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Solie's Tuesday Morning Report

Monday Night Wars Edition

An Interview with Buddy Landel

Conducted by Jeremy Hartley for TWC Online
Transcribed by Earl Oliver

Brian Pillman Benefit to be Held in Cincinnati

Solie's Tops 500,000 Visits!

Volume 3, Issue 294 - March 23, 1998
Editor's Note: Solie's Vintage Wrestling received it's 500,000th visit early this morning. I just want to express a heartfelt Thank You to all of my loyal readers for helping make this site a success. Here's to another half-million!.

Brian Pillman Benefit to be Held in Cincinnati

Here is a press release concerning a Brian Pillman Family Benefit card from Les Thatcher courtesy of Bill Rawlings:

Tragedy struck the city of Cincinnati and the world of professional wrestling on October 5th of last year in the form of the untimely passing of Brian Pillman. A graduate of Norwood High School and the University of Miami in Oxford, a former Cincinnati Bengal, and a competitor in both World Championship Wrestling and the World Wrestling Federation, Pillman was a rising star in the pro wrestling world who, at age 35, passed away just as he was achieving greatness in the WWF. Pillman is survived by wife Melanie (who is currently expecting a child) and five other children.

On Wednesday, April 29th, the Heartland Wrestling Association (HWA) will be holding a pro wrestling card at the Norwood Middle School gymnasium to benefit the Pillman family. Stars from all across the wrestling world (WCW, WWF, Extreme Championship Wrestling, and others) have agreed to put aside their promotional differences and come together in order to aid Pillman's widow and children. Among the wrestlers confirmed for the Memorial is pro wrestling's hottest property, Stone Cold Steve Austin, who will be on hand to help host the activities and pose for photos with the fans. Austin, who gained national exposure recently for his altercation with boxing's Mike Tyson on WWF television, will be joined by the WWF's Sunny, the most downloaded pin-up of 1996, and the two will serve as host and hostess for the event.

The double main event of the card will feature wrestlers from WCW and ECW. One match pits two of WCW's top stars against one another, as "Crippler" Chris Benoit takes on WCW Cruiserweight champion "Lionheart" Chris Jericho. The other top match is a battle of ECW stars, as Chris Candido will take on "The Head" Al Snow. Music City Wrestling's Steven Dunn, Reno Riggins, and Flash Flannagan will also be on hand to do battle. Rounding out the card are some of pro wrestling's hottest young stars from the IWA, Ohio Valley Wrestling, and the HWA.

Director of operations for the HWA and former wrestler Les Thatcher is responsible for assembling the talent for the Pillman Memorial. Wrestlers from the WCW and WWF appearing under the same roof is something that has occurred sparingly in the past decade and probably will not occur again for many years to come. In addition, Thatcher is pleased to be presenting some of the hottest young wrestling stars currently competing on the independent circuit, including some of the HWA wrestlers that he has had a hand in training himself.

Doors will open for "Photos with the Stars" (where the fans have an opportunity to have their picture taken with the wrestlers for $10 each) at 5:30 pm. A celebrity auction will be held at 6:30 pm where personal memorabilia of the stars will be auctioned off to highest bidder (cash only please; no credit cards or checks). At 7:30 pm, guest speakers will be introduced, as well as the Pillman family and other VIP's. The first match is scheduled to enter the ring at 7:45 pm. Wrestling-related merchandise and refreshments will be on sale throughout the evening, with all proceeds going to the Pillman family.

Among the items to be auctioned off at the event is a piece of original artwork of Brian Pillman by Cincinnati Enquirer editorial cartoonist of 28 years Jerry Dowling. The artwork, donated by Toon Art and valued at upwards of $1500, will be autographed by all of the wrestlers on the card and framed. Dowling is a highly acclaimed artist, perhaps most noted for creating the original Big Red Machine character of the 70's.

Ticket prices are $20 for ringside seats and $15 for general admission. Seating is limited. For ticket information, contact the HWA at (513) 771-1650 or write to them at 10235 Spartan Dr., Suite D, Cincinnati, OH, 45215. All donations should be mailed to the HWA with checks made payable to "Brian Pillman Memorial Fund". Tickets are also available at the Norwood Recreation Department Office at (513) 531-9798.

An Interview with Buddy Landel

Conducted by Jeremy Hartley for TWC Online
Transcribed by Earl Oliver

This is the first of a three part interview conducted on Feruary 10, 1998 by telephone with the former Mid-South and NWA star. One of three wrestlers known as "the Nature Boy" (along with Ric Flair and Buddy Rogers).

Jeremy Hartley: Let's start as close to the beginning as we can, you say you're 36 now...

Buddy Landel: I was born a couple of hours apart from Eddie Gilbert...

Jeremy Hartley: I'll be darned...

Buddy Landel: Same age, same day, same year...

Jeremy Hartley: I assume you were probably a fan to start...

Buddy Landel: I was a kind of closet fan, I was a star in every sport that I played in school, I always watched wrestling since I was a kid. My sister's girlfriend was a camera girl here in Knoxville. My sister had went to a match and was dating Bob Orton Jr.'s little brother, Barry O.

Jeremy Hartley: I'll be darned...

Buddy Landel: That's what I said when I walked in the door. When I was 16 I was six feet tall I weighed 210, I was always kind of a big kid. Anyway, he (Barry O) invited me down to the matches and I met Professor Malenko, Dean Malenko's dad, and he told me up front, "Well, you want to try it?" So I sold my car and gave him $1500 up front. Okay, so this was 1979. So - boom - I sell my car and started training. My training in itself would blow your mind, what I had to go through to get into this business.

Jeremy Hartley: Well, if you wouldn't mind kinda getting into that, it's always fascinated me...because a lot of fans just don't seem to get it.

Buddy Landel: Well, when I first broke in, it was when South-Eastern was really heavy here in Knoxville...

Jeremy Hartley: Right...

Buddy Landel: It was a great promotion. They had a split where the Fullers, Kevin Sullivan and Dick Slater went one way - Bob Roop, Randy Savage, Ronnie Garvin, Malenko and Roger Spence which was the the Assasins - went the other way, they named their group All-Star and that where I broke in. Anyway, I trained for about six months with Malenko. Started out doing the Hindo push-ups, the Hindo squats and running. Before he would teach me how to lockup I had to do all of this at one time. I had to run 5 miles, do 500 push-ups and do 500 squats in one sitting before he would teach me the collar-elbow lock-up. So when I completed that, I started training. It took me about six months, I dropped about 20 pounds down to 190 and my first year in the business I never rode in a car, I referreed, I wrestled, I set the ring up, tore the ring down and I rode in the back of the ring truck.

Jeremy Hartley: Oh man...

Buddy Landel: So I started with All-Star, then I went to ICW which was the Poffo's promotion in Kentucky.

Jeremy Hartley: So, your training with the Great Malenko. You always hear a lot of guys saying it was one of the most valuable experiences they ever had...

Buddy Landel: Bar none...

Jeremy Hartley: Who were some of the other people in your "class" so to speak?

Buddy Landel: There were actually 22 guys who went out for it but I was the only guy who made it through the training. I can't emphasise enough, we're not talking about a dungeon like Stu Hart's or Karl Gotch or anything like that, it was none of that. It was more or less based on endurance, stamina, just being in shape.

Jeremy Hartley: So do you remember what your first professional match?

Buddy Landel: Well I wrestled some matches in Johnson City, it was probably about September of 1979 I wrestled Bob Orton Jr. (Cowboy Bob Orton in the WWF) for my first match.

Jeremy Hartley: Wow! Now lets see, I'm trying to place it. Bob Orton Jr. had broken in, what..? Mid 70's? So he'd been in for a few years...

Buddy Landel: No, he broke in early 70's...

Jeremy Hartley: Okay, so when you had these matches, when you were a rookie coming into the business there seemed to be a lot more of these pockets of guys who wouldn't even give the rookies the time of day...

Buddy Landel: No, as a matter of fact, just to heighten the tension a little bit, to let you know, after South-Eastern split with All-Star they had "Shoot Challanges" matches where they actually got mad with each other over reasons why they busted up and they were challenging each other on TV a lot locally here. They were carrying guns, knives, mace, I mean it was a shoot, they were actually challenging each other to come down. Ronnie Garvin would challenge these guys, Bob Roop, Bob Orton Jr. - so I was 17 years old riding up and down the road wth these guys - and all of them had pistols on them! So from night to night we didn't know if they were going to hit the ring on us or not. If we were going to go to a bar and they were going to come out, actually a few times, a few of them - I believe Dick Slater and Bob Roop had gotten into a fight in a bar here locally in Knoxville. So it was a pretty bad situation, especially for a 17 year old kid. These guys trained like they were going to the Olympics, you know, they trained more for the shoot then for the work.

Jeremy Hartley: So who were the guys that you seemed to click with when you first started out?

Buddy Landel: The first one was Bob Roop, but these guys wouldn't give you the time of day, they treated me like a mark for the first year, they talked "carney" around me, even after I wrestled, they talked "carney" around me, they "kayfabed" to me, Bob Orton would black my eye, every time it would go down he would get me down and bust my eye again. I carried a black eye for my first year. They cauliflowered both of my ears for me. I mean they just made me respect the business.

Jeremy Hartley: Just a quick backtrack - you said you were a closet fan. Who were the wrestlers that you liked to follow?

Buddy Landel: Well, back in those days all you had was regional TV, Ron and Don Wright, Whitey Caldwell, Al and Don Green, the Fargos, Lou Thesz, Bob Roop, Bob Orton Jr., Malenko - those guys were all we had locally. Until '76, then we got Georgia Championship Wrestling out of Atlanta...

Jeremy Hartley: So when you first started wrestling, did you use the "Nature Boy" moniker?

Buddy Landel: Oh no, that came several years later, Flair gave me the name. I had dark hair up until March of 1983. I was in Memphis, Tom Raymesto Sr., who was booking Puerto Rico, called and asked me if I'd consider bleaching my hair and coming to Puerto Rico and bieng a heel I said, "Heck yeah..." I went down and got my very first push in '83. Flar was flying in, him and Roddy Piper were flying in and out, and of course this was before I tore my pec in a bench press contest. That was really big...I was into body building and power lifting, and so when I tore my pec, Flair was coming in and out, and he was the one who tagged me "Nature Boy".

Jeremy Hartley: I see. Well here's something, judging from your email address, which I've seen, the Figure Four...

Buddy Landel: That was just something to goof off. Just to piss Flair off, I'll tell you what I was going to do, I was going to go and copyright the name "Nature Boy" so that Flair couldn't use it again...

Jeremy Hartley: Oh man, (laughs) I'm surprised that the Rogers folks, Buddy Roger's people people never did that...

Buddy Landel: You know Jeremy, I have got in my possesion, the last hand held video copy of, back in '92 when Joe Goodheart had the Tri-State...

Jeremy Hartley: Oh yeah...

Buddy Landel: Okay, I was going to wrestle "Nature Boy" Buddy Rogers, who was 72 years old. I'd just won the Tri-State belt, Buddy Rogers was the referee and I went in the ring and insulted him, he turned around and I hit him with the belt and he beat me up, so I have the last time that Buddy Rogers was in the wrestling ring on tape. I own that, I'm the only one who has a copy of that...

Jeremy Hartley: Then he passed away...

Buddy Landel: Yeah, he passed away a year or so later. You know Buddy Rogers thought the world of me. He said that it was ironic that there were only three Nature Boys and all three looked alike and worked alike, and had the same work ethic - I thought that was the greatest compliment I ever received in my life. Actually, Buddy Rogers was going to take me to the WWF and manage me, and then he passed away.

Jeremy Hartley: Wow! So he was really planning another resurgance...

Buddy Landel: Well, just to help me out you know, he was worth about $10,000,000 when he died, he just really liked me and he just, you know, thought the world of me.

Jeremy Hartley: So that must be a compliment that nobody can ever take away...

Buddy Landel: Yeah, well you know, nobody can ever take away the fact that, you know, me and Flair both broke Elvis Presley's attendance record in Raleigh, North Carolina. I mean nobody can take away the things that I've done. I've held, lets see 24 or 26 titles. I mean I've sold buildings out, I've had a Rolls Royce, I lived in mansions, I've had it all and I've had nothing. These are things that nobody can take away from me. The way I look at it, if you guage age as being a factor of what my career going to turn out to be - I've got another 13 - 14 years yet to wrestle.

Jeremy Hartley: Can you recall a specific point in your career, when you were starting out when you were finally starting to get a little respect?

Buddy Landel: Well, you know that's a very interesting question, I've never really thought about it. You know I always knew that I was talented, but I was in the business with people who were super-talented. You know I feel that way now but I don't remember if I ever felt that way by the time I was the ripe old age of 23 I was wrestling Flair. I had to have some credibility and drawing power in order to be in that position. They didn't just stick a 23 year old kid in there with Flair. I mean, you know this was a do or die situation where every angle and every spot, you know, every television show was precious time. There wasn't time to take 9 months to get this guy over.

Jeremy Hartley: Uh huh...

Buddy Landel: Used to be that the promoters would all work together within the Alliance, I remember in 1981 going to Watts (Mid-South promoter Bill Watts) and I was there for about 6 months and he said, "Listen Buddy, we've done about all we can do with you on this level, so what we're going to do is", he said, "I've called Crockett, and I'm going to send you over there and let you learn from them. You got guys over there like Wahoo (McDaniels), Valentine, Steamboat, Flair, Paul Jones, Ole Anderson, all these guys who make tons of money. Go over there and learn from these guys who made money, saved money, blew money, etc." I credit Bill Watts with being my mentor I credit Bill Watts with teaching me this business. So it was along these lines that I reflect back now more these days. I give homage to these guys that really taught me.

Jeremy Hartley: Yes...

Buddy Landel: I mean guys really wouldn't talk to you in the dressing room, they'd be cordial and say "Hi", but you were really scared to talk to them there, because you knew that with these guys it was a very serious situation, they were making money. Kayfabe was a must, oh God forbid that some guy would blow Kayfabe, especially a rookie...

Jeremy Hartley: (laughs)

Buddy Landel: I mean forget it, you just wouldn't be in the business any more. And basically I would just walk in and put my chair up against the wall and speak when I was spoken to. And I tried to learn something more, and fortunately for me when I broke in I broke in with guys like Randy Savage and Bob Roop, Bob Orton Jr., guys that were fantastic, you would have had to have been an idiot to not pick something up.. All my career, Jeremy, I was fortunate enough to be around guys who were successful, who were truly great sculpters and artists and creative geniouses - I probably ramble back and forth...

Jeremy Hartley: That's okay, you know you talk about sitting your chair against the wall and speaking when you're spoken to, and that's kind of what I've been doing when I do these interviews - kind of let the people tell the story and I'll kind of interject with a question or two and just carry on a dialogue...

Buddy Landel: But to answer your question, I never was much into ego man, I mean there were guys that were, but I always felt like I was a kid from Knoxville, Tennesee who was just really blessed that God gave me the talent and ability that I had and just tried to utilize and capitalize on it. Each day I got up and went to the gym and got my mind set on what I was going to do that night and I tried to learn. I never really looked at myself as being to the point of saying "Hey, I've arrived, I've made it". You know, a lot of old timers, Malenko, Harley Race, guys like this always told me, "Hey kid, I learn every night when I go out there, even if I work with you I learn something new every night...

Jeremy Hartley: That's right...

Buddy Landel: I really admired that, and Flair always told me that, it was never a thing where "Well, I'm on this plateau and what I don't know hasn't been written yet."

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 interviews with Bob Blackburn and Lou Thesz are currently to be found in the "Interviews" section.

Nitro Report

The bagpipes are playing as the program opens and Mean Gene welcomes Roddy Piper to the ring. Piper uses some baseball metaphors to open his rant then says that he is here as a consultant. He bans bats from Nitro until April 19th when there will be a Tag Team "Bat Match" featuring Piper/Giant vs. Kevin Nash/Hollywood Hogan. I gather that the bat will be suspended above the ring and the combatants will fight over who gets to retrieve it and use it. He also announces a Nash/Giant match for tonight. He turns his attention to the Hogan/Savage situation. He says he (Piper) will fight Savage tonight - what that has to do with the Hogan/Savage feud I can't fathom...

Live from Freedom Hall in Louisville, Kentucky. The Nitro Grrrls perform as Tony talks about the card with Mike Tenay and Legendary Larry. He also announces that Sting will defend the World Title against Diamond Dallas Page before we go to the first commercial.

Clips from MTV Live during DDP's appearance and the subsequent attack by Raven.

Chavo Guerrero, Jr. (w/Eddie G) vs. Ultimo Dragon - Chavo is still honoring his agreemant with his uncle so Eddie joins him at ringside. Chavo attacks aggressively but gets upset right away. The match goes to the outside where Chavo regains the advantage. Back in the ring, the match see-saws. Chavo seems to be channelling his anger concerning his family situation towards his opponent and it is rebounding to his advantage. But the Dragon is to fast for him and slaps on the Dragon sleeper to win the match.

Mean Gene interviews the Guerreros in the ring. Eddie berates his nephew for losing the match, apologizes to the fans and the Guerrero family, then forces Chavo to apologize to his grandmother. He says he (Eddie) has a match with another Japanese wrestler later and will show Chavo "how it's done". Cut to commercial.

Hollywood Hogan and Eric Bischoff make their entrance as we return. Bischoff tells us all how much Hollywood loves us then hands the mic over to Hogan. Hogan says he isn't afraid of Piper or his bat. He welcomes the challange of a "Bat Match". The crowd starts a "Hogan Sucks!!" chant as he rants. It upsets him for a moment, then he continues. Apparently we are to be treated to baseball allusions for the next several weeks. He also accepts the match against the Giant for Nash later tonight. Cut to commercial.

Scott Steiner (w/Buff Bagwell) vs. Wayne Bloom - Steiner attacks on the bell and drives his opponent to the mat. He forces Bloom's face onto the canvas then controls things until he rushes into the corner and gets a boot to the face. Bloom dominates the next several exchanges but then Scott gets a double-under hook and suplexes Bloom. He pauses to pose on the corner buckle then goes back to work. He takes his opponent to the top and executes a super fall-away slam. The Steiner Recliner ends the match. Cut to commercial.

Nitro Grrrls cavort with some young fans.

Lodi vs. Psychosis - actually, I think Lodi is the "psychotic" here. This guy doesn't have a clue. He pauses after his one and only heads-up move (a reverse elbow as his opponent rushes into the corner) to pose for the crowd and throws away his advantage. The goof never recovers, Psychosis puts him away with a Guillotine Legdrop. Cut to commercial.

Sting vs. Diamond Dallas Page - World Title match - it's been a while since the US Champ was acknowledged as the #1 contender to the World Title. DDP still hasn't recovered the US belt from his nemesis. Now he has a shot at something more. Sting makes a conventional entrance for a change. This Page's biggest match ever. The fight goes right out to the floor immediately. Nick Patrick gets between them and orders them back into the ring. Sting grabs a wrist lock and yanks on it. DDP reverses then gets downed by the Champ who tries to slap on a Scorpion immediately. Page kicks him off and Sting goes right back to it. He succeeds but they are in the ropes. Page is all worked up while Sting seems to be calmer. During the next exchange DDP puts Sting down and tries a pin but fails, then attempts a Diamond Cutter but Sting has it scouted and escapes. Next Page slaps on a pancake slam and almost gets the pin. Page goes to a reverse chinlock but Sting escapes again. Page is very aggressive, climbing the corner to pound on his opponent but Sting drops his chin onto the top turnbuckle. Now it is all Sting as he pounds on his challanger then settles into a reverse chinlock and takes Page to the mat. Page fights his way to his feet and the match starts to see-saw. They get into a slugfest, which Sting wins. Sting bulldogs Page three times then climbs the ropes for a splash. DDP gets his knees up and both guys are down. Sting gets to his feet first and stumbles back into the corner where DDP is slumped. Page gains his feet and tries to administer the Diamond Cutter but Sting holds the ropes and thwarts the move - then he reverses position and executes the Death Drop to get the pin. Afterward Sting displays the Diamond Cutter gesture and the two combatants embrace as we cut to commercial.

More Nitro Grrrrls... then we cut to a Nitro Party video.

Rick Fuller vs. Lex Luger - since I haven't heard about Fuller getting any push I have to assume that Luger will win this one, probably with a Torture Rack. The announcers are stressing Fuller's weight and size - pure hype - he doesn't have a prayer. Luger is bulled back into the corner by his larger opponent and Fuller goes to town for about a half minute. Luger waits for an opening then puts a Fuller down with a succession of clotheslines and a (loaded) forearm to the top of the head. The Rack tells the tail. Cut to commercial.

Eddie Guerrero (w/Chavo) vs. Kaz Hayashi - Guerrero offers the hand of friendship then uses it to cheapshot his opponent. From there it is all Guerrero. In the background a guy walks past the camera with a sign that reads' "This Sucks - I'm missing RAW" In the ring the two competitors collide and both fall out to the floor. Back inside, Hayashi throws a missle drop-kick from the top which is successful - then tries another which is not. Guerrero has the advantage again and shows off for his nephew. The crowd is chanting "Eddie Sucks!" as he drags his opponent to the top and executes the super-plex. He follows with the Frog Splash to get the pin. Eddie insists that Chavo raise his hand. Ultimo Dragon comes in to comfort his countryman as Eddie makes Chavo part the ropes for him. Cut to Bret Hart tribute video then to commercial.

Konnan vs. Prince Iaukea - we get a Konnan tribute video before the match gets underway. The Prince starts strong and assumes control early on but he runs afoul of Konnan's size and experience advantage. Konnan slaps on an ankle lock then catches Iaukea in a DDT. Next he grabs a half-crab followed closely by a vertical suplex. This is all Konnan as he applies a standing reverse figure four, then what Bobby describes as a "Greco-Roman kick between the eyes". The Prince gets an opening and manages a couple of pin attempts but it's not working for him until he slips in a Northern Lights Suplex and bridges for a pinning combination. Cut to commercial.

Chris Jericho vs. Lenny Lane - Cruiserweight Title match - I gotta say I love this guy's music, even if I think he's a jerk. He cheers on Stanford (Kentucky's next opponent) during his usual stupid rant. Lenny Lane comes out and demands $1000 which he says was promised him for impersonating Jericho against Dean Malenko a couple of weeks ago. Jericho disputes the claim and says Lane owes him the money - Lenny responds with a slap and the match is on. Lane is very aggressive an gets several pin attempts but can't hold his opponent down. He escapes the first Lion Tamer attempt but succombs to the second. Cut to commercial.

The announcers are now saying that the Nash/Giant match will be a handicap contest to include Hogan.

Hollywood Hogan/Kevin Nash (w/Eric Bischoff) vs. The Giant - Tony reminds us that the nWo won the right at Fall Brawl in 1996 to dictate the terms of matches - thus we have a handicap match. Hogan goes for the ride first - getting slammed hard right out of the chute. Hogan stays in the ring and allows himself to be knuckle-locked and squashed in the corner. Nash is looking a little pale as the Giant creams his mentor. Hogan locks up again and lifts a knee - giving himself a momentary advantage but then he loses it and rolls out of the ring again. The Giant invites Hogan to tag in Nash. Hogan decides to take the offer. Nash turns things around with punches and then a follow-in clothesline in the corner. But the Giant comes right back and squashes Nash in the corner. Hogan comes in and the nWo guys double team their opponent. The ref just stands by and watches as the Giant breaks lose and downs both guys. The Disciple runs in but can't get his Stunner to work as Bischoff kicks from behind like a gnat. The Giant turns around and grabs Bischoff by the throat - chokeslam city! Bischoff is dragged out into his companion's arms and they split. Giant wins by disqualification. Cut to commercial.

More Nitro Grrrls...

Chris Benoit vs. Booker T - TV Title match - this should be excellent. Two true talents going after the revived prestige of the WCW TV Title. Booker has the size advantage but otherwise these guys are pretty evenly matched. Benoit takes the early advantage in his usual aggressive style but it doesn't last and the contest see-saws. It is clear that both guys have scouted their opponents moves as they wrestle to a stalemate. Benoit finally emerges with the reverse chinlock then releases the hold to stand Booker up and chop him down. Booker T puts his talented feet into play and turns the tables but then goes to the top and gets caught there. Benoit executes the super-plex and both guys hit hard. They struggle to their feet and Benoit gets two German suplexes. Both are down again. They come up again and this time Booker gets the sidewalk slam. Booker crawls over to cover but fails to get the pin. Moments later he whips across and straddles the top rope. Benoit attempts a bridge suplex - no cigar. Suddenly the bell sounds - the ten minute TV time limits has expired. How unfortunate... Cut to commercial.

Curt Hennig (w/Rick Rude) vs. the British Bulldog - Rick Rude invades the broadcast booth - displacing Mike Tenay. Rude claims that his father and Hennig's are also friends since childhood. Bobby is sucking up as usual. In the ring, the Bulldog is overpowering his opponent until Hennig downs him and starts kicking his hamstrings. The Bulldog comes back and turns the tables through sheer power. Rude heads back toward the ring as we cut to commercial.

The Bulldog still has the advantage as we return but Rude is there now and in a moment has Davey Boy handcuffed to the top rope!! The two thugs start in on him. Where are the Bulldog's friends? Finally Bret Hart appears and evens the odds as Rude bails. Hart puts Hennig into a Sharpshooter but then has to release the hold to fight off several members of the nWo. He cleans house, then grabs a mic. He refers to his former employer saying, "I know what it's like to get screwed over..." then vows to continue his war against the nWo. Cut to commercial.

Goldberg vs. Renegade - we get a review of the Goldberg vs. nWo situation before the match, then we are disappointed to have this piss-poor competition for the rookie monster. The Renegade's only offense in a handspring elbow into the corner - then he is speared and squashed. What else could we expect..? According to Tenay this is Goldberg's 60th straight win.

"Rowdy" Roddy Piper vs. "Macho Man" Randy Savage (w/Elizabeth) - these guys are probably the same age (Savage is 46 - I don't know Piper's age) but Savage is still in shape. On paper this would seem to be a very one-sided match...but this is pro-wrestling... Piper rushes the ring and starts the match with his kilt still on (makes me proud to be a Scotsman). He takes off his belt and strangles Savage with it. Macho Man rolls to the outside as Piper remves his kilt with a flourish. The fight goes to the floor and Piper maintains his advantage. He pulls the mat from the concrete and starts to put on a piledriver but Liz rakes his back. He turns and plants a big wet one on her - which gives Savage a chance to blindside him. Back in the ring, Piper puts on a sleeper. Savage forces him back and they collide with Liz on the apron. The ref goes down to aid her as Hogan and Nash show up. Nash has a bat and would use it on Piper but Hogan prevents it. He wants to hit Savage with it. Now Sting comes in with his own bat and Hogan backs off. Then Savage bails back in and rushes Sting out of the ring. Hogan and Nash menace Piper in the corner and Savage and Sting battle on the floor. The Giant shows up and conficates both bats. Sting levels Savage and re-enters the ring. Piper, the Giant and Sting rule the ring as we cut to the replay then fade to black...

Usual weak ending but overall a better than average Nitro.

RAW Report

The program opens with McMahon's brave (or perhaps, foolhardy) words from last week. I have a feeling he'll get his at some point.

RAW comes to us from Tuscon, Arizona. It is pre-recorded.

Steve Austin enters the ring in his usual surly mood. He interrupts Kevin Kelly's introduction and gets straight to the point. He says he can't be molded and he can't be broken. He plans to win at WrestleMania though he admits that Shawn Michaels will be a formidable opponent. Kelly tells Austin that DX are on their way to the arena in full force (including Tyson). Austin says he plans to sit in the back and drink beer tonight. Sgt. Slaughter comes down and tells Austin that he has a match tonight by order of Vince McMahon (who is not present) against Rocky Maivia. He further states that Austin will have a non-title match at this point, Austin, who has already stated that he will take the match, takes offense at Slaughter's remarks and stuns him. Cut to commercial.

Chainsaw Charlie/Cactus Jack vs. The Quebecers - this is a return match from a few weeks ago. Pierre and Jack start the match. Pierre is a big bruiser but is no match for Jack's guile. Funk lends a hand to put Pierre out of the ring. The Tag Champs appear on the ramp in tuxedos. Thus distracted, CJ starts to leave the ring area but returns as Funk gets double teamed. The New Age Outlaws have set up and table and have some inflated companions for their mock dinner. The match goes on in the ring with Funk and Foley gaining ground when the Tag Champs suddenly run in and attack. They bring in their table to use as a weapon. They break the table over Charlie's head and hit Jack with their champagne bucket. Jack is further piledriven onto a chair. Officials come down to break it up. Cut to commercial.

Clips from the action before the break.

Tennessee Lee introduces his protege, Dumbell J. Jarrett arrives on a horse in the dark with his clothes lighting the way. (Hey! That rhymes!) Steve Blackman vs. Jeff Jarrett - Blackman is fast and crisp - but Jarrett is actually a wrestler. JJ's only flaw is overconfidence - he almost gets pinned for taking too long climbing to the top. Lee holds Blackman's foot to give Jarrett the pin. A second referee comes in to tell the official what happened but Lee shoves Jarrett into him to shut him up. Blackman does a number on Jarrett then turns his attention on Lee. Lee flees with Blackman on his tail. Back in the ring, Jarrett is declared the winner.

Degeneration-X arrives via limo with Tyson in tow.

Clips of the Gorilla getting creamed last week (or whenever it actually was...) by Kane then his further adventures with Sable and the Undertaker. Cut to UT in a grave yard talking to his desceased parents headstones.

The lights go out as we return. Kane is in the building with his fat friend. Paul Bearer rants at the Undertaker then asks Kane for a demonstration of his powers. Kane gestures at the rafters and fire flashes forth. The Paul points toward the broadcast booth and the monitors explode. Finally Kane gestures toward an offending spotlight and that also bites the dust. Bearer rants on as we examine Kanes bad eye. Kane is invited to do one more thing. He gestures again and a lightning bolt strikes and ignites a crew member at rindgside. The victim runs up the ramp to the platform where he is put out with a fire extinquisher. This is a little much...don't you think?

Clips of what just happened. We are promised updates on the crew member's condition. Like that really wasn't a stuntman in a burn suit...

DOA vs. The New Midnight Express (w/Jim Cornette) - Skull and 8 Ball are rough and tumble guys and pretty much overwhelm the NEM in the opening moments. The R&R show up ringside followed by the former Truth Commission and then the Headbangers. Savio and the rest of the Borecuas show up along with other entrants in the Tag Team Battle Royal this Sunday. Order breaks down at ringside - so much for the match. The crowd is chanting "LOD" as we cut to commercial.

DX comes to the ring accompanied by their annoying video. Tyson grins like an idiot. HHH introduces some footage from the European Title match last week then rants at Owen Hart concerning their rematch at the PPV. Michaels takes the mic and has some words with a blowsey looking woman at ringside. As Tyson continues to act out at his side, HBK offers his comments on the controversey between McMahon and Austin then trains his guns on Austin for way too long. Given a chance to interject, Tyson blows his lines. Cut to a WrestleMania commercial featuring another blowsey woman.

Clips from last weeks match between Ken Shamrock and Rocky Maivia.

Faarooq vs. Chainz - Faarooq tells his thugs to stay away for this one. The match is just really getting started when Rocky comes down chair in hand. He paces near one corner still carrying the chair. In the ring the match is being ignored by the announcers...and actually it is pretty dull. As Faarooq is taking control, Maivia runs in with his chair but is prevented from hittng Chainz. The next thing we know Faarooq is hit and down. The match is stopped and the remainder of the Nations hauls Faarooq away. In the replay it is clear that Maivia struck Faarooq on purpose. Cut to commercial.

Video review of the Windham/Bradshaw feud.

Barry Winham vs. Bradshaw - the Rock & Roll Express are shown joining the crowd before the match begins. Bradshaw makes mincemeat out of his bloated former partner. Windham is showing almost no offense until he slips in a DDT. Cornette is having words with his former protege's at ringside and misses the opportunity to help Windham, who gets pinned. Windham attacks Bradshaw after the match and is helped by the New Midnight Express. They leave and R&R come in to assist Bradshaw to his feet. Cut to commercial.

DX are shown back in the dressing room before we go to a promo for the DX Public Workout to take place mid-week.

Marc Mero and Sable come to the ring. She is stunning in a navy gown. Vince Russo (Vic Venom) is there to present Sable and Sunny (who is not here because of illness) with an award. Mero leaves after making and ass of himself as usual. Luna and Goldust show up. Luna grabs the plaque and brains Sable with it then rips her dress and splits. Mero comes back to the ring and can be heard chastising Russo for letting the incident happen. They help her from the ring area. Cut to commercial.

Steve Austin vs. Rockie Maivia - this would appear to be a non-title contest. As the match begins we see that DX are watching backstage n a monitor. In the ring, the IC Champ is dominating the action fr several seconds than Austin comes back. Rocky retreats so Austin jumps on Mark Henry. Maivia tries to blindside him but fails. They are back in the ring for a moment then Maivia bails out again. Austin goes out and grabs a chair when he sees NOD sneaking up on him. He can't get the chair closed so he wields it open. Now Maivia gets his shot in and they head back into the ring. Mark Henry is getting revenge for the earlier attack as we cut to commercial.

Austin grabs a sleeper as we return. Maivia drives his opponent back into the corner to escape. Now it is all Maivia for a while. ustin gets lose for a moment but is taken down again. He takes it some more and then hits a clothesline coming out of the corner. Moments later he exxecutes the stunner and gets the pin. DX appears on the platform to raz the Rattlesnake. Austin flips Michaels off and the latter strips off his jacket and heads for the ring. He is restrained by his cohoorts as we fade to black.

I'm kind of surprised they didn't have a live show before the PPV. They will have one the night after so don't look for much to be resolved on Sunday.

At least that's the way I see it...

Earl Oliver
Editor, Solie's Wrestling Newsletter

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