By Michael Sragow
Vince McMahon said to me once -- when we were talking -- "It's funny. In the past the industry would go, 'It's real, it's real, it's real, it's real, it's real, it's real,' but it was just pulled muscles and stuff, not life-threatening. Now everyone goes, 'It's sports entertainment, it's fake, it's fake, it's fake,' and the reality is guys are really brutalizing themselves in the ring."
Unfortunately, you have fans who go, "OK -- you exploded yourself this time, what can you do next? How are you going to top that?" That's why I am glad Mick Foley is retired and out of wrestling; I think it is going to stick longer than most wrestling retirements. He retired two or three weeks ago; ironically, the day after Vince started pulling ads.
Question: Since you bring him up -- let's jump ahead to the climax of the movie. You present Mick Foley as a prince, but then you show him bringing his little kids to a match where he ends up with a bandaged head.
Mick was going to bring his kids regardless. The WWF had wanted his wife at that match; they wanted to showcase him having a decent, regular wife and family, though they backed away from it the day before. The kids wanted to be there, but I said, "Mick, you know, I think this is a bad decision. As a father, I think this is bad." And Mick was like, "But the kids really want to go, they'll be prepared." And Mick did ask the kids if they really wanted to go, and did try to keep them from being scared. He did tell them that the Rock is his friend. As you see in the movie, the Rock goes to meet them and is really good with the kids. But the reality is no matter how well you prepare them, they're still seeing Daddy being brutalized.
Mick spoke to me about two weeks afterward and asked how the footage of the kids watching the match turned out. I said, "Mick, it's horrendous, it's absolutely horrendous." And he said, "You know, the kids seemed fine backstage afterwards." And you know, even if Mick was bleeding, the kids were kind of fine -- he never let go of his daughter or his son's hand. So I wanted to show Mick this footage for two reasons: First, he needed to see it. Second, from an editorial standpoint, I didn't want the last image of Mick to be that he's a terrible human being and father. Because I've been around him long enough to know that he's a wonderful father. He made a mistake in judgment. I'm a parent -- we make mistakes in judgment. That happens. And you like to be accountable, particularly when you make bad ones. I thought part of what was happening was that when you're in this lifestyle for so long, you lose all perspective on everything.
My editor was against me showing it to Mick. My wife warned me, "You like Mick a lot. And although he has no editorial control whatsoever, he's going to want it out of the movie. And you're not going to want to take it out." So I brought it with me when I went to shoot the footage of him playing with his kids. Before he saw it, he kept saying, "I don't think it was so bad -- the kids got a trip to Disneyland." Finally, when I decided to show it to him, I hadsomeone take the kids out for ice cream, because I didn't want them to see it or see the reaction Mick would have. And it was hard -- like really punching someone who dares you to hit him in the stomach. It was devastating to him. But actually, as I was leaving he said, "You know, it doesn't make me look particularly wonderful, but I think you should keep it in the film, because it's important." I was going to keep it in anyway, but I appreciated that.
One thing I kept saying to my editor, Jeff Werner, who did a terrific job, is that rather than keep going back to what the footage shows, we should go back to the way I felt about these people when I was there. Because let's face it, footage isn't holy -- you can manipulate it any way you want. That's why I desperately wanted to get Mick's reaction to the footage and put it in the film. Because if people would see how he reacts and still think he's an awful human being -- well, so be it, I guess that's their prerogative. When Mick saw the final film, he felt really proud to be in it. But he asked whether his son, Dewey, was in it as much as Noelle. He just wanted to be sure that one child wasn't favored over the other, and that sums him up.
Question: That's what's so befuddling!
It is confusing, but it's not a black-and-white world we live in. It's all grays, man. Is there a kind of mental and emotional as well as physical numbing you need to go through to participate in this sport?
Very much so. And I think that's one of the reasons Mick has stopped; he realized he can't go on like this any more.
To be continued...
The program opens back in the parking lot where the Cat arrives via limo and sends Smooth off to take care of something. He is then confronted by the Jung Dragons who want a showdown here and now. Miller tells them he doesn't have time to "play" right now and then dispatches them with a few kicks and punches. The Bash is live from Daytona Beach, Florida.
Into the arena we go where the Filthy Animals are showing up and for some reason we have Spanish language announcers doing the honors. As Konnan finishes his schtick, the English language announcers take over. The referee then starts ejceting all of the non-essential personnel so that Lt. Loco and defend his Cruiserweight Title against Juventud Guerrera. After the first few exchanges, Juvie is knocked to the floor and retreats up the aisle to contemplate his next move. He suckers the Champ out to the floor then rolls in and cuts him off as he tries to return. The fight goes into see-saw mode at this point, both competitors are getting in their shots - by Guerrero is still holding most of the cards. About five minutes in they crash head-to-head and both are down for a count. At 6 they are both back up and swinging away at each other. Juvie is tumbled to the floor again and Guerrero hits a spectacular splash from the inside out. At this point he Animals show up in halloween masks trying to sneak back to ringside. They are sent away again but provide the distraction Juvie needs to turn the tide. Now it is his turn to drop a big guillotine off the top rope to the floor. As Juvie is about to lay on the "Juice Elbow" - members of MIA start filtering out - they are wearing halloweeen masks as well (except Major Guns) - Capt. Rection has on a Bill Clinton mask. They are also sent away from ringside. Moments later Chavo's Tornado DDT finally provides him with the victory to retain his title.
In the back, Ernest Miller is trying to make himself understood to the Jung Dragons, who don't seem to be getting it. Jeff Jarrett shows up and demands to know where Hogan is.
Big Vito is supposed to defend his Hardcore Title, but nobody knows who his opponent is supposed to be. It turns out to be Norman Smiley (w/Ralphus). Vito leaves the ring and takes Ralphus out in the aisle then goes after Smiley, who runs back to the platform where he finds himself trapped and beaten with a stick. He escapes to the backstage area where he turns the tables and gets in some shots with a trashcan. Ralphus joins in the mayhem and delivers some shots of his own as Vito is reeling from the blows. He recovers soon enough however and now Smiley is screamin' as Vito tears into him. Soon they commandeer a freight elevator and Vito is shoved out before the doors close. He runs downstairs where he encounters Ralphus again and pauses to drag him to the ring and pummel him. He places a trashcan lid on Ralphus's midsection and whacks him with a baseball bat (ouch!!!) Vito sets up a table and puts Ralphus on it, splashes him and takes the pin as Smiley reappears to late to do anything.
Goldberg is shown in the nack with Scott Hall's contract as Mean Gene interviews his opponent tonight, Kevin Nash. Nash is determined to win (well...duh...)
Next up - the Wedding Gown match between Daffney and Miss Hancock. The objetc here is to rip the dress off your opponent. Miss Hancock comes to the ring accompanied by David Flair in a tux. Her "gown" is a white cocktail dress with a veil. My understanding is that they are a real life couple. Daffney's outfit is black lace including hte veil. She arrives while David and Miss H are smooching in the ring and delivers a low blow to David then the fight is on. As the "match" progresses is becomes evident that Daffney has been taking some lessons - meanwhile, Miss H pants the referee then Daffney does the same to David!! David refuses to leave the ring and soon he and Miss H are ganging up on Daffney and trying to shave Daffney's head. Crowbar shows up to the rescue and he gets pantsed! In the midst of all this, Miss H decides to go into a strip tease and tears her own gown off and loses the match. She would get more undressed if Daffney didn't puch cake in her face and stop the show. A general food fight ensues and the match dissolves.
Backstage, the Cat is walking and talking to himself as the Jung Dragons continue to stalk him. He hears Japanese music but can't figure out where it is coming from. The announcers are telling us that Hogan still hasn't shown up (the fact is that Hogan's contract expires after this event, so almost anything could happen at this point). Tony speculates that it is all a mind game on the part of the Hulkster. The reason for all of this chatter is that the ringside area needs to be cleaned up after the last contest.
Now it's time for the World Tag Team Title match between the Tag Team Chumps Sean Stasiak/Chuck Palumbo and Kronic. From the opening bell, the Brians have the upper hand. The Chumps continually have to save each other from being pinned. They eventuall get the chance to apply some double team moves on Adams out on the floor to finally turn the tables in their favor for a while. After beating on him for a while both inside and outside the ring Palumbo slaps on a sleeper but Adams escapes. Still the Chumps manage to remain in control, and then Stasiak applies the sleeper. Adams escapes again and then he and Stasiak collide head-to-head and go down. Both recover and tag out putting Palumbo in against Brian Clark, who is in the match for the first time. But amazingly, the Chumps continue to dominate! Adams has recovered but is continually cut-off when he tries to interfere. Finally, he does manage to get in and the tide turns once again toward the challengers. Moments later a version of the Road Warriors' old finisher ends the match and Kronic are the new Tag Team Champs.
Backstage, the Cat is still hearing Japanese music. The Jung Dragons appear again and attack him with martial arts weapons this time.
Positively Kanyon has reason to regret that he ever agreed to take on Booker T. This is no surprise considering that Booker is rumored to be the next wrestler to get the big push in WCW. Moments into the match, Booker gets hold of Kanyon's book and removes the brick from it. Back in the ring, Booker retains the advantage but then as the fight goes to the floor, Kanyon turns the tables, runs Booker into the steps then positions the steps on Booker's body before whacking them with q chair. Back in the ring, Kanyon is concentrating his attack on the back of his opponent. He then applies a suplex from the outside in over the top rope. He wedges a chair in the ring ropes but before he can use it, Booker recovers and starts fighting back. He is stopped in his tracks by a powerbomb and then Kanyom slaps on an inverted Boston Crab. Booker powers out of it and then runs Kanyon into the corner where the chair waits. Kanyon finds his book and uses it but it is ineffective without the brick inside. Booker plays possum and then takes his opponent by surprise. As Booker is getting ready to end the match, Jeff jarrett runs in and wallops him with his guitar! Kanyon sets Booker on the corner buckle and delivers a flying Diamond Cutter to get the pin.
Big Pappa Pump is on hand to defend his US Title (for the first time in months, actually) against his current arch enemy, Mike Awesome. The fight is started out on the floor as Awesome makes his entrance and goes right into the crowd. The brawl to the back of the arena where a plastic trash can comes into play. After a few moments, Steiner drags Awesome back to ringside and bludgeons him before rolling him back into the ring. Awesome climbs the corner to attempt a comeback but Steiner catches him there and topples him to the mat. Awesome is on the receiving end until he manages to block a suplex and then drops Steiner bodily onto the top rope. Back out to the floor and now Awesome has the advantage as he delivers several chair shots and then runs Steiner's back into the railing. Back in the ring, Awesome delivers a big splash from the outside in...then the Cat appears on the ramp and heads for the ring. Steiner recovers and gets a belly-to-back to set up the Steiner Recliner - but Miller objects and hops up on the apron. Steiner knocks him to the floor and then stumbles right into Awesome's clutches. Awesome outs him dwn and hits a splash off the top but can't get the pin. Moments later Steiner knocks Awesome away and the referee goes down. The Cat pops up on the apron again and is again knocked off. Steiner is ready for the Recliner again - but Miller is threatening to strip him of his title if he does. The hotheaded Steiner puts it on anyway and is DQ'd. Miller tries to make off with the belt but Steiner catches up with him and puts him down before going back and destroying his opponent in the ring. Apparently Scott Steiner has been stripped of the US Title.
The Graveyard match is next between Vampiro and the Demon. Cut to the "graveyard" where the Demon is looking for Vampiro accompanied by his fiance and referee Charles Robinson. They conduct a lengthy search without success then Vamp drops out of a tree but misses his spot. Demon takes the immediate advantage but Vamp recovers quickly and the fight is on. Vamp takes control for a moment but Aysa delivers a kick to his back. Vampire is tumbled into a grave where he recovers while the Demon is distracted by his lady. Vamp drags the Demon into the hole then climbs out and grabs Aysa and drags her away. Robinson sends Torborg after them then decides that he doesn;t want to be left there alone. Demon finds Aysa dazed on the shore of a body of water. As he is checking on her, Vamp rises up out of the water and drags his opponent into the drink. Moments later he emerges and drags Aysa awat again. Robinson fishes the Demon out of the water and they go off in pursuit of Vamp and the girl. The object here is to return to the arena first. They find Aysa again, next to a white coffin. Again Demon trends to her only to have Vampiro rise from the casket and spray red stuff in his face. Vamp dumps the Demon into the coffin and into another grave and then takes off as we cut back to the arena.
Backstage, Mean Gene is interviewing Shane Douglas, who guarantees he will defeat Buff Bagwell tonight. Moments later they meet in the ring and the fight spills out to the floor almost immediately. Douglas takes control and moves some of the floor mats out of the way for a piledriver...but Buff overpowers him and turns it into a back drop. Back in the ring, Bagwell is dominant so Douglas bails then suckers his opponent back out to the floor and runs him into the corner post to turn the tables once more. He grabs a chair and breaks it over Buff's head! As Douglas is in control again in the ring, Torrie Wilson appears and comes to the ring. We haven't seen her in several weeks. She distracts Douglas who is rolled up and almost pinned. As Douglas is down, Buff invites her into the ring and embraces her. He turns his back and she delivers a low blow from behind! After a few more exchanges, Buff is set for the Blockbuster, but Torrie is there to grab his leg. Buff shoves her away, but now Douglas has him and delivers a big atomic drop then gets the pin. Torrie leaves with Douglas.
Backstage...Hulk Hogan has arrived!!! We see him stalking through the hall as Mean Gene informs the Chosen One of this development.
Michael Buffer does the honors for the World Title match. This could very well be Hogan's last match in WCW so there is a sense of history as it gets underway. As Jarrett is about to make his entrance, Vince Russo shows his face for the first time in weeks and makes his way to the ring, baseball bat in hand. He announcers tell us that Russo will be in Jarrett's corner for this match. I have this funny feeling about this match. There are rumors that Hogan wll hook up with Nash and Hall again tonight and reform the nWo. Hogan makes his entrance in his Hollywood get-up and to nWo music. We are reminded that it was in this arena, at this event, that the nWo was first formed back in 1996. Hogan asks Buffer for his mic and delivers an ultimatum to Jarrett, who has scamppered back up to the platform to watch from afar. Jarrett takes his time returning to the ring, then he enters and lies down on his back!! Russo is motioning Hogan to pin him! Hogan stanfds confused and then asks for a mic again. Russo turns and strides away up the aisle. Hogan castigates Russo's retreating back then puts his foot on Jarrett for the pin. He is the new World Champ!!! Jarrett leaves without looking back.
Backstage, Vampiro arrives and makes his way to the ring to claim victory in the Graveyard match. He declares that the "dark circle has now been completed...the Demon is dead." He lauds himself for ridding WCW of both the Demon and Sting. The crowd starts chanitng "We Want Sting!" but it dies away as several black robed figures in Sting masks enter carrying what looks like the coffin that the Demon was buried in. The chant starts up again. Vamp leaves the ring and opens the coffin - Sting is in the coffin...or someone who looks like Sting. He bashes Vampiro and then drops him into the coffin and leaves.
Mean Gene interviews Goldberg backstage. Bill says he intends to end Scott Halls career tonight. Back in the arena, Vince Russo makes his way to the ring once more with a mic in his hand. He tells us that he left WCW three weeks ago...then he pauses to gather himself...and starts again. he says he didn't know if he would come back. In what would appear to be a shoot...but probably isn't, he expresses his disgust with all the backstage politics. He claims that he came back for the guys in the back who care about the company and explains that he has been in a political infight with Hogan all day long and he decided to give Hogan the WCW title belt and then retire it! He then declares that there will be a new World Title belt and it will be defended by Jeff Jarrett against the challenge of Booker T tonight! This is a match that was rumored on the internet during the last week or so...
But first we get some promo material concerning the next match between Goldberg and Kevin Nash. As Nash gets ready to go to the ring, he sees Scott Steiner backstage and asks him to watch his back. Steiner is non-commital so Nasj continues on out to the ring. Goldberg appears with the contract stuck in his tights. He slaps it down onto the announce table before entering the ring. Nash goes over and looks at it as well then he enters. In the ring the match is a back and forth affair with both guys laying in some massive shots. Steiner now appears ringside and starts using the contract to motivate Nash. He is also distracting Goldberg which gives Nash a chance to come back. He gets a big side breaker but Goldberg recovers qucikly and goes for the spear...and misses! He runs his shoulder into the corner post and goes down. Nash is about to deliver the jack knife when Steiner runs in and attacks Nash!!! Goldberg delivers the spear and the jack hammer to take the pin. He then tears up the contract and throws it in Nash's face as Steiner holds him up.Nash is left laying in the ring as Steiner and Goldberg leave together.
Backstage, Mean Gene interviews Booker T about his surprise World Title shot. Booker is confused but ready to rumble...
And so we come to the main event. Jarrett is wearing a belt that looks suspiciously like the one he just lost to Hogan. Booker is really ready to go, hopping around frenetically as the match gets underway. He dominates the early going easily and Jarrett is forced to bail after the first few exchanges. Back in the ring he continues to be on the receiving end, and then the fight spills out to the floor and into the crowd. Booker continues to be in charge for a bit and then Jarrett manages to turns the tables and heads the brawl back towards the ring. They fight their way right onto the announce table, sending the broadcast team scattering. Back in the ring, Jarrett is firmly in control...for about 5 seconds, then Booker recovers so Jarrett slaps on a sleeper. Booker escapes quickly but Jarrett grabs it again. Booker escapes again and Jarrett goes for a figure four once, then again and manages to apply it on the second try. Booker tries to turn it over and, after a struggle, he succeeds. Jarrett goes right back to work on the left leg...but then he misses a butt drop and Booker is back into it again. He gets the ax kick and now it looks bad for Jarrett, Booketr gets the spine buster and almost the pin. He goes for a sidekick and misses. Jarrett pounds him in the corner then swings Booker around and knocks out the referee. Jarrett tries to use the belt but Booker grabs it and delivers the shot himself. Unfortunately the referee is out of it and fails to make the count in time. Jarrett goes for a chair and wedges it in the corner much like Kanyon did earlier...and he also fails to use it. He runs into it when Booker sidesteps, but he roars right back and...Strokes the referee! He goes for his guitar and climbs the top rope...he flies...he misses...Booker comes back and sideslams him for the cover and the Title!!!
That was certainly an interesting show.
At least that's the way I see it...
Editor, Solie's Wrestling Newsletter
This page is a personal tribute andis in no way connected to any of the wrestling promotions mentioned on it. It is dedicated to the Dean of Wrestling announcers, Gordon Solie.
Copyright 2000 - Jump City Productions