Hello and Happy (Belated) New Year!!! I just want to say that it has been a year since I left RingSide Insider (a good internet publication in its own right) to write for Mr. Earl Oliver and the Solie's Web Page. In that time, I have had the pleasure of writing history pieces on Starrcade, The Four Horsemen, The Midnight Express, The Road Warriors, Steve Austin, Brian Pillman and Sting (as well as other miscellenous articles). I have also had the privilage of reading other interesting articles from Jeff Yelton, Matt Benaka, Garland Chan, Earl Oliver and others. It has been a great 1997 on this page and I hope 1998 will be even better.
I would also like to announce that the "what-if" scenerios will now be tied together someway for storylines that I hope the fans will like. Now, I am not the greatest fictional writer but I hope I can entertain the fans as much as possible. The history pieces, however, will continue as will the vote-in dream cards.
Finally, I would like to say thanks for your support but please, if your a pro wrestling fan, support pro wrestling pages wherever you find them. Thanks.
Ervin V. Griffin, Jr.
by Ervin Griffin Jr.
Part 10: First Reign
After losing the WWF Intercontiental Championship to Davey Boy Smith at SummerSlam '92, Bret Hart was not really in the spotlight that often although he was still one of the most popular atheletes in the world. Around the time that Bret lost the I-C strap, "Nature Boy" Ric Flair regained the WWF World Heavyweight Title from Randy "Macho Man" Savage. I believe the date was September 2, 1992 (only a few days after Bret lost his belt). Anyway, Flair's run as champ came to an end on October 12, 1992 in Saskatoon, Canada when Bret (from out of nowhere) defeated Flair by submission to win the WWF Title. I have seen this match via the WWF's "Rock 'Em, Sock 'Em" video and I must say that Bret kicked Flair's a** in that match up. I know that I am going to hear it from Flair fans for that opinion but get the tape and watch the match and you'll see what I mean. Anyway, Flair is one of the few wrestlers that Bret has a low opinion of (at least in character anyway). Bret was once quoted in PRO WRESTLING ILLUSTRATED saying that he couldn't understand people's facination with Ric and that in terms of wrestling skills he is overrated. He even went so far to say that Flair, on a scale of 1-10, was really a 3!!! While I don't agree with that analogy, I must give Bret a little credit for having the guts to say that considering the fire he would be under for saying it and given Flair's standing in the wrestling community.
Anyway, Bret's first title run was probably his best run as champ (IMO) because of the quality of his opponents. He defeated just about everyone by submission with his "sharpshooter from the Berserker, Virgil, Papa Shango, Ric Flair and (I think) Rick Martel. At the 1992 Survivor Series, he defeated then WWF Intercontiental Champion Shawn Michaels in a classic match up. In January of the next year, he defeated Razor Ramon (Scott Hall) at the 1993 Royal Rumble in a good match. It was a revenge match of sorts because a month before, Ramon attacked Owen Hart and left him laying in the dressing room. Bret was fighting for family pride as well as defending his title. At that same card, he found out that Yokozuna would be his opponent for WrestleMania IX at Ceasar's Palace in Las Vegas, NV. The "HitMan" was viewed as a big underdog despite the fact that he was the champion because of the size and ability of his oppenent. Yokozuna weighed in at 505lbs. at that time and had great ability for his size so there was good reason to believe that Bret was going to become an ex-champion that day.
In reality, Yokozuna would've lost that day if not for Mr. Fuji (Yoko's manager) throwing salt into the eyes of Bret as he (incredibly) put the "sharpshooter" on Yokozuna. Hulk Hogan came down to "protest" the decision. I use that term loosely because I really think he came down to challenge Yokozuna for his own reasons. I also believe that he was genuinly surprised when Fuji challenged him right there to a match (I know this stuff is a work but I'm writing it according to the story line and characters these men portrayed). Bret even gave Hogan his OK to go get Yokozuna. The "match" was all of 30 seconds as Hogan defeated Yoko for his fifth title reign (a mark that Bret recently achieved himself). Still, the real loser of this situation was the "HitMan" because he would not recieve another opportunity at a big event for the title for over a year. But that doesn't mean that he was bored during that time. Some "royality" was about to enter his life.
NEXT TARGET: "The King" Feud
Coming Soon: Stylin' And Profilin': The Legend Of Ric Flair
If you have a question, comment, criticism, or just want to talk pro wrestling, e-mail me at mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org
Anyway, that's the way I see it...
editor Solie's Wrestling Newsletter
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
First, as you probably noticed, there was no regular Mid-Week Edition this week. I have decided to phase out the Mid-Week Edition in order to cover the Thursday Thunder Program which debuted last night. From now on Solie's will be published on Monday night and Friday morning with special editions to cover weekend Pay-Per-Views.
Having said that, I have a few comments about the introduction of the NWA North American Heavyweight Title this week on RAW. I am having some difficulty figuring out what McMahon's purpose is in making this move at this time.
A little history lesson is in order at this point because Jim Cornette made some major errors in tracing the NWA lineage back to Abraham Lincoln.
The National Wrestling Alliance was born in 1948 and the then reigning Midwest Wrestling Association (MWA) World Heavyweight champion, Orville Brown was named as it's first World Heavyweight Champion. The MWA Title had been created in 1940 when Bobby Bruns defeated Orville Brown - there were 22 MWA Title reigns including 9 by Brown. There was also an Ohio version of the MWA Title which was created in 1931, but that was later merged with the Kansas City version which was eventually won by Bobby Bruns. The Title was vacated when the MWA was merged into the newly formed NWA.
The lineage before that is a bit murky, but it appears that the MWA Title was derived from the Unified Heavyweight Title which was created in 1908 when Franck Gotch defeated the then reigning European Greco-Roman Wrestling Champion, George Hackenschmidt to merge that Title with the American Wrestling Association Catch-as-Catch-Can Title which had been created when Evan "Strangler" Lewis defeated Joe Acton to win Catch-as-Catch-Can title on 03/14/1887 in Chicago, IL. He unified the American Greco-Roman title to become the unified American Heavyweight champion, defeating Ernest Roeber on 03/02/1893 in a mixed match with Greco-Roman and Catch-as-Catch-Can styles in best of 5 falls. So the farthest back that the NWA Title can be traced is to Lewis in 1887 - about 23 years after the death of Lincoln (who was an "Eye-Gouge Wrestling Champion" in Illinois before he started his political career - some pundits argue that the present form of Pro-Wrestling derives from these frontier contests). Before that the only lineage derives from the European Greco-Roman Title which, I am quite positive, was never held by Mr. Lincoln.
To further muddy the waters, Charlie Cutler had been the American Heavyweight Champion in Illinois and was billed as World Heavyweight Champion after February 1902. He was said to have defeated Ordemann in July of 1914 in Minneapolis, MN for the title (no verification has been found for this match).
On May 15, 1915 Joe Stecher defeated Cutler for the title with Gotch in attendance and he was then recognised as the Unified Heavyweight Champion.
This title then continued until 1948 when Lou Thesz Unified the following titles to become the Undisputed World Heavyweight champion :
National Wrestling Alliance World Heavyweight title, awarded on 11/27/49 when champion Orville Brown is injured in an automobile accident on 11/01/49 before a unification match scheduled on 11/25/49 in St. Louis, MO
A.W.A. World Heavyweight title (Boston), defeating Gorgeous George on 07/27/50 in Chicago, IL
Los Angeles Olympic Auditorium version of the world title, defeating Baron Michele Leone on 05/21/52 in Los Angeles, CA.
This then is the title which emerged as the NWA World Heavyweight Title and continued until 1991 when the NWA ceased to exist as a wrestling promotion. At that time all NWA current title holders were awarded the WCW Titles in their respective classes.
The NWA however, continued as a legal entity following the withdrawal of WCW and held a tournament for the revived NWA World Heavyweight Title in 1994; however, the title has not been generally accepted as a significant World Title.
Now to the North American Title.
This belt was created by the NWA in 1969 and then abandoned in '79. It was revived the same year and renamed the Mid-South North American Title and continued until it was again abandoned in 1985. When the Mid-South promotion became the Universal Wrestling Federation there was no North American Title.
The Global Wrestling Federation (GWF) revived the Title in 1991 but it was again abandoned when that promotion closed down in September af 1994. The reconstituted NWA then assumed control of the Title and has controlled it since that time.
So what all this leads to is the fact that the NWA North American Heavyweight Title has no real unbroken lineage, since the original Title was abandoned back in 1979. In fact all of the current NWA Titles have no relationship to their forebears except in name only because the current NWA is only legally related to the original organization.
For the WWF to in any way claim to be carrying on the traditions of the NWA is ludicrous since the WW(W)F split off from the NWA in 1963 following a disputed World Title win over "Nature Boy" Buddy Rogers by Lou Thesz. Vince McMahon Sr. and some other dissident promoters formed the WWWF in that year and awarded their World Title to Rogers, who was their man. Their point of contention was that Rogers had lost the Title in a one fall match when three fall matches were the then current fashion. The fact that Rogers challanged Thesz a month later and lost again in a three fall match didn't seem to faze them.
In fact, since the then current NWA Champions all continued as their WCW counterparts when the NWA folded in 1991, only the WCW organization can legitimately claim to represent the heritage of the NWA, depite what the WWF, or the current reconstituted NWA would have you believe.
Live from Daytona Beach, FL. Tony Shiavone welcomes us to the first program in the series. He is joined by Lee Marshall and Bobby Heenan. He starts out by saying they will show the famous "court blocked" footage from Nitro two weeks ago. Tony says the first match is supposed to feature Randy Savage but that he isn't here. They replay the tape of the nWo arriving in separate limos last Monday. Then they cut to Eric Bischoff in the ring with Mean Gene, denying that there were any problems. Still no sign of Savage. Cut to Nick Lambros' statement from Monday night. Then they show us the suspension of Nick Patrick, also on Monday. Finally they take us to the end of the last Nitro program to show us the dustup among the nWo members that occured on that occasion.
Chris Adams vs. Randy Savage (w/Miss Liz) - Savage finally shows up and uses Liz to run interference so he can blindside his opponent before the bell. The fight goes outside after the first few exchanges - Adams has shown no offense at all so far. The Macho Man slams Adams into the ring steps then tries to whip him the other direction but Chris reverses and Savage runs into the post. He has injured his right arm. Suddenly Lex Luger runs in and brains Savage with a chair then rolls him back into the ring! Adams gets the pin. JJ Dillon has come to ringside and is questioning the referee as we cut to commercial.
We return to nWo music - here come Hogan and Bischoff. They take their (too?) sweet time going to the ring as the music switches to "VooDoo Chile". Bischoff intros Hogan as "...still the heavyweight champion of the world" and then state that tonight, Hogan gets his title back. Hogan says that the tape of the end of the Starrcade match from two weeks ago will show that he got the pin. Actually, from what I saw, I think he's correct. Cut to commercial.
Mike Tenay is with JJ Dillon. Dillon says that he is reversing the decision in the first match of the evening because of Luger's interference, citing Nick Lambros' statement. Luger comes out and disputes the ruling, stating that no matter what happens he and the other WCW wrestlers intend to "take matters into their own hands..." then stalks off. Dillon re-iterates his ruling but takes no action against Luger personally.
Louis Spicoli vs. Rick Martel - Spicoli avoids a move from Martel early on then stops to tap his thick cranium (the standard gesture to indicate he had outsmarted his opponent) - Martel clotheslines him to the floor. Raven and his flock come down to ringside during the match. Back in the ring Spicoli comes back strong and takes control but he has a lot of trouble keeping Martel down. After a couple of exchanges Martel turns things around. It is only a matter of time before he slaps on his Boston Crab to get the win. Cut to commercial.
We return to some Starrcade footage - Scott Hall is in the ring explaining that Kevin Nash isn't going to show for his match with the Giant. The big guy comes down makes a speech and then creams Hall with a Jack Knife Powerbomb.
Tenzan (representing the nWo Japan) vs. Ohara (w/Sonny Oono) - Mike Tenay says that tonight is to be Oono's revenge against the nWo for his humiliation the night that Chono defected. Ohara comes in and attacks before the bell but only holds the advantage for a little while. Tenzan comes back and reverses the field but then gets distracted by Oono. Ohara resumes control, but again briefly. Tenzan is definitely the stronger performer here. He makes short work of his opponent and wins after a diving head-butt from the top. Cut to commercial.
We return to a review of the Flair/Hart confrontation from Nitro.
Chris Jericho vs. Rick Flair - Jericho makes another speech about his behaviour over the last two weeks, he is carrying another suit jacket. He calls himself a role model again and again promises to not throw any more temper tantrums. He presents the jacket to Dave Penzer (that's two so far...) Flair makes his entrance to a huge pop. This is the the first singles match between these two. But lets go sell something first...
The match begins as we return and Jericho is clearly holding all the cards. Flair's guile isn't enough to counter Jericho's athletic ability so he resorts to a low-blow. Now it is all Flair but how unfortunate that he has to stoop so low. And his advantage is short-lived as Jericho comes back strong. It looks like Jericho has things in hand but then Flair sidesteps a flying move, gets the figure four and the submission. Jericho throws another fit (of course) tears off Penzer's jacket yet again. He is tearing his hair and demanding "...why?" as we cut to commercial.
Meng vs. The Giant - Tony is announcing that a match has been made between Flair and Bret Hart for the Souled Out PPV as Meng makes his entrance. Meng looks like a pygmy as he tries to assault the Giant. He takes it until he manages to get out of the way of a rush to the corner. He then uses a drop-kick to the knee to bring the big guy down. He gets in a few shots but it just enrages the Giant, who eventually gets the chokeslam and the win. During the match they also announce a match between the Giant and Kevin Nash. Cut to commercial.
Steve McMichaels vs. Goldberg - Mongo explodes out of the ring before Goldberg can get to there. Goldberg takes it and also a slam into the ringsteps but comes right back. In the ring, he picks Mongo up in a Gorilla Press then turns it into a powerbomb. Steve turns things around for a bit with several three-point tackles but then Goldberg comes back with his Jack Hammer to win. Cut to the replay then to commercial.
The Steiner Brothers vs. Buff Bagwell/Konnan (w/Vincent) - Tag Team Title match - I wonder what happened to Vicious & Delicious... Scott starts the match with Bagwell, who makes the mistake of turning his back on Steiner and pays for it by getting clotheslines from behind. Konnan comes in against Rick and fares no better. Bagwell comes in and does a little better against Rick until he throws himself into position for an over-the-head suplex. Again the ending is strange. Rick is ready for the second story job but Scott ends it prematurely by getting a Frankensteiner (and the pin) on Konnan. Rick is looking puzzled as we cut to commercial.
Tony tells us that a fine has been levied against Scott Steiner but fails to explain the reason for it. They cut to tape of the Zybzsco/Bischoff match from Starrcade. You can see my Starrcade report (Issue #258) if you want a description of this match. I will say that Larry Z looked to be in great shape for this one. I also noticed that they didn't talk at all about Zbyzsco's extensive martial arts background - he used to be known for that. It sure was funny watching that steel bar fly out of Bischoff's spat before he managed to connect. Not surprisingly, the results are the same as the last time we saw this match ;-)
Mike Tenay introduces Legendary Larry who seems to be enjoying his new-found celebrity. He talks about how he beat Scott Hall ten years ago and how he intends to do it again at Souled Out. He states that he will "...change the New World Order for life." Cut to commercial.
We return to some footage of Ray Traylor getting spray painted by the nWo a few months back.
Scott Hall vs. Ray Traylor - Hall shows contempt for his opponent early on and pays for it. Traylor is a real rough character. The referee takes a shot and Traylor breaks off his assault to check him out. He then follows Hall out to the floor and gets waffled with Hall's bogus Tag Team Title belt. Back in the ring Hall has the upper hand but can't get the pin. Hall goes out and grabs a chair but runs into Larry Z who has come to ringside. Scott drops the chair and re-enters the ring. Larry jumps up on the apron and distracts his nemesis while Traylor recovers. Hall turns around to get Sidewalk Slammed and pinned. Cut to commercial.
Juventud Guerrera vs. Ultimo Dragon - Cruiserweight Title match - on paper this would seem to be a squash. The Dragon outweighs his opponent and is a better wrestler. And that seems to be the reality as the match ensues. The Dragon misses a handspring into the corner and gives Guerrera an opening, but the youngster fails to capitalize sufficiently. They go to the outside where the Dragon gets a moonsault off the apron. Back in the ring he continues to dominate the smaller man. Guererra finally gets a DDT to take the advantage. He puts the champ down one more time then throws a 450 splash to get the pin. Juventud is the new Cruiserweight Champ! Tony finally tells us that Scott Steiner was fined $5000 for slapping the referee.
Mike Tenay introduces Bret Hart - Hart says he has nothing but respect for Rick Flair but he believes in himself. Flair strolls down to the ring and confronts Hart. He wants to here the slogan again. So Bret obliges him once again. Flair rants about his glorious past. Bret comes back with "I guess to be the man...I'll just have to beat the man." Cut to commercial.
Scott Norton vs. Lex Luger - Luger gets creamed before he can get into the ring. Norton rolls him in and goes to work. Luger comes back strong but then gets distracted by Buff Bagwell. Norton takes over again and applies his reverse shoulder breaker but can't get the pin. Luger comes right back with a bionic (loaded) elbow. He racks his opponent and gets the submission. Bagwell comes in and gets racked. Savage shows up with a chair but gets a face full of Buff. Luger is swinging the chair as we cut to commercial.
We come back to see the highlights from the Hogan/Sting match at Starrcade. You know that count was a little fast... but not enough to justify Hart's actions IMO. By the way, Hogan did submit to the Scorpion Deathlock - he is clearly seen to nod "yes" when Hart queries him about giving up. Cut to commercial.
Tony and Lee set up the next video clip - the disputed footage from the Nitro program the night after Starrcade - after the show went off the air. It opens with both men down in the ring. Both recover and Hogan gets the upper hand. He gets a scoop slam but misses the leg drop. Sting gets his Stinger splash then tries it again but the referee is pulled between them by Hogan. Sting gets the Scorpion but the ref is out. Nick Patrick shows up and Sting releases the hold. While Sting is distracted, Hogan rolls him up and gets a pin, but Sting gets up and decks Patrick. Now the original ref is on his feet again. Sting slaps on the Scorpion again - this time Randy Anderson is there as Hogan taps out. Sting is declared the winner by the referee of record. JJ Dillon arrives to award the belt to Sting but Bischoff runs in and decks him with a kick to the head. Of course the nWo swarms into the ring and Sting is in trouble. Then Bret Hart joins the frey followed by DDP, Hacksaw Duggin and others. A brawl ensues.
We cut to JJ Dillon in the ring with Mike Tenay - he calls Hogan to the ring. He then asks for Sting to come down and bring the belt. Sting strides to the ring wearing the Title. Dillon says that the Title has been held up by the Executive Committee and asks Sting to give him the belt. Sting throws it at Dillon's feet. He puts his bat under Dillon's chin and speaks (english) for the first time in eighteen months, "You have no guts" - then he does the same to Hogan and says "And you (chuckle)...you're a dead man." Cut to commercial.
Diamond Dallas Page vs. Kevin Nash - this is interesting when you consider the prior relationship between these two men. DDP does surprisingly well against this monster right out of the chute but he can't sustain it for long. Nash takes over after the first few exchanges. He dominates for several moments the DDP comes back with some punches. Nash puts him down with a lariet. He follows with a side salto but DDP kicks out. We are now about 8 minutes past the hour - 3 minutes into overtime. The fight goes out to the floor and DDP gets flung into the ring steps. Back in the ring Nash gets his old Snake-Eyes move in the corner. He drops a big elbow but again fails in the pin attempt. He pulls DDP to his feet and suddenly Page has him in position for the Diamond Cutter - but Hogan punches him from the apron and causes the DQ loss for his cohort. They start to gang up on DDP but the Giant strides down to the ring. He enters and faces off with Nash as Tony is saying they have to go. The brawl is just getting started as we fade to black...
Well that was interesting...
Anyway, that's the way I see it...
editor Solie's Wrestling Newsletter
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