That's quite a build-up they gave Rick Rude this weekend on WWF SuperStars - quite a build-up indeed for a guy who is no longer able to wrestle because os a career ending back injury. It makes one wonder what Rude's roll will be in the WWF.
I notice that Shawn Michaels is already attempting to soften his heel image somewhat. On the night of his turn he put down the fans as "idiots"and said that he didn't care what anybody thought about him. This week on RAW his line was, "...whether you like me or not, that's cool." Actually, this latter was the attitude always expressed by his face personna as well.
In the fan comments segmant that followed we found that the majority of them seemed to have moved back over into the HBK column despite the current popularity of the Mankind/Dude Love character.
There is also the matter of his new "Insurance Policy", Ravishing Rick Rude. I'm sure I don't have to remind everyone that the last time Michaels brought in a bodyguard it was Psycho Sid and that the eventual turn of Sid against his mentor was what set Shawn up for his most recent face tour. Rude is just the kind of stab-in-the-back character to help Michaels pull off a redemption angle once again.
So I would expect to see Michaels turn back at some point in the not too distant future. Too bad really, because I have long maintained that Michaels makes a much better heel then a face. His cocky attitude just lends itself to that kind of personna.
Of course the WWF now finds itself in much the same position as it's rival promotion. The success of their chief heel stable (The Hart Foundation) is so complete that it is hard for other wrestlers to maintain a credible heel personna without belonging to the Hart's. The nWo has had a similar effect in WCW
By the way, did anyone catch Vinnie on RAW the other night trying to say that Rick Rude was trying to hit HHH with the chair but got Mankind by mistake. What was that all about? What possible reason would Rude have had to hit Hunter (who was clearly there to help Shawn Michaels against Mankind)? Sometimes I think Vince has too angles running around inside his head...
In other news - Alex Porteau made a rather inauspicious debut in WCW on the Pro show this afternoon in a match against the recently absent Hugh Morrus. It was a pretty good match, Morrus had to work for his victory.
On WCWSN yesterday they showed the match in which Chris Jericho reclaimed the Cruiserweight Title from Alex Wright. For my money they could have left it with Wright who is a far superior grappler. Chris Jericho impresses me as a flash-in-the-pan. Eddie Guerrero made an appearance at the end of the contest. This lead to an announcement on the Pro that Jericho will defend his new title against Guerrer at this Thursday's Clash of the Champions. Raven vs. Stevie Richards has also been announced for that card.
Perpetual face Brad Armstrong appears to be taking the first heel turn in his career. He was sporting a new beard and mustache and aggresive attitude for his appearance on the Pro today. I hope this will help him, he has been consistently under-rated over his many years in the game. He scored a victory over Doc Dean with his patented Russian Leg Sweep.
Long tme no see - looking older, and somewhat beefed up, Rocky King made his return to WCW on the Pro today. He jobbed to Super Calo.
Solie's welcomes a new contributor with this edition. This first person account of the IWA Night of the Legends is by Wes Smith who also helps liven Solie's Readers' Forum as Darklight Warrior.
My Night with the Legends
By Wes Smith, aka Darklight Warrior
I arrived at Fieldcrest/Cannon Stadium in Kannapolis, NC at 6:00. Nikolai Volkoff arrived at 6:02 in a GEO Tracker and parked right next to me! All I could say was "Hi" and that's exactly what he said back to me. My night had begun.
I bought my ringside ticket($20) and stepped through the gate. An Autograph session was starting up. At one table was Ricky Steamboat, his son Victor and "Sweet" Stan Lane. At another table was Malia Hosaka, "Superfly" Jimmy Snuka, and the Wild Samoans(Afa and Sika). The Samoan Gangsta Party joined them a little later. Nikolai Volkoff and a Doink were at the last table. I don't know if it was Matt Borne or not. I got all of their Autographs and was surprised at how nice most of them were.
I say most of them because the Samoans didn't look like they were having a very good time and were quite rude to some people. On a side note, I have never seen as many True Marks in my life. I haven't seen that many back issues of PWI to get autographed, either.
Enough atmosphere, let's get to the matches.
Stan Lane started warming up the crowd at 7:55. He introduced some special guests that were in attendance. Swede Hanson, Nelson Royal, and Jackie Fargo were introduced. Fargo did his famous Strut to a chorus of "Whooooo's". One of the grown-up children from The Sound of Music sang the National Anthem.
Their commisioner got on the mic and announced that Greg Valentine had no-showed the night before in Columbia, SC. He then announced that Valentine was banned from the IWA for life and the main event was changed to Jimmy Snuka vs. The Masked Superstar for the IWA Title, which got a huge pop from the crowd for some reason.
The first match was a local guy, Kevin Kirby vs. a very overweight Assassin. To make a bad match short, Assassin won with a Headbutt with a loaded mask. I'm not even gonna bother with a rating on this one.
The next match pitted the Samoan Gangsta Party against the team of Metal Maniac (Warrior wannabe) and Hunter Thompson. SGP dominated this whole match and Maniac and Thompson spent most of the time outside of the ring.
The high point of the match for me was when Metal Maniac was thrown into the trash can 2 feet away from me. He not only crushed the plastic trash can but my drink cup as well. I took it upon myself to do something about this so I started harassing him. His partner finally came out to get him and Maniac said "that's him". Thompson came over to me and I did the only thing I could do. I stood up in his face and said "Bring it on, fat boy". He turned around and went back to the ring only to get beat up by the SGP. They ended it with a Double top-rope Headbutt. I give the match a 6 (of 10) for my participation in the match.
Next up was King Kong Grundy(7 foot Ron Studd look-alike) against one of the Doinks. It was a standard Doink match with him clowning around, getting beat up briefly, and winning with a Whoopee Cushion (Butt drop from the top) It was a fun match to watch. I think this might have been Matt Borne but I couldn't get close enough to ask him. Anyway, after the match Doink did a funny spot with the ref (who looked to be 16 years old) where they did a litte amateur wrestling. I gave this a 7 out of 10.
Next was Flamingo Kid w/ Jimmy the Geek vs. Billy Kidman w/ Kyra (absolute knockout). This was a good Cruiserweight Match even if that Geek(who looks and sounds like a White Urkel) kept interfering with a cane. Apparently IWA's rules are similar to ECW's. Anyway, this was a fast-paced match with plenty of high spots by Kidman and some weak spots with both of the managers. Kyra needs to learn how to fake a slap. Anyway, Kidman won with a Spinning DDT from the top rope at around the 15 minute mark. I give this an 8 out of 10 for both the match and the view ;)
Intermission time, let's plug the next events at the stadium. Again.
Next match was for the IWA Ladies' Title. Malia Hosaka (champ) vs. Leilani Kai. They announced both ladies as being from Hilo, Hawaii. This was a surprisingly good match, considering what shape (round) Leilani Kai is in. There was only one hair-pull in the entire match (by Ms. Kai BTW). Malia put her away with a Frankensteiner (similar to Rey Misterio's) in 8:32. This was an excellent Ladies match by US standards and got an 8.5 in my book.
Next was a Tag-team match pitting the team of Death & Destruction against "Raging Bull" Manny Fernandez (replacing Snuka) and Victor Steamboat. D&D could be a good Mid-Card tag-team sometime. Victor Steamboat takes after his Father and could very well be in a major fed one day. Manny Fernandez may be showing his age but he still puts on a great show. This was your basic Face vs. Heel tag match with D&D using just about every dirty trick in the book. But they couldn't pull out a win against Vic and Manny. Their finisher was hard to describe but I'll give it a shot. Vic Double Lariated D&D while Manny did a splash from the top at the same time knocking them all down. Vic and Manny won it in about 10 minutes. I gave it an 8. It was good seeing the Raging Bull again.
Next up was the Loudest match of the night. Nikolai Volkoff/Vladimir Koloff w/o Ivan vs. The Road Warriors (I refuse to call them LOD outside of the WWF). Nikolai is old and wrinkled and limps noticably on his right knee. Vladimir looks like a Koloff and wrestles like one. And yes, they brought down the Russian Chains. The Road Warriors are the Road Warriors wherever they go. This was a WWF LOD match from the get go. Yet people were still cheering wildly for them. Go fig. The chains got used a few times but it just wasn't enough as the younger Russian got the Doomsday Device and got pinned in 9:05. Some drunks tried to start a Godwinns chant but all they got was a "Shut Up" from most of us.
Next match was a 2-out-of-three falls 10-man Tag with the Wild Samoans/Rat Patrol (Gene Ligon & The Big Cheese)/Disco Inferno vs. The Love Connection(Midnights/Rockers wannabes)/Blonde Bombers (Adrian Adonis wannabes)/Gorgeous Gary Royal. The Wild Samoans are fun to watch. The Rat Patrol is an old but still good Wrestler and a guy dressed in green sweats with a large piece of cheese on the front. Disco Inferno is, without a doubt the most underrated wrestler, with the exception of Billy Kidman, in the U.S. He was the highlight of the match. The other team was an Up-and coming team in Love Connection. These guys could be good. And three old nobodies. The Faces won the first and third falls to win the match. There was too much action to describe this match. It gets a 7 out of 10 for all the talent in the ring.
The last match was the lowlight of the evening. Masked Superstar (IWA Champ) vs. Superfly Jimmy Snuka with Ricky "The Dragon" Steamboat as the special ref. This was a match that was thrown together at the last minute and consisted of three separate 5 minute headlocks, Masked Superstar taunting Steamboat often and a very confused ending. The Masked Superstar was DQ'ed for not releasing a hold in the ropes. One of Death and Destruction came down to the ring and attacked both Faces only to be struck down by both Legends and Superfly Splashed for his troubles.
The line of the evening came from this match. Steamboat to Superstar "You've been wrestling for over thirty years now. Haven't you learned the rules yet? I give this match a 4 out of 10 because I know these men can do much better.
Overall Night of the Legends was a solid show. The fans were quite responsive and everybody seemed to enjoy the show. I believe around 1,000 people showed up for this card and the IWA reps seemed to want to come back again. I wouldn't mind.
One last thing before I go. I had the chance to ask Ricky Steamboat if he ever had any intentions of showing up in ECW at Hardcore Heaven, or any time for that matter. He flatly denied having any involvement with ECW. Take that as you will. I take it as a rumor that had no foundation. And consider yourselves lucky if you can see the ECW PPV tonight. You've got a leg up on most of us fan.
ECW Hardcore Heaven
It looks like the production values have risen for this PPV. For one thing you can hear the difference in the sound quality right away. And the arena is different - it looks larger (although still small by WWF/WCW standards). Joey Styles is introducing the program when he is interrupted by Rick Rude's music (The Stripper Theme). Rude orders the music ended. Styles cites some recent ECW history of which I am unaware then hands the mic over to Rude. Rude introduces Chris Candido (Zip the Boddydonna) as the next ECW TV Champion.
ECW Commissioner Todd Gordon enters the ring with some referees, alludes to Rude's recent appearance in the WWF and tells him he isn't a licensed manager and so must leave the ring. Rude goes reluctantly, hurling an obscene ephitet as he retreats up the aisle.
Taz vs. Chris Candido - ECW TV Title match - Candido attempts to rile the Champ unsuccessfully then levels him twice with clotheslines. Taz pops back up and comes back with a suplex. Candido rolls out of the ring. Back inside Taz outwrestles his opponent and applies an armbar submission hold. Chris makes it to the ropes and forces the break. He comes back with a powerbomb then things start to break down. Candido wants to turn it into a brawl but Taz keeps going back to mat wrestling. Taz finally obliges his opponent by brawling on the outside and pays for it. He gets smashed into the railing. Back in the ring it's all Candido until he misses an elbow drop. Now it is see-saw with Taz continuing to wrestle while Candido fights. Chris is working on the neck of his opponent throughout the match. As Candido is trying to execute his "Blonde Bombshell" (named for Tamara Fitch, I assume) Taz reverses it into a superplex (Taz Plex). Both men are getting pretty wobbly now. Candido puts Taz on the top rope to try the BB again but makes the mistake of turning his back to showboat for the crowd. Taz grabs his Tazmission sleeper from behind, they tumble to the mat and Candido taps out.
We see a clip from a previous TV broadcast (it's unclear whether this took place during a dark match for this card or on another date - I suppose if I got ECW in my area I might know what's going on...) - two face painted guys in hocky outfits (Insane Clown Posse?) get creamed by Rob Van Dam and Sabu.
Spike Dudley vs Bam Bam Bigalow - we are informed by Styles that this little guy has defeated Bigalow once already. Seems impossible but this is Pro-Wrestling... Bigalow comes in pretty confident but Dudley doesn't seem to be intimidated. Spike weighs in at 160 lbs - Bigalow at a slim and trim 360. Dudley goes right after his opponent and gets bealed onto his head. Bigalow takes his time and pays for it. Dudley gets two bulldogs on him and then drop-kicks him in the head. He then launches himself from the top and gets caught and powerbombed. Bigalow picks him up and drops his ribs onto the top turnbuckle - spike tumbles to the floor. Dudley (who is busted open) comes back into the ring and gets flung out into the third row or so. Crowd members help him up. Bigalow comes out and helps him the rest of the way back into the ring. Dudley is being thrown around like a rag doll. Bigalow easily manhandles him then executes a moonsault and gets the pin. Dudley has bled all over the mat.
Cut to ECW promos for the next PPV.
Clip from later in the previous program shows the Sandman being attacked after he comes in the rescue the Insane Clown Posse. Sandman was injured and will be unable to wrestle on tonight's program. He is shown being carted away in an ambulance.
Rob Van Dam (w/Bill Alphnso) vs. Al Snow - Snow is wearing his Leif Cassidy duds for this match. There is a bad hum in the sound at this point. Snow lets Alphonso's whistle blowing get to him and jumps out of the ring to shut him up. Re-entering the ring he gets Pearl Harbored. He recovers and throws a Snowplex. Van Dam comes back but he stops to showboat and gets drop-kicked out of the ring. Outside he roughs up his opponent and then appears to leave up the aisle. He comes rushing back and clotheslines Van Dam into the ring apron. Most of the next part of this match takes place outside the ring except when Van Dam goes in just to throw a suicide dive back to the outside.
Back inside finally the two struggle for position on the top turnbuckle. Snow gets the superplex but hurts himself as well. They go up and Snow tries to get it again but gets kicked away. Van Dam throws a side kick from the top. Van Dam goes for a pin but fails. Snow turns the tables once more and seems to have the match well in hand for a while. Van Dam gets lose and tries some of his patented moves but misses them one after another. He gets dropped out of the ring again. Snow follows him out and continues his assault, using a chair this time. He runs up the ramp to get another clothesline in but gets caught with the chair coming in. Now Van Dam has the intitiative. Alphonso helps him get in another chair shot. Back in the ring they trade forearm blows. Snow turns the table again by upsetting a move. They struggle some more then Van Dam executes his Vandaminator to get the win.
We are shown a helicopter shot of the Sandman's ambulance - Lance Wright reports that the ambulance is driving to the wrong place. Sandman has commandeered the vehicle!!
Jerry Lawler makes a statement. He says he has hit a low point in his career. He claims that the WWF wrestlers are in his corner (in spirit of course). He claims that the Undertaker, Bret Hart and Steve Austin all had encouraging words forhim concerning his match against Tommy Dreamer tonight.
Joe Gertner introduces the porn star Jenna Jaimeson in his own inimitable style. He goes on to intro Cy, Devon, Bubba Ray and Big Dick Dudley. He declares Bubba and Devon to be the new ECW Tag Team Champs by virtue of the non-apearance of the Gangsta's. He then intros PG 13. JC Ice grabs a mic and insults the Dudleys collectively and then one by one. Wolfie D starts the match with Devon then quickly tags out. JC and Devion start a criss cross - JC slides out and lays a big wet one on the buxom Ms. Jaimeson. Back inside tags are made all around. Wolfie gets the better of Bubba at first but is overcome by the big man's size. Bubba slaps on a wrist lock and pours it on. Moments later the pair go to the Dudley's corner - Wolfie slips away and Devon ends up working on Bubba's arm from behind. The crowd is chanting "You F**d UP!!" PG 13 are laughing out of the other side of their mouths when Big Dick slips in a double clothesline on them. Moments later Jenna gets involved by tripping up one of her men's opponents. The Dudleys are in control for a while. PG 13 come back and seem to have their opponents pretty confused until Wolfie D gets caught in the 3D. Dudleys retain their titles.
Another round of house show promos plus another promo for the next PPV.
Lance is still following the Sandman in his helicopter. The ambulance is still wandering around town.
The lights are out as we return. They come up to reveal Jerry Lawler ranting in the ring about the next WWF PPV. He repeats his bogus claims about the various WWF stars encouraging him. He calls Tommy Dreamer out. Dreamers comes down the aisle with Beulah. He chases Lawler out of the ring then back in. Lawler takes the advantage for about 3 seconds. They go outside and Dreamer starts creaming his opponent. Lawler is bleeding almost immediately. The crowd is handing Dreamer weapons to use on the King. Everything from cups of beer to a cookie sheet. Dreamer gets a hold of a leather belt and whips his opponent. Then he uses the belt to choke him. Finally he rolls him back into the ring. He grabs a chair and attempts to climb the ropes with it in hand. Lawler upsets his balance and turns the tables (or chairs?). Now it's all Lawler - he is using the chair pretty effectively. He sets Dreamer up on the apron and wails on him using his fabled right hand. Out on the floor he continues the attack with another chair. He drops Dreamer astraddle on the railing. He wraps his fist with the leather belt and uses it with relish. Then he starts whipping his opponent. Then applies the choke with the belt. He ties him up to the bottom rope by his neck. Back in the ring he starts stomping on Dreamer. Finally he hits the pile-driver but takes his time attempting the pin. Dreamer kicks out. Lawler continues his assault. He tears the ECW shirt off of his opponent then rips it up in front of the crowd. Dreamer suddenly comes to life and starts absorbing the shots - advancing on Lawler. He blocks a punch and deals some of his own. Lawler hits a low-blow to regain the advantage. In a scuffle moments later the ref gets squashed in the corner - Lawler finishes off the job with a piledriver. He drags Dreamer over to the corner and starts to crotch him but gets pulled into the post instead.
The lights go out, then come back on to reveal Rick Rude who bashes Dreamer with a trash can. Lawler fails in a pin attempt. Dreamer has Lawler in position for a piledriver when the lights go down again. They come up to reveal Jake the Snake Roberts in the ring! He mows Dreamer down then DDT's him. He then turns and mutters something to the camera concerning his "God" then mows down Lawler with a clothesline! Dreamer is back and starts to lay a DDT on Lawler. The lights go out again!!
This time Sunny appears as the lights come back on. She sprays something into Dreamer's eyes. Beulah attacks her from behind. Lawlers drags Beulah off which gives Dreamer his chance to slip in a DDT. Dreamer gets the pin.
Back to the helicopter - the Sandman has finally found his way to the arena - he fights his way into the building using a kendo stick on the local police.
Terry Funk vs. Sabu vs. Shane Douglas (w/Francine) - Three Way Dance for the ECW World Title - I'm not sure I will be able to call this one effectively. I will probably just try to get the gist of it across. Douglas is led to the ring by Francine. He orders the f**king music to be cut and says "Lets get it on..." Terry Funk enters to the strains of "Desparado". Francine tries to buy him off in the ring with a wad of cash. Funk throws the money to the crowd. Sabu (the current champ) is led to the ring by Bill Alphonso. Funk is clearly the crowd favorite. Alphonso continues to blow that annoying whistle. Sabu's left arm is heavily taped from the wounds he suffered in the Barb Wire match which won him the title. Sabu and Douglas lock up while Funk watches from the apron. Douglas is not happy about Funks non-participation but it doesn't seem to affect Sabu.
The match goes to the outside and now all three are involved. The two younger men are cooperating now. Funk is a tough old bird and not about to be pinned easily. Sabu and Douglas continue to work on him together. Francine and Alphonso seem to be in cohoots on the outside as well. Now they have a chair in the ring but Douglas decides to use it on Sabu. The champ comes back with a suplex and all three are down. Sabu is working on both opponents now - stopping his attack on Douglas just long enough to give Funk a chair shot. Sabu makes a magnificent leap out past the railing but misses. Back in the ring the two youngsters go at it. Meanwhile Funk is bringing in two chairs! He delivers a stunner with Douglas's assistance. Douglas goes out and tears up a section of the guard rail and throws it into the ring. Funk and Sabu cooperate to use it against the Franchise. Amazingly, Douglas comes back moments later and executes belly-to-belly suplexes on both opponents.
Now things are getting really crazy. The three are going at each other indescriminitely for a couple of minutes. Alphonso throws a table into the ring. Now the Commissioner is back and he's getting involved in the match. Douglas creams him and lays him out on the table - then adds Alphonso to the pile. Sabu gives them both a table shot! The fight goes on and now a ladder is brought into the ring. The Sandman appears on the apron and brains Sabu. Sabu kicks out of a pin attempt but then Funk and Douglas cooperate to pin him. Sandman is seen fighting with the police out on the floor. He is dragged away as he struggles with Sabu who has been eliminated. Douglas and Funk struggle for control of a trash can on the floor. Funk wrests it away and proceeds to alternately bash Douglas and his own head. Back in the ring Douglas gets another belly-to-belly - Funk kicks out. Francine is in the ring when Dory Funk Jr. hits the ring and gives his famous forearm shots to Douglas. He leaves the ring. Funk and Douglas struggle on the apron then both fall onto a table and break it.
Back in the ring Funk kicks out after a third belly-to-belly. A fourth trip to that well almost gets him pinned when Funk rolls him up. Douglas hits the belly-to-belly again and gets the pin. Douglas is the new ECW World Champion. He and Francine deal out some punishment on the downed Funk after the match. Joe Gertner enters the ring with the Dudleys and offers Douglas a partnership. Douglas's Triple Treat partners (Candido and Bigalow) come down to protest. Douglas stays with his own team and a melee ensues. A number of other ECW stars come down (including Mikey Whipwreak and Perry Saturn) and take over the fight with the Douglas while the triple threat stroll away. The Gangsta's music plays but New Jack and Kronos show up to join the frey. Funk is back in the ring as well. I notice that Axel Rotten is also a participant. A silly free-for -all with everyone else against the Dudleys takes place. Joe Gertner comes in to throw a tantrum and gets brained with a chair. Finally the ring is cleared leaving Gertner on his back. We see Funk's bloodied visage in the stands as we leave the scene.
This was a fairly good card, although I didn't enjoy it as much as the previous ECW effort. Maybe the novelty just wore off. The final match was pretty spectacular but that melee at the end of the program was just silly.
Anyway, that's the way I see it...
editor Solie's Wrestling Newsletter
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