Dedicated to Gordon Solie
January 29, 1929 - July 27, 2000
Tonight's edition also contains an All Pro Wrestling Report, our weekly Crossface Connection editorial from Solie's regular, John Cross, and as always, my own topical rant.
Next weeks edition (Issue 626) will be delayed by a couple of days because I am going to Denver on Saturday for a gig Saturday night and then a couple of business meetings on Monday and Tuesday. I am going to tape the Monday programs on the 26th and will have a complete report on Wednesday night when I return.
APW returned to the place where so many great memories have happened over the past four years, Pacifica's Terra Nova High School. A good 500 fans turned out for this one, to see the final tag team match of APW's greatest tag team of all time, The Westside Playaz 2000. A great card of eight big matches was in store for the fans of Pacifica, who hadn't seen APW live in quite awhile, and APW's great ring announcer Alan Bolte started off the evening by calling out the first interview...
Interview with Shane Dynasty & Boom Boom Comini
Comini came to the ring accompanied by Dynasty and said he was upset that he wasn't getting the respect he deserved in APW. Dynasty told Comini not to worry, because in wrestling today you need a gimmick to get over. Dynasty said he had the perfect gimmick, and would give it to Comini later in the night.
16 Man Battle Royal
This was a very good 16-Man Battle Royal. All of APW's top stars were involved, and they fought it out brutally for a good 10 minutes. Lots of outside and inside the ring action in this one. Fans love when the show starts off with the Battle Royal. Donovan Morgan eliminated each other at the same time, and the final three in the match were Vincenzo Massaro, Myaki Frantz & Michael Modest. Christopher Daniels, stayed at ringside to root on Massaro (who would be his partner later in the night). Modest hit a DVD on Frantz, and then climbed to the top rope. Frantz dropkicked Modest off the top, and he fell down to the hardwood floor, and was eliminated! Frantz & Massaro remained, and these two put on a fantastic little match. Vinny was very stiff, and hit a few of his innovative finishers, but Myaki was resilient and kept kicking out of everything Vinny hit him with. Frantz came back with some karate kicks and some nice looking hurricarana (one was a swinging DDT into a rana, it was great!). Myaki hit an amazing 450-splash, but Vinny kicked out at 2 1/2. The battle went back and forth, Myaki even kicked out of the Bitch Slap and the Pink Poodle!!! However, it ended when Vinny hit his twisting powerbomb (The Burning Hammer) to put Myaki away and win the match. Great match!
Winner: Vincenzo Massaro in 16:30 ( * * * 1/2)
Interview with Christopher Daniels & Vincenzo Massaro
After the Battle Royal, Daniels came to the ring to celebrate with Vinny. They talked about their match later tonight against the Westside Playaz, and how they would take the tag titles. Daniels said it was great to be friends with two innovators, the Innovator Of APW (Vinny) and the Innovator Of Wrestling (Nova). Daniels called out Nova. Vinny didn't take too kindly to this, and argued with Daniels & Nova about being the true innovator. Daniels said he was dropping Vinny as his partner tonight, and taking Nova into the tag title match. When Vinny tried to question Daniels decision, Nova attacked him, hit him with a Bitch Slap, and they laid Vinny out in the middle of the ring.
Deacon & Solo vs. Homicidal
This tag team match was between some of the LA guys from Urban Wrestling Association. Solo & Deacon were in control for a few minutes, but they seemed to not get along at all. Solo would yell at Deacon (who was a good 340 pounds) and belittle him in the middle of the ring. Homicidal looked like The Headhunters, and they used their power moves to take the advantage. In the end, Deacon turned on Solo and punched him, then Homicidal hit a legdrop and got the pinfall.
Winners; Homicidal in 6:28 ( * 1/2 )
Interview with Roland Alexander
Roland came to the ring very upset. He called out Christopher Daniels & Nova and said he wanted to speak with them. They came to the ring, and Roland let them know that they do not make the matches in APW. He said it was fine that Daniels brought Nova out, and Roland had planned for him to wrestle Sean Patrick O'Doul, but he did not like that they changed the tag title match. Roland announced that Daniels would receive a new tag team partner, not Nova and not Vinny, but his former Mack Daddy XXXpress partner and current UPW So-Cal Champion, "Shooter" Tony Jones. Jones came to the ring, while Daniels & Nova argued the decision. Nova said he would not be fighting O'Doul tonight, and Roland told him he was right. Roland made the match between Nova and Vinny Massaro for later in the show. Westside Playaz then came out on the stage and said it didn't matter who they wrestled tonight. It was their last match as a team together, and they would beat any combination thrown their way.
"Fighting Irish" Sean Patrick O'Doul vs. "KC" Kid Chrome
Two youngsters fighting it out here, and i have seen both men do better. I think it was Antioch that these two wrestled in a much better match. They were just not on their game tonight, but definitely nothing awful. KC put O'Doul away in about 6 minutes with a Swinging DDT. After the match Iron Sheik Comini came to the ring (Comini dressed in Sheik gear) with Shane Dynasty waiving the Iraqi flag above his head, and they attacked Chrome. Comini locked on the Camel Clutch and it took two referees to finally break the hold. Comini showed he means business with his new gimmick.
Winner: Kid Chrome in 6:09 ( * * )
Super Destroyer 2000 (with Buddy Cotello, Esq.) vs. "Mr. Technical" Barry Horowitz
This was the old school match that we all thought it would be. Surprisingly, most of the crowd was backing SD2K in this match, as Horowitz drew a good amount of heat. A couple of times, he had to leave the ring and yell at the fans to shut their mouths. Just some good old school technical wrestling in this one. Horowitz worked on SD2K's lower half for most of the match. He used some cheating tactics, and played to the crowd very well. This was a great guy to have work with Destroyer. SD2K is still young in the business, and has a good future ahead of him. He hung in there just fine with the veteran Horowitz. After a long, drawn-out, grueling match, the end came when Horowitz hit a belly-to-belly suplex, and rolled up SD2K into a small-package and got a quick 3-count for the win.
Winner: Barry Horowitz in 20:25 ( * * 1/2)
The Kamikaze Kids vs. The Ballard Brothers (with Cheerleader Melissa)
This was a very good tag team match between two of the top contenders to the Playaz tag team titles. If the titles become vacant after tonight, you can expect these guys to be two of the top teams competing for the gold. Perfect teamwork by both teams, and i am impressed more and more with The Frantz' highflying skills every show. They become more precise everytime out there. The Ballards worked hard in this one also. Melissa interfered a few times and suprised everyone in Pacifica, showing how tough she is. Ballards had control for the first 10 minutes, and Myaki was taking a serious beating.
He finally hit Shannon Ballard with a TKO and was able to make the tag to Jardi. Fly Daddy came in with some big karate kicks, and went to work on both Ballards until Myaki came to his senses. At that point, The Ballard were tossed to the floor, and Jardi hit a great dive through the ropes! Then Myaki followed with a perfect Asai Moonsault! The fans started a huge "Holy Sh*t" chant! The Kamikaze Kids had electrified the entire place. The Ballards however, came back, when Myaki missed his Phoenix Press and Jardi was crotched on the top rope by Melissa. The Ballards hit a Double Superplex on Jardi, and were able to get the win. Great tag team match, with lots of exciting tag team action.
Winners: The Ballard Brothers in 15:21 ( * * * 1/2)
The Innovator Showdown
"Pro Wrestling Innovator" Vincenzo Massaro vs. "ECW Innovator" Super Nova
After each men took a few minutes to get a feel for each other, they began slugging it out, trying to show who the true innovator was. Nova took a lot of time out to talk with the fans during the match, while Vinny seemed to want to wrestle. Vinny hit his rope-walking legdrop for innovative move number 1 of the match. Nova came back with some cool submission holds, like a reverse surfboard and an octopus submission hold. Vinny battled back and nailed a Face Eraser, and a step over crucifix. They were fighting it out pretty good until Vinny got crotched after going for a moonsault, and tied to the tree of woes. Nova dropkicked Vinny in the corner, and went for the pin. Referee Tom Castor had been KO'ed earlier, and couldn't make the count. Vinny hit a stunner and was going for the pin, but still no ref.
Out of the dressing room came Chris Daniels. He leveled Vinny with a steel chair, but Michael Modest came out to save his fellow Team APW member. Modest beat the heck out of Daniels, and knocked him out of the ring. He then hit a DVD on Nova, and woke up the ref. Massaro rolled onto Nova and got the 1...2...3! Vinny had defeated Nova! Vincenzo Massaro is the true innovator of wrestling! Chalk up one more for Team APW, as Daniels & Nova made their way back to the dressing room.
Winner: Vincenzo Massaro in 12:52 ( * * * )
"Future Legend" Donovan Morgan & "Natural One" Michael Modest vs. "Next Big Thing" Dalip Singh & Mystery Man (with Shane Dynasty)
Dynasty got the mic and introduced us all to Singh's mystery man...MAXX JUSTICE!!! Nobody could believe what they were seeing! Maxx was back in APW, and he was teaming with the biggest man in APW history! They stood there together, intimidating their opponents, at a total combined weight of well over 700 pounds! Dynasty got the mic and introduced Maxx how it should be done, just like the old days.
Singh & Justice attacked Modest & Morgan from behind to start off the match, and worked them over for the first minute. Modest & Morgan used some great teamwork to come back though, and took over for a good portion of the first 3 minutes. Modest's punches had no effect on Dalip, and the monster went to work on the Natural One. Singh and Justice manhandled Modest and knocked him from corner to corner, toying with him. Maxx locked Modest in a huge bear hug, and squeezed the life from him. Modest tried to fight back, but Justice tagged in Singh, and they kept up their attack.
Finally, Modest ducked a foot-in-the-face attempt by Dalip, and hit an x-marks-the-spot shot on the giant. Modest was able to roll over to his corner and tag in Morgan...but once again, Dalip was just way too big and strong. Justice & Singh began to beat on Morgan mercilessly, with forearms, clotheslines and PowerBBS that put the Future Legend on his back. Justice went for a chokeslam, but Morgan turned it around, and hit big Maxx with a bulldog...he tagged in Modest, and the Natural One went at it with Singh. The punches still had no effect, but a dropkick knocked The Next Big Thing into the ropes, in which he got all tangled up (ala Andre The Giant). Modest and Morgan double teamed Dalip, and knocked him over the top rope. Donovan then hit a suicide dive over the top rope onto both Maxx & Dalip.
The battle raged back into the ring, and Maxx chokeslammed Donovan. Dalip hit Modest with a steel chair, and then got back into the ring. He accidentally hit Maxx with the steel chair when Donovan moved out of the way! The fans went crazy, and Morgan covered Maxx for the win! Dalip had accidentally hit his partner with the chair, and caused them to lose the match. Dynasty couldn't believe it, and was furious with Singh. Modest & Morgan had won their final tag team match together, but the action wasn't over with. Singh grabbed Dynasty by the throat for yelling at him, and chokeslammed him right in the middle of the ring. Maxx Justice came to Dynastys rescue, and hit the giant in the back with a steel chair! However, it had no effect on Singh! Not even a shot from the most powerful champion in APW history could knock down Singh! Maxx left the ring as Dalip stared him down. The two big men stared holes in each other, and Justice turned around and walked out. Dynasty was laying in the middle of the ring knocked out, while Dalip yelled at Justice to come back.
Winners: Michael Modest & Donovan Morgan in 12:25 ( * * * )
APW Tag Team Championship
Westside Playaz 2000 (with ICEBOX) vs. "Shooter" Tony Jones & "Fallen Angel" Christopher Daniels
The match started off very quickly, with all four men battling to the outside. They exchanged blows on the floor, with the Playaz getting the upper hand. "Bad Boy" Boyce LeGrande hit a huge somersault over the top rope and down onto both opponents. Once the action went back into the ring, it slowed down a bit, with some good technical wrestling from "Brown Bomber" Robert Thompson and "Fallen Angel" Christopher Daniels. The Playaz worked over Christopher Daniels left arm for the first few minutes of the match, showing some great teamwork. Once "Shooter" Tony Jones came into the ring, he got a little of the same. Playaz working over Jones arm now, but once LeGrande went for a superkick, Shooter caught him in a Fishermans Suplex. Jones and Daniels were now in control, and they were really taking it to Boyce. Lots of great suplexes by Jones, and the crowd was really hot at Daniels. They used some great teamwork to keep the champs down, and cut the ring in half.
Boyce tried a couple of short-lived comebacks, but they never amounted to anything, as Daniels & Jones both have the perfect combo of brains & power. Could this be the night the Playaz finally lose their tag titles? Boyce kept trying to make the tag, and even did so on one occasion, but referee Tom Castor missed it while keeping Tony Jones out of the ring. The double teaming continued, and about 11 minutes into the match, Boyce finally found a way out. He hit a 2nd rope blockbuster on Daniels, and a superkick on Jones, and finally made the tag to Bomber. Robert came in and cleaned house, and knocked everyone to the floor. He even nailed an amazing top rope moonsault to the floor, and took out the entire front row of fans!!! Another "Holy Sh*t" chant for this one! The APW fans were loving it, as the Playaz were doing what they do best, and putting themselves back into the match. Bomber hit a falling headbutt, followed by a Fishermans Driver, but Jones made the save at the count of 2. Daniels & Jones took control again, and the match was going back and forth, lots of near falls, and false finishes. Typical cliffhanger-style WSP2K match. Jones hit a rolling german suplex but couldn't get the 3 count. So much great action in this one, it was hard to follow. Finally, the Playaz hit 3-D on Daniels, and knocked him out of the ring, then Bomber hit a Frog Splash on Tony Jones. Boyce followed that with a Swanton-Bomb, and put Shooter down for the count...1...2...3! The Westside Playaz 2000 were victorious! They had won their final match together as a team, and they did it by pinning one of the original playaz, Tony Jones. What a great tag team title defense by Boyce & Bomber.
Winners: Westside Playaz 2000 in 17:58 to retain the APW Tag Team Titles ( * * * * )
Farewell To The Westside Playaz
After the Playaz did their usual crowd celebration, going to the audience and dancing with their fans, they came back to the ring, and had a few words to say about their fantastic and legendary run as APW tag team champions. They hugged in the middle of the ring, and here is a little bit of what Robert Thompson had to say...
Another era has ended for APW. So many great wrestlers have come and gone, whether it be the great babyface run of Matt Hyson, or the legendary matches and careers of Erin O'Grady and Vic Grimes. Whether it's the controversial ways that made guys like Steve Rizzono, Kwame Kamoze or Jimmy Ripp into local independent superstars...Or just average guys like Chicano Flame, Nathaniel Sweete or Jason Clay, quietly disappearing into the darkness. To all good things, there comes an end. Tonight in Pacifica, one of APW's finest era's ever is ending, as The Westside Playaz have split, and put an end to their amazing reign as the best tag team in indy wrestling. Next week we will be reminiscing about the days of Daniels & Modest, but tonight was the Playaz night, and whether or not they ever decide to come back and team together, if this is really it for them, and we are never to see them together again, and we are never to hear their music again, and if we are never to see the "W" or hear ICEBOX's chant of "WESTSIDE", let them know that they had a 5 STAR run, and it was a treat to be a part of their magic, even if it was only as a fan. Their 21-0 record will be hard to beat, and even if it is matched somewhere down the line, it will be even harder to find two guys as likable, and as deserving as Robert Thompson and Boyce LeGrande. Here is to the ending of a great chapter in the APW History books, LeGrande and Thompson are definitely what champions are made of.
Part 2: Through Hell, Fire and Brimstone
After marrying Kimberly Page in 1992, DDP went on a mission to break into wrestling as an in-ring performer. One of his early matches after his December 1991 PPV debut was right in Bluefield, WV (where I am from ). It was against Marcus Alexander Bagwell. If that name sounds familiar, it should because it is the man we know now as "Buff" Bagwell. Bagwell, by the way, won the match with a fisherman's suplex. This wouldn't be the last time that these two would get it on!
Through 1992-1994, DDP made appearances in WCW as well as overseas and on the independent circuit trying to find his niche in pro wrestling. During some of these appearances, he would be accompanied by The Diamond Doll, who was in fact his wife Kimberly. In 1995, he ran a feud with David Sullivan in which David was infatuated with Ms. Page and objected to the way that her charge treated her so poorly. Their feud came to an end at WCW Bash At The Beach in California when Page defeated Sullivan in a grudge match. It was during this feud that the "Diamond Doll" nickname was dropped and Kimberly went under her real name. It was also during this time that DDP developed a version of the legendary DDT which he called The Diamond Cutter. It is a simple reverse nelson turned bulldog as Page uses his weight, power and momentum to drive his opponents' head into the canvas! Ironically, it was Jake "The Snake" Roberts (a mentor of DDP's), that called The Diamond Cutter a "reinvention" of the DDT.
Also during this time, DDP won the WCW World Television Title from the late Renegade at WCW Fall Brawl '95. Page also improved on his ring technique and interview style as people slowly began to take notice. Ironically, however, it would be his wife that will make the first splash as during a program with Marc Mero (Johnny B. Badd). While this was meant to get DDP over, it inadvertently got his wife over as she ended up "betraying" DDP and going with Johnny B. Badd for a short time as Badd took the WCW World TV Title from Page at Halloween Havoc '95 in Detroit, MI. To hang on to Kimberly, DDP reminded everyone that she was still contractually bound to manage him and challenged JBB to a rematch. It was held a month later at WCW World War 3 with Badd retaining his belt against DDP and, due to a pre match stipulation, Kimberly was no longer contractually bound to DDP! Kim chose to manage Badd for a short time during his reign. During this, she got as many cheers as Johnny! As for DDP, they ran another angle with the revelation that Kimberly had won several thousand dollars at a Bingo Lottery back during 1995 but it was taken by DDP! Badd once again put his belt on the line against DDP with the stipulation that if DDP lost, he would have to return the remaining money to Kimberly. The match was held at SuperBrawl VI and DDP lost again!
With nothing left to lose, DDP took his revenge by causing Johnny B. Badd to lose the WCW TV strap to "Total Package" Lex Luger with a Diamond Cutter on the concrete floor! Shortly afterwards, Badd left WCW due to a dispute over family time and an angle in which Kimberly and Badd were supposed to become romantically involved. While DDP and Kimberly obviously had a problem with it, Badd was the most vocal citing his Christian background and the fact that he was married himself (to Rena Mero/Sable). He left WCW for the WWF where he ended his career three years later.
Meanwhile, DDP's challenge to an "Loser Leaves WCW" match was answered by The Booty Man (which was Ed Leslie). With Kimberly supporting him, The Booty Man defeated DDP and drove him out of WCW for a time. During this, DDP was totally homeless and on the street. Then, a mysterious benefactor got him back on his feet and rejuvenated his wrestling career. Now, this is a great example of an unfinished angle if I ever saw one! The benefactor was never revealed. Many say that it was going to be Kimberly but was never really touched on. In any case, this began one of the best runs ever by a pro wrestler. A run that I'll cover next time. NEXT: Diamond Rush
If you have a question, comments, criticism, or just want to talk pro wrestling, e-mail me at email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org
Ervin Griffin Jr. is Solie's resident historian and formerly contributed to the Ringside Insider on a regular basis. Many of his previous articles are available in the
I told you that I would speak to you about the WCW shutdown-rumor that has/had persisted for several weeks. A lot of thought and doubt had been voiced on the Internet about the Shutdown, and many people thought it was a work. Well, Dave Scherer came out with a WCW "Memo" that says the shutdown is on for the 27th of March. He put this info out on the 15th.
I am of the opinion that this means that the Fusient purchase is a done deal, and that WCW, finally, is going to make some serious decisions and make that concerted push I talked about so many times.
Let me elaborate on each of these points.
I donít think that WCW would shut down if the Fusient deal had died. There have been many rumors that the WCW sale was going badly, and that Fusient and Turner were jammed up in the negotiation process. That all may be true (as so much of the ĎNet rumors can be), but logic would dictate that a shutdown of this magnitude (right at WWF Wrestlemania time) is a function of the sale. Bischoff has to get in there and take stock. He needs time to re-invent the WCW, and that will take some doing. The WWF and WCW audiences are getting rather stratified, almost partisan, and a considerable shift in audience would take a great effort. The opinion in this rather individual mind (and that is a FACT, not an opinion) is that Bischoff will do several things.
First, he has to get all the guys on his boat, and will explain that the egos have got to be checked at the door. Promotion of wrestlers happens at the discretion of the OWNERS, not the wrestlers. Second, he has to create, rebuild, or renew the storylines, angles, and characters. If there is an effective character or worker (Scotty Steiner, for one, or the current Team Canada), then he has to define the future and the ingredients that make up that persona. Third, the production and promotion has got to be challenged to close the gaps that exist there between the WCW and the WWF. I read in the letters that Solieís gets that someone said that the "..WCW has great wrestlers and bad storylines, and the WWF has great storylines and bad wrestlers." If I didnít get it exactly right, sorry, but you get the drift. Either way, watching a WWF show and a WCW show are two different experiences. Personally, I will not watch all of a Thunder, as the crowd is dead and the wrestlers (at least lately) are not putting it all out there, albeit with some exceptions.
Assuming that Easy E will at least get those things done, WCW is changing hands and making a good decision. I donít think Turner would pull another Russo "Take the Titles and imagine it was all a dream." mini-shutdown. He would probably bring back the big names one at a time, and try to slowly chip at the WWF dominance. Turner would also fail.
And, I hope he would. Why? Because he calls devout Catholics "Jesus Freaks" and then disciplines anyone who calls someone from another country "Foreign" instead of "International". He makes me want to retch.
Oh, sorry. Let me get back on track here.......
As for my second point, that this signals a big effort from the WCW, it is also logical. It reminds me of the Ardennes Offensive, launched by Hitler in late 1944 against thinly-held Allied lines in the Western Front. As the German armies had been shattered and in full retreat, Hitler (asshole, madman, murderer....you get my opinion of the man) decided to launch a sudden offensive to maybe secure a peace with the Allied armies in the West, so he could move his divisions east to stem the Russian advance into Prussia and Germany.
Yeah, yeah, history lesson...I know....but I wouldnít have described it if I didnít have a point, and it is the same point I made about the WCW/Fusient deal when it was first discovered. This is a company who has reeled under bad decisions, restrictive censorship (Standards and Practices), lost opportunities, and talent defections. Three years ago, the WWF was under siege from these people, just as Europe was under Hitlerís boot, and they launched their own offensive (Attitude). The WWF was successful. And, believe me, Vince McMahon looks at this as a war, too. There is a winner, and a loser. The WCW is losing, and they need a counter-strike that will move them into the advantage. This shutdown could produce that impetus. Also, the WCW will avoid a direct Wrestlemania confrontation. Talk about a Panzer..that is the one thing that the WCW has NEVER been able to top. They either lucked into a good time, or they did this on purpose to miss the push the WWF will inherently get.
And, I bet Bischoff is hoping for a LOUSY WM17, too.
OK, I am really done. Why? I play side (snare) drum in a bagpipe band. Yeah, no kidding. This weekend was St. Patrickís Day. The Friday before, I played at 10 different places, including for the Mayor of Columbus, Ohio. On The Day (as we call it in my house), I played 19 different places, including a 2 mile parade (in 33 degree/10 wind-chill weather) and from 6:00 AM (both days) until 12:00 AM. All that being said, I am a little fatigued tonight, so I bid you adieu.
Bodyslam.cc is waiting for you to come for the columns (4), rumors, results, and news we post daily. Solieís has you right now, and they are just Solieís; I canít improve on that.
Thanks again, and I will see you next week for another Connection.
Thunder opened with the final semi-final match of the Cruiserweight Tag Team Title tournament featuring The Remains of Three Count against Kidman and Rey Misterio, Jr. This is always a great way to start a program, and tonight was no exception. After an exciting, very competitive match, the Filthy Animals took the duke, They will face Prime Time and Kid Romeo on Sunday for the gold.
Is it me or is Diamond Dallas Page's latest catch phrase getting really old? As he is finishing up his rant at Scott Steiner, Dustin Rhodes shows up and says that he was ordered to the ring by the Nature Boss. The CEO himself appears on the big screen and makes a match. Dustin and DDP vs. Jeff Jarrett and Rick Steiner in the main event. We find out a moment later that the show on the screen was pre-taped as Jarrett and Steiner hit the ring - only to be promptly ejected by the good guys.
Alex Wright suddenly blew up on Disqo back in the dining room then came to the ring to take on newcomer Jason Jett in order to demonstrate that he should have stuck with his former Dancin' Fools partner. Jett surprised everyone by exhibiting some spectacular flying moves and taking an upset win over the WCW veteran.
So what do you suppose poor Stacy Kiebler did to be saddled with a clown like Sean Stasiak?
For that matter, what did poor Buff Bagwell do to deserve being saddled with a clown like Lex Luger?
For that matter, what did Mike Sanders and Disqo do to deserve each other..?
As silly as his character is, Allen Funk's "KweeWee" is still one of the few bright spots in WCW these days. His characterization is flawless, showing an acting maturity almost unknown in today's crop of wrestling young lions, and his athleticsm is first rate. The soon-to-be Cruiserweight Champ, Shane Helms, while certainly a superb, innovative athlete, has a long way to go in the personna department before he will even match the current Cruiserweight Champ, Chavo Guerrero. Nonetheless, I will be very surprised if Helms doesn't take the Title on Sunday. The promotion has been telegraphing the change for weeks now as Helms wrestles brilliant match after brilliant match, while his rival, Guerrero, is reduced to doing cowardly run-ins. Which is what he did after Helms beat KweeWee tonight...
Hugh Morrus, on the other hand, is still playing the same character he played in his MIA days - the all American good guy, now with Konnan as his right hand man. He and Konnan took on the afore mentioned team of Sanders and Disqo in a pretty fun match to watch. As usch as I complain about Disqo and Sanders, they do both knoe how to wrestle. This match ended on a down note when Team Canada came out to attack there upcoming PPV opponents.
The main event was a barnburner with all four guys wrestling up to their considerable collective talents. Unfortunately it ended in a cluster when the thug patrol ran in the save the butts of Steiner and Jarrett, followed by the good guys back up. I'm really glad to see Dustin back in the thick of things and participating in an angle that matters. This guy proved during his WWF tour that when given good material, he can more then adequately run with it. I hope that will eventually happen in this latest foray...but I'm not holding my breath.
Can you believe they did the Thunder before a PPV without a wrestling or even a promo appearance by Scott Steiner? Wat were they thinking?
SmackDown was taped Tuesday night in Anaheim, CA and opened with Test defending his European Title against Eddie Guerrero. This was classic "Sorta Iffy" Big Man vs. Excellent Little Man stuff. Of course, Guerrero also had help on the outside in the persons of Terri and Saturn, but then Test had Chris Jericho on his side. Jericho unexpectedly ran out at the critical moment and bounced Eddie's neck off the top rope to give Test the win.
Backstage, the Undertaker sat waiting on his bike. Probably for HHH, although he wouldn't admit it to his brother, who offered to wait with him. UT said, "No, I gotta do this one by myself..."
Jim Ross interviewed Steve Austin in a pre-recorded talk. Steve is cognizant of the fact that WrestleMania is taking place in his home state. Other than that it was the usual Austin interview, full of swagger and bluster.
The Hardeys and "The One" took on X-Pac, Justin Credible and Albert (an unlikely trio if ever their was one...not very interesting either...) This has the smell of a team of single guys with nothing better to do. In fact, that has more or less been X-Pac's role since DX bit the dust a while back. You could tell they haven't quite jelled yet by the way Albert calmly stepped over Justin as the latter fell off the apron onto his head at one point. I have to say, however, that Albert is a real monster and adds a lot to any team he joins. This one ended in a double DQ, by the way.
Out back, the Commissioner tried to reason with UT, who basically told him to f**k himself. UT continued to wait.
I've just figured out that this whole Trish thing with McMahon is connected to the Sable situation from a couple of years ago. Sable left because she refused to degrade herself to the level that Vince demanded. So now he has Trish, who has basically said that she will degrade herself to any degree to please the boss.
Back in the garage, HHH and Stephanie rolled up in their limo, which was immediately attacked by the Undertaker with his steel pipe. Hunter stayed out of range until the police showed up, then rushed in for a cheap shot after UT had been handcuffed. As UT was hauled away, Stephani asked Hunter, "What are you going to do when he gets out?" Hunter looked stunned - like he never thought of that...
Shane McMahon was interviewed via satelite at WWF headquarters in Stamford. Shane is pretty upset at his dad's actions of late. His speech is forcefull and emotional. I just hope they're not going to screw this up with another stupid heel change like they did with Stephanie...
Chris Jericho suffered at he hands of the Commissioner as he was pitted against the Dudley Boyz in a handicap table match.
Since his brother got arrested, naturally, Kane demanded and got a match against HHH at the top of the bottom of the final half hour. This went all over the inside of the arena with Kane taking the early advantage but soon surrendering it to his opponent, a superior wrestler without a doubt. But when you are wrestling with a Mack Truck, inevitably it doesn't really matter how great a wrestler you are. Hunter finds again and again that he can't hold onto the initiative against the Big Red Machine until the Big Show decides to come out and provide some distraction. Even then his ascendency is short lived. The first pin attempt of the match gives Kane the two count. The giant finally has to get physically involved to give Hunter the win. The two of them do a number on Kane after the fact.
For the main event we got Stone Cold vs. Kurt Angle in a no DQ battle. This one was in Austin's court from the get go, so he dominated the action easily early on. He went and grabbed the ring bell but Angle dragged himself out if the ring and avoided that particular violence. The two brawled outside the ring as Austin again took control of things. Back inside the ring, Austin used a convenient chair to beat on Angle's knee and then set him up with his ankle trapped in the chair. But Angle escaped again and then hugged the ring bell against his chest until Austin came into range for a head shot. At this point the Rock decided to take a hand. He threw Angle back into the ring and then joined the announce team as the battle continued. This situation was untenable, of course and soon proved so when Angle flung Austin into the Rock. As the two got to their feet, Angle hit each in turn with the chair, then dragged Austin back into the ring. Moments later he hit a moonsault then went for the pin, but failed. Meanwhile, Maivia got to his feet out on the floor and climbed onto the apron just in time to be hit again by the "flying Rattlesnake". In a flash, Maivia was back in the ring and trying, but failing to put a Rock Bottom on Austin - so he did Angle instead, then turned around and fell victim to a Stunner. Austin then pinned his opponent and the program ended.
Congratulations are in order for Crash Holly, who won the Light Heavyweight Title (with an assist from his cousin, Molly) from Dean Malenko on Heat this weekend. That makes Crash's 15th WWF Title reign (14 times Hardcore Champ).
Nitro was live from the O'Connell Center in Gainsville, FL and opened with the startling announcement that Eric Bischoff would be making a statement on the program. But first, Scott Steiner came down to the ring with the Nature CEO, Animal and Madasia to gloat about his victory at the PPV last night. Flair followed up with a blatent lie - claiming that he and Jarrett defeated the Rhodes' in their tag match last night and would force Dusty to kiss his posterior tonight. Dusty and Dustin appeared on the big screen to dispute the claim, and to further predict that Flair would be the one kissing butt before the evening was over. Steiner jumped in to challenge Dusty - but big Dust deferred the challenge to someone unnamed - who soon made himself known...Booker T appeared on the platform with his newly won US Title belt and laid down a challenge for the World Title. He did a good impression of Chris Jericho, telling Steiner to "shut the Hell UP!" Then he announced that "the Man" would expect Steiner in the ring at the top of the hour and would have something to say about the World Title. He seemed to be referring to Bischoff, but it was unclear.
The documentary camera caught Animal and Buff Bagwell discussing the identity of the mysterious attacker of their faction and also air some complaints about Lex Luger's ego problems. During the evening, Lex Luger was attacked and Buff and Animal continued to investigate the situation. It was the running backstage story.
Jason Jett (this is EZ Money from ECW, by the way) continued his recent push with an upset win over Disqo, who came to the ring accompanied by Mike Sanders (apparently their partnership is working out for them). Sanders did his best to interfere and change the outcome but Jett is definitely on a roll.
Shane Helms decided to offer his first Title defense to Kidman, saying that he had taken Kidman's place in the match that started him on the road to the Cruiserweight gold. This was back at SuperBrawl when Animal attacked Kidman before a Four-Corners match - forcing the change of personnel. After a very competitive match, Helms defeated Kidman decisively (as we knew he would) and then was attacked by sore loser, Chavo Guerrero. Right on cue, the new Cruiserweight Tag Champs showed up to lend a boot or two, followed closely by Rey Misterio, who with a revived Kidman, equaled the odds and drove off the bad guys.
Stacy Kiebler brought her fabulous legs to the ring then spoiled it all by introducing her friend Sean Stasiak. This led to a Stasiak/Bigalow rematch, which Bigalow won easily.
After the break, they set some chairs up in the ring. Terry Taylor was there, Flair, Scott Steiner and others. Booker T appeared on the platform then introduced Eric Bischoff via telephone. He tells the assembled wrestlers and back office personnel - and the World, that all WCW titles will be on the line next week on Nitro in Panama City, including a title vs. title match between Booker and Scott Steiner! He also orders Ric Flair to kiss Dusty Rhodes' butt!!! At that point Steiner erupts into furious action, laying about him with his steel pipe - knocking everyone out of the ring, wrestlers, office workers, referees, security - until Booker regains his composure and drives Steiner from the ring.
WOW! This would seem to change everything. At least, it would appear that my own opinion (expressed in personal emails, on my radio show and on the Readers' Forum over the last week) that the dust hasn't quite settled around WCW yet (despite the announcement over the weekend, would seem to have been vindicated. I had prepared an editorial on the subject for the end of this edition - but now I'm going to leave it off - makes no sense to run it now since Bishoff just made my point for me. By the way, in a late breaking development, AOL/Time-Warner announced that talks are still going on between then and Fusient...
Kanyon and Smooth were in the middle of their rematch when Animal ran in to intefere. This brought the Cat out to even the odds and set up a tag match for Thunder.
A match between Rick Steiner and Konnan was a lopsided affair. K-Dawg only had a short burst of offense in the middle of the match. He almost missed his forward-roll-clothesline spot. Steiner obligingly stood there and waited for his to connect. Shane Douglas (who else?) ran in and interfered, giving Steiner a DQ win, then split. Steiner tried to punk Konnan but Hugh Morrus was there to save his cookies.
Team Canada cut a backstage promo but I think the little red light must have been on over the wrong camera as Lance Storm solemnly made his pronouncements to a spot somewhere off to the left. This was followed by a non-title match-up for Team Canada and the Tag Champs. Awesome and Storm managed to isolate Sean O'Haire for quite a while in this one but he just kept coming back for more. When Palumbo finally got into the match, O'Haire had run their opponents ragged. But they came back and knocked O'Haire off the top to slam his chin on the apron. While he was out of it, team Canada double teamed Palumbo and got the pin. It looks like we will see a rematch of this battle for the titles next week.
For the climax of the program we got Flair and Jarrett out to the ring for the payoff of the stipulation on last night's big tag match. Ric grabbed the mic and demanded that Dusty bring "...his big white ass out here." So Dusty showed up with an albino mule!!! He had it painted on the tail end, "Dusty's Ass". Flair turned to Jarrett and ordered him to go do the honors. Jarrett was having none of that, which led to a bit of a dust-up between Jarrettt and Flair - which turnd out to be a set-up on Dustin. Dusty ran to the ring and kicked some butt until the two bad guys jumped him. The brawl fell out to the flooe, in the vicinity of the mule, which was tethered to a rail nearby. At that point, Dustin re-entered the frey and faught off Jarrett and Flair - who was forced to kiss the ass's ass...
RAW opened with a Hardcore Title match. The former Champ, Raven challenging the Big Show. In the middle of the brawl, Kane showed up and interferred - handing a victory to Raven. The program was live from Albany, New York.
Shane McMahon, apparently sharing my opinion about his father's appearance on HBO the other night, challenged his dad to a match at WrestleMania. Thois led to an appearance by the rest of the McMahon clan, including HHH who ran in and attacked Shane from behind. They all ended up in the back of the buiding where Vince bashed is son with a chair and then sent him off in a limo. The match for WrestleMania is on, by the way.
Edge and Christian took the Dudley's promised Title match tonight when the Dusleys failed to appear (flight connection problems apparently). At the critical moment, Rhino made his WWF debut by charging out of the crowd and laying Jeff Hardey out, handing the challenger the win, and the titles.
Stevie Richards and Tazz fought to a no contest.
Test took on HHH at the bottom of the second hour but the match was interrupted by an appearance by the Undertaker. As he stood on the ramp, the Big Show tried to attack from behind. But Kane was there to cut him off, then headed for the ring and kidnapped Stephanie. UT went to the ring and gave HHH what for. He was ready for a chokeslam when Big Show made it to the apron. UT cut him off again and HHH escaped. After the break, we found ane on a third floor landing holding a stunt double over his head (no folks, that wasn't really Stephanie) and threatening to drop her to the floor below. UT used that leverage to negotiate a match at WrestleMania for himself against HHH.
The New Dancin' Fools (Grand Masta and Steve Blackman) took on Justin Credible and X-Pac (w/Albert)in a lopsided contest. The giood guys were outnumbered in this one.
Backstage, the Dudleys arrived and demanded their Tag Team Title shot from the Commissioner. After hemming and hawing, Regal agreed. In the ring, Ivory continued he drive to put Chyna over in her absense. While she was busy beating up a cardboard cut-out, the real Chyna showed up and got a DDT on her!
Meanwhile, back in the Commissioner's office, Chris Jericho stole the Commish's teapot and made wee-wee in it!
The Dudleys got their title shot and made good on it. They were helped a bit by the sudden appearance of Spike Dudley! Spike entered the ring and applied the Acid Drop on Christian and left the ring! Classic Spike Dudley stuff!! The Dudleys got the 3D on Edge to win the Tag Team straps and then celebrated the victory and their Dudley family reunion outside the ring! "The Giant Killer" is back!
The main event was a handicap tag team match - the Rock/Chris Jericho vs. Every bad guy left who hasn't had a match already tonight (Regal, Kurt Angle and Chris Benoit) - try as they might, the good guys weren't able to surmount the odds on this rather pedestrian match.
At least that's the way I see it...
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