Solie's Calgary correspondent, Rudy Van Koll sent us this item from the Calgary Sun. Thanks Rudy!
At least it's not so bad for Calgary wrestler Bret (The Hitman) Hart, who's reaching the big Four-Oh today. "I'm very proud of being 40," said Hart. "I'm like my dad that way -- he's 82 and proud of it. " he added, speaking of his father, former star wrestler Stu Hart. "You're only as old as you feel."
Hart returned yesterday from Des Moines, Iowa, where he taped a segment of the World Wrestling Federation's Raw is War. It was his first wrestling match since having serious knee surgery in April. The Hitman doesn't feel his age has slowed him down, despite the surgery. "I still believe I'm the best wrestler, technically, in the world," he said. "I'm satisfied with what I've done."
For his birthday, Hart wants to see a sold-out crowd at the Saddledome Sunday for the In Your House pay-per-view wrestling card, starting at 7 p.m. "I've never sold out at home," he said. "I've had 82,000 people at Wembley Stadium (in England), but I've never done it at the 'Dome."
Hart said he plans to retire in three years, at the end of his current contract, but his wife, Julie said she's heard that before. "I've been hearing `retirement' since he was 26 -- I'm still waiting," she said.
"What Goes Around Comes Around!"
by "Wild Bill" Rawlings
"When does a sport become legalized mayhem? And what can you do with extraordinary wrestlers who sometimes become uncontrollable animals? Fans, promoters, and officials are seriously wondering if certain famous wrestlers are becoming too brutal and threatening the sport's very existence."
"Television coverage has enhanced the sport beyond even the most imaginative promoters' wildest dreams in the last 20 years. And the keynote for the drama inside the roped square has been soaring to new heights on the wings of sex, violence and blood."
Lately, there has been a lot of discussion both here at Solie's and at several other locations on the Internet about the increasing violence in the sport of professional wrestling. Add in the blatant sexual references and stereotypical use of women as sexual objects to sell merchandise and you have today's world of wrestling, as exhibited by those quotations above, right? Well, yes and no. You see those two quotations above were written in two different wrestling magazines...over TWENTY YEARS AGO! (To be accurate, the first quote came from the Wrestling 1974 Annual # 9 and the second came from Wrestling Monthly, May 1976 issue.)
It's amazing how some things can be forgotten over time. Take the ECW debate recently at this forum. As much blood as Tommy Dreamer, Sabu, and Company have spilt for ECW, it probably is a small percentage of the bloodletting that use to occur during the time of those quotations! You have to remember also that this was before the word AIDS had even appeared in our day to day vocabulary. It is rare today to see anywhere near the amount of blood shed by any one individual compared to those grapplers of the past!
We think it is hardcore to see wrestlers knock down referees...yet the Sheik threw fire at at least one referee in his career!! Although the names of the athletes have changed, if one wanted to compare the level of violence in today's professional wrestling with that from the time frame of those quotes, based on what I have been reading (and rereading) lately, my money would have to go on the past!
Some things HAVE changed however. The use of profanity, especially on television, and overtly sexual comments, such as the ones made by Rick Rude about Francine in the past few weeks are examples of these changes. But part of that is because we in this country have allowed it to change. Though George Carlin's "seven dangerous words" will probably never be a proper topic at the Senior Citizen's Bridge Club meetings on Thursday, we have accepted the use of certain profanities in not only our day to day lives, but also on television! And it is no longer considered to be rude (no pun intended) to openly talk about sex and sexual acts with other people.
Yet even with that fact, wrestling had it's own "fling" with open sexuality in the late seventies with a phenomenon known as "apartment wrestling". Although not associated with any of the "legitimate" organizations, these matches would involve two lovely ladies, usually wrestling in bikinis. By the end of the match, both were lucky if they were still wearing smiles! During some of the more physical matches, one or both of the competitors might end up with bleeding cuts and gashes, but the primary selling point, and what got it on the front pages of all the wrestling magazines at the time, was NAKED WOMEN!
So what's my point you may ask? Simply, as the title says, what goes around comes around. Twenty years from now, another group of individuals worldwide will probably be conferencing via their wristwatch Pentium IV, 6 Quadagig drive, multifunctional computer and debating whether or not the violence in professional wrestling is getting out of hand. Who knows, it may even be a match that involves Ric Flair III vs Hollywood Hogan IV!!! When it comes to violence and sexuality, professional wrestling has "been there, done that"!! It's just like the latest NBC promos for summer reruns of their shows..."If you haven't seen it, it's NEW to you!" It just isn't new to professional wrestling.
Wild Bill to the Sidelines...for now!!
A friend of Solie's for quite some time, Bill Rawlings is a regular contributer to Solie's Readers' Forum and an occasionalcontributer to the newsletter
Stunning" To "Stone Cold": The History Of Steve Austin
by Ervin Griffin Jr.
Part 4 - The US Title
With his partnership with Brian Pillman terminated, Steve Austin began a campain for a US Title match with arch-rival Dustin Rhodes. The match was signed for Halloween Havoc '93 in New Orleans, LA. This Halloween Havoc was the third in a row that these two had met. In case your wondering, they also met at this event in 1991 and 1992 (try to guess the location of the matches and what title was at stake). Anyway, Rhodes and Austin fought a close, competitive match up for the US belt. It nearly ended in a screwjob as Austin tried to use the ropes to pin Rhodes. The referee, Nick Patrick, saw this but had already made the three count when he saw it. Austin, thinking he had won, was celebrating but Patrick ordered the match to continue. In the confusion, Rhodes rolled up Austin and pinned him. Frustrated, Austin grabbed the US belt and clobbered Rhodes in the head with it!!
Undanted, Austin continued to press for another match with Rhodes. But that didn't mean he didn't have something to occupy his time while he waited. At a November Clash Of The Champions, he met his ex-partner Brian Pillman in a classic battle that was tainted by the interferance of Col. Parker, Austin's manager. Austin got the pin after Parker tripped up Pillman on one of his high-risk moves. Later in the card, Austin renewed his feud with Ric Flair when he interfered in Flair's match up with Vader for the WCW World Championship.
This led to an intense battle on WCW Saturday Night with Flair/Arn Anderson VS. Vader/Austin. That match ended in a no-contest I believe. At BattleBowl '93, Austin and Flair were forced to be partners during one of the "Lethal Lottery" matches. They worked surprisingly well together as they defeated the duo of 2 Cold Scorpio and Max Payne. This, as we know now, would not be the last time that Austin would team up with an adversary in an important match!!! During the BattleBowl itself, Austin once again brutalized Dustin Rhodes by bashing his head into the ringpost and stomped him mercilessly!!!
Austin was also one of the "Final Four" men in BattleBowl(the other three were Ric Flair, Sting, and, ironically, Vader). He, along with Vader, put Flair on a strecher that night!!! Sting, however, eliminated Austin but would go on to lose to Vader. Austin now was looking towards his showdown with Dustin Rhodes. The match was to take place at Starrcade '93 in Charolette, NC at the Independence Arena (formerly the Charolette Coloseum). The match was to be conducted under two out of three fall rules. Austin won the match and the US title in two straight falls!!! He won the first fall by DQ when Rhodes threw Parker over the top rope and the second fall by pinning Rhodes with the use of the ropes.
Austin's reign saw a lot of great matches with Rhodes, Sting, The Great Muta, Johnny B. Badd and Rick Steamboat. Thus period also saw the first sign of his need to be a lone warrior when he cut Col. Parker loose during his reign in June of 1994.
Austin lost the title in August 1994 to Rick Steamboat at a Clash Of The Champions event. In September, Steamboat was to defend the title against Austin at FallBrawl '94 but back injuries forced him to forfeit the title to Austin (the injuries also ended his career). As Austin was leaving the ring with the US title, WCW Commish' Nick Bockwinkle forced Austin to defend the title against "Hacksaw" Jim Duggan. Austin felt he shouldn't have had to defend the title on such short notice and tried to leave the ring. Bockwinkle jerked Austin off of the ropes and into a Duggan backdrop and splash for the win. Personally, I want to know how the hell did Duggan get a title match when he just showed up in the federation just a week before this match?!!! Austin was robbed, plain and simple!!! Subsequent rematches saw Austin get no closer to regaining the title. He then dropped out of WCW until March 1995 but his woes continued. Even re-hiring Col. Parker didn't help matters. In June of 1995, he left WCW for good and hasn't been seen there since.
If you have a question, comment, criticism, or just want to talk pro wrestling, e-mail me at email@example.com
Solie's resident historian, Ervin Griffin Jr. is a regular contributor to Solie's Newsletter as well as the Ringside Insider and other publications.
The last Nitro program was a watershed event. We saw the debut of Curt Hennig and Scott Levy - neither of whom had anything to say - we were not given a hint as to what there respective places would be in the organization. I can venture a guess that Hennig will be offered Jeff Jarrett's recently vacated spot in the Horsemen and that Raven will end up with the nWo - but that is only speculation on my part. I have no inside knowledge on this one. Only time will tell but I will say that it marks what I hope will be the beginning of a new direction for WCW. Stay tuned.
I will be back over the weekend with the PPV report. Until then...
Anyway, that's the way I see it...
editor Solie's Wrestling Newsletter
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