LAUSANNE, SWITZERLAND--International Olympic Committee president Juan Antonio Samaranch announced Monday that, for the first time ever, professionals will be permitted to compete in wrestling in the 2000 Summer Games in Sydney, Australia. "The time has come for the best wrestlers to come together and compete against one another on the world stage," Samaranch said. "This is the true Olympic spirit."
The U.S. Olympic wrestling team, which was badly beaten by Russia and the Ukraine in the '92 and '96 Games, is expected to be the biggest beneficiary of the rule change. Already, a number of high-profile U.S. pros have filed requests with the USOC to compete in Sydney, including Vader, Disco Inferno, Golddust and The Undertaker.
WWF star Jerry "The King" Lawler, who plans to compete in Sydney in the Greco-Roman 286-pound class, is eager to face reigning Olympic champion Aleksandr Karelin of Russia, who took the gold medal in Atlanta in 1996. "Mr. Karelin, I have heard you talk long and loud about your strength, your stamina and your many so-called pins," said a visibly angry Lawler, his face still damp with perspiration following a match against Stone Cold Steve Austin. "But when you get in my ring, you are dealing with the King. Get ready to come face-to-face with real wrestling, Mr. Karelin. Real, professional, American wrestling. It's going to be lights-out for you, pal, in Sydney." Lawler added that, upon victory, he will shave Karelin bald.
Former Undertaker manager Paul Bearer, now managing Kane, told reporters: "This is a very exciting development for the Federaaaaaa-tion, and I know that not only Kane, but all wrestlers who qualify for the Games, will be honored to represent the U.S. in Syyyyyyd-ney." Added Bearer: "Ohhhhhhhhhh, yeeeeeesssssss!"
Despite the excitement among U.S. pros, many observers are critical of the IOC decision, contending that it will result in unfair, severely lopsided victories for Team USA, similar to those of the basketball "Dream Team" in the last two Summer Olympics. "It is unlikely that any foreign wrestler, professional or amateur, will be able to match the top-rope, turnbuckle-smashing, pile-driving force of the WWF's army of pain," said sports columnist Mitch Albom of The Detroit Free Press. "We're talking Cactus Jack, Dude Love, The Headbangers and the Legion of Doom. No other nation on earth, with the possible exception of Saudi Arabia, which has the Iron Sheik and Farrooq, can match that."
IOC officials have still not announced whether supernaturally powered wrestler The Undertaker will be permitted to use his Tombstone Piledriver finishing move in international competition.
by "Wild Bill" Rawlings
Well, the day has arrived, and I'm looking forward to tonight's card. Before the matches start, let me get you caught up with some of the extras since the last report.
There has been one additional download. It's a jigsaw puzzle for you to figure out. Utilizing the Shockwave plug-in, it gives you a choice of four different wrestlers in the picture. Once you pick one, you can then start moving around the pieces. Now, we're not talking about a 1,000 piece puzzle here. Only about 16 pieces, and within a couple of minutes the picture becomes clear....it's "Big Sexy" dropping an elbow on some unknown ham and egger!! If you chose Kevin Nash at the beginning, once you correctly arrange the pieces you are treated to Hollywood's voice telling you..."YOU'RE THE MAN!!!" Thank you, Hollywood, thank you...a tear wells in my eye! :)
Trivia? Well, let's just say that "top of the world Ma!" has become "middle of the ladder Dad!" With one more day to go, I have 27 out of 50 questions correct. The leader overall has 34 correct answers. As you can see, these are not easy questions. If anyone would like a copy of all the questions and answers, just e-mail me and I'll send it to you.
In the Classic Matches category, one more match was added. A Bash at the Beach main event pitting Hogan, with manager Jimmy Hart, vs Vader in a CAGE! Tony Schiavone and Bobby "The Brain" Heenan broadcast this match from Huntington Beach, California which also saw the appearance of Dennis Rodman at ringside. I had forgotten that "The Worm", who was playing for the San Antonio Spurs at the time, once wore the red and gold!
The funniest moment in the match came when Hogan put on Vader's demonic looking helmet and gave him a head butt with it! Later, Hogan took two massive Vader bombs, but was able to kick out of the attempted pin. Bobby Heenan gave another one of his classic lines as Hogan attempted to bodyslam Vader..."Oh oh, if you want to pick him up, you better call AAA!" Kevin Sullivan and the Zodiac Man come to ringside late in the match, but one snarl from Rodman chased them away! Hogan eventually wins this 13 minute match by climbing over the top of the cage.
Looking at the "side dishes" of this package, one can see an honest attempt by WCW to give their paying fans their money's worth. The trivia has been fun, and relatively hard. But you can compete in wrestling trivia anywhere on the 'Net...paying for the privilege would not appeal to me beyond this first time.
The downloads have been nice, but not quite what was promised. WCW promised sound bytes, icons, wallpaper, and games (plural). They delivered Quake II skins (nice, for those with the game); Windows wallpaper (OK, but more could have been offered); and one Shockwave game/jigsaw puzzle, which was a cute way to spend a couple of minutes. Again, wrestling pictures that can be used as wallpaper can be found for free on the 'Net, and the jigsaw puzzle was a one time deal. The only downloads of any lasting value were the "skins" of Sting and DDP for Quake II.
There was a section called "ringside assistance" that I haven't even bothered to mention, because the only thing it ever offered was software to unzip the wallpaper files. Maybe they just didn't have too many problems with this project, although one note existed that said they were working on an interface for Web TV.
Lastly, the Classic Matches were a big part of my decision to order this service, however, that has been a partial disappointment also. WCW promised ten Classic Wrestling Matches, but so far have only delivered four! Even if you count the three from the Ric Flair documentary, that only brings it up to seven total. Surely, a Four Horsemen War Games match could have been thrown in too, couldn't it?
But, again, those are the "side dishes". The meat and potatoes of the premium purchase is the house show itself. This is where WCW will either win or lose with the paying fans.
Right before show time, WCW had this written on the entry page. "You are one of the privileged few. Due to your love of the sport and desire to be a part of the Internet's future, you have had the insight to subscribe to this historical event. Prepare to enjoy wrestling and the Web in ways you never have before."
What can be said about an idea with great potential that falls victim to technical problems. About the same thing that could have been said when the great ship Titanic struck the iceberg...STUFF HAPPENS!!
Tonight falls into that category. Due to some unexplained technical problems, the site was not accessible until over TWO hours into the show!! I had veins popping out on my head by the dozens...and I know that frustration was felt by hundreds, or thousands, of WCW fans everywhere.
When the site came back up, it came back up in pieces. The audio, one of the key ingredients in this stew, didn't come back on for another half hour after that. The pictures were not of the current match, the results section still acted like the card hadn't even started yet.
One thing was active however, and that was the message board! Let's just say that the anger, language, and venom spewed by all (myself included, to a point) was heard loud and clear by WCW who sent out an e-mail announcing that there would be FULL refunds for tonight's debacle! That's not enough in my opinion. While WCW may not be personally responsible for the technical mishap, it is their name on the marquee. Nothing less than DOUBLE the refund, or offer of a free tape/shirt/etc., in addition to a refund will begin to make up for tonight.
Finally, audio comes on...we get pictures, at least of the arena before the ring went up. SHEESH!! Oh, yeah we get results too...finally. However, they screw that up by saying Booker T. beat Martel, and then, directly underneath that headline, they say that Booker T. beat Mr. Wall Street with a Spinwheel Kick! Slight typo, yeah, but then they REPEAT it with saying Mongo defeats Hennig, and then, again directly underneath that, Mongo defeated Valentine with a Tombstone Piledriver. They caught their error (amazingly enough, it was sometime shortly after I had written a post to inform them of their mistake). But it just serves as another example of slip shod work.
Mean Gene wasn't present, they said he had the flu. Lucky Gene, he may have missed a heck of a live show, but at least his name won't be tied to this embarassing mess.
The results, according to the site, not based on anything I heard or saw go like this:
Chris Jericho beat Dean Malenko
Goldberg defeated Buddy Lee Parker
Mongo defeated Greg Valentine
The Steiner Brothers beat Raven and Saturn
Chris Benoit defeated Eddy Guerrero
Larry Zybysko (subbing for an injured Giant), DDP, and Lex Luger beat Kevin Nash, Scott Hall, and Randy Savage
Bret Hart defeated Ric Flair
Sting defeated Hogan in the cage. Savage interferred in the match as the rest of the NWO came out as did Lex Luger.
What happened? Don't know...no pictures and the audio was full of the guys yelling but not describing the action.
After a promising start, the Pay Per View...Internet Style may now be officially D.O.A.!! You have to think that even with a full refund, the people who ordered this PPV were suppose to be the "loyal fan base" with which WCW could build a future for this kind of event. Well, based on the comments made by the HUNDREDS at the message board, that ain't about to happen in this millenium! Technology is changing, and improving, and the future may hold great potential for this kind of idea. However, tonight's massive screw up, which sours the most loyal WCW fan's intentions of a repeat purchase, is a setback and an embarassment to WCW.
Wild Bill to the Aspirin Bottle...for now!!
Editor's Note: WCW sent this email to subscribers:
Boston Brawl has experienced unforseen server problems, which we are correcting. We will re-broadcast the event. Your password will remain active, allowing you to catch the event as soon as all problems are corrected.
Due to the live nature of this event, all orders will be refunded. Again, we apologize for the inconvenience.
"Wild Bill" Rawlings is a longtime friend and occasional contributor to Solie's Newsletter. He also regularly enlivens the Readers' Forum with his insightful commentary and endless wit
Just a few notes to jot down while I'm waiting for the start of the Boston Brawl Internet PPL (Pay-Per-Listen)... The main event will be Hogan vs. Sting in a cage for the WCW World Title. I expect it to end in a DQ or something since, otherwise, it will put the SuperBrawl Main Event in doubt. Should be a barn burner though...
I won't be reporting on the event tonight because I have "Wild Bill" Rawlings taking care of that for me. In fact I will only get to hear the beginning of it since my wife and I planned to go out before I knew about it (we are going to a fund raiser for her cousin's High School - he's the basketball coach there).
I just finished watching WCWSN - the main event was a great match between Bill Goldberg and Meng. It was the first time we've seen Goldberg really challanged in a match since his debut. They battled for over 5 minutes and Goldberg was taken down on several occasions. Meng's devastating head butt really rocked the undefeated rookie. In the end, Goldberg managed to take the win but there was no doubt he had been in a fight. Major kudos to both men for this outstanding encounter.
Some of you may be aware of the changes in the Readers' Forum over the last few weeks. It had been plagued by a trouble maker for over a year now. This creep likes to masquarade as other regular members and tries to start fights by insulting people in other poster's names. Real juvenile behaviour. I instituted a membership system in hopes that the imposter would be unwilling to give me any chance to identify him. It seemed to be working for a week and a half, then he started showing up again. The good news is that I have narrowed it down to about 6 registrants - one of whom is the culprit. I haven't decided yet how I will make use of this information, but the likelyhood that I will restrict access to trusted correspondents is very high...
Anyway, that's the way I see it...
editor Solie's Wrestling Newsletter
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