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.
The Professional Wrestling Hall of Fame will be kicking off the induction weekend with a card, memorabilia and promotion show on Saturday May 4th, at the Ramada Inn- 450 Nott St.- Schenectady, N.Y. from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. This is an opportunity to promote your promotion. Table rentals are $25 each. Make your reservations today, tables are limited. For information contact Mike Capano at (518)725-5272 or e-mail email@example.com The professional Wrestling Hall of Fame will also be hosting a golf outing and induction dinner May 4th. and the induction ceremony will be held Sunday May 5th. For details check out www.pwhf.org
By Michael Tearson
After a four-decade career as pro wrestling's behemoth tough man, Gorilla Monsoon is at rest.
On Saturday, the stars came out for Gorilla, 62, the 6-foot-6, 400-pound wrestling great who died Wednesday at his Willingboro, N.J., home, of complications from a recent heart attack.
Best known for his ringside debates with Jesse "The Body" Ventura and for body-slamming boxing great Muhammad Ali, Gorilla Monsoon -- whose real name was Robert Marella - was remembered as wrestling's tough guy with the heart of gold.
Gorilla's funeral services were a veritable "who's who?" of wrestling, with dozens of wrestling's finest in attendance at the Goes-Scolieri Funeral Home in Willingboro, and at the Lakeview Memorial Park in Cinnaminson, N.J.
The WWF's outspoken owner, Vince McMahon -- who attended along with his wife, Linda, son Shane and daughter Stephanie -- eulogized the gentle giant, calling him "generous" and "kind." "To his friends, to his peers, he was known as a man who commanded respect," said McMahon. ". . .A man who would literally give you the shirt off his back."
In his remarks, McMahon said Gorilla was "one hell of a card player," whom he last saw alive in a studio playing cards with "Golden Boy" Arnold Skaaland. McMahon joked that he hoped "Arnie" had not brought his lunch money, because he was sure to lose it to Gorilla.
As McMahon spoke, dozens of wrestling's greats, both past and present, listened, from Bobby "The Brain" Heenan to Bruce "Brother Love" Prichard, Bob Backlund and Johnny Rodz.
Ventura, now governor of Minnesota, announced matches with Gorilla during wrestling's boom in the 1980s. He was unable to attend, but sent a letter to the family that was set up in the coffin and buried with Gorilla. "He was both a friend and a colleague, and I have many fond memories of the time we spent together," Ventura told the Associated Press. "He will be missed."
Savio Vega and Miguel Perez Jr., both formerly of the WWF team Los Borriquas, were among the 200 friends and family who packed the funeral home for Gorilla's services. Members of the Savoldi family, including former wrestlers Angelo and Mario and the younger "Jumping Joe" Savoldi, also attended.
Other wrestling greats stepped up to eulogize Gorilla, including Rene Goulet, who recalled his only match with Monsoon, saying he couldn't believe he had been booked against him at the prestigious San Francisco Cow Palace.
Deptford, N.J., resident Dick Woehrle, a ref famed for his no-nonsense attitude in the ring, remembered a wild match in San Juan, Puerto Rico, between Monsoon and Carlos Colon. Woehrle recalled the wrestling antics that pitted the two against each other, as Gorilla got Colon by the feet and twirled him around in his patented Big Swing, clocking Woerhle in the process and sending the referee flying out of the ring.
A native of Buffalo, N.Y., Gorilla became a major wrestling star when he first entered the ring in 1960. His character was billed as coming from Outer Mongolia.
Monsoon, who won WWF U.S. tag-team titles with Walter "Killer" Kowalski and Cowboy Bill Watts, stopped wrestling in 1980 to begin his broadcasting career.
Wrestling announcer Jim Ross recalled Wrestlemania IX in Las Vegas in 1993, the first "mania" for which Monsoon did not call play-by-play. He said Gorilla was too ill to work, but that he had made the trip because "Wrestlemania was part of him. He helped build it," Ross said.
I want to talk about the Royal Rumble.
Yeah, that thing I had to pay for (along with my brother) last night.
More specifically, I want to discuss the Rumble match itself. Even more specifically, I want to talk about one of the participants.
No, not Albert, nor Maven (oooh….sore spot for Miss Pamela), nor Austin, HHH, or even Rikishi.
I want to talk about Curt Hennig, a.k.a. Mr. Perfect.
I was deeply, deeply impressed with is performance. Were you?
He looked good, he moved good, and he had all the right looks, reactions, and attitude. I was so impressed, I asked myself, "Why is he only signed for one night?" Is this his idea? It must be, because, if I were Vincent K. McMahon, I would sign him in a New York second.
Don’t you all think that he would be an absolute perfect (pardon the pun) fit into Vince’s WWF? He is dry, smart-alecky, mocking, and arrogant. He has heat with the fans, an understated gimmick, name recognition, and is relatively young. What’s the hold-up? How is this guy different than any other popular WWF main-eventer?
I mean, other than the fact that he doesn’t use "What?" to build heat?
I remember the promos this guy did…..they were much like what the guys do now. The gum thing…..that smacks of attitude and arrogance. He moves well, he is the right size, the right look, and, heck, he has the intangibles that make a guy popular.
Did this guy part with the WWF on bad terms? Did he call Linda names, or something? Maybe there is some sort of grudge there, or something, but I think I would sign this guy, over Hulk Hogan.
Who? Oh, yeah…..Mr. Disruption.
Well, Curt Hennig made an impression on me last night, as you can see. I get the feeling (or, at least I hope) that Vince takes another look at this guy.
Moving on to another subject, is there anyone else that thinks that Vince is selling out by re-signing Hogan?
Oh….you say Vince already did that? Sold out? Well….I guess I can move on, then…..again.
Dustin Rhodes did well, too. Though, I wasn’t as impressed with him as I was with Mr. Perfect. Someone I was pleasantly surprised with was Kurt Angle. They replaced his yellow stripe with a backbone. He charged into his battle with HHH with relish, didn’t he? They have finally given him the same backbone that he had when he was a face.
Speaking about faces, when did the Rock become Hulk Hogan? I have not seen him cleanly job in a 1-on-1 match in a while. Let me know when, because I have forgotten. Either way, Jericho won again, furthering this feud for another PPV, and giving Rocky another shot. ZZZZZZZZZ…..
Someone close the bag on this loaf of bread…it is getting kinda STALE…..where is the twisty-tie?
Continuing with the hop-scotch mood of the Connection, I think Trish worked the best match I have seen..though I think it would have been more credible (not Justin, either) it Jazz could have won. At least, a veteran wrestler would have the Belt, and, with Lita back, we could have had some really athletic women’s matches for a change. What we have seen, so far, is a female wrestler carrying Trish, and selling her 3 moves. I give her all the credit in the world for her vast improvement, but 1 is infinitely more than zero, if you know what I mean.
And, there is one more thing I want to hit on…..and this is starting to bother me. When did the Undisputed Championship become the Undisputed WWF Champion? This may be a little thing, but it bothers me. See, I view the WWF World Title as a protest title, formed when a group of promoters broke from the NWA in 1963. I see the WWF World belt as a junior championship, second to that which is represented by the World Title, heir to the NWA World Title, which I hold as the true descendant of the first World Title. It may be a small thing, but the darker parts of my mind see this as a conscious effort by Vince to raise his belt in legitimacy. I don’t like it. You can’t shine a cow patty.
OK…whew! I think this disjointed column of random wrestling thoughts has ended. Let me know what you think, at firstname.lastname@example.org. And, when you get a chance, come to www.bodyslam.cc, and meander around our columns, news, and rumors.
See you next week, with another Connection.
by Earl Oliver
SmackDown was taped Tuesday at the CenturyTel Center in Bossier City, Louisiana and opened with the Rock running into Steve Austin as he entered the building. The Rattlesnake wanted to know where he's been, then informs him that he intends to win the Royal Rumble, and further, that if the Rock wins the Undisputed Title at the Rumble, then they will be meeting for that title at WrestleMania. He then reminded Maivia that he has beaten him twice at WrestleMania in the past. They wished each other luck in their respective matches at the PPV Sunday.
Rob Van Dam came to the ring to face off against William Regal in the first match of the evening. These two are feuding in a sort of second-hand way because of the tag team match they both participated in on Monday (Edge was Van Dam's partner). This one was short, of course. Regal used the knucks...duh...
After the break, Kurt Angle burst into the Rock's dressing room to talk about his vision of Rock vs. Angle at WrestleMania for the Undisputed Title. Kurt envisions himself taking the Rock down, but Maivia disabused him of that notion.
This week we got half of the Billy & Chuck show, as Gunn took on Tajiri in a one-on-one contest. Poor Billy suffers from "headband hair" these days. Tajiri put the Tarantula on his opponent, and he was set to unleash the green mist when Palumbo ran in and got it instead. The distraction gave the win to Gunn with a Fama$$er.
After the break it was Triple H that decided to talk to the Rock about the PPV on Sunday. Of course, he expects to be the winner at the Rumble. Gosh, I wonder what Chris Jericho thinks of all this..?
Trish was attacked by Jazz during an interview, actually before she had a chance to say anything. Jazz caught the Champ's fingers in a trunk lid and slammed it shut (ouch!!)
Diamond Dallas Page came to the ring...for a match!! DDP was given this match to earn reinstatement...against the Big Boss Man (I guess he is now "Big" again...) Page put up a good fight - using all of his signature moves - including the Diamond Cutter, which got him the win.
The Undertaker was the next one to visit the Rock - same conversation...afterward, Maivia headed for the ring, and we went to commercial.
The Rock went to the ring and talked about how everyone apparently thinks they are going to win the Royal Rumble - he turned to camera man and took his camera, then had the man step into the shot on the "Rock Cam", claiming that even the cameraman is saying he will win the Royal Rumble. He focused the camera on various people in the audience and said they all claim that they're going to win the Royal Rumble. He twice made as if to give the camera back, but then turned away to shoot other parts of the crowd. Finally he surrendered the equipment and made his point - to wit: "It doesn't matter who wins the Royal Rumble!" Maivia was about to tell us why when Chris Jericho showed up to put in his two cents worth. Jericho was incensed that everyone is assuming that he will lose the title on Sunday. Maivia let him rant until he had the temerity to claim that "...this is my show..." The Rock stopped him there and said, "No, this is my show!" then he gave Y2J what for and started to go into his tag line - but Jericho stopped him, saying, "No! No! No! No! - I am not a joke - you will not look past me you stupid SOB!" Maivia left the ring and stalked up to Jericho, who held his ground. Maivia told him calmly that he doesn't consider it a joke, "...if you smell what the Rock is Cookin'"
Rikishi took on Christian and Lance Storm in an Over-the-Top-Rope Handicap Challenge match. Lance got the Stink Face early on, then punched him over top the floor. Moments later, Christian followed suit. But it wasn't over, because the Bog Show then showed up to try his luck against the big Samoan. They fought for a minute - then Big Show scooped Rikishi up and dropped him over the side. APA ran down and took out TBS - but then Bradshaw tried to throw out his partner! They had words about it, but apparently no harm done. Bradshaw turned away and Faarooq tried to toss him over! Bradshaw managed to not hit the floor. As they were talking it over, Kane came down to get involved - he eliminated both of them - at that was that...
A tape from earlier in the evening shows the Dudleys attacking the Tag Champs out in the parking lot. They tossed Tazz into the trunk of a car and then beat Spike senseless. They ended it with a 3D onto the concrete!!
Kurt Angle and Booker T met backstage to discuss who was going to win the Royal Rumble (both of them, apparently...) Angle also was there to cheer Booker on in thier tag match against the returning Triple H and the Rock tonight. That would be the main event, no doubt.
Meanwhile, Edge took on Test with the IC Title on the line. This one was pretty brutal, with interference from Willy Regal. Edge used a chair to fight off the double team, but then the match had an unfortunate "shmoz" ending when Edge was disqualified for bringing the chair into the ring. He took the opportunity to brain referee Nick Patrick...
Backstage, Stephanie was chagrined to discover that HHH didn't want her at ringside tonight during his first match back. Hmmm...the last time her husband rejected her, Stephanie ended up at the side of Kurt Angle. You don't suppose...
And that match was next. Steve Austin/Triple H vs. Booker T/Kurt Angle - a dream tag match, and four of the most favored participants in this Sunday's Royal Rumble. Austin and Triple H were nose-to-nose having words when Angle tried to attack. They both sidestepped him and then traded punches on him. The match sorted out to a brutal tag team contest. When HHH got tagged in he unloaded on both opponents, to his detriment, as it turned out - when Booker hit him with a side kick. But he bounced right back and had Angle in his power in a flash. Austin tagged in and ended up being isolated for a while. When Booker had Austin close to a pinfall, Helmsley saved his butt. When HHH finally got back into the match he again took on both of his opponents. Then he accidentally ran into Austin and the two squared off. But not for long as Angle and Booker ran back in on the attack. In the end. Booker was both stunned and pedigreed then pinned by HHH. Austin and Helmsley were getting nose-to-nose again when the Undertaker showed up. All five of them participated in a mass stare down.
Raw came to us live from the BI-LO Center in Greenville, South Carolina - Horsemen Country...but I didn't see it because I am in Atlanta on business tonight and my hotel does not have access to TNN. Oh well...
I also didn't see the PPV yesterday because I was on a plane coming here (they don't show PPVs on airlplanes...yet...) But I did look at the reports of the Rumble on the net and see that Chris Jericho retained his title - somewhat of a surprise, but maybe not - he had help. Also HHH won the battle royal - no surprise at all. Ric Flair went over the Boss - again a surprise...but maybe not.
The only title change was Willy Regal using his dratted brass knucks to take down Edge. Congrats to them all.
I'm afraid that's all I have...
At least that's the way I see it...
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