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Solie's Tuesday Morning Report: EXTRA!

WWF King of the Ring

Report by Earl Oliver

The Race Card

by Ervin Griffin Jr.

Volume 2, Issue 180 - June 8, 1997

The Race Card

How Far Will Ron Simmons Go To Reclaim Former Glory?

A few weeks ago, Faarooq was given a title shot against the WWF Champion The Undertaker at The King Of The Ring (which will have happened by the time you read this). The next night on RAW IS WAR, Faarooq played what has become known as "the race card" (thanks to the OJ Simpson case). Claiming that Vince McMahon (and the WWF in general) had a problem with a black man winning the WWF title.

I find this very ironic since it was August 2, 1992 when Faarooq (then Ron Simmons) defeated Vader to win the WCW World Heavyweight Title in Baltimore, MD. He also became the first black man anywhere to hold a major world singles title. He said many times that he was not just the "black man's champion but the people's champion" (much like Ahmed Johnson did when he won the WWF Intercontinental title last year).

Now I will be the first to admit that I took Ron's victory in 1992 with great pride for two reasons: 1. I am a 22-year old African-American male and 2. I was just happy to see a black man with a major belt because it didn't happen that often in pro wrestling (I was 17 when Ron defeated Vader). I had a similar reaction when Ahmed Johnson won the I-C belt from Goldust. Neither time, however, did I see it as a "black vs. white" because that to me is so trivial in pro wrestling. I view this whole Nation Of Domination thing as a cheap way to get back in the spotlight for Ron.

Let me say that I (like Earl) can't stand the NOD!!! I almost wish the Nation Of Islam (who I don't like either) would put a stop to it "by any means necessary." To me, the fact that Ron and the WWF have to resort to this to promote the Faarooq character tells me that Ron just doesn't have it anymore. Four years ago, Ron Simmons VS. The Undertaker would've been a fabulous match-up!!!

Now, it is a mid-level match at best because both men have slacked off (particularly Ron). But, it seems that Simmons is willing to trade in his fabulous career to be the black "Col. DeBeers" (remember him guys). Even when Ron was a rulebreaker in the team of DOOM, he didn't care about the "race card", all he (and then-partner Butch Reed) wanted was some glory and they got it too when they became the first black NWA/WCW World Tag Team Champions. More important to them, though, they got the respect they wanted over their six month reign.

Now, all I see is a man trying to use the "racial divide" issue that has been plaquing the country for the past two years to further his career. And it makes me sick!!! It also makes me wonder, though, how far will McMahon let this go to get ratings. They're already willing to allow cursing and violent acts to happen on their shows, particularly RAW, so it is not out of the question that they would let Ron continue with his babble just to get viewer's. In a sense, Ron has become what he has accused Ahmed Johnson of being for several months. What is it? Nothing, just a sell-out to the WWF!!!

These comments are mine and mine alone and are in no way reflective of what Earl Oliver or anyone else writing for Solie's Vintage Wrestling thinks. If you wish to debate me on this or comment, then e-mail me at

Ervin Griffin Jr. is a regular contributor to Solie's Newsletter as well as the Ringside Insider and other publications.

WWF King of the Ring 1997

Well I did it again - I forgot about the Free-For-All untill about 3:45 - when I turned on the TV they were running promos for the PPV itself so I don't know what I may have missed...if there was a match it was a short one...

Before we get started here I should mention that this appears to be the weakest KOTR card yet. In fact the tournament itself was sadly under promoted - its almost like they threw this all together at the last moment...

They're interviewing Mankind now - he's ranting about respect - Jerry Lawler interrupts to taunt him - typical Burger King behaviour. He rants about being a blueblood - Mankind answers by saying that "...maybe we'll see what color your blood really is." How rude!

Here comes the Harts - Bret says he will be the color commentator for the Michaels/Austin match.

The event begins with a "Crush 4:12" sign dominating the camera view. Vince introduces Tito Santana as one of the Spanish language commentators and then we're off.

Ahmed Johnson vs. Hunter Hearst Helmsley (w/Chynna) - KOTR Semi-Final match - Ahmed clearly holds the strength advantage here and demonstrates it right out of the chute. Hunter will only win this one through guile or with help. He suckers Ahmed into a test of strength then cheapshots him with a boot. No cigar - Ahmed just shrugs him off then gorrilla presses him before slamming him to the mat. Shortly thereafter Johnson misses an elbow drop to give Hunter his opening. Ahmed gets tossed out onto the steps. As he gets up Hunter does a baseball slide into him to put him down again. Back in the ring Ahmed regains his composure and takes the advantage back. A spine buster seemingly sets up his finisher but Chynna distracts him before he can complete the move. Hunter gets him with a high knee then slips in a Pedegree to win the match. Hunter is in the finals (probably against Mankind).

Mankind vs Jerry Lawler - KOTR Semi-Final match - Mankind is being cheered as he enters...we cut to a review of his incident with Lawler on RAW last week. In the ring he has a microphone - he blasts Paul Bearer for not being there for him - the crowd loves that of course. He rants about what kind of King he will be and then asks the crowd to tell him what they think. He says that Lawler is "...not a King - he is a pawn in Mankind's game" he calls him the Emporer with no clothes. He uses his famous "Bang! Bang!" signature expression (which we haven't heard since he came to the WWF)

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Todd Pettingill interviews Lawler who takes offense at Todd's attitude then strides to the ring insulting the crowd as he goes. He pauses to hurl some more taunts at Foley - who waits impatiently in the ring. He tells McMahon that he better hope nothing happens to Mankind because if "...he dies then you'll be the ugliest man on Earth". Mankind finally comes out to confront him and starts right in scratching, clawing and biting him! In the ring he whips the King and downs him with an elbow. He goes for the claw but Lawler slips out of the ring. Back inside Lawler fishes a weapon out of his tights and goes to work on Foley. Lawler keeps hitting the torn ear to effectively incapacitate his opponent. Outside the ring again Mankind reverses the field and tears into Lawler. But then he rushes his opponent who is lying on the ring steps and smashes into the step. Lawler drops him on the railing then goes for the piledriver on the floor and gets it (although not all of it). Back inside he gets another one but can't get the pin. He has the weapon out and is using it again. But Folet turns it around despite that until Lawler pulls out a rather clumsy swinging neck breaker. It's only a matter of time until Mankind gets the chance to to stick his fingers down Lawler's gullet. Mankind advances to the finals.

Brian Pillman is ranting about Austin backstage when the latter attacks him from behind. Brian gets trashed (and drenched) in the mens room toilet.

Crush (w/NOD) vs. Goldust - Goldust comes down in more then usually elaborite face paint. Crush starts out strong with a kick to the gut - they go outside the ring where Goldust turns the tables. Back inside he retains his advantage through superior wrestling technique. Crush overwhelms him with power however and begins to dominate the action. He seems to be focusing on the lower back of his opponent. After pummeling Goldust for several minutes he slaps on a modified Camel Clutch. Goldust escapes for moment but then is gorrilla pressed and dropped onto Crush's knee (ouch!) Moments later he escapes again and has the advantage but outside the NOD is menacing his wife. He goes out to help and gets caught again but moments later in the ring he throws a boot into Crush's gut then catches him in a DDT to win the match.

Sable brings a KOTR inflatable chair down and tosses it into the ring. She gets Howard Finkel to sit in it while she massages his shoulders - then dumps him out of it.

Dok Hendrix interviews the Road Warrior and Sid about their match with the Harts. They pledge to win of course. Todd is with the Harts who say the same... Neidhart figures he's crazier than Sid - we'll see...

Owen Hart/British Bulldog/Jim Neidhart vs Road Warriors/Sycho Sid - Animal starts with Owen who is overwhelmed early on. Sid is tagged in and continues the slaughter. Owen tags in his brother-in-law Davey Boy. Sid takes a verticle suplex and gets right up. Neidhart comes in to face Animal. It is a toss-up which of these guys is the more powerful but the Anvil gets suckered into the corner and triple teamed. Things start breaking down now. Animal goes to the outside and gets hit with a chair by Neidhart. Back inside the Harts take turns pummeling him in their corner. Animal escapes for a moment and catches Bulldog coming off the top into a powerslam but then goes up himself and gets caught and slammed. He is in trouble again. At one point Owen gets flung into Animal in the corner and gets all of his shoulder into the big guy's gut. Owen puts on a sleeper but Animal powers to his feet and tags in the Hawk. Hawk is outwrestled and now he's in trouble. But then he escapes and tags in Sid. All six are in for a moment but Sid nearly clears the ring. He is going for a chokeslam on Davey Boy when Owen throws a sunset flip and gets the pin.

Mankind interviewed - he says HHH better be "...driving a train and better be ready to run me down..."

Mankind vs. Hunter Hearst Helmsley - KOTR Final - this s long drawn-out knockdown-dragout affair with Mankind dominating the early going until Hunter turns the tables with a cheapshot. He stars working on the neck with an occasional assist from his bodyguard. Mankind turns the tables with a knee to the groin but then gets twisted into the ropes and hung for a moment. Outside he is stalked by Chynna but it is Hunter who does the real damage by running him into the railing and the steps. Back in the ring Helmsley does his best Harley Race impression while dropping a running knee to the back of the head. Mankind comes right back though. He goes for a sidewalk slam but loses his balance and gets dropped on his head. But again he comes right back and smashes bodily into his opponent in the corner. Hunter looks ready for the pickings but Mankind tosses him out to the floor allowing Hunter to revive himself. Both are out - Hunter gets backdropped onto the floor then Foley throws his elbow smash off the apron and gets it. Back in the ring Hunter gets a sunset flip but before he can pull his opponent over he gets a mouthfull of fingers. Chynna pulls him out of the ring to break it up. Foley is back in as Hunter climbs to the top only to get caught in the mandible claw once again - a finger to the eye gets him out of it. Back outside and Mankind is on the receiving end. Hunter cleans off the broadcast table - puts Mankind on it and Pedegrees him - destroying the table. Amazingly Foley gets to his feet and tries to climb back into the ring. Chynna brains him with the KOTR scepter then Hunter high-knees him back to the floor - destrying a photographer while they are at it. Back in the ring Hunter gets another Pedegree and wins the King of the Ring.

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After the match, Todd Pettigill is manhandled into the ring by Chynna - he hands the robe and crown to Hunter who proceeds to pummel the still prone Mankind with the crown. Mankind is left laying as Hunter and his bodyguard leave the area.

Review of HBK/SCSA's trials and tribulations. We return to see McMahon and JR sitting behind a completely destroyed broadcast table.

The Hitman comes out to add his comments to the next match. He brings the Foundation with him. He goes into his rant about how he will be coming back soon. He says he will wrestle at the coming WWF Calgary Stampede In Your House PPV. McMahon gives Bret his headset but the officials are disputing his (and the rest of his thugs) right to be ringside. They argue for several moments then allow themselves to be escorted away.

Dok Hendrix interviews Steve Austin - Austin calls himself the captain of the tag team - he says he doesn't want to cripple HBK because he wants to hold on to the tag belts but he'll do what he has to he goes to the ring he encounters the Harts but sidesteps the confrontation.

Doc asks Michaels the same question he asked Austin about the ironies involved in their coming matchup - Shawn seems confused about what to do as well.

Shawn Michaels vs. Stone Cold Steve Austin - Stone Cold wins the first exchange by the dint of his superior weight then Shawn goes outside to assist a Special Olympian who apparently fell over the railing. Austin follows him out and they brawl on the floor. Back in the ring HBK wins the next exchange then goes back out to assist the young fan. Back in again, Michaels dominates the action and grabs a side headlock. Steve escapes but not for long. JR reveals that Austin was trained by Gentleman Chris Adams in Texas. Michaels goes for a Thesz press and gets reversed into an atomic drop then clotheslined out of the ring. Climbing back into Austin's clutches, HBK is almost suplexed in but wriggles out of it. Michaels out wrestles his opponent again - Austin leaves the ring then returns to challange for a test of strength. He, of course, cheap shots HBK and wins the test. Michaels forces his way back to his feet and gets a boot to the gut, whips Austin and buries the knee to the solar-plexus. Austin comes back for a moment but Shawn catches him in an arm bar. Austin escapes and they criss-cross - the action gets hot and heavy as they trade pin attempts until Shawn is flung over the top rope to the floor.

Austin breaks the count at eight and drags Shawn up on the apron. Then he snaps his neck off the top rope, Michaels climbs up again and gets knocked to the floor. Austin goes out and pulls up the matting from the floor. They brawl on the outside then Michaels is flung into the steps. Austin then picks him up and drops him face first on the concrete. The signal goes out for about 10 seconds - when we return HBK is still laid out on the floor. Back inside. Somehow he gets back in the ring but Austin has the advantage and keeps it. Eventually he goes to a rest hold - a reverse chinlock lying on the mat. He's using the ropes for leverage and finally gets caught at it. Michaels regains his composure and they have a slugfest which ends when Austin is levered out over the top rope. Now Shawn has the advantage and holds onto it until he is suckered shoulder first into the ring post. Austin tries a series of pins but can't hold him down. Shawn comes out of the corner with a superkick but Austin catches the foot reverses him into a Stone Cold Stunner. But the referee has been caught in a previous exchange and is down. Austin is pissed off and attacks the referee with another stunner. Michaels gets a superkick in but still no referee (a second one is over attending to the original one) - Michaels attacks the second ref! This results in Senior Referee Earl Hebner disqualifying both competitors. Some woman is screaming uncontrollably in the crowd as they leave the ring area.

Todd interviews Faarooq - who says he will be the first black WWF Champ... Doc tries to interview the Undertaker but Paul won't let him talk.

Faaroq (w/NOD) vs The Undertaker (w/Paul Bearer) - WWF Title match - that woman is still screaming as UT's entrance music starts but shuts up when he appears. UT hesitates on the steps for several seconds before he raises the lights. Faarooq decides to have a conference on the floor before he re-enters the ring. As UT is disrobing Faarooq attacks from behind. His advantage is only momentary though. UT pummels him in the corner. They exchange whips - UT maintains his advantage. Simmons gets a powerslam but can't pin him. Crush and Savio get some licks in as UT lies near the apron. UT is back upand in control again in moments. He gets an arm wringer on his opponent and climbs the ropes. Instead of dropping on Faarooq he suicide dives on the thugs at ringside.

Back inside he grabs the wrist again and goes back up - this time he is shaken off by Savio. Still he gets up and is again in control. Faarooq gets in a low blow to turn the tables. UT goes out to the floor where he is set upon by the pack. Faarooq picks up and tries to smash the steps into his opponent but UT gets a boot up and Faarooq gets a face full of steel. Back inside Faarooq gets a piledriver then grabs a reverse chinlock on the prone UT. UT struggles to his knees then gets to his feet and puts a modified stunner on his opponent. He takes to the air but gets grounded. Faarooq tries another piledriver but gets thrown over UT's head. Now it is a see-saw battle - whips followed by knees to the chest followed by a powerslam by the Undertaker. They criss-cross and UT takes to the air again - but Faarooq ducks it. Paul Bearer is screaming at the Undertaker to get up. Meanwhile Savio and Crush are fighting over who gets to put in the next shot. This distracts Faarooq and allows the Undertaker to put him in the Tombstone Piledriver and win the match. Crush jumps into the ring and gets chokeslammed.

The match is over but Paul Bearer isn't satisfied - he demands that UT chokeslam his vanquished opponent. Undertaker complies then Paul wants him to do it again. Again the Champion complies then gives in a third time. Ahmed Johnson shows up and demands a stop to this. UT takes a swing at him and gets Pearl River Plunged. Ahmed leaves the ring and UT pops back up. He is disgusted with himself and Paul Bearer...fade to black.

This PPV was not the best but it had it's moments.

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

Earl Oliver,
editor Solie's Wrestling Newsletter

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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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