by Len B
If you think your watch is running fast, there is a new device for setting it to the exact time. Just put on Nitro around 9:45 pm. When you see the first soft drink douse Hulk Hogan and Eric Bischoff, you may synchronize your watch and all of the clocks in your house to 9:48 pm. This juvenile behavior has become accepted as normal for this Turner enterprise.
Ted Turner, the man who wants to eliminate the Star Bangled Banner as our national anthem because it promotes war, is the man behind this garbage. By not stopping this practice every monday night, Turner and Bischoff are in effect encouraging it. Sure, it makes for great entertainment. In some minds, I'm sure it's "Must See TV." I've just seen too many people out on the internet complain about the garbage McMahon dishes up every week as not appropriate for kids. Well, I'm not going to justify what McMahon does - that's a whole other topic. I don't think McMahon is targeting RAW to kids anyway. The Turner product is more of a "family product." So, I really do have a problem with the "garbage thing." It's great to get the fans involved in the program. However, if this behavior is encouraged - and I think it is - that's not quite the behavior we should be holding out as acceptable to kids who are watching this stuff.
I remember a few weeks ago one of the bigger internet wrestling sites (Al at Scoops) was suggesting to his minions to write nasty e-mails to a TV Guide columnist (Phil Mushnick) who had some less than flattering things to say about wrestling fans. In my mind, the behavior of Nitro fans on Mondays at 9:48 pm certainly justifies that writer's remarks about wrestling fans and the wrestling industry. If wrestling fans don't want to be looked upon as the garbage on the demographic scale then they should start acting a little more like people. Maybe Messrs Turner and Bischoff share Mushnick's view of wrestling fans and deem garbage throwing appropriate for wrestling fans. Just give them what they want Ted and don't invite them out to dinner with you and Jane.
Len B is a long time friend of Solie's and a regular contributor.
In this issue Ervin Griffin Jr. concludes his history of Steve Austin.
Stunning" To "Stone Cold": The History Of Steve Austin
by Ervin Griffin Jr.
Part 5 - Metamorphis
When Austin left WCW, his first stop was ECW. I am not fully aware of his time there but, from what I understand, this is where his persona as "Stone Cold" was first developed. I do know that after a stint in ECW, he came to the WWF as "The Ringmaster" Steve Austin. He was managed by Ted Dibiase. This persona and his relationship with Dibiase, though, didn't get him anywhere.
In February, Austin changed his nickname to "Stone Cold" and has been burning up the federation ever since. From his King Of The Ring victory to his matches with Bret Hart, Austin has become a force in that federation. His first match with Hart was a classic. The match happened at the 1996 Survivor Series. Austin and Hart traded the advantage several times in the match before Hart got the pin by reversing Austin's "Million-Dollar Dream." This loss led to an obssesion with Bret Hart.
It saw Austin attack Hart on several different occasions and, in my opinion, led to Hart's return to rulebreaking. Austin was, technically, the winner of the 1997 Royal Rumble. I said technically because he had actually been eliminated by Hart earlier in the match but the referees didn't see it!!! Austin, realizing that the refs didn't see the elimination, came back in and eliminated Hart, the Undertaker, and Vader. WWF President Gorillia Monsoon decided that a "Final Four" match would take place to decide who would face then-champion Shawn Michaels at WrestleMania 13.
But Michaels would forfeit the title due to knee problems. This made the match a championship encounter. It was brutal and it saw Bret Hart gain the WWF title for the fourth time. But, the next night, Austin costed Hart the WWF title during a match with "Sycho" Sid when he clocked Hart with a steel chair. Austin also injured his knee during a fight with Sid the same night. Then, a week before WrestleMania, Hart and Austin faced in a verbal and physical war after Hart lost to Sid in a cage match. This led to Hart shoving Vince McMahon down as well. These are Hart and Austin's comments:
"Frustrated isn't the g*d-dammed word for it!!! This is bullsh*t!!! You screw me, everybody screws me and nobody does a g*d-dammed thing about it!!! I've had it up to hear with all of this g*d-dammed injustice!!! You turn a blind eye to it!!! I got that Gorilla Monsoon back there, he turns a blind eye to it!!! You know it, everybody hear knows it, everybody in that g*d-dammed dressing room knows that I am the best there is, the best there was, and the best there ever will be!!! And you don't like it, tough sh*t!!!!"
"Screwed my a** Bret!!! You're sitting out there whining and crying because you're a loser!!! I tried to come out and help you win the title!!! It could've been you and me, going for it all at WrestleMania but you blew the whole damn thing because your a loser!!! Well Bret, at WrestleMania 13, you will say "I Quit" and someday, it'll be you and me for the championship and I will be the next WWF Champion!!!"
That is about as close to what was originally said as I could remember.
Needless to say, this provided all of the heat necessary for the Hart/Austin submission match at WrestleMania 13. The match was brutal as expected. Before the match, Austin promised he would never say "I Quit" to the "HitMan." The match ended when Ken Shamrock deemed Austin unfit to continue. Hart was awarded the victory but Austin delivered on his promise to never give up in the match. Since that time, Austin has had a WWF title match with the Undertaker and would've won had The newly formed Hart Foundation interfered. He is also enjoying (or should I say tolerating) a WWF Tag Title reign with Shawn Michaels. What's next for Austin, who knows but it'll be fun to see!!!
If you have a question, comment, criticism, or just want to talk pro wrestling, e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Solie's resident historian, Ervin Griffin Jr. is a regular contributor to Solie's Newsletter as well as the Ringside Insider and other publications.
I had a chance to listen to the archive version of the latest Internet Insiders cybercast from the WCW Web Site a couple of days ago. It was actually quite revealing and I would recommend it to anyone whose interested in the backstage goings on in the wrestling business.
In fact, what Mark Maddon and company have managed to do is to realize the vision behind the ill-fated WWF LiveWire program. You remember how that program started out - a live program with call-in questions, hard hitting interviews, etc. Of course the concept was a sham from the beginning because the call-ins were rigged and the wrestlers never came out of character. Vince McMahon eventually realized that the fans were not as dumb as he thought (a lesson he never really seems to learn) and turned the program into another ordinary Saturday Morning rehash show with an odd name.
What the Internet Insiders has done is to take that same concept and actually make it work. Especially interesting were the interviews with Scott Hall and Kevin Nash who both dropped their ring personnas to answer candid questions about their relationships with WCW and the other members of the nWo.
When questioned about his reported dissatisfaction with the direction of the current storyline and with Hulk Hogan, Nash's response was quite illuminating. He denied the substance of the report and told Madden that, in fact, he was very happy with the way it was going. He revealed that the bookers of the nWo angle are Hall and Nash themselves, along with Hulk Hogan and Eric Bischoff. He said that they set Hogan up to be the Champion because he was the one who could garner the publicity and further stated that Hogan is "doing a great job". He implied that they all owe Hogan a great debt for putting wrestling on the map and that he (Nash) was happy to let Hogan be the Champion because it allowed him (Nash again) to do the thing he loved and not be bothered by the pressure of wearing "that belt".
The fact that so many fans have learned the truth about how pro-wrestling really works and yet continue to be fans means that the business can allow itself to truely separate reality from the angles and storylines. I think what this all shows is that WCW has realized that the Internet has changed the way the pro-wrestling game will be played from now on and have decided to position themselves ahead of the curve.
The WWF would do well to take note.
That wraps another issue. I'll be back this weekend with my Bash at the Beach report. Until then...
Anyway, that's the way I see it...
editor Solie's Wrestling Newsletter
(Editor's Note: If you have found anything thats been said here to be particularly offensive please read this disclaimer).