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.
McDaniel, who lost both of his kidneys about 4½ years ago, died Thursday night at Cy-Fair Medical Clinic in Houston, his oldest daughter said. He had been in failing health in recent years, often undergoing kidney dialysis. McDaniel was on a waiting list to receive a kidney transplant.
He was born in Bernice, La., on June 19, 1938, and was a schoolboy football star at Midland (Texas) High School in the 1950s.
McDaniel moved on to the University of Oklahoma, where he lettered at linebacker from 1957-59. He holds the school record for the longest punt with a 91-yarder against Iowa State in 1958.
"He was a wild, crazy Indian," daughter Nicky Rowe said Friday. "He was bigger than life. He was just amazing."
The 5-foot-11, 280-pound McDaniel was selected by Los Angeles in the second round of the American Football League Draft in 1960. He bounced around the AFL for much of his eight-year career, spending time with the Houston Oilers, Denver Broncos, New York Jets and, finally, the Miami Dolphins.
On April 20, 2002, the World Wrestling Federation returned to Landon Arena in Topeka, KS for the first time in 5 years. Last time they were here it was for a RAW taping, and the fans were out of hand. That's why it took so long for them to return. I'd scored some ringside tickets off the radio and my cousin Aaron and I were off to the show. While we got in for free, a security guard told me that the paid attendance was 5,000. Not bad for a house show.
I have to admit that it was one of the hardest worked shows I've seen in a very long time at a house show. It's the day before a big PPV and they were busting their asses in the ring and working great with the fans.
For the matches:
First, there was a Fatal Fourway Match for The Cruiserweight Title featuring Billy Kidman, Tajiri, Hurricane, and Chavo Guerrero. In the early going, Chavo faced Hurricane. Hurricane dominated and Chavo tagged in Kidman. Kidman asked Hurricane to tag in Tajiri. When he tried, Tajiri jumped off the ring apron and jawed with the fans. From that point on, it was like a Kidman and Hurricane vs. Chavo and Tajiri match. After about ten minutes of fast paced action, Kidman pinned Chavo with his finisher. Afterwards, Tajiri attacked Kidman and Hurricane made the save. A solid opener.
Next match was Albert taking on Hugh Morris. Albert dominated Morris with lots of rest holds and submission moves. Morris rallied and tried for the No Laughing Matter, but Albert broke it up and finished him with a Baldo Bomb to take the duke.
Match number three was a bit of a surprise. An unadvertised match between Dawn Marie and Kim Nielson that was slated as for a contract with the WWF. Nelson is from Dusty Rhodes TCW promotion and Dawn Marie got a lot of positive ECW chants. I must say that Dawn Marie has evolved into a solid competitor. Both women look fabulous, and that's always a bonus. The match only went about five minutes, but both women hit some good moves. The end came when Dawn Marie pinned Kim.
A tag match followed pitting Mark Henry and Randy Orton against Christian and Lance Storm. Lots of heat for Christian and Storm. The Topeka fans loved to hate them. Christian got the mic and ripped on Topekans and non-Canadians. This elicited a USA chant. Henry started the match and dominated both Canadians. Randy Orton looks to be a superstar of the future as he was able to keep up with both Christian and Storm. The ending was screwy. Mark Henry was knocked to the arena floor. Orton had Storm pinned, but Christian hit the ref with his arm. After the ref bump, Christian hit his finisher on Orton and Storm made the pin. After the match, Henry military pressed Christian and threw him onto Storm on the arena floor.
Tazz and Hardcore Holly squared off in a match that was advertised as a Tough Enough match. Tazz looked terrible. It's amazing how small he looks in person. Holly dominated the match, and continually harassed the ref for slow counts. Tazz wound up sneaking The Tazzmission onto Holly for the tap out.
Torrie Wilson and Stacy Keibler squared off in a swimsuit match. Both women were stunning. Stacy used She's Got Legs as her ring music. The ladies wore swimsuits that were symbolic to their status as a heel or face as Stacy wore a black outfit and Torrie wore a white one. The fans were solidly behind Torrie, and I must say so was I. She won easily. Afterwards, Stacy landed one of the slowest heel kicks imaginable. Torrie came back and proceeded to spank Stacy out of the ring. It was great.
We were then treated to D-Von vs. Big Valbowski. D-Von began by insulting the crowd. He called us a bunch of sinners. We all cheered our sinner status. He then talked trash on KU and scored tons of cheap heal heat. Val was impressive. He took a hell of a beating. D-Von worked his back, and Val was great at selling the back pain throughout the match. In the end, D-Von used his feet on the ropes for leverage to pin Val. When Val told Teddy Long what happened, Teddy asked if D-Von wanted to go for 5 more minutes. At first, it seemed he would. Then, he didn't. It was kind of disappointing.
Our final title match of the night had Billy & Chuck defending against Al Snow & Maven. The beginning was out of control. All four men brawled until Snow and Maven had cleared the ring. They then donned the headbands of the champs and did a parody of the ambiguously gay team. It was hilarious. I busted out laughing when Maven told Snow, "You're just so silly." in a very gay manner. A few minutes into the match, Maven was being dominated by the champions and isolated from his corner. He finally made the hot tag to Snow. It was a very back and forth match. The most memorable move was Maven's cross body block from the top rope onto Chuck. As someone else wrote about that move a few days ago, it was very Ricky Steamboatesque. It looked like the titles would change hands, but then Rico hit Maven with a superkick and the champions retained their belts. Snow and Maven stayed in the ring and Snow raised his student's hand. The crowd was hot for the team.
Rikishi and Test was a match of big men. Rikishi dominated, but Test won with a kick to the head. After the match, he got the big Stinkface. Rikishi was way over with the fans.
Main event was Edge vs. Kurt Angle. What can I say? Great match. Angle worked the crowd well. It was a see-saw match. Edge hit some big moves, and Angle hit his rolling German suplexes and Olympic Slam. The fans were solidly against The Olympic Hero at first. Then a pocket of us Angle fans starting a "Let's go Angle" chant which was immediately followed by an "Angle Sucks" chant. It was pretty cool to see both men get some cheers. The end came when Edge hit the spear for the win. He then got on the mic and told Angle that they'd been through a lot together and he respected him. He asked Kurt to get up and let bygones be bygones until the PPV tomorrow. Angle got up and jumped him. Edge responded with a move I hadn't seen before. It was like a half sharpshooter. Angle tapped. Edge left the ring. Angle called him out for another match, and Edge laid him out again. He then grabbed the mic and said that he takes back what he said about respecting Angle. He said that Angle is a moron and reminded him that he'd just lost to Edge 3 times in one night. Angle got up and started talking trash on the ref and fans. He rattled off his accomplishments and Tim White, the ref, told Angle that he was a crybaby who lost tonight. Angle then chased White around ringside and to the back.
My cousin Aaron and I give the show four enthusiastic thumbs up. The fans were into it and the wrestlers gave them one hell of a show. It was nice to see that there were no bad eggs in the crowd this time, and I hope that the WWF realizes that and returns sooner next time.
Matt Benaka is a long time friend of Solie's. Besides writing several historical articles for the newsletter, Matt was also the originator of Solie's Title Histories. Other articles by Matt can be found in the Articles section of the site.
Did you watch the ppv last night?
Oh, my.....now, it was a very good PPV, by all rights, but the marquee matches were the worst....don't you think? I thought Hogan/HHH was a very slow match (had to be, I'm ticked, will move on for now), I thought the Eddy G/RVD match would be a little more exciting and high flying, and I thought the best match of the night was the Kidman/Tajiri match. And my boy, Angle....huh? HUH? Real deal, huh?
OK...you all know I am about to explode from being incensed about the end of the show last night. I whined and complained about it for the last two or three weeks. Well, ol' Vince did it...he gave the Title to Hogan. Aw, crap. Man, if that doesn't take the cake. It was the exact thing I thought Vince should not do, the one thing I really felt he should avoid doing, and he did it.
And, the way he did it was much worse than if he would have simply had Hogan win clean. Now, Undertaker, who won his match (by hook or crook) with Austin is set to face Hogan, after setting up a feud with HHH, who is slated to go back to Smackdown. Problem? Well, since the Undertaker is on RAW, the two can't feud, can they? Great feud set-up, and all, but when can they feud? Jericho runs in, and tries to screw Double-H ( as opposed to Triple-H...huh? Get it? Umm...ok....yeah), and continues this little feud between himself and Hogan, and now, since Hogan has to get ready for Undertaker, he can't spend too much time (read: barely any) battling Jericho. Who is jericho going to feud with? Kane?
Now, here we are, Hogan (can't move, still Hulks up, etc....and Jim Ross sits there and sells the holy crap out of it) is the Undisputed Champ, just 9 weeks after starting in the fed. OK....let's see how many matches THIS guy can work between PPV's.
You know, Brock Lesnar didn't do that bad of a job, did he? Do you think that this guy would be a great addition to the nWo? My brother mentioned that to me during the Crossface Report on Saturday. What do you think about that? And Heyman could play the 'Bischoff' mouthpiece. Think about that for a sec...the nWo, for all their problems, faults, and general malaise (great word, huh?), has done better as an angle and as an organization when they have a mouthpiece in the 'boardroom', than when they have been rudderless. Paul Heyman hates McMahon, Flair, and Ross/Lawler....who would be better? And, all the parties mentioned are all heels! Just a thought.
Oh, and on a related note, what in the heck were the nWo doing on the ramp during the Austin/Undertaker match? What role did they play? Is this a prelude to their asking the Undertaker to play nice with them, and maybe join up? Or, will they use his shot at Hogan to get back at Hogan themselves? That might be an interesting plot twist.
'Taker and Austin....I would bet that they were put out there, and told that they had time to kill. Either that, or one or the other got stung, and had to get themselves together. The middle of that match took way, way too long, and both men, for the first time, looked old to me. The end was pretty lame too, unless they are trying to set up another match between the two for Raw tonight. Man, I would be those two old guys will be sore tomorrow. If you took out the nWo incursion, and about 5 minutes of doldrums in the middle of that match, it would have been better. Oh well, I'm not a TV producer.
Another match that was fell into the 'disappointment' bin was the RVD/Eddy G. match......did it seem to you that there was a lot of ground work in that match? I mean, I know why....Eddy G has only been in the fed for three weeks, or four weeks, so I figured he wasn't too ready to work a marathon. That was another match where you could have cut out five minutes, and been OK with the result.
Kidman and Tajiri put on a real barn-burner, didn't they? That was the best match of the night. Both guys worked a really tight and high-flying match, and it had about a dozen faux finishes, and a great twist at the end (I thought Kidman would get the duke here). Of course, these two can feud for the next five or six years. Great workers, and Kidman is the real deal, as far as I am concerned. Great kid.....did you see how he got the crowd to rally around him at the PPV? That is all about talent, folks.
To end my dissertation, the Edge/Angle match was another great match, wasn't it? These two guys are all main-event material, through and through...the only thing they don't have is the current "look" that WWF champs have...6'5, 265 or so. However, these guys can work, work, work.....and use the mic like a foreign object. These guys are the future of the main-event....get used to seeing them around.
And, you have Jericho. No match, huh? That was kinda stupid, don't you think?
I still don't believe Hogan is champ....Vince, you'll pay for this in about 6 months.
OK....the post-PPV Connection is almost at an end. I want to thank Miss Pamela for the Tapes...I started watching them on Saturday, and they are GREAT! Lots of skin, good lighting, hot action.......
It's the OVW, you sickos! I forget how Jim Cornette's voice carries....you don't forget that voice, do you? I keep seeing tennis rackets in my mind's eye.
OK...Thanks to Solie's for the forum to rant, and, of course, I ask you to come over to bodyslam.cc for all your wrestling needs. OK...the self-promotion paragraph is over.
See you next week, with another Connection.
by Earl Oliver
SmackDown was taped on Tuesday at the Compaq Center in Houston, Texas, and opened with a 6 man tag match pitting Chuck, Billy and Albert against Maven, Rikishi and Al Snow. Rico tried to interfere at one point and got squashed by Rikishi. Other then that, it was typical brutal 6 man - the good guys won.
The Hurricane and Billy Kidman did a little comedy skit backstage, and then Stacy showed up at Hulk Hogan's dressing room door to demand his attendance on the owner of SmackDown! Vince, talked to Hogan about perception verses reality. Mostly he rambled, while Hogan looked confused...and Stacy looked enraptured at being so close to Hogan...
Billy and Hurricane went up against Chavo Guerrero, Jr. and Tajiri (w/Torrie). This is more like it - a good Cruiserweight tag battle with a love triangle for side interest. The bad guys won it - and then Tajiri attacked Kidman after the match and then harassed Torrie in Japanese as the crowd chanted, "What?"
Mark Henry managed to lift a car off the ground despite the fact that Test bet against him. Gosh - do you think those two are headed into a feud or something..?
Hulk Hogan made his way to the ring to great acclaim after the break and made his own speech about reality, vowing to once again become the WWF champ. This brought Chris Jericho out to throw a little tantrum, complaining about the fact that he isn't the #1 contender. He seems a bit confused. First he says that Triple H "stole" his belt - and then he says that Triple H "beat the best in the business - Y2J." Hogan finally told his to shut up and face him in the ring. Jericho headed on down and then cautiously entered the ring. He tried to sucker punch Hogan but the latter beat him to it. Kurt Angle ran down to change the odds, but then Edge showed up and together he and Hogan cleared the ring.
Next up, Test took on Faarooq in a match that resulted from a little dust up they had during the Mark Henry segment earlier when Test refused to honor a bet. Faarooq won the match, with help from the ropes, but Test got the last word with a big boot to the jaw.
Stacy broke into Triple H's dressing room to deliver a message from McMahon, but seemed a bit distracted by HHH's masculinity. She finally blurted out that Vince wanted to see him immediately. Hunter told her he'd come when he felt like it. She huffed out.
Sharmell interviewed Bob Holly backstage regarding his upcoming match with Diamond Dallas Page. He was generally scornful. DDP showed up and chided him for bullying Sharmell. Meanwhile, Stacy and Vince were waiting impatiently for Hunter when he finally showed up. Vince sent Stacy away, then reminded Hunter that if he loses at the PPV, he will become the exclusive property of SmackDown! How is that, exactly? I suppose Vince means that HHH will have to replace Hogan on the SmackDown! roster.
The Holly/DDP match was next and was another brutal encounter - which seems to be part of Holly's style these days. Does anyone else remember when this guys was supposed to be a race car driver called "Sparky Plug"? Holly won it with a devastating drop kick. DDp slipped in a Diamond Cutter after the match.
Next it was Angle and Jericho's turn to run a comedy routine in the hallway. It was based around the phrase, "You Suck!"
D'Von Dudley was next up in his brand new "Spiritual Advisor" personna. He entered to organ music (sounded like a bad imitation of Brahms...) and then proceeded to "testify" about his conversion to the true path according to "the man above". The "man above" of course, is Vince. D'Von described him as a "prophet". Pulleaze... He went on to harangue the crowd about being wicked and needing to be led to the light. Right... Tazz claimed to have been "cleansed" - like he was dipped in Holy water. Mike Cole allowed that he felt like he'd been "dipped in something..." Cut to a Scorpion King promo in which the Rock becomes a parody of himself... Actually, I plan to see the movie tomorrow - because my wife (who is NOT a wrestling fan, but loved the Mummy movies, and is a big fan generally of special effects/adventure films) is hot to see it!
The Jericho/Angle vs. Hogan/Triple H match was the main event. Does anyone else see this turning into a three-on-one situation? Triple H started the match and seemed generally scornful of Hogan from the get-go. For some reason, Angle decided to go over and harass Hogan, so Hunter tagged him in. Angle beat a hasty retreat and tagged in Jericho who foolishly demanded a test of strength. Angle had to rescue his partner and then Hogan continued to dominate the former champ before handing it back over to Hunter. Jericho was almost pinned but was rescued again by Angle. HHH was then isolated for a while. HHH finally suckered Angle into a corner charge then got the tag - Hogan cleaned house until Jericho dragged him out of the ring and smashed his head into the steps. Jericho reentered the ring with a chair and knocked out the referee. With Hogan down on the floor, Angle and Jericho doubled up on HHH. Hogan returned to the ring and grabbed then chair...then accidentally hit HHH with it. Moments later, Edge hit the ring and chased Angle away. Hogan hit the boot to the face and the leg drop...then HHH hit Hogan with the chair. That ended the match...and the program.
BackLash is on the air, live from Kemper Arena in Kansas City, Missouri and the first match was Tajiri challenging Billy Kidman for the Cruiserweight Title. This one starts out as a slugfest but in no time they start to fly. As the heel figure these days, Tajiri is prone to taking shortcuts, using the ropes, etc. He dominated the early going. Kidman took a shot to the head that seemed to slow him down considerably through much of the match. Tajiri pulled of a series of two counts but couldn't quite end the match. Kidman revived enough to attempt a Shooting Star Press, but missed it. That seemed to turn a corner for him, however, as the two of them traded pin attempts. Then Kidman went for a power bomb and got red mist in the face. Tajiri took the pin and the title.
Bradshaw took on Scott Hall in the next match. X-Pac came along for the ride, of course, and actually tried to set himself up inside the ring at the opening of the match. Faarooq showed up, however, to even the odds and X-Pac was sent to the floor. Bradshaw dominated his opponent in the early going - in fact, Hall bailed to the floor, only to be met and returned to the ring by Faarooq. X-Pac still managed to slip in cheap shots whenever possible, which gave the advantage to Hall. For both competitors, this is a simple fight. Bradshaw hit the Clothesline from Hell but X-Pac pulled Hall's foot onto the rope. Faarooq then went after X-Pac - but meanwhile, Hall rolled up Bradshaw and held his tights to take the pin. Is this the first match Hall has actually won in the WWF lately..?
Backstage, Vince McMahon barged into Ric Flair's office and started making nice, comparing the two of them in their experiences as owners of the two WWF "brands". He questioned Flair's intelligence is taking on the referee duties in tonight's Undertaker/Steve Austin match. Flair vowed never to be like McMahon.
Next up, the Womens' Title match between Trish Stratus and Jazz. Trish came to the ring and then Molly Holly showed up. She made a little speech about the WWF fans not wanting an "impure" champion - then she clobbered Trish with the microphone. She took Trish out to the floor and beat on her some more - then Jazz showed up. Trish seemed to recover pretty quick and the match proceeded with her suffering little or no ill effects. In fact, after the initial attack by the champion, Trish turned the tables and dominated the action. Jazz eventually got it back and steadily began to change the momentum. But then she missed a rush to the corner and suffered for it. Trish started to rally again. Jazz managed to grab an STF, after struggling for a while, Trish tapped out. Jazz was asked about her tainted victory but refused to comment.
After some promo video, we cut to the dressing room, where Paul Heyman was giving Brock Lesnar a pep talk. This led to the next match - Lesnar taking on Jeff Hardy - subbing for his brother who is still on the shelf after his run in with Lesnar last week. Hardy attacked Lesnar as soon as he entered the ring - and then was tossed to the floor. he led Lesnar around and back into the ring, catching him with a baseball slide, which slowed him down - but not very much. Lesnar is an excellent technical wrestler (former AAU Champion) - combined with his impressive physical credentials, this makes him a very formidable opponent. Hardy was immediately out of his depth in this one. He finally hit a bog flying splash off the top then followed it up with a jaw breaker and a low blow. A swanton put Lesnar down for a two count. he left the ring and came back with a chair, but never had a chance to use it. Lesnar scooped him up and dropped him on his face, the followed with two power bombs. After a pause, he delivered the move a third time - then the referee stopped the match.
Next up - a commercial!!! Why do we pay $35 for this crap!!!
An extended promo led into the grudge match between Kurt Angle and Edge. This is evidently meant to propel Edge into the top tier of the federation. Interesting when you consider that Edge has been in the WWF much longer than his opponent. Kurt seemed to underestimate his opponent in the early going. Considering how many matches these two have been involved in - this seemed a bit strange. He soon got over his perception problem, however, and things evened out. As the match went on, Angle began to assert his authority, but Edge managed to keep coming back. Angle brought Edge to the match with a reverse headlock and almost put him out - but Edge fought back to his feet, then hit a German suplex. Both guys were down for the count. Angle regained his feet at the count of 6, then it was back on. Edge delivered a sustained attack that turned the tables once more. Angle came back with a suplex off the top, then went for the Ankle lock - but Edge squirmed away from it. Angle delivered a series of three german suplexes, but failed to get the pin. He threw a little fit then walked right into a fall away suplex. Again both were down for the count. Edge recovered first this time and sent Angle tumbling to the floor, then splashed him off the top as he got back to his feet. Again both were down for a moment, then Edge rolled his opponent back inside. A missile drop-kick almost put Angle away - but not quite. Angle came back with an Angle slam, no cigar. Then he grabbed the ankle lock. Edge struggled for the ropes, but Angle dragged him back. Edge countered with a roll up and caught Angle by surprise. Angle left the ring and came back with a chair. But when he swung it over his head, he missed - the chair bounced off the ropes and hit him in the face! Edge went for a spear moments later, but Angle saw it coming and caught him full force with a knee to the face. An Angle slam then told the tale. Edge was defeated. That was a great match!
Chris Jericho - who is not scheduled to be here tonight, came to the ring for a rant. I notice that the commentators have started qualifying their introduction of him as the first Undisputer Heavyweight Champion in the WWF. I wonder if Lou Thesz had a talk with Vince McMahon. Jericho was here to complain that he doesn't even have a match on the card. He claimed that it hurt his feelings, but that it was okay because he is still better then anyone in the crowd - and Hulk Hogan. He predicted that Hogan would not win the title tonight, or ever again. It sounds like he knows something...
Back in his office, Flair was getting ready for his referee assignment when the Undertaker walked in and tried to intimidate him without saying anything. I'm not sure that it didn't work...
Eddie Guerrero made his way to the ring to challenge Rob Van dam for the Intercontinental Title. These guys are a perfect match for each other - fast, strong and very tough. Guerrero went after Van Dam's knee immediately, slowing him down somewhat. But a little later, Van Dam seemed none the worse for wear as he pummeled his opponent with kicks. As the match progressed, RVD just seemed to get stronger and stronger. The Guerrero applied a tilt-a-whirl back breaker and everything switched. Eddie grabbed a surfboard then turned it into a back bending submission hold. Guerrero let go of the hold, but ciontinued to work on the back - applying a head-over rack back breaker for good measure. RVD was definitely reeling. He was almost defenseless as Guerrero walked the ropes then hit a flying head scissors. He went up for the Frog Splash, but RVD sprang to life suddenly and knocked him off the top. Eddie came back with a sunset flip off the top rope, but then caught a step over kick right in the face. He left the ring and grabbed the title belt, but was thwarted by the referee, who was then knocked down. Eddie dropped Van Dam on his face on the belt - then hit the Frog Splash and took the pin - and the title.
Next up - the #1 contender match - the Undertaker vs. Steve Austin. Ut and Austin went nose to nose before the match - talking trash. The opening moments seemed to be a test of strength. Both guys were being very cautious with each other. When they finally did lock up - Austin made a point of out wrestling his opponent with arm drags and arm bars, etc. UT answered back with all out brawling and quickly took the upper hand. Austin came back with a Lou Thesz press to turn the tables - then the fight weent to the floor. The fought around the vicinity of the Spanish announce table then returned to the ring. Only to immediately go back out to the floor, where the Undertaker took control for a while. Austin recovered and sent UT over the railing, where a lady in a wheelchair beat a hasty retreat. Back in the ringside area, Austin went for a piledriver, but UT dumped him in a backdrop. At the top of the ramp, the nWo showed up. The crowd started an "X-Pac Sucks!!" chant as the match continued then slowly sauntered toward the ring. Meanwhile, UT continued to dominate his opponent. He started working on Austin's bad wheels. It was all Undertaker and the nWo were almost to the ring when Austin recovered momentarily. UT went to a neck vice and held his opponent on the mat. Austin broke free and went for a Stunner - but missed it - back to the neck vice. UT started showing some frustration as he choked his opponent - then went over and exposed one of the corner buckles - only to rammed into it himself. Both men collided mid-ring and went down. Flair failed to start a count. Austin abruptly turned the tables and stomped UT in the corner to the chant of "What? What?" Then he his the Stunner - but also took Flair down at the same time. He went for the pin - but Flair was out of it and couldn't respond. UT came back with a chokeslam - but Austin kicked out. UT ducked out and grabbed a chair - only to be disarmed by Flair before he could strike. Austin came back with a spinebuster and got a two count. Austin went for the stunner again but it was blocked by UT. Austin was thrown into Flair who went down yet again. UT got a chokeslam - but Austin kicked out again. UT went for the last ride, but Austin countered with a clothesline and got a two count. UT tried to use the chair again but missed - Austin stomped him in the corner again. Austin grabbed the chair again but Flair wrestled it away from him. UT hit Austin with the chair behind Flair's back then got the pin - despite the fact that Austin had his foot on the bottom rope. Flair left the ring immediately as the Undertaker started talking trash to Austin, who responded with a Stunner.
Backstage, Coach showed Flair the video of him counting Austin out while his foot was on the rope. Flair's response - "Oh sh*t!"
Another damn commercial...
Rico Constantino brought his boys down to defend their Tag Team Titles. Maven and Al Snow were the challengers. Snow pretty much carried the freight for this match. His inexperienced partner kept distracting the referee, to the detriment of Snow. Plus the tag champs had that third man to run interference for them. Eventually , Snow ran off chasing Rico - leaving his partner to be double teamed and pinned.
Now it's time for the hype of the main event. I'll see you in ten... :-)
The challenger made his entrance first and the crowd rose to their feet as one. Hogan went into his shtick as flashbulbs popped. Then Triple H arrived and the crowd went wild. There was no mistake about who got the bigger pop from this audience. Ross and Lawler tried to make them seem equal but there was no real comparison. They went for a test of strength right off the bat and HHH prevailed. They went for it a second time - and HHH shoved Hogan off again. The third time, Hogan made a mighty effort and tossed Helmsley clear across the ring. Now they went for a greco-roman knuckle lock, which HHH dominated - sending Hogan to one knee. Hogan struggled to regain his feet and did - but then HHH threw an elbow then grabbed an overhand wrist lock. Hogan powered out of the move and turned it into a side headlock. Then he threw HHH down again. HHH backed Hogan into the corner - then slapped him! He rushed in and started stomping on him. Hogan was beaten down in the corner. Hogan regained his feet and then used a clothesline to turn the tables. Hogan then trapped HHH in the corner and rained down on him with massive fists. The fight went to the floor, where Hogan continued to dominate. HHH tried for a suplex on the floor, but Hogan blocked it and got in one of his own. He did as much damage to himself, however, and Helmsley recovered first. back in the ring, HHH took control again. Hogan countered with a catapult into the corner then a big fist to the face. He followed up with a modified neckbreaker - almost a Diamond Cutter. HHH replied with a shot to Hogan's left knee. This is an old injury that everyone knows about. HHH started working exclusively on that knee. He grabbed an ankle lock and began wrenching up on it. Then he went for a figure four - but Hogan kicked out before he could lock it in. HHH went to step-over leg lock as the crowd roared it's disapproval. Triple H went for the figure four again and got it this time. behind the referee's back he grabbed the ropes. Hogan started trying to roll it over - but HHH grabbed the ropes to prevent it. Then Hogan did turn it! Helmsley released the hold. Triple H switched to a sleeper and Hogan sank to the canvas - then he fought back up, started to Hulk up - but Helmsley nipped that in the bud with a kick to the knee. Hogan recovered and hit the big boot to the face, then the leg drop - but here comes Chris Jericho with a chair. He hit the referee, then hit Hogan. he went into the ring to try and revive the referee - but HHH saw him and knocked him back to the floor. Hogan started to Hulk up again - and this time he recovered - but then he missed the leg drop. HHH got the Pedigree on him and went for the pin. But the Undertaker ran in and attacked him. Hogan was up again and knocked the Undertaker from the ring - then he dropped the leg on HHH and took the title!!!
After the match, HHH offered his hand in congratulations. Hogan posed in the ring for the fans.
Soapbox Time: I thought this was a pretty good show. I don't usually go head-to-head against my weekly columnist (see the Crossface Connection above) but I think John Cross is all wet on this one. Me thinks his antipathy toward Hulk Hogan is blinding him to what a great match that was - and what a brilliant move it was to give Hogan another run with the title. I rarely agree with Vince McMahon - but in this case I think he has the right idea. This "icon vs. the stars of today" gimmick is really working for Hogan. Now he'll get his shots against the Undertaker and Stone Cold - as he should.
Not lost in all of this is just how much all the "stars of today" owe to the "Immortal One". He opened all the doors...
Raw came to us live from the Savvis Center in St. Louis, Missouri, and opened with a still photo montage showing what happened last night when Hulk Hogan became the six time WWF Heavyweight Champ. Brock Lesnar came to the ring with his "agent" immediately following the introductions. His opponent for this squash...uh...match was Matt Hardy (his original opponent for the PPV last night). Matt was still not heeled from his last run in with Lesnar - so this fight was not pretty. Hardy took it for several minutes, then suckered Lesnar into a shoulder smash...on the corner post. He had a moment or two of offense - then Lesnar caught up with him and beat on him until the referee stopped the proceedings.
Backstage, a couple of stagehands gave Ric Flair the cold shoulder over what happened in his referee stint last night. He turned around and ran into the Undertaker, who thanked him for "doing the right thing", and told him he feels that he "owes Flair one." In fact, UT said that he was going to go out to the ring and thank Flair personally. That didn't sit well with the boss...
Sure enough, after the break, UT made his way to the ring and complimented Flair on his officiating. The crowd "What?"ed him and then changed it to a "Bullsh*t!" chant. UT ignored them and went on to talk about having Hulk Hogan at the next PPV - and then told Hogan "You're welcome" - pointing out that he helped Hogan win. Suddenly Triple H showed up and headed to the ring. UT protested that Helmsley isn't supposed to be on RAW - but that didn't stop him from running to the ring and attacking his rival. HHH drove UT from the ring and then went at it with him out on the floor. He ran UT through the announce table then used a TV monitor to smash him in the face!! A phalanx of officials finally pulled him off. But UT wasn't done, he attacked HHH while the latter was being held. Hunter escaped his captors and went after UT again, who was soon bleeding like a stuck pig. UT struck back and gained some distance with a low blow. But Hunter went after him and the fight continued in the backstage area. UT ended up on his back. begging for mercy. He didn't get any. HHH ran UT into a car, which was apparently his own. He reached into the back seat and pulled out a sledge hammer! He punched UT in the stomach with it and was ready to do a full swing, when security personnel and at least one police officer surrounded him and handcuffed him. HHH got in one more kick to the stomach before being hauled away.
During the break, HHH was driven away in a squad car. Jim Ross let us know that the Scorpion King was the #1 box office attraction this weekend. I saw the movie on Friday afternoon - and thought it was pretty good - I mean, Duane Johnson is no Hulk Hogan...Thank GOD!!! We were whisked to an episode of "Goldust and Booker T At The Movies" - a movie review program of sorts. Each showed footage from the Scorpion King with themselves inserted into the action. Pretty lame...
Backstage, Flair ran into William Regal, who razzed him about his officiating.
Eddie Guerrero joined the announce team for the next match. Mr. Perfect (Eddie G called him Senor Pefecto) vs. Rob Van Dam. This was a throw away match, obviously meant to give them an excuse to get Van Dam and Guerrero together in the same place. At one point, Ross and Lawler got into a little verbal dust-up and Ross used a homophobic slur - so classy, these guys... In the ring, Van dam was dominating his opponent, but the veteran Curt Hennig was holding his own. He almost got a pinfall using the ropes for leverage - but the referee caught him at it. Moments later Van Dam hit the frog splash and won the match - at which point, Guerrero ran in and attacked him - then threw a frog splash of his own...and missed. Van Dam chased Guerrero from the ring. The first of a series of FlashBack features aired, showing Hulk Hogan winning his first WWF Title from the Iron Sheik at Madison Square Garden in 1984.
Trish Stratus and Jacqueline took on Jazz and Molly Holly in the next match. Jazz didn't look too happy with her choice of partners - but then she never looks happy... Ross called this a "Diva's" tag team match. Sorry JR - Jazz is about as far from a "Diva" as most of the men in the federation. Who would find this sourpuss sexy?? Jazz eventually used her title belt to clobber Jacquie, giving the pinfall to her partner. Afterward, the two "bad girls" attacked Trish but she thwarted them.
In his office, Flair was whining about people snubbing him. Arn Anderson clearly indicated by his demeanor that he wasn't too pleased with Flair either. Flair decided to go to the ring and "prove" that he didn't count Austin out on purpose. After the break he appeared in the ring and admitted that he did a lousy job as referee last night. He said that Austin's foot was clearly on the rope and he blew the call. He said he could understand why Steve Austin would be real upset with him. He asked for the footage to be played - which seemed to show Flair looking toward the offending foot just before he made the count. Then he played the footage from the angle looking over his shoulder - and we could see that the Undertaker's body shielded Flair's view of Austin's foot on the rope. Flair offered an apology - which brought Austin to the ring. Austin ignored Flair and went to the corners - but couldn't seem to bring himself to mount the first three corners. He finally did acknowledge the crowd on the fourth try - then he confronted Flair - telling him that he was full of crap. Flair stood there, head down, getting red in the face, as Austin ranted at him. When he got a chance to speak, Flair reiterated that he made an honest mistake. Austin countered that they were in Missouri - the "show me" State, so "show me." Flair came back with a match pitting Austin and Bradshaw vs. the nWo - as if that somehow makes everything right..? What??
Goldust and Booker T went up against the RAW version of the Dudley Boyz (Bubba and Spike) in a pretty fair dustup (pun intended). Of course, the bad guys tried to isolate Spike, and succeeded for a while. Then Bubba tagged in and cleaned house quite smartly. Then Spike came in and yelled at Bubba to, "...get the table!" While they were doing their shtick, however, Booker came back in and clobbered Spike for the win. Then Stevie Richards showed up with his own referee and tried to take the Hardcore Title away from Bubba. But Bubba proved too much for the hapless Richards, who was powerbombed through a table out on the floor.
Well, apparently all those times he ran into the wall (and what not) have finally affected Sean Stasiak's mind. Alleging that he is "from the Planet Stasiak", he came out to face William Regal in a "match" that lasted all of about 8 seconds. Regal belted him with "the power of the punch"...and that was it.
Backstage, Bradshaw was discovered unconscious. Ric Flair said he knew who did it and walked off. He confronted the nWo in their dressing room. of course, they wouldn't admit anything. He told them he would be finding a partner for Austin, since Bradshaw is on his way to the hospital. As soon as he left, Kevin Nash showed up. Flair walked back in unexpectedly and caught Nash. He ordered the big guy top leave the building, threatening to suspend him for life if he didn't. Nash split, then Flair told Hall and X-Pac that Steve Austin's partner would be...the Big Show.
The final "Flashback" moments featuring Hulk Hogan winning the World Title from Yokozuna. His fifth, and most recent win, before last night. Finally the man himself showed up at 10:43. Hogan is still calling himself "Hollywood" - but is sporting the traditional yellow and red - strange... Hogan's reception was thunderous, and kept up as he waited to speak. The first words out of his mouth was an offer of a rematch to Triple H. The Hulkster reminded us that he won his first WWF Title over 18 years ago in January of 1984 (Jim Ross said at least once, by the way, that it was 1983 - I knew that wasn't right). Hogan acknowledged the fans as his inspiration and thanked them for making it all possible. Then he threw out a challenge to the Undertaker and went into his pose routine. I really expected UT to make an appearance - try to spoil Hogan's moment - but no soap.
The main event was the aforementioned tag team extravaganza - Hall and X-Pac vs. Austin and the Big Show. This smells like another squash of the nWo - especially because there was only 2 minutes left before the hour by the time it got started. Amazingly, X-Pac started the match against the big guy - but he thought better of it after the first exchange. he tagged in Hall, who was immediately tossed across the ring. He got up and tried to goad Austin into the ring. Austin obliged, but Hall didn't last long before he tagged X-Pac back in. Austin made mincemetat out of him. hall tried to sneak in and got cought in the corner - Austin stomped a mudhole in both of them simultaneously. Eventually, the nWo isolated Austin for a while in their area of the ring. Their teamwork was superior. Austin surprised Hall with a Thesz press to turn the tables. But X-Pac interefered to swing things back the other way. Hall applied his signature abdominal stretch, with some leverage help from his partner. The referee saw that and kicked them apart - allowing Austin to hip toss Hall. X-Pac tagged in and used a round kick to turn the tables again. Austin grabbed a sleeper - but Hall reversed it and placed himself between his opponent and his partner. Austin escaped with a modified Stunner. Then he tagged in the Big Show...who grabbed Austin by the throat and chokeslammed him. The Big Show has joined the nWo (for the third or fourth time in his career...) - Ho hum.
At least that's the way I see it...
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