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Solie's Tuesday Morning Report: EXTRA!

Friday Morning Edition

TNT Will Go to Split Feed

RAW and Nitro will truely be head-to-head on the West Coast after of July 1st

Pro-Wrestling and Its Fans: Part 2

by Alex Kreit

Goldberg smashing as wrestling rookie

by Mike Bianchi for the Florida Times-Union


Volume 3, Issue 329 - June 26, 1998
For those who might be interested, yesterday was my birthday. I am now officially one year older than Ric Flair :-)
News from Bob Ryder:

TNT SPLIT FEED

TNT will go to a split feed on July 1.

The move by TNT will mean that West Coast viewers will see NITRO and RAW in a legitimate head to head competition for the first time.

There are differing opinions on how the move will impact the ratings competition, but everyone seems to agree that it will make a difference.

Editor's Note: There is also some question about how this new situation will affect the Monday Night Wars reports in this newsletter. I am accustomed to coming home from work at 4:45 pm, watching Nitro at 5, then watching RAW at 9 and filing my report immediately afterward. If they are on simultaneously, I will be forced to tape one and watch the other, then review the tape before filing my report. This means that I could be up past 1 am in order to watch both shows - something I can't do every Monday night since I have to be at work at 8 am. I may have to divide the edition up over two nights. We shall see...


Here's a letter from Ervin Griffin:

Hello everyone!!!

I want to thank you for making my web site a great success and for making Nikita Koloff VS. Bill Goldberg my most read story!!! It is now up to 102 counts (same as Goldberg's record) and counting!!! By the way, I want to announce two more stories added to the section.

The first is one from Miss Pamela (writer of the Kane/Undertaker story in my Fan Writings page). This time, she wrote a parody based on WCW Monday Nitro called "A Night To Forget".

The second story is another one of mine and it features the classic "teacher vs. student" angle. It is Diamond Dallas Page VS. his former teacher Jake "The Snake" Roberts. If you have been reading my stories, then you know that these two have already been feuding in the undercards of both Benoit VS. Austin and Nikita VS. Goldberg!!! This bout will be the third meeting between the two men!!! Raven also guest stars in this one as well.

Finally, I want to ask one and all to check out my guestbook at the bottom of the main page when you visit!!! Leave a message if you choose!!! And, if you have a story that you want seen, send it to me and I'll see what I can do!!! My address is griffiev@hotmail.com

Ervin Griffin Jr. is Solie's resident historian and also contributes to the Ringside Insider on a regular basis. Many of his previous articles are available in the Articles section of the website. Check out Ervin's Pro-Wrestling Fan Fiction web site.



Professional Wrestling and its Fans

This is the second of a five part series in which Alex Kreit explores the history of pro-wrestling and its relationship with its fans. It was originally written as a paper for his "Sports and Society" class at Amherst College and represents a scholarly examination of our favorite Sports Entertainment. It is presented here complete with footnotes which are accessed by clicking on the number links scattered throughout the text. Return links are provided in the footnotes section to take you back to where you left off in the narrative.

by Alexander Kreit

Part 2

Professional Wrestling: A Working Class Sport

The types of sports and other leisure activities in which a person participates is often related to his or her economic status or "class." "In much of the capitalist world one can continue to place a person socioeconomically by his or her participating and spectator sports."(14) Moreover, one can also assert his affiliation with a certain economic class by participating in certain sports.

For instance, an affluent factory owner might want to attend a monster truck rally in order to appear less removed from his workers, or an elected official may want to throw out the first pitch at a baseball game to identify himself and "one of the guys." A number of sporting events, such as car racing, are seen as working class sports and most of them have at least a few things in common. "Prole sports...have several characteristics that make them 'grand spectacles': (1) speed and power rather than agility, grace, or finesse; (2) artifacts that are derived from prole culture such as motorcycles; (3) identification with the "players" or participants; and, (4) the fact that spectators often become participants."(15) Among the sports that have these attributes is professional wrestling. But the connection between wrestling and the working class is much older than any professional wrestling organization.

Wrestling, in some form or another, has been a part of more societies than any other sport, except possibly running; because neither of the two sports requires any equipment, they were easily adapted by primitive and modern societies alike. This is also one of the reasons that wrestling has been primarily a prole sport throughout its history. "Wrestling has always been a sport of the people... in three regards.

First, it has always been found as a scheduled activity or impromptu game when common people in many cultures gather on festive occasions. Second, the participants have regularly come from the common folk rather than from the aristocratic classes. And third, the audience it draws is composed predominantly of ordinary people; its appeal is not exclusive or limited to an initiated elite."(16) All three of these statements have held true for wrestling since its beginning and were not lost in the transformation from wrestling to rasslin.

Professional wrestling as we know it today did not appear one day as a high paced "fake" version of "legitimate" wrestling. In fact, professional wrestling began as pure contest.

Americans have been participating in wrestling since as early as 1680. A number of important American figures including George Washington and Abe Lincoln participated in wrestling. "Lincoln typified early rural American wrestling in which an out of town challenger took on a local strongman."(17)

During this time there were three distinct styles of wrestling, collar and elbow, Greco-Roman, and "catch-as-catch-can."

Although catch-as-catch-can was by far the most popular of the three, collar and elbow has the most influence over both the professional and amateur wrestling that exists today. The collar and elbow style was brought to America by Irish immigrants and was most popular in the farming areas of Vermont. The name came from the stance the wrestlers took at the start of each match. The participants started by facing each other with one hand on his opponent's shoulder and the other on his elbow. The match proceeded from this point, with the wrestlers kicking or running at each other. The wrestlers stayed in this stance until one was able to push the other to the mat. Once on the mat, the wrestling continued until one was able to pin the other's shoulders and hips down for the count of three. Particularly because of the long opening "lock-up," collar and elbow matches often lasted more than an hour without a single break.

The collar and elbow style began to spread to other parts of America during the Civil War. The officers chose wrestling as the sport to train soldiers because, since it required no equipment, it was the most cost effective. The Vermont wrestlers faired quite well and their style began to catch on among the rest of the troops. It spread quickly throughout the Union Army during the war and was making big money by the 1880's. It was a legitimate sport and was covered in local newspapers regularly; but, even in those early days, professional wrestling was not well respected by the mainstream and associated with the working class. "The ideal was amateurism.

In contrast, individualistic activities such as prize fighting and wrestling were at the time early spectator sports that led to professionalism and attracted the gambling set, the unruly crowd. While the papers reported bare knuckle fights, they also condemned them."(18)

Despite the negative press, wrestling was very popular and filled a need for America's growing love of spectator sports during a time without many professional leagues. As with any sport, wrestling needed business men in order to become professional.

In baseball, business men owned teams and one man's team would play another's. In wrestling, however, the business man became a promoter. His job was to provide the location, front the money, and promote the match. In return he would usually get a large share of the profits. The first promoters were saloon owners who decided to add stage halls into their establishments, transforming them into "sports bars." They would hold both wrestling matches and fist fights and charge their customers a fee to witness the events. Eventually some of the matches became too big for bars and, in 1880, the first truly big wrestling event was held in the first Madison Square Gardens, Gillmore's Gardens.

The bout pitted William Muldoon against Thiebaud Bauer in front of a crowd of 3,000, which was quite decent for those days. The match was Greco-Roman style; but it is nevertheless mentioned in today's' popular professional wrestling publications as an important date in the evolution of the sport. Indeed, this match, although not of the collar and elbow style, helped lead to the astounding popularity professional wrestling enjoyed in the late 1890's and early 1900's.

Muldoon emerged from the match victorious and walked away with the Greco-Roman championship. It was a challenge from a catch-as-catch-can wrestler during his title reign that led promoters to consider exactly what standard form of wrestling should be employed.


Footnotes

Alex Kreit is a student at Hampshire College in Amherst, MA, where he concentrates on Documentary Video and Film/Political Theory. He is from Oakland, CA and has been into wrestling since 1989. He says of this project, " I have wanted to learn more about the history of pro. wrestling for some time and thought about writing a paper on it since the summer before I began college. Over the course of my first semester I became more serious about the idea and decided to take a class called "Sport and Society" at Amherst College my second semester. I chose to write about the economic class of fans because I am very interested in the way pro wrestling is portrayed in the mass media and felt that the two issues are closely linked."
This story came over the wire from AP

Goldberg smashing as wrestling rookie

by Mike Bianchi for the Florida Times-Union

In a world of fabrications and facades, fakes and frauds, he is the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. Right down to his name.

Not Mongo or Macho Man or Hulk or Hollywood.

Goldberg.

Just Goldberg.

''Not exactly a menacing name, is it?'' says Bill Goldberg, the former University of Georgia football star who is the hottest thing to hit professional wrestling since The Lovely Elizabeth. ''... I guess I blow all the stereotypes right out of the water. When you hear of somebody named Goldberg, you think of a guy sitting behind a desk investing your money.''

Goldberg, in town last night for the sold-out World Championship Wrestling Monday Nitro show at the Coliseum, had better start learning how to invest money because he is destined to make plenty of it. His T-shirts are the top-selling item in the WCW's vast merchandising empire. His burgeoning bandwagon of fans has become wrestling's version of TigerMania. His signature move, the Jackhammer Suplex, may, in fact, be the sole reason for the rapid increase in pre-pubescent chiropractic treatments.

In less than a year on the WCW circuit, Goldberg has burst onto the professional wrestling scene faster than anyone ever has. In nine months, he has become a marquee character in this weekly soap opera for the testosterone-obsessed. And what's refreshing about that is this: In a show biz world filled with theatrics and histrionics, Goldberg has become a star just by being himself.

''He wrestles the same way he used to play football,'' says Georgia Athletic Director Vince Dooley, the legendary Bulldogs coach who still marvels when he discusses Goldberg's phenomenal physicality on the gridiron. ''He was relentless; he had an intensity and a ferocity about him that is rare. When you combine that with the fact that he always had personality and charisma, it's not hard to see why he's become a star.''

When he played at Georgia in the late 1980s, Goldberg, an All-SEC nose guard, was once characterized by former Ole Miss coach Billy Brewer as ''A warlord - a gun-totin', knife-totin' bad guy.''

His trademark in the ring - and on the field - is the way he mauls opponents with unyielding aggression and bullying brute strength. No boastful diatribes (yet), no glittery robes, no blonde bombshell managers. Just power, explosion and devastation. Goldberg is currently undefeated (102-0), and wrestling fans keep track of his victories like baseball enthusiasts count off Mark McGwire's homers. Less than a year since making his TV wrestling debut, Goldberg - this roaring man-mountain monster with the shaved head and menacing goatee - is undoubtedly on the WCW fast track to stardom.

''I think I give the fan something different than the blatantly staged and theatrical style you see so much of in pro wrestling today,'' says Goldberg, who has a psychology degree from Georgia. ''My approach is less is more. There is no fabrication in what I do. I'm just being me out there.''

Before performing last night, Goldberg helped cheer up cancer patients at the Wolfson Children's Hospital. Goldberg, it seems, is related to the Jacksonville-based Wolfson family. During the hospital stop, one of the children overheard a writer talking about Goldberg's glory days at Georgia.

''You mean he played football, too?'' said the child incredulously. ''Is that where he learned how to do The Jackhammer?''

Well, it used to be he would get a yellow flag for picking up an opponent and dropping him on his head.

Goldberg guffaws.

''Now it's legal,'' he says giddily. ''That's why I like wrestling a whole lot better than football.''


Thunder Report

The program opens with a new promo spot for the Bash featuring (what else?) Rodman and Hogan attacking DDP with chairs. I'm sure getting sick of watching that scene over and over...

Thunder is live from the Orlando Arena in Orlando, Florida. The Goldberg chant is already happening in the arena as the announcers hype the Bash card. They are interrupted mid-spiel by nWo music...

The Giant (w/Vincent) stops on the ramp to smoke and rant. He asks Sting what he is smoking and claims that the Tag Team Championship belts were stolen. He challenges Sting to put the belts on the line tonight even though he knows that Nash isn't in the arena referring to Sting and "whoever" he wants to get as a partner as a "smoke break". Didn't JJ Dillon already rule that one Tag Team Champ couldn't name his own alternative partner for a Title match...? Just wondering... Cut to commercial.

As we return the Public Enemy are at the ring setting up their "plunder"...

Public Enemy vs. Raven/Sick Boy - Raven rants at Kanyon before the match gets under way and declares that the contest will be fought under Raven's Rules. PE decks both Flock members before Raven finishes his speech. Grunge and Rock get the best of Sickboy by pancaking him - Raven comes in and fares no better. He is elevated and dropped onto his partner so that he has to kick out from under three guys! A couple more exchanges and he finally turns the tables then tags in Sick Boy. The latter continues the assault then tags his leader back in. Raven stays in control then tags his partner back in - then the advantage passes over immediately. Raven seems reluctant to tag in and Sick Boy suffers as a result. Raven is back in finally and Lodi enters the ring only to get pulled into harms way by his cowardly leader. Sick Boy is positioned on the table on the outside but Raven rolls out and rescues him only to be hit by Saturn who runs in with a trash can lid. Saturn mounts the corner and splashes Raven, breaking the table and hurting himself in the process. In the ring, Sick Boy is laid to rest. Cut to commercial.

Eddie Guerrero vs. Hugh Morrus (w/Jimmy Hart) - a classic match of a good-big man vs. a better-smaller man. Morrus naturally takes the early advantage during the initial feeling out period. Eddie comes back with a drop-kick to the left knee (ouch!!) Moments later he turns a powerbomb attempt into a Frankensteiner and takes control. He starts working on the injured leg. The crowd starts chanting "Chavo!" and Eddie is looking around with a paranoid look on his face. Moments later Eddie is gorrilla slammed but Morrus is still favoring his leg. He misses the leg drop off the top and then Eddie actually scoop slams the 300 lbs. monster! Now Chavo shows up and starts ranting at Jimmy Hart then attacks him. Naturally his uncle is distracted by this byplay and when he turns his attention back to his opponent (and the Splash he was about to throw) - Morrus is waiting for him and turns it into a powerslam. Morrus gets the pin. Chavo goes into his Monopoly rant again and (again) corrects Eddie's pronunciation of his name (Eddie pronounces it "Whacko"...) Cut to commercial.

Does anybody else find WCW's proclaiming their Internet home as "the only Wrestling Web Site that matters..." annoying - or is that just me?

Sting and Konnan come down to the ring - I suppose this is the response to the Giant's challenge. Konnan starts the ranting with his Spanish language cliches ans so forth. Then Sting takes the mic. He declares that the Wolf Pack is in the house, then says that someone must be spiking the Giant's cigarettes. He agrees to the Tag Team match - he names Lex Luger as his partner for the contest. I just realized we don't know who the Giant's partner will be.

Cut back to the announcers who talk about the Four Horsemen and then segue to the situation between the Harlem Heat. Backstage, Tenay is trying to get an interview but is waved off by Arn Anderson. He leaves but the camera lingers as Arn and Chris Benoit discuss the possible reformation of the Horsemen. Benoit wants Arn to be part of it but Arn demures. Arn notices the camera and warns them to "hit the bricks".

Point of order: during Flair's absense, he and Arn have been making personal appearances together. Now Arn is making TV appearances involved in a Horsemen angle - Flair is coming back, no matter what his lawyer says...the rumor that he wants to jump to the WWF is an angle, count on it.

Stevie Ray vs. Sumo Fuji - another Japanese jobber faces Stevie this week and gets his tail kicked. Stevie rants throughout the match (of sorts) about showing his brother "how it's done..." He uses his new "Slapjack" pancake suplex to take the pin. Cut to commercial.

Chris Jericho vs. Ultimo Dragon - Cruiserweight Title match - Jericho has shaved off his goatie - he delivers a self-centered rant (as usual) before his opponent makes his entrance. He again asserts that he won't defend his Title against Dean Malenko "ever again". Dillon comes down to the ring and questions Jericho about his plans. He agrees with Jericho that the rules used to warrent Jericho's position - but - the Championship committee has decided to change the rules - he orders a Title defense, against Dean Malenko, for the Bash. The Dragon comes on strong from the opening bell and asserts his dominance. Jericho finally turns the tables with a jaw breaker then kicks his opponent in the side of the head. He is taking control as we cut to commercial.

Jericho still has the advantage as we return. Moments later he throws a Lionsault and gets drop-kicked out of the air. An Asahi Moonsault (aka Lionsault) puts Jericho down then UD grabs the Dragon Sleeper - but Jericho applies kicks to the head to escape. Dragon recovers and the match see-saws. Chris gets the Lion Tamer and issues a slur against Malenko's "dead father" - but the Dragon reaches the ropes. Once he is free - the Dragon goes into his kicking machine maneuver then in a flash he has Jericho in a Dragon Sleeper and this time there is no escape. Malenko runs in and attacks Jericho at this point thus spoiling the Dragon's victory. Cut to commercial.

Eric Bischoff approaches the ring on his own. What a chance for someone to punk him... Unfortunately it doesn't happen. He stops at the foot of the ramp to rant. He introduces "Superstar" Scotty (Big Papa Pump) Steiner. Steiner wears a tuxedo jacket over his nWo T-shirt. They show a clip of the Steiners wrestling the Public Enemy which features Scotty cleaning house in the ring while Rick seemingly loafs in his corner. BPP rants about his own "genetic perfection" and refers to Rick as "genetic junk". He says he plans to be a major motion picture star (dream on pump boy...) Cut to commercial.

Tony says that during the break they received a telephone call - Diamond Dallas Page is on the line. He is calling from Salt Lake City where he is with Karl Malone. He says they are preparing a surprise for Hogan and Rodman at the Ice Palace in Tampa for Nitro on Monday - something to do with chairs...

The Barbarian (w/o Jimmy Hart) vs. Hacksaw Jim Duggan - two big has-beens get it on - Jimmy Hart is conspicuous by his absense - I guess he is still recovering from Chavo's attack earlier. Duggan quiets the crowd then gets the "USA" chant going before the match gets underway. He wins the first few exchanges and Barbarian retreats to the floor. Back in the ring the Barbarian turns the tables and pounds his opponent in the corner. He settles into a reverse chinlock but not for long. Hacksaw escapes but is felled by a knee to the gut. Back to the chinlock. Barbarian slams him then goes to the top but takes too long. Duggan avoids the contact on the flying headbutt then goes to town on his opponent. They collide and both go down. Hugh Morrus shows up and tries to sneak the 2X4 to his partner but Hacksaw is already in a three-point stance and runs right through his opponent before he can use the board. Backstage, Chris Jericho is talking with Ultimo Dragon attempting to convince him to protest his DQ loss to the Championship committee and demand the Title shot at the Bash. Malenko shows up and cuts their conversation short. Cut to commercial.

Disco Inferno/Alex Wright vs. Steve McMichael/Chris Benoit - Disco wears what appears to be a ladies leapordskin (fake) jacket as he approaches the ring. These two could be called "The Dancing Fools" (credit Bobby Heenan with that one). It's good to see the two former Horsemen back as a team. Mongo definitely does some of his best work in this combination. Wright faces Benoit to start and surprises us by getting the best of him...then he stops to dance. He never knew what hit him after that. Both of the Dancers are milling about in confusion out on the floor as we cut to commercial.

The proto-Horsemen are isolating Disco as we return. They continue this for a while then Disco gets loose and the Dancers have a little run - mostly it is Wright who maintains their advantage. But they keep stopping to showboat (idiots!) Somehow they retain their initiative for yet a little while. They are isolating Benoit, of all people. The Dancers are getting frustrated by their inability to put Benoit away. Finally Disco misses an elbow drop and then is on the receiving end of a German suplex. Both guys are down but Benoit manages to tag out. Mongo cleans house then gets taken for a moment but comes right back. He sidewalk slams Disco then lets Benoit headbutt the opponent. The Crippler Crossface tells the tale. Cut to commercial.

Sting/Lex Luger vs Giant/? - Tag Team Title match - Michael Buffer makes the introductions. They must be paying this guy a fortune. The Giant has picked Brian Adams as his partner (gosh, I wonder what happened to the Disciple..?) Vincent accompanies them. After they enter we go to commercial.

Sting and Luger make their entrance as we return. Sting looks more relaxed then we have seen him is a couple of years. The Giant tries to light a cigareete as the bell rings but can't get his Bic to light. Sting and Luger doubleteam him and toss him out of the ring over the top rope. It shakes out to Sting vs. Giant as the big guy returns to the ring. The Giant bulls Sting into the corner and pounds him down. Then uses a Russian Leg Sweep on him. He charges into the corner and Sting avoids him. Stings pummels the Giant in the corner but the big guys fights his way back to the advantage. he drops an elbow then stops to taunt Luger and misses the next one. Adams tags in and gets creamed. Luger racks him as Sting cuts the Giant off then Death Drops him. Adams submits but then Rude and Hennig hit the ring. Rude goes right to work on Sting as other members of the black & white swarm in and start punking Sting and Luger. Fade to black...

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

Earl Oliver
Editor, Solie's Wrestling Newsletter


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