by Jeff Yelton
13. Yokozuna's music (1992). I'm sure this is a piece of Japanese music that Vince appropriated, but until it is proven as such, it's on the list. Yokozuna's arrival was always accompanied by this soft, slightly sinister music in which the flute suggests a feeling of awe. And awesome is what Yokozuna became in his reign in the WWF. Disposing of American wrestlers like Hacksaw Jim Duggan and Hulk Hogan and knocking them out of the WWF was awesome, wasn't it?
14. Jake "the Snake" Roberts' music (1987). This is the classic theme to fit a mysterious personality. With an eerie organ accentuating the bass-driven melody, this music suggested the new kind of good guy,...a hard, lonely person fighting his own battles, not a good guy by choice, or even a good guy at all, but a man fighting demons. It is a lonely job, one which Jake now fights full-time as a minister. Of course, in those days, his demons included drugs and booze, and it's amazing how perceptive (though it wasn't intentional) the music was about Jake's real life, out of wrestling.
15. Vader's music (1996). From the day Vader entered the WWF, this Demolition-type music with sudden surges made Vader seem like the monster he was everywhere else. But as his career went downhill, the music still survived. I really like his theme music, and his opening with "It's time! It's Vader Time! (echo)" suggests a true classic theme. Let's hope Vince uses him better in the future (letting him win the European title, maybe?).
16. The original Doink the Clown music (1993). An evil clown. Only Vince McMahon would think of it, and only Matt Borne could make it work. Once Doink fooled all the people by actually being a good mat wrestler, his theme, which started with a circus organ grinder opening suddenly plunged into a sinister, dark theme that is echoed in Goldust's music, now that I think of it. As the evil Doink wreaked havoc in the WWF, this music was equally appropriate, switching from the glee of the circus clown to the twisted mind of a serial killer. Excellent music!
17. The nWo theme (1996). I hate the nWo like all good marks should. I prefer my heroes to have some scruples. I mean, Bruiser Brody didn't know three wrestling holds, but he was always fighting Gary Hart and his bunch of bad guys, led by Abdullah the Butcher, in Texas mat wars. Cactus Jack took delight in giving to bad guys what he had given to good guys over the years. What positive values do the nWo have? They're poster children for the out-of-control, do-anything-you-want-and-the-hell-with-everybody, dysfunctional, criminal 1990's. Whew! There, I said it. Having said that, I think their theme music is cool. Very cool, until they added the voiceovers to it. It is ironic that Hulk Hogan used Jimi Hendrix's "Voodoo Chile (Slight Return)" to accentuate the nWo's rhythm, because when I heard the bridge to it, it reminded me of Hendrix's "Stone Free". In fact, Jimi's heirs may wanna sue Eric Bischoff for that, if any of them care.
But this is the most recognized, overplayed theme music in wrestling today. And it perfectly fits the renegade band of gypsy's (Hendrix reference there) that the nWo is. And it's good, too. Now, here's hoping Sting beats the holy hell outta Hogan at Starrcade.
18. Sting's music (1989). Sting, upon the absorption of the UWF into the NWA, used a theme written for Eddie Gilbert to use, as Jim Crockett was tired of paying royalties' fees for using commercial artists' music, like "Hot Stuff". Eddie didn't like his contract, or probably told Crockett where to get off, and left the promotion. Anyway, Sting appropriated it, and it didn't fit. I mean, here's this guy with a painted face and a Bart Simpson/punk haircut coming out to some leather clad Southern metal-type thing. In 1989, however, this all changed as Sting was given a new, high-octane, chest-thumping theme that is now being used in Ford commercials. It got everyone off its feet, and fit the rhythm of Sting's energetic persona. Unfortunately, it was dropped in favor "A Man Called Sting" in 1992. Sting hasn't been the same since.
19. Lex Luger's theme (1988). After using Lazor-Tron's old music for awhile, Lex Luger showed up one night on World Championship Wrestling's Saturday Night Show with a new guitar-driven theme. I didn't care for it at first, but it grew on me. And the fans, too. The opening guitar solo drives through the first repetition until a cymbal crash lets the whole band in on the fun. And as a theme, it worked, because it was a badass theme for a badass, dominating wrestler. It worked both as a heel theme and as a face theme, both roles of which Lex played in those days. Memo to Eric Bischoff: FIND THIS MUSIC AND USE IT INSTEAD OF THAT STUPID CRAP HE USES NOW!!! Thank you.
20. Arn Anderson's "Enforcer" music (1991). Once Arn hooked up with "Living Legend" Larry Zybysko in the wake of Ric Flair's defection to the WWF, the music accompanying Arm was different, a sort of guitar-driven Blackfoot/Molly Hatchet-type squeal to it, as the end of every line featured a pizzacato pluck of the strings. The Enforcers, like the Hollywood Blonds, were one of the great tag teams of the '90's that never really got to show us what they could do. This music died out with Flair's re-entrance into WCW in 1993.
21. The Hollywood Blonds' music (1992). Steve Austin and Brian Pillman,...two singles performers thrown together in a tag team because the tag roster was a little low,....whatever, it worked! I chided WCW originally for not giving us more of a "movie star" theme, sort of like what would be written years later for Goldust, but this nasty heavy metal theme would bring out two mean pretty boys who could get it on with anybody. Later, when WCW stupidly broke this team up, Austin used the music on its own. Later, after both had left the promotion, WCW used the Blonds theme for everybody from Greg Valentine to Ace Darling, I guess just to save money, but I also think it was used to rub it in that both couldn't cut it in WCW. That offends me. That's like having another wrestler come out to Diesel's theme, or Razor's,...oh, somebody already did that. Never mind,...
22. Chris Benoit's music (1993). Chris's first tenure in WCW wasn't very successful, but when he returned in 1995, he was given back his old theme music, which is pretty good. Orignally, the thing started with a Mountie-type horn bugle blaring, supposedly suggesting Benoit's Canadian heritage. What followed was a nasty New Jack-swing (and no, I'm not referring to the Gangstas!) danceable, mean-ass piece of music. I see that Benoit has been allowed to use it again after coming out to the dreadful, somber Horsemen drivel that he was forced to come out to in the last few days of the Horsemen (I mean with Arn, not with Hennig). Good for him. Maybe the Horsemen breakup will lead to better things for "the Canadian Crippler".
23. Rick Rude's music in the WWF (1987). Basically, a stripper's theme (which I don't know the title of), it fit Ravishing Rick like a hand in a velvet glove. Having him "cut the music" to berate all the locals and "show us all what a real sexy man is supposed to look like" was one of the greatest schticks in wrestling. And having local honeys come in the ring and pass out from a touch too much (actually, a kiss, but I'm continuing the AC/DC reference), and have him swirling his hips, then kiss the camera was classic. If there ever was a perfect piece of music for a wrestler, this would be it.
24. Rick Rude's WCW music (1991). Having said that, when Rick came to WCW, he needed something similar. What WCW settled on was this rip-off of Janet Jackson's "Black Cat" with a sense of humor. First, an animalistic growl would be heard, supposedly by a woman, and then Rick would come out to this theme and do his usual schtick. Unfortunately, WCW issued "Slam Jam" in 1992, and Rick was given "Simply Ravishing", which is awful, and suggested a turn for Rude, which would've happened at Slamboree '94, where he was set to face Vader. But Rude left WCW before it was to happen. (Anybody remember he used Sade's "Smooth Operator" in Florida, the NWA, and World Class?)
Let me say that this piece took so long to write because it was very hard to edit this list down, and to remember everything. We remember SONGS, but we don't remember themes that much because they lack words. Also, there seems to be sort of a sameness in the way music is presented in both leagues right now, like they don't care anymore. Vince would talk over the music, so much so that I never really heard Lex Luger's WWF theme music. (Maybe they were embarassed with it,...I don't know.) But music is necessary in professional wrestling today, and a good theme can make a crowd support a wrestler. I really like the new Marc Mero theme, and the Patriot's music is equally impressive, especially with the sound of the Liberty bell clanging in the background. But they'll have to wait to see if they stand the test of time to enter the All-Time Wrestling Album.
Now, what's on Side Four???? It's a surprise. Songs sung and/or written for wrestlers that never accompanied them to ringside. And since it is short, it won't take four months to write. As always, leave comments to me at the address at the end of the column.
Jeff Yelton lives in Westminster, Maryland and holds a Bachelors of Science degree in Journalism from the University of Maryland. In his spare time, helps manage the Global Wrestling Alliance, an e-mail fantasy wrestling fed, which is in its fifth year in Cyberspace. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
What follows is one readers' contrary opinion concerning an editorial that ran in yesterday's issue.
by The Voice of Reason
I've never been an ardent supporter of one Fed over another Fed. They both have their good and bad points. But Vince McMahon's back-stabbing way of dealing with departing "Superstar" Bret Hart is quickly swaying my views in that matter.
Yes, what Bret Hart did was scummy--no one, and I mean no one, should be spit upon like Vince was. But if there was ever an excuse, Bret's treatment in the Main Event of the Survivor Series was a darn good one.
Take this at face value, but Bret Hart is no Madusa Miceli. Bret wouldn't have thrown the belt in the garbage the next day on Nitro. He has more class than that. When he took his sabbatical after his first loss to HBK, there were no whines and nasty barbs. And I'm sure if he left on the terms which were previously arranged (a double DQ, from what I understand) there would have been no harshness in Bret's words regarding his former employer.
But no, Vince had to threaten his chief referee with termination and have him "throw" the match. That spells "N-O-C-L-A-S-S" in my book. The kid gloves are off in the wrestling world and, in this observer's humble opinion, Vince deserves all of the bad things that will be said about him in the coming months
Oh, and if Vince's actions were purely "business", how would you like it if you gave your two weeks notice and then were locked out of the office the next day? Well, I guess that's "business as usual" in the WWF.
VOR is a longtime friend of Solie's and an occasional contributor.
With the strong speculation, if not altogether likelihood, of Bret Hart's departure from the WWF, fans across America are sounding the death knell. How can the WWF compete now? WWF has a handful of headliners: Shawn Michaels, Steve Austin and the Undertaker. WCW by contrast has Hall, Nash, Hogan, Savage, DDP, Sting, Flair, Luger, Giant, Raven and then Hart. Furthermore, none of the aforementioned wrestlers show any signs of leaving WCW.
Tolling the death knell, however, is premature for several reasons. Granted, roster depletion will inevitably curb gate attendance, buy-rates, and the like. It is tempting to compare the current state of the WWF to the once-strong AWA, whose own string of crippling talent defections, one by one, eventually shut it down. There are several differences, however. First of all, name identity (the "Q-rating" if you will) of the AWA as its own entity never quite materialized into the mainstream beyond the pale of the Minnesota region. Despite its national ESPN spot, inconsistent time slots, and a principled-but-fatal refusal to cater to the cartoonish, kids-oriented approach that was fashionable in the 80's, resulted in low ratings and little exposure. The WWF, by contrast, has international exposure and wide name recognition. The "man on the street" argument which holds that WCW is superior because most common people know Hogan, Savage, and perhaps Flair and Piper, has an ironic twist. As much as people may know those names, if you ask those people the name of the organization for which they wrestle, on the street you will inevitably get the response, "WWF."
Furthermore, WWF still turns a profit and is in the black. Therefore, with that said,
RX #1: Stay in the black. Focus on the bottom line and ignore WCW (for now). The WWF's one and ONLY mission should be to continue to make money. Whether it has or makes as much money as WCW is irrelevant. Perhaps some of the money previously paid to Hart can be freed up for investments. At any rate, expect that for the next several years, the numbers across the board will be lower than WCW. Doesn't matter. The WWF right now is in survival mode. Turn in modest profits and hang on.
It is interesting that the logic of most fans seems to dictate that with Hart, the WWF is viable, competitive, and interesting; and that without Hart, it is destined for failure. If the succcess of the WWF is so contingent on having that one slot filled by a headliner, then
RX #2: Take some of that money paid to Bret and lure one headliner away from WCW. The best candidate immediately would be Ric Flair, because of the immediacy of his contract. Promise him the treatment and retirement that a man of his stature deserves, and point out (accurately) how he's not likely to get it even if he retires in his sentimental mainstay of WCW. Barring Flair, get the next one on down the line, then the next one. Eventually there will be one who is tired of the nWo triumvirate calling all the shots, and is unhappy with a lacking push. (Giant comes immediately to mind.)
Much has been made of the fact that many of the WCW headliners are quite old.
RX #3: Hang on for three years. If WWF can do that, it will weather the storm. Why? Because many of the WCW headliners will have retired. Those who have not will be stale. WCW is riding a high tide of mainstream fan interest right now, but history shows that such an interest lasts for... about three years. In three years, mainstream fan interest with Savage, Hogan, etc. will have dwindled. It was dwindling already and saved by the fluke of the nWo novelty having caught on. In three years time, can WCW count on another fluke gimmick generating interest in Hogan, Savage, et. al? Wrestling fans don't STAY wrestling fans: they grow up, get tired of it, and move on. It is not like baseball which generates a lifelong interest among mainstream fans. Who's to say that the mainstream interest in WCW three years from now is a lock? Granted, its mid-card roster is deeper than WWF, but drawing is a qualitative phenomenon, not a quantitative one. WCW can have thirty matches filled with Rey vs. Eddie, and if the WWF has a three-way Undertaker vs. Shawn vs. Austin on a card in the same town, it will have the bigger draw. Mid-card talent is not all that relevant and headliners are everything.
RX #4 (a corollary to #3): Develop young talent. WWF has a knack for out-of-the-blue gimmick wrestlers catching on (Stone Cold, Undertaker). The next headliner to fill Bret's slot might come from within rather than without. Notice that the wrestlers who are really over are not over so much because of the gimmicks they are supplied with by the corporate offices, but rather because they themselves personally have a charisma that is within their real personalities which they are able to infuse into their personas. Learn to identify this charisma and push the young talent that has it. In other words, Rocky ain't got it.
RX #5 (corollary to #3): Become the acceptable face of ECW. Loathe though you egotistically may be to admit it, Vince, you are now in a niche market. The WCW with Bret will inevitably command most of the mainstream attention. This is why it is imperative to you to survive and turn in those modest profits for three years. Note: by "becoming the acceptable face of ECW," I do not mean playing up all the offensive material (swearing, racist angles, sexual innuendo, etc.) which is currently threatening the WWF's advertising base. Remember that hardcore is a way of approaching a match. ECW has gotten far, in spite of its crudity, because its wrestlers have an unparalled work ethic and regard for giving the fans their best. WWF has to instill this in its own workers. Sometimes the bottom line in life is that the most success really does come, in the end, to those who work the hardest. The in-ring product has to be a contrast to WCW: WWF cannot compete for the mainstream fans. Therefore, without being offensive, play up the action, the hard-hitting matches, and insist and demand on high workrates, and do whatever is humanly possible to create a team spirit among the workers. Note: in the '80s, the NWA commanded a niche market in comparison to the WWF. Its in-ring product was superior in the same aspects to the fluffy and cartoonish WWF. It survived its own niche market years and look where it is today.
RX #6: Listen to Bret. He is making some good points about what it is that has alienated him. Perhaps he doesn't want to be part of a sinking ship? Perhaps he is aware of the WWF losing its advertising base? Drop the offensive angles NOW!
RX #7: Continue to explore new markets and make inroads. Look at the success of the South Africa tour. WWF will be inately popular anywhere where fans love wrestling and the WCW will be too lazy to come to town. This will also aid in the modest-profits-survive-for-three-years aid.
RX #8: Last but not least, assuming parity is re-established, WWF will need a plan. It would be great for it to get to that point where its talent roster can be competitive again. (At this point I would like to say to the people who think that it's hopeless for WWF because of Ted Turner's money: look. Ted Turner did not become the successful businessman he is today by dropping unprecedented amounts of money into a piddly wrestling war. WCW has its budget constraints like anybody else. Their budget is indeed bigger than WWF, but it is not insurmountable. And besides, pumping huge amounts of money doesn't guarantee success if the people simply don't want the product, and I'm contending that in a few years, they may very well not.) Once WWF has arrived at that point, what then? This is the most vague and difficult avenue to predict. Essentially though, the posture to be taken is for the WWF to ask itself what it would be doing now, if it was on a level playing field, to compete; and start developing the talent needed to do it right now, because in the long term, it may get its chance once again. Having started preparing for that moment now will insure that once WWF is back on a par with WCW that it will not drop the ball.
Now that I've made my suggestions, I would like to inevitably state at this point that I categorically have no particular preference for the WWF. I simply enjoy wrestling in and of itself and am very wary of an era in which one wealthy federation has a complete monopoly on the sport. The big two need to continue to survive and prosper in order for quality wrestling to prevail.
Heretic has been watching wrestling since 1985 but other than that claims no real expertise. He grew up following Dick the Bruiser's regional great lakes promotion and learned about the history of the sport through his dad who is a collector of various Dick the Bruiser paraphernalia. One can usually find Heretic in a university library sitting in front of a computer multitasked to Finale 3.7 (a music software program) and Solie's Vintage Wrestling.
The program opens with a replay of the punk job done on Sting last week. Then the nWo music plays and the thugs (minus Hogan) are struttin' to the ring. Eric Bischoff has the mic and welcomes the crowd to the "arena that LOVE built..." Scott Hall takes over and asks his "survey" question. The crowd chants "nWo" with him once again. He sends his best wishes out to Syxx (who is out with an injury) then turns his attention to Legandary Larry. Hall tells Zbyszco he's been watching his "old wrestling tapes" and even in fast forward mode, "nothing moves". Kevin Nash then has the floor. He tells the Steiners they aren't really the Champs because he and Hall are and then throws another challange toward the Giant for WWIII. Bischoff then says "here is a surprise" and introduces Hollywood Hogan. I notice that people in the broadcast position are starting to add the "Hulk" back into his name. Hogan struts out and then is joined by Rick Rude!!! Rude is handed the mic and he rants off on the "rights and wrongs" of Pro-wrestling. He says Shawn Michaels isn't the World Champ because he never beat Bret Hart. He says that Bret was robbed and then claims again that Bret Hart will join the nWo. Finally he threatens Sting. Hogan takes the mic and extolls his own virtues and claims that he beat Sting up singlehandidly last week!! (...dream on Hollywood Boy). The announcers discuss the coming PPV and Larry rants some about Hall. Rude's appearance has got to be a blow to the WWF. Cut to commercial.
Nitro Grrrls frolic as Tony describes the card for tonight.
Mean Gene w/Ray Traylor - this guy is definitely getting a push lately. He explains that he has reformed since his nWo days and wants to go straight. The nWo swarm over him suddenly and punk him royally. Paint his back again. Doug Dellenger finally shows up as the nWo melts away. The announcers are saying that Sting has been severly injured but nobody really knows because Sting doesn't talk...
Glacier vs. Meng - Meng is the much more skillfull wrestler and has the size advantage as well so he (not surprisingly) dominates the early going. In fact I expect this to be a good match but feel Meng will take it - they have been pushing him as more or less invincible in singles competition lately. Sure enough, the match is a short. Glacier makes a brief comeback and then gets caught in the Tongan Death Grip. The Barbarian is already in the ring before the three count - the double team is on. Ernest Miller runs in and has a good flurry - then he gets caught in the clawhold as well...cut to commercial.
Alex Wright (w/Debra) vs. Steve McMichaels - hot dog! This will be fun... Mongo is still showing the Four Horsemen hand sign. Wright attacks in his usual very aggressive fashion and takes the early advantage only to be steamrolled by the monster linebacker. Fortunately for young Mr. Wright - he has Debra to provide distraction and she does her job well. Wright retakes the advantage and has it in hand until he takes to the air...and Mongo sidesteps. McMichael then menaces his wife and she looks genuinely intimidated. She flees the ring area in tears as he wipes the mat with his opponent. Cut to commercial.
Nitro Grrrrls lookin' good...Kimberly is getting better with her dance moves.
Chris Jericho vs. Rey Misterio Jr. - Rey gets startled by his own fireworks going off as he approaches the ring. Jericho naturally seeks to ground his lighter opponent so they engage in some mat wrestling before taking to the air. Rey has the advantage in this arena so Jericho brings him back to the mat again with a clothesline. He controls the action then executes the first Super Gorrilla Press Slam I have ever seen. It devastates Misterio. Jericho becomes uncharacteristically vicious, using power moves and even hinting about trying to remove the mask. Misterio is still out of it - completely helpless, but he won't allow himself to be pinned. Jericho tries his Lion Sault and gets a gut full of knees. From there it is a matter of moments before Jericho gets himself into position for Reys Hurracanranna finishing move. Ray takes the pin. The competitors embrace each other after the match. Cut to commercial.
Eric Bischoff comes out to interrrupt the announcers. He and Larry face off then he turns to leave. He doubles back and flicks the back of Larry's head. Larry follows Bischoff off the platform and gets punked by the nWo. Dellenger tries to intervene but is shoved aside. They hold Larry so Eric can kick him, then pose with their "prey". The trainers come out and tend to Zbyszco. Since it is the start of the second hour, Larry has been desposed of just in time. Heenan joins the broadcast team. Cut to...
Diamond Dallas Page vs. Villano IV (w/V) - no doubt the Villanos will try the old switcheroo... The announcers are too busy talking about the nWo threat to pay attention to the match. In the ring DDP is having to wrestle both Villanos. He still has his ribs taped and they are concentrating their attack on his midsection. DDP finally regains the advantage by running the two brothers together on the apron. He then throws a suicide planche on both of them! He rolls his opponent into the ring and finishes him off with the Diamond Cutter. He takes the pin then catches the other Villano climbing the turnbuckles. Super Diamond Cutter - nuff said...cut to commercial.
Dean Malenko vs. Eddie Guerrero - Cruiserweight Title match - Eddie pretends to be friendly at the beginning but he is a snake. He shortcuts his way to an early advantage but is out wrestled, so he goes out to break the mometum then comes back in and asserts himself. The Man of a Dozen (or so) Holds takes it for most of this match. Misterio shows himself on the ramp just before we cut to commercial...
Eddie still has the con as we return. Then, suddenly Malenko makes a comeback with a whip and a face drop on his opponent. Eddie is reeling and offers his hand in frienship again. Dean takes it and pulls his opponent into a short clothesline. Eddie thumbs an eye to recover and the match see-saws culminating in a series of traded pin attempts. Moments later they are on the top turnbuckle where Eddie gets a super plex - but both men are affected. They come up slowly and struggle for position. Somehow they climb the opposite corner and Dean gets a super belly to back suplex. Again both guys are devastated. They are down for the ten count. Double count out... Lex Luger is the latest WCW wrestler to express surprise and or doubt that Bret Hart will actually join the nWo in a clip as we cut to commercial. Chris Benoit, DDP and others have been doing it throughout the broadcast.
Clips of a Nitro party are shown.
Scotty (Ole One Eye) Riggs vs. Saturn - TV Title match - Raven and Kidman accompany Saturn into the ring. They invite Riggs again to join the Flock. He says no way and the match gets going. These two are about the same size and so Saturn seems unable to do his usual overpowering thing. He dumps Riggs out of the ring to regain the advantage and then starts putting on the power moves. Riggs loses his eye-patch early in the match. When we see Riggs' eye it is milky white. Riggs still manages to come back and retakes the initiative. Saturn is dumped out to the floor and Riggs prepares for a planche...and throws it on the Flock!!! It is spectacular suicide dive which lands on Raven and company who are sitting ringside again. Saturn uses the distraction provided by Riggs concentration on Raven to incapacitate his opponent. Back in the ring he slaps on the "Rings of Saturn" - Riggs taps out. Raven enters the ring and seems to be trying to make contact with Riggs' soul as we cut to commercial.
More Nitro Grrrls...we get a solo act at the end of the routine...
The Steiner Brothers vs. Vicious and Delicious - the nWo strikes again as the Steiners make their entrance. They are punked in the aisle and painted. The announcers want to know when this is going to end (me too)...cut to commercial.
nWo music plays again. Here comes Curt Hennig in Ric Flair's red robe with the sleeves torn off. We haven't seen Flair tonight.
Curt Hennig vs Lex Luger - US Title match - This is a rematch from two weeks ago. Luger makes it safely to the ring. Hennig entered first despite being the defending Champ. Hennig is hesitant to re-enter the ring after Luger's introduction so Lex drags him in by his hair and throws him across the ring! Luger is relentless and controls Hennig until he gets a finger in his eye. Hennig starts laying them in. After awhile Luger starts stiffening up and then Hennigs chops have no effect. Luger uses a clothesline and a suplex to re-assert himself. Now the match is see-sawing both men are really tough to beat down. Hennig gets a sleeper and drops Luger to one knee. Lex ends up sitting on the mat. He takes a two-drop then comes back to his feet. A belly to back allows him to escape and he catapults Hennig out of the ring with an atomic drop. He goes out a mauls his man. But then Nick Patrick gets between them. Hennig knocks him down then blindsides Luger. Back in the ring, Hennig gets his Fisherman's suplex but the referee is throwing the match out. Luger wins by disqualification. The thugs swarm but the Giant shws up and breaks it up.
The Giant vs. Scott Hall - it is about three minutes after the hour as this one in introduced. Nash strolls to the broadcast booth and motions Tony and Mike to retain their seats. Bobby has split. The Giant and Hall face each other across the ring then Hall spits his toothpick. The Giant attacks but Hall ducks him. The Giant connects the second time and Hall ends up in a heap in the corner. Hall comes back with some big fists but gets chopped down in return. It's all Giant now - Hall is reeling and slinks out to the floor. The Giant follows him out and gets his hand slammed into the ringpost then the steps. Hall is trying to take away the chokeslam! The Giant comes back with a huge headbutt. Then goes for the chokeslam but Hall knocks his hand away. He grabs Halls head with the other hand then stares at his injured appendage (there are cuts all over it). He goes for the chokeslam again but now the thugs are swarming all over him. This time the WCW locker room, led by Public Enemy finally rides to the rescue. The entire mid-card roster pours into the ring. Konnan is layuing on the mat being pummeled as the rest of the nWo is getting away. Konnan slithers out as we fade to black.
Rude's appearance was a shock. I wonder if he was working for the WWF without a contract...?
During the break between the shows (in California that's an hour and a half or so), I have been out on the Net and am aware that Rick Rude has managed to appear on both programs. I am going to pretend like I don't have this information however, so that my stream of conscienceness report can maintain the proper flow. I promise to desist in this schizophrenic behaviour before the next edition :-)
We get a replay of the end of the Shamrock/Helmsley match from last week. Shamrock and Slaughter shake hands as we fade to the opening montage.
Jim Ross welcomes us then Steve Austin's music plays. My heavens this is a match! Austin is calling Rocky Maivia out! There is prolonged silence and then the NOD music plays. The entire NOD except for Rocky comes down and surrounds the ring. D'Lo attacks first and gets stunned. Rocky runs in, doing his best Eddie Guerrero impression, and grabs the IC belt.
Jim Cornette hypes the coming "Why Bret Why?" investigative report later in the show. He says it will reveal the truth about what really happened in the dressing room between Vince and Bret (like we all believe this guy...) Cut to commercial.
Marc Mero vs. Jerry Lawler - Butterball (or whatever) is at ringside again, Mero gets in his face before entering the ring. Jim Ross tells us a story about Sable having been kicked in the head by a horse! Lawler wants to avenge his son, Brian Christopher, who was one of the first to succomb to Mero's Low-Blow offense a few weeks ago. The match proceeds apace with Lawler getting creamed and then Christopher approaches the ring and starts to get invoved. He stalks Sable trying to get her phone number. In the ring the King has turned things around. He goes for a pin but Sable has entered the ring and prevents it. The ref starts to argue with her while Mero is giving Lawler the crotch shot. The ref disqualifies the Wild Man and she causes a fight between the Mero's. Cut to commercial.
In part one of his interview, Vince McMahon castigates Bret Hartfor disrepecting his fellow wrestlers and the WWF orginization. He says Bret screwed Bret... He reveals the numbers of Bret's WCW deal and claims that bret had lost his value to the WWF. He says he "allowed Bret" to strike him (he'd hoped he wouldn't) and tells JR that things would have been different if he (Vince) had been "ready for a confrontation". The rest of the speech is a completely self-serving diatribe calculated to discredit the former champion, vintage Vince McMahon doublespeak. Ah Vinnie...you have managed to live up to the worst things we could have thought of you! He blythly breaks kayfabe to explain that Bret was supposed to lose the title according to tradition but refused. He doesn't explain to us that the reason that was so important to him is because he didn't want to see a repeat of what happened when Ric Flair entered the WWF as the "Real World Champion" a few years ago.
Los Borequas vs. Baddass Billy/Road Dog - this match is so bad that they break away right after the beginning of it to show us a feature on Ken Shamrock. They show him causing many of the WWF's biggest stars (both literally and figuritively) to tap out. Cut to commercial.
Ross reveals the finish of the long forgotten match - something about outside interference.
Mexican Mini 6 man tag match - well lets see - Max Mini's in there, and El Torito and Nova. A guy called Batallion (the world's largest mini?) and another called Taurus. How many is that? Another called Tarantula (please, just don't ask me to describe this match!) Sunny is the referee by the way. In fact she is just really getting involved in the match when the lights go out.
Kane approaches the ring and the Mini's all swarm around the bradcast table for protection. In the ring the Headbangers have followed Kane into the ring and attack him with their boom box. He is unfazed and Tombstones them one at a time. Paul Bearer gathers his charge and they leave. Cut to clip of Vince saying that Bret "sold out and I helped him" then to commercial.
We get a review of what just happened then cut to the opening montage. They replay the footage from the the end of the Shamrock/HHH match again only this time show the end of the match - Shamrock pinning Michaels as Slaughter counted.
Wait a minute! That's Ric Rude! How can that be..? :-) Everyone watching this now knows that RAW is a taped program (in case they didn't realize it before). Shawn takes the mic from Rude and starts taunting Shamrock. He claims to have run Bret Hart out of the WWF (dream on Degenerate Boy...). Hunter Hearst Helmsley takes the mic and calls Slaughter to the ring. He complains to Slaughter's face about his rulings of late then insults him in a crude fashion. Slaughter lashes out and decks Helmsley then gets punked by Michaels and Rude with the briefcase. They spread toilet paper in an X pattern over his carcass... officials come to help but they keep their distance as HHH swings the briefcase at them. Cut to commercial.
Repeat of what just happened...
Scot Taylor vs. Eric Shelly - Light Heavyweight Title Tournament. This match is boring so JR calls Jeff Jarrett to find out what his (Jarrett's) big announcement is. He says he plans to debut on RAW next week. In the ring the wrestlers are going to sleep along with the crowd. The Taylor kid goes for a Boston Crab but loses hold of his opponent's legs so he tries to grab an ankle lock but can't manage that either. He gradually takes control of the match and ends it with a rather clever flying DDT off the top rope.
Marc Mero and Sable come down to the ring and order JR into the ring. Mero claims that Butterbean is stalking his wife. He calls the guy out. BB climbs over the railing and enters the ring, his manager is trying to stop him. They have a shoving match and Mero loses. Officials clamor into the ring to break it up. BB returns to his seat. We cut to commercial after another tantalizing tidbit from part 2 of the McMahon interview.
Vince says that he would welcome Bret back. He then states that he is proud of the fact he helped Bret "sell out". He regrets that he was forced into the position to have to screw Bret (although he didn't put it exactly that way). What would he say to Bret if he could speak to him? In essense he would say "It was your fault." He is completely self-serving once again as he remembers Bret "the way he was..." He says Bret didn't live up to being "...the best there is, was, will be etc." It is a sickening performance IMO. I can't believe he is probably going to get away with this (at least I was not disillusioned...) Cut to commercial.
Vader vs. Goldust - this is a result of the SS match wherein Goldust abandoned Vader to their opponents. Dustin comes down in a gold pagama top and has his arm in a sling. His face is painted in a checkerboard design. He claims to be an invalid and hands Vader a Doctor's note. Thus distracted, Vader falls easy prey for a braining from what looks like a tire iron which Goldust slips out of his sling. Vader goes down like a stone and is trembling visibly as we cut to commercial.
Slaughter is back as we return. He makes a speech about coming back to the WWF as a commissioner. He tells DX that they (especially HHH) have crossed the line. He orders up a match between himself and Hunter and tells him he will give him the fight of his life on December 7th (which is Pearl Harbor Day by the way).
Rocky Maivia (w/NOD) vs. Dude Love - Rocky has the IC belt and calmly indicates that this is not a Title match (duh...) Dude dances to the ring (the new HBK?) The crowd chants "Rocky Sucks!" Rookie Maivia can ony win this match through subtrefuge or outside interference. He choses the latter to turn the tables then goes to work. He is barely holding his own as we cut to commercial.
Rookie still has the advantage as we return but the Dudester turns that around in short order and gets his "Sweet Shin Music" and the pin just as NOD invades the ring. Steve Austin arrives right behind the gang but fails to get his belt back. Fade to black.
I am sorry to say that Vince's performance was exactly what I expected, much in keeping with his blaming the fans for the WWF's downward spiral into tawdry storylines and ultra violence now he blames Bret for getting screwed. Here is the transcript of Vince's interview (thanks to Wild Bill Rawlings).
Anyway, that's the way I see it...
editor Solie's Wrestling Newsletter
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