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Solie's Tuesday Morning Report

Friday Morning Edition

Thunder Report

The View from Down Under

by Stuart Capel

Stylin' And Profilin':
The Legend Of Ric Flair: Part 38

by Ervin Griffin, Jr. and Matt Benaka

The Way I See It...

Opinion by Earl Oliver


Volume 4, Issue 469 - June 4, 1999
Editor's Note: This story appeared in the Calgary Sun on Wednesday:
Wednesday, June 2, 1999

Widow is 'repulsed'

By CAMERON MAXWELL -- Calgary Sun

The widow of Owen Hart lashed out at Vince McMahon and his World Wrestling Federation for airing television footage from his funeral. On the WWF's Monday Night Raw, the organization showed footage of wrestlers outside the funeral home against the expressed wishes of Martha Hart. "I feel exploited and violated by it," Martha told the Sun yesterday. "I was completely repulsed by it.

Martha spoke directly with WWF owner Vince McMahon on a couple of occasions and told him not to air any sort of video from the funeral. "I said it because I dislike their show and (airing funeral footage) is self-serving," said Martha, adding she watched the video as it aired. "Not only did they disrespect me -- they didn't care. Now there's nothing I can do."

The WWF didn't return the Sun's phone calls yesterday. Another gesture by McMahon also angered Martha as she laid her husband to rest Monday in front of 300 friends and family, and 1,000 fans outside the funeral home. "I came into the funeral home and there was a great big heart with 'Owen Hart' on it," recalled Martha. "It had `WWF' on the side." Martha, who didn't know the heart was inside the chapel, said she was so disgusted she told them to get rid of it.

"The WWF should be totally denounced for what they did," she said. "Owen was not a tacky, sleazy wrestler and I didn't want the footage aired on a WWF show."

At the funeral, attended by scores of wrestlers and dignitaries, Martha hinted that the day of reckoning for her husband was still to come. "It's like war," she said, adding McMahon did not pay for Owen's funeral. "I paid for the funeral," said Martha.

Owen, 34, died May 23 when a harness lowering him came undone and he plunged to his death from nine storeys during a choreographed stunt in Kansas City, Mo. Authorities in that city are still investigating whether the harness supporting Owen came loose, or if the grappler accidentally unhooked it too soon.

Copyright 1999 - Calgary Sun


Stylin' And Profilin': The Legend Of Ric Flair

By Ervin Griffin, Jr. and Matt Benaka

Part 38: Enter The Loose Cannon

After the Clash Of Champions, Ric Flair and Arn Anderson had a difference of opinion. Arn decided that it was time to teach his long-time friend a lesson. So, at his request, he got a match against Flair at FallBrawl '95 in Asheville, North Carolina, a state where many great matches were wrestled by both Flair and Arn would now see these two take on each other.

Let me break for a moment to reflect how significant this bout really was.

"Nature Boy" Ric Flair - Mid-Atlantic TV Title, Mid-Atlantic Tag Team Titles, NWA World Tag Team Titles, 9 time NWA World Heavyweight Champion, three time NWA United States Champion, 2 time WWF World Heavyweight Champion, three time WCW World Champion (he would win the next two after this bout)

Arn "Enforcer" Anderson - NWA National Tag Team Champion, 2 time NWA World Tag Team Champion, 2 time NWA World TV Champion, 2 time WCW World TV Champion, WWF World Tag Team Champion, 2 time WCW World Tag Team Champion.

There was a load of metal between these two men!! Anyway, these two battled a good match. It wasn't the greatest bout but it was memorable because of the emotion and history between the two. The bout also saw the entrance of Brian Pillman as he interfered on the behalf of Anderson, helping Arn get a pinfall victory over Flair. Flair would then feud with both Anderson and Pillman for about a month after that.

Around this time, Flair was looking for help against Anderson and Pillman. He first went to "Macho Man" Randy Savage for help but didn't get it (Can't blame Savage there). He then went to on-off friend Sting for help (Sting was US Champion at this point). Flair went so far as to bring his own kids when he asked Sting. Sting gave his help with a stern warning:

"If you swerve me in the slightest way, I will leave you for dead!! DEAD!! DEAD!! DEAD!!" - Sting

The two first "teamed" on one early edition of WCW Nitro. Sting, however, deliberately left Flair in the ring to fight Anderson and Pillman. Sting was seeing if Flair was really serious. Convinced that Flair was being honest, Sting finally came down and helped Flair scattter Anderson and Pillman. The two quickly signed to face the two men at Halloween Havoc '95 in Detroit, MI (the site of Flair's loss to Hogan the previous year). Before the bout, reports said that Flair was attacked by Anderson and Pillman. So, Sting took on Anderson and Pillman alone for most of their match. Finally, Flair showed up....and turned on Sting!! It was a Horsemen style set up all along!! The proceeded to pummel Sting real good and left him humiliated in the ring.

That Monday on Nitro, Flair and Sting had a one on one matchup. True to his word, Sting left Flair for dead as he kicked his a**!! Sorry to die-hard Flair fans but Sting did a number on him!! He even put on the Scorpion Deathlock on Flair and refused to release it even after Flair had submitted! It took several wrestlers, including Lex Luger, to finally get Sting to let Flair go. The two men would fight once again at World War III and Sting would once again defeat Flair with his Scorpion Deathlock for a submission win. Meanwhile, Flair and Anderson reformed the Four Horsemen with Brian Pillman and newcomer Chris "The Crippler" Benoit. The reformation would be felt at Starrcade.

NEXT: On Top Of The World...Again

If you have a question, comments, criticism, or just want to talk pro wrestling, e-mail me at griffiev@hotmail.com or griffiev@yahoo.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 Articles section of the website. Check out Ervin's Pro-Wrestling Fan Fiction web site.


The View from Down Under

Noticing's in May

by Stuart Capel

I'm now a month into my cable viewing and it has given me time to make some observations about the wrestling shows Raw is War, Monday Nitro and Sunday Night Heat. There have been some high's like the Raw is War that featured Shawn Michaels reappearance, and there have been some lows such as the tragic death of Own Hart, WWF's show in England, and WCW deciding they were going to take a couple of weeks off. With my pet Koala on my shoulder and the local family of Kangaroos bounding down the street in front of me, I am able to share with you a few thing's I've noticed over the month of May:

Stuart Capel is a regular reader of Solie's newsletter who lives in Black Rock, Victoria, Australia. A university student who works part time at Brisbane Lions Football Club, Stuart an avid fan of wrestling who, until recently, could only get Superstars editions with the phone sex advertisements. He desparately hopes the Cleveland Indians can win the world series.


Thunder Report

Apparently nothing interesting is happening because there is no teaser tonight :-) The crowd starts up a "Goldberg!" chant as Tenay and Legendary Larry hype the coming PPV. I guess this show is on tape, since they don't say it is live.

Scotty Riggs vs. Bam Bam Bigalow - Riggs is still doing his best "HBK" impression to little affect. Bigalow doesn't dare look in a mirror... Riggs, it is apparent from the get go, is in for a long night. He gets in one of his superb dropkicks to give himself a few moments of offense but it is a waste of air time. Once Bigalow recovers it is all downhill for his opponent. The fight goes out to the floor where Riggs agaiin turns the tables but once they are back inside he is on the receiving end again. Tenay is telling us that the main event tonight will be Ric Flar vs. Chris Benoit. Meanwhile, Riggs takes to the air and gains another momentary advantage but then tries a second time, is caught and gets "Greeted". The crowd is back into the "Goldberg!" chant again as we cut to commercial.

We return to a video recap of how the World Tag Team Titles changed hands on Monday.

More video replay - this time the shenangans during the Hardcore match on Nitro.

Hugh Morrus (w/Jimmy Hart) vs. Kidman - I hear that Morrus was dealing with a heavy duty bout with the flu during his appearance Monday night. He blindsides Kidman as the latter is celebrating with the crowd to start the match. Kidman comes back with a flying head scissors then goes toe-to-toe for moment before taking to the air again. Morrus is forced out of the ring then splashed on the floor.Hart tries to take some shots but is ineffective. Back inside, Hart manages to distract Kidman so that Morrus can regain the advantage. Hart starngles Kidman on the bottom rope as Morrus distracts the referee. Now Morrus is showboating - never a good idea with an opponent like Kidman. He is toying with the smaller man. Kidman tries to make a comeback but Morrus is just too big for his opponent to make much headway until the big guy misses an elbow drop. Kidman tries to capitalize and goes up for his Shooting Star - but Brian Knobbs runs in and upsets his balance. The two of them put Kidman down then Morrus hits his moonsault. Hak runs in and prevents further punishment, chasing them away with his kendo stick. Afterwards, Kidman wants to shake hands...so Hak hits him with the stick! Cut to commercial.

Brian Adams (w/Vincent) vs. Buff Bagwell - Adams wants to shake hands to start but Buff just poses for him. Adams overpowers Bagwell during the first exchange but then Buff gets on his horse and out-maneuvers the big guy for a while. Adams muscles his way back but then Buff unloads another flurry and knocks his opponent to the floor as we cut to commercial.

Buff is on his butt in the ring as we return. Adams seems to have taken control. He slaps on a bearhug then turns it into a powerbomb when Bagwell starts to fight it. He next applies a nerve hold on the trapezus. Buff elbows his way to freedom but then runs right into a back breaker. Adams tosses him to the floor the distracts the referee so Vincent can get in some shots to Bagwell's neck. Back in the ring, Adams gets another backbreaker then climbs to the top...and misses a knee drop. Buff follows up with a swinging neckbreaker then gets a lariat. On a rush to the corner the referee is squashed between them. Vincent hops on the apron with a chair and hits...Adams. Buff gets a three count - no it's a two count. The match continues as Bagwell is ejected from the ring. He thwarts Vincent's attack this time then, as Adams is busy distracting the referee, Buff climbs the corner and gets the Blockbuster on Adams and pins him. Cut to commercial.

More video recap from Monday. Randy Savage brings out a ringer in a dress to mock Kevin Nash. Cut to commercial.

Still more video from Monday. Ernest Miller's ongoing odyssey with Scott Norton. A tire iron changes the script during Monday's encounter.

Scott Norton vs. Silver King - SK has his work cut out for him tonight. Norton is in a really bad mood... This match is an extended squash during which Silver King gets zero offense and almost that much defense... Randy Anderson stops at three but he could have counted until seven o'clock. Cut to commercial.

I swear we're seeing the entire Nitro card in flashbacks tonight. Rap vs. Country music is the angle on this one.

Curt Hennig vs. Rey Misterio, Jr. - this could be fun. The Giant Killer vs. The Giant Ego. Rey runs in on the attack and gets creamed from the get-go. Once Hennig has the upper hand he is relentless, and he isn't stupid enough to underestimate the Cruiserweight Champ. Misterio takes to the air to get his initiative back. Hennig bails then wisely backs away from the ring area to avoid a suicide dive. Rey is wise as well and aborts his take-off. Hennig regains the advantage as he returns to the ring and is all over Rey again. Rey is dragged to the floor and run into the railing then is dropped onto it as we cut to commercial.

They are back in the ring as we return and Hennig is still in charge. Rey breaks loose and attacks the left leg of his opponent. Finally he is making some headway. He pounds down on Hennig in the corner from above and Hennig sinks to the mat. But then Rey takes time to commune with the crowd and gets surprised when Hennig comes back to life. Rey is on the receiving end again in a flash. Eventually Rey fight his way out of the corner and drop-kicks Hennig's knee. Moments later he is caught in mid-air but then wiggles away and sends Hennig crashing into the corner. Now it is all Misterio. He is about to apply the bronco buster when Bobby Duncum runs in and attacks. They double team as the referee is ringing the bell. Kidman and Konnan run in and disperse the cowboys. They bail and ride off into the sunset. Cut to commercial.

More video review. Savage and company get "sewaged"... That was one of the funniest things I've seen in a while... Another commercial.

We return to pyro going off for no particular reason then cut to a video montage about the the Horsemen's latest travails.

Chris Benoit vs. Ric Flair (w/Aysha) - Benoit enters to Dean Malenko's old music, complete with inmages of Malenko on the big screen. Benoit seems eager to engage the Nature Boy as Flair makes his way to the ring. Flair seems ready until Benoit lands his first chop - then Flair is back pedaling big time. He bails out and is followed by Benoit. The referee comes along as well and pursueds Benoit to return to the ring. Back in the ring, Benoit slaps on a figure four in the center of the ring. Flair struggles toward and finally makes it to the ropes to escape. When Flair gets frustrated he tries to intimidate the referee and gets shoved on his butt for his trouble. Next he uses the referee for cover and puts a finger in Benoit's eye o turn the tables for the first time in the match. He drapes Benoit over the bottom rope then takes the referee away so Ashya can get in some shots. He continues his assault until Benoit starts fighting out of the corner. Benoit takes charge again and Flair gets on his backward bicycle. Now Benoit is being dumb - gesturing to the crowd when he should be moving in. They go to the floor again then return to the ring almost immediately. Benoit is still controlling the action but Flair is holding his own. They collide head-to-head and both go down. Flair recovers and goes for a cover but fails. Benoit gets a sleeper off a whip to the ropes. Flair circles trying to work his way free, then shoves him off and reverses the hold. Benoit shoves him off and they both go down again. Benoit gets a roll-up and a two count. Flair attacks the eyes again. They trade chops in the corner then Flair is whipped and back dropped. Benoit bends to one knee and pounds Flair's head. The whip, and Benoit ducks his head and gets knocked down. Flair goes for the figure four but Benoit thwarts it into a small package. Flair escapes anf gets the figure four on his second attempt. Benoit resists it then tries to roll Flair over. He succeeds and Flair is forced to release it. Both guys are moving slower now but Benoit gets an ensiguri and then misses a drop-kick. They are mat wrestling - hold and counter-hold. Benoit gets a two count on a backslide. He ducks an elbow and clotheslines Flair to the mat. A second clothesline then he climbs and applies his diving headbutt. The referee starts the count but DDP appears and drags him out of the ring. Bigalow is there as well and the two of them help Flair punk the Wolverine. Flair leaves the ring area as Page and Bigalow continue their assault. Fade to black...


The Way I See It...

I have received several email messages and have read some commentary over the last week or so expressing outrage at the Hart family for lashing out at the WWF and the wrestling business in general over the death of Owen at the Over the Edge Pay-Per-View. Many have made the argument that it is unfair of the Harts, or anyone else, to try and assign blame for this tragic accident.

I have to agree that this was a tragic accident and that nobody intended for Owen to die in the performance of the fatel stunt, but I have a hard time coming to the conclusion that no one is to blame.

That, in my opinion, is utter nonsense...

Oh, I have no intention of advancing esoteric arguments about the fans being responsible because they demand more and more dangerous stunts. That is the argument that an irresponsible promoter would make. What that says is that the financial "bottom line" is the all-determining factor in how much the promoter and the performers are willing to risk in order to put "asses in the seats" - as Eric Bischoff once so colorfully put it. That agument is a shirking of responsibilty by the real culprits. To follow that logic, the final step might very well be to actually kill someone on purpose - after all that would certainly draw a huge "gate"...

...but forgive me...I am being facetious... (although I must point out that we are already seeing depictions of human sacrifices in the forms of people being buried alive, burned alive and ritualistically crucified within the current Ministry of Darkness storylines...)

I believe that the Hart's have every right to be angry because the plain fact is that the death of Owen Hart was a preventable accident. If proper precautions had been taken, then Owen would still be alive. Moreover, since the accident the WWF has sometimes acted in ways that have been designed to cover their own backsides, in some instances even against the expressed wishes of the family (see the Calgary Sun story at the top of this page).

There have been varying accounts of what actually took place at the PPV, but two theories seem to be dominating the discussion:

In my opinion, if we examine this logically, neither of these explanations is acceptable because each points to someone who didn't do their duty to ensure that Owen was safe.

If you accept the first proposition then you have to asked, "If the release mechanism was so insecure that it could be tripped merely by becoming entangled in the fabric of Owen's costume, how could that device be said to have been safe?" In my mind it could not. Therefore, if we accept this explanation, we have to assume that whoever built that device, or decided that it was satisfactory, did not exercise proper judgement. The result of this lack of foresight was the death of Owen Hart. An unacceptable result in anyone's estimation.

If you go with the second theory, then logic tells us that either Owen was not properly instructed on how to be sure that he was secure, or, the person responsible for seeing that Owen was safe was negligent in his duty. In either case, again, the result was unacceptable. I would contend that there should have been someone present to make sure that Owen's rigging was secure before he was allowed to put himself in harms way. If no such person was present, then the promotion was derelict in not assigning someone to that task. If such a person waspresent, then that person was derelict and is to blame for this accident.

Ultimately, the responsibility for Owen Hart's death lies with the promotion no matter how we look at it. Someone in the WWF should have seen to it that such an accident couldn't take place. A very simple device such as a safety line would have been all that was necessary to ensure that Owen could not fall to his death. Such a device was either not employed or was not in place when he fell. This created an unacceptable risk and clearly points to negligence on the part of the promotion.

I will be surprised if there is not a lawsuit filed by the Harts and will be amazed if they do not receive a hefty settlement. I will be even more amazed if we ever see a wrestler come flying down from the rafters of an arena again.

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

Earl Oliver
Editor, Solie's Wrestling Newsletter



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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


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