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Solie's Tuesday Morning Report: EXTRA!

ECW Barely Legal

Shotgun Saturday Night

by Garland Chan

What Were They Thinking?

by Timothy C. Bates

Weekend Review: Part 2

Volume 2, Issue 159 - April 13, 1997

A Correction...

I received this email from Ervin Griffin today

I would like to apologize for a foul-up in pt. 2 of my Road Warrior series. I mentioned that one of their opponents during their AWA days was the Von Erics. That is wrong and incorrect. The Roadies mentioned the Von Erics serveral times during those days because they were looking for some new competition "feast" on but they never actually met. Maybe there is a part of me that wishes they would've but they never did. Anyway, I'm sorry for the mistake and I will do my best to make sure this doesn't happen again. I sincerely hope you are enjoying my RW series regardless.

Sincerest apologese,
Ervin V. Griffin, Jr.

Weekend Review

WCW Saturday Night

Chris Jericho makes short work of Mr. JL after a well fought match to open the program.

Greg Valentine continues to get a push with his second win in a row on today's show. Today's victim was Seargent Buddy Lee.

Lord Regal took on Bobby Eaton is a real knock-down-drag-out which ended with Eaton on the receiving end of the Regal Stretch. After the match, Regal attacked Bobby at ringside and slapped the hold on again.

Both the Faces of Fear and Maxx were given some jobbers to squash. High Voltage was allowed to continue their winning ways against Galaxie and Cyclope.

Chris Benoit defeated Scotty Riggs in a surprisingly competitive match. Riggs seems to be getting a minor push. Not that he's winning a lot of matches but he's giving some good competition to the major players.

Harlem Heat in an extended squash over the Armstrong Jobbers.

Kevin Sullivan apparently felt he needed that entire DOD to take on jobber Hardbody Harrison. They surrounded the ring but let Jaquelyn do all the work. Chris Benoit and Nancy came out to scout things from the entryway, distracting Kevin so Harrison could get in some licks. Benoit then punctuated the attack by running in to the midst of the enemy camp to get in some blows of his own before retreating untouched by the gang.

Newcomers "The Power Team" took on Lex Luger and the Giant. Not enough power - not enough team...

Shotgun Saturday Night

Jim Ross and Brian Pillman are commentating.

1st match: Tag Champions Owen Hart and British Bulldog vs. Bob "Spark Plugg" Holly and Barry Horowitz in a non-title match.

This match starts out with the powerhouses on each side, Holly and Bulldog. Holly gets off a few good moves and tags in Horowitz. Horowitz gets in his few moves and Holly comes in again. Both teams seem to be taking it easy and feeling each other out to start with. Things start getting more intense when Owen hits Holly with an illegal kick when he was thrown against the rope. After Holly makes the hot tag, Horowitz cleans house for about 10 seconds until he is hit by Owen's patented spinning heel kick. A running powerslam later, Davey gets the 1-2-3 and the win for his team.

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Evaluation: Pillman is showing incredible favoritism toward the tag champions tonight adding more credence to the rumors that Pillman will be the fourth member of the Hart Foundation.

** of 5

Review of the rejection made by Jesse James to Honky Tonk Man when Honky offered to become his protege.

Interview of with Kevin Kelly and the Honky Tonk Man. He's pissed about the guitar incident on RAW a couple of weeks ago. He promises that his new man will be at In Your House next week to avenge James's actions.

2nd Match: Leif Cassidy vs. Bart Gunn

Will Leif job to Bart to give him a push? Leif get a good move initially by flipping over the corner, only to get his arm snapped over the top rope by Bart. Leif gets a dropkick to the legs and starts to work on them. We cut to a commercial break. After the break, Leif's still in control and Brian has left the broadcast table to give some choice words to the fans and comes back to the table. After regaining his control, with a powerslam and some punches to the head, Bart goes to the top rope, but Leif has enough wits about him to lean against the ropes in order to make Bart land on his crotch. Mankind runs in and Leif smartly leaves the ring. Mankind puts on the Mandible claw on Bart and I think he wins it by DQ.

Evaluation: Why in the h*** did Mankind run in like that? Would have been nice to have seen a clear cut winner between these two jobbers. Then again, we never really get to see what we want to anyway nowadays.

*1/2 of 5

As Billy Gunn comes down ringside, we review Honky's failed attempt to pull him into his stable.

3rd Match: Billy Gunn vs. Freddie Joe Floyd

Floyd starts out the match with some good wrestling holds, but Billy comes back with a wicked lariat, and does this amazing "God I'm Good strut" (he plays the arrogant heel role very well). We cut to a break. After the commercials, we come back and Billy is firmly in control. He continues with his onslaught until a big miss on the corner and comes back with several hits, including backhands, a scissors kick, and an elbow from the top rope. But after Floyd charges the corner and Billy raises his knees, a DDT from the top rope puts his lights out for the 1-2-3. Billy gets the impressive win.

Evaluation: If Billy continues to work and work both the crowd and the opponents like I feel he can, he will be a great superstar.

** + of 5

Review of the Mankind vs. Steve Austin match last Monday at RAW.

Sunny Undercover. She hint that the hottest thing going in the WWF (Hart Foundation) wants to monopolize the gold. And the first order of business is Bret Hart taking his frustrations out on Rocky Maivia and taking his Intercontinental title. Then she gives a big clue to the next UFC player coming to face Shamrock. She says that he is a "beast" (heavily implying Dan Severn). She also says the Jim Cornette will probably manage Doug Furnas and Phil LaFon and bring them to prominance.

Until next week this is Garland riding Shotgun...

Solie's Seattle correspondent Garlan Chan is a student at the University of Washington.

WWF SuperStars was a rehash of Shotgun Saturday Night with some RAW clips added but I did notice one funny thing that happened. They replayed the Mankind interview in which he offered the Undertaker his own mask. Mankind was finished with his presentation speech and obviously was expecting the Undertaker music to start. He whipped around just like he rehearsed and then UT's gong sounded. Mankind had reacted to the gong before it was heard...maybe he's psychic..?

Solie's welcomes Timothy Bates as our newest contributor in this issue. Tim is a journalism student in Silverdale, Washington.

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What were they thinking?

by Timothy C. Bates

I am convinced that Vince McMahon has wasted yet another perfect opportunity to turn the WWF in a winning direction. Bret Hart turning heel came as no shock to most wrestling fans. It seemed good at first, give Bret a new attitude to breath some life into his very stale routine. Lets face it: Bret has been good for too long. He needed something to turn the boo's to cheers and was on the right track but somehow lost his way.

The idea was brilliant, take a man who for the past couple of years was viewed as one of the most popular wrestlers in far off countries and the US , and turn him into someone that everyone hated. Besides lacking originality, Vince again messed it up by making Bret look like a crybaby. If I was Bret I would be upset on how his "new look" is coming along. The predictability of the WWF leaves little to the imagination, it came as no shock that Owen and the Bulldog broke up or that Bret was going to turn heel. My point? They should of made Bret a clone of Stone Cold.

Think about it, Steve Austin is the guys everyone love to hate and cheers at the same time. He gets the biggest pops in a long time that I can remember for a heel. His look, along with his attitude and actions are the best things the WWF has going for it. No, I am not saying that the WWF should shave Bret's hair and give him his own "six pack of whip ass" but to copy the actions of Stone Cold.

Instead they chose to let Bret rant and rave on TV for 25 minutes about how American fans suck. His constant temper tantrums and pouting about how everyone has screwed him over got real old, real quick. To top it off he attacks Shawn Michaels and then Rocky Maiva from behind. What were they thinking!? Think back to Wrestlemania 12 when he lost the belt. Afterwards his frustration showed and he was hostile to everyone including the cameraman. But after that he went cold, took some time off and lost the new momentum he had created. Perhaps he wasn't even aware of it.

When he finally came back he was the old Hitman. Instead of coming back because the "WWF needs a hero" he should of came back with a score to settle. Now, with him turning heel Vince had a perfect opportunity to make Bret Hart as good a heel as Stone Cold. Make him hate everyone good or bad. If someone gets in his way, knock them over like Stone Cold. Remember the SSN before the Royal Rumble when Stone Cold was doing color commentary. Terry Funk came out and started to bad mouth him. Stone Cold didn't wait for him to turn his back and then sucker punch him, no, he got right in his face and cracked a can of whoop ass on him . The fans ate it up and the whole world knew that Stone Cold wasn't going to cry to anyone if he had a problem with someone. He would settle it with them right then and there.

Bret had to attack Shawn to enforce the whole heel bit but he should have attacked him face to face. Then, when Sid came out, he should of attacked him instead of running from him. The end result would be two great heels. Setting up what could of been one of the greatest matches in history. Give Bret a "I just don't give a damn and I want to fight" attitude. Have him attack Stone Cold constantly, anything that Stone Cold did to Bret, Bret should do twice as bad back. Two heels going at it and no one cares about either of them, they just know they are going to see a knock down drag out fight.

Vader vs. Cactus Jack (Mankind) in WCW could serve as an example to this. Their matches were brutal and the fans loved it. If this were to take place it would only propel both careers to an all time high.

Fans would tune into every WWF show that had either wrestler because they wanted to see what would happen to them. If done right it could of been the answer to Raw beating Nitro. It would breath some fresh blood into the promotion staff and set up for various types of main events and matches. More matches like the blood bath at this past Wrestlemania, which many people said, and I agree, was better than the main event.

However, now the die hard fans have fewer and fewer reasons to tune into a show or ppv because they already know the outcome. Worst of all, we have to listen to Bret whine and complain about how he has been screwed. What were they thinking?

ECW Barely Legal

Before we get going here let me mention that this is my first ECW event since we don't get their TV programming here in Northern California. You'll excuse me I'm sure if I don't get all the names correct - but I will try to call the action. Here we go...

Joey Styles introduces the program over an awfull sound system, competing with the shouts, cheers and boos of the vociferous fans. The ECW "arena" appears to be a high school gym with maybe three to five hundred people in it. The Tag Champs show up and cut him off. Devon Dudley takes over the mic to excoriates the assembled crowd as "No good, illiterate garbage..." Cut to the opening montage.

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Back to the ring...a guy in a cheap tuxedo with gold shirt and bow tie (Joe Gertner?) introduces the Dudleys. The Eliminators make their entrance - the former Tag Champs storm the ring as the current Champs hightail it. Sign Guy attacks from behind and gets Totally Eliminated. The Champs re-enter - apparently this isn't a regular tag match because all four guys stay in the ring throughout the match. After several spectacular exchanges the Eliminators control the ring. They must have a mic under the ring because it makes a horrendous noise everytime someone lands. The Dudleys really aren't fairing well as the Eliminators continue to hold the upper hand. Kronos pulls off a one-and-a-half forward somersault splash - pretty amazing. The Eliminators put Bubba down with a Total Elimination to win the match.

The guy in the tux comes back in to say that according the "Stud Muffin" scoring system the Dudleys won. He gets Totally Eliminated.

Sandman interview/video montage. He's promoing the "3 Way Dance" match pitting him, Terry Funk and Big Stevie Cool for the number one World Title contender spot. The winner will face Raven (Johnny Polo/Scott Anthony) for the World Title in the main event.

Chris Candido (Skip) is in the ring with his left arm in a sling. He rants about not being able to wrestle tonight. He promises to interfere in the main event.

Lance Storm vs. Robb Van Damm - Storm dominates the early going until he gets levered out to the floor - Van Damm does a somersault planche to put his opponent down. Back in the ring Van Damm controls the next few exchanges but then gets splashed out of the blue and drop-kicked to the outside. Storm misses a flyer to the outside and Van Damm is back on top. He hits a moonsault. Back inside Van Damm has a chair - he whips Storm to the corner then throws the chair into the flying Storm. Then he splashes with the chair. Storm is back but is taking it. Van Damm gets a frog splash but can't get the pin. The referee is taking no notice of the chair. Any thought that this might not be a choreographed match goes out the window when Van Damm does a flip with the chair in hand and conveniently leaves it in place so that Storm can backdrop him onto it. Now Storm is in control and using the chair. There are two chairs in the ring actually. At one point Van Damm is setting up the chair when Storm comes off the top and drops a leg which runs his opponent onto the chair seat. Van Damm finally wins by drop-kicking the chair into Storm's face then doing a back-flip splash.

After the match Storm wants to shake hands but Van Damm tells him to stick it.

Six Man Japanese/Luche Libre match - the first team enters in Blue World Order t-shirts. The Great Suzuki/Gran Hamada/Gran Yakasigi are of the members of the second team - Terry Boy (who idolizes Terry Funk) I caught as one of the BWO - Taka Mishinuku (sounded like) and Dick Togo. This one is a little weird because the BWO guys are all in but the ref is restricting the other team to one at a time at the beginning of the match. The action here is more typically Japanese then Luche Libre - very fast paced but more mat wrestling then the usual Mexican style. Pretty hard to call since I'm not always sure who is who. The BWO seems to hold the advantage through most of the match. Towards the end of the contest the match goes on in the ring while those not currently involve brawl on the outside. Great Suzuki finally wins it over Mishinuku with a chicken wing suplex.

Big Stevie ruminates about the 3 Way Dance match to come.

TV Title Match - The Franchise (Shane Douglas) w/Francine vs. Pit Bull #2 - Douglas gets the mic and rants before his opponent enters. The language is graphic to say the least. The stipulation in this match is that if Pit Bull loses the "masked man" has to unmask. The speculation is that Rick Rude is under that mask. The Pit Bull is mat wrestling and apparently that is a surprise. He's dominating the action until Douglas blocks a powerbomb then hurtles them both to the outside. Back in the ring Douglas then gets two piledrivers in a row. Now its all Franchise. He puts on a camel clutch after a couple of power moves. Pit Bull powers back and retakes the advantage by dropping his opponent over the top rope onto the timekeeper's table. Gary Wolfe (Pit Bull #1) in a neck brace attacks the Franchise but is pulled off by Douglases' bodyguards in Riot gear. Pit Bull #2 throws a section of the guard rail into the ring. Douglas manages to drop him on it. Later he drops the railing on the Pit Bull who is now outside the ring. Back inside Douglas continues to pound but the challanger is coming back. The crowd is calling Francine a whore. Everytime Douglas goes to the top he gets caught on the fly. Pit Bull #2 is massively powerful. The cameras catch Francine giving Douglas a weapon. He nails his opponent but can't put him away. He uses a section of table-top, a chair and the timekeeper's bell to know avail. The Pit Bull is coming back when Douglas gets the Title belt and brains Pit Bull with it twice. He goes for the chain he keeps in his boot but the Pit Bull catches him and he gets the chain. He uses it on the Champ but Chris Candido gets involved and distracts him. Douglas wins the match.

A guy in Rick Rude's robe and a mask comes to the ring. He grabs Francine and kisses her - Douglas clobbers him and unmasks him but its the Bulldozer! Behind him is one of the riot cops who whips off his helmet to reveal Rick Rude. They do a number on Douglas who flees the ring with a dazed Francine.

Raven rants. Then Taz gets his say. They show clips of him choking out Bam Bam Bigalow, 2 Cold Scorpio, Chris Jericho and Robb Van Damm among others.

Taz w/Bill Alfonso vs. Sabu - Grudge Match - Taz is known as the "Human Suplex Machine", Sabu is just nuts (also called the "Human Highlight Film") - Sabu is heavily taped around the left shoulder. Taz wins the first exchange and knocks Sabu out of the ring. Back inside they are mat wrestling. This gives Taz the advantage because he is obviously the superior wrestler. He puts a vicious cross face hold on a breaks Sabu's nose! Now Sabu takes to the air and he turns the tables. They brawl out into the crowd which doesn't hesitate to get involved in the action. Sabu sets a chair up and attempts to splash his opponent on the railing but Taz sidesteps him (ouch!). Back in the ring and Taz is back in control with a bow and arrow hold. He switches to a body scissors after Sabu breaks free. Sabu takes to the air again and turns the tables. He brings in a chair and uses it to catapault himself onto Taz in the corner. I notice the referees never try to remove the furniture after it's used. Taz regains control as they go out again. He suplexes Sabu into the crowd. Back inside Taz is using the chair now. They tumble out again and Taz tries to position a table. He goes for a suplex onto the table but Sabu blocks it and goes for a swinging DDT. Taz shrugs him off and Sabu takes the table shot solo. Back in the ring and now its see-saw. Taz gets a head-and-arm Taz-plex - it doesn't look good for Sabu. He comes back however and blocks another suplex to put one on of his own. It doesn't seem to faze Taz who completes another suplex (T-Bone Taz Plex) then gets his Tazmission sleeper (like a Million Dollar Dream variation) to win the match.

After the match Taz gets a mic and expresses respect for Sabu. He offers him a rematch anytime and wants to shake his hand. They do shake hands then Sabu raises Taz' hand. They embrace. Robb Van Damm attacks Taz from behind. He and Sabu face off - Taz is back up and attacks Van Damm from behind. Sabu weighs in on the side of his current tag team partner. Together they cream the Taz man. Sabu puncuates it by putting Taz through a table. Skinny little Alfonso acts like he's going to take on both guys but then goes over to their side. He grabs the mic and screams at Taz who is still out on the floor. Van Damm offers his services to other wrestling promotions saying "I love to work Mondays..."

The Three Way Dance - Big Stevie Cool/The Sandman/Terry Funk - the winner faces Raven for the World Title later tonight. Big Stevie (Steve Richards) enters with his BWO thugs. Sandman brings a cane and a can of beer which he drains and then smashes against his forehead - busting it open before the match. He lights a cigarette and puffs away as he struts around the ring taking his time getting into the ring. He seems to be the crowd favorite. Terry Funk enters to "Desparado" he has a lot of fans as well who chant "Terry! Terry!". Funk goes over and shakes Richard's hand during the introductions. Sandman offers Funk a beer - he declines it. Tommy Dreamer is doing color commentary - he is the protege of Funk and gave up his spot in this match so the Texan could be part of it. This is a three man elimination match. While Richards and Funk battle Sandman goes and gets a ladder. He throws it into the ring and everyone starts using it. Terry Funk surprises everyone by pulling a moonsault off the top of the ladder!! This guy is 53 years old! Dreamer seems to be holding the upperhand through most of this. At times he cooperates with Big Stevie then turns around and backstabs him. Funk windmills the ladder and puts both of his opponents down. Then Stevie comes off the top and see-saws it into both of his opponents. Sandman teeters the ladder on the railing and levers it into Stevie - all three are out on the floor. Sandman disappears - probably to get some more furniture. He comes back with a trash can. Funk and Sandman use it on Stevie as a team. Sandman gets the ladder and lays it on Stevie. Then he splashes on it (and him). Finally Funk and Sandman cooperate to eliminate Big Stevie Cool. Sandman continues to attack after the elimination. He goes under the ring and comes up with a length of barbed wire. Funk gets control of it and whips him with it. Sandman gets up and wraps the barbed wire around his body and runs himself into Funk. He goes for a pin - no cigar. Funk covers Sandman's upper body and pounds on him. A moonsault gets him the win.

Raven appears and goes right after Terry Funk. He brings in a chair and starts using it. Dreamer says he can't do commentary any more. Raven has Funk busted open. The ring Doctor is questioning Funk about continuing. Funk insists on going on but he's out on his feet, swinging blindly. Raven drags him out to the floor and slams him on a table. He sets another one up (ECW must buy these things in bulk). Funk is positioned and splashed. Raven's entourage shows up and joins in the beating of Funk. Raven grabs a mic and says something about three tables. He plans to end Funk's career. They stack the tables under the broadcast booth. Big Dick Dudley attacks Dreamer who turns the thing around and puts Dudley through the tables. Dreamer goes to the ring, avoids a thrown trash can and manages to put a DDT on Raven - Funk gets the pin and the Title.

Altogether a pretty good card. ECW could definitely give the big two a run for their money if they can continue to get the proper exposure. Joey Styles commentary was very detailed - he seems to really know his stuff. I was surprised that we didn't see Paul E except right at the beginning.

Anyway, that's the way I see it...

Earl Oliver,
editor Solie's Wrestling Newsletter

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.

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This page is a personal tribute and is in no way connected to any of the wrestling promotions mentioned on it. It is dedicated to the Dean of Wrestling announcers, Gordon Solie.

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