Volume 2, Issue 135
February 27, 1997
As I mentioned in an earlier newsletter I had the pleasure of being present at and participating in a live broadcast of the "Cheap Seats" program on the Extreme Sports Network this past weekend in Sanfrancisco. This program was hosted and produced respectively by Readers' Forum regulars Hitman and J-BYRD. During the broadcast I was interviewed as well as Jimmy Hart, Sister Sherri and Harlem Heat. What follows as a transcript from one of those interviews. I will be running the rest of them in future issues of the Newletter.
Interview with Sister Sherri conducted by Hitman
Hitman: Sister Sherri from Harlem Heat joining us live here on the Cheap Seats, Sister how are ya?
Sherri: I'm just fine, how are you doing?
Hitman: Sensational! Ba dum dum!
Sherri: (She smiles and laughs)
Hitman: It's the first time we have had you on the big show, so it's our pleausre.......
SS: I'm glad to be hear.
Hitman: You guys have dominated the tag team situation for the last two or three years in WCW, now you have the biggest match of Harlem Heats careers with the Triangle Match vs Public Enemy and Faces of Fear....
SS: That is going to be a very rough match for everyone involved, however, considering this match is insignficant to us, because this should be for the #1 contenders, knowing we are the the #1 contenders. Its not our fault the Steiners have bad driving habits. I think Harlem Heat should put these guys out of their misery, and we should be going for the belts. This match is a waste of time and talent for us. Eric Bischoff from the NWO has come around and changed all the rules and done everything for himself.
Hitman: Sherri you've been a dominant manager in wrestling. Are you pleased to see all of the women in WCW over the past few months?
SS: I'm very pleased with it. I like the women breaking the sterotype of being homemakers, taking care of the kids, etc......It shows women can do more than that.....By the way I'm NOT knocking the housewife routine, that's tough in itself, but there are women like myself that want more than just being the housewife. I have my career and I believe women can have their cake and eat it too.
Hitman: Alright another camera man taking out picture, Sherri come over here and hug me.......
Hitman: Make sure you make me a copy...We are doing it live from Planet Hollywood in beautiful San Francisco talking with Sister Sherri from Harlem Heat. Sherri I think a lot of our fans remember the 80's. It was a magical time for wrestling fans. I remember you working with Macho Man Randy Savage off and on in WWF....How did Sister Sherri get to the WWF in the 80's?
SS: AWA was my first orgainzation, and no I never managed Rick Martel! (laughs) Everyone always asks me that because of our name, but there's no relation.
Hit: Who did you managed in the AWA?
SS: Playboy Buddy Rose and Pretty Boy Doug Summer. The Hollywood Blondes. They taught me a lot. They were phenominal. Between their combine knowledge of the wrestling biz, and at the time I was coming in new and everything. They gave me a strong firm foundation which was very good for me.
Hit: Talk about your days with the WWF with Savage and your feud at that time with Elizabeth.
SS: Unfortunately, I got the raw end of the deal with Liz at that time, but Love prevailed. I've worked with Randy for two years and he is still the most colorful person that I've ever met....Still to this day, in my life. Still the most colorful person in and out of wrestling.
Hit: Who are some of the guys you like to hang out with in wrestling?
SS: Let me see, I really like Glacier. He used to be a school teacher. This guy is phenominal. He can't play pool at all, but he's a good guy. I like Johnny Grunge because he plays a lot of pool......
Hit: So it's safe to say you love playing pool?
SS: Oh yes, I love the game....Maybe if your lucky I'll play you a game.
Hit: I'd love that.
Hitman: Where does Harlem Heat go from hear? Tag Team Champs again?
SS: Holding the tag team belts has a lot of perks. The boys love the perks that go with being champs. They like the limos, the hotels, being in first class, etc..Holding the titles gives you those perks. Not to mention, the immaterial things, they want to be champions. They've worked all their lives to make sure they are championship material. Which I'm sure everyone in this business knows how hard they work. It's guys like Eric Bischoff and the NWO, that exploit there power to be self serving. I think Harlem Heat are being shafted right now, this is my personal opinion, I don't care whose toes I step on because the truth can't hurt me. Harlem Heat is the only #1 contenders for the title. They eat, drink, sleep, being champions and no one deserves it more than them......
Hit: Sherri, your a pleasure to be with...When I see you on TV your beating up on people, giving everyone a hard time, but I know now what your really like....
Sherri: Don't tell anybody...(laughs)
Hit: We'll take a quick break and come back with Harlem Heat next on The Extreme Sports Network..........
END OF INTERVIEW
(Note from the Hitman) Let me say this about the interview with Sherri. I mean this in all sincerity....I have never met any wrestler or manager as sweet as Sherri. She was so nice to us, always asking how we are doing....we played pool for a couple of hours with her, and fellas without all of the make up, she really is cute. She dresses into character by caking on the makeup and wearing outlandish outfits. I really almost didn't recognize her without all the make up. She's much better looking in person, but more importantly she was so damn cool it was unbelivable. I became a big fan after the trip.
The History of the Midnight Express: Part 5 - Collision Course
And Here We Are
We're The Princes Of The Universe
Here We Belong
Fighting For Survival
We've Come To Be The Rulers Of Your World
(excerpt from Queen's "Prince's Of The Universe")
Well, "Loverboy" Dennis Condrey and "Ravishing" Randy Rose were not looking to rule the world but they were looking to "rule" as the only Midnight Express. In order to do that, however, they would have take care of Jim Cornette's Midnight Express.
In the fall of 1988, Cornette's Midnights ("Beautiful" Bobby Eaton/"Sweet" Stan Lane) had won the NWA World Tag Team Title. They, however, lost them a month later to a very angry Road Warrior team that literally destroyed them!!!
During a TBS taping for World Championship Wrestling, Cornette recieved an unexpected phone call during one of his men's matches. Cornette hung up on his caller and whispered something to Eaton. When asked by announcer Tony Schvonie about the phone call, Cornette was evasive (as usual). But then, Cornette suddenly shouted "Jesus Christ!!!" and watched in horror as the "Orginal" Midnights and Paul E. Dangerously showed up and gave Bobby, Stan, and Jimmy a vicious beating. The war of the Midnights was on!!!!
The first official meeting between the two teams took place at Starrcade '88: True Gritt. It was wild encounter with both teams using both their individual skills and patented Midnight Express manuvears. The end came when Rose got caught with the "Double Gouzzel" (combination clothesline/schoolyard trip) and was pinned. Again, however, the "Original" Midnights got the last laugh as they again delivered another beating to Jim Cornette and his Midnights. They would continue to battle for almost two months with both team gainning their share of victories. The end came at Chi-Town Rumble '89 in Chicago when the two teams met in a six-man tag where the loser of the fall had to leave the NWA!!!! Paul E. tried to pull a fast one by replacing Condrey with Jack Victory. It didn't matter though as Jim Cornette's Midnights pinned Randy Rose, putting an end to the "Original" Midnights in the NWA. Thus, quoting the phrase, "there can be only one."
Next week's chapter is simply called Paul E. and Freebirds.
If you have any questions, comments, critisicm or just want to talk pro wrestling, please e-mail me at email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org
Ervin Griffin Jr. is a regular contributor to Solie's Wrestling Newsletter as well as the Ringside Insider and other publications.
Shawn Michaels Resignation: Part 2
Now, let's take another look at the Shawn Michaels concession speech. Let's consider another reason why Shawn left,....actually, two reasons,...two BIG reasons,...his two best buddies, Scott Hall and Kevin Nash joining WCW.
Crazy? I don't think so. Go back to January, 1996. Brian Pillman was still a Horseman. The Dungeon of Doon was still feuding with Hulk Hogan and Randy Savage. Sting was defending his best buddy Lex Luger's attacks on the Hulkster. And in the WWF, Diesel and Razor Ramon were still top-drawer talent.
A lot happens in a year, but nothing has ever been like the events of 1996. At the beginning of the year, Shawn Michaels knew he'd win the WWF title at Wrestlemania. He'd just signed a new deal, and he was sure he'd be around with his buddies forever.
Then, Kevin Nash was courted by WCW. Announcing that he would sign with them seriously blackened the reputation of the WWF and boosted WCW in turn. Then, depending on who you believe, Scott Hall either was suspended from the WWF, quit the WWF, or was trying to play the WWF and WCW on both sides to get a better deal. He and Nash left the WWF in May.
As that went on, WCW's momentum started to pick up. Surprises kept happening on Nitro. The Steiners appeared on motorcycles to take on the Road Warriors in my TV Match of the Year on March 11th. WCW's battle paln, to take over Monday night while trying to improve its awful pay-per-views was working. All they needed was a good talent acquisitions to push them over the edge,...
And when Scott Hall appeared on the May 27th edition of Nitro, it appeared that the scales had permanently tipped towards WCW. As the organization known as the nWo took a foothold, suddenly the casual fan started putting WCW ahead of the WWF, while the smarts defended Vince (I still can't get over this! The man who single handedly ruined the credibility of wrestling and made the whole thing a ridiculous cartoon is now the bastion of the smarts????) for his new push towards hardcore. This is known as desperation.
And who suffered most when this happened? Of course. Shawn Michaels. He went from having Hall and Nash to play off of or his clique buddies Sean (1-2-3 Kid aka Syxx) Waltman or Hunter Hearst Helmsley to doing an embarassing plot involving Shawn trying to seduce Davey Boy Smith's wife, Diana Hart Smith? (Hmmm,...maybe -that's- what got Bret's goat,...) Don't get me wrong, Davey Boy Smith is a great professional wrestler, but after Bret beat him at the December, 1995 In Your House, there was no way Smith was gonna take the title from Shawn. The WWF as a whole lost its luster as Scott and Kevin were having lots of fun in the WCW.
As the talent pool dwindled, more and more responsibility was put on Shawn to hold his end up. (You know what I mean,...) And he had to put over some people who had no charisma on top of no work rate. So, he was working his butt off while his two buddies, later, three buddies when Waltman inevitably joined them, were sitting around doing commentary and spraypainting wrestlers.
Now, consider this scenario. Hall and Nash stay with Vince, and Waltman, too. With Vader around, the Undertaker back and ready, and Mankind raising hell, along with the strong newcomer, Tony "Ahmed Johnson" Norris, what would the WWF have looked like? Would Shawn have held the title into Survivor Series? No. Scott Hall likely woulda had it. Would Vince have tried to bring in the Ultimate Boob to pump up the Wrestlemania audience? No. Would it be a better WWF? Maybe,...
Remember the other consequences of Hall and Nash signing with WCW. Eric Bischoff suddenly didn't have the money to keep the Road Warriors. He let Marc Mero, one of his best workers, go over a trivial misunderstanding and lack of communication (sorta like Vince did with Hall), and he lost Steve Austin in much the same way to Vince, who created the "Stone Cold" gimmick after the lame Ringmaster gimmick didn't work, allowing this talented, but uninspiring, wrestler finally show himself off. (Note to Vince: Don't have Austin go down so easily after one punch or overreact to Bret Hart coming after him. It really waters down the credibility of his kick-ass persona.)
But also, Vader wouldn't have his image as tarnished as it would become. (Leon shoulda got the belt at a RAW or an In Your House for a month at least, but Vince hates heel champions. The last real one he had was Bob Backlund, who had it for three days before losing it to Diesel.) And with all the hype surrounding Bret Hart, you knew when he resigned, he would get the belt. And that ruined the image of Shawn as a caretaker for the belt until Bret got it back. I don't think that was a healthy situation, and now we know how bad it was.
But look at it from WCW's perspective. If WCW didn't sign Hall and Nash, there never would've been an nWo. Hulk Hogan would still be a good guy who got booed in every arena he was in. Diamond Dallas Page would've never gotten his incredible push. (He is currently my favorite wrestler, with Sting and Savage out of action.) The Road Warriors would still be with WCW, and would've feuded with the Steiners. Randy Savage would've turned heel. Lex Luger would still be insane. The Giant would still be a member of the Dungeon of Doom. Steve McMichaels would still be in the broadcast booth. (If that doesn't scare ya, nothing will!) And Marc Mero would still be a major player as Johnny B. Badd, and probably would've become US Heavyweight Champion. (We wouldn't have seen his lovely wife, Sable, but,...) He wouldn't be a mid-card bore, like he has been in the WWF.
But because of those two signing, all these things happened. Those things shouldn't in and of themselves, caused Shawn Michaels to quit, though. The new WWF bunch of topcarders was starting to jell, but even Shawn Michaels couldn't escape the one biggest flaw in the WWF,...directionless booking,...
I'm not saying that WCW's seat-of-your-pants stuff is any better, but think about this,...if you have talent or recognizable stars that people care about, all the rotten booking in the world won't kill you. People have an opinion about DDP, the Outsiders, the Steiners, Sting, Randy Savage, the Horsemen, etc,...they are NAME talent.
But if you're pushing guys that people don't care about, such as Marc Mero, HHH (a stiff if I've ever seen one!), Rocky Maivia, Savio Vega, et al, who gives a damn? It makes the recognizable guys at the top just that much more pressured to put on a good show.
In many ways the WWF on 1996 was the WCW of 1992. Battered, bruised, but not yet broken, showcasing newcomers who may make an impact immediately, while sticking with a core of superstars. Remember, in late 1991, Ric Flair was fired from WCW by nimrod Jim Herd, and Lex Luger left in February, 1992. Sting was left to carry the organization, but, he was kinda used to it by then. It was time, performance-wise for both Ric and Lex to leave, but unlike Shawn, Sting had already been a world champion, and thus had the skills to lead his group. Plus, he had a solid supporting cast like Flair, Luger, Steamboat, Anderson, Windham, Sid, the Steiners, and others to help him along. (Unfortunately for Sting, he had brain-dead Ole Anderson's Black Scorpion to deal with,...a "smart" angle if there ever was one,...but when they realized the payoff wouldn't make sense to a casual fans, they messed it up.)
Who did Shawn have in his first title reign? The vastly underrated Owen Hart (notice that the crowds ALWAYS react to Owen, and that's something you need in wrestling), Smith, Vader, Ahmed, Goldust, but that was it. Mankind getting a title shot was interesting and produced an entertaining match, but it wasn't the boost Shawn needed. He needed people who weren't there. And by the time Bret came back, Austin turned it up a notch, and the Undertaker got pissed off (sorry, Earl,...), Shawn's fragile body and psyche was broken.
In many ways, Shawn is paying for the sins of Vince McMahon, who has run off all his big stars of the past who can still work. Ric Flair may have been WWF champ twice, but he was underused in the WWF. (Vince letting Hart beat him at a house show in Saskatoon showed you exactly how ex-WCWers with big reputations got treated in the WWF.) As Vince has lost his big guys, Shawn's reign looked paltry, and we can only dream if Shawn at this stage of his career had won the belt in the mid-to-late 1980's, with Savage, Hogan, Hennig, Rude, Piper, and Steamboat had been there to take on. But then again, he couldn't have been the WWF champ in the 1980's because he wasn't big enough. Vince loves to have BIG guys as champs. He can sell them better. Diesel was a TERRIFIC WWF champ, despite the fact that he had a lousy bunch of matchups in his reign. But Diesel projected an aura of invinceability, another Hogan. (Diesel lost his belt to Bret Hart, another Bruno Sammartino or old Bob Backlund.)
Shawn is a terrific athlete, but he needed a supporting cast that could go with him. He now has it, but it's a little too late.
So where do we go from here? Shawn most definitely NOT jump to the WCW, despite what you may think. And Vince won't let that happen. But the WWF may be better off. Instead of a logjam at the top all kissing Shawn's ass until Bret beat him, we now have a load of quality contenders up there, and the WWF is better off. But if Vince loses anybody else, or doesn't pay attention to booking procedures, another "concession" can, and will, happen.
Jeff Yelton is a regular contributor to Solie's Wrestling Newsletter
That's it for this issue. I will out of town over the weekend so that means I will be playing catch-up when I put out the Monday Night Wars Edition. So until Monday...
Anyway, that's the way I see it...
editor Solie's Wrestling Newsletter
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