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Thunder Report

The Complete Idiot's Guide to Pro-Wrestling

Book review by Earl Oliver

Volume 4, Issue 444 - March 26, 1999
Editor's Note: I wanted to take a moment and thank the many readers who have been participating in our Mailroom discussions. When I took the old Readers' Forum off line a while back I found that I really missed the give and take it represented and that's why I decided to start posting interesting emails, in hopes of sparking just such discussions. My efforts have been rewarded amply - the Solie's Mailroom is becoming a hotbed of wrestling discussion not much different from the old Readers' Forum (except that now I am able to exclude troublemakers). For those of you who used to visit the Readers' Forum, I highly recommend that you drop by the Mailroom and see what's cookin'.

You may have noticed the "Storefront" graphic at the top left of many of these pages. I have recently entered into an association with to offer wrestling books and videos which I am willing to review and recommend. Clicking on the "Storefront" graphic will take you too a page with links to recommended books (like Arn Anderson's Biography, for instance, and the Lou Albano book reviewed below) and wrestling videos that can be purchased on line from There is also a search engine that can be used to access any of the items in the on line catalog. By using Solie's Storefront you are contributing to Solie's web site upkeep because Solie's receives 5% of all qualified sales derived from these links. I have always offered this web site as a free service and have no intention of turning it into a profit center - but it does cost money to run so any proceeds from Solie's Storefront sales will be dedicated to defraying my web expenses.

Thunder Report

Scott Riggs vs. Jerry Flynn - Flynns been getting a little push lately ("building momentum") but Riggs is a fierce competitor so this is a pretty good match-up. Riggs out-wrestles his opponent and works on the left leg. Both guys are mildly prone to showboat. Flynn makes a sudden break for freedom using his martial arts kicks only to fall victim to Riggs' attack on his leg again and again until Flynn suddenly switches tactics and grabs an arm in an extension submission hold. Riggs taps out. Cut to commercial.

Mike Enos vs. Wrath - the return of Wrath! The big man dominates the opening moments but Enos is a bruiser and holds his own. He arm drags Wrath, who bails out to regroup. Back in the ring Wrath seems content to grab a massive side headlock and hold on for dear life. Enos has to trip him to get an edge but Wrath just bulls into him and regains the initiative. Enos slips out of a backdrop and gets a roll-up and a two count - Wrath knocks him out of the ring. As Enos regains his feet, Wrath somersault off the apron and connects with a Thesz press on the floor. Cut to commercial.

They are still on the floor as we return. Enos rolls back in and poses on bended knee. He staggers to his feet as Wrath climbs the corner. Wrath lets fly and catches a great lariat on his opponent. He climbs again more slowly and Enos is right behind him when he gets there. Enos gets the superplex. He straddles then big guy and drives to the small of his back twice. Enos grabs a half crab - Wrath struggles to the ropes to escape. They trade bigtime power moves until Wrath pulls out the Meltdown. Cut to a Lex Luger tribute video (yawn...) then commercials.

Chris Adams vs. Fit Finley - a natural match of course because of their shared British heritage. Finley's actually from Ireland - which makes it even more natural. Each wrestles cautiously to start until Finley breaks the truce with a stiff uppercut. The rest of the match is is see-saw mode. Adams gets a chance to slip in his super-kick but mistimes it and doesn't get good extension. Still it knocks Finley to the floor. Finley crawls back in and comes roaring back. Moments later he catches Adams napping and pulls him into the Tombstone piledriver. Cut to commercial.

Blitzkreig vs. Kidman - Kidman is the good natured also-ran these days. He will face Misterio for the Cruiserweight belt at the next PPV. The newcomer's acrobatic form is flawless. Early on he throws a double twisting Asahi moonsault that is poetry in motion. Kidman is making a comeback as we go to the break.

Kidman gets a big flying body press off the top as we return. He gets a two count. Blitzkreig comes back with a withering aerial assault that puts the former champ back on the defensive. Kidman changes his approach and starts using his superior size to enforce his control of the action. Kidman goes up for a shooting star but is caught and pays for it with a short final flurry from his opponent. Kidman plays possum and spoils another twisting moonsault attempt then climbs the corner and hits the Shooting Star. Cut to commercial.

Horace vs. Kaz Hayashi - the latter is wearing Glacier's armor to the ring these days. Once he takes it off the David vs. Goliath nature of this contest. Horace throws him around like a rag doll. Kaz makes sporadic efforts to mount some offense but the bigger man just knocks him flat each time. Horace chokes him against the bottom rope with a leg over his opponent's neck. Hayashi gets loose and gets a bulldog. Horace comes back with a powerbomb but Hayashi fights it and they tumble to the floor. Back in the ring, Hayashi goes for a head scissors but is smashed to the mat. Horace hoists him into a fireman's carry then a fall-away slam (The H Bomb) to get the win. Cut to commercial.

Video review of the Steiner vs. Jericho match from Nitro - US Title tournament match. Steiner won...

Saturn the Strange vs. Booker T - US Title Tournament match - I think Saturn must have bought Wrath's old "Adam Bomb" contact lenses. He seems to have lost a lot of his drive lately and spends some time lounging Ravenish in the corner. Booker is all over him like a cheap suit. He has drivns his opponent to the mat for the third time in succession when we cut to commercial.

The match goes out to the floor as we return. Saturn runs Booker T into the steps then grabs the next set and tosses them at his opponent. Back in the ring, Saturn grabs a bearhug then releases it and pounds him to the mat. He grabs an armbar. Booker escapes but Saturn is way ahead of him and grabs a sleeper. Booker T collapses to the mat. The ref checks his arm and he rallies. He gets a jaw breaker to escape then repeatedly over powers his opponent's attempts to assert control. Saturn traps him in the corner and knee-lifts him into submission. Booker answers it with a sidewalk slam and an ax kick. A pancake slam Harlem side-kick follow-up is abruptly halted by Saturn who goes for a fireman's carry but Booker squirms out of his grasp and affects a roll-up to get the pin. Cut to commercial.

Ric Flair vs. Barry Windham - WCW World Title match - Charles Robinson is the referee. Windham has a little youth and a great deal of size over his flamboyant opponent. Flair takes his time getting engaged in the contest. He berates fans from the apron before returning to face Windham. It only provides the barest of advantages. In fact, Windham outwrestles the Nature Boy until he decides to sink a finger into his eye. Flair chops his opponent in the corner as we pull away for the last commercial of the program.

Flair has a figure four as we return - no it's Windham in charge. The separate as Flair reaches the ropes then they face off again - trading punches until Flair goes down. Windham starddles him on the second rope and pounds down of him. Both guys are trying to intimidate the referee. Flair tries for an inside to out suplex but Windham blocks it. Moments later, Windham is in the ascendency but the referee isn't cooperating. Windham quarrels with the ref and physically threatens him - then Arn Anderson appears at ringside as Barry is distracted. Flair takes advatage of his confusion and grabs a figure four. Windham is in trouble but Arn reaches through the ropes and drags him to safety. They confer briefly then walk away togther. The announcers are astounded. Fade to black...

The Complete Idiot's Guide to Pro-Wrestling

by Lou Albano and Bert Randolph Sugar

book review by Earl Oliver

THE COMPLETE IDIOT'S GUIDE TO PRO WRESTLING (Macmillan Publishing USA; $18.95; January 1999) is available from via Solie's Storefront

I bought this book originally after my friend Brian Westcott mentioned that he had seen a copy and that my web site was given a good review in it. I was also familiar with some of Sugar's previous works, notably "Pro-Wrestling: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly" and "Great Grudge Matches and Feuds" - both are colorfully illustrated coffee table books about wrestling.

The press release that accompanied the publisher's request that I review the book had this to say:

This is a good book for the fan who wants to get a little more insider's knowledge. I read the book cover to cover and thoroughly enjoyed it (although I have to say there were some glaring errors regarding recent history - more on that later).

Wrestling history prior to 1990 is covered fully and accurately and there is a lot of explanation of the tricks of the trade, storyline creation, angle development and the like. Each chapter is packed with rich text and vivid photos describing the sport. All information is broken down in the Complete Idiot's Guide modular, easy-to-read format that makes the CIG books so popular. "Captain Lou's Corner" and "Bert's Corner" boxed features pepper the pages with interesting facts and stories that further illuminate the ins and outs of this fascinating subject. A four-page color insert nestled in the middle of the book lets fans sneak a peek at their favorite performers in wild and woolly poses. I found Capt. Lou's explanations of how some of the more dangerous stunts are pulled off to be far more enlightening then that silly NBC TV special on the subject a while back.

It is only when the calendar turns to more recent years that the accuracy takes a decided turn South. The one example I would cite is the repeated assertion that Hulk Hogan was forced to give up his "Hulk" moniker because the WWF had "Hulk Hogan" trademarked. Actually, that was not the case at all. Hogan wrestled under the name "Hulk Hogan" for two years after joining WCW. He changed his name to coincide with his turn from babyface to heel upon forming the nWo in 1996. There were a few other innaccuracies as well, but that was probably the most noteworthy.

That having been said, I would still recommend this book highly to anyone who wants to "find out a little more" about our favorite sports entertainment. Albano and Sugar provide us with a rich panoply of wrestling's greatest stars plus dashes of insider knowledge that even enlightened an old "smark" like myself in several instances.

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

Earl Oliver
Editor, Solie's Wrestling Newsletter

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