Dedicated to Gordon Solie
January 29, 1929 - July 27, 2000
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.
Part 4: Reluctant Hero
"Savage, you want to step into my world? Well, I am going to snap into yours......BANG!!" - DDP on WCW Saturday Night the night before his big bout with Randy "Macho Man" Savage at WCW Spring Stampede '97.
The beginning of 1997 was the start of a lot of questions for the man known as Diamond Dallas Page. Was he nWo or was he WCW? Was he just an "island" unto himself?
During January of 1997, DDP seemingly accepted an invitation to join the nWo from his old buddies Scott Hall and Kevin Nash. The nWo, at that time, was restructuring its ranks as The Giant (The Big Show) had left the nWo at that time. Page seemed like a natural because of his defiance of authority and his past relationship with both Hall and Nash. Page managed Hall as The Diamond Studd in 1991 while Nash was Page's tag team partner in a tandem called The Vegas Connection during the latter part of 1992-early 1993 in WCW. Nash's ring name at that time was Vinnie Vegas.
The one thing that the nWo didn't count on was Page's fierce independance and the fact that Page (much like "Stone Cold" Steve Austin) has a long memory. After all, it was Hall and Nash (along with Syxx/X-Pac) that cost Page the WCW United States Title at Starrcade '96 a month earlier against Eddie Gurrerro. For The Outsiders to offer DDP a membership after they cost him a major title took a lot of brass but not much brains. DDP accepted the shirt of the nWo (black and white back then) and shook the hand of Scott Hall.......only to deliever a Diamond Cutter seconds later! Nash tried to level DDP but was outsmarted as Page simply ducked down out of the way and let Nash go over the top rope! DDP then went through the crowd to a loud ovation from those in attendence. The nWo tried to gain revenge on DDP on two occassions and was unsuccessful both times. The first was at nWo Souled Out '97 where DDP took on Scott Norton. DDP escaped that bout with a win over the rugged strongman. The second was at SuperBrawl '97 where he took on Marcus Bagwell, who had become "Buff" Bagwell by this time. Also, at this point, DDP had become very adapt at putting on the "Diamond Cutter" from some weird angles. The first was out of a neckbreaker position when Buff went for a version of the "Rude Awakening" neckbreaker. "Buff" signaled to the crowd of his intentions and that was all the time that Page needed as he took Bagwell's free arm, spun him around and slammed him with the "DC"! Other nWo members tried to rush the ring for an ambush but DDP quickly made his escape. DDP won by DQ but it was pretty acedemic after the "DC."
During this time, Kimberly was developing her dancing skills and she also finished a layout for Playboy which was featured in a special called "Playboy Nude Celebraties 1997." DDP also appeared in the photos (non-nude of course) and didn't seem to mind at all. This shoot, however, would have a profound impact on the future of both DDP and Kimberly.....or should I say, it would have a "Savage" impact.
NEXT: Randy Savage (need I say more)
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 am not talking about the board game, my good friends. I am talking about the WWF, and the old-time, Social Studies-definition of monopoly.
Or, we can ask Mr. Webster, who says that a monopoly is:
This exercise in language is not without reason. It stems from a discussion that I had with a friend of mine, who differed with me in his opinion of the Purchase. His whole point was that the fan could still go to an indy fed to watch wrestling. I told him that the indy federations are now wholly dependent of the WWF for their survival. They operate at the whim of Vince and WWFE, and if he thought it worth his while, he would either buy them out or pressure them out of the market. He disagreed, and since he was not looking at the whole picture in the proper manner (which was the way I was looking at it, and that is a FACT, not an opinion), we looked at the definition of a monopoly. Let's do that now.
1. Yes, can we agree that Vince has exclusive ownership through legal privilege? Did a cop stop him from buying the WCW? Or, for that manner, any of the other federations he has absorbed? Does Vince have exclusive ownership through command of supply? You bet, and this may be the strongest point of them all. Sports Entertainment, as an industry, defines its means of production as their workers, bookers, broadcasting assets, and equipment. Since an industry must have a plan to supply their customers, Vince plans supply by the purchase of broadcast rights, securing optimal times for broadcast, and scheduling suitable arenas for the display of his wares. No other federation can command such optimal avenues for supply. Can the IWA, a good local fed in Columbus, get a Monday night time-slot on a nationwide network, in a 15, 000 seat arena? They couldn't purchase it with all the money they have ever made, paid, and spent. In addition, they couldn't afford to advertise or promote effectively enough to make a profit. I know this is a great big tasty dream for my good friend Bull Miller, but he doesn't have that kind of command of supply. Of course, concerted action defined Vince's life's goal since 1983, when he made domination of the Pro Wrestling world his reason to breathe.
2. Does Vince have exclusive possession or control? Yep. Name another wrestling entity with a nationwide network, the top 100 or so wrestlers, the rights to the WWF, WCW, and NWA film library, and the ability to book any arena in the nation and fill it. In Sports Entertainment, that is exclusive possession and control.
3. Another easy one. Vince may not have direct control of every federation, but with the ECW gone, the WCW on the trophy shelf, and the WWF getting another good breath, tell me that Vince doesn't control the Pro Wrestling commodity. You can look above and see the "command of supply" explanation, which also fits here.
4. Can we call Vince, and his WWFE, a monopoly? Isn't that my point? OK, so I win the argument. My hope is that a couple things don't happen. First off, I hope that the traditional monopolistic trend of quality reduction doesn't occur. That would be terrible, and would trap the fans into a "bad show or no show" situation with the available TV coverage. Second, I hope the cross promotional angles are done with taste and with a degree of moderation. To throw everything together in the immediate future for a ratings spike would be cataclysmic to the long term prospects of wrestling quality and storyline origin. Maybe a good analogy is this: It is a known fact that men are more turned on by a woman wearing revealing clothing than a naked woman. The chase and the discovery of the unknown quality (be it wrestling or woman) is more exciting. If you know everything right off the bat, where do you go from there?
This is why bodyslam.cc doesn't print spoilers. Personally, I will enjoy the hinting of WCW/WWF feuds, and the occasional run-in and the crossing over and back of workers. As long as they limit it to very special situations and the like.
Something else I wanted to cover was the situation of the WCW veterans. I think that Vince would be very stupid to cut off his nose to spite his face. If I were him, there would only be a small group of wrestlers I would not consider keeping: Rick Steiner, Scott Hall, Hulk Hogan, Tank Abbott (if he is still employed), and Lex Luger.
All these guys have either poor work habits, troublesome egos, or difficult agendas. I am most disappointed in Rick Steiner, who was really over and could have really gotten a good amount of momentum if he would have just said, "OK." when he was asked to do things, and if he would have sold some of his opponents moves. Scott Hall is too much trouble away from the ring, Hulk Hogan is too passť and Lex, well, is just Lex. Tank is my personal whipping boy, and I think he had only one highlight, which was his trying to dance to Three-Count's music. He absolutely sucked at everything else.
As for Kevin Nash, Scott Steiner, Buff Bagwell, Goldberg, and all the others, Vince should just take 'em and try to make them tow the line, as everybody else does. If not, then they can go, but they should be given a try. Reason being is that they are so over with the fans, the WCW would suffer greatly if they were gone. If they were gone, the WCW would become, in the view of the fans, a junior league. Vince wouldn't make his money, then. So, it is important that he keep them active, until they prove themselves to be expendable.
There you go. Since I already mentioned bodyslam.cc, the news, rumors, and results site, then I will just plug Solie's, and a special plug for the Radio Show, which I actually heard for the first time a couple weeks ago. I had to get the free Real Player application, which you can link to from the Solie's Radio page, but it was worth it.
Thanks again, and see you next week for another Connection.
by Earl Oliver
WrestleMania X7 is on the air from the Astrodome in Houston, Texas with Jim Ross and Paul Heyman.
Chris Jericho makes the first entrance to defend his Intercontinental Title. What? I thought the Battle Royal was supposed to be the first event. His challenger is the Commissioner, Willie Regal.
Chris Jericho vs. William regal - Intercontinental Title match - Jericho dominates the opening with his slightly higher flying style then takes the battle to the floor. As Regal dragged himself into the ring and stood he was knocked down by a flying shoulder block. Shortly thereafter, Regal finds his way to Jericho's injured left shoulder and rams him into the post twice to aggravate it. As the match proceeds, Jericho shows signs of losing strength in his left arm and is mostly on the receiving end of Regal's methodical assault. Eventually, Regal slaps on a Regal Stretch and almost gets the submission, but Jericho fights to freedom then continues the battle essentially one handed. Unable to hold onto the Walls, he opts for a Lionsault to gain the victory and retain his title.
Backstage, Bradshaw is lecturing fellow Texans Faarooq and Jacquie about the importance of their coming match...
Right to Censor vs. APA and Tazz (w/Jacqueline) - before Stevie Richards can get any of his rant out their opponents make their entrance and the fight is on. Ivory is missing from ringside preparing for her match with Chyna later. Not much to report in this match except when Tazz is in the ring. Otherwise, its like a bunch of bulls throwing their weight around. The bad guys immediately pick Tazz out as the weak link in the opposition. He is isolated for several minutes until he manages to roll out of the way of an elbow drop. Bradshaw comes in and cleans house, then Faarooq joins him and the RTC is on the run. The Goodfather gets a short offense but crashes into the corner then is knocked down and pinned.
Next up: Big Show vs. Kane vs. Raven for the Hardcore Title - early on, Kane knocks the Big Show down and Raven lands on him and almost gets the pin. No cigar, however. The fight heads up the aisle followed by the referee and a knot of fans. Raven vanishes for several seconds then comes back swinging a metal sign. Big Show tried to lock himself and Raven into a storage cage in the back, but Kane ripped the padlock right off the gate. The fight continued into the bowels of the building where Kane tossed Raven through a window pane, then shoved TBS through a door. They fought to the wall and fell through that as well. Meanwhile, Raven finds a golf cart and tries to escape, but the Big Show catches him and goes for the ride. Kane grabbed another cart and gave chase accompanied by the referee. They fight to a refreshment table backstage and destroy it. The camera lens is smeared with some kind of liquid. Raven is pursuing a strategy of letting the two big guys beat on each other and staying out of the way. Back out on the platform, Kane gorilla presses Raven but TBS knocks them both onto a prop table. TBS dropped a big leg on both of them but it was Kane who turned raven over and got the pin for the title.
A short interlude at WWF New York, where Jimmy Snuka is entertaining the crowd. Also a fan from Australia talks to Coach.
Eddie Guerrero (w/Saturn) challenges Test for the European Title - during a furious opening assault. Test dominates his challenger until his bails to the floor. Back in the ring, after Test chased him, Guerrero asserts some offense but is again stymied by the Champion's superior size and strength. Eddie keeps fighting back into control only to run up against his own shortcomings time after time. He needed Saturn to interfere to give Guerrero the advantage. Test is hurt in the leg so Guerrero goes after it. Boy, I'll tell you - I've always liked Heyman but his commentary so far pretty much sucks. I am really missing the King. In the ring, Eddie has grabbed a sleeper and is riding his opponent to the mat. Saturn snuck into the ring moments later and set Test up with a suplex. Guerrero almost got the pin but Test kicked out. He then managed to down both Saturn and Guerrero with boots to the face. But Dean Malenko now arrives and interferes. Eddie gets the pin and the Title.
Mick Foley is interviewed backstage by Mike Cole and insists that he will call the Shane/Vince match later right down the line...right here in Houston Texas!
Kurt Angle makes his way to the ramp to deliver a heel rant on the crowd. He insults them mercilessly as he directs his ire at Chris Benoit, his opponent for the next pointless grudge match. Pointless except that they are trying to push Benoit into main event face status. Both combatants open up with a show of amateur wrestling savvy. This goes on for the majority of the match - no kicks or punches. Hah! Did Heyman just boast of the fact that Benoit was an "undefeated" former WCW World Champion. Yeah right, he won the title and then he left the promotion immediately - that hardly qualify as "undefeated" except technically... Benoit almost gets the Crippler Crossface as they are slithering around the ring at one point. Angle gets to the ropes to escape but then finds himself in the same predicate a second time...so he decks Benoit - so much for scientific wrestling. The fight goes to the floor and Benoit is slammed into the steps. Back in the ring, Angle manhandles the nearly comatose Benoit, standing him in the corner and applying the boots. Moments later, Benoit fights back but is flung into the ropes and suplexed to stop his drive. During a second attempt, Angle finds himself on the business end of a short clothesline. From there it becomes a straight brawl with both guys scoring heavy shots but continually coming back until Benoit gets a superplex off the top. Angle barely gets the shoulder up. Benoit goes for his German Suplex series spot, but rolls into the ankle lock. he escapes and they trade submission moves...then Angle grabs the Crippler on Benoit! In the next exchange the referee is downed then Benoit gets the Crossface...but the referee is down and doesn't see it. Benoit turns his back to wake the referee and gets the Olympic Slam - Benoit kicks out! First person able to do that, I think. Angle then blew a moonsault followed by Benoit's swan dive headbutt - Angle kicks out. Moments later Angle rather awkwardly rolled Benoit up and held his tights to get the pin. Very disappointing ending...
Backstage, Regal finds Kamala and Kimchee have invaded his office. The Gimmick Battle Royal is next! But first an Army commercial or something. Backstage, Chris Benoit attacks Angle and puts the Crippler Crossface on him again.
Now for one of the most anticipated matches of the card. Chyna vs. Ivory - according to the announcers, Chyna has had to sign a form stating that she will hold Ivory blameless if her neck is broken tonight. Chyna wears a fetching shimmering very brief blue bikini outfit tonight. Ivory looks like a schoolmarm. She uses the referee for distraction in order to get in the first shot with the Womens' Title belt to the back of Chyna's neck. Ivory dominates until Chyna catches an incoming boot and flings her opponent across the ring. Now it is a pure power display for Chyna which ends with a big Powerbomb. She then pulled Ivory up instead of pinning her. Probably a mistake. But maybe not. Chyna polishes her opponent off in a flash and wins the Womens' Title.
Coach interviews a couple of local baseballers... Mike Cole barges into the McMahon dressing room as Steph, Vince and Trish are plotting in the presence of the vegetating Linda McMahon. he doesn't get his question answered. This leads to an extended promo on the Vince/Shane match.
Shane McMahon vs. Vince McMahon - father vs son streetfight match - I have to admit that it is wise of McMahon to position this match early in the card. Shane points out some WCW wrestlers in a high, skybox. I made out Lance Laroux, Hugh Morrus, and Sean Stasiak in the darkened box. Couldn't swear to who the rest of them were. Vince came down with Steph at his side. Mick Foley is the referee for this one - of course a ref doesn't do much in a streetfight. Shane throws a wicked spear! I can't think of anyone else in the WWF who does it so well - except maybe Rhyno. Stephanie shows her leanings by interfering against her brother. But Shane is dominating this contest more often then not. He also has an aerial attack that Vince lacks. Shane found a kendo stick under the ring and used it repeatedly. Beating the old man down in front of the Spanish announce table. Shane is all over his dad. He stands him up against the announce table and smacks him with a monitor upside the head. He throws a big arm drop off the apron but Steph pulls Vince out of the way - Shane goes through the table. Now he is out on the floor and Trish is rolling Linda into the arena. Trish helps Vince to his feet...then slaps him silly! She and Steph get into it, and that is al the action for a while. The cat fight spills into the ring, Foley gets involved and slapped by Stephanie. Trish chases Steph up the aisle to the back. Back at ringside, Vince has discovered Linda sitting in her wheel chair. He looks ready to do murder but Foley gets between them. Foley starts roll Linda away but McMahon uses a chair on the back of his head. Vince then rolls Linda to the other side of the ring then shoves her inside on the mat. He brings in a folding chair and sits Linda in it in the corner. Back outside, Vince rolls Shane into the ring them tosses four garbage cans in with him. He uses two of the cans on Shane, leaving him laying in the ring. He is talking to Linda throughout this. He goes for a third trash can, but Linda rises from her chair and confronts him! She delivers a kick to the groin!! Vince is down in the corner and Shane is recovering. He positions his dad in a corner with a trash can in his lap then jumps from the nearest corner to drop kick the can into his dad's face to take the match.
Scenes from the fan fest yesterday, the Hardeys are signing autographs and answering questions.
Hardeys vs. Dudleys vs. Edge and Christian - Tables, Ladders and Chairs for the WWF Tag Team Titles - I'm not even going to try and call this one. I will try and feature the highlights. There was a ladder in the ring almost from the starting bell. Outside the ring, the Dudleys have set-up ladders on tables. In the ring, Matt Hardey is the first to try and climb for the gold suspended over the ring - but he is foiled by Edge. Now there are two ladders in the ring and the Hardeys are ready to climb for their respective belts. But they turn back to fight E&C, then the Dudleys are back. They overwhelm Edge and go after some tables. One is propped in a corner. In an exchange among Matt, Bubba and Edge, Matt is caught by Bubba and powerbombed through a table on which Edge is laying. The Dudleys are suddenly free to do some more table set-ups on the floor. There are three ladders in the ring when the Dudleys start the climb. All six guys end up on the ladders and then the entire assemblage collapses. There is still a table wedged in the corner as Edge starts up a ladder. Spike Dudley ran in and attacked Edge - but was then tossed to the floor through a table. Rhyno ran in and speared everyone then Lita showed up. A moment of chaos ensued then Edge neared the top of the ladder. Then he was knocked down by flying bodies. The fight went on ringside as Edge once again erects a ladder in the ring. Meanwhile, Jeff Hardey sets up the biggest ladder yet (probably 20 feet) and senton bombs Rhino who is laying on one of the ringside tables. The next thing you know they have the big ladder out and Christian and Devon are racing up either side. They both get there but then Matt knocks the ladder out from under them. They dangle for a while then drop. Matt tries to climb one of the smaller ladders. he is left dangling until Edge spears him in midair from the 20 footer. Bubba and Matt climb the big one but are knocked over by Rhyno onto a stack of tables outside on the floor. With one of each opposing team out of action, Edge and Christian finish the other two off and grab the belts.
Mean Gene is here to an announcer for the gimmick battle royal and there is Heenan to do color!!
The participants for the Gimmick Battle Royal include the Bushwackers, Duke the Dumpster Droese, the Iron Sheik (moving verrrrry slow), Earthquake, the Goon (Wild Bill Irwin), Doink the Clown (couldn't tell who he was), Kamala w/Wippleman and Kimshee, Repo Man, Jimmy Cornette, Nicolai Volkoff, Michael Hayes (to the Freebird theme!), the One Man Gang, the Gobbledegooker, Tug Boat, Hillbilly Jim, Brother Love, and Sgt. Slaughter. The Repo Man and the Gobbledegooker went almost immediately. Earthquake was soon after. Cornette was next then Duke the garbage man. Nikolai and the Goon went out almost at the same moment. Butch was next, then Doink. One Man gang then Kamala were quickly put out. The Brother Love followed by Sgt. Slaughter. The iron Sheik took the duke - but then Sgt. Slaughter ran back in and choked him out with a Cobra Clutch. Just about the shortest Battle Royal in memory. After the match, the Brain and Okerlund were gone without a good-bye.
HHH vs. the Undertaker - grudge match - Hunter got Motorhead to show up and play his theme live for his entrance. It was pretty cool even though Motorhead really sucks... UT did his usual schtick on a motorcycle. This is in the Dead Man's home town, by the way. Right away they collapse the Spanish announcers' jury rigged table (the original was destroyed during the Shane/Vince battle. UT really lays into his opponent for several minutes after the opening bell. The he goes for his top rope walk and gets jerked to the mat. Hunter follows with a neck breaker then opens up with his fists. He then stopped to argue with the referee - giving UT time to recover. Hunter has to put him down again then goes outside to grab his sledge hammer. He tried to swing it but the referee disarmed him. UT attacked while Hunter was distracted then catapulted HHH into the referee. With the ref down, UT goes to work on his opponent. They fight to the floor and then up into the stands as the referee lies motionless in the ring. The fight up into the director's nest then climb to the next level of the control tower. Hunter grabbed a chair and used it several times all over UT's body. He goes for another shot and UT grabs him by the throat and chokeslammed him off of the platform. The crowd is chanting, "Holy Sh*T!!" HHH is being tended by an EMT but UT throws a big elbow on him anyway then threatens the emergency crew. They back off quick. The fight goes deeper into the crowd, then HHH is dragged to the rail and thrown back into the ringside area. Back in the ring, HHH is out of it. UT grabs the Sledge and contemplates using it. HHH backs away as UT advances on him with only to walk right into a mule kick low blow. Hunter gets the sledge but runs right into a big boot to the face. They exchange blows as the ref and the sledge lie next to each other on the mat. The HHH got UT into a tombstone position - but UT reverses it and then hits the move. The ref is still down. UT sets up for a powerbomb - but HHH got hold of the sledge on his way up and used it. He went for the pin but UT kicked out!! Hunter attacks in the corner but then UT revives and gets the Landslide for the win.
Steve Austin vs. The Rock - No DQ WWF Heavyweight Title match - this show is going overtime - it is 8 minutes after the hour as they start the promos for this match. The no DQ stip was added right at the last minute. Austin made the first entrance to a huge pop then stood glowering as the Rock came down. The Rock poses for the fans on two corners and then walks right into a cheapshot attack by Austin. The fight spills out to the floor where Austin retains the advantage as the plunge into the crowd. There is no sign of Debra, by the way. As they return to the ring area, Maivia has taken control, but it is only for a moment. Back in the ring, Austin hits Maivia on the ropes and then almost gets the pin. Austin gets a second rope superplex then went to work on one of the corner buckle pads. He doesn't have time to do more before Maivia is back in it. They battle back out to the floor where Austin is rammed into the announce table then the time keeper's table. Austin comes back with a headshot with the ring bell! Austin is definitely coming off heelish at this point as he manhandles the time keeper for no apparent reason. They destroy the announce table, leaving JR and Heyman without a place to sit. back in the ring, Austin throws some big fists, ignoring the referee's admonition. They do a fling to the ropes and Austin comes back with swinging neck breaker. He gets a two count. He pounds Maivia in the corner with heavy boots to the head and shoulders. He stops to intimidate the referee and gets blindsided by the Rock. Maivia's face is splattered with blood at this point, but he manages to run Austin face first into the uncovered corner. he goes out for the ring bell then measures Austin for the shot. Now Austin is wearing the crimson mask. Maivia hits him repeatedly on the head with his fist. Austin keeps getting back up. Out on the floor, Austin recovers and catapults Maivia into the corner post head first. He then grabs a monitor and rams it into Maivia's head. In the ring, Austin goes for a cover, but the Rock kicks out. Then Maivia gets a sharpshooter. Austin struggles to crawl to the ropes but is dragged back to the center of the ring. This is amazingly reminiscent of Austin's big match with Bret Hart a few years ago - when Austin passed out rather than submit. But wait, now Austin has the sharp shooter on the Rock!! Maivia powers out of it using his leg strength. Austin is still in control and gut stomps the Champ. He goes for the SS again. This time the Rock makes it to the ropes. Now Austin switches to a Million Dollar Dream (which he learned as the Ringmaster form ted Dibiasi). Maivia forces a break by rolling Austin up on his shoulders. Then the Rock hit a Stunner on Austin! He goes for the pin but gets only two. Hmmmm...here comes Vince McMahon - still dressed in his wrestling togs, he sits down at ringside. In the ring, the Rock is gaining ground and is setting up for the People's Elbow. he hits it then goes for the pin. Vince runs in and broke up the count. The next moment McMahon is running for his life through the ring, dragging the Rock with him. Austin hit Maivia with the Rock Bottom! He gets a two count. He is going for a stunner but the referee gets in the way and is thrown to the floor. Vince has a chair and enters the ring at Austin's invitation. Austin held Maivia up and let Vince hit him!!! Still, Maivia kicks out! Vince gives Austin the chair but he is distracted and falls victim to a Rock Bottom. Vince intereferes again and is dragged into the ring. Austin hits a stunner on the distracted Champ but still can't get the pin. Mcmahon gave Austin the chair again and Austin used it - still no cigar. Austin stands over the Rock and spears him repeatedly with the chair until he is beaten into unconsciousness - then takes the pin. That was one of the ugliest matches I have ever seen. After the win, Austin shakes Vince's hand then poses for the stunned crowd.
At least that's the way I see it...
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