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Solie's Tuesday Morning Report: EXTRA!

RAW in Topeka

by tonyb

The Best...

by Garland Chan

"Fly On Brian": The Story Of Brian Pillman

by Ervin Griffin Jr.

Volume 3, Issue 229 - October 8, 1997

The Best...

By Garland Chan

The votes are in and the winner is-best submission. In another blowout, best submission beat out best lightweight by a 10-3 margin (wow!). I will say this article will be fairly short. I will also close the poll down for a week and because next week's issue will be the tenth issue, I'll be doing something fairly big (it's a surprise). I think this will make up for the lack of material and hope it will spawn a little (lot) of controversy. I will however post a question of the week. I hope many of you guys will respond to it. Anyway, on with the show. The best submission in wrestling today (and the best wrestlers to execute them).

1. Figure Four leglock

We can go back to ancient times in wrestling and probably not find a hold as devastating. It attacks all five pressure points of the leg and has been known to put more than its fair share of wrestlers on the shelf. I believe this is the submission hold that garners the most victories in wrestling. Even though Flair isn't the Flair of old, the man still knows the hold better than anybody in the sport today.

2. Sharpshooter

Or otherwise known as the Scorpion Deathlock. Ever since Bret Hart started to use this as a singles wrestler, I've been fairly impressed in the manner he uses to set this up. I know of at least 3 different variations he employs. And many, many top superstars have given in to this utterly painful hold.

3. Texas Cloverleaf

And why not? After Dean's powerslam, his opponent has the wind knocked out of him long enough for the Cloverleaf to be applied. If Dean's opponent is more than 3 feet from the rope, forget it. May as well ring the bell.

4. Crippler Crossface

I am very impressed with Chris Benoit, the worker. And while his Swan-dive headbutt is a very effective finisher, I'm hard pressed to find a better meat and potatoes move than the Crippler Crossface.

5. Mandible Claw (tie)

This is a move I wouldn't want applied to me. That's for sure. I think that Cactus Jack/Mankind/Dude Love all share the same affinity for inflicting pain. The "two-finger" move is a paralyzing hold whose effects will linger long after his music is done playing (whatever music he's playing).

Regal Stretch (tie)

Steve Regal is an excellent wrestler who knows how to make his moves flow. I like how subtle some of his setups are. I don't think any of his opponents would even like to think about being tied in knots as the result of the Regal Stretch.

Honorable Mention: Lion Tamer (Boston Crab), Dragon Sleeper, STF.

Last week I asked what wrestlers you would like to see become the Four Horsemen if they reform in the future. I have gotten many e-mails on this, but will not print out any this week (I'll continue printing next week). But I will list out all the wrestlers and the number of times they were mentioned.

Chris Beniot - 10
Dean Malenko - 10
Ric Flair - 6 (2 as a manager)
Chris Jericho - 5
Steve McMichael - 4
Bill Goldberg - 4
The Giant - 3
Arn Anderson - 2 (both as a manager)
Kevin Nash - 1
Hugh Morris - 1
Shawn Michaels - 1
Brad Armstrong - 1
Shane Douglas - 1
Dustin Rhodes - 1
Eddie Guerrero - 1

My personal feelings are that they should try to keep what they've got (namely Mongo and Benoit). But they most certainly could use an enforcer like Dean Malenko. But that leaves one guy. I think that one last guy should be the leader. I think this leader has got to be a wrestler in his prime with many years under his belt and a flair (pun intended) to motivate and can speak with the best of them. Without a doubt I cannot do Ric Flair justice, but I can offer the next best hope. With that said, perhaps it's time to consider (as long as we're in fantasy land), Bret Hart. Hmmmmmm. Just a thought.

With the recent death of Brian Pillman, I think it's time to ponder on some important questions:

Was he pushed into going back into the ring too soon? What would wrestling history say about Brian Pillman? How do you think his death will effect the rest of the wrestling community?

I invite any of you to answer any or all of these questions.

Agree? Disagree? Suggestions for future articles? Suggestions for future questions? Go ahead make my day.

Until next time, this is Garland riding shotgun!

Due to the unexpected death of Brian Pillman I have rearranged the schedule on Ervin Griffin's Sting History in order to run the following article which highlights the career of "The Loose Cannon". The Sting articles will continue after this three part series is finished. Solie's Vintage Wrestling wishes to extend to the Pillman family our heartfelt condolences on their tragic loss.

"Fly On Brian": The Story Of Brian Pillman

by Ervin Griffin Jr.

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Part 2

After losing the WCW Light-Heavyweight Title to Scotty Flamingo (aka Raven), Brian Pillman started to get more and more aggresive with his wrestling style. He teamed with arch-rival Jushin "Thunder" Liger in the NWA World Tag Team Championship Tournament. They defeated Beef Wenington and Chris Benoit in the first round but lost to Nikita Koloff and Ricky Steamboat in the second round. Still, this surprisingly good team had nothing to be ashamed of as they accounted for themselves well in both matches.

After the tourney, Pillman focused his attention on then WCW Light-Heavyweight Champion Brad Armstrong (who had won the title on July 6, 1992). They were set to go at a Clash Of The Champions event that was celebrating 20 years of wrestling on TBS when, a few weeks before, Brad blew out a knee and could not compete. The title was then vacated and was never reactivated (officially). Pillman, obviously frustrated, attacked Brad at the Clash in front of a televised audience. This began Pillman's first foray into heeldom. After brief feuds with Armstrong and Tom Zenk, he began a feud with Rick Steamboat. During this feud, Steamboat teamed with Shane Douglas to defeat then-WCW/NWA World Tag Team Champions Barry Windham and Dustin Rhodes. Pillman, seeing another opportunity to capture some gold, teamed with Windham in an attempt to take the titles from Steamboat and Douglas. They got their chance at Starrcade '92 but were unsuccessful.

In 1993, Windham wanted to focus on the revived NWA World Heavyweight Title. He suggested to Pillman that he team with "Stunning" Steve Austin (aka "Stone Cold"). This was the birth of "The Hollywood Blonds", one of the best tag teams of this decade. Their first attempt to take the titles happened at another Clash Of The Champions event in January of 1993. Steamboat and Douglas retained the titles but was slaughtered after the match!!! The duo officially became the Blonds in February of that year and would go on to win the titles in March. They would remain champions until August of that year when they lost a controversial match to Arn Anderson and Paul Roma. I call it controversial because Pillman was unable to compete and Steve was forced to pick a replacement partner to defend to titles with. He chose Lord Steven Regal. In all honesty, the titles shouldn't have been on the line at that point since it was not the original champions that was defending them but that's another subject for another time.

After the loss, Steve began to wrestle more singles matches and took on Col. Robert Parker as his manager. When Pillman returned, Austin turned against his partner!!! Pillman and Austin feuded on and off from late 1993 until late 1994. Pillman's career, however, was in limbo by the end of 1994 and was just wrestling matches just to be noticed. In September of 1995, Pillman became instrumental in Arn Anderson's win over Ric Flair at FallBrawl '95 when he kicked Flair in the back of his head which led to Arn's DDT for the win. This was also the catalyst for the return of the Four Horsemen. But, this is when Pillman's "Loose Cannon" persona first surfaced and remained for the remainder of his career.

In the following year, Pillman was in a feud with Kevin Sullivan. The two were expected to face of in a "respect" strap match at SuperBrawl VI when Pillman unexpectedly walked out of the match, out of the Four Horsemen and out of WCW. Pillman made a few unscheduled appearances but never returned there. He also had a brief stint in ECW but was limited because of an automobile accident that he was involved in in March of 1996. Finally, Pillman signed a contract to go to the WWF but was sidelined again in the Fall of 1996 by "Stone Cold" Steve Austin when Austin re-injured Pillman's ankle. Aside from that "shooting angle" at his home in Cincinnati, Pillman was not heard from much until March of 1997 when he got involved in that brutal incident involving Austin, Bret Hart, Owen Hart, The British Bulldog and Shawn Michaels on an edition of RAW (you know, the one where Austin assaulted Bret on the ambulance?).

Pillman would return to full-time competition, having matches with Austin and other opponents. Then, in August, he ended up in a strange feud with Goldust. Pillman lost to Goldust at SummerSlam '97. As a result, Pillman had to wear a dress the next night on RAW!!! When Pillman refused to do so, Sgt. Slaughter ordered Pillman to wrestle every week on RAW in a dress until he defeated someone!!! Goldust made sure that didn't happen for several weeks. This was a demoralizing time for Pillman.

Then, Pillman started making accusation about a past affair with Marlena (Goldust's wife) and that Dakota, their daughter, was actually his!! This has to go down as the most disgusting angle ever!!! Anyway, Pillman got a rematch with Goldust at In Your House: Ground Zero. As a result of Pillman winning, Marlena had to manage Pillman for 30 days!!! Pillman used this time to publicly humiliate the Runnels family!! This angle was still running at the time of his death. He was 35.

In closing, I hope no one judges Pillman's career off of that one sick angle. He had a fabulous career. As for the WWF, after reading about Pillman's wife being exploited like that on RAW, I only have one thing to say: LEAVE PILLMAN'S FAMILY ALONE!!! The poor woman is probably in great anguish as it is!!! I realize the Vince McMahon is desperate for ratings but that was in poor taste!!! Well, at least, they did make up for it a little by having a tribute to Pillman during RAW. Finally, in the words of The Undertaker (and I mean this in the most heartfelt sense): BRIAN PILLMAN---REST IN PEACE!!!!

I'll be tag teaming with Matt Benaka to conclude this series next time in pt. 3.

If you have a question, comments, criticism, or just want to talk pro wrestling, e-mail me at

Still Playing: Run, Blade Runner, Run: The Story Of Sting

Coming Soon: Diary of A "HitMan" and "Rage In A Cage '97" (dream card article)

Ervin Griffin Jr. is Solie's resident historian and also contributes to the Ringside Insider on a regular basis. Many of his previous articles are available in the Articles section of the Solie's web site.

WARNING!!! What follows is an account of the taping of the next RAW Program! If you do not want to know what is going to happen - PLEASE READ NO FURTHER!!

RAW/Shotgun Taping - Topeka, Kansas

Reported by tonyb

Hello from Topeka Kansas its October 7 and here are the results from the RAW taping. Joining me tonight at the show are my friends Mark Lohmann and Mike Reaves. Mark was wearing an ECW t-shirt and drawing from some fans. Before the matches we were looking around at the crowd and merchandise then we went into get our seats. Mark decided he needed some souvenirs so he headed out and when he came back he said some guy just bought 10 Stone Cold shirts, no wonder Vince wants him back. Anyway onto the matches.

Dark Match between Jason Knight and a local wrestler from Lawrence Kansas named, I think, Dan Steven. Steven goes for a top rope flying body press hits it but Knight rolls through it for the pin.

Shotgun Matches

Good ole' J.R. and James E. Cornette come out for the commentary, both were cheered.

Match 1: Headbangers versus Hardy Boys - Big pop for the Bangers ... highlights included one Headbanger drop kicking one of the boys into the other Banger's clothesline and then the Bangers powerbomb leg drop finisher. Winner Headbangers in a squash.

Match 2: Marc Mero versus some Jobber in pink tights. - Sable got a huge pop, Mero didn't really get any crowd reaction. Mero wins with the fireman's carry diamond cutter or whatever he calls it. Note, at the end of the match Sable was waving and slapping hands with the crowd and Mero didn't, in fact he kind of grabbed Sable and ushered her to the back. Is this a heal in the making?

Match 3: New Blackjacks v Bad Ass Bart Gunn & the Roaddog - Jesse James as the Roaddog plays a good buffoon and provides the comic relief during the match, which surprisingly he and Bart Gunn win after Gunn hits a power bomb and Roaddog holds the leg of Windham from the outside. Roaddog then tells us all to "Kiss my Ass" as they exit.

Match 4: Sultan v Dude Love - The Dudester gets a nice pop and a quick win with the sweet shin music. The Dudey was wearing a new shirt with owwww have mercy on the back, no women or dancing because it's time for RAW .... Cornette leaves and here come Vince and the TheKing

Here comes the Hart Foundation without the Bulldog, Bret starts his usual rant but is cut off by HBK / HHH / Chyna / Rude ,who are all in some back room, on the Titantron. HBK / HHH go into a Beavis and Butthead routine that had the crowd going nuts. HBK recapped the HHH win over Bret last week then HHH jumped in and told Bret he could beat him again yatta yatta yatta ... then HBK said that he and his group represented generation X and hence they are often misunderstood. Then they both started talking saying that they were better wrestlers, they are younger, stronger, faster and had larger "Johnsons" than the Hart foundation. HBK really had the attitude going tonight, and the crowd was eating it up, me included. Bret calls them out but they don't come out, instead the NOD come out and it's time for the first match of RAW

Match 1: Owen v Kama - shortly into the match here comes the clique or gen X (whatever) and HBK / HHH / Chyna take over the broadcast by taking the headsets from Vince, JR and TheKing. Rude has the briefcase and opens it and gives HBK / HHH both bananas which they eat while they are doing commentary. Chyna gives her headset to Rude and he starts doing some talking. We couldn't hear what was being said in the headsets, so I'll have to tune next week to find out. The match is going on but it becomes background to the goings on around the announcer table which was the focus of most people's attention. Finally Bret rushes HBK after Shawn stands on the table and starts wiggling his ass, but the NOD jumps in and attack the Harts. Owen gets the DQ win and the clique gets out of there. Scheduled Break

Godwins appear on Titantron but I couldn't understand them

Match 2: Mexican Midget tag teams - Same story as usual Max Mini wins, one of the guys did take a nasty bump on the ramp and was bleeding under his mask. Scheduled Break

Match 3: Flash Funk v Cain - Funk comes out, does his dance thing, then lights go red and Cain enters. Lights stay red Cain with a chokeslam then tombstone piledriver, Funk is laid out and yes that just described the entire match. Cain does not pin Funk instead Paul Bearer comes into the ring and starts his usual rant. Both are just standing over the laid out Funkman. Then they leave, but here comes the clique and HBK pins Funk while HHH counts three. Rude then announces that the winner is HBK the hippest, coolest, pecan in the WWF. HBK walks over laughing and says its ICON not pecan, all of the clique is laughing. Scheduled Break

Match 4: DOA (bald guys) v Truth Commission (recon and sniper) - DOA DQ winner when Jackal gets involved ... pier 6 brawl erupts between everyone. Brawl dies downs and DOA stays in ring to celebrate. Scheduled Break

Vince stands in the ring with clip board and contract, here comes Stone Cold (huge pop). Vince tells Austin he'll be reinstated on Nov 9 and will wrestle Owen for IC crown. Austin says that Vince has to sign the contract first, Vince is reluctant but pulls out his bifocal glasses which causes Austin to laugh. Vince signs then Austin stalls and eventually signs. NOD appear on Titantron and Farooq rants. Austin grabs the microphone and says "I really didn't understand a damn word you said but if you want your ass kicked then come to the ring". Here come the NOD, Rocky rushes the ring and gets stunned the rest of the NOD rush the ring and Austin hi- tails it through the crowd. Scheduled Break

Match 5: Brian Christopher v some Japense light weight - a real fast paced match where Christopher gets the win by pulling the tights. Scheduled Break

Match 6: Savio Vega v Golddust (full makeup with Marlena) - Golddust wins by hitting Savio with Marlena's purse. Scheduled Break Match 7: HHH v Patriot HHH comes out first, as the Patriot appears from the curtain Rude kicks him and then throws hot coffee in his face and knocks him out with a briefcase shot. (Am I watching a WCW event here) HBK announces that HHH wins but Sgt Slaughter appears and demand that HBK must wrestle. During Slaughter's rant HBK / HHH are using the European belt then Shawn's shirt as a spit shield from Slaughter. The Sarge says he has a volunteer to wrestle HHH and Ahmed appears. Rude disappears to the back and the NOD suddenly appear and pummel Ahmed, all the while Rude has a big smile on his face. Is this an alliance between the clique and the NOD being formed? Anyway the LOD and Shamrock rush the ring and clear house, setting the four on four survivor series match of Ahmed / Shamrock / LOD v NOD. LOD stays in the ring and calls out the NOD no one answers so they call out the Godwins, setting up the main event

Match 8: LOD v Godwins for the titles TV remaining highlights, referee Hebner gets slop dropped and Uncle Cleatus hits the one of the Godwins with the horseshoe as Hawk ducks out of the way. Here comes a roll up and new tag team champs LOD. LOD leaves and the Godwins beat up Uncle Cleatus causing him to have a nose bleed. They then drape Cleatus over the rope and one of the Godwins unsnaps his overalls and all of a sudden a scene from Deliverance is happening. It quickly ends and the Godwins leave but on thier way out some fan throws a coke on them and punches are exchanged, the fan was ejected. End of RAW... TheKing comes into the ring and insults Topeka, calling it the heartland of America because it has no brain. He get pelted with cups and cokes lots of people get thrown out.

Final Match, orginally scheduled as Bret v Undertaker but instead it is a Champion Challenge Match: Bret Hart calls out HHH and his husband Chyna. Short match as Bret puts on the sharpshooter Chyna stands on ring apron Bret walks toward her. HHH rushes Bret, Bret moves HHH hit Chyna Bret with quick roll up and win. Three minutes tops.

I thought it was really good card with all the matches have a good pace to them. The attendance was 2 to 3000 at best, but it was a loud crowd. Lots of NWO references made by HBK and HHH, all in all a great night of wrestling.

Anyway that's the way I saw it live

tonyb is a regular reader and occasional contributor to Solie's Wrestling Newsletter.

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