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Scott Taylor wins the WWF Light Heavyweight Strap

The Way I See It...

Weekly Review by Earl Oliver

IT'S WHITE HORSES AND BLACK HATS

from the Allentown Morning Call, April 26, 1984


Volume 5, Issue 563 - April 22, 2000
Editor's Note: We begin this edition with the first part of another Solie's Classic Reprint, this one from the Allentown Morning Call in April of 1984 courtesy of J. Michael Kenyon and the WAWLI Papers.

IT'S WHITE HORSES AND BLACK HATS

Allentown Morning Call, April 26, 1984

By Joe Kita

Part 1

It's Friday night at the Easton VFW. Along with the cigarette smoke, anticipation hangs heavy in the air. Tonight, there's gonna be a fight.

"He's one of the most obnoxious people I know," said Don 'D.C.' Drake, rubbing his fist in expectation. "He's always belching and spitting tobacco juice on the floor. He's been known to kick people when they're down and then stand on their faces. He's a slob. I don't want kids looking up to someone like that."

"Drake's nothing but a Flex-O-Matic," sneered the one called 'Cowboy.' "The man pumps some iron before breakfast, probably 10 pounds for 500 reps, and then walks around like a puffed up peacock the rest of the day. Sure he's strong, but there's more to it than that. You'll see."

There is, indeed, a lot more to it. While the events that would transpire in this dank bingo hall have all the characteristics of an alley brawl -- the chains, the blood, the roars of pain -- they would, in reality, be just props in a carefully arranged stage show that some say belongs on Broadway. If the Easton VFW had a marquee, it might have flashed in neon:

"Professional Wrestling Tonight, 'D.C. Drake' vs. 'Concrete Cowboy,' Texas Chain Match."

Wrestling, in its most basic roll-in-the-dirt form, has existed since the dawn of man. Cavemen, the ancient Greeks, even a soldier in George Washington's command dubbed 'The Giant' all engaged in this most rudimentary of sports. In those early days, it was largely a macho test of strength -- a John Sullivan, bare-knuckles type of combat witnessed by hordes of whooping, wagering spectators.

But in the early 1950s, wrestling took a bizarre turn. Into the ring strutted 'Gorgeous George' with his flowing hair and sweeping capes. He ranted and raved and wrestled in a P.T. Barnum style that people loved to hate. Announcers like Dennis James cracked chicken bones near their microphones as radio listeners recoiled in fascinated horror. Before long, television brought the 'Backbreaker Joes' and 'No Neck Nicks' of this world into the living rooms of America. Professional wrestling, in all its glittery show biz splendor, was on its way to becoming the multi-million dollar industry it is today.

According to the 'Concrete Cowboy,' professional wrestling is the largest spectator sport in the world, boasting a multitude of federations and nearly 2,000 wrestlers.

Bruno Sammartino, one of the most popular wrestlers of all time, once earned $325,000 in a single year and appeared before sold-out Madison Square Garden crowds 187 times. The sport grosses between $100 million and $150 million annually.

Locally, the Continental Wrestling Alliance (CWA) is trying to capitalize on this popularity. Founded in 1982 in the Philadelphia area, the CWA merged with two other wrestling federations and then became independent again in late 1983. Currently, it is headquartered in Easton and Ardsley, a Philadelphia suburb, with a stable of about 50 wrestlers and a cable network that includes five stations, including Twin County, Blue Ridge, Allegheny, Lower Bucks and Berks County.

Likening itself to the burgeoning United States Football League, the CWA is trying to gain a foothold in an area where the World Wrestling Federation (WWF) has traditionally been strong. Holding periodic shows at the Allentown Fairgrounds, the Connecticut-based WWF, which is controlled by Titan Sports, has been in existence since the early '60s and features most of the popular wrestling names like 'Sgt. Slaughter' and 'Captain Lou Albano.'

The CWA stresses that it is trying to co-exist with Titan rather than wage a war against it. According to Drake, Bruno Sammartino tried to start a similar organization in the Lehigh Valley a few years ago, but was "squeezed out" by Titan.

"We're trying to learn from his mistakes," said Drake, "and give the people something new. Our wrestlers are younger and more hungry. They give 150 percent whereas Titan's are living on past names."

All of the wrestlers in the CWA are classified as "independents," meaning they are not under contract by any federation. Some, like Phillipsburg native Eddie Mirenda, are just beginning careers, while others, like Drake and the 'Concrete Cowboy' have been body slammed in many different organizations in many different parts of the world including Japan, Africa and the Philippines.

"They're vicious people," said Drake, referring to some of the other federations. "They do use wrestlers. If you're an independent and you don't like the deal you're getting, you can always go elsewhere. But if you sign a contract with one of them, they can make anything out of you they want."

To be continued...



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The Way I See It...

Nitro came on with some big shoes to fill this week and decided to go with balloons....big red ones...floating into the arena like giant corpuscles along with a flurry of red confetti to symbolize the "New Blood". Vince Russo (the announcers actually called him "VinnieRue") appeared in the ring among his new mid-card wrestlers and then dramatically introduced his new Champion, the "Chosen One" Jeff Jarrett. Jarrett ranted his rant, then Russo brought Bischoff on with is new companion, Kimberly. At this point we all noticed that there was a solid security force in riot gear at ringside. Kim talked about blowing off her eleven year relationship with DDP saying that he has been the entire focus of her career but really - she is the Star. She and Bischoff hint at having a physical relationship (but I don't believe it for a minute). Dallas arrived and fought his way to the ring to be joined by the riot squad - who turn out to be "the Millionaires' Club". Big beaten got put on...

Okay - so are we all agreed that we are in full out parody mode again..? I mean I hope someone isn't going to ask me to spell it out. This is Russo's style folks... After the first break we watched as Bischoff had a "come to Jesus" meeting with the mid-card guys then had his security crew in - who walked out on him - then the phone rang and it was Hogan threatening him...poor Uncle Eric...

First up in the ring, "the Perfect One" Shawn Stasiak taking on the member of the Millionaires' Club b team, Curt Hennig with the obvious reference to a former character of Hennig's providing the heat (what there is of it...). Miss Handcock appeared ringside to watch this one and take notes. It was a pedestrian match, kind of a lumbering affair which ended when Stasiak applied his own "Perfect Plex" to Hennig's outrage. Backstage, Hulk Hogan had arrived and was staring down a few uniformed security cops. They blinked and then melted away so Hogan could run in and embrace Hennig after he'd done all the work. Hogan's rant talked about his "spot" in the wrestling business being in jeopardy and then turned into a challange to Kidman (whom he addressed as "Billy Kidman"). The Kid appeared on the giant screen and started taunting Hogan to "come get me" backstage somewhere. So Hogan obligingly took off at a trot as we cut to commercial. Hogan ran out before the giant screen revealed Bischoff standing right near Kidman leaning on his Hummer. Hogan stalking the halls would be the running sight gag for the rest of the evening.

Jeff Jarrett declared an open contract to anyone in the New Blood who isn't a millionaire, then disappeared. Someone later took him up on it but the challenger was not revealed right away.

Terry Funk gave a vicious beating to the Wall in a Hardcore title defense before launching himself into a moonsault off the apron which landed him square on his head. The Wall squatted near a safety railing watching Funk to make sure he was all right before continuing the match. From there it was all downhill as the big guy dragged Funk out of the ring and through the crowd. In the backstage area, Funk suddenly got control of a folding table and used it to pin his challenger.

DDP was all in a tizzy - he complained that he had originally been banned from the building but then he found himself in a match against Mike Awesome. He says, "bring it on..."

The Brians' (Chronic...whatever...) demanded a Tag Team Title shot from Vince Russo who told them to be patient. So they beat up the Harris twins and took their shot at the #1 contender status match against the Marmalukes, who they dispatched with ease.

Vampiro got the full star treatment for his appearance to make a speech, challenging Sting to come out and learn about pain in an intense rant punctuated by the fact that he was chewing gum, and happily chewed it between sentences. Suddenly the lights went out and Sting's music played. Out of the darkness, Sting rapelled into the ring, carrying his ball bat and then swinging it. Vamp was taken right out as Sting battered him systematically, taunting him as he carried out the beating. I'm sure some fool has already complained that Sting is dishonoring the memory of Owen Hart by going back to doing the stunt again...balderdash!

DDP vs. Mike Awesome was next. Page dominated the early going until Awesome hit one of his patented springboard back-elbow smashes. The match went into see-saw mode with Page still in control. Then Awesome started dishing out his high flying style and Page was reeling when Chris Kanyon ran in and attacked Awesome. Awesome shrugged him off and threw him from the ring. He was getting ready to powerbomb Kanyon through a table in the ring when Kevin Nash ran in and jack knifed him through the table. Nash, DDP and Kanyon all embraced as Awesome lay out cold in the ring.

Oh jeez! I just noticed that I forgot to turn on the tape for RAW. I'm 22 minutes late...

Lex Luger interrupted a rant by Shane Douglas to issue a challenge for the Tag Team Titles, then Talentless Tank came out to run down his new gimmick - he's going to beat up an innocent victim every night until Goldberg answers his challenge. Tonight it's the owner of the local team that gets hauled into the ring. Fortunately for him, his star athlete is there to rescue him. Mark Madden was terrified at ringside until he realized that Abbott had said a "different" victim every night. The Douglas/Luger match got underway and was progressing nicely when Bagwell decided to get involved. Of course all he could do was hit on Miss Liz, so the fight went on in the ring and out to the floor where a "mysterious man in a Sting mask", which turned out to be the Nature Boy - used his handy bat to give Luger the victory. Backstage, Hogan caught up with Kidman and was in charge until he was distracted by Torrie, but then he just shrugged her off and went back to work on Kidman. He threw Kidman into a dumpster then noticed Eric Bischoff and his Hummer. Uncle Eric tried to get his vehicle started but failed - so he sprinted away up the parking lot ramp. Hogan got into the Hummer and it started right up (of course) - he rammed the dumpster a few times and then drove out of camera range up the ramp. After the break we saw EMT's taking Kidman out of the dumpster on a stretcher.

The show had gone by very fast - it was 9:50 as Jeff Jarrett's "mystery" challenger, Scott Steiner made his way to the ring for his big title shot. Steiner heaped indignity on top of his insolence by bringing the nWo Grrrrls to the ring with him. This was quite a challenge for Jarrett because we all know that Steiner can probably beat anyone, legit... He proceeded to prove that contention throughout the match until Booker T ran in and saved Jarrett's cookies. Backstage, Hogan was still raging and hurting furniture. At 9:56 Tony yelled at us to stay tuned because the show wasn't over yet.

After the break, Hogan found Bischoff and chased him into the arena then right into the ring. This is so silly - Hogan was lured to the ring where he menaced Bischoff, then Russo crept down only to be shoved aside by Bret Hart who went to the ring with a chair. He milled about for a moment while Hogan trussed Bischoff up in the corner - then Hart started to attack...someone...the camera faded before we could tell which side he was coming down on. Pretty intriguing...

I have since heard that Hart turned on Hulk Hogan to align himself with the New Blood faction.

I have to say I am encouraged - the show was better than average though not up to the emotional content of last week. That would be hard to beat however, so again, I am encouraged that they have picked a direction and are running with it. I really like the way they have taken so many of the complaints we hear all the time on the internet and made them into angles. It adds an element of reality to the whole thing that could be very entertaining if handled skillfully. How well the promotion is going to be able to capitalize on all of this is still up for debate.


RAW

As I mentioned, I missed the first 20 minutes of RAW tonight. Here then, is a report on the first match, courtesy of WrestleBoard! and Nick Ponton.

As I joined the program, Earl Hebner was being forced to reverse the decision in the World Title match that just took place. He agrees on his terms - that nobody will touch him ever again as long as he is a WWF referee. HHH agreed and sent the referee to retrieve the WWF Title belt from Jericho. Jericho appeared and made a speech and insulted Stephanie - but he did surrender the belt. HHH forced Hebner to put the belt on him, then he fired him, then he punked him.

Chyna had to slam his book on his hand to get Eddie G to go out to the ring for his match, so intent was he on his studies for a GED(he wants to be intelligent, like Chyna). Backstage, Linda McMahon pulled up in a limo and told Shane that she had a big announcement to make concerning the Rock.

The Hardeys matched up against Essa Rios and Eddie G. This put two competent women wrestlers at ringside to make the odds more in favor of their men. It seemed to work although actually the two latin stars exhibited some pretty smooth teamwork as well. They prevailed until they started trying to match aerial moves with the masters, then the Hardeys brought things a little more under control. Moments later, in one of the worst timed spots I have ever seen, Lita threw a moonsault that took Eddie G out by mistake. I mean Eddie had to stand there bracing himself and at the same time pretending to look dazed while she got herself set on the top. This might have been Guerrero's punishment for hurting her a few weeks ago with a powerbomb on the floor. In the end the Hardeys took the duke and Eddie G and Chyna took out their fury on Guerrero's partner.

Tazz was introduced as the ECW World Champion - his defeated opponent was not named. This was a Hardcore three way dance for the Hardcore Title featuring Tazz, Champion Chrash Holly and Perry Saturn. It went as these matches usually do - nobody could get a pin because there was always the third man to break it up. Bob Holly showed up and decided to join the match after a few minutes. He brought his own referee, even. With four guys all scrambling in and out of the ring, it was a perfect confusing situation for Crash to pull off one of his misdirection numbers and win the match thus retaining his title.

After some hemming and hawing, Linda came out with the announcement that Steve Austin would be in the corner of the Rock at the next PPV. This brought Stephanie to the ring to dispute her authority. She tried to force a reversal of the decision but Linda refused. Stephanie lashed out but Linda blocked it then decked her! She (Linda) looked horrified at what she had done until HHH decided to intervene. This brought Shane in to join the battle on the side of his mom - another little side issue... The Rock then arrived and launched into one of his classic - monky crap, eletrifyin' rants right in HHH's face - (from a discreet distance, of course). He signalled his acceptance of the Rattlesnake in his corner then continued on with his rant to it's inevitable conclusion.

Backstage, HHH was defiant - he didn't lose anything, he had plans for later in the program, yatta, yatta...

Head Cheese (otherwise known as the "Dope and the Dork") took on the Dudleys in a typical match for these two teams. The Dudleys seemed to have it all in hand when T&A ran in and upset their apple cart. An enraged Bubba Ray grabbed Trish Stratus by the hair and was kind of swinging her around when she had the idea to lay a big wet one on him. That distracted him enough for her to escape. In a cafeteria somewhere on campus, Kirk Angel was preaching the virtue of abstinence to a young couple who didn't appreciate his advice.

Scott Taylor got a return match for the Light Heavyweight Title (his shot on Heat Sunday night was rather rudely interrupted). Dean Malenko appeared to give up a little size to his challenger who was all over him throughout the early going. You know that Scotty hasn't really been challenged until his hat gets knocked off. Malenko took care of that and then handed young Mr. Taylor his head. Scotty got a couple of offensive moves in - he even got to do the Worm. Funniest line of the night: Jim Ross yelling, "He connected with his worm..." Scotty followed through and actually won the match...and the title. Back in the cafeteria, Kirk Angel was still at it when he noticed that the Big Show was on the other side of the room giving out condoms!!

The Big Show challenged Chris Benoit for the Intercontinental Title and appeared to be headed for a victory until the Champion delivered a blatent low-blow that got him DQ'd. Kirk Angel ran in and attacked the big guy some more.

Edge and Christian defended their Tag Team Titles against Bull and the Boss Man who took them to a pretty good battle but then got DQ'd when the Boss Man hit the referee. At that point Kane chose to appear with his dad at is side. Kane quickly vanquished his enemies so he could play with his pyro.

Backstage, the NewNew Age Outlaws attacked the Tag Champs from behind.

The Millenium Bug got another chance to face HHH by participating in a big six-man main event with the Acolytes and against DX. Shane showed up just as the match was getting underway. Jericho and the Acolytes quickly cleared the ring and Jericho had HHH in a Walls of Jericho maneuver but X-Pac escaped and broke that up. Then Faarooq was gotten under control for a while until the Road Dogg tagged in and lost the advantage. It took a triple team to grab him back and continue the assault until Faarooq recovered with a back breaker and got the tag in to Jericho. All order broke down and the NNAO and the Acolytes fought away from the ring. They ran into Edge and Christian at the top of the ramp. The Acolytes returned to the ring as the match resumed between HHH and Jericho. HHH won it and posed in triumph as the cameras faded.

The WWF really did pull out all the stops tonight with this Jericho vs. HHH developement and then bringing Steve Austin back into the picture way ahead of schedule. I can just see McMahon calling him up saying, "Look, I know you don't want to appear on camera without your muscles but for the good of the company..." It is clear that Titan is feeling a little ennerved by what is going on down South. have since heard that RAW trounced Nitro in the ratings - as usual - which is not surprising - it takes a lot of good shows to make a difference, not just one or two. Any WWFHead will tell you that Nitro continued to dominate the ratings for months after "everybody knew that the WWF shows were better..."

On Jericho I have to say I was a little underwhelmed with his in-ring performance. Maybe it is because HHH has improved so much that Jericho seemed to be kind of going through the motions in the action I saw. At least when you watch HHH, or UT or Austin, you get the impression that they are seriously out to put a whippin' on someone. Jericho just doesn't quite feel real that way.


Thunder was pre-empted this week by NCA Basketball.
SmackDown opened with a recap of the opening moments of RAW - Chris Jericho almost wins the WWF Heavyweight Title. A referee gets fired and Linda makes her big announcement. The Rock delivers his rant yatta, yatta...

The program was taped Tuesday night in Philadelphia and opened with an appearance by the NewNew Age Outlaws. It was Road Dogg taking on Edge in a one-on-one warm-up for the big Tag Title match at the next PPV. Edge dominated throughout the early minutes but then the fight went to the floor where Jess James is more at home. Back in the ring he struggled mightly to hold onto his advantage. In the end he had to reverse a roll-up with a handfull of tights to take the win.

Mr. and Mrs. McMahon-Helmsley spent a good 8 minutes lamenting their collective woes over Linda's interference and Steve Austin's introduction to the Backlash festivities. Then HHH declared a lumberjack match tonight between the Millenium Bug and the Rock. Lumberjacks to be selected by Shane McMahon. Tazz then appeared and made a challange to HHH for the WWF Title which HHH accepted saying he would prove that the WWF was better than ECW. Mike Cole immediately went way out on a limb to state that this was the first time that the World Champion from another promotion had challenged the WWF Champion. Hmmmm...I wonder what Harley Race, Ric Flair, Bob Backlund and Superstar Billy Graham would say to that..?

Eddie G and Essa Rios had another chance to try their fledgling team out in a match against the Dudleys.. Again the hapless Lita managed to mess up her one good move (or maybe she got it exactly right...:-) by taking out Eddie G and causing him to be pinned. Afterward, Chyna was so intent on harrasing the valet that she failed to see the Dudleys setting up a table and surrounding the two females. Chyna tossed Lita to Bubba and split so that the Dudleys could do their worst.

HHH defended his title against Tazz and the ECW Champ was making great strides until Tommy Dreamer appeared out of the crowd and bashed Tazz with a chair to save HHH's cookies.

The Godfather and D-Lo Brown's match against T&A ended rather abruptly when D-Lo suddenly turned on his partner and laid him out. Glad to see it - Brown is way too talented to be laboring as the Godfather, Jr.

The X-Pac got his own warm-up for their Tag Team Title match coming up at the PPV when he took on Christian in a singles contest. Tori ended up getting involved to win it for her man.

Kirk Angel got a chance to try and win his IC Title back in a match against current Champ Chris Benoit. This match was somewhat of a wrestling exhibition which favored Benoit until the Big Show ran out and first attacked Benoit - then chased Angle out of the arena.

Crash Holly visited the circus during the afternoon and got challenged for his Hardcore Title by a bunch of clowns!!! The clowns turned out to be the Meanstreet Posse, of course.

The Rock launched into one of his usual rants concerning his match with Chris Jericho later in the show - his entire speech was directed at HHH and Vince McMahon - he conveniently ignored his opponent for the evening - not even alluding to him except that we knew he had the match so it all involved Jerich...sort of...peripharally - he was the negligable roadblock that HHH was trying to throw in the Great One's way...

Jericho arrived a little too late to have anything to say, apparently. Before he could open his mouth, Maivia made his entrance and cut off his music. The lumberjacks were there to start beating on anyone who fell out of the ring. The DX started coordinating their antics so that they could distract the referee and interfere at the same time. Before we knew it, the referee was down and DX was softening up both oponents as the program faded.


ECW on TNN

I have missed the last two programs because of having to be out of town on business. "That Guy" was making a nonsense rant when he was interrupted by Mikey Whipwreak in dyed hair. He shewed the wrestler away and then continued on with his rant...didn't really say anything but he did spill the beans about Tazz coming back to grab the ECW title. He laughed a lot...

Whipwreak was lighting fires (literally) at ringside as the opening announcements were being made. We were told that this is live coverage of WrestlePalooza. Styles invited the Impact Players to the ring for a parlay.First off he insulted Dawn Marie by implying that she should be afraid of Jazz (whoever that is...)A rather skinny woman in a leather jacket ran in - ah it's Francine - and got in Dawn's face. Raven followed his lady to the ring and arrived in time to shield her from harm and to find himself embroiled in an "impromptu" Tag Team Title match with the conveniently nearby Mikey as his partner. We went to sell something before anything else could develop.

Naturally, as we returned, Whipwreak was in trouble. One might have predicted that he would be the one isolated as a weak link. When Raven got back into it he quickly tied things up and would have had the pin except that Dawn Marie jumped on him and spoiled the ending. Francine ran in and a cat fight ensued but soon spilled out of the ring. back inside there was a series of pin attempts then Raven was knocked to the floor. The Tag Champs dispensed with their diminutive opponent in a flash.

Cyrus was in the ring harrassing Electra and her new wrestler friend - he orders them from the ring then starts talking about contracts - about the fact that Scotty Riggs (did he call him "Anton"?) doesn't have one. This brings Scotty to the ring - I guess he is called Scotty Anton these days. Whatever...Cyrus challenged him to a match - but it was all a set-up for an attack by Rhino. This one also turned into an impromptu match which Rhino dominated. Victory and Corino were ringside and started throwing furniture into the ring. This slowed Scotty for a minute or so but then he made a comeback only to be overwhelmed by the numbers - then Rob Van Dam ran in and the whole tenor of things shifted as security and other personnel streamed in to separate the combatants.

Steve Corino had a bullrope match against Tommy Dreamer. This is ECW vs. TNN as Corino represents the Cyrus faction. Corino attacked right on the bell and got Dremer in the eye with the cowbell on the rope. For several moments he dominated Dreamer until the latter got a "Testicular Claw" on his opponent to turn the tables for a while. Before long he had Corino bleeding from the forehead and was doing a bang up job of trashing him when Jack Victory decided to to get involved. It looked bad for Dreamer for a minute and then the Sandman made his entrance. I always think its amazing that Sandman can take all the time in the world to get to the ring and his opponents always drop whatever they are doing and stare at him. He carried a ladder out this night and brought it right into the ring with him. In a flash he was all over the bad guys then Dreamer joined him to beat on their opponents until Tajiri ran out and attacked Dreamer to change the odds once again. But that wasn't the end. New Jack dragged his cart full of plunder to the ring and joined the fight. Jack Victory got his forehead stapled while Sandman tried to break Corinos leg and Dreamer stalked Tajiri out into the crowd. It is ECW all the way over the network toadies. Through it all Corino appears to be the designated "hitee" - but eventually the bad guys made their comeback initiated by Tajiri who got loose for a moment - the ending was a comedy of errors as Tajiri tried to use his green mist but "sucked when he should have blowed" and started choking on the stuff. Victory grabbed him in a heimlich maneuver causing to him spray into Corino's face. The good guys turned the tables for a while and then Rhino ran in to turn them back - followed by Dusty Rhodes who was cleaning house when we went to commercial.

The rest of the program was all promos for the big show tomorrow.

I'll be back next week...until then...

At least that's the way I see it...

Earl Oliver
Editor, Solie's Wrestling Newsletter



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