In the first match shown, we see Sabu defeat the human punching bag Spike Dudley with the Tazmission. This is particularly interesting because the Tazmission is the finishing hold applied by Taz, Sabu's opponent at "BARELY LEGAL", ECW's first pay-per-view which will air on 4/13/97. After this, everyone seemed to jump in the ring and pandemonium ensued. Taz came out and he and Sabu had to be separated. What a main event this will be on 4/13! One of the Gangstas then proceeds to jump off a 20-foot ledge in the corner of the arena and takes down about fifteen wrestlers!
Next, the "Orange and Black attack" Taz (with Coach Alfonso) take on Rob Van Dam, Sabu's partner and buddy (can you say, RIVALRY). Van Dam put up a good fight by summersaulting himself on a chair on top of Taz, but after several Tazplexes and vicious cross-faces, Taz locked on the "Tazmission" and Van Dam was out cold, giving Taz the victory.
Next, Terry Funk took on Bulldozer Brian Lee. I'm really not sure if this is wrestling, or not, because most of the match consisted of garbage can bashing and chair smashing. Funk even hit his own head with the can several times after bashing Brian Lee to show him his threshold of punishment! After splitting his head open with a chair, Funk DDT'd Lee ON THE GARBAGE CAN (breaking it) and got the 1-2-3.
HOSTILE CITY SHOWDOWN '97 - It's announced that ECW "BARELY LEGAL" will feature this main event (besides Taz vs. Sabu): A triangle match between Big Stevie Cool vs. The Sandman vs. Tommy Dreamer - with the winner getting a title shot against Raven later that night! However, Tommy Dreamer announced that although he would love a possible title shot, he would let his boyhood idol Terry Funk take his place!
Next, Shane Douglas took on Pitbull #1 Gary Wolf in an "I-QUIT" match in a TV Title Defense. Wolf threw Douglas through a table and full-nelsoned him, but Francine threw in a hammer to Shane (who cracked him on his previously "broken neck") and then loosened up the ropes so Shane could put Wolf's neck between the ropes so that he could force a submission. Wolf finally said "I Quit". After the match, a "masked man" (Rick Rude) taunted Francine about her "special underwear" in an interview with Joey Styles. Shane Douglas came out, but Rude was already gone. Look for a Rude-Douglas fued with Francine's honor (and loyalty) on the line.
Next, as has been rumored, The Eliminators faced the Dudley Boys in a Tag Team Title defense. Springboard sidekicks and Frankensteiners on the house! Bubba and D-Von split open both Eliminators, and Chronis' entire body was covered in blood! They delivered a Roundhouse sandwich to Bubba Ray, but before a pin could be made, all hell broke loose. Bubba Ray gave Chronis a Bubba Cutter, then the Dudleys administered a double Bubba cutter (not DDP's Diamond Cutter) to Saturn aand got the 1-2-3! NEW ECW TAG CHAMPS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
The last match shown (there was some cable problems) was Axl Rotten vs. Balls Mahoney. Sandman jumped in and destroyed Rotten, taking his place vs. Mahoney. No technical wrestling here, folks. Sandman got the victory in an absolute bloodfest by legdropping Mahoney from the top rope with a steel chair laying on top of Mahoney's face. He then busted himself open again with a full can of beer! OUCH!!!
MATCHES NOT SHOWN:
Triangle match: Raven vs. Stevie vs. Tommy Dreamer: Interference from all ECW wrestlers, but Raven DDT'd Stevie for the vistory. Chris Candido def. Louie Spicolli 2/3 falls Tommy Rich/Little Guido def. Chris Chetti/Tracey Smothers when Smothers turned heel on his partner.
NEXT WEEK'S SHOW WILL BE FROM WALTHAM, MA (TV Taping this weekend) BE SURE TO GET MORE INFO. ON ECW'S 'BARELY LEGAL' PPV ON 4/13. I UNDERSTAND THAT IT IS BEING CARRIED ON REQUEST-TV. CALL THE ECW OFFICES IN PHILDELPHIA FOR MORE INFO.
SEE YA' NEXT WEEK!!!!
-Russ "The Hammer" Davidson Extreme Championship Wrestling - It's Not for Everyone!
Solie's ECW Reporter, Russ Davidson, is a Graduate Student in Business at Pace University in New York, NY and has been a wrestling fan since 1985.
The History of the Midnight Express
Part 8: "The Final Days."
The Midnight Express team of Bobby, Stan and Cornette had regained their status as one of the most controversial teams with their betrayal of the Dynamic Dudes. They also regained their status as one of the most feared teams as well.
By early 1990, they were back in the limelight and were ready to regain some tag team gold. That chance came in March of 1990 when they challenged then-US Tag Team Champions "Flyin" Brian Pillman and Tom "Z-Man" Zenk to a match on World Championship Wrestling on TBS (the show is now known as WCW Saturday Night). Pillman and Zenk won this encounter by DQ due to outside interference. However, the Midnights got the last laugh when they put Pillman in the "spedge-o-matic" (bearhug/legdrop of the top rope combination) with Cornette's tennis racquet on Pillman's throat!!! He suffered throat injuries as a result.
The rematch was held at Capital Combat '90 in Washington D.C. That night, the Midnights regained the US Titles when Stan did an Antonio Inoki-style kick to Zenk's head, allowing Eaton to get the pin.
The Midnights also became the first (and only) three time US Tag Team Champions. They reigned for almost four months until August 1990 when the Steiners defeated them in the Meadowlands in New Jersey. That was to be the last tag team title that the Midnights would ever hold. They had some rematches against the Steiners with limited success and no gold to show for it.
There last appearance was at Halloween Havoc '90 in a losing effort against Tommy Rich and Rick Morton. This is not the way this team should've went out but, even in defeat, their brillance showed in that match.
The Midnights split for good in November 1990. You know the old saying, "you don't miss your water until your well runs dry." Well, that's how I feel about all of the Midnight Express combinations. Hell, I even miss the "Original" Midnights!!! Any of these versions could probably whip most of the tag teams running around now!!! So, I guess it's true. Nothing lasts forever, not even in pro wrestling.
Next Week: Book Of Lists
Coming Soon: IronMan: The Legend Of The Road Warriors
If you have a question, criticism, comment or just want to talk pro wrestling, e-mail me at email@example.com.
Ervin Griffin Jr. is a regular contibutor to Solie's Wrestling Newsletter.
Vader: Can this Career be Saved?
Vader had a single quick promo on his way into the Royal Rumble. It showed him doing slo-mo back flips on a trampoline in what could have been his backyard. Not much, but, you see, those were backflips of joy! He was free of the yoke of WCW! Now he could start over in the federation of his buddy Mr. Perfect. It helped that Perfect was doing color that night, but for some reason, all the announcers were remarkably candid. When Dory Funk Jr. arrived, they mentioned the NWA, and when Doug Gilbert showed up, Perfect commented that he used to team with Gilbert's late brother. When Vader appeared, nobody said "Who's this guy?" or "Where'd he come from?" Jim Cornette was inserted as his manager to draw bad guy heat that Vader would not necessarily have gotten with a cold debut.
Cornette also managed Yokozuna at the Rumble. The two men teamed briefly, then jumped on each other. It was very nice to see them fight, since it had only been a year gone that they were World champs of their respective federations. Kind of a dream match. It was just nice to see Vader in a ringful of new faces. Shawn Michaels put him out, but it was Shawn's night to shine. It was Vader's first night in. Like a trainee, he wasn't required to do much.
His second night was good, too. A fellow big man, several decades removed, Gorilla Monsoon, looked good, even if it was on the receiving end of a turnbuckle splash. But then Vader was suspended, and jumped on the bobsled straight downhill. His momentum was shot. He returned to the ring thanks to a lawyer angle that debuted Clarence Mason. When he returned, Davey Boy Smith and Owen Hart were also managed by Cornette, and they tried to feud with Yokozuna, who had been turned good to feud with Vader. For the first time, Vader was part of a heel stable. But now, Vader could get in matches and get back to what he was best at -- squashing jobbers! Of course, that didn't work out either.
So Vader had, and has, lots of problems. In WCW, as I stated before, he was a big fish in a small pond. Only Sting and, later, Davey Boy, ever matched power with him. In the WWF, he's in the Land of the Giants. The WWF is historically home to big men. In WCW, he was an anomaly; nobody as big or as good had ever stayed around as long. But in the WWF, he's the newest in line behind so many other WWF monsters. He can't compare to Andre the Giant. He's not even being allowed to do as well as Big John Studd, King Kong Bundy, or Earthquake.
He came in with his gimmick intact. Good for him, but bad for the WWF marketing wizards. They can come up with gimmicks easy, but they always seem to have a lot of spite for people who come in and say "No thanks, already got one." No matter how sorry the gimmick may be, the WWF often stands by it, and will do anything to get it over. Vader didn't have such a cushion.
That leads to my next point. In my opinion, you can't discount Vader's WCW stardom. The WWF historically seems intent on tearing down the aura of any of their competition's stars. It's as if the WWF is saying "Yeah, they were champions in that minor league, but here in the big time, they can't do jack." Look at Dusty Rhodes, the LOD, Ric Flair, the Steiners, Lex Luger. Most of them came in and were jobbing within months. Those that made it to title-holding angles never held them long, and never distinguished themselves like WWF-made stars did. I'm not saying their NWA stardom was the only reason, of course, but there is a definite pattern.
Now look at Vader's competition. Size-wise in comparison to WCW, the WWF's little guys aren't that little -- and their big guys are really big. Get Vader in the ring with a big, tough guy and he'll have a Sting-level match. But when there are so many Sting-size men -- and bigger -- what's he to do? Ahmed Johnson hammered him down to the mat one week, using one of Vader's own pummelling techniques. Undertaker and Sid tower over him, and Yokozuna outweighed him by 200 pounds. And the little guys are Bret Hart and Shawn Michaels. Enough said.
When Vader is in the ring with any of these men, he gets knocked around pretty good. But these guys are the upper echelons, so that's fine to some extent. But that's not all. Savio Vega and the Godwinns knock him off his feet in the opening moments of all their matches. Who CAN'T body slam Vader? Vader gets tossed around like a rag doll in his matches with most everybody. It's just hard to watch.
So what can Vader do? There's nowhere else for him to go. Although money certainly talks, I wonder how much it would take to get him back in WCW. He could go overseas, but that's where he started. They might dig him in ECW. But he'd end up getting DDT'ed and pinned by Raven just like much better wrestlers like Steve Williams and Terry Funk. Same boat, up the same creek, different dock.
He has to stay where he is. Maybe a brief vacation would be good. He's doing much better now than he was months ago, but come on. A clean pinfall loss to Sid hurt him bad, but pins over Bret Hart and Undertaker did not help like they should have. He's got a push, but there's no heat.
His turnbuckle splash was a setup move in WCW, not a finish. In WCW, he had plenty of time to grunt and jump around like a gorilla before hitting it, but now that gives his foes enough time to hop up and hit him in his Mini Vader. The moonsault was his finish, but he misses it every time he tries now. Let's see him hit that freaking moonsault for once.
Vader needs to separate himself from managers and partners. It ain't Vader time unless it's just Vader. It will never be Paul Bearer time or Owen Hart time. Vader is a natural monster bad guy, but the WWF sees the reaction they get and thinks "Hey, we need to turn him good." Sometimes that works. If he needs to turn good, if we want Vader putting his head net on a sweet little kid at ringside, go for it. I think it will mean that he will job to cheating bad guys. But maybe I'm wrong.
Vader needs to tell us how bad he's going to hurt somebody -- then he needs to hurt somebody. Then maybe when somebody asks us "what time is it?! " we won't be so quick to say "quarter to four."
Joe B. Crowe is 26 years old, a book editor and stand-up comedian based in Birmingham, Alabama. Joe can be reached by email at: JoeBCrowe@aol.com
WCW main Event
No new matches on the program this morning.
Of course the big story on today's program is Sting's appearances at Uncensored and Nitro. Hogan's startled expression when Sting showed up in the ring Monday night was priceless. I think it's so funny the way, when wrestlers gather in bunches, they always point. "Look at that guy over there..." I realize its a holdover from the long tradition of pantomime that has grown up in wrestling because of the vastness of the arenas and the noise of the crowd. They know they can't be heard above the din so they have worked out a whole vocabulary of gestures to communicate their emotions at a given moment. Gesturing toward their waists to indicate that they deserve to win a title for instance. The pointing gesture is to direct the audiences attention to the what should be the center of interest...but still it looks funny.
It looks like were building to a Piper/Flair feud sometime down the road. Piper's less-than-stirling performance at Uncensored seems to have raised Flair's ire - he was definitely taunting the HotRod. Talk about your dinosaur match... A number web prognosticators have expressed the opinion (or perhaps just the desire) that Flair come back and hold the World Title one more time. I might feel that desire as well but I don't think the idea is credible. Hulk Hogan's current Title reign is barely believable, and he still has an impressive physique. Flair, in my opinion, is too far over that hill to ever wear the Gold again...
Is it me or did Dennis Rodman's involvement at Uncensored seem pretty stupid?
It looks like either I have misread the situation with Randy Savage or he is deep into an inside plot and has drawn Liz into it as well. I wouldn't put it past him to punk DDP and Kimberly and still turn out to be a spy in the NWO camp, but...
One has to wonder when Sting is going to break his long silence...I'll have something to say about that in my "Bad Boys" editorial later this week.
The announced US Title match between Dean Malenko and Chris Benoit could well be the match of the night at Spring Stampede. They both entered the WCW at about the same time (in fact they made a joint premiere TV appearance in a match on WCW Saturday night if I recall correctly). They followed with a series of matches which kicked off the Cruiserweight push of the last year or so.
The top story here is Bret Hart, but they saved it until the end of the program. Meanwhile we get a rehash of the Road Warriors vs. Crush/Savio Vega match from last Monday. This was a warm-up for the Chicago Street Fight scheduled for tomorrow's PPV.
Next up, Shawn Michaels' appearance on the program. Shawn says he found his lost smile. I'm not sure if that means his leg will be okay, or maybe he kicked the rumored addiction to pain medication, or maybe it has something to do with the other, more personal, matter that was posted on my Readers' Forum right after he surrendered the Title. I won't go into that here because it was an unsubstantiated story that didn't appear anywhere else (and I don't care to be the spreader of rumors) but suffice it to say that it didn't present HBK in a very favorable light...
A review of last night's Slammy Awards presentation (which I didn't watch). It looks like it was about as silly as last year...how about that Sable, HOT!!!
They seem to be playing the Bret Hart incident as something short of a full heel turn. I think this is a temporary dodge. They can't make him a heel right now because he's in the middle of a feud with Steve Austin, who is a mega-heel. Just wait...
Steve Austin appeared on NEWSPORT with Chet Coppick recently. Of course he trashed Hart, Shamrock, the WWF and anyone else he could think of...
Then they showed the cage match with bleeps in all the right places. We did have a little hint that this was coming . I noticed that when they replayed a clip from Bret's infamous "I quit!" speech over the weekend, where they had previously omited Bret's references to being "screwed" by Vince personally, last weekend they left it in. No doubt they were re-enforcing the impression that the Hitman has lost it in recent weeks. And what was with Shawn Michaels? He seemed to be wandering aimlessly into the frey which was really none of his business. Then he couldn't make up his mind what it was he wanted to do. He picks up a piece of the cage and drops it, then, even though none of the combatants were paying any attention to him whatsoever, he goes and gets a chair...what was that all about?
WCW Saturday Night
Ace Darling and devon Storm are back minus their Team Moniker (which I can't recall at the moment - don't tell me - I'll get it) to face the Public Enemy. Whatever they call themselves, they're still jobbers... I guess we don't have to be concerned about PE going NWO - they had the letters WCW taped onto their table.
Dean Malenko vs. Galaxie - Malenko is still showing a lot of intensity, seems to be less inclined to cruelty however. Oops - maybe I spoke to soon - he just suplexed the guy out of the ring to the floor!! Later he uses a Frog Splash to set his opponent up for the Texas Cloverleaf. Clearly he's still obsessed with Eddie G. Not smart when you're facing a wrestler the calibar of Chris Benoit at the next PPV.
High Voltage took on the Steiners - sorry Troy no cigar...
Lelani Kai vs. Malea Hosaka - Lelani Kai has been around longer than Hollywood Hogan. The two ladies had a fairly decent match. Hosaka won it - then Luna Vachon hit the ring and punked both of them.
Keeping with its now weekly practice, we get an all jobber match - Rick Fuller vs. Johnny Swinger - Fuller, the bigger of the two, won it fairly easily.
Cycloe threw himself on the floor during his match against Prince Iaukea. He got a little of his opponent but mostly he did himself in...the match lasted about 15 seconds after that point.
Scott Riggs gets his chance to shine against fellow glorified jobber, Renegade. He almost blows it when the Renegade uses his feet on the rope to get a pin - but referee Mark Curtis caught the foul and restarted the match. Two exchanges later Riggs pulled the same underhanded tactic and got away with it.
This Kevin Sullivan/Jaquelyn thing is getting stupid. On this program she wrestled about half of the match in the ring while Jimmy Hart and the Taskmaster kept the referee tied up. Whst did the ref think was happening behind him in the ring while he was distracted?
Turncoat Tony is all on Sting's side now. Now it's Dusty's turn to be expressing reservations. They say that Sting will be making an appearance on Nitro this week - something they haven't been able to say with any certainty during the last six months.
Great main event - Harlem Heat vs. Faces of Fear - there probably aren't two better examples of raw power and superb talent anywhere in the sport. The Faces ran away with much of the match. Lotta clubberin' goin' on in this one! The Heat turned it around right at the end but then Hugh Morrus decided to get involved. The Heat were being beaten down until Luger and the Giant ran in to drive off the DOD'rs.
Bret Hart's Weekly Column
The Calgary Sun has started publishing Bret Hart's column on line so rather than continue to summarize it here from now on I will be putting this link to it so you can go peruse it for yourselves.
I have to go out tomorrow afternoon and will be taping WrestleMania 13 for review later in the evening (I'm going to the top of Mt. Diablo to watch the closest approach to the earth of Comet Hale-Bopp - sorry - WrestleMania happens every year, this comet will only be around once in my lifetime) so I won't be a prompt as usual with my results. I will have a full in-depth report on the web by 10 pm or so however, so until then...
Anyway, that's the way I see it...
editor Solie's Wrestling Newsletter
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