A little personal background...you may or may not be aware that I am an occasional professional musician who also travels frequently in my day job with a major business oriented publishing company.
I was in Denver from Thursday night until Sunday afternoon and then I got on a plane for New York. So I missed Smackdown and Thunder and ECW.
I was in Denver on company business but then I stayed over the weekend and Friday night I sat in with my old friend Jr. Basco (Pierre Ardans) and his "Flash River Blues Band" at Trios in Boulder. He has a killer band with horns and the whole nine yards so that was a gas. The next night we "crashed" the engagement of Johnny O - a local blues guitar hero who was playing at Falling Rock in Denver.
Jr. just showed up with his guitar and barged on stage - dragging me along with him! It turned out Johnny is a fan of Pierre's and he readily invited us to sit in on his last set. Johnny's band is a powerhouse as well, so that was another real stunning experience that I don't get very often in recent years. I usually perform in a trio, without drums...
Pierre does the rockinist' version of "You Are My Sunshine" that I have ever heard and I love to harmonize with him on it. I am going to have to put up a web site on him so you can check him out - the "Unofficial" Jr. Basco site or something.
I have my traveling guitar (a circa 1943 Kay arch-top, for those of you who care about these things) with me, so tomorrow night I hope to roam some around The East Village and maybe find a place to perform.
Tonight I am writing from my hotel room in New York. I have just finished watching Nitro. Unfortunately I don't get USA here in my hotel room so I didn't see any of RAW. My wife is taping it for me so I can catch it later for the regular Saturday Morning edition. I just wanted to get this one out.
I watched Nitro in my hotel room tonight but mostly was working on my laptop throughout the show and so I didn't have time to make notes during the program. However, the program is still very vivid in my mind's eye.
My first web page...
Monday Nitro turned its new face to the World and I have to say that they did a pretty good job. Not perfect, by any means, but still very entertaining and compelling. They basically took just about every complaint made by the "Bischoff haters" on the Internet and turned them on their heads. It was a killer show.
Complaint #1: Hogan hogging the spotlight and never putting anybody over: Tonight Billy Kidman took a pinfall over Hulk Hogan, and then beat and humiliated him in the ring (with assistance, of course). Hogan went to the hospital when it was all over. And yet...it was done in such a way that you just know the majority of fans are going to see Hogan sympathetically and cheer him as he comes roaring back for the next assault. Kidman was all self-righteous bluster and taunting - classic heel stuff. Bischoff has taken the Internet's favorite son and turned him into a sneering bad guy - perfect to go up against Hogan. If Kidman really applies himself to this feud, and you can bet he will if he knows what's good for him - Hogan still has enough in him to give a great fight. Classic Big Brawler vs. Smaller Wrestler stuff - except that the roles are reversed.
Complaint #2: Kevin Nash is a no talant bum turncoat who never puts anyone over: Tonight Nash was laid low by the Wall who beat and humiliated him. And yet...one can easily see where that feud will go with the two physical giants clashing in grudge matches - the no talent Nash is the perfect foil for the no talent Wall. Nash & Wall...hmmmmm...that has a familiar ring to it.
Complaint #3: The young guys are always being held down by the old guys: Tonight we saw that scenerio turned into a genuine angle with enough real emotion around it to make it hugely interesting as the New Blood became the latest incarnation of the Powers-that-be enforcement squad (read nWo), turning the tables and taking control of things...and yet...relieving all of their champions of their belts was a pretty bold stroke and unlike anything I ever remember happening in a wrestling promotion.
The new creative team met in the center of the ring amidst the bulk of the WCW locker room and shoved it too the old guard...but in such a way that the old guard will continue to be the main focus of the program.
The most amazing moment had to be Shane Douglas running out and smacking Ric Flair. Or maybe it was when Vince Russo made his first on-air appearance and embraced Bischoff. Or maybe it was when Sting beat the stuffings out of Diamond Dallas Page only to have Vampiro undermine him - then to have Jeff Jarrett come back and hit Kimberly by mistake! Or maybe it was the appearance of ECW World Champ Mike Awesome to challange Sid (another of the "Old Guard") who was forced to surrender his title on pain of dismissal! Or maybe it was the speculative look on Bret Hart's face as he appeared right at the end of the evening.
Now what all the "New WCW" hype has been building to has suddenly become clear...as mud...just like it should be.
Bischoff has answered all of his critics most effectively by being exactly the same character he always was, but now he is knifing Hogan in the back - which puts Hogan in the perfect baby face orientation to start Hulkamania back up again.
Meanwhile, Ric Flair is deep into his "real life" feud with Bischoff again, only this time they are working together to make Bischoff look bad even as et the same time he does exactly what the "This is what WCW should do..." editorialists have been demanding he do for the last several years. Does anybody else see that Ric Flair is suddenly a huge face with all kinds of possibilities in front of him...at 51! His speech during his segment praised Hogan for "paying his dues" and condemning Bischoff for his perfidy. And yet...this will likely be an intense "War of Words" between Flair and Bischoff for the most part - punctuated by occasional beatings to get Flair's back up. Eventually this angle will very probably end in Flair's retirement, but I bet he will get plenty of chances to look good between now and then.
I even liked what they did with Tank Abbott (I'm sorry...David "Tank" Abbott...) They couldn't any longer justify putting him in with a real wrestler so they had him beat up on an announcer! And not just any announcer, but Mark Madden - a hated internet reporter who has been showing up surprisingly well on Nitro the last few weeks. Now he gets to be a "face" too... At least against Talentless Tank.
I have purposely not gone out and looked at any of the early reports and speculation since th program ended a couple of hours ago. But I can picture what a majority of them are going to say, "Bischoff's just playing to the Internet fans..." Well... Duh!!! What do you think McMahon was doing when he hired the Radicalz??
All in all I think Bischoff and Russo have given us plenty to talk about. It is clear that WCW is far from ready to dry up and blow away, despite the recent internet reports to the contrary.
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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