RichInKC: It's pretty obvious that the WWF has gone for more of a, shall we say, adult-oriented form of programming. Do you think this will be effective for them?
Harley Race: I think that it will eventually be their downfall. You can't put, well, filth on and keep a crowd. You will keep a select group, and the novelty of doing it will get you a big crowd. The overall thing is wrestling didn't start out to be pornographic and I don't think it ever should be. When you start spelling wrestling with an R rating or something else you are getting away from what it is all about.
RichInKC: The past year has shown much greater involvement in the management of the federations in wrestling. We have seen both Eric Bischoff and Vince McMahon showing up in the ring lately. Do you have any thoughts on that? Do you think it is a good thing or a bad thing?
Harley Race: Well, I guess either one of them have the power to do what they want to do, so it is kind of hard to say they can't do it. Whether I like it or not, they don't give a damn. Again, it's just feeding egos.
RichInKC: Is ego a big part of the business?
Harley Race: Well, certainly it is.
RichInKC: I would think a big ego is needed for anyone to have the nerve to get on national television in shorts every week. Most shy people aren't going to do that for a living.
Harley Race: (Laughs) I've gone on television two-thirds naked for thirty nine years.
RichInKC: Speaking of your thirty-nine year career, if there is any one part of your career that you could change or do different, what would it be? Any regrets?
Harley Race: I'm sure if I sat here and thought of it, there is. Anyone can find something in their lives they would do a little bit different. The only thing that I would do different is some of the stuff I did outside the ring, like getting involved in the promotion of wrestling at the point in time I did, when McMahon was making his worldwide march and then Turner followed him.
RichInKC: Do you think the emergence of the Turner and McMahon efforts have hurt the sport as a whole or is it good to have these two big federations on top?
Harley Race: To be right blunt with you, I think it is the world's worst detriment. Back in the '70s, there were 29 different groups in the United States and Canada. The guys, the young guys coming up in the business, had an opportunity to go to different places and really groom and hone their style of wrestling. Now there are just two super bodies and a few outlaw groups, and the outlaw groups aren't eating too well. Therefore, no real young good wrestlers are coming out.
RichInKC: I think one of the outlaw groups that stands out, whose wrestlers might be eating well, is ECW out of Philadelphia. Have you had any contact with that federation or had the chance to see any of their work?
Harley Race: I was at one of their matches when they were honoring a kid who passed away. They are doing pretty good, but where do they go from there? If and when they get someone who is real good one of the big groups is going to snatch them away from them and they have to start all over again.
RichInKC: What do you think is the one quality necessary to be a superstar today? Is there any one thing you see in a wrestler today that makes you say, "He's going to make it big."
Harley Race: Well right now, being huge to start with and being a good looking young kid is probably the best chance of getting into the big money. It used to be your ability far beyond your looks dictated how far you got.
RichInKC: Do you think now that talent and ability means a lot less in the business than having the right look or having the best interview?
Harley Race: I'd say that having the look and the interview is as important as having the ability. Maybe a little more so.
RichInKC: Do you think that is why some of the younger wrestlers, your Dean Malenkos and Chris Benoits of the world are not getting their opportunity in the spotlight?
Harley Race: Well, the Chris Benoits and the Dean Malenkos have their little day in the sun when they go to places like Japan and different parts of the world, but here in the United States they will always be middle of the road because of their size.
RichInKC: Japan has always seemed to have different criteria for success in wrestling. The Japanese style seems to stress more in-ring ability.
Harley Race: That's what I was saying about Chris Benoit and Dean Malenko. If a large body had that kind of ability, there would be no stopping him.
RichInKC: Do you think there is something inherent in someone of greater size that keeps them from pulling off the moves of a Benoit or Malenko, or do they feel that, because they are big, they don't have to?
Harley Race: Well, I never was a giant, but I never was small. I weighed 240 pounds from the time I was fourteen years old and I had the ability to do whatever I wanted to do. I don't know if you saw me in my heyday or not, but there wasn't a lot I couldn't do.
RichInKC: What do you think Harley Race's legacy will be to this sport?
Harley Race: I broke a record that stood for thirty years when I beat Thesz's title reign and when I walked into the ring, I gave the fans a hundred percent of my ability all the time. Without those fans, it doesn't matter who you are or what you are.
RichInKC: Thanks for your time, Harley. It has been a pleasure talking with you.
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Nitro (live from Ohio State University in Columbus, Ohio) opened with a great Cruiserweight match between Kidman and Psychosis. The announcers were coy about the World Title change, although they did tell us right away that Kevin Nash is the new Commissioner and that Kidman had substituted for Jarrett in the Triple Threat Theater series of matches. They touted Kidman as "one of the top stars in WCW" because of his matches last night. If he's such a big star, why was he in he opening contest?
At the conclusion of that first match we found out why the announcers were reticent concerning the World Title change. Arn Anderson came on and made a recorded statement regarding his officiating, saying that he made a mistake because Sid's leg was underneath the rope when he tapped out. The Title has been vacated again!!!
Editor's Note: I have since heard from reliable sources that Benoit was given the title to placate him after he asked for his release along with several other wrestlers (Eddie Guerrero, Dean Malenko, Saturn and Shane Douglas were among those named in this report). These defections are said to have to do with the allegation that Vince Russo has either been let go or simply stripped of his authority in favor of Kevin Sullivan and Mike Graham. When some of the the other defectors were asked to leave the building Monday night, my source says that Benoit insisted that if they were leaving, then he would want to leave as well. Apparently the decision to strip Benoit of the title was made just before Nitro went on the air. I am not sure how much of this I believe. For one thing, it is a fact that Sid's foot was under the rope when he tapped out on Sunday night, that seems like an awfully convenient coincidence (assuming it wasn't set-up that way to give WCW an out). Of course, there has been no official comment from WCW except to say that Benoit was "slated" to win the title as soon as it became official that Bret Hart wouldn't be able to compete. This whole situation seems to be up in the air at the moment and therefore I am going to refrain from commenting on it further until I have more facts. Meanwhile, back to the show...
Kevin Nash was seen living it up in his new position and office. This became a running theme throughout the show. Among the things discussed while the nWo lolled around the office included getting rid of the "Old Age Outlaws".
The New Harlem Heat cut their first promo on Monday's program. Stevie Ray and Big T (Tony Norris aka Ahmed Johnson) during which Stevie made a sham offer to allow his brother to be part of the team. Booker T showed up with Midnight, but Stevie called her a name and told Booker to send her to the back. Booker entered the ring and listened to his brother rant for about 5 seconds before attacking Big T. Thus began the second match on the program, between Booker and Big T. After dominating things for a minute or so, Big T found himself put down with authority. Stevie had to lay one in with his "slapjack" to turn the tables.
Disco Inferno came to the ring accompanied by Tony Marinero's Boyz to face Vampiro and made a pretty good showing despite having his cronies sent away from the ring after they interfered the first time. In fact, he might have done better if they hadn't returned and tossed him back into the ring before he had a chance to recover from being thrown to the floor.
The Lamestreet Boyz "treated" us to another of their stupid performances. Thank God for the Tag Team Champs coming out and breaking that up! This led to a Tag Team Title match which was pretty good, thanks to the fact that David Flair spent most of the contest out on the floor rescuing his girlfriend from the obsequious Evan Karagias. Flair then provided the impetus for the win by pulling down the top rope just in time to send one of the fake singers tumbling to the floor. The Tag Champs retained their titles.
The Maestro and Symphony were back on Nitro. Unfortunately, Maestro drew the excreable Tank Abbot as his opponent for the evening. The only thing good about this was it lasted less then 5 seconds and Abbot wasn't allowed to say anything. After his rather abruupt victory, Abbot (where is Costello when we need him..?) was confronted first by Norman Smiley, then by Meng. The cameras cut away before we got a chance to see what might come of that.
Commissioner Nash addressed the crowd at the end of the first hour. They bought the entire locker room out and put them in the ring to witness his rant, delivered from the platform. Nash entered to "Hail to the Chief". Somebody tell him he's the Commissioner, not the President. He started by comparing Knobbs, Tank Abbot and Norman Smiley to the Scarecrow, the Tinman and the Cowardly Lion respectively. His first official act was to give Jeff Jarrett the US Title back! Next he ordered manditory rectal exams before each match! Then he integrated the locker rooms (all competitors no matter what rank are to be in the same locker room) and declared that he is to be known as "Lord Master". He went through some more comic rules then set up a rematch between Buff Bagwell and Diamond Dallas page with Kimberley as the referee.
Team 2000 made their debut against the Varsity Club. This was Masahiro Chono and Super J (aka nWo Sting, formerly Cobra). There was some byplay before the match as Chono confronted Mike Rotundo, who used to be part of the Japanese division of the nWo along with Chono and "Stink". The match itself was pretty brutal, if not particularly interesting. Most of the highlights featured the personal contest between Steiner and Chono, old enemies from the New Japan promotion. Chono pinned Rotundo in the end, which didn't sit well with the Varsity Club. No sign of Kevin Sullivan, by the way. Too busy booking the show I suppose...
Sid faced the Wall in a match that was going nowhere, so Nash decided to send Disco and the Eye-talian Boyz to the ring take him out. Fat chance! Sid stood openmouthed in astonishment as these morons attacked him and were powerbombed - Disco wisely hung back and escaped unharmed.
Scott Steiner is back with his faintly obscene rants. The less said the better. He ended his segment by getting into a fight with what was purported to be a fan at ringside and bloodied the guy's nose.
Flexy Lexy made an appearance without his Sting get-up for a change. Tenay hinted that Luger has become a bit intimidated by Sting's non-appearances over the last few weeks. He faced Bam Bam Bigalow, a result of Luger's unprovoked attack on Bigalow on Thunder last week. Bigalow dominated the action and seemed about to put on the "Greetings from Asbury Park" when Chris Kanyon got involved and distracted the big guy. Luger intercepted Kanyon's champagne bottle and used it to win the match.
The main event was the aforementioned DDP/Bagwell grudge re-match with Kimberley officiating in a sexy referee's outfit. The match went almost immediately to the floor and out into the crowd. She chose not to follow them over he rail, so without an official this battle took on the clothing of a Hardcore match-up. As the match returns to the ring, the perception grows that Kimberley seems singerly unconcerned about her husband's welfare and yet she also stands back and lets Page deliver illegal blows without comment. The announcers speculate that perhaps she enjoys having these two men fighting over her. There is a series of see-saw pinfall attempts and her counts are uniformly slow. The moment of truth possibly comes when Bagwell gets the blockbuster and Kimberley is accidently knocked down. He abandons his attack to help her up and is distracted into a Diamond Cutter. She coumts him out but then leaves the ring before her husband can get back to his feet. The program ends on that note.
Monday night on RAW (live from the New Haven Coliseum in New Haven, Connecticutt) Mick Foley opened the show. His rant reminded HHH that it was he himself who unleashed Cactus Jack by tormenting Mankind so unmercifully over recent weeks. Foley ended his speech by challenging Helmsley to a fight right here and right now. HHH made his entrance and savored the "A$$hole!" chants for a moment before commencing his rant. He attempted to play Foley's naturally sweet nature off against the sadistic character of Cactus Jack - but Foley turned that aside and renewed his challenge for an immediate match. HHH appeared to agree but then summoned his troups to give him a hand. They rolled Jack into the ring and started in on him but then the Rock showed up and ran right into the ring. This brought the Big Show out right on his heels. The Show dragged Maivia out and punked him but then entered the ring and lent Foley and hand. The Acolytes then also ran down and joined the frey. This was too much for HHH and so he split.
The Big Boss Man defended his Hardcore Title against Test in a fight that headed right into the backstage area almost immediately. Test's nose started to bleed right off the bat but it didn't slow the former roadie down as the fight went into a restroom and back out again. Boss Man then caught his opponent under a roll-up door and almost got a pinfall. Boss Man then brought a trash can into play as they headed back towards the ring. Prince Albert chose to get involved but Test ejected him from the ring then dropped a nightstick reinforced elbow to take the pin and the Title.
I can't say that I'm pleased to see D'Lo Brown steadily taking on his own version of the Godfather's character lately. This week the two of them took on Edge and Christian in a fast-paced match that saw a lot of give and take. Christian ended up getting pinned after accidently knocking one of the Garden Tools. Edge left the apron to check on the lady and failed to be available when his brother needed the tag.
Kurt Angle was informed tonight that he would have to face an unnamed opponent at the Royal Rumble and also tonight. For tonight he got his hot and cold friend/enemy, Steve Blackman. The match was as unmemorable as only the "personalityless" Blackman can make it. I'm not even sure if that's a word but it certainly describes the "Lethal Weapon". In fact the most interesting thing happened right at the end when the British Bulldog suddenly appeared for the first time in weeks and interfered on the behalf of Angle, giving him the win.
Jerry Lawler announced the "Miss Royal Rumble Swimsuit Competition" pitting Miss Kitty, Terri, BB, Luna, Jacqueline and Ivory - who was opposed to the idea but was "pursueded" by the others to take part. Mae Young appeared and stated that it was time for the fans to see her "puppies". Thank God, Mark Henry, Harvey Wippleman and Moolah arrived to bundl her up and haul her away (whew!)
HHH and X-Pac took on the Acolytes in an attempt to "soften them up" before their Title challenge on Sunday. The only problem was, as Lawler put it, "How do you soften up the Acolytes?" X-Pac actually fared better against Faarooq then HHH did against Bradshaw, in fact HHH was put out for a while up on the ramp which caused his "little buddy" to be somewhat punked for several moments as Waltman tried to take on both Acolytes on his own. Naturally they brought their friends down to help before it went too far. I seriously doubt this little excercise will have made any difference at all by the time we get to Sunday.
The Psycho-Bitch Tori saga continued with Prince Albert as this week's victim. The Boss Man almost certainly maneuvered him into busting down her dressing room door on purpose during their backstage brawl. This led to a match against Kane (surprise, surprise...) towards the end of the show in which the Big Red Machine handed his opponent his head in typical fashion while the Boss man watched in delight on a backstage monitor. A chokeslam finished the job.
At the mid-point of the show we attended a press conference from San Antonio, Texas, to report on the results of Steve Austin's neck surgery which was successful. He was apparently up and walking after the surgery and the surgeon is optimistic for his recovery and eventual return to the ring, but we really won't know for a few months yet.
The Rock continued to get under the Big Show's skin with his nose-in-the-air, self-absorbed rants, insisting that Paul Wight is using him (Maivia) to make himself famous. Cactus Jack tried in vain to play the part of of peace maker between them.
Jeff Hardey took on Bubba Ray Dudley in a weight class mis-match, for which he tried to make up in speed and enthusiasm. In no time it became a quasi tag team match as Jeff and Devon started a brawl on the floor. Inside the ring, Jeff won it with a Senton Bomb but was then immediately set upon by both Dudleys. Matt entered the ring and was also punked. Jeff was set up on a table and had Matt powerbombed onto him! The table was destroyed, and so were the Hardeys.
Chris Jericho defended the IC Title against Rakishi Phatu due to his own ill-advised challenge. Rakishi dominated the contest but Jericho is nothing if not lucky. He managesd to accidently knock the referee out so that the Holly's could come in and help him out (Steroid Bob doesn't want to face Rakishi at the PPV) and then Chyna came out as well, providing further distraction. In the end, Jericho simply walked away as the match was thrown out for outside interference. Rakishi allowed Too Cool to talk him into sicking around for his usual dance party after the ring was cleared.
The main event was, of course, The Rock and the Big Show in their uneasy alliance against the New Age Outlaws. Uneasy was actually somewhat mild, considering that the two challengers started fighting among themselves as soon as Maivia hit the ring. The Show then abandoned his partner by stepping off the apron and observing the action from the floor. Meanwhile, the Rock proceeded to take on both DX'ers in convincing fashion but could hardly be expected to stay in the driver's seat against a well coordinated team. The first time Maivia was tossed out on his side of th ring, Wight headbutted him and rolled him back inside. Moments later he dragged the Rock back out to the floor, knocked him down, then entered the ring to tske on both Tag Champs. maivia followed him back in with a chair and settled his hash (as well as parting his hair). Billy took the pin on the big guy then Maivias returned and dropped his elbow on his erstwhile partner before the program faded.
On Thunder (live from Evanville, Indiana) Tony Marinero's Boyz challenged for the Tag Team Titles tonight and won them! David Flair started out a barking at Big Vito and got flattened for his trouble. From there on out it was pretty much downhill for the Tag Champs as they were thoroughly out powered and mostly outclassed by the challengers. Johnny the Bull, rookie that he is, appears to improve every time we see him. Devon...er...Crowbar tried to make a contest out of it but it was pretty obvious that the titles were due to change. In the end it was an accidental shot from David with his crowbar that spelled their doom.
Hacksaw Duggan and Curt Hennig had a little dustup after the first break. Hard to tell what the fight was about or whether if this is actually going to go anywhere.
Screamin' Norman got to do something I've been wanting to do for weeks when he came out and flattened the Lamestreet Boyz in the midst of their nauseating performance. He then proceeded to challenge "anybody" to face him in the ring. Naturally he got "Talentless" Tank Abbott who took Smiley out with one punch. Good thing for Norman he didn't put his title up.
Kevin Nash (aka the Commish) spent the evening trying to find out what was going on concerning the disposition of the World Title. He was refused entrance to the Championship Committee meeting, thus proving that his power is not limitless.
Chavo, Jr., Psychosis and Lash LeRoux vied for a Cruiserweight Title shot in a Three Way Dance. During the match, the two veterans tended to dominate the relative rookie(LeRoux)in this one. They also seemed more willing to cooperate against him until it came time for one of them to take the pin, then the other was always there to break it up. In the end it was Psychosis, who happened to have Juventud Guerrera to lend a hand, who took the pin over LeRoux.
Kidman, complete with overinflated hype from the announcers, took on TAFKAPI (The Artist formerly known...yatta...yatta...) in an uninteresting match which went to a new level when Torrie Wilson made a surprise appearance showing some spectacular cleavage. Her presence distracted Kidman causing him to lose control of the battle. Moments later she rectified the situation by jerking the Prince off the apron, thus giving her boyfriend the win, and a sloppy kiss.
Terry Taylor led a delegation of uniformed security personnel to the ring to announce the disposition of the World Title after Chris Benoit was stripped on Nitro. He says there will be a World Title match next Monday night at Nitro. Kevin Nash will be allowed to choose a candidate to take on Sid Vicious. This decision brought the Commissioner to the platform to announce his choice after giving a piece of his mind to Taylor and the Committee for what he considers the usurping of his power. But first he demands that Sid face Jeff Jarrett for the privelage of getting a title shot. Then he names himself as the second competitor on Monday night. He then went back to his office and booked a ludicrous tag team match featuring Booker T and Big T as a team.
Berlyn (who we haven't seen in some time) made his return to WCW in a match against his former bodyguard, the Wall and showed that he is the far superior wrestler for all of the big guy's power. During this match, Tony came out with the information that Nash has declared that if Sid loses his match with Jarrett, the Commissioner will win the World Title by default. Meanwhile back in the ring, the Wall managed to eke out a win but only after Berlyn had taken him to the limit.
Oklahoma came out and tooted his own horn for several moments before surprising us all by relinquishing the title! This didn't sit well with former Champ Madusa who came out to the aisle and denounced him. He seemed to accept her challenge to a match but then suddenly a considerably slimmed down (since the last time we saw her) Sensational Sherri ran out and attacked her. They took the fight into the ring and Nick Patrick obligingly came out to referee. After a short battle, Madusa took the pin.
Another surprise was that Jerry Flynn was even willing to show his face on TV after losing so ignomously to Tank Abbott on Sunday night. He took on Fit Finley and made a good showing as Buzzkill chose that moment to make one of his silly appearances. Flynn has good size and skills, but needs to develop a personality. The match took place as much out of the ring as in. Brian Knobbs made an appearance carrying a kendo stick which he then declined to use. He roughed Flynn up, but Flynn then made a comeback against Finley. Knobbs attemtpt to assist his mentor ended in disaster when he accidently hit Finley with the cane.
Diamond Dallas Page took on "Hollywood" Chris Kanyon in another installment of the Triad vs. Triad feud with Mrs. Page at his side. Actually, she came out on her own at first - but it was just to distract Kanyon so that Page could blindside him. The match was a pretty even contest with Kanyon innovating offense all over the place once he regained his composure, but we all know who the star is between these two. Despite J Bigg's attack with a Haliburton case, it was only a matter of time before the Diamond Cutter ended it all.
For a crazy main event, big Sid and Lex Luger were thrown into a tag team match against bitter enemies Booker and Big T. Adding to the confusion was the fact that Big T and Luger were seen to be conferring and coming to some kind of agreement just before the last commercial break. During the match it was hard to keep up with things because Nash came out to the platform and the camera kept lingering on him. Big T eventually showed his true colors when he whacked Booker with Stevie's slap jack.m Sid was distracted by this and fell victim to Luger's torture rack as the program faded.
On SmackDown, in their backstage office, HHH started out the program by giving the New Age Outlaws the night off. He also mentioned that Cactus Jack is not in the arena tonight due to a family illness. SmackDown came to us from the Civic Center in Providence, RI. The Big show made an appearance after the opening montage wearing a cold weather jacket and stocking cap. Maybe they forgot to set the thermostat... He went right into an apology to the crowd for not being the Rock. He's pissed off because the crowd isn't behind him since he decided he doesn't like the Rock. Except that he says the reason they don't like him is because they're jealous of his size and strength. He then launched into a tirade about how he is going to win the Royale Rumble and get his WWF Title back, at the conclusion of which he demands that the Rock come to the ring an a most ungentlemanly fashion. Maivia appeared on the platform and cut the big guy down (verbally, of course) as only the Rock can then slowly walks down to the ring, laying the smack down all the way. Now Kane and Tori showed up and Tori made a little speech of her own saying that she expects her man Kane to win the Rumble, then they headed for the ring. Next, HHH and Stephanie appeared on the platform and he made a speech (these people tried to talk us all to death before the show even gets started!) He reminded them all that the whole idea of entering the Rumble is to win a World Title shot, which means they will have to fight him in the end (conveniently forgetting that he has to get past Cactus Jack. He then set up a Triple Threat, over-the-top-rope Lumberjack match. The lumberjacks to be the other 27 Royal Rumble entrants.The Rock protested as the Big Show left the ring snuck up behind him. Rocky was knocked down but then Kane headed TBS off while Maivia armed himself with a chair.
While NAO got the night off, X-Pac was given Test for his opponent with the stip that the winner of this match would get the #30 position in the Royal Rumble. X-Pac was overpowered from the get-go but he has the experience and guile advantage, and usually that is enough. Especially if you have two friends to run in and provide distraction...which X-Pac did...
Steve Blackman and Al Snow squared off against the British Bulldog and Kurt Angle in a forgettable match. I think Snow and Blackman won...yeah, that's it...
Matt Hardey faced Devon Dudley with each guy's partner at ringside. This one was a little better then the last but was also short. The fight went to the outside early on and the referee through the match out. Actually the brawl afterward was better then the match itself as Bubba Ray set up a couple of tables next to the stage. Matt was about to get powerbombed onto the tables but Matt reappeared with a chair and thwatrted them. Bubba took the plunge himself then Devon was set on the remaining table and jumped on.
In what had to be the dumbest gimmick match of the night we got Too Cool and Rakishi (nothing wrong with that) against Chyna, Chris Jericho and...Hardcore Holly..? This one was mercifully short and ended in DQ's all around after whick Rakishi dropped his consdierable bulk onto Chyna's ample chest.
In a continuing gag, the New Age Outlaws spent their evening off at the same bar where the Acolytes had their brawl a few weeks ago (between card games, of course). They ended up having a run-in with the same guys the Acolytes beat up. Meanwhile, the Acolytes themselves were watching all of this on a monitor, and decided to pay a vist to the bar. During a later segment the Outlaws didn't look comfortable at all when the Acolytes showed up. They looked even less comfortable after they go their clocks cleaned.
The Big Boss Man and Prince Albert continued they're feud. I figure they deserve each other... PA has improved recently, I have to admit, and he certainly is big enough to be a credible challenger to anyone. This one also ended in DQ although that didn't really dampen the fight at all as it spilled out into the crowd before we cut away to sell something.
They've added a #13 to the Tazz symbol these days. I suppose longtime ECW fans know what that means, but I don't...
Crash Holly was outweighed (despite his super-heavyweight status) greatly by Viscera in another fairly short match. At one point he came close to getting a pin by doing an impression of Little Spike Dudley's Acid Drop. That was basically the end of his effective offense as Vis polished him off moments later.
Edge revived his old feud with Gangrel for the evening and even revisited his character with the moronic grin for the occasion. At one point he threw a splash over the top rope that looked like it had to have hurt him more than his opponent. During his entrance the announcers revealed that Edhe will be one of the judges in the swimsuit copetition this weekend...so naturally Luna interrupted the match to importune him regarding her own chances in the contest, which brought the rest of the contestants out as well. Another match bites the dust...
The Triple Threat, over-the-top-rope, Lumberjack (gees - what a mouthfull!) started shortly after the turn of the final half hour of the show. From the opening bell, the Rock and the Big Show were at each others' throats, but Kane was not to be left out and insinuated himself into the fight as well. At least in this Three-Way dance we didn't have the usual situation where the third man would constantly prevent any pin from happening. The Rock was the first one eliminated, tossed over the top one handed by TBS. He started to leave but then ran back to get in one more lick before he split. TBS was thus distracted and easy pickings for the Big Red Machine, who took the win. At this point the lumberjacks decided to get involved inside the ring and we were treated to a mini Royal Rumble for about 3 seconds and until we went to commercial.
After the break we got a slightly longer look at the melee before HHH and his lady friend made their final appearance of the evening. He made a speech abbout last year's RR, which featured a Mankind/Rock match back in the days when they were adversaries. This was the one where Foley ended up handcuffed and brainbusted by multiple chair shots (obviously before the Rock n' Sock Connection). He warned Jack not to let his children watch the match either in person or on TV and went on to threaten him with various forms of bodily harm. Suddenly, Foley's music plays. Cactus Jack is in the house. He counters that he is not worried about what his children will see HHH do to him, but rather what he plans to do to HHH. He doesn't want them to know how violent their father can be. He promises some surprises for HHH, including "sharp metallic objects". He then initiates a ringside brawl so his kids, and the rest of us, can get a little taste of what is going to happen on Sunday. HHH manages to get the upperhand after a moment and tries to set Foley up for a pedegree on top of the broadcast table, but Foley turns the tables with a low blow and delivers a piledriver then a chair shot that leaves HHH broken and bleeding.
ECW on TNN was back in their home stomping grounds, the ECW Arena in Philadelphia, PA this week and Joel Gertner managed to tone down his opening remarks this week, but that still wasn't good enough for Cyrus and the TNN "Office". The latter showed up and told Gertner that he is just trying to make him be the best that he can be (maybe he should join the Army...) He was roundly booed and treated to an "A$$hole!" chant from the crowd. He warned Gertner that he will kick his butt if he doesn't shape up, then turned his back to leave. Gertner tried to attack him but Joey Styles tackled him and held him back as Cyrus left the ring.
After the opening montage, the Impact Players appeared and tooted their own horns for a bit, then declare that they will not defend their new Tag Team Titles tonight despite the promotion's order to do so. This brings Danny Doring and Roadkill to the ring to protest (because they were supposed to be the challengers). Lance Storm proposed that they fight the former Champs, Raven and Dreamer instead. Raven and Dreamer ran in and we cut to commercial.
The match was underway as we returned and the former Champs are fully in charge. There seemingly never was any real contest here. At one point the fight was going on out on the floor when Electra decided to get a better view by entering the ring. Francine folloed her in and was about to attack when Dawn Marie ran in and clocked her with a pipe or something. Raven picked her up and walked out of the arena leaving Dreamer to face the challenge on his own. As Dreamer was about to win anyway, Rhino, Steve Corino and Jack Victory ran in and punked him. Doring then got the pin. The Impact Players then added their two cents and split. Corino and company returned then Dusty Rhodes showed up and cleaned house until Rhino tackled him. Then Sandman made an appearance and whacked Rhino a copuple of times with his kendo stick.
We got a little snippet of the next match before cutting to commercial - Super Crazy vs. Tajiri - now there's a fight I'd like to see all of...
Crazy took a drop kick right into his face as we returned. This was a Mexican Death match - whatever that means. Whatever it is, it was an incredibly violent match with Super Crazy wearing the crimson mask early on. We were eventually informed that this match was no DQ - there must be a winner by pinfall or submission. The match took place all over the building and certainly produced the most blood of any ECW match we've seen so for on TNN. Most of the heavy violence happened during the first few minutes and then the two compatitors settled into a more conventional, if insanely high flying, match. Then Crazy set up two tables in the ring only to have Tajiri sneak up behind him with the turnbuckle wrench and use it on him. Then he sprayed the green mist in Crazy's face, but it was not enough. Crazy turned around and powerbombed his opponent through one of the tables then took the pin.
Mike Awesome and the Judge were in the ring as we returned from the final commercial. He loudly declared his superiority to all other wrestlers ("I'm the whole f'ing show!) to the delight and approbation of the rapid crowd. This brought Rob Van Dam to the ring to assert his own claim to that moniker. Awesome promptly challenges RVD to try and take his World Title. Van Dam accepted and the match was about to start when the lights went out, then came back up to reveal Sabu in the ring. The crowd chanted "Three Way Dance! Three Way Dance!" until Awesome challenged both of them. Suddenly from behind, Sabu laid out Van Dam with a chair then threw it on the mat so that Awesome could powerbomb the TV champ onto it. The two of them (Awesome and Sabu) then proceeded to punk Van Dam and Bill Alfonso. Spike Dudley ran in so they punked him as well. And that's the way it ended.
I'll be back on Sunday with the Royal Rumble Report and my thought on the current turmoil in WCW. 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