Dedicated to Gordon Solie
January 29, 1929 - July 27, 2000
In this edition we have our weekly Crossface Connection column from John Cross, a letter from Miss Pamela at OVW Wrestling 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 don't want it to appear that I use your Readers' Forum as a way to advertise for OVW (despite that I also just share my opinions on other issues), so I thought I'd just send you this exclusive story we now have up at OVWrestling.com and let you use it at Solie's if you wish! It's not a rib or part of a storyline - to the best of my knowledge it is true! I've posted this at a few newsboards that still think I'm worthy to post ;-) but couldn't leave out one of my favorite sites!
As always, my love and best wishes to all at Solie's!!
Co-webmaster, Ohio Valley Wrestling - www.ovwrestling.com
In an interview with OVW's Jim Cornette last night on Ohio Valley Wrestling's weekly Saturday night tv program, "Sexual Chocolate" Mark Henry announced that he was leaving OVW immediately to being training in Texas for the "World's Strongest Man Contest", to be held next Spring! Henry thanked the OVW fans for their hospitality and support, and asked that they continue to support him in this golden opportunity.
Who is the top Hollywood celebrity sponsoring this contest and who PERSONALLY invited Henry to compete? Find out in the NEWS section at OVWRESTLING.com!
Oh behalf of the staff and fans of OVW, I wish Mark Henry only the very best of luck in this endeavor, and can say I'm very proud of how far Mark came in his physical & emotional conditioning and in his wrestling skills during his 18 months at OVW. He worked very hard to get in the great shape he's in today, and we may yet see him back in the ring in the future!
Co-webmaster, Ohio Valley Wrestling
Well, there are a couple things working against the Connection this week. Bear with me for a minute while I explain......it could get a little dicey.
First off, I have a slipped disk, right at the base of my neck. It makes certain movements of the neck (the most glaring being the looking down and up from the computer keyboard to the monitor) a lesson in pain management. It isn't like my head is going to fall off my body, or anything like that (some would say that would help my situation), but it is relatively uncomfortable. Forgive any sharp, inarticulate screams of pain, will you? That would be very much appreciated.
Secondly, there is much meandering in the WWF, and I really can't stay on one subject for an entire Connection (and that is a FACT....not an opinion), so this week will be a set of paragraphs voicing my thoughts on a number of things that happened this week.
Rikishi returns. Great, yeah, whoopee.....I think that they could have done a little better with it, don't you? I mean, the whole payback to Vince was great, but is this guy always going to be used as big butt on legs? He can wrestle well, can move well for a big guy, and is over as a face. Since the WWF is coming quickly to a time where half their roster will be split from the other, shouldn't this guy be pushed, or something? After the chair shots on Raw, we saw no return, no promo, and no Rikishi on Smackdown. Hopefully the big Samoan is working somewhere to get rid of some ring rust.
I think I know what WWF executives told Ric Flair to do, when it came to his promo ability. Two words, "Less Hyper." If you remember his in-ring segments during the TNT/WCW days, they were on the verge of hysterics. I thought his heart attack angle in '99 was the real deal! Now, he just talks normally (at least, normal for him, and his character), and lets the wrestlers go off the deep end. The only real shame of this is that he can't come back and rally the WCW wrestlers to the flag. If the ratings spiked when Heyman "re-formed" the ECW, I think they would as well for a Flair led resurgence of the WCW.
Booker T's returning was a good thing, no matter if the crowd cheered or booed him. Even though he just did a run-in, and got mussed up in a grocery store, his good heat with the fans dictates that he be active in the WWF. This guy is one of the best pure athletes in the whole of pro wrestling, and a storyline that excludes him from the performing ranks is a mistake. He will be working matches sooner than not, and his angle with Austin should liven up the main-event ranks a bit. Now, if they can peel the buffoon-ish characterization away from him, they will be fine.
Has anyone noticed that Undertaker's facial expressions have been classic? His expression after the RVD match at the PPV was very descriptive...it said, "I didn't expect this rough of a match against this guy!" 'Taker's expression put RVD over as a face, and as a top mid-carder. He also worked his character well against Spike Dudley (the archetypal 'squash' match), as his looks of disdain and coarse aggression told the crowd exactly what he thought of Spike. Even the old dog can learn new tricks....he even sells the other performers moves differently, now that he is a heel. Watch and see.
Has Lance Storm impressed anyone else here? He reminds me of a high-flying Chris Benoit. I think I would like to see those two have a feud, as they are of a kind. Storm also showed some moxie by going into the ring with the two largest active competitors in the WWF right now. He did the job (which surprised me.....usually, they would have Big Show and Kane job to a pushed or semi pushed underdog), and I am kind of hoping the Impact Players tag team, which includes him and Justin Credible, gets off the ground, if only to bolster the rages ranks of the WWF Tag-Team scene. If only Justin Credible does something worth while....
Booker and Austin in the grocery store worked OK, but it seemed flat. Why? The crowd noise wasn't present in the segment, except for some really loud 'oohs' and 'aaahs'. If the action in the ring (or out of it, as it was) is the cake, the crowd noise is the icing. WCW would put on great shows, but the fans in attendance would be without those important things a crowd needs, like heartbeats and breathing noises. Then, they would run Thunder matches right after the end on Nitro, so the crowd, half of whom paid to get in, would be subjected to the same performers working tired. Bad TV killed WCW, almost as much as their pitiful management. You need a crowd for your TV matches, whether or not they include raw eggs and shopping carts.
I cannot tell you how much better I like Kurt Angle as a face than as a heel. Personally speaking, I would rather not see any heel wearing Red, White, and Blue....probably a personal issue, but gimme a break, OK? It's just a sore spot. More than that, Kurt is a really GOOD heel, and a GOOD face. I told my readers at the bodyslam.cc website that Angle is the complete and total package over a year ago, and he has proved me right.
Is there anyone, with the possible exception of Tank Abbott and Vincent, that is worse on the mic than Matt Hardy? His out-of-the-ring promos are not quite up to the needed level....third grade level. I like Matt, and his work in the ring is superb, but he needs acting lessons. Each segment that he has a part of, he is forced, strained, and way overblown. His promos have had as much polish as Velcro.
Name for me any established tag team in the WWF, except for the APA. All the rest are short-term teams designed to either act as a holding area for mid-carders without a current push, or as teams created for one or two matches, then break up. The only one I can think of is Albert and Scotty, but they just barely qualify. On that note, I see Bradshaw is getting a bit of a singles push...what about Faarooq? That guy is STRONG, and can move pretty good around the ring. Well, I'm not a booking guy, so maybe I am missing something.
Lastly, like I said last week, putting Jericho into the Undisputed Championship position was a good idea. However, the scenario they worked on Raw (cage match, heels ganging up on the face challenger, and Vince cheering at the end) was disturbingly like the Raw after Wrestlemania, wasn't it? Well, at least someone bladed..... OK, this is enough for one week, don't you think? I think so...it's the longest Connection that I have written in a while. I hope you enjoyed it. If you did, let me know by e-mailing me at email@example.com. If not, blame Earl.
If you haven't stopped by Solie's Storefront, do so today. Support Earl, and get those Pro Wrestling gifts for your loved ones. Think of it as you giving back to Earl, and Solie's, a bit of what it they have given you.
Also, and to conclude, I want to wish everyone a safe, joyous, and meaningful Christmas. Please pray for those serving our great Republic, in the Armed Forces, and for those less fortunate. I do not know at this time if Solie's will be publishing on Christmas, or New Years Day, but if so, I will be there with another article, and, if not, take this as my Yuletide wish to you. I am thankful for having the opportunity to share my view of the pro wrestling world with you, and I hope to continue to do so for a long time. And, without a doubt, I am thankful to Earl for the forum. He is a class act, all the way, and a blessing unto all of the Internet, and to all of us.
See you next week/year with another Connection
by Earl Oliver
SmackDown was taped Tuesday at the Centennial Garden Arena in Bakersfield, California, and opened with scenes from the cage match on Monday, then switched to the ring, where Kurt Angle made an entrance followed by his tag partner for this match, Willy Regal. Their opponents were Rikishi and Edge. Of course, Willy tried to use his brass knucks, but ended up hitting Angle. Rikishi put the stink face on him, then he got back up and used the knucks on Rikishi. Regal then got clobbered by Edge with a chair with a chair, followed by an Edge-Ecution DDT. Regal's nose was broken - after the break we saw him being hauled off to the hospital.
Backstage, Vince and Booker T arrived, complaining about the fact that they are in outer Podunk...er...Bakersfield. They encountered Ric Flair, who came on a little too friendly, and led them to a Sky Box...hmmmm... In another part of the backstage area, Test started coming on to Lita, who told him she was a little down right now and needed to be alone. He acted like "God's gift to women" saying he couldn't believe she didn't want to go out with him. Jeff Hardey showed up to tell him to back off. The result was a match between the two.
Tajiri defended his Cruiserweight Title against the challenge of Crash Holly. Crash never knew what hit him. He cheapshotted Tajiri after the match then menaced Torrie - until the lights went out. When they came back up, the Hurricane was standing on the top corner!! He splashed Crash - gave Torrie the thumbs up, then did his Super Hero slink up the ramp and was gone. Backstage, Lance Storm barged in on Flair again, saying, "You hired the Hurricane back - why not me..?" Flair told him to get out, but Lance persisted, so Flair said he could have one more chance - but if he lost tonight, that was it.
Up in the Sky Box, the food arrived - but apparently it was Steve Austin's order. They decided to eat it anyway... Later a clumsy waiter managed to start a small fire on the table - Vince put it out with a beer.
The Test vs. Jeff hardey match ended early in a DQ after Test deliberately knocked the referee into the ropes to upset the balance of Jeff, who was getting ready for a splash. Test started top brutalize Jeff, when the Rock came storming in and punked him.
Backstage, Matt Hardey was doing the "guy thing" - playing cards and drinking beer with APA - until Faarooq's question about Lita got a little too personal. Back up in the Sky Box, the Fire Department showed up to investigate the fire. One of them was Austin! He smacked McMahon then chased Booker out into the arena, then out to the parking area, where Booker commandeered a limo and burned rubber. Austin jumped into his pick-up truck and gave chase.
Lance Storm got his match...against Kane. Same result as last time...
Backstage, Matt finally got fed up with the personal queries and challenged Bradshaw to a fight.
Christian and the Dudleys took on Tazz, Scotty-Too-Hotty and his big goofy friend. This was a routine match in all respects. Tazz eventually hooked Christian up in the Tazzmission to take the submission victory.
The Bradshaw vs. Matt Hardey match was up next. Bradshaw dominated most of it, due to sheer size and power. Matt finally turned the tables when he managed to come off the top with a flying bulldog - but then he went for a cavalier cover and wasted his momentum. Bradshaw came back with the "Clothesline from Hell" to take the win.
Up in the Sky Box, Flair barged in talking on his cell phone. Vince was outraged, but Flair kept shushing him - then handed him the phone. It was Austin. he's found Booker and is waiting for him to come out of the Green Frog Grocery Store (where Booker had called Vince from minutes earlier. Austin went through a litany of what he planned to buy at the store ...before he kicks Booker's butt. After the break, Vince tried to call Booker, but couldn't reach him. Meanwhile, at the store Booker caught a glimpse of a bald guy in a t-shirt and attacked him...but it wasn't Austin. Austin then appeared behind Booker - and attacked him - wore him out in the produce section, sprayed ketchup and mustard on him, threw him into a bin of squashes - then dumped a basket of nuts on him, took him to the bake goods section and dumped flour on him, then dragged him over and ran him into the cold drinks case. Put him into a shopping cart and pounded on him some more. Beat him with a frozen pizza, stopped for a beer then smashed the can over his head. Flair and Vince were watching this all on their monitor...with decidedly different expressions on their faces. Meanwhile in the back area of the store, Booker finally made a comeback and locked Austin into a walk-in refrigerator. But Steve just crawled out through the dairy shelves - then started in on Booker again. He wheeled him to the check-out as sirens could be heard in the background. Austin stalked out, tossing back over his shoulder, "Price check on a jacka$$..." Back at the arena, Flair told Vince, "See? I told you you'd enjoy the show." and then split.
The main event was the Rock and Rob Van Dam vs. Chris Jericho and the Undertaker. Talk about a couple of unlikely tag teams... This match has all the hallmarks of a "book from the hip", last minute, "these guys have got nothing else to do..." event. Gosh, the Undertaker must be so proud to be holding a title that was held by Crash Holly...14 times...The match was actually the best on a rather lackluster show. A real barn burner, as I am apt to say. At one point, RVD was tossed through the ropes and took a pretty bad bump when his heel caught on the center strand and dumped him on his head. From that time on, Van Dam was isolated by the bad guys. But then UT went for the "old school" rope walk, only to be distracted by Maivia and then jerked off to the mat by his victim. Rock and Jericho both tagged in and the Rock went to town on both opponents. Maivia hit the People's Elbow and went for the pin - but UT dragged the referee out to the floor. Jericho was still lying in the ring, so RVD went for the frog splash - but missed. Jericho slapped on the Walls until Maivia ran back in a broke it up. Jericho went out and grabbed a chair, but as he returned to the ring, Van Dam kicked the chair into his face then pinned him. That's all folks...
Raw came to us live from the Cajundome in Lafayette, Louisiana, and opened with the Undertaker riding down to the ring to defend the Hardcore Title against Jeff Hardey. Lita is accompanying her ex-boyfriend's brother these days. Hardey got a good start after taking a couple of shots at the top of the match. he managed to knock UT over the top to the floor, then hit a baseball slide and knocked him down again. But then he went to the floor, where the Undertaker again asserted his dominance. Back in the ring, UT dropped his challenger with one hard shot to the jaw, then picked him up and gave him the last ride. Lita was all the way to the top when UT looked up at her - she hastily reversed her course and returned to the apron as the Champion took the pin. UT started to leave - got on his bike and started it up. Then he dismounted and returned to the ring. Tossing Jeff to the floor, he hoisted him on his shoulder and carried him to the platform. Turning to Lita, who had followed him up, he shouted, "This is on your conscience!", then repeated the powerbomb onto a table loaded with electrical equipment below on the floor. He then grabbed Lita by the hair. She bought herself a moment by delivering a lowblow - but he didn't let go of her hair. Straightening back up, he tossed her to the floor as well. What a guy...
After the break, we saw Matt Hardey on the phone from New York, trying to find out the condition on his brother and former girlfriend. He seemed genuinely upset, surprisingly so...
Vince McMahon came to the ring to declare that Steve Austin is a "...certifiable lunatic" and then showed video of Austin's attack on himself and Booker T (at the supermarket) from Thursday's show in Bakersfield. He then called Austin to the ring...probably NOT a good idea...and demanded an apology for Booker T...probably a WORSE idea... Steve went through a lengthy litany of "what?"s with the audience in framing his refusal to apologize. As he neared the end of his speech, Booker appeared on the TitanTron and took a steel pipe to Steve's truck out in the parking lot. During the break, Austin ran out to the lot and took off in pursuit of Booker...once again...
Back in the arena, we had a tag team match for the Titles. Scotty and the Big Goof vs. the Dudley Boyz with Stacy. The ending of this one was a foregone conclusion as the Dudleys basically isolated their smaller opponent and dismembered him. Scotty finally bought himself some space with a back kick to Bubba's face then Albert waded in, using that giant swing once again, on D-Von this time. Scotty came in and hit the Worm - with Albert to watch his back, this move is much more effective - then Stacy started to come in with a boot to use for a weapon. Albert caught her in the act and laid a big wet one on her. The distraction worked, however, as Albert was clotheslined to the floor and Scotty was hit with the #D and pinned.
McMahon got on the horn with Booker and found that he was hiding out in a church!
Tazz's European Title challenge match was too short. He got a Tazzmission on Christian early on, but the Champ used a low blow to escape, then hit the Unprettier to retain his title. Tazz slapped the Tazzmission on again afterwards...of course. backstage, Vince tried to play up to Rob Van Dam for the umpteenth time, and was rebuffed yet again. RVD has a World Title match against Chris Jericho later. Vince plans to be there to do commentary. Meanwhile, at the local church, Booker was playing BINGO...when Austin showed up and the chase continued...
Lance Storm's latest "test match" was against the Rock. Need I say how this turned out..? Of course, since it was the Rock, Test just had to get involved, trying to cause an upset. His first attack failed when Maivia kicked out of Storm's pin attempt after a boot to the face from the interloper. But the second attack, out on the floor, got Rocky counted out, and Storm got his win. Maivia offered Storm the "hand of friendship" after the match...and the Rock Bottom.
Booker found a "closet" to hide out in...which turned out to be a confessional. A busty young lady came in and confessed to having illicit sex with a friend while her husband was out of town...and videotaping it... Booker told her to say eighteen Hail Marys...and send him the tape!
Chris Jericho came out for a rant and stated that he wasn't going to give Van Dam a title match tonight. He showed video footage of RVD using a chair to win the #1 contender match that led to tonight's action. He then demanded that Ric Flair come to the ring and cancel the match. Flair made his first appearance in the arena (we saw him once or twice backstage), and refused the demand, pointing out that Jericho that he (Jericho) works for Flair, and also that it was Jericho that introduced the chair to the ring. Jericho went into another rant, saying the referee in that match sucked and taunting Flair for being envious and having a "mid-life crisis". Flair came back agreeing that the referee sucked - then peeled off his shirt to reveal referees' stripes! Flair will be the referee for the title match...after the break.
next up, a big tag team match pitting Test and Kurt Angle against Rikishi and Edge. I notice that they have added some guitar riffs to Angle's music lately - I guess to give it a little more of heelish bent. Not all that long into the match, Rikishi ended up outside on the floor battling with Test while Edge and Angle went at it in the ring. Near the end, Test slipped back into the ring and was surprised by Edge with a spear. This distraction, however, made Edge vulnerable to the Angle slam and he was pinned. In the aftermatch, Angle and Test did a number on Rikishi until the Rick ran in and broke it up. Test got the Stink face...
Just before the interview segment it was announced that HHH will be back on the January 7th edition of RAW. Backstage, after the break, Test was gagging as Mike Cole tried to interview him. Cole was seemingly amused by Test's plight, so Test attacked the announcer and left him lying.
The Big Show and Tajiri (with Torrie) had a tag match against Billy Gunn and Chuck Palumbo in the next segment. This team which was introduced a couple of weeks back with such fanfare, finally got themselves a victory over the Mutt and Jeff team. But before that happened, Tajiri's educated feet played havoc with the opposition. They managed to isolate him about 5 minutes in and kept him bottled up for a while, but eventually he slipped in a flying kick and got the tag to his gigantic partner, who wiped the mat with Palumbo and Gunn until the latter slipped in a Fame-a$$er and the big guys tumbled to the floor. Outnumbered, and distracted when Torrie was knocked off the apron, Tajiri was easy pickings.
Back in the church, Booker was confessing another of his "flock". The next confessor was, of course, Austin. Booker caught on quickly and took off again. After the break, Austin chased Booker back into the chapel, where a group of nuns were praying. Austin seemed a bit overawed by the scene, and Booker took advantage of his momentary loss of composure to hustle the nuns out of the room as his protection. Steve was left to be greeted by a priest, who asked Austin if he'd been to confession lately. Austin's response, "...what?"
Vince McMahon came to the ring and introduced Chris Jericho before joining the announce team. Ric Flair strode down to the ring in his referee's stripes as Vince took his seat, then Rob Va Dam made his entrance. The match got underway very quickly and in no time both competitors were all over the ring, and Van Dam was flying every which way. As the match progressed, Van Dam seemed to be dominating for the most part, but Jericho managing to stop him in his tracks when the chips were down. Eventually, Jericho grounded his challenger and went to work on him. For his part, Flair called the match right down the middle, doling out rather slow counts to both competitors equally. Jericho got the Walls of Jericho and thought he won the match, but Van Dam had reached the ropes. He went for it again, but Van Dam rolled him over and almost pinned him. Now Van dam was on a roll, he hit the Rolling Thunder then the Frog Splash. Jericho was being counted out when Vince jumped up and dragged Flair out of the ring. Flair followed Vince back inside then attacked him and put a figure four on him as Van Dam did the same to Jericho! In the end, Van dam won the match but not the title, by DQ.
Not bad guys...
At least that's the way I see it...
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