I have a feeling that it is going to be going this way on a pretty regular basis at least through the first of the year. I am traveling more and more for my company, which means I more frequently miss the weekly shows. I would expect that the newsletter is likely to become less "regular" over the next few months. I will try and always publish at least one edition a week - and two as often as I am able.
I will keep up the weekly Radio Show - it is actually easier then the newsletter to do because I basically write up some notes then "wing it" into a finished script by improvising on the facts that are presented in various newsboards and "dirt sheets" and the very few insider contacts I have in the wrestling business. It may shift around to different days for updates - but I will always announce each new installment here.
This edition opens with the conclusion of an article on Ric Flair that ran in the Raleigh News and Observer back in January of 1991. Enjoy...
By Billy Warden & Jonathan Probber
Flair does not recite Shakespeare. Flair dropped out of the University of Minnesota during his second year when his grades made him ineligible to play football. Not long after that, he fell under the sway of his friend Greg Gagne, who helped him decide to become a professional wrestler.
Greg is son of the storied wrestler and promoter Verne Gagne. But before Flair took this fateful turn, one last formality: "Dad," he said, "if this is going to cause you any embarrassment, I won't do it." Dr. Fliehr told his son, "Go ahead, do it. Just make sure you're the best."
To that end, Flair could find no better teacher than Verne Gagne. These weren't makeup and voice lessons. Flair quit training three times, but returned, exhibiting a single-mindedness familiar to his friends and mentors. "It was clear that he had a plan," says Mike McGee, who recruited Flair for the University of Minnesota football team. "I had no doubt he would be successful. He had a lot of maturity and sense of goals."
Mr. McGee, who coached football at Duke University and is currently the athletic director of the University of Southern California, adds that Flair "had a career in whatever he chose to do." He chose wrestling.
But all the time, there are those who say wrestling is fake and that Ric Flair is a Sham King.
The accusations rattle his mother. "If it's all fake, then anybody can do it, just get in the ring and yell and scream. Then there would be nothing to it, right?" She believes pro wrestling is the most dangerous sport there is. Neither Mom nor Dad particularly like to watch their son on TV, they say, cringing. "You'll understand when you have a child."
As they speak, Dick and Kay Fliehr's boy is in his private gym, an outbuilding in back of the house next to the pool. He works out for at least 1 1/2 hours daily when home. On the road, he finds a health club. After finishing a tour of the gym, the highlight of which is a prized Stairmaster, Flair sits on a gray, padded weight bench. His 6-foot-1-inch, 244-pound body rests; his need to be champion again roils.
"They've gotta give me the deal back or else they're gonna go out of business." He realizes quickly that his Flair-sized ego is talking, and backs off, as though the boss suddenly walked by his desk. "No, no, no, I didn't mean that. They don't need anybody."
Playing catch-up The power of Ted Turner and his WCW is the power of television. Flair is on television less than he was a few years ago. His TV raps were once explosive, irresistible: "All the girls want to climb Space Mountain," he would yell, fingering the lapels of his suit. "I'm a Rolex-wearin', limousine ridin' son-of-a-gun, custom-made from head to toe," he'd say, giving a short sharp forward tilt for emphasis. "I am the man. And to be the man" -- tapping his chest -- "you've got to beat the man."
Then a toss of the silver mane and "WOOOOOOOOO!"
Now his TV talk seems restrained, even flat, and his hair has been cut. Thoughts of Samson shorn are hard to resist. Two years ago Flair found that he couldn't summon the juice he used to bring to the ring. He wallowed and wondered whether he was finished, and finally saw a sports psychologist.
"I was having a hard time getting myself up. I mean, I felt I was up but it was ... different. I saw myself as the most marketable person in the world, and there I was, all dressed up and nowhere to go."
Other wrestlers, meanwhile, migrated north to Vince McMahon Jr.'s World Wrestling Federation, the organization which in the mid-1980s turned the game from performance art for low functionals into a respectable yuppie pastime. Mr. McMahon created Hulk Hogan, the "rock-and-wrestling" connection with Cyndi Lauper, and secured from NBC wrestling's first major network television contract since the 1950s. Mr. McMahon's marketing savvy swamped the industry and forced other wrestling promotions, including Flair's NWA, to play marketing catch-up.
Thus, Flair has been the star player on wrestling's second string. Three years ago he passed up an opportunity to jump to the WWF out of loyalty to the NWA's previous owners. When the opportunity rolled around again, the NWA had changed hands and Flair signed a WCW contract with Mr. Turner, estimated by wrestling insiders at just shy of $1 million a year. By comparison, the WWF's just-deposed champion, the Ultimate Warrior, pulls down a reported $3 million a year.
Flair, like many fans, wonders what he missed. A showdown with Hogan would have been inevitable, a legitimate mega-event. "It would have been three weeks of television, me and him, hollering at each other. We could have sold out the L.A. Coliseum," he muses. But Flair stayed with Mr. Turner, and in July lost the WCW championship belt to Sting.
Sting with his short spiked hair, face paint and blond bodybuilder's physique is wrestling's Latest Blond Thing. A wrestler of some five years experience, he is distinguished as much by his television appeal as by his ring savvy. He makes no secret of his career goals: some wrestling, followed by a tenure as an action/adventure muscleman, a la Schwarzenegger.
WCW Thunder opens with the Cat talking to his mama in a limo. He says that he is mad at Vampiro and Muta and that Kronic will take care of them tonight. He also mentioned there will be a huge main event on Nitro this Monday. Then, the Japanese music hits and Kaz Hayashi comes in through the sun roof and tries to attack Miller. The Cat throws him out of the limo and then the other two Dragons try to attack him. Yin Yan accidently busts the window of the limo. Smooth comes in and sees this and is mad and demands a match with the Dragons. The Cat agrees.
Juventud Guerrera and Rey Misterio faced "Two Count"...I guess - the two minor members of that team. The Hardey Boyz Lite are a pretty effective team but Rey and Juvie are jelling better and better lately. The result is a fast, high flying match with numerous false endings. In the end, Juvie went back to his roots, getting thw Juvie Driver then following up with the 450 Splash to take the pin.
A little Nitro Grrrls peek is followed immediately by an appearance by the World Heavyweight Champion. He is accompanied by footage of Booker pinning Goldberg on Monday night. He makes a challenging speech directed at both Goldberg and Jeff Jarrett. This brings "the Chosen One" to the platform to challenge Booker to a non-title match - a lights out, bunkhouse brawl match. Booker's answer is to say, "...lets do it right now!" They meet in the ringside area and start beating on each other until security breaks it up.
In the back, Miller is in the middle of the argument between Jarrett and Booker - he schedules a match for the main event but cautions them that if they don't stay away from each other for the rest of the evening or else their match at the next PPV is off.
The Artist w/Paisley is up next, taking on "Skip Over?" A PowerPlant graduate (Elix Skipper) we had been seeing on WCW Saturday Night when it was still an original matches program. 'Over' is...well...not over, so the crowd kind of favors Iuakea who is performing with a lot of authority these days. Skippy is talented but he makes rookie mistakes...and then Kiwi shows up on the platform and lures Paisley away. At that point, the rookie started to gain ground and eventually won the match with a kind of leg drop neck breaker.
Backstage Judy Bagwell and her son consult and then she grabs him by the ear and stomps off looking for the Cat. The next match is a handicap contest with the Jung Dragons going against M.I. Smooth in his first televised match. The Dragons were all over him but he uses impressive power to scatter them in all directions. He soons takes out Jamie San with a couple of big power moves.
In the back, Chris Kanyon is looking a little beat down. Clips from the coming Goldberg interview (later tonight) promise a "shoot" style worked rant.
The Bagwells' beard the lion in his own den - Judy demands a match against Kanyon and gets it.
Major Gunns was challenged to an arm wrestling match by Miss Hancock - with the Misfits barred from ringside and David Flair as the referee. He supposedly proves his fairness by dragging Miss H back to the table when she tries to leave. But then he forces Major G's arm down so that his girlfriend wins the match. Then the two of them attack Gunns until the Wall (of all people) comes to her rescue. Backstage he is drafted into the Misfits.
In another part of the backstage area, Vampiro and the Great Muta attack Kronic and lay them out.
In their respective dressing rooms, Booker T and Jeff Jarrett prepare to do battle.
Muta and Vampiro come to the ring as a tag team and issue a blanket challenge to anyone in the back (figuring they won't see Kronic) GimCrack and O'Hara (or whatever) accept the challenge and put on a pretty convincing display...before they lose. Muta knew just when to grab a dragon screw leg whip and make one of them surrender. Afterwards the Demon made an entrance and dragged the vanquished rookies back to the ring for a punk job...and then Kronic hits the ring and get some back for their earlier encounter with the "brothers in paint".
Big Vito delivers a typical rant in flaming Brooklynese against Lance Storm, then new Hardcore Champion.
Positively Kanyon waits in the ring for Buff mom. She shows up and looks ready to get it on. Kanyon has a mic - she is wearing a neck brace. He tries to intimidate her - but the announcers are pointing out that he looks the worst for wear from their last encounter. Kanyon succeeds in getting her into a headlock just as Buff runs in. He threatens to break her neck if Buff attacks. Then he demands a stip for the coming match - he wants Judy for his valet if he wins the match. Buff agrees - so Kanyon still "Kanyon Cuts" her then splits.
Out back, Kanyon jumps in his car and starts to leave, but then stops to put the Cutter on a guard.
Douglas and Torrie come to the ring and rant at Kidman about the infamous videotape. They have their own videotape that purports to show what kind of a man Shane is. The video turns out to show Douglas lamenting his work situation because he failed to "perform" in bed. Apparently Kidman got the last laugh. Doglas and Torrie stomp out of the arena.
Backstage, Mean Gene interviews Lance Storm who grants Vito a rematch but stipulates a "Canadian Rules" match - no weapons.
The "Franchise" is burning up about the situation with his squeeze and stomps out of camera range then Kidman appears and starts taunting Torrie, who tries to snatch a video from his hands just before Douglas returns and attacks. Kidman is speared into a steel roll-up door.
Big Vito got his opportunity of a rematch for the Hardcore Title against the "Canadian Heavyweight Champion", who requested a Canadian Rules match - no weapons allowed - then proceeded to use a chair to take the advantage. Not much later, he slapped on his half-crab. Vito struggled almost to the ropes but Storm dragged him back out to the center of the ring and made him submit.
Goldberg sits down for an interview with Scott Hudson and defends his actions recently. He "shoots" on Scott Hall who he accuses of not caring about the fans. He then "speaks from the heart" and says he doesn't want to be a heel then starts in on Kevin Nash in the same vein. He is very softspoken as he assassinates Nash's character. His act is reasonably convincing as he argues for wrestlers like Hulk Hogan and Ric Flair as the ones who "built the business". His speech characteristics are pure Ole Anderson - Arn has got to be coaching him. And he is effective...
The Cat makes his way to the ring. He has the lights doused for a moment while they figuritively end the program. Then the lights come back up and Miller says "OK, were off the clock..." Jeff Jarrett makes his entrance with a wheelbarrow full of plunder. The Champion, however, carries nothing to the ring but his Title belt. The fight gets started right away then goes on the floor where Booker is firmly in control. He drags the challenger into the stands and then they brawl back into the ring where Jarrett starts picking up stuff to hit his opponent with...a shovel, a branding iron, etc. He then hauls Booker back out to the floor and runs him into his wheelbarrow. Back in the ring, Booker gets his hands on a bullrope - but Jarrett escapes and turns the tables again. He then climbs the corner with his guitar but Booker catches him by the neck on his way down. Again, Jarrett escapes and reaffirms his advantage. He starts choking him with the bullrope but Booker fights to his feet...then he's down again...then he escapes and starts using those fabulous feet. He is ready to issue the coup de gras when Jarrett gets hold of his guitar and smashes it against Booker's knee. He then slaps on a figure four with the bullrope somehow entangled in it. Booker never submits, but the referee stops the match as the Champ writhes in agony.
Commissioner Foley makes his appearance after the break and allows as how he isn't a happy camper because he was duped by the Big Show. So he sets up some gimmick matches which I will tell you about later. This brings out the big guy along with his friend Skippy to complain about the parts of tonight's card they don't like. Shano toots his own horn for a moment and then formally introduces his gigantic companion. TBS goes into his rant - impressing on Foley his size and ferocity (yawn...sorry folks, this guy needs to work on his mnenace. Backstage HHH and his bride discover a beautiful bouquet of yellow roses. Helmsley pretends to be upset as Stephanie back pedals - then he reveals that he sent the flowers and they share a kiss and an embrace (ahhhh...)
The Hardey Boyz come to the ring to face Low Down (D'lo and Chaz)who held the power advantage - but that was all. The Hardeys' superior teamwork and speed allowed them to dominate the early going but as the match wore on, D'Lo singlehandedly began to turn the tide. Chaz eventually got on the same page with D'Lo and they isolated Jeff Hardey for quite a while. When Matt finally gets in he cleans house. From there it goes into a see-saw battle with the Hardeys steadily gaining ground. A swanton bomb from Jeff tells the tale on Chaz, then the losers punk the winners (what..? really..?)
The happy couple has a spat over whether or not the Mrs. knows anything about wrestling. Hunter was originally complaining about having to have Trish Stratus as his partner in a mixed tag match against Y2J and Lita later.
Tazz took on Grand Master Sexay who met him out on the floor and immediately took control. Back in the ring he tried a flying move but was sidestepped and knocked to the mat. From there they traded blows with Tazz mostly on the receiving end until the latter slapped on his Tazzmission. Scotty Too Hotty then ran in and caused the disqualification.
Backstage, Trish is getting a wrestling lesson which puts her and Hunter into a compromising position when Steph walks in. She has a fit and storms out. After the break we see HHH stalk out to his car, the Road Dogg trying desparately to talk him out of leaving. He gets into the car and leaves. He, of course, has a match scheduled later.
Edge and Christian come to the ring wearing giant foam cowboy hats. They insult the hometown Texas crowd then introduce their partner, the Big Show. This is a tag team table match vs. the Dudleys and Kane. The Dudleys glom right onto Christian and isolate him throughout the early going. He finally delivers a low blow on Devon and then tags in the Big Show. The Show cleaned house and then tagged in Edge who continued the assault on Devon. Their devious double teaming eventually enrages Kane who clears the ring then faces the Big Show one on one. The Dudleys are the first to introduce a table from under the ring. They use it as a swinging weapon when the Tag Chaps try to attack. In the ring they put the 3D on Edge to win the match for their team. Ignoring their victory, they set up another table for Christian, but he escapes and the Show agains cleans house. Kane returns to the ring and has the Show in a throat grip when Shane attacks with a chair. Kane is distracted then chokeslammed through the second table.
Steven Richards and Bull Buchanan (the God Squad) come to the ring amidst the most heartfelt cat calls and heckling from the fans. Here is one heel wrestler that even Jerry Lawler can't agree with. As Richards rants, the King calls him an idiot. He introduces the Godfather's new character...the Goodfather! GF comes to the ring dressed like a member of the God Squad, in a white shirt and tie. Lawler thinks GF's joined a cult. Goodfather makes a speech, denouncing his old ways in that old time religion style. Richards grins his Travolta style smile in the background. In the back, Trish tries to sweet talk the Commissioner into giving her the night off, but he shuts her up by accusing her of sexual harrassment then assigns her to another match (since her partner has split).
Perry Saturn wears his European Title to the ring to face the challange of Crash Holly in his first Title defense. Crash does surprisingly well and has the Champion reeling throughout the match until Terri decides to get involved by tripping Crash so that he falls prey to the Champ. Eddie Guerrero runs in and the scene dissolves into chaos.
Trish gets Chris Benoit as her partner against Lita and the Millennium Bug. Benoit is accompanied by ShanoMac. All four of the participants make their own separate entrances. The men start the festivities and trade heavy shots until they fall out of the ring. Lita takes a shot at Trish and then is propelled by her partner into a baseball slide that knocks Trish on her can outside the ring. The men are again back at it in a flash. benoit suddenly punched Y2J and then knocked Lita off the apron - only to turn around and get slapped down by Jericho. They got back into it for a bit and then Lita surprised Benoit with a frankensteiner. Jericho hit the lionsault and took the pin.
Backstage after the break, Benoit catches up with Jericho during a smartmouth interview and assaults him with weapons (trapping him under a roll-up door then smacking him with a chair!) until he is out cold and bleeding from the mouth.
Kurt Angle gets his wish - a title match against the Rock...but of course he's gotten Maivia mad so maybe it isn't exactly what he wanted... Angle manages to dominate his opponent for a bit late in the match but Maivia just keeps coming back. Then Chris Benoit and Shane show up to change the odds, interfering from the outside at every opportunity. When the Rock is thron to the floor, Shane hits him with a clothesline. Back in the ring, Angle gets a two count. Maivia is just making a comeback when Benoit drags him out to the floor and lays him out. Back inside, Angle is still unable to get the pin. He grabs reverse chinlock/sleeper and the Rock sinks to the mat. But then he battles back to his feet but uses all of his reserves for a shot that puts both guys on the mat. Moments later they are both up and Maivia is back in control until Angle slips in a belly-to-belly suplex. The Rock is out of it for about 2 seconds then comes back with a spine buster following up with a Sharp Shooter! Shane breaks that up, then the Rock goes out for a chair to use - he is disqualified but retains his title. He then grabs Benoit on the ramp and Rock Bottoms him. back in the ring, Angle is acting like he won the belt. Of course he didn't...
I'll be back on Monday night. Until then...
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