I also want to mention that I will be attending a family function on Sunday and so will have to watch the Rock Bottom PPV on video in order to write my report. Therefore there will no Interactive PPV Edition on Sunday.
And finally. There has been a lot of reaction both pro and con to the crucifiction skit that aired last Monday on RAW. Most people weren't offended, but many people were. I published several letters on this subject on the Mailroom page and I have taken part in some arguments about this subject on a couple of discussion boards.
Below are two of the negative reactions I received by email. The first is from a regular Solie's reader.
Like Scott, (he is referring to Scott Braddock, another correspondent who talked about this issue) I am a born-again Christian and I, too, was not as offended as I thought I would be. After all, I too had read reports about Austin putting on a "perfect Christlike pose." What offends me most is the idiocy of the Austin-Taker angle. In my opinion, the angle's main events (the embalming of Austin, taking Taker to a mental hospital, throwing Paul Bearer into a sewer, and now this) is just as stupid as the recent Hogan-Warrior feud in WCW. But since this the WWF, no one seems to care.
By the way, I have, for now, given up on the WWF. I have come to the conclusion that the profanity, "pimps," "pornstars," nudity, hostage-taking, encouraging young kids to say "suck it," kielbasas, the usual mocking of religion (Dustin Rhodes, the original Nation of Domination and of course the now ubiquitous Austin 3:16), and out-and-out tasteless comments (jokes about Linda McCarthy and Eddie Rabbit's heart-attack) have left me no choice. I've turned a blind eye for quite a while, because I know Vince can often give quite sensational matches. Thinking about the gall it takes to air a fake crucifixion has brought to mind all of the other things I had been ignoring for far too long.
So while the "crucifixion of Steve Austin" didn't really bother me, it made me think of everything else that does. Until Vince cleans up his act (and since he's winning the ratings, he has no impetus to do so) I'm just going to have to make do with the WCW.
(Did I mention the sickening thought that Vince's target audience is mainly kids and teens? Did I have to?)
I have pondered this article since I have first read about the event taking place. Many times I thought I would just keep my thoughts silent this time and ignore it totally. This was in hope that it would go largely ignored and have little impact on viewers and the wrestling world as a whole.
I was wrong.
More people had comments on this than I thought so here is my two cents. Anyone who knows my articles knows I am an extremely opinionated person. Many times I see these opinions as a momentary thought that fades as soon as I hit the send button and watch it fly over the Internet to Earl. This time its different. This time I feel disturbed. Maybe its because the latest event or maybe its the culmination of many questionable acts that I have witnessed in the past. Either way I have come to a decision. From this day forward, I will no longer have any part of the WWF.
I love wrestling as much as I ever have but I can tolerate the ongoing antics no longer. For the record, Earl is right. The crucifixion was not necessarily a method of execution. More so, it was meant as a humiliating type of punishment used to deter future criminals. If the victim died during the process it wasn't considered a loss but many times it was not the primary goal. In some instances, the person on trial would be sentenced to die by crucifixion but this was truly a rare event. Also not all crucifixions took place on the commonly pictured cross. Many times it was in a "T" shape or an "X" shape. This depended on region, crime, and many other factors. On occasion the victim was hung upside down to speed death.
All of these things considered, one thing stands out. We associate the crucifixion with religion on almost every event. Regardless of what excuse Vince McMahon (or anyone else) offers to contradict this, that is just fact. There is no realistic denial of this.
Thriving on controversy has brought the WWF to new heights. More money than ever is being spent on wrestling events and merchandise. This has made McMahon a wealthy man but at what expense? His morals? His values? Both? More?
I dont claim to be perfect but one thing I am proud of is this. Although I fall short on many things in life, although I make mistakes on a daily basis and although I have done things I would never publicly want to admit, I, as a born again, God fearing Christian am forgiven. I believe that approximately 2000 years ago the only son of the only omnipotent God died on a cross at Calvary providing salvation to all those who believe. This is the same event that Vince McMahon has mocked and turned into a sick show. I dont care how you slice it, this is what it was meant to reference. It may have had substantial difference but the basic meaning was the same.
To see Stone Cold Steve Austin tied to a cross in any way resembling the event that Christians hold sacred was absolutely the worst thing anyone could have done. All of the other things that have occurred in the WWF as of late, have been bad but not this bad. It is this that has changed the way I view wrestling now and forever.
Im not a real fan of WCW but I would rather watch a wrestling organization insult my intelligence with dumb storylines and weak events than watch a wrestling organization insult my religion. Earl has said on several occasions that he is not a Christian and claims no religious affiliation. Im sure he is not the only one out there with this feeling. None the less, this event should be as disturbing to non-religious viewers as those of us who claim a faith. We are the ones who pay the bills for Vinnie and I for one will not support these atrocities any longer. I may very well be alone in this as well. If that is the case then I shall remain firm in my beliefs...
I have a major problem with this particular event because of my religious beliefs. I have a major problem with the past event the WWF have produced because of my morals and ethics. If I didn't discontinue my support of the WWF as a whole I would have a major problem with myself. In short, look at it this way. If someone offered you an ice cream sundae, and you like such a thing, but then instead of chocolate sauce on top they placed a steaming pile of manure over your ice cream, would you scrape off the manure to get to the ice cream or discard the entire dish?
I'm tired of the manure the WFF is heaping on my sundae.
I shall just eat cake.
Joseph Holt is a freelance writer in the Ft. Worth Texas area and a regular contributor to Solie's. His own web site, called Double Xposure, is located at: http://members.aol.com/Holt70/page/index.htm and features his articles on subjects besides pro-wrestling.
Bobby Duncum, Jr. vs. Chris Jericho (w/Ralphus) - a sign says "Thursday Night Ralphus!" as Jericho and Co. approach the ring. Duncum needs to break out - he wrestles very much like his father with the same rough grace. He dominates the early going - which is all that we get before the first commercial.
Jericho is in control as we return but then the match goes right to th floor where the big Texan has the advantage. Back in the ring Jericho cuts off his opponent's re-entry asserts control with a surfboard variation. He drops the hold and stomps away then grabs a back breaker over his knee. Duncum escapes eventually and the match see-saws with Jericho in control. Duncum goes for a powerbomb but Jericho climbs right over the top of him then rolls him up, using the ropes for leverage. He gets the pin but then Konnan runs down and complains about Jericho's cheating - the referee believes him and orders the match restarted! Jericho gets the drop on his opponent and rolls him up again but Konnan is there to brain him with the TV Title belt. Duncum gets the win on the reveresal. Cut to video of the Bischoff/Flair feud then to commercial.
Glacier vs. Saturn - Saturn makes this one a real wrestling match which puts Glacier at disadvantage. They go to the floor and now Glacier is really out of his element. He lets Saturn chase him back into the ring when suddenly Sonny Oono grabs Saturn's leg on his way back in. The distraction is enough to give the momentum back to Glacier who immediately re-enforces his control with a couple of martial arts blows. The match goes into an extended see-saw battle with Saturn holding the upper hand. Glacier gets occasional flurries but Saturn is wrestling again. He gets the Rings of Saturn combination but Sonny kicks him in the shoulder to distract him. Glacier slips out of the ring leaving Oono alone with Saturn. Saturn downs Oono with a DDD then puts the rings on him! Glacier runs in to throw an elbow - on Oono! Glacier gets supplexed and rolls himself and Oono out to the floor. Saturn looks happy. Cut to commercial.
Kaz Hayashi vs. Norman Smiley - Kaz is greatly outclassed here, both size and experience are against him. Smiley is getting a little cockier every time we see him but nobody cares. The crowd chants "boring..." through much of the match. Smiley, a submission wrestler, just slows the pace down some more. Then he tosses the kid out on the floor and roughs him up by ramming his back into the apron. Back in the ring, Kaz is all energy, Smiley just keeps beating him down. Finally he ties up his opponent with a cross-face chicken wing and forces him to submit. Cut to commercial.
Ernest Miller vs. the audience - Miller starts ranting as soon as he hits the ring. He challenges the entire audience to a match then turns his ire on Oono. "Where were you", asks the manager "when I was getting the snot...you know (he trails off)..." Miller says, "Hey you beat Saturn twice right? You don't need me..." He orders Oono to go after Saturn, then tells the audience "I hate all of you" and splits. Cut to commercial.
Rey Misterio, Jr. vs. Guventud Guerrera - Cruiserweight Title contention match - expect to see Eddie and the Thugs appear for this one. Guerrera plays on his size advantage (something he rarely is able to do) and grounds his opponent. As soon as Misterio gets loose he is all over the place and takes Juvey down with a flying head scissors. He is posing for the crowd as we cut to commercial.
Juvey is trying to get a handshake from Rey who is running him into the corner. Rey is all over the ring again and...here come the thugs. LWO members (sans Eddie) surround the ring as Misterio continues to trade blows and maneuvers. Juvey is starting to use his weight well again but Misterio is firmly in charge. Eddie has appeared at ringside and starts to slap the mat as Misterio holds Juvey in a head scissors. Guerrera squirms to his feet and hangs Rey up on the top rope. This stops the action for a couple of beats. Rey recovers right away but the match is back on the mat again and Juvey has the weight advantage. He thwarts Misterio's drive and hits a DDT but can't get the pin. They start trading moves again just before the NWO thugs swarm into the ring. Rey is getting creamed when Kidman runs in to rescue him. Cut to commercial.
Video review of the Giant's appearance on Nitro followed by DDP's attack later that night.
Lodi vs. Booker T - this is really unfortunate. To waste an appearance by Booker T on an opponent like this. Stevie shows up to agree with me! He tells Booker he's selling himself short by facing a "sign boy"...he tries again to recruit Booker to the nWo. If Booker keeps getting this kind of match I would advise he take that offer... Oh yeah, Stevie "slapjacks" the idiot boy. Cut to commercial.
Kanyon vs. Chris Benoit - Kanyon has finally figured out that the audience is baiting him and says, "fine..." He rants against Raven then adopts his cliche - "What about Kanyon!??" He wins the first exchange with an arm drag then stops to strut. Benoit watches him calmly then attacks his left arm. Kanyon struggles to find an escape and succeeds. They do a lot of kicking each other in the gut combinations Benoit forces him back into the corner then puts him on the top corner and into a superplex. There is an extended series of exchanges that keep ending in stalemate - Kanyon can't stop posing and talking to the audience ringside - everytime he does it he lets his attention wander. Benoit is to intense to toy with like that. As the match progresses it seems clear that Benoit is pulling ahead but suddenly Kanyon puts on one of those pancake moves he likes so much and we're back in see-saw mode. Now Raven is approaching the ring carrying a gallon can of paint. He walks right into the ring and brains Benoit! Then he splits. Kanyon is confused and angry, Benoit wakes up and see him. He freaks out and grabs the Crippler crossface on the poor guy. Cut to commercial.
Stevie Ray/Horace/Vincent vs. Konnan/Lex Luger - for some reason this becomes a handicapp match then we cut to commercial.
Luger and Stevie Ray are squaring off as we return. Luger rushes in and takes the immediate advantage but then Stevie recovers and stomps a mudhole in him in the corner. Stevie forces Luger into his corner but Luger fights his way clear and handles Horace and Vincent easily - Stevie Ray stops his progress with a ham on the back but he hands off the Konnan. Konnan clears the ring immediately but can't look in three directions at once and ends up on the recieving end. Stevie Ray seems to be the ringleader as his team isolates the Mexican star. Horace takes over and wraps a sleeper chinlock around Konnan's head. Konnan escapes then collides with his opponent. Both tag out, pitting Luger against Stevie Ray. The rest of the thugs swarm back in and the Wolf Pack is up against it until Scott Hall appears on the apron and lends a hand. He leaves immediately but pauses on the playform to turn back and make the Wolf Pack gesture. Fade to black... The WWF offends my sensibilities while WCW insults my intelligence...
At least that's the way I see it...
Editor, Solie's Wrestling Newsletter
This page is a personal tribute and is in no way connected to any of the wrestling promotions mentioned on it. It is dedicated to the Dean of Wrestling announcers, Gordon Solie. Copyright 1998 - Jump City Productions