Part 1 by "Wild Bill" Rawlings
It was less than a year ago that I decided to spend the money necessary to purchase a modem and start surfing these great Internet waves. There have been a lot of great technological breakthroughs in my short life...cable TV, microwave ovens, CD players, and spandex for overweight people!! Now it's the Internet, and all that it offers.
Professional wrestling enters this brave new world of "Pay Per View...Internet Style" as WCW offers their January 31st, Bean Town Brawl house show, plus assorted other "goodies" to paying fans who cough up the grand total of $7.95. I decided the price was reasonable enough considering what was included, and the following is my review of the "total package".
You can get a sneak preview by going to WCW's site and clicking on the appropriate banner. This will allow you to download a Quake II Sting "skin", an outer covering making your character in the computer game look like the black and white Sting of today. Since I don't have that game, I passed on that particular download, but I can see where others would find it worthwhile.
Upon placing my order and receiving the e-mail confirmation with the necessary password, I proceeded to check out the "dedicated" site. The only option the first night (January 24th, immediately after Souled Out II) was a "...never before seen documentary on the life and times of pro-wrestling's greatest performer"...aka Ric Flair. This 46 minute long special included interview sniplets with Gordon Solie, Dusty and Dustin Rhodes, Sting, and Arn Anderson to name a few. These segments, and the whole documentary for that fact, seems to have been put together four or five years ago based on the fact that Dustin was in WCW and wearing men's clothing, Sting had a crew cut, and Alex Wright was only 18 and referred to as "Das Wunderkind"!
Many family photos accompany the narration as Ric describes how he got into the business and also shares his feelings about the plane crash that nearly ended his career.
Three of Flair's favorite matches, all edited for time, complete the documentary. The first is from 1983, with Ric facing Harley Race in a cage match for the NWA belt. Gene Kiniski was the special referee and Gordon Solie and Bob Caudle called the match. Wrestling as it use to be! Flair wins a hard fought match.
The second match was from WrestleWar 89, Nashville, TN, and featured the Nature Boy challenging Rick Steamboat for the title. Jim Ross and Bob Caudle were the announcers. I found it ironic that during the match, Ross indicated the two men were wrestling, not "posing" or using "rock and roll music", an obvious slam to the WWF and Hulk Hogan! Flair wins the NWA championship for the 6th time in this match.
The final match was Starrcade '93 from Charlotte, NC. Tony Schiavone and Jesse "The Body" Ventura call the match between Flair and the current WCW champion, Vader, with his manager Harley Race in his corner. It was good to hear Jesse's voice again doing what he always did best. Randy Anderson was the referee as Flair beat the Rocky Mountain Monster, a feat rarely accomplished back then. Vader has since moved on to the WWF, put on some weight, and is no longer the feared monster of just a few years back.
Although a well spent 46 minutes, especially if you are a Ric Flair fan, I would have preferred to have seen some more recent material included for my money. Flair/Hogan would have been a natural addition to this highlight reel.
The package really starts to unfold on Monday, January 26th, as all the options available are premiered. There's a "download" option, which will give you many different downloadable "goodies". Monday's download is several NWO pictures to use as wallpaper for Windows. You have several pictures of Hall, Hogan, and the Outsiders to choose from...they're just TOOO SWEEEET!!
Next is a daily "trivia challenge". Each day, 10 different trivia questions will be offered for you to try to answer. They keep a running total of your scores, and given my lack of trivia knowledge, I expect my score will be WAY low!! By the way, does anybody know who Steve McMichael wrestled in his first singles match?? :)
Then comes an option that I am really looking forward to, and that is the "classic matches" option. This allows you, using RealPlayer 5.0, to view different matches daily, such as the Nature Boy documentary mentioned above. They have two options available, one for 28.8 modems and one for ISDN and above. Choosing the higher option, I'm treated today to Bash at the Beach '96, the infamous match where the red and gold was cast aside for, eventually, black and white. This was the breakthrough match in developing what has now become one of the greatest angles of all time. Hall, Nash, and a "mystery partner" were to face the defenders of WCW, Sting, Lex Luger, and Randy "Macho Man" Savage!
However, only Hall and Nash came out for the match. They tell "Scheme" Gene that two is enough to handle the situation and the match begins. Lex Luger takes a nasty fall in the first few minutes, requiring his removal from ringside, thus making it a 2-on-2 match. It goes back and forth for about 20 minutes when all of a sudden, to a thunderous applause, Hulk Hogan comes to ringside. Hall and Nash quickly leave the ring, as Hogan looks down on a fallen Savage. Unbelieveably, he then does a series of leg drops on his former friend!! The fans are shocked...
What was very ironic, given the results of Souled Out II this past weekend, were some of Dusty Rhode's comments. "What the HELL is going on here?", he yelled when Hogan did his first leg drop on Savage. "A career of a lifetime...right down the drain kids", he later added. Another quote, "You gotta stand up and look yourself in the mirror", rings in my ears today as Dusty has now gone down that same black and white path!
In the post-match interview, a troubled Mean Gene tried to find an answer to "why" Hogan would do such a thing. It's during this interview that we hear the phrase "New World Order" coined by Hogan...and so the legend begins...
In the next installment, I'll describe the options available from Tuesday through Thursday, and the final installment will include everything that happens from Friday on, to include coverage of the "Bean Town Brawl...This Ain't No Tea Party" house show. With a headline match of Hogan vs Sting in a CAGE, this ought to be exciting!! Stay tuned!!
"Wild Bill" Rawlings is a friend and occasional contributer to Solie's Newsletter and regularly enlivens the Readers' Forum with his informed opinions and imaginative wit.
We open with a clip of Roddy Piper ordering the match between Hogan and Sting for SuperBrawl.
Live from Ft. Wayne, Indiana - Tony, Larry and Bobby are the hosts. Tony tells us that the Giant has been injured and is incommudicado for the time being.
El Dandy vs. Ultimo Dragon - just as the match gets underway Raven's Flock come down and cause a stir. Tony tells us they have paid for their ringside seats. In the ring, Dandy is not faring well until the Dragon handsprings into the corner and misses his target. His advantage is short lived as the Dragon comes back with an insuguri. Moments later he slaps on the Dragon Sleeper and takes the win. Cut to commercial.
Mean Gene is live in Chattanooga at the frat house of a Nitro party Grand Prize winners. Quite a bash...
Brad Armstrong vs. Bill Goldberg - Armstrong wears a sweatshirt that reads "The Armstrong Curse" and tries to overcome that personal difficulty by throwing it onto Goldberg's head to distract him. It works for about 5 seconds then Goldberg takes him apart. Usual ending. Cut to Diamond Dallas Page making a statement about the Giant's injury then to commercial.
Mike Tenay shows us the footage of the Giant being badly powerbombed by Kevin Nash. JJ Dillon makes a statement concerning the incident. He has nothing to add concerning the Giant's condition but says that WCW has decided to bar the Jack Knife Powerbomb by Kevin Nash or anyone else who wrestles for WCW. He threatens "Terminal Prosecution" if any athlete attempts the move from now on.
Konnan (w/Vincent) vs. Jerry Lynn - Flynn manages to keep his opponent off balance with his combined wrestling/martial arts attack in the early going. Konnan flees to the outside in order to regroup. When he re-enters the ring - Vincent pops up on the apron and grabs Flynn - which gives Konnan his opening. Now it is all Konnan for the next several exchanges but Flynn comes back with a vengence - diving onto Konnan from the inside out and forcing his opponent onto the ring steps with devestating force. In the ring he continues his assault. Konnan is reeling but manages to tie Flynn up with the Tequila Sunrise to get the submission. Cut to one more look at the Giant's mishap (they are saying that Nash released his grip on purpose but it looks like he just couldn't support the Giant's weight.) then to commercial.
We join Mean Gene at the Nitro party again. He introduces the guy who sent in the videotape then talks to Kimberly. Cut to Mike Tenay on the ramp who introduces Steve McMichael. Tenay wants him to comment on the SuperBowl but he's having none of it. He comments on the competition in WCW then Davey Boy Smith shows up to challange him. Mongo says "...bring it on" (or words to that effect) - they agree to a match later this evening.
Buff Bagwell (w/Vincent) vs. Rick Steiner (w/Ted Dibiasi) - Bagwell attacks before the bell when Rick makes the mistake of turning his back while removing his dog collar. Bagwell's advantage is short lived as Steiner shows off the fact that he is a wrestling machine. Bagwell runs out of the ring then comes back in with a test of strength challange. He shortcuts it of course but fails to fool his opponent. Steiner atomic drops him. Moments later Bagwell manages to drop his opponent onto the top rope and turns the tables again. But once more it is only a brief shining moment before a series of clotheslines and suplexes reverses the field again. In the midst of the slaughter Vincent gets involved which brings Scott Steiner out to take him out. The problem is that Scotty gets over-zealous and tosses the hapless "nWo Chief of Security" into the ring then follows him in. The referee signals the DQ causing Scotty to attack him! The ref is threatening a $5000 dollar fine which Scotty wants Dibiasi to pay. Scotty leaves in a huff pausing to look into the camera and tell us that he hates referees because "their incompetent and stupid..." In the ring Dibiasi is saying he won't pay the fine. Cut to commercial.
nWo music plays and Kevin Nash come to the platform accompanied by Eric Bischoff. Bischoff rants about the nWo (and Nash in particular) being singled out by WCW. Nash is carrying a cup of coffee. Nash rants about the Giant supposedly telling him that he had had enough. He says he dropped the Giant on his head to "jump start" him. He pretends to be remorseful then drops the pose and exaults in his victory. He wants to be referred to as "Big Sexy the Giant Killer" from now on.
Wayne Bloom vs. Jim Neidhart - basically we have two veteran has-beens, neither of whom has any charisma - an apt match-up I suppose. A rather slow-moving contest full of ponderous power moves which Neidhart eventually wins by catching Bloom coming off the top and turning him over for a power slam. Cut to commercial for the "Boston Brawl" Internet PPV which "Wild Bill" talks about in the article above.
Mike Tenay on the ramp again introduces Ray Traylor - he asks him about the Giant's problems. Ray challanges Nash to a match later tonight.
Chavo Guerrer Jr. vs. Psychosis - the latter has started sporting the "wet look" lately and doesn't look nearly as menacing as he does with his curly do. It doesn't hinder his performance however as he takes the early advantage. Chavo catches him in the corner and turns the tables for a few exchanges but then drops down to soon and gets an elbow dropped on him. He comes back with a flying bulldog and the match starts to see-saw. They struggle for position on the top turnbuckle and Psychosis gets shoved off and lands on the steps (ouch!!) Chavo follows up with a somersault planche. Back in the ring the match see-saws again. Now each man is thwarting the other's moves. Eventually Chavo goes for a superplex but gets shoved off to the mat. Psychosis drops a big leg - that's all she wrote. Cut to commercial.
Louie Spicoli (w/Scott Hall) vs. Juventud Guerrera - Spicoli comes out carrying Hall's two tag team belts (one bogus - the other real). Hall does his survey and gets the usual reaction of late. Then he talks about the "new member" of the nWo, Dusty Rhodes and says that "young Louie Spicoli wants" to be a member as well. Then he splits as Juvy makes his entrance. Guerrera dominates the early going then stops to pat himself on the back - Spicoli attacks from behind as we leave to watch the Macho Man arrive in his own (rented) car out back. He is pissed for sure. Back in the ring Spicoli is getting his clock cleaned. Savage runs right in and attacks Juventud then grabs the mic and starts ranting while the recovered Spicoli creams Juventud in the background. Liz has appeared at ringside. Savage calls Luger out for a no DQ match - Spicoli makes the mistake of interrupting him and gets brained. The rest of the nWo shows up and Bischoff tells Savage to cool out. Savage counters with a denuciation of Nash, Bischoff and Hogan. Hogan takes the mic and says that the nWo has to stay together and he blames Savages troubles on his own actions. He says that Savage wasn't doing too well Saturday night and they came out to cheer him on. Savage says he wants to be on his own from now on (citing his cohorts loss of control) and mentions Hogan's loss of the World Title. That gets Hogan's goat and they come close to blows - but Savage retreats from the ring. He grabs a chair and Bischoff is trying to talk sense to both sides. Hogan tells Savage he is on his own and Savage says that's the way he wants it. He splits with Liz reluctantly following in his wake. Cut to commercial.
Back to Mean Gene in Chattanooga. Their playing "pin the Nitro Girl".
Raven (w/the Flock) vs. Mortis (w/James Vandenberg) - Raven slumps in the corner as Mortis makes his entrance. This is no DQ as usual so Mortis starts the match by drop-kicking Raven in the groin (OUCH!!!!!!!!!). The birdman falls to the outside where he is beaten severely. Back in the ring, Raven holds onto the ropes and blocks a DDT attempt to turn the tables momentarily. Mortis comes right back and the match see-saws. Mortis is knocked to the floor where Raven uses the steps as a springboard to throw two high knees in a row. Back in the ring Mortis turns things around again and makes several pin attempts. He calls for a chair and sets-up to use it. But Raven ducks the blow and slips in a DDT to get the pin. Cut to commecial.
Wrath (w/James Vandenberg) vs. Diamond Dallas Page - US Title match - Wrath has the overwhelming power advantage here but DDP is a house afire and shows me something concerning his improvement as wrestler in this match. He also shows a lot of explosive power of his own as the match progresses. As the tide turns against Wrath, Mortis comes down to lend a hand and ends up being the agent of Wrath's destruction as DDP runs them together then Diamond Cuts his opponent for the win. He retreats through the crowd leaving Mortis and Vandenberg to revive their fallen comrade. Wrath comes to and puts his finisher on Mortis (hard to tell if he was supposed to know what he was doing) then chases Vandenberg away. Cut to commercial.
Mike Tenay is in the ring as we return. He introduces Bret Hart. Hart acknowledges Ric Flair's wrestling talent and thanks him for the match - he says "Ric Flair, you're always going to be the Man". He comments on the Sting/Hogan controversey - saying that he doesn't care how that goes because he (Bret) intends to eventually be the "Best WCW Champion". Cut to commercial.
Back to Chattanooga where Mean Gene takes his own Scott Hall style survey and gets the same result that Hall got earlier - maybe a little more WCW biased...
Saturn vs. Booker T - TV Title match - Saturn tosses out a warning at Rick Martel as he makes his entrance - I expect we will see Martel before this match is finished. This a fast-paced power-laden match with Booker T managing to hold most of the cards throughout. Both of these guys are excellent wrestlers (Saturn is possibly the better of the two) besides being brawlers extraordinaire. I would nominate this for match of the night. Booker is going for his finisher when Hammer knocks him off the turnbuckle. The Flock swarms and punks Booker T but here comes Martel to the rescue. He clears the ring except for Saturn, who faces them both then drops to the mat and slithers out. Cut too commercial.
Mike Tenay introduces Chris Jericho. Jericho is all smarmy smiles wearing a Misterio shirt again. He claims not to have hurt Misterio on purpose (Rey is said to be undergoing knee surgery on Wednesday). He sheds a few mock tears and generally acts like an ass.
Steve McMichael vs. Davy Boy Smith - Smith wears the words Bull and Dog on his tights but isn't going by that name. Mongo attacks before the bell and takes the immediate advantage. He deals out a succession of devastating blows but then turns his back on the veteran. That's all the Bulldog needs to turn the tables. Now it is all Smith for a while. Eventually McMichael turns it around and the match see-saws. It looks bad for the Bulldog for about 3 seconds then he gets his running Powerslam and the pin. Cut to commercial.
Kevin Nash vs. Ray Traylor - a few years ago the Big Boss Man would have made mincemeat out of Vinnie Vegas but in this one Nash merely throws his coffee into Traylor's face, gives him a crotch shot then Jack Knifes him. The match is stopped and Nash is DQ'd. WCW's security chief Doug Dellenger handcuffs Nash and leads him away (Nash shouts "Attica! Attica!" as he leaves). Cut to commercial.
Scott Hall vs Lex Luger - count on Savage showing up for this one. Hall takes the mic and asserts that Ft. Wayne is nWo country. He then taunts Legendary Larry who abandons the broadcast both to head for the ring. Doug Dellenger is there to restrain him as we cut to commercial.
Tony tells us that Zbyszco has been escorted from the arena during the break. Luger makes his entrance and circles the ring gladhanding. Hall attacks as Luger enters the ring but only holds the advantage for a moment. Luger comes back strong momentarily but gets upset again and then Hall starts working on the ribs of his opponent. The match see-saws then Luger jumps to the second rope in the corner to pound on Halls head. Three times he is shoved off and comes right back. Finally he gets the power slam then Racks Hall. Savage runs in (what did I tell you) and gets the drop on Luger. He climbs to the top and drops the elbow then goes up again. Sting descends from the rafter right over Savages head and kicks Savage off the turnbuckle on his way down. He then throws two Stinger Splashes then applies the Scorpion. Hogan comes out to collect Hall and pauses to taunt Savage. Sting releases the hold and faces Hogan. They jaw some and Sting feints toward Hogan then leaves the ring from the opposite side as we fade to black.
As usual, the Nitro following the PPV rivaled the big event itself.
The program opens with a tribute still of Bobo Brazil.
We get a review of the Tyson situation before the credits. Don King will make another oily appearance and Shawn Michaels is said to have yet another "important announcement" - like he does every week it seems...
On tape from the University of California at Davis.
Mark Henry (w/NOD) vs. Ken Shamrock (w/Ahmed Johnson and DOA) - Shamrock strides right into the lion's den for the first match of the evening - with this bunch of thugs on hand he's liable to get hurt by his own guys if he's not carefull. For all of his amateurish, lumbering bulk, Henry makes a pretty good fight of it. In fact it looks to me like Shamrock is selling a little too well. He gets caught in a bearhug early on but escapes and attacks the legs of the monster. He gets a belly-to-belly and then all hell breaks loose. Both sides swarm into the ring and that's all she wrote. Cut to commercial.
Video review of the Undertaker/Kane saga. There were reports that most of the live audience at the Royal Rumble saw the Undertaker escape from the side door of the casket before it was set afire. They show us the scene after the PPV ended. Officials extiguish the flames and open the box to discover it is empty... Cut to commercial.
Jeff Jarrett/Barry Windham (w/Jim Cornette and the Rock & Roll Express) vs. The Road Warriors - LOD starts fast and Animal has Windham reeling. Both teams exchange and Jarrett fares no better then his partner until they employ a shortcut from the apron. Now the match see-saws with neither team holding a clear advantage. R&R are stalking around ringside but so far haven't interfered. At the opportune moment, Cornette tosses windham the tennis racket and he uses it to get the pin on Animal. Backstage, HHH is dropping his pants as Shawn artfully covers him with his title belt. I thought I caught sight of a flesh colored thong but I couldn't be sure. Cut to commercial.
We come back to scenes from the Pictionary TV game show featuring Alan Thicke and HBK. Cut to video review of the Tyson/Austin incident. The silliest thing about this is that they keep referring to Tyson's appearance as the WWF's "finest hour" - come on guys...surely there have been finer hours then this...you had Mohammed Ali as a ref once, for instance...
HHH rants about Owen Hart back in the dressing room as Chynna wraps his injured leg. Shawn takes over and turns his ire on Steve Austin. He "graciously" offers to give up his Title defense against Austin so that Stone Cold and Tyson can duke it out. HHH says "...but Shawn, it's WrestleMania - you have to appear", so Shawn suggests that perhaps he could be the referee for the match. Cut to commercial.
Vaderdust (w/that really ugly sidekick) vs Vader - Goldy has blue hair again and has his face painted to resemble Vader's leather mask. His opponent pounds him into the corner to start, body drops him then puts on a suplex. Backed into a corner, Goldust gets in a low blow to turn the tables. Moments later Luna gets involved as well but it isn't enough. Vader pulls off a move that would get him DQ'd and susppended in WCW. Then he applies the Vaderbomb. The lights go out and Kane appears accompanied by Paul Bearer. Kane enters the ring and Vader attacks him. He gets a reverse piledriver on Kane! Then he turns around to catch Goldust re-entering the ring. Kane pops up and puts the Tombstone on the big guy. Cut to...
Terry Funk and Mick Foley discuss the match they plan against the NewAge Outlaws - which is coming up after the next commercial.
New Age Outlaws vs. Cactus Jack/Chainsaw Charlie - the Tag Champs enter wearing catchers' masks. As the challengers enter we cut to a video of Charlie's first appearance a few weeks ago. We return to see the fight is on already. Billy has baseball slid into Jack and Charlie is in the ring against the Dog. By the time Foley gets back the Outlaws have Funk under control. But nobody can beat Funk for absolute cussedness and he staggers back. Moments later he tags Jack in then falls outside. Jack's first move is a low blow but it is ineffective because Jesse James is wearing a cup. As Foley works the Outlaws over, Charlie starts tossing chairs into the ring. They are disqualified for using the chairs but that doesn't end the carnage. Foley pulls the Dog's cup out of his tights and then kicks him in the groin. The nutcases then stack a couple of chairs over the Road Dog and Funk throws a moonsault that seems to hurt him more then his victim. Cut to commercial.
Taka Michinoku is profiled in a video.
The Honkey Tonk Man introduces his second cousin, Brian Christopher to face Pantera for the contenders spot against Taka at the next PPV. Lawler's little boy appears to outweigh his opponent by a few pounds. Pantera is a flyer and does alright but Christopher dominates the action through most of the match. At one point he sunset flips his opponent off of the apron to the floor. Still, Christopher manages to lose the match after missing a legdrop off the top turnbuckle. The King goes to the ring to honor his promise to shake the winner's hand. He does, then attacks, of course.
Backstage Charlie and Jack are being interviewed when DX interrupts providing distraction for the Outlaws to blindside them. They knock the cyclone fence backdrop onto them and then beat them with trash cans. Cut to commercial.
The Quebecers vs. The Headbangers - here are two of the better teams in the WWF currently but neither of them seems to be getting much of a push. Mosh and Thrasher have the youth and enthusiasm while Jacques and Pierre have all the experience in the world. In the end, after a lot of furious action Mosh slithers into a Sunset Flip and surprises Jacques with a pin. Afterward the Quebecers get their revenge on Mosh before his partner can come back in and save him. Cut to commercial.
Owen Hart vs HHH - European Title match - Goldust shows up desguised as HHH with Luna done up to resemble (slightly) Chynna. The fake nose on Hunterdust is almost as large the real thing. So the question is - is this really a title defense? Dustin shows his considerable talent by actually adopting HHH's wrestling style (somewhat). He is well in control as we cut to commercial.
Owen has turned the tables as we return. He knocks the snoz off the guy with his insuguri. Luna gets in a shot with her crutch but it doesn't prevent Owen from slapping on the Sharpshooter and winning the match. DX appears on the TitanTron to rag on Owen. As they have their fun, Sgt. Slaughter comes down and awards the European Title to the winner. Owen Hart is the new European Champ!
We get yet another rehash of Tysons appearance on RAW leading up to a statement from Don King. But lets take a break first - then maybe we can see it all again...
Sure enough we see the confrontation again as we return. Don King first says that there will be a match - then contradicts himself. He then says that he and McMahon will find a way to bring these to "forces" together without breaking the rules (funny - that never stopped him before...)
Stone Cold is up next. He comes to the ring in his usual surly mood. Nobody wants to interview him so he interviews himself. He says that last week really pissed him off and he wants the match. He promises to knock the gold tooth out of his mouth and make it into a necklace. He celebrates his belligerence as we fade to black.
Not bad, pretty silly but not bad...
Anyway, that's the way I see it...
editor Solie's Wrestling Newsletter
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