, mean heel in a bad way because while Bart is fine and can have good matches with the right opponents, he’s not someone anybody will buy as a title contender.
Curt Hennig vs. Jerry Lawler for the AWA Title in Memphis on August 10 was kind of crap. Hennig retained after Brickhouse Brown (dressed in drag) attacked from the audience and gave Lawler a piledriver. Almost everyone knew Brown was in the audience in drag, so the ending was obvious. They’ve storyline suspended Brown for 30 days for this. Otherwise, nobody from AWA except Wahoo McDaniel worked on the card, so that’s a real strong alliance happening.
Scott Hall will be in Memphis for a week before his September Japan tour. After he concludes the tour he should be in Memphis full-time.
Correction from last week: it was Terry Taylor, not Eddie Gilbert, who hit Sting with the chair during the Gilbert/Douglas UWF TV Title match
[Stampede] I guess the definition of a clean job has changed over the past few decades, but Dave describes Owen Hart losing the British Commonwealth Title to Gama Singh as Hart’s “first clean pin job” in 1987. Hart pinned Singh, but Singh’s foot was on the ropes so the referee called for the match to continue and Singh’s manager handed him an object, which he used to hit Hart and then pin him. Hart has a rematch on August 14, which should be his last match before his Japan tour, so they’ll probably do an injury angle. He won’t be dropping the North American Title as well, but they might hold it up if they do an injury angle. Leaving for Japan as well is Keiichi Yamada.
[WCCW] Mark Lowrance is on vacation, so tv commentary is being handled by a rodeo cowboy and a local preacher. Seriously.
[WCCW] Brian Adias is now accompanied by the worst ninja character ever. The guy is supposed to be the Asian ninja master who taught him the move that nearly kayfabe killed Kevin Von Erich in the ring back in May, but he talks like a Texan. The guy’s name is Jimmy Bush, he’s from San Antonio.
Wild West has a few small notes, particularly that Lance has dropped the fabulous from his name (an improvement) and Robin Smith appears to have debuted. Her first match seems to have been in a tag match against ancient Moolah-era staples Susan “Tex” Greene and Pepper LaBianco.
The Fullers are in the process of selling Continental (the Alabama territory) to a guy named Mike Costello. If that goes through, there’s a good chance Jerry Blackwell will promote AWA down there in joint ventures.
[Alabama] Mr. Olympia (Jerry Stubbs) quit the promotion after finding out he was going to lose a bunch of loser leaves town matches and jumped to outlaw promotion NASA, which also runs in Alabama. In retaliation, Ron West announced at the August 7 Knoxville show that Stubbs called the office and said he was tired of being beaten and humiliated and wouldn’t show up before going on about how Stubbs let the fans down and would never work for Continental again. Fans took exception to this and the attempted burial pretty much backfired.
As for NASA, they’re a little indy promotion based in Birmingham. They drew 300 for their first tv taping on August 8. Candi Divine and Bambi vs. Joyce Grable and Lock (Wenona Little Heart in a gimmick she started with Luna Vachon) had the best match of the show.
Dave McLane’s POWW has booked Veterans Stadium in Philadelphia for September 1. Break even is a $100,000 gate and they’ll be lucky to draw $6,000, so no idea what they’re thinking here.
[New Japan] As the Choshu/Inoki feud heats up, Inoki has changed the name of one of the factions. They were originally calling the feud the New Leaders (Choshu, Maeda, Fujinami, etc.) vs. the Old Leaders (Inoki, Sakaguchi, Fujiwara, and Masa Saito). But Inoki didn’t like the word “Old” so now they’re calling it the New Leaders vs. the Now Leaders on tv. By the way, Choshu still hasn’t been cleared to wrestle on tv for New Japan.
One letter includes coverage of how AWA handled the Sherri Martel departure. Sherri won the title on Saturday night on WWF’s show, then on Sunday morning AWA aired the Tommy Rich/Sherri Martel angle (where Sherri was stripped of her clothing during an arm wrestling contest) for the first time. Good angle, the writer says, but with her gone how to explain things? Well, the next week they re-aired it twice and then Kevin Kelly in an interview said Sherri was so embarrassed she left AWA and Larry Nelson explained that since AWA is the original wrestling league where they still actually wrestle, lots of wrestlers leave when they can’t take it and go to places where it’s easier.
Another letter comes in saying Crockett has too many titles. There are nine currently, and that’s just the NWA division, double that if you count UWF and Florida. WWF, on the other hand has three (four, really, with the women’s title) and they always push the titles. Dave agrees wholeheartedly and says that the more titles there are, the less they mean and that two singles and two tag titles are more than enough for a promotion and anything more than three makes things overdone. Fast forward to 2020 and WWE has 18 titles.
Someone writes in supporting the continued use of nicknames. They aren’t derogatory at all, just cute, the writer explains, and says that he and his friends have always called Buddy Rose “Bloody Nose” and the Freebirds “The Fleabirds.” Besides, knowing the nicknames makes you in the know and means that non-fans (and by non-fans, I can only assume this guy means marks who aren’t subscribers to Dave) have no idea who you are talking about. Besides, the guys who get the nicknames like JYD, Outback Jack, etc. aren’t such great workers that they “command all this respect” about getting their actual working names used. I thought the names weren’t supposed to be derogatory? Rewinder here: The logic in this letter is nonexistent and just makes me hate the nicknames more.
Another letter writer is concerned about how much hate Dusty gets in the letters section. She wrote what she thought was a good defense of some of his actions that never saw print, but weekly there’s mail about how awful he is and one week there was a whole section titled “This Week’s Dusty Hate Mail.” She reminds us that to enjoy wrestling, you need to suspend belief. She saw Flair vs. Brad Armstrong a while back and while she knew there was no way Brad would win, she let that go and when Flair would wait until the last second to kick out she would find herself excited and believing for a moment he might pull it off. So enjoy wrestling. Don’t be bothered that Dusty’s the booker. Take him as he’s presented, the working man’s hero. He may not be muscular, or a fantastic wrestler, but he is embodying the idea of the American Dream and never giving up.
NEXT ISSUE:WCCW’s Kevin Von Erich vs. Al Perez cage match, Road Warriors contract status up in the air, El Gran Hamada quits JWP, Akira Taue signs with All Japan, and more
Going through old issues of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter and posting highlights in my own words. For anyone interested, I highly recommend signing up for the actual site at f4wonline and checking out the full archives. PREVIOUS YEARS ARCHIVE: 1991 • 1992 • 1993 • 1994 • 1995 • 1996 • 1997 • 1998 • 1999 • 2000
You never get a second chance to make a first impression, and the first impression of the new WCW was downright awful, to the point that everything is now being reevaluated. Dave calls this WWF vs. WCW storyline "the most important angle in the history of the business" and it kicked off last week on Raw with a Booker T vs. Buff Bagwell main event under the "WCW" banner and holy shit it was bad. Bagwell was terrible and Booker T wasn't much better. The crowd loudly chanted "boring" and "this match sucks" and "Goldberg!" through the whole thing while booing both wrestlers. A large portion of the crowd was streaming towards the exits as the show went on. Fans booed Shane McMahon. They booed the new lighting and look of WCW (which, as of now, is still expected to take over the Raw time slot, but after this fiasco, who knows). Austin and Angle, the top heels in WWF, got a massive face pop for their run-in and attack on Booker T. Dave thinks WWF fans spent too many years seeing WCW as the real life enemy of their fake pro wrestling world and WWF fans simply aren't ready to embrace WCW Raw. They've had months to plan this but the whole thing felt thrown together.
Dave notes that former ECW announcer Joey Styles was previously in talks to be the new WCW announcer but those talks fell through over money shortly before Raw and so WWF scrambled and brought in Scott Hudson to do the commentary gig on Raw. Hudson has already started a new full-time job outside of wrestling and told WWF he couldn't accept the announcing position full-time but was willing to come in for the first few shows since they were in a jam and needed someone ASAP for Raw. Hudson's broadcast partner was supposed to be.....Jerry Lawler. Both sides had agreed for Lawler to return, but then it somehow fell through. According to Lawler, he and Hudson were supposed to be be revealed as the new WCW commentary team and Lawler's wife Stacy Carter would accompany him to ringside. But after the agreement was made, Lawler claims WWF called him the next day and said Vince McMahon wanted to make it clear that they still weren't bringing Stacy back other than this one time, agreed-upon appearance. At that point, Lawler pulled out of the deal. WWF's story is a bit different, saying they had an agreement with Lawler to come in and then he tried to change things and force them to hire Stacy back also and there's a lot of heat on Lawler for the deal falling apart. So anyway, with literally no one else available on short notice, that's how Scott Hudson and Arn Anderson ended up doing commentary for the disastrous Raw main event. Anderson, despite being a great talker, has no experience calling wrestling matches and considering how bad the match was and how much the crowd was rejecting it, the announcing came off bad. Hudson impressed a lot of people backstage with his enthusiasm and his eagerness to do a good job and he was the only bright spot of the whole mess. Beyond that, this entire thing was just a disaster.
As for future WCW plans, there's still consideration of bringing in Mike Tenay for the announcing spot. Former WCW referees Nick Patrick, Charles Robinson, and Billy Silverman were all hired (Patrick debuted on Raw). Several former WCW stars were backstage but have yet to debut on TV (Chavo Guerrero Jr., Shane Helms, Shawn Stasiak, Mark Jindrak, Chris Kanyon and Billy Kidman among others). Unless this flop of a match changes things, the plan is still for the Monday show to become WCW Raw within the next few weeks (the flop of a match indeed changes things).
WWF's annual business report is out and it's interesting. Despite WWF's monumental success, the latest quarter numbers for 2001 made it the first money-losing quarter for WWF since 1997 and it was also the biggest losing quarter in WWF history. All of this is due to the massive losses from the XFL. WWF lost $20.4 million for the quarter. Dave goes into more boring financial details. Live event numbers, merch numbers, home video numbers, etc. All-told, the XFL lost almost $94 million during its one season of existence. Half of that was eaten by NBC, but still. So yeah, the XFL tanked their profits for the year, but the wrestling numbers are still strong. In fact, even factoring in the XFL numbers, the WWF still had a total profit of almost $16 million on the year, which is still double the profit margin of any of the Hulk Hogan-era 1980s golden years. They also talked about plans to operate WCW as a separate full-time touring brand and how that's expected to increase income next year, along with 4-7 additional WCW branded PPVs (with the first one scheduled for October) and so on and so forth. Of course, we know how that all turns out.
During a conference call with investors during the business report, Linda McMahon said some interesting things. She talked about Smackdown planning to run live shows on Thursday later this year (rather than taping it on Tuesdays). She also said that by going live, it will prevent internet sites from posting the results ahead of time and claimed that was the reason for the decline of Smackdown's ratings. Dave argues that websites have been posting Smackdown spoilers since day 1, it's not a new phenomenon and it doesn't explain the very sudden drop in ratings that just started recently.
A really interesting note from the report is just how much WWF paid for WCW. There's no exact numbers, but it appears WWF bought the company for a shockingly low price. During the dying days of WCW, Bischoff and Fusient had offered $48.3 million, while Jerry Jarrett and some investors he was working with offered $25 million. Both Bischoff and Jarrett pulled their offers when AOL/Time Warner made the decision to cancel WCW television. At that point, WCW wasn't worth anything to anybody except Vince McMahon. In the end, McMahon appears to have bought WCW for somewhere around $4.5 million, which is incomprehensible for a company that was once worth hundreds of millions. Dave thinks that just the tape library alone would be a steal at $4.5 million, not even counting the name and trademarks, the wrestler contracts, etc. that came with it. The actual price WWF paid for WCW is less than the 2 years Goldberg has left on his contract. Dave is flabbergasted that they got it this cheap and says it looks like AOL/Time Warner practically gave the company away just to hurry up and get it off their hands. (If I remember correctly, the actual deal was WWF paid $2.5 million in cash and also agreed to spend another $2 million to buy advertising on Turner networks, which is where the $4.5 total comes from).
InDemand PPV announced that it has signed an agreement with UFC which will see UFC return to PPV for the first time (from a cable provider) since 1997 (the shows have still been available for those with DirecTV satellites but that's only a fraction of the PPV audience compared to cable). This news is the biggest thing for UFC since Zuffa bought them and greatly increases the number of homes that can now order UFC PPVs. Dave talks about how successful UFC was on PPV before they were banned, so this is huge for them. The first new PPV is scheduled to be the Sept. show, which they're already planning to promote as the "rebirth" of UFC. Speaking of, Dave also reviews the latest UFC 32 show.
OVW held its latest big show called "Last Dance." It was the final event ever at the Louisville Gardens, which is closing or something I guess. Several WWF stars were scheduled to be part of it but a couple of them had to pull out. Mick Foley had to back out to go to England to do commentary for a new TNN show called Robot Wars: Extreme Warriors, while Kurt Angle had to pull out due to injury. Kane, and DDP went in their places. The original main event of Undertaker vs. Leviathan was changed to UndertakeKane vs. Leviathan/DDP. OVW champion Flash Flannigan beat Chris Jericho to retain the title and "prove to Jim Ross that he deserves a WWF contract" in storyline. Big Show and Mark Henry teamed up to beat Prototype and Mr. Black. Randy Orton beat Rico Constantino. Orton had his father Bob Orton in his corner. Brock Lesnar teamed with Brian Keck (since Shelton Benjamin is injured) and they defeated Perry Saturn and Dean Malenko. Dave thinks this is a sign of how much things have changed. Even though it's their developmental territory, there's no chance in hell just a few years ago that WWF would have let a genuine star like Chris Jericho lose to the local talent at an indie show.
Various Mexico notes: Konnan returned to Mexico to work a show for the first time since his WCW contract expired and drew a pretty big crowd to a show in Tijuana. AAA head Antonio Pena complained to athletic commission members and even the state Secretary of the Interior to try to keep Konnan from being allowed to wrestle. Dave talks about how those 2 have a longstanding hatred of each other, a total Vince McMahon/Bret Hart-type of relationship (but more petty) where neither of them can seem to let go of their dumb past beef with each other. Anyway, Norman Smiley also returned to Mexico because his WCW deal just expired as well. He went under his old Black Magic gimmick. And Dave mentions offhandedly that the 2 biggest draws in Mexico right now are El Hijo del Santo and La Parka.
Dave reviews the Keiji Muto vs. Genichiro Tenryu match from a couple weeks ago. It's the match where Muto, an NJPW star, won the AJPW Triple Crown title. People called it the best match of the year. Dave doesn't quite go that far but it was close. Tenryu is 51 and held his own but Muto (in his 40s) was the star of the show. It's not so much his moves or athleticism but more about knowing how to work the crowd, how to switch gears when it's time, his selling, his body language, etc. Dave thinks every young wrestler needs to watch this match to see how Muto is able to get so much more out of doing so much less. Dave thinks it will still win MOTY in Japan because of the historic nature of it. Muto being handed the 3 belts of the AJPW Triple Crown was one of those historic scenes that will probably be replayed for years to come and the reaction from the fans was incredible. Dave gives it 4.5 stars. The plan was for Muto to drop the title back to Kawada later this month, but AJPW seems to be second-guessing that now because Muto's win got over so strong. So he may hold the title for awhile (yeah he holds it for the rest of 2001 before losing it to Kawada in 2002, only for Kawada to have to vacate it due to a knee injury a month later).
All of the women's promotions in Japan are interested in bringing in Chyna. She's actually kind of a big star there because the woman vs. man gimmick is a real big novelty in Japan. So her winning the IC title or being in the Royal Rumble...that stuff always got big coverage in Japan, for more than most WWF stuff does. Either way, Chyna is having to sit out the rest of her WWF contract so she won't be available until December and it's thought that she'll probably want more money than most of those companies can afford (she ends up working a dozen matches or so for NJPW in 2002 but that's it).
Ric Flair still has 20 months left on his Time Warner contract. His attitude right now is essentially, if things work out and he's able to get back into wrestling, cool. And if not, he's satisfied and he's had a great career (lol no. Flair will be in WWF before the end of this year).
Sports Illustrated had an article about Wahoo McDaniel, covering his wrestling and football careers and talking about how he's in need of a kidney transplant and things like that. He talked about the money he made in wrestling and football and how wrestling was tougher than anything he did on the football field.
Various other notes: Superstar Billy Graham is suffering from Hepatitis C which has slowed him down on writing his autobiography that he's been talking about for years. Bobby Heenan is also working on an autobiography and Dave thinks that if Bobby can write stories as hilariously as he can tell them, it should be a classic (it came out in 2002 but I never read it so I don't how good it is). And finally, remember that story last week about wrestler Jack Evans in Canada getting injured on a hurricanrana gone wrong by Nattie Neidhart? Turns out that was a work, he was fine.
Remember Dusty Rhodes is running his own promotion in GA called Turnbuckle Championship Wrestling? Well he is. Anyway, this week's show was headlined by Dusty (age 55) vs. Larry Zybyszko (age 47). Dusty's youngest son Cody made his debut as a referee on this show (Cody was still a teenager in high school at this time and sadly, I can't find video of this).
Hollie Adkisson, the 16-year-old daughter of Kerry Von Erich, will be a contestant in the Miss Teen Texas beauty pageant. She regularly speaks at schools and other events about drug use, openly talking about how it led to the death of her father and uncles. She's also the first member of the Von Erich family to admit publicly that David Von Erich died of a drug overdose, which they've always tried to hide and attribute to other causes even though nobody really ever bought it (Hollie never got involved in wrestling but Kerry's other daughter Lacey spent some time in TNA a few years later).
Chris Benoit underwent neck surgery last week in San Antonio by the same surgeon who operated on Steve Austin. The surgery was more extensive than first thought. Benoit will be out of action until at least January or February. Benoit felt great coming out of the surgery, saying he felt no pain and had full flexibility of his arm again. They removed two damaged discs from Benoit's neck and replaced them with a piece of bone taken from his pelvic area. And in the most depressing sentence I've ever read, Dave writes that, at least Benoit "will get to spend time at home watching his son grow up" while he recovers. Ugh. Anyway, they had a segment on Sunday Night Heat talking about the surgery and his wife Nancy was shown with Benoit as he talked about the injury. They blamed it on Steve Austin at King of the Ring for storyline purposes but in reality, the injury was an accumulation of years of doing diving headbutts and shit like that. Harley Race, who popularized that move, has been telling Benoit for years to stop doing it because of the damage he did to his own neck. On TV, they said Benoit won't be able to return for a year, but word is that's just the kayfabe timeline so that his sooner return will be more of a surprise (nope. He really did miss an entire year).
Kurt Angle is banged up but his test results for everything came back negative so he's just resting up for a bit but should be back in the ring soon. He does have a meniscus tear in his knee and will eventually need arthroscopic surgery but he's just working through it for now. Steve Austin, on the other hand, may be out a little longer. His back is in rough shape and he's been in a lot of pain.
Rob Van Dam has officially signed with WWF. He hasn't completed his physical yet so he isn't licensed to wrestle yet but that should be taken care of soon and he should debut in the next couple of weeks. Tommy Dreamer hasn't signed yet but is expected to by the time you read this (well shit, it's 2019, I should hope so...).
Notes from Raw: Kane, Undertaker, and even Taker's wife Sara all beat up on DDP, continuing the utter burial of him since the day he showed up. Torrie Wilson and Vince kept trying to find places to make out during the show but kept getting interrupted and Dave thinks it got creepier by the segment. The backstage interaction with Kurt Angle and Steve Austin was, once again, hilarious. And then, of course, the huge flop of the WCW main event.
A lot of WCW wrestlers were brought in every day last week to Stamford to train in WWF rings, which are larger and have different ropes than the WCW rings they're all used to (we'll hear more on these training sessions in just a moment...).
Dave musings on the most recent episodes of OVW TV he's seen: Rico Constantino is main roster ready and most in WWF agree. But he's pushing 40 so his age works against him and he's also small by WWF standards. Being small isn't an automatic killer in WWF like it used to but you usually have to be a hell of a talent to overcome it (Angle, Benoit, Guerrero, etc.) and while Rico's ready for the big stage, he's not that good. Leviathan is growing his hair out which makes him look more like a generic bodybuilder rather than the demon gimmick he's supposed to be.
Lots of interesting dynamics going on in the WWF locker room lately. As you might expect, a lot of the WCW guys are still seen as outsiders and there's some hard feelings going on. It's said that a lot of the younger WCW guys in particular have no grasp of locker room etiquette or how to conduct themselves and walk round acting cocky. Buff Bagwell in particular already had lots of enemies and a bad reputation before he even arrived. Bagwell was one of the ones brought to Stamford to train in the new rings and he was late to every single session and also arrived late for a house show in Spokane, which was his first match in the company (the disastrous Raw match the next night was his 2nd, and turns out to be his last). Bagwell also got into an altercation with Shane Helms during one of the training sessions. The 2 got into an argument and Bagwell slapped Helms, who responded by throwing a water bottle at Bagwell and blasting him in the face with it, which left Bagwell bleeding and requiring stitches. Dave says WCW had a reputation for having no discipline or consequences for misbehavior, but that shit don't fly in WWF (yeah, Bagwell finds that out pretty quick). There was also heat on Booker T because they felt he didn't protect Austin during his run-in at the PPV where he threw Austin over the table, which caused Austin to injure his hand. And also because Booker didn't wait at gorilla to check on Austin after the match, instead leaving the arena without talking to him (Booker has spoken about this since and it was pretty much just a misunderstanding).
On the show Extra this week, they had the woman who does make-up for Playboy and she claimed her best work ever was with Chyna. Then, as an example of how good this make-up artist allegedly is, they showed a pic of Chyna in Playboy next to a "before" picture of her from 1998, before she had all the facial surgery and lost the muscle mass. Dave thinks that's a pretty unfair, shitty, and mean-spirited comparison.
David Flair signed a developmental deal and will start in OVW making $500 per week which is a whole lot less than he was making in WCW.
WEDNESDAY:WCW plans scrapped, ECW joins the Invasion angle, more Jerry LawleWWF news, Buff Bagwell fired, and more...
Going through old issues of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter and posting highlights in my own words. For anyone interested, I highly recommend signing up for the actual site at f4wonline and checking out the full archives. PREVIOUS YEARS ARCHIVE: 1991 • 1992 • 1993 • 1994 • 1995 • 1996 • 1997 • 1998 • 1999 • 2000
Some numbers are starting to trickle in for Wrestlemania 17 and hoooooly shit. No exact numbers for PPV buys yet but it's estimated to be around a million, which would make it the biggest buyrate for a wrestling PPV ever. If that number holds up, it would mean around $40 million (split between WWF and the PPV providers). Huge merch numbers, $3.5 million gate, etc. Basically, WM17 was the biggest money making event in the history of pro wrestling by a long shot.
NJPW held a show at the 45,000-seat Osaka Dome and drew around 20,000 people, the smallest dome show crowd in NJPW history. It was built around some sort of angle where NJPW is feuding with its founder, Antonio Inoki. Dave says NJPW is a mess right now and have seemingly given up on their own successful style and seem to be doing a mix of WWF-style wrestling and PRIDE-style MMA. Dave says both of those takes away from match quality, which has always been NJPW's strong suit, and the company is struggling because of it. This show was presented like a U.S.-style TV taping (it aired live on TV) headlined by a bunch of worked-shoot style matches. Airing on live TV messed things up since they never bothered to coordinate when the commercials were going to air. So fans missed the end of the Jushin Liger match, which was never replayed and then during the first ever Riki Choshu vs. Toshiaki Kawada dream match, they cut to commercial as soon as the match started (better known today as The Raw Formula™). Then they did the same thing during other matches. Fans blew up the phones at TV-Asahi with complaints. Because yeah, cutting to commercials in the middle of matches SUCKS. Anyway, Kazuyuki Fujita won the IWGP title from Scott Norton. Fujita had the original IWGP belt with him (the one Inoki gave him last month at the PRIDE show) and the match was a worked shoot match under "PRIDE rules." The gimmick is that Fujita (Inoki's protege) was there to take NJPW's world title. Fujita, a legit MMA fighter with real wins over big names in PRIDE now holds the original 80s IWGP belt and the current NJPW one and will be challenging for the PRIDE title soon and basically, the idea is to create this legit champion who merges the belts and dominates the worlds of MMA and wrestling. The Shinya Hashimoto vs. Kensuke Sasaki match was also under "PRIDE rules" and the NJPW fans just didn't get it. Worked shoot matches generally suck and with no pinfall endings, these matches just sorta got stopped by referees and fizzled out and it all made for a really bad show.
HHG Corp., the parent company of ECW, officially filed for chapter 11 bankruptcy this week. All told, ECW has almost $9 million in debt, with another $1.3 mil in assets. Those debts don't include potential money that may be owed stemming from 13 different pending lawsuits, including the much publicized Mass Transit case. The biggest debt is to Heyman's own family, which is owed $3.8 million. Heyman himself has also declared personal bankruptcy in the wake of ECW's demise, since he pretty much invested every penny of his own money into the company as well. Other large debts are $1 million owed to video game company Acclaim, $300,000 to FarmClub, $250,000 to a toy maker company, $150,000 to InDemand PPV, and more. A few of those companies owe ECW some money but not nearly as much as they owe them. InDemand PPV actually owes ECW $800,000 which makes them the only company that owes ECW more money than ECW owes them. Another big source of the debt is money they owe to various television stations that they had syndication deals with ($244,000 to MSG Cable in New York for example), money owed to several wrestlers, ad agencies, print shops, security companies, arenas, radio stations, lighting and production companies, lawyers, accounting firms, hospitals, travel expenses...you name it and ECW probably owes them something.
Most surprisingly, ECW owes the WWF some money. For years, WWF and ECW have had a friendly relationship but both sides always denied rumors of WWF helping to fund them. Obviously there was some assistance there, because the bankruptcy filings show that ECW owes WWF almost $600,000 on two loans taken out in recent months, as it seems Heyman apparently accepted Vince's money as a last ditch effort to survive. ECW listed its tape library as being valued at $500,000. Since ECW obviously can't repay WWF what they owe, Dave expects ECW to give WWF its tape library and future rights to them to settle the debt. The tape library isn't valuable to any of the other creditors (for instance, FarmClub isn't interested in the ECW footage) but WWF would surely be interested. But the courts will have to sort all that out. At one point, WWF apparently had interest in buying ECW, but their massive debt seems to have kept them from ever doing so.
As far as former ECW wrestlers who are owed money: RVD is owed $150K. Tommy Dreamer is owed $100K. Joey Styles is owed $50K. Rhino is owed $50K. Shane Douglas is owed $48K. Francine is owed $9K. Tajiri is owed $5K. Super Crazy is owed $5K. Victor Quinones, who works as Tajiri and Super Crazy's business manager, is owed $12K. And unknown amounts are also owed to Sinister Minister and New Jack. The filing claims that ECW does not owe any money to Sabu or Steve Corino, both of whom left ECW on really bad terms with Heyman. Anyway, any money ECW receives from here on out, from selling assets or moneys owed by InDemand and other royalties, will go towards paying off all the people who are owed.
Yet another wrestling company appears to be biting the dust. Power Pro Wrestling in Memphis was informed by their TV network that they were no longer going to be funding live studio tapings, which is primarily where all of PPW's money comes from. Wrestling on WMC channel 5 in Memphis has been a huge ratings draw since the 70s and they were the only local TV station in the country still paying for local weekly wrestling programming. And even though PPW was still doing good ratings locally, WMC has decided they no longer want to keep paying for it. While different companies have held the time slot over the years, it's always been a handful of the same people running those companies. The death of Power Pro is arguably the death of the last real surviving "territory." Dave recaps the history of wrestling on this channel, from the peak of the 80s and the rise of Jerry Lawler, the formation of USWA, the messy death of USWA, and formation of PPW in 1998 to now. The last 3 years for PPW have been eventful, with a bunch of issues with Lawler leading to the formation of a competing local company on a different channel (Memphis Championship Wrestling) and then those 2 later coming together to work an inter-promotional angle. Then WWF pulling their developmental deal from them when Lawler quit WWF hurt them. But anyway, without the local TV deal, it's unknown how or if PPW will continue to operate. (They don't. This is the end of the road for Power Pro. That's 3 American promotions dead within the first four months of 2001.)
More controversy over WWF's adult content has caused them to lose another major advertiser this week and they also got smacked down by the Canadian Broadcast Standards group. The Canadian group ruled that TSN was responsible for airing warning advisories and things like that and it led to TSN editing a lot of stuff off this week's Raw. The angle at the end of Raw with Austin and Triple H beating Lita down with chairshots was heavily edited, with them showing several minutes of crowd shots while the beating went on. Sky Sports in the UK is expected to edit that out when the show airs later this week also (yeah if you've never seen that angle, it's brutal). Meanwhile, Pep Boys pulled their advertising from Smackdown due to pressure from the PTC. MSNBC aired a Brian Williams special doing the same "is this appropriate for kids?" angle that everyone else uses, showing a lot of the most controversial clips and talking about how women are degraded. A lot of this controversy stems from McMahon's recent Bob Costas interview, which caught the WWF a lot of flak and the whole Trish-barking-like-a-dog angle, which doesn't play well with people in the real world. Costas was interviewed and talked about Vince's behavior during the interview and dismissed it, saying Vince is a showman and you can't take his antics like that seriously.
Good news for the XFL! This week's NBC game (the final game of the regular season) drew a 1.7 rating which was NOT the all time lowest rated program in the history of the big 4 television networks. It was the SECOND lowest. So....progress? Then again, the UPN game did a 0.6 rating. UPN isn't one of the big 4 networks, but Dave says a 0.6 is still the lowest network rating he's ever seen.
Interesting note from the poll results. The question is what was the best match from WM17. And the winner, with almost 32% of the vote....Benoit vs. Angle. Which, yeah, that was a great match but the one that everyone remembers is the TLC match and that only got 15% of the vote. Rock/Austin is also remembered way more these days. Weird how time changes perspectives like that. Also, when asked the greatest WM match of all time, Savage/Steamboat is still the winner in this poll. Although it only beat Austin/Bret by less than 1% of the vote.
AAA wrestler Charly Manson was seriously injured during a ladder match. He was pushed off the ladder and was supposed to go through tables outside the ring, but it just sorta went wrong and he missed. He landed on his head on the concrete and also managed to break his femur bone. After hitting his head, he suffered a severe concussion and word is he nearly died. He was hospitalized and ended up needing blood transfusions and word is it was a horrifying spot (I did have a video of this when I first wrote this up months ago, but the Youtube channel has since been deleted).
Juventud Guerrera has quit CMLL. He had a lot of heat there from guys who felt like he came in with a big superstar attitude coming off his years in WCW. Guerrera also was said to have an issue with not wanting to do jobs and basically just wasn't welcomed in the CMLL locker room. When he was booked to be in a low undercard match on a recent CMLL show, he simply quit the company instead.
There's talk that Riki Choshu may be replaced as the booker of NJPW. He's been the guy booking things since the early 90s and was the brain behind the last decade of NJPW's huge successes. But the company has clearly been on a decline for the last year, due to a failure to create new stars that connected with fans and a lot of questionable decisions in the overall direction of the company (not yet, he holds on to the job for another year, most of which he spends fighting with Inoki over the direction of NJPW).
Antonio Inoki finally admitted this week that there won't be a Mike Tyson match against Naoya Ogawa, making it sound as if the deal had fallen apart (of course, in reality, there was never a deal to begin with). If you recall, several weeks back, Inoki announced that Tyson had agreed to the match, which forced Tyson's manager to put out a statement basically saying, "We've never spoken to these people and have no idea what this old carny is talking about."
NJPW isn't interested in spending big money to bring in any of the big name U.S. stars who are now looking for work since ECW and WCW folded. Basically, those guys all want too much money. Scott Hall is earning about $12,000-per-week and that's pretty much the max limit that NJPW is willing to spend.
Vampiro is attempting to get booked in Mexico. He was one of the guys let go by WCW and WWF didn't have any interest, so now he's looking to go back to where he first became a star.
Hulk Hogan is still in talks with Universal to try to get them onboard as a backer for a new wrestling promotion, but those talks have been off-and-on forever now, with no end in sight. Hogan's also interested in working with them on a Hulkster-themed restaurant.
Various other wrestling notes: Fusient is still interested in getting involved in wrestling, but without a TV deal, they don't seem to have any real plans. Meanwhile, Urban Pro Wrestling, which started up a few months ago, looks to already be folded.
All of WCW's old syndicated time slots for the old World Wide show are now available because WWF decided not to keep them. Nashville promoter Bert Prentice snatched up the time slot in Nashville and is now airing a new promotion called USA Championship Wrestling in the old WCW slot.
Superstar Billy Graham is working on an autobiography and Dave was able to read a sample chapter which was about his career in the 70s and Dave says it's really good and honest and he looks forward to the full book some day.
Dusty Rhodes wants to run a PPV in Charlotte in November, but his Turnbuckle Wrestling promotion doesn't have any TV coverage and draws almost no fans, so Dave's not sure how he's gonna pull that off.
There's been a proposal to set up a Pro Wrestling Hall of Fame and this week, a fundraiser for it was held in New York. Several city leaders were in attendance and talked of patterning it after the Boxing HOF. Killer Kowalski, George Steele, and others were in attendance as well. This idea has been discussed for awhile and in the past, both WCW and ECW had expressed support for it but, well....you know. Meanwhile, WWF hasn't expressed any support for it. Dave points out that WWF has their own Hall of Fame (as did WCW), but the inductions are so political rather than merit-based that no one takes it seriously.
On TV, they announced that Rock had been suspended. This was done to write him off TV for awhile so he can take acting lessons and work on filming the Scorpion King movie that he's starring in. If PPV buyrates go down, they may work out a way to bring him back for those shows, but otherwise, the plan is to keep him off TV until July or August. Dave doesn't know why they didn't just do an injury angle since that would at least make sense. In kayfabe, Linda McMahon should simply be able to overturn his suspension and bring him back and the fact that she hasn't is kind of a huge plot hole, but whatever.
The first WCW-brand taping was scheduled for next month in Trenton, NJ but it has been postponed. Now it looks like the first taping for the new WCW will take place in June. It's important for WWF to make sure they have everything in order and don't rush things because they only have one chance to relaunch WCW properly. The whole thing is still a work in progress, as they still don't have a roster established or office employees, referees, agents, announcers, etc. Tentative plans for WCW's first show are in September, but again, until they get the infrastructure set up and start doing TV tapings, that could and probably will change. The plan is to fill out the roster with some of the undercard WWF names as well, although not any of the major stars like Rock or Triple H, at least not yet. Kevin Dunn and Jim Ross are in charge of putting all this stuff together and deciding who to put in all those office and backstage roles.
As you recall, WWF only picked up 24 of WCW's stars, mostly all the lower-card guys, but there has been communication with some of the bigger name stars. WWF has spoken with Goldberg, Flair, DDP, Scott Steiner, Sting, and others in recent weeks, but so far, nothing is close to happening. Goldberg and Flair are unlikely because they're still collecting big WCW contracts that they don't want to give up. DDP is said to be on the fence. Steiner doesn't have the best reputation, but he won over some supporters at the final Nitro by working injured and putting over Booker T clean, so they're at least open to talking to him. Sting is in the same boat as the other guys, and isn't going to give up his big WCW contract. Booker T going to WWF is said to be almost a sure-thing so expect him soon. But that's about it right now.
There's been talk of Ric Flair getting involved in starting up an indie promotion in the Carolinas with David Crockett, but Dave ain't buying it. Flair's contract right now prevents him from appearing on any other wrestling event, even indies. And if he takes a buy out and gets out of that contract, he's 100% going to WWF, not slumming it with a local start-up indie. But Crockett is said to be putting together a plan to run shows in the area and he wants Flair involved somehow.
David Flair was given word that he will be getting a WWF developmental deal and will be sent to either OVW or MCW.
Now that WWF owns the name "World Championship Wrestling," the Turner company has opened up a new company called Universal Wrestling Corporation, which is basically just a front company in order to collect any money still owed, handle outstanding debts, settle any remaining business needs, etc. that WCW still had pending. Speaking of...
Former WCW wrestlers still under contract to TurneUWC have been told point blank that if they work any shows whatsoever, they will be immediately fired for breach of contract. Many of the wrestlers are upset by it, feeling they were misled in earlier contract negotiations. Many of the guys over the last year or so had their deals restructured with a lower guarantee, but with the promise of additional money from house shows. But of course, WCW soon after stopped doing house show entirely and now those guys who are still under those contracts can't work shows for anyone else either. On the other hand, some of the non-wrestlers are actually in a good position. Jimmy Hart, for example, is under contract until March of 2002 but his deal specifically allows him to work for other promotions and do indie dates because many of the non-wrestler contracts were written differently than the wrestlers. Gene Okerlund and Arn Anderson are believed to have similar deals.
In the Sonny Onoo racial discrimination lawsuit against WCW, the judge threw out Turner's motion to dismiss the case, so that is still ongoing. Dave says the case may have gotten a lot stronger now, because there's a lot of people who used to work in WCW's front offices who know a lot of dirt and who no longer have to worry about losing their jobs if they speak out since, well, they already lost them. Plus, a lot of those former office employees are very bitter and pissed about the way WCW ended and how they got laid off, because they were kept in the dark about everything up until the last minute. Most of them found out WCW was closing the same way all of us did: when the news broke on the internet. So those people all lost their jobs and a lot of them have axes to grind about it. Needless to say, Onoo's team likely won't have a problem finding disgruntled ex-WCW employees willing to help their case.
Ric Flair has finalized a deal to do an autobiography, which is expected to be at least partially ghostwritten by Mark Madden (Flair's book eventually comes out in 2004, under WWE. Mark Madden is listed as an editor on it).
Wrestlemania 18 is tentatively penciled in for Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, FL but that could easily change. There are a few other cities under consideration and they have to do site surveys and whatnot to make sure the location works for them.
Notes from Raw: Dave calls it "a middle age soap opera, billed as Raw Is War." He says that after only a month, it's already clear how the lack of competition is making WWF complacent. With Rock gone to film "Scorpion King," it's the perfect time to try to push new babyfaces to the top. And they did. In this case: the whole show was built around Jim Ross and Linda McMahon. Dave jokes that he actually misses all the horrible Lex Luger matches on Nitro he could have been watching instead of the Jim Ross show. They did a long video package "for that company they own that just lost $80 million dollars." He clarifies that he's talking about the XFL, not WCW. Man, Dave is just full of cheeky jokes this week. And it ended with Austin and Triple H destroying Lita with brutal chairshots. Dave is torn on this. On one hand, it was an incredible angle and the heat was off the charts, and as a fan, he loved it. But from a business perspective, after all the controversy they've gotten, especially from the Lionel Tate case, having the WWF's top star absolutely brutalizing a woman half his size with a chair is sure to be controversial, and in fact, in several international markets, it was cut from the broadcast (as mentioned previously, TSN in Canada showed a bunch of crowd shots instead).American Dragon (Daniel Bryan) and Jerry Lynn worked a dark match before the show that was said to be the best match of the entire night. Low Ki also worked a match for the Jakked taping and impressed people as well. At one point during the show, Funaki accidentally left the Japanese flag laying on the top of the stage after their match. It was still there later when Kane came out and his pyro caught the flag on fire. It just sat there on the stage burning for about 2 minutes before a crew member wandered over to extinguish it.
Notes from Smackdown tapings: Prototype (John Cena) worked a dark match against former WCW wrestler Crowbar. Jeff Hardy hit Stephanie McMahon with a twist of fate and then later in the show in the main event, he won the IC title from Triple H. Dave doesn't think the title change had been planned in advance, but the angle from Raw was so hot and the Hardyz are super over right now (Jeff especially) so they just went with it and decided to switch the title to Hardy.
There's nothing new on the Shawn Michaels situation. His original role at Wrestlemania was supposed to have him interfere in the Triple H/Undertaker match, presumably costing Triple H the match and leading to a match with them. But whatever happened the week before put an end to that and right now, Shawn's name is simply a topic that no one is openly discussing.
When recapping this week's Smackdown, Dave offhandedly predicts that within another 18 months or so, Kurt Angle will probably be the best performer in the entire business. Spoiler: yup.
The XFL has announced new extra point rules just in time for the playoffs to start. After a touchdown, the team can put the ball on the 1-yard line for a 1 point play, the 5-yard line for a 2-point play, or the 10-yard line for a 3 point play. Dave thinks dumb ass rule changes like this right before the playoffs pretty much cements the XFL's reputation as a Mickey Mouse bullshit league and in the very unlikely event the XFL returns for a 2nd season, it'll probably be taken even less seriously than it already is. But Dave is clearly already writing an obituary for the XFL.
Speaking of, NBC is ready to bail on it. NBC is expected to wait until after the championship game before they make an announcement about whether they will broadcast a 2nd season. But those close to the situation say it's already decided, with one NBC executive calling the XFL "one of the biggest black eyes in NBC history." NBC has a 2-year contract with the WWF as partners in the league, but the sources said NBC is willing to go to court and fight it if they have to rather than air another season.
The XFL can't even do good things right. The San Francisco Demons team offered to help build a new locker room facility at Diablo Valley Junior College. That's where the XFL Demons team practices. The new building will cost $750,000 to build and the XFL planned to contribute $500,000 to it ("there goes the Summerslam gate," Dave quips). But the school's higher ups are hesitant to accept the money because they don't want to be associating with or accepting money from Vince McMahon, who, well, doesn't have the most upstanding reputation. So now there's a big debate over whether accepting the money from WWF, knowing the types of things they broadcast and the reputation they have, and whether it sends a good message to students. "Yes, it has come to this," Dave adds.
There are some wrestlers who are still under WCW contracts that are close to expiring (they work on 90-day cycles) and WWF isn't interested in them. Vampiro, Christopher Daniels, and Michael Modest were all informed this week that WWF is passing on them and when their WCW contracts expire soon, best of luck in their endeavors.
The Rock has been offered the lead role in a movie based on the Duke Nukem video game (that movie never happened, but as of 2019, they're still planning to make it and John Cena was recently rumored to be starring. Time is a flat circle).
WWF spoke with Pete Rose about making another appearance at Wrestlemania this year, but it didn't work out for some reason. But the plan was for him to hide in the crowd wearing a mask and then hit Kane with a garbage can during the hardcore match. Of course, it would have resulted in Rose being unmasked and tombstoned, as is tradition, but alas, it didn't happen this year.
OVW had a big show at the Louisville Gardens this week. Well....it was supposed to be a big show but it wasn't. Last time OVW held a show at that arena, they drew about 5,000 fans. Now to be fair, that show featured Steve Austin, Kane, The Hardyz, Lita, Benoit, and more. So....obviously, they packed the building. But the idea was OVW would bring in all these WWF stars, and the OVW guys would put on a strong show, and the next time, they would hopefully be able to draw a decent crowd on their own. Didn't work. As mentioned, the last show drew 5,000 fans. This show, without any WWF stars.....drew 150 paid. Dave thinks it's another sign of the business in decline. No matter how good the OVW guys are, without WWF star power, no one cares. Anyway, Dave runs down the results. Imagine a show with Batista, Shelton Benjamin, Brock Lesnar, Randy Orton, and more only drawing 150 people. Anyway, Dave thinks this Orton kid is gonna make it big because he's already pretty good and he's only 20. He also thinks Lesnar will probably do pretty well because he's shown a lot of improvement in a short amount of time already. Rico Constantino is ready right now and should already be in WWF, he's got great heel charisma. He also thinks they should hurry up and put Prototype in OVW and start doing something with him because he's got a ton of potential too. While they're at it, a lot of those young WCW stars they signed up probably would benefit from some developmental seasoning now so that when the new WCW show finally happens, they'll all have a little more experience within the WWF system.
Dave got his hands on a list for all the Wrestlemania numbers from the past 17 years, adjusted for inflation. When taking inflation into account, Wrestlemania 6 would be the biggest gate ever in North America, with this year's WM17 in second place, WM3 in third place, WM5, then WM4.
Whole bunch of letters this week. A ton of them about the Vince McMahon/Bob Costas interview and none of it good. Vince going on that show and acting a fool has pretty much made even the staunchest WWF fans have a hard time defending him.
Honky Tonk Man writes in to trash Jerry Lawler. Let's just read it, shall we?
Your Jerry Lawler interview was the most b.s. from one person I've ever heard. The nerve of this asshole to send Vince a letter begging for a job. Just where Vince wants him. After all the comments he made on television in the 80s about Vince and the WWF, he has gotten a free ride until now. I wish you would have called him out on all this b.s. Wayne "Honky Tonk Man" Farris
WEDNESDAY:more on the death of Power Pro Wrestling, tons of details on WCW relaunch plans, Rock planning to leave wrestling for a movie career, and more...
Going through old issues of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter and posting highlights in my own words. For anyone interested, I highly recommend signing up for the actual site at f4wonline and checking out the full archives. PREVIOUS YEARS ARCHIVE: 1991 • 1992 • 1993 • 1994 • 1995 • 1996 • 1997 • 1998 • 1999
There's a lot of rumors swirling around about a potential WCW sale happening within the next couple of weeks, but there's a lot of information floating around so who knows what's true and what's not. A source close to the situation says that Eric Bischoff, with financial backing from Mandalay Bay Sports & Entertainment and is expected to take charge of the company. Reportedly, if the deal goes through, Vince Russo is gone and many involved say he's well aware of that fact and is behaving like someone who knows he already has one foot out the door. Russo is not going to Australia with the rest of the crew this week, despite the fact that they will be doing several TV tapings there, which many found strange. Hulk Hogan called into the Bubba The Love Sponge show and talked about Bischoff and the Mandalay Bay Sports thing as if it was a done deal and that Hogan himself would have power in the company. Hogan implied that it would be the end of Russo in WCW and openly laughed about all the young WCW wrestlers he claimed were now sucking up to him after complaining that he held them down for years, because Hogan's kind of a twat if you hadn't heard. Anyway, if the deal goes through, it's expected Randy Savage will be brought back as well.
For whatever it's worth, the Mandalay company purchased the domain names WCWextreme.com and WCWXtreme.com and a media trade magazine reported last week that Mandalay was in serious negotiations to buy WCW and that insiders expect a deal to be finalized by mid-October. The story quoted Jason Hervey, who, if the deal goes through, is expected to be a key business partner in the company. Several WCW office employees went to the Turner HR department asking questions and were basically told that if the company is sold or shuts down, they will receive severance pay. As of press time, most WCW wrestlers are getting ready to go on the Australia tour with no idea if they will still have jobs when they come back to America (obviously, this deal doesn't happen but we're officially in the beginning of the end stages for WCW now...).
Things are weird for ECW right now too. They have meetings scheduled with TNN this week to discuss the terms of their ongoing relationship or to possibly end it. WWF agreed to waive its exclusivity clause through the end of the year and TNN is willing to keep ECW on the air until then, as long as they can agree on some terms. ECW is willing to stay under the condition that they are allowed to leave before the end of the year if they can strike a new TV deal. All the ECW wrestlers are about a month behind on pay, but no one has yet filed a breach of contract in writing, which would be required in order to get out of their contracts. As of press time, ECW is still negotiating with USA Network and it's said to be close but USA head Barry Diller still hasn't approved it.
WWF released a profits report noting that profits would be about 8-10% lower than anticipated for the year, causing the stock to plummet from $19.75 to $12.75. The price steadied later in the week when the McMahon family announced it was making a stock buyback of up to $10 million to prop the price back up and stop the decline. I'm sure this all makes sense to somebody. That somebody is not me. The release talked about the XFL startup costs and predicted Steve Austin's return would boost business. The main reason for the lower profits was blamed on disappointing licensing numbers from the Jakks Pacific toys selling less than expected, among other things.
Linda McMahon held a press conference to try and smooth over things with the stockbrokers and said that the WWF is considering legal action against the Parents Television Council, claiming the PTC has made false statements about how they allegedly forced advertisers to stop sponsoring WWF. Linda McMahon said that many of them pulled out of the WWF before the PTC started its campaign. She also said that the PTC listed sponsors who never had deals with WWF in the first place, saying it's misleading and harmful to WWF to claim that they pulled their sponsorships when they never existed in the first place. Speaking of the PTC, their latest target is ConAgra, the company which manufactures Chef Boyardee among other things. Chef Boyardee has a huge ad campaign built around the WWF, with Mick Foley, Chris Jericho, and The Rock all doing commercials for them (the PTC is going to get fucked SO hard in court over this in about 2 years and it's delicious).
The Rock has reportedly signed a $5.5 million deal with Universal to play the lead role in The Scorpion King, a prequel to The Mummy 2 which he has a small role in. Vince McMahon will get an executive producer credit and it's expected to start filming next spring. Rock will be expected to spend about 6 months filming the movie. They may be able to work his schedule to allow him to do PPVs and some TVs during that period but for the most part, Rock is going to miss significant time away from WWF to film this. McMahon said the current plan is for the Rock to begin filming the movie after Wrestlemania, but with a looming possibility of a Hollywood strike being discussed, that could be moved up slightly.
ECW's Anarchy Rulz PPV is in the books and was a typically good show. Drew about 4,600 fans to a 7,000-seat arena and saw Jerry Lynn win the ECW title from Justin Credible. In typical ECW fashion, the television production was terrible at times. The show ended with a Limp Bizkit video which appeared to be part of a promotional deal with Farmclub.com, which, despite the name, is not actually a website. Well, it is that too. But it's actually a TV show. The name of the show was "Farmclub.com" and it aired on the USA Network for one season back in the day. Even though it's a USA show, the deal was made separately from the network so don't read into it as a sign of anything between ECW and USA. Otherwise, really nothing much else to say about the PPV. Decent matches, but nothing that's going to attract casual fans or do anything other than placate their current fanbase. ECW is pretty much just coasting along and trying to stay above water long enough for someone to throw them a life preserver.
Lots of questions regarding the futures of Vader and Too Cold Scorpio and their futures in Japan. This week, NOAH announced that both Vader and Scorpio would be appearing on its upcoming tour in October. But just recently, AJPW announced Scorpio would be on their October tour. Let's start with Vader first...he first made the decision to leave AJPW several months ago after he had elbow surgery, feeling like AJPW breached his contract and after seeing the split and realizing everyone was going to NOAH. But after seeing the potential for his role in the AJPW vs. NJPW feud, he started second guessing it, realizing that he could make huge money as the central focus of that feud if he stuck with AJPW. But then Vader met with Misawa in Hawaii 2 weeks ago and they made a deal, so Vader is now expected to sign a contract with NOAH that will keep him there through 2004. He's expected to return to action this week. His elbow surgery was considered nearly career ending, as he had torn ligaments and nerve damage as well as a broken wrist, which he had been working through. It led to his hand beginning to atrophy and his fingers curling up so he finally got surgery after the pain became unbearable. It was a 7 hour surgery and he was told there was less than a 50% chance he would regain full use of his hand. Vader's contract with AJPW stipulated that they would pay his medical bills if he were injured, but they didn't cover his surgery, so he claims they breached the contract. There's some question over that though and concern that AJPW could try to enforce their contract with Vader in order to prevent him signing with NOAH.
As for Too Cold Scorpio, AJPW claims he's under contract while Scorpio denies it and said he never had a contract with them. Motoko Baba has threatened to take legal action against both men and against Misawa and NOAH for contract tampering (AJPW loses that battle also. Scorpio ends up spending the next 6 years as a full-time star in NOAH).
On the flip side of that, AJPW shockingly announced that they plan to promote their own Tokyo Dome show in January, without the help of NJPW. Needless to say, that seems like madness right now for this company and Dave thinks they're out of their mind. They hinted that the main event would be Tenryu vs. Kawada and also talked about promoting it as a Giant Baba memorial show. And in that spirit, they also invited NOAH to participate in the show, since it's for Baba (and, let's be honest, since AJPW doesn't have a prayer of filling up the Tokyo Dome on their own. Anyway, yeah this show happens. NOAH turns down the invite but they end up heavily depending on NJPW after all).
More on amateur wrestler Alexander Karelin losing in the Olympics. It was actually his first loss in over 13 years. In fact, when his opponent (Rulon Gardner) scored a point on him in these Olympics, it was the first time in 7 years anyone had even scored a point on Karelin. Gardner's win is being called the biggest upset in Olympic wrestling history and some are even putting the "wrestling" part of that aside, with one historian saying it was an even bigger upset than the famous 1980 Miracle on Ice. That being said....the truth is Karelin kinda lost on a technicality, due to a relatively new rule. Karelin only lost the deciding point because he broke his grip a moment before Gardner did in a position where doing so cost him a point. Or some such shit. I dunno, I don't understand amateur wrestling. Anyway, Dave thinks it's an unfortunate way for Karelin's unparalleled streak to end. Anyway, Dave expects Gardner to get several pro wrestling and MMA offers, especially in Japan. WWF talked about it on Raw and even Rock put it over in a promo, leading Dave to think there's interest there. They struck gold with Kurt Angle and have high hopes for Shelton Benjamin and Brock Lesnar, but Gardner doesn't really have a good pro wrestling look (he never got into pro wrestling but he did have 1 fight in PRIDE a few years later, which he won).
More on Yuji Nagata's brother winning a silver medal in the Olympics, it was the lead story all over Japan and Yuji was interviewed by virtually every newscast. More than 70 reporters camped outside the NJPW dojo along with Nagata, Manabu Nakanishi, Wataru Inoue, and Hiroshi Tanahashi, to watch the match on television. It's expected that NJPW will have big interest in bringing in the younger Nagata as a possible junior heavyweight star (never happens. Dude makes one NJPW appearance, standing in Yuji's corner, and that's it. He never becomes a pro wrestler. He does dabble in MMA for awhile though).
One last bit of Olympics news just because I thought it was funny. If Karelin had won that match, he would have only been the 4th athlete in history to win 4 consecutive gold medals in that event. But British rower Steve Redgrave just won his 5th consecutive gold medal as part of the men's coxless team. "Can you imagine him being asked by someone in the general public what event he won his five gold medals in?" Dave quips. In case you're wondering (I was too, so I googled it), "coxless" is apparently some boat rowing shit.
Antonio Inoki recently had a meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Yoshiro Mori. Dave notes that before he was prime minister, Mori was a big political figure during Inoki's peak years and would often attend shows and meet with Inoki backstage.
A sitcom called "Nikki" about a Las Vegas showgirl who marries a wrestler debuts this week. It stars Nikki Cox in the title role. Kevin Nash, Hulk Hogan, and Fabulous Moolah have all filmed guest spots for the show (this didn't last long).
Olivia Walker, a woman who was the most famous robe maker in the business, passed away this week. Throughout the 70s and 80s, she designed and made those big beautiful robes for all of the top stars, including Ric Flair, Greg Valentine, Buddy Lanel, Mr. Wrestling II, and Tommy Rich.
City officials in Gorham, ME cancelled an indie show there last month. Why, you ask? Because one of the heel wrestlers cut a promo, trashing the city and calling it the "bunghole of Maine." City officials were so upset that they shut the show down. The local paper later published an article, ripping on the city officials for not understanding that talking shit about the town you're in is a classic wrestling trick to get heat. The promotion is now running shows around the city, promoting themselves as the company that's banned in Gorham.
Paul Heyman finally got all the paperwork and visa issues fixed up for Super Crazy and Tajiri to return, so expect them back soon.
Notes from Nitro: they started an angle with Goldberg saying that he has to start a new undefeated streak. If he loses before he beats his previous record (173-0, although that's not actually a legit number), then he will be fired. If he beats that number, only then will he get a world title match. Dave points out that WCW only runs 5-8 shows per month now so it'll probably be 2003 before Goldberg hits 173. But WCW can't keep an angle consistent for more than 2 weeks, let alone 2 years, so don't hold your breath. Actor Chuck Zito was there to plug his TV series Oz (still one of the most underrated and greatest shows of all time. At least for the first 4 seasons...). Russo vacated the world title and they had a match with Booker T and Jarrett with 4 poles around the ring and a box on each poll. The title was in one of them. A blowup doll, a coal miner's glove, and a framed picture of Scott Hall were in the other 3 (the match that gave us this classic gif: https://i.imgur.com/hq3vHMy.gif). Dave points out other gaping plotholes in this match (like the referee doing the classic arm-drop-3-times bit in a match that could only be won or lost by getting the title out of the right box) and says it's sad because Booker T and Jarrett had a damn good match otherwise, but all the nonsensical on-a-pole gimmickry just killed it. Oh yeah, did I mention Beetlejuice from the Howard Stern show got involved in the finish? Because he did. Blowup dolls and Beetlejuice in a world title match? Just Russo things. Anyway, Booker T defeated Jarrett in this catch-as-catch-can mat classic so he's the champion again. Also, Mike Tenay was originally booked to wrestle Midajah on this show but it got scrapped for some reason.
WCW's March PPV has been moved to Jacksonville, FL. It was originally scheduled for the Skydome in Toronto which would have been a disaster of epic proportions (and that, as it turns out, would be WCW's final PPV ever. Tick-tock...)
Bill DeMott (Captain Rection) did an interview with the Observer's website and noted that he had suffered 6 concussions in 3 weeks from doing hardcore matches against Fit Finlay and Brian Knobs and said he was told by doctors last October that he should retire due to brain damage. He said he can't read street signs anymore, gets nauseous, and sometimes loses his balance, but he decided to come back anyway and is still wrestling. He said he wants to finish out the year he has left on his contract and then retire (nope. Went to WWE, continued wrestling until 2003ish and still did a handful of indie shows after that before finally retiring into a career of bullying trainees).
Insane Clown Posse quit WCW again. Apparently they were asked to do a job to somebody at Thunder, so they no-showed. Dave thinks it's almost comical that he's having to write these words yet again.
At a WCW house show, a 5-year-old child in the front row punched Great Muta in the face. So for the rest of the match, he was selling the punch, including going back to where the child was sitting and then backing off like he was scared of him. Awwww! Wholesome Muta. Shoulda misted the kid.
Juventud Guerrera's knee injury last week wasn't as serious as believed, only hyperextended. He should be back in action by the time you read this. He just signed a new 2-year deal last week (he'll be fired by next week).
Meng has been telling people that he is retiring after this week (nah)
There was a rumor going around that WWF was going to buy WCW and the rumor was fueled by none other than....Antonio Inoki. After leaving Los Angeles this week, Inoki arrived home to Japan and was met by reporters and he told them that WWF would be buying WCW. Dave says Inoki likely doesn't have any inside knowledge of anything and is probably just talking out of his ass, as he's apt to do. But since it's Inoki, it got a bunch of coverage over there anyway. (Turns out Inoki knew a little bit more than Dave did at this point. WWF was indeed secretly negotiating to buy WCW at this time but we'll get to that very soon.)
TNN President Brian Hughes was interviewed on the Observer website also and mostly discussed the concerns over the content of Raw, saying that there may be some changes in what kind of language is acceptable on TNN as opposed to what they could get away with on USA, but otherwise, he trusts that WWF won't cross the line. He also said ECW will be on the air through Oct. 6th, but they haven't discussed anything past that, and that he couldn't legally discuss WWF's decision to waive their exclusivity clause to allow ECW to stay through the end of the year (Oct. 6th ends up being the final ECW on TNN show).
Billy Gunn returned on Raw (looking huge) and they eliminated him as a suspect in the Austin hit-and-run but Gunn said he did see the driver and said they had blonde hair. So Dave figures Debra is now the likely suspect.
WWF filed a lawsuit against the William Morris Agency over some financial issues. WWF and WMA had a partnership and the agency is now demanding money for deals that WWF claims they had no part in making, in particular the Viacom deal and the XFL/NBC deal, among other things. The WWF argues that the WMA had no part in putting those deals together and thus isn't entitled to any commissions from it. WWF also claims that they terminated the partnership back in 1999 due to being unsatisfied with the relationship so WMA can fuck right on off (not sure what ever becomes of this. Decided to do a little research. It looks like WME counter-sued and it dragged on for a few years. Best I can tell from vague SEC filings, there was a settlement in 2003 and I don't think it went in WWE's favor).
Chyna was on Howard Stern's show to promote her new Playboy issue and he told her that in the photos, she looked kinda like she had a guy's body, but said she looks more attractive in person. But otherwise, he mostly went easy on her, at least by Stern-standards. He asked a lot of questions about her sex life, which seemed to embarrass her. She said she lives with Triple H and said he's her boyfriend. She denied ever taking steroids (....) and said she eats lots of red meat. She ripped on Nicole Bass, saying she couldn't wrestle and scoffed at her sexual harassment lawsuit. She also talked a lot of shit about both of her parents, saying her mom kicked her out of her home at 15. She admitted to breast implants but danced around the questions about ever having facial cosmetic surgery. She said she had jawline surgery to correct an underbite but wouldn't cop to anything else. Even though Chyna was there to promote herself in Playboy, Stern spent a lot of the time fawning over Marissa McMahon, who is Shane's wife and works as WWF's publicist and who accompanied Chyna to the studio. Marissa tried to downplay it and put the attention back on Chyna, but Stern wasn't having it (I can't find clips of this particular appearance, but Chyna appeared on there several more times over the years, often in tragically sad condition).
Various WWF notes: Undertaker has another groin injury and may be kept out of the ring until the PPV later this month (he ended up missing it). Jim Ross is negotiating contract extensions for Al Snow, K-Krush, and Lita. Charles Barkley was a guest at Jerry Lawler and The Kat's wedding (came out later that he actually paid for it, according to JR).
Mick Foley did a speaking engagement somewhere and was asked if he was going to be the driver who ran over Austin. Foley said McMahon approached him about it, but he turned it down because he has a Christmas book coming out marketed for kids and he doesn't want to be a heel when it does.
Big Show, British Bulldog, Ken Shamrock, and Lillian Garcia have been removed from WWF's upcoming video game. The games has an 80-person roster that includes Earl Hebner, Linda McMahon, and "a ho" so needless to say...a little weird. But there seems to be a lack of confidence that Big Show or Bulldog will ever really return to the company, Lillian isn't a wrestler, and of course, Shamrock is already gone (man, they really didn't have a lot of faith in Big Show around this time).
1998 Playboy Playmate of the Year Karen McDougal has reportedly signed a deal to be a cheerleader for the XFL and appear in commercials for the league. (She's a bit more famous these days for other reasons...)
A Philadelphia newspaper ran a story on Darren Drozdov, noting that he's still paralyzed from the chest down and that he needs others to feed him. He said he was told by doctors that he may get some feeling back a little at a time or it may never happen at all, and now it's just a waiting game. Droz got married to a WWF seamstress about a month after the injury and they bought a new home where Droz spends most of his time. The WWF paid to have a $180,000 elevator installed in the home to allow him to go between the first-and-second floors of the house. Droz said even though it's been a year since the injury, he's still in shock from it and wants to eventually help people with similar injuries and do charity work, but admitted that he's not ready mentally to be doing that (becoming paralyzed is one of my biggest fears in life. I can't imagine. Ugh, poor guy).
Both the Calgary Flames of the NHL and DC Comics have threatened lawsuits over the XFL team name for the New York Hitmen. The Flames own a minor league hockey team called the Hitmen, while DC Comics claims to own a trademark for the "Hit Men" name (XFL ends up using it anyway).
FRIDAY:WWF in talks to buy WCW? More on Bischoff/WCW sale rumors, AJPW vs. NJPW match packs the Tokyo Dome, Juventud Guerrera arrested in Australia, and more...
Going through old issues of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter and posting highlights in my own words. For anyone interested, I highly recommend signing up for the actual site at f4wonline and checking out the full archives. PREVIOUS YEARS ARCHIVE:1991 • 1992 • 1993 • 1994 • 1995 • 1996 • 1997 • 1998
Me the last couple of days Anyway, only one more Rewind after today. Monday will be the last post for 1999 and then I'll take a few weeks off (not sure yet, either 3 or 4) and start back up with 2000.
WWF Armageddon is in the books and Dave says it was a weird show, built around one match, Triple H vs. Vince McMahon. Vince was entertaining but he's not a wrestler. Earlier in the day, Triple H injured his knee practicing for the match so Dave gives him props for carrying Vince through a 30-minute clusterfuck on one leg and making it watchable. As a match goes it was pretty terrible, but the finish with Stephanie turning heel was really well done. Other notes from the PPV: Kurt Angle came out to no reaction and the crowd chanted "boring" during his match with Steve Blackman. Which is kinda the point of Angle's gimmick but....the match was boring and that's not good. Jericho vs. Chyna was actually the best wrestling match on the show, which is 100% due to Jericho carrying her. During the main event, they kept saying Vince McMahon was 53 which prompts Dave to tell a funny story: he says back in August of 1991, he had a conversation with Vince just a few days before his birthday. They got to talking about it and Vince said he was going to be 45 or 46. Dave asked which is it. He replied ("and I swear I'm not making this up" Dave says) that he honestly didn't know. Dave asked if he was born in 1945 or 1946 and Vince said 1945. So Dave said that would make him 46 and Vince replied, "Well, I guess so." So anyway....he's 54.
And oh yeah...there was the evening gown match. On Monday morning, WWF sent out a press release that read, "During the World Wrestling Federation's TV-14 rated pay-per-view event, titled Armageddon, on Sunday, December 12, 1999, an overzealous Miss Kitty flashed her breasts for less than 1 second in the 4 Corner Evening Gown Pool Match for the WWF Women's title. WWF censors immediately placed a towel over her chest. The WWF apologizes for this unauthorized exposure." So, do you buy it? Dave sure as shit doesn't. Considering they essentially hyped it up on TV the week before and since Sgt. Slaughter was right off camera with a towel immediately ready to cover her up, it's pretty obvious that it was planned. With all the content concerns lately, WWF losing advertisers, and the stock plummeting because of it, Dave thinks Vince really must have balls the size of grapefruits to risk doing something like this right now, but says his brains are apparently a lot smaller. Obviously, the stockholders came down hard on Vince which is why the next morning they put out the press release blaming it all on Miss Kitty and didn't acknowledge it at all the next night on Raw, which obviously would have been a big selling point for the replay. But Miss Kitty was on Raw and there's no word that she's been punished. If she had actually done that of her own accord, she would almost certainly have been fired on the spot. Sooooooo, ya know.
That being said, Dave doesn't feel like this should be a problem on PPV. It's not free TV. This was a pay-for event and it was specifically advertised that this match was going to have women ripping each others' clothes off. It's not like kids accidentally stumbled across some tits while flipping through channels. And it's a lot tamer than most movies that air on PPV. So for the PPV aspect of it, Dave doesn't see an issue. But as a live event, the situation is different. It's a live show, with a live crowd, and a lot of children were in that crowd. Dave can definitely see problems with that and says if WWF wants to do spots like this, with actual nudity, they should probably have a minimum age limit. To claim it was all an accident afterward, that Miss Kitty did it without asking, is pretty clearly dishonest. Sable's lawsuit went on record stating that WWF had repeatedly asked her to do the same thing and she had always refused. Several months ago, Phil Mushnick reported that he had heard from a source that WWF was planning to do exactly this sort of thing on PPV, and Vince McMahon went on TV and called him a liar. Of course, they later had Jacquelyn lose her top at the UK PPV and now this, so once again, Mushnick is kinda vindicated, whether wrestling fans like him or not.
This week's Nitro was the lowest rated show since Russo took over and in fact was the 2nd lowest rated Nitro in over three years.
Steve Williams is working an upcoming AJPW tour, which may cause him issues with WCW since they have a relationship with NJPW. Williams is working on a per-night deal with WCW, he's not under contract. Word is he wasn't expected to stick around WCW long anyway, because Russo was the one who was pushing to get rid of him when he was in WWF, so it's not like he was wanted anyway. But they needed Williams to go along with the Oklahoma/Ed Ferrara gimmick to mock Jim Ross, so that's why they brought him in but that angle is basically dead now. (Yup that was the end of his brief run in WCW.)
In NJPW, on the last show of the year (and century and millennium), Genichiro Tenryu beat Keiji Muto to become the IWGP champion. The win makes him only the 2nd person to ever win both the IWGP and AJPW Triple Crown titles (Vader being the other). At 49, Tenryu is also the oldest major world champion in Japanese history. Dave thinks it's a weird choice. NJPW is a lot like WCW right now, in that they need to be elevating new stars, not relying on old ones. Dave expects he'll lose it to Kensuke Sasaki, who is a younger guy being groomed as a top star, but he's not as over as they'd like him to be yet.
Beyond The Mat will be released in theaters early next year. ABC 20/20 did a story on the movie and interviewed WWF PR person Jim Byrne, who trashed the film and said it gives a distorted view of pro wrestling and claimed that many of the scenes were staged. He in particular claimed that the scenes with Mick Foley's kids crying watching the chair shots at Royal Rumble last year were staged, which Dave says is most definitely not true and that was as real as it gets. Needless to say, WWF is trying to distance themselves from this one and they're especially concerned with the images of horrified children crying because it plays into the media stories of wrestling being psychologically damaging to kids who can't distinguish that the violence isn't real.
Paul Heyman is still trying to get WWF to let Shawn Michaels appear on ECW's next PPV in January but no word on if it'll happen or not.
TNN put out a press release touting that Dusty Rhodes was on this week's ECW show and played it up as if he was one of many stars to defect from WCW over to ECW. The press release also mentioned Raven, Sandman, Mikey Whipwreck, James Vandenburg, 2 Cold Scorpio, Super Calo, and Ray Lloyd as people who all quit WCW to go to ECW. Well, for starters, Ray Lloyd (Glacier) isn't even in ECW, he was just backstage at a show recently. The rest of those guys (except Raven) were all fired by WCW, they didn't quit to go to ECW. And in fact, Scorpio was fired by WCW, like, 5 years ago. The only person who belongs on the list is Raven, who really did walk away from a big money WCW contract to go back to ECW. The rest all pretty much went only because they got fired and WWF didn't want them (this press release is pretty much the sum total of promotion that TNN ever did for ECW).
Speaking of Dusty Rhodes, Dave recaps the angle with him on ECW with Steve Corino and Dave is just befuddled at all these fans cheering the hell out of Dusty when he was introduced as the man who put hardcore wrestling on the map. "Suffice to say, there will be a time when Hogan is 55 and he'll be long gone from the mainstream and be looking for one last pop and a small promoter nine years from now will be looking for a big pop and Hogan will be introduced as the main who put hardcore wrestling on the map and the hardcore fans of the day will give him a standing ovation." Dave says about 12 years ago, Dusty was, by far, the most hated man in the business by the hardcore fans (aka the ECW fans). Worse than Hogan or Warrior ever were. Dave says it got so bad at one point that he stopped doing live interviews in the studio in Atlanta on the live TV show because he was supposed to be the top babyface and he would get booed out of the studio. Dave also says Dusty once threatened the PWI magazine people that if they didn't give him the Most Popular Wrestler award (during Hogan's 80s prime and Piper had just turned babyface and was almost as popular as Hogan), he would bar their photographers and reporters from Crockett shows. But anyway, time makes people forget I guess.
Despite ratings still being in the toilet, WCW is reportedly sticking with Russo and giving him plenty of time to turn the ship around. He's convinced them that it's going to take 6 months or so before they start seeing changes in the ratings, which Dave says is true but we're a couple of months into the Russo-era already and the early signs don't look promising. When WWF got hot, their TV ratings were the last thing to change. But you could see the signs that they had momentum, because house show business started getting hot. That's not happening with WCW and in fact, house show business is worse than ever right now.
Nothing new on Ric Flair's situation. He wants out of his contract, WCW is refusing to release him. His contract expires in Feb. of 2001 so it's a stalemate for now.
Dave recaps Nitro and shits all over it so much that it's not even something I can recap fairly without just copying and pasting his entire review. TL;DR - show really sucked.
Torrie Wilson signed a 2-year WCW contract. WWF had made her an offer also. WCW's offer was for more guaranteed money, but the WWF offer had huge marketing potential if she had gotten over. Ultimately, part of her decision was that she felt "safer" with WCW and didn't want to risk signing with WWF and being put into a lesbian angle or something (well that's going to become the most ironic sentence ever in about 4 years).
Konnan was on the Observer Live radio show a few weeks ago, on the same episode Raven was on. Raven trashed WCW endlessly, but Konnan, since he's still with WCW, caught a ton of heat for it because a lot of the stuff Raven said got attributed to Konnan and since nobody in WCW actually listened, Konnan got heat for it from people who heard second-hand that Konnan had said things, when in reality, he didn't.
The Standards & Practices people at Turner came down hard on WCW this week before the Thunder tapings. Jim Duggan was supposed to have a match against Asya. And Rhonda Singh was supposed to face Evan Karagis for the cruiserweight title, and she was supposed to say if she lost, she'd strip. Both matches were scrapped because the S&P folks are pretty much banning any man vs. woman matches.
Notes from Thunder: Hall and Nash opened up with a promo with Hall acting (...) like he was drunk and talking about his ladder matches against Shawn Michaels. Sid came out and eventually pushed Hall off the ladder, with Hall taking the single fakest looking bump ever, on purpose. Dave says if this was a company with any discipline, Hall should have been fired on the spot but then again, he's given WCW at least 50 other reasons to fire him in the last 3 years and they haven't done it, so there ya go. Juventud Guerrera was on commentary and was funny for a lot of the show, but he also started making a lot of inside references (calling The Artist Known As Prince Iaukea the "worst gimmick in the entire company", making a bunch of Lex Lugesteroid references, etc.) and that sort of shooty bullshit is constant in WCW now under the Russo-era. Guerrera was actually told by Russo to go out there and say whatever he really thinks and to not react like a normal wrestling announcer would and, well, he did. And while it was funny (Dave says several times that Juvi was pretty hilarious), it did nothing to actually enhance or advance the product and mostly just buried people. And finally, they're trying really hard to make Jeff Jarrett into Shawn Michaels and Dave's only comment on that is, "Well, they're trying."
Dave with a pretty prescient observation about Vince Russo: "Russo was apparently thrilled at the internet response (to Juventud Guerrera's commentary) and wants to keep him a regular. He is smart about one thing. Even though he's booking for a small percentage of the total audience, if he gets over as being cool with that percentage, he'll create a legend for himself as a great booking mind even if the numbers and the profit/loss of the company don't back up the portrayal in the long run and he'll always have work in this profession." (Which is basically what happened. Russo booked for a hardcore portion of internet fans and, to this day, he still somehow has a legion of supporters who listen to his podcast and worship everything he says, despite the fact that WCW plummeted even further into the abyss under his "genius" booking.)
At Nitro, they had a big meeting backstage about wrestlers showing up late and informed them that anyone showing up late will be fined from now on. So of course, the very next night for the Thunder taping, Luger showed up 5 hours late. So far, no word if he's actually been fined.
Remember last week when several WCW wrestlers were named in an indictment over an Atlanta strip club being used as a mob front? Well, those wrestlers had all been interviewed by the feds as part of the investigation and had been promised their names wouldn't come out publicly, because there's a morality clause in their WCW contracts. So needless to say, they weren't thrilled about their names making the newspapers. For what it's worth, the few wrestlers listed are said to only be a small percentage, and in fact, a lot more big name WCW wrestlers weren't mentioned in the news and were also interviewed by the feds in the case.
Madusa, Roddy Piper, Sting, and Bobby Heenan appeared on ABC's Politically Incorrect with Bill Maher show. Sting said little but came off as the most intelligent. Madusa came off like an airhead. Piper came off like an out-of-touch 70s drunk, throwing a fit from the very beginning, basically being the old guy who still doesn't want to break kayfabe and treats it like it's all real. At one point he pulled his pants down and showed his scar from his replaced hip and then talked about Owen Hart's death and said, "Go tell Mrs. Hart what a joke it is." Sting was more subdued and came across well, and Heenan didn't do or say much at all. Overall, Piper basically dominated the show and while wrestling fans might have enjoyed it for the spectacle, to the general non-wrestling public, he came off looking pretty bad and probably didn't help the image of professional wrestling.
The Rock and Goldberg met each other in Toronto this week while both companies were there running shows. They hung out in a private box at a hockey game where Wayne Gretzky was being honored. They talked for about 15 minutes, mostly about their contracts and possibly working together in the future (basically, Goldberg wants out of WCW, along with pretty much everyone else these days).
Ted Turner was on the Larry King Live show and someone called in to complain about the content of WCW lately, with all the language and sexual stuff. Turner thought the caller was talking about WWF, claiming WCW doesn't do that, and had to be assured that the caller was indeed referring to WCW. Just in case you wondered how much attention Turner pays to WCW.
Bret Hart doesn't want to do the anti-American gimmick again that he did in WWF 2 years ago. So that whole storyline has pretty much been given to the Revolution faction instead, with Shane Douglas playing the anti-American Bret Hart role.
Ultimo Dragon is expected to sue WCW soon over his botched elbow surgery that ended his career. He's already sued the doctor. Dragon had a verbal agreement with Eric Bischoff that WCW would take care of him and keep him under contract, which is why he didn't sue before. Shortly after Bischoff was fired, so was Dragon. The surgery was supposed to be a routine arthroscopic procedure to remove some bone chips and he would have been back in 6 weeks. Instead, he wound up with a severed nerve in his elbow and has been forced to retire.
In this week's Bret Hart Calgary Sun column, he talked about meeting with Special Olympics officials and how they told him that they are considering pulling their sponsorship from the WWF. Hart said that WCW needs to think carefully about how much they want to copy WWF's content and said he would hate to think that he might not be welcome at the Special Olympics due to the things happening in wrestling that he has no control of. Basically, Bret's not a fan of all this risque stuff, from either company.
The Nitro Girls are all talking about wanting raises, particularly Spice who plays Prince Iaukea's valet. They all signed contracts to be dancers, not performing talent, and now that they're always being involved in storylines and, in some cases, matches, they want raises. Dave says they're obviously right and they should get them.
Triple H vs. Mankind (possibly as Cactus Jack) for the WWF title is likely going to be the title match for Royal Rumble. Which means that either Triple H or Foley will win the title from Big Show before then. Dave believes Triple H was scheduled to win the belt from him last week on Raw, but after injuring his knee the day of the PPV match against Vince McMahon, Triple H wasn't able to wrestle that night. Internally, the belief is that Big Show isn't ready for the title, but they basically panicked after Austin went down with the neck injury and felt they had to shoot a new star to the top immediately to try to fill the void, so we got Big Show. But he'll likely drop the belt soon (yup, loses it to Triple H on Raw 2 weeks after this).
USA Today had a big story on Steve Austin's neck issues, confirming that the issue is a bone spur in his neck and a spinal disc protrusion. Due to years of taking bumps, he's also had some narrowing of the spine which complicates the surgery. For his surgery, portions of the C-3 and C-4 discs will be removed along with the bone spur in order to decompress the spinal cord and relieve some pressure in the area. Finally, they'll take a bone graft from his pelvis and use it to fuse the discs together. A few months after the surgery, they will be able to reevaluate to see how much permanent damage has already been done. He should be able to lead a normal, relatively pain-free life, but it's still up in the air as to how much wrestling he'll be able to do, if any.
Notes from Raw: they started an angle with Mark Henry sleeping with Mae Young (it begins). Vince McMahon called Triple H a rapist. Stephanie McMahon cut the best promo of her short career so far, tearing into Vince. She's a pretty good heel, turns out. She blamed Vince for having her abducted by the Undertaker last year, which is some good continuity. The crowd hit her with a massive "slut" chant but Dave points out, hey, Vince DID have her abducted. She's kinda in the right here. Later in the show, the Rock introduced Wade Boggs (may he rest in peace) and Dave thinks Rock could read the phone book and it would be a great promo. There was some unintentional comedy when J.R. and Lawler tried to promote a talking Steve Austin action figure but when they put it on camera, it didn't work. They found out later in the show that they forgot to put batteries in it and had to try again later, but needless to say, pretty embarrassing and not a good look when trying to plug new merch. And since it was in Tampa, radio DJ Bubba The Love Sponge worked a dark match against Gerald Brisco with the Mean Street Posse and Patterson also getting involved.
The PTC is still harassing the WWF. Burger King recently pulled their sponsorship from the company but after Smackdown was slightly toned down, they came back. The PTC is still pressuring Burger King and MCI to drop their sponsorship and the WWF stock continues to suffer from the negative publicity. (I think it may be after I finish doing the Rewinds, but the good news is that this all eventually ends with an out-of-court lawsuit settlement where the PTC ends up paying WWF millions of dollars and has to publicly apologize. Fuck 'em.)
In an effort to counter the negative publicity, WWF proclaimed that Raw last week drew its all-time record high rating. Needless to say, this isn't even close to true. Last week's Raw did a 6.54 (which is impressive, especially going against Monday Night Football) but the all-time Raw ratings record is 8.09 so, obviously, that was a lie. But in the wake of all the publicity, WWF is trying to put on a front that it's not affecting them and desperately trying to stop the falling stock prices by playing the "everything here is all roses!" card. So in typical WWF fashion, they just decided to blatantly lie and figured no one would care enough to look up the truth. And aside from Dave calling them out on it, they're probably right.
The WWF restaurant in Times Square isn't officially open yet but they've been doing some small events before the grand opening. Word is the food is good, but expensive. But the portions are huge. There's a Hulk Hogan pinball machine and a 1,000 seat theater where they plan to have matches occasionally.
Fabulous Moolah and Mae Young were sent by the WWF to be presenters at the Billboard music awards. Dave says in the context of the WWF, having these 2 women on TV is a funny joke and the crowd is with it. But outside of the WWF, it was just 2 old women that nobody knows presenting an award at a major music event. Mae Young's name was announced wrong and the guy who came out with them got them mixed up. Mae took a bump and the crowd didn't care at all. Dave thinks they should have sent Rock or some other top guy who has some more mainstream name value (I can't find any video of this).
Droz did an interview on WWF's Byte This show saying that his health situation is tougher on him mentally than it is physically but that he's still fighting and is starting to regain movement in one of his thumbs.
A guy named Joe Perkins writes in a letter to talk about Vince McMahon and how he took over the promotion from his father. Perkins is actually a member of the WWF Board of Directors (and kept that spot all the way up until 2017). Anyway, he wants to clear the air on something Dave wrote recently and it's some pretty interesting insight into a part of WWF history that doesn't get covered much in detail, so let's just read it:
In your 11/1 comments concerning Vincent K. McMahon's starting responsibilities for his father and Capitol Wrestling, you make historical errors of fact. You imply he was handed Capital Wrestling on a "silver platter." Nothing could be further from the truth. Let me correct your perspective because I was there. My new advertising agency represented Abe Ford here in Boston. We negotiated the initial TV contract with WISH-TV, Ch. 38, owned by the Archdiocese of Boston. I worked with General Manager Monsignor Francis Flaherty. The station was a religious educational station except for two hours a day when it accepted commercial broadcasting. They broadcasted on the then new UHF band where TV sets had to have a converter in order to receive UHF programming. We paid the station $25 per week. The wrestling program was supplied by Vincent J. McMahon. The wrestlers who performed at the Boston Gardens were supplied by Vincent J. McMahon. Revenue was shared by McMahon and Ford, after expenses. Prior to this relationship, Ford had not promoted wrestling in Boston. Ford owned the Fort Theatrical Agency on Stuart Street. He booked night club acts and exotic dancers. Wrestling had been promoted early on in Boston by Paul Bowser, then later by Bower, Eddie Quinn of Montreal and Johnny Doyle under the name Atlantic Athletic Corporation, with Walter Kowalski being the champion. Sam Menacker was the announcer doing a live 90 minute Saturday afternoon show from the studios of WBZ-TV in 1957-58. Most of the talent was Canadian and some was supplied by Vincent J. McMahon. After the first start on Ch. 38, after four or five unsuccessful events, the promotion was stopped. About a year-and-a-half later, McMahon and Ford again attempted to promote wrestling in the Boston Garden now that more TV homes could receive UHF. The breakup came when Ford tried to sell the promotion to Canadian interests without consulting McMahon. McMahon felt Ford was selling a business that he didn't own, or at the very least, as he viewed it, was only a minor partner in a business where all the ingredients were supplied by Capital Wrestling. To prove the point, McMahon cut off supply of talent and TV programs. It happened suddenly one night when during intermission at a Boston Garden event, Angelo Savoldi, then McMahon's road manager, informed Ford there would be no next event. I was there. Ford sued, claiming a conspiracy between McMahon, the TV station, now WSBK-TV owner by Storer Broadcasting and the Boston Garden. The case was settled shortly after McMahon and my depositions. Ford received enough to cover his lawyer fees. Capitol Wrestling, Ch. 38 and the Boston Garden were each to pay one-third. McMahon eventually repaid the Boston Garden and Ch. 38 as he felt they had been unfairly drawn into the dispute. Upon receiving the reimbursement, Ch. 38 thanked McMahon, then canceled the wrestling program. I was successful in clearing wrestling on the new Ch. 56. Vincent J. McMahon ran the Garden events and we became representatives of Capitol Wrestling here in New England. The promoting rights to the Boston Garden were never handed over to his son. I know because I was at every event. Angelo reported the receipts by phone from the Garden accounting room to Vincent J. McMahon in Delaware or Florida. We held the TV contracts and paid the advertising and they were billed to Capital Wrestling in Washington, D.C., not to Vincent K. McMahon. We began to expand the number of stations in New England that were airing the program to Bangor, Portland, Manchester, Springfield and Providence for Vincent J. The territory at the time remained New England, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Washington/Baltimore. Ray Morgan approached Vincent J. McMahon and demanded AFTRA/SAG union national talent fee because the program was airing in a number of cities. McMahon offered to raise it from local to regional fees. Morgan felt he had the upper hand and McMahon couldn't do the show without him. McMahon asked me if he had to pay the national union fee rate. I advised had to pay at least the regional fee because many stations were union shops and wouldn't air the show if Morgan filed a grievance. The only exception I knew would be if Vince or a member of the family were to do the announcing, then he could bypass the union rate, so long as the union dues and pension fund fees were paid. Vincent K. McMahon, who was employed at Capitol Wrestling doing entry level jobs now was paid nothing above his regular small salary to do the announcing. Regarding promoting in Bangor and other small towns around New England. In order to make a living, Vincent K. McMahon had to promote some small markets. He was not just handed those towns. He had to buy out the local promoter with his own money or find a town that had not been previously promoted. We are talking metropolises like Burlington and Rutland, VT, Bangor and Augusta, ME and Nashua, NH. To make, $50, $75 or $100, he drove to those events in a near wreck of a blue Buick. Our invoices for his advertising and promotional expenses were billed to him directly in West Hartford, CT, where he was living in a trailer park with Linda, Shane and Stephanie, who was a baby at the time. He often carried bricks on construction jobs to earn a few extra dollars. Howard Finkel, who helped Vince worked at the Marlin Firearms Factory in the first aid department. Bills went to West Yarmouth and were always separate from those for Capital Wrestling. Vincent J. McMahon made it quite clear to me that his son had to pay his own bills and I was not to look to Capitol Wrestling if he fell behind. Vincent K. McMahon began to buy out his fathers' 49% minority partners, Phil Zacko, Arnold Skaaland and the late Gino Marella. They all gladly sold their interests as profits at the time were getting slim. They thought the kid was foolhardy for offering such a large sum, which turned out to be small in retrospect. Vincent K. offered a number of times to buy the additional few percentage points from his father to get controlling interest. He was repeatedly turned down. When Vincent J. became ill, he set the terms for the complete buy-out. They were harsh. I know because I was there. Over the next two year period of the buy out as Vincent K. took more control, we began to expand into other territories. Vincent K's obtaining controlling interest would not be complete until the last penny was paid after two years. This resulted in numerous disputes between father and son. On one occasion, we had cleared TV in Cleveland. When the inactive Cleveland promoter complained, Vincent J. promptly gave him the TV clearance. This all took place in a limo with the promoter who that night was Vincent J's guest and neighbor in Fort Lauderdale on the way to the traditional dinner at Jimmy Weston's following a Madison Square Garden event. Vincent K. could do nothing. He was still in the two year period of buying out his father. A few years later, when the local promoter vacated the market, we negotiated a new agreement. I cleared San Diego, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Tulsa, Milwaukee and a dozen other markets for Vincent K. when the old-time promoters were still in business. Vincent K. received many threats including death threats. The fans made the choice of which events to patronize, a fact I brought to the attention of a local sportswriter in San Francisco who championed the cause of a local football hero turned promoter. All the promoters continually complained to Vincent J. with the result being a great deal of disagreement between father and son over the old vs. new way of doing business. Being a product of the old way, I was at first reticent to clear markets in other people's territories. Vincent K. told me that he didn't pay all that money to keep the old set-up, we're going national, even international. The last part even I didn't believe then. Since I'm still contributing to WWFE, I was wise in not disputing his vision. Joe Perkins Newton, Massachusetts
MONDAY:the final issue of 1999, Starrcade fallout, NWO reforms....again, lots of news on the state of WCW, Chris Jericho and Vince McMahon get into backstage argument, and more...
2018.06.04 18:00 daprice82Wrestling Observer Rewind ★ May 17, 1999
Going through old issues of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter and posting highlights in my own words. For anyone interested, I highly recommend signing up for the actual site at f4wonline and checking out the full archives. PREVIOUS YEARS ARCHIVE:1991 • 1992 • 1993 • 1994 • 1995 • 1996 • 1997 • 1998
Nitro was preempted this week by the NBA Playoffs, so it was already expected that Raw would set a ratings record, but the numbers were beyond what anyone expected. Raw did an 8.09 rating, making it the most watched wrestling show in the history of USA Network. More than half of the usual Nitro audience tuned in to watch Raw. The Rock/Austin/Vince vs. TakeHHH/Shane match peaked at a 9.17 rating, making it the single most watched wrestling match in cable history and the first to top 10 million viewers. Also, Raw destroyed the NBA games that were on TNT in place of Nitro. The Raw rating is likely going to be one of the highest ratings for any show on cable TV this year and gives them a lot of leverage when negotiating their TV deal next year. WWF is still negotiating with UPN to get another show on there later this year. They've also had discussions with FOX for a network show, but Fox wants to buy the WWF or at least own a majority interest in the company, and Vince ain't going for that.
Time to look at the downfall of WCW. The ratings for both Thunder and Nitro are falling to record lows every week. House shows and PPV buyrates are plummeting also. Dave says this is all the result of a lot of long-term problems finally coming home to roost. Lack of strong leadership, bad company morale, and a total disregard for what the fans want to see. Hot shot title changes, booking that makes no sense, completely killed Goldberg's momentum, built the company around old stars and never planned for the future by building new ones, and on and on and on. Booking... plotholes you can drive trucks through. People sent out to kill TV time and cut promos who don't really have anything to say, stuff that happens one week and is never followed up on, because there's no long-term booking plans for anyone. So many heel/face turns that crowds often don't even know who they're supposed to cheer or boo this week. Dave thinks Bischoff needs to regain full control of his company or step aside. The inmates are running the asylum. People no-show or refuse to do jobs without punishment. Booking that is designed to bury people that Nash and Hogan don't like rather than doing what's best for the show. So on and so forth.
So what's the solution? Dave says they have to rebuild. Out with the old, in with the new. It's going to take a few years and business will probably be bad while they do it, but it's a long-term process. Just accept that you're going to lose the ratings war for the foreseeable future and stop worrying about it. Worry about rebuilding instead. It's time to start booking guys like Hogan, Flair, Hall, Nash, Savage, Hart, and Piper in major storylines against guys like Booker T, Kidman, Goldberg, Jericho, Raven, Benoit, and Guerrero and the old guard needs to start cleanly putting over the new stars and the company has to follow that up by presenting those young guys like stars. Dave points out that many of ECW's biggest stars (Douglas, Dreamer, Sabu, Sandman, etc.) became stars because Terry Funk put them over. House shows have to change if business is going to pick up. Either the top stars have to start working house shows or WCW has to stop trying to run major cities with nobodies. Unfortunately, WCW foolishly gave contracts to all their top stars that basically lets them skip most house shows. Steve Austin is the biggest star in the business and he works the same house shows as everyone else in WWF. A year ago, WCW was outdrawing WWF in a lot of markets. Nowadays, you'd be hard-pressed to even find 1 city where WCW can even come close to outdrawing WWF. Any of the old guys who aren't willing to put over the young stars don't need to be there. Dave thinks they should put more emphasis on what happens on Thunder because at least with that show, there's no concern of people changing over to watch WWF. There's so much more. Bottom line is, WCW doesn't have a chance of catching up with WWF this year and probably not next year either. But if they do a total overhaul of the company and try to rebuild and think long-term, they may survive (spoiler: WCW does not think long-term and does not survive).
Speaking of bad WCW shit, the latest Slamboree PPV is in the books. 6 months ago, WCW drew 30,000 paid fans to this arena for Nitro in the midst of a huge snowstorm. This week, they drew 13,000 paid for a PPV. Bischoff returned to TV and somehow (never explained) has power over the company again and reversed the Flair match decision so that he lost. In real life, Flair had been promised a PPV win in exchange for doing jobs to Sting, Nash, and Page on TV in the last few weeks but it didn't happen here and once again, Flair is being vocal about how unhappy he is in WCW and wanting to go to WWF. Bret Hart, fresh off groin surgery, returned sooner than he was ready to do a run-in and was moving gingerly. Goldberg was taken to the hospital after the PPV thinking he had a broken ankle, but X-rays showed no broken bones so he'll be okay. The injury was caused by Hart when he legitimately hit Goldberg's leg with a chair harder than he meant to. Hart was apologizing profusely backstage afterward because he has a rep of never injuring anyone. But Goldberg was fine the next day. The plan is for Goldberg to challenge Bret to a match on the Tonight Show, with Bret still saying he quit WCW and the match will eventually take place in the Tonight Show parking lot in the next week or two. Hart is clearly nowhere near ready to work a match after the surgery but they still plan to do it anyway. Oh yeah, the Steiners got back together, with no build-up or reason given. Lil' Naitch vs. Gorgeous George wasn't a good match or anything but it was entertaining and to her credit, George clearly trained hard for the match and did well, and Charles Robinson was hilarious and played his part perfectly. And Nash won the world title from DDP.
U.S. News and World Report magazine ran a big 7 page feature on wrestling, mostly Vince McMahon and, as always, it was full of most of Vince's revisionist version of history and full of the usual fake numbers (35 million viewers, $500 million dollar company, etc.) and covered all the usual "is this suitable for kids" stuff. McMahon talked about his past extramarital affairs behind Linda's back and talked about the steroid use in wrestling "back when it was legal" which has always been bullshit, but of course, no drug problems in WWF nowadays, nope, nada. You know the WWF version of this story by now: rasslin' existed in smoky, dimly lit basements until Vince McMahon rose like a phoenix in 1984 and invented modern day sports entertainment overnight, Ted Turner has a vendetta against him, Vince singlehandedly created everything, blah blah blah etc. etc. Dave seems exhausted by the fact that so many reporters just accept this version of history as fact in every mainstream media story he reads.
Dave recaps UFC 20, which is mostly notable by Bas Rutten winning the UFC heavyweight title in a controversial split decision that most people think Kevin Randleman should have won. It's led to a lot of questions about whether the fight was fixed, since UFC has invested a lot into Rutten as their next big star so they had a good reason to want him to win. Dave doesn't necessarily go that far, he doesn't think the fight was fixed, but he definitely thinks it was the wrong decision and Rutten lost the fight. Randleman's people were said to be furious afterwards, feeling their guy got robbed. Dave thinks they have a point.
WCW valet Chastity once appeared in a porn movie called Live Bait. Dave actually reported on this a couple of months ago but didn't think it was a big deal, but now several media outlets are picking up on the story. It was mentioned in TV Guide and the New York Post, mostly in an attempt to trash Ted Turner. Headlines like, "One of the female stars of Ted Turner's family friendly WCW organization has an X-rated past." It was also mentioned on Jay Leno's show, Craig Kilborn's show, and even Saturday Night Live referenced it. Even WWF made reference to it on their website, saying that at least their "porn star" is just a guy playing a gimmick (Val Venis). Dave points out that WWF brought in Jenna Jameson so, yanno, they probably shouldn't be throwing rocks in glass houses. Anyway, the porn film was produced by Jules Jordan and he's been interviewed by it, saying he's surprised it's such a big deal because she only appeared in one scene (a blowjob scene with a guy and another woman) and there's no photo of her on the box and she's not even listed in the credits. It was such a minor thing. Apparently she was supposed to do more scenes but showed up late so they didn't use her. Anyway, backstage Eric Bischoff has reportedly said that whatever she did in her past is the past and she won't be punished for it (yeeeeeeeah, about that...she gets fired).
AJPW officially announced Misawa as the new president of the company in a press conference. Giant Baba's wife Motoko Baba is on the board of directors (along with several other top wrestlers). So that's where it stands for now.
Steve Williams inquired about getting rehired in AJPW and was basically told "maybe." In the past, Williams was the top foreign star and that role has now been filled by Vader. With business not doing so great these days, it's not sure if they will want to pay Williams the big salary he's expecting. Williams is pretty upset with how his WWF run played out. In AJPW, he had a great paying job where he got first class accommodations everywhere paid for and it was pretty much a job for life. But Jim Ross convinced him that he could come to the WWF and only work 10-15 days a month so he could spend more time with his family, and he was promised a run against Steve Austin. But the Brawl For All basically wrecked those plans and then Vince McMahon lost interest in him, so he feels like he never got a fair shot. So now he wants to go back to AJPW but that might not work out either.
There's still a lot of talk about a potential inter-promotional NJPW vs. AJPW angle. New Japan in particular keeps hinting at it and trying to get something going but no deals have been made yet.
Legendary wrestling announcer Gordon Solie is having some health issues lately. He was supposed to do commentary for an indie show but had to cancel because of polyps on his vocal chords. They checking to see if it's malignant. Solie recently lost his wife to cancer (sadly, it is indeed throat cancer. He dies about a year later).
There's a made-for-TV movie airing next week about Jesse Ventura. Dave has seen an advanced copy of it and says it's really bad. Also, it gets basically everything wrong. Parts of it were filmed at Nitro and in scenes that supposedly take place in the 70s, you can see NWO merch and WCW logos in the background. Goldberg, Raven, and Chris Kanyon all have small roles in it (and Kanyon worked as a consultant behind the scenes for all the wrestling stuff). It's basically a bad, cheesy made-for-TV flick and it's clear that the people making it didn't really know much about wrestling. There's a sleazy evil promoter that's supposed to be Vince. Rob Reiner as "Gorilla" who is Ventura's announcing partner. They also pretty much re-create the Montreal Screwjob in this movie, which is what causes Ventura to "quit" wrestling. (Dave is underselling this. This movie is legendarily bad).
Bad News Allen wrestled his final match this week in Canada and is retiring and will be getting a double-knee replacement. The doctors suggested he do one knee now and the other one six months later, but he opted to do them both at the same time and get it over with (he ends up doing a few more matches, but not many. He still retires in 1998, just later in the year).
The status of Shane Douglas in ECW is up in the air right now. He was having negotiations with WWF earlier in the week. Word is WWF is unsure if they want him or not due to his frequent injuries. But he's a hell of a talker and WWF is at least fairly interested in him. But he's currently out of shape and not nearly the worker he used to be due to injuries and he also still has the stigma of flopping in WWF a few years ago as Dean Douglas. But both sides seem to be willing to put the blame for that at the hands of the Kliq so they're not holding it against him. Douglas and Paul Heyman are barely on speaking terms and it's thought that the upcoming PPV will be Douglas' last match with the company, and he's expected to put over Justin Credible, but at this point, no one's even sure if he'll show up for that (nope, he doesn't. Nobody knows it yet, but Douglas has already wrestled his final ECW match by this point).
Inside Edition came to the latest ECW Arena show to try to film some footage for a story they're doing on the New Jack/Mass Transit incident (since the trial is coming up soon). Heyman told all the wrestlers to not let the cameras film them and the Inside Edition people weren't allowed backstage.
Davey Boy Smith is improving and is able to move around a little and even leave the house. He's also still interested in wrestling again and is said to be in contact with Vince McMahon. Even though WCW released him, they're still sending him weekly pay checks, which is a pretty obvious attempt to try and avoid a wrongful termination lawsuit and stay on his good side. Not quite the same situation for Rick Rude's family. Rude's widow has not received any checks from WCW so they don't appear to be paying out the rest of his contract to the family.
In the recent ESPN special that aired on wrestling, they talked about a doctor named Dr. Edmund Chien who reportedly prescribed drugs and steroids to lots of wrestlers, including Brian Pillman. In the show, Pillman's wife claims Hulk Hogan hooked Pillman up with that doctor and it became a bit of a story. Anyway, the DEA has seized medical records from Dr. Chien and are investigating him, which is basically the same way the whole Dr. Zahorian mess got started.
Perry Saturn is dealing with a back injury, which was suffered after landing on Warrior's trap door in a WCW ring, same as Davey Boy Smith. This week he had fluid injected into his L-4 disc and has been in agony to the point that other wrestlers were having to help him carry his bags in the airports. He had been taking heavy painkillers to deal with it but was said to be scared by Rick Rude's death and stopped taking them. He's not working house shows right now but since he's half of the tag champs, he's still doing TV and PPVs.
Goldberg tried to renegotiate his contract this week. He's still signed for several more years at $800,000 per year. Even though he is by far WCW's biggest star, he is still paid well below the likes of Hogan, Hall, Nash, Hart, Savage, and Sting (all of whom make $1.5 mil or higher). So he tried to renegotiate and get a raise but Bischoff isn't going for it, which has left Goldberg pretty unhappy.
WCW is tossing around the idea of bringing in Sid Vicious and Yokozuna. Because that's just what they need. Yokozuna wouldn't even be allowed to wrestle in most states since he can't pass commission physicals. And Sid is, well, Sid (they don't bring in Yoko but sure enough, Sid will be there soon).
Chris Jericho wrote on his website that he has made up his mind about his future but won't say what it is. But most everyone in WCW is under the assumption that he's headed for WWF when his contract is up.
The reason why the recent Flair vs. Page match on Nitro sucked is because the two guys weren't on the same page. Flair likes to call things in the ring and Page has a reputation for wanting to plan the match out in advance, move-by-move and Flair just wasn't going for it. So when they got in the ring, it just didn't click.
Scott Hall's on/off relationship with his ex-wife Dana is on again and he has asked for several months off so he can stay home and try to fix their relationship. She doesn't want him wrestling at all and wants him to retire because she thinks getting away from the business is the only way he can stay sober.
The latest on the WCW/NBC deal is that...it's basically dead. Backstage, Bischoff was telling people that TBS execs screwed up the deal somehow and that NBC backed out of it after the NBA strike ended. But a lot of people think Bischoff is just trying to save face because it's looking like WCW (Bischoff specifically) went around talking about the deal before it was done, which is why everyone thought it was a done deal. Turns out it wasn't. That's why you keep shit like that quiet until it's actually in writing and finalized.
Juventud Guerrera and Jerry Lynn aren't being punished at all by WCW for their DUI arrests last week.
On a recent episode of David Letterman's Late Show, the top 10 list for the night was "Slogans for the new WCW Nitro cologne." So in case you're wondering, here was the list:
10) Finally! 9) Because when you're sitting on your ass all day watching wrestling, you've got to smell your best! 8) This stuff can make you Governor 7) Give a bottle to that nancy boy son of yours...it couldn't hurt! 6) The perfect gift for...uh...it's really hard to say 5) If you actually bought Michael Jordan's cologne, you might as well buy this! 4) The exciting scent of the lowest common denominator 3) Like a piledriver up your nose 2) Sometimes you just want to smell phony 1) Attract them white trash babes!
On Raw, they had a Deba vs. Sable evening gown match. It ended up with Sable tearing Debra's dress off to win. But then Commissioner Shawn Michaels reversed the decision, saying in his eyes, the woman who loses their clothes should be the winner. So they awarded Debra the title. Dave says interestingly enough, this was done because they've had trouble getting Sable to do a job and give up the belt. So this was the compromise because they don't want her to quit but they wanted to get the title off her (she quits soon anyway).
Also on Raw, Patterson and Brisco came out doing their stooge routine in what Dave says was the best segment on Raw in months. They came out to Hogan's old "Real American" music, doing all the Hogan poses. They went against the Mean Street Posse guys and Patterson was especially great. Dave says Patterson will still be one of the best workers in the business 5 years after he's dead. The whole thing was hilarious and at the end, Jim Ross capped it off by saying, "And fellas, he's single."
In a newspaper article, Earl Hebner talked about the Montreal Screwjob and had this to say: "It was the most difficult situation I have ever been in in this business. It was something I did because I was told to do it. I basically did it to protect the business for the rest of the boys. Here is one guy who was going to screw up 150 guys' lifestyle. The guy already had a $9 million contract. What was the big deal? If you work for somebody and you don't do what they tell you to, they don't need you." As you might expect, Dave calls bullshit on this. Hebner was also asked about swearing on his kids that he wouldn't screw Bret and Hebner admitted that he swore to Bret that he wouldn't count him down for a pin and therefore, he claims he kept his word. "I said I would never count him out, and I didn't. Bret and I were real close, but Bret didn't offer me any money. He didn't say if you do this, I will give you this. I have a family that I have to take care of."
Mick Foley is expected to take some time off after the upcoming PPV to get his knees scoped.
Radio DJ Bubba the Love Sponge, who has made some appearances in WCW, interfered in a match at a WWF house show. Dave says you know things are bad for WCW when even Bubba The Love Sponge has jumped ship.
WEDNESDAY:Shane Douglas/ECW drama, Hardcore Heaven PPV fallout, more on NJPW and AJPW, issues with Sable and WWF, and more...
Going through old issues of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter and posting highlights in my own words. For anyone interested, I highly recommend signing up for the actual site at f4wonline and checking out the full archives. PREVIOUS YEARS ARCHIVE:1991 • 1992 • 1993 • 1994 • 1995 • 1996 • 1997
In a major political stunner, Jesse Ventura has won the election for governor of Minnesota. He was a distant 3rd in the polls literally up until the day of the election. In most political circles in Minnesota, his candidacy was considered something of a joke but he proved to be extremely popular among young voters who felt he was a protest vote (running as a 3rd party candidate). His campaign was often controversial and colorful, and at points, Ventura advocated legalizing marijuana and prostitution. Mostly, he came off as a straight shooter as opposed to typical politicians and his charisma carried him to victory. In America, Ventura is the only major pro wrestling star to be elected to a political office of this level. In Japan, Antonio Inoki severed for 6 years in the Japanese Senate and currently Hiroshi Hase is a senator and is well respected enough that he'll likely have a long political career. But in the U.S., this is pretty unprecedented.
For the first time in several years, it's undeniable that WCW is now trailing behind WWF. Relying on Hulk Hogan's fading star power and the failure to create new stars is finally catching up to them. WWF is winning the ratings battle most weeks. They've won the PPV buyrate for the last few months, including a random In Your House PPV doing bigger numbers than Halloween Havoc, which is one of WCW's top PPVs and featured the heavily-hyped Hogan/Warrior match. And it's almost objectively impossible to deny that Raw is simply a better show these days. Dave says once again that WCW is still riding the wave of success from 1997 but that wave is fading, while WWF is creating new waves of success. But don't count WCW out yet. Tickets went on sale for upcoming Nitros in December in 2 different stadiums and ticket sales are through the roof, even outpacing the Georgia Dome show earlier this year. But aside from those 2 shows, house show business is starting to stagnate. In WCW, most of the top stars don't work house shows and often end up no-showing even if they are booked and advertised, whereas in WWF, everyone from the world champion to the prelim guys are booked for every show.
Speaking of the Halloween Havoc buyrate, early estimates are a 0.78 which is an absolute disaster and proves what everyone knew all along about Warrior and doesn't look good for Hogan either. In fact, every WCW PPV since July has performed below expectations, although none to this level, and Hogan main-evented all of them, which should put an end to anyone claiming Hogan is still as big of a draw as Steve Austin. In fact, WCW spending a bunch of money on big names to draw buyrates (Dennis Rodman, Karl Malone, Jay Leno, and now Warrior) have all been flops in one way or another. The Rodman/Malone PPV did a strong buyrate but was still not enough to make it worth what those two men were paid. Oh yeah, speaking of Rodman...
Dennis Rodman filed a lawsuit against WCW this week, claiming he was defrauded in contract negotiations for the Bash at the Beach PPV. The details are scarce but basically, Rodman claims he was guaranteed a certain amount (Dave has heard $750K and $1.5M but isn't sure which is accurate) plus 50% of all revenue beyond the average $3.9 million that WCW usually draws. However, the contract Rodman signed actually said it had to be any revenue over $5 million, not $3.9. It all gets a little confusing, but TL;DR: Rodman claims WCW still owes him $550,000. Dave thinks Rodman has a lot of nerve to sue them, considering he no-showed the Georgia Dome Nitro right before the PPV and then showed up to the actual PPV so drunk that he could barely stand, much less wrestle.
ECW's November to Remember PPV is in the books and Dave starts this review by first looking at the situation of the company. They're far too big to be considered a small-time company but they're too small to compete with WWF and WCW (Paul Heyman later said the same thing: "We were too big to be small and too small to be big."). This presents problems. They'll never have the budget to produce a product like WWF or WCW does and because of that, they'll always lose talent to those companies. But they can't survive at this level by presenting a minor league product either. They're just not in a position that they can truly compete on PPV and that was especially proven with this PPV, which Dave says has to be one of the low points in ECW history. Bad matches, bad booking, bad luck...it all just went wrong and everybody backstage knew it. Dave also talks about how they are having to pay a significant amount of money for TV exposure in New York and how ECW depends on merch sales to keep the company solvent and talks about how there are a lot of costs that are adding up. They're also planning to expand into other markets, especially Chicago in 1999, and once they have that exposure, the plan is to push RVD as the top babyface of the company. There's a lot more to this, but in short....all the stuff Dave is writing about here ends up being what ultimately puts ECW out of business. They basically outgrew themselves.
Backstage news from the ECW PPV: just days before the show, Bam Bam Bigelow agreed to a 3-year deal with WCW and word is WCW heavily pressured Bigelow to no-show the ECW show (where he was in the main event). To his credit, Bigelow resisted and still showed up to honor his commitment but it's believed that was his last ECW match (yup). Former WWF wrestler Mabel was brought in to be the latest victim of giant killer Spike Dudley. And after plans to try to bring in Vader as Tommy Dreamer's mystery partner fell through, ECW went to the desperation well and brought in Jake Roberts. And what a mess that turned out to be. For starters, Roberts missed his flight, so ECW had to charter a flight, at a cost of several thousands of dollars, to fly Roberts in. And then he showed up, "looking like he hadn't slept since John Glenn went into orbit--the first time in 1962." He arrived at the arena literally minutes before the match and didn't even have time to change into his gear which is why he worked in street clothes. And even worse, he showed up in the dreaded "no condition to work." To make things worse, Jack Victory legit broke his leg during the match and it's being called a possible career-ender (not quite but it kept him out for nearly a year) that will require major surgery. The match fell apart due to it. Dave doesn't really talk much about it but I watched and Terry Funk cuts one of the most unhinged promos of all time at the beginning of the show. No video on YouTube, but if you have the Network, it's worth going to watch. Lance Storm vs. Jerry Lynn was the only good match, but the crowd didn't care and was only into Tammy Sytch as the referee, repeatedly getting down on her hands and knees to count in a short skirt. The main event was a mess too and it led to Taz, RVD, and Shane Douglas nearly getting into a fight backstage and Douglas eventually stormed out. Dave basically hated this show.
Mitsuharu Misawa won a record 4th AJPW Triple Crown title by beating Kenta Kobashi in front of the largest crowd ever at Budokan Hall. As you would expect from those 2, the match is being reported as the best match of the year, but Dave hasn't seen it yet (he eventually does and gives it 5 stars and it wins the match of the year award).
There hasn't been any wrestling news coming out of Puerto Rico after Hurricane Georges left the island a wreck. All shows were cancelled and all the foreign wrestlers left. Pretty sure wrestling there was wiped out yet again by Hurricane Maria just a few months ago and they're still suffering. Donate.
WCW is sending Jerry Lynn Flynn to work with NJPW soon. Dave sarcastically asks, "Isn't NJPW lucky to have a relationship with WCW?" and then talks about how WCW keeps sending no-name lower card stars to Japan but says NJPW is the one who keeps accepting them (and in some cases, like NWO Sting, they actually make legit stars out of them).
Guess who's doing another retirement angle again this week? Atsushi Onita announced plans to retire. But he's done so many fake "retirements" over the years that it has earned him the nickname Mr. Liar and has severely hurt his drawing power. So yeah, Dave ain't buying this bullshit (and as I write this, Nov. 8th, Onita just had his super-duper-for-real-I'm-serious-this-time-you-guys retirement match last week).
Dave says there's basically been no real reaction to the NBC "Wrestling Exposed" show that aired last week within the business. Both Chris Jericho and Mankind vaguely referenced it on their respective shows but nothing beyond that. Everyone pretty much just seems to be ignoring it, as they should.
More news on the Roller Jam show that will be on TNN. Word is the network is toying with the idea of having a wrestling lead-in for the show on Friday nights, although no deal is set (that would, of course, end up with ECW on TNN next year). Dave talks about the rumors of Dusty Rhodes being the announcer but says there's a couple of other real sportscasters who are the leading candidates.
Bruno Sammartino was recently quoted in a Pittsburgh newspaper saying that today's pro wrestling is "an X-rated obscene sleaze show."
Paul Heyman had talked to Vader about bringing him in as Tommy Dreamer's mystery partner for the PPV, but Vader turned it down because Stan Hansen told him it would be a bad idea politically since he's about to start with AJPW. They did agree to the possibility of Vader making some ECW appearances in the future so it's still possible he may end up there some day (never happened). Heyman also met with MMA star Frank Shamrock to talk about bringing him in, but they haven't reached any sort of deal.
Notes from Nitro: 6 weeks ago after Flair returned, the Horsemen were the hottest act in the company, but WCW has done pretty much nothing with them since and they've lost all their steam. Scott Hall had one of the best matches of his WCW career against Booker T. The Giant is getting noticeably fatter by the week.
Various WCW comings and goings: Jim Neidhart has definitely been released. Not sure of the status of Davey Boy Smith but he walked out at the Nitro tapings 2 weeks ago and hasn't been back since. Vince McMahon has said he has no interest in negotiating with him while he's still under WCW contract. Even if he gets free of that, the odds aren't great that WWF will bring him back. And Steve McMichael, as mentioned last week, no-showed last week's Nitro and also missed a few house shows afterward, but was back this week. Everyone in WCW likes McMichael personally, but everybody recognizes that he shouldn't be in the spot he's in considering how bad he is at, ya know, wrestling. Speaking of, McMichael is refusing to sign a new contract unless he is given a guarantee that he won't be removed from the Horsemen group.
It's still looking likely that The Giant is heading to WWF when his WCW deal is up and there's a lot of rumors that a couple of others may join him (no names given).
Eric Bischoff is still trying to pressure some of the midcard guys to sign new contracts, most notably Jericho, Guerrero, and Benoit. They have all been given roles on the show and they're not being de-pushed but Bischoff has made it clear that he won't push them beyond where they are unless they re-sign. Sort of the same situation for Rey Mysterio also. Juventud Guerrera re-signed a 3-year deal for somewhere in the $200,000 per year range.
Sting has been removed from all bookings and is being given time off until January to sell the injuries from Halloween Havoc. Apparently the big reason is he's having some sort of personal family issues at home and wanted time off to work on them. Dave says it's basically the same family issues that happen to nearly all wrestlers who spend so much time away from home (Sting has talked about this before and became a born-again Christian during this time after confessing to his wife about adultery and substance abuse issues so that's what this was).
Some of the Nitro Girls are going to be on an upcoming episode of The Dating Game.
Bischoff is talking about creating another version of the Four Horsemen to feud with the current version. He's talked to Barry Windham, Tully Blanchard, and Ole Anderson for it, with possibly Bam Bam Bigelow as the fourth member.
WCW tried to get Yokozuna to do a run-in during the Kevin Nash vs. Scott Hall match at Halloween Havoc and offered him $10,000 to do it, but he turned them down. Even Scott Hall called him up and tried to convince him to do it but for whatever reason, he just wasn't interested in making an easy ten grand.
TNT is apparently considering doing a show called WCW Nitro Extra to air on Tuesday nights, at least temporarily. It's a time slot that was originally scheduled for NBA games but due to the NBA lockout, they're looking for stuff to fill those time slots.
When Randy Savage returns next year, expect him to have a new look and gimmick (yup).
Right now the big plan seems to be for Kevin Nash to win the World War 3 battle royal and then go on to face Goldberg at Starrcade and end the streak. "Aside from pacifying Nash, can anyone come up with one logical reason why that makes sense?" Dave asks. True dat.
It appears Vince McMahon's wife Linda will probably make her TV debut soon to get involved with the angle involving Vince and Shane.
A few weeks ago, Undertaker had a meeting with the entire locker room and basically scolded them to keep their drug use from being so public because he remembers what it did to the company back in the early 90s. Dave talks about how steroids are clearly making a comeback in WWF, but the real problem is prescription drugs.
Notes from Raw: Steve Regal was awful in his match. Dave doesn't know what the deal was, but it was an embarrassment to watch (yeah Regal was deep into his own drug issues at this point). Vince gave Mankind a gift of the old WWF title belt all beaten up with "Hardcore" written on it (and thus that title was born). Dave recaps the rest of it and he enjoyed the show and it was exciting but you have to turn your brain off for a lot of it to make sense, and Dave points out gaping plot holes in most of the storylines. But at least it was exciting which is more than Nitro has going for it these days.
Undertaker will be on an upcoming episode of Poltergeist The Legacy on the Sci-Fi channel in March.
At a WWF house show in Tampa, radio DJ Bubba The Love Sponge did a run-in and gave Gerald Brisco a big splash. Bubba has also done some stuff with WCW in the past.
Desmond Devlin (who I googled and is actually a comedy writer for Mad Magazine) writes in a long letter full of jokes. Let's just read it, shall we?
Technically, did Eric Bischoff's talk show last longer than Chevy Chase's? Why does Alex Wright treat Gene Okerlund so poorly? Shouldn't he have warm feelings for a German skinhead? Did Jeff Jarrett get the idea for his guitar smashing gimmick from the lead guitarist of the Who? It must be, because every time Jarrett walks into an arena, thousands of fans say to each other, "Who?" Why was there such excitement over which top movie star would appear on Nitro when all-time cinematic legends like Terry "Santa with Muscles" Hogan, Roddy "Hell Comes to Frogtown" Piper, Kevin "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 2: The Secret of the Ooze" Nash and Marcus "Return to Savage Beach" Bagwell are there taking a rare break from Tinseltown each and every week? Does "3:16" refer to the ratio between Sable's original breasts and her current ones? How much chrome and fiberglass damage would be caused if Scott Hall scraped his house keys along the finish on the Nitro Girls? Speaking of Hall, when you say that his rating is +1.52, is that the Neilsen ratings, or his blood alcohol content? How many rooms are there in the mansion that's owned by the guy who sells Spanish announcers' tables to the WWF? Did an enraged Jerry Lawler attack Jim Carrey for cheap publicity, or because he was still irate about coughing up $8 of his own money to see "The Cable Guy?" Does Sgt. Slaughter spot Tony Schiavone sneaking up on the outside, and worry about losing his prestigious "hugest chin in wrestling" crown? Does Meng want to form the TWO...except that as the sole Tongan in WCW, he'd be the only guy in the clique? Where can I buy a "Best of Larry Zbyszko turning around the waving at the fans" compilation tape? Did you notice that the windows of Mr. McMahon's Corvette held up longer against the pressure of a cement mixer than Jacqueline's top does against Sable? When will the Leprechaun wrestler sue WCW for its biased refusal to push Irish wrestlers? Is it true that Rick Rude had a malignant lump attached to him until recently? I mean, besides Curt Hennig. For the millions of us suffering out here, when will the WWF finally provide badly-needed closure to the Marc Mero-Butterbean feud? If we all break down and simply concede that, yes Konnan and the Wolfpac are in fact bouty bouty, will he shut the hell up already? Does it bother Faarooq that he's less popular than Mr. Socko? When will Ding Dong #2 become eligible for the Wrestling Observer Hall of Fame? Contractually, how many decades notice must WCW give Scott Steiner before administering a steroid test? Now that they have Reid Fliehr with his Moe haircut, and Goldberg slapping his face like Curly, when will WCW get a Larry lookalike to complete the Stooge trifecta? Does the single most thankless job in wrestling belong to the poor guy who has to run the WCW tape machine, "in case the match ends during the commercial?" Desmond Devlin Jackson Heights, New York
And finally, someone else writes in about Jesse Ventura's run for governor and Dave responds. It's pretty interesting to get Dave's personal thoughts on Ventura as a person and politician so, fuck it, let's copy and paste again. I especially find the parts about him "always looking for the con" interesting because it kind of explains why Ventura is basically an outlandish conspiracy theorist nowadays:
In a recent newsletter, you treated as laughable Jesse Ventura's candidacy for Minnesota Governor and made it sound as if Minnesotans had gone crazy if they gave him 10 to 20 percent of the vote or more, as is predicted. I can assure you that most Minnesotans are quite sane and that Jesse Ventura is not laughable. He may not be the most sophisticated political thinker, but he is a straight shooter, can more than hold his own in a debate and can give thoughtful and original answers to political questions. He is a fiscal conservative but is very tolerant on social issues. Our other two choices are a doctrinaire Republican, and a deeply entrenched DFLer from a well-known political family dynasty. That Ventura was a pro wrestler both helps and hinders his campaign, but I'm voting for him. Get used to it. Mark Maire Duluth, Minnesota DM: I have no knowledge of the other candidates but have had dealings with Ventura over the years, both positive and negative and enough to give me a good idea of him. He has a phenomenal delivery and a good wit dating from his days as one of the premier talkers in pro wrestling, and I expected he'd come off very well in a political debate format. Intelligent people who have spent time with him tend to see through the surface of him very quickly and in that environment the politicians he has to interface with will see through him immediately and have no respect for him. He shoots from the hip and has an incredibly high opinion of himself which is neither good nor bad. But he's not a deep thinker and doesn't think things out before he speaks or reaches conclusions. Because of his background in Hollywood and wrestling, he has a tendency to be suspicious of things, but he also assumes things are cons that aren't and thinks every single thing in the world is politically motivated, i.e. he's like a lot of people who have spent their lives in pro wrestling, looking for the con game when often there is no game. That quality has two sides to it because people like that aren't easily duped by some things, but in not being easily duped, they sometimes dupe themselves. He really doesn't care about making enemies, even if they are powerful ones, and I admire that quality in him because it was very unique in pro wrestling when he was part of the industry, but it's also not a good quality for a Governor. He has a hard time with people who disagree with his viewpoint and that's going to work against him, and with people who criticize him, and as Governor, he's in for constant criticism and people waiting to eat him alive if he should falter, and with his inexperience in politics at this level, he's going to make beginners mistakes. When he gets into a fight, he fights to win even if the odds in front of him look to be against him like in this election, and in starting out as a pro wrestler and actually making himself a viable radio personality and political candidate, which is a good quality for a person and a Governor. But, just as an example, in his job as a wrestling announcer, he was very content to let his great delivery and wit carry him and not care about changing and updating in an always changing industry. He was the color commentator everyone patterned themselves after in the 80s, but a few years later, he was already woefully outdated and blamed others for his problems generally caused by a lack of keeping up to date in an industry that was paying him an incredible amount of money for relatively little work. He isn't alone in this industry or industry in general among people who have "made it" on that score, but again, that's not a positive quality for a Governor. I'm not suggesting that because at the end he was poor at his job as a wrestling announcer after one time being the best, that has anything to do with being Governor. But those qualities that led to that happening are also qualities that wouldn't make me very confident of him being anything effective in that role unless the position is to play a very charismatic figurehead.
MONDAY:Ventura election victory leads to massive mainstream pro wrestling coverage, Hogan announces he's running for President, Steve Austin pissed at WWF over lost movie deal, and more...
Going through old issues of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter and posting highlights in my own words. For anyone interested, I highly recommend signing up for the actual site at f4wonline and checking out the full archives. PREVIOUS YEARS ARCHIVE:1991 • 1992 • 1993 • 1994 • 1995 • 1996 • 1997
After a 5 month legal battle, it's expected that Ric Flair will return to WCW within the next couple of weeks, likely at the 9/14 episode of Nitro in Greenville. Dave recaps the issues that began in April when Flair missed a Thunder taping to attend an amateur wrestling event his son was taking in (which Flair claimed he had asked off for well in advance but Bischoff disagreed). After the no-show, Bischoff gave a speech to the locker room, burying Flair, saying he would never come back, and promising to sue him into bankruptcy. WCW then filed a $2 million dollar lawsuit against Flair for breach of contract. Flair filed a motion to have his agreement with WCW declared void. Flair actually didn't have a contract with WCW at the time, but had instead signed a letter of intent to stay with the company through 2001. The letter of intent was to keep him there while they finished negotiating the real contract. WCW still believed it to be just as binding as a contract, while Flair contended that it was no longer valid since it was based on the two sides agreeing to mutual terms on an actual contract, which they never did. As of now, the legal issues haven't quite been settled but there have been serious settlement talks and, with the legal bills piling up for Flair, he's expected to settle with WCW and return to TV soon. It's also expected that this whole thing will be turned into an angle between Flair and Bischoff.
Flair has been very interested in going to WWF to work an angle with Steve Austin and McMahon has publicly praised Flair recently, but WWF has not made a serious attempt to get him. It's likely due to all the pending legal issues and with so many lawsuits flying back and forth between WWF and WCW over the years, Vince likely doesn't want to get involved and risk getting sued for contract tampering. It's also worth noting that, while McMahon has praised Flair, several WWF wrestlers, most notably Undertaker and Triple H, have publicly trashed Flair for being too old and said he should retire, saying there's no place for him in WWF. Despite not being pushed as the top star for the last several years, Flair has consistently been the top ratings draw for WCW right up until he disappeared from TV in April and his segments always outdrew whatever was happening on Raw at the same time. His angle with Bret Hart earlier this year was the hottest thing going in WCW for a few weeks until they abruptly pulled the plug on it because they were reportedly unhappy with the mixed crowd reactions since fans were cheering both guys. The plan all along has been to re-form the Four Horsemen. It was supposed to happen on the Thunder taping that Flair no-showed in April and then for the last several months, they tossed around the idea of reforming the group without Flair. But 2 of the men booked to be involved (Chris Benoit and Dean Malenko) told Bischoff they didn't want to do it if Flair wasn't in it. It's expected that they will reform the group when Flair returns.
Speaking of, the Benoit case is interesting because Bischoff reportedly told him that he wouldn't put Benoit in the group unless he re-signed with WCW and so far, Benoit has refused to sign a new contract. A few months ago, Bischoff had made it clear to most of the midcard guys who were thinking about not re-signing that he would spend the remaining year of their contract burying them if they didn't. But he's since changed his tune and has promised many of the wrestlers (particularly Benoit and Eddie Guerrero) that he will prove to them that they will be pushed if they re-sign. So Benoit will be part of the new Four Horsemen while Eddie Guerrero's current angle (being unhappy in WCW and wanting his release) will lead to him forming a stable of other underutilized Mexican wrestlers against Bischoff.
WWF's Summerslam is in the books and was one of the best PPVs of the year. The movement to push younger stars was evident, as Val Venis and D-Lo Brown were given plenty of time in the opening match, Edge was introduced as Sable's mystery partner, and Triple H and the Rock had an excellent ladder match for the IC title that elevated both men to the next level (even though Triple H went into the match with a legit knee injury). They did a live Sunday Night Heat before the show, with Shawn Michaels joining Shane McMahon and Jim Ross for commentary. Dave says commentary is clearly not Shawn's strong suit. Shane McMahon still isn't great either although he was better this time than ever before. MSG was sold out and the live gate was the 3rd largest of the year in North America (behind Wrestlemania and the Goldberg/Hogan Nitro). However, the Lions Den match between Shamrock and Owen Hart was held at the adjacent MSG theater and they sold separate tickets for that (the Owen/Shamrock match was live in person and then people inside could watch the rest of Summerslam on the big screens) but tickets for that sold poorly, only filling up about half of the 4,500 seat building and pretty much proves that closed-circuit is dead. The crowd also seemed to wear out near the end of the night after 4+ hours of wrestling which is just too much.
Other notes from Summerslam: they did an angle on Heat with the Nation attacking Triple H's knee to explain why he would be limping during the match later in the night since his knee really is messed up. D-Lo Brown was billed from Helsinki, Finland (ah yes, the gimmick where he was announced from different cities in Europe because he was the European champion). His match with Val Venis started good but fell apart near the end with some botched moves. The Insane Clown Posse debuted in WWF doing the entrance music for The Oddities. The Shamrock/Owen Hart lion's den match took place in a cage similar to the UFC octagon but much smaller and taller with a platform on top. In the ladder match, despite being the heel, you could tell that the Rock really won the crowd over. The UndertakeAustin main event was marred by injuries to both men. Undertaker is still dealing with a serious ankle injury and Austin got knocked loopy early in the match when they accidentally butted heads and later in the match, Austin was legit coughing up blood.
With Raw pre-empted due to the U.S. Open for the next 2 weeks, Nitro aired unopposed and set an all-time ratings record, doing a 6.03 rating, with nearly 4.5 million homes watching, making it the most watched pro wrestling show in the history of cable TV. This breaks the record set by Raw earlier this year when Nitro was pre-empted. This, despite the fact that it was pretty much an atrocious show. But with no Raw to compete against, it was pretty much a foregone conclusion that they would do record numbers. The bad show did hurt though, as ratings dropped during the 3rd hour, due to the nearly unwatchable 2nd hour.
The WWF has now been banned from running events at the Catholic Youth Center in Scranton, PA over concerns about the product. The building holds nearly 4,000 people and WWF has been running events there for over 30 years. But as the name implies, it's owned by a Catholic bishop and needless to say, WWF's new edgier product has rubbed him the wrong way. He described the WWF product as "slightly less than softcore porn" and pointed out that a good half of the crowd at the last WWF event there was children who were exposed to foul language and sexual content. ECW was kicked out of the same building several months ago for the same reasons and Heyman smartly just accepted it for what it was and moved on. Vince McMahon, however, went on the offensive and went to the local media, saying the venue is trying to censor people's rights to entertainment (which is funny, coming from a guy who has repeatedly tried to block WCW from having access to arenas). Anyway, it turned a small local story into a much bigger one that is getting lots of media coverage. Dave takes this time to talk about the product saying, sure it's geared towards adults and WWF makes no bones about that. But 35% of their Monday night audience is still children (and the number is much higher for the weekend shows). Obviously, that responsibility mostly falls on the parents, not Vince. But wrestling, as popular as it is, is still under the radar to the point that the mainstream still doesn't really take it seriously so they can get away with a lot of crazy shit and Vince would be smart to try and not rock the boat on that one, lest other arenas start deciding they don't like the product and then the dominoes start falling (much like what happened when UFC started having trouble finding venues even though it was booming in popularity). One final funny note, Dave says that he's not a religious person but will admit that this past Monday, he was praying that the USA Network would never pre-empt Raw again so he wouldn't have to sit through 3 straight uninterrupted hours of Nitro anymore.
AJPW business is still doing poorly, even with Misawa back on the shows.
NJPW star Satoshi Kojima had surgery on his left eye which is expected to keep him out for the rest of the year. It was apparently due to an accumulation of injuries to the eye area, culminating in the G-1 matches that left him unable to see out of the eye. Considering how physical the NJPW style is becoming, Dave thinks it's a bit of a miracle that there's not more injuries like this.
Sid Vicious is booked for an indie show later this month in New Jersey. "I guess some people never learn," Dave says.
Dave goes into detail on all the financial issues plaguing UFC right now, with Randy Couture, Dan Henderson, and Bas Rutten among others pulling out of an upcoming event because UFC can't afford to pay them what they're asking. (It really is a miracle UFC managed to survive this time period considering how dire things were looking. Maybe there's still hope for TNA yet.)
Mike Awesome suffered a broken foot while wrestling in FMW and was immediately sent home and will probably be out of action for awhile.
Rob Van Dam just barely avoided a horrifying injury in ECW. He and Sabu were putting Bam Bam Bigelow through a table and a piece of it slashed his eyelid and ripped it, causing part of his eyelid to be left hanging, but luckily didn't actually hit his eyeball. RVD still worked the main event of the show later that night (I can't find video of it anywhere, but I know RVD talks about this on the "One of a Kind" documentary that WWF put out several years back and they have video of it on there. You can also see it at the very end of Hardcore TV 281 if you have the Network. And yeah, he's insanely lucky he didn't lose his eye).
ECW is doing a gimmick with Spike Dudley where he just beats people in super quick matches with his acid drop finisher. It's supposed to be sort of a spoof on how little guys never have a chance against big guys in WWF and WCW. So in this case, they're making Spike Dudley into the new 911, where he just comes out and quickly dispatches people way bigger than him with ease.
A new valet debuted with Lance Storm in ECW going by the name Tammy Lynn Bytch and the plan is obviously for her to feud with Tammy Sytch. Her real name is Dawn Marie and she's been a valet on the east coast indie circuit for a few years. She ended up getting her dress ripped off by Sytch, which of course got a huge pop.
Stevie Ray will likely be replacing Scott Hall in the upcoming War Games match at Fall Brawl, due to Hall dealing with a neck injury (he did indeed replace Hall in that match.....but Hall worked the PPV in a different match. More on that in a moment). Dave also breaks down the rest of the Fall Brawl card but he says that because it's WCW, this will almost certainly all change between now and then (indeed. About half of the matches he lists happens, the rest got switched around).
Lots of backstage issues in WCW between office and executive people. Executive VP of WCW Nick Lambros has been pushed out of the company after losing some sort of power play to Eric Bischoff (Dave doesn't clarify). Lambros technically works for Turner, not WCW, so he's not out of a job but Turner is apparently looking into starting a football league (heh) and Lambros has been moved to an executive position on that product. Terry Taylor had heat with a producer and Bischoff told him to stay home the following Monday and not come to Nitro. In fact, both Taylor and Kevin Sullivan have basically been pushed out of their booking positions and are only putting together the Saturday Night show. Bischoff is booking Nitro and Thunder, mostly on the direction from Hogan and Nash.
Scott Hall is expected to be out of action for awhile due to his latest injury but there's a lot of suspicion about that given Hall's obvious personal issues lately. A lot of eyebrows were raised when Hall got "injured" just days before a "surprise" drug test (which pretty much everybody in the locker room had gotten wind of in advance). However, those close to Hall insist that he really is injured and that he hurt himself in the gym doing squats. For what it's worth, Juventud Guerrera missed Nitro that night and a lot of people suspect it might have been for the same reason (attempting to duck a drug test).
Vampiro is expected to officially debut soon (he worked a throwaway match on Nitro a few weeks back but no real gimmick or character). They're basically wanting to do a Marilyn Manson look for him and they're working on getting a ring outfit made for him.
On Nitro, they used the 7-second delay to censor when Hogan said "Ultimate" Warrior. Since WWF still owns the name of that, they're not supposed to use the "Ultimate" part but people in promos have been slipping up and saying it by accident every week.
Goldberg was at a Miami Marlins game this week and was shown hanging out with Mark McGwire. And yes, WCW is hoping to get McGwire to wrestle during the off-season, although it's just an idea right now, there haven't been any discussions (doesn't happen).
Dave reviews Nitro and Thunder, as he does every week. Nothing really important here (except noting that Nick Dinsmore worked a match on Thunder), but I would be remiss if I didn't mention yet again how much Dave just shits all over nearly every aspect of WCW TV shows around this time, and it's hard to blame him. Considering the cutting edge stuff WWF was doing on Raw, WCW was horrendous around this time. But man, Dave is just ruthless in reviewing these shows.
Sting signed a new 7-figure WCW contract and he no longer wants to work Thursdays so you may not be seeing him on Thunder much anymore.
Goldberg missed a house show in Terre Haute, IN recently and because it's WCW, the whole thing was of course a total clusterfuck. Goldberg had asked for those 2 days off a long time ago and J.J. Dillon agreed and gave him the time off. But since no one in WCW communicates with anyone else, somehow the word never got to the promotions dept. and they continued to advertise Goldberg vs. Giant for the show. Nobody realized there was a problem until the day of the show when they got to Terre Haute and realized that Goldberg wasn't there and the Goldberg/Giant match was the only one they had ever advertised. A week earlier, Goldberg had missed a show because WCW double-booked him in 2 different cities and he couldn't get to the show in time so they ended up offering refunds to the fans, which cost them a shit-ton of money. So in this case, instead of offering refunds, they decided not to tell the fans at all. Instead, they had all the cars backstage warmed up and ready to go and as soon as the last match finished, everybody got the fuck out of Terre Haute before the fans could realize they were getting screwed. They had a show scheduled the next night in Peoria and, realizing they were going to have the same problem, they called and begged Goldberg to come work the show. Since he had asked for the time off, he wasn't happy about it, but he eventually agreed. WCW spent $11,000 to charter a jet to get him to Peoria for the show.
Wayne Bloom and John Nord have both been released by WCW, though it's not like you'd have even known they were there.
Notes from the latest Raw tapings: Undertaker and Kane destroyed Steve Blackman to write him off TV for awhile because he's having knee surgery later this week. Also at the tapings, there was a segment where Tiger Ali Singh came out saying he wanted a woman to make out with his gross sidekick Babu who hadn't brushed his teeth in 3 days and eaten nothing but sardines and he would pay her $500. They picked a woman out of the crowd (obviously a plant) and her shirt was about as see-thru as you can legally get. The crowd began chanting "Show your tits!" and she flashed the crowd 3 different times while in the ring. After she made out with Babu, he then started kissing her breasts before Undertaker and Kane showed up and choke-slammed Singh and Babu and the girl left the ring (as you can imagine, this was heavily edited. It's on the Network, Sept. 5th episode, and she's there in her little white see-through shirt and she makes out with Babu but...that's it. This was taped a week before it aired and there's an abrupt hard edit from Babu throwing money on the ground until suddenly Undertaker and Kane are already almost down the ramp. But I'm still amazed USA Network aired it at all, given that she was apparently freezing cold in a thin white shirt).
Other Raw taping notes: actually, since Raw is being moved to Saturdays for the next 2 weeks due to the US Open, most of Raw was throwaway stuff. And they taped a lot of the big stuff to air on Sunday Night Heat, since the one of the upcoming Heat episodes will be airing at the same time as a WCW PPV. Anyway, Insane Clown Posse appeared on Raw again with the Oddities and this time took a beating from LOD Hawk, who was out there in street clothes doing his drunk/druggie gimmick. Sable wasn't on the show because she's filming an episode of Pacific Blue for USA this week. At one point, Dustin Runnels (doing his religious normal guy gimmick since he's no longer Goldust) came out holding a sign saying, "He is coming!" which led to Val Venis showing up later in the crowd holding a sign saying, "I have come." And The Rock came out to cut a promo and despite being a heel, he got an almost universal babyface reaction. The tapings ended with Austin giving Vince, Patterson, Brisco, etc. all stunners. When announcer Shane McMahon ran in to check on his father, Austin gave him one also.
There have been rumors of Triple H and Chyna getting married in a few months, but Triple H has been denying it. But they are indeed a real-life couple, in case you were curious.
The people who impressed the most at the recent WWF training camps were Christian Cage, Andrew Martin, Kurt Angle, and the Hardy brothers.
On the WWF Hotline, Jim Ross was almost apologetic about his previous comments towards Tony Schiavone. He said he believes Schiavone doesn't have a malicious bone in his body and is a nice guy with a great family and is only doing what he's told by his boss. He said the two have had issues going back for years because Ross was given the lead WCW announcer job ahead of him a long time ago but Ross said he had nothing to do with that decision and wishes they could have shared the top duties at the time. He said the people running both companies (WCW and WWF) should stop acting like 9th graders.
Steve Austin was on Regis & Kathy Lee this week, mostly promoting the new WWF entrance music CD. WCW is also coming out with an entrance music CD sometime in the near future.
"Lou Albano was backstage at MSG and wound up falling on his face and having to be revived." Okay then.
The new Barry Blaustein wrestling documentary that is being filmed will essentially cover the entire industry except for WCW because they decided against being involved in the project.
Interesting letter this week from a guy named Tom Cole, who you might remember as the under-aged victim at the center of the molestation scandal in WWF back in 1992. Since Terry Garvin passed away and Dave wrote an obituary last week, Tom Cole writes in to clarify some things and talk about his experience. Let's read it, shall we?
I'm writing you in response to your article on the death of Terry Garvin. I went back to the WWF in March of 1992 after meeting with Linda and Vince McMahon along with Jerry McDevitt. I love the wrestling business very much and as a kid I was so happy to be part of it. My dream was to work for the WWF for the rest of my life, however that was not to be. When I was 19 and Terry Garvin summoned me to Titan Sports in Stamford, CT, I realized my dream was coming true. However, that dream soon turned into a nightmare. The job he had in mind was sex for working at Titan Sports and when I said No, that was the end of my life in the business. A couple of years later when I came out with my story, I had no intentions on killing the wrestling business. I knew many people in the business who treated me wonderfully all my time there and the last thing I wanted to do was hurt them. My time back at Titan was very hard. Being 20-years-old with a world of pressure on your back, something until you've been there you can't understand, it just didn't work out the way it should have. I always told the truth and never lied about anything. Ask yourselves why I was the only one to get a job at Titan Sports when many others were coming out. Answer. Because everyone who knows this business knew that I was telling the truth. My brother Lee did have my ear when I was working for Titan in 1992 and it made it very hard to concentrate on my job. I love my brother but my association with him definitely didn't help me being back with Titan Sports. I am and always will be a wrestling fan. The wrestling business didn't do me wrong. Just some people who were in it, like Terry Garvin. I do hope this man realized before he died all the lives he badly affected and all the dreams he ruined, especially mine. I know Linda McMahon tried to help me and I truly believe she is a good person. She has a son my age and tried to do right by me but at that time I didn't trust anybody. Thomas Cole
MONDAY:Jim Duggan diagnosed with cancer, Antonio Inoki starts new promotion, more on Ric Flair's return, and more...
Meltzer on WOR: "Bill's a really great guy...one year in Atlanta he filled his van with nothing but toys and stuffed animals and drove to visit sick children and underprivileged children...I know plenty of stories like this about Bill." (2514 points, 605 comments)
Shane Helms: The Rock purposefully messed up a pre-taped segment with me so we'd get to do it live. (2126 points, 391 comments)
2016.10.17 17:21 daprice82Wrestling Observer Rewind • Aug. 23, 1993
Going through old issues of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter and posting highlights in my own words. For anyone interested, I highly recommend signing up for the actual site at f4wonline and checking out the full archives. PREVIOUS YEARS ARCHIVE:1991 • 1992
Dave traveled to the south to attend some SMW shows this last week and he opens the issue with a long rambling opinion piece about the company. After existing for only 18 months, Smoky Mountain Wrestling has carved itself out a niche as one of only 4 legitimate full-time wrestling promotions still operating in the United States (the others being WWF, the clear #1 but has a huge cloud hovering over them with a Justice Dept. investigation. WCW, which is the laughingstock of the industry and only exists because Ted Turner hasn't pulled the plug yet. And USWA, the lone survivor of the days of the territories, still limping along). But SMW is different. From top to bottom on every show, you almost never see a bad match. The company is decidedly old fashioned and caters to the many fans of a bygone era that still exist. They still barely break even most shows and every day is a fight to stay in existence, but the company seems to thrive on that. Dave says their house shows are on par or better than pretty much anything else being done by any other promotion in America right now.
From here, Dave essentially talks about all the top stars on the roster, who they are, how good they are, etc. Some notable thoughts: Brian Armstrong (Road Dogg) being green and not having the look of a star. Tracy Smothers possibly being the most improved wrestler in the world this year. Chris Candido has all the potential to be a superstar but will likely be held back by his short height. And finally, Tammy Sytch "is going to be a major star in this business."
WWF is riding a wave of momentum right now, with record-high ratings for Monday Night Raw and drawing a bigger-than-usual crowds at several house shows. This can be credited to the company cutting back to one house show per night and having all of their top stars on one show instead of having them split between A and B shows. Whether the increased houses from one show per night can recoup the money lost by eliminating the B-shows remains to be seen.
The first Yokozuna/Lex Luger match will take place this week in Memphis at a USWA show. It's being used as a test-run to see how the two work together before their big match at Summerslam the week after. (I was SO into this Lex/Yoko feud at the time and I had no idea they had a match right here in my city before Summerslam! Fuck!)
WCW's latest Clash of the Champions took place last week and the most notable thing that happened was what Dave calls "the most unintentionally funny and embarrassing moment in recent wrestling history" when Fred Ottman, debuting as The Shockmaster, tripped and fell through a wall during his debut.
Road Warrior Hawk ended up striking a last minute deal with WCW after all and was revealed as Dustin Rhodes' mystery partner. More surprisingly, Road Warrior Animal showed up as well (though he didn't wrestle because he's "hurt" and still collecting a big insurance payout). This surprised a lot of people because there's been rumored to be significant heat between Hawk and Animal. In fact, WWN (the new promotion in Texas that Paul Heyman is involved in) had brought Hawk in to be their top singles star and at one point, they had tried to get Animal to come in as well, but Animal no-showed when he found out Hawk would be there. But that seems to have been squashed, and both men showed up to the WCW show. Animal's insurance policy stops paying out in February, and at that time, they are expected to reunite as a team in WCW, which would be a huge blow to WWN since they planned to build the company around Hawk as their top star.
AAA is holding a show in California on Aug. 28th and it looks likely to break records. Advance ticket sales have already made more money than any WCW show this year. The largest Lucha show ever was last year in L.A. which made $119,000 and holds the record for the largest gate every for an indie show in the U.S. This show could very well break that record.
Speaking of AAA, Eddie Guerrero has been doing a pro-USA gimmick, trying to get Mexican crowds to chant "USA! USA!" which has made him a heel. Classic Eddie.
At a show in MA, Jerry Lawler and Vince McMahon filmed an interview segment in front of WWF fans which acknowledged the USWA vs. WWF feud that's been simmering on USWA TV, which built to Vince saying he'll be at ringside for an upcoming Lawler match in Memphis. This won't air on WWF TV, but was filmed for USWA TV.
Eddie Gilbert's booking philosophy in ECW seems to be about catering to the hardcore crowd (smarks, if you will) because that's the audience they've been drawing and it seems to be working. The W*ING wrestlers who came in from Japan were the most over wrestlers on the show, with all the fans seeming to know who they are, the Headhunters in particular being the most over act on the show.
Former AWA TV producer Mike Shields has weeks of television tapings booked with the Aladdin Hotel in Vegas for a new promotion he's apparently starting. The only names Dave has heard involved are Papa Shango, Barry Orton, and Lanny Poffo. But apparently, The Aladdin Hotel management are under the impression that Hulk Hogan is involved in this new promotion somehow, but he's most certainly not, and word is Hogan isn't planning to get involved with wrestling again for a long time, if ever again. He's focused on acting.
Survivor Series will be headlined by an All-American team with Luger, The Steiners and someone else against a foreign menace team led by Yokozuna and Ludvig Borga.
Undertaker missed 3 nights of TV tapings due to an illness.
A jobber got thrown into the ringpost by Bastion Booger and "had his face practically explode" and was bleeding everywhere. This probably won't make television.
The local newspaper in Wilton, CT published an article talking about WWF's upcoming event there, mentioning the scandals and talking about how the American vs. foreign menace storyline is played out. WWF responded by turning the show into a charity event and donating $8000 to local children's clubs. Kill em' with kindness.
WWF is negotiating to get Jim Cornette on the Regis & Kathy Lee show the morning of Summerslam (from what I can tell, they ended up getting Yoko, Cornette and Mr. Fuji on the show, but I can't find any video of it).
Vince and Linda McMahon were named to the Board of Directors for the 1995 Special Olympics.
The upcoming WCW show at the 65,000 seat Alamo Dome is being billed locally as The Great American Bash. Hector Guerrero is being brought in to work the show and Hector and Sid Vicious filmed a promo against each other which involved some local politicians and got wide local media coverage. Sid Vicious made some heavy racial remarks about Hispanics in the promo to get heat (can't find video of this either).
Expect Terry Taylor to be brought into WCW as the new Fourth Horseman. Taylor has more than enough ability for the role, but his credibility as a main eventer has been sot by both WWF and WCW for the last few years, Dave says.
Someone writes in asking about the 1990 match where the Rockers won the tag team titles but then it was ignored. Dave recounts the story about how Neidhart was going to be fired so they booked a title change. During the match, one of the ropes broke. Later on, NBC told WWF that the SNME show was only going to be 60 minutes long instead of 90 minutes. So WWF had to edit the footage and cut some stuff. Around the same time, they had decided not to fire Neidhart after all. So the decision was made to just cut the tag title match out of the show and ignore it like it never happened. The next time they were in town, to explain it to the local fans who saw it happen, an announcement was made that Jack Tunney had later ruled the match a no-contest because the rope broke and so the Rockers didn't win the match. Kind of a famous story nowadays, I've even seen it told on WWE DVDs. But I never knew that the reason for the match was to get the title off Jim Neidhart so they could fire him. WWE seems to leave that part out of the story these days.
Another guy writes in saying that he stumbled across ECW on his local TV station (airing at the same time as WCW) and says he was blown away by how fresh and exciting the ECW product was and said if both shows continue to air at the same time, WCW will have one less viewer.
2016.07.10 12:50 broken_beatJuly... is... WRESTLING STORIES! #10: RANDY AND LIZ - The True Tragic Story Behind Wrestling's Greatest Fairytale
Welcome to July... is...WRESTLING STORIES! Your daily source this month for reading nostalgia and a peek behind the curtain wall of wrestling's past. Throughouteachdaythismonth,IwillpostsomeofthefavoritestoriesIhaveputoutoverthepastfewyearsaswellasaddinginsomenewones,too.IwillbegoingbacktotherootsofthisseriesbypostingthemhereastextpostswhileleavingalinktoreadthestoriesonmysiteProWrestlingStories.com,ifyousowishto.Youmayhavereadsomeofthesebeforeandyoumaybenewtotheseseriesofstoriesaltogether.Ifyouarenew,Ihopethesestoriespiqueyourinterestandaresomethingyouenjoy!Ifyouhavereadsomeofthesealready,Ihopeyouenjoyrelivingsomeofthelaughsandsombermomentsofprowrestling'spastagain! Not every fairy tale is as it seems. This is the true story of the first couple of wrestling, 'Macho Man' Randy Savage and Miss Elizabeth.
"Elizabeth was different from any other woman in wrestling. The crowd felt very protective of her. When [the heel] Savage would make an angry move towards Elizabeth, the fans wanted to jump over the barricade and stand in front of him. She won the people over. [Later] their sympathy for her allowed them to see Randy as human..."
"Away from the spotlight, the real Liz was very much like the character she played. She was shy and quiet and her elegant grace was easy on the eyes. She and Randy were great together and had already been married for years before their live on pay-per-view wedding at Summerslam ‘91..."
“Every time you put Randy Savage in a ring with Hulk Hogan it changed the amount of revenue that was generated across the board, with Elizabeth as the extra piece of the puzzle to keep the door open. Elizabeth didn’t necessarily have to sell the storyline, but just to have her as the third cog in the wheel..."
"Hogan will try to suck the blood from anyone to get himself over. Every time anyone did something good, you'd look over and there [Hogan's] face was..."
GEORGE 'THE ANIMAL' STEELE:
"While Randy was always very professional, having Elizabeth there made things tough for him. I think it would have been tough for anyone. She was a beautiful young lady. They were married, and it was never easy having your wife with you on the road. Most of the guys I knew who tried it wound up divorced, and they were no exception. Professional wrestling was not exactly the set of The Waltons..."
"The backstage environment is like a zoo. Hallways are set up as dressing rooms, you can see guys half undressed, totally undressed, going to the shower in a towel, or still in their underwear or their trunks. Elizabeth was one of the only women at the time that was in the backstage area. And I gotta tell you, man, I've never met a group of males with a greater tendency toward adultery, promiscuity, and even sexual perversion. Randy was just protective of the wife that he loved..."
LANNY POFFO (Randy's Brother):
"There were people putting Halcion in people's drinks. There were people using people's suitcases as toilets. It was like National Lampoons Animal House! My brother was just a no-nonsense guy in a world full of nonsense..."
"I remember envying Randy for being able to bring his wife on the road all the time...but in hindsight, it seems to me anyway, that never being out of each other’s sight probably contributed to the demise of their fairy tale romance more than anything else..."
"Savage was a hot-tempered guy, and Elizabeth was a very shy person who wouldn't do anything to upset him. She seemed totally devoted to him..."
GEORGE 'THE ANIMAL' STEELE:
"Honestly, Randy was the most jealous man I had ever met, and it created a real problem... Every night it was something different. Randy's jealousy was driving him crazy. There were times when he would lock her in the dressing room. Randy was always screaming at somebody..."
'SENSATIONAL' SHERRI MARTEL:
"Let me just say this...both of them were Scorpios and they were both over-protective of each other and very jealous...but I knew that they loved each other very much too. And sometimes when you love someone so much, you don't realize what you're doing, even if you think it's in their best interest..."
"I made more money working with Randy than anyone else because he was such a professional. And he was actually the same way out of the ring as he was in the ring, with the voice and the attitude. He lived Macho Man. He didn’t bring character - that WAS him. Randy was my boy. To go through that whole business with him and be such great friends...then to have a falling out that lasted 10 years..."
“[Hogan and I have] never been friends. Acquaintances at best...just a business-type thing on television. I got nothing good to say about Hulk Hogan. He’s a punk. You know what I mean? Everyone knows it's sports entertainment, entertaining wrestling fans. But sometimes what goes on behind the scenes is stronger than the soap opera on the video scope...and that’s what happened with me and Hulk Hogan...”
"Sadly in his later years, Randy got wacky and crazy and bipolar. He accused me of everything. When his wife left him; when he got divorced and when he lost his job...he blamed me for it all...”
“Elizabeth and I were having problems. It happens that at the time Elizabeth and Hulk Hogan's wife [Linda] were very, very, very best friends. And they were running around together. I didn't think it was healthy for our relationship. I would call home and Elizabeth wouldn't be there...”
"I wasn't really finished growing up. I was reacting a little and acting out...maybe against Randy and not having a clear focus and idea of what I wanted as well..."
"Randy was very protective of her and did not allow a line leading to over-friendly contact [with other talent]. And, believe me, the lines Randy drew never had slack in them. He knew full-well too many talent in the business had no scruples so he never subjected his beloved to the chance. Let there be no mistake - wound up as the 'Macho' element of Randy’s life was, when it came to his marriage he was disciplined and controlled, had class and respected it traditionally..."
“I was getting ready to shoot a movie called Mr. Nanny. I said to Liz: ‘Linda and the kids are all going down to Miami...and you know, we got a couple of different rooms all put together for the kids...’ I thought maybe Liz could come down to help Linda...”
“I was on the road. I would have [phone] conversations with Hogan and he would give me swerves and curves - but never say that Liz was there. She was either out with his wife Linda or hiding out at their house...”
"Hogan and his wife and [Vince] McMahon planted ideas in her head that she was missing out on some magnificent untamed life adventure..."
"Liz came down to Miami and the next thing I know – no disrespect intended, brother – but the big rib was all the room service guys would say, ‘We don’t know what room to take Liz’s room service to because she changes rooms so much...'"
“When I would call home there was no answer. Four days went by and Liz called me and told me to get a lawyer because she wanted a divorce. In desperation, I flew to Miami...”
“I was in the shower – because I was going to work at from six at night ‘til six in the morning filming - and he was in the room standing over Linda going, ‘Ooh yeah, where’s Liz...’
I come out of the shower and go, (puts his hands up) 'Brother, she’s around back. I can show you the room she’s in...’ Twenty minutes before then, she had been sitting out at the pool...with her boyfriend. And I was hot about it, man, because I just...I didn’t know what to do – I saw them leave the pool to go back to her room and I swear to you, as soon as I got to my room, that's when Macho showed up..."
MATT BOURNE (a.k.a, Doink):
“Elizabeth was seeing this small time producer...who happened to be a friend of Hogan's..."
"...So I took Randy and got the manager of the hotel, ran them around the back...I didn’t know if the boyfriend was still in there or if he split. All I know is when the manager [unlocked] the door Macho pushed it open: (adopts Macho Man voice) ‘WHAT'S UP, LIZZZ..?’ The door closed and I ran, brother. I ran back to my hotel room. About twenty minutes later there must’ve been forty police cars there...”
"Elizabeth was hiding in the back room when Savage went to see Hogan and he found out about it. Hogan showed his true colors – that’s why he got the black eye [that he had at WrestleMania IX]. Randy Savage gave it to him. I’d bet my left nut and my son’s life on it. Hogan was supposed to be Savage’s friend and he threw him under a bus...”
“The honesty and friendship wasn't there and possibly it was never was. I was fooled...”
"I spent a lot of time with Randy during the time of their separation and ultimately their divorce. Most of it in the hallways and locker rooms of coliseums; we were on the road, working our program together. Randy is meticulously tough but it really tested his spirit..."
"When Randy and I divorced there was a period of three or four years where I did maintain a normal life in Miami. I had a real job, but it was difficult..."
“[Savage] said that I was the one who started it, that I was the one who got him divorced. He blamed it all on me. I was just trying to be cool. I was just inviting her down to hang out with Linda and the kids...I didn’t know she was gonna run wild on him. After that, bro’ - he snapped, you know? There was no fixing it...”
“Hogan disrespected me and my family – but through the media, you know? Instead of...let's say, YOU have a problem with ME, you call me to the side, man-to-man; we talk about it, we agree to disagree, we have a fight, we have an adult beverage – whatever. Man to man. That’s not the way he does it. ‘Cos he’s a wuss. You understand what I’m saying? He goes on the airwaves and he disrespects me - he gives me a shout over the radio, he gives me a shout over the TV, he gives me a shout over the internet here and there – but nothing FACE TO FACE – you got it? If Hogan didn't like what I said over the airwaves and wanted to [fight] in front of the WWF, in any arena nearby or in a garage of his choice - that would be cool for the Macho Man Randy Savage... Liz thought she had a best friend with Hulk Hogan's wife. Can you believe the fact that they don't even talk now? So what kind of friends do you think they were? It's almost like they got the job done...broke us up, did whatever they had to do. They're not even friends now..."
"When I met up with Liz again later in WCW, she was a bit different, She wasn't the same Liz. She was single. Her and Randy had got the divorce..."
"Later on in the WCW, Randy brought her in to use as an angle, and to get closure to everything... Randy's all business and he doesn't let his personal life get in the way of his business life. He knew that there's a lot of fans that were really interested in seeing Elizabeth again, and he was right, they were. I was in WCW famously on the payroll but not working, so I decided to take my suitcase there and see if they could use me at all, and that's where I saw the lovely Miss Elizabeth in the dressing room. She said hello to me and we talked for about five minutes and that was the last time I saw her..."
"For as much as we complain, all of us - about the traveling, the schedules and the planes and all of that - there is something sort of special about [the wrestling business] that is hard to let go. I suppose it's in my blood. I didn't realize it until actually I got a call and somebody said, 'What do you think about coming back to work?' I was so excited. I never thought I would come back to it. Because of my personal relationship with Randy, I didn't want to be involved if it would make him uncomfortable. Now we have a good relationship and he has a very sweet girlfriend and we all get on very well. When I first started in the business I was treated like royalty in the world wrestling federation...standing in the background and listening and not pushing myself into the forefront of whatever was happening, I gained a lot of knowledge. That was probably what connected me to Lex [Luger] because we both go along and do what we are supposed to do. That's what has made us connect and bond and find mutual respect for each other..."
"Lex and I rode together for years. Then, Liz came into the picture, and it was all three of us. We were inseparable- Liz even set me up with my wife. And when you were with the two of them, you could see that they were very close, very tight. They were friends, lovers, and business partners..."
"I've changed a lot in my lifetime. I was worried about my wife then ...it's very hard to let go. But you've got to..."
"I was living a lifestyle back then that [involved] a lot of drugs, alcohol...in my book I call it 'a life of folly'. There was a lot of collateral damage from that to my family, my friends and those closest to me, including Elizabeth. I take a lot of responsibility for what happened. People say, 'Well Lex, you didn't make her drink or shove pills down her throat...' But I was a very big influence on her life at the time. I was doing that stuff, and she wanted to do what I did, so...if you want to talk about regrets..."
"I found out about it on the internet. I looked at it and said, 'Oh my God, Elizabeth died...'"
"I saw her about five years before. We both said hello to each other. We had closure. We buried the hatchet, we moved on with our lives. That was the last time I saw her..."
"Probably three or four months before Randy passed, we ran into each other at a doctor’s office. I was on my seventh or eighth back surgery, and I couldn’t pass an EKG because I was getting just jammed up with anesthesia every three or four months. My new wife Jennifer and I were sitting on those little seats in the doctor’s office in Tampa and all of a sudden the door opens and in comes Randy. 'Yeeeah! Ooooh yeah! What’s up?' I went, [Gasps]. Freaked me out, scared me to death. And he goes, 'Hey, brother. What’s up, Hogan?' He had that gleam in his eye and looked really healthy. He gained his weight back and he had a wedding ring on. I said, 'Hey, Mach, what’s up with the ring?' He said, 'Hey, just married my childhood sweetheart...' We talked on the phone a couple of times after that. I invited him over to have a barbecue, and we really got back on track, which was cool. Later, I was with Lanny, his brother, at an independent wrestling show. He told me their mom wasn’t doing so well with [Randy’s father] Angelo passing away. So we had planned on having a barbecue at her house — because I got along well with Randy’s mom — and try to cheer her up. So, Lanny and I called Randy from the arena. Three days later, he had the heart attack. It’s hard. That’s the tough one. Out of all the guys who have passed away, that’s the tough one for me. Because he was a great person..."
"Would I ever write a memoir? No...Because I know so much about so many people that I would never want to say anything that someone might take the wrong way. These are the people I've had a lot of fun with and I've been through a lot of their pain. I've been married and divorced and it's not easy. I just wouldn't want to invade anybody's life like that by sharing secrets..."
SOURCES: thebiglead.com, WWF Radio, IWRInteractive.com, cyinterview.com, finalvisionfilms; ultimatewarrior.com, 'Animal': George Steele's autobiography, PWTorch, brethart.com, wolfpacktV, Inside The Ropes radio, WGD Weekly, misselizabeth.com, 'Wrestling's Glory Days' Facebook page, Interactive Wrestling Radio, WWE.com Missed a day? I got you covered! Here's the series thus far: Day 1: THE UNDERTAKER- your JD drinking, acid dropping, strip club loving, locker room leading Deadman (Reddit version / Website version) Day 2: 'The Beast and His Advocate' - The Inseparable Bond Between Brock Lesnar and Paul Heyman (Reddit version / Website version) Day 3: Bret Hart on the Controversy behind Dropping the Belt to Hulk Hogan via Yokozuna at Wrestlemania 9 + Hogan's Flat-out Refusal to Put Hart over in a Match (Reddit version / Website version) Day 4: 'Brotherhood & Friendship' - THE ROCK on his match with ‘STONE COLD’ STEVE AUSTIN at Wrestlemania XV - the lead-up, the day itself and the celebration afterward (Reddit version / Website version) Day 5: UNDERTAKER and MICK FOLEY break down their legendary Hell in a Cell Match which took place 18 years ago. What was going through the minds of the two competitors involved in what many consider being one of the most influential matches of the 90's? (Reddit version / Website version) Day 6: 'Brothers Living Dangerously' - KEVIN VON ERICH on Being the Last of the 'Flying' Von Erich Brothers Left Alive (Reddit version / Website version) Day 7: 'Good Guy, Dr. John Cena' - How John Saved a Marriage in Alaska and the Time When His Drinking Prowess Surpassed That of Chris Jericho's (Reddit version / Website version) Day 8: RIC FLAIR on Internet ‘Smarks.’ (Reddit version / Website version) Day 9: 'Two Decades of Sexual Chocolate' - MARK HENRY: From Olympic Weightlifting to the Ring (Reddit version / Website version) Follow Pro Wrestling Stories:
2016.03.04 17:55 scottheisel31 For 31, day four: WrestleMania IV, "What The World Is Watching!"
Given we've had 31 WrestleManias before this year and March is 31 days long, I thought it would be fun to set up "31 For 31," a daily discussion thread where we can watch and talk about individual WrestleManias. If you're into the idea, feel free to upvote; if you're not, I'm sure I'll lose interest around day six or so and you'll never have to see these again. WATCH:WWE Network // Dailymotion HEAR:Dave Meltzer reflects on WrestleMania IV DATE: March 27, 1988 LOCATION: Historic Atlantic City Convention Hall, Atlantic City, NJ ATTENDANCE: 18,165 THE CARD
20-man Battle Royal
Jim Duggan vs. Ted DiBiase (with Virgil) (WWE Championship Tournament first-round match)
Don Muraco (with Billy Graham) vs. Dino Bravo (with Frenchy Martin) (WWE Championship Tournament first-round match)
Ricky Steamboat (with Little Dragon) vs. Greg Valentine (with Jimmy Hart) (WWE Championship Tournament first-round match)
Randy Savage (with Miss Elizabeth) vs. Butch Reed (with Slick) (WWE Championship Tournament first-round match)
One Man Gang (with Slick) vs. Bam Bam Bigelow (with Oliver Humperdink) (WWE Championship Tournament first-round match)
Jake Roberts vs. Rick Rude (WWE Championship Tournament first-round match)
The Ultimate Warrior vs. Hercules (with Bobby Heenan)
Hulk Hogan vs. Andre The Giant (with Ted DiBiase & Virgil) (WWE Championship Tournament quarter-final match)
Don Muraco (with Billy Graham) vs. Ted DiBiase (WWE Championship Tournament quarter-final match)
Randy Savage (with Miss Elizabeth) vs. Greg Valentine (with Jimmy Hart) (WWE Championship Tournament quarter-final match)
The Honky Tonk Man (c) vs. Brutus Beefcake (Intercontinental Championship)
The British Bulldogs & Koko B. Ware vs. The Islanders & Bobby Heenan (six-man tag)
Randy Savage (with Miss Elizabeth) vs. One Man Gang (with Slick) (WWE Championship Tournament semi-final match)
Strike Force (c) vs. Demolition (Tag Team Championship)
Randy Savage vs. Ted DiBiase (WWE Championship Tournament final)
What are your memories of the fourth WrestleMania? Did you see it live, catch it later on VHS tape or not see it for the first time until the WWE Network launched?
What's your favorite match on the card? What about least favorite match?
This was the first time the WWE Championship was up for grabs in a tournament. Did you like the format? How would you have tweaked it?
This was the Ultimate Warrior's PPV debut. Was it all uphill or downhill from here?
How much of a letdown was Hogan/Andre 2?
This was the first time WWE partnered up with presidential hopeful Donald Trump. What do you think the odds are that he picks Linda McMahon as his running mate?
2016.02.02 21:25 GermanoMuricano117(Final Part) Macho Man passes away in auto accident. The Story of Randy Savage. Wrestling Observer [5/30/2011]
Part 1 Part 2 While Savage’s in-ring ability and unique charisma made him stand out the first time you saw him, this angle made Savage come across like a cut above the usual run of the mill larger but less athletic heels. When the angle played out after several weeks, Savage introduced his manager, and everyone was shocked when an unknown 100-pound woman, all decked out, came out of the curtain. Nobody knew who she was. Announcer Bruno Sammartino was fed the line to surmise, “She must be some sort of a movie star.” The original idea of Savage’s manager was to create a new role. They wanted a beautiful woman who would be like a bitch in a soap opera. The idea was she would be a hard-nosed business shark. While some will credit Elizabeth for paving the way for the women characters in wrestling, the reality was the modern role started and was copied to death after the success of women valets in World Class Wrestling in 1983. Soon, there were women everywhere working in that role, and some promotions copied World Class with the women feuding with each other. WWF was actually one of the last to jump on the bandwagon. But she became the biggest star because WWF decided to change direction. The women in wrestling always dressed as revealing as possible, but with Elizabeth, they went for the classy approach, beautiful dresses, the hair done like she was a beauty pageant queen and not a stripper. She was the beautiful, elegant woman, a pro wrestling version of Lady Di, with a heelish, jealous, obsessive and overbearing boyfriend. Savage debuted in Madison Square Garden on June 21, 1985, in a mid-card match against Rick McGraw. His agent told him to go 4:00 and win with his finish, the elbow off the top. He went closer to 13:00, saying that it was his first match in Madison Square Garden after so many years working on small shows and he wanted to have time to enjoy it. He got yelled at for it, because it messed up the time for the show. Very quickly, the Savage/Elizabeth act became the company’s second hottest, behind only Hogan. But the relationship also wasn’t storybook in real life. Randy was insanely jealous and possessive. The joke was that he would keep her under lock and key, constantly paranoid that one of the other wrestlers would make the moves on her. And given her portrayal and how she looked, he probably wasn’t wrong to have those concerns. He would get mad if she would even engage in lengthy conversation with other men. When the cameras were off, and Savage would have to be away from her, he would have an older road agent or referee that he trusted be with her at all times to make sure none of the other wrestlers got near her. Savage, on occasion, chased down and hit fans who tried to touch her as she was walking to and from the ring. Lesser stars were let go for lesser actions involving fans. Later, when she was no longer a character and he was still wrestling, he never wanted her to leave the house. He would come back from the road and check the miles on her car to see if she had gone anywhere and constantly check on her. She wanted out of the marriage badly by the time they were married in storyline. In the WCW days, whenever Elizabeth would come up to talk with him, Bobby Heenan would start singing the tune from an old TV commercial, “How do you handle a hungry man?,” from a company that marketed TV dinners. Elizabeth had confided in Heenan that when Randy was on the road, he’d buy a TV dinner for every night he was gone, because he wanted her to never leave the house. Another story was when Elizabeth, Savage, Davey Boy Smith and Diana Hart Smith were at a hotel swimming pool on the road, two very obviously gay men came up to talk to the two women. They just saw her and asked if she was Elizabeth from television, and she said, “Yes,” and started talking with them. Savage, who was in the pool at the time, saw it, gave her a look, and screamed in his promo voice, “Liz, in the pool!” She owned a convertible, but Randy would never allow her to drive with the top down and would constantly check to see if she had driven while he was gone. Hulette walked out of the relationship in the summer, and, with no fanfare, was gone for WWF television until the company plastered news stories for a few weeks about her after her death because the segments were doing boffo quarter hours. Savage always blamed Hogan and Linda for talking Hulette into the divorce, whether that was true or not, which was where the Savage hatred for Hogan came from. She ended up spending time at their home hiding out when she left him. When she and Linda accompanied Hogan to South Florida for the filming of Mr. Nanny, she met Miami attorney Cary Lubetsky, who was her second husband. She wanted out so bad that she told Alex Marvez in 1994 that she left with zero money, when it was discovered that the one time queen of WWF television was working in a sales job at a retail clothes store at the Aventura Mall in South Florida, as she became a living trivia question about “Whatever Happened To...?” She married Lubetsky, and then, for him, converted to Judaism. Then she ended up with Luger and became a fitness freak, until both went into a scary decline. Bret Hart felt he was never the same after the divorce, siding that there was this feeling of sadness around him that he saw in WWF, as well as in WCW, even when he was with Gorgeous George. He said little at the time of her death, positioning himself as very distant from her and having moved on a long time ago. But Lance Storm, who really didn’t know Savage at all, recounted probably the only meaningful conversation he had with him back in 1994 when Savage came in for a weekend for Smoky Mountain Wrestling. Storm noted that he met Savage 17 years to the day of his death, at a May 20, 1994, show in Knoxville. It was the next night, in Morristown, TN, at a high school gym, when Savage pulled him aside and asked if he would mind if he gave him some personal advice. “I said, no please do,” Storm recalled in an article on his web site. “So he proceeded to say, I see they’re doing an angle with you and your wife. Well, I did an angle with my wife one time, and I ain’t got a wife no more.” It was apparently a case of mistaken identity and Savage getting stories crossed. Storm had gotten married two weeks earlier so Savage probably in a roundabout way may have heard about it in the dressing room. But it was Chris Candido and Tammy Sytch who were doing the angle. Finding Elizabeth working at a mall led to Zane Bresloff, who worked for WCW as their promoter at the time, and knew her from the WWF days, getting in touch with her and asking her if she was interested in coming back. She was, and Eric Bischoff signed her on for a $156,000 per year deal as a valet. She told people that it was uncomfortable at times working in the same company as Savage, particularly since early on they did so many angles together based on their relationship, but both were professional about it. She was in her late 30s, still very pretty, but couldn’t play the role she did in WWF by that point, so was used as a typical woman character as a heel. She really was never much of a performer, more the right look, almost a perfect face, for a time, now older and transported to someplace where really she was a bit player. It was during that period where she met Lex Luger, who was married. The two started a relationship in 1998, and were together in public all the time, never hiding it even though he was married and had teenage children. A few years later, Luger left his family, and had a falling out with them so deep that when his son, Brian, played college basketball, in the programs and media guides, he never wanted his father’s name mentioned. At her peak, Elizabeth was, with the possible exception of Rena Mero as Sable, the most popular female performer in the history of the business in North America. She was the role model to virtually every young girl who watched wrestling between 1985 and 1992, and a first crush of a generation of young boys. It was a role not originally planned for her. Nor did anyone ever expect it to take off the way it did. And ironically, despite its success, no woman in wrestling has ever been portrayed in a similar fashion, including herself when she returned for her WCW run. After Elizabeth’s contract wasn’t renewed shortly before WCW folded, she started working at the front desk at Main Event Fitness, a gym in Marietta, GA that Luger and Sting opened during their wrestling heyday, although stopped working there a few months before her death. A real bad warning sign came on a December, 2002, tour of Australia for the World Wrestling All-Stars promotion run by Andrew McManus. Luger’s health was bad. And as for Elizabeth, even though she was booked and advertised for the tour, and went to Australia, once she got there, she never left her hotel room, except to get on the bus or plane to the next show. Those on the tour said she looked bloated and her behavior worried people, but it wasn’t a major topic of conversation, because several others on the tour, Luger most notably, appeared to be a lot worse off than she was. When Jimmy Hart tried to form the XWF, he contacted her to come in. She at first agreed, but then Luger shamed her into turning down the offer because they hadn’t asked him to come in. Exactly what happened was unknown. But then she and Luger both stopped going to the gym. On April 19, 2003, police responded to a call about a fight in the garage of the couple’s home. When police arrived, Hulette had two black eyes, knots on her forehead and a split lip. She told police she had fallen down when trying to control the family dog. Police didn’t buy it and arrested Luger for misdemeanor battery, and he was released on $2,500 bond. He was arrested again and charged with a DUI, with Hulette with him in the car, two days later when his Porsche rear-ended another car near his home. According to the police report, he had slurred speech, bloodshot eyes and couldn’t find his drivers license. Police also found a handgun in his car. She was sent home in a taxi by police. On May 1, 2003, she died of an accidental overdose of pills and alcohol in the couple’s town house just outside of Marietta, GA. When police came to check out the scene, they found large quantities of drugs and Luger was charged with 13 felonies and one misdemeanor drug charge. If Savage did die of a heart attack, some people will likely point the finger at steroids. Savage admitted to the old use when they were legal. The first time I saw Randy Poffo, around 1976 as a jobber on WWWF television, he was similar to a younger guy John McChesney, a guy you could see was a really great bump taker and worker, but far too skinny to be pushed. He continued to look that way in photos in 1977, when in February of that year, in coming to work for Georgia Championship Wrestling, booker Ole Anderson renamed him Randy Savage, saying he wrestled like a Savage. By 1979, he had one of the best physiques in the sport, and remained muscular until the WWF established steroid testing in 1992. That led to the period he switched from regular trunks to long tights, and wrestled wearing a shirt. Once he left for WCW, he was back to working shirtless. Vince McMahon even did a spoof on television of The Huckster and Nacho Man, basically saying they were both old men on steroids. Savage got even bigger after WCW folded and he wasn’t wrestling, probably 250 to 260 pounds, absolutely monstrous when he filmed the Spider-man movie and an episode of Walker: Texas Ranger. But a few years later, he got small and then disappeared. Rumors around the Tampa wrestling scene abounded, usually saying there must have been a health scare, but nobody knew. Anderson used him as an underneath heel against Raymond Rougeau and Bob Backlund. He must have liked him a little, because on March 25, 1977, at the Atlanta City Auditorium, when Abdullah the Butcher no-showed a main event against Thunderbolt Patterson, Anderson put Savage in the spot to lose. But he remained working prelims against the likes of Don Kernodle, a young Tony Atlas, Tiger Conway Jr., Roberto Soto, a young Tito Santana as Richard Blood and Tommy Rich. For an Omni show on October 14, 1977, he worked with a 19-year-old David Von Erich, brought in as an outside attraction. He remained in the territory until early 1978, and moved to work for Nick Gulas in Nashville, where he started headlining against the likes of Dutch Mantel and Bobby Eaton. By that point he was developing the entire package, because he and Eaton had some of the best matches in the country at that point. Then his father bought into Emile Dupre’s Atlantic Grand Prix Wrestling promotion in New Brunswick and Nova Scotia, which allowed both Randy and brother Lanny to be work as main eventers over the International title. They used the history of that title with Randy as champion to establish International Championship Wrestling in 1979. The ICW started in Paducah, KY, with Randy Savage and Leaping Lanny as the two top stars. At about the same time, Bob Roop, Bob Orton Jr., Boris Malenko and Ronnie Garvin had started opposition to the Fullers in the Knoxville area after a tournament for a boat that Garvin won. The boat was purchased by one of the Fullers, and whenever Ron Fuller bought an expensive car or boat, he’d use it to draw a house, have a tournament for it, which he’d invariably win, so it would make sense that people would always see him with the car or boat they saw on TV. Well, after doing that a few times, he was afraid it was getting predictable, so put Garvin over. Garvin then left the territory, with the boat, wouldn’t give it back and started opposition. This led to Fuller’s legal attempts to get it back, which made the local papers and exposed the business. Both groups of talent migrated to Lexington and formed the most notorious wrestling promotion of its time. If the Randy Savage of 1977 was a great worker who was too small to headline in some places, the Randy “Macho Man” Savage, the ICW world heavyweight champion in 1979 could have gone anywhere and been on top. He was a good 30 pounds heavier, and was one of the first wrestlers who looked almost like a competition bodybuilder, and had the entire character that he showed nationally six years later. It is believed the Macho Man name came from his mother, Judy, likely from the “Village People” song of that era. He was one of the first wrestlers in the country to use entrance music, probably copying it from seeing The Freebirds. He came out to the song, “Fame,” twirling, with the same hand gestures, the headband, the flashy robes, and the unique interview voice, saying, “Freak out, freak out, Macho Man Randy Savage here,” repeating interview lines and rhymes made famous in other territories by Superstar Billy Graham. He had the entire character down long before WWF, and the only real change was “Fame” was replaced by “Pomp and Circumstance.” Really, Savage was a cross between Flair, who he’d have crossed paths with when he was undercard wrestler Randy Poffo in the Carolinas in 1976 and 1977, and Graham, who pretty much every heel in the business who played bodybuilder patterned himself after. For reasons unknown to me, ICW Wrestling started airing on a San Francisco UHF station. While I knew Leaping Lanny was Lanny Poffo, and Roop, Orton Jr. and Garvin were all established stars, and I also knew Randy Poffo as the family member who played baseball and then went into wrestling, I had no idea who this Randy “Macho Man” Savage was. Suffice to say, having grown up on legendary workers like Ray Stevens and Pat Patterson, when seeing this guy do all his flying moves, particularly the elbow drop, which as a young man he did higher and farther across the ring then when he was famous, it was “this does not compute.” Nobody except maybe Bobby Eaton would get as much height and distance on top rope moves. Savage would also routinely do the double sledge off the top rope to the floor. Orton Jr. was doing the superplex before anyone in the major territories had discovered it. Savage had everything, the look, the promos and was more of a high flyer than anyone I’d ever seen up to that point, plus his speed, his punches, everything about him was there. At the time, few wrestlers had the bodybuilding physique, and with the exception of a guy like Ricky Steamboat and Jimmy Snuka, most of the ones who did, like Graham, Austin Idol, or a young Hulk Hogan or Jesse Ventura, had a physique, or maybe a mouth, but you didn’t expect them to be able to be a top worker. I couldn’t understand why this guy wasn’t headlining Madison Square Garden or working one of the top territories at the time. But even more were things they said on television. They would do interviews where they would rip on other territories, usually the Fullers in Knoxville, but mainly Jerry Jarrett’s wrestlers in Memphis. Roop, who was a very good articulate promo guy, like a Nick Bockwinkel, would talk about how in other territories, the promoters would ask you to lose matches, but of course, that doesn’t happen here. Rip Rogers would show a high school yearbook photo of Jerry Lawler, and note that Lawler never played any sports and wasn’t a real athlete. Others would talk about how the Fullers real last name was Welch, and how they owned the territory they headlined in. Tojo Yamamoto, a Memphis legend, was outed as being Harold Watanabe and not even being Japanese. And they made fun of guys selling for the 5-foot-2, aging Yamamoto’s chops, laughing at how silly it was. But Savage, as the world champion, was the king. He would constantly challenge Lawler and Bill Dundee to matches. They took out ads in the paper for their card, and would advertise things like Randy Savage offers $100,000 if Dundee, Jerry Jarrett and Yamamoto can beat him, three-on-one, or other amounts to Lawler. A lot of the Memphis wrestlers wanted to respond on television, but Jarrett forbid it. He would constantly tell them, ignore them, because eventually they are going to go away. He said spending any time talking about them would take away from the angles they are doing and trying to draw money with. Jarrett impressed on Jimmy Hart that advice, and Jimmy Hart years later gave the same advice to Hogan when Savage was doing his grandstand challenges for a real fight for charity on Tampa area radio. So the ICW guys kept it up, looking for a response, and not getting it. Things threatened to become physical. Jimmy Hart notes about a night he’ll never remember. Lawler had just broken his leg playing touch football, and was out of action, but in those days, word traveled slowly. A few days later, the Jarrett crew went to Lexington for their regular show. As they pulled up, Savage, in front of fans, saw Hart and started talking about how tonight, he’s taking out Lawler, and apparently he really meant it. Hart told him that Lawler broke his leg and wasn’t going to be there. Savage paused, collected his thoughts, and told Hart, “Okay, tonight, I’m taking out Dundee.” Not just Savage, but the entire ICW roster bought tickets and came into the building, apparently waiting to cause a scene in the main event that involved Dundee. However, in the semifinal, a fan attacked Hart and a riot started, not involving the ICW crew, and the police had to come to quell things down. The show continued, but with officers everywhere, the ICW guys never made a move. Even though Savage wasn’t a big guy, he was intense, people thought he was crazy, and had a rep for being a tough guy. So did Orton Jr., and Garvin, while Roop wrestled in the Olympics. They were plenty intimidating. Lance Russell noted that when the crew traveled north to Lexington or sometimes Louisville, every car would have a gun because things had gotten so heated. Dundee (Bill Crookshanks), was Jarrett’s long-time No. 2 babyface behind Lawler. Savage was routinely making fun of him on television because he was about 5-foot-4 and would grandstand challenge him and make fun of the Jarrett guys for failing to show up with so much money at stake. It was the same gimmick Savage did in his 50s with Hogan. At one point, there was a confrontation, and Savage went after Dundee. Dundee ran back to his car and pulled out a gun. Savage then wrestled the gun away from Dundee and pistol-whipped him, breaking his jaw and putting him out of action. When Dundee finally returned, he did an interview and sort of acknowledged the rumors of what happened, just saying there was a story going around about him getting in a fight and breaking his jaw, but what really happened was he was thrown off a horse and broke his jaw. The perennial world title feud in ICW was Macho Man against Leaping Lanny. While Poffo may downplay his ability, he was quite the wrestler himself when he was young. He may have been the first wrestler to do a moonsault, years before Keiji Muto made it famous and it had a name. Their matches were much better than those that were on top in Madison Square Garden, except they were wrestling in front of 100 or so people and flying all over the place. After a few years of feuding, they did an angle where Lanny was beaten senseless, and another babyface was there, and heard him utter the shocking words. Randy Savage was really Randy Poffo, his older brother. You have to understand that no wrestling magazines touched the ICW, which made the whole idea of this Randy Savage being maybe the best guy in the business so perplexing. At least then I knew who Randy Savage was. Savage freaked out on television over his identity being exposed, tried to claim they were really half brothers and Lanny’s mother was a whore, and did a Cain and Abel type feud. Even though they didn’t draw, Angelo Poffo was the expert on saving money. They would cram ten wrestlers in a van to drive to the cities, and if they had to stay overnight, they would rent one hotel room with most of the guys sleeping on the floor. Besides running down the established promotions on television and in newspaper ads, the Poffo family filed a $2.4 million lawsuit against nine promotions and 13 promoters, Jim Barnett, Eddie Graham, Nick Gulas, George Gulas, Tom Renesto, Jerry Jarrett, Jerry Lawler, Wilbur Snyder, Dick “The Bruiser” Afflis, Ed “The Sheik” Farhat, Verne Gagne, Edward “Buddy Fuller” Welch and Bob Geigel. The lawsuit claimed the promoters had established an illegal monopoly on the business and had blacklisted the family from appearing with any major promotions. The lawsuit was thrown out of court when Roop and Garvin, who had been hired back by establishment promoters, Roop by Bill Watts and Garvin by Ole Anderson, recanted their original depositions where they claimed they had been told by Barnett when working in Georgia to hurt the Poffo family and the case fell apart. In all, nine of the ten key witnesses that worked for ICW left the promotion, killing the case. In 1983, Watts, who worked with the National Wrestling Alliance but was not a member, and was going to book who he wanted and didn’t care about establishment blacklists, hired Lanny Poffo and was about to hire Randy Savage. An angle was started where Mr. Wrestling II was mentoring Magnum T.A. Magnum and Poffo did some teaming. Wrestling II, who was about to do a heel turn that played off great on television because the storyline was excellent, but actually didn’t work because fans wouldn’t boo him, told Magnum that he’s been around he knows the Poffo family, and they’re bad news. He would show tapes of Randy Savage, as a heel, and note Lanny was his brother. Magnum would say that Lanny, who worked as a face, had never done anything to him and he didn’t judge him based on his brother. The idea was to build to Magnum vs. Savage as a feud but it never happened. Savage never ended up coming in. However, in their conversations, Watts told him he was wasting his career, as he was already 30, and there was money to be made working against Lawler. Savage wrote a letter to Lawler apologizing for everything he had said and was looking to work together to do business. Years later, when Savage was on top, he called Watts, by this point out of the business, to thank him for the advice, noting that if he had stayed independent and not gone to Memphis, he wouldn’t have been seen by Scott on a tape, and never gotten the opportunity. Realistically, at some point, the opportunity would have come. It’s also possible it may have come at a different time where he may not have gotten the same opportunity. Jimmy Hart remembered Lawler calling him up and telling him about the letter and asking him for advice. Hart told him it would be great. “Lawler said to me, What if it turns into a real fight.’” said Hart. “I told him,Don’t worry, I’ve got your back.’” His attempt at humor notwithstanding, they actually tested the match out in Lexington, putting it on cold with no angle and no television, and it drew more than 8,000 fans at Rupp Arena, ending without a decision in a long match described as tremendous. It was, up to that point in time, the largest crowd and gate ever for wrestling in that city. With the trust issue seemingly put to bed, Savage and Angelo Poffo showed up on Memphis television, acting like they were barging in on a live television show. Savage demanded Lawler. Eddie Marlin, who played the role of promoter, tried to reason with Savage about leaving during the live show. Eventually Lawler said he was tired with all the talk for all those years and wanted the match. The match took place on December 5, 1983, at the Mid South Coliseum, with Lawler retaining his Southern title and winning via DQ, before 8,012 fans, about double what they had been doing. It wasn’t a sellout, but it was the fourth largest crowd of the year for the promotion that ran every Monday night, trailing two appearances by Andy Kaufman in handicap matches against Lawler, and a Lawler challenge of Nick Bockwinkel for the AWA title. Week two, a cage match with Lawler once again winning via DQ, was down to 4,500 fans, just above normal. Week three, on a traditional bad week given it was right before Christmas, they were down to 2,480, with Lawler & Austin Idol beating Savage & Jos LeDuc via DQ. From that point, Savage was moved down the cards. Eventually he turned face in a feud with Rick Rude in September, 1984. The second week after the turn, Lawler & Savage teamed up for the first time losing to Rude & King Kong Bundy. Savage, often teaming with his brother, was not as successful as a face, and by March, 1985, was turned heel against Lawler again. “Randy was a babyface when I came in and had been switched so many times they didn’t believe I could get him back as a heel,” said Jeff Walton. “Randy had to know and like you. He was a loner. He never traveled with the boys, always going up and down the road with Elizabeth, his wife at the time.” “I remember one night at the Nashville Fairgrounds we were working a hot match with Lawler,” said Walton. “I jumped into the ring to save Randy after a lot of interference on my part. That was all it took and a riot broke out. As I was stomping Lawler, I saw a big, burly biker coming into the ring with a chain wrapped around his fist. He was coming straight at me. It was like in slow motion. All of a sudden, Randy tackles this big guy and saves my neck, and my other body parts. He always had my back. He was a tremendous athlete dedicated to the wrestling business sand I was shocked and saddened at his all too soon passing. He was just the best.” Savage’s 1985 feud with Lawler was actually hotter than the first one, probably because they gave him credibility and had him beat Lawler for the Southern title on March 18, 1985. On April 15, Savage even retained the title pinning Bockwinkel in what was likely their only meeting. That win meant a lot for his credibility, as Lawler vs. Savage the next Monday drew 9,000 fans, the biggest crowd thus far of the year. May 6 was a unique match with Lawler & Bruiser Brody going to a double count out with Savage & David Shults. In a trivia note, Savage and Brody were actually supposed to do a big program in the ICW in 1983. After working on the same shows in St. Louis for Matysik, Brody agreed to come to the ICW and was going to beat Savage for the title on October 30, 1983, in Cape Girardeau. Brody was such a name at the time in the sense he had credibility and it likely would have been a shot in the arm for the promotion. But politics entered the fray. Before the match, Matysik, in attempting to get the Wrestling with the Chase time slot on KPLR-TV, came face-to-face with his adversary for the slot, Vince McMahon, who was about to start his national expansion. Matysik was an independent promoter, although had a good name in St. Louis. McMahon was running a major promotion with big name stars, and selling out Madison Square Garden. The station essentially asked the two to work together, which led to Matysik as the St. Louis promoter for WWF shows and WWF getting the time slot. Matysik kept it quiet, only telling Brody that he was folding his promotion to go with WWF. Brody then called Bob Geigel, who was running the established NWA promotion in the city, and acted like he was going to bail on Matysik and destroy him, to get a strong guaranteed deal with Geigel, who saw dollar signs because Brody, the big star with the opposition, against Ric Flair or Harley Race meant big business. But in doing so, one of his dates was on October 30, and Brody did not even call Savage to let him know he wasn’t coming on the night the title was supposed to change hands. Savage gave notice after getting the phone call from Jimmy Hart and immediately agreeing to go to WWF. This built to a loser leaves town match on June 3, 1985, which drew 9,000 fans, with Lawler pinning Savage in 30:09 of a great match. In those days, most wrestlers when getting the WWF offer bailed without giving notice, which is how Vince wanted it since they were at war and in those days, it wasn’t like Vince would have wanted a guy he was building to face Hogan to have done a high profile job for Lawler, even if it was just in Memphis and a few other cities. But Savage felt grateful enough that after all he did, that Jarrett and Lawler gave him his chance, and did the right thing for them on the way out, losing in every city. “I learned a major lesson from him,” said Jericho. “I’d first come to WCW in 1996, when the NWO arrived. Hall & Nash were very much prima donnas, basically assholes in a lot of ways. As an impressionable guy, but also coming from Calgary, and spending so much time in Japan, I was taught respect. There guys were the opposite. Savage was a lot nicer because he came in like I did. “One night the music didn’t work. It was Sting & Savage vs. Hall & Nash. So Hall & Nash refused to go to the ring. They are complaining, saying, This is bush league, Vince always had music.’ They were supposed to go out first and wouldn’t go out. Savage was backstage and said,Enough of this bullshit, let’s go out.’ Sting didn’t want to go out either. Savage just went out with no music. He did a promo about the music not being there. Then Sting had to go out since he was Savage’s partner, and finally Hall & Nash went out. Savage did the professional thing. Savage in my opinion at that time was a bigger star than all three of those guys. To see that, it was a pretty professional thing. They all should have done it. He may never have even remembered it, but I’d never forget it.” Savage had debuted in late 1994 with the storyline of whether he was going to shake Hogan’s hand or slap his face. He saved Hogan from an attack, shook his hand, and started out as a face. Savage worked most notably with Flair in 1995. WCW had been doing terrible house show business, even with Hogan, in 1994 and 1995. The turnaround in WCW business can be traced to early 1996, and the Flair vs. Savage feud, with Elizabeth thrown in. Elizabeth returned as Savage’s valet, only to turn on him and go with Flair, turning on more heat with a storyline of how Flair, now with Elizabeth, was spending all the money Savage gave her in the divorce settlement. They feuded until the NWO angle, which came in a match with Savage & Sting & Luger as the top faces against Hall & Nash and their mystery partner, who ended up being Hogan. Savage feuded with the NWO, and later joined them. He had a long feud with Diamond Dallas Page which Page credits, and rightly so, for making him a legit main eventer. “I couldn’t believe when I met him that was really his voice,” said Konnan. “I could have sworn it was a gimmick. He was very paranoid, always worried what people might be saying or thinking about him. If he thought you were making fun of him, which most of the time we were, shit was on. “Remember when he had that dry hair, before he met Gorgeous George and she sort of hipped him up, and he had the hair plugs with the hair slick back and looked pretty pimp and he was wearing all black? “Well, before that, his hair looked terrible and Hall and Nash would tell him to cut off his hair, and he wouldn’t. So they said they would if he would. He would ask me if they were fucking with him. But Hall told me he would, just to see Macho shave that freeze dried straw hair off. This went on for quite a while and he was always paranoid. I would always tell him, call them out and if they cut their hair first, they obviously aren’t fucking with you. But I really think he was more worried about what he would look like bald. He was very paranoid about his looks and about how people perceived him. This went on for months and it was great.” In those days, the top guys didn’t put anyone over who wasn’t a star, so it was a huge deal to Page when Savage agreed to put him over clean with the diamond cutter on PPV, making him a player. Later Savage was back as a babyface after being turned on by Hogan and Bret Hart. In June, 1998, he underwent two major knee operations, putting him out for the rest of the year. He returned with the slick back hair and Gorgeous George as his valet in 1999. Eventually he added Miss Madness Mona (Nora Greenwald, who became better known years later in WWF as Molly Holly) and Madusa to Team Madness. Savage stayed with the company through May, 2000, before his contract expired, and due to WCW being so deep in the red, it wasn’t renewed. Savage had four WCW title runs between 1995 and 1999. And although pro wrestling was far more popular in 1998 and 1999 than at any time previously, when Savage passed away, almost nobody spoke of his WCW tenure except in passing. Almost everything written was either sports people bringing up his baseball career, or the WWF run, mostly the period with Elizabeth. “I don’t really get that star struck in the business, but when the Wolfpac was me, Nash, Luger, Sting and Mach, I was very star struck and honored to have been able to chill and talk and work with one of the greatest performers this industry has ever seen,” said Konnan. “Macho Man and Elizabeth is part of our cultural fabric,” said Jericho. “People remember that more than most movies from those years. Everybody knew Miss Elizabeth and what happened. It really struck a chord. It was the first modern age of modern day wrestling. That first time it really caught fire. The stories were so good. And it’s part of your childhood, and that becomes beloved, like watching Batman & Robin. I thought it was the best show ever. Now, I realize it’s God awful terrible.” After wrestling, Savage promoted a rap album, which was a joke, built around a song called, “Be A Man,” where he challenged Hogan to a real fight. After Savage got small, he disappeared, and didn’t seem to want to be in contact with anyone. He went gray, cut his hair and totally changed his look. About the only person he stayed in contact was with Brian “Crush” Adams. Bret Hart, who was very close friends with Adams, asked Adams if he could get Savage’s phone number. Adams said that Savage told him not to give his number to anyone, so Hart told him to give Savage his number and to ask him to call. Savage never called. In 2007, at the funeral for Adams, Hart and Jericho were talking. “He came up, nobody knew who he was, this guy with white hair and a big beard,” said Jericho. “It was Randy. Eventually I recognized the voice. Bret didn’t recognize him. I asked, `Randy, is that you?’ He looked so different. Like a Santa Claus.” “He told me, Bret, it’s me,” said Hart. After the funeral, Hart again tried to get in contact with him and never heard back. Hogan, on twitter, after his death, said that Savage hated him for the last decade but they recently had made amends. Most people were skeptical, since it was Hogan, and knowing Savage was avoiding friends, let alone the person he hated more than anyone. Still, last year, Mattel proposed a list of talent they wanted for a Legends action figure line, which included Savage. WWE did not block them from pursuing a deal with Savage. They came to an agreement and the first new action figure of him in years, wearing the outfit he wore at WrestleMania VII for the match with Warrior, came out in January. Another figure was schedule to hit retail now. The Mattel people went to Florida to get Savage to cut an interview for the San Diego Comic Con for the announcement. The room broke out in applause when Savage appeared on screen with his action figure– the first Savage product under the WWE banner since 1994. Those involved said that while he hadn’t been around wrestling, he seemed to enjoy cutting the promo. After WCW folded, Savage never appeared on WWE television, nor was he even interviewed for a DVD the company put out on him after years of McMahon refusing to okay one, the company did not block either THQ, which produced its video games, or Mattel, which produced its action figures, from using the Savage character over the past year. Those close to the company said they believed McMahon was going to relent and allow Savage in the Hall of Fame, which would mean a return to company television at least for one appearance, for the first time since 1994, perhaps as early as next year. But others said that was wishful thinking and McMahon was still in the absolutely no way Savage is on TV mind set to the end. Savage also appeared as an actor in a number of television shows, often playing himself, as well as playing the role of wrestler Bonesaw McGraw in the 2002 “Spider-Man” movie. Savage had told his family he wanted a private funeral with only family invited. He asked to be cremated, with his ashes spread next to his favorite tree, the same as he did with his dog’s ashes when his dog died a few years ago.
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Linda Hogan what she is dong now - YouTube
Hulk Hogan's ex wife is a bitch linda hogan
[ NEW INFORMATION ] this video confirms she was cheating on hulk hogan before the divorce with Music Producer @RickyRomanceLive This was the wedding of Hulk Hogan and Linda Claridge on December 18, 1983. This video also features Antonio Inoki. Hulk Hogan Ex-Wife Linda Hogan Racist Statement. AEW President Tony Khan Says Both Hulk & Linda Hogan Are Banned From AEW Events - Duration: 1:50. Pro Wrestling Unlimited 8,257 views I interviewed Linda Hogan about her book 'Wrestling the Hulk' and she addressed The Ultimate Warrior's video about her having an open marriage. Enjoy the videos and music you love, upload original content, and share it all with friends, family, and the world on YouTube. Hulk Hogan Unplugged: Restarts Life with New Wife, New Reality Show; Nick Hogan Phone Call Leaked - Duration: 4:41. ABC News 56,863 views Hulk Hogan's wife Linda Hogan stars in a new music video featuring weak ass rapper Ricky Romance acting like a damn cougar. Original Airdate: Thursday Octobe... Only “Extra’s” Michael Corbett was with Linda Hogan today at her Simi Valley, California, home as her ex-husband Hulk Hogan’s trial against Gawker Media cont... Linda Hogan what she doing now