This special issue is being published in order to cover the special Wednesday Edition of Thunder this week.
Dave Scherer at the Lariat is reporting that Jack Brisco is in a hospital in Florida because of a heart attack. Solie's sends our best wishes out to the former World Champion.
In other news, it is reported that Hak suffered only minor injuries in the Junk Yard match the other night. A jammed neck and sore shoulder will keep him out of the ring for the next two weeks.
It's official by the way, Shane Douglas has signed with WCW.
Thanks go out to Dave for the announcement below.
WWF.COM announced today that Minnesota Governor Jesse Ventura will make his "return to the ring" at the upcoming SummerSlam PPV, to be held in Minneapolis on August 22.
A press conference to announce the appearance will be held on Wednesday at 10am Central. Ventura shocked the political world with his upset victory last year in the race for Governor in his home state of Minnesota, and his victory has prompted other wrestlers such as Bob Backlund and Jerry Lawler to announce their own bids for public office.
David Ruth, the spokesman for Ventura, appeared on the Minneapolis based Ruth Koscielak radio program and declined to reveal financial terms of the deal saying, "We're really not involved in this...it's the Governor's personal business. We asked the Governor about the compensation and what exactly he would be doing, and he said 'Wait until Wednesday.'"
1Wrestling.com's Bob Ryder appeared on the same program to discuss the news and speculated that Ventura's compensation would be proportional to what he actually does at the PPV. "If he actually wrestles, I'd expect it to be in the millions. If it's something less, it could be in the high six figures or more."
The speculation that Ventura will referee a match was confirmed at a SummerSlam press conference held this morning.
Jeremy Hartley: Now this is something that a couple of people have mentioned to me and I'd like to get your thoughts on this...when a promoter in a certain territory, stuck a belt on you it was like they were saying, "Hey, these are our family jewels - you're going to represent us, our company..." and it really meant something. Of course now, both organizations, your lucky if you even know who the Champion are - they're just decorative ornaments. So what did that mean to you to get your first title from an organization? I'm sure that you really had a lot of pride in that, and even when you won your last United States title, no matter what the belt meant to the organization at that point, you still probably looked at it as, "Hey, I'm carrying the family jewels..." at that point.
Ricky Steamboat: Well you know, my first belt was the TV Championship out of Jim Crockett promotions in North Carolina (Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling), and even the old-timers during that time, in the seventies, knew that the United States Heavyweight Champion was the number one contender and he was wrestling against Harley Race when he came into the area. Even the guys felt that winning a belt sort of put you a level above everybody else. You know, it really really meant something, you know, even though we knew among the guys that it's "just a work" - and if you could perform and put butts out in those seats for those promoters, they would say, "Hey, if we drop the strap to this guy there's no telling what he could do for us. But it's like the family giving you the nod, "We're going to let you carry this football, and whether you score a touchdown or you fumble on the five - the ball's in your court and it's up to you." And you would customarily see guys that didn't have a strap and when they did get a strap they would work harder, they would come up with better ideas. Their performance level was enhanced - it did have a meaning. And that's sort of diminished over the years. I could see it in the latter part of my years where a guy would have some sort of a belt and would just toss it in the trunk of his car. Whe I had a belt, it was...when the strap was given to you and you walked back to the locker room, the babyface side, right? Holding the strap, the referee - coming over from the heel side, would bring over the velvet bag that the strap went into, okay? This was the meaning...
Jeremy Hartley: Wow!
Ricky Steamboat: Sort of passing the torch, you know?
Jeremy Hartley: That's right...
Ricky Steamboat: You took your strap and you put it in the velvet bag and that was placed in your wrestling bag. I don't know, the respect of the way we were and the meaning of how strong we kept the mystery - you get...I'm sure you hear this a lot, Jeremy, "You know, I saw him kick him, but it kind of didn't even look like he touched him..."
Jeremy Hartley: Right!
Ricky Steamboat: But then five minutes later in the match, "Did you see him drop that knee on him? My God!" Always, in the back of their minds they have this mystique about whether the business is legit or not but that was one og the big things that kept them coming back.
Jeremy Hartley: Right. Well, and I use this analogy all the time - the magician trying to weave his craft - that's also yet a guarded secret and it meant something to be a wrestling fan, that's what I was thinking about as for as the territories and keeping the business a guarded secret...you mentioned something where they were trying to kayfabe all the time - the heels would stay away from the faces and so forth, and even...didn't that hold true with traveling as well?
Ricky Steamboat: Oh yeah. I've been in situations where we'd walk into a restaurant and there were heels sitting down in the restaurant, and even though we knew that we would be sitting at another table, if I had an angle going on with one of those heels, most times we'd turn around and walk out of the restaurant and go find someplace else to eat. Nowadays they all sit together. Sometimes you'd pull into a gas station and they'd be filling up with gas on the way home and you'd just pull through, you wouldn't even stop - just roll through and go on to the next gas station - or go across the street or the one on the other corner.
Jeremy Hartley: (laughs)
Ricky Steamboat: If you did walk in and sit down in the same restaurant, even though you were at another table, the family run business, the promoter would find out about it and you'd be called into the office. They'd say, "Look we just did this big thing with you and Flair, and Flair was sitting down having dinner..." and you know they would have the spies out there of course, and the promoter would probably find out about it even before you made it home that night...
Jeremy Hartley: (laughs)
Ricky Steamboat: ...you'd be called in and told, "Look, you got on TV and cut an interview saying that the next time you saw him you were going to take his head off and then you calmly sit down and eat in the same establishment!" Crockett would look at me and say, "Kid, do you get the point I'm trying to make here?" "Oh yeah, yessir, yessir..."
Jeremy Hartley: Right! Well, and would you say to that that kind of helped the camraderie...I've started going to a few of these things - the Cauliflower Alley reunions and all these things and it just seems to me that within the next twenty years we're not going to see things like that anymore.
Ricky Steamboat: No...
Jeremy Hartley: You know, guys would have more of a camraderie because of the things that you all had to deal with I'm sure.
Ricky Steamboat: Yeah, many times we had to go out of our way just to uphold the integrity of the business where today you don't have to - so I guess it gave you more respect for what you were trying to accomplish, the art form part of the business. I'm sure these old timers when they go to places like the Cauliflower Alley...you know I've been invited for every year now and I'll make it to one. Things have come up...you know, my son, who I've helped coach in amateur wrestling here in the last five years. One weekend I was taking him to a national tournament, stuff like that has popped up - but I'm sure that the old timers, you know, they probably talk about just what you and I have been talking about - how the business was and how it has changed and how it was better then and not now. You know, the people on the promoter end in today's world would probably say, "Well, look at the numbers that we're doing..." You know...
Jeremy Hartley: Yeah.
Ricky Steamboat: You can't dispute that, but...
Jeremy Hartley: It's a different breed of audience though.
Ricky Steamboat: That's true too but I also think back to fact that we had the style and class of guys that we had, and if we presented the business with the same amount of promotion that we would have in hand. I mean they're spending major money in promoting these wrestling shows - whereas the way we used to do it in the territories it almost brings you back to 1950's black and white boxing, you know the way it used to be done. If you could take the revenue that these promoters were spending to put out the product, but do it with the same "kayfabeness" and the same integrity, there's no telling what kind of numbers you'd be doing.
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
Mike Tenay and Legendary Larry are the hosts - we cut to the first match as they run down the latest developments in WCWland.
Vampiro vs. Van Hammer - Hammer uses his superior size to win the first exchange. Vamp comes back with a series of armdrags causing his opponent to bail to the apron for a moment. Hammer grabs a full nelson which his opponent breaks by backing him onto the corner then mule kicking him. The fight goes to the outside where Hammer regains the advantage with a big slam on the floor. Back inside, Hammer continues his attack with heavy blows but can't do better then a one count. Vamp tries to go to the top corner but Hammer beals him off by the head. Vamp turns the tables again and stands Hammer in the corner to administer some big chops. The match goes into see-saw mode as Hammer recovers and begins to gain some ground. They trade punches with Vampiro using martial arts blows but Hammer overpowers his opponent and grabs a modified camel clutch. Vamp escapes but Hammer is still in control. He goes for his cobra clutch but Vamp backs him into the corner and escapes. They struggle for position some more then Vampiro's superior wrestling technique wins out as he rolls up his opponent and pins him. Afterward, Hammer attacks with a big clothesline and some punches to the face as we cut to commercial.
Rick Fuller vs. Sick Boy - the return of Sick Boy to WCW sees him with newly bleached blonde hair. Fuller is the bigger of the two and throws his weight around pretty effectively to dominate most of the match. As soon as Sick Boy begins to make a move, Fuller tosses him to the floor and stops him in his tracks. Back inside, he continues to pound on his opponent. It looks like a very inauspicious return indeed for the former Flock member. He keeps trying to use his superior mobility but runs into a brick wall again and again. He finally escapes and gets some distance so he can take to the air. But his comeback is shortlived and were back into see-saw mode. Sick Boy finally goes to the top but is caught there and slammed to the mat from on high. Fuller gets the pin, surprisingly.
Dave Taylor/Fit Finley/Steve Regal vs. BA/Swoll/Chase (w/4x4) - Finley faces Chase to start and doesn't seem to know what to do with the bigger man until he gets his partner Taylor to help him with a double-team. Once Chase is subdued, Finley tags Taylor in who does his thing then immediately brings in Regal. Then Swoll gets the tag and cleans house. Brad Armstrong is tagged in to a deserted ring as we cut to commercial.
As we return, Regal and Armstrong are into it and seem to have stymied each other. Armstrong grabs a side headlock but is shoved off and right into enemy territory. Taylor tags in and applies a neck vice. BA's inexperienced partners distract the referee thus allowing the other side to cheat. BA is isolated big time. Finley really lays into him then tags in Regal who manages to throw the advantage away for a moment. Unfortunately for Brad, he is too out of it to react and finds himself in an abdominal stretch then a pump handle slam from Dave Taylor. Finley returns and applies a reverse chinlock before pounding on him again. Taylor is in again and goes back to the head vice. The Brits continue to take turns until Taylor misses a corner rush. Swoll gets in there and clears the ring. Taylor is trapped in the corner as Swoll whips BA into him - then the big guy lays in a heart punch and takes the pin. Cut to commercial.
Bobby Eaton vs. David Flair - Flair's daddy and Arn come out along with Aysha and it is obvious that Eaton is in the presdent's pocket. They even slap hands before the match begins. The referee is Charles Robinson so David would seem to have it made. At one point, Ric peels off some c-notes and stuffs them into Eaton's tights! But then it appears that Eaton has decided not to cooperate so Aysha comes in to protect David. Ric enters the ring as Eaton climbs the corner for the Alabama jam. Flair positions Aysha and invites Bobby to jump on her. Bobby declines and jumps back down then goes over to confront Flair, Sr. Aysha jumps up and applies a low-blow then Flair pins Eatons arms from behind. Aysha decide to hit him again but manages to low-blow both Eaton and Flair. While Ric squirms, David takes the pin on Eaton. Silly stuff... Cut to commercial.
Mikey Whipwreak vs. Kidman - Kidman dominates the first two exchanges, forcing Whipwreak out to the floor to regroup. He does and then drags his opponent out and drops him across the railing. The referee goes out to admonish him. Mikey pays him lip service then runs Kidman into the railing again. Back in the ring he maintains his advantage and applies a leg vice which turns into an STF. He releases he hold and then gets a sidewalk slam and goes for a cover. No cigar. Kidman recovers for a moment but then he is powerslammed coming out of the corner. He follows up with a couple of slingshot leg drops on the apron. Then he goes for a suplex but Kidman reverses it and sends him crashing to the floor. Kidman follows up with a suicide dive but then climbs to the top and is caught there. Whipwreak goes for a Frankensteiner up there but Kidman anchors himself to the ring ropes and thwarts that move. Whipwreak sets himself up for the shooting star press and the pin. Cut to commercial.
The Jersey Triad vs. Curt Hennig/Barry Windham (w/the West Texas Rednecks) - World Tag Team Title match - for once the Triad are outnumbered in this one. I see a considerable experience advantage on the side of the challengers as well. Bigalow faces Hennig to start the contest. They lock up and Hennig is bulled into the corner then released. On the second exchange, Hennig is shoved to the mat. He tags in Windham who faces Page and dominates him. Hennig tags back in and Tenay reminds us that he originally came into WCW as Page's partner several years ago then turned on him shortly thereafter. Kanyon comes in to take Page's place as the Triad excercises their peculiar advantage. Hennig has little trouble dominating the youngster. Then a surprise happens. Duncum and Kendall Windham replace their team mates on the apron and the referee allows it! Bigalow is back in with Kendall this time as we cut to commercial.
Hennig is back in and has Page down as we return. He tags Duncum and it becomes apparent that the referee has decided to extend the Triad rules to the challengers as well. All seven guys are freely switching in and out at this point. Barry Windham is in and Bigalow manages to regain the advantage for a moment but Hennig breaks that up. Then the momentum switches again and Windham is struggling to escape. He is tossed to the floor and cheap-shotted until some of the Texans show up to rescue him. He is rolled back into the ring to face Kanyon who goes for a moonsault and misses. Hennig and Page come in simultaneously then all seven are into it and the referee throws the match out. Windham continues to brawl with Page up the aisle as Kanyon is being triple-teamed in the ring. The two faction battle off into the sunset as the program concludes.
I'll be back again on Monday. Until then...
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