Volume 1, Issue 100
December 28, 1996
This weekend, with Starrcade '96 looming and the weekend programs mostly doing Year-End-Reviews I have decided to forego the usual Weekend Report (although I will give WWF LiveWire a look-see). The results of Solie's Readers' Poll appear below.
I may have a Bret Hart column to share with you tomorrow (my Calgary correspondents says that the usual Saturday column didn't appear but that there was a hint that there might be one published Sunday...we shall see). Regardless, I will be back tomorrow with a WWF Superstars report - plus my in-depth coverage of Starrcade. And yes...that is a new version of the Solie's logo...
Doc Hendrix is back to host the program with Sunny this week. Sid is the in-studio guest. Thankfully, they chose not to make this one a Year-End-Review show. The show opens with a focus on the burgeoning Goldust/Helmsley feud. Hunter calls in and says he'll retain his Title at the Royal Rumble. He claims that Marlena is interested in him - rather than the other way around. He also claims (in answer to a question from Doc) that women are never a distraction to him (tell that to Mr. Perfect...)
Vic Venom makes an appearance during the second segment and is upset because the "Twin Jims" (Cornette and Ross) criticized him for making predictions about the Rumble. Otherwise he doesn't have much to say.
Sid comes on for the third segment. He's laughing a lot (WWF's answer to Hugh Morrus?). One caller (they all seemed to be Sid fans) suggested that the Champ should go back to his old practice of bringing a stretcher to the ring for his opponents. He stated that it could happen at the Rumble.
Coming back from the next commercial we are reminded that Shotgun Saturday Night begins next weekend.
Finally a non-fan takes Sid to task for the way he won the title. Sid doesn't get mad he just explains that he had to do what he had to do. Later he requests of Jose Lothario that he stay away from the next match because he's liable to do it again.
Shawn Michaels calls in and they actually have a fairly calm conversation puncuated by Sids good-natured screams and bursts of laughter.
Vic Venom is back for the last segment complaining that the questions are too softball. He does make a good point about the Undertaker - i.e. that as the "yardstick" against which the other WWF wrestlers are measured, everyone is always gunning for UT and therefore he doesn't get to focus on winning Championships.
Rocky Maivia is announced as next week's in-studio guest. After being asked about WCW and Eric Biscoff by a WWF fan - Venom blows his cover as the "independent gadfly" of the World Wrestling Federation by declaring that he "used to watch" WCW as part of his job but that nowadays he can't stand to watch it anymore...(I think I finally figured out who Shadow is...;-)
A Daunting Task Made Easy
When a reader first suggested to me that I give out Year End Awards I shied away from what seemed to be a very difficult proposition. As many people have reminded me over the past seven months, I'm not exactly an impartial observer.
When I began to receive more requests for the same thing, it became a matter of acceding to the demands of my loyal supporters (to whom I have been excedingly grateful for affording me what modest success I have enjoyed with this web site and the newsletter).
So I decided to go along with the suggestion but to leave the actual decisions up to these same supporters in order to absolve myself from any blame once the Awards had been given out. Toward that end I threw open the polls and was rewarded with a flood of suggestions for Award catagories and actual votes on various candidates.
Many of you visited my Readers Poll guestbook and some of the most creative Award catagories arose from that source. But many more of you sent me e-mails on the subject and it was in this venue that the bulk of the actual voting took place. Fortunately for me, in most catagories definite trends developed early on in the polling and so I can confidently say that most of the Awards are being given to clear winners with very little judgement needing to be exercised by myself.
Having said that, let us proceed to Solie's Year End Awards...
The Heart Break Kid had a banner year as the World Wrestling Federation Champion for eight month. Taking on (and defeating) almost all comers. The possible exception being Vader - who defeated Michaels on two occasions but, unfortunately for him, not in a way that would win him the Title. Michaels was the clear favorite in the voting garnering more then 50% of the ballots cast in a field of 10, he vanquished his nearest rival (Stone Cold Steve Austin) nearly 3 to 1.
This was probably the closest vote of the entire Awards. Hogan bested his closest competition (again Steve Austin) by only 2 percentage points. Other strong contenders included: (in order of most votes cast) Goldust, Kevin Nash, and the Giant. many readers expressed surprise (and I echoed these sentiments) that Hogan remained throughout the year as a heel, most of us had expected him to turn back before Christmas.
Again Michaels won this competiton hands down - garnering about 33% of the votes in a field of 8. Voters expressed not only admiration for his wrestling skill but also for his abiltiy to whip up the crowds. His closest competiton was from Marc Mero, who won 19%. Other contenders included Sting, Chris Jericho and Lex Lugar.
There was no real competition in this catagory. The NWO angle received more then 90% of the votes cast - frequently accompanied by comments such as "...what else?" The Jim Ross Heel Turn was mentioned several times as was the (Probably Non-existent) ECW/WWF Invasion. Other angles voted on included Shawn Michaels/Dianna Smith Controversey, Chris Benoit/Woman, The Undertakers "Death and Resurrection" and Paul Bearer's Betrayal of the Undertaker.
Again no contest. Voters were overwhelmingly condemning of this storyline. Quite a few complained that this angle was an expression of contempt by the WWF for it's fan base. Many of the same voters (and others besides) felt that the WWF was making a bad attempt to capitalize on the success of the NWO storyline. The only strong runner-up was the Nation of Domination which many readers felt was racist. Shawn Michaels/Dianna Smith was also mentioned in this catagory.
Although many voters expressed the opinion that this feud stretched out far too long (actually it's still going on, the current Mankind surrogette being the Executioner) and some pronouncing it boring after a while, still they voted for it in overwhelming numbers (65%). The closest runner-up was Hogan vs. Savage, (which also was labeled as too long) and a surprisingly strong showing was garnered by Eric Bischoff vs. Vince McMahon (which got my vote). Others mentioned included Chris Benoit vs. Kevin Sullivan, the Four Horsemen vs. Dungeon of Doom (sort of the same as the former) and Bret Hart vs. Steve Austin.
This catagory was, as would be expected, a crowded field. The closest runner-up was the Boiler Room match between Mankind and the Undertaker. Other contenders included Bret Hart vs. Shawn Michaels (The 63 Minute...one-hour match), Chris Benoit vs. Kevin Sullivan (the Bathroom Match), Diesel (the real one) vs. Shawn Michaels, Chris Jericho vs. Pitt Bull II, Vader vs. Razor Ramon (again the real one - his last match in the WWF), Bret Hart vs. Diesel, Shawn Michaels vs. Razor Ramon and a surprisingly large vote for Dean Malenko vs. Eddie Guerrero (February '96). IMO - Shawn Michael strong showing in this catagory more than justified his selection as the Wrestler of the Year.
Here again there was no contest. Hall and Nash received more then 70% of the votes cast. The closest runners-up was the team of Owen Hart and the British Bulldog. Next was the Eliminators - which says a lot for the relatively small time ECW's impact on the sport. Other honorable mentions go to Harlem Heat (my own choice), the Smoking Gunns, Sting and Lugar (remember them?), the Faces of Fear and Furnas and LaFon (usually referred to as Furnas/Kroffit).
I'm not kidding! The majority of the people voting in this catagory expressed the opinion that there were just no good managers in the sport this year. The only one to get a substantial vote was Sunny but Nobody was the overwhelming favorite.
This was also a shew-in. JR's semi-heel turn swung the vote in his favor. Joey Styles of ECW was another favorite. Kevin Nash, Tony Schiavioni, Larry Zbyszco and Mike Tenay were also strong contenders.
A great many very creative suggestions for Special Awards were forthcoming from my Readers' Poll guestbook. I would like to mention some of them here:
A reader who signs himself "Jesse Ventura Fan" came up with:
The Most Pathetic Wrestler: (Three Nominees) Issac Yankem in a Diesel suit, Slice and Dice Rameriz--Razor Rameriz--Razor Ramon--Mike Boogers, Jesse JOB James and
The Barry Horwitz ALL-TIME Award: Vader
My friend Len Berkowitz (aka Blasse Fan) offered:
Worst Trend - The Seniors Tour (featuring Hogan, Piper, Jake, and Superfly Snuka and the AWF)
Internet wrestling pundit, J.L. Sigman (another good friend) gave us:
Here Today, Gone Tomorrow award: the Ultimate Warrior and:
Enough With the Fake Beard! award: Hollywood Hulk Hogan
A reader who signs himself as "Paul" contributed:
Wrestler Most Willing to Kill Himself To Get His Promotion noticed; Tommy Dreamer. (ECW)
Ariel A. Cardona came up with:
the Adrian Street award to Goldust.
The Forrest Gump award was for Dave Sullivan but he was to dumb to pick it up.
Biggest loser in the political race: Bob Backlund.
Biggest injustice: Hogan defeated Savage.
Worst match: see biggest injustice.
The Ultimate Warrior award: the Ultimate Warrior (the only award he would win).
Best news: Hart returns to wrestling.
Worst news: Hogan is "wrestling".
Best six-man tag team match: Hulk Hogan (I, me and myself vs. id, ego and superego).
Milli Vanilli award: Jeff Jarrett;
most inspiring voice: Dusty Rhodes (inspires me to turn the TV off!)
Chuck Ironchest (as if that is his real name) offered:
THE "I LOVE THESE GUYS OVER HERE" AWARD: Eric Bischoff--(listen to him when he comes down the aisle).
Readers' Forum stalwart - "Big Daddy Diamond" contributed these gems:
Worst finisher: Anything Mongo McMichaels does.
Briefcase to the head is my best move award: Steve McMichaels.
Most deserving to be Diamond Cutted: Steve McMichaels.
Most deserved to be Jacknifed: Steve McMichaels.
Person I would most like to see come back and kick Steve McMichaels @$$: Lawrence Taylor.
Most deserving to be put in the figure four by Ric Flair: Steve McMichaels.
Most deserving to be DDT'd by Arn Anderson: Steve McMichaels.
I only keep him around because his wife is pretty award: Steve McMichaels.
I should form a tag team with Steve McMichaels so that we could get killed by The Outsiders: Lex Luger. And finally -
I should take this Jockstrap off of my head while I still have my dignity: Aldo Montoya.
A Personal Note...
Again I want to thank all of you who contributed to this article and those who have supported my efforts over the last seven months since I first created this web site. Its been a very interesting year in wrestling - and here on the Internet. I've found being a member of the Internet Wrestling Community to be both a challange and a joy. Rough sailing from time to time, but I wouldn't trade this last year or so online for anything. I hope you'll all keep coming back to visit. I promise that you will always find something new.
I'm starting a new job (in the real world), beginning December 30 I'm going to be working for a new company (I'm in the electronic printing business) and part of my new duties will include managing the company web site and training customers and support staff to use the web for their business purposes. This will afford me an opportunity to grow in my understanding of Internet processes and also means that I will spend a considerable portion of each work day on the Internet - which can only enhance my ability to make Solie's Vintage Wrestling an even more interesting place to visit.
Anyway, that's the way I see it...
editor Solie's Wrestling Newsletter
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