Volume 2, Issue 146
March 19, 1997
Mike Irwin sent me this story off of the AP wire, thanks Mike.
Tuesday, March 18, 1997
LAREDO, Texas (AP) -- A professional wrestler known to fans as Dr. Death was arrested Monday after airport inspectors found him in possession of undeclared pharmaceutical drugs. Steven Franklin Williams, 36, of Coppell was arrested by Laredo International Airport police Monday morning. Inspectors found the undeclared pharmaceutical drugs inside luggage belonging to Williams and two companions -- Michael Joseph Geary, 51, of Coppell and Paul Gregory Ferrer, 24, of Denton. The three men were charged with possession of a controlled substance, a felony. All three were released from Webb County jail after posting $25,000 bond each. Drugs seized included 80 boxes of Neo-Percodan, 17 boxes of Valium, 16 boxes of Halcion, 15 boxes of Temegesic, 26 boxes of Darvon and eight boxes of Ritrovil.
The EYE on WRESTLING
Before getting into this week's topic, I have decided to discuss something that is of great importance to not only myself, but also, the way we enjoy wrestling on the Internet.
Several weeks ago, I reviewed the first ever Internet Audio/video Cybercast of a Pro Wrestling card, put on by the folks at Ringwarriors. I won't rehash all the things I said that night, but I would like to once again plug this fantastic and innovative idea. The Cybercast is put on by the good folks at http://www.ringwarriors.com, and features the stars from Japan, and other foreign competitors who go over to Japan to compete in their rings. The dean of wrestling, Gordon Solie and Living Legend Bruno Sammartino call the action. Ringwarriors would like to put on a series of one hour programs once a week on the Internet, and although there is a slight cost, it is well worth the money in my view. I urge you to check out the future of wrestling broadcasting at the Ringwarriors website noted above. It will cost nothing to take a sneak peak at the action. If you would like to learn more, please visit the website!
And now.. On to this week's topic..
Since joining the active ranks of Internet wrestling fans, I have always enjoyed the little debates amongst fans on the various newsgroups and reader's forums. Perhaps the mostly contested debate, and probably the toughest to call is the debate regarding the "best tag team of all time." To say one team/individual is the "best" at anything, is almost one of the greatest fallacies of all time. Depending on what generation you are in, what the primary federation you watch is, what teams your friends like, the ways in which federation heads screw with a team's gimic, all help in destroying a true measuring stick to measure the "best." I have tried to devise a formula which is still not perfect, but is largely based on facts rather than personal bias. Keep in mind that this formula is not the golden rule!
1. A team must be able to function as a team. Meaning that without one teammate, the other team member's career would falter.
2. The team must dominate each territory/organization they are a part of. For example, the Rock and Roll Express were a great team, in the NWA, but they never even made a blip on the map of the WWF, or AWA, in which they were also a part of during their career.
3. The team must have an air of recognizability. The way to accomplish this is to be able to keep your gimic, name, wrestling style all intact no matter what organization you are working for at a given time.
4. The team must be able to create heat on both sides of the fence be it good or evil. And a side note to this one is that they must be able to sustain the heat throughout their careers. Always be on top or in the thick of an angle.
With that said, just who do I think is the best tag team? Without a doubt, it is Hawk and Animal, the Legion of Doom, The Road Warriors! I am well aware that I am not the first one to state that these two men are the best team of all time, but let's analyze this using the formula explained above.
Although Hawk enjoyed a couple of mild successes in New Japan on his own, his career has been spent with Road Warrior Animal, whom I think has never really had a singles career to speak of.
If one takes a look at the records of the NWA, AWA, WWF, the Memphis and Georgia promotions, they will see one similar column in the record books. In all the above noted federations, Hawk and Animal were at the top of the organizations, holding the world tag team straps.
I have never been able to find any significant name changes to the Road Warriors team within any federation that they battled in. Perhaps the closest the Warriors came to losing their name was in their first stint in the WWF, in which they used the name of The Legion of Doom. But in reality, this was not a name change at all. The Legion of Doom moniker was in place long before anyone even thought of the Road Warriors as superstars, and it was actually a name created by Paul Ellering to categorize his stable of grapplers. Also, no federation ever changed any part of their wrestling style, their appearance, or attitude.
Perhaps the hardest qualification based on this formula is the ability to generate constant heat. There has never been a moment where these guys have not created impact. More importantly, is the fact that the heat was created on both sides of the wrestling fence. As wrestling's good guys, they instilled fear in teams like the Horsemen, Powers of Pain, demolition, and the Freebirds. As Heels, they were indeed monster heels, usually projecting so much hate from the fans, they were lucky if they didn't incur riots at the events they competed at. Does anyone remember the overwhelming outrage that was evident when the Warriors took a spike to the eye of Dusty Rhodes? Or when they brutalized the Stinger and Midnight Express? This was not meant to be a career highlight show for the Road Warriors. One of my colleagues will be tackling this task very shortly in this newsletter. It was merely a means to tie together, and bring a little bit of order to something that will be debated until the end of time.
And with that, the eye is closed until next time.
Note, comments or questions can be emailed to me at the following address: firstname.lastname@example.org. I have really been enjoying the feedback from many of the fans reading this newsletter on a weekly basis. Let's talk wrestling!
Jeremy Hartley's EYE on Wrestling is a regular feature of Solie's Wrestling Newsletter.
Vader: Can this Career be Saved?
In May 1994, Hogan came in and made his big debut, going straight after Ric Flair. There was a masked guy, and the Dungeon of Doom started up. What was Vader, the former World champion, doing during all this? Not much.
He had a feud, such as it was, with Big Bubba. Seven months went by. Everyone screamed that Vader should be wrestling Hogan. Once again, he broke an unwritten rule by pinning not one, but two good guys (Sting and Bubba) in a triangle match at Fall Brawl. This was billed as a match wherein the winner would become the no. 1 contender to Hogan's World title. But no such luck. The booking committee was a huge mess then, with Hogan and practically everybody else stirring the pot. It's probably not much better now, but at least they seem to be hiding it well.
Starrcade was set, not with the expected Hogan/Vader confrontation, but with Hogan vs. Brutus Beefcake to settle the masked man angle. Settling an angle is one thing, but come on. At Starrcade, Vader got a crumb thrown his way in the form of the US title, a belt historically reserved for the designated #1 contender to the World title (see Lex Luger and Rick Rude). Then Vader interrupted Hogan's locker room celebration. The two men got nose to nose, shouting each other down. These couple of minutes were exactly what I, and many people, wanted. A direct confrontation between these two men, setting up a match that most people thought would never happen. When it was over, there was nothing but potential. I thought Hogan and Vader would never fight.
In retrospect, for Vader's career's sake, they should not have. The big rumor on the net at the time was that Vader was forbidden to give Hogan a power bomb in their matchups. Something had to give when the irresistible force met the immovable object, and the irresistible Vader was it. Losses of push or lessening of reputation usually come in the form of lots of jobbing. But Vader never took a pinfall loss to Hogan. That might have been preferable to what happened. He made Hogan bleed once at a house show, but that was pretty much his biggest triumph. A much longer list was the list of Vader's humbling at the hands of Hogan.
At the thirtieth Clash of Champions in January of 1995, it started. His manager Harley Race had just been injured in a car accident. Vader came to ringside in a sweater and slacks, but still wearing that big red head net. After Hogan and Randy Savage won their big match, Vader came in, still looking like a big, scary LL Bean ad in his sweater and slacks, and jumped Hogan. He power bombed Hogan. Hogan got up, unharmed. The most powerful weapon in Vader's arsenal was now useless against Hogan. Then it got worse.
Savage came in to help Hogan, and the two men whipped Vader to the ropes. They clotheslined him coming off. Vader SPLIT HIS PANTS. Read that again, because I'm not making it up. I noticed it right off, but apparently the announcers didn't, or they were too mortified to say anything. But Vader's big white boxers showed through the very wide slit in the back of his trousers. He escaped the ring, and walked down the aisle. He had to know. It was an accident, otherwise they would have made a zany pants-splitting skit out of it. What do you think Vader said when he went backstage to change, and found out? Do you think he invented new cuss words?
They never to my knowledge mentioned it on TV, but somehow it showed in the ring. Maybe I was seeing things, but Hogan seemed insistent on crushing Vader's spirit. Hogan's ego ran unchecked in these months, and Vader paid for it in spades. In several clips of their matches I saw, Hogan would have Vader against the ropes or against a turnbuckle, and would start slapping the taste out of his mouth! Shoving him, taunting him, like a schoolyard bully out to get Vader's lunch money and give him a wedgie.
And it never got any better. Hogan's producers on THUNDER IN PARADISE were the same guys who did BAYWATCH. At Bash at the Beach, a big steel cage match was signed for Hogan vs. Vader. This was to be broadcast as part of an episode of BAYWATCH, which didn't air till many months later. The Hulk Hogan of television, David Hasselhoff, and the David Hasselhoff of wrestling, Hulk Hogan (think about that for awhile) were about to do a project together.
Vader didn't have a chance. Dennis Rodman accompanied Hogan to the ring, and kicked the Dungeon of Doom away when they tried to interfere. Vader brought back the demon head helmet, for some reason -- only to have it taken from him by Hogan, who wore it himself, and swatted Vader with it. Then Ric Flair, Vader's de facto manager, came to the ring after the match ended (and the BAYWATCH tape stopped rolling) to berate him in public.
Vader as a good guy? Hmmm. A handicap match was set for the next Clash of Champions, Vader vs. Flair and Arn Anderson. It was sad. These three guys should have sat at a bar crying into their beer over what Hogan had done to them, rather than trying to wrestle each other. Vader won, but by this time it was far too late.
Then Vader got sucked in to the Dungeon of Doom angle. During one of the cartoonish Dungeon sequences, Hogan was whooped on by Sullivan, Kamala, and etc., including the big rookie Giant. VADER appeared in the Dungeon, and saved Hogan. What?! The explanation Vader attempted to give later was that he wanted Hogan too, but the Dungeon lied to him (about what?), and nobody does that to Vader. Then War Games came around, and Vader was set to team with Hogan, Savage, and Sting. Vader did a very good interview with Sting and Savage. They really sold the team as being bound only by respect and mutual dislike of the Dungeon. They did a video with all of them in fatiques and face paint, going through boot camp with Hogan as their sarge. I was really looking forward to this.
Then, according to the net, Vader got into a fight with booker Paul Orndorff, lost, and was fired. And that was that. Vader was out. He could run and frolic and laugh and play, free to enjoy life and be himself. Free to go somewhere new, and start over. I was happy for Vader when I heard he would be in the Royal Rumble. He had taken lemons and made lemonade. The sky was the limit. Other cliches like that.
But as I said in Part 1, something just doesn't seem right. Stay tuned for my
conclusion, coming up soon.
Joe B. Crowe, is 26 years old, a book editor and stand-up comedian based in Birmingham, Alabama.
A Backstage Look at Nitro
Big Mac works for Security at the Omni in Atlanta, GA and was on duty for the Nitro program during which Eric Bischoff was suspended (March 3rd). What follows is his first person account.
First I arrived at the Omni around 5:30 pm., and most of the athletes were already there. Double J, McMichael, Konan, Morris, and Public Enemy were at the ring practicing their match, and the briefcase ending. Flair gave an interview to the channel 11, local sports guy, and was great as usual. I got assigned to the floor. I was to work the side of the cameras, w/ my back to it most of the time, but was actually only 10 rows from the ring. I also covered the isle for entry into the backstage area, for VIP's. I wont go into play by play of the matches, because you probably already watched, or have read about them by now. But will tell you my experiences, from my perspective.
It was great watching the show preparation all come together. Doug Dellinger works hard w/ house staff in making sure everything is covered. Lines were long outside, awaiting the doors to open at 6:30 pm. They rolled in fast, so my first goal was to get everyone settled, so I could enjoy the show. Kimberly was signing autographs on her new poster in an awesome silver/grey outfit. The house was packed, and a very vocal crowd, w/ alot of anticipation. Wildcat Willy is really well liked, and gets the crowd active.
Dark Match was 2 guys I never seen before, nor could I hear there names when announced. But a martial arts type in some sort of fatigues won easily and pretty quickly over a Japanese wrestler.
First match, Horseman vs Dungeon of Doom, knew how this one was going to end. But the briefcase hit, Mongo much harder than was supposed to. Believe the hard corner hit him, instead of the flat part, and it opened up a gash on his head. All four were pretty over w/ the crowd. Boy, Morris is a good talent and worker though. Interview was typical horseman interview, except Flair didn't say enough, except JJ was making him look bad.
DDP is really getting Big Time. He took some blows this time, before nailing the diamond cutter. Just before he got in the ring, he had a group of boys in NWO tshirts, rip them off to find the new DDP shirt under it for the unveiling. Another short interview, w/ DDP telling Macho to SNAP into this...DDP going to be large for a long time if he wishes.
Mexican match, had some great moves, but crowd didn't care. People were puzzled w/ them being stuck in the corner on the ropes, back and forth trying for suplexs.
Taskmaster interview w/ Jacqueline, couldn't be heard real well in the crowd. But as she walked by me, she was really trying to show her accolades, if you know what I mean.
Malenko then won, and threatened Eddie for the Superbrawl mishap. Hes actually getting better on the mike.
Then Bischoff was announce and the suspension happened. The president of Turner Sports Harvey Shilling or something like that came out. People in attendance, thought they were using a Ted look a like, cause couldn't hear the live interviews that well. But the elites in attendance, know Harvey from his involvement in the Olympics. It was definitely one of the highlights of the show. But looking at the atmosphere, glad Ted didn't do this stunt for WCW.
Eddie was not pleased of how he beat the Dragon, because he was actually in the ropes. He then tried to explain his side to the crowd and Malenko again, to no avail and Dean came out, for the face to face confrontation.
Riggs was going to beat Wallstreet until Buff Bagwell saved him. Riggs is doing fine w/o Buff, and should get some cruiserweight matches, I think. Wish he would have hit Bagwell w/ the chair, cause he is really full of himself, almost as much as Hogan.
Roddy Piper comes out of nowhere, and unexpectedly to the biggest pop of the nite. I was actually right at ringside for his interview, making people get down off the chairs. He is a master w/ the microphone, and seems to wing it all from the gut. Live you didn't know what was going on, w/ all these guys coming in. *Does anyone know any of these fellas that came for the tryouts? No one knew any of them in the Omni, nor the reason for this, since you cant hear the commentary. But they did know John Tenta (aka Earthquake). It turned out ok, but surely this segment was better on the tube. Everyone was asking each other who these other 4 guys whom came out were, especially the 2 no names that made the team.
My supervisor comes up as tells me she needs me to go backstage and take Sting up the back elevator, and bring him down Portal 35 at the end of the show. But to go back stage and get the game plan at 9:30 pm.
I go backstage, right past the announcing team, and boom there they all were. Of course the first thing I saw was, a very hot Medusa, man is she built. Sugar Ray Lloyd (Glacier) was on the computer. Eddie was running around, and said hey to him. I was told Sting was finishing up his paint job, and was going out w/ the NWO first. I didn't understand that, and still don't. I got to the middle and they were all gathered around monitors, watching the action, and timing the entrances. I was looking to talk to my man DDP, but he was in a corner w/ no access, but looked up, remembered me and winked. The Misterio match was going on at this time, so missed it live, but was right behind the entrance to the arena. Then I saw Luna, knowing something crazy was going to happen w/ her. Couldn't get my eyes off of Medusa's, well ya know. They wanted me to show them the elevator, and go up and get a few ushers to help me. Be prepared, and told me Sting would be up in the middle of the tag match. There was Scott Steiner, man is he huge! Everyone was very occupied, so didn't really get to speak w/ any of them. All the Turner execs and families were there, and could tell, they really wanted to put on a great show. I just felt pleased to be a part of getting Sting down thru the crowd.
Went up to the portal, and briefed all my buddies on the game plan. We waited, but people whom watch regularly and the kids, knew something was going on, and that Sting was going to come down the steps. I kept telling them we were waiting on the elevator, right - NWO was now in the ring, but wanted us to stay out the crowds view. So didn't get to watch, nor did I know or realize again, that Sting was out there w/ them. Boy they make me sick just listening.
I then hear the Steiners, Lugar and the Giant come out. All big, big pops. Then here he comes. I am 6'6" 250lbs, so I escort him down the stepped isle, holding people back. My wife said I was on TV good then. I am in a red, white, and black striped shirt, w/ dark hair and a beard. I get him down to the floor, no problem, piece of cake. I then go to ringside to watch the ending. Which was wild and crazy, but alot of people didn't know why all the guys, nor about the 3 teams for Unsensored yet.
It was a great nite and show. I really enjoyed working, but I still believe it is better on TV. Too much up in the air w/ storylines live. The atmosphere makes worth being in attendance though. Most of the guys were very busy, and flocked w/ people, because of course, it was in Atlanta, WCW's home base, and many big wigs were in the arena. WCW is very professional, and was surprised at the work everyone puts into these Nitro's. Hope everyone enjoyed this account as much as I did.
Diamond Dallas Page sat courtside w/ Kimberly for the Atlanta Hawks vs L A Lakers a couple friday nites ago. He was looking well, and Kimberly was an absolute knockout. Harry the Hawk the teams superb mascot in a NWO shirt called DDP out on the court during a timeout. DDP atomic dropped him for a 10, then executed a Diamond Cutter for a standing ovation. I went down and talked to him at halftime, and he was great to me as well as to everyones autograph requests. He was way over w/ the crowd, and received the biggest pop of the nite, due to it being one of the sloppiest played NBA games in the Omni this year.
Big Mac reporting from Hotlanta
Thats all for now. I'll be back this weekend with my Weekend Review, Bret Hart's weekly column and my in-depth coverage of WrestleMania 13. Until then...
Anyway, that's the way I see it...
editor Solie's Wrestling Newsletter
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