In case you missed the last edition, I had suspended my coverage of WWF programs until they ended the Big Show/Boss Man storyline revolving around the "death" of Paul Wight, Sr. in protest against this disgusting angle. I continued monitoring their activities and am happy to report that the angle didn't surface tonight.
There seems to be some confusion among readers over exactly what it is that I was protesting, so let me state it clearly.
I was NOT protesting the use of cancer in the angle. As much as I find that idea objectionable, that is not the specific reason for my protest.
I was upset because Paul Wight was allowing himself to disrespect his father's memory by re-enacting his illness and death with this obscene twist of the Boss Man's involvement. I find his actions amazing and deplorable, Terry Taylor's and Vince McMahon's suggestion of such a storyline reprehensible and Ray Traylor's willigness to participate in it disgusting. I am unfortunately aware that there is nothing that I can do about the WWF's programming decisions. But I can, and did, decide not to participate in its aggrandisement.
Although most of my on line friends have supported my decision (even some who don't agree with it - and I thank them for that), a few have not.
One of my regular correspondents, who is a professional journalist, wrote that he disagreed with my decision and cited the notion that a news reporter couldn't refuse to cover war atrocities and such. I don't see the comparison between a sick wrestling storyline and objectionable real world events - I think that is ludicrous. Another suggested that I should think of WWF programming as if it were a TV drama like ER, which could legitimately use such topics as storyline fodder. Again, I don't see the comparison between this use of cancer and death to fuel a supposedly "funny" storyline (it is clear that the funeral scene was being played for laughs) and a serious drama program such as ER. Is anyone seriously suggesting that ER could get away with a plotline that involved someone pulling up to a grave site and dragging the coffin away? I think not.
Perhaps I am more sensitive to this subject because I lost my own father to fatal illness at an early age. Whatever...
Ironically, The Big Show won the WWF Title last night at the PPV. Hopefully this will spell the end of this horrid storyline.
And with that, I will get off my soap box.
With this edition, Solie's welcomes a brand new contributer: Former WWF pro-wrestler (The Equalizer) and WWF Magazine cover model, trainer of celebrity athletes, and and fitness expert, Ric Drasin.
By Ric "the Equalizer" Drasin
Going back as far as the early 1970's when I ran my first promotion there was a jealousy and pettiness among promoters that destroyed a lot of independents. I started wrestling in 1965 at the Olympic Auditorium in Los Angeles and at that time the Olympic was owned by a lady by the name of Ilene Eaton. Her son Mike LeBell ran the wrestling side of the business and she ran the boxing end. The Olympic is a landmark and holds about 14000 seats. It had wrestling on Wednesdays and Fridays and Roller Derby on Thursdays. In those days the Athletic Commission was in full control of both boxing and wrestling. You had to have a license to wrestle, box and promote. They had stringent rules and you had to adhere to them or you didn't work. This was pretty much rule of thumb throughout the U.S.
There were territories being that the NWA had most of the West Coast and then it's other side had the East Coast. Boys were sent back and forth to work each area. In the middle, you had your independent promoters. The West Coast encompassed from San Diego to San Francisco and all the cities in-between. If someone ran a small show outside of the NWA you were considered a Renegade and you no longer worked for NWA.
We worked NWA 5 to 7 nights a week for $25 to $35 per night and then on Saturdays was Channel 13 which paid all of $15.00. But was considered a promo for a house show where you could pick up $100, if you were fortunate enough to get booked on it.
There were a lot of local "boys" who worked occasionally and wanted to work more under better conditions. They tried to set up a Union for Wrestlers, but failed since there were those who would always 'scab" and work anyway. Much like today. I worked almost every night for NWA back then along with John Tolos, Freddie Blassie, Mr. Moto, Buddy Austin, Pedro Moreles and almost every big name that came through there. In fact I had one of my first matches there with Terry Funk (who's 1 month younger than me) and we're still friends today.
I took it upon myself to form a Federation back then called West Coast Wrestling and set up some shows. I arranged a show at the Civic Auditorium in Bakersfield, pulling in every independent wrestler that I could find. There were plenty. I hired the Director from Channel 13 at the time to shoot tapes for me as he was shooting for NWA also. I got the famous Dick Lane to sit ringside and do color. I dotted every "I" and crossed every "T" to make sure that I went by the book with the Athletic commission. What I soon realized was that the Commission was being paid off by the Olympic Auditorium to sabotage me at every corner. They did not want me to run a show. In a democracy where competition is allowed, it's basically NOT allowed. They called the papers, changed my dates, threatened TV Stations not to run wrestling and did just about everything they could to discourage me.
I ran 2 shows and ran 3 weeks of one hour tapes in that area. Drew a fair crowd of 400 people which was pretty good back then. But couldn't fight the battle with the Olympic and commission so I dropped it. This was my first hint of jealous promoters. Eventually Mike LeBell called me and asked me to run a few towns for him as he liked the creativity and energy that I had to promote. I declined.
Later in the 80's after Vince McMahan declared wrestling as entertainment and got rid of the Athletic commission in California, I started running more shows under the name American Wrestling Federation at Strongbow Stadium in Bakersfield. I picked Bakersfield because it has the oldest standing arena in the round. It's a masterpiece of nostalgia And should be picked up by movie studios as it's got a lot of history and great atmosphere to run shows.
I really had no problem at this point with shows as the Olympic Auditorium was out of business, there was no NWA out here and basically no competition. But the commission did show up and asked for TAX on the show, or they'd close me down. I told them to take a hike, kiss my ass and leave. They had no jurisdiction. They said that now they wanted Entertainment TAX. What ? Kiss my ass again and leave or I'll throw you out. They left, sent me a bill about 2 weeks later. I sent it back and said 'stick it" and never heard from them again. I knew my rights!
But what I didn't expect was that there were other small promoters such as myself who in their petty ways were upset and told any wrestlers who worked for them not to work for me. They'd give them $20 not to show up and leave me with a few "open" spots on the card. I couldn't believe people would do this, but they did. Can you imagine walking in to a restaurant and being told that you can't eat there because they spotted you eating across the street at their competition, or You can't buy a car off of a car lot because the salesman saw you buying a car from another lot or best yet, your kid can't return to his own classroom cause the teacher saw him playing with kids from another class. Ridiculous but this is basically what these indy promoters are doing in essence. Competiton is healthy and promotes more interest in the product. I continued to run shows and would weed out the good wrestlers from the bad. The rise of WWF and WCW and the popularity across the country can ONLY enhance the interest of the small promotions and make them better as FANS want to come see wrestling. They don't care where it is or who's on the show. They just want good Wrestling entertainment. I"ve proved that here in LA without using Big Names.
Now today in 1999 I"m still running shows as AWF here in Los Angeles and mostly at Schools and Organization using them as Sponsors. This way it's much less expensive, I get a deposit up front and they sell tickets and provide the venue. My smallest house was 610 people. My next show is expected to be a sell out at 1500. I still have one problem and that is with other small promoters up and down this state who feel they own the rights of wrestlers that work their shows. I recently worked a show with my son in San Jose for a promoter who's just getting started. It was his first show. His name is Bruce Collins and a hell of a nice guy who looked to me for advice. I don't normally travel to do someone else's show but I could see he was lost and wanted to help. I sent him 7 of the wrestlers that I use, including my son and myself to work the show. I guided him through the advertising process and the do's and don'ts of the business. He was very appreciative. The big problem that I found was he had two rivals up there APW , Roland Alexander (which is mentioned in Barry Blaustine's "Beyond the Mat") and Big Time Wrestling , owned by Kirk White. These two men did everything possible to completely wipe out his show. BTW rented him the ring, and then called the Athletic commission to close him down, told wrestlers not to show and on the 2nd night, said his ring wouldn't fit in the building and there wasn't enough room to walk by to the restroom. This was false but the show was cancelled anyway. APW showed up and created problems with the promoter because he didn't use his "boys" and then wrote a terrible article (one man point of view) on the internet about the show. The show was good. Not as many people as expected but this was because of the undermining of these two other promotions. Bruce Collins was a little discouraged, but I told him that we were all behind him and would help him do another show and make it a success. We'll get him a ring so that he doesn't have to rent from his competition as they will screw him over every time.
This is the pettiness that I speak of in independent promoters. These small groups feel that they own the wrestlers that work for them and want them under contract to not work for others. For what? $20 a show? And some don't even get paid. That's sad. Independent means just that. Independent. To work as an individual anywhere you want. I think the independent promoter has lost touch with what that means. At least in this end of the U.S. I draw from about 40 wrestlers here and use them when they're available. If I know someone else who can use them, I call them and let them make their own deal. They want to work and I would not deprive them of that. I coordinate many TV shows and commericals where wrestlers are needed. I call them in and get them as much money as possible. I take NO commission from them. It's their gig and I just offer it to them. This is the way it should be.
If independent promotions could pull together, we could run territories like the old days and everyone could work. Wouldn't that be great? I'd love to be able to work a few nights every week and have fun like the old days without someone getting upset that you worked for someone else. Hopefully the bad will be weeded out and the strong survive. APW and BTW got a bad rap in "Beyond the Mat" and this exposed what kind of cutthroats they are. Either they will take a good look at themselves and straighten out or go under. I know that there are many good promoters across the country and I'm sure that they will stay on top. This was just aimed at those who aren't and I'm sure we all know who they are. I will continue to run successful shows in my area and try to do the right thing by everyone. Treat everyone with respect and as professionals in hopes that the rest will follow.
Ric Drasin started training clients in the mid-60's when he ran a chain of health clubs. Ric has trained with Arnold Schwarzenegger, becoming Arnold's training partner from 1970 - 1974. Ric later trained with Lou Ferrigno and acted in "The Incredible Hulk" TV series as the "Demi Hulk" -- the middle transformation of the Hulk character on the show.
Drasin, currently an actor and personal trainer, created the bald bodybuilder logo for Gold's Gyms. He also runs the AWF indy promotion and wrestling school in Los Angeles, CA. His web site, Ric Drasin's BIG BOY Page features articles on wresting, training and fitness, and his own line of BIG BOYS clothing and other merchandise.
The program opens with...the opening credits for a change. Nitro is live from Little Rock, AR and we go right to the ring for the first match of the evening.
"Screamin'" Norman Smiley vs. Jimmy Hart - Smiley wears a football uniform to the ring complete with knee and shoulder pads. Not to be outdone - Hart wears a suit of armor! He also brings a dumpster cart loaded with plunder. Norman hits him with a trash can lid immediately and his armor doesn't seem to help him much. Smiley wins the initial encounter then turns to do the wiggle. He then runs right into a face full of powder and Hart is on the attack. His armor certainly helps his forearm shots but he has very little mobility. Knobbs runs out and hits Smiley on the back with a chair - but that doesn;t have any affect - so he brains him. Hart covers, but fails as Smiley kicks out. Now they're out on the floor and Knobbs is chasing Norman around the ring ith a chair in his hand. He runs into Hart and knocks him down. Knobbs stops to help Hart up then goes back after Smiley. He sets up a table which Smiley then uses by setting Hart on it and splashing him. Smiley gets the pin...and punked...he's living up to his new nickname as Knobbs piles Hart into the dumpster and hauls him away.
Curt Hennig talks to Mike Tenay. He is scheduled to meet Goldberg tonight - his career is on the line...as usual...if he is pinned, he is out. Switch to another part of the building where Kimberly accosts the recently returned Terry Taylor. Switch to another place where Hall and Nash are arriving and heading for the ring. Nash is made up to resemble Sid Vacuous.
Spice talks to Tenay - she was supposed to have a match with AC Jazz tonight but the latter is a no show. I have heard she quit the company rather than participate in a mud wrestling match. Tigress runs in and attacks Spice - so I guess we will have a cat fight at the PPV.
Hall and "Sid" Nash enter the ring. Hall starts the rant telling Sid that the Outsiders have a message for him. Nash grabs away the mic and goes into his Sid impression - punctuated by screaming "I am the ruler of the world!!!" His entire rant is based around the idea that Sid is a lower form of intelligence. Sid shows up and does his own Sid impression. His is almost as good as Nash's... He actually says, "You are half the man that I am...and I have half the brain that you do..." huh? He challenges Nash to a match despite the fact that he is already scheduled to wrestle someone else. Nash says he's still retired - no thanks. Backstage, Booker T is with Tenay. He faces Creative Control in a handicap match. He says something cryptic about "Midnight is going to strike..." - must be the name of his lady friend. Kimberly is accosting the Harris Twins now. She wants to see The Powers That Be.
Kimberly is accosting TPTB - saying she doesn't want to be a wrestler. The disembodied voice tells her , "if you don't want to shake your bootie as a Nitro Grrrrl, you can wrestle like everyone else". He assigns her to a match against Aysha tonight. She leaves and Nash walks in and sits down. Backstage, as Booker T is trying to make his entrance, Chavo is trying to sell him AMWAY.
Booker T vs. Creative Control - handicap match - Booker makes mincemeat out of the first Harris boy while Tony is telling us that Nash has gotten his retirement waived! He will face Sid in a Street Fight later. In the ring, the Twins have a little offense but Booker is still getting the best of them until the fight goes to the floor. Back inside he gets a double drop-kick and is back in control again. He hits a missle drop-kick and almost gets a pin but the second twin breaks that up. They then double team him and take the pin. As they are putting the boots to him...the lights go out. When they come back up, "Midnight" is in the ring and punching away. Together they clear the ring. In the back, Hart and Knobbs are arguing but stop their fight to break up one starting up between Jerry Flynn and the Barbarian. Flynn tells Barbarian, "I'll meet you in the black..." Goldberg arrives in the back.
"TPTB" is harranging the Harris Twins - reminding them of their past failed characters. He oders them to go find Torrie and the luchadores and bring them in.
Evan Karragous vs. Johnny Boone - Boone attacks Karragous as he enters the ring. The fight is just a high-speed slug fest for the first little while. Medusa joins the broadcast team, claiming that she and Karragous are an item. In the ring, the match is going on in a rather clumsy fashion. Medusa walks into the ring and mesmerizes her man's opponent. She pulls his shirt over his face then throws him down so Karragous can cover him.
"TPTB" has the luchadores assembled. Juvey is late - it's his birthday. He has a pinata. They are assiged to a "Pinata" match - a free-for-all with sticks - with the pinata hung on a pole at the corner of the ring. Oh yeah...there will be a check for $10,000 in the pinata. In the back, Dr. Death Steve Williams and a "Good Old JR" clone arrive...
The Twins are looking for Torrie...
Psychosis vs. El dandy vs. Silver King. vs. Villano V vs. Juventud Guerrera - Pinata on a pole match - "Good Old JR" joins the broadcast team and starts repeating all of JR's cliches. Dr. Death stands by. Tony claims JR's been "calling for years" to try and get his job back. In the ring, Juvey is devestatating the comptition and tears up the pinata. But Williams runs in, looking in magnificent shape, by the way, and snatches the check away after running everybody over. Goldberg talks to Tenay, saying he respects Curt Hennig but he is there to "do his job". He promises to show the world "the real Bill Golderg" tonight.
Tenay talks to Kevin Nash who says he's going to "kick Sid's teeth out from the inside" - brrrrrr....
Goldberg vs. Curt Hennig - the match starts in the hallway as Golderg is making his entrance and continues into the backstage area. Hennig holds his own as they fight their way toward the arena. They fight their way right to the ring but stay out on the floor. Finally, Goldberg rolls Hennig inside then is caught coming in. Hennig goes to work on Goldbergs left leg and does so quite effectively. He applies a standing figure four variation and almost gets a pin but then leans to far down and gets punched in the mouth. I have never seen Goldberg sell like this. He rather suddenly comes roaring back and defeats Hennig with a leg bar submission. Thus not pinning Hennig's shoulders to the mat. He delivers a spear and a jackhammer after the call.
In the back, Kimberly is on the phone with her husband. The lights go out and she thnks David Flair is back - but the man with the flashlight is just Jim Duggan - apparently still playing the janitor role. The Harris Twins find the Filthy Animals who are reluctant to lead them to Torrie until their livelyhoods are threatened.
Vampiro & the Misfits vs. Berlyn/The Wall - the latter is der bodyguard - Berlyn and Vamp start the match but Berlyn doesn't like being bested so he tags in his monster friend. Der Wall takes care of the Misfits all at one time then faces Vamp, who goes to town on both of the Germans. But his attention is distracted by the crowd and Berlyn gets in a back kick. Der Wall goes for a pin - but Berlyn wants to do the honors. They argue for a moment then the big guy relents - too late - Vamp is up again and bests Berlyn yet again. Berlyn and his man get into it again and Vamp attacks from behind. Der Wall chokeslams Vampiro and gets the pin - then Berlyn whips Vamp with the chain he brought to the ring. A preview of what he hopes to do to Vamp at the PPV.
In the back, the Harris Twins have found Torrie - and Goldberg is still hanging about.
"TPTB" assigns Torrie to be a special referee for the Kimberly/Aysha match. Her costume will be the briefest of referee striped bikinis.
Rick Steiner vs. Sid Vacuous - TV Title match - the fight goes immediately to the floor where the two proceed to pound on each other. They fight right into the crowd. Steiner takes control and delivers a chair shot, which Sid no sells and comes roaring back. The brawl to the edge of the platform and then fight around that area for a while. Sid gets a powerbomb and sends Steiner crashing through the break-away floor of the platform - then we cut to commercial.
Steiner is being strapped to a stretcher as we return. We are treated to three replays of the powerbomb. Steiner is hauled away after the replays, rolled to a waiting ambulance and loaded inside, getting jostled pretty good before he is in. Tenay interviews Sid who does his impression of Nash doing Sid... Meanwhile, Nash is taping up for his match. Jerry Flynn meets the Barbarian somewhere in the basement and they go at it - hardcore martial arts style. The Barbarian definitely has the advantage in this one until Flynn grabs a sleeper, Barbarian backs him into a roll-up door and breaks free but Flynn comes back with a massive martial arts attack and knocks his opponent out. I guess he won...
Chris Benoit says he intends to become the World Champ - he faces Scott Hall tonight.
Aysha vs. Kimberly - Torrie Wilson is the special referee - they've got to be kidding right? Torrie and Kimberly together couldn't take on this amazon. Torrie gets a variation on the Stripper theme for her entrance. Aysha ytakes umbrage at Torrie's outfit and threatens to tear her top off, then attacks the referee. The Filthy Animals appear ringside and escort Torrie away. Kimberly takes advantage of the distraction to slap a sleeper on Aysha - but she is shrugged off. She attacks again - but here comes David Flair compete with referee's stripes and a crowbar. Kimberly splits but Aysha is not intimidated. She attacks and bests David for a moment then he fights back and gets a suplex on her. Shane Douglas runs in as David retrieves his crowbar and whacks Shane on the cast. He splits as the Revolution runs in. Somewhere else in the building a messenger delivers a bouquet of flowers to Sting with a note from Lex Luger. Sting refuses the flowers with a quip about Luger's "feminine side" then tells the messeger to tell Luger he's dog meat. Luger and Liz are watching this on a monitor. Lex demands that Liz "do something..."
Kimberly is running out the back as David comes into camera range and watches her go. He says, "Just wait six days..."
Scott Hall (w/Kevin Nash) vs. Chris Benoit (w/Bret Hart) - World Title Tournament quarter final match - Bret Hart joins Benoit on his way to the ring to even the odds. We are down to eight men in the tournament now. They will all have their 3rd round matches tonight. Hall dominates the early going with an arm wringer but Benoit roars right back and throws him off with an armdrag. Hall wants a test of strength - the height advantage being his of course. He takes a cheap shot which Benoit counters with a drop-kick. Hall bails out to consult with his partner. There is some byplay with Nash and Hart both on the apron then Benoit starts chopping Hall in the corner. The Wolverine is hitting on all eight and dominates the next several exchanges until Nash jumps on the apron and clocks him. Hall whips his opponent piller-to-post and rushes in with a clothesline. Tony can't believe how good this program is...(actually, its not bad so far...) Hall almost gets a pin after his trademark whip fallaway slam. benoit makes his comeback and has Hall on the run all of a sudden. Hall falls out of the ring and is on the receiving end of a baseball slide. Hart runs around and he and Benoit punk Nash. Meanwhile, Sid runs in and powerbombs Hall. Benoit rolls back inside - neither he nor the referee saw what happened to Hall. He lays in his diving headbutt and gets the pin. Benoit advances to the semi-finals. In the back, Goldberg is still hanging out.
Buff Bagwell assures Tenay that he is Buff and he is the stuff...
Kidman (w/Torrie and the Filthy Animals) vs. Bret Hart - World Title Tournament quarter final match - Rey Rey joins the broadcast team - this match has great potential - Hart dominates the early going with his classic attack, grounding his opponent with an assault on his legs. He goes for the Sharpshooter early on but Kidman blocks it - so Bret catapaults his opponent over the top to the floor. Eddie G shouts encouragement at his compatriot. Back inside, Kidman finally gets some offense with a springboard clothesline. Hall and Nash comes to ringside and accost Torrie. Guerrero and Konnan attack them but the Outsiders easily fight them off. In the ring, Hart gets the Sharpshooter and takes the pin. He is leaving as a melee erupts in the ring. Hart advances. Hart is still my pick to win this tournament.
Luger and Liz are in the canteen getting brownies. Tenay talks to Jeff Jarrett who is still claiming to be "the chosen one".
Buff Bagwell vs. Jeff Jarrett - World Title Tournament quarter final match - Bagwell is the darkhorse candidate, of course - being on TPTB's sh*t list and all. Jarrett marches to the ring and drags Bagwell out to the floor. They exchange some blows and then take it into the ring. About this time Creative Control shows up, in hopes of assuring the proper outcome no doubt. They try their best and screw it up, of course - but Jarrett manages to pull out a win anyway, after one of the Twins gets clocked with the guitar. Buff is getting punked when Dustin Rhodes runs in and saves his cookies. Back in the locker room, Nash is pacing like a caged cat while Goldberg continues to hang out, headbutting the Surge machine to get a drink, and Luger is spiking the brownies (and I have a feeling that's not marijuana...)
Tenay interview the Revolution about their "House of Pain" match tonight. Douglas does all the talking...of course he doesn't have to compete...
Jim Duggan waylays the messenger with the brownies and promises to deliver them to Sting. He doesn't...
Filthy Animals vs. Revolution - House of Pain match - the HofP is a pretty ordinary cage. The special thing about this match is that to win, one team has to shackle the other to the cage wall. Saturn and Malenko face Eddie G and Konnan. The Revolution manages to get Eddie inside the cage and keep Konnan out. They shackle one leg and both arms of Guerrero before Konnan gets to the inside. They subdue Konnan and finish cuffing Guerrero then do the same to Konnan. Douglas and Aysha then enter the ring and take out the referee. Misterio runs in but get caught by Aysha. Rey gets shackled to the roof of the cage and hung by his bad leg. This brings security personnel in to break up the punk job. Eddie G has to carry Rey to the back.
The Total Package (w/Liz) vs. Sting - World Title Tournament quarter final match - Luger comes out looking confident, then is amazed when the Stinger makes his entrance. As soon as Sting enters the ring. Luger starts complaining about his "knee injury". Sting attacks the leg then puts the boots to his opponent in the corner. He drags Luger to the center and works on the leg some more. Stings hits two clotheslines and Luger bails out. Sting follows him to the floor and attacks the leg again. He runs his head into the broadcast table then rolls him back inside. Luger goes for an atomic drop but Sting blocks it. Luger attacks the eyes to turn the tables. He gets some shots in but then Sting blocks him in the corner and comes roaring back. He gets the Stinger splash, and gets it again - Luger falls on his face. Sting grabs the Scorpion, Luger grabs the referee and trips him. Liz runs in and maces Sting. Luger gets the Torture Rack - but the referee is down. Meng runs in and puts the goozle on Luger. Liz tries her mace on Meng but it doesn't affect him. Meng drags Sting over and covers Luger with him as the referee recovers and makes the count. Sting advances. In the back, Jim Duggan has a bowel attack and leaves a disgusting present for TPTB.
Sid Vacuous vs. Kevin Nash - Anything Goes Street Fight - they collide in the aisle and the brawl is on. Nash takes the immediate initiative with his slight height and leverage advantage. The tumble over the rail then back to ringside where Sid assumes control for a moment until Nash lays in a low blow. Back in the ring it is all Nash - lifting knees in the corner. He backs off and measures Sid then drives in a back elbow. He repeates with a clothesline then knocks Sid to the floor. The fight is on the outside again and Sid makes a comeback He stands on the broadcast and drops an axe handle. Nash comes right back with another knee lift. Sid runs him into the apron then takes him back inside and slams him. he gets a two count. He grabs a camel clutch then slams his butt into Nash's back. He drops a leg on Nash's midsection. He still can't get a pinfall. He continues his assault but then Hall runs in and attacks. There are no rules, so it doesn't matter. He and Nash attack in double team until Goldberg runs out and spears both of them simultaneously. For some reason this causes the referee to end the match. The Outsides split while Goldberg and Sid fight it out. Sid gets the upper hand until Bret Hart runs in and chases him off.
That's it folks...
RAW is live from the Civic Arena in Pittsburgh, PA.
DX makes their way to the ring to start the program. HHH thinks he got screwed of course and calls Vinnie Mac out to account for himself. Vince appears on the platform and calmly observes that HHH "seems upset". He then impies that he intends to see them all in jail. He shows the footage of Austin's run-in with HHH last night followed by the automobile incident. He accuses them of being responsible and then introduces some detectives from Detroit and some local police. The cops go to the ring and demand that HHH come along with them.
Members of the Pittsburgh Steelers are at ringside as we return from the break.
Mankind vs. Val Venis - this one has been building since Venis stuffed Mr. Socko in his pants weeks ago. Foley, of course has been helping Venis and Al Snow get over by fighting against one and with the other. Val doesn't get the chance to do his usual opening double entendre as Foley attacks him. JR reminds us that Mankind had his classic Hell in the Cell match against the Undertaker in this arena. Foley dominates the opening until he rushes into two upraised boots in the corner. Venis takes control for several exchanges, then they get into a slugfest in the corner. This is Foley's territory and he turns the tables then pulls Socko out. But Val cuts him short. Eventually Foley does get the claw and puts Venis down.
In the back, the cops are questioning DX, who aren't being too cooperative. HHH tries to put the cops onto Vince.
Luna presents the happy couple with an early wedding present - a stuffed squirrel?
The Godfather (w/5 Garden Tools) vs. Kurt Angle - Angle showed himself to be headed for heelsville during his debut match last night at the PPV. GF wants to trade his girls for Angle's Gold Medals. Angle is a champion amateur wrestler and starts his match in that style. He bails and grabs a mic to berate the crowd for cheering the Godfather. He re-enters the ring and bulls GF into the corner. GF calmly punches him in the forehead then clotheslines him a couple of times. Angle keeps trying to wrestle his opponent but GF is just too big to handle that way. Godfather is about to polish off his opponent when a "protester" appears ringside with a sign that reads "WWF is Immoral" on one side and "World Wide Filth" on the other. This is obviously the "Earl @ Solie's" character :-) GF grabs the sign and rips it up. Thus distracted, he is subjected to a big belly to back suplex and pinned. In the back the police are knocking on Vince's door.
The cops are questioning Vince now. They are pointing out Vince's past altercations with Austin and asking him about his associates.
The Millenium Bug appears on the platform looking somewhat dejected and heads for the ring. I wonder if he's started with the hormone treatments yet?
Chris Jericho vs. Gangrel (w/Luna) - the latter is a real life husband/wife team - but the promotion is acting like they have just become an item. Before the match can get underway, Chyna and Miss Kitty appear on the platform. She's brought bolt cutters to perform sex-change surgery. Kitty (in a nurse's get-up) suggests that small scissors would be more appropriate. They make jokes about feminine care products and distract him so that Gangrel can get the drop on him. Y2J fights him off but the ladies head toward the ring, distracting him again. He returns to the fight but they keep taunting him and eventually Gangrel succeeds in pinning him.
The new Champ wants to fight the Boss Man tonight but Vince politely turns him down. That's the closest we get to that awful angle. Vince breaks in on DX and thanks them for sicing the investigators on him - then assigns matches all around - Road Dog vs. Al Snow, Billy Gunn vs. Test, HHH vs. Kane.
The cops are questioning the Stooges now. Patterson lets it out that Austin once held McMahon hostage. The Acolytes are playing cards when a security man tells them some troublemakers are looking for them. The want to meet these guys. In the parking lot, four guys are waiting for them - they get their butts kicked - the four guys I mean...
As we come back from the break, Earl Hebner sends the Acolytes to a dressing room where the same four guys are waiting for them again. They get trounced again.
The Big Show comes to the ring as Ross tells that lie about his father dying last week.
The Big Show vs. The British Bulldog (w/the Mean Street Posse) - WWF Title match - Davy Boy hits the big guy seven times then gets booted in the face, elbow dropped and chokeslammed. That's all folks. He then chokeslams each of the Posse in succession.
Mike Cole interviews the Rock who is in rare form. He accepts the Boss Man's challenge for a #1 contender's match - Hardcore rules. The cops walk up and ask Maivia know if he is aware that it was his car that hit Steve Austin? Maivia says sure - it was stolen. The Rock demolishes them verbally and tells them what to do with their donuts...
The cops interview the King - who fingers Jim Ross...
The Road Dogg vs. Al Snow - Snow runs out and pounds the Dogg into the corner then tosses him to the floor. He tries to hit him with a chair but hits the post instead. The Dogg runs him into the stairs then tries to use the rail but Snow reverses to move then uses a chair as a springboard to splash him. back in the ring the match goes into see-saw mode. Snow gets a moonsault but fails to get the pin. RD comes back with a Russian leg sweep but also fails to get the three count. Snow is setting up for the Snow Plow but the Dogg blocks it and executes the pump handle slam to get the pin. Mankind comes to the ring to cheer Al up. He leads the crowd in singing "For He's a Jolly Good Fellow." It does the trick. That and a trip to Las Vegas... We see the car incident once more before the break.
Kane gets punked by X-Pac and HHH in a hallway. IN another hallway, Chris Jericho leads a camera int a darkened room where he has Chyna taped to a chair. He harrasses her about beating him last night. He has a big hammer in his hands and demands that she tell everyone that he is the better athlete. She defies him so he whacks her right thumb several times.
Test vs. Billy Gunn - the former is wrestling with a legit broken nose - he ran into the bottom rope on his way into the ring the other night. In the back, Chyna is being treated - her thumb is bleeding and all black. Test falls on his opponent as soon as he hits the ring and is all over him. The fight goes to the floor and Billy is rammed into the broadcast table. He then swings him into the post on the fly. He returns to the ring and waits for his nemesis. Billy catches him on his way in then attacks the broken nose to turn the tables. Test comes back with a gut wrench powerbomb but then collapses from the pain in his face. He comes back again with a sidewalk slam then goes for his pump handle but Billy blocks it. Test gets another sidewalk slam but only a two count. Billy goes for the fama$$er but Test blocks it. Moments later he rolls up Billy and gets the pin. Billy hits his finisher then and drops Test right on his nose.
Arnold Schwartzenegger is interviewd about his appearance on SmackDown the other night.
HHH vs. Kane - Vince comes down to join the broadcast team for this match - HHH makes his entrance then runs up to meet Kane on the platform. The fight starts up there then they battle back down to the ring. Kane takes the advantage once inside. HHH comes back with two neck breakers then pounds on his opponent. Moents later Kane recovers and the match goes into see-saw mode. HHH tries to launch himself off the top but Kane catches him there and upsets his plan. Kane then climbs to the top himself and hits a flying lariet. The fight goes back out to the floor where Kane is run into the stairs. HHH pauses to pie-face the chairman. He returns to the ring with Vince on his heels. Vince is decked, Kane is DQ'd for outside interference but still gets to chokeslam his opponent. Kane is upset at Vince for spoiling the match but leaves anyway. In the back, the Boss Man is gathering weapons for his match with the Rock.
The Big Boss Man vs. The Rock - WWF Title contender's match - the fight starts on the floor - which is alright because this is being fought under Hardcore rules (an oxymoron if ever tere was one). Maivia gets a rope around the Boss Man's throat and starts choking his opponent. Boss Man escapes and breaks a broom handle over the Rock's back then hits him with a heavy chain. Maivia comes back, runs Boss man onto the table and crotches him with a piece of the broom handle - then grabs a photographer's camera and takes some pictures. Moments later he drops the steps on Boss Man then pounds on the stairs. He grabs a belt and whips his opponent then takes him up the ramp and puts on the Rock Bottom. Prince Albert runs in and changes the odds. They drag him back into the ring where PA accidently brains his partner with a chair. Maivia gets PA with a chair thenlays the elbow on Boss Man. He goes for the pin but PA attempts to drop an elbow of his own. Maivia rolls away and PA elbows the Boss Man. The Rock ejects PA but is distracted so that the Boss Man can get a sidewalk slam and the pin. After the call, Maivia attacks Boss Man with his own night stick then takes PA out and whacks him with a TV monitor. He goes back inside and uses the chain on the Boss Man. A referee who wanders to close is Rock Bottomed. Tom Prichard gets the same treatment then Maivia uses the chain on Boss Man and PA yet again. Both are bleeding as Sgt. Slaughter tries to intervene and gfets chained as well. He has a chair and is weilding it as we fade to black...
Thursday night I was switching back and forth between TNT's showing of BATTLE OF THE BULGE and Smackdown only because Mr. AS (not to be confused with the other Mr. A-s-s) was going to be on and since PREDATOR is still one of my favorite flicks, I thought I'd watch him plug his new film. Give Mr. AS credit for one thing; putting himself between HHH and the camera so you couldn't see all those punches that weren't landing was a savy move. But I cringed when he embraced McMahon and praised him for building an "empire". I hope he didn't trip over the wreckage of any regional promotions on the way out.
Now I know this is a sticky subject here, but I really have to say a couple things about the funeral skit. You know, I'll be honest. When I saw BS jump on that casket and then slide off, I laughed. But not because it was funny in the "bad taste" sense. I laughed because I finally saw how totally absurd wrestling has become. I laughed at two grown men making fools out of themselves. I laughed at the knowledge that this program is run by adults. I laughed at all those sign-waving people in the audience for spending money supporting crap like this. And I laughed at the irony of still liking wrestling but no longer having any sense of respect for it. I read some time ago that "Every generation gets the culture it deserves". And now I realize that the people who like the current state of the WWF and the increasingly similar WCW and contribute to their financial success by buying tickets, pay-per-views, and merchandise are getting EXACTLY the wrestling program they want.
And I realize that the people who don't like the current state of the WWF and the increasingly similar WCW and yet still contribute to their financial success by buying tickets, pay-per-views, and merchandise are getting EXACTLY the wrestling program they deserve.
Terry Taylor has said that the cancer angle is his and since the fans know it's fake, no one should be offended. Well, there's another good laugh for you. With that logic you can put anything on a wrestling program and shirk any responsibility for offending people by pointing out that it isn't real, as though that's issue? Let's talk turkey here. This is the entertainment business and these things are done to get strong emotional reactions from people, are they not? Otherwise, why do them? For technical reasons? Come on now. Just what am I supposed to believe; that the Taylors, McMahons, Russos, etc. don't have any idea of the emotions, feelings, and sensibilites they're playing with in their audiences and they don't anticipate people's reactions when planning things? Do they really think you can take an obviously emotional subject like cancer or a funeral and when people are offended say "Don't take it seriously" and then expect people to just shut off bad feelings and turn on good ones? The WWF knew perfectly well they would offend some people while at the same time amusing that young male target audience they love with a healthy dose of "bad taste". The WWF probably figured the people who would be put-off weren't the big spenders and thus they wouldn't lose any significant revenue down the line, while at the same time they hoped to get whatever publicity they could and pick up a few young turks with bulging wallets. This was all done for the simple reason of making money, in part, so that someday Vince McMahon can pay his medical bill for some illness that won't be turned into an angle because that would be in bad taste.
But bad taste isn't the really offensive thing about the WWF. It's not the skits or the language but what one detects between them; and that's a genuine lack of respect for the people who make up the audience.
Oh, they'll talk about how smart the fans are and how they "Get it", but that's just good public relations stroking. If you really "get it", then you'll realize that they don't know who you are; they don't care who you are; and if you aren't putting cash into their coffers, you ain't worth jackshit to them. Your name is a number with no value to them unless there's a dollar sign in front of it.
This should be all apparent by now, but as I like to say, there's nothing as elusive as the obvious.
Chasman is the nom de plume of a regular correspondent to the Solie's Mailroom.
That's it for tonight. I'll be back on Saturday with the weekend edition. 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.
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