Meanwhile, we open this week's issue with a duet of book reviews on the two most popular wrestling books of all time..
This is directed to those fans who haven't yet purchased or read either The Rock's Book, The Rock Says: The Most Electrifying Man in Sports-Entertainment, by The Rock with Joe Layden, (New York: ReganBooks, 2000), or the book by Mankind, Mankind: Have A Nice Day! -- A Tale of Blood and Sweatsocks, by Mick Foley, (New York: ReganBooks, 1999):
I ordered the latter book shortly after Thanksgiving and the former one shortly after the beginning of the New Year. The latter book arrived at the bookstore shortly before Christmas. The former arrived less than a week after I ordered it. I have now read both books. I finished reading the former book -- The Rock's -- this past Sunday, January 16. I am now ready to write a book critique on them.
I highly recommend both to wrestling fans all over the world! They have their differences, however. You can immediately tell they were not written by the same author. The writing styles in each are different.
Mankind's is much longer than The Rock's. Mankind's covers 503 pages while The Rock's is much shorter at 281.
The chapters in The Rock's book are also much shorter, and they are titled while the pages in Mankind's are only numbered.
You can immediately tell that The Rock had professional help writing his book. Mankind likes to deviate from the subject upon which he is focusing and take side trips before returning to the topic he had been covering. The Rock usually remains focused.
What I didn't like about The Rock's book, however, is in several chapters toward the conclusion of his book the writing stepped away from the persona of Dwayne Johnson, which is The Rock's real name outside the ring, and became The Rock, the character fans have been observing in the squared circle these past few years.
Mankind, however, resisted the temptation to get into any one of his three characters for which he has become known in the world of professional wrestling -- Mankind, Cactus Jack, and Dude Love -- and remained Mick Foley, who explained what transpires behind the scenes. He painted the many injuries he has received while in the world of professional wrestling in graphic detail.
Dwayne Johnson, on the other hand, when he became The Rock in the book described the character fans see week after week kicking a$$ inside the squared circle. The Rock failed to describe the pain he feels as he receives a low blow, for example, after which he continues kicking. Mankind, on the other hand, isn't afraid to say "Ow-w-w-w! That hurt! That was painful. That brought me to my knees."
Fifteen years ago I was doing research on a piece of fiction I was desiring to write focusing on professional wrestling. 20/20, which is ABC's television magazine, had aired it's exposť on professional wrestling in late February. WrestleMania I aired late in March. I wrote John Stossel, the TV journalist who was responsible for the 20/20 exposť, and informing him of my goal, asked him to reveal how I might get in touch with Mike Mansfield, who was one of the individuals he interviewed for the program. Mansfield had been a professional wrestler and had retired at the time the 20/20 exposť was being taped. He was also in the process of writing a book on his former profession that he desired to title No Holds Barred. Stossel replied to my letter and gave me Mansfield's telephone number. I telephoned Mansfield in May or June of 1985, and after informing him of the purpose of my telephone call, I proceeded to ask him several questions pertaining to the profession.
It was his opinion that a book centering on the profession would never sell. Mankind and The Rock proved him wrong! Mike Mansfield's book, unfortunately, was never published while not only was Mankind's and The Rock's book published but they both made the top Ten on The New York Time's Best Sellers.
The only thing I would have done different about both Mankind's book and The Rock's is break up the paragraphs and not make them as long. Other than that I highly recommend both books to all those fans of professional wrestling who have not read them. Both of them reveal how these two superstars gained their fame, both go into a little detail concerning how they trained to become professional wrestlers, and both break away from the arcane of the profession and reveal what occurs inside the offices of the corporations that are responsible for the sports-entertainment fans watch and enjoy each proceeding week -- Mankind more than The Rock, however.
Steve Christensen first became hooked on professional wrestling in June, 1964. In 1965, he travelled to San Francisco's Cow Palace once a month to witness matches featuring local superstars Pepper Gomez, Kenji Shibuya, Ray "The Crippler" Stevens aka Ray "The Blond Bomber" Stevens and later on Pat Patterson, who started out with black hair.
He created his own professional wrestler "The Torturer, King of Submission Holds." The Torturer is a masked heel, equal to the heels of The Mysterious Medics, The Masked Assassins, The Hangman, The Masked Terror, The Spoiler, and The Masked Executioner. While attending Chico State College he put on occasional wrestling matches in the dorm.
The Torturer currently resides in Antioch, California with his wife who is also an avid wrestling fan.
On Monday Nitro (live from the Nassua Coloseum in New York City) we got the usual review of recent events to start the program. The feature match was announced to be Ric Flair vs. Hulk Hogan. At the top of the program, acting Commissioner (?) Jarrett came to the ring with the Harris Twins and their usual bevy of beauties, only to send the girls away as soon as they arrived. He contends that he is still in line for the title shot at SuperBrawl, as I recall, that wasn't entirely settled at the end of last week. Sure enough, Kevin Nash appeared on the big screen to make some rulings, but Jarrett had Dave Penzer hoisted up and threatened to break his neck if Nash's satelite feed wasn't cut off. It was. But then the Wolfpac music played and Nash rolled into the arena in a wheelchair! He is carrying a baseball bat and accompanied by two nurses. He declared that since there was no winner to the match last week, he would make both Hall and Jarrett #1 contenders and put them into a No-DQ Three-Way-Dance with Sid for the Title at SuperBrawl. He also set up a non-title match with Jarrett vs. Sid for later in the show. I have just read that Hall was detained in Germany Sunday and that's why he wasn't at Nitro - and may not make it to the PPV as well.
The Lamestreet Boyz were still pushing their non-existent "win a date with the dorks" contest and singing the same stupid song until Norman Smiley's music intruded on their tender moment. This was a tag team handicap match - 3 on 2 - with Lane as Screamin's partner. Shortly after the opening bell, Lane took a suicide dive to the floor and completely missed his target. One of the Boyz even showed some concern for him as he helped his opponent up and made sure that he was all right before they went on with things. Meanwhile, Miss Handcock showed up to stand by the announce table and make cryptic comments then she decided to climb on a nearby platform, let her hair down and started to dance provocatively which disrupted the match, distracted the announcers and the referee. Norman won the match, by the way, and then the Boyz tried to go back into their crappy song. Mercifully the cameras cut away and we went to commercial.
Oh jeez! They were still doing it when we came back. This was the first time I was ever happy to see Tank Abbott show up. This match featured Abbott against long-time-no-see Rick Fuller and Fuller really tore into him immediately until Abbot managed to land one good punch. While this was going on, Big Al was hustled away from ringside for trying to stir up trouble I guess. We then cut to a pre-taped interview in which Mike Tenay queried the Tankster about his UFC days and about Big Al specifically. They reveal that there will be a "skins match" between the two at SuperBrawl. This is basically an old fashioned flag match, substituting a leather jacket for the flag. Backstage, Jarrett was on the phone, presumably with Terry Taylor, demanding that his match with Sid be for the title.
WOW! The Nitro Grrrrrls are back!
The Artist Formerly etc. deigned to actually talk to us as he threatened Psychosis with bodily harm during their match coming up at Thunder on Wednesday. Meanwhile, Kevin Nash was deciding to give Jarrett his title shot later against Sid after all.
Kidman teamed up with Vampiro to face the even stranger duo of La Parka and TAFKAPI in the next match. La Parka handled Vampiro nicely during the early going but the creature of the night then turned it around. The Artist came in and took over for a moment while the two accompanying ladies (Torrie and Paisley) got into a cat fight which Kidman had to break up - thus leaving his partner alone in the ring. Vampiro took offense too that and, after tagging his partner in - he split! Kidman was overwhelmed by the numbers and taken out.
Backstage, Terry Funk was getting ready for his match against Lex Luger while Disco Inferno was throwing an old fashioned Italian wedding party for his pals the Tag Team Champs.
Rhonda "Monster Ripper" Singh faced the returning Mona in a Womens' division match thus proving to me once and for all that Mona and Daffney are not one in the same. Mona is all woman, not a mere girl like Daffney. One look at her curves showed that they are two different people. Oklahoma showed up to introduce the match and bring Madusa out as the referee then he joined the announce team. The diminuitive Mona had to slip through her opponent's legs to get any offense at all, and that had very little affect. Later, when Mona tried to put a sunset flip on her opponent from the outside in, Oklahoma suddenly jumped up and gave his "girl" a hand. Madusa tried her best to referee the match but Oklahoma thwarted her and Mona was squashed (literally).
Mean Gene spoke with the Nature Boy who declared that Hulk Hogan is a minor obstacle to him and added that he expected Lex Luger to do a number on Funk in the next match.
TTP w/ML (The Total Package w/Miss Liz) came to the ring for his usual overblown entrance which Funk decided to interrupt and the fight was on with the Hardcore Legend in charge. Luger should be the one called "Screamin" - he has always been a screamer and does again tonight as Funk runs him into the railing. Funk pulled a table out from under the ring but Luger turned things around and slammed Funk through it. Back in the ring it was all Luger until he went for the Rack - when Funk hit a low blow and turned the tables. But then he missed a moonsault. Luger gave him a chair shot, which got him disqualified. Luger set Funk's arm up in the chair for his usual armbreaker - but Arn Anderson dragged the chair out of the ring and broke that up. Backstage it was announced that Jarret did indeed have a title match--he would defend his US title against Sid!
Backstage, after the next break, we saw Crowbar, David Flair and Daffney broke up Tony and Tina's wedding.
The New Harlem Heat faced the former Tag Team Champs in the next match. The latter showed up still smeared with wedding cake and trailed by the Mamalukes, who attacked them in the aisle then took them into the ring to continue their fight while Harlem Heat looked on from the apron. Turned out it was Three-way title match. The former Ahmed Johnson looked fat and out of shape and was moving really slow throughout the match. In the end, Vito pinned Stevie Ray to retain the titles after Flair hit Stevie with his crowbar (not his partner - the gold colored rubber one). Harlem Heat then punked everybody, after which Flair and Crowbar added their own punk job on the Tag Champs.
Backstage, Big Vito pulled himself off his stretcher and demanded that his compatriots do the same.
Bam Bam Bigalow defended his Hardcore Title against the Wall in a real messy match with the usual compliment of trash all over the ring. One thing you can say for WCW, when they have a Hardcore match it stays mostly in the ring which means that the audience in attendance gets to see all the action. The best move of the match was the Wall using two trashcan lids like cymbals on either side of his opponent's head! Bigalow came back moments later and won the match with his favorite finisher. Then Brian Knobbs blinsided the Champ and laid him out. He then split and gave the Wall a chance to get in his own chokeslam on the winner. Backstage, Disco and the Paisons are vowing to meet the former champs in an "Italian Stretcher Match" at the PPV.
The Nitro Grrrrls danced in Valentines bikinis for the next segment.
Dustin Rhodes made a rare appearance to go up against Chris Kanyon (who was also making a rare appearance). Kanyon carried a title belt to the ring but failed to explain what Championship it was supposed to represent. This fight went immediately to the floor where Dustin took the advantage. Back in the ring, he set up the Shattered Dreams and delivered it, but Kanyon seemed almost unaffected. Never-the-less, a big bulldog gave Dustin the win a moment later.
Mean Gene talked to Hulk Hogan w/Jimmy Hart backstage. He posed and ranted, yatta, yatta... This was followed by a Booker interview in which the man promised to make mincemeat out of Big T at the PPV. If Big T moves like he did Monday night, I would bet on Booker.
The Demon faced Booker (I hear that this was cobbled together because Booker's original opponent was supposed to be Scott Hall). He came out again to his "cartoon" music and looked pissed. The Demon found out soon enough as Booker systematically took him apart and pinned him in less than two minutes.
The first main event was the afore mentioned Hulk Hogan vs. Ric Flair match. Michael Buffer made the introductions but altered his usual schtick to ask, "Are we ready to rummmmmble...". Come to think of it - this was a rare appearance for Buffer tonight as well. The crowd is standing and chanting "Hogan! Hogan!" as the match gets underway. Flair looked to be in fairly good shape although he was already sucking wind after the first couple of lockups. The fight spilled to the floor where Hogan continued to dominate the action, then right back into the ring, again Hogan dominated until Flair hit a low blow to turn the tables. Scheduling this match Monday night was a pretty shrewd move - with the competition postponed for two hours WCW were bound to get a higher than usual rating for this segment. After chopping away for several moments, Hogan "Hulked up" and made his comeback with a vengence. Flair had to attack the eyes to stop his drive. Finally, the referee moved Hogan away from the corner where he was pummeling Flair which gave Flair a chance to load up his fist with his Rolex and the deliver the shot. Jimmy Hart ran out and distracted Flair so that Hogan could recover and get back into the fight. Hogan was delivering the old foot-to-the-face-leg-drop combo when Lex Luger ran in and attacked Hogan. Terry Funk ran in but did more harm then help but Hogan still managed to come back and clear the ring. Lex Luger came back afterward and attacked Hogan in the middle of his posing session and caught his arm up in the chair.
Ernest Miller made another of his silly appearances. He was still insisting that James Brown was in the house, but of course he didn't produce him. I thought he used to be dumb - but at least then he wrestled... The Maestro decided to interrupt so Miller chased him away.
The second main event was the US title match featuring Jeff Jarrett defending against Sid. This took place just before 10:40 making this a full two-and-one-half hour + show. Again Buffer did the honors. I wonder if he gets paid twice if he announces twice... Jarrett scrambled in and attacked Sid as he was busy acknowledging the crowd but it didn't really gain him anything. The match went to the floor where Sid continued his onslaught. Back in the ring, Jarrett managed to turn it around then went for a sleeper and got Sid right on the mat before the latter struggled back to his feet and escaped. Shortly thereafter the referee took a foot to the face which allowed Jarrett to use his title belt on Sid and almost get the pin. But Sid kicked out - infuriating Jarrett who knocked referee out of the ring. The Harris Twins ran in to attack while Jarrett went for his guitar. Sid took the shot then Jarrett's back-pocket referee ran in and made the count.
Monday night RAW was shown two hours later than usual after some really fine dogs strutted their stuff. I caught the last 12 minutes or so of the show after Nitro and I have to admit that some of those pooches are really something. The WWF show was more of the same yet again.
RAW came to us from the San Jose Arena about 20 miles from my house as the crow flies. The Radicals made an appearance at the top of the program followed closely by DX. It's kind of funny - the new order entry system that I am now demonstrating around the country is called Digital Express 2000 - DX2000 for short... Stephanie took the mic to start, attempting without success to shut the crowd up as she showed tape of the attack on Tori by Kane last week on SmackDown. Tori stood in the ring wearing a cervical collar as Steph decried the crowds' egging Kane on. HHH added his two cents worth, saying that maybe DX has been too easy on their enemies. Then he proceeded to set up matches much like he did on Thursday - Brian Christopher vs. Road Dogg, Scott Taylor vs. Billy Gunn, Rakishi to take on Malenko and Saturn in a handicap match, the Rock against Chris Benoit, and Kane to face HHH and a partner of his choosing in a no-DQ handicap match. For Kane, his chanceto face X-Pac at No Way Out hinges on winning this one. I sorry, but isn't this formula getting just a tad old at this point? All of the afore mentioned DX enemies then showed up on the platform, invaded the ring and a melee ensued. Jim Ross swears this will be the most exciting RAW in a long time but I can't help feeling like we've seen it all before - week after week for months now.
Edge, Devon Dudley and Matt Hardey competed in a Three-Way-Dance to determine the #1 contenders for the Tag Team Titles. Of course all of the other members of each team were there as well, so this wasn't really just a three-man match. Of course, the Dudleys were the odd men out because of the animosity that has grown up around their evil antics of late. Sure enough there were two fight going on - one in the ring and a second on the floor. In the end Edge and Matt fought among themselves and gave Devon the chance to take the pin. Dudleys will face the Outlaws at the PPV.
At a nearby Hotel, Mark Henry and Mae Young check into the honeymoon suite much to the surprise of the desk clerk.
Road Dogg faced Grand Master Sexay for the latter's "revenge" match. Seems to me like these guys would both like to get a hold of each other so it makes me wonder how this is some kind of "punishment" - but what do I know..? GMS dominated the early going until he launched himself right into the corner buckle and turned things around for his opponent. Moments later Christopher hung his opponent up on the top rope and assumed command once again. All of this is not surprising because, for all his fame and glory, the Road Dogg is really the weak link of his team. In the end, GMS had to make a mistake to give his opponent the win.
Back at the hotel, Henry and his sweetie get to their room with no incident and put out the "Do Not Disturb" sign.
Godfathers I & II brought five hot garden tools with them to the ring to take on Headcheese - or whatever Al Snow and Steve Blackman are calling themselves. The Godfather suggested a party instead of a match but Blackman wasn't buying it. In the middle of the match, Snow was still trying to convince his partner to go with the party deal. As the match progressed, he decided to go out to the floor and get chummy with the girls, thus leaving his partner to be beaten handily.
Henry and his squeeze are smooching and getting ready to do the really big nasty.
Kurt Angle came to the ring and took credit for everything that's going right in Europe these days and then cites bogus statistics for all that's apparently going wrong in the US. Those things are Chris Jericho's fault by Angle's reckoning. He wants to challenge Jericho for the IC title at the next PPV. Jericho showed up, mispronounced Angle's name (called him Angel) and accused him of putting the TV audience to sleep. He was dubious about the title shot but agreed to an immediate match. He ran into the ring and started beating on the guy only to have a bunch of officials run out to separate them. Chyna then ran in and put a DDT on Angle.
Back at the hotel, Henry is waiting in bed but Mae is taking her time coming out of the batheroom. She finally appears in a red nighty - causing the King to retch into his crown.
Chris Benoit took on the Rock with Eddie Guerrero in his corner. Again I have to question that having this match is really any sweat of Maivia's nose. JR got his Chris's confused as he referred to Benoit as Jericho a couple of times. The fight was pretty competitive with no real advantage accruing to either of them throughout much of the match. Of course Guerrero was there to add a cheap shot or two at critical moments. The fight spilled out to the announce table where Benoit got in a chair shot while Guerrero distracted the referee. Back in the ring he applied a cross-arm breaker. Now Benoit was firmly in control for a bit. JR referred to Benoit as "the rapid wolverine" - thus throwing a little extra superlative onto this familiar moniker. Benoit grabbed the cross-face but Maivia got the to the ropes and escaped then started his comeback. Suddenly the Big Show appeared ringside (JR had just told us that he was in Hawaii) and interfered to give Benoit the pin. Afterward, the Rock attacked the Show on the ramp and ended up getting punked by the three of them.
Mark Henry and Mae Young are bathing in the afterglow and now I'm throwing up (all over my keyboard...damn!)
Billy Gunn came down with his tag team partner in his corner to take on Scotty Too Hotty. Fortunately for Scotty, he was wise enough to bring some backup of his own as well. This was the first mismatch of the evening, Billy was all over his smaller opponent. But Scotty managed to make a comeback and even things out a bit. With a little assist from his partner, he actually won the match.
Crash Holly faced the new Light Heavyweight Champ Papa Chulo...er...Essa Rios in a title match. My question would be, if Crash and Burn...er...Bob claim to be super heavyweights - how can Crash be vying for the Light Heavyweight title? Whatever... As it turns out, Rios' companion Lita managed to get in a few licks of her own and even pulled a second pinfall on Crash after he was counted down. Hardcore gave his cousin a dressing down after the next break then faced Tazz as his own opponent for the evening. Needless to say, he did a little better... In fact, this was the first time I've seen Tazz actually tested since entering the WWF. JR finally called the Tazmission by it's name as it was put on, but Crash interfered forcing Tazz to use the Tazplex to win the match.
Rakishi got a handicap match against Saturn and Malenko for his "revenge" match-up. JR was mistaking Saturn for Guerrero while Rakishi was holding up pretty well against his two opponents. At one point he threw a double suplex - something I have never seen before. The San Jose crowd were clearly Ric Flair fans as they loudly "wooed" everytime a chop was thrown in the corner. Rakishi was about to squash both guys when Guerrero ran in again and used a weapon on him, thus causing the DQ. Before the bad guys could do a number on Rakishi, his friends ran out and protected him.
Kane also saw handicap action pitted against HHH and the Big Show. Kane had the added incentive here of getting his match against X-Pac at the PPV only if he won this contest. Kane held is own through much of the match, then when it looked like he was about to succomb, the Rock ran down and got involved, followed by X-Pac, followed by Cactus Jack - the ring exploded into factional fighting, the highlight of which was Kane chokeslamming the Big Show and gettng the pin. Afterward the Rock tried to lay the people's elbow on the Big Show but HHH tripped him and the melee started up again until the good guys cleared the ring.
On Thunder ("live on tape" from Philadelphia, PA at the Spectrum) we got the usual video review of recent events before Terry Taylor entered the ring to make an announcement. The Championship Committee had convinced Sid Vicious to not be in the arena for this program in order to protect him until his title defense on Sunday. He said that there was some kind of an incident at a hotel last night involving Jarrett, Sid and Scott Hall. Jarrett makes his entrance on the heels of this, states again that he will walk out of SuperBrawl as the new Champ, then he and is bully boys punked Taylor, whacked him with a guitar and spray painted his back (too bad, it was a nice sweater...)
I watched the program on tape, by the way (a tape of a tape, you might say), because I had a little accident that afternoon. Walking out to my car in the rain I slipped and took a nasty fall and broke my left ankle! When the program started, I was at the emergency room getting x-rayed and splinted! At first they told me it was just a strained ligiment, but then they called me back the next afternoon and said that it actually had a minor fracture. So now I am in a cast.
TAFKAPI took on Kaz Hayashi as Miss Handcock minced around ringside taking notes. Paisley took exception to her presence which brought the Artist out to the floor, followed by the referee who sent Miss H. away. Late in the match we heard that this was a Cruiserweight Title tournament match to see who would face Lash LeRoux in the final round. In the background there was what must have been an offensive sign which was digitally scrambled to prevent it being read on ther air. The Artist rather easily won the match with a flying DDT. Backstage, Kevin Nash was wheeled in to Mike Graham, who informed him of Jarrett's latest outrage. At first the Commissioner was uninterested until Graham reminded him that he is the Commissioner.
Screamin' Norman tried to vault over the Wall but couldn't quite manage it. Oh, he did all right for himself, even managed a rather feeble wind-up slam at one point, but the big guy came right back with a chokeslam and it was all over except for the counting. He then fished a table out from under the ring and set it up, then chokeslammed Norman off the apron and through the table! He complained of an injured knee just before he was hauled away as some fan yelled "ECW!" in the background.
Van Hammer made his unimpressive return to the promotion against the excreable Tank Abbott. One punch, basically was all it took...
Lex Luger (Total Package...whatever...) came to the ring with Liz for his preliminary rant of the evening. "I beat Funk, I beat Hogan, I have so little body fat...yatta, yatta... He called his "new friend" Ric Flair to the ring. Flair's rant is classic Nature Boy stuff. As soon as he finished it, Funk and Dustin Rhodes appeared on the stage and challenged them to a Hardcore tag match later.
The Harris Twins had Kidman and Vampiro to deal with, a task made somewhat easier by the antipithy displayed between the members of the team on the other side. In fact, Vampiro was forced to do most of the work as Kidman kind of watched from the sidelines. The first time he tagged in he delivered one blow then immediately tagged back out. Later, when he tagged in the second time after Vamp had carried the load for several minutes, the latter decided to split - but then came back just in time to take a chair shot and get pinned.
Big Vito and Crowbar had a Philly Street fight that never got to the ring but took place mostly out in the parking area in the back of the building somewhere. Daffney stood nearby screaming, wearing a pink wig and throwing vegetables as the two wrestlers destroyed cars and what ever else got in their way. Vito won it with DDT on top of a car.
We were treated to some footage of two referees (Mark Johnson and Mickey Jay) having a backstage set-to during the Nitro broadcast. This led to a match for the two of them on Thunder. Jay looked a bit long in the tooth to be squaring off against the much younger and more athletic Johnson. Sure enough it was a one-sided affair with Jay taking all the worst shots while Johnson danced around him. As soon as Johnson got close enough, however, Jay showed some good punching power...until the Harris Boyz decided to lend their "pocket referee" a hand.
Brian Knobbs finally got a match against his former mentor, Fit Finley, with Jimmy Hart (of all people) as the referee. This was a "Cast" match since both wrestlers, and the referee were all wearing casts on their left arms.In fact, Hart made the mistake of trying to make a three count using his injured arm. Moments later, Knobbs "plastered" Finley and took the win.
Hulk Hogan (also in a cast - that Luger really gets around...) delivered a rant against Flexy promising to get even at the Cow Palace.
I got home from the hospital just in time to see the main event. Lex Luger/Ric Flair vs. Terry Funk/Dustin Rhodes. It seems very strange to see Luger teaming with Flair, something we haven't seen since the mid-eighties when Luger was briefly a member of the Horsemen. The announcers were having trouble with that as well. In the early moments, Funk and Flair battled out on the floor while the two (relatively) younger athletes competed in the ring. A guy that looked remarkably like Mikey Whipwreak held a "Space Mountain" sign at ringside. Back in the ring, Luger and Flair were working well as a team, isolating Funk while Dustin looked on helplessly. When he finally did get in he cleaned house pretty smartly until Liz whacked his left ankle (ouch!!! I felt that...) with her baseball bat. Flair slapped on a figure four and it was over in a flash. Funk ran to the announce table and grabbed Tenay's office style chair and tossed into the ring where it bounced against Dustin's limp carcass. Backstage, Kevin Nash told the Harris Twins that they would not be allowed into the Cow Palace on Sunday so Jarrett whacked him with his guitar.
On SmackDown, (on tape from Fresno, CA) DX arrived via the DX Express (a luxury bus) at the top of the program and headed to the ring for a rant session. X-Pac was a little upset with HHH over what happened on RAW. The latter's offer to make it up to him was to challenge Kane to a match?? X-Pac wasn't impressed, and frankly neither was I. Waltman then suggested that HHH make it a Title match and HHH agreed. Now X-pac was impressed and offered to take on Cactus Jack in return. But HHH wanted more - "make it an anything goes, Hardcore match..." - X-Pac agreed. HHH then turned to the Outlaws and demanded that they defend their Tag Team Titles againast "the very formidable tag team of the Rock...and the Big Show..." Of course they agreed to that without a qualm.
Backstage, the Hollys shoved Mae Young out of the way and put a double-team beatin' on Mark Henry.
First match of the evening was the WWF Title match featuring Kane challenging HHH. Kind of an unusual opening contest... As could be expected, Kane was all over his opponent after an initial assault by the Champion. They battled to the floor and back into the ring with the big guy controlling the action until the rest of the thugs interfered and turned the tide. After Kane was beaten down, the troups dragged Paul Bearer out to their bus and stuffed him into the baggage compartment! Kane followed them out and received the same treatment. The bus pulled away and we went to commercial.
Kurt Angle was challenged by Chyna (or more correctly - he challenged her after she DDT'd him on Monday). He easily outwrestled her in the early going. Her style lends itself more to brawling, of course. As soon as the fight went to the floor, she was in command. He had to clock her with his title belt to turn things around - but that got him disqualified and brought Chyna's buddy the Millennium Bug out to lend a hand. Backstage, Mark Henry deposited his sweetie with the Acolytes to look after her while he got ready for a match against the Hollys later in the evening. As soon as Henry left she started right in advising Faarooq on his card game...
As we returned from the break, the bus returned to the arena. Meanwhile, Mae convinced the guys to let her join the game.
Tazz stalked to the ring for his match with Gangrel - finally, some real competition for the former ECW Champ. Gangrel jumped right into the frey and dominated the first few exchanges but then Tazz came back in a big way. A Tazmission spelled the end for the ghoulish one.
Cactus Jack gave an intense interview backstage in which he promised that, win or lose, Hell-in-the-Cell will be the "damndest thing you've ever seen..."
In the back, Mae was winning at poker.
X-Pac got his Hardcore match with Cactus Jack and probably wished he hadn't been so rash. Jack dominated things throughout the match for the most part. Even a chair shot out on the floor really didn't faze him seriously. His chair shots on X-Pac, on the other hand, really hit the mark. Back inside, Waltman had a short flurry of offense and then got creamed, thrown out to the floor and manhandled so badly that he fled the area with Jack in pursuit. Jack chased his quarry up the steps toward the bus and right into the waiting arms of the rest of DX who beat him up and stuffed him into the baggage compartment after fighting with him inside the bus itself.
Too Cool came down without Rakishi for a match against Dean Malenko and Saturn who wore almost matching tights to the ring. We were informed that Chris Benoit was home with his wife who is expecting a child any day now (congratulations Chris!) Surprisingly (or maybe not) Too Cool dominated the action for much of the match until Eddie Guerrero ran in and hit Scotty behind the referee's back. He was pinned and Too Cool were punked. Rakishi limped down to help his friends and managed to take care of Malenko and Saturn, injured ankle and all. But then Guerrero returned and used his weapon again after which the bad guys smashed his ankle under a set of ring steps. Rakishi was hauled away in an ambulance. By the way, Guerrero was slated to have a match against Rakishi that night, but, of course, that plan fell by the wayside. Backstage, Mae Young was cadging cigars from the Acolytes. She surprised them by inhaling the smoke and not even coughing!
During a backstage interview, the Rock chose "the People" as his partner to replace the Big Show against the Tag Champs. In the back, Mae Young wanted a beer but the Acolytes fretted that she shouldn't do that as she is with child.
Edge and Christian took on the Big Boss Man and Prince Albert who have appeared to have buried their differences. Edge seemed to be handling the Boss Man pretty well until the latter stepped aside and allowed Edge to launch his shoulder into the corner post. Edge took it for a while then turned the tables with a lariet. Both teams exchanged and Christian won the duel initially then was overwhelmed by his opponent's superior power. A melee then erupted and in the confusion Christian got the pin. Afterward the two baddies did a punk job on their victorious foes.
In the back Mae got a straight flush. She had won all their money, drank all their beer and smoked all their cigars. They asked her what she wanted, and she gave the money back and then led them both away...
Mark Henry got his chance for revenge during a handicap match against the Hollys...sort of... This was a bit of a strange handicap match since it was not done tag team style. It was no DQ and so the Hollys were in the whole time. About the time Henry started to gain some ground we found out what Mae had in mind for the Acolytes. She brought them out to protect her man! Henry won the match easily after Faarooq and Bradshaw creamed his opponents.
The Rock faced the New Age Outlaws with the Tag Team Titles on the line...with "the People" as his partner. It seemed like he was about to win it when his original partner, the Big Show arrived to distract him and get him punked. Paul Wight then hoisted the Rock on his shoulders and headed for the bus. But Maivia escaped on the stairs. Unfortunately he continued to head toward the bus where the rest of DX was waiting for him. So he continued to fight off all four or five of them, but eventually they overwhelmed him and stuffed him into the baggage compartment. Then the bus drove off. But then we saw that Maivia had escaped!! He was attacking the Big Show wuth a pipe as the program faded.
ECW on TNN opened in the production office where Cyrus delivered a message from TNN regarding the status of Rob Van Dam. He declared that the World TV Title would be defended on television...and in order to make that happen the network is ordering ECW to strip Van Dam of the title.
Gertner and Styles were on camera as we returned from the opening montage just long enough for Gertner to introduce himself in his own inimitable style (because who in the world would want to imitate this clown?) before they went to a commercial.
We saw Danny Doring and Roadkill heading for the ring before we cut to Masato Tanaka who bared his scarred chest and arms and declared that he would win his World Title back tonight. The opponents for Doring and Company, Chris Chetti and Nova entered before we cut to another commercial. The way they run so many commercials during this show makes me think that Cyrus' character perhaps really represents the network lizards at TNN.
The match was underway as we returned. This is Chris Chetti's first match since he injured himself at a PPV a while back. Chetti and Nova's strategy seemed to be to isolate Doring while keeping Roadkill stuck on the apron. Sound policy but badly executed as the 300 pounder got into the match early on. The fight went to the floor where Nova mangaged subdue Roadkill while Doring creamed Chetti. Back in the ring, Roadkill turned the tables by dint of his massive size and then Nova was the one being isolated. Doring returned to the frey only to have Nova put a couple of reverse DDT's put on him. Roadkill came in but was successfully doubleteamed for a moment before he broke loose and cleaned the ring. He jumped to the floor and set up a table with Nova on it - but then took too long and crashed through the table himself after his victim had gotten clear. Nova and Chetti won the match then the four combatants congratulated each other on a great match only to have the Impact Players run in and punk the bunch of them.
The increasingly verbal Mike Awesome had a few words in response to Tanaka's diatribe earlier on.
CW Anderson brought his own entourage to the ring (Lou E. Dangerously and Beautiful Billy Wilde)to face Super Crazy. But first we went off to sell something yet again.
Anderson is a big bruiser who claims to be a member of the ficticious Anderson family of Minnesotta (you know all those fake Andersons - Ole, Arn, Lars, etc.)He is also supposedly the enforcer of the Dangerous Alliance (which we rarely ever hear of these days). Once Crazy got moving, he had little trouble in controlling the big lug. Crazy then dragged to tables out from under the ring and tossed them into the ring along with a second chair to join the one that was already there. He laid Anderson out on one table and hit him with a guillotine leg drop. Anderson's cronies tried to interfere but he drove them off with chair shots then put Anderson on the second table, threw a moonsault which failed to break the table, so he hit a second splash to finish the job and take the pin.
The main event was Tanaka vs Awesome for the ECW World Title. But first we went backstage to listen to Chetti and Nova whine about getting punked by the Tag Champs earlier. These two have traded the title once before, just a few months ago when Tanaka won the titkle for a week or so then lost it back to Awesome. It took almost no time for this one to spill out onto the floor where Tanaka ruled the action at first, then Awesome made his come back. As they returned to the ring, Awesome brought a chair with him and started using it - but Tanaka just took the shots and came roaring right back. A release German suplex had almost no affect as well, but then Awesome struck repeatedly with clotheslines and a powerbomb to turn the tide. He ran to the outside to st up a chair then returned to put the Awesome Bomb on - but missed it. Tanaka came back with a swinging DDT and put the Champ through his oen table. Back n the outside, Tanaka ran the length of the ring to whack Awesome with a chair then threw him back inside. He mounted the top corner and hit Awesome from behind with a missle drop-kick then got a belly-to-belly before bringing in another cjhaor and flying onto Awesomes head with the chair in hand. But then he went for another DDT onto the chair and missed. Awesome powerbombed him onto it instead. Awesome went for a chair shot but Tanaka kicked it back in his face. This see-saw action went on for several exchanges and Awesome seemed to be getting stronger. His Awesome Splash almost got him the pin. Back to the floor for another table he goes and slides it into the ring and sets it up. He went for another Awesome Bomb but Tanaka beat him to the punch. They struggled to the top corner and Awesome pulled off his sit-out powerbomb through the tabel to get the pin with one hand. Styles claims from the sidelines that Awesome was pinned a little earlier in the match but it didn't look that way to me.
At least that's the way I see it...
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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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