Dedicated to Gordon Solie
January 29, 1929 - July 27, 2000
You can get more of the latest news and rumors by listening to this week's Solie's Wrestling Radio report.
In December '99, Triple H "married" Stephanie McMahon-Hemsley in a questionable marriage ceremony. Later, it was revealed that Steph was in on the plot. Triple H then regained the WWF title from The Big Show on RAW. This would be the reign that established "The Game" as a top performer as he had two classic bouts with Mick Foley (now garbed in his Cactus Jack persona). In January 2000, Triple H survived a "hardcore" streetfight with "The King Of Hardcore" at The Royal Rumble 2000. The following month, he defeated Jack again in a "Hell In A Cell" bout to not only retain the title but retire Foley and all his personas forever! Granted, Foley came back for one last ring appearance at WrestleMania 2000 but most still view this bout with Triple H as his final match.
From there, he would lose and then regain the WWF title from The Rock in two back to back PPV's in April and May of 2000 (Backlash and Judgment Day to be exact). He would lose the title for the final time to date in a six man bout that stipulated that if any of his opponents (being The Rock, The Undertaker or Kane) pinned him or his partners (Vince and Shane McMahon) then Triple H would lose the WWF title! Vince McMahon ended up getting pinned by The Rock, thus losing the WWF title for his "son-in-law"!
From there, Triple H would have a classic "last man standing" match with Chris "Y2J" Jericho, a wild but brief feud with Kurt Angle which saw an unforgettable diss by Triple H questioning Angle's manhood on RAW, another brief feud with Chris Benoit and the revelation that he masterminded the plot to run-down SCSA at the previous year's Survivor Series along with Rikishi!
We also saw he and Austin engage in a forgettable bout at Survivor Series 2000 but take a memorable part in a six man "Hell In A Cell" bout at WWF Armageddon the following month along with The Rock, The Undertaker, Rikishi and then-WWF Champion Kurt Angle! The year 2000 also saw the end of his off camera romance with Chyna as Stephanie McMahon and Triple H began to get closer.
In February 2001, Triple H and Austin had a memorable 2 out of 3 falls bout that saw Triple H come out victorious. Later that year, he had a great but losing bout against The Undertaker! It also saw him team with Austin as the "Two Man Power Trip" as they took nearly all the gold during a short run from April until early May. Triple H added two more runs as WWF I-C champ as well as a brief run as WWF Tag Team Champion, making him only the second "Grand Slam" winner in the WWF (the other was former DX partner Shawn Michaels).
I think everyone knows the story by now. The torn quadriceps on RAW during a tag team bout with Chris Jericho and Chris Benoit (The Canadian Chris' as they were fondly called!). From there, he has been getting back into shape for the last few months or so (eight to be exact).
All I can say about this man is that while I didn't think he'd make it, he has so I am not surprised he overcame his injury to return to action. I have to say that seeing him workout as been a bit of an inspiration to me when I go to the gym. While I am not an overweight slob, I could be in better shape. Seeing his dedication to his body does inspire me as well as his comeback when I am in the gym. I tend to think, "If he can do it with one bad leg, then I should be able to do it with all my parts healthy"!
So, here is "The Griff" wishing the man good luck in his comeback! So, until next time, this is Flashback!
If you have a question, comments, criticism, or just want to talk pro wrestling, e-mail me at 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
Well, well, well....ol' HHH is back, then.
Now, I really don't mind the fact that he is back. In fact, the guy had to come back, because the WWF was floundering without a focused angle in the Main event. Then, *BOOM*, HHH and the Undertaker (2). Whatever PPV is immediately after the Royal Rumble, I can see those two having a match.....thus, again, keeping UT away from a Title run.
Sorry, Miss Pamela. Oh, and, hello, Mr. Pamela...sorry about the semi-sweet chocolate thing. I got straightened out. It won't happen again.
Back to the subject at hand, which is HHH's return. A lot of people have voiced their opinion to me that the return was anti-climactic, and there were no surprises.
Did there have to be? Or, are present-day, 'new-school' fans conditioned to expect hyperbole and off-the-hook antics?
Well, you know what I think.
HHH hasn't really worked in the ring for the better part of a year. I think he has worked just enough in house shows (and I mean the weekend before) to be able to do the Pedigree and/or take a crisp Kurt Angle suplex. Sure, he was all buffed out, but, heck, he had enough time to work his upper body out, didn't he? There was no way that he was going to do some sort of run-in, face or heel, and get active in the ring on his first night back. If people expected him to do so, they aren't thinking about it rationally.
Well, this IS the WWF.....
Oh, never mind that......I could have bet Earl's paycheck that HHH wouldn't work a match before the Smackdown immediately preceding the Royal Rumble. I would also postulate that the aforementioned Smackdown match is just a 50/50 shot. There is no darn way that Vince wants to have this guy dinged before the royal Rumble.....there is also the fact that neither HHH nor Vince wants HHH to look rusty, slow, or bad in the ring.....they made that mistake with Austin, remember? He was so out-of-shape that he had to leave again for a couple months. What?
As I have said before, HHH is one of the lynchpins of the WWF. His presence will immediately help ratings, and will help support storylines that seem diffuse and without rhyme or reason. However, to the e-complaints that HHH's return wasn't all it should have been......
....what else could they have done?
Now, to a rare second subject. Lance Storm recently popped off in his e-column that the "What" chants were becoming a nuisance to his ability to do promos the like. He also told of the crowd doing the chant through the National Anthem.
Now, I spoke about the "What?" chants last year, when my brother and I went to see Raw. I had thought that the fad would have run its course by now, but I seem to have been wrong. However, it has been one of those things that happen in the WWF, where rational, logical explanation seems to have been defied.
Or, has it?
"What?" is simple, easy, loud, and is constantly reinforced by the biggest face worker in the business, Steve Austin. It is played upon by the biggest heels in the WWF right now, Kurt Angle (who was hysterical on Smackdown) and Vince McMahon. It is also reinforced by the constant use it gets....the more people say it, the more it is said.
Was that me, or Yogi Berra? Well, anyways.....
Lance is upset about it, and I would be, too. It is probably harder than heck to cut a promo when everyone is screaming "What?" as you breathe between sentences. However, Lance, as much as I think you are great in the ring, and wry with your promos, you are just a victim of Stone Cold's popularity.
I would tell Lance Storm that he should remember that he is in the mid-card, and that he isn't as popular as Austin is. Lance Storm can't do much about it, except maybe use the ill feelings he has towards the "What?" thing to build heel heat for himself; I bet he could generate all sorts of cheap heat by insulting the fans for being so stupid as to keep alive such a mindless chant. At least, I would.
In addition, if he thinks that his complaining about it would change it, he ought to remember that this is the WWF he is working for....the same company that let Booker T faux vomit on national TV last week. Does he think that Vince and the boys will ask the crowds to stop chanting "What?", just so that the mid-carders can exhibit their own creativity? As Chief Engineer Montgomery Scott would say, "I dunna think so, Captain."
Now, I COULD see the WWF asking the crowd not to chant it through the National Anthem, but that is a big 'Maybe'. Maybe the WWF will do it, maybe not. I would....in fact, the cheering during the Star Spangled Banner drives me into apoplexy. Come on, people, did respect die within the last 10 years? I expect, though, that I am preaching to the choir by writing this here.
So, Lance, nothing against you, because I think you are great, but don't waste your energy and time worrying and complaining about this. It won't help you. Just keep doing what you are doing, because I am still a fan of the Storm.
Thanks everyone, and thanks for all of you who came over to bodyslam.cc and took a look around. I again invite you all to do so....we have great columns, the latest news and rumors, the results from the latest shows and PPV's, and NO SPOILERS! We also have Indy fed news. Come over for a look see.
See you next week for another Connection.
by Earl Oliver
SmackDown was taped Tuesday in Madison Square Garden and opened with a highly hyped replay of Triple H's return on Monday. This was followed by a backstage encounter between Debra and Stephanie, who told Mrs. Stone Cold that, "...my husband is going to kick your husband's a$$ at the Royal Rumble." Stephanie is in the building, of course, because her husband got her a backstage pass. After the opening montage, Stephanie made her way to the ring to gloat, saying that she can do anything she wants - and then goes further, taking credit for her husband's success! Right... makes you wonder if she talked any of this over with HHH. Ranting on - she claims that, "...I point my finger and Triple H destroys." In the midst of her speech a phalanx of security guys showed up to escort her away. She finished up and left.
For the first match, Tazz and Spike Dudley defended their newly won Tag Team Titles against Christian and Lance Storm. Tazz was thrown to the floor early on leaving Spike to be isolated by the challengers for a while. The highlight of this match was a headbutt that Spike delivered to Storm's midsection in order to finally make his escape and tag in his partner. Moments later Spike was back in illegally. As Christian was distracted, Tazz slipped behind him and locked in the Tazzmission to take the win by submission. After the match, the Dudleys ran in on the attack, but the Tag Champs fought them off.
Val Venis was announced as returning to compete in the Royal Rumble.
Next up Edge defended the Intercontinental Title against the challenge of the Boss Man. Apparently he's not considered big anymore...but big enough to dominate the earl going in this match. As Edge started to make a comeback, the Boss Man went to the outside and brought in his nightstick. As the referee was arguing with Boss Man about the weapon, Edge snuck in one of his wimpy spears, then dropped him on his head, on his nightstick, to take the win and retain his title. Afterwards, Willy Regal showed up on the big screen to throw out a challenge for the title at the Rumble. Edge accepted the challenge.
As we returned from the break we were informed that Goldust is making his return for the Rumble. Backstage, Kurt Angle was repeatedly interrupted during his interview with Lillian Garcia by the crowd's "What?" chant. He freaked out and challenged Steve Austin to a match. Meanwhile, in the rest room, Booker T was trying to brush his teeth as disgusting noises continually emanated from one of the stalls. It turned out to be Rikishi, who took Booker's insults with equanimity, then informed him they have a match later.
Rob Van Dam and the Rock took on Chris Jericho and Test after the break. Test started the match against the Rock and didn't fare too well. But, the Rick was more interested in getting Jericho in the ring and eventually was distracted, giving Test the upper hand. Jericho then came in to continue the assault. The Rock was isolated for a while, then Van Dam tagged in and was isolated in turn. When Maivia finally got back into the fight, he faced off with Jericho - the two of them ended up knocking each other out while Test and Van Dam battled on the outside. Back in the ring, Jericho recovered first but failed to get the pin. He went for the Lionsault but Maivia got his knees up to thwart the move. After some more by-play, the Rock slapped on a Sharpshooter and took a submission victory over the Undisputed Champ.
In a pre-taped interview, Jim Ross questioned Vince McMahon regarding Triple H's return and Vince's match at the Rumble with Ric Flair. Vince turned aside questions about his relations with his son-in-law. McMahon justified his attack on Flair by saying that Flair is no gentlemen and citing Flair's previous attacks on him. McMahon went on to say that he would destroy Flair at the Rumble, and further, that he enjoys destroying people - especially icons like the Nature Boy. His theory is that Flair will be so humiliated after the match that he will beg Vince to buy him out. Right.
Another star of the past returning for the Rumble - Mr. Perfect!
Booker T had his match with Rikishi next. In the opening moments, Booker tried to pull off a sunset flip, but thought better of it when Rikishi refused to go down and slapped his butt a couple times. Booker allowed the possible outcome of this match to prey on his mind, which caused him some tense moments - then sure enough - he had to endure a stink face! Booker left the ring and spewed all over Mike Cole!! Lawler's response was typically juvenile, "You got puked on! You got puked on!" Really Jerry, grow up. Booker slunk away and lost the match via countout.
JR took Cole's place after the break. Back in the rest room, Booker was washing out his mouth when Diamond Dallas Page showed up to gloat about what just happened. He allowed as how getting stink faced was not a good thing - but at least it didn't happen to him, "...D. D. P."
Backstage, the Rock ranted off on Chris Jericho as the Coach just held the microphone.
The main event was the Angle/Austin challenge match. Austin started trying to get under Angle's skin right of the bat, taunting him by mimicking his neck and shoulder rolls before the match. Meanwhile the crowd kept up a constant "What?" chant to further rile Kurt up. As the match progressed, Austin seemed determined to wrestle a scientific match - again, seemingly mocking his amateur champion opponent. Then the fight went to the floor, and all bets were off. Austin proceeded to run Angle into every object he could find - the ring post, the steps, the safety railing, etc. Back in the ring, Angle finally turned the tables with a knee lift and then started to stomp a mud hole in the Rattlesnake. But Austin recovered for a moment, only to be caught in a suplex and put down for a two count. After that, things went into see-saw mode until suddenly Austin hit two German suplexes in a row! Angle answered with two of his own, then hit a low blow. He climbed the ropes and actually hit his moonsault, for a change. But Austin kicked out. So Angle slapped on the ankle lock. Austin tried to crawl to the ropes but, Angle dragged him back. So Austin rolled out of it. Both guys were down when Kane suddenly showed up. He entered the ring and chokeslammed Austin!! Angle thought Kane was on his side - but then the big guy chokeslammed him as well. Then the Big Show appeared and attacked Kane. They each tried to set up a chokeslam - but the Show was able to pull his off. Then Triple H appeared on the platform...what the..? He stalked to the ring where the giant awaited him. HHH attacked but was unsuccessful until he hit a low blow - then hit the Pedigree. He posed for the crowd as his music blared - then the Undertaker appeared on the platform and they stared at each other as the program ended.
Raw came to us live from the American Airlines Center in Dallas, Texas and opened with the Nature Boy in the ring, recalling his own history making match against Kerry Von Erich here in Dallas. Then he showed some video of Vince McMahon's nefarious attack on last Monday. Flair got pretty excited and decided to announce that their Royal Rumble match will be a Street Fight - then to call Vince out tonight - he got Chris Jericho instead. Jericho used his time to ramble moronically for several minutes, his usual blather, insulting the Dallas crowd, etc. Finally, Flair had enough and attacked. Jericho made a comeback and seemed in control, until Flair hit him a low blow then slapped a figure four on him! This brought Vince running down to wield his lead pipe once again. Flair was punked.
Backstage, Bradshaw took Jericho to task for his comments about Texans. Lance Storm and Christian were standing by and got pulled into a 6 man match with Jericho against Bradshaw and some unnamed friends.
Out back, HHH and his wife arrived. Stephanie was whiny and demanding, Helmsley, on the other hand, was all business.
The Billy and Chuck Show was up next. The fascinating thing about this duo is that Billy is the spokesman... They were on hand to take on the Hurricane and Tajiri, with Molly and Torrie in tow. This one was a comedy of errors as Palumbo and Gunn took turns accidentally hitting each other - but in the end they won the thing. Out back, the Undertaker rolled up on his bike. Meanwhile, backstage, Stephanie started an argument with a passing Mrs. Stone Cold and ended up in a cat fight.
Next up, a vicious fight for the #1 contender spot between Jazz and Jacquie while Womens' Champ Trish Stratus provided commentary. After she won the match, Jazz decided to go ahead and get the feud started with Trish. A referee got between them and unfortunately was able to keep them apart.
Kurt Angle had the dubious pleasure of taking on Kane in a one-on-one contest. The big guy dominated the proceedings until he went to fly off the top. Angle leapt right up with him, hooked his arms and threw him to the mat with a over the head belly-to-belly suplex. After several exchanges, Kane again gained the upper hand and went to the top again. Kurt went to the well a second time and got smashed in the chops for his trouble - but moments later Angle was able to slip on the ankle lock. Kane resisted it for several seconds, then got to the ropes, but Angle dragged him back and continued to twist on his leg. kane got to the ropes again, this time with both hands, and Angle was forced to break. Kane struggled to his feet and right into an Olympic Slam. Kurt got a two count. Kane got to his feet again and grabbed Kurt by the throat. Angle grabbed the referee and tried to use him as a shield - so Kane chokeslammed them both at the same time! Then he grabbed the ankle lock on Angle! But the referee was out cold. Kane released the hold to revive the ref, then went back to the ankle lock. But Angle managed to roll out of it and pulled Kane into the ropes, where he pinned him with some leverage assist from the ropes.
Backstage, Stephanie tries to stir her husband up - and partially succeeds. In their office, the APA thought to try to get the Big Show as their partner for their 6 man match, but Booker T walked in and insulted the big guy, thus provoking a match challenge. So much for that idea.
A tag team match pitted Edge and Rob Van Dam against Test and William Regal. Of course, Regal used his brass knucks to pick up the win going into his challenge for the IC Title at the Rumble on Sunday. Backstage, the APA enlisted Rikishi for their big match.
The Big Show managed to maintain his losing streak - against Booker T this time...
The main event was the six man match featuring Chris Jericho, Christian and Lance Storm against APA and Rikishi. In the end the heel team won via stealth. Lance Storm was distracting the referee when Chris Jericho was being pinned by Faarooq. The same couldn't be said a moment later when Jericho hit Faarooq with the break down and took the three count.
...then the real main event started. Triple H came to the ring to declare himself the winner of the Royal Rumble somewhat prematurely. Steve Austrin came down to dispute his claim and they got into some fisticuffs. As HHH was about to apply the Pedigree, the Undertaker showed up and laid them both out with a chair. That was it...
Thursday night should be interesting...
At least that's the way I see it...
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