By Ervin Griffin, Jr. and Matt Benaka
Part 42: Old Feuds Revisited
In April 1997, six months after Flair injured his shoulder, Flair returned at WCW Spring Stampede to announce his in-ring return at the next big show called WCW Slamboree (the very event where he once won the NWA World Title against Barry Windham in 1993). He challenged the "Wolfpack" section of the nWo to a six man tag team bout. That faction consisted of Kevin Nash, Scott Hall, and Syxx (Sean Waltman). Most thought he would team with his (then) fellow Horsemen mates Chris Benoit and Steve "Mongo" McMichael. Flair swerved everyone when he selected Kevin Greene and "Rowdy" Roddy Piper as his partners!! The three men (called "The Fogges" by our own Earl) actually worked well as partners against the nWo's group and Greene held his own better than expected in the match.
Flair's team went on to win the match but his troubles with the nWo wasn't over as Syxx went on to feud with Flair for much of that summer. Flair was also, at the same time, was trying to recruit Curt Hennig (a man who he feuded with during his final days in the WWF) AND feuding with Piper!! For some unknown reason, Flair turned against Piper after Slamboree and the two had a match at Bash At The Beach, which saw Piper win. Flair would also have classic matches on Nitro with both Jeff Jarrett (who Flair kicked out of the Horsemen in favor of Hennig) and a then-resurging Diamond Dallas Page. Their bout (DDP VS. Flair) took place on the night Lex Luger (another former Horsemen) won the WCW World Title from "Hollywood" Hulk Hogan.
Another situation arose when Arn Anderson, very suddenly, announced his retirement from active competition due to his bad left hand. He agreed with Flair to have Hennig as part of the Horsemen. This, however, turned into another nWo plot as Hennig turned on the Horsemen during WCW Fall Brawl in a WarGames match. This led to two encounters between Flair and Hennig at both WCW Halloween Havoc and WCW World War III (both of which Hennig won). In November of that year, Flair went down with an ankle injury and was unable to compete against Hennig for the WCW U.S. Title. DDP took Flair's place and won that bout and the belt.
When Flair returned in January 1999, he targeted WCW newcomer Bret "HitMan" Hart. The man who defeated him and ended his second and final WWF Title reign in October 1992. The two faced each other again at WCW/nWo Souled Out and again, Hart won with his "Sharpshooter Deathlock". Surprisingly, Flair shook Hart's hand afterwards and accepted defeat. Soon afterwards, Flair was not seen around WCW much. It was because he was locked into the biggest fight of his life.
NEXT: WCW VS. Flair
If you have a question, comments, criticism, or just want to talk pro wrestling, e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com
Ervin Griffin Jr. is Solie's resident historian. Many of his previous articles are available in the
We get a review of the brewing feud between Sid and Goldberg then segue right into Sting and Luger trashing Ric Flair and the resulting main event match last week. The opening montage is cut short to go into the "Sting was always bad..." video we've been seeing for a week now. One thing I don't get from that video - they talk about the "re-emergence of the bogus Sting" - I haven't seen "Stink" lately, have you? Nitro is live from Cinncinatti, Ohio. Bobby and Tony are wearing matching white Nitro shirts. Chris Benoit is scheduled to get his WCW World Title shot tonight.
Juventud Guerrera/Psychosis vs. Rey Misterio, Jr./Kidman - good match to start things off. Four former Cruiserweight Champs. Kidman starts against Psychosis and dominates the first few exchanges fairly easily until Juvie distracts him from the apron. Psychosis gets a powerbomb and Juvey is in and keeping up the pressure. Moments later Kidman gets a blind tag and Juvey doesn't know what hit him. He recovers quickly, however and now Rey is on the receiving end. Psych and Juvey show us some pretty fancy doubleteam work but Rey finally gets a head scissors on Juvey to escape and tag in his partner. Juvey gets knocked to the floor and then hit with an Asahi moonsault. Back in the ring, Kidman has Psychosis down and set-up for the Shooting Star but Juvey knocks him off the top and Psychosis gets the pin. Konnan and Eddie Guerrero run in and attack the victors in a show bad sportsmanship. Kidman tries to unmask Psychosis which brings Chavo Guerrero in to break it up. Pyschosis is outraged and challenges Kidman to a mask vs. hair match next week. Kidman wants to do it right now but Chavo hustles Psychosis away. Cut to commercial.
Video review ofsilly Sid nonsense and Goldberg's rather johnny-come-lately response.
Brian Knobbs (w/Jimmy Hart) vs. Goldberg - Knobbs has some new entrance music - no doubt one of Hart's compositions. Both of them issue rants diercted at the moonster before he makes his entrance. I just realized that Goldberg has gone back to his old theme. More fall-out from the change of regimes most likely. I have yet to figure out the logic behind Goldberg's entrance among the security troups - does this guy really need protection more then anyone else? Upon entering the ring, Goldberg grabs Jimmy Hart as he back-kicks Knobbs then forearms the latter out of the ring and follows him out. Knobbs grabs a chair and hits him thrice. Goldberg just shakes it off and suddenly Knobbs is on the defensive again. Back in the ring, Hart hits Goldberg with his megaphone then Knobbs grabs it and gets in some shots of his own. Goldberg shakes that off as well...spear...jackhammer...what else is new? He takes the mic and rants at Sid again. He compares Sid to "a little girl" for leaving last week instead of facing him. He challenges Sid for the US Title. He wants the match at Halloween Havoc. Cut to commercial. Lets see...they have action figures that sweat, and talk, and now they "grip and flip"...
Scenes from Benoit vs. Malenko.
Mean Gene is in the ring and invites the Nature Boy to come on down. Flair is full of piss and vinegar - he wants Sting in a match tonight - wait a minute! What about Benoit?? This is ridiculous! Ah - there he is...Benoit says he has a two-week-old contract to wrestle Sting and brandishes same, tellin Flair he can have Sting another time. Flair overrides him and demands that Sting come out now...but Benoit shouts him down and then finishes his own challenge directed at Sting. Flair says he's going looking for the World Champ and splits. Cut to commercial.
More Nitro Grrrrl auditions. From what I hear they may need an entire new squad. Kimberly and Tigress join Mean Gene on the platform to present the Ohio semi-finalists. Both are very hot ladies - Robbie and Kiesha. Next stop - Marrietta, Georgia. Cut to commercial.
Sting vs. Chris Benoit - WCW World Title match - at 8:57 Sting makes his entrance for this title match. His reception is decidedly mixed. Plenty of heat, but a little hard to sort it out. Sting goes right on the attack but only succeeds in bulling Benoit into the corner. They separate and Benoit grabs a headlock, is thrown off and tackled right out of the ring. He returns and two exchanges later he is out on the floor again. This time he takes his time returning. Unlike a lot of good guys gone bad, Sting seems to have lost none of his trademark strengths - phenomenal verticle leap, superior agility, his in-ring savvy. Benoit trips him and applies an STF causing Sting to try and make the ropes. Before he can, Benoit releases the hold and starts beating on the Champ while he is still down. He ties him up in the corner and hits him with a baseball slide drop-kick but then goes to the well a second time and misses. Sting runs his legs into the post from the outsdie then re-enters the ring and applies the boots. He follows with a reverse atomic drop then starts working on the back of Benoit's left knee. He applies a reverse chinlock and holds it until Benoit fights his way free, then sinks a knee into his midsection. He drops a couple of elbows then gets a two-count. He follows with a reverse verticle suplex. Benoit is in big trouble. Bu manages to roll around Stings attempted knee lift and go for a roll-up. Sing escapes and hits a big clothesline then grabs the chinlock again. Benoit fights free then throws Sting to the ropes for a drop-kick, but Sting puts the breaks on and Benoit lands on his head. He has trouble rising to his feet, or seems to - he is playing possum and goes for an inside cradle - but fails. Sting stomps him in the gut then goes to the top. He throws a splash but Benoit gets the knees up then side steps a Stinger splash! He gets to the top and hits the swan dive head butt! Sting kicks out and both are down for a bit. Benoit recovers first and gets a series of snap suplexes then the Crippler Crossface but they are too close to the ropes and Benoit had to break the hold. Benoit goes for a sleeper but Sting shoves him off a downs the referee. Benoit gets a reverse tombstone piledriver but the referee is out of it. They struggle again and Benoit gets a roll-up but Lex Luger runs in and hits him with a baseball bat. Sting gets the pin. Ric Flair runs in and ducks a blow from the bat then chops Luger down and pounds him in the corner. But now Diamond Dallas Page is in the ring and Diamond Cuts Flair. Hulk Hogan runs in and the bad guys retreat. They have a Hogan/Flair/Hart vs. Sting/Luger/Page tag match signed for next week. Cut to commercial.
Berlyn (w/bodyguard) vs. Scott Armstrong - the crowd goes into a lusty chant of "USA!" as Berlyn covers his ears. Berlyn goes right on the attacks and completely dominates his opponent. He drops Armstrong onto the top rope and whales on him. His bodyguard appears to be warming up his taped fists to interfere at some point. Armstrong finally makes his move but misses a drop-kick after a flurry os offense...then the bodyguard hits him and he stumbles into a reverse neckbreaker by Berlyn. The German then grabs a camel clutch although he already has already won the match. Brad Armstrong runs in to protect him. In a taped segment we see Vampiro and Violent J coaching Shaggy 2 Dope for his Cruiserweight Title match tonight. Cut to commercial.
We get another review of Ric Flair's appearance last week on the program.
Mean Gene is back in the ring again to introduce DDP. Page has a match with Flair in the main event tonight. Page runs down his usual schtick then compares his contribution to wrestling to Pete Rose's to baseball. This raises the ire of Rose's hometown crowd. Page calls Flair pathetic and suggests that he shoud retire. The crowd eats it up. Cut to commercial.
Video review of Eddie Guerrero vs. Saturn from last week. They have a rematch tonight.
Blitzkreig vs. Evan Karagias - I swear this guy spells his name differently every time we see him. This is for a Cruiserweight Title shot on Thunder. Except I can't remember either of these guys winning more then one match each in the past. Karagias' victory came with the assistance of Vampiro and ICP. I'm not sure that Blitzkreig has ever won one - but I could be getting feeble minded in my old age. The match is fast a furious, as befits these young firebrands. Blitzkreig seems to dominate the early going, but just barely. He throws a spinning planche and tastes canvas. Evan showboats at the top and it costs him his advantage for a moment but he recovers. The crowd is chanting "Boring..." Here comes Sid... Karagias actually gets the pin just before Sid hits the ring. He gorilla presses Evan ad drops him on his face then catches Blitzkreig coming off the top and turns him into a tag team (to quote Heenan). He grabs a mic and tells the crowd to chant "Goldberg" if they want, then goes into his rant. He agrees to the match at Halloween Havoc with the stipulation that Goldberg can't come near him (Sid) between now and then. Sid has his own catch phrase now - "Sid. Enough said!" (yawn...) Oh yeah...cut to commercial...please....
The Revolution are getting a heavy video push tonight. This is the third Revolution tribute video we've seen.
Saturn (w/Revolution thugs) vs. Eddie Guerrero (w/Filthy Animal thugs) - neither side in this feud has been showing much grace, actually. Eddie and Saturn go right at it on the bell and Saturn takes the early iniative but Eddie upsets his applecart immediately and the thugs hit the apron on both sides. Eddie is knocked to the floor in enemy territory and gets pummeled before they roll him back in. We cut to commercial.
We hear that Saturn has dominated during the break but Eddie comes back as soon as the red light comes on the camera. The Revolution thugs seem inordinately upset every time Guerrero gets a good offensive move. Saturn comes back with a belly to belly then climbs and hits a Savage-esque elbow off the top. He gets two. Eddie is still out of it as Saturn moves in again. But then they struggle at the top and Eddie comes back with a Frankensteiner then goes for the Frog Splash but misses. An altercation breaks out on the outside when Saturn ends up out there. The referee is distracted so Douglas enters the ring and clocks Guerrero with a chain!. Saturn isn't happy about it and hesitates, but eventually takes the pin. I see the Revolution headed for the trash heap... Cut to commercial.
More Okerlund in the ring. he calls the Hulkster to the ring for an interview. His rant is directed at Sting and Luger, naturally. He talks about his common cause with Bret Hart and Ric Flair. He seems to think even God is on his side these days. Cut to commercial.
Shaggy 2 Dope (w/Vampiro/Violent J) vs. Lenny (w/Lodi) - Cruiserweight Title match - we get a little of ICP's latest video before the match. They tear up a trailer home. Lodi's sign reads "ICP wear makeup because they're ugly" on one side. The crowd is firmly behind Shaggy, despite ICP's supposed heel status. The infamous "fan" runs in and gets decked by Lodi. He is cuffed and removed. He screams at Lodi as he is carted away. In the ring, Shaggy takes the immediate advantage - when Lodi tries to help his partner he only makes things worse. Lenny moves out of the way of a leg drop from the top to turn the tables. But Shaggy gets a bulldog and turns it back around then follows with a running powerbomb and almost gets a pin. He gets a roll-up and another two-count then vaults to the apron and is dragged to the floor by Lodi. Back in the ring. Shaggy is back on the attack and Lodi is on the apron facing Vamp and VJ on the floor. Shaggy backs up into Lodi knocking off the apron and onto his partners, then rolls backwards right into Lenny's clutches. Lenny retains the title. Cut to commercial.
We get a Nitro Grrrrls video as we return. Can't match the real thing, I'm afraid.
Gene Okerlund invites Rick Steiner to the ring... I can't believe this! My cable just went out!! It's out on the other side where I am taping RAW as well. When it comes back up about two minutes later, Scott Steiner is in the ring and ranting. It fades in and out throughout his rant. He challenges Hogan's removing himself from the nWo. Then we cut to commercial. I hear that Scott Hall may come back with Kevin Nash within a month. So maybe we will get the Steiners vs. Outsiders Feud revisited.
Kanyon vs. Booker T (w/Stevie Ray) - Kanyon takes the early advantage but Booker comes right back and drives his opponent to the floor where he has to avoid contact with Stevie. Back in the ring, Kanyon reclaims his advantage for long enough to knock Booker to the floor then follows him out and roughs him up. He climbs to the middle rope and suplexes Booker back into the ring. That's about the end of his offense as Booker comes back feet a flyin'. Kanyon catches him as he goes up for the missle drop-kick but then is shoved off. Booker finishes the move...and the match. Cut to commercial.
Ric Flair vs. Diamond Dallas Page - this is Flair's first match since returing to WCW last Monday night. Flair attacks Page in the aisle on his way to the ring and they brawl right into the crowd. Page is taking it - being slammed from railing to railing. My cable starts acting up again as they finally head in the general direction of the ring. The ring announcer runs for his life as they brawl around the ringside area then Flair rolls Page inside. Now Page recovers his composure but my cable does not. It flickers on and off then goes out for several seconds. Now it's back and Page is in control of the match. He goes for a cavelier cover and fails. He grabs a reverse chinlock and puts his feet on the bottom rop for extra leverage. Charles Robinson is the referee here which begs the question, "Whose side might he be on..?" They go toe-to-toe in the center of the ring and Flair wins the encounter. Page starts to come back but Flair lays in his low blow then swings into the figure four. Sting runs in and misses an elbow so Flair grabs him in the figure fiour. Luger runs in with his bat and whacks Flair on the chest. Hogan runs in and Stings attacks his injured knee with a bat then splits with Luger and Page while Flair attends the fallen Hogan. That's it folks.
A video montage takes us through recent WWF history before the opening credits roll. RAW is live from the Compact Center in Houston, Texas.
The new World Champion comes to the ring to start the program. He wears the Title belt under his suit coat then takes it off and drapes it on his shoulder as he starts his rant. He reminds us that he is prohibited from conducting day to day WWF business and declares that the winner of this Sunday's Six-Pack Challenge match will be the new Champion. Steve Austin decides to show up at this point. McMahon looks wary as Austin celebrates with his fans. Austin tells McMahon that the place hasn't been the same without him. Austin wants to take McMahon's place in the Unforgiven match. Vince says that he can't help Austin, then HHH, Chyna and their security phalanx show up. He doesn't want any part of Austin in the match. He accuses Vince and Austin of "stealing" his gold. The crowd goes into an "A$$hole" chant as HHH promises to send a member of the McMahon family out on a stretcher. Now Shane appears and sets up a match pitting he and his dad against HHH and Chyna. Now Austin reveals that he has the power according to their contract to reinstate Vince in the business and does so. Vince then puts HHH into the Six-Pack Challenge and assigns Austin as the Special Enforcer for the match. The Rock wishes a security lady a happy birthday as only he can then we see Mankind in the boiler room. The Undertaker sends Mideon in to attack him and they start to brawl. Viscera then joins the frey and the two of them beat up on Foley. They the Big Show is sent in to lend a hand and we cut to commercial.
We get some video clips of the Jericho/Shamrock feud followed by shots of picketing referees then Chris Jericho makes his entrance.
Chris Jericho vs. Billy Gunn - the opening of this match echoes some we've seen between Rob Van Dam and Jerry Lynn with both of them outflanking each other in the early going. Jericho lures Gunn to the outside where he is attacked by Mr. Huge then blindsided by Jericho who pulls up the floor padding. He fails to get his suplex and is instead dropped onto the concrete himself. Back in the ring they go into see-saw mode but Billy is on the ascendancy but the substitute ref (Tom Prichard) is a little slow to get into position. Billy falls out to the floor again where Mr. Huge DDT's him on the concrete then rolls him back in. Jericho slaps on the Liontamer (which they are now calling the "Walls of Jericho") and takes the submission victory over his unconscious opponent. In the back. Mankind is complaining about the attack on him and mangling Maivia's cliches until the Rick himself walks up complaining about the Undertaker and crew breaking his Rolex. He goes into his rant, pausing only to drape one of his t-shirts over Mike Cole's face. He challenges UT and the Big Show to a tag title match vs. himself and Foley. Cut to commercial.
The Undertaker agrees to the match under "Darkside Rules" whatever the hell that means.
Ivory comes to the ring to make another one of her challenges to the ladies in the audience. She insults the hometown crowd, impling that their town is filled with vermin of various stripes. She grants Luna a match for the Womans' Title as Unforgiven. She chooses what appears to be a Latina in the crowd - but it's not - it's Luna who proceeds to trounce the Champ and pin her. Mike Cole interviews D-Lo in the back concerning his match with Mark Henry this coming Sunday. Henry shows up and blindsides his former friend with a chair and an oil barrel. Meanwhile, Vince is telling Shane that he's not 100% but Shane says that's fine. Cut to commercial.
D-Lo jumps into a white Caddie and goes looking for Henry. Terry Taylor is interviewing Test and Stephanie when Jeff Jarrett and company interrupt. The fallout is a mixed tag match with Jarrett/Debra vs. Test Stephanie.
The Dudley Boyz come to the ring and rant. Bubba doing his tasteless stuttering schtick.
The Hardys (w/Gangrel) vs. the Dudleys - before the match can get underway the Aculytes (as Devon called them) show up and join the broadcast team. The match gets started as Stevie Richards shows up wearing a Dudley Boyz t-shirt. The match goes on inside and outside the ring with Gangrel attacking Richards on the floor then eventually the Dudleys pull off the win. The "Aculytes" then attack the Dudleys and we retire to the back to watch Jeff Jarrett attack an overweight make-up girl. Disgusting Display. I'm sorry folkd but this kind of nonsense doesn't make me want to see Jarrett beat - rather I just want to see him gone. Cut to commercial - thank God...
Jeff Jarrett/Debra (w/Miss Kitty) vs. Test/Stephanie - Test and his girlfriend come down hand in hand. Test attacks immediately and takes the early advantage. Jarrett tries a comeback but is run down again. Test launches himself from the top but gets a boot to the face. Jarrett goes for a tag but Debra backs away. Test takes over the action and thows a big elbow off the top and connects. Jarrett is out of it as Test tags in his partner and allows her to pin Jarrett. After the match Jarrett attacks Debra and puts the figure four on her as Miss Kitty protests in vain. In the back HHH and Chyna are conferring as Mankind and the Rock head toward the ring. The Big Show is also coming from another direction. Meanwhile we see the Undertaker talking to Kane!!
Mankind/the Rock vs. The Undertaker/Big Show - Tag Team Title match - for once Maivia preceeds his partner to the ring and rants his rant before the Tag Champs make their entrance. They come down and the Big Show enters the ring while UT sits down at the broadcast table. They are followed to the ring by Viscera and Mideon who join the match wih TBS. Foley and Mideon tie up and the fight goes right to the floor. TBS cuts Foley off and beals him on the floor. Foley goes back to the ring and again faces Mideon but subdues him and tags in the Rock. The fight continues then suddenly Kane appears on the ramp and heads to the ring. Much to UT's chagrin - he attacks the Big Show! In the ring Maivia gets the Rock Bottom then drops the People's Elbow on Mideon to take the pin. The Rock and Mankind are the Champs again! In the back Terry Taylor is talking to Marianna who accuses Chaz of beating her up - she has a big boo-boo on her lower lip. Chaz shows up to protest followed by the police who haul him away. Cut to commecial.
Sean Stasiak vs. Steve Blackman - Chaz was supposed to be in this match but he is indisposed. As the fight gets underway, Val Venis comes down with Blackman's ditty bag and joins the broadcasters. He makes double entendre jokes as the match goes on in the ring. Blackman is in charge through much of the match then bails out to retreive his bag. He popens it and we find out what it was that has been "buzzing" since Val sat down. There is an odd shaped vibrator in the bag and this distracts Blackman for a moment so that Stasiak can get the pin. Cut to commercial.
UT is pissed in the back, looking for Kane. Meanwhile, Shane is trying to pump up his dad for the match.
UT comes back out to the ring and demands that Kane show his face. Kane obliges and comes to the ring but UT knocks him to the floor where his minions have appeared with a gas can. They douse the Big Red Machine then attempt to light a propane torch but Mankind shows up with a ball bat and rescus him followed by the Rock with his own bat. Chyna and HHH are still talking over strategy in the back and we cut to commercial.
This is where my cable went out. When it returns the Bossman is in the ring running down Al Snow. This brings the Hollys to the ring for some reason. Bob Holly stands on the ramp and insults the Bossman then walks into the ring for his beating. The Bossman knocks Holly to the floor then attacks him with a chair. Holly comes back with a pitcher of some beverage broken on his face, busting him open. Al Snow appears on the TitanTron and shows a picture of his rottweiler friends tearing something up (the cable is still flickering so I can' see what it is). Bossman goes back to the slumping Holly and cuffs him to the top rope but Crash appears and brains him with a turnbuckle. BH gets the pin. Cut to c strip bar somewhere then to commercial.
We're back at the bar abd D-Lo is attacking Mark Henry. HHH and Chyna are walking somewhere when Jeff Jarrett runs up and swings a guitar at her. he misses and has to be restrained. Meanwhile, Vince is doing pushups and Shane is taking off somewhere.
HHH/Chyna vs. Shane/Vince McMahon - HHH seems to think he can improve his delivery by emphasising his ending consenents... He threatens Austin with bodily harm if he shows any favoritism at the PPV. Shane shows up first. In the back, Vince has been barricaded in his room by a forklift. Shane has replaced him with Test! They run into the ring and Shane spears Chyna while Test goes after HHH. Chyna is ejected while Test manhandles HHH then takes him to the floor. Back in the ring Shane beats Chyna down in the corner then goes for the bronco buster but meets Chyna's boot in an unmentionable place. Test is back on the apron now and Shane is being isolated. My cable is flickering in and out on the tape again. Chyna has a sleeper on Shane and he appears to be going down. He fights back to his feet and puts a jawbreaker on his opponent. Both sides tag out and Test and HHH face off again. Test takes the initiative and pounds HHH into the corner then sets him on the buckle and goes for a superplex - but Chyna attacks him from behind and he falls to the mat. HHH goes for a flying move but meets an upraised boot. Both are down. Test tags in Shane who gets the bronco buster on HHH then they criss cross and clothesline each other. Test falls out of the ring then Jarrett appears and attacks him. Chyna then attacks Jarrett and drives him away then chases after him. HHH is alone with his two adversaries but Test misses a big elbow from th top and is almost pinned. Shane comes in and is low blowed - then HHH downs the referee and puts the pedegree on both his opponents. He gets a chair from outside the ring. Helmsley is attacking Shane and Test with the chair as the bell rings. He leaves the ring and backs up the ramp so that he doesn't Vince McMahon coming down the ramp behind him with a chair. HHH gets clocked and cursed and we fade away.
We have two World Champions to talk about this week. One who just lost his title and the second who just won his.
The second is not hard to guess, its Vince McMahon of course, and maybe we should talk about him first since his story was clearly the most important breaking wrestling news of last week.
But then what is there to say? Several months ago, the WWF started indicating through word and deed that they are beginning to move away from presenting wrestling and into something called "pure sports entertainment". I hesitate to say that this latest twist in the convoluted WWF Title plot is the ultimate expression of that move because, frankly I have no inkling as to what the next wrinkle might be. You can almost bet on Shane holding the title down the line now. Maybe Linda or Stephanie as the WWF Champ? How about JR? Howard Finkel? Lillian Garcia? Cindy Margolas...why not?
To say that I am disappointed in the WWF as an organization is an understatement. Vince has stated on several occasions that he is sure that his father would not approve of what he has been doing - the man must be literally spinning in his grave at this point...
I have no intention of raising a hue and cry about all this, it wouldn't make any difference and besides I have said my piece about devaluation of WWF titles in great detail in the past. In any case it is probable that this situation will not remain unresolved (which is what it is since McMahon can hardly be expected to defend his title successfully for any length of time) for very long. I simply feel it necessary to register my quiet disapproval.
The World Champion who lost his title is ECW's Taz. In case you didn't watch the ECW PPV last night (which I didn't) or haven't checked the results this morning (which I did), Taz was defeated by Mike Awesome for the ECW strap in the main event, which explains why they showed the Tanaka/Awesome clip on last week's TNN program. In case you also didn't know...Taz has recently signed a contract to wrestle for the World Wrestling Federation.
I received a letter last week in which the correspondent speculated that the WWF had made a mistake in signing Taz. I disagree. If there has been a mistake made it is probably Taz who has made it. Taz is a good wrestler and will doubtless earn his salary in the WWF. And doubtless he will make more money and his name will be better known, so maybe there has been no mistake made on either side - I never proposed that idea in the first place.
Certainly the WWF has made no mistake. In one fell swoop they have gained an excellent wrestler, a reasonably good personality and they have managed to dilute the product of an upstart competitor who just got their first big break on cable TV.
But Taz will never hold the World Title in the WWF. In a promotion where the top players are giants, Taz has very little likelyhood of moving beyond the Intercontinental strap, and unless he develops a stronger on screen presence then what I have seen of him, he probably won't get that far.
Taz is a strange figure in today's world of pro-wrestling. At 5'10", he is a rather puny specimen in a land of giants the likes of Mark Calloway, Paul Wight, Glenn Jacobs, Kevin Nash and others. In ECW he is a star, if rather a throwback to an earlier era of real mat wrestlers, partially because he stacks up well against Paul Heyman's generally more diminuitive players. In ECW Taz had a platform on which to shine.
In the WWF he will have no such platform.
"But wait!", you say, "The current Champion is Vince McMahon, and a minute ago you were speculating on such diverse characters as the bosses son, daughter and wife...on announcers and celebrity guests even...why not Taz?"
Because Taz is a wrestler, and wrestlers are going out of fashion in the WWF - or hadn't you heard...
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