Early numbers for Starrcade show a buyrate of between 1.7 and 1.9.
Preliminary numbers have been strong, and WCW officials are anticipating a final buyrate in the 1.9 range.
Rumors swept the internet again this weekend that Hulk Hogan was leaving WCW to rejoin the WWF.
The rumors were prompted by a cover story in this week's Torch newsletter. The story included speculation from Wade Keller that Hogan would be able to get out of his WCW committments and could join the WWF in time for the live RAW on Jan 12.
Eric Bischoff has continually insisted that Hogan is under contract to WCW through the end of 1998, and as recently as last week said "He's not going anywhere. He hasn't given notice. He doesn't have an out. He's with us for another year."
ECW PPV SITE
Pending approval from Request TV, "Living Dangerously" will be held on March 1 at the Dunn Center in Elizabeth NJ.
Final approval will follow a site inspection of the building.
by Joe Crowe
You might remember my article of a couple months ago "It's So Hard to Say Goodbye: Wrestling's Worst Finishers." I asked you, the readers, to tell me about finishing maneuvers you don't like. I got a bunch of interesting responses. Here, then, your choices for the worst big moves to ever end a wrestling match.
Ianb@pangea.ca says that the HEART PUNCH is the worst finisher ever. I can't admit to being a big fan of this move, especially when my brother did it to me. Not good. It's not a widely used move, but the name sticks with you. Outside of Stan Stasiak, whom I've only seen on old tapes, I only recall Crush recently and Mean Mark Callous back in the 1980s NWA using it.
Mean Mark, of course, better known now as the Undertaker. He had a catch phrase at the time that stuck with me. Paul E. Dangerously was his manager, and his formula for success was MM + HP = WC. (Mean Mark plus Heart Punch equals World Championship).
NMediate@aol.com hates Shane Douglas' belly to belly suplex. He says "The Steiners deliver the move a lot better." I agree. Back in the old UWF, where Shane wrestled as a white-bread babyface, the announcers claimed that Magnum TA taught him the move. Magnum's execution was still the best. He clamped his guy right up, and whipped him over to the mat. It was more of a snap-belly to belly suplex. Even a couple of seconds of pause is too long to set the move up. The Steiners are quicker, and I like their over-the-head method, rather than the standard horizontal flip everybody else does.
Neil Woodlief at email@example.com said "I can't believe you left out the Garvin stomp by Ronnie Garvin as one of the worst finishers of all time. He would just step on his opponent's arms, legs, and head as his finisher. It's definitely the worst I've ever seen." The stomp broke one of the rules for finishers --time. Finishers should be quick and decisive. They should not take more than a moment to execute, and the Garvin stomp took a long, long time. It didn't exactly set the fans off, either. If the crowd is into it, almost anything can be excused.
I wonder what would have happened if the Garvin stomp HAD caught on? Would it have ushered in a new era of finishers, like the moonsault and the power bomb did? Everybody trying it, everybody putting a new spin on it. In Japan, would there be a Space Flying Garvin Stomp? A Thunderfire Garvin Stomp? What about a Top Rope Super Stomp? But I digress.
Allow me to go off on a tangent here: The moonsault and the powerbomb era have come and gone. Now I believe we are in the era of the Diamond Cutter. DDP used it before Slamboree 96 and Battlebowl. He used the move around 10 times that night, and went on to put the move over in interviews and with hand signals. He followed all the rules as I set out in my first article. Stone Cold brought out the Stunner soon after that, now Marc Mero and Disco Inferno do it.
7 years ago, the two up-and-coming future world champions in NWA and WWF were Sting and Bret Hart. Scorpion Deathlock and the Sharpshooter: same move. Today, the two up-and-coming future world champions in WCW and WWF are DDP and Stone Cold. Diamond Cutter and Stone Cold Stunner: same move.
Just wondering if anybody else noticed that.
J. Juarez at firstname.lastname@example.org writes me "I can't believe you didn't include Hogan's legdrop on your list of the worst finishers ever. Come on! My baby sister could get up from that anti-climatic finisher. And to think he beat world class wrestlers for years with his "patented" legdrop. Hogan's a fairly clever guy, he could've come up with a finisher more believable than that. For many years we were supposed to believe that the "Immortal" one could win any match with the legdrop. This finisher is when I started questioning if wrestling was real or not."
I have to disagree here. Hogan followed my rules. He signalled for it, everybody knew it was coming. Nobody does a legdrop like Hogan. I realize that is just like saying "Attack of the Killer Tomatoes" was the best killer tomato movie ever. Nobody is competing for that honor. But I liked the legdrop because it looked like Hogan was dropping the guillotine on somebody (at least in the WWF it did). He got way up there, and crashed 300 pounds down across your neck. And it was the final act in every episode of the Hulk Hogan Show during the bygone days of 1980s wrestling. Good times. Fun.
I received an eloquent essay on why the Ultimate Warrior's finisher was not one of the worst of all time. I apologize to the writer, but I lost that e- mail and his address.
His point was that the Warrior's press slam, drop, run, bounce off the ropes, hop over, turn around, then splash the opponent's back was not his finisher. His finisher was just the back splash. I see his point here. It just seemed like one whole finisher, breaking the time rule, because there was no quick way for him to slap it on somebody. He went through the whole program every time. But then, Hogan went through the shake his finger, whip guy to the ropes, big boot to face, bounce off ropes, legdrop most every time too. So did Flair, with the leg work, the windup, the "Now we go to school!" and the figure 4.
Warrior fandom astounds me. I liked him too, but my goodness. I may explore this in an upcoming article.
Finally, a very popular topic: The Porno Pin. Fellow Solie's writer Jeff Yelton expounded this to me. "Let me point out one thing about the infamous Thesz Press, however...it is a defensive move, a surprise, not a finisher, but it is an effective move, sort of like a sunset flip. It's a good way to knock your opponent down and knock the wind out of him, so I buy it."
It was a defense for some wrestlers, but it was Wildfire Tommy Rich's finisher, was it not? But that point does not take away from the fact that it looks pornographic. Worse still, I remember Jungle Jim Steele and the Juicer who did the Thesz Press off the top rope. Or, as I called it, The Flying F***. I think it's nice to know that SOMEBODY gives a flying f***.
Lastly, Cobalt1701@aol.com tells me about a sad instance of When Finishers Go Horribly, Horribly Wrong!
"I don't remember who they were wrestling, but Wrath and Mortis set up for a variation of the Doomsday Device, except that somehow it was Mortis sitting on the other guy's shoulders as Wrath came from the top rope. I'm not sure exactly what was supposed to happen, I just remember that as they landed, the opponent's head jerked back a little too hard and really caused Mortis some pain "below the belt." [right in his "rare oddity"--Joe]
In fairness, Wrath did get the quick pin, but Mortis was unable to celebrate their victory in that he was otherwise occupied, being doubled-over and holding his crotch. I thought finishers were only supposed to hurt the other guy, but Wrath and Mortis managed to put a new twist on it. Of note, I have not seen them use this move since."
I guess what we're trying to say to all wrestlers is: Finish a match dramatically but don't look stupid and don't hit yourself in the crotch. Thanks for all your letters. Questions, comments, arguments, discussion? Gimme a holler at JoeBCrowe@aol.com.
Joe Crowe is a regular contributor to Solie's Newsletter.
Live from the Georgia Dome in Atlanta, GA. Hollywood Hogan and his thugs arrive in two limos as we open the program. They all look a little put out. It is noticed that Hogan, Konnan, Nash, Bagwell, Norton and Vincent arrive in one limo while the Hall, Biscoff, Hennig, Rude, Savage and Liz arrive in the second one. The two groups don't talk to each other and Tony speculates that there may be trouble in the air among the nWo members.
Tony is still telling us that they can't tell us (or show us) what happened after the show went off the air because of the nWo's court injunction. He again suggests that the nWo is "cracking at the seams".
Mean Gene is with JJ Dillon. He fills us in on the situation but tells us essentially nothing. He says a judge is working on the injunction and he expects to have the tape to show us this Thursday night on "Thunder".
Chris Jericho vs. Diamond Dallas Page - US Title match - Jericho comes down with a chair in one hand and what looks like his dry cleaning in the other. He takes the mic before the introductions and apologizes for his behaviour last week. His cites his "role model" status then gives the chair to Dave Penzer and presents him with a new tuxedo jacket. His speech is just a bit arrogant sounding - I smell heel turn in the wind. DDP wins the first exchange and Jericho offers his hand to shake. Jerich takes the second encounter and offers his hand. Then Jericho takes DDP down with a hair pull! He offers his hand again but then sneaks in another take down. He goes for a kick but DDP swings him around by his foot and slaps on the Diamond Cutter to take the pin. Jericho throws another tantrum after the match as he tears at the apron skirt rather ineffectively. Cut to commercial.
Mean Gene is with Turner Executive Vice President Nick Lambrose. Lambrose reads us a statement from the Turner organization that says that any WCW contract wrestlers caught violating WCW policies or rules will be subject to fines and possible suspension. He then includes nWo wrestlers in those sanctions when prompted to by Okerlund.
Bill Goldberg vs. Stevie Ray - we see Chief Jay Strongbow in the audience as Goldberg comes to the ring. So Stevie is to be the next victim of the Goldberg juggernaut... Goldberg wins the first exchange but then Stevie's experience shows itself and he comes back. He puts Goldberg down twice before the rookie is able to regain his compsure. Goldberg dominates for several seconds and then Stevie's talented feet help him to assert himself. Almost immediately Goldberg explodes out of the corner and tackles his opponent. A powerslam and a Jack Hammer finish the job. Cut to commercial.
Nitro Grrrls cavort on the ramp.
John Nord vs. The Barbarian - this is interesting if for no other reason that both of these men have wrestled in the past under the moniker "Barbarian". They face off and don't seem to be able to budge each other until Nord sticks a foot into his opponent's face (of fear..?) The fight goes to the outside where Jimmy Hart provides distraction to give his man the edge. It doesn't last however and before they re-enter the ring Nord has re-asserted himself. Back inside he puts his opponent down then gets distracted by Hart again. Now it is Nords turn to get knocked over the top rope to the floor. Back inside the Barbarian applies a choke then gets a devastating suplex. Nord comes back but then lets Hart distract him again. He rushes Barbarian in the corner who sidesteps him. Nord flies out of the ring once again. Back in the ring again, Nord again takes the advantage. He wins the match with a very strange looking Camel Clutch.
Mean Gene is in the ring to interview Eric Bischoff. Bischoff comes to the ring to a round of boos and some new music. There is no "I love you guys..." crap tonight. Gene starts to taunt him but Eric shuts him up. He denies that there is any problem in the nWo. The crowd is getting to him as he tries to state his case against JJ Dillon. He denies that there is an injunction or that the tape is in a judges hand - he says that WCW is sitting on the tape (that part is, no doubt, true). He then claims that he beat Zybzsco at the PPV (...dream on hair boy...). He rants some more then we cut to commercial.
We see Strongbow again as we return then clips of the Ultimo Dragon winning the Cruiserweight title.
Juventud Guerrera vs. Psychosis - this is a Cruiserweight Title #1 Title contenders' match - how these two qualify for that distinction I can't imagine. It would seem more likely to me that Eddie Guerrero would be the #1 guy. This is a very fast-paced match - both of these guys are insane flyers... Juventud seems to hold the advantage through much of the contest. The Psych man can't seem to get it together at first. Then he suddenly comes alive and Juventud is on the receiving end until his opponent attempts a guillotine legdrop and misses. Now it is all Juventud until he goes for a top-rope move and gets drop-kicked in mid-air. He comes right back with a DDT and takes the advantage again. A "450 Splash" gets him the pin and the right to face Ultimo Dragon on Thursday night.
They show us footage from April of 1997 when Kevin Nash and Hogan had a little disagreement to cite how the nWo has had problems in the past. Cut to commercial.
Nitro Grrrls in the ring as we return - they're hawking the Nitro Party contest again.
Mean Gene introduces Booker T (the new TV Champ) - he says he won the belt for his son Brandon. He faces former Champ Prince Iaukea next. He acknowledges the fans' part in his success then goes to the ring for his match.
Booker T vs. Prince Iaukea - TV Title match - they spell Iaukea's name "Iakea" on the title card for some reason. He does surprisingly well against Booker T in the opening moments of the match but the Champ comes back with a back round kick to assert himself. Now it is all Booker T (as it should be against this particular opponent) and he quickly puts Iaukea away with a Harlem Hangover legdrop. Cut to commercial.
Tony and Bobby are still harping on the idea that the nWo is experiencing internal difficulties. They show stills from the Main Event finale at Starrcade.
Bagwell/Norton/Konnan (w/Vincent) vs. The Steiner Brothers/Ray Traylor (w/Ted Dibiasi) - Traylor and Konnan start and Traylor is bested but tags in Scotty who takes the advantage. There is a "moment of melee" then Bagwell comes in against Rick. Steiner overcomes his opponent with a clothesline (which Tony and Mike refer to as a "Steinerline" something they haven't talked about since the Steiners returned to WCW last year). Traylor then gets the best of Norton and tags in Rick again. Rick loses the initiative and a triple-team ensues until Bagwell throws himself into a powerslam. Scotty comes in and cleans house. Everybody (almost) gets clotheslined out of the ring. Scotty goes on to win the match with a suplex DDT on Konnan. One strange note: the Steiners appear to be set-up for their top rope bulldog but Scott decides to dump Konnan on his head instead. Rick's balance upset and he falls off the top to the mat then Scott applies his finisher and takes the pin. There is a hint that perhaps the Steiners didn't see eye-to-eye on the finish of the match but nothing more is made of it. Cut to commercial.
More Nitro Grrrls... in the aisle this time, followed by some Nitro Party footage.
Brad Armstrong vs. Rick Martel - they have been talking about a former WWF Tag Champ making his debut tonight and here he is. Funny they don't mention the fact that he is also a former AWA World Champ. This is a well fought match as the two of them seem pretty evenly matched. Eventually Martel takes the advantage although Armstrong manages to hold his own. Martel finally gets his signature Boston Crab (he calls it a Quebec Crab...why not? Jericho calls it a Lion Tamer...) and gets the submission victory.
Chris Benoit/Steve McMichael vs. Saturn/Scotty Riggs - a partial Horsemen reunion in this contest. Lodi holds a sign at ringside which reads "The Nest Never Loses". Benoit and Saturn start out with a slugfest. Then Mongo gets in and dominates both of his opponents until they manage a decent doubleteam attack. Riggs continues the assault on his own but soon loses the advantage. He recovers and tags in Saturn who takes Mongo down with a an armbar. Riggs comes back in and holds onto the initiative. Then they go back to a doubleteam - trying for a double suplex - but Mongo overpowers both of them and drops them on their faces. Benoit gets in and puts the Croppler Crossface on Saturn but the referee doesn't see it because he's trying to keep the rest of the flock out of the ring. He also doesn't see Raven enter the ring and apply a DDT to Benoit. Saturn takes the pin. Cut to commercial.
Mean Gene intorduces Rick Flair - he again takes issue with Bret Hart's characterization of himself as the "best". Hart then shows up. The shake hands and Flair wants to know if Hart will describe himself that way while standing in the ring with the Nature Boy. He obliges and says he wants to add a "whooo!" at the end. Flair invites him to say it again and Bret again obliges. Flair lists some of the former greats like Harley Race, Gene Kinisky and others and says lets "take the humor out of it" and invites Hart to again state that he is better than Flair. Hart reminds Flair that he beat him in the past - (in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada, Hart won his first WWF Title from Flair back in 1992). They don't come to blows but do face off. Cut to commercial.
Michael Buffer intros the Main Event...
Randy Savage (w/Liz/Vincent/Bagwell/Norton) vs. Lex Luger - Nick Patrick is on hand to referee but JJ Dillon comes and throws him out. Randy Anderson is his replacement. We go to commercial before Luger's introduction.
Luger is introduced as we return. nWo members surround the ring and distract Luger so that Savage can blindside him. Savage is relentless from the get-go but can't seem to put the "Package" away. He goes for his signature elbow from the top but gets caught in mid-air. Now it's all Luger. He goes to set-up the rack but Savage rolls to the outside. Luger follows him out where Savage takes refuge behind his lady. They return to the ring and Luger applies a cradle to get the surprise pin. Afterward Savage takes Luger out and posts him. Bischoff runs out and gets floored by Savage with a chair!! Hogan runs in and shoves Savage who returns with a slap on Hogan's face! Then Kevin Nash lays Savage out. After that Hogan seems to pull them together to attack Luger who is still in the ring. Sting runs down to stand by his former partner and the two of them hold off the re-united nWo as we fade to black...
Steve Austin is walking outside the arena and talking to us about striking first against all the other wrestlers, whom he contends, have it in for him. Cut to opening montage.
On tape from New Haven Connecticutt - the NOD (minus the "Rock") come to the ring to their music.
Faarooq vs. Ken Shamrock - we see video of Shamrock making D'Lo and Kama tap out as he makes his entrance. Faarooq attacks as Shamrock enters the ring but can't hold the advantage for long. Shamrock knocks him out of the ring. Back inside Shamrock goes for a crucifix but gets dropped on his back. He rolls to the outside where the other thugs menace him but don't attack because the referee is right there. Back in the ring again, Shamrock gets a roll-up but fails to get the pin. Rocky Maivia appears on the platform as we cut to commercial.
Faarooq attempts a back-breaker as we return but Shamrock squirms out of it. Rocky is huddling with the other NOD'ers at ringside. In the ring Faarooq has the advantage and is dishing out some heavy shots ending with a clothesline. He goes for a second clothesline and falls prey to Shamrock's Frankensteiner. Kama has a chair in-hand on the outside. When he tries to use it he gets Faarooq instead. Shamrock applies the ankle lock and Faarooq submits. The thugs argue at ringside while Maivia goes in to confront Shamrock. They face off but then Steve Austin runs in and puts his Stunner on both of them (one at a time, of course). After some hyping of tonight's card we see Jim Cornette coming to the ring with two suits. Cut to commercial.
Jim Cornette has the mic in-ring as we return. He reiterates some of the views from his commentary two weeks ago then he introduces Howard Brodie and Dennis Corluzo who are carrying the NWA North American Heavyweight Championship belt. Cornette states that the winner of the next contest will become the Champion then introduces Barry Windham and Jeff Jarrett as the competitors. The match begins while Cornette explains the lineage of the NWA (somehow taking it all the way back to Abraham Lincoln), using the occasion to disparage the WCW organization as a "bogus promotion" (takes one to know one Jimmy...) In the ring, Windham is carrying the match. After finishing his rant, Cornette runs in and smacks Windham with his tennis racket, thus handing Jarrett the title. Jarrett struts until Austin runs in and Stuns him then does some strutting of his own. By the way, the WCW World Title is the same one that used to be called the NWA Heavyweight Title...
Remind me to tell you sometime about how and why the WWF split off from the NWA in 1963... Cut to commercial.
Sunny comes down to introduce the next match...
Sniper/Recon (w/Jackel) vs. Skull/Eightball - Jackel comes out and pastes a fake jewel to the forehead of a female fan at ringside. The match erupts as soon as the DOA guys hit the ring. Jackel joins the broadcast team - he also has a jewel stuck on his forehead. In the ring the Bruise Brothers aren't faring too well until the match falls out to the floor. Then they turn the tables. Back in the ring they doubleteam on Recon but then Sniper interferes from the apron and things turn around. They set Eightball up for a splash but Recon misses. DOA cleans house. All four guys are in the ring when the Interrogator shows up. Before he can get to the ring Sniper is pinned. Kerrgan enters the ring and its three on two. He puts the claw on one DOA while Sniper and Recon beat on the other one. Jackel summons his minions then splits with them trailing behind him. I wonder why Austin didn't show up this time... Cut to commercial.
"Crippled H" is wheeled out by Chynna and accompanied by Shawn Michaels. They make more crude references to Chynna's new chest. HHH rants at Owen Hart squeezing in yet another juvenile sexual reference. He taunts Hart about coming out to the ring. Owen appears on the TitonTron with a rant of is own. HHH feigns fearfulness then hurls another veiled threat. (Yawn...) Cut to commercial.
We see a replay of Austin's opening remarks as we return for the second hour (I don't care what they try to tell us...this is not a separate program...) Cut to opening montage.
Savio Vega (w/Los Borecuas) vs. Owen Hart - the Boring Guys try their damndest to distract Hart but he is uncommonly focused. Savio is on the receiving end right off the bat. Then DX appears on the platform and accomplish what the bus boys seemed unable to do. Savio takes the advantage and keeps it through judicious use of his talented boots. Owen comes back but then goes to the whip and is tripped by Jose. He falls out and gets pounded. The ref comes over and warns them off - a second referee order them away from ringside. They don't leave. In the ring, Owen has the Sharpshooter but releases the hold to knock another Borecuas off the apron. He comes back with a roll-up and wins the match regardless then, leaves the ring and heads up the ramp. The Borecuas cut off his retreat and then deliver him to DX at the top of the ramp. HHH pays off Savio as the officials intervene. Cut to commercial.
Replay of what just happened.
Paul Bearer makes his way to the ring as we review the "7 angry men" incident from last week. Bearer looks like he needs some sleep. He rants at the Undertaker then reveals that he has "lost" Kane. He says that UT's actions poisoned Kane's mind. He says he can't find Kane - and he's looked everywhere (well...obviously not everywhere...) He begs Kane to come home.
The announcers tell us something is going on back in the locker room. Mark Henry is layed out in the back as the Headbangers try to help him - SCSA has struck again. Cut to commercial.
We review Marc Mero's humiliation of Sable over the last month or so.
Marc Mero (w/Sable) vs. Tom Brandi - the announcers are suggesting that Mero's wife is at stake in this contest. Mero enters first then abandons the ring as Brandi barrels in. Brandi goes right out the other side of the ring after his opponent. Mero shoves Sable into Brandi and uses the considerable distraction to gain the upper hand. Back in the ring Mero uses his punches to keep the initiative then climbs the corner and gets dropped onto the ropes. Brandi goes to work. He lays in some good chops in the corner then drops a couple of ax handles. Mero comes back with more boxing blows. They go out to the floor where Brandi recovers the advantage. He then stops to assist Sable only to have Mero dive on them from the apron. All three sprawl on the floor. Back in the ring, Mero gets a fall-away slam then goes for a second one only to have Austin show up and spoil the finish with a Stunner. Austin pauses to eye Sable before leaving - Sable has an odd glint in her own eye as she watches him depart. Cut to commercial.
The Artist FNA Goldust (w/Luna) vs. Flash Funk - today Dustin shows up in a bad afro and blackface - Luna looks decidedly "Marlena-ish" tonight. Funk takes exception to Goldust's look and goes after him aggressively. He chases the strange one out of the ring. Out on the floor he loses the initiative right away - Goldust rolls him back inside where he continues his assault. Flash takes to the air and turns the tables. He is really pouring it on then goes to the top where Luna upsets his balance. The ref DQ's Goldust so he applies a Curtain Call on Funk. The Vader shows up and gets some licks in on his nemesis. Cut to a video on Steve Blackman then to commercial.
Video of the New Age Outlaws vs. Cactus Jack and Chain Saw Charlie (Terry Funk)
New Age Outlaws vs. The Headbangers - Tag Team Title match - in the real world the Bangers would crush these clowns but this is pro-wrestling... In fact the Headbangers dominate the early going. Billy (the talented one) has some success but is clearly outclassed. The Dog comes in and squanders their advantage. The Godwins appear on the ramp as the match continues. In the ring he Dog and Thrasher have managed to drop-kick each other in the groins (Ouch!!!)... Mosh gets the tag and cleans house. The Bangers are functioning as a well oiled machine (something their opponents aren't capable of) until Mosh misses a stage dive and gets pinned. Jack and Charlie show up and clear the ring.
We review JR's statements about Mike Tyson from last week then cut to Don King's office. He oils all over the scene, telling us how excited he is. He doesn't give us a clue as to what Tyson's role will be...
We see some footage from the "Hell In the Cell" match between Shawn Michaels and the Undertaker. Mostly disjointed scenes. Michaels is a bloody mess before it ends with the first appearance of Kane. UT is Tombstoned and Michaels gets the pin. Cut to hype for the upcoming Casket Match.
DX music/video plays and Michaels comes to the ring on his own. He calls out the Undertaker who he claims to have beaten "time and time again". He calls UT a loser and vows to still be the Champ after the Casket Match. UT's music plays and the lights go out. The casket bearers appear again this week with the same graffitti covered casket from last week. Michaels goes over to the casket imploring Hunter and Chynna to come out - but they appear on the ramp! Michaels opens the lid and UT pops out and drags him into it. The lights go out and so do we...
Anyway, that's the way I see it...
editor Solie's Wrestling Newsletter
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