Volume 2, Issue 112
January 19, 1997
In this issue of Solie's Wrestling Newsletter we have Part 2 of the Weekend Review, featuring Garland Chan's report on Shotgun Saturday Night, plus our exclusive summary of Bret Hart's weekly column. I will be back later tonight with my in depth coverage of the Royal Rumble PPV.
Shotgun Saturday Night 1/18/97
Garland Chan is currently a student at the University of Washington.
Emanating from Denim and Diamonds the night before the Royal Rumble in San Antonio, Texas.
Jim Ross (with the cowboy hat) and Vince McMahon are commentating.
Todd Pettengill interviews Hunter Hearst Helmsley before his match. Helmsley promises to win the match with Goldust, the Royal Rumble and a night with Marlena.
1st match: Intercontinental Champion Hunter Hearst Helmsley vs. Rocky Maivia in a non-title match
We have a review of the Maivia-Mero situation from last week. The crowd is jacked. We hear them chant ROCKY, ROCKY, ROCKY. Rocky starts out in a house of fire. A few staggering punches and deep arm drags put Helmsley down (I think he has arm drags that could be compared with Ricky "The Dragon" Steamboat). Helmsley tries several tactics to break out of the arm lock, but Maivia still holds on. He controls the match until Helmsley connects with a reverse atomic drop. All of a sudden Jake "The Snake" Roberts throws his snake into the ring and Helmsley and Maivia fly out of the ring. Jake comes in and holds his snake up high. Huge pop for Jake. We cut to a break. When we come back from the break, Helmsley has a chin lock applied. Jake joins Jim and Vince to commentate. He explains he wanted to test Helmsley and Maivia, because he wants to be the last one standing in the Royal Rumble. Jake promises a bigger snake than the one we saw in the ring and the DDT. In the match, Helmsley controls Maivia, until Rocky hits pretty crossbody block, but Helmsley kicks out and counters with a nice stomachbreaker. Then Helmsley controls the match again until Rocky hits a powerslam. We see Marlena come out to watch the match. Rocky hits some stiff punches and dropkicks Helmsley out of the ring. Rocky follows Helmsley, but Hunter throws Maivia to the steel steps and approaches Marlena. We see them talking until Goldust comes out after Helmsley. Helmsley runs into the crowd and gets lost as he tries to find an exit. Goldust stands in the ring and Helmsley gets counted out. Maivia wins it.
Evaluation: OK match. Didn't like the screwjob.
**1/2 of 5
Time of match: 11:53
We see Sunny, Pettengill and host of other people doing the "Texas macarena"
We come back to the interview with WWF champion Sid last Monday on RAW.
We go to the Honky Tonk Man playing Blackjack in a casino with Hysteria and Mascarita Sagrada Jr. Honky is cheating of course.
2nd Match: Mixed tag match. Venom and Mini Mankind vs. Hysteria and Mascarita Sagrada Jr.
Of course the midgets, Mini Mankind and Sagrada, must never wrestle the bigger wrestlers. In the intro caption, we have a supposedly funny, but rather tasteless joke for Mini Mankind with the question "How big is his Paul Bearer?" Pettengill tries to get an interview with Mini Mankind about his strategy before the match, but he's talking Spanish so we can't understand him. Pettengill looks like an idiot trying to decipher it.
I really can't name many of the these moves they do (thank God for Jim Ross.) Venom and Hysteria start the match (and both are colorfully attired). Venom is in purple and Hysteria is in orange and gold. Venom asserts himself with a few backflip kick maneuvers and an armdrag that staggers Hysteria. We get a flying headscissors from the top rope by Venom, but Hysteria counters with a punch and Venom is staggered on the ropes. Hysteria charges after Venom, but Venom gets out of the way and Hysteria goes over the top rope. Venom slide kicks Hysteria on the outside. Venom then connects with an amazing springboard plunge from the apron to the outside. Venom and Hysteria tag out to their midget partners. The minis come in and perform some good moves. Eventually we see Sagrada connect with an armdrag that causes Mini Mankind to leave the ring. Then Sagrada flies from the top turnbuckle to the outside with a crossbody! The crowd goes wild. Steve Austin comes out to commentate. He explains his reasoning for using certain three and four letter words. Austin says he doesn't want to be misconstrued and promises to bring a six pack of whoop-a** to the Royal Rumble. The bigger wrestlers tag back in and Hysteria connects with a spinning kick and hits with a spinning thrust kick to the chin. Hysteria sets up Venom by putting him on the top rope, but Venom counters with what looks to be a botched headscissors. Venom then runs from the ropes and hits with a spinning kick of his own. Venom charges and Hysteria back bodydrops him outside. Venom recovers and stands on the apron and blocks Hysteria's punch and hits yet another flying headscissors from the top rope (they never seems to get tired of that move). Hysteria hits a weak looking dropkick and Venom lands outside. Then Hysteria flies out over the top rope with a crossbody. The minis tag in. Mini Mankind hits a clothesline, throws Sagrada to the corner and charges with a knee and connects. He then throws Sagrada to the other corner and Sagrada gets out of the way. Sagrada climbs to the top and connects with yet another flying headscissors. Sagrada gets a back body drop on Mini Mankind and dropkicks him to the floor. Then Sagrada hits a springboard plunge of his own to the outside. The bigger wrestlers tag back in. Venom connects with a frankensteiner and a dropkick from the top rope to the back of Hysteria. Eventually Hysteria recovers and goes to the top rope, but Venom connects with another frankensteiner. Venom goes to the top rope, walks to the middle and misses a twisting moonsault. Hysteria hits a power bomb and gets the 1-2-3. Hysteria and Mini Mankind win the match.
Evaluation: Great match. We see a little taste of the AAA high-flyers in action. They show action that would be comparable to the cruiserweights of the WCW.
**** of 5
Time of match: 6:00
We see George and Adam at the Alamo Dome supposedly still waiting for the Royal Rumble.
Todd Pettengill is in the ring and introduces Terry Funk. The crowd chants TERRY TERRY TERRY. Terry states he is "ready to rumble" and the crowd goes wild. He states he is Texas's representative and Austin disagrees. He WANTS number one so that he can start the rumble and finish it as well. He says he doesn't to start the rumble tomorrow, but proposes a "one-sided" rumble with Pettengill (come on Todd�say yes). Then he eggs the crowd to rumble with him. He goes as far to say that no one wants to rumble with him�including anybody in the WCW! He says that they are a "bunch of snake sucking scumbags" and they don't have an athlete good enough for him. He eventually turns to Steve Austin and asks him if he wants to rumble! Funk approaches the commentator's table and eggs Austin on. McMahon wants Austin to calm down (yeah right). Then Funk goes back to the ring and Austin comes into the ring after him. They get nose to nose and Funk starts to push and slap Austin around. Austin responds with several punches and he knocks Funk out of the ring. Funk puts his dukes up as the crowd continues to chant TERRY TERRY TERRY. We cut to another break.
When we come back, we see Faarooq Assad come out with the Nation of Domination. Jesse James comes out singing, but the microphone isn't working�for a while. We then hear him singing and we cut to a break.
3rd match: Faarooq Assad vs. "Double J" Jesse James
When we come back, Jesse James hits a member of the NOD in a tuxedo (can't really tell who, but I THINK it was one of the PG-13) and Faarooq retaliates with heavy punches. Faarooq charges but misses and JJ arm drags Faarooq. JJ hits a weak looking dropkick, gets him into a standing headlock and connects with a hiptoss from ropes. JJ then staggers Faarooq with some punches and a back suplex. Eventually JJ gets reversed into the corner, Faarooq hits a spinebuster and connects with his trademark "dominator" move. 1-2-3. Faarooq gets the easy win.
Evaluation: Squash. Nothing to see here.
** of 5
Time of Match: 2:30
4th Match: Goldust vs. "Stone Cold" Steve Austin
The intro caption for Goldust had a funny thing to say, "What does his Daddy think?"
The main event match has a history to it when it was "Stunning" Steve Austin vs. "The Natural" Dustin Rhodes in WCW. Each participant is at his corner eyeing his opponent. Austin is all over Goldust with some viscous kicks (he must be fired up after his confrontation with Funk). Dustin hits his elbow and trademark lariat. They go back and forth and Goldust get Austin into a hammer lock and we cut into a break. They announce that they are going to shoot SSN live from Webster Hall next week. When we come back Goldust hits his trademark uppercut when his opponent is going for a backdrop (I love that move). Terry Funk comes into the ring and goes after Austin prompting the disqualification. Then the Headbangers, Phineus Godwinn, Jesse James, everybody comes into the ring for a mini rumble in the ring. Although there was no official announcement, I think Austin wins it by DQ.
Evaluation: They were trying to work within the 6 minutes left and we knew we were going to see some sort of preview of the Royal Rumble, so we couldn't see that much between the two. Too bad. These guys can really work a match given the time.
** of 5
Time of match: 5:10
Well this is more like it. I guess Vince got smart and changed his mind about the Goldust "giving birth" segment. But he also forgot to show the rest of the LaFon/Furnas vs. Headbangers match (or he didn't have the time). The crowd (and the TV audience for that matter) got a treat when we saw the mixed tag match. It was great to see Terry Funk be Terry Funk. He can really work a crowd. This was a good preview for the Royal Rumble. I think this could be the start of something special.
This is Garland riding Shotgun...
Thanks Garland, I admire your eye for detail.
A Summary of Bret Hart's Weekly Column in the Calgary Sun
Todays column is titled "Getting a leg up, Hitman Style".
Bret starts out by saying thanks to all who asked about his leg injury. He says that for those who didn't see it, last Sunday Stone Cold Steve Austin tried to Pillmanize his ankle again. "This time he was trying to put me out of the Royal Rumble."
Bret says that Austin more damage to his knee than his ankle and that they're both very sore. But, "this isn't the first time I've gone into a Rumble with a bum leg." He says that this injury has reminded him of the '94 Rumble. He says "to assess my chances going into tomorrow's Rumble, it makes sense to compare this to what happened in '94."
Going into the '94 Royal Rumble, his "two-faced little brother, Owen, had me believing that we'd call a truce." He says that Owen was so hungry to wear some gold, that "as a showing of good faith, I decided to tag up with him and challenge the Quebecers (Jacques Rougeau & Pierre Oulette) for the WWF tag team title."
He says that he had some second thoughts about rejoining the tag ranks again, as he had been enjoying a successful singles career. He says that during the match, Owen wanted the belts so much, and that he worked so hard & was a very good partner and he was "happy to be there with him." Bret knew that together they could win the tag titles and hold on to them for a very long time," as probably the best known technical wrestling team in WWF history." Bret said that he had Pierre locked in the sharpshooter when his left knee blew out! He had to break the hold and Pierre tagged in Jacques, who attacked his knee. He says that he has never ever submitted and that he wasn't about to start. He says that the ref, Tim White, knew that he was in a lot of pain, and stopped that match, allowing the Quebecers to retain the titles.
"Owen was completely exasperated. I would have thought that growing up around wrestling, Owen would have taken it as a given that injuries happen." He mentions that 5 years ago, Owen underwent knee surgery, " so he knew, from first hand experience, the excrutiating pain I was in." Bret says he got no understanding or empathy from Owen. He says Owen didn't even bother to call for help. "Instead, he got in my face and yelled some very nasty and childish things." Bret says he had to use the ropes to pull himself up, and then "Owen showed the whole world just how sick he is.
On Jan 22/94, at 8:34PM, something snapped in Owen's head and he hasn't been the same since." He says Owen gave him a really brutal kick in the bad knee. He says that while that hurt, plenty, "it wasn't as bad as the pain of losing my brother." "It bears mentioning that, during all of this, not one single WWF official intervened! My dear, departed friend, ref Joey Morella, was the first to come to my aid-quickly followed by ref Earl Hebner." He says that looking at the tape, he was actually insulted by the "almost leisurely way WWF officials strolled out to the ring." He says that when they eventually showed up, Ray Rougeau "actually had the insensitivity to want to do an interview!"
He says that officials and refs stretchered him out, but where were the parmedics? "I'll never forget that, while they were wheeling me down the aisle, Owen was on the big video screen yelling that I'm selfish. Has he loked in a mirror lately? If he could see past that big nose he'd see that he's the one who is not only selfish but very stupid!" He says that Owen had just waited for his knee to heal, theycould have had another title shot.
"We don't have our numbers yet for this year's Rumble, but I'm not too worried about my spot because I've worked hurt before so I don't think it will play too much of a factor. At least I hope not!"
And that's it Earl.
See you later.,
Rudy in Calgary
Thanks Rudy - another great report.
This morning's program was a "Royal Rumble Special" with no live matches. There were several clips of matches from Shotgun Saturday Night - but those were covered quite admirably above by my Seattle Correspondent, Garland Chan.
There were live interviews with Shawn Michaels and Bret Hart. HBK expects to win the Title back. Bret is injured but unbowed, says he's throwing out the rules, no friends in this thing, etc.
What Ever Happened Too...
Scott Teal sent me this blurb related to the latest offerings over at his "What Ever Happened Too..." wrestling web site:
INTERVIEWS WITH THE LEGENDS
Frankie "The Great Mephisto" Cain
Frankie Cain was better known to wrestling fans under other names. His career skyrocketed in the mid-60s when he and Rocky Smith, together with a young referee from Tennessee named J.C. "Jimmy" Dykes as their manager, joined forces to form a tag team known as The Infernos.
The Infernos are a legend in wrestling circles and considered by many as the most famous masked tag team in the history of professional wrestling. In the early '70s, Frankie removed the mask and began wrestling as The Great Mephisto.
Frank reveals stories that have never been told in print before and relates every aspect of his life and career --
-- as a street-wise kid hustling a buck in post-depression Columbus, Ohio.
"It was after the depression, but there still wasn't any jobs, so how you'd make a living is by going into bars with a shoeshine box. My hair was real long, and I kept it that way. Even after the war, when everyone had crew cuts, I had long hair. The guys in the bars would think I was a little girl, so they'd let me shine their shoes. You know what I mean? I used mine as a gimmick. Sure, there were times I cut my hair, and I looked like a little boy. But, hell. There was a lot of little six and seven year old boys running around with a shine box ... but there was no little, ragged girls."
-- as a member of the Toe-Hold Club.
"Ben Hayes, the sportswriter, talked (Casey) Fredericks (Ohio State wrestling coach) into letting us work out with the amateurs. We could stay with 'em a little bit, but they could beat us. So Ben said, "Let the kids wrestle their style of wrestling." Casey says, "Alright." At first, he was kind of puzzled why Ben would bring us up there, but he found out when we started doing our own stuff. My God! We made those guys scream standing up, before we ever went down on the mat. We could leg dive like a bast**d. We would grab their ankle and go backwards with it. Casey Fredericks panicked. He said, "Holy, Christ ... wait! You guys can't do that." He's hollering, "No, no, you guys can't workout." Then, after the amateurs had left, limping and holding their arms and everything, he said, "How'd you guys ever learn that stuff?" I didn't know until years later ... but what we were doing was kind of unique."
-- as a fighter in the carnival.
"If you were the stick, you had to make the people think you was a local, or from around the surrounding area. You'd mill around and start talking to the people. You'd stand in the crowd and say you just moved back into town, or make up some other story. The carnival patch man ... the one that went into the town ahead of time ... he found out about the high schools or colleges. Let's say they have a Lincoln High School ... you'd say you went to school there ten years ago and just moved back to town. Then, when you're with a group of people, and other people (from the town) would see you talking, they'd think all of you were together. You'd just try to find a crowd to get in with, and talk about any bullsh**. Then, when you issue a challenge to the carny wrestler, they think you're a local boy making the challenge. You challenged, then you went ahead and worked a match."
-- as a professional boxer.
"The boys don't believe this, but it's the truth. The (boxing) promoter would never sit down, like wrestlers would, and work out your match, or anything like that. They sometimes would come in and say, "You've gotta go by the fourth round." It wasn't sitting down and working it out. Just whenever it looked good, you'd go down. That kind of thing had to be negotiated and was really a kayfabe thing. It had to be, or everything would just go to hell ... especially with the commissions, who would suspend you or hold your money for fixing a fight."
-- as a young professional wrestler.
"The old-timers (wrestlers) didn't want to give you too much. You would have to kind of look after yourself to get any respect from them. Consequently, they was worrying about the promoters or some of the boys watching, and they would get testy. They would get you down and hold you down, and you'd have a lousy match. Of course, the old-timers would say, "Well, the guy was trying to move against me." The promoters would respect their word and, consequently, didn't want you back. So, to try to get a match out of the bast**ds, you had to take a lot from them."
-- as The Infernos, one of the hottest tag teams in the world.
"The business we did in Amarillo was just phenomenal. The houses were just unreal ... packed every night. Every night, we'd be fightin' them Mexican fans, man. They'd come at ya with knives. Oh, sh**. It was just horrible. It was a lot of money, but a lot of greed. We were there close to three years, and very seldom did we have a day off. We was workin' seven nights a week. The schedule, workin' under the mask in hot buildings ... and, man! When you're workin' with the type of babyfaces we had, brother, you had to get up and move. We worked with a young Dory Funk Jr. and a young Terry Funk every night ... and they're wantin' to make a name in the business. Terry was wild and crazy, but a hell of a worker. That kid was a natural from day one ... and of course, Dory Jr. was a class worker."
-- as The Great Mephisto.
"I used to bring the supernatural into all my interviews. As a matter of fact, Anton Lave sent a couple of his disciples to see me. That's the guy who had the big devil-worshipping thing in San Francisco. They took me to see him and he lived in this weird place ... a big black house. While I'm talking to him, he starts using some kind of ... like double talk. I thought, "Oh, man," and asked him, "What are you. What do you do?" He said, "You know. We believe in Satan, Beelzebub, and all that stuff." By the tone of the conversation, and in the surroundings I was in, I got scared and I said, "Well, it's time for me to go." I got out of there."
-- as a booker and wrestler. "I was always fighting and arguing with promoters all over the country, because of the way they ran the business, the lousy payoffs, and the nonchalant attitude they had towards promotion. When I knocked (Roy) Shire on his ass in front of the boys, he tried to have me blackballed, but promoters ... no matter what anybody else says about you, if their territory is down, and they can use you, they're gonna bring you in ... It was always my contention that there wasn't any dead territories. There was just dead promoters. They were satisfied with making three times as much as the boys. Even the guys that had lousy territories could make themselves a thousand bucks a week. And there was always an alliance for the promoters, but there was none for the boys."
-- as a wrestling promoter.
"We was all old. We looked like the wax museum. (laughs) We'd use the pictures from when we was young. They would laugh when we'd come to the ring, but after we started working a little bit, they'd settle down and get into it. At least I could repeat in a town, which a lot of promotions couldn't do. I had Lash Larue, George Strickland, Johnny "Swede" Carlin. We were all ancient." (laughs)
-- as the subject of this book.
"I don't want it to be just a dull, humdrum story. I'll get into the promotional aspect ... things the wrestlers don't even know about. I was lucky enough to be there firsthand, in the offices, and knew things like how much income tax the promoter paid. They wouldn't tell me, but you knew approximately how much money was brought in. Then, at the end of the year, they could have bonused the boys, and used it as a tax write off. Instead, they chose to pay the money out in taxes. There were alliances for the promotions, but there was never any for the boys. There was the rebel like me, who raised hell with the bast**ds ... and they branded me a rebel. Sure, I had a bad reputation for leaving territories. I punched a few promoters, but I never hit one that was a nice guy. The guys that I punched were the pr*cks in the business and everyone knew it."
"We'll get into old friends that turned on me ... how Bill Watts was panic stricken over us promoting opposition to him ... throwing Nick Gulas in the shower ... about me punching Roy Shire out in the dressing room and how he had me blackballed ... and a lot more. I want to really do an in-depth thing. I don't want anyone who picks this book up, and reads it, to think that I'm the bast**d that they've heard stories about. The boys don't knock me. The promoters knock me."
"Dick Steinborn called me and says, "Is it true that Scott's going to write your story?" I said, "Yeah." He said, "This will be the first time, won't it, Frank?" I said, "Yeah, with the exception of the newspaper stories."
This is a must-read for everyone. In this lengthy interview, Frank relates every aspect of his life and career. Frank's story is a true classic and a unique behind-the-scenes look at the wrestling business. This material has never been printed anywhere before. This first edition includes rare photos of Frankie in his early days as a boxer, plus many of his ring personas, such as the Inferno and the Great Mephisto. Several are from Frank's personal photo collection. Each copy is professionally-bound with a protective cover.
$20 each postpaid in the U.S. and Canada ($25 overseas), or send $22 and Frank will personally autograph your copy.
For more information about the book, or about subscribing or ordering back issues of the printed version "Whatever Happened to ...?", check out our webpage or contact us at:
P.O. Box 2781
Hendersonville TN 37077-2781
Whatever Happened to ...?
The Who's Who of Professional Wrestling
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Anyway, that's the way I see it...
editor Solie's Wrestling Newsletter
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