Dedicated to Gordon Solie
January 29, 1929 - July 27, 2000
Before we get into today's edition, I wanted to mention that I just have opened a major new image gallery here on the Solie's site. The Marc Friedland Collection consists of snapshots, autographs and publicity photos collected my Marc in 1962 and 1963 in and around his hometown of New Haven, Connecticut. It features never before seen photos of such stars as Bruno Sammartino, Pedro Morales, the Fabulous Kangaroos, "Manic" Mark Lewin, Hans Mortier, Arnold Skaaland and a host of others as well as great action shots from the October, 1963 issue of Wrestling World magazine. The collection can be accessed by going to Solie's Classic Wrestling Image Gallery. Check it out!!
You can get more of the latest news and rumors by listening to this week's Solie's Wrestling Radio report.
I deeply apologize for the following offering....it isn't going to be something you are going to want to tell all your friends about.
In fact, it will probably suck. I spent the larger part of Friday in Doctors North Hospital, in Columbus, while my wife had surgery done to attempt correction of a severe case of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. In fact (and, if you all care a whit), she has to have the other hand done in three weeks (5-3-2002).
This isn't brain surgery, but it is worrisome for me, if only because I am the husband, and she is the best women ever created (yeah, yeah, my opinion....but I'm RIGHT). Also, though, one has to figure that I am taking care of the units (4 and 2...little girls) 24-7, from Friday to Monday (her mother is taking over some duties on Monday). So, it has been a rather interesting weekend.
HOWEVER, please note that I still on time, and under budget.
OK....my subject...well, though I tried to avoid it, I have to bring up the nWo, and how utterly failed this angle has turned out to be. It is terrible.
Those guys haven't won a main-event singles match yet, have they? In fact, though I know they have done so, I haven't seen them beat the faces in a TAG match. Boy, these guys came right in, and made a hell of an impact, didn't they?
Yep....an impact on the "W" in Austin's, Rock's, and Kane's win-loss record.
Kevin Nash was totally under used. Like the guy, or hate the guy, you gotta give him his deserved kudos for his mic work, especially in the defunct WCW. He was an absolute riot in the WCW, and even though his off camera antics crippled his relationship with most other wrestlers and fans, his mic work was never less than excellent.
What made Nash so good was his tongue-in-cheek style. He was so irreverent to everyone, and we have only seen glimmerings of that in the WWF incarnation of the nWo. He comes off as either pissed, immature, or scared, though it does reflect the way he has been played.
Who, in the WWF, is bigger (size wise) than Kevin Nash? Kane, Big Show, Rikishi, Albert. Undertaker is close, but the ex-Diesel has him by 20-25 pounds. Godfather is kinda close, too. Sorry if I miss anyone, but you get my point. And, at times, before he injured his arm, he DID dominate the person against him in the ring. But, holy cow, people, that isn't his strength! He is better on the mic than everyone in the WWF, except maybe Rock, Austin, and Kurt Angle. However, I think that Vince has made a decision that the nWo will NOT upstage his home-grown people.
The nWo, sans Hogan, was slated to go into the Raw sub fed, to oppose Austin. However, are they? NO WAY! Austin has entered into a feud with the Undertaker (though I think their feud, with 'Taker as the face, was more interesting), and the only way that Austin will re-enter into a feud with the nWo will be if Undertaker joins up.....and I doubt that will happen until Austin has his shot at the Undisputed Title. I think that it is interesting that Austin's feud with the nWo died such a hasty death.....right after his pout-fest at home.
And, I will bet you that Austin will face HHH for the Belt, or Undertaker, but not Hogan....just yet. AND, I bet, when the two meet, Austin doesn't do the job.
Austin won't feud with the nWo, because he believes he shouldn't have to put people over that he views as inferior talent (always remember Jeff Jarrett, and the fact that Austin consistently refused to allow him a chance in the main event). From JJ, to Hall, Austin has acted the same. He was slated to do the job to Hall, and have a run-in by the nWo put the beat down on him, thus securing his character's defeat, without casting any sort of aspersions. However, he nixed that idea, went out, worked a quick and let-downish match with Hall, and quickly got the tissue box for his well deserved pity party.
So, with Austin refusing to work well with the nWo, and Hogan's sudden popularity surge, there was a decision made, somewhere in the depths of the WWF planning committee. Push Hogan as a face, and get what publicity push we can from him, and the Rock's movie swing. Put Undertaker in the same fed as the nWo, so we can either hint at him switching over to the New World Order (like all of us were saying on the Web), or let him feud with Austin, because he can't feud with Kane, because he has already done that 265 times.
Sound convoluted? OK...here we go:
Kane won't feud with the Undertaker. Austin won't feud with the nWo. So, Kane and the recently pushed Bradshaw get to start a main-event experiment against the nWo, and Undertaker and Austin can wrangle over the #1 contendership.
Austin won't work with the nWo, because he doesn't want to. By his failure to be self-less, he has doomed the nWo to second-rate status, at least in the short-term, ruining the mystique they had brought into the WWF. They failed to get new workers in the nWo fast enough (by or at the Wrestlemania PPV), so they came off as a couple old guys, so senile and stupid that they went out and got X-PAC to be their Enforcer, and injury prone.
In short, Austin single-handedly incapacitated the nWo, and with Vince's implicit approval. Austin's actions quelled the best, most effective usage of the nWo.
Another project ruined by ego, Vince. Add the nWo to the Invasion, the Alliance, and the Split. Your ego, as well as that of your top star, has paralyzed the WWF....and your money, hope, and indomitable drive won't fix this, unless you start working to push your brand, not kill the others. You pushed your product in the 80's and mid-90's....why did you stop? And, when will you start again?
OK....Solie's is the place for wrestling history and info, and bodyslam.cc is waiting for you to peruse the columns, news, and rumors we provide. Go to both, early and often.
See you next week, with another Connection.
by Earl Oliver
SmackDown was taped on Tuesday at the Tucson Convention Center in Tucson, Arizona and opened with an appearance by Kurt Angle, who complained about Mr. McMahon's decision to name Hulk Hogan as the #1 contender to the World Title. He then revealed that he had requested, and been granted, a non-title match against Triple H tonight, just to show "what would have happened" if he had been given the title shot at BackLash. The crowd proceeded to "What?" him throughout his speech, so he proposed that they stop that and start an "It's True!" chant - their response? "What?" Edge then appeared on the platform and proposed that since Angle has nothing else to do at the PPV - how about a match with Edge? Edge agreed. He went on to propose that the crowd chant "You suck!" instead. The crowd obliged...
Backstage after the break, Angle was fuming in his dressing room when Chris Jericho came in and assured him that Edge would get his during their match later tonight. The two of them agreed to watch each other's backs for the evening.
Tajiri came out for a match with Torrie, who was dressed like a geisha girl and acting all subservient. His opponent was the Hurricane, who, of course, no longer has a valet. These are two excellent high flyers so the match was reminiscent of old WCW action. We could see more of this kind of thing for my money. Tajiri has now slipped over to the heel side and it showed in his tactics in this match. He won it, in a sort of underhanded way, then ordered Torrie into the ring and started berating her in Japanese. This spurred Torrie's old boyfriend, Billy Kidman, to run out and interfere. Backstage, Stacy Keibler went looking for Vince in his office. She was wearing her old "Miss Hancock" outfit. Vince wasn't there so she stretched out on the sofa and made herself at home.
Next up, Albert, wearing a Steve Austin outfit (plain black trunks and boots) took on his former partner, Scotty-Too-Hotty. In typical heel fashion, the big guy attacked his opponent before he could get his ring attire off. Scotty's strategy was to take out his opponent's wheels, and it worked for a while, but eventually he walked right into a Baldo Bomb. After the pin, Albert went on beating on him until Rikishi ran down to rescue his old partner.
Meanwhile, Stacy was still lounging when Vince arrived and told her that there were other candidates for the Executive Assistant position (despite the fact that she was the one who first suggested it), so he was planning to interview each of them in the ring during the evening. He invited her to "apply" (hmmmm...I thought she had already down that...) She promised to make him an offer he couldn't refuse...
After the break, maven was accosted by Billy, Chuck and Rico. Al Snow showed up to back up his protégé. Sharmell Sullivan interviewed Hulk Hogan, who told her that his dream was to have one more reign as the WWF Champ. His interview was interrupted by Chris Jericho who warned Hogan that Triple H would do anything to keep his title, so he better be prepared.
The Jericho/Edge match was next. The two Canadians went at it tooth and nail and then when Edge hit a spear on his opponent, Kurt Angle ran down to intervene, and was promptly speared himself. The match went on with several false endings - a great match, really - and then Angle caught Edge with a strangle hold on the top rope (while the referee was otherwise occupied, of course) and gave Jericho the win. Backstage, after the match, Angle and Edge continued the battle until Jericho arrived and changed the odds. Edge was punked and Angle slammed on the concrete then ankle locked. Hulk Hogan showed up to rescue Edge.
Vince came to the ring after the break for his first "job interview". He had a desk set up in the ring and had three candidates - a rather mousy looking secretary type, who was rejected, a seemingly gay male, who didn't even get to sit down, and an attractive blond. The last one was on the verge of being hired when Stacy showed up and "demonstrated her qualifications" with a Miss Hancock style dance. Guess who got hired...
After the break, D'Von Dudley barged into Vince's office to show off his new personna - a preacher! They struck a deal for McMahon to be his "benefactor". Out in the garage area, Mark Henry duplicated a feat performed many years ago by Ken Patera - he backed himself up against a wall, then held back a limosine under full power for thirty seconds! Test was at the wheel and tried to spoil the big man's demonstration by flooring the accelerator past the thirty second limit. Henry continued to hold the car back. Test claimed that the accelerator got stuck. I smell a match in the wind...
Chuck (w/Rico and Billy) took on Al Snow (w/Maven) with Billy and Rico taking every opportunity to interfere in the match. maven tried to fend them off but was outnumbered. Snow won anyway, apparently as a result of his experience edge. I also smell a tag team match...
Hulk Hogan offered Triple H his help in case Chris Jericho tries to interfere in his match with Kurt Angle. Hunter sent him packing. At one point, Angle got his tights pulled down to reveal his thong underwear. He continued in this condition during a beat down out on the floor! back in the ring, he noticed the problem and pulled them back up. later on, Chris Jericho ran in and hit a Lionsault on HHH while the referee was out cold. When the pin failed, they knocked out the referee again and continued the beat down. Hulk Hogan ran down and chased Jericho off. back in the ring, Triple H got the Pedigree and took the pin. Afterward, he wasn't appreciative of Hogan's interference and told him so. Hogan, who had been on his way out the entryway, reversed course and returned to the ring for a tongue-lashing. HHH told him to stay out of his business - Hogan replied saying that until BackLash, Hunter is his only business. He turned away to leave as Angle hit the ring again and attacked Hunter, knocking him into Hogan. Hunter dispatched Angle then turned around to find Hogan "hulking up", thinking that Hunter had attacked him from behind. Angle and Jericho came back and left both heroes laying in the ring.
Raw came to us live from the Reed Arena in College Station, Texas (Texas A&M University) and opened with Ric Flair calling Steve Austin to the ring and fining him $5000 for his actions on RAW last week. Austin countered by reminding him that he came to the ring uninvited and Austin's contention is that he paid the price for his interference. Austin went on to say he would whip the Undertaker's butt at the PPV this Sunday...which brought the Undertaker out to dispute Austin's assertion. He and Austin jawed for a while, only agreeing that if Flair gets in the way - he will get hurt. Flair then countered that assertion by announcing that he would be the Special Referee for the that match!! At that moment, the remaining (not-suspended) members of the nWo showed up and Scott Hall demanded a rematch with Austin for his shot at UT on Sunday. Austin was all for it, but Flair said, "No". The nWo got ready to rumble...but then Bradshaw ran in and helped Austin clear the ring. They shared a beer moment as everyone else limped away.
Backstage, after the break, Flair was livid and throwing things! He made a handicap match for Austin and Bradshaw against the Undertaker and both members of the nWo.
Bubba Ray Dudley defended his Hardcore Title against Raven in the next match. Jim Ross referred to some Hardcore doings that took place here is Texas over the past week. As a matter of fact the title changed hands 16 times since the last RAW broadcast! William Regal, Spike Dudley, Raven, Goldust, (as chronicled at Solie's Title Histories) All of these changes still resulted in Bubba retaining the title after all was said and done. In this one, Raven took the title, but then was pinned by Tommy Dreamer, who was pinned by Stevie Richards, who was hit with a guitar by Bubba and pinned - so that Bubba still retained the title. That makes 20 times, folks...
Sean Stasiak returned to RAW with a match against the Big Show. Need I mention how this one went..?
Backstage, Eddie G was interviewed and revealed that his biggest beef against Rob Van Dam is that he "stole" the Frog Splash. Meanwhile, Goldust attempted to make nice with Booker T, who was not buying it.
Crash Holly came down to the ring to take on Jacqueline for the second time in two days (he faced her on Heat last night and defeated her with some help from the ropes). Crash got shoved around a little to start the match then immediately tried to use the ropes on her again. But this time the referee broke it up. Then, while Crash argued with the ref, Jacquie set herself up for a missile drop kick, then took him out.
After seeing footage of Willy Regal being pinned in about 5 seconds, we went to a backstage interview wherein Regal vowed to beat the "little bastard within an inch of his life" in a tag match tonight, then to beat him for the title at the PPV on Sunday.
The aforementioned tag match was next: Spike and RVD vs. Regal and Eddie Guerrero. Sort of a double grudge match, so to speak... Regal rushed right in and got his head handed to him for his trouble. But then he tagged in Guerrero, who went in against Spike and wiped the mat with him. Spike took an ugly looking bump on a suplex by Regal then was immediately slammed out on the floor. From there Spike was isolated and worked over thoroughly. Van Dam finally got the tag and cleaned house. he managed several near falls on Regal but was foiled by Guerrero each time. Regal and Van Dam ended up out on the floor while Guerrero took out Spike with a Frog Splash. Van Dam came back in afterward and clobbered Eddie G - but it was too little, too late...
Backstage, Molly Holly interrupted the Coach's interview with Trish Stratus to talk some trash (with Trish). Then they went to the ring for a match to determine the #1 contender to the Womens' Title. Normally, I would say that Molly, the real wrestler, would have the edge here. But Trish has really been showing us something lately - so I figure it could go either way. Molly dominated the fight from the beginning, though Trish hung in there, as could be expected. It was a great match, and in the end, Trish reversed a roll up and won with a handful of tights. So Trish will go after Jazz on Sunday.
Backstage, Bradshaw was interviewed by Terri, who show him footage of Kane getting punked then informed him that he would be facing Scott Hall at the PPV. Bradshaw was unimpressed. In another part of the building, the nWo were doing some gratuitous gay bashing, and directing it at Bradshaw for some reason...disgusting stuff... Coach talked to Lita, who is back for the first time since being injured by Brock Lesnar a few weeks ago. Coach let her know that Lesnar has Matt Hardy at the PPV. At that moment Paul Heyman showed up and made a disgusting suggestion to Lita - this seems to be the night for it...
The Hardys took on Booker T and Goldust in the next match. So that's what that scene earlier was all about... The Hardys' superior teamwork was working well for them until Paul Heyman showed up and connived to get Matt to chase him outside the ring, leaving Jeff to be double teamed and pinned back in the ring. Heyman retreated to the platform, where he started going through Lita's travel bag. Brock Lesnar made his obligatory appearance and kicked butt after getting low-blowed initially. Jeff came back with a chair and chased them off. Again, too little, too late...
Triple H came to the ring and was interviewed by Jim Ross. He gave Hogan his due, but insisted that "What he was going to do..." is kick Hogan's butt. As for Austin and the Undertaker - he says he's ready for either of them.
The main event was real smash-mouth stuff, with Austin and Bradshaw teaming up against the nWo and the Undertaker. Bradshaw used the Clothesline from Hell to take out X-Pac after a brutal fight. But after the match, the bad guys used their superior numbers to punk their Texan opponents.
BackLash here we come... I will be on the Readers' Forum on Sunday to report the PPV minute by minute - don't miss it!
At least that's the way I see it...
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