As of late the "new school" and "old school" of wrestling have had a few disagreements on some issues. The younger audience, and by younger I not only refer to age but also those who have not enjoyed pro wrestling for long, sees the WWF and WCW the way it is now and assumes that is what its all about. Contrary to that belief there was once a totally different wrestling world. Unfortunately, those days of wrestling are almost completely gone and all we have are the memories. However, I recently discovered a small wrestling organization that puts on shows with great respect and reverence to the traditional wrestling.
For once, I'm not going to point out the problems with the major organizations of today but instead try to enlighten those who may not understand why the "old school" of wrestling is so special to us. So join me if you will at the Friday night matches of the local edition of the famous NWA.
As we pull into the parking lot you wonder where the matches will be held. There is no large auditorium capable of seating multiple thousands of fans. There are no limos transporting the combatants to the exhibition. Instead we see a small banner hanging over a steel door that reads "Pro Wrestling Every Friday." We walk to the door and you notice the high tech virtual reality "video game" and indoor go-cart track that operates next door. You silently wonder if perhaps that might be the better choice for tonight's entertainment. We reach the huge steel door that has a flyer duct taped to the outside, it reads: "adult admission $10, children $5 Matches start at eight and door opens at 7:00."
With a deep breath you reach for the handle and pull on the door but it doesn't open. It seems as though we have about ten minutes before seven. Suddenly, the door bursts open and a small man on the other side apologetically explains the door just sticks sometimes. We return a polite smile as he gestures for us to enter. A small cash register is set on a folding table to the left as we enter. An older woman, possibly the doorman's wife, welcomes us and states that it will be ten dollars for each of us..that is unless we have a coupon. Sorry guys, I used my last coupon last week so we're paying full price tonight. Just remind me later not to throw my drink cup away. See the coupon is printed on the cup. We can use it next time.
Since this was my idea, its my treat. I open my wallet and and give the lady a fifty. She frowns slightly and asks if I have anything smaller. She doesnt have much change. Sadly, that is the smallest bill I have but to help her out I offer to buy two programs for tonights matches. She thanks me and announces my new grand total, twenty five dollars. I hand you your ticket and program as begin towards the security guard who doubles as the ticket taker. I hand him my ticket and as he tears it he reminds he to keep my stub because they have a drawing later. You repeat the process and shove your ticket stub into your front pocket.
The ring is lit brightly in the small building. Folding chairs surround the squared circle which is lacking the security railing that is forever present at the other wrestling shows. We are the first to arrive with the exception of an older couple sitting ringside. He is attempting to drink his beer without spilling it and she mulls over her program from her wheelchair as she turns up her oxygen bottle. I guide you to the opposite side of the room where we get two ringside seats on the aisle the wrestlers enter from. We have some time before the games begin so we both thumb through our programs. Its a four page novel. It highlights the wrestlers that appear regularly and the titles they hold. It seems as though the Texas Heavyweight Champion, Brian Adidas will be defending his belt tonight. Within five minutes or so the program has lost its reading enjoyment instead being much more useful as a makeshift fan. The air conditioning in this old building is definitely not state of the art. The heat soon becomes a major irritation and the lights to the snack bar beacon. I ask you to stay there and save our seats so I can go get us something to drink. I soon return proudly announcing that I purchased us both super large jumbo drinks that not only have the aforementioned coupon printed on them but an added bonus of a raffle number that gives us a chance to win season passes to the matches. We sip our drinks and ponder what exactly classifies seasons in wrestling to no intelligent conclusion. The place soon starts to fill up with people from all walks of life. Every age, man, woman and child. Business suits to T-shirts. Each taking their rightful place in the folding chairs. One guy offers to buy us a beer if we let him have our seats. That proposal quickly negated we settle back into the comfort of steel against our backsides and prepare for the first match.
The older woman that sold us our tickets places a rather large portable stereo system beside her cash register. She pushes the play button and music fills the room. Fans rush to the ring. You then give me a questioning look. I explain they just want autographs as the wrestler makes his entrance. Cheers fill the room. Fans crowd around their hero as he makes his way to the ring all the while doing his best to sign as many programs as he can. He finally makes it into the safety of the ring and the fans take their seats. The ticket lady stops that song and starts another. The bad guy appears. A chorus of boos and hisses now over shadow the entrance theme of the other contestant. There is one youngster attempting to get at autograph but only gets his program ripped up and thrown into his tearing face. The crowd is livid. Cups now fly in his direction splattering him with the soft drink or beer of choice. (hey...what about the coupons?) He leers back at the crowd. Instead of entering the ring he walks around the outside heckling the front row fans. He doesn't quite make it to us before he slides onto the canvas to do battle.
There is no announcements but from a distance a bell rings and the two wrestlers charge each other. The fighting is furious. Body slams, head butts, drop kicks, etc. until finally the bad guy gets tired and throws our hero to the ground. The referee begins his count. 1-2-3-4. Our hero shakes off the pain and stands to re-enter the ring. The bad guy has other plans though and dives through the ropes knocking him into the fans. A few fans scream into the face of the bad guy as he grabs the hair of his victim. He then sets him up for a pile driver on the concrete floor. Surely our hero will counter this move, right? OUCH! Guess not. The evil one celebrates and just missing the twenty count gets back into the ring. The seemingly slain hero lays bloody on the floor. BUT WAIT! The old lady in the wheel chair with the oxygen decides he needs the extra air more than she does and places her oxygen mask on her favorite. He springs to life and jumps back into the ring subsequently defeating his opponent with a small package rollup pin.
The bad guy leaves the ring quietly as the cheers for the victor reign out. A special hug for the oxygen lady and he disappears as well. The next match is soon to begin.
The rest of the night goes as the first match. Some blood, alot of butt kicking and some serious fan participation. Everyone got their autographs and Brian retained his Texas title. The matches have ended and the house lights come on. The doorman then stands on the table announcing he is ready for the drawing. Tonight's prize is you get to pick any match you want to see and it will be held within two weeks. A guy in a business suit wins it and goes to claim his prize. When asked what kind of match he wants, without much thought, he proclaims he would like to see a Battle Royal Texas Death Match in a steel cage. The crowd goes wild as the main event for two weeks from tonight will be that match with all the wrestlers participating. As we exit the building and walk to our car we notice the wrestlers getting in their vehicles as well.
From the broken down old pick up truck to the Hippie style VW van they all wave to the fans as they drive off. We get to the car but suddenly you stop. "Wait, I have forgot something..." you turn and run back into the building. A few minutes later you return with a handful of discarded drinking cups. " We almost forgot the coupons" you exclaim as the ring lights fade on what will be the first of many Friday Night Matches.
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.
We are inside the nWo limo on our way home from Starrcade I suppose. Eric Bischoff is full of himself as usual. I marked a little because I mistook Hennig for Luger at first glance...
Nitro comes to us live from Baltimore, MD. Tony, Tenay and Legendary Larry are talking about Nash's win last night then cut to the "History of the nWo" video (once again)... Tony comes back saying that the video was played on Bischoff's order. Cut to stills of the Flair/Bischoff match last night then to commercial.
Nitro Grrrrls in the ring under strobe lights...
Ernest Miller (w/Sonny Oono) vs. Something shamashimading Dong - the Cat tries to get a chant started - "You s*ck!" is what he gets. He says he's the greatest and he's gonna whup somebody here tonight. Chris Jericho appears on the platform and mispronounces the name of the candidate (Shiimu Nobunaga) he proposes for the slaughter. The haplass Nobunaga never has a chance. Miller just demolishes him in the corner then turns his back so that Nobunaga can have one last escape attempt before Miller plants him. Cut to commercial.
Norman Smiley vs. Chavo Guerrero - this is better then the Smiley match from last night...hardly a recommendation, actually... Smiley has a great deal of size over his opponent. He steamrolls Guerrero at first and stops to dance (eyeww..!) The second go round gets him drop kicked throught the ropes to the floor. Back in the ring Chavo is getting aerial until Smiley stops him short. He stops to shoot an arrow toward the sky then lays some forearms onto Chavo's back. He grabs a headlock, turns it into a vice then extends control to the limbs - he lets the pretzel go and attacks with stomps and kicks. Smiley is alternately beating on Chavo and dancing for the restless crowd. He goes over and clowns with the hobby horse - which springs Chavo into action. Chavo is in control for a moment then it see-saws. One highlight sees Smiley trapped astride the top rope with Pepe stuck in there somehow. Smiley finally grabs his chickenwing submission move to win.
Raven arrives at his mother's house by limo - his mom and Kanyon lead him from the car and into the house. She wants to feed him, he wants a drink - he settles for club soda and a sandwich but he can't figure out how to work the TV so he whines about it. Cut to commercial.
Promo for the Starrcade encore (...like anybody's going to do that after the reviews I've seen...)
Fit Finley vs. Booker T - this is a rematch from several months ago before T was on the injured reserve list for a while. Finley jumps the gun and starts unloading right off the bat. Booker is picking himself up off the mat from the get go. He is knocked to the outside where he turns the tables but back in the ring he is again subdued by Finley's best missle attack style (like he's throwing things at you). A second trip to the floor redounds to Finley's credit as Booker is reeling but this time the return put's Booker in the driver's seat for a bit. Finley somehow halts the momentum and drops Booker yet again. He uses his ham sized forearms to beat his opponent on and about the head. He controls the next long stretch and seems to be increasing the effect of each move but suddenly he attempts a whip maneuver and lets Booker loose - Booker's feet fly and Finley is undone. Good match. Cut to commercial.
Tony is saying that they will be talking to Ric Flair's doctor later tonight. I seem to remember them talking about that a while back as well. Mean Gene invites Ric Flair to come and take his applause. The crowd pops for him as he walks to the ring to his theme music toting what looks to be his luggage. Apparently he was headed out of town on a rail when he decided to come back. He has a bandage over his right eye. He says he is ashamed that he got his ass kicked and starts a long rant that starts out talking about how he was beat and turns into another manic demonstration as he starts ripping his clothes out of the suit bag, takes off his Italian shoes, strips down to his underwear and socks, throws his Rolex away. Pulling out a wad and tearing up $100 dollar bills. He offers it all to Bischoff. He wants another match with Bischoff tonight for all the marbles - if he (Flair) loses he will retire, if he wins he becomes the head of WCW for 90 days. He handcuffs himself to the top rope and threatens to get naked as we cut to commercial.
Same scene as we return. Bischoff shows up and stays just out of reach. He has his own mic and promises to backrupt Flair. He mimics Flair's "whooo..." and dances in and out of range as he throws insults and hints about Flair's health then agrees to the match after Flair continues to goad him. Cut to commercial.
Newbe Nitro Grrrl Storm dances her little heart out as Tony repeats the stips for the Bischoff/Flair match later tonight.
Barry Windham vs. Prince Iaukea - interesting match because it means little to Windham but everything to the Prince. A win over Barry Windham would be a feather in any mid-carder's cap. Windham is big enough and sly enough to easily overwhelm his opponent here. He toys with him through much of the match. Iaukea gets a little offense here and there but he never really gets anything going for himself. Windham's whip into a bulldog maneuver is a stylish piece of legerdarmane that puts the victim off guard then crashes down on him for the win.
Mean Gene stands with a "swat team officer" holding the cattle prod that was used on Goldberg by Scott Hall last night. He explains under Okerlunds prodding (no pun intended) how the prod works and what it does. He confirms that it would have incapacitated Goldberg. Cut to commercial.
Mean Gene invites Diamond Dallas Page to the ring. He takes the "long way" to the ring. He seems out of breath as he talks about his match with the Giant. He switches to talking about Flair briefly then settles on what happened during the World Title match. He comes back and castigates Bischoff and says he'd love to work for Flair. He tosses out his motto on Flair's behalf. Cameras go backstage where Konnan is cursing out Disco Inferno for his interference last night. Nash shows up with Luger and they give him a hard time as well. Nash tells Disco he'll fix him a match and then chuckles.
Eddie Guerrero/Juventud Guerrera vs. Kidman/Rey Misterio, Jr. - Juvey is playing the dim bulb to Eddie's studied menace. Before the match, Eddie manhandles Juvey some. Juvey just takes it. Eddie starts out against Rey. He uses his superior size to steamroll the diminuitive Misterio but as soon as the action gets brisk he is out maneuvered. He sends Juvey in to face Kidman.. This is a more balanced contest with two guys of equal size trading moves - the match see-saws. Soon all four are in and there seems to be some Lucha Libre rules in force. The match is a masterpiece of two and four-way spots as we go into the commercial.
Juvey has Kidman in a side headlock on the mat as we return, Kidman escapes and they collide - both are down. They struggle to their corners and Misterio comes in against Eddie. This is like the beginning - Eddie dominates through sheer size. Then all four are in again but the ref breaks it up this time. Rey and Juvey go at it with Juvey using his size advantage, He tags Eddie in - Eddie airplane spins Rey but can't get the pin. Eddie and Juvey isolate Misterio while Kidman provides distraction for the doubleteams. They all three look weary as the LWO takes their own apart. Rey is whipped to a corner but Kidman gets in to cushion the blow. Eddie rushes in and whacks heads with Juvey who's trying to be heroic. Now it is all Kidman/Misterio until Kidman is body dropped out of the ring. Rey is thrown out as well then Kidman is rolled back in for Eddie to Frog Splash. These guys were hot!
Video from earlier - Flair in his skivies, handcuffed to the ring. Cut to commercial.
Kevin Nash makes his way to the ring. He said earlier that he was going to "make some things right" tonight. Luger and Konnan flank the crown prince. He leans on the top rope with the legendary title belt draped in front of him. He talks about how he won last night - he's not happy about it. He offers Disco a chance to join the Wolf Pack if he can defeat Bam Bam Bigalow. He mentions "my buddy" Scott Hall and castigates him for interfering. Then he extends his own Title reign a week by scheduling (er...I mean asking for ) a rematch for next Monday.
So there is nothing to steal the limelight from Flair/Bischoff tonight. Cut to commercial.
Disco Inferno vs. Bam Bam Bigalow - what Big Sexy wants, Big Sexy gets - Bigalow dresses in his old colors tonight, black with flames. He manhandles Disco from the get go. Tony is still insisting that Bigalow is not part of WCW (yeah right...) Bigalow makes his first mistake - an ill timed flight off the top, and puts Disco in charge for a while. Disco is more then usually serious tonight but a huge piledriver maneuver called "Greetings from Asbury Park" indicates the last dance for him. Cut to commercial.
More Nitro Grrrrls on the platform.
We go back to see Bischoff "training" for his match later. He punches Curt Hennig's hands. Hennig wears the worlds loudest blue suit. Cut back to Tony who sends us to listen to Flair's doctor. He describes Flair's condition in detail and the battery of tests he adminsistered to determine that Flair did not have a heart attack but was apparently poisoned! That's the conclusion Tony and Tenay come to as well. Heenen is dubious. They throw it to Mean Gene who is near Bischoff's dressing room. Eric is livid and calls the guy a "Pig Doctor" and proclaims his innocence - Hennig says "..don't worry, we'll break him..." Cut to commercial.
Scott Steiner (w/nWo referee/Buff Bagwell) vs. Konnan - TV Title match - Steiner abandons the ring as Konnan makes his entrance. Bagwell is still there. BPP returns for Konnan's silly-oquey. Konnan attacks the referee and takes him out - Scott Dickensen takes over. Konnan explodes all over the bad guys and drives them from the ring to start. Bagwell starts interfering and the tide turns. Konnan is dumped to the floor and run into the railing. Bagwell gets his share of shots during the rumble. Back in the ring its BiG Papa Pump all the way. He starts pausing to shout at the crowd. Bagwell takes over as Steiner distracts the referee. Steiner tears the wolfpack shirt off of his opponent. He hangs Konnan upside down in the corner and tortures his legs. Then he stands him up in the center and suplexes him big time. He goes for a back breaker but Konnan wiggles out and gets a reverse bulldog. Konnan is cooking now and Steiner in going down. Konnan gets the Tequilla Sunrise but Buff grabs Konnan from outside. Luger tries to help but does more harm then good. In fact he appears to purposely pull down the top rope which sends Konnan flying to the floor. Back in the ring the Steiner Recliner ends the match. Scott Steiner is the new TV Champ! Cut to commercial.
More Nitro Grrrrls....
Scott Hall vs. Brian Adams (w/Vincent) - Hall talks about what Nash said earlier. He says his take on it is that there are three things, "Money, money and money..." He is scornfull of Nash's sentimentality. Adams starts out strong with big fists to the face. Hall hits the deck again and again. He finally gets in a couple of shots then walks right into a badly executed piledriver. Adams is in control now. He slaps on a bearhug. Hall goes for the eyes to escape but fails. He is driven bodily to the mat. Adams fails to pin him so he grabs onto Hall's traps. Hall ends up face down on the mat. Adams backs off and prods him with his boot. He helps Hall to his feet and gets caught in an Outsider's Edge set-up but then backdrops Hall. He fools around too much and ends up standing on the second rope in the corner with his back turned. Hall slips in behind him and completes the Edge maneuver to get the win. Cut to commercial.
Ric Flair vs. Eric Bischoff - career vs WCW match - Michael Buffer announces the final Nitro main event of the year 1998. Flair's music plays and the man appears resplendent in his sequined robe. Bischoff's music plays but he is failing to appear - finally he shows up looking pissed. He says "no way..." and heads toward an exit. He gets right into a limo full of Horsemen!!! They carry him back to the arena as we cut to the final commercial. So far...great!!!
The Horsemen are in the aisle with Bischoff as we return. Flair is dressed in red for the kill. He stomps on Bischoff's crotch to start the action. He uses the low blow repeatedly, he rearranges his face then tosses the referee aside. He chops Eric in the corner. Out in the aisle, the Horsemen are running intereference against the nWo hoardes. The Giant shows up and walks right past the melee at ringside. He enters the ring and squashes Flair. Randy Savage is here!!! He goes to the ring in a black and white t-shirt he suckers the Giant into turning his head then low blows him!! Flair gets the Figure Four and the win after an elbow drop and a pin. Horsemen and Wolf Pack members join Flair in celebration along with DDP and Dusty Rhodes. The announcers join the party as we fade to black...
Flair runs WCW for the next 90 days! Very satisfying...
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