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Solie's Tuesday Morning Report: EXTRA!

Friday Morning Edition

Diary of a "Hitman": Part 12

by Ervin Griffin Jr.

Volume 3, Issue 267 - January 22, 1998
During my last two RAW Reports I stated that I was not sure how the Rock & Roll Express came to be referred to as the NWA World Tag Team Champions since, to my knowledge, those titles had been vacated in August of last year. Yesterday I found this statement posted on the official NWA web site:

Many of you have asked exactly how Ricky Morton and Robert Gibson became NWA World Tag Team Champions, when there was never a tournament held to fill the vacant spot. Good question. On Sunday afternoon, January the 11th, during our weekly NWA Board of Directors telephone conference, it was decided that instead of holding another tournament to fill the vacant spot, we would just award the title to the team that last held it (emphasis mine), provided they would be willing to accept it. Bear in mind, we didn't know if this was going to fly, considering the fact that Ricky and Robert have had their share of troubles in the past. But when we contacted them and they agreed to accept the titles, it was a matter of a phone call on Monday morning to our Good Will Ambassador to put them on "Raw is War" in a non-title match that night. For those of you who noticed, that also explains why they didn't have the straps with them until the following Monday night.

I emphasised that line above for two reasons: 1) Clearly R&R have not earned that title but were simply given it and: 2) They were not, in fact the last team to hold the title. According to the official Title History of the NWA the reconstituted team of the Fantastics held the titles last - the Rock & Roll Express held the titles back in 1995. There is no record of them being the Champs since that time. In my opinion, this whole NWA/WWF connection seems fishy...


Diary of a "Hitman"

by Ervin Griffin Jr.

Part 12: Brothers Divided

After SummerSlam '93, Bret Hart still had unfinished business with Jerry "The King" Lawler. Bret called on his brothers (Owen, Keith, and Bruce) to take on Lawler at Survivor Series '93 in an eight man tag team elimination match. Lawler got a bunch of nobodies to be his partners, calling them his "knights." At the card, however, Shawn Michaels unexpectedly took the place of Lawler. Even with Michaels' considerable talent, there was no hope for this team as the Hart Bros. dominated most of the bout. Then came the "bump heard around the world" as Owen accidentally collided with Bret and caused Owen to be eliminated! In fact, he was the only member of his team to be eliminated. Frustrated, Owen nearly started a fight with Bret right there and then but was broken up by Bruce and Keith.

In the following weeks, Owen began making challenges to Bret for a one on one match up. Bret resisted the match saying that "he would never fight his own brother." In an attempt to smooth things over, Bret convinced Owen to team with him at the 1994 Royal Rumble against The Quebecers for the WWF Tag Team Titles. To be honest, I thought this was a big mistake because it was too soon after the blow up. For most of the match though, Owen and Bret dominated the more experienced Quebecers and had the match won. Bret, however, got hurt in his left knee and refused to tag out to Owen. We will never know if it was because of selfishness or he just thought he had things more in hand than what he really did. In any event, the ref stopped the bout and awarded the decision to the champs. Owen, feeling slighted, kicked Bret in his left knee and left him there to suffer!! While I can understand Owen's point of view (Bret should've tagged out), he still shouldn't have left his brother to suffer like that.

Meanwhile, Bret went on to tie with Lex Luger for a WWF Title shot by winning the Royal Rumble itself. As a result of a coin flip, Lex Luger was awarded the first crack at WrestleMania X at Madison Square Garden while Bret would get the second crack later in the card. Bret, however, was forced to fight the man he vowed never to fight: Owen Hart.

What was a nightmare for Bret was actually a blessing for the fans as they watch one of the two best matches of the card in my opinion (the other was Shawn Michaels VS. Razor Ramon in a WWF Intercontiental Title Ladder Match). Bret was on his usual game but Owen had never looked better than he did that day. Executing manuvears that I didn't think he had in his arsenal, including a lethal "tombstone" piledriver (I hope SCSA doesn't look at film of this match. Ouch!!). Owen fit into the heel role very well but the shocker was that he scored a clean pinfall over Bret. He's one of the few individuals to score a non-controversial pin on "The HitMan." That, in itself, was an accomplishment. Despite the loss, Bret would go on to face Yokozuna after Lex Luger was screwed out of his title match by "Mr. Perfect" Curt Hennig and regain the title that he lost to Yoko over a year ago.

Owen, meanwhile, was named top contender to Bret's title based on his win. The two brothers wrestled brilliant matches and even did 60 Minute IronMan matches for the title. In every case, Bret was either the winner or walked out with the title.

Then, in June 1994, Bret had a Champion VS. Champion title defense when he met then-WWF Intercontiental Champion Diesel (Kevin Nash). To counter possible interference from Shawn Michaels, Bret brought Jim "The Anvil" Neihart down to be his second. The match itself was the first of the classic Hart/Nash trilogy and was the tone setter for the other two matches. Often, big man VS. little man doesn't do well but these men managed to pull it off!!! In all honesty, Nash might have been WWF Champion then if not for Neihart interfering and causing Bret's disqualification. This is not to take away from Bret's performance (he did wrestle a brilliant match against Nash) but he was beat in my opinion.

Later, when Owen won the KOTR tourney by defeating Razor Ramon (Scott Hall) with the help of "The Anvil", Owen started nicknaming himself "The King Of Harts." Neihart also revealed that the real reason that he helped Bret retain the WWF Title was because he wanted to save it for Owen to win. Thus, the family feud continued with another strange twist yet to come.

NEXT TARGET: Bob Backlund: MadMan

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:griffiev@hotmail.com

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


Thunder Report

Live from the Von Braun Center in Huntsville, Alabama. Tony advises us that Roddy Piper will appear at Souled Out on Saturday and the Exec Committee will announce the disposition of the currently vacant WCW World Title.

Konnan (w/Vincent) vs. Scott Steiner - Scotty takes the first exchange and bounces Konnan out of the ring. Back inside Scotty completely dominates the Mexican star until Scott Norton and Buff Bagwell show up to punk him. Ray Traylor and Rick then run in to even the odds. Scott and Buff have a pose down after the match. It didn't look like Scott even acknowledged his brother's actions. Cut to commercial.

nWo music plays and Kevin Nash approaches the ring in jeans, an insulated flannel shirt an baseball cap. He states that sometime in the next hour and a half he will be $1.5 million dollars richer and says that he has a trick up his sleeve to make the Giant snap. He seems pretty confident.

Chavo Guerrero Jr./Super Calo vs. La Parka/Silver King - Guerrero and Silver King start the match with Chavo out maneuveruing his opponent for the most part. Both teams exchange as Silver King leaves the ring - now its Calo and La Parka. We see Raven coming down throught the crowd to take his seat ringside - no sign of the Flock. In the ring La Parka has turned it around - he and Silver King are tagging in and out - keeping Calo under control. They succeed in doubleteaming him but somehow all three end up out of it - Calo gets the tag. Guerrero takes La Parka out of the ring - back inside Calo pulls Silver King off the top and gets the pin. La Parka comes back in with a chair and hits Calo - Juventud Guerrera runs in followed by Pychosis then Dandy then Lizmark Jr. and the melee gets into full swing.

We cut to video in which Nick Patrick is starting to make a statement but is interrupted when Kidman accosts Rick Martel. Martel shoves Kidman away after a verbal exchange then Saturn runs in and blindsides him. Together the two Flock members slam Martel into a glass door which shatters (proving that it was probably candy glass - regular glass doors don't fall apart like that because they are made out of sandwiched layers of glass and plastic). Cut to commercial.

Marty Jannettey vs. Dean Malenko - Malenko goes right to his mat wrestling gameplan and grounds his high-flying opponent. Jannetty is a pretty fair mat wrestler as well so he changes his gameplan and tries to match Malenko move for move. That proves to be a poor strategy however because Malenko has a much larger arnsenal. Still Jannetty is very resourceful and manages to stay in it for quite a while. Eventually Malenko gets a chicken-wing powerbomb and then turns it into the Texas Cloverleaf to win. Cut to commercial.

Kendall Windham vs. Bill Goldberg - this match starts out unusual as Goldberg actually wrestles during the first exchange. This seems to anger Windham who takes his pique out on Goldberg by knocking him down and pummeling him. Now Goldberg gets mad and ends the match with his customary dispatch. Cut to commercial.

Scott Hall comes out and does his survey - usual results these days and his typical reaction despite the overwhelming rejection of his position. He rants some about the Giant then trains his rhetoric on Zbyszco. Louis Spicoli shows up carrying a set of golf clubs. He says they are Larry Z's. Hall has him take the 2 and 4 irons out and swing them then break them. Louie does a couple more and then Larry comes down the aisle. Larry rants at Hall so Hall asks Louie if he thinks Zbyszco can beat him (Hall). Louis says "he couldn't even beat me..." Larry enters the ring but stands off because Spicolli is still wielding a club. The camera focuses on Larry as Louis tackles and knocks him down. Hall tries to get into the action but Larry slips to the outside before Hall can strike. Larry jaws some more about their match coming up at Souled Out on Saturday. Cut to commercial.

Eddie Guerrero vs. Rey Misterio Jr. - Cruiserweight Title match - Eddie gets a fast start but Rey is faster. Still during the second exchange Guerrero manages to swing the advantage to his side and injures Rey's knee in the process. Rey isn't much good without his wheels and so he suffers for a while but eventually comes back. Moments later he throws a somersault planche to the outside and reinjures his leg. Suddenly Chris Jericho runs in and attacks Rey. He stomps a mudhole in the Champ. Guerrero comes back in and has some words with Jericho but then the two of them continue the attack on the helpless Misterio. Together they slide him out to the floor then Guerrero starts yelling at Jericho because the latter messed up his Title shot. As they argue, Chris Benoit (Jericho's oppoent in the next match) enters the ring behind Jericho's back. Eddie decides to leave Jericho to Benoit and begs off from a fight. Jericho thinks he has intimidated Guerrero until he turns around and sees Benoit.

Chris Jericho vs. Chris Benoit - they start the match immediately and Benoit has the advantage. They have gone to the outside as we cut to commercial.

As we return the match has progressed but Benoit is still in charge. In fact Jericho doesn't appear to have a prayer against the "human buzzsaw". He hangs in there and eventually uses a shortcut to turn the tables. It doesn't last long and soon Benoit is on top again. He starts to apply the "Crippler Crossface" but Jericho taps out instantly and rolls out of the ring. After the match Benoit gestures toward Raven who refuses to acknowledge him. As soon as Benoit turns his back, Raven slides in under the ropes and atttacks as we cut to commercial.

Voodoo Child plays - here come Hogan and Bischoff. Bischoff introduces Hogan as the "Heavyweight Champion of the World" and claims that WCW will give him the title back on Saturday at the PPV (yeah right...) Hogan says he heard that the brass intended to give him the belt tonight but decided to give it " a double polish" first and hold off the presentation until Saturday (dream on Hollywood boy...) Cut to commercial.

We return to still shots of the January 12 Nitro TV Title match between Saturn and Booker T wherein Martel came out and upset Saturn's plans to rob Booker T of the belt. This led to the confrontation we saw earlier and to this match.

Saturn vs Rick Martel - we get another look at Martel crashing through the glass door before Martel comes running to the ring. He explodes all over Saturn and takes the advantage after the first exchange. He takes Saturn out to the floor and smashes him against the ringsteps. Back in the ring Martel is having to hold off Kidman and gets surprised and downed by Saturn. Kidman disappears and the match goes on. It is a see-saw affair with Saturn gaining ground as we cut to commercial.

Martel has turned the tables as we return but it is still see-sawing. After several exchanges Martel is able to slip on the Boston Crab and gets the win. Kidman mounts the ropes and throws himself just as the bell rings. Martel releases the hold and sidesteps - Kidman splashes his Flock mate on the head.

Lets watch some video of Roddy Piper in a fight sequence from a recent episode of Walker, Texas Ranger before we cut to commercial.

nWo music plays as we return - time for the main event.

Scott Hall vs. The Giant - we shall see what Nash has up his sleeve I guess. Hall comes out alone. The Giant enters and Hall gets in his face and gets pushed down. Hall comes back with punches then grabs a front chancelry - Giant just picks him up and dumps him. Hall fights gamely but is overwhelmed each time. The crowd is standing - here comes Nash and Hogan. The distracted Giant is blindsided by his opponent. Then Nash gets in a cheap shot. Hogan enters the ring and helps Hall beat on the Giant until the big guy gets them both by the throat. He double headbutts them down as Savage mounts the corner. But Lex Luger is right behind him and knocks him off. Savage - confronted by the Giant in the ring - back pedals and is dragged to the floor by Luger. Luger smashes him into the railing then racks him! Nash taunts Savage as Luger stretches his back then turns back toward the ring where the Giant is chokeslamming Hall. Nash enters the ring and attacks the Giant who shrugs him off and refuses to get into it. They go to the outside where the Giant takes out his frustration on a chair then the ring. He pulls the ringpost aprt and collapses the ring!! Nash looks a little intimidates and backs off as we fade to black.

Not bad but not quite up to the standard set by the first show in this series.

Anyway, that's the way I see it...

Earl Oliver,
editor Solie's Wrestling Newsletter


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