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 state of professional wrestling at the start of the 1980ıs was the same as it had always been. Several larger organizations dominated the sport by promoting within a specific region. Promoters from each league worked within a gentlemanıs agreement to stay in their own territory. The American Wrestling Association featured some of the top wrestlers of the time. A wrestler who was just starting to make his mark in the sport was phenom who called himself "The Incredible Hulk" Hogan. "Classic Wrestling: The 80ıs" allows fans to follow the rise of what would be known worldwide as "Hulkamania".
Classic Hulk Hogan action includes his attempts to win the AWA World Championship from the seasoned veteran, Nick Bockwinkel. As always, everyone must keep an eye on a legendary weasel of a manager who was in Bockwinkelıs corner. He preferred to be called Bobby "The Brain" Heenan. Hulk Hogan is also involved in tag team action when he joins the "Eighth Wonder of the World", Andre the Giant, in a bitter battle against all 4 member of the Bobby Heenan wrestling family! These two wrestling giants are also featured in a classic 20-Man Battle Royal.
Another larger-than-life wrestler who gained fame in the 1980's was a man by the name of Jesse "The Body" Ventura. Much like Hogan, Jesse's strongest attributes were his size, strength and his appeal to the fans. Unlike Hogan, his "appeal" was deemed as arrogance to the millions who watched. One thing that you can say for sure about Jesse, was that he was "blessed" with the gift of gab. "Classic Wrestling: The 80ıs" features classic moments of Jesse and his partner in the early 80ıs, the late "Adorable" Adrian Adonis. This duo made-up the bi-coastal combination known as East-West Connection. They won the AWA Tag Team Championship but classic AWA fans remember their main event battles against Greg Gagne and "Jumping" Jim Brunzell, also known as the High Flyers. This tag team feud would boil to a head and this documentary includes these two teams attempting to settle it once-and-for-all in a deadly cage match!
A classic legend who wasn't what many considered a prototypical wrestler was Mad Dog Vachon. His unconventional methods earned him the disdain of fans early in his career, but over the years, fans grew to appreciate his unique style. "Classic Wrestling: The 80ıs" features an all-time classic interview with Mad Dog from "The Dog Shop". "The Dog" also teams with his longtime nemesis, 11-time World Champion, Verne Gagne, in a legendary revenge match against The Sheiks!
Another wrestler that always provided a unique interview and wrestled as if the match was a back-alley brawl was also known as "the Man who made Milwaukee famous". This barrel-chested wrestler prided himself on drinking beer, eating kielbasa and dancing the polka with his 250lb girlfriend Wanda. Relive this blue-collar legend in a classic wrestling video featuring Da One, Da Only, Da Crusher.
Before they were breaking hearts on the East Coast, Shawn Michaels and Marty Jannetty formed the exciting tag team of The Midnight Rockers. They battled "The Pretty Boy" and the "Playboy" in what many consider to be one of the most brutal and bloody battles to ever occur in the A.W.A. The old Showboat Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada played host to this confrontation that is not for the weak of heart.
A loose cannon in wrestling during the 1980's actually became the Heavyweight Champion of the World. Stan "The Lariat" Hanson was known as the "Wild Man from Borger. Texas". An interview from ESPN Championship Wrestling will tell you that his nickname fit the man. Hanson's interview style carried over into his matches. His rough and tumble persona often extended to announcers and his rage, along with his cowbell, often resulted in some of the wildest wrestling action of the decade.
An out-of-control tag team who ruled the sport through sheer devastation was called the Road Warriors. Animal and Hawk are considered to be the most devastating team everPeriod. Together with "Precious" Paul Ellering, they formed The Legion of Doom and all too often, it was doom that their opponents would face. This trio of destruction was without question, intimidating. They steam-rolled over every opponent they faced but they had a tough task ahead of them when they faced the legendary Clawmaster, Baron Von Raschke, and a young wrestler seeking perfection, in Curt Hennig. All this and many more of the starıs who battled in the 1980ıs.
Relive the Action. Relive the Legends. Relive the Classics. "Classic Wrestling: The 80ıs" premieres in March of 2002 of iN DEMAND, Direct Ticket Pay-Per-View on DirecTV, TVN, and Viewerıs Choice in Canada.
It Just Gets More Classic by the Minute! Visit www.classicwrestling.com for additional information.
I am going to give you my opinion on the WWF today.
Like, you haven't read that here before. Surprised? New topic? What?
I missed Raw last week.....the first time I had missed it since before Vince Russo joined the WCW. My cable company lost my business, and the new one tried real hard to do the same. Yeah, sure it will be in by Monday afternoon.....and I have some oceanfront property in Wyoming for you to look at. Cheap.
So, Monday night last week was for the computer, and some new games I had. Exciting, huh?
Well, I got caught up on the whole thing by using the 'Net (Solie's and bodyslam.cc, of course), just so my current events knowledge would not hamper this column. You need me to be on top of things, and I'm here for you. Kinda like CNN, or something like that.
OK...back to business.
Who wasn't affected by Flair's overtly emotional reaction to the welcome he received on Smackdown from the Norfolk crowd? He was legit moved to tears...and it was a good thing to see. Here's a guy who really appreciates the fans, who knows what side the bread is buttered on, and knows that the industry isn't all marketing, bottom lines, and soap operatic programming.
You know, I never really liked Ric Flair when I first started wrestling, way back in the days of Georgia Championship Wrestling. I was a standard mark....cheering for Tommy Rich and the gaggle of good guys. Flair was a highbrow, a cheat, an arrogant bad guy that needed to get beat, but never quite did. In fact, I cheered for anyone that opposed the Nature Boy.
Then, I found myself in high school, and I didn't watch the TBS wrestling shows as much, if for no other reason than they were on weekend nights, and I was out of the house then. I watched the Monday night WWF show, and didn't keep up with Ric Flair, or his federation.
Then, he showed up in the WWF, with his NWA/WCW belt, and I found myself rooting for the guy to win the WWF Belt, which he eventually did. I thought that made him great, as opposed to just real good, and though I knew that wrestling was scripted, I could get the glimmering knowledge that Flair was special. And, just possibly, a historic figure in wrestling.
OK....who has held the NWA, WCW, Mid-Atlantic, Missouri, and WWF Titles? The scope of what Ric Flair has done in and for wrestling is broad and mostly unknown. See, Ric Flair was a big star at the same time as a certain Mr. Bollea, henceforth known as Hulk Hogan.
There are myriad differences between the two, but I have one difference that makes all the sense in the world: If there is a time that Hulk Hogan ever lost clean to Ric Flair, I would like to know it. Real easy....with Ric Flair, it was all about wrestling (most of the time...let's allow for some self interest, shall we?)....with Hogan, it was all about Hulk Hogan, all the time.
And, I know (all the purists, please take note) that Flair did go from the WCW to the WWF, looking for the exposure, the money, and the like. I never support that kind of move, just like I don't like baseball, basketball, and football players jumping team to team. Sure, it's a business, but I like loyalty. And, I will tell you that I didn't like Flair jumping over....to me, and to a lot of people, he was the personification of the NWA, and the WCW. I think that Sting would better fit that mold, now...he never left.
However, I think Flair's loyalty is to his "down South" roots in the NWA/WCW. He was moved by the response, and his comments before he jumped into the angle-speak belied his loyalty to the fans of the old NWA. He even mentioned the fact that he couldn't say goodbye to them when the WCW fell, and he wanted to. Purely legit, folks, and indicative of a man who knows what is important to the fans.
Ric Flair is the link between the current fan, and the way wrestling was. He began wrestling before 75% of the current crop of wrestling fans were born, he worked matches with Bobo Brazil, Wahoo McDaniel, and Mr. Wrestling, as well as with Chris Benoit, X-Pac, and Hulk Hogan. No-one else in the WWF can hold a candle to that. And, if given the chance, or asked to do it, he'd job to Hogan, Nash, or Hall again. Professional, through and through.
Something that is missing with a lot of these guys, don't you think?
OK...the Flair Tribute Hour is over. Back to our normally scheduled Connection.
Make sure you come often to Solie's Vintage Wrestling, and come to bodyslam.cc. We have the nWo WWF promo that was cut from RAW.....come over to our site, and click on the nWo link. We don't know if we are allowed to have it, but we got it.....go figure. I also don't know how long it will be there, so come early and often. It needs a Real Player-format program to run.
See you next week, with another Connection.
by Earl Oliver
SmackDown was taped Tuesday at the Norfolk Scope, in Norfolk Virginia and opened once again, of course on the subject of the nWo and Ric Flair's pending decision. Then went directly to a non title match pitting the Undisputed Champ against one half of the tag team champs. Tazz vs. Chris Jericho. This one was refereed by Jacquie, who managed to be looking the wrong way when Jericho delivered a low blow to take the pin. Jacquie seemed reluctant to raise his hand after the "win", so the Millennium Bug knocked down and slapped the Walls of Jericho on her! Backstage, the Nature Boy looked as if he carried the weight of the world on his shoulders.
Backstage, APA were hanging out when the stars of RollerBall start showing up.
Ric Flair made his way to the ring looking quite somber. This doesn't look good. The crowd is ecstatic to see him - it brings tears to his eyes. His voice broke as he addressed the crowd, reminding them (as if they needed it) that he and Norfolk have a long history together. Then he told them that he was there to say goodbye, which he said was not a bad thing because at least this time he got a chance to say goodbye. The crowd drowned him out with their "Flair!" chant and he brushed away another tear, then announced that he had decided to sell his stock and quit the company as Vince demanded in order to save the company and to benefit the future generation of WWF wrestlers and fans. The crowd didn't like that, but they continued to give up their love to the departing Nature Boy. Flair thanked the fans and his friends and family, then left the ring, blowing kisses and waving as he ascended the ramp.
Of course we all know that Flair isn't going anywhere...don't we..?
Diamond Dallas Page got a chance to challenge for his first WWF Title as he took on the European Champ, Christian. The champ was vicious in this one, which of course made it all that much sweeter when DDP pulled off a win with a Diamond Cutter. DDP is now the European Champ!
In the back, Vince arrived in a limo full of lawyers, ready to put contracts in front of Flair to transfer his WWF shares. He seems just a little too sure of himself as he claims that Flair is going to leave under McMahon's terms, not his own...
Wait a minute! Did I just see Shane McMahon in that trailer from the new movie RollarBall???
More of Goldust and his mystery opponent. Does anyone else feel, like I do, that this is all going to be a huge disappointment when it all comes to fruition..?
In a sit down interview, Jim Ross talked to Stephanie McMahon-Helmsley about her failing career and marriage. She doesn't see it that way of course - but Ross plowed on, airing the video of her actions on Monday and the subsequent falling out between her and HHH. At the end of that display, Steph was in tears, and insisted that she forgives HHH. JR then brought up allegations of her infidelity to her husband early in their relationship, which she denied. Then he asked if she worried about her good-looking husband out there on the road, with other women...again she denied that there was anything going on, or any problem in their marriage, then turned her ire on him - saying that she could give him answers that he wouldn't want to hear. Then she suddenly perked up and said that she was going to prove to the world just how perfect their marriage is.
Backstage with APA and the stars of RollarBall, Booker T stormed in and wanted know why he wasn't invited to the RollarBall premiere or why he wasn't the star of the movie! LL Cool J faced him down and told him that the reason he wasn't the star was because there wasn't a scene in the movie where some sucka got his butt kicked in a grocery store! Somehow, this turned into a tag team challenge, Booker T and an unnamed partner against APA.
Next up a tag team battle featuring the Dudleys against Rob Van Dam and Edge with Willy Regal joining the announce team. Of course, as soon and RVD and Edge arrived they went right to the announce table and attacked Regal! During the match, Stacy came over and sat next to Regal, who appeared to be fishing something out of her pants. The King almost swallowed his mic! Later, when it looked like the good guys were about to win, Regal jumped up on the apron, only to be knocked off accidentally by D-Von. Edge polished D-Von off and Regal and Co. were thwarted.
Backstage, Test offered his services as Booker's partner. Not to beat up on the APA, but rather to try and impress the female star of the movie... In another part of the building, Lillian Garcia tried to interview Kurt Angle while the crowd harassed him with the "What?" chant. He insisted that he should have won the Royal Rumble and he intended to teach HHH a lesson tonight. Ric Flair approached the Rock in his dressing room to say goodbye. Rock wished him luck and thanked him for the memories.
The challenge tag team match was next. The stars of RollarBall came along to join the announce team. Test and Booker T took on the APA. Of course, the first chance he got. Test left the ring to stroll over a strut for Ms. Stamos. After a brutal battle, Bradshaw pinned Test to win the match, and then they celebrated in the ring with the celebrities.
Kurt Angle and the Undertaker combined forces to take on Triple H and Rock in big tag team battle. It looked like Kurt Angle and and Triple H would start - but then UT told Angle he wanted to start and against the Rock. HHH declined to leave the ring so UT feinted an attack then tagged Angle in to get the drop on his opponent. As could be expected, this was a brutal match. It looked like HHH had the match well in hand after he hit Angle with a Pedigree - but UT ran in and whacked Helmsley with a chair, causing a DQ loss for his team. Afterward, the Undertaker hit HHH again with the chair, then faced the wrath of the Rock. Out on the floor, UT regained the advantage and rammed Maivia into the steps, then attempted his throat shot trick, but the referee got in the way. The Rock hit the Rock Bottom on UT on the announce table. Meanwhile, back in the ring, Angle came to and slapped an ankle lock on HHH. Referees pulled him off but he turned on them and scattered them. then went out to the floor to put the hold on Helmsley again.
After the break we got a replay of the historic footage video that Flair showed us on Monday.
Ric Flair encountered Arn Anderson on his way out. There were no words to say. They just embraced as best friends, then Flair turned and walked on. Meanwhile, McMahon and crew headed for the ring looking for all the world like the astronaut crew in Armageddon - except they were all grinning.
After the break, Vince and his phalanx of ambulance chasers went to the ring for the big contract signing. He allowed as how the fans probably expect him to try and humiliate Flair tonight - but he denied it, saying that he simply wanted to teach Flair and his fans a lesson. That lesson being that Vince always wins. Vince went on to claim that Flair doesn't care about the future of the company or the fans, contrary to what he said earlier this evening. Vince talked about the contract, which states that Flair will surrender his shares to Vince, who will henceforth own 100% of the company, and he has agreed not to bring in the nWo (which he seems disappointed about). He calls Flair to the ring, then makes the sound guys cut off his music. Flair came to the ring with his lawyer, as Vince continued to heap insults on the man and his fans. Flair and McMahon took their seats opposute each other at a table set up in the ring. Even Lawler agreed that Vince was going to far in his attempt to humiliate the Nature Boy. As Vince pushed the contract across the table, Flair rose from his chair and turned to the fans. Vince went ballistic, ordering Flair to sit down and sign the contract. Flair strated to sat back down very slowly and signed his first name...then hesitated. Vince demendedd that he finish signing...and then Stone Cold Steve Austin came to the ring! He did his usal four corners salute to the fans then grabbed the mic from McMahon and layed the "What?" rant on him. He then asked the crowd if they think that "...Ric Flair should tear up the contract and tell Vince and the nWo to got to Hell?? Give me a Hell Yeah!!!" And they did indeed. Vince took a swing at Flair but the Nature Boy avoided the clumsy punch and laid the WWF co-owner out with a punch of his own. As Flair started tearing up the contract, Austin hit Vince with a Stunner and then the Nature Boy and the Rattlesnake shared a beer moment.
Raw came to us live from the UNLV Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas, Nevada and opened with scenes from Ric Flair's appearances last week. Then they switched to the man himself being interviewed by Mike Cole. Flair allowed as how he has had misgivings about his decision to tear up the contract but that he stands by the decision. He declared that if McMahon follows through with his threat, there will be big trouble for the WWF. Next they went to the ring where Triple H was making what was apparently an unscheduled entrance. After all the hoopla calmed down, HHH called Kurt Angle out for a fight here and now. He got Booker T instead, who called Helmsley a "looser" and then said her would beat him again and headed for the ring. They met at the bottom of the ramp and fought into the ring, the bell sounded - and we had a match to watch! Once in the ring, HHH allowed himself to be distracted by arguing with the referee then fell prey to two of Booker's best kicks. In the end HHH got the Pedigree and would have had the pin but Kurt Angle showed up and attacked him, thus causing a DQ win for Helmsley - who didn't care much by that point.
After the break, HHH was backstage trying to track down Angle. He was told that the Olympic Hero was with Vince McMahon.
A backstage argument featuring Torrie, Stacy, Billy and Chuck turned into a challenge for a pose down at SmackDown!
Still on the hunt, HHH came to a door with a police guard on it. Sure enough, Angle opened the door and told HHH that the Mcmahon told him that the two of them would have a match at No Way Out!, and oh...by the way...the match is for his Title Shot at WrestleMania...
Bubba Ray Dudley figured that Rob Van Dam would be easy pickins' until his two cohorts, Stacy and D-Von were ordered away from the ring for malicious interference. He tried to call them back but they weren't able to return. RVD eventually won it with a frog splash.
After the match Goldust appeared on the TitanTron and finally revealed that it has been RVD he's been talking about for weeks now. As Van Dam was staring at the screen Goldust slipped into the ring and Pearl Harbored his new nemesis. He set him up and delivered his "jewelbox shot" then hit a neck breaker and followed it with an knee drop on his forehead. RVD was toast...
Stephanie sat with a big grin on her face while HHH paced and whined about his bad fortune. He stopped long enough to ask her what she was smiling about - she refused to tell him but said there would be an announcement about it later.
Mike Cole asked the Undertaker how he felt about getting Rock Bottomed through a table last Thursday. After verbally lambasting Cole, UT allowed as how he felt disrespected, vowing to make the Rock respect him, then he would do the same to Austin. Chris Jericho interrupted to remind him that the match tonight is a tag team fight, and that he (Jericho) is the fourth man. He promised, in the most egotistical way possible, to have UT's back tonight.
The next match was a three way elimination match for the World Tag Team Titles pitting the champs, Taz and Spike vs. APA vs Billy and Chuck. Special stip was that anyone could tag in anyone. Here's a question: are Billy & Chuck the new Lenny & Lodi?? Of course, Billy and Chuck did their best to isolate Spike, as the perceived "weakest link" in the championship team. That worked for a while but didn't seem to get them any closer to the titles. When Bradshaw got in everything changed, and suddenly it was B&G vs. APA until the latter were eliminated. Bradshaw then snuck back and lent a hand to help the champs retain their titles.
Vince McMahon came to the ring after the break and started ranting his displeasure at Ric Flair and then demanded that his unwilling partner come to the ring and explain himself. Flair came to the ring and was unapologetic, saying that it was the fans who convinced him to renege on his decision to sell back his shares in the company. Vince then turned and gestured toward the TitanTron, where Hogan, Hall and Nash appeared in nWo black and white!!! "These men are on their way to the WWF," declared McMahon, "...and it's all your fault!" Right...
Three old-timers met and discussed the latest developments backstage. Arn Anderson assured the Stooges that Hogan and company are poison, and he thinks Flair made the wrong decision last week.
Willy Regal defended the IC Title against Rikishi and was losing until he got ready to use his brass knucks. Then Edge showed up and attacked, which got Rikishi disqualified. Rikishi managed to still get in a stink face on Regal before the segment ended.
Diamond Dallas page, the new European Champ, was shown at WWF New York, partyin' down... Meanwhile, the Coach interviewed the Rock, who declined top comment on the nWo because he figured he had bigger fish to fry - namely the Undertaker. He ended his rant with a version of "Viva Rock Vegas!"
Stephanie came to the ring and requested her husband's presence. Her big announcement was that she has arranged for the two of them to renew their wedding vows on RAW next week! HHH's reaction to that was less then enthusiastic, to say the least. He wanted to know why they had to do everything on live TV, in front of the world? Couldn't they have some kind of private life. Stephanie then revealed that she is pregnant!! She started to sob and explain that this was why she has been so moody and argumentative. This changed HHH's attitude. Suddenly he was stunned...then he changed to all smiles and got excited about the situation, lifted her up and hugged her then gave her a big kiss. Awwww... backstage, after the break, they were shown leaving. HHH being very solicitous of her and not letting her carry anything.
Trish defended, and lost her Womens' Title to Jazz (Finally! Like we haven't seen this coming every since Jazz showed up again a few weeks ago). It was a pretty decent match - Trish showed a lot of heart, though she spent the vast majority of the match on the defensive. At one point she came off the top rope and showed her inexperience in the way she landed. It looked to me like she was lucky she didn't pull a muscle, or do some worse damage... Still, she has come a long way this year - I hope they keep her in the running.
The main event was the Rock and Austin vs. the Undertaker and Chris Jericho. This all star cast put on quite a show, but nothing was really settled, of course. Jericho managed to get the Rock in the Walls of Jericho, but then Austin ran in and stunned the Undisputed Champion, almost giving his partner the win. The Undertaker finally finished the Rock off with a lead pipe upside the head and that was that.
Was it me, or was the whole nWo thing just kind of tossed away..?
At least that's the way I see it...
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