By Ric Drasin 'The Equalizer'
Everytime I step foot out the door, I am approached by someone who say's, "you're a Wrestler aren't you"? Kid's run up for autographs as do Adults and the older generation for their kids. It's fun and I enjoy giving them out. But to get to that point in Wrestling took many years of hard work, hard training and a numerous amount of pain.
Let's turn back a few pages when I began. I was 21 and had been competing in Bodybuilding for a few years and winning a few local titles including Mr. California.
Yeah I was a good looking sun tanned guy with blonde curly hair and an abundance of girls calling me. My Dad in the early years would take me to Wrestling Matches every Thursday night without fail. I was intrigued by it. I wondered if maybe someday I'd enjoy doing that also. Well as I was training on a Thursday at the local YMCA, a few of the Wrestlers came to town to workout before their match. We started talking in the weight room about the business and I told them that I'd be interested in getting into it.
They told me to come on down to the Olympic Auditorium in Los Angeles and talk to the booking office as someone there could possibly train me. I was living in Bakersfield about 108 miles away from there but decided to make the trip and find out.
I went in on a Monday morning and into the auditorium where 14000 seats were vacant and you could smell the cleaning solution of the workers mopping the aisles. What a pungent odor! I went upstairs and walked into the office and there sat 4 men behind a desk, 3 of them top wrestlers who were making up schedules for that week. I kind of stuttered and told them that I was inquiring about becoming a wrestler. They asked a few questions and told me to take off my shirt to see if I had a body that could handle it. Well, I blew them away as I was very muscular and most wrestlers then were fat old men. They took me into another room where as small ring was set up and introduced me to Women's World Champ. Johnnie Mae Young. I'd see her wrestle. She was a tough old gal who could really kick ass. We talked and she took me into the ring and showed me some stuff. I ended up with mat burns and pretty sore.
She asked, so, "do you want to come back tomorrow for more"? I agreed. She said that she felt that she could make some money with me because of my looks and would proceed to train me for the next 6 months 5 days a week.
I drove back and forth every day for the 5 days a week and then came back and trained in the gym with weights. It was hard. She had 6 other guys that trained with us and two girls. Most of them dropped out. I stuck with it as I knew that I could handle the abuse. She taught me every style possible, including Mexican style which means you work to the right side instead of the left. Women had to work harder than men in order to prove themselves and get over with the crowd. So I had to learn to work women's style also which is tons of holds and a lot of bumps!!
That was ok, as it made me a better wrestler. She booked me on my first match with Buddy Killer Austin. I'd seen this guy work too, and scared the hell out of me. He was a huge blonde guy with a big stomach (hard as a rock) huge hands and a Killer face! He came into the training room and locked up with me to show me a few things. He locked up so hard that I saw stars. I thought, this is it, I'm gonna die!
Anyway we started our match that Wed night for TV and worked about 5 min in the ring and he beat me with a 'pile driver'. It was a real experience and I loved it. It was the most fun that I'd ever had and couldn't wait till the next match. He was great to work with and showed me a lot. From that point, I started working 5 nights a week with different wrestlers every night. They booked me with World Champions to just everyday wrestlers. Each had their own style and I learned from all of them.
I took a lot of ribbing at first as I was the only one that was a Bodybuilder and there was some jealously. But they got over it when I proved myself to them.
From there I worked all over the US in different territories. Canada, the South, Montreal, Hawaii, Alaska, Minnesota,etc. The south was different as the 'red necks' gave me a hard time being from LA or 'Hollywood' as they said.. They wanted to stretch me out in the ring, but after a week of giving it back to them, they accepted me and everything was cool.
Now 34 years later, I'm still wrestling at 55 and training people for wrestling. I've done numerous TV commercials and films where a Wrestler was needed. I paid my dues over the years and have wrestled for as low as $15.00 as most wrestlers know, it's a labor of love. Pay scales have gone up and down over the 34 years. Some guys work for free just to be seen.
I have my own Federation, AWF, American Wrestling Federation and run shows as fund raisers for schools. This gives new guys a chance to work and learn the business before they decide to move on to WWF or WCW.
Now getting into that Federation is another story. I worked for WWF, WCW, AWA, NWA, CCW, etc over the years and this is when they had territories which means that they ran local cities every night. Now it's major cities all over the place 300 days a year. Things have changed immensely. You can't work small towns through them now. Not enough money for them. However there are literally hundreds of wrestlers not working because of this. It put the small promotions out of business for a while. Now that it's so popular, smaller groups are forming and running shows and doing well.
To be continued...
Ric Drasin started training clients in the mid-60's when he ran a chain of health clubs. He also taught classes in fitness, bodybuilding and diet at the YMCA. 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 on the show.
Drasin, currently an actor and personal trainer, created the bald bodybuilder logo for Gold's Gyms. 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.
On Monday Nitro (live from Wilkes-Barre, PA)we learn that Kevin Nash would not be around (I hear he has injured his ankle by slipping on some ice) but he had appointed Jeff Jarrett to act as Commissioner in his absence. Mark Madden was introduced as substituting for Bobby Heenan, who was under the weather. Madden immediately established himself as the heel member of the broadcast team by declaring his allegence to the nWo. Jarrett and company went directly to the ring to start the show with a rant. Big Poppa Pump showed off his female companions (one of whom is the former Nitro Grrrl Fyre) and then inducted the Harris Twins into the nWo - uh oh - the jobbers are starting to water the band down... Jarrett then appointed himself as Sid's next title contender at SuperBrawl. In the meantime, he set up a 6 man tag match pitting himself and the Harris Boyz against Sid and two mystery partners which he (Jarrett) intended to name later in the evening and announced that he would be taking bribes in the nWo office to set up desired matches for the wrestlers. In the back, Sid was shown just arriving and then a limo pulled up in the parking lot and Ric Flair emerged.
After the break, AA and Terry Funk were shown plotting against the understrength nWo. They didn't seem to be completely in accord.
Lash LeRoux faced Evan Karagias in a Cruiserweight Title tournament match which was undelayed by the requisite performance by the Lamestreet Boyz as LeRoux decided to cut it short. Karagias showed a lot of aggression, apparently angered by LeRoux's unceremonious interruption - but it, and numerous attempts to interefere on the part of his partners were of no avail as LeRoux defeated the former Champion fairly easily to advanced in the tournament.
The Tag Champs had a rematch against the former Champions in a Bensonhurst Street Fight which got started when the Mamalukes attacked David Flair and Crowbar in the middle of a backstage interview. From there they brawled out into the snow and then back to the ring where the champs took firm control of the action. Again Standards & Practices leggy companion Miss Hancock came out to monitor the match. As things progressed the former Champions reassumed command of the battle and Disco Inferno was forced to interfere, which was perfectly legal in a street fight. His actions handed the victory to the Champions.
In the back, Knobbs bribed Jarrett to set Fit Finley up in a match against Lex Luger. Apparently he thought that would take care of Finley - somehow I doubted it.
Booker T started to make his entrance when his music was abruptly stopped. To explain the problem, Mr. Biggs appeared in the entryway with the New Harlem Heat and told him that he can't use the music anymore because it belongs to Harlem Heat, Inc. and then told him that he can't even use the "T" part of his name! Big T then got on the mic and offered to settle the use of the name "T" in a match tonight but Biggs sent his two charges away. He started in insulting Booker again but Midnight appeared behind him and dragged him to the ring where Booker assaulted him. Harlem Heat ran down and broke that up. Meanwhile, in the back, Three Count attacked Norman Smiley in retaliation for his attack on them last Thursday and Jarrett was busy betraying Knobbs by assigning Finley as the referee for a match between Luger and Knobbs! Thus he kept his word to Knobbs by putting Finley in the ring with Luger.
Kidman came down with Torrie for his rematch from Souled Out against the Wall. Early on it appeared that he was not likely to fair much better than he did in the first match but midway through it he made a spectacular comeback then Torrie distracted the referee while Vampiro ran out and flattened the Wall so Kidman could pin him. Meanwhile, Norman Smiley contrived to hide from Three Count inside the Demon's empty casket - but then the casket started closing on him of it's own accord. Smiley started to scream as we cut to commercial.
Ric Flair made his entrance just before the start of the second hour (fancy that...) and got a standing ovation. He was cocky and assured as only the Nature Boy (and maybe, the Rock) can be, declaring himself "the Man" in WCW and the personification of wrestling and stating that "Space Mountain may be the oldest ride in the park...but its still got the longest line!" He reveals that he was offered the job of Commissioner before Terry Funk and he turned it down. Then he addressed the former Commissioner saying that, contrary to Funks assertions, he is not back to lend a hand to Funk. He told Funk to come the the ring, which brought the man out to the platform to make a speech accusing Flair of being jealous of Funk because of something Mick Foley wrote in his book (Foley referred to Flair saying that all of him didn't amount to a pimple on the butt of Terry Funk). Funk went on to tell Flair he needs to discipline his son David then concluded by inviting Flair to leave. Flair came back with some insults of his own and then Funk went to the ring and nose-to-nose with the Nature Boy. A fight broke out but security showed up immediately to break it up. In the back, Jarrett decided that Sid's two partners would be Funk and Flair!
Brian Knobbs had his unexpected non-title match against Lex Luger (with Fit Finley as the special referee) around the mid-point of the second hour and started out very strong with a vicious assault right out of the chute which included a "pit stop" for the Total Package. Tony hinted during this match that we might see Sting before the evening was over. As it began to look like Luger was going to lose the match, Liz got involved by clocking Knobbs with her baseball bat! Finley ignored the outside interference and walked away!! Luger continued to assault Knobbs until a band of referees came out to break it up. In the back, Norman Smiley emerged from the Demon's coffin as...the Demon!
We came back from the break to find the Demon reporting the theft of his gear to the police. Out front, Three Count is trying again to go into their act but this time they are interupted by the Screamin' Demon, who had a match with one of the Boyz (Shane Helms). Screamin's new outfit didn't really help him much but he really didn't need it against this somewhat talented rookie. During this match Tony announced that Hulk Hogan had decided to make an appearance on Thunder this week to counter some of the things that Luger has been saying about him. After Smiley won the match, the Demon and his police squad showed up and chased him through the crowd. By the way, I heard from my old friend Charlie Harvell that behind that Kiss makeup is none other then Dale (MPV) Torberg. I gotta say this is a better gimmick then his last one where he painted his face to look like a red baseball! In the back, Disco Inferno managed to get himself attacked by Diamond Dallas Page for supposedly touching a part of Kimberley's anatomy.
After the break the fight between Page and Disco continued through the crowd and to the ring where a match ensued. As good a wrestler as Disco clearly is, he is no match for Page in a fight. Plus he showboats to much to be really effective throughout the battle. Page won it with a Diamond Cutter.
The main event was the afore mentioned 6 man battle with Jarrett and the Harris Twins pitted against Sid, Funk and Flair. You could tell who the real star of the show was on the latter team by the order they made their entrances in. In fact, Sid and Funk were in the ring and the fight was already underway and still Flair hadn't made his entrance. The nWo split their duties, Jarrett taking on Funk while the Twins doubleteamed Sid. The fight spilled out to and continued in the aisle for quite a some time before returning to the ring and still no sign of Flair. As the fight progressed the advantage slipped inevitably over to the three man team. But then as Sid finally gets back into the ring after Funk had been isolated for several minutes, Flair suddenly ran out, still in his street clothes...and attacked Funk! He was hustled away by security. This left Sid to face defeat on his own after Jarrett whacked him with his guitar.
Monday night RAW (live from Pittsburgh, PA) opened with an appearance by the New Age Outlaws who put their titles on the line against Al Snow and Steve Blackman. I think I've figured out that all thise silly suggestions for team names and gimmicks that Snow hasd been making are really Vince's ideas, he has been restraining his impulse to make up ridiculaous characters and just can't stand it anymore...:-) As the challengers make their entrance, Dean Malenko, Chris Benoit, Eddie Guerrero and Perry Saturn showed up and took ringside seats! JR tried to convince us that they aren't signed by the WWF...right... The match in the ring was not nearly as interesting to the announcers, or the cameras, or the rest of us, as the visitors in their ringside seats. About five minutes into the match they jumped the rail and punked the Outlaws.
After the break, Foley consulted with the interlopers (who turn out to be there as his guests) and promised them they were going to have fun all night long.
The Big Show appeared with his his hair cut short and produced one of the security guys to back up his claim that he really won the Royal Rumble. HHH demanded video taped proof.
Edge and Christian came to the ring. The latter faced Devon Dudley to avenge his friend Terri. Edge's mouth is all messed up so he couldn't compete Monday. The Dudleys tried to use distraction tactics to do Christian in but it backfired as Edge used the distraction to kick Devon in the face and getting him pinned. Afterward the Dudleys did a number on their antagonists which the Hardeys ran in and broke up. The Dudleys ended up punked.
Backstage the interlopers were congratulating Edge and Christian (apparently on their loss...) when the Mean Street Posse interrupted and got themselved flattened.
Too Cool faced "Too Big" in a handicap match. Meaning the Big Show took them both on and ended their dance for a while. Between the two of them they could just barely get him off his feet and only managed to do it once. He finished them off with a chokeslam and a powerbomb respectively. After the match, the Rock got on the TitanTron and taunted him unmercifully then turned his attention on Kurt Angle, with whom he had a match after the next commercial.
Kurt Angle's match with the Rock went immediately to the floor where he paused to address his hometown crowd while the Rock was down momentarily. Big mistake. Maivia interrupted his rant and threw him back into the ring. After some furious see-saw action, dominated by the Rock, Angle tried to leave but was stopped and returned to the ring by Tazz. Back inside, the Rock delivered the Peoples' Elbow and definitely ended Kurt Angles undefeated streak.
Backstage, the interlopers (who have been dubbed the Radicals by the announcers) were welcomed by the Godfather and the Godfather II.
X-Pac challenged Chris Jericho in a non-title match with his new companion Torrie at his side. They had a very fast-paced match which almost ended after Chyna interfered on behalf of the IC Champ - but Torrie then hit Jericho with the Title belt thus giving her boyfriend the victory.
The Acolytes set them selves up in business as a Protection Agency - their first clients were the Mean Street Posse. Then the Dudleys asked to sign up as well.
The Kat defended her Womens' Title in a Snowbunny Lumberjill match in a pool full of snow against a new-comer challenger who appeared to be a man in disguise - calling her/himself Hermina. Miss Kitty dressed in a bra and panties while her challenger, showing much more sense, wore a ski outfit and won the match (with some assistance from one of the Lumberjills - Jaqueline). "She" turned out to be Harvey Wippleman (do I detect a parody on Medusa holding the WCW Cruiserweight title, which was a parody on Chyna holding the IC Title..?)
In the back, Mick Foley and his guests were getting ready to pay a call on the happy couple. After the break, Foley offered his guests as a package deal. HHH and Stephanie questioned their worth based on their past performance then promised to think about it.
The Hollys (back together as a team again) took on Viscera in a handicap match. As expected, he destroyed them, but not until after a hell of a fight which they won through chicanery. After the match they aired a commercial that ABC refused to put on during the SuperBowl on Sunday. Bunch of old folks in a retirement home. I'm sure the thing that got them banned was right at the end when a bed pan flew across the room and crashed into the wall with a splash of what was supposed to be urine...eh...
During a replay of some highlights from Steve Austin's Half-Time Heat interview, the former WWF Champion stated that he would be back in 3 to 4 months and revealed that he and Debra have become engaged.
Matt hardey faced Bubba Ray Dudley in a grudge match based on the attack perpetrated on Terri last week. Of course all four wrestlers were at the ring area so it might as well have been a tag match...and then the Acolytes showed up to earn their fee from the Dudleys for protection services. Matt got himself disqualified by using a chair on Bubba then the Dudleys and their hired guns went to work on the Hardeys. Edge and Christian ran down to lend a hand to their friends but they were punked as well. The Acolytes helped Bubba stack three tables (one on top of two side-by-side)then held Matt on the top table while the Dudleys (rechristened the "Damn Dudleys" by good ole' JR) sent Jeff flying onto him, breaking all three tables. Backstage, HHH and Steph informed the four ex-WCW'rs that they weren't ready to join the WWF and then ordered them to leave the building. Foley turned to the happy couple and told them they had made a big mistake as we cut to commercial.
In the main event, HHH faced a challenge from Kane for his WWF Title. This was a grudge match for the Big Red Machine who likely didn't care whether or not he sctually won the strap. In fact, Kane's music started up and there was no sign of the big guy. After the music faded HHH got on the mic and taunted his challenger then gave him a ten count to get to the ring. Cactus Jack then appeared on the platform and, after some verbal byplay, stalked to the ring and attacked the Champion. They brawled in and out of the ring then HHH escaped and backed up the aisle only to be attacked from behind by Malenko, Saturn, Guerrero and Benoit who proceeded to return him to the ring and punk him.
On Thunder Jeff Jarrett led the nWo to the ring at the top of the program for an opening rant or two. I guess Kevin Nash is still home nursing his injured ankle. Acting Commissioner Jarrett decided to set Sid up with some Triple Threat Theater matches - a submission match against Mike Rotundo, a Hardcore match against Rick Steiner and then a cage handicap match against the Harris Boyz. After his rant, the announcers tell us that Hulk Hogan would be on the show and that Ric Flair will meet Terry Funk at SuperBrawl.
Norman Smiley came out in his Demon outfit again to face...the Demon, who mostly just wanted to get Smiley out of his gear. He beat Smiley from piller to post and then tapped out when his opponent reversed him into the Norman Conquest (a sort of cobra clutch). In the back, Lenny and Lodi discussed how they were going to go about getting themselves back on the show.
For his first match of the evening, Sid faced Mike (the has-been) Rotundo in what was billed as a submission match. This was to showcase the crossface move that Sid lifted from Chris Benoit on his way out the door. Rotundo is a fine submission wrestler but does anyone really think there was ever any question about who would win this one? Actually, the whole thrust of this Triple Threat Theater seems to be to give the "victim" a chance to show his resilliance so it would appear almost certain that Sid would win the first two match - with a question being only on the third. No real shame in losing a handicap match against two guys who are each as large as he is.
The Lamestreet Boyz mercifully decided not to sing tonight (THANK GOD!!!). The match was between the two lesser members of Three Count (Shane Helm and Shannon Moore...or maybe its Shannon Helms and Shane Moore...whatever...) in a Cruiserweight Title Tournament match. It's like watching the Hardey Boyz in a match against each other...under water. I can't tell them apart so the announcers had to tell me that it was Moore who won. They then went into their number but, thankfully, the camera took us back to see Madusa lobbying for a match on the show with Double J (I mean, she was trying to get him to give her a match with another woman wrestler, of course). In the parking lot, the limo we've been watching since the show began finally opened to disgorge Hulk Hogan.
Hulk Hogan appeared following the next break and was interviewed in the ring by Mean Gene. He was dressed in his red and yellow (as opposed to yellow and red) outfit with a WCW logo on it. Right away they revealed that Hogan would be facing Lex Luger at SuperBrawl. Surprise, surprise... As he went into his rant, Hogan seemed to be a bit behind the times, talking about the writers and the problems they have been causing...huh? Luger and Liz decided to show up during Hogans speech. Luger lit right into Sting but got momentarily drowned out by a Hogan chant - so he started over, calling Hogan a coward to his face. Before Hogan could reply a "Sting-like" character appeared in the entryway and then Hogan attacked Luger. Liz tried to hit Hogan with her baseball bat but he blocked it then put a rather puny looking atomic drop on her then he chased them out of the ring.
In the back, Jarrett was negotiating with Oklahoma to put him in charge of the Womens' Division.
IN a Three Way Dance, Kidman faced Vampiro, faced the Wall. The two smaller guys ganged up on the Wall to start, then as soon as the lattrer was out of the ring, Vampiro went right after Kidman. Moments later Torrie obligingly distracted the referee so that Kidman could bring a chair into the ring. But even two chair shots really didn't really faze the big guy. He tossed Kidman to the floor then took Vampiro up and delivered a chokeslam from the top corner. 'Nuff said...
The newly renamed 2 Excess (Lenny and Lodi - now calling themselves Lane and Idol) demanded a title shot from the Sicillian Boyz - they said no...
Sid went up against Rick Steiner in his second match, Hardcore style. Neither man brought any plunder to the ring but the match did go immediately to the floor and over the railing into the crowd. Steiner then suplexed Sid back over the railing to collapse the broadcast table. The fight then headed up the aisle and into the entryway area where some faceless person reached out from behind the curtain and whacked first Steiner and then Sid with a bat! Sid fell on Steiner and the latter was counted out. I think that might have been Jarrett with the bat but it was hard to tell.
Hogan got into his limo and split after the next break.
Diamond Dallas Page took on took on the huge newcomer called the Machine. The guy wears a mask so I couldn't tell who he was. For all of his size - about 6'7" - maybe 300 lbs - he didnt seem to be much of a wrestler. Mike Awesome, he ain't. Page did him in in short order.
Arn Anderson spoke from the heart about being torn between his friendship for the Nature Boy vs. his respect and affection for Terry Funk. He urged them both to put aside their differences and join against the common enemy - the nWo. Later in the show, Funk got in his face and demanded to know where he stands. Arn refused to answer the question, saying he didn't have one.
Tank "the Anvil" Abbott faced one of the Villanos in a "match" that lasted about 6 seconds - and that only because the Villanos pulled a switch. Try as hard as you can guys, you're never going to make anybody care about this guy...
The Young and the Crazy challenged the Eyetalian Boyz (again) in a non-title match. As usual, Crowbar did all the work while Flair stood by and giggled and Daphne screamed. When Flair did get into the ring he was repeatedly pasted by Big Vito and offered no offense whatsoever. He finally managed to roll out of the way of a splash and tagged Crowbar back in. After some furious action, Vito was in position to pin Crowbar when both Disco and Daphne hopped up on the apron to distract the referee. Flair used the crowbar on Vito then rolled his partner on top to get the pin.
Sid was in a cage against the Harris Guyz for the main event and, as expected, the two goons pretty much made mincemeat out of the already limping World Champ. In fact they attacked him outside in the aisle and did considerable damage even before entering the cage. After being creamed for about five minutes, Sid suddenly exploded with about 10 seconds of offense then took another 5 seconds of beat down before chokeslamming one of his antagonists and took the pin. The nWo then had the cage raised and punked Sid, spray paint and all.
On SmackDown, the saga of the Radicals, or whatever it is they are calling the WCW defectors, continued. The program was taped at the Joe Louis Arena in Detroit on Tuesday. Cactus Jack and his new friends came to the ring at the top of the program for a round of rants. Jack again introduced Malenko, Guerrero, Saturn and Benoit as his "guests" and then embarked on a tirade against the competition in Atlanta including his standard crack about the ages of WCW wrestlers. His threat was that he and the guys would hold a "sit-down" in the ring until HHH came out to negotiate. That brought Helmsley and company to the platform to throw out some threats of his own - to go down and kick their butts himself - to send in the security troups, etc...but that was not what he had in mind. Stephanie chimed in at that point, telling the four interlopers that they needed to prove their worth before they could expect to be WWF wrestlers. HHH then offered them all a "try-out". Malenko got X-Pac, Guerrero and Saturn got the Outlaws and Benoit was given HHH himself - but only if one of his comrades won their match first. Cactus Jack then added his own stip - that he was going to watch their backs with a barbed wire wrapped 2x4!!
In the back, a drawing was held to determine the challenger to new Womens' Champ, Harvey Wippleman(?) - Jacqueline won it, to the disgust of the other contenders. Later, in the match itself, Jacquie wqas all over her opponent and took the title away from him in a flash. And then she pantsed him!!!
Chyna, pyro cannon and all, accompanied her new best friend the Millennium Bug to the ring for his IC Title defense against Gangrel. She proved effective in preventing Luna from getting involved while Jericho tossed his challenger over the top rope and managed to strip the buttons right off of his frilly shirt. Moments later, Chyna thwarted Luna again as the Champion slapped on the Walls of Jericho and retained his title.
In his match with X-Pac, Dean Malenko got his chance to shine but didn't quite pull it off. His companions watched intently on a monitor in the back as the Ice Man had a furious battle with his DX antagonist and almost won it with Texas Cloverleaf...but Waltman snagged the bottom rope and escaped. Tori then jumped up on the apron and distracted the referee so that X-Pac could get in a cheap shot and take the pin. One down.
Backstage, the Big Show has a tape that actually does seem to show that the Rock's feet hit the floor before the big guy tumbled out of the ring. He has earned his one-on-one against the Rock. They will face each other for the the Rock's WWF Title shot at No Way Out. In an interview later, Maivia seemed unconcerned as he launched into the latest version of his usual schtick with an extra long pause before delivering his tag line. His match of the evening took place right at the top of the second hour when he faced Kurt Angle and Tazz in a Triple Threat contest which got started before Maivia made his entrance. In fact the Rock kind of rushed his entry just to be sure he got to the ring before the match was over! The lines of demarcation showed almost immediately as Tazz and Angle joined forces to doubleteam the Brahma Bull. But that camradery lasted about 5 seconds then it was everybody for himself. Tazz and Angle brawled out into the crowd until the Rock went over the barricade and dragged them both back to the ring. Moments later he broke up the Tazmission (Tazzmission..?) on Angle to keep the fight alive. He then put the Rock Bottom on each of them in turn and went for the pin on Angle. But the Big Show dragged hijm out of the ring and Angle got the pin on Tazz instead. The Show pummeled the Rock into a daze after the pinfall.
Guerrero and Saturn (who has dropped his nonsense talking character for this tour - at least for the time being...) faced the New Age Outlaws in the second phase of their tryout. Of course, the set-up here seemed to guarrantee that they would win because there is little doubt that the four interlopers are already signed to WWF contracts. The match was a real barnburner and seemed about to end after a big frogsplash by Guerrero on the Billy - but the Dogg dragged the referee out to the floor and spoiled the moment. Guerrero hurt his arm during the move and so Billy turned the tables and took the pin. Okay...now what? (Editor's Note: I have since heard that the ending of the match was changed because of Guerrero's injury. He and Saturn were supposed to win that match.)
The answer came after the next break when HHH decided to be "magnanimous" and grant Benoit a match after all. We heard later that Guerrero suffered a dislocated elbow and was hospitalized.
Al Snow finally talked Steve Blackman into using one of his corny names. With a cheese hat on his head, Blackman came out as "the Lethal Cheddar", but threw the head gear away before he arived at the ring. They faced the New Bodydonnas...uh...I maean, the Hollys who fared nit well at all from the get-go. While Snow kept Seroid Bob busy in the ring, Blackman dropped Crash onto the ring steps...face first! Crash was then isolated for a minute or two before finally tagging in his cousin. After some furious see-saw action the Hollys lost the match and fell to squabling among themselves.
Up next...a battle of the super heavyweights as Rakishi took on the Big Show. For the first time we saw Paul Wight being manhandled into armdrags and suplexes. The Show hit a chokeslam on his opponent but hurt his back in the process and failed to get the pin. He brought in a chair and used it, thus getting himself disquaified. Too Cool ran in to lend a hand and got sqaushed, then the Rock ran in and didn't. In fact he put on the Rock Bottom just before a commercial intervened.
With about fifteen minutes left in the program, Chris Benoit got his chance to do or die against HHH. At this point he seemingly had nothing to lose, since his companions had already let him down. About two minutes into the match, Benoit went for his crossface finisher but HHH slipped out to the floor and escaped. He wasn't so quick moments later when Benoit hit him with a snap suplex then a baseball slide. Out on the floor, Benoit took a couple of stair shots before being tossed back into the ring and pummeled. Benoit fought his way back and turned the tables, but when he ws climbing up for his flying headbutt, his opponent levered the referee into the ropes and upset his balance. Moments later the referee was knocked out when Benoit slapped on the crossface. He got it again but HHH reached the ropes and escaped. Benoit finally got his headbutt and would have the pin but the referee was out of position. HHH came back with the Pedegreee and took the pin.
So what does this all mean????
ECW on TNN came to us from the War Memorial in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. In the middle of Gertner's opening rant, Cyrus took him off the air again. As he was doing his own rant, Rob Dam Vam walked by and the camera followed him as he found and attacked the World Champion. Bill Alfonso tried to restrain him but got himself bombed through a table in the process. The two champions were rolling around in a deadly embrace when referees ran into separate them and hustle the camera out. Cyrus closed the door and ordered the opening montage. We were promised a tag match featuring Dusty Rhodes teaming with Tommy Dreamer....
...and sure enough, the opening contest was Dreamer and Rhodes vs. Steve Corino and Rhino. The crowd went wild as the Dream maked his entrance and broke into a "Dusty! Dusty!" chant. But before we got the match, we got the former Mr. Vandenberg counciling Raven - Paul E showed up and hustled Vandenberg away then tried to talk sense to Raven. Then we cut to commercial.
Steve Corino was making a speech as we returned, trying to get Dreamer to tag Dusty in so that he (Corino) could get a crack at him. Dreamer restrained himself from punching the idiot and tagged in the Dream. Rhodes dared Corino to hit him but Steve thought better of that and went for a headlock instead. Rhodes shrugged him off then faced Rhino - who's eyes he raked and then put him in a figure four. Jack Victory ran in and got the same treatment from Dreamer - then Corino came in and Francine knocked him down and slapped on the figure four!! They all escaped and abandoned the ring at which point a melee ensued all over the ringside area. Rhodes got Corino back in the ring and roughed him up before tagging Dreamer back in. Rhino then came in and turned the tables on Dreamer who was isolated for a while. Rhodes finally got back in and all four ended up going at it in the ring. Then Dreamer was mowed down and Dusty missed his elbow drop. Rhodes was being set up for a doubleteam move when Dreamer ran back in with a chair and broke it up. Rhodes delivered the bionic elbow and took the pinfall.
The Impact Players cut a promo in a hot tub. Dawn Marie looked luscious in her bikini - I don't remember if the guys said anything...
Danny Doring and Roadkill appeared for a promo, ranting about becoming the tag champs and they were doing fine until Doring mentioned "the girls" that come with fame. Electra grabbed a handful of his manhood to discourage such speculation.
Rob Van Dam defended his TV Title against Mikey Whipwreak is a barnburner that was fought all over the ringside area. This was probably the last time we will see for several months as he just fractured his ankle not long after this match took place. In fact it looks like all this build-up for a Van Dam vs. Awesome match is going to waste... He was still in fine form for this match, however. He put Whipwreak down with a spectacular frog splash.
After a short commercial break they came back and informed us of RVD's unfortunate injury.
That's it for now. I am going out of town on business from Monday morning until Wednesday night and will try to keep up with what is going on in the meantime. I will deliver some kind of report next Saturday morning. Until then...
At least that's the way I see it...
Editor, Solie's Wrestling Newsletter
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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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