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Friday Morning Edition

Chris Jericho Signs with the WWF

Thunder Report

Stylin' And Profilin':
The Legend Of Ric Flair: Part 39

By Ervin Griffin, Jr. and Matt Benaka

The View From Down Under

by Stuart Capel


Volume 4, Issue 479 - July 2, 1999

Chris Jericho Signs with the WWF

This short announcement appeared on the WWF.COM web site last night:

"The WWF is proud to announce that Chris Jericho has signed a multi-year contract with the company."


Editor's Note: The column below was written before it was learned that Chris Jericho had officially signed with the WWF (in fact that announcement was made just last night). Nevertheless, I have chosen to run the piece because of what it has to say about WCW's situation. The first paragraph of the article should be read with that proviso in mind.

Normally Stuart's column is biweekly, but this one delivers a timely message so I decided to run it early.


The View from Down Under

Old Farts in Wrestling

by Stuart Capel

There are some reports out of Atlanta that Eric Bischoff has lost any hope he had of re-signing Chris Jericho to a WCW contract when Jericho's contract expires at the end of July. Like him or hate him, Jericho has the talent both in the ring and in front of the camera to be an integral figure in a major wrestling organisation, whether it be WCW or WWF. There is no doubt that those at Titan Sports would love to get their hands on Jericho as they could make him into a superstar. But can you see Bischoff letting Jericho go before July's end? Not in your life-time. Bischoff may have let WCW degenerate into a second rate competition, but the last up and coming blonde haired wrestler to leave WCW for greener pastures has become even bigger than Hulk Hogan at the height of his popularity in 1987. Is Jericho going to be the next Austin? Only time can tell but this scenario underlies the main problem that WCW must solve before it can contend for the position of number one wrestling organisation in the world.

WCW are not about to give a major title push to any wrestler who has just left the Power Plant and, diapers and all, entered the wide world of wrestling, unless they have some phenomenal ability (see Goldberg). The simple reason for this is that when WCW decided to become a serious contender to Titan Sports' wrestling monopoly, they went out and signed some of the biggest names in wrestling, in Randy Savage, Hulk Hogan and Ric Flair. Later on came the signing of Roddy Piper. By signing these wrestlers, WCW was after an immediate impact in the market. By signing marquee names, the fans didn't leave WWF for WCW because WCW was better, they left because their favourite wrestler(s) had joined Ted Turner and company in Atlanta. Initially the plan worked. Nitro became number one with the fans and in the ratings as Nitro received higher ratings than Raw for a substantial period of time. For a couple of years, the plan was successful. These guys, along with one of the greatest ideas in wrestling history (nWo) led WCW to number one and it seemed that WWF could do little to stop WCW's popularity.

Then WCW started having problems; and there were many of them! Firstly it became apparent that WCW had made a big mistake in signing these old stars to big contracts. By having old guys with old moves at the head of the organisation for a long time, it left WCW susceptible to WWF finding a wrestler(s) who could be promoted better than anything of the New World Order. Enter problem number two: Stone Cold Steve Austin, and all of a sudden WCW is in trouble. Problem number three was a long time in the making but it has provided the foundation for the WWF. They have shown faith in young wrestlers who have the potential to be at the top of the tree in the future. Look at the names of a few of those wrestlers who attended the training camp in the early months of 1998: Adam Copeland (Edge), Sean Morley (Val Venis), Tiger Ali Singh, Kurrgan (possibly the big guy in the 'My name is' film clip by Eminem) , Darren Drozdov, Mark Henry, Sean Stasiak (Meat), and Steve Blackman. Not as yet the greatest base to build a foundation, but something that can be fallen back-on!

However WCW seem to insist on signing a Piper for every two Val Venis' that WWF produce. Sure, WCW have made some great moves in signing Scott Hall (though that seems to have gone sour of late), and Kevin Nash, however the current situation sees Piper feuding with Flair, Savage recently feuding with Flair, and god knows who Hogan would be feuding with had DDP (another 50 year plus wrestler) not wrecked his knee. Not only that, as the sport becomes faster, and the moves become riskier, WCW insist on making moves of the mid-1980's still viable today. In the days when a double-armed DDT can't finish an opponent off, we are supposed to believe that some of the mid-80's moves are still lethal. As we are fast approaching the year 2000, these moves are becoming more and more stale. The Piper/Flair match at Slamboree was so bad that people were able to predict the moves in advance. Is this good for wrestling? Of course it isn't.

What's worse is that having these guys taking centre stage means that the new talent, or talent that is ready for a major push is not able to get it. Why is Booker T a six-time TV Champion? Because the guy is a good wrestler and deserves a bigger push but can't get it because they've promised the titles, both World and US, to a select group of about ten wrestlers. He has to be content with the TV Title or get back with Stevie Ray, thus reforming Harlem Heat - that wouldn't be the worst option for wrestling fans, but it reminds me of the situation that the Hollywood Blondes faced several years ago.

It seems that a guy like Chris Jericho has to leave WCW because he is ready for the big time but WCW won't allow him to get a push that reflects his ability and service to WCW. Those of you that can remember 'Stunning' Steve Austin in WCW can remember why he left.

In an interview with PWI, Austin stated that:

He's right as well and can you see that if Jericho signs with Titan Sports that WWF are going to be big winners, both in upgrading their talent and in the ratings as the programming becomes even better. So what can WCW do to stop the trend of poor ratings? I'll try to find some answers for you in the upcoming weeks and report back to you as soon as possible.

Stuart Capel is a contributor to Solie's newsletter and lives in Black Rock, Victoria, Australia.


Stylin' And Profilin': The Legend Of Ric Flair

By Ervin Griffin, Jr. and Matt Benaka

Part 39: The Rise and Fall Of The Four Horsemen, Pt. 1.

After the screwing of Sting, The Four Horsemen was back on all cylinders. With new additions Brian Pillman and Chris Benoit, Flair and Arn was prepared to make the Horsemen a dominant group again. Interesting that they chose these two since they were both trained by Stu Hart up in Calgary, Alberta Canada.

At World War III, all members of The Horsemen were involved in the big 60 man battle royal to determine a new WCW World Champion. While the eventual winner was Flair nemesis Randy "Macho Man" Savage, the Horsemen acquitted themselves well during that bout.

At Starrcade '95, Flair caught a break as he was picked to replace the suspended Hulk Hogan in a triangle match against Sting and "The Total Package" Lex Luger. The winner was to face Savage later for a shot at the title. Flair went into the bout with a decided advantage because both Luger and Sting had participated in the best of seven contest between WCW and New Japan earlier that evening. Sting helped his team win by defeating Kensuki Sasaki while Luger trounced Masa Chono. Savage also participated by defeating Tenzan.

In contrast, the triangle bout was the only contest that Flair competed in that evening so he went in with a slight advantage over Luger, Sting, and Savage. Flair managed to play Sting and Luger against each other, thus gaining a countout victory over them.

The bout with Savage actual saw "The Macho Man" dominate most of the match. In fact, were it not for Arn Anderson at the end, Savage might have retained his title. Anderson bashed Savage with a pair of brass knuckles, allowing Flair to cover Savage and regain the WCW World Title for the third time (and his 12th world title overall).

NEXT: A Thorny Rose

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. Many of his previous articles are available in the Articles section of the website. Check out Ervin's Pro-Wrestling Fan Fiction web site.


Thunder Report

I find it interesting that the first three and the fifth wrestler shown during the opening montage are all out of commission at the moment. After a welcome spiel by Mike Tenay we get a video recap from the main event on Monday night. Do they really need to resurrect that tired old "fake Sting" angle? Cut to commercial.

Diamond Dallas Page (w/Kanyon) comes to the ring as we return to insult the crowd. He is here to face Perry Saturn in a singles match. Saturn chases Page out of the ring then ducks a sneaky clothesline from Kanyon. He rolls into the ring behind Page and gets clocked. Saturn comes back with a suplex then drop-kicks Page to the floor. On the outside he continues his assault up and back down the aisle. Page flees back into the ring followed closely by his opponent. Kanyon is on the apron but Saturn kicks him to the floor then attacks him out there. Page uses the distraction to get the drop on Saturn and pummel him before returning to the ring to distract the referee so that Kanyon can get in a cheap shot. Back in the ring, Saturn is on the receiving end for a while as we cut to commercial.

Saturn is making his comeback as we return. We get an extended period of see-saw action. Page goes for the Diamond Cutter but he is shoved off and collides with the referee. While the three of them are down, Kanyon is messing with the corner buckle. Kanyon knocks Saturn out then rolls Page on top of him. The referee recovers and counts but Saturn kicks out. Kanyon distracts the referee with his arguments from the apron which gives Chris Benoit a chance to run in, hit a diving head butt on Page and roll Saturn on top. The referee starts his count but Kanyon drags him out of the ring and causes a DQ. Benoit splashes Kanyon from the inside-out then Bam Bam Bigalow shows up. The Triad punks Benoit and we cut to commercial.

Disorderly Conduct vs. The No Limit Soldiers (Brad Armstrong/Swoll w/Konnan/Konnan, Jr.) - I hear that DC has just had their contract renewed - why I don't know... Konnan is the spokesman for the No Limit Soldiers tonight. He goes through his usual schtick. Swoll is a pretty big guy and depends on his size and power advantage throughout the match. Armstrong, is a consumate wrestler, of course, if a perreniel jobber for most of his career. Once he gets in,. DC use there one advantage - their experience as a tag team - to upset the applecart. Brad is being isolated. BA (as he is now called) breaks out and gets a sunset flip but can't keep his larger opponent down that way. He is still being isolated. Eventually he escapes and Swoll cleans house. He and his partner use a couple of double team moves to take the fall. Cut to commercial.

Eddie Guerrero vs. La Parka - the "Chairman" of WCW brings his weapon with him - I doubt that it will do him much good. LaParka offers the hand of friendship but gets his face slapped. Eddie is all over him in a flash. Guerrero seems to be upset about the dissolution of the LWO. LaParks has the size advantage here but Guerrero is a regular buzz saw. The Chairman lands on the "boards" as Eddie throws him to the floor then splashes him. He follows up with a smash to the railing then runs him onto the stairs then rolls him back inside. Guerrero is ahead of his opponent at every turn as we go to commercial.

Guerrero still holds all the cards as we return but he gets nailed almost immediately and a shaky LaParka gets a two-count. He continue his assault with a clothesline in the corner then slaps on a reverse chinlock. He then makes the mistake of allowing a finger to slip into Guerrero's mouth. Eddie bites him then escapes. The fight goes to the floor where LaParka finds his chair waiting and uses it to turn the tables once more. Back in the ring, he is cementing his advantage is a most aggressive manner, choking Eddie against the bottom rope then getting a belly-to-belly suplex. He tries to follow up with a moonsault but misses. Eddie climbs the corner in a flash and hits the Frog Splash for the win. In the back. Randy Savage is swearing (and being bleeped) at his cell phone. It rings and Kevin Nash is on the phone. Savage is worried (and jealous) over Gorgeous George. They seem to be bargaining over her return. As Nash talks calmly to Savage he is being massaged by a blonde who sits astride his back but artfully keeps her face out of camera range. You can tell it is Tori because the blonde hair doesn't have GG's characteristic curl (...sure I notice! I may be 51 years old and married but I'm still a guy!!). Nash tells Savage to come to a certain corner in 15 minutes or "the deal is off". Cut to commercial.

Curt Hennig's video plays as we return. I just noticed that the guitar player is his buddy Duncum.

Silver King/Damien/Villano/El Dandy vs. The Country Boyz - 8 man tag team match - Tenay tries to convince us that "I Hate Rap" was taped off of the TV broadcast on Monday and is being played on radio stations all over the country...right... Silver King starts out against Barry Windham and manages to keep up with him by being the faster and more agile competitor. Kendall and Dandy both tag in and the younger Windham fares a little better until Dandy gets a blind tag to Villano. Now Hennig and Damien are in and there is no contest. Dandy checks in and is on the receiving end. He is isolated for a moment then he escapes and all eight guys are in for a bit. It sorts out to Dandy and Hennig again then the tags start coming pretty fast. I can't look at the keyboard without missing some of the action. Oops! All eight are in again then six of them fall out leaving Damien in with Kendall Windham who gets a big bulldog and the pin. Cut to commercial.

Savage is waiting at the designated corner when his phone rings. Nash sends him to another location for their meeting. They are going to trade the strap for the girl apparently. Savage is really having a cow.

Blitzkreig vs. Rey Mysterio, Jr. (w/No Limit Soldiers/Konnan) - World Cruiserweight Title match - more rap schtick from Konnan then Brad takes the mic and apes his younger brother ("Oh you didn't know..?) Blitzkreig appears to have bulked up a little since the last time we saw him - or maybe it's a different guy - hard to tell since we never see his face. He still moves like the Blitzkreig we know... Regardless, Konnan, Jr. dominates the action until he gets caught in a powerbomb on the floor followed up by an Asahi moonsault. Back inside and the challenger is in charge. He slaps on a reverse chinlock. Rey escapes and gets a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker but his opponent comes back with a clothesline and retains the advantage. He whips Rey piller to post then pauses to pose. A vertical suplex gets him a two-count. He then goes for a springboard knee drop but misses. Rey splashes him in the corner but then whips him and gets clotheslined again. Blitzkreig is showing us something here. He picks up Rey for a powerbomb but is too close to the ropes, Rey changes the balance point and they both tumble to the floor. Back in the ring, the challenger goes for a flying move but is drop-kicked out of the air. From there he is going downhill. Rey gets the rough rider in the corner then puts him away with a flying Frankensteiner. Cut to commercial.

Savage comes out of a Hummer - he has company with him (Sid in a second one). He wants his girl, "...right now!!" Nash taunts him and demands to see the World Title. Sid retreives it and tries to hit him with it but Nash ducks the blow. Savage doesn't miss and Nash is punked while Sid grabs a girl (?) with a bag over her head out of Nash's limo. Nash is left laying in the street. Again it appears to be Sting driving one of the Hummers. Cut to commercial.

Rick Steiner vs. Buff Bagwell - World TV Title match - Buff turns his back on Steiner to celebrate with his fans before the bell rings (idiot!) He is blindsided and thrown to the floor where Steiner pulls back the floor mat and piledrives him on the concrete. Steiner goes back into the ring to break the count then is back outside on the attack. He follows this same pattern twice more. Bagwell hasn't had a lick of offense. Buff climbs back in with assistance from his opponent then breaks free and turns the tables for a moment until he goes for a splash and encounters upraised knees. Cut to commercial.

Buff is back on the floor and looking the worst for wear as we return. Steiner is choking him with his dog collar for a bit then he rakes his face and shoves him into the apron. back inside he grabs a reverse chinlock and uses the ropes for leverage whenever the referee isn't looking. He goes for a cover - no cigar. He smashes Buff in the head then goes back to the chinlock. The referee checks Buffs reactions and Buff snaps out of his lethargy and escapes. He has some offense now and then pauses to strut, giving Steiner the chance to turn the tables again. Bagwell escapes again and goes to the top - but David Flair runs out and stuns him with a taser. Steiner gets an easy pin and retains his title. We see the two Hummers pull up and Savage gets out to unmask the girl. It is Tori of course - Savage is foiled again...

That's it for tonight. I'm away for the weekend but will be back on Monday. Until then...

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

Earl Oliver
Editor, Solie's Wrestling Newsletter



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