Les Thatcher's Main Event Pro Wrestling Camp, based in Evendale, Ohio, has just signed a two-year developmental contract with Time-Warner Inc.'s World Championship Wrestling (WCW). The agreement consists of having the group polish the skills of those students that graduate from WCW's training facility, the Power Plant. Thatcher's live show, the Heartland Wrestling Association (HWA), will incorporate his trainees, with those of WCW's, to assist those students in attaining practical experience before they are shown on WCW television. Thatcher, a 40-year veteran of the pro wrestling industry, and his local group, have been featured recently on networks such as MTV, ABC, and MSNBC dealing with the aspects of what it takes to become a professional wrestler. The relationship can be paralleled to what a major league baseball team has with a Triple-A farm team.
They will also be featured in an upcoming issue of Men's Journal. Writer, Randy White, followed the group around in March for a week's worth of training leading up to one of their local events held that same month. On sale in the latter part of April, the piece will be ran in their May issue. Men's Journal focuses mainly on fitness and lifestyle. It is a publication of Straight Arrow Publishers, which also publishes Rolling Stone.
During his tenure in wrestling, Pillman was best known to fans as "Flyin' Brian" and "The Loose Cannon." A native of Cincinnati (Norwood), he was also a former All-American at Miami Of Ohio and a Cincinnati Bengal's linebacker. He was found dead in his hotel room in Bloomington, MN. on Sunday afternoon, October 5th, 1997, of congestive heart failure. He was 35. He is survived by his wife Melanie and five children. All proceeds from the event will benefit the Brian Pillman Memorial Fund. The event is being organized by local promoter, Les Thatcher, and his Evendale based professional wrestling group, the Heartland Wrestling Association (HWA). Networks such as MTV, ABC, and MSNB C have all aired similar pieces, featuring Thatcher's group, that focused on how one becomes a professional wrestler. It is set to take place on Thursday, May 25th, at the Schmidt Fieldhouse (located on the campus of Xavier University) in Cincinnati, Oh.
Stars that are scheduled to appear are as follows: "Nature Boy" Ric Flair, "Big Sexy" Kevin Nash, Diamond Dallas Page, "The Crippler" Chris Benoit, Dean Malenko, Eddie Guerrero, Saturn, Al Snow, D-Lo Brown, Road Dogg, Chris Candido, Tammy Lynn Sytch, Missy Hyatt, Terry Taylor, and Jim Cornette.
Some of the items that will be available for the celebrity auction will include: WCW's Nitro Girl Kimberly's dance attire, as seen on varying broadcasts of WCW's Monday Night Nitro. WCW superstar, Diamond Dallas Page's white leather fringe jacket worn during his days as a manager from 1989-1993, and a pair of WWF superstar, Chris Jericho's wrestling boots. All items have been authenticated and autographed.
Tickets for the event ($30/ringside and $20/general admission) are currently on sale through all Ticketmaster outlets. For up the minute information on the event, log on to the official website, www.pillmanshow.com.
I don't have any really juicy extra footage or news to include. The show was identical to what everyone saw on TV. We got there right at 6, so I dont know if there were any dark matches. The bottom half of the arena was about half full. The place didnt fill out until around 7:00 pm..about an HOUR after the show started. A group of kids behind us kept screaming "I got two words for ya.." the whole night. I guess this is supposed to be "cool".
When Shane Douglas, Sean Stasiak and Mike Awesome made their debuts, nobody knew what the heck was going on. My buddy's a fellow "smark", so he knew, but I felt like we had to explain to the entire crowd who these newcomers were. In fact, the same screaming dolts behind us said "I think that's some guy from the crowd" when Douglas and, later, Awesome hit the ring. In fact, the crowd was DEAD as security pulled Douglas off of Flair. The guy to the right of me even asked "who's that" when Vampiro came into the ring at the end! I cracked up when Kevin Nash busted out that "where the hell is the DOG when you need him" joke. Crowd barked and another person around me asked what the heck Road Dogg had to do with this... Now, in defense, the crowd didnt seem to know who Awesome was, but he got IMMEDIATE "a-hole" chants..due to the fact that the fans LOVED Nash.
The matches seemed a little quick, but the fans did get up for them. The whole gimmick with shortening Luger and DDP's entrance music was not picked up by the crowd. Everyone looked around , confused, thinking it was a production screw up. Crowd basically wanted to see wrestling...and they cheered and booed for all the highspots and slam manuevers. One production miscue was painfully evident, though: the large screens to the left and right of the main jumbotron had their menus displayed in the middle of the picture. If you have a TV or VCR with on-screen programming, (like when you adjust your contrast, and a yellow box comes up) you know what I mean.
The worst part had to be DJ Ran. I'm serious...I dont want to jump on the bandwagon, but WCW needs to dump this guy, soon. I'd expect a LITTLE more creativity from a guy who makes his living as a DJ. Everytime he spoke to the crowd, his sentences ended with "..make some noise". Like "You wanna see some Nitro Girls... make some noise.." "Where's the rowdiest section..make some noise", etc. The sound was awful and his music selection was downright horrendous. He even played "She's my Cherry Pie", the awful Warrant song from 1990. I didnt think anybody was allowed to own that record anymore! Add this to other, outdated songs like Joan Jett's "I Love Rock an Roll" and you've got the most annoying thing in wrestling since Chucky. Plus, his "mixing' sounded like somebody pausing their tape player and then trying to sing over it. We all visit nightclubs every now and then, and the DJ's there dont seem to do a butcher job of mixing music. But, this isnt about a bad DJ..it's about wrestling.
While I did get into the stroylines and interviews, I was extremely disappointed with the crowd. Whenever the big screens showed Hogan, they would just scream mindlessly. After awhile, the crowd realized that the screens displayed some very important plot development..so they evenutally shut up. This is the same crowd that cheered Ted Nugent as he ran his racist garbage, while opening for KISS, last week.
At the end of the night, Luger, DDP and Sting evenutally fought off the bad guys. Funny, I see the old guys as being the bad guys..but the crowd was popping big time for all of them! Bret Hart came out on the top of the ramp, during the big melee. Hitman didnt do anything..he just turned and walked off.. I dont know if this was shown on TV or not. DDP, Luger and Sting all celebrated together and left to a big pop.
After everything, Penzer introduced Mean Gene, who then introduced Goldberg. Gene ran down Goldberg's football credentials and then stated that the Mayor of Denver has declared today "Goldberg Day". Okay..but I still find it funny that they refer to "the Mayor of Denver" instead of saying "Wellington Webb". GOldberg then thanked the fans and was sorry he couldnt wrestle. He then stated he would "Put Tank Abbott's ass in the hospital" when he gets back. He said that they do everything for the fans. He left by saying "and pretty damn soon, that belt's gonna be back around my waist!".
I really enjoyed the show, despite my snippy remarks. It was the first time I've ever actually seen Hogan. Whenever I went to WWF house shows back in the 80's and early 90's, I never saw Hogan. I also started a mild (VERY mild) "we want puppies" chant when Tank Abbott stripped off Madden's shirt. My only disappointment was I didnt get to see Miss Hancock. She was in the ring at the beginning, but I was on the opposite side of the arena! Still, we couldnt stop talking about all the developments as we were driving home. It got us excited, and for that I give WCW credit.
ES is a longtime contributor to Solie's old discussion forums and the current Mailroom, and occasionally sends us an article like this one.
My first web page...
RAW was live from Ft. Lauderdale, FL this week. Naturally, they led the first hour with an appearance by Florida's native son, Rocky Maivia, who showed footage from last week on SmackDown when Vince McMahon interfered in his match and took a chair shot for his trouble. He then showed a still blow-up of McMahon out cold on the mat with the Peoples' Boot resting firmly on his chest. Then he launched into a demand for a title shot tonight in front of his home territory crowd. This brought McMahon out carrying a chair for a little eyeball to eyeball confrontation. Rather than fight, McMahon decided it made more sense to speechify - he argued that he was responsible for the Rock's popularity and started to get emotional, saying he was upset that the Rock has never thanked him for making him a star. He called Maivia an ingrate and then accused him of having a fixation on "the rectal cavity" - whatever the hell that is... He mispronouced "feces" over and over again as he made a very tasteless suggestion involving the People's waste products. Somewhere in there he assigned Maivia to a steel cage match against an unknown opponent. Then he tried to get in a cheap shot but missed. McMahon got clobbered while his family was held at bay.
Tne NewNew Age Outlaws challenged the new Tag Champs Edge and Christian for their titles. I'm sorry, Jesse James is a very poor wrestler and he doesn't get the same chemistry with X-Pac that he always had with Billy Gunn. Nevertheless they did manage to win the match in a very underhanded manner and we thought for a moment that the titles had changed hands - but then head referee Earl Hebner intervened and restarted the match so the Tag Champs could get the win after all.
Godfather was getting to the end of his usual rhetoric when Kirk Angel strolled out to lay on some insults disguised as pleas for celebacy. The fight got started and rolled to the outside where Angle tried to use one bustified beauty as a shield only to be held so she could slap him! Back in the ring, Angle went into his Olypic Gold winning style, proceeding to wrestle old GF right out of his game and pinned him after executing his "Olympic Slam" to perfection.
Poor Paul White has been taken out of the Big Show and relegated to the Side Show...
The Radicalz took on Rakishi, Scotty-To-Hotty and Tazz (Brian Christopher was injured last week). The match degenerated as Saturn and Tazz left the ring to brawl elsewhere leaving the very bottomheavy duo of Rakishi and Scotty to try and match Malenko and Benoit - no contest, as it turned out.
HHH put up his Title in very little jeopardy in a match against Taka Michunoko. True the latter brought out the Acolytes to run Helmsley's troups away...but that didn't really do him much good. HHH finally got into a little set-to with the referee to give Taka a chance to comes back under cover of the distraction. Meanwhile the Acolytes came back and started mixing it up with HHH. But the Boss Man and Bull Buchanan did a number on them. Backstage, T&A got some back on the Dudleys for harrassing their tongue-tied manager.
The Hardey Boyz got T&A for their opponents. in a "Davids vs. Goliaths" match. This kind of match almost always goes toward the bigger guys because they don't have to expend as much energy to deliver heavy blows. But then towards the end, Test took a heavy fall on his left leg outside and was out of commission long enough for the Hardies to doubleteam to victory. They split, which was the Dudleys cue to run in and try to lay their own beating on the losers. Trish Stratus to the rescue! She climbed onto the apron and "hypmotized" the Dudleys so her guys could get the win.
Val Venis was treated to the sincerest form of flattery as the Big Show came out and did his impression of the "really Big" Valbowski. It was reasonably funny but Val wasn't amused. They had a suprisingly competitive match which saw Venis get the big guy off his feet several times. In fact, he managed to win the match but only because the enraged giant decided to strangle his opponent with his long hair wig.
Next the Millenium Bug came down to take on Eddie Guerrero for his European Title - with Chyna on the scene of course. In this one, it was Guerrero who really showed us something, surpassing Jericho in aggressiveness. Jericho recovered and came back so Chyna interefered to help her man retain his title.
We finally found out what was behind the free spa day that Terri Runnels was giving the Kat. The latter woke up to discover her hair had been butchered and her face was all painted up. How adult...
The main event featured the Rock against Bull Buchanan and the Boss Man in a cage - the Rock's opponent(s) had been kept a secret all evening. In no time he was on the receiving end and spent most of the match as the underdog. This circumstance prevailed until the rookie Buchanan managed to launch himself right onto his partner and broke their momentum. The Rock came back and won the match via pinfall but that left him trapped with his two opponents. Then HHH and the McMahons took their places in the ring. HHH produced a nasty looking set of brass knuckles and tried to mess up Maivia's pretty face.
Thunder started with the entire plot of Nitro reduced to a 5 minute recap. The program was taped Tuesday night in Colorado Springs. Eric Bischoff strutted out trailed by Russo and the rest of the New Blood wrestlers. Bischoff launched right into a full-on gloat, playing up his heel character to it's hilt. Russo maked a similar statement, followed by Kidman's version and then back to Bischoff, who started handing out gimmick matches - first up, a match pitting Kimberly vs. Madusa - which brought Dallas Page out to show off his testostarone. The fight got started and then all the old guys came streaming out and the whole ring erupted into battle, prompting the two instigators to slip away looking a little non-plussed at the chaos they had sewn.
The first event was a very lucha-like six man match featuring Guerrera/Crowbar/LaRoux vs. Candido/Sean Moore/TAFKAPI - which turned into just what it was designed as - a simulation of the coming PPV match - a Battle Royale of sorts for the Cruiserweight title. Crowbar's team won it, by the way - don't remember who he pinned. Backstage, "the Perfect One" Sean Stasiak was attacked by the former "Mr. Perfect" Curt Hennig - figures...
Next we got Bischoff giving the new Harlem Heat a pep-talk for their no DQ handicap match against Sid. Sid had to win this match in order to be in the US Title tournament. In the match, these oxes lumbered around pretty slow and then Booker ran down and interfered to upset Bischoff's apple cart. Sid won the match (as we knew he would)but ended up getting punked. And then Bischoff came out ansd reversed the decision. Unless something happens, Sid gets Sunday off.
The 3rd match was the strange coupling of Lex Luger vs. Shane Douglas. I say strange because I have always thought that Douglas and Luger have similar facial structures (along with Lenny Lane) they could all be long lost brothers. In the contest, these two were pretty well matched - both of them are kind of ponderous - things were pretty even until Ric Flair ran down and interfered on his hated enemy, Douglas. The referee was knocked down about that time and when he woke up, Luger had Douglas in the big Rack. Backstage, Jimmy Hart was trying to tell Bischoff something, but the latter wasn't listening.
Tony informed us after the break that Hulk Hogan has been hospitalized with severe head trauma, cracked ribs and other assorted bruises. This was followed by Hart coming the the ring and demanding to know why Bischoff and Company beat up on Hogan. Their answer - "because we could..." He got beat and spray painted as well.
In the next contest, they put on a Survivor Series style elimination match featuring the US Title contenders. Booker, the Wall, The Cat, Scott Steiner, Kidman (who ran in and pinned the Cat just after Steiner put the guy down) - Steiner took Kidman out like a rag doll then got distracted by a fight at ringside. Vampiro entered the ring with Sting right on his tail. Sting put the death drop on his younger rival and then split - leaving BPP to take the pin.
Thank God, Madusa decided to take the coloring out of her hair. Kimberly insisted on wrestling the former Ladies Champ but it became evident immediately that there was no contest here even though Kimberly is a surprisingly big girl. She is actually taller than Madusa and looked almost as muscular. Page ran out when his wife got into trouble and put Madusa down with a Diamond Cutter - thus proving nothing.
Yet another mass gimmick match featured all of the Hardcore Title contenders in a Three Way dance tag match to determine which two of them will square off at the PPV for the title. Screamin'/Terry Funk vs. Knobbs/Finley vs. Meng/Hugh Morrus were the teams - the winning team to face each other at the PPV. This one went all over the arena as Meng and Knobbs battled up into the concession area. At one point someone set up a life size cardboard cutout of Goldberg which Meng tackled. Moments later, Brian Knobbs went carreening over an outside wall and vanishes into what Tony described as a "30 foot drop". Back inside, Morrus and Norman battled all over the stands while Funk and Finley were having a rather ordinary (if you can call it that) Hardcore match involving trash cans and tables until Dustin Rhodes ran in and attacked Funk. Rhodes and Finley started to double up on Funk - which was legal because there are no rules in a Hardcore match. Unfortunately for them, they left the ring to set up a table only to find that Screamin'Norman had snuck in and pinned his own partner! Smiley and Funk will face each other on Sunday.
Ric Flair came out in his civvies to face Buff Bagwell - he has pledged to fight in his street clothes until Vince Russo is defeated (I guess...) He and Bagwell went at it for a pretty good while then Flair was lured out to the railing where a "Sting" costumed "fan" hit him with a ball bat. It was Russo, who joined Bagwell in the ring to beat on Flair until the other half of Team Package ran down to break it up.
The next sacrificial victim was Sting - taking on all 3(?) of the Villanos in a handicap match. This was Sting's chance to get a berth in the US Title tourney. At the end of it, the "unknown Villano" retrieved one of Jeff Jarrett's guitars and waffled Sting with it. He then peeled off the mask to reveal that he was Jarrett! This would have been the end except that DDP ran in and took Jarrett out with a Diamond Cutter before rolling Sting over for the pin.
Bam Bam Bigalo took on Diamond Dallas page as Kimberly looked on in a stunning red dress. During the match, the referee got clocked so Jeff Jarrrett ran down to lay in a guitar shot. This brought actor David Arquette (star of Ready to Rumble and various phone company commercials) into the ring only to get trashed by Jarrett. Then Chris Kanyon showed up to help his old friend DDP - but Eric Bischoff was in the ring (he had run in earlier to play referee) and he delivered a rather whimpy chair shot that put Canyon down. Jarrett was left standing with Bischoff in triumph. Eh...
SmackDown was taped Tuesday night in Tampa, FL. and opened up with a European Title match in which Rakishi challenged the current champ Eddie Guerrero. Eddie G is, of course, accompanied by Chyna these days. She seemed to be too busy mooning over her man in the beginning but that was just a ploy, of course. At the crucial moment, she bashed Rakishi in the forehead with a flower pot! Later she delivered a clothesline that turned the 400+lbs Samoan inside out. Rakishi made a comeback, so Guerrero tried to attack his injured leg. That bacikfired as well - soon the big guys was ready to deliver his butt grind on Guerrero - but Chyna interfered and obligingly took the maneuver herself!
The McMahon-Helmsley faction came to the ring and Shane made a speech about the pride he feels in his brother-in-law. Stephanie further offers to have her father be in her husband's corner - but he declines the honor. He rants on for a bit against the Rock and then the man himself shows up and they engage in verbal combat. Emerging unscathed, the Rock then delivers his usual cliche ridden rant. HHH's answer is to declare a 6 man match for the program pitting the Rock and the Acolytes against himself and the two former prison guards, Big Boss man and Bull Buchanan.
The Hardeys took on the Radicals in the persons of Chris Benoit and Dean Malenko. The match was all one sided, with the Radicals controlling things from start to finish despite occasional flares of offense from the Hardeys. Right to the last moment it seemed like the Radicalz would take it, but then the Hardeys pulled off a misdirection move and used a Swanton Bomb to take the pin over Malenko.
Crash defended his Hardcore title against Perry Saturn...and whoever else happened to show up. Saturn won it and then lost it to Tazz, who then lost it back to Crash.
Kirk Angel is astonished when his oversized partner shows up wearing a kilt and speaking in a Scottish brogue. Their opponents are the Tag Team Champs and this was a title match. The Champions' team work is second to none and they generally ahead of the game - then Angle and the giant got into an argument and got themselves counted out while they fought around ringside.
T&A had another encounter with the Dudleys. This follows their attack on the latter in their own dressing room last Monday. Albert took on Bubba ray in this one and got a win over him but it was the Dudleys who won the war with a punk job afterward.
Terri and Moolah faced the Kat and Mae Young in a grudge match. Did anyone else notice Moolah struggling to keep a straight face after Mae Young put the bronco buster on her?
The Millenium Bug was forced into a handicap match agaist the NewNew Age Outlaws. NNAO strikes me as not being near as good a team as the NAO was. In this one, Jericho keeps helping them run into each other until Tori invades the ring and distracts him long enough for the two of them to take him down.
Stephanie came to the ring with a blonde bimbo cutie friend of hers, apparently. She (the bimbo, I mean) turns out to be an aerobics trainer who offers to puit the entire audience through their paces.
The main event pitted HHH, Boss Man and Bull Buchanan against the Rock and the Acolytes. HHH managed to stay out of the match almost entirely, sending his two giant stooges out to handle the competition. He finally got into the match after the two sets of tag teams both disappeared from the ring area (it was eerie I tell you...) and it was just HHH and the Rock one on one. The Rock eventually won that encounter but not the match...
And that is it for this edition. I am going to Los Angeles this afternoon and won't be retuning until Sunday night so there will be no ECW Report and no PPV Report this weekend. I will be back with next Saturday's edition. Until then...
At least that's the way I see it...
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