by Jeremy Hartley
by Ervin Griffin Jr.
from Phil Barton of the Wrestleboard News Service:
Former wrestler and promoter Buddy Lee died Feb. 13 in Houston at age 65.
Lee, who parlayed a wrestling career into one of Nashville's most successful talent booking agencies - Buddy Lee Attractions - started the company 35 years ago under the name Aud-Lee Attractions in acknowledgement of then-partner Audrey Williams (widow of the late country great Hank Williams).
Among the diverse talent that had been a part of Lee's roster include Hank Williams Jr., Willie Nelson, George Jones, Garth Brooks, Kris Kristofferson, Emmylou Harris, Neil Young, Patty Loveless, Waylon Jennings, Jessi Colter, Danny Davis and the Nashville Brass, Johnny Rivers, John Conlee, John Anderson, David Allan Coe, Vern Gosdin, Bill Monroe and Rita Coolidge.
Lee came to Nashville from New York by way of Columbia, S.C., where he helped train and promote women wrestlers along with his then-wife Lillian Ellison, who as The Fabulous Moolah was one of the greatest lady wrestlers in the history of the business.
Lee, whose real name was Joseph Pino, had gone to Houston for experimental cancer treatment and was midway through his sessions when he died of respiratory failure
Solie's readers might remember a few years ago when Jeff Jarrett was doing his "Greatest Wrestler/Singer/Entertainer" bit in the WWF and invaded Lee's Nashville office during one of his skits. Solie's offers heartfelt condolences to the family and friends of Buddy Lee.
Conducted by Jeremy Hartley
Transcribed by Earl Oliver
This is the first of a three-part of an interview with 6-time World Heavyweight Wrestling Champion Lou Thesz conducted by Jeremy Hartley as part of the Hartley Interviews which were originally broadcast in RealAudio on the TWC-Online web site and are reproduced here in print for the first time.
It is my pleasure to introduce former NWA Champion, six times, highly acclaimed athlete and wrestling superstar the great Lou Thesz. Lou welcome to the show and thanks again for joining us.
Lou Thesz: Thank you Jeremy, thank you so much for having me on the show. Incidentally my time with the NWA occurred about halfway through my career. The first time I won the Title it was the Undisputed Heavyweight Championship, not the NWA because the NWA didn't exist at that time. Anyway there was a National Wrestling, not an Alliance, but a National Wrestling Association and that was composed of Athletic Commissioners appointed by the respective governing bodies of each State and this was known as the National Wrestling Association and they had a lot of clout - if you were suspended in California then you were also suspended in New York, you understand?
Jeremy: That's right...
Lou Thesz: Anyway they ran a pretty tight ship and they did a very good job, and a little bit later with the advent of TV and so forth, the hype began and the rest of the story you know.
Jeremy: (To the audience) You know, Lou wrote a very good book in cooperation with Pit Ballman called "Hooker" and it is, in my opinion, the best autobiography of any sports figure as well as any celebrity that I've ever read because it goes into a lot of historical background...
Lou Thesz: Well its my life of running up and down the road, formerly an amateur wrestler and then I somebody offered to pay me for doing what I liked doing most, and I went ahead and did it. It's just the story of a young wrestler who survived living in the Depression. The Depression was a very difficult time, this country was in big trouble and a man with a family, if he could get a $10 a week job he was lucky, you know
Lou Thesz: But nevertheless we went up and down the road, we look back now and in retrospect we say it was tough, but we didn't think so because that's the way it was...
Jeremy: Right, you know I'm going to start out this interview by asking you a question which you went into pretty good depth in your book. I want the fans and the interested onlookers to hear it from the man's own mouth. So, how did Lou Thesz become a wrestling fan What drew you to this sport Nowadays, of course, you have television and you have the celebrity status, everybody says "I want to be on television", but what caused you to become a wrestler..
Lou Thesz: Well, my father wrestled before me in Europe, he was a very well known amateur wrestler and he supported my interest while we lived in St. Louis, why he would take me to the matches, and I watched the wrestlers and that really hyped me up on the sport. And then later we lived very close by to a high school, it was a few blocks away and he worked on the football shoes. Before we had all the plastics and things he would redo the cleats on the football shoes.
Jeremy: That's right, for the record he was a shoemaker...
Lou Thesz: He was a shoemaker and he taught me that trade. Nevertheless, that's the time I got into the thing. I was working out with the coaches at night, I wasn't even attending night school, I was not as old is what I'm saying, but my father became friendly with the coaches and I worked out four days a week at the gym up there and they had some amateur wrestlers up there and the helped me along. Pretty soon I ran into an old gentleman who was a one of the old wrestling fan and was in fact a fine old wrestler and he invited me up to the National Gym and I started working out with the big boys and I found out as I did that he liked what I was doing, I thought I had an aptitude for it, but then I didn't though...you know how that goes...
Jeremy: And I'm going to get into that with your workout with Ed Lewis her in a second, but tell us a little bit about some of these names like George Stregos ...
Lou Thesz: George Stregos He was a great wrestler, three time Olympian, and the greatest in this country from Greece and represented Greece in two Olympics and the United States in one. A super wrestler and learned a little bit later by taking on all comers in carnivals and circuses and so forth, he learned the art in this country and they all exchanged these things and just to perpetuate the sport in this country why they would torture each other. And little by little, in England they had some very good wrestlers at that time and they'd just go up and down the road with the carnivals and circuses and clean everybody's plow because they'd have a good wrestler and a good fighter with each show. And I really wanted to get into that when I was a youngster about 17 - 18 but that when Ed "Strangler" Lewis and Ray Steele and George Stregos they counseled with me and told me not to do it because it would lower my image. Looked like a I had something coming because at that time there was a kind of pecking order with the wrestlers and, I don't want to say this boastfully, but the people who could really wrestle were the ones who emerged. Today that's another story...
Jeremy: Yes...you likened it to a pyramid in your book, you said there was a pyramid of wrestling greatness so to speak...
Lou Thesz: Oh yes, and these people took a lot of pride in what they did and they would give you the knowledge, it was unbelievable because you could not pay them to do it, they either wanted to do it or they did not, and to use that word "professional wrestling' is what they wanted to do...
Jeremy: Exactly, that was their livelihood...
Lou Thesz: It gets to be your livelihood...
Jeremy: Right, you mentioned the art of "Hooking" in your book. Explain to the folks out there exactly what the art of "Hooking" was. As you said, with the carnivals you never quite knew who was going to come out of the crowds and take on their carnival wrestlers, and they developed a certain art, if you could kind of explain that...
Lou Thesz: Well, the carnival people were there to entertain people, not to lose money. They were not to fond of that idea, but nevertheless they would take on all comers and as I said earlier, they would always have one knockout fighter in there and one wrestler who really knew how to take care of himself, they were called "Hookers" - they knew how to hurt people is what I was trying to say. They could go in their and have an exhibition with someone and if he wasn't too tough they could have a real nice match and entertain the people and so forth, but if it was a heads up contest, and it became a matter of who could take care of themselves and who could not, and some of these people were really tough customers, and they'd break your arm or a leg in a heart beat without taking a deep breath because they may have lost $2, you know?
Jeremy: And back in those days, back in the Depression, and even before that time, a buck was a million bucks.
Lou Thesz: Right...
Jeremy: You had said something, and this is interesting to me, that nowadays there are probably about five of you living who still have the art of "Hooking"...
Lou Thesz: Yes, there was a wrestling school in England by the name of Wigham, near Manchester, England and they developed some very fine wrestlers and I think the best of the whole bunch was Billy Robinson who is still in this country now, he lives in Nashville, but the Europeans took a lot of pride in the knowledge of straight wrestling. They were probably better versed in Greco (Greco-Roman Wrestling) then they were in Freestyle, but they were picking up Freestyle and they liked it very much and I learned Greco from my father and a couple of other people. So I was in good hands over there, in a good place to be because being versed in both Greco and Freestyle, that's a head start. And I was a southpaw and being a left hander, wrestling people who are not left-handed sometimes it throws them off pace, you know? Whatever works for a right hander doesn't work for a left hander...
Jeremy: I understand, I am left-handed and I did about six years of amateur wrestling...
Lou Thesz: It can be a very handy gadget, in fact I knew Greco, Freestyle and I was also left handed so sometimes they probably stared at this Hungarian kid and said "What is he doing?"
Jeremy: So you had certain advantages and one was that wrestling was what you excelled in and you followed it religiously if I can use that term...
Lou Thesz: That's exactly right, if any young person, like a young male, decides that he likes a sport and gets into it and all of a sudden to his own surprise discovers that he has an aptitude for it, and then with the coaches that he had, all of a sudden they find their niche in life. That's a very difficult thing to do but a wonderful thing because, if you could earn your livelihood doing the thing you enjoyed doing most then, how sweet it is. It doesn't get any better than that. And I had the good fortune of getting into that situation. And with people like Stregos, Ed "Strangler" Lewis and Ray Steele, some of the biggies, people who really knew what they were doing out there, I just got hooked on the thing to the point that I just devoted my entire life to wrestling. That's all I did. I trained everyday, and a lot of the guys would go to the dances - I never learned to dance because I learned to wrestle. After training for four hours a day, I'd be so enervated that what I needed was food and rest, try to regenerate. Stregos and the top wrestlers, you know, they were not easy task masters, they pushed you to the wall to test to see if you had the intestinal fortitude to be good. Anyway it all worked out and I enjoyed it so much that I admire the young people that are in the amateurs and doing well. Of course amateur wrestling is a wonderful thing and I am well connected with the new Museum that is being erected in Newton, Iowa. And I am on the Board of Directors there and Dan Gable, the fantastic wrestler is also there. You know, his track record as a coach even surpasses the track record of the wrestlers...
Jeremy: Wow! And that's saying something...
Lou Thesz: They'll never surpass what he's done. I watched him train , he trains them like a madman in that deal - it's the only way to succeed. Dan's a great guy and we're really glad to have him aboard this board of directors because he is going to represent all of the amateur wrestlers who have emerged and are going to be honorees, and I'm going to choose the professionals. The professionals are going to be people who had a very favorable, strong amateur record, and the Hulk Hogans and the Buddy Rogers aren't going to be there. So anyway that's the way it is, and some of the people are unhappy about it, get their noses out of joint and I'm sorry about that because if they call it wrestling, then that's what they should do! You see very little of that. I can watch a match for thirty minutes, forty-five minutes and I don't see one wrestling hold.
Jeremy Hartley is a longtime friend of Solie's and a regular contributer to the newsletter. His "EYE on Wrestling" columns can be found in the "Articles" section of the web site. His previous interview with Bob Blackburn is currently to be found in the "Interviews" section.
By Ervin Griffin, Jr.
If you recall, I asked you for some ideas for WarGames teams (specifically for wrestlers that I could team up with Magnum TA and "Stone Cold" Steve Austin). Well, here are some of those ideas:
The reason I drew the teams out like this is because, to me, Magnum's team represents the greatest of NWA/WCW history and the SCSA team will be the future legends of the WWF." - Bradley Arrington
"In the War Games dream matchup, I think Austin's team should be made up of WWF superstars of today, and Magnum's team should be made up of superstars from the NWA of his day. Here are my teams:
- Neil Gregory Woodlief
"A war games team, with 5 men on a side would work with the following:
All of these guys have a history with Magnum. Dusty Rhodes and Sam Houston were the two men with Magnum during the war with Flair and the Horsemen. Though Sam never amounted to all that much, he was THE rookie to watch at the time. After Magnum's accident, Nikita saw the light and became a friend to Magnum. As for Arn, well, it just isn't a WarGames without him. He's gone from heel to face and back and forth since then, and Magnum must respect him, even if he doesn't like him too much.
Steve Austin, Brian Pillman, Rick Steamboat, Bret Hart, Cactus Jack
Pillman is a lock. The Hollywood Blonds were an amazing tag team, and if Pillman had been able to avoid injury, watch out. Steamboat and Bret I'd put in from a respect factor. Both these guys have been in Wars with Austin, and Austin says he has no friends, so he'll go with respect. Cactus Jack I'd put in due to Austin's team with Dude Love. It seems that Cactus is the guy that comes out whenever it's time to go hard.
All in all, this should be a very bloody matchup, between 10 tough SOB's." - Brian Sullivan
These are just some of the good combinations that I got from the readers. I will say that I have finished the WarGames story. While I won't tell you who was put in it, I will say that when it is printed, you won't be disappointed (I hope not anyway).
Finally, before I end this letter, I want to give you a brief synopsis of the next chapter of "what-if." I have been announcing Rick Steamboat VS. Chris Benoit for awhile now. I figured that it wouldn't hurt to give you a brief synopsis of that and Magnum/Austin II as well as The Giant VS. Bruiser Brody. They are stories that will come over the following months. Here it goes:
Magnum TA VS. "Stone Cold" Steve Austin II: A Trip To The Bunkhouse - Magnum TA is pursuing another shot at Austin's NWA United States Title. Austin puts up a shot at the title at a future date VS. ten lashes in a bunkhouse match!!
The Giant VS. Bruiser Brody - In their first encounter (see Magnum VS. Austin I from the 12/7/97 edition), they fought to a no-contest!! Now, Brody's is back for revenge as he and the Giant do battle in a Mongolian Stretcher Match!!!
Well, gotta go!! Thank you to everyone who sent in suggestions for WarGames!!!
If you have a question, comment, criticism, or just want to talk pro wrestling, e-mail me at mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org
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
Scenes from last weeks program greet us at the top of the show. The nWo spray paints Savage then Luger shows up with a chair...
Live from the Spectrum in Philly - Tony is telling us this may be the biggest Nitro ever. Hogan/Hall vs. Sting/Savage is the main event. We switch to the back for the limos arriving. Hogan emerges with Rude, Steiner, Hennig, Bischoff and other members of the thug club.
Raven's Flock comes down the ramp accompanying their man in the first match...
Scotty Riggs vs. Chris Benoit - I just noticed that Nick Patrick has cut his hair and his mustache. He may have been that way last week as well. The match goes as expected, Riggs is really no match for Benoit until his cronies get involved. Lodi provides the distraction Riggs needs to turn the tables. Back in the ring he holds the advantage for about 5 seconds before Benoit puts a snap-suplex on him. Still he comes back and manages to hold the initiative for a little while longer. In the end, a series of German suplexes and a Crippler Crossface tell the tale. Cut to commercial.
We come back to watch Savage getting his Harvard Lampoon "Real Man of the Year" award.
"Voodoo Child" plays - here comes Hogan and Bischoff. Typically, Bischoff declares Hogan to be the "Real" Man. Hogan takes to the mic and calls Savage a "piece of crap" and makes cracks about Savage not being able to keep his marriage together. He claims that "everybody in the stinkin' wrestling business knows that he (Hogan) can beat Sting anytime..." He rants some more - the usual silly stuff... Bischoff does a bad Elvis Presley imitation to close the segment ("Thunk you very much....) Cut too commercial.
Hey! There's a "Hogan Fears Earl" sign...hmmmm...you don't suppose....
We go live to St. Joseph's University for a Nitro party complete with Mean Gene and the Nitro Grrrrls...
Chavo Guerrero Jr. vs. Juventud Guerrera - Juvy comes out carrying his mask and kisses it before continuing to the ring. This is a fast paced Luche style match. Some high-flying action but both these guys seem to be concentrating on mat wrestling to an unusual degree. Juvy finally uses his superior aerial attack to take the offensive and wins after a 450 splash. He looks into the camera after the bout and declares, "This is not the end...this is the beginning, baby!!" Cut to commercial.
More Nitro party as Okerlund promos the Hotline...
Pychosis vs. Prince Iaukea - the Prince hardly gets into the ring before Psychosis drop-kicks him right in the face. The match goes to the outside immediately where Iaukea turns the tables. Back in the ring, things go back the other way for a while, then Psychosis throws a drop-kick and misses. The match starts to see-saw with Psychosis picking up steam. He connects with a big guillotine leg drop but then pulls his opponent up instead of pinning him. Moments later he has Iaukea in position for a top rope Frankensteiner but showboats to much and gives his opponent the chance to upset the move. Iaukea drops the Mexican star on his head and gets the pin. Cut to commercial.
Raven vs. Disco Inferno - could there be two more different personalities? Disco runs in with his usual aggression and takes the early advantage. The match goes to the outside where he continues to dominate until Raven reverses a whip and sends him crashing into the railing. Raven breaks off the attack to throw a chair into the ring. Back inside, Disco reverses a beale attempt and slams Raven face first onto the chair. He continues to dominate for several seconds then Raven slips in his DDT and gets the pin.
Back to Mean Gene at St. Joe's. We see some clips of the festivities there then Gene interviews one of the party-goers. Cut to commercial.
Barbarian/Hugh Morrus (w/Jimmy Hart) vs Public Enemy - Hart's team bring out there own table for this one. This is a Philly Street Fight and it's pretty wild. Before long, PE has Jimmy Hart loaded onto the table in the center of the ring. Morrus catches Roc on his way up the corner then suplexes him onto the table (Hart was pulled out of the way by Barbarian). Now the other table is in the ring and PE are dropping Hugh Morrus onto it. The table starts to break even before Rocco flys. PE take the pin.
nWo music plays and Randy Savage comes down to the ring with Liz. He has a mic - he calls Hogan "pathetic" and claims that he has carried Hogan all these years. He further states that his deal with Sting is for tonight and tonight only and that they will do business "...my way". Sting comes down - he looks morose - but then when hasn't he lately? He takes the mic makes his longest speech in two years and rants about Scott Hall. He ends his speech with "Survey says - you're dead". He then turns to Savage and says "we got business, but there's a problem, I can only do business my way. Oh yeah!!!" (in imitation of Savage's tag line). Then he splits and we go to commercial.
Sick Boy vs. Bill Goldberg - Sickboy can't get any of his offense to work. He throws a punch or two but has little effect. I notice the Flock declines to get involved in this one. Usual finish.
Stuck Mojo's new video features Diamond Dallas Page and Raven's Flock.
Mike Tenay is in the ring to interview DDP. Page calls Raven a crybaby who hides behind his Flock. He and Raven will have a US Title match on Thunder this week. Cut to commercial.
Hammer is in the ring and takes the mic from the ring announcer. He calls DDP back out. DDP responds and gets whacked as he enters the ring. Hammer uses his size advantage to retain the initiative for several minutes. Of course it ends when DDP gets him into position for a quick Diamond Cutter. Raven then attacks and has the advantage until Benoit shows up to even the odds. DDP recovers and throws a punch but hits Benoit by mistake. They start trading punches until Raven tries to enter the frey - then they attack him in unison. Cut to commercial.
Back to St. Joe's for faux sumo wrestling and other nonsense.
There's that sign again - he turns it around and it says "Welcome Thunderlips".
Mike Tenay talks to Bret Hart - he trashes Curt Hennig. He looks foreward to kicking Hennig's butt. Hart will have a match with Brian Adams later tonight.
Scott Norton vs.The British Bulldog - here's a couple of powerhouses for you. Both go about their business of dealing out heavy duty shots. The fight goes out to the floor where Norton seems to be asserting his domination - but then he knocks down the referee and gets DQ'd - the brawl continues up the aisle. Cut to commercial.
Bobby Heenan has replaced Legendary Larry as we return.
Konnan vs. Super Calo - Konnan takes the mic and taunts Juventud Guerrera about losing his mask. He says Juvey is no longer "Rasa". Calo dominates the early going. Both guys seem a little awkward in the beginning. The match see-saws pretty much throughout the contest until Konnan slips in a cradle-DDT then applies the Tequilla Sunrise to get the win. He starts to unmask Calo but Juventud runs in and challenges him (Konnan) to a match next week. Konnan says "I'll give you a match, and if you're lucky maybe you'll get an audition with the Nitro Grrls..." Cut to commercial.
We come back to a clip of Brian Adams offering his hand to Bret Hart then holding him for Hennig's attack.
Mike Tenay invite Ric Flair to the ring for an interview. He hypes the main event for all he's worth. Then they start to discuss Bret's upcoming match with Curt Hennig. Hennig and Rude come down to interrupt. Hennig points out that being the 13 time Champ makes Flair a 14 time loser. Hennig threatens bodily harm and Flair takes him up on it. They have an impromptu match which Flair ends with a crotch shot. Flair is about to slap on a figure four when Rude interferes. Hennig puts on the Fisherman's Suplex and Rude makes the count. They gang up on him until Bret Hart runs in (a little late to make a difference). In an inset, Rick Steiner offers his assistance to Sting and Savage. Cut to commercial.
Another segment from St. Joseph's University.
Scott Steiner vs. Hacksaw Jim Duggan - Duggan struts his stuff and gives Steiner the opportunity to attack him on the bell, but he comes right back and Steiner ends up on the floor. Back in the ring Duggan continues to dominate until he ducks his head after a whip. Now it's all Steiner. He beats on his opponent and then settles into a reverse chinlock. Duggan powers out and the match see-saws until Steiners slips in a low blow. Then he throws a sunset flip from the top which fails and hands the advantage back to Duggan. The match goes to the outside and Steiner re-asserts himself. Back in the ring he slaps on his "Steiner Recliner" - a reverse chinlock/Camel Clutch combo hold - and gets the win. Cut to commercial.
Chris Jericho/Eddie Guerrero vs. Booker T/Dean Malenko - this is a return match from last Thursday on Thunder. Guerrero won the last one with a Frog Splash. Jericho makes one of his silly speeches. I can't believe these two won't turn on each other eventually. Jericho faces Booker T with Juventud's mask on a string around his neck. He dominates Booker then Guerrero comes in and they double-team him. Then Eddie takes the tag and gets creamed. Both guys are chased from the ring as Booker holds his ground in the center. Guerrero bails back in and outflanks Booker with a drop-kick on the knee. Now it's all Guerrero but Booker isn't out of it yet. He gets a little ahead and tags in Malenko. Malenko takes out both his opponents. Now things get a little confused with the fight going on both in the ring and outside. In the ring Malenko is with Jericho and manages to execute the Texas Cloverleaf for the submission victory. Cut to commercial.
Several members of the nWo come to the ring lead by Dusty Rhodes and Kevin Nash. Scott Steiner is with them, Konnan and Buff as well. Steiner has the mic. He says they are there to induct Rick Steiner into the nWo. (Dream on Zebra boy...) Nash takes the mic and calls Rick down. Rhodes holds an nWo T-shirt. Steiner music plays and Rick comes down with Dibiasi. He touches fingers wwith them all in the traditional nWo salute - I don't believe it. Rick accepts the shirt then throws it in Nash's face. He starts a brawl and the nWo finish it. Nash sets up the powerbomb but then pulls away and lets the others continue the beating. He sets up for it again but Rick dumps him. They continue to work on him but then the Giant shows up. He powerbombs Nash!!! Then he helps Rick to his feet and they embrace. Nash lies in the ring - out cold. Steiner tears up the shirt as we cut to commercial.
We come back to see Doug Dellenger trying to put cuffs on the Giant. They don't fit and the Giant simply walks away.
Brian Adams vs. Bret Hart - this is both men's first match on Nitro. Adams attacks Hart before he can remove his jacket. The match goes out to the floor where Adams continues his assault. He tries to post the Hitman but Bret reverses the move. Now it is all Hart as he takes the match back into the ring. It is a classic Bret Hart attack. He goes for a Sharpshooter but Adams gets a hold of the ropes. Adams finally gets in a short-arm clothesline to turn the tables. He dominates the next several exchanges and uncovers one of the corner buckles. Bret manages to run Adams' face into the exposed bolt then slaps on the Sharpshooter. Hennig runs in and gets his henchman DQ'd. Hennig and Hart brawl on the outside until Adams gets back into it. He attacks Hart from behind as we go to commercial.
We're back for the Main Event. of course Michael Buffer is on hand to do the intros.
Sting/Randy Savage vs. Hollywood Hogan/Scott Hall - Buffer can't finish the the intro for Savage and Sting because they rush the ring. Bischoff tries to help Hogan double-team Sting but he overwhelms both of them. Sting fight Hogan as Savage tackles Hall. Sting and Savage are dominating the action. The match sorts out and Savage continues against Hall in the ring. Savage and Sting are tagging in and out and devastating Hall. As Sting takes over in the ring Savage goes out and attacks Hogan on the floor. Moments later Savage is in the ring and Bischoff distracts Sting long enough for Hogan and Hall to turn the tide of the match. Now Savage is being double-teamed. Hogan and Hall are operating well as a team. Hogan comes in and gets his boot to the face. He goes for the legdrop but lands on his wallet. Sting is tagged in and gets a Stinger Splash twice. He has Hogan set-up for the Scorpion and Savage is about to lower the elbow on Hall when the nWo hits the ring. DDP and Booker T show up the join the fight outside the ring. Ed Leslie (Brutus Beefcake/Zodiac etc.) Diamond Cuts Savage then rescues Hogan as Sting continues to fight off the thugs. Leslie was the mysterious guy in the beard last week. The Giant shows up and the ring clears out. Savage is down and Sting attends him while the Giant stands guard. Fade to black...
We open on a collage of Austin/Michaels clips hyping the fact that both of them plus Tyson will all be on the program tonight.
Live from the Gund Arena in Cleveland, Ohio - DX is first up on the program. HHH has the mic and states that WrestleMania is officially X-Rated. He rants about Owen Hart then makes one of his usual juvenile sexual references (this guy acts like he's about 14 years old...) Michaels grabs the mic next and rants about Steve Austin. He throws out a challenge of some sort for tonight (apparently nobody told him that Austin has a match with Kane). Stone Cold marches right to the ring and gets in Michaels' face...then the lights go out. Here comes Kane and Paul Bearer. DX splits while Austin stands his ground. Bearer and Kane halt on the platform and Uncle Paul issues a quick threat then they leave. Austin goes down to the broadcast position, commandeers a headset and rants about everybody from Jim Ross to Michaels to Kane then goes back to the ring and celebrates with the crowd while the announcers prattle on. A huge limo drives up outside and Mike Tyson gets out wearing a WWF Attitude T-shirt and a leather cap. Cut to commercial.
Clips from last week when Chainsaw Charlie and Cactus Jack attacked the New Age Outlaw's car in the parking lot.
Billy and the Dog show up wearing neck braces. There is a dumpster waiting for them at the bottom of the ramp. Road Dog rants about them pressing a legal case against Charlie and Jack. They show a tape of the incident last week shot from inside the car (how conveeeeenient...) Sgt. Slaughter appears on the TitenTron and says they aren't hurt and must defend their Titles tonight. The Bruise Brothers (Skull and Eightball) are sent down as their challengers. The bigger team dominates from the get-go but their advantage is momentary. The Outlaws are on their way back when Charlie and Jack pop out of the dumpster (now, why did I see that coming..?) The match is thrown out and Funk and Foley play to the crowd. Cut to commercial.
Tribute video to Sable tells the sordid story of the disintegration of her relationship with Marc Mero.
Marc Mero (w/Sable) vs. Tom Brandi - Sable trails her husband down the ramp and then gets stopped and sent back. Brandi gets the jump on his nemesis right off the bat. Then he ducks his head and gets powerbombed. Luna comes down as the match continues. She stands ringside as the crowd chants "Sable!" In the ring Brandi has turned the tables. Then Luna trips him and Mero uses the referee's distraction to get in his low blow. Luna comes in and kisses Mero which draws Goldust in. Together they punk Mero. Sable runs down and attacks Luna and drives her from the ring. Mero starts berating her again so she shoves him down again and leaves. Then she comes back and chases Mero out of the ring. The referree raises her hand for some reason. Cut to commercial.
Owen Hart vs. Mark Henry - European Title match - sure this guy deserves a title shot (not!!!) - Owen goes to work immediately on the bell and starts attacking Henry's tree-trunk legs. Henry has virtually no offense. Chynna appears on the platform then starts down toward the ring. The distraction she provides gives Henry the only opening he's likely to get. He starts laying in heavy shots in his own, uncoordinated way. Owen escapes and tries to put on the Sharpshooter but Henry kicks him off easily. In the corner, Henry throws what may be his only wrestling move, a belly-to-belly suplex. He goes for a leg drop and misses. Another Sharpshooter is unsuccessful. Owen is trapped for a moment and then escapes and throws a missle drop-kick then in Inseguri. He slaps on the Sharpshooter but Henry refuses to submit. Chynna gets on the apron and distracts Owen. Henry uses the distraction again to attack his opponent. Owen escapes again and flies off the top and right into a bearhug. Chynna then enters the ring and puts a low-blow on Henry!! Owen is DQ'd for outside interference. On her way back up the aisle, Chynna is asked why she did it - "Because I could" she says. Cut too commercial.
Headbangers/Taka Michinoku vs. Rock & Roll Express/Barry Windham (w/Jim Cornette) - Vince McMahon is shown with Tyson in the back as introduction are being made. The Headbangers taunt the R&R before the match and get Taka to refer to Cornette as a Jacka$$. The NWA team catch Taka and start working on him right off the bat. Then Thrasher gets in and the odds change. This is a short match which takes place inside and all around the ring. Cornette tries to come in with the racket but Thrasher gets it instead and brains Robert Gibson with it then takes the pin. Cut to commercial.
Vince McMahon prepares to interview Mike Tyson. He starts to asdk for a warm welcome but the crowd is booing and Vince is looking disconcerted. Tyson has his own music this time - a rap tune. Vince wants to know if Tyson will be the enforcer at WrestleMania - the crowd is still restive. Tyson starts to answer but DX music comes on and interrupts him. HBK and company come to the ring. Michaels addresses Tyson and says that they're not out to disrepect him and then calls him out. Tyson says "Let's do it right now."Amazingly the ring clears and Tyson and Michaels are left alone on the inside. They have a mock shoving match then Michaels rips off Tyson's shirt to reveal a DX shirt underneath. Tyson has apparently joined DX! McMahon is having a fit at ringside. Helmsley's DX (or maybe I should say Wolf Pack) crotch gesture is sadly apt when done on Tyson. So much for any credibility for Tyson as the "enforcer". Cut to commercial.
Ross and the King discuss what just happened as we return. We adjourn to the DX dressing room where Tyson and the guys (and girl) are celebrating.
Steve Blackman vs. Kama Mustapha (w/NOD) - thankfully Blackman skips his silly glow-in-the-dark numchucks demo. Sgt. Slaughter comes down and runs off the rest of the NOD before the match starts. The match seems pretty even - which is completely unbelievable considering their relative experience, and the size differential. Kama eventually takes over, as well he should. He'll have to make a mistake for Blackman to retain his undefeated streak. Blackman is getting better at selling his opponents moves. He seems to be on the comeback trail when NOD hits the ring and give him the DQ victory. Ken Shamrock runs in to save Blackman's cookies. Cut to commercial.
Robert Fuller (Col. Parker from WCW) appears in the ring to introduce Jeff Jarrett. Jarrett enters in his old Double J personna - flashing sunglasses, sappy music and all. Don't I remember this guy being ridiculed for this character a few months ago..? Jarrett takes the mic and introduces Fuller as "Tennesee Lee" (clearly a reference to recently deceased Buddy Lee - see the story at the top of this page).
Jeff Jarrett vs. Flash Funk - Funk attacks immediately and holds the advantage for about 5 seconds. Jarrett comes back and the match starts to see-saw. Flash starts to pull ahead and would seem to have things under control when T. Lee decides to get involved. He upsets Funk's balance and topples him off the top rope. Jarrett slaps on the Figure Four and that's all they wrote.
We meet the latest celebrity participant in WrestleMania 14 - Guest Timekeeper Gennifer Flowers (oh lord...)
Michael Cole tries to interview Tyson on his way out of the arena but DX intervenes and he leaves without comment.
The announcers discuss the breakup of LOD. A tribute video follows. Cut to commercial.
The lights go out as we return...
Kane (w/Paul Bearer) vs. Steve Austin - Paul makes a little speech comparing Tyson's defection to DX to the surprise that Austin is going to feel when ha loses the match tonight. Austin starts to make his entrance and gets punked by Shawn Michaels on the ramp (one well placed super-kick puts him down and out). They replay the attack then Austin struggles to his feet as we cut to commercial.
Austin is said to be searching the arena backstage for DX who are reported to have left the arena.
In the ring, Paul Bearer asks Kane to go out and get the bell. He pulls some kid over the railing and starts beating on him. Then he grabs the bell and the timekeeper and comes back into the ring. Bearer want the timekeeper to toll the bell ten times in memory of the Undertaker. He complies then gets chokeslammed and Tombstoned by Kane. Bearer continues to rant. The crowd is getting restless. Bearer says Kane has one more Tombstone to deliver and speculates about who it will be for. He's practically begging the Undertaker to appear...so the lights go out and the funeral bell tolls. A blue light engulfs the ring. Paul is re-assuring Kane that it isn't the Undertaker...a coffin appears on the platform...a lightning bolt hits it and there's the Undertaker! He rises up and makes a speech "...Kane you disappointed me - is that the best effort you could make..?" He says he was soothing the souls of his parents because of what he intends to do to his brother and curses his brother to rot. He refers to himself as the Reaper of Lost Souls and the Lord of Darkness. It's a masterful performance by perhaps the greatest personality in modern wrestling history..
At least that's the way I see it...
Editor, Solie's Wrestling Newsletter
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