The REAL Heroes
If you would like to help with the rescue effort, Solie's encourages you to visit the American Red Cross and NYCPPI - New York City aid to families of Police, Fire, EMS on line
In this edition we have some APA News, our weekly Crossface Connection column from John Cross, the first of a new series of articles by Solie's resident historian, Ervin Griffin, and my own TV Reports and topical rants.
You can get more of the latest news and rumors by listening to this week's Solie's Wrestling Radio report.
I will be on vacation from September 22 until the 30th, so there will be no newsletter next Monday. The radio broadcasts, however, will take place as usual. The newsletter will be back on October 1st.
As I was watching the aftermatch of WWF Invasion recently, I couldn't help but think about all the wrestlers that will get pushed because of this feud with the WCW/ECW faction Vs. the WWF. Of all the guys, "Mr. Monday Night" Rob Van Damn has to be near the top of the list. Even pro WWF fans cheer this guy (though he is technically the "enemy") except against the most popular WWF stars. He seems to be respected if not well liked.
What I find funny is that a lot of fans think he's a newcomer but he's actually been around since roughly 1992. He was quite skinny in those days, not much bigger than current WWF Light-Heavyweight Champion X-Pac. I also remember the first time I saw him. It was on an edition of WCW Power Hour on a cold Saturday morning in February of 1993! While he did show some good moves, I really didn't see anything that would convince me that he would be the star that he is now. In those days, he relied mainly on martial arts and his split-legged moonsault. In case you've never seen it, he goes to the top rope backwards but does a split on the turnbuckle. Then, using the momentum from the ropes, he flips backwards onto his opponent using his body rather than momentum to knock the air out of the opponent.
Over the years, RVD (who DOES have real life experience as a kick boxer) spent most of his time on the independent circuit and in Japan. His time in the sun came when he arrived in ECW and began a feud with Sabu. Ironically, both men were taught by the Original Sheik who just happens to be the uncle of Sabu! During his run with ECW, he won the ECW World Tag Team Championship with Sabu, a brief stint in the WWF and a record setting 23 months reign as ECW World TV Champion. It was also during those years that I got a glimpse of him again. I couldn't believe this was the same skinny kid that I saw five years earlier. The "Five Star Frog Splash" sure beats the split-legged moonsault any day (not to mention more believable as a finisher) and that was in 1997! When I saw him a year later on ECW TV for the first time, I was even more impressed! I had to reevaluate my view of him and figured that if he ever went to a major federation, he might hit it big!
Now, he's part of the ECW/WCW Invasion of the WWF! Sure, Booker T, DDP and "Stone Cold" Steve Austin was getting the headlines right now but I think RVD is the "sleeper" man to look out for! His match ups with both Jeff Hardy and Matt Hardy reaffirmed my beliefs! I have yet to see his encounter with Chris Jericho on a recent Smackdown but it got great reviews too. The only thing that might hold him back is his own attitude (which is rumored to be rather cocky sometimes) and his penchant for marijuana (he is an admitted user).
Still, this is one guy I never would've dreamed to be a future superstar but there he is! To see where he came from to where he is now shows his dedication to the sport in my view. Not with politics but by giving constant solid performances nearly every night. I can see RVD in a year or two holding the WWF European, I-C or even the WWF World Title! Well, let me back off a bit. WWF Title might be a bit much but definitely a European or I-C reign. He's too good for just the WWF Hardcore Title (though it does fit his style).
Until next time, see ya!
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
FINAL KING OF INDIES NAMES TO BE ANNOUNCED THIS WEEK!*
APW President Roland Alexander had previously announced 10 of the 16 wrestlers for the 2001 King Of Indies Tournament to be held this October in Vallejo, Ca. However, due to the entire month of August being devoted to APW's dealings with NJPW & NOAH, no names have been announced in weeks.
Alexander recently stated on the message boards of www.allprowrestling.com, that beginning next week, not only will the remaining 6 wrestlers be announced for the tournament, but also the Cauliflower Alley Club Legends as well as the replacement for the injured Reckless Youth. This is going to be a big week for APW, so stay glued to your computer screen to witness all the late breaking news.
Concerning the injury to Reckless Youth, Alexander states: "We regret him not being able to join us for this years tournament, but our thoughts are with him, and we wish him a speedy recovery. We look forward to having him participate in the 2002 King Of Indies." Looks like next years KOI show is going to be just as stacked as this years!
APW GOING THROUGH CHANGES
Roland Alexander recently stated that after reviewing the BOOT CAMP procedures and the NOAH dojo procedures, and after meeting with NOAH's head man in charge, Mitsuharu Misawa, as well as APW's 20% owner Jason Deadrich, it would be in the best interests of both APW and NOAH to make a few changes.
"It was almost scary to see how similar the training is with both wrestling companies.", says Alexander. "The main difference is they don't run their dojo full-time when they are on tour, and they conduct their dojos prior to each and every show during these times of tour. We will be doing something similar prior to each of our shows while continuing to operate the APW BOOT CAMP in Hayward on a full-time basis."
APW is going to be putting together a marketing team that will be selling shows and bringing in marketing dollars in order to underwrite the APW shows as well. However, the fund-raiser aspect of APW will still be around.
"Eventually we will also be converting to a tour basis, and attempting to do as many shows during that tour as possible.", says Alexander. "Some tours will be 2 weeks long, while others will be 4 weeks long, depending on the NOAH tour schedule, as we would be working around them."
The current plan is to start off by doing Friday & Saturday shows only, and when possible, a Thursday show will be added to the mix. Right now, visa issues are still being worked on. After that is clear and a marketing staff is in place, an announcement regarding the addition of more shows will come.
It seems that APW & NOAH are on the verge of starting a cross training system, where some of the wrestlers from overseas would come to the APW BOOT CAMP to train, and vice versa. It would mean more experience and exposure for everyone involved in this deal, and we could be closer than we think to seeing some of Misawa's NOAH wrestlers on future APW shows.
MODEST, MORGAN & SMITH BACK IN AMERICA
After a very successful tour of Japan, working for Mitsuharu Misawa's Pro Wrestling NOAH promotion, Michael Modest, Donovan Morgan & Mark Smith have returned home. We are very proud of these three APW superstars, and how they represented us while overseas. It has been reported that all three were received very well by the Japanese fans.
Be sure not to miss your chance to see these three live in action on September 29th in Vallejo, which will be their first show on American soil since returning home. Come out and show your support of our wrestlers, and let them know how proud you are of them for making it to NOAH.
I am going to start out with what everyone is saying.....my deepest sympathies go out to all of the people suffering from the loss caused by the September 11th sneak attack on out country. Even though everyone else is saying it (and that is a FACT.....not an opinion), it shouldn't get old....it is proof of our growing unity.
I am a combat veteran (US Navy, '87-95), and what I saw brought back a lot of very bad memories. I have seen my share of people that have been shot, or burned, or killed in battle by in some manner or another, but this was over the top. I didn't even register anything but shock and alarm for 12 hours after.
But it isn't about me, is it? No, it is about our country now, as we are at war, people. Bush is right, you know, and we have to roll up the sleeves and get going, because this war is going to last. Let's hope the patriotism we are all feeling and seeing isn't a flash in a pan. Think Pearl Harbor and the Lusitania all at once, on one day. There is a historical perspective. If you aren't sure, look it up...those are the two occurrences that kindled our entry into the last two World Wars.
There is wrestling to speak about, if not the storylines (UT did the job, didn't he?). I want to talk about the Smackdown show.
Yes, some of the comments were scripted. Yes, McMahon was on the edge, again. However, I thought it was a tasteful show, and the fans really appreciated it.
You have to give it to Vince....he has balls. Real hard, brass balls. He had the forethought, however, to turn the show into a tribute/psuedo-patriotic show. If he would have run a regular show, I would have jumped on it with both of my size 8 1/2, EEE-width feet, but he had the gumption to refuse to allow the Attack to close him down.
Add to that the face that the show itself was pretty well done, with the National Anthem at the beginning, Vinces canned speech (which wasn't bad, really), and the tributes, most of which were heartfelt (there were some that were scripted, but you have to expect that from guys that don't do a lot of spontaneous interviews). Sure, it was kinda sappy for Kurt to win the main event, but the guys and gals went out and entertained a crowd.
And the crowd was jacked! They were ready to show the terrorists that they would not be coerced into staying at home. Talk about feelings.....this was a watershed for each of the fans there....they made a conscious decision to return to normal. There were a lot of reasons not to.
Now, I had some problems. Chris Jericho's comments were plain out-of-place. Treating our neighbor better would have stopped this? Hmmmmm....sounds like Chris wants to put some flowers into some guns. Not the time, nor the place, Chris. You came off bad...but, hey, it may be because you aren't an American, though Lance Storm became visibly upset during his spot. Rock was good, as were Angle and Ivory. Bradshaw was plugging right into every pissed-off redneck's psyche. Everyone else was in-between. However, the problems I had with the show were far outweighed by the good things I saw in the show.
And if Vince gets some pub from this....fine. I think that if you do something good for a lot of people, that doesn't harm others, and you get a bonus for it, then that is a good thing. The show was a good idea, in my humble opinion. Take it or leave it.
Next week, we will be talking about the PPV and the angles will be hot again. I figure we will be ready for a return to the regular.
And, as you return, make sure to visit bodyslam.cc, which has news, rumors, and results, updated daily, as well as great columns from myself and other talented columnists. Of course, dial in Solie's for the info, historical and otherwise, about pro wrestling that you crave.
God Bless our Nation, the Untied States of America.
by Earl Oliver
SmackDown came to us live from the Compac Center in Houston, TX and opened with Vince McMahon stirring up patriotic feelings and extending the WWF's condolences to the victims of the horrific events in New York, Pennsylvania, and Washington DC and their families. Vince claims that this show is the first large scale public event since the attacks and is being mounted to show the World that the people of the United States are going to go on with their lives. I'm not sure how I feel about this, so I will refrain from commenting on it for the time being.
For my own part, I was supposed to do a show in San Francisco this afternoon at the Cannery, but after talking it over with the producer, we decided to cancel the show out of respect for the families of the victims.
After Vince's remarks, the entire roster of the WWF, WCW and ECW came out to the platform and the ramp to demonstrate their solidarity in the face of these despicable terrorist attacks. Lillian Garcia sang the National Anthem. Several wrestlers stood with their hands over their hearts. Many did not. Most were Canadians and other nationalities, but some were Americans, including Steve Austin and Debra. Lillian had tears in her eyes as the crowd cheered her performance.
The rest of the evening was sprinkled with personal statements of sympathy and solidarity from the the wrestlers. Edge (Adam Copeland), Ricky Santana (who is currently a WWF road agent), Terri Runnels, The Rock, Chris Jericho, Michael Hayes, Shawn Stasiak, Lita, Chris Kanyon, Tazz, Torrie Wilson, Hurricane Helms, Bubba Ray Dudley, Debra, Hugh Morrus, Ivory, Bradshaw, Kurt Angle, Lance Storm, D-Von Dudley, Stacy Keibler, Steve Austin, Booker T, Stephanie McMahon-Helmsley, Lilian Garcia, Faarooq, William Regal, and Albert all made statements. All of them seemed heartfelt, although I thought Stephanie's comparison of what her family went through during Vince's steroid trial to this terrible tragedy was not particularly apt. Some of the statements were belligerent calls for retaliation, but most were expressions of condolences. Some, like the Rock, with an uncharacteristic understated tone, Edge, who admitted to having misgivings about doing this program at all tonight, and Ivory, who spoke to the children with words of reassurance, were quite moving. Many of them (especially the women) shed tears as they spoke. Kurt Angle, Booker T and Hugh Morrus struck the exact right note by saying that the real "American Heroes" are the rescue workers, police officers, and fire fighters who are putting their lives on the line to help their fellow citizens. Right on, guys...
There were no backstage skits. The matches were all brief. The bulk of the program was taken up by these statements. It seemed appropriate. Maybe this wasn't a bad idea...
The Hardeyz took on Hurricane Helms and Lance Storm in a spirited, if short tag match. The Hardeys won it by pinning Storm after a twist of Fate followed up with a swanton bomb.
Rob Van Dam made short work of Spike Dudley in a non-title Hardcore match with a Five Star frog splash.
Christian entered to his operatic theme music, made some self-serving comments then was told to please "Shut the hell up!" by you know who. Chris Jericho charged the ring and the fight was on. This one was quite competitive. At one point, Y2J went for his Lionsault, but caught a stomach full of Christian's knees. Almost immediately, Christian went for a pin but failed, then argued with the referee until Jericho caught him from behind and rolled him up for the pin.
The Rock faced Sean Stasiak, who ran to the ring and plunged right through it and over the top rope to the floor on the other side...twice. Stasiak charged the ring a third time, but was stopped in his tracks by Mavia who proceeded to reason with him. "Just relax...we can talk about...pie..." Stasiak allowed as how he actually hates pie. Maivia turned to Stacy, up on the platform, and queried her abut her feelings concerning the "Peoples' Strudel". Stasiak interrupted to demand his promised World Title match. So the Rock hit him with a Rock Bottom and pinned him.
X-Factor took on the APA in a rather one sided match that saw the APA win fairly easily.
At this point we got a replay of Vince Mcmahon's remarks about terrorism. His speech is full of trite jingoism. The one clearly scripted statement of the evening.
Booker T went up against the Big Show, who dominated the early going, both inside and outside the ring. But as they returned to the squared circle, Booker made a comeback...briefly. The giant regained the advantage for a while - and then Booker got loose and hit a chop block to take the big guy down. Two scissors kicks failed to earn him the pinfall. But a somersault leg drop did the trick.
Lita and Ivory had a match. I can't say enough about how great it is that the WWF is now pushing real women wrestlers. As a matter of fact, this was one of the better matches on the program tonight. For the second time tonight, a Twist of Fate set up the finisher (a moonsault) as Lita took the duke.
The strangest team of all tonight had to be William Regal, Tajiri and...Scotty 2 Hotty? They took on the Dudleys and Test. The single most impressive performer in this match had to be the smallest one. Tajiri is just phenomenal. He was isolated for some time in this match. But then moved out of the way to tag in Scotty, who came in a house afire, taking on both Test and Bubba until he was tripped and dragged to the floor by Test. Tajiri got back into the match for a moment, then he was also dragged out by Test. Back in the ring, Scotty did the Worm, then turned around for a kick in the face and a pinfall by Test.
The main event was a very physical matchup pitting Rhyno against our Olympic hero, Kurt Angle, which saw Angle kick out after a gore and then come back with the pinfall after an Angle slam.
Raw is live from the Gaylord Entertainment Complex in Nashville, TN and opened with a WWF Tag Team Title defense for Kane and the Undertaker against the Dudley Boyz. Two fake brothers against two more fake brothers... The Dudleys' superior teamwork kept them in this match against their far more powerful opponents. Kane was further slowed by his still nagging elbow injury. Five minutes into the action, Bubba pulls a table out from under the ring and set it up out on the floor. Funny thing is, if you know anything about physics, any move that breaks the table would be much more devastating if the tale wasn't there... Of course, before this match can come to a conclusion, Stevie Richards and Kronik run down and interfere. Somehow, (a double chokeslam on Kane through the table by Kronik while the referee was knocked out, then a 3D from the Dudleys on the distracted UT) they managed to do this in such a way that the Dudleys won the match and the titles.
Out in the parking lot, after the break, Richards and Kronik meet Shane coming in and tell him what happened. He recruits them into the Alliance and then grants them a WCW Tag Title match at the next PPV. There is a short comic interlude with Hurricane Helms and Lance Storm. In Steve Austin's dressing room, Rob Van Dam is waiting when the Austins arrive. He just wants to make sure that he and Austin were "cool" because they are going to be partners in a tag match later tonight.
Next up, Lance Storm (w/Ivory) takes on Jeff Hardey. Its nice to see Ivory back to dressing provocatively. One of the highlights of this match is Hardey, running around the ringside area, hopping onto the security barrier, then hitting a flying lariat on his opponent. In the end, Storm reverses a top rope move into a half crab and takes the pin.
Backstage, Tazz confronts Shane saying he is getting frustrated with the Alliance. Shane tells him he can take out his frustration on an unnamed opponent.
Sean Stasiak (w/Stacy Kiebler) takes on Perry Saturn (w/o Moppy) who gives his opponent a wrestling lesson through most of the match. Stacy's attempt at distraction succeeds in distracting her man, and almost gets him pinned. Moments later, Saturn finishes the job with a side kick and a roll up. After the match, Terri and Raven appear on the TitanTron. They have Mobby tied to a post and ready to feed into a wood chipper! After some banter, they proceed to do just that... Thank GOD!!!
RDV and Stephanie meet in the hallway. Stephanie is upset because her brother is trying to tell her what to do. RVD wants to know if there is anything he can do to help. She replies that he can pin Chris Jericho during their tag team match later tonight, and that he destroy Jericho at the PPV...during a Hardcore Title match. He says, "...consider it done. Molly Holly gets a visit from "The Hurricane", who wants her to join him in his crusade to fight evil. He now has his own special effect - there is a wind that blows just before he appears and after he leaves (you know...like he is flying...) In another part of the backstage area, Tazz is informed that he will have a handicap match tonight - his opponents will be Shane and Booker T.
In fact, that match is next and it is a squash from beginning to end. Tazz gets almost no offense, as could be expected. He does get a few good suplexes in right toward the end and then slaps a Tazzmission on each of his opponents in turn. But he is eventually overwhelmed by the two of them and pinned by Shane.
Coach interviews Christian backstage, pointing out that we haven't seen Edge in the ring since his brother turned on him on RAW the week before last. Christian is unconcerned, but promises that Edge will have to face him at the PPV.
Spike Dudley goes after Hurricane Helms' European Title but came up short after Molly tried to help her boyfriend, but accidentally drop-kicks him instead.
There was no doubt about who was the fan favorite during Tajiri's US Title defense against Christian. There was also no doubt that Torrie was lovely, spilling out of the top of her halter like that!! Although he mounted a worthy challenge, Christian was clearly dominated throughout this match. Toward the end of the fight, Tajiri was knocked down on the floor and Christian went for a chair. Torrie got between them then Tajiri emerged from behind her to spray green mist...into the referee's eyes! Christian went ahead and used the chair. By then the referee had had enough and threw the match out. Then Edge showed up and attacked his brother, chasing him from the ring area.
We are shown that during the break, Tajiri was gored up on the platform by Rhyno. Backstage, Shane grants Rhyno a US Title match at Unforgiven.
Stephanie McMahon comes down to the ring for her handicap re-match with Test against the Rock. Her enhanced bust line strains the vinyl fabric of her top. Test joins her in the ring and then the Rock makes his entrance. This is the first time we have seen the WCW champ tonight, except for a brief glimpse of him striding through the hallway just before the last break. He poses for the fans and then goes right to work, laying into Test with right hands. The fight goes to the floor and Stephanie takes a tumble as Maivia continues his assault on Test. The match returns to the ring and it is a brutal, knock-down-drag-out affair. Test finally gets the Rock flat on his back and tags Stephanie in - but Maivia is playing possum and jumps to his feet, startling Steph so that she falls on her can! test comes back in and is caught and Rock Bottomed - but the referee (Nick Patrick) is talking something over with Steph - so Maivia Rock Bottoms him as well. While the referee is still out of it, Shane and Booker T run in and help Test put the Rock down. Shane throws an elbow off the top then executes the "Mac-a-Roonie"! The Rock is out of it, so Stephanie is invited to cover him. She does, and Patrick counts Maivia out.
The main event is a tag team match pitting Steve Austin and Rob Van Dam against Kurt Angle and Chris Jericho. This match gets started as soon as the Alliance team hits the ring. Austin and Jericho end up in the ring while RVD and Angle go at it out on the floor. As the match progresses it is Jericho who takes the brunt of the punishment for his team, but he is also the most dynamic player in this particular game. In the midst of a general brawl, Austin surprises everyone by grabbing a sleeper at one point on Jericho. The latter frees himself with a jaw breaker then faces RVD, whose tendency to showboat repeatedly gets him into trouble. Moments later Austin is caught and double teamed in the enemy corner. RVD comes flying in to the rescue, but ends up throwing a leg into Austin's face by mistake. A little later he redeems himself somewhat by saving Austin from an ankle lock. Austin and Angle then face off and Angle manages to get a couple of two-counts on the WWF champ. Austin comes back and goes for a stunner, but Angle ducks it, hits the Angle slam and gets the pin.
All in all, this seemed like a rather flat show. I think the WWF is trying to walk a fine line between providing their usual level of entertainment and keeping thing toned down a bit because of the situation still simmering in the political world.
At least that's the way I see it...
Editor, Solie's Wrestling Newsletter
for great wrestling discussion.
Copyright 2001 - Jump City Productions