Dedicated to Gordon Solie
January 29, 1929 - July 27, 2000
BELLINGHAM, Wash. -- The coming contest between Tom Jenkins of Cleveland, champion catch-as-catch-can wrestler of America, and Frank Gotch, of Humbolt, Louisianna, will be the greatest event of its kind ever held on the Pacific Coast. They meet in this city at Beck's Theater, January 27, for $1,000 a side and a $2,000 purse, all of which is to go to the winner. The match will be catch-as-catch-can, two best in three falls, and pin falls to count.
That the match takes place here is due to P.D. McKeller, H. Walcott and Andy Giles, who put up the $2,000 guarantee purse. They have made arrangements for an excursion from Seattle over the Great Northern railroad. The train will leave Seattle between 2 and 3 p.m. the day of the match, and all other roads will give special rates for that day. All tickets will be good for regular trains the day after the match.
Tom Jenkins is the recognized champion of America, and has successfully defended his title against the best wrestlers of England and America. The coming match will not only decide who is champion of America but the championship of the Anglo-Saxon race, according to the articles of agreement.
Jenkins has never been defeated by a white man. He lost to the giant Youssuf, the "Terrible Turk," after one hour and thirty minutes of wrestling. After eight minutes' wrestling the Turk broke four of Jenkins' ribs, but he continued to wrestle until defeated. Youssuf weighed 270 pounds stripped. Jenkins afterwards wrestled a draw with Hali Adali -- weight 305 pounds -- a Turk whom it is claimed defeated Youssuf in the old country.
His first professional match was against Peter Schumacher, whom he easily defeated. He next beat Ed Atherton, one of the best middleweights in America. Dan McLeod then offered to throw Jenkins twice in one hour, but had all he could do to keep from being thrown himself.
"Farmer" Burns, who was then the champion of America, went to Cleveland and attempted to throw Jenkins twice in one hour, but failed to get a fall.
It was then predicted that Tom Jenkins would soon be champion of America. He next defeated Malone of Chicago; also John J. Rooney, the giant gripman; Al Zimmerman and a host of others, after which he issued a challenge to wrestle any man in the world. It was accepted by "Farmer" Burns. The match took place at Indianapolis, Ind., and Jenkins won. It was after this that the giant Turk invaded this country and met Jenkins with the result above related. Jenkins next defeated Kara Osman, a 200-pound Turk, afterwards defeating Dan McLeod, Jim Parr -- England's best wrestler -- and numerous other wrestlers of less note. Jenkins' height is 5 feet 10 1/2 inches and weight 210 pounds stripped and trained.
Frank Gotch was born at Humboldt, and spent all of his life on a farm. Gotch has wrestled some all his life, but it was not until the summer of 1899 that he had his first professional match, when he defeated a wrestler named Green. His next match was with Dan McLeod, who rung in on Gotch at a Woodman's picnic, under the name of Reynolds. They wrestled in the road and McLeod won the first fall in one hour and twenty-seven minutes, and the second in forty-eight minutes. Gotch next met McLeod in a handicap match, McLeod to throw Gotch twice in one hour, which he failed to do. He next met "Farmer" Burns, who was touring the country offering $25 to any man he could not throw in fifteen minutes, and was thrown in eleven and one-half minutes. Gotch afterward traveled with "Farmer" Burns and easily defeated the best wrestlers of the middle states, among the rest being Charles Moth, Bert Scheller, Scott Miller, Lew Rubby, Mike Crowe, Lou Buccholz and a host of others.
In 1901, he was engaged by his present manager, Joe Carroll, and together they went to the Klondike, where Gotch had an unbroken string of victories, easily defeating the best wrestlers of the Yukon country. Returning from there, Gotch, after a number of other matches, issued a challenge to wrestle any man in America. His challenge was accepted by Tom Jenkins, and the match took place at Cleveland February 26, 1903. Jenkins won after two hours and thirty minutes of the fiercest wrestling ever seen in America. Since that time Gotch has steadily improved.
Part 1 (Mid-Week)
First of all, what was up with that sign on Thunder last week that read "Goldberg fears Oliver"? I mean I know it's true but...
How funny is it that Mike Awesome manages to get his Lavalamp Lounge set trashed on every single program?
Speaking of the Awesome one, I had an email from a reader taking me to task for my assessment of the former ECW Champion's departure from that organization. I speculated that Paul Heyman might be tearing out what is left of his hair over losing Awesome. My correspondent disagreed, saying that WCW acted illegally in grabbing Awesome away and that Heyman is probably happy to have gotten a fat settlement rather than trying to fight the larger corporation in court and probably coming away with nothing. I would concede that that is a good point, but not really where I was going with the comment. My point was that Heyman clearly didn't use Mike Awesome to his full potential while he had him in his promotion, and then he lost him. Now he's got to be looking at him and wondering why he didn't see what Awesome was capable of vis-a-vis cutting a promo.
Edge and Christian stole a march on the Hardeys Thursday night on SmackDown by showing video of the two of them as rookie wrestlers back in 1990. The stuff was hilarious, E and C are continuing to improve their skills. Mike Cole was almost as funny himself, pretending not to be amused by their antics.
Speaking of SmackDown, how about that wild Hardcore Title match. A good portion of the locker room emptied out to participate in what was supposed to be Al Snow's shot at regaining the title. In the end Steve Blackman retained his title by pinning...a member of Kaientai..??
This SmackDown your vote thing is clearly a publicity ploy - but the SmackDown debate challenge put out to Gore and Bush is just silly. It seems obvious to me that as soon as either one of the candidates deigned to even mention the WWF sponsored event - the other one would immediately accuse him of trivializing the campaign...more publicity stuff, in reality.
Shane McMahon made his return to WWF TV Thursday night. I've heard that he is likely to be a prime suspect in the Austin mystery. In fact he took the opportunity, during his rant on SmackDown, to make some pointed comments concerning the Rattlesnake. He volunteered his services to try and uncover the culprit and showed video which, Shane contended, clears himself of complicity, then stated that he knows who did the deed...and plans to reveal it. Personally, I'm having a little trouble with the logic that says that the fact that the McMahon clan were the first on the scene after the incident (notice I didn't say accident...) automatically rules them out as suspects...since when?? It seems to me that the most likely folks to be johnny-on-the-spot, as it were, would be those folks who knew it was going to happen. I mean, am I missing something here?
By the way, don't expect Steve Austin to clear up the mystery of who ran him down this weekend, or any time soon. My sources tell me that the WWF plans to drag this angle out at least through October.
Is anyone else getting the impression that this whole X-Pac/Jericho feud is just...finding something for these two to do? They're like loose ends at the moment...so why not throw them in against each other?
Eddie G played his final card in his quest to regain the love of his Mamacita - he proposed...and she accepted. What next...?
Meanwhile, over at ECW - was it me or did that opening promo come off as a parody of what the WWF has been doing on almost every program lately? One of the highlights of the program was Rhino winning back the TV Title in the, sort of, opening contest against Kid Kash, then immediately offering Rob Van Dam a title shot at the PPV. Then, with less than a minute remaining in the broadcast, they started the introductions for the three way main event...tune in next week to find out who won...
Part 2 (Unforgiven Highlights)
I probably wouldn't have ordered this PPV if it weren't for the fact that Steve Austin was due back, though I have heard that his appearance tonight will not resolve anything as far as the identity of the guilty party involved in his auto crash last year. Right off the bat, I have to say that the video montage that opened the program was in all likelihood the stupidest thing I have ever seen... WWF Unforgiven came to us live from deep in ECW country - Philadelphia, PA.
It was great to see Jerry Lawler in action after all these years (I hardly count his feud with Bret Hart, wherein, as the heel he spent his time resorting to cheap shots). At one point the King delivered three piledrivers in row but had little effect on the neckless Tazz. In the end, Raven made his WWF debut by interfering to give Tazz the win.
Steve Austin showed up shortly after the first match and spent the evening attacking everyone he came in contact with, wrestlers (except for the Rock), announcers, "Just Joe", whatever.
Crash Holly and Perry Saturn both won the Hardcore Title during a ten minute time limit invitational match which also featured Test, Al Snow and Funaki - all former Hardcore Champs. The dumbest thing about this match was the fact that any of the challengers paid any attention to anyone who wasn't the champ. At one point, Saturn had the title and was standing in the ring watching the rest of the field fight out on the floor! Near the end, Blackman won the title back at the one minute mark then tried to run off with the belt. Finally all the challengers focused on him - but nobody went for a cover! Blackman was back in the saddle at the end of it all.
The highlight of the Tag Team Title cage match was Jeff Hardey throwing a corkscrew moonsault off the top of the cage and not actually connecting with anyone (though both Edge and Matt obligingly went down). Both Hardeys and Edge ended up at the top of the cage where Edge was hit with a double chair shot, thus allowing the Hardeys to make it to the floor and win the titles.
I had hopes that tonight's HHH/Angle match would mark the end of this awful soap opera storyline...but I fear that it won't. Stephanie did seem to make a choice towards the end and delivered the low blow to Kurt Angle that gave her husband the win. But then, her actions after the match seemed calculated to leave a question in the air, hovering over Angle and then applying a decidedly tepid kiss on the victor, who appeared to force his attentions on her.
Shane McMahon made his appearance at the top of the second hour and showed his video "proof" of the culprit in the Austin vehicular assault. His candidate - Steve Blackman, his proof - video of Blackman running Ken Shamrock over during an earlier program. Blackman came to the ring, followed closely by the Rattlesnake who ignored the "Lethal Weapon" to pose for his adoring fans before coming face-to-face with him. After a silent confrontation, Austin gut kicked Blackman then applied a stunner. Shano then dragged in a cooler of beer, tossing one to Austin, who promptly chugged it, clincked cans with Shane - then stunned him! Three times!! Shane's spit take was classic. After the third one, what a scene...Austin guzzling beers while JR screams, "What a moment in WWF history!!!" Right, JR...
Regarding the main event, three and four-way title matches have never made sense to me. The idea that the Champion can lose his belt because someone else pins someone else just defies logic. It was the Rock vs. the Undertaker vs. Kane vs. Chris Benoit in this particular match, and the action throughout took place simultaneously inside the ring and out on the floor. At one point, the Undertaker tried his famous top rope walk (which we haven't seen in quite some time) and got jerked off to the mat (so we probably won't see it again for a while...). In the end, Benoit delivered a chair shot on the Undertaker and pinned him to take the title. Or so he thought. Commissioner Foley met him in the aisle and snatched the belt away because of Benoit's illegal actions. The other three caught up to them and the match was restarted. Moments later, Benoit hit his series of three German suplexes on the Rock but failed to get the pin. With blood showing on his face, the Rock them applied the Crippler Crossface on Benoit - but the Undertaker broke it up. In the end, the Scarey Brothers canceled each other out as the Rock hit the Rock Bottom and retained his title by pinning Benoit.
Part 3 (Monday Night Wars)
Well, I have to say that my candidate for the world's worst wrestling storyline has got to be Vince Russo attempting to "realize his dream" of becoming WCW World Heavyweight Champion in a cage against Booker T. And unfortunately, that is what Nitro (live from Uniondale, Long Island, New York) is all about tonight. Meanwhile, Jeremy Borash is really going overboard in his role as "corporate yesman" and general all around suck-up to "Mr. Russo".
Kronic ran out and generally made a mash out of the Tag Team Title Battle Royal on tonight's show. They had been unceremoniously disqualified from entering the frey a little earlier, so they decided to crash the party and ended up assuring a win for Mark Jindrak and Sean O'Haire who won by defeating the Filthy Animals, Rey Misterio and Juventud Guerrera.
I wonder which mystery will be resolved first - the father of Stacy's baby...or the guy who hit Steve Austin.
Just before the beginning of the second hour, the Cat came out to take some of the wind out of Russo's sails by challenging him to a match and stating that anyone who tries to interfere would be fired. "Below Average" Mike Sanders came out to dispute his ruling...and got his clock cleaned. That brought the rest of the Natural Born Ratings Killers (the Cat's description...I like it...) out to punk the Commissioner in the ring. Does that mean they're all fired? Lets hope so...
The absolute low point of the program came at the top of the second hour when the first WCW Bikini Contest was held, judged by some of Howard Stearn's sociopathic groupies. The only good thing about it was the girls...and they were hot! Of course, Major Gunns showed up in a US flag motif, which brought newly minted Canadian Hacksaw Duggan out to force her to quit the competition. Pamela Paulshock said who wasn't in the contest "...just really hot"... The "judges" named her as the winner. This sent Lea Meow into a fit, attempting to humiliate Miss Pamela - but the Mudasia ran out and attacked Lea in the most clumsy way possible.
This was followed after the next break by an "impromptu" cage match between tonight's surprise returnee, Goldberg, and his nemesis Scott Steiner. Goldberg won that one - but I'm sure it isn't over for those two.
I notice that no mention was made of the fact that Lance Storm lost and then regained the US Title over the weekend out in Texas against Terry Funk. He made a challenge for a match against Sting after the latter broke up Team Canada's punk job on General Rection. A good portion of that match took place during the following commercial break, but we still got to see a great battle between two supreme athletes and then Storm reversed the Scorpion Deathlock by twisting it into his own finisher, the Half Crab. Sting reached the ropes and broke it, then moments later suckered his opponent into a Scorpion Deathdrop and got the pin.
Vince Russo appeared for his title match in shoulder pads and a football helmet - then used a baseball bat to attack Booker as soon as he entered the cage. He tried to leave the cage but the face wrestlers gathered there wouldn't allow him to open the door. Next he pulled a ladder out from under the ring and puched his way out through the top...where he was met by Sting rappelling down from the ceiling! Suddenly, Lex Luger appeared from out of the crowd and handed in a rubber "lead" pipe for Russo to use on his opponent. It was kind of funny watching that ridiculous thing flexing and bouncing off Booker's back. An EMT came into the ring to see to Booker's injuries - but it wasn't an EMT - it was Ric Flair!! Russo was down and Booker was back up and going in for the kill. Booker was about to leave the cage when Goldberg's music started playing. Goldberg stepped past Booker to go after Russo, while Scott Steiner blocked Booker's exit. A kick to the door knocked Steiner out and Booker was set to depart when Goldberg shoved Russo through the door. We were left wondering just who the Champion is as the program faded.
Over at the competition, RAW made it's debut on TNN live from Pennsylvania State University.
Steve Austin opened the show and then spent another fruitless evening searching for the guy who ran him down last year. The opening rant fest, as usual, ran about 23 minutes - which was about 15 minutes too long for my money - with interruptions first by Mick Foley, then Chris Benoit, then Kurt Angle - who demanded an apology from Austin for his actions Sunday night. Austin delivered a "stunning" apology, of course, then attacked Benoit and drove him from the ring. Later on, Austin took the opportunity tonight to rain on Steven Regal's parade - does this guy seem to be the WWF's answer to "That 70's Guy" Mike Awesome or what? I mean, two appearances, and two trash jobs and counting.
Kane and Rikishi fought each other to a disqualification draw. They should make a tag team out of these behemoths...
Alas, the Helmsley-McMahon soap opera goes on, and on, and on, and on...
The Hardeys retained their newly won Tag Team Titles is a hellacious ladder match which was billed as Edge and Christian's last chance to challenge for the belts. Lita's participation proved critical in this one as she helped tip over a ladder with the former Tag Champs perched on it - which led to their demise.
Chyna allowed a little tear to escape as she talked about her successes, including her appearance this week on the cover of and inside the latest issue of Playboy. She expressed her gratitude to the fans for wanting to see her naked, and to the "guys in the back" for all of their support...then the moment was spoiled by the "Right to be Morons", who at least waited until she finished her speech to crash her party, accusing her of immorality. Eddie Guerrero then made his appearance, with roses and a spirited defense for his sweetie. He offered any one of the RTC guys an IC Title shot to prove his point. Val Venis took him up on the challenge, making this a current Champ vs. former Champ match (which it would also have been if the Goodfather had taken up the gauntlet). Commissioner Foley had the foresight to restrict the rest of the RTC thugs (except for Steven Richards) to the backstage area for this one. Of course, Chyna was on hand to neutralize him as his teammate went down to defeat.
X-Pac and Chris Jericho had a "first blood" match on the program, which X-Pac won by smashing a bottle over his opponent's head and then using a shard to cut Jericho's forehead. Jericho got his revenge immediately however by grabbing X-Pac's own nunchucks and then smacking him in the face with them. He finished up with the Walls of Jericho on top of the announce table.
For the main event, Chris Benoit got another shot at the World Title, with Shane McMahon providing distraction and interfering from ringside. At one point he reached inside and grabbed Earl Hebner's leg only to find himself confronted by the fiery referee out on the floor. Shane ran him into the railing, which of course immediately spoiled his man's chance to win the title. Shane entered the ring and managed to take a chairshot meant for the Champion. The fight continued out on the floor while Stephanie ran down to tend her brother, followed closely by her husband, who hustled her and her brother out of the ring. Benoit was whipped into HHH's back then bounced back and into a Rock Bottom. Hebner got back into the ring just in time to make the count...fancy that. Kurt Angle joined the festivities and helped Benoit punk HHH and the Rock, until Stephanie slapped him! Benoit walked over to break up the argument - then headbutted Stephanie to the mat!! Do I smell a new tag team feud brewing..?
At least that's the way I see it...
Editor, Solie's Wrestling Newsletter
Copyright 2000 - Jump City Productions