A memorial to Rick Williams (Renegade) is shown at the top of the program. Cut to the interior of a limo where David Flair plays back numerous messages from his dad taken from his answering machine. Ric orders his son to call him. David and Torrie have a good laugh and speculate that daddy is planning to retire. You can take it to the bank that that expectation will not come true.
Nitro is live from the Dean Dome at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill, NC. Tony tells us that Flair is set to make a big announcement tonight. Cut to scenes from the main event on last week's Nitro.
Nitro Grrrrrls dance in the ring...
Tony tries to throw it to a live Nitro party but he is interrupted by Wolfpac music. Here come Buff Bagwell and his crude friend. I have heard that the brass at WCW aren't too happy about Steiner's sexual inuendos of late. Funny...it doesn't keep him off TV. Tonight he's claiming to be our "role model." He does appear to have toned down his rhetoric a little tonight - confining himself to insulting the male members of the audience and leaving the women out of it. Bagwell takes the mic and rants against Goldberg and Rick Steiner - he wants a tag match against them tonight. Cut to the Nitro party at the University of North Carolina. This is followed by video taken at the University during the day. Cut to commercial.
Kevin Nash, Lex Luger, Disco Inferno and Miss Liz come out to the ramp as we return. Luger has the mic and talks about his injury and says he "forgives". Nash also says that he forgives Rey Misterio, Jr. for beating him last week. He wants Rey to join the Wolfpac. He invites Rey to come out and accept the shirt. Misterio doesn't appear so Nash call's him on his cell phone. Rey reportdly days he's not interested so the Wolfpac turn and leave looking a bit dejected. Cut to video of Bret Hart vs. Booker T from last January 25th followed by more scenes from the ongoing Hart/Booker T feud cuminating in Booker's win which makes him the #1 contender to the US Title.
Psychosis vs. Kidman - Cruiserweight Title match - I notice that there are more and more signs in the crowd which simply point to the person holding them and announce that individuals name. How very creative... The challenger appears to be really on his game tonight. He outmaneuvers the Champ repeatedly during the early going. Kidman is knocked to the outside then hit with a baseball slide. Kidman regains the advantage before returning his opponent to the ring. Back in the ring he ducks a rush to the corner and back-drops Psychosis over the corner to the floor then throws a suicide dive and connects big time. But then he climbs the corner and gets caught there and DDT'd from the top. Psychosis retains his advantage as we cut to commercial.
I notice that Goldberg has replaced Hogan in the "Bashin' Brawlers" commercials.
Psychosis still rules the ring as we return. We are told that Kdman dominated during the break but yoy couldn't tell that from the current situation. The Champ is dumped out to the floor again and again regains his advantage before returning to the ring. Back inside, the challenger gets a pancake slam then climbs the corner only to get caught and slammed after thwarting a superplex attempt. Kidman gets a short powerbomb ans a two count. Psychosis returns with a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker and turns the tables in this see-saw battle. Kidman climbs the corner and throws a dive but is caught and powerslammed. But he comes right back and downs the challenger again then gets the Shooting Star press and the pin. Excellent match. Cut to commercial.
We are treated to the brawl that followed the Tag Team Title match at SuperBrawl for the 123rd time. Get some new material people!!
Arn Anderson confronts David and Torrie Wilson backstage. He tells David that he is being used by the nWo and "that" - pointing to Ms. Wilson - David says Arn's problem is just jealousy. Arn says to David that "you've been warned, when I walk out that door you've become one of them." David's answer is a smirk. Cut to commercial.
Hollywood Hogan is with Vince, still assuring him that he is the leader of the B-Team. He gives Vince permission to slap some sense into Stevie Ray. This should be good. Cut back to the Nitro Party.
Bam Bam Bigalow vs. Rey Misterio, Jr. - another David vs. Goliath scenerio. Actually, on paper I would give Bigalow more of a chance to defeat the little guy because, frankly, he's a better wrestler then Nash will ever be. But we know how this one is likely to turn out. Bigalow starts the match by duplicating the beal-into-the-lights move of Big Sexy. Rey recovers momentarily but then succombs to Bigalow's overwhelming power. Bigalow presses Rey over his head then tosses him over the head of Doug Dillenger in the general direction of three security men who break Rey's fall. Back in the ring, Bigalow gets a big vertical suplex. Bigalow seems to have learned from Nash's experiance and is wrestling slw and methodical - not his usual style at all. Rey gets his drop-kick to the knee but fails to disable his opponent and falls prey once more to the size advantage of Bigalow who applies a reverse chinlock. Two moves later, Bigalow has the match in hand but pulls his opponent up. He goes for a top rope move but misses the splash. Rey gets a missle drop-kick then drop-kicks the knee again and gets a hair DDT for a one count before Bigalow fights back with a clothesline as the second hour fireworks go off (that's gotta be distracting for the athletes...) When we return from the pyro display, Bigalow is standing over the smaller man. He demands that Rey rise to his feetbut Rey is out of it. He lifts Rey up and drops an elbow on the top of his head. He picks him up again and shoves Rey into the corner. Rey rebounds and falls headfirst into Bigalow's groin. As Bigalow doubles over. Rey leaps onto his shoulders and starts beating him about the head. He then spins around to face front and uses his weight to overbalance Bigalow who rolls forward into a pinning combination, held down by his own weight. Rey Misterio, Jr. pins the Beast from the East!
Mean Gene meets Rey in the back stage area and starts to interview him. Lex Luger interrupts to ask why Rey "dissed the shirt, man..." He points to his splinted arm and says," ...what about this?" Kevis Nash suddenly attacks Rey from behind and they leave him laying. Cut to a second backstage camera which shows us Raven and Bigalow brawling. Hardcore Hack gets involved with his kendo stick and we go to commercial.
Rick Flair arrives in a white limo as we return then we go straight to another commercial.
Nash, Luger and Disco are huddling with Stevie Ray. They are accusing Vince of badmouthig Stevie and advising him to take the sucker out.
Nitro Grrrrls dance on the platform.
Jerry Flynn vs. Ernest Miller (w/Sonny Oono) - Flynn comes out first and throws a challenge to Miller who hears about it from Scott Norton. Miller enters to Glacier's light show and snowfall but with a James Brown tune on the PA. As the snow starts to fall, Miller reverses course like he's going to shine the match on. He finally goes to the ring and is immediately flattened by Flynn who starts to work Miller over before he can get his ring attire off.The fight goes to the floor where Flynn maintains his advantage. Back in the ring the "Cat" finally uses a leg trip to turn the tables. It is all Miller until he misses a rush to the corner. Flynn stands him up in the corner and puts a foot in his throat. Miller comes back with a jaw breaker to regain the initiative then grabs a reverse chinlock that looks suspiciously like a choke. He tosses Flynn to the outside where Oono gets in a couple of kicks. Flynn chases Oono and runs into Miller and a stiff forearm. But then Oono distracts Miller and hands the advantage back to Flynn. Back in the ring things are more on an even footing and we get some see-saw action from which Miller emerges on top. Miller uses his ring robe to choke his opponent until the referee grabs it away. Back to the see-saw until both guys throw backleg kicks and connect simultaneously. Both are knocked cold and the referee decides that the first one to his feet will win the match. Both start to rise and Miller grabs the referee to distract him so that Oono can enter the ring and put Flynn back on the mat with a stiff kick. Oono has to outrun Flynn to escape after the match as we go to commercial (with a Konnan video lead-in...)
Hugh Morrus vs. Ms. Saturn - Morrus meets Saturn in the aisle and the brawl back to the ring where Morrus assumes the early initiative. Tony announces a Triple Threat match for Uncensored among Raven, Hack and Bam Bam Bigalow. Back in the ring, Saturn is turning the tables with a boot to the face followed by a suplex and a DDT. Morrus falls out to the floor and Saturn drops out on the opposite side to be confronted by Jimmy Hart whp misses a chair shot then distracts him so that Morrus can blindside him. Back in the ring it is all Morrus for a while leading to a reverse chinlock. Saturn fights to his feet but is whipped into a kneelift to the gut then slapped back into the chinlock. Saturn escapes again and is felled and trapped again. Morrus releases the hold to climb the corner but is caught and suplexed on the way down. Now Saturn is coming back big time. But he goes to the well one time to many and is powerbombed out of the corner. Morrus climbs the corner but is caught and Frankensteinered to the mat. Now Chris Jericho shows up and cracks Saturn on the forehead with a chain-wrapped fist. Saturn goes down and Morrus gets his moonsault to win the match. Cut to commercial.
More Nitro party action as we return. Followed by Meng is scenes from the Mortal Combat TV show (on TNT following Nitro on Monday nights at 11pm). Another commercial.
Video review of the Tag Team Champs talking with Mean Gene last week. Malenko and Benoit will challenge for the Titles at Uncensored.
Bret Hart vs. Chris Benoit - Hart bulls his smaller opponent into the corner to begin the match. The next exchange is pretty much the same then Hart opens up with a kneelift to take the advantage, But only for a moment as Benoit fights out of the corner and turns the tables. Hart rolls out to regroup. Back inside he calls for a test of strength. Benoit outmaneuvers him and downs him with a short clothesline then follows up with a back breaker. He stands Hart in the corner and headbutts him, but Hart comes back with an eye rake and assumes control again. A DDT gets him a two-count. He takes down Benoit with a hair pull then plants a boot in his throat in the corner. Hart is relentless because he knows better then to give Benoit a breather. He goes for a pin but is too close to the ropes. An attempt at a suplex gets turned into an inside cradle. Hart rises and hits a snap suplex that bends Benoit in half. He applies a reverse chinlock but Benoit fights tp his feet to the cheers of the crowd and gets a belly-to-back suplex. Both guys are down for a moment. Benoit gets up first and heads for the top but is surprised there by Hart who goes for a suplex but is headbutted away. Benoit rises to his feet on the top cormer and flies but Hart sidesteps the missle drop kick then goes for a Sharpshooter. But Benoit gets hold of his arm and counters into a crippler crossface, which Hart escapes by grabbing the rope as we cut to commercial.
Hart is pounding Benoit in the side of the head as we return. He gets a suplex then comes off the second rope to drop the point of his elbow. He follows with a Russian leg sweep then stands his opponent in the corner to deal out more punishment. Hart is pulling out all the stops now using hair pulls and eye gouges in a vain attempt to get his opponent worn down. Benoit suddenly goes into his Wolverine act, tearing into Hart like a buzzsaw. But he can't get the pin. It is all Benoit now. He gets the flying headbutt but hurts himself as well and both are down once more. He finally rolls over to try a cover but fails. He continues his assault until he rushes into an upraised boot. Hart staggers up and gets a whip - both men try a lariat and connect. Both rise and Hart grabs a sleeper but Benoit reverses it and they both spill over the top to the floor. Hart gets the better of it and heads back into the ring but is stopped by Benoit who is kicked away. The Tag Champs run in and beat on Benoit while Hart distracts the referee, then toss him back in. Hart goes for the Sharpshooter but Benoit has hold of the bottom rope. The referee refuses to relinquish the hold and is DQ'd. Malenko runs in but is waylaid by Hennig and Windham and choked out by Windham with his belt. Cut to commercial.
More Nitro Grrrrrls at the foot of the ramp this time.
Kevin Nash, Stevie Ray, Disco Inferno and Vince come out together followed by Hollywood Hogan and Horace with their arms around each other. Stevie and Vince are keeping their distance from each other. Hogan rants about David Flair being the newest Wolfpac member. He claims that Flair begged him not to force him (Flair) to make an appearance (yeah right...) He demands that Flair come out now as a fight erupts on the other side of the ring between Stevie and Vince. They are separated and Hogan continues his rant. He claims that Flair is going to retire tonight. More wishful thinking... Cut to commercial.
Mean Gene invites Ric Flair to the ring for his announcement. Flair looks very dapper in grey suit and gunmetal shirt with a silver tie. Okerlund asks him about the talk of his retirement. Flair assures him that isn't going to happen. He recalls that it was twenty years ago that he met David's mother (his own blond bombshell). He reminds Hogan that he is still the president for another 28 days. He announces a cage match (no doors with barbed wire on the top) for the World Title at Uncensored between Hogan and himself. One more time for the real great one! Cut to commercial.
We see stunt bike champ Dave Mirrea at ringside as we return. Tony tells us there are more stipulations for the cage match which can be accessed on the WCW web site.
Buff Bagwell/Scott Steiner vs. Rick Steiner/Goldberg - Rick starts against Buff who is returning to the ring for the first time in over a year in this match. Buff is showing some stuff (to coin a phrase) and wins the first exchange but Steiner suplexes out of it and tags in Goldberg. Buff runs for his life... He tags in Scott. They lock up and Goldberg wins the first exchange then is lured in to a big shoulder block. Steiner beats him in the corner then turns to pose. Big mistake. Goldberg recovers and presses Steuiner over his head seven times before slamming him to the mat. Rick comes in to continue the assault and Scott can't wait to tag out. Buff goes in against Rick while Scott stars undoing the top turnbuckle in his corner. He camoflages it with the loose pad then tags in. Buuff uncovers the buckle in time for Scott to run Rick into it. He beats on Rick some more then tags in Buff. They are isolating Rick but Steienr is still in the match. Rick is taken to the floor and rammed into the railing. Back inside, Buff goes for the pin but fails. Scott rolls Rick out then distracts the referee so Buff can waffle him with the TV belt. Back inside, Scott grabs the reverse chinlock. Rick escapes and they trade shots until Scott slips in a low blow. They double team the Dogfaced Gremlin as the crowd starts a Goldberg chant. Scott grabs a leg vice submission hold for a while then tags in Buff who tries a splash but lands on upraised knees. Goldberg gets the tag and cleans house. Rick joins him and ejects his brother. Buff somehow turns the tables on Goldberg and the monster is double-teamed. Rick is back in and he and Goldberg get a little double-team action of there own as Goldberg leaps over Rick who then gets a double clothesline. Buff is speared but Scott prevents the Jackhammer. No problem, Goldberg distracts Scott while Rick hits a splash and pins Bagwell. Fade to black...
A few weeks ago I railed about how I thought the WWF was taking a calculated risk in injecting so much controversial material into their programming while at the same time de-emphasizing the athletic competition aspects. I pointed out that there were already several TV watchdog groups in the USA and Canada that were complaining to the FCC and other authorities about WWF programming.
I was subsequently attacked on both fronts by my critics who told me that 1) it doesn't matter what a bunch of goody two-shoes busy-bodies thought and 2) pro-wrestling is really just soap opera, the actual wrestling isn't as important as the storylines.
That second proposition is clearly descriptive of how the creative team at Titan thinks, and they may be right, although I don't agree with them at all.
But it is the first one that really disturbs me.
This past week we saw a highly critical piece about pro-wrestling in general (and the WWF in particular) air on Inside Edition. While this tabloid program can best be described as a pseudo-news show, the unavoidable fact is that, regardless of the perceived worth of the reporters, this is bad publicity.
And it doesn't stop there. The conclusions of the media study commissioned for the program by Inside Edition producers were picked up by other, more legitimate, news outlets including USA Today and the Associated Press. Several print media stories emerged from this, all of which were highly critical as well. I've said it before, this is likely to be just the tip of the iceberg.
I didn't see the Inside Edition program in question because I was traveling on business part of the week (although I was interviewed on background by one of the producers during the research phase a few weeks back - no doubt they had been informed that I was a critic of the WWF - I want to assure you here that I made no critical comments but simply pointed them in the direction of a few people in the industry whom I thought might be willing to talk to them).
Today (this is Friday evening) I surfed over to wwf.com and watched the video presentation available there. It seems that while Inside Edition was interviewing Vince McMahon for their report, WWF cameras were surrepticiously recording the encounter as well. Their professed reason for doing this was that they suspected that the final interview that appeared on TV would be edited to make McMahon and the WWF look bad. They (the WWF) say they wanted to have a recording of the entire conversation in order to keep the record straight.
Well, they kept the record straight all right. In fact, my impression was that there was very little of that interview that could have been used to make McMahon look good. He was extremely combative from the get go, made consistently cutting remarks directed at the interviewer, the program, the media study that the interviewer quoted and the school that conducted the study and was throwing out expletives right and left. Interestingly, when he was asked what his father (Vince, Sr.) might have thought about his company's direction, he seemed pretty sure that the old man wouldn't have approved.
All in all it was an incredibly arrogant performance which seemed clearly calculated to create bad publicity. Apparently Vince has decided that he will throw caution to the winds in the hope that any mainstream publicity is good publicity. No doubt he has been egged on by the results he got by having that upstanding sports figure Mike Tyson on his last WrestleMania broadcast.
My concern in all of this, as I have stated previously on a number of occasions, is the harm that it is doing to the public image of pro-wrestling in general. While McMahon is busy feathering his own nest, he could be simultaneously poisoning the well for everyone else. Then again, this is not much different from the pattern he established back in the 1980's when he was systematically destroying the old territory system in order to create his nationwide wrestling empire (don't jump on my for that one folks, I didn't make that up - it happened).
However, while at that time he might arguably have been creating the wave of the future for sports entertainment, now it seems to me that now he could very likely be compromising the future of the wrestling business.
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