Considered by many to be the greatest performer in the history of professional wrestling, Flair will be on hand for all of the festivities starting at 4pm with �Photos with the Stars.� Pillman �99 ticketholders will have an opportunity to have their picture taken with Flair or any of the other wrestlers in attendance for only $10 from 4 to 6pm. Belltime is set for 7pm.
Matches from both the two major U.S. wrestling companies have been confirmed for the event. The World Wrestling Federation (WWF) has promised Mankind vs. D-lo Brown and Road Dogg vs. Al Snow. A tag team match from World Championship Wrestling (WCW) will pit Konnan and Rey Mysterio, Jr. against Chris Benoit and Dean Malenko.
Ten matches total will take place, including a �legends� match between former NWA North American Champion Terry Taylor and former WWF Tag Team Champion Dr. Tom Prichard. A cruiserweight tournament featuring HWA wrestlers (Chip Fairway, Terik the Great, Shark Boy, Chad Collyer, Matt Stryker, & Jeremy Jett) will take place on the card as well. In addition, HWA wrestler Bull Pain vs. OVW�s Rob Conway rounds out the card.
Other special guests scheduled to appear include Ricky �The Dragon� Steamboat, former WCW valet Woman, and the return of WCW referee Mark Curtis who is battling cancer. All of the above will be available for photographs to benefit the Pillman Fund.
Additional funds will be raised at a celebrity auction where silent bids will be accepted on each item throughout the evening. The top bidders for the first few items will then be called to the ring at 6:30pm for a final bidding process. The final bidding for the remaining items will occur during the two intermissions scheduled during the event.
Ticketholders will be the only ones eligible to participate in the auction or to have their picture taken with the stars. In addition, a raffle for a duplicate NWA World TV Title belt donated by J-mar will also take place to benefit the Pillman Fund.
Tickets are on sale now at all Ticket Master outlets. Ticket prices are $50, $30, & $25. For further details about the event, call the new HWA Hotline at (513) 71-YO-HWA [(513) 719-6492] or check out the website at www.mainevent.net. Members of the news media should contact Marc Hopkins at 1-800-397-3033, (513) 321-3475, or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Jeremy Hartley: One of the things you just mentioned was the difference between the babyfaces and the heels. You were pretty much a babyface throughout your career - nowadays they seem to change back and forth every week. I always got the feeling that they put that on you because they trusted you could make it believable.
Ricky Steamboat: Uh hm, that is true, and you've also noticed a difference in the fans. The fans are "hurrahing" the heels sometimes more then some of the babyfaces...
Jeremy Hartley: Would you say that part of that is due to the art of interviews being lost...I mean in your era was the fact that you could talk a good match, that your opponent could talk a good match - and that was a big majority of the battle before you even got into the ring. Right..?
Ricky Steamboat: Right. I've known guys that looked terrible, maybe would wrestle five to seven minutes, but had the gift of gab on the mic. They'd keep their main event status and keep their heat...you know that. today, is lost...Television has changed things a lot. You know we used to use TV as a venue for the live show - of course we'd still have the same kind of television matches - they'd go three - five - seven minutes then when you'd get to the house shows you'd have your 20 - 30 - 45 - one hour "broadways" (an old carny term for a one-hour show) and that is something else that is lost. And I think another reason why was because...you look at the promotions on both sides whether it be WWF or WCW - on a pay-per-view they'll load the card up, almost everybody on the show is considered a main eventer, maybe they'd have a couple of feature matches - but the promoter's got so many guys - and you've got a certain length of time that you're on the satellite so matches are customarily going shorter. As opposed to when we used to do the live shows - so what if the matches got out at 11:30 at night? Many times I worked with Flair and the promoter would say "...look, we only need twenty minutes tonight guys..." but the match was going so well, that sometimes we'd put in 59 minutes and 30 seconds just to really throw a monkey wrench into the fans...
Jeremy Hartley: (laughs)
Ricky Steamboat:...you know, their all thinking we're going "broadway" then all of a sudden we'd "do" the finish. But instead of twenty minutes - the match was going along so good we'd do the finish and actually it worked out better because everybody that's sitting there watching it is thinking that we're going to go to a one hour draw - then with 27 seconds left to the end of the match they hear "one-two-three..."
Jeremy Hartley: (laughs) You know it's funny that you mention that because I remember a match - I believe it was in Louisianna that you guys pulled that off and it was on National Television and the amount of reaction from the fans was amazing...(here an audio excerpt from a Flair/Steamboat in 1989 is played...)
Ricky Steamboat: Right!
Jeremy Hartley: That was in '89 and you were holding the Title at the time...
Ricky Steamboat: Even something like that, Jeremy, has been lost... I'm sure that Bret Hart could still do a one hour "broadway" you know but I don't know about the newer guys into the business - I don't know if they have enough ring psychology to carry a match for an hour. I mean, 20 or 30 minutes into the match they would probably start panicing - that's an art form which is slowly being lost in our business too. I was always the one that if the agent or the promoter said, "look Ricky we only need twenty minutes tonight..." and if I was first main event the other guys would always dread it because they'd say "Steamboat's going to be out there for 45 minutes..." If the promoter gave me the green light, and it was okay with the heel - shit we're going 50 minutes tonight..!
Jeremy Hartley: (laughs) And did it become almost a one-upsmanship on yourself everytime you'd go out there and work a specific program, it was, "Okay, what can we do now - you know, we worked for forty minutes - can we bump it up to sixty?" And still make it a sort of personal best thing...
Ricky Steamboat: You know that no matter how long you're in a match. Whether it is twenty minutes or thirty minutes or an hour - it is those last ten minutes where you really want to make it shine. Some times it was difficult, you were at the fifty minute mark and you know you're going to go "broadway" - and you say, "Okay, we gotta cook it..." and you know you gotta smoke it now - it's when we'd really start picking the pace up - knowing that you've been involved foir fifty minutes and your tongue is hanging out, you're wheezing like a son-of-a-gun and thinking, "...how am I gonna pull this thing out of my ass for the last ten minutes?"
Jeremy Hartley is a longtime friend of Solie's and a regular contributer to the newsletter. His "EYE on Wrestling" columns can be found in the "Articles" section of the web site. His previous interviews with Bob Blackburn, Lou Thesz, Bob Ryder and Buddy Landel are currently to be found in the "Interviews" section. You can also hear any of these interviews in RealAudio by visiting Jeremy's web site, Up Close Wrestling
The program starts with a promo piece on the main event between Steve Austin and the Rock. WWF Backlash is coming to us from Providence, Rhode Island.
Jim Ross and Jerry Lawler are our hosts. Their first announcement is that it was announced on Heat that tonight's main event will be no holds barred.
The Brood vs. Mideon/The Acolytes - Mideon starts with Christian and the latter is way outsized but he manages to utilize his superior speed and agility then tags in Gangrel who comes in to face Bradshaw. Edge gets a blind tag and they double-team the big guy but he gets the tag to Faarooq. Now Edge is in against Faarooq and doing fairly well until Simmons regains his composure. The former NWA Champ downs his opponent and tags in Mideon. Things start to breakdown as Bradshaw distracts the referee so that Faarooq can do his dirtywork on Edge. Edge is being isolated and can't seem to get anything going. The opposition continues to tag in and out smoothly while Edge is starting to lose his...er...edge... The Ministry is very adept at distracting the official so that other members can work on Edge who finally manages to tag his brother and then it really starts to break down. All six are all over the area - fights breaking out on the floor as the match continues in the ring. The Brood are exhibiting the better coordination but then Viscera appears ringside and interferes, giving the Ministry the victory.
Al Snow vs. (Steroid Bob) Hardcore Holly - Hardcore Title match - a lot of people expect Snow to win this title tonight and I'm one of them. Holly clocks his challenger with the belt to start the match. He gets a two count. Snow comes back and tosses Holly to the floor where this match belongs. Snow takes a stare shot then Holly finds a plastic milk carton full of water, takes a swig then smashes Snow in the face with it. Snow is bleeding quite early on in this contest but it clearly doesn't slow him down at all. Holly returns to the ring, Snow pauses to pull a hockey stick out from under the ring before returning himself. Back inside, he pummmels Holly with the stick then goes back out to find more stuff under the ring. He pulls out pots and pans but it is a table he is looking for. He finds one and shoves it into the ring but Holly has the hockey stick now and uses it, driving Snow back to the floor. Holly follows him out and gets a suplex on the concrete (not the padded part). The fights heads to the backstage area where Holly finds a bathroom sink (Ross misidentifies it as a kitchen sink). He heads over to where he last saw Snow - who appears around the corner with a firehose. The sink smashes on the floor and the fight goes out to the parking lot. Snow finds a broom to swing as they fight their way over to the garbage dump. They climb a stairway next to the dumpsters - Snow gets shoved into the trash followed by the Hardcore Champ. The thrash around in there for a while then fall out to the parking lot again and head for the TV trucks. They fight there way right into an unoccupied control room then out again and on top of a white car. They fight back towards the building and are inside again. Holly runs Snow into a loading ramp then throws it onto him and trues for the pin. No cigar. They brawl back into the arena and back to the ring area. Snow grabs a frying pan as the re-enter the ring and bashes Holly with it (Lawler says, "Don't forget the PAM...") Snow whollops Holly and places him on the table which is still there and all set up for him. He goes to the top but Holly recovers and catches him there. He goes up for a suplex onto the table, which collapses and both are out of it for a moment. The referee is counting in a no-count-out match. Both guys are out on their feet as they struggle to get up. Snow consults with Head then uses her as a weapon to put Holly down and take his title. Al Snow is the new Hardcore Champ!
Backstage, the Undertaker is telling his minions to prepare for the next event in the Ministry saga.
Goldust (w/The Blue Meanie) vs. The Godfather (w/his 5 garden tools) - Intercontinental Title match - after the GF's usual give and take, he escorts the girls to the ringside area then the match gets underway. Goldust starts strong but telegraphs a move to soon and ends up on the receiving end. He is pummeled and then tossed to the floor where the Meanie comforts him. Goldust starts to leave but the Meanie reminds him that this is for the title so he returns. Back inside, he is immediately beseiged once more by the Champ. The Godfather is levered to the floor where the Meanie beats him down then rolls him back into the ring. Goldust is all over his man now and things have takes a decided turn. The Meanie hands a baggie of powder to Goldust but before he can use it the Godfather kicks it into his face. Meanie comes in and gets beaten on by his own blinded partner. Goldy sets up and delivers the Shattered Dreams (feeling his way along since he still can't see). The Godfather watches in amusement then attacks both of them. A DVD finishes off the challenger.
Michael Cole interviews the new Hardcore Champ who spends the time arguing with Head who seems to think that she should be the champ.
New Age Outlaws vs. The Pissed Brothers (w/Debra) - Tag Team Title contention match - Debra wears the briefest of bikini style showgirl outfits under a tailcoat. Lawler is rambling on about puppies again. Before the match, Road Dogg invites the lady to reveal her assets - Jarrett doesn't like the idea but she seems eager. Billy starts to bare his butt , but they get attacked instead. Billy and Hart start the fight. Billy takes control early on then tags in the Dogg who quickly blows the advantage (as usual). Jarrett comes in and continues the assault. Their strategy is obvious, to isolate the weak link. James manages to run them into each other as they attempt a double-team on him. Still Hart recovers and keeps the Dogg occupied He is still being isolated and gets knocked to the floor. Hart gets in some shots then rolls him back in where Jarrett misses a shot and straddles the bottom rope (ouch!) He recovers quickly and still James is being isolated. Jarrett and the Dogg criss cross then collide in mid-air. Both are down for the count. Jarrett recovers and tags Hart back in. He applies a sleeper on the Dogg. James sinks a bit then recovers and reverses the move. Hart escapes and then collide on the rebound. Both sides exchange and Billy goes on a rampage. He almost gets a pin on Jarrett but Hart breaks it up. All four are in and the Outlaws are in control. They toss their opponents out and it falls to Debra to distract them so that her guys can get back into it. It looks for a moment like the Pissed Brothers are going to take the match but Billy reverses on Jarrett then drops a leg on Hart so his partner can take the pin. Billy moons the audience afterward to their obvious delight.
Mike Cole interviews Shane McMahon in his dressing room. He vows to call the match fairly and relays a message to his father to stay out of his way. Vince is interviewed and says he is interested in taking care of the family.
Mankind vs. The Big Show - Boiler Room Brawl - Paul Wight enters thje boiler room but can't find his opponent until the latter attacks from out of hiding. Mankind shoves the big guy into an eletrical closet but Wight forces his way out and opens up on his smaller opponent. This is a much bigger boiler room then we have seen before - it has kitchen faciltities and offices and plenty of room to move around. Foley is loded into a shopping cart like conveyence and shoved into a stack of rolling black boards then slammed onto the knocked- over boards. He heads for the door but Foiley recovers and hits him with a window pane - cutting his own hand in the process. He sets up a ladder and starts to climb but Wight grabs him off the ladder and slams him through a table - stuff - including shards of glass are flying every which way. Foley is crawling around as Wight pummels him with boses and cartons. He gets a 2x4 but Wight knocks it out of his hand. He takes it for a moment then turns around and breaks a pipe, spewing something into Wight's face. Mankind is shoved away but the giant is down. Mankind makes it to the fire exit and is declared the winnner just before he is attacked by Bossman and Test. They brawl back inside where Mankind turns the tables and gets the claw on Test.
HHH and Chyna vow to do X-Pac in during an interview.
HHH (w/Chyna) vs. X-Pac - grudge match - the match starts out as a slug fest, which HHH wins. X-Pac comes back with a back kick and knocks HHH to the floor. Helmsley circles the ring to regroup then tries to re-enter but is cut off and pummeled on the floor. Back inside, HHH takes the advantage but can't hold onto it until his opponent throws himself over the top rope to the floor. X-Pac squares off with Chyna which allows HHH to blindside him. Back inside the match goes into see-saw mode with X-Pac gaining ground again. He goes for the Bronco Buster but Chyna grabs his leg. He turns to give her the crotch chop then flings himself into the corner where HHH has moves aside. HHH takes control again. The referee warns him off and he backs away so that the ref is distracted and Chyna can get in a shot or two. X-Pac is definitely on the receiving end now. HHH grabs a front facelock and works on Waltman's previously injured neck. He has said that he would put X-Pac out of wrestling tonight. Waltman is tossed to the floor again where Chyna elevates him and drops him onto the barrier. HHH waits for him to try and return to the ring then drops an ax handle onto his neck. X-Pac is virtually helpless now but he won't stay down for the count. Back in the ring, HHH grabs a sleeper and they sink to their knees. X-Pac, reverses it momentarily but HHH runs him into the corner and breaks that up. He gets a belly-to-back suplex and both are down for a count. They rise amd slug it out again - this time X-Pac wins. They both go down again as Waltman explodes out of the corner. Chyna is distracting the referee but it is not helping her man as Waltman is the one who delivers the low-blow. The fight goes to the floor again and HHH is slammed into the steps. X-Pac rolls back in them attempts a baseball slide - but HHH pulls the referee into harm's way. The referee is out on the floor as Waltman gets the X-Factor in the ring. Chyna comes in and upsets X-Pac with a low-blow then suplexes him...then the lights go out. Kane arrives on the scene and Chyna is the only one standing. He chokes her then turns and puts the chokeslam on the attacking HHH. He finishes the job on Chyna then splits. X-Pac recovers as the referee does likewise. He does the Bronco Buster on both HHH and Chyna in turn. But HHH attacks him as he is concentrating on Chyna and gets the Pedegree for the win.
Ken Shamrock vs. The Undertaker (w/Paul Bearer) - another grudge match - Shamrock attacks as his opponent enters the ring but the power of the Undedrtaker is overwhelming. UT gets a near fall aftre the first exchange. He walks the ropes and connects with his arm drop. UT is in great form, flying like a light weight tonight. He misses a rush to the corner and gives up the advantage for a bit. Shamrock goes right to work on the left leg - probably his only chance is to get the big guy off his feet. UT comes back with a snap suplex and is back in control. Paul Bearer distracts the referee while UT chokes his opponent. He is all over Shamrock until Shamrock drops on his leg then tries to hyper-extend it. He puts UT in the corner and puts the boots to his injured leg. He traps the leg and goes to work on it. UT tries to punch his way free but Shamrock holds on. He finally escapes and delivers some heavy shots as his leg starts to come back. Shamrock gets the leg grapevine once again. UT gets to the ropes to escape then rolls to the outside to regroup - but Shamrock is right on him. He places UT's ankle on one of the steps and stomps on it. Back in the ring he kicks at the injured leg. UT is using the ropes to keep himself upright. He smashes Shamrock in the corner but the latter comes out swinging. UT gets a drop-toe hold then slugs his opponent. Shamrock grabs and arm and grapevines it. UT is straining to reach to ropes. He escapes and rolls out again. As he tries to return he is knocked off the apron onto the railing. Shamrock follows him out and gets posted royal then run into the steps. UT rolls him back in. Insiode again, he continues his assault with kidney shots then a backbreaker across his knee. Next he applies a bow-and-arrow to continue stretching Shamrock's back. He drops a leg on his opponent who grabs and ankle and applies his submission hold. UT tries to pull his leg free but Shamrock stands up and goes for a spinning toe hold. UT reverses it to a half-crab. He chokes Shamrock in the corner but Shamrock fights his way back to the center of the ring. He gets a flying elbow then a flying kick but the thirdt try gets him a boot to the face, He hangs in there and drops UT with a Frankensteiner. He grabs his ankle lock but UT kicks him away. Shamrock struggles out of a Tombstone set-up and gets the ankle lock. Bradshaw runs in with a ball bat but is thwarted. Samrock gets a series of suplexes then goes for a Tombstone of his own - but UT reverses it into his own piledriver and connects to take the fall. After the match, Bradshaw attacks the fallen Shamrock with his baseball bat.
The promo tells us that the next PPV is in Kansas City and is called "Over the Edge".
The Rock vs. Stone Cold Steve Austin - WWF World Heavyweight Title match - Maivia arrives with Austin's belt over his shoulder. Shane sends the belt away from the ring area. Austin explodes into the ring and the crowd goes wild as the battle erupts. Austin is all over the Rock and gets a one count from a surprisingly quick Shane (who is the referee in this match). Austin is tossed over the top to the floor then clotheslined on the ramp as he tries to get up. They brawl around the aisle area and Maivia finds a fire extinguisher to pound Austin with. He knocks part of the set over as he goes flying. Maivia chokes him against a fallen cyclone fence. He then goes for a vertical suplex but Austin reverses it then throws the Rock into another section of the fence - knocking it over as well. He chokes Maivia with an electrical cable then runs him into a railing section. It is all Austin as the brawl continues. Austin runs an anvil case into the Rock but Maivia recovers quickly and turns the tables. He puts the boots to Austin's head then whips him into a boom and clotheslines him to the floor. He goes for a pin but can't even get a one. Austin recovers and clotheslines the Rock out of his boots. He drags Maivia back to the ringside area and smashes him into the steps. Back in the ring, Austin stomps his opponent in the corner. Shane tries to distract him but Maivia ends up tossing himself back out to the floor again. The struggle on top of the Spanish announce table and Austin is Rock-Bottomed through it. The Rock takes a headset from one of the Spanish announcers and does his annoucer schtick then goes back on the attack. Shane tosses him a chair but Austin surprises him from behind. Maivia reverses the field and downs the Champ. He delivers a low-blow on the floor. Austin is holding his braced knee. Maivia uses the top piece from the announce table as a weapon. Then he grabs a camera and narrates a picture of Austin on the floor. He is busy panning the croad and doesn't catch that Austin is back on his feet. Austin kicks him in the gut and they struggle some more on the table top. Back in the ring, Maivia is shaky and Austin goes for the Stunner - but is shoved into Shane. The Rockj ghets the Rock Bottom again and a two count. Shane tries to use the belt on Austin but misses and hits Maivia. He starts to count him down but stops after two and leaves the ring. Vince cuts him off in the aisle, wrestles Austin's belt away and clocks Shane with it! Earl Hebner takes over the officiating duties in the ring where Austin gets the Stunner and the pin to retain his title. Vince tosses Austin his belt and then watches as the Rattlesnake celebrates with both belts. Outside, Stephanie is in a limo waiting for her dad when Ministry members show up. The limo speeds away but Stephanie wants to go back for her dad. She tells the driver to stop - he does and lowers the barrier to reveal that it is the Undertaker driving the car!! She screams and we go back to the arena for Austin's continued celebration. Fade to black...
Well - that sets up for RAW nicely. A good PPV.
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 1999 - Jump City Productions