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Solie's Tuesday Morning Report

Dedicated to Gordon Solie
January 29, 1929 - July 27, 2000

Yokozuna Dead at 34

Rumors Flying about the WWF buying WCW

Kurt Angle takes the WWF Gold

"Conquistadores" win Tag Straps
then the Hardys win them back!

Crossface Connection

Opinion by John Cross

All Pro Wrestling News

by Jermz

The Way I See It...

by Earl Oliver

Volume 5, Issue 603 - October 24, 2000

Yokozuna

October 2, 1966 - October 23, 2000

As I was wrapping up this edition, I received the sad news that Rodney Anoa'i, known to the world as Yokozuna, had passed away at the young age of 34. Solie's wishes to express our heartfelt condolences to the family and friends of this great wrestling star.

I received the following message on the subject from my friend, Miss Pamela. As usual, her comments are both insightful and well expressed, so I will allow them to speak for themselves:


Hello Earl,

Just a few things & thoughts to share...

You probably have heard by now about the passing away earlier today in London of Rodney "Yokozuna" Anoia, 34, of what's being reported as an apparent heart attack or heart failure. Georgiann Makropoulos at 1wrestling.com received a call this afternoon from Afa telling her the sad news. It's also thought that RAW will do a mini-tribute tonight to the late former WWF Champion. This is sad, of course, whenever we lose one of our stars, especially at such a relatively young age, but given his being so grossly obese for so many years while trying to wrestle, it's not surprising. I believe the life expectancy of real Sumo wrestlers is also fairly low due to their huge weight. Speaking of Sumo, a little trivia - I learned a few months ago that the name "Yokozuna" really is the designation given to the actual champion Sumo wrestler - I had always thought it was just a Japanese-sounding name that the WWF gave Mr. Anoia to fit his aptly-portrayed character. Anyway, Mr. Anoia can now perhaps have a few good matches with all the greats who've gone on before him and, of course, have commentary by Mr. Solie.

With Yokozuna's passing, another "big man" comes to my mind: The Big Show. If anyone wonders why the WWF in particular seems to be such a stickler for weight loss, I feel at least one reason for that is to help prevent early deaths like Yokozuna's. I don't believe Yokozuna died in the ring; last time I looked there aren't yet a lot of details on his passing - but in any event, I'm sure it went through many fans' minds, mine included, the fear of him dying in the ring each time he wrestled. Without getting into the more negative and pessimistic attitudes in this regard (yes, the WWF is a business and yes, they don't want to get sued, etc.), I think this is simply a very obvious reminder at the most extreme end of the spectrum as to why it's so important for these amazing pro wrestling athletes to be in good physical condition. As most everyone knows, Big Show was sent down here to Ohio Valley Wrestling to help him get in better physical condition and, I can say with first-hand knowledge (as co-webmaster for the OVW web site and having personally talked to 'Show) that he's doing pretty well - he's lost weight - and yes, they are putting him through a pretty grueling regimen. He's been warmly received by the fans, and seems to enjoy the positive vibes.

What's been disturbing to me, however, is how so many big-name "reporters" here on the 'Net have all but written 'Show off as a "flop", as "fat", as a "disappointment", etc., just because the WWF sent him down here to OVW. Sure, they're entitled to their opinion, but I've seen too many instances of that opinion being purveyed as fact when I know better. I just hope those same fair-weather pundits are not suddenly going to do an about-face when 'Show does return to the WWF - maybe in the best physical shape of his career thus far - and I definitely think that's what will happen in a few months if he continues the progress he's making. You know what they say about the inherent danger of kicking a man when he's down... he just might get back up again (and kick your @$$). If pro wrestling is so damn easy to do, then there'd be hundreds, maybe thousands - not dozens - of people wrestling in the big leagues today.

Anyway, my point is that I think it can be said that the WWF sent Big Show down here not just in the attitude of "punishment" but also with the more positive attitude of helping this big man stay alive and well, to be the best he can be, and to remain at the pinnacle of the fame & fortune he once enjoyed in pro wrestling. Yeah, I wish someone would PAY *me* to get in good physical condition, as uphill a battle for me as that would be! ;-) This is basically what they're doing for 'Show. Yes, of course a lot of his success is going to depend solely on him - his attitude, his dedication, his willingness to do whatever it takes to get back into the shape his employer wants him - but he is being given the opportunity to do that, and I feel it's just been 'way too soon for him to be written off.

One parting thought on Big Show: he was the man who got my attention nearly 3-and-a-half years ago and therefore my interest in pro wrestling ("he's Andre the Giant's son", I was told upon accidentally seeing him on WCW Nitro in April 1997). I was so proud to tell him that and he heartily thanked me "for being a fan." ;-)

Finally, and ironically this involves another "big man" in pro wrestling - I was very disappointed with the Austin-Rikishi match at "No Mercy" last night given the tremendous build-up. I've always been somewhat impressed with Rikishi's athleticism given his big size, and of course I'm glad Austin is back. But still, the ending made no sense to me, if only because Foley had assured The Rattlesnake that "no one will go to jail - everything will be legal". I've read a few accounts from fans in attendance in Albany that there were tremendous "boos" at the end of that match. We thought Austin would somehow come back to the PPV, as Rikishi did in such a pivotal way. And we correctly attributed the rather spartan set (at the entrance way) to the idea that Austin would show up at ringside driving SOMETHING. We thought perhaps a big garbage truck - that he's use the forklift-type mechanism to hoist Rikishi into a stinking heap of garbage, and then drive him out of the ring and dump him somewhere!

Anyway, I think at least on the surface of things, the WWF really dropped the ball on this one. In fact, the entire PPV seemed to have a lackluster, "thrown-together" feel to it, although I did enjoy the HHH-Benoit, Rock-Angle, and Jericho-XPac matches.

Just my two cents... thanks for letting me comment, and as always, please keep up the good work.

Sincerely,
Miss Pamela

"RINGSIDE with Miss Pamela © - The voice of heart & reason on the Internet" can be accessed at: http://www.the-icon.com/


Editor's Note: On a personal note, I am going out of town on business Wednesday morning and will be gone until Friday night. I will then be home for one day (on Saturday) and then leave again on Sunday afternoon for five days at a trade show in Florida. I will have internet access and so will try and get another edition out sometime during next week, but it will not contain a full weekly review and will most likely be published later in the week (Thursday or Friday). There will an update of the Radio show tomorrow night, but probably none next week.

In this edition, Solie's introduces a brand new feature columnist. John Cross comes to us from the The Crossface Homepage and will be writing this new column exclusively for Solie's Newsletter. He and his brother Michael also write a weekly column, the Crossface Report, which is published each Sunday and can be accessed by clicking a button in the menu bar to the left of this page, or via the link which appears toward the bottom of the newsletter. Johns column is called the "Crossface Connection" and I guess it sort of symbolizes the "connection" between Solie's and the Crossface Homepage. Keep in mind, however that all of Mr. Cross's opinions are his own :-)

But first, here is the latest APW News report from our Northern California correspondent, Jermz.


All Pro Wrestling News

by Jermz

APW Halloween Hell 4 Is Coming!!!

Saturday Night October 28th will mark the fourth installment of All Pro Wrestling's annual Halloween Hell extravaganza. This event has become a yearly tradition that all the fans look forward to. The first Halloween Hell was held at the world famous APW GARAGE in Hayward, Ca. on Halloween Night 1997. This show featured a Michael Modest/Robert Thompson match that is still being talked about today...and not just because of the great wrestling in this match, but also because of the angle it started, in which a suspended Steve Rizzono (The Original Gigolo of APW), wore a Richard Nixon mask and snuck into the show. Rizzono interrupted the Thompson/Modest title match, and was kicked out of the arena. However, this sparked many different suspended wrestlers coming out of the crowd in costume...including Kwame Kamoze, Jay Smooth & Frank Murdoch...to start the famous Team APW vs. Team WSP angle that lasted for the next three months.

Halloween Hell 2 was a historical night, as it was the last ever show to be held at the APW GARAGE, as well as the passing of APW President Roland Alexander's mother. More great wrestling at this show, as it was held in the GARAGE parking lot, and brought the Gym Warz era to a close. Halloween Hell 3 was moved to the San Francisco State University Gymnasium, and was host to some hot matches such as Michael Modest defending the title against Tony Jones, Westside Playaz 2000 vs. Bison Smith & Maxx Justice, and Legendary wrestling tag-team The Bushwackers making their APW debut.


Wanted: Better Training Than APW Boot Camp

APW President Roland Alexander recently made a post on the message boards of www.allprowrestling.com, stating that he dares anyone to come up with a better wrestling school than the APW Boot Camp. This school, has produced many great wrestlers, such as Spike Dudley, Vic Grimes, Crash Holly, Michael Modest etc. As well as today's superstars of APW, like Westside Playaz 2000, Donovan Morgan, Vinny Massaro, Jardi Frantz etc.

"Show me students that can shoot better. Show me students that can bump better. Show me students that are more fundamentally sound than ours. And soon, because of the addition of Championship Body Builder, new APW Strength & Conditioning Coach, Greg Thurston, show me better training in the area of nutrition, cardio and weight training. Show me an Indy promotion with a better in-ring product. Show me an Indy promotion with better production values. Show me an indy promotion with a better souvenir program. Soon, after the new training provided for our referee camp, show me indy refs better than APW refs."

Very strong words from Mr. Alexander, but he truly believes, as do I, that the APW Boot Camp gives you the best schooling for your dollar. It is absolutely amazing to see the ability of these wrestlers, and what they learn from Head Camp Instructor Donovan Morgan in such a short time.

Alexander continued in the post, by stating: "When people call me on the phone, I talk highly of some schools such as Dory Funk's, Les Thatcher's, Malenko's, but there aren't many that I can talk highly about. I refuse to bad mouth a training school but I always put out the challenge. "GO VISIT ANY SCHOOL YOU WANT and VISIT THE APW BOOT CAMP and MAKE YOUR OWN DECISION!!"


APW Results

10/14/00 Vallejo, Ca.

-The Shoot Club (with Shane Dynasty) over The Snott Brothers & "Smooth Daddy" Chris Cassanova (with Betty Beefcake) in 8:03 when Comini pinned G.Snott with a big splash off the 2nd rope

-APW Commissioner Gabe Ramirez named Jimmy Ripp APW Senior Official

-Super Destroyer 2000 (with Buddy Cotello) over Kid Chrome with the Heart Punch in 9:07

-"Funboy" Donovan Morgan & Kid Chrome won a 7-Team Tag Team Battle Royal in 8:09 to earn a tag title shot against the Westside Playaz at Halloween Hell 4 on October 28th in Galt, Ca.

-"Fly Daddy" Jardi Frantz over "Innovator" Vinny Massaro (with Buddy Cotello) in 7:34 with the B*tch Slap

-"Funboy" Donovan Morgan successfully defended his Worldwide Internet Championship against Barry Horowitz with a roll-up in 24:26

-Dalip Singh over Myaki Frantz in 4:13 with a chokeslam

-Westside Playaz 2000 (with ICEBOX) successfully defended their APW Tag Team Titles against The Ballard Brothers (with Cheerleader Melissa) with a double Blockbuster in 14:47


Upcoming APW Shows...

10/28/00 - Galt, Ca. Halloween Hell 4! (Breakaway Sports Center)
11/4/00 - San Leandro, Ca. (San Leandro High School)
11/18/00 - Livingston, Ca. (Livingston High School)
12/16/00 - Vallejo, Ca. Kristmas Kaos 2000! (Pacific Sports Center)
12/30/00 - Galt, Ca. New Years Bash 2001! (Breakaway Sports Center)

(all shows start at 8:00pm...for more information be sure to check www.allprowrestling.com)


Irvin Muchnick’s Wrestling Journalism Archive has added "In Bed with the WWF: Sex and Scandal in Pro Wrestling," which was published in August by the online magazine ThePosition.com. Also included is a link to the graphics-enhanced version of the article at ThePosition. A bonus feature is Muchnick's subsequent email exchange with New York Times sports columnist George Vecsey.

Crossface Connection

By John Cross

Welcome to the first Crossface Connection! The Crossface Connection is a new opinion piece that will look at the many facets of the professional wrestling industry; the nuances, the characters, angles, and persons therein. My name is John Cross, and, with my brother Michael, created and edit the web site www.bodyslam.cc, a news, rumors, and results web page, that also features several columns: The Crossface Report, the Crossface Corner, the Crossface Update, and the Crossface Factor. This column, however, will be exclusive to Solie's Vintage Wrestling.

For my initial column, I want to address the rumored sale of World Championship Wrestling to the World Wrestling Federation. For several years, the WWF and the WCW have battled over the wrestling fans. The battlefield has been the cable industry, the marketing arena, and the realm of house shows. Before this Big Two situation existed, there were several independent and/or smaller federations (remember, the WWF was a regional concern only 15 years ago) that competed for the fans in the one-dimensional venue of house shows, be they dark (no TV cameras) or not. The NWA, the WWF, and the AWA had cable shows, but they were shown to far smaller audiences than they are now. As time went on, Vince McMahon started an ambitious expansion plan, in which he either out-competed, out-spent, or out-marketed the smaller, regional federations, and, eventually, became the first true national pro-wrestling concern. The WCW was created to combat this intrusion, and utilized the money and network support of Ted Turner and TBS and the talent base of the NWA to spread the WCW nationally practically overnight. WCW out competed the WWF for a time, and the pendulum swung back to the WWF, and it has been relatively stable for a couple of years, with the WWF winning the ratings war, but with the WCW doing just enough to hold it's own. Now, we have the rumor that the WWF is moving in and attempting to break the back of the Turner wrestling group.

If this is true, there are reasons to do this, if you are Vincent K. McMahon. To begin, the WCW stands as the only serious competition to the WWF. They have been effective in combating the WWF on the national stage. Now, before you jump up with the Nielsen ratings sheet, remember that less than 2 years ago, the WWF was in a pitched battle with WCW for viewers, and for 2 years before that point, the WWF was being humbled weekly on Monday nights. The reason that changed is simple". The WCW product became stagnant and predictable, and the WWF made an inherent, popular change in its product (WWF Attitude). This swung the momentum back to the WWF, where it has stayed. Now, with Russo trying to make the changes needed to attract viewers, the WCW has improved its product, and as total wrestling viewership has shrunken to it's lowest level in years, the percentage of total wrestling viewers who are watching the WWF on a given Monday is less than it was 6 months ago. This makes WCW not only the main competitor, it makes them a threat to the dominance of the WWF.

Another reason for Vince McMahon to purchase WCW is to increase viewership. This is simple math. Say that 75% of a given federation's viewers are not the "brand loyal" viewers, and just prefer one fed over the other. Those viewers (the 75%) will watch either federation, if the other is not on TV. The WWF would gain those viewers, and more, if they keep the WCW moniker alive. More viewers, more advertising, more money, you know the drill.

Also, in the short term, Vince would gain two things. First, the product would improve with the intermingling of the "best of both worlds". Second, he would win the war with Turner, and that just may be worth it to McMahon.

All that being said, the industry would suffer greatly because of such a purchase. All the WWF-philes who would argue with that fact (note, I said FACT, not opinion), don't look at the wrestling, look at the business aspect of such a move.

In any business, lack of strong competition lowers the need for top product quality. As I said, there are people who only watch one federation, and the reason for that is that they see something or experience something that the other federation lacks. The WCW has, or had until this past week, the best lightweight division, with Rey Jr, Juvi, Lash Leroux (Cprl. Cajun, MIA fans), Lt. Loco (Guererro), and Elix Skipper. The WWF has Crash Holly and Dean Malenko". All the other smaller workers are in tag teams. Evidently, the WCW has an edge there, and is more attractive to viewers that like the lightweight action. The WWF has reason to improve that part of their product if WCW still exists. However, with the removal of that stiff competition, where is the need to improve? If the need for this kind of competition did not exist, the need to improve would evaporate". The WWF would have a captive audience, who would have no viable options to turn to. If that occurs, the long term result would be the reduction of audience size, as people would look elsewhere for those elements they desire.

In addition, those elements that are viewed as undesirable would be eliminated. Some of these elements are wildly popular. I am speaking now of Kevin Nash, Sting, Buff Bagwell, Ric Flair, Scott Hall, Scott Steiner, Hulk Hogan, and other WCW wrestlers that Vince McMahon would not desire, as they would, in the WWF's terms, "affect the locker room chemistry". These perceptions, along with the wrestlers age (perceived as a turn-off) and WCW history, would lead to their removal from the payroll.

However, as I said before, these wrestlers are over in their angles and roles. If the WWF took it all over, and eliminated those wrestlers, they would alienate thousands of fans, who would just turn it off, given that there would be no alternative federation to watch.

A WWF without a WCW to stand them off would become, to put it simply, too big for the market. No other federation would have a chance to compete for years after such a deal was brokered. With the WWF being on most of the top 5 cable networks (TNT, TBS, TNN, MTV, and UPN), no other group could get the exposure needed on TV to combat the WWF on those terms. Wrestling alliances and federations would either have to ally themselves with the WWF, and become feeder groups for the WWF, or would fold/go underground. Then, and I kid you not, the ultimate pro-wrestling nightmare would occur: The Federal Government would get involved and file anti-trust charges against the WWF. This would be a really bad thing for the pro-wrestling industry, as it would open it up for massive public review, and, eventually, regulation.

To conclude, a buy of the WCW by the WWF would hurt the wrestling industry for many years. With the removal of the useful competition that is fostered between the WWF and the WCW, the product would not have the same high quality we see now in both federations. It would simultaneously close the sport to the indy federations, who would not be able to operate within that environment, and open the industry to government regulation and review. Vince McMahon would win his lifelong battle, but would cost the industry the war, and allthe fans would suffer for it.

Thanks for reading. Remember to get your news, rumors, results, and unique opinion pieces at www.bodyslam.cc. See you next week with a different topic, view, and Crossface Connection.


Finally!! The Rock's and Mankind's Autobiographies are now both available at Solie's Storefront! Check it out for great deals on wrestling books, records and videos. In association with Amazon.com.


The Way I See It...

by Earl Oliver

Amidst swirling rumors of promotional buyouts and wrestlers being let go, Thunder came to us on tape from Melbourne, Australia and opened with a non-title Cruiserweight match for Less-Than-Adequate Mike Sanders against the consumate cruiserweight wrestler, Rey Mysterio, Jr. Tony sat at ringside with his head buried in his hands as the Cat joined the announce team and engaged in a non-stop verbal battle with Mark Madden while Stevie Ray tried desparately to curb his mirth. Rey won the match handily, by the way.

Perhaps the best move of the night was Big Ron Harris grabbing Disgo's duck, squashing it flat with an elbow drop, and then tossing it into the bleachers for the fans to fight over.

The feature match this evening was the "Countdown to Armageddon" Survivor Series style battle royal for a World Title shot. The match was a deadly boring affair which was won by Mike Awesome, who does not, despite what has been reported on some other web sites, get Scott Steiners title shot at Halloween Havoc. He will compete for the title at the Nitro following the PPV.

Smackdown opened with a replay of the Austin auto incident overlaid by Rikishi's statements concerning his culpability. There was a rumor on the net today that something might be let slip concerning the state of negotiations between the two major promotions - but I would be very surprised if that were to happen.

We went immediately to a big tag team battle royal with a short intro rant from the Commissioner. I notice that the Conquistadors sort of skulked in the background throughout Foley's presentation. In the end it came down to the Dudleys and Edge and Chri...er...the Conquistadors. One of the Conquistadors was thrown out, but the referee was otherwise occupied and didn't catch it. Moments later Bubba was tossed out and the match was over with the "Mexican" stars winning a Tag Team Title shot. Backstage after the break, Edge and Christian (looking suspiciously sweaty) showed up during an interview with the winners.

William (Steven) Regal undertook his first European Title defense - pip, pip, and all that...against the frequently missing Perry Saturn and the most recent former champ, Al Snow, in a triple threat match. Regal won it with a Regal Stretch on Al Snow.

In their enthusiasm for converting Rikishi into a monster heel in time for Sunday's PPV, the WWF had him attack...Jim Ross...what the hell, it worked for HHH...sort of... Meanwhile, the Road Dogg continued his quest to recover his lost heat as he was jobbed to by Raven while his erstwhile partner, X-Pac, continued his own similar mission with considerably less success by playing suck up to Edge and Christian.

Before her challange for the WWF Womens' Title, Trish Stratus was observed consulting a dictionary. No doubt, she was looking up the difference between a wristlock and a wrist watch... In the actual match, she showed her best strategy - trying to look fierce while Lita ran her down repeatedly.

The main event was set up as a 4-corners match involving HHH and Kurt Angle on opposite sides - thus forcing Stephanie to choose between her two men. Before the match she assured both of them that she would "do the right thing..." - leaving both of them to wonder exactly what that meant. The other two wrestlers in the match, Chris Benoit and the Rock, seemed only peripherally involved. Is it me or does that star symbol on one side of Angle's tights look an awful lot like the WCW logo? In the end she had to watch Kurt Angle pin her husband after she pulled the Rock off of him.

At the No Mercy PPV (live from Albany, NY, at the Pepsi Arena) Steve Austin kept a low profile right up to when his match with Rikishi was scheduled to take place. In fact, his opponent came to the ring and demanded that Commissioner Foley come out and declare a forfeit. Foley made his way to the ring...and then Austin's music played. Stone Cold drove his trashed pick-up right into the arena and parked it at ringside, then went to town on the Samoan monster. They brawled up into the stands before Rikishi actually got any offense. This prompted Austin to take off his belt and use it as a whip for several moments. Back at the ring (for the first time in the match, actually), Austin found a rope under the ring and used it to hang his opponent. TV monitors and chairs became part of the melee at this point. With a series of chair shots, Austin layed his opponents forehead open...then he got his hands on a sledge hammer. He succeeded only in hitting his own truck with it. But then he used the teilgate as a weapon and dumped Rikishijn into the truck bed and drove away with him! Out in the parking lot, he stopped and unloaded his victim, beat him some more then propped him up against a retaining wall and tried to ram him with the truck. A police car intervened and Austin ended up hitting the patrol car and getting arrested.

The funniest moment in the PPV had to be during the pasted together interview with the Rock conducted by Kurt Angle. Not only was the interview itself a crack-up, but it ended when we cut away to show the Rock backstage watching on a monitor. He switched the TV off but the sound track continued on for a second or two, and then cut off - apparently the sound guy missed his cue. Must of been some of that "superior WWF production" I keep hearing about.

So tell me how "Los Conquistadores", who have had maybe two matches in the WWF - managed to secure a Tag Team Title shot? Never-the-less, they won the titles when Matt Hardey tried to pull off Edge's mask. There was another mask underneath, and the momentarily distracted Matt was dropped on his face and pinned.

A no DQ stipulation was added to the main event at the last minute - no explaination given for that decision...although it was later suggested that the Rock requested the stip. Stephanie played her part to the hilt, providing distraction for the referee and the Champion at every opportunity. Earlier, over his objection, she had fulfilled a similar function in HHH's match against Chris Benoit - and had helped her husband to win the match. A good portion of this match took on Hardcore qualities and took place outside the ring. At one pointm the Champ savaged his opponent's leg by bashing it with a chair as it was propped against the ring steps. The challenger never quite recovered from that and limped throughout the remainder of the match. Toward the end, Angle threw the most beautiful moonsault I have ever seen...and missed completely... As he was about to be pinned, Stephanie got into Maivia's face and was Rock-Bottomed. The Rock was ready to drop the elbow on her when HHH ran in, tossed Angle out of the ring, then put the Pedegree on the Rock! HHH carted his wife away as Angle recovered and went for the pin, but Maivia kicked out. Later, Rikishi tried to get involved on the Rock's behalf, but hit the wrong guy - giving Angle the win and the title.

Nitro is back in the States and live for tonight's program from the Alltel Arena in Little Rock, Arkansas. Tonight also saw the return of Mean Gene Okerlund to conduct an interview with Booker T right after the opening match. This led to a verbal face-off between the Champ and his pending challenger, Scott Steiner, then a physical collision in the aisle. Jeff jarrett ran in and upset the balance of power but then Sting came out and evened things up again before the locker room emptied to restore some order. Mike Awesome took this opportunity to beat some on Steiner which led to a Steiner/Awesome match for later in the program.

So does anyone else agree with me that Miss Jones has got a "thang" goin' on??

Monday also saw the return of Vampiro (as announced on my Solie's Wrestling Radio broadcast last week) to take on that 70's guy, Jr., Crowbar in one of the best matches of the night for either program. The latter made a pretty good account of himself, putting his opponent down repeatedly, but there was no denying the Dark Angel in this one. Crowbar was stretchered out of the arena once again.

Just before the main event, the announcers expressed their condolences concerning the death of Yokozuna. Then Scott Steiner brought a bengal tiger to ringside (and I'm not talking about a football player!!) His opponent, as mentioned earlier, was Mike Awesome, who hardly got started before he was pulled into a Steiner Recliner and tapped out.

On RAW (live from Hartford, CT) opened with a memorial tribute to Yokozuna. One of Yokozuna's cousins, Rikishi, took the opening rant. He called the Rock out so he could apologize for what happened last night. Maivia was having none of it and ended the conversation with a Rock-Bottom. The question in my mind about this whole Rikishi/Austin storyline is, who is Rikishi's accomplice? Who drove the car to lead Austin away from the arena the other night - and who called the police last night?

Lita defended her title against Trish Stratus in a (GOD help us...) Bra and Panties match. Trish used her usual strategy - looking fierce while Lita beat the crap out of her. Lita retained her title by the way. Immediately following this match, RTC introduced their latest convert...Ivory (why not, she doesn't seem to have anything else to do...) She wore her own version of the RTC uniform - a white blouse and tie tucked into a long black skirt, her hair in a braid and minimal make-up. She explained her conversion as men in the audience yelled, "Take your shirt off!!"

Tonight saw the possible reteaming of Chris Benoit and Dean Malenko as the latter ran out to help the former beat the Road Dogg. Then ring announcer Lilian Garcia declared the winner to be Chris Jericho...

Speaking of Jericho, he challenged for the European Title in the next match. Unfortunately for the Millennium Bug, he had the bad fortune to spill coffee on Kane earlier in the evening - and consequently had his title shot spoiled in return.

Kurt Angle finally took the ring for a rant at the top of the second hour amidst an avalanche of red, white and blue balloons and confetti. He was full of himself, as usual, and had Mrs. Helmsley at his side. Inspirational music wafted in the background as he tooted his own horn and noted his accomplishments thus far in the WWF. In the last year he has been the European Champ, the IC Champ, the King of the Ring and, now, the WWF Champion. He topped his speech with a poem, "What Makes a Man Super Great". This was interrupted by the Commissioner (thank GOD!) who insisted that he was there to spoil the celebration, in fact he offered a congratulatory hug...and a chance to defend his new title in a Triple Threat main event match featuring the Rock and HHH!

Does anyone else remember when Scott Levy (Raven - then known as Johnny Polo) and Gorilla Monsoon were an announce team? It was a long time ago - in 1993, when they co-hosted the syndicated Sunday afternoon All American Wrestling program.

Edge took on the "Conquistadores" on his own tonight for the Tag Team Titles after Christian was supposedly injured. The only problem with his plan was that these "Conquistadores" turned out to be the Hardy Boyz under the masks... Commissioner Foley came out to clear up the matter by presenting some footage of the former Tag Champs colluding with their bogus "Mexican" friends. Foley then declared the Hardys as the new Champs, by virtue of their victory over Edge tonight.

The afore mentioned main event started around 10:55 with the two challengers in a mutual staredown - ignoring the new Champ - until they decided to both attack him at the same time! A little while later they took turns ramming his head into the announce table, sort of egging each other on. Stephanie got in the Rock's face which brought HHH out to defend her, causing him to get brained with the ring bell. HHH was out on the floor as the match continued in the ring - and the referee ignored the action to call the EMTs down to the ringside area. HHH was hauled away as Earl Hebner ran back in to officiate. HHH woke up on the ramp and pushed away his attendants to return to the ring. As things became even more chaotic, Rikishi ran down and attacked Angle - which ended the match. Then Steve Austin made his first appearance of the evening to run down and do battle with the Samoan giant. Rikishi fled, leaving Angle to take the brunt of Stone Cold's wrath.

And that's it until next time...

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

Earl Oliver
Editor, Solie's Wrestling Newsletter


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