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Solie's Tuesday Morning Report

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

The WWF Buys WCW

End of an era as Turner airs final Thunder and Nitro programs...
...and the start of a new era as the
WWF assumes ownership of the wrestling industry

Booker T Takes the WCW World Title

Kidman/Misterio the new
Cruiserweight Tag Champs

Parallel Lives: The Story Of
Diamond Dallas Page & Kimberly Page

Part 3 by Ervin Griffin, Jr.

Crossface Connection

Opinion by John Cross

The Way I See It...

by Earl Oliver

XPW News

All Pro Wrestling News


Volume 6, Issue 626 - March 28, 2001

The death of Johnny Red Shoes Dugan

by Stanton Manolakas

Throughout the decade of the sixties seventies and eighties Johnny Red Shoes Dugan was the premier referee of professional wrestling. He was a true star among referees. I was perusing the list of Hall of Fame Wrestlers and there was not one of them that hadn't had Johnny Red Shoes Dugan referee one of their wrestling match. I became a fan of his in the sixties and his energetic no nonsense style was something truly unique in the history of Professional Wrestling.

I am sad to report that he passed away at 1 A.M. Monday March 26, 2001, in Santa Monica California. He died as a result of complications from Parkinson's Disease and a broken shoulder after a fall. A memorial service will beheld and the date is yet to be announced.

Over the last few years of his life Ray and Martha Gedeon lost track of many of their friends in the world of Pro Wrestling. They were still very close to the Leone's and after the death of the Baron they were remained close to Billie Leone the Barons wife. They were close to Freddie Blassie, Pepper Martin and most of the wrestlers who worked all over Southern California.

Editor'note: I also remember Johnny - he was a very prominent referee when I was growing up in Los Angeles. The last time I saw him was in the late 80's, still doing his job, refereeing for the WWF at the Inglewood Forum. Solie's wishes to extend our sympathies to the friends and family of this wrestling legend.


Smokey Mountain Wrestling Video
To Be Released Soon

I received this interesting latter from our friend, Miss Pamela:

Hi, Earl!

How are you? Long time no write - my webmaster duties for Ohio Valley Wrestling has consumed a great deal of my time over the last many months, but it's been a lot of fun and a priceless experience. I see you've changed a few of your site graphics and a new logo - but otherwise it still has the same comfortable feel to it I've always enjoyed. Please keep up the good work!!

First off, I'd been meaning to write to you anyway soon with some news I think will interest some of your readers: Jim Cornette is soon going to be releasing new Smoky Mountain Wrestling videos at the "SHOP OVW" area in our official website at http://www.ovwrestling.com! Cornette says that these videos will contain "75% never-before-released footage", so this should be a real treat for fans who remember SMW when it was an active promotion, or just want to see good classic wrestling footage!

For those who may not have heard of SMW, it ran out of Tennessee in the early to mid 1990's, was owned and operated by Jim Cornette, and it's where many of today's superstars really cut their teeth - some guys like Kane, Al Snow, The Hardy Boys, the late, great Brian "Mark Curtis" Hildebrand - just to name a few! I don't yet know how many total tapes will be released or what the exact release date is - Cornette's still working on this (among other things with all his OVW and WWF duties) - but we'll let folks know at the OVW website as soon as they become available!

For your readers who may not know, Jim Cornette re-located back here to his hometown of Louisville, KY, about 2 years ago to take over as head booker, color commentator, and WWF talent liaison for Ohio Valley Wrestling as we became an official contractual farm club with the WWF. He's still with the WWF - but gets to do his work as an crucial part of a small federation in of all places his hometown - so he's very busy but very happy in this capacity.


Editor's Note: Here's a flash for you all. The Solie's Readers' Forum is back in business! Check out by clicking on the link below:

In this issue we present the third installment of Ervin Griffin's multi-part biography of Diamond Dallas and Kimberley Page.

Tonight's edition also contains an XPW Report, our weekly Crossface Connection editorial from Solie's regular, John Cross, and as always, my own topical rant.


XPW's THE NIGHT XPW STOOD STILL

3/17/01 - Patriot Hall - Los Angeles, CA

While XPW shows generally begin with Rob Black coming to the ring to berate the fans and pull whatever last minute power trips he wants to, that was not to be the case this time. Once Kris Kloss and Larry Rivera were done giving the fans a rundown of the night's matches, Beethoven's 9th symphony blasted through the arena and a now blond Steve Rizzono made his way to the ring accompanied by two faces XPW fans had seen for the first time the Saturday night before on XPW TV. The woman, Veronica Caine, grabbed the microphone and introduced herself to the crowd as Rizzono's new consultant and said that with her guidance and motivation provided by T.J. Rush (the gentleman who accompanied Rizzono and Caine to the ring), Rizzono was destined for greatness and to be the next XPW World Champion. (Fans who watch XPW TV know that Black kicked Rizzono out of the Black Army and in his depression he saw a motivational infomercial for T.J. Rush and the Enterprise System. Rizzono went to the Enterprise offices where he met Veronica Caine, CEO of the company, and hired her to help him for a mere 50% of his earnings.) Caine then turned the mic over to Rush who attempted to motivate the crowd by belittling their current state, but it seemed to do more harm then help if the attempt was to gain support for this new trio known as The Enterprise. Rush then passed the mic to Rizzono who, for the first time since his firing, seemed upbeat and renewed. It wasn't just the hair color that had changed. Rizzono actually thanked Black for firing him and said that he knew he was on to bigger and better now. He told Black that he would have some "thanks" to give him personally so he should know it was coming, just not when it was coming. The Enterprise then left the ring.

Match 1: "Mr. 80s" Dynamite D beat Homeless Jimmy

Match 2: Big Dick Dudley beat Kraq w/ Angel

Match 3: "White Trash" Johnny Webb beat Kikuzawa

Match 4: Steve Rizzono w/ Veronica Caine and TJ Rush beat Kronus

Match 5: Pogo the Clown defeated Big Dick Dudley

Match 6: XPW World Title Match -- XPW World Champion Sabu beat Juventud

Match 7: The Messiah and Vic Grimes w/Rob Black and Lizzy Borden defeated New Jack and Supreme

It truly was The Night XPW Stood Still. Four huge shows in a row and XPW returns to outdo themselves again on Saturday night, April 14th! For details, check out www.XPWrestling.com!

XPW RANKINGS - AS OF 3/18/01


Todd Okerlund and Joe Ciupik, who produce "The Best of Classic AWA Wrestling" documentary series for Ad-In Media, sent me this press release:

AD IN MEDIA presents The Best of the 1970's

From the videotape archives of the American Wrestling Association
Premieres in April of 2001 on DIRECTV®

Minneapolis, MN ­ March 21, 2001 - Before Austin, Goldberg and the Rock.

Even before Hogan, Macho Man and The Road Warriors, there was the 1970's. A decade that conjures wrestling memories of television programming that was broadcast live from a television studio. There was no entrance music, no pyrotechnics, or profanity in professional wrestling at that time. For those who may be too young to remember, and for those who long for the days of an arm lock, a headlock, or just great classic wrestling action, we present "The Best of the 70's".

This 53:00 minute documentary program features some of the greatest names in professional history. You will see such past stars as Andre the Giant, Superstar Billy Graham, Verne Gagne, Dr. X, Dick the Bruiser and many more of the legends that shaped wrestling into what it is today.

Featured matched include Andre the Giant and Dr X vs Ray Stevens and Nick Bockwinkel, Dick the Bruiser and The Crusher vs Dusty Rhodes and Dick Murdoch, and Verne Gagne vs Billy Robinson. Interviews, highlights and behind the scene stories of AWA wrestlers are all packed into this classic wrestling special.

For further information visit www.classicwrestling.com.

The Best of the 1970¹s is available to DIRECTV® customers for $9.99 when ordering by remote control.


APW News
FAREWELL TO THE NATURAL ONES

APW's Cloverdale Show Is History, and here is the official report by APW's Senior Media Editor, Jermz. All Pro Wrestling "Farewell To The Natural Ones"

Cloverdale, Ca. Saturday March 24th 2001

15-Man Battle Royal
The show started off in usual fashion, with the big Battle Royal. Fists, feet, elbows and bodies were flying everywhere. Super Destroyer 2000 and Kid Chrome took it to the floor and tossed each other into the guardrails. KC nailed SD2K with a steel chair in the crowd. A 6-man dog-pile eliminated Sheik Comini, and the (former) Westside Playaz 2000 used their Double Blockbuster to get rid of one of the Ballards. Boyce LeGrande then eliminated both Robert Thompson & Vincenzo Massaro, leaving 3 men in the ring. It was Boyce, Myaki Frantz & Maxx Justice. The much smaller LeGrande & Frantz double teamed big Maxx for a couple of minutes, but Maxx fought them off and eventually gave both men a chokeslam. He pinned Myaki, and it was Boyce and Maxx left (these two have quite a history together by the way). Boyce was in control, pounding Maxx from corner to corner, but it was his high-risk mentality that got the best of him. Boyce jumped to the top rope, facing the crowd for a moonsault, and Justice simply shoved him from the top rope down to the hardwood floor, a nice 10 foot drop! Justice was victorious in the Battle Royal.
Winner: Maxx Justice in 8:41 ( * * * )

Battle Royal Aftermath...
Myaki Frantz was still at ringside, trying to recover from the chokeslam, but Maxx was not finished brutalizing people. He pounded away some more, and Myaki earned some frequent flyer miles taking a sky-high monkey flip, a sky-high backdrop and a sky-high chokeslam. Dalip Singh came rushing to the ring to put an end to Justice's rampage, but was held back by officials. Shane Dynasty and Maxx Justice stood in the ring challenging Dalip, while APW security kept the two giants away from each other.

"Kamikaze Kid" Jardi Frantz & The Ballard Brothers (with Cheerleader Melissa) vs. The Snott Brothers (with Betty Beefcake)
Winners: The Ballard Brothers & Jardi Frantz in 8:41 ( * * 1/2)

"Big" Maxx Justice (with Shane Dynasty) vs. "Fighting Irish" Sean Patrick O'Doul
Winner: Maxx Justice in 2:32 ( * * )

Sheik Comini (with Shane Dynasty) & Super Destroyer 2000 (with Buddy Cotello) vs. "Brown Bomber" Robert Thompson & Kid Chrome
Winners: Robert Thompson & Kid Chrome in 11:36 ( * * * )

Interview with Shane Dynasty, Sheik Comini & Maxx Justice
Three of the most unpopular men in APW came to the ring for an interview, letting everyone know they will be seeing big things from this team in the future. Dynasty said there is only room for one giant in APW, and that is Maxx Justice. They called Dalip Singh a freak, and told him to go back to the circus. Comini is great as the Sheik, as he blurts out anything that sounds like he is speaking another language. The new Dynasty Inc. says anyone who stands in their way, including Donovan Morgan, including Dalip Singh, and anyone else in the locker-room, will get "killed!".

"Shooter" Tony Jones vs. "Bad Boy" Boyce LeGrande
Winner: Boyce LeGrande in 9:30 ( * * * )

Mighty Midgets Championship
"Beautiful" Bobby Dean vs. Little Kato
Winner: Bobby Dean in 14:14 ( * * 1/2)

Worldwide Internet Championship
"Innovator" Vincenzo Massaro (with Buddy Cotello) vs. "Kamikaze Kid" Myaki Frantz
Winner: Vincenzo Massaro in 11:47 ( * * * )

APW Universal Championship
"Future Legend" Donovan Morgan vs. "Next Big Thing" Dalip Singh
Winner: Donovan Morgan in 10:00 ( * * * )

Main Event
"Fallen Angel" Christopher Daniels vs. "Natural One" Michael Modest
The match we had all been looking forward to. The talk of the Indie world focused on this match, as the top two indy wrestlers in the country went head to head for APW one final time. The charisma and presence of these two guys is outstanding, and they are way over any level of athleticism that most of the WWF or WCW is on at this time. This match had it all, and was everything we thought it would be. The fans were into it, and the wrestlers were definitely into it, as they worked their hearts out.

Back and forth the momentum swung, with neither man getting a clear advantage at any stage of the first 10 minutes. These guys do the sickest transitions, turning one move into another one in a split second, i have ever seen. They are absolutely incredible. About 12 minutes in, Daniels went for a Lucha-style bulldog, but got caught into an overhead suplex by Modest, and both men were down for a 7 count. Modest first to his feet, nailed the Angel with some right hands, and tossed him from corner to corner. Modest hit his finisher, the DVD, but only got a 2 count. Daniels took control, and hit a reverse DVD, but he also only got a 2 count. The suplexes in this match were outstanding as well, as were the amazing array of submission maneuvers they utilized.

19 minutes into this classic battle, the false finishes began pouring in, with roll-up after roll-up (some i have never seen before), near falls galore! 10 straight 2 1/2 counts in the span of about a minute. Daniels hit the top rope, but was caught as Modest flipped upside down in the corner, and brought him back in with a head scissors. Modest goes up, and misses a headbutt off the top, this puts Daniels back in control, and he hits the Angel Wings, and quickly goes to the top for the double jump moonsault! 1...2...NO! Modest kicked out! Daniels missed a springboard moonsault, and Modest rolled him up...1...2...3!!! Michael Modest had beaten Christopher Daniels fair and square in the middle of the ring! What an amazing match, quite possibly the best singles match i have ever seen live in my 16 years of watching wrestling. Afterwards, the two shook hands, as the great fans of Cloverdale showed appreciation for the fine wrestling match they had just witnessed.
Winner: Michael Modest in 20:22 ( * * * * * )

The show ends with Modest standing in the APW ring all alone, with his music playing, as the fans cheer for him. An outstanding show, right there with the Vallejo show last month. This may have been from top to bottom one of the most solid shows in a long time. All matches were above average, and everyone did good and looked good. Cloverdale was a good city for APW, and the show drew, what looked like, around 500 fans, and was almost full. APW will be back to Cloverdale in June, due to the great success, and hopefully they can fill up the place, which looks like it holds about 650 people.


Parallel Lives: The Story Of Diamond Dallas Page & Kimberly Page

by Ervin Griffin, Jr.

Part 3: Diamond Rush

After returning in May 1995, DDP's career slowly began to go into high speed. The run began at Slamboree '96 when he entered the BattleBowl/Lethal Lottery competition. He got by his tag team match and entered the "BattleBowl" battle royal where he used his "Diamond Cutter" to literately eliminate the competition. DDP won BattleBowl but was also supposed to get a WCW World Title shot at WCW Great American Bash '96 in Baltimore, MD. WCW officials, however, denied him his shot due to the fact that during BattleBowl, DDP should've been eliminated because his feet actually hit the ground as he was thrown over the top rope. The officials allowed DDP to keep his BattleBowl title and ring but took his shot from him and awarded it to then-WCW TV Champion Lex Luger (the WCW champ at the time was The Giant/Big Show).

At the GAB '96, DDP began to defend his BattleBowl ring like a title or championship in order to make a name for himself. His first taker was none other than past nemesis Marcus Bagwell. DDP won the match with his "DC" after a spirited contest. He would also defend his "title" successfully at the following PPV which was the historic WCW Bash At The Beach '96 against "Hacksaw" Jim Duggan in a Taped Fist Match with his "DC" once again. This bout was on the same card which saw the formation of the nWo.

In case you are wondering what happened to Kimberly during this time, she was not seen much on TV as she opted to pursue other projects during this time.

Anyway, DDP's streak finally ended when Eddie Guererro (the future "Latino Heat") defeated DDP for the BattleBowl ring at a Clash Of The Champions special on TBS. DDP responded to the loss by delivering two "DC's" to Guererro, one of which came from the top rope! The two would have other encounters including a great bout at Halloween Havoc '96 that saw DDP avenge his loss to Guererro. In November of 1996, DDP entered the 60 man three ring battle royal at WCW World War 3. He was one of the final 9 competitors in the ring until he was eliminated by Lord Steven Regal. Still, it was an impressive outing for DDP. DDP was also battling rumors that insisted that he wanted to go nWo. This was sparked by the fact that both Scott Hall and Kevin Nash were past tag team partners and friends of DDP. In fact, nWo members including Hall and Nash tried on several occassions to get(even force) DDP to join their group with no success. Then, at Starrcade '96, DDP went for the WCW United States Title in a match against old nemesis Eddie Guererro in the finals of a tournament. During the match, the nWo (who had interjected themselves during DDP's matches in the tournament) ended up costing Page the title when Hall executed his "Outsider's Edge" powerbomb on Page! This enabled Guererro to execute his frog splash and get the pin. The nWo also attacked Eddie after the match but it was obvious who they were really after. Questions were asked of Page in the days after the attack. Now, with a career to consider, Page made one of the hardest choices that he has ever had to make.

NEXT: Reluctant Hero

If you have a question, comments, criticism, or just want to talk pro wrestling, e-mail me at griffiev@hotmail.com or griffiev@yahoo.com

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 Articles section of the website. Check out Ervin's Pro-Wrestling Fan Fiction web site.



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.


Crossface Connection

by John Cross

Well, it is done.

Ted Turner, who is the same guy who started WCW to get at the cash cow that was nation-wide Sports Entertainment, has declared himself the loser. How? He sold the WCW to the WWF

Good God.

We are going to see a flurry of great stuff for a while, guys and gals. After that, who knows?

I have been dreading this for a while, although I said in this week's Crossface Corner (at bodyslam.cc) that Vince would buy the WCW. It is the final move in his total victory.

I could sit here and describe what will happen in the future, but others will pontificate on that. I an just struck dumb with the impact. This is the biggest thing to happen in wrestling since the NWA and the WWWF parted ways in the days of Orville Brown. The formation of the WCW itself can't compare to this. This is the end of an era, folks. The end of the great initial flowering of the Sports Entertainment industry.

See, I have an opinion on the Sports Entertainment industry. It is not the Professional Wrestling industry, but it's child. Sports Entertainment had the 80's as it's mother and Vince McMahon as it's step-father. It was fed by money, mainstream acceptance, and Hollywood. Nurtured and cared for, it grew and developed. It reached the Terrible Two's in the early 90's, when ratings sagged and the federations meandered. Then, BANG, the WCW was born. The child began to become educated.

Sports Entertainment then began to learn how to adapt. The old, cartoon characters and unbelievable angles began to get an edge. Even Hulk Hogan had to abandon his yellow and red for the nWo Black and White. At the same time, Vince was telling his workers about Attitude, and that there was now a race to be run. The sex moved up into the front row, from its old window-dressing position. The grunge factor, the dirt, the foulness, and the violence became the show, as wrestling itself slowly lost importance (and that is a FACT, not an opinion). Pro Wrestling, the old venerable entertainer, was moving out of the spotlight, to make room for the racy, fancy, darker Sports Entertainment. It is like comparing Glenn Miller to Jerry Lee Lewis.

However, the WCW failed to counter the WWF move. Sports Entertainment was trying to discover itself, and there was, like in many children, a dichotomy about it. On the one side, the Pro Wrestling side was subservient to the Entertainment, and was just filler in the opera. On the other side, the in-ring action still had its place. However, this age doesn't like kayfabe, doesn't like heroes, and doesn't like the nice guys. The hero was replaced by the cynical, hating, abrasive megalomaniac. The heels were cheered. As young society looked to the dark thrills of computer game murdering, real-life TV, and extreme sports, the WWF followed suit, and the WCW failed to respond. For good or bad, they hoped for the backlash, the counter-move back to something slightly more wholesome, less gory, and more traditional. It never happened, and they spent themselves on useless and ineffective political and internal moves.

When times got tough (the last 2 years), only the WWF could keep above water. The WCW, beset by enemies without and within, came asunder. They wallowed in inactivity and unsure ideas. Russo came and went without so much as a whisper. The cheap hope that Fusient gave the WCW was crushed by Ted Turner's "Upscale Entertainment" company. WCW has been saved, ironically, by the very man who crushed it.

The WCW is Vince's trophy. It is the head on a pole that he will display as a sign of his conquest. Like I said, he thinks and feels that this is a war, and he is a conquering Caesar. As Benoit says, prove him wrong! Vince won, and it is really that simple, folks.

The WCW is dead. Long live the WCW.

Well, at least we will probably see a Goldberg/HHH match at some time.

We will talk about this later. Or, you can look back in the Solie's Newsletter Archives and see what I said about the proposed McMahon purchase of WCW. I forget the issue, but it is in there. It may pay off for you to take a peek.

Of course, after finding it and all the wrestling info you could ever want, you can go to bodyslam.cc for more columns, rumors, results, and the latest news on the WWF/WCW situation.

Thanks, and I will see you next week with another Connection.



The Way I See It...

by Earl Oliver

Thunder came to us from Gainsville, FL and was announced as the "season finale". In fact, it is likely the last edition on Thunder. After a down an dirty Cruiserweight tag match featuring Three Count against local NWA favorites Air Raid (Paris and Styles), Dustin Rhodes came to the ring to gloat over forcing Flair to kiss "Dusty's Ass". In the middle of his rant, the Nature CEO appeared on the big screen to deliver a rant of his own. The upshot was that he booked a handicap match for Dustin against the World Champ and Jeff Jarrett for the main event.

The next match was like the fabled ECW invasion as Jason Jett (EZ Money) took on Cash (Kid Kash) in another barn burning cruiserweight contest.This one elicited chants of "EE CEE DUB!!" as Cash and Jett flew at each other from every which way. The end of the match only confirmed the push that Jett is enjoying, although I can't imagine that his situation is anything but frustrating as he finds two promtions in a row folding out form under him just when he is starting to garner some attention.

Kanyon and the Animal showed off their new tag team combination against the Cat and MI Smooth and exhibited some pretty fair teamwork for their first outing. For their part, the other team couldn't seem to get anything going until about six minutes into the contest. The Cat went to the floor in a battle with Animal while Smooth took it to Kanyon and pinned him after a big splash.

The former US Champ, Rick Steiner took on another former US Champ, Hugh Morrus in a bit of a grudge match. Steiner no sold his way through the entire match, and then when he had Morrus pretty much out of it, he trapped Morrus' arm in a steel chair and stood on it while he called out Shane Douglas. Douglas ran down and distracted Steiner quiet effectively with a cast shot to the face, giving Morrus the chance to surprise and pin him. Afterward, Douglas gave the ring announcer a video cassette which turned out to be a recorded promo, challenging Steiner to a match on Nitro. I don't suppose he could have just grabbed a mic and...I guess not.

The New Cruiserweight Tag Team Champs came to the ring to team with the former World Cruiserweight Champ, Chavo Guerrero to face the Filthy Animals and current WC Champ, "Sugar" Shane Helms for a 6 man match. The videotape experienced some difficulties during this match. It seemed to be skipping frames, giving the action a kind of slightly surreal quality. The match itself had somewhat of a Lucha quality as all six ment ended up piled up out on the floor at one point. In the end, after many false endings and gyrations, it was Kidman who pinned Kid Romeo.

Poor Chuck Palumbo ran down to the ring and stood on the bottom rope, displaying his World Tag Team Title belt to absolutely no reaction. His opponent tonight was Mike Awesome. More of Team canada pursuing their quest to take the Tag Team Titles, no doubt. These two kind of lumbered around the ring and out on the floor for several minutes with no clear advantage seen on either side until Lance Storm ran down to turn the tide for his partner. This brought Sean O'Haire down in a vain attempt to even the odds. He was completely ineffectual as Storm cut him off at every juncture. It was alright, however, as Palumbo somehow managed to catch Awesome coming off the top and hit a powerslam then a Jungle Kick for the win.

The main event was a handicap match - Dustin Rhodes facing both Scott Steiner and Jeff Jarrett. But before the match could get started we switched the scene to the backstage area where Animal was knocking on the CEO's door. When the Nature Boy failed to answer, Animal went in (making sure the documentary cameraman was following for some reason) and found Flair laid out by the mysterious attacker (who that is, it seems we may never find out - although the fingers seem to be pointing at Rick Steiner). This led to a commercial before we got back to the ring, where the action was already underway. Dustin came on strong...for about a half minute, and then was on the receiving end for most of the match. Dustin made a brief comebak towards the end, but then Scott hit him with his pipe and that was the end of that. The usual beat down ensued until Booker T ran in the chase off the bad guys.

SmackDown was on tape from Providence, RI and started with an in-ring appearance by the Millenium Bug, challenging Raven for the Hardcore Title. This is Willie Regal's punishment for Jericho's shananegans involving the Commissioner's tea on RAW. Raven brought a cart full of "plunder" to the ring and threw a trashcan in to start the match. The match quickly left the ring and headed to the backstage area where Jericho found a mop and used it to wash Raven's face! They fought their way into the Commissioner's office and trashed it. While Raven was blinded by some pastries in his eyes, Regal showed up and threw coffee in Jericho's face then smashed a vase against his head. Raven then nailed Regal with the pastry pan and pinned him! After the break, Regal was upset with Raven and booked him to a Triple Threat Hardcore Title match vs Kane and the Big Show.

What follows is a long boring promo clip promoting the Vince/Shane match at WrestleMania.

To provide suitable competition for the ad-hoc 6 man team, X-Pac, Justin Credible and Albert, they decided to assemble an even more ad-hoc team - Grand Masta Sexay, K-Kwick and Steve Blackman. Of course, the latter team is not getting the inexplicable push being afforded to the former - so the conclusion was foregone.

HHH lured the Undertaker back to his dressing room (where Stephanie was lurking) and then had him arrested for violating the still-in-force restraining order. Since UT was taken away, Commissioner Regal decided to make a handicap match to replace the original UT/Kane vs. Big Show/HHH tag team event. You guessed it... By the way - the Rock also has a handicap match against Kurt Angle and Chris Benoit.

Steve Austin and the Rock sat down on either side of Jim Ross for a joint interview. The two of them get into a little set-to regarding Debra's part in the situation. Both seem to be trying to deny any responsibility for her. Jim Ross' contribution consisted basically of asking them if they hate each other. They agree that they don't like each other.

Kane and the Show started the handicap match out in the aisle then Kane made it to the ring and demolished HHH until TBS snuck in behind him and broke it up. Kane seemed to be handling himself just fine, thank you very much until he got caught between them. Of course, as many times as they knocked him down he just kept getting right back up. After a while his opponents began to look at him with something akin to awe. This distraction was all Kane needed to make his move. He knocked Big Show to the floor and then started running over Hunter. The bigger Big Guy came back, however, and choke slam ended the match. The requisite beat down ensued, with Hunter bringing in a chair for good measure. Backstage UT was having a fit. He overpowered his guards and, despite his cuffed hands, made his escape and headed for the ring. Meanwhile, HHH was using the chair to pin Kane down by his throat. UT came to the ring and crawled right into a beating. HHH had the chair again and was hitting each brother in turn. The 'cops" showed up and turned out not to be real policemen. They helped overcome the Scarey Brothers, handcuffing Kane. Hunter pulled his sledge hammer out from under the ring. This was the real sledge, not the rubber one, You could tell because Hunter used the handle to hit UT in the forehead instead of the hammer end. He later used the head on Kane in the mid-section but didn't actually swing the hammer - he punched him with it instead.

The Dudleys (all three of them) faced Edge, Christian and Rhyno (that's the way they are spelling it, honest...) in the second six man match of the evening. It's great to see Spike back in action after the horrendous injury he suffered last year. It makes me especially proud because I remember when he used to wrestle here in my home town for my favorite indy promotion, All Pro Wrestling (see the article at the top of this page).Toward the end of the battle, Spike managed to duck the double chair shot but then was brutally speared through a table by Rhyno.

Austin confronted Vinnie Mac backstage and warned him that he intended to hold Vince, along with the Rock, responsible if anything untoward happened to his wife.

RTC came down to make a statement concerning Chyna, then stuck around to attempt to intimidate Tazz. Goodfather and Bull Buchanan surrounded Tazz while Stevie Richards stood across the table from him and ranted. Tazz came over the table at Richards and locked in the Tazzmission for about 2 seconds until the two bully boys broke it up. APA then ran in and chased of the bad guys.

Vince McMahon joined the announce team to replace Tazz for the main event. The Rock vs. Angle/Benoit is a barnburner, as could be expected. At one point, as the battle raged on the floor, Mavia grabbed benoit and flung him over the announce table right into McMahon's lap! Later, when the Rock looked to be beaten at any moment, each of his opponents set up top rope maneuvers and missed them, giving Maivia a little breating space. Not long after that, Benoit locked in a Crossface but Angle came around from the outside and placed Maivia's foot on the rope. Moments later, Maivia was free and hit a suplex on Benoit followed by the Rock Bottom and the pin on Angle. Benoit then tried to attack but Maivia caught him in a Sharpshooter. Angle just smirked and walked away as several referee's tried to make Maivia break the hold. Vince Mcmahon entered the ring and Mavia broke the hold...so that he could lay the Rock Bottom on Vince! Angle was back and grabbed the ankle lock. He refused to let it go. Backstage, Steve Austin watched on the monitor and cracked a beer as the program ended.

Editor's Note: since I was in Colorado on Monday night, and couldn't get to a TV, I taped Nitro + the second hour of RAW. So here is the report.

NitRAW came to us live from Panama City Beach, Florida and opened with Vince McMahon, gloating about his acquisition of WCW and boasting that the "fate of WCW is in my hands..." So began the very last episode of Nitro on TNT.

The announcers were all agog, of course, referring to Vince as "Mr. McMahon" and speculating about what Vince would say later on the program during a simulcast broadcast on Nitro and RAW. I have to say that as he listened to Scott Hudson talk, the look on Tony's face was somewhere in the realm of "very concerned" to say the least (and I don't think he was acting). They immediately threw it to the ring for an appearance by Ric Flair. Flair delivered a classic Nature Boy rant, saying that WCW's history amounted to more then Vince would ever be able to "hold in his hand." He mentioned that Vince, Sr. was on the NWA board in 1981 and voted for Flair to be the World Champ (this is true, actually, in 1981 the WWF had long since returned to the NWA fold, and stayed there until Vince, Jr. dissolved the ties with the National promotion). Flair ended his rant by booking a match for himself vs. Sting for the main event.

The first match was the big one, title vs. title, Scott Steiner vs. Booker T. One wonders if Vince will decide to reduce the size of the WCW title, which dwarfs the WWF title belt in pure size and weight. The action was furious from the get-go with neither man seemingly holding an advantage. As the match progressed, Booker gained ground but had a hard time putting the Champ away. Steiner made several comebacks, but it was basically downhill until Booker finally put him down and took the title. Booker is now both the World and the United States champs.

In a three way dance for the #1 contender to the Cruiserweight Tag Titles. This was what has become typical of the WCW Cruiserweight division - lots of high-flying action, cliffhanger false endings, etc. After a pitched battle, Rey Misterio and Kidman defeated Three Count and the Jung Dragons to face the Champs later.

Between matches we got little vignettes featuring "Mr. McMahon" mostly making cutting remarks about WCW.

Next up - the World Cruiserweight title up for grabs - the former Champ Chavo Guerrero vs. "Sugar" Shane Helms. This was basically a chance for Helms to prove that his win over Guerrero at the last PPV was no fluke. Chavo fought his way out of the Vertibreaker once, but was caught in it moments later.

In a backstage rant, Booker T vowed to prove that he is the best in the industry (and maybe under these changed circumstance, he'll get a chance to do it...but don't hold your breath...)

The World Tag Champs faced off against Team Canada in what was basically a free-for-all as referee Nick patrick tended to let them fight it out. The Tag Champs retained their titles after a big Seanton Bomb (bet you that's the last time we hear that phrase...)

In a taped interview, Diamond Dallas Page ruminated about his career and thanked his fans for their support over the years. There is, of course, a very real possiblility that we won't see Page again on National TV. This was followed by a video montage regarding WCW/NWA World Champions over the years. So what was Roddy Piper's face doing in there? I realize that he did hold the NWA US Title twice, but that's not quite the same thing...

In the Cruiserweight Tag Title match, Rey and Kidman defeated Kid Romeo and "Primetime" Elix Skipper to become the new (maybe the last) WCW Cruiserweight Tag Team Champs when Kidman hit Primetime with a Kid Crusher.

Just before the main event, we saw Mr. McMahon on his way to do his simulcast broadcast.

Ric Flair and Sting had one last dance on the program, and it was filled to the brim with classic Flair spots, Sting spots and Flair/Sting spots. Flair wore a Nitro t-shirt to show his loyalty (and hide his gut...) and the two of them put on quite a show. Flair used one of his more recent signature moves (the undercut to the groin) to gain his first real advantage, then started to work his opponent over for several momoents, but then made the classic "Flair mistake" of going to the top rope and getting caught there and slammed to the mat. Flair was back in a flash and locked in a figure four. Sting reveresed it and soon the match was over and the two war horses were embracing like the good friends you know they are.

Mr. McMahon made his way to the ring on RAW (live from Cleveland). It was so weird to see both the Nitro and WWF logos in opposite corners of the screen as he ranted. He managed to call TNT "TNN" in his very first sentence. He claimed that Time-Warner begged him to buy WCW - he says he intends to sign the final contract at WrestleMania when Ted Turner walks the aisle and hands the contract too him! Vince further claimed that in order to beat a billionaire (Turner), he became a billionaire. He then brought Shane into the picture by comparing his crushing of the competition with what he intends to do to his son at the PPV. He also talked about acquiring the WCW tape library, and what fun it will be to watch his longtime rivals talk about "burying the WWF". He named several prominent WCW stars to get the crowd's reaction. Hogan, Sting, Goldberg and Buff Bagwell fared well in the voting, as did Booker T and Scott Steiner. Lex Luger was thoroughly trounced. He then lit into the Southern crowd at the Nitro program. He was just telling us how he intends to fire the lot of them...when Shane showed up...in Panama City!!! Shane was on Nitro! Shane then explained to his dad that he has signed the contract and bought WCW right out from under his father!!! Vince looked about ready to pitch a fit on the split screen. As Vince looked on in horror, Shane vowed to bring WCW back to challenge the WWF! The program ends with Jim Ross and Paul Heyman screaming about the situation...

And then we are on RAW. My VCR cut in right on cue and switched the channel to TNN...

...where they were showing a replay of what just happened. This is either the worst day...or the greatest angle in the history of the wrestling business - and possibly, it is both... Vince has bought the whole ball of wax - the last man standing against the WWF juggernaut has been mowed down. The business plan that Vince McMahon put into action way back in 1983 when he started gobbling up the territorial promotions has come to it's logical conclusion. Long live WCW, indeed.

The Hardeys were on next, actually Chris Benoit and the Hardeys taking on Edge, Christian and Kurt Angle. This one erupted in the aisle as E&C's music was winding down. This short match was punctuated by Lita being run down by the freight train called Rhyno.

In the next segment, Mick Foley made his triumphant return to RAW. JR and Heyman were screaming again. Mick was on hand to promote his new book, "...but that's not why I'm here...in Cleveland, Ohio! He has decided to get involved at WrestleMania...of course, Vince objects, of course (he's the owner of the WWF, yadda, yadda..) Mick reposts with a reminder that Vince took himself out of the picture when he publicly retired last year, and then Foley reveals that he and Linda signed a contract (while he was still the commissioner) stipulating that Foley has the right to referee any WrestleMania match!! He has decided to referee the Vince vs. Shane street fight, of course. After the break we see Vince quietly burning up with emotion over his setbacks.

Chris Jericho was not forced to put his IC Title on the line against the Big Show in the next segment, so the giant got to wipe the mat with the Millenium Bug for about 6 or 7 minutes until Kane showed up and interfered, followed by Raven then William Regal to turn things back in TBS's favor. Kane stuck around after the match to attack both the Big Show and Raven - laying a big chokeslam on the latter. Switch to the backstage area where the Rock asks a new stagehand the way to Steve Austin's dressing room. Maivia introduced himself in the third person and then shushed the guy when he tried to reciprocate. Very subtle...

Does anybody else see that Austin is going to use his wife to take the Rock out on Sunday? He will transition to a full heel personna at the PPV when the Rock's manager turns on him - probably under duress from her husband, making Austin both underhanded and a cowardly bully. I wonder if it will work..?

At this point - as the Undertaker and Kane were making their entrances - my tape ran out. Just as well, I'm sure we've seen this match before.

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

Earl Oliver
Editor, Solie's Wrestling Newsletter


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