By Ervin Griffin, Jr.
Hello and welcome.
For this column, I will go into what has become a staple in pro wrestling and that is PPV's. I will be doing this for the next few columns or so on the WCW and the WWF. Before I go into that, I want to comment on "Bret Hart: Wrestling With Shadows." I just saw pieces of it on A & E and I must say that it was pretty compelling. I know there are arguments for both Bret Hart and Vince McMahon. Here is my take on it. If you make a promise to someone, you should keep it to the best of your ability. While I certainly don't condone Bret punching Vince (which he did admit to on the documentary/you just don't hit your boss), I certainly don't blame him either. When you think about it, if your boss promised you one thing and did another, you'd probably wouldn't be thinking either and slug him one too!!! I know there is this contengency that says that Bret should've took legal action but I ask this, since Vince was the one assaulted, shouldn't he have taken action against Bret? That tells me that either he didn't want the negative publicity and/or he knew he was wrong and was trying to cover up his guilt with the "Bret Screws Bret" angle. Plus, if someone f*cked you over like that, you are not going to be thinking about lawsuits, you're going to be thinking about putting your foot in his ass!! Later on, perhaps, but right then and there, HELL NO!!
Now, for the last fourteen years or so, Pay Per View has become a staple in pro wrestling. It began with the WWF holding "The Wrestling Classic" in 1985. Later, in 1987, the NWA/WCW held their first attempt at PPV with Starrcade '87: Chi-Town Heat. In recent years, ECW has entered the PPV market with various degrees of success. For this column, I will focus on which shows are/was successes and which one's are a waste.
I'll start with WCW:
WCW SOULED OUT
This was originally the nWo's PPV. It isn't the WCW's biggest show but it has presented some memorable moments and matches such as Eddy Gurerro VS. Syxx (United States Title Ladder Match) and The Giant VS. Kevin Nash (the best bout between these two men that ended with Nash accidentally powerbombing The Giant on his head). This year, it will come from Charleston, WV (my home state!!). With my luck though, I'll probably working on that day (damn!! And I only live one hour and 45 minutes from Charleston too)!!
WCW has really messed with this one in recent years!! Remember 1991 when Lex Luger and Sting took on The Steiner Bros. for the WCW World Tag Straps? That had to be one of the best matches of that year!! It also featured memorable title matches such as "Nature Boy" Ric Flair VS. Tatsumi Fujinami (WCW World Title), Lex Luger VS. Sting (WCW World Title), Bobby Eaton Vs. Arn Anderson (WCW World TV Title), Jushin "Thunder" Liger VS. Brian Pillman (WCW Light-Heavyweight Title) and Barry Windham VS. The Great Muta (NWA World Title). It also had some great bouts such as Barry Windham and Dustin Rhodes VS. "Stunning" Steve Austin/Larry Z. (I can't spell his name to save my life!!), Chris Benoit VS. 2 Cold Scorpio, and Sting VS. Vader (Strap Match). The last few years, WCW SuperBrawl has been anything but memorable but, to its credit, it has produced some memorable moments such as Kevin Nash powerbombing The Giant and Booker T's heroic effort against both Rick Martel and Perry Saturn for the WCW World TV Title. It also saw the "birth" of "Big Poppa Pump" Scott Steiner as he turned on Rick Steiner.
WCW SPRING STAMPEDE
This is one that I say "they got it right the first time." The show began in 1994 and the original was a classic!! In fact, you can still find it at some video stores for as low as $9.95 in its entirety. It featured a younger DDP VS. Johnny B. Badd (Marc Mero), The Nasty Boys VS. Maxx Payne/Cactus Jack in a Chicago Street Fight, a wild bunkhouse bout between Dustin Rhodes and Bunkhouse Buck, and a classic bout between Rick Steamboat and Ric Flair for the WCW World Title. It also featured one of "Ravishing" Rick Rude's last bouts ever as he took on Sting for the now defunct WCW International Title. Since then, it hasn't produced great cards but it has had its share of moments. Such as DDP's "breakthrough" bout as he defeated Randy "Macho Man" Savage, Rey Mysterio, Jr. VS. Ultimo Dragon, and Savage's courageous effort against Sting as he won the WCW World Title (he was working with a bad knee, an injury that has him sidelined now).
That's all for now. I'll be back with more next time.
If you have a question, comments, criticism, or just want to talk pro wrestling, e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.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
RAW is live from Houston, Texas.
DX makes an entrance at the top of the program. The Road Dog alters his usual intro to bring out the new Heavyweight Champion, Mankind. Billy substitutes "Socko" for his usual expletive. Mankind goes to the ring and says he needs to get some new entrance music. He adpts the old Timex slogan to himself ("...takes a licking and keeps on ticking") then plunges into a recital of his history with the WWF. He used to call them once a year and offer his services only to be told that he didn't "look like a star". He acknowledges Jim Ross as the person who gave him his chance and wishes him a speedy recovery. He then thanks DX and Steve Austin for their parts in his victory over the Rock. He implicitely tells Austin that as long as he (Foley) is the Champ, Austin will be able to get a Title shot - then he suggests that he and Austin should face off for the Title at the next WrestleMania card.
The Rock's music plays and he appears with the McMahon's on the platform. Shane addesses Foley and talks about Foley's rising popularity and then announces a Corporate Royal Rumble where the members of DX will take on the Corporate Team with the winner becoming the #30 entrant in the Royal Rumble. Maivia lays down some smack, claiming that Foley ever beat him, that he needed Austin's help to win the Title and that he isn't worthy to be the Champ. He whines and cries about Foley's attire, etc. and says the "People" want the Rock as the Champion, yatta, yatta... Foley replies that he already beat Maivia twice and says there's no third chance - and tells Maivia that he's not Championship material. The Rock offers a no DQ match - Foley declines again. Maivia sweetens the pot with a no countout rule and finally a guarantee that Team Corporate will stay out of it. Foley tells him to take a hike. Maivia tries questioning Foley's manhood but Mankind just answers him in kind then twists Maivia's words to make it an "I Quit" match and accepts for the Royal Rumble. McMahon takes the mic at this point and orders a Title match for tonight - Foley to defend against Kane. Backstage we see Austin arriving then cut to commercial.
The New Age Outlaws (w/Chyna) vs. The Pissed Brothers (w/Debra) - Tag Team Title contenders match - Billy starts with Owen and basically overpowers him. He press slams him then treats Jarrett to the same when he tries to interfere. The Dog tags in against Jarrett and loses the initiative. Teddy Long is the referee. They isolate the Dog for a minute or so until he and Jarrett manage to throw simultaneous drop-kicks. Both go down hard then each gets the tag. Billy comes in and cleans houseand is about to pin when Debra decides to show her bra off. Billy is distracted momentarily but then shows her a crotch chop and goes back to the match. The Dog tags in against Jarrett, meanwhile Debra is confronting Chyna on the outside. Billy goes out to get between them leaving the Dog to get himself pinned by Owen. In the back a phalanx of police guard the dressing room door of "Gillberg" (...right...) Cut to commercial.
"Gillberg" (Duane Gill, of course) heads for the ring surrounded by security as we return. We can hear a "Gillberg" chant going on as an ersatz version of the Goldberg music plays in the background. The Job Squad provides sparklers for their version of Goldberg's pyro. This is mildly amusing but seems pretty pointless. "Gillberg" wants to know "whose first". Apparently it's Luna, who comes in and destroys the Light Heavyweight Champ. Lawler makes cutting comments about "Gillberg" being a "one-move wonder" (this may be true about "Gillberg" but it's hard to relate that to Goldberg who has shown us a fairly varied arsenal when he is actually challenged in a match). A female "fan" runs into the ring and attacks Luna but is hauled away by security. Cut to video of Shawn Michael's misfortune followed by Jose Lothario's appearance on Heat then to commercial.
Dennis Knight is accosting the announcers as we return. He keeps talking about "him". The Acolytes show up and herd him away from ringside saying, "Come with us - he's waiting."
Val Venis vs. ? - after his usual double entendre speech, Val goes down to flirt with a female fan. Ken Shamrock runs down and attacks him for messing with his (Shamrock's) sister. Billy Gunn appears in the ring and moons the lady which sends Shamrock into orbit. They scuffle then the Bossman joins the frey and Billy bails out. He and Val start to leave but Shamrock stops him by agreeing to an Intercontinental Title match at the Rumble. In the back, Austin and Foley are having a conference. Cut to commercial.
X-Pac vs. Al Snow (w/o Head) - European Title match - Head was stolen Sunday night by Goldust. Waltman puts Snow down then goes for the Bronco Buster but Snow slips out of the ring. X-Pac follows him and attacks then rolls him back in. In the ring, Snow assumes control of the match using his considerable size advantage. X-Pac takes to the air to regain the advantage. now roars right back but then misses a splash. This time X-Pac gets the Bronco Buster. As Snow gets groggily to his feet, Goldust runs in and clobbers him with Head. X-Pac gets the pin. In the back, McMahon is admonishing Kane to win the Title back for the Corporation. Cut to commercial.
Kane vs. Mankind - WWF Title match - Kane meets Mankind at ringside and the match starts right there. Foley gets the best of his larger opponent and in fact makes mincemeat out of him using the ring steps as a weapon. Kane grabs the initiative as they finally enter the ring but Foley turns the tables only to immediately succomb to a boot to the face. Kane is in firm control for a moment but Foley isn't done yet.The match goes into see-saw mode as they brawl out to the floor then back into the ring where Kane again asserts himself. He sets up a chokeslam but Mankind counters with a low blow then dons Socko. He gets the claw and forces Kane into the corner where the referee calls for the break. Mankind jumps on Kane's back then in maneuvered into a Tombstone Piledriver. Kane goes for the pin but the Rock ruuns in and breaks that up. He goes out for a chair then attacks both competitors. The match is thrown out as Austin's music plays and the Rattlesnake runs in. He and the Rock face off then the Rock breaks and retreats. Foley hands Austin the chair - drops it and then puts the Stunner on both Mankind and Kane. He wants the Rock but Maivia is hanging back in the shadows of the entryway as we cut to commercial.
Maivia is dressing McMahon down in the back as we return. He promises to make Mankind scream "I Quit!" at the Royal Rumble.
HHH (w/Chyna) vs. Edge - the two of them open up with fisticuffs right out of the chute. This is a see-saw affaire from start to finish with Edge seeming to hold a slight advantage through much of it. These two are hard to tell ap[art during the thickest action except for their different colored tights. HHH finally gets the Pedegree and the pin. Then the Brood attacks and the light start to strobe. DX runs in to help and a melee ensues in the dark. Road Dog ends up suffering the blood batch. Cut to commercial.
We return to the Undertaker's symbol on the platform. Dennis Knights lies on a slab surrounded by the Acolytes. Druids appear and then the old Undertaker music starts up to usher in the man (or whatever he is) himself. UT does his best Ultimate Warrior impression, wearing an "Angel of Death" robe, sitting on a throne (actually the UT symbol in the form of a chair) and spouting nonesense for several minutes as Paul Bearer (also robed) fingers a ritual knife of some sort. He gets up and goes over to the prone figure of Knight then takes the knife from Uncle Paul and slits his own wrist. Catching some blood in a chalice he makes Knight drink it and christens him with a new name (sounded like "Mideon"). He then makes a cross-cut figure with the knife in Knight's midsection and then spouts some more nonsense (including some foreign tongue) and returns to his thrown. Knight levitates off the slab as we cut to commercial. Well, that was really stupid...
PMs and D-Lo Brown come to the ring as we return. We are informed that Terri lost her baby after last week's accident. D-Lo is here to apologise to her (for what I'm not sure - he never laid a hand on her). He is protesting that he doesn't want to do what she requires of him but she reminds him that he promised to do "anything."
D-Lo Brown vs Mark Henry - is what he doesn't want to do. He is talking to Henry who turns away then Jacqueline shoves him into his friend. Henry turns around only to be delt a low blow by Terri. Chyna shows up with her tranvestite friend - she shoves Jacquie to the mat again then they help Henry up and lead him away. Cut to commercial.
In the back, Chyna and the "she-man" are comforting Henry. We are treated to a new McMahon training video. Poor Vinnie chases a chicken in the snow to build up his speed then uses a beef haunch as a punching bag.
The Corporate Royal Rumble - the competitors are Shamrock vs. Billy to start. Billy is hesitant to enter the ring so Shamrock launches himself over the top rope into a splash. This eliminates Shamrock but he declines to leave. Bossman is the next one in which puts Billy at a disadvantage until Shamrock is pursueded to leave. Bossman still gets the best of Mr. Gunn though he is unable to eliminate him. Test is the next one in putting Billy on the defensive again. He is doubleteamed but still not eliminating. X-Pac comes in and evens the odds for the first time in the match. Billy is tossed out by test leaving X-Pac to face his larger and more numerous opponents. Road Dog runs in next and whales on Test as Bossman tries to eliminate X-Pac. Next in is Kane and all bets are off as the lights go out. Kane attacks the Dog as Tests stands back and Bossman continues to attack X-Pac. The Dog is eliminated leaving X-Pac at the Corporate mercy. Last in is HHH. He attacks Test but is in turn attacked by Kane. Test gets free and tries to clobber HHH but hits Kane instead. Kane tosses Test out then is himself eliminated by HHH. X-Pac goes out as well leaving Bossman and HHH slugging it out. HHH has Bossman draped over the ropes when the horn sounds again and here comes Vince! HHH is distracted by this and attackes again by the Bossman. Vince runs in and throws them both out. He seems to be the winner - but no - here comes Chyna!! The Stooges tries to turn her back but she flattens both of them. Now Austin shows up and distracts Vince - which allows Chyna to sneak attack and eliminate him. Chyna wins the Corporate Rumble. Apparently she will be number 30 in the Royal Rumble match.
Interestingly, this live episode of RAW fell far short of the taped program they showed last week.
Last night's Nitro showed that Eric Bischoff is capable of showing some class.
I am referring to is what was likely the final appearance of the Giant in WCW. Even though he lost the match, he went out with dignity and put in a performance for which he can be justly proud. That final assault against the combined forces of Hall and Nash was a magnificent effort - he couldn't help but fail against such odds, but before he did he made them realize that they were in a hell of a fight! When they finally put him down, it was purely a matter of a gang of thugs overwhelming the individual - no one could be truely humiliated by such a defeat.
I would contrast this with the way that Scott Hall was forced to slink out of the WWF or even more telling - the cruel travesty that was perpetrated on Bret Hart last year.
The WWF has established a pattern of abusing and humiliating their talent before allowing them to leave (Ed Leslie, Jim Neidhart, Bobby Heenan and Ted DiBiasi, to name a few, come to mind - Heenan, as I recall, was tossed out the back door by Gorilla Monsoon!). The only significant break in this pattern that I can remember is Randy Savage, who left with McMahon's praises ringing in his ears only to be humiliated just weeks later by the infamous "Nacho Man" skits.
In this regard, Vince could take a lesson from Bischoff. Oh, I admit Eric isn't perfect, his treatment of Sean Waltman and Mark Mero were not ideal - but in both those instances there were extenuating circumstances - and at least neither of them were publicly humiliated in front of the fans and then turned out. People can complain about his treatment of Ric Flair but it's hard to deny that the Nature Boy is getting his revenge in a major way and Bischoff himself is the one getting his comeuppance.
The Giant has a great future in front of him. It's not unlikely that he will become one of those priveleged few who wears the World Title gold in both major federations (Flair, Savage, Hogan and Nash - that's great company!).
Solie's wants to wish Paul Wight all the best in his future endeavors.
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