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.
MELISSA CONTINUES TO SHINE IN JAPAN
APW's Cheerleader Melissa Anderson continued her successful tour of Japan's ARSION promotion at the Okaichi Civic Gym in Miyazaki this past Wednesday night. Melissa teamed up with Bionic J to defeat the team of Mariko Yoshida & Reina Takase in 13:10
APW continues to follow the progress of Melissa, and will keep you updated every week right here in the APW Internet Newsletter.
If you weren't able to attend last weekends huge APW show "DECEPTION", which took place at the Napa Fairgrounds in Calistoga, Ca. you can still check out pictures of the event by visiting www.allprowrestling.com and following the link on the front page. APW photographers did an excellent job of capturing the feel of being live at the event with their awesome snapshots. Be sure to check them out, and leave a message letting us know what you thought of APW's "DECEPTION".
Head on over to www.allprowrestling.com and click on the "superstars" section to check out the new-look superstar profiles. Here you will find profiles for all of APW's top wrestlers such as American Dragon, Robert Thompson, Nikki, Kafu, Super Dragon and more! The profiles are up-to-date and include all of the stats you need on your favorite All Pro Wrestling superstars.
The biggest event in independent wrestling is still a few months away, but it is never too early to begin making plans for the 2002 King Of Indies! None of the 16 participants have been named for the tournament, nor has a location been announced, however talk is just starting to heat up on the APW message boards. People are already making their "wish lists" about what wrestlers they would like to see compete in this years tournament. Just visit the www.allprowrestling.com message boards and let us know what independent superstars you would like to see compete in the 2002 edition of the greatest tournament in wrestling today, the KING OF INDIES!
Yeah, yeah, yeah, the mixed tag on Raw was absolutely the WORST match I have ever seen. And....that goes for you, too.
But, we've sat here and discussed the fact that Vince McMahon is a desperate man. I think that is why he pushed Hulk Hogan to the Title on what I think was an impulsive reaction to the Canadian fans dislike of the Rock.
But......there are signs that things are coming around.
The young guys (Bautista, Orton, Lesnar) are getting their pushes.....finally. The ratings drop has slowed....not that is entriely over, but the precipitous decline has firmed considerably. We are settling around that 3.0 that designates the core of wrestling fans, and the storylines are getting jumbled around some, with 'Taker going to the good side, Rock returning, and Tommy Dreamer coming a little bit out of his shell.
The Team Canada rehash is being done OK, but I will parrot my columnist Sandy Dunn from bodyslam.cc.....these "anti-American Canadians" angles leave a bad taste in my mouth. Sure, they are a play on the very successful Soviet and Iranian-derived angles from the 70's, 80's, and early 90's, but.......Canada? Our closest ally? Is this in good taste...especially right now?
Well, it is getting heat....so, I guess Vince thinks it is a good idea. The world of fantasy is one indeed.....
Now....having to do with that.....the Vengeance commercial. This is genius, and in no way proof that the Austin situation is all a work.
Follow me on this.
I saw this promo with Austin's ugly mug all over it, and my brother immediately called me, and blasted me with cat-calls and jeers about how I was all wet about Austin, how he wasn't gone from the roster, and how they were still hawking his merchandise over at WWE.com. OK....fine. Go ahead, Mike.....give me the beatdown. However, your reaction is exactly what the WWE needs.
I have heard all over the 'Net that the Vengeance promo wasn't changed because of cost, and that those things are all made in advance, so the mistake is very understandable. I heard also that Austin will come back, and the 'experts' on the Web trumpet this promo as the truth. Well, if you want my opinion...and you'll get it either way....is that Austin is gone, toast, done, and otherwise involuntarily retired. He isn't coming back....you know that, I know that.
BUT....and that is the beauty of it.
If you sit out there and think that Vincent K. McMahon didn't know that promo was running, you need your sugar checked. I bet Vince KNEW about the piece, KNEW it was running, KNEW what reactions it was engendering, and KNEW that he would keep it out there. It is beautiful marking for his industry. Very intelligent.
The question of Austin's return is a very poignant one for every wrestling fan. He was a big fan favorite, a star in and by every definition, and he had huge heat. His stupidity was all over the networks, and, now, even the Enquirer is running a story about him and his wife. I guess that means you are famous, huh? So......he is in the public eye....
Therefore, Vince throws this huge feint that leads many, many people to believe that Austin MIGHT return at the PPV, and wreak his revenge. Revenge for the legit release that he was given....and that would be a HUGE draw for the WWE.
This mixing of the legit and worked Austin situation would be a serious boom for their viewership, and would bring people in from the outside of the core wrestling fan subset. So....even if it isn't going to happen....promote it like it will. No matter the ethical questions about it....it is an effective way to muddy the waters.
That is the thing that VKM can do best....muddy the waters.
Ah, now I have to become one with my computer......and do work. So, I'll leave you with the reminder to come to Solie's early and often for your wrestling links and info, and to bodyslam.cc for the news, rumors, results, and columns.
At least that's clear.
See you next week, with another Connection.
by Earl Oliver
Before I get started with the TV reports, I just wanted to make a little editorial comment. I mentioned in the last issue about how the fans are still "What?"ing Kurt Angle - using that maddening catch phrase of the Rattlesnake, despite his having absconded from the ranks of WWE. As John Cross mentioned above, Austin was (and is) a huge fan favorite, and so it isn't all that surprising that people would still use his catch phrases - especially when they are so appropriate - as when Kurt Angle starts spouting his heel schtick.
There is one thing that I find to disagree with John, and a lot of other commentators on the net, concerning Austin's actions in leaving the promotion and and also his apparent problems with his wife. There has been a lot of condemnation of Austin, which I can understand, but which I have a hard time agreeing with because, as I have stated on several occasions, I believe there is a lot more to this story then is apparent on the surface.
Vince McMahon has gone out of his way to discredit Austin - which is typical behaviour for McMahon (remember the public PR campaigns he has waged in the past to discredit others who left the fold, such as Hulk Hogan and Bret Hart, to name just two).
There was a story reported in the mainstream media not too long ago from a source close to the Austins (Melanie Pillman, actually, the widow of Brian, and a long time family friend of Steve Austin) saying that Steve was under a lot of pressure from the promotion and his wife because he really wanted to retire from the ring and raise a family. Debra was said to have threatened to leave him if he retired, because she craves the notariety of being the wife of a big time wrestling star, and further, she flatly refused to consider having children, for fear of ruining her figure.
Now we only have Melanie's word on this, and I would not use this story to try and justify Austin's alledged violence toward his wife, but I think that if such is true, it would go a long way towards explaining what happened, both in his relationship with Debra, and the company. Further, if the story is true, and if the WWE had anything to do with encouraging these attitudes on the part of Debra, then I would say that Austin certainly would have reasons to be upset with the promotion. I guess all I am saying is that nobody really knows what is going on in Steve Austin's head, and he isn't talking about it. Maybe we should all take a step back and let the facts become a little more clear before we jump onto McMahon's bandwagon.
SmackDown! was taped on Tuesday at the Atlantic City Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City, New Jersey and opened with a review of the current WWE Title situation vis-a-vis the controversial ending of the title match between the Undertaker and Kurt Angle. The result of that controversy is a Triple Threat Title match at the next PPV - with the Rock as the third contender.
To start the action, Hulk Hogan and Edge defended their newly won Tag Team Titles against the challenge of the former champs, Upchuck and Billy. This was a good fight - but despite the former champs superior team work, and help from their "designer", we all knew that Hogan and Edge weren't going to be taken out in the very first defense...
Out back of the building, the Undertaker was waiting for the Rock to show up. John Cena came out to thank UT for allowing him to be his partner in a tag team match later tonight. UT sent him packing, basically saying, "Don't bother me, son, I busy right now..."
After the break, we got to watch part of a photo shoot with Torrie Wilson, being interrupted by Womens' Champ Molly Holly, who challenged her to face off for the title tonight. Meanwhile, out back again, UT was still waiting for the Rock. Several officials, including Steve Lombardi (the Brooklyn Brawler), were trying to pursued UT to move back into the arena when a limo pulled up. Instead of the Rock, Kurt Angle and Chris Jericho stepped out. In no time, a verbal battle escalated into a physical one.
After the break, UT barged into the face locker room to confront his erstwhile partner about why he was nowhere in evidence when the Dead Man was being double teamed out in the parking lot. Never mind that UT had sent the youngster away...
Next up, Molly Holly defending her title against Torrie Wilson. This was an interesting match because Torrie is really quite an athlete, being a professional bodybuilder and all, and greatly outweighs her opponent - but unfortunately couldn't wrestle her way out of a paper bag. In the end, although Torrie gave her a pretty good run, Molly was too much wrestler for the challenger.
Randy Orton teamed with Mark Henry to take on D-Von and Batista. This is the first time we've seen anyone match up to Batista physically, but even the world's strongest man was unable to stand against him. Batista took him out with a huge spine buster.
Backstage, the Rock strolled in and eavesdropped on a conversation between Hogan and Edge, wherein Hogan reminisced about his match with Mavia at WrestleMania. They agreed to go gambling together after the show, but first the Rock needed to go to the ring and lay some smack down...on SmackDown!
After the break, the Rock made his way to the ring amidst a tumultuous welcome from the fans. He did his thing for a moment and then invited a celebrity from the audience to join him in the ring. Rapper Busta Rhymes agreed to sing a song with the Rock. He started to rap something rather racy, but Mavia stopped him and proposed they sing "Under the Boardwalk", with some special Rock lyrics. Rock congratulated Buster on his movie coming out (Halloween Resurrection) this week, and sent him packing, then burst into his rant on the Undertaker. As he was finishing up, Kurt Angle's music blared forth and our Olympic Hero made his way to the ring to confront the People's Champion. Even McMahon's thorough discrediting of Steve Austin couldn't keep the crowd from "What!" -ing Angle throughout his rant. Mavia heard him out then gave him a hard time about being bald, calling him "Dr. Evil". Angle came back with a claim that SmackDown! is now his program. Mavia ribbed him some more, so then Angle challenged him to a match next week, and vowed to make him tap out. The Rock agreed to the match, then came back with a challenge for tonight. Angle tried to beg off, so Mavia attacked and put the ankle lock on him! Angle was tapping when the Undertaker rushed in and attacked both of them, leaving them laying in the ring.
The Canadian Whiners came to the ring for a match pitting Test against Rikishi. Christian and Lance Storm joined the announcers for this one. Of course the non-combatants couldn't stay out of it and caused a DQ. They were starting the punk job on Rikishi when the Tag Team Champs ran in and saved his considerable butt.
Vince was putting the move on Stacy when Chris Jericho barged in and suggested that Vince book a Tag Team Title defense for Hogan and Edge vs. Storm and Christian. Vince said he would book it for the PPV - but it would be necessary for Jericho to step out of his match with Edge that night. Vince promised to "take care" of Jericho in return for his sacrifice.
At a local all-you-can-eat restaurant, Jamie Noble, Nidia and Tajiri did an unfunny comedy routine for the cameras (yawn).
In the next match, Noble and Tajiri took on Billy Kidman and the Hurricane. This was one of those classic cruiserweight battles that WCW does so well...uh...I mean... Despite Nidia's concerted efforts to interfere, Kidman took Noble out for the pinfall with a top rope spine buster.
In his second monologue of the evening, the Rock grabbed the mic from newby announcer Mark Loyd (after mistaking im for Coach) and told the Undertaker to be at his best at Vengeance, because the Rock is coming for the title.
According to the next promo video, Rey Misterio (mask and all...) is set to arrive on SmackDown! in two weeks.
The Undertaker and his rookie partner, John Cena, took on Kurt Angle and Chris Jericho in a fairly short match, which ended when Cena rolled Jericho up and pinned him! The youngster was immediately set upon, but the Dead man came to his partner's rescue (admittedly a little late...) He kicked Jericho from the ring then reversed a move by Angle into a Dragon Sleeper and forced him to tap. Then the Rock ran in and attacked Taker, eventually hitting a Rock Bottom. Angle came back and attacked the Rock, but the Great One regrouped and hit the Rock Bottom on him as well. The Rock stood tall in the ring as the program ended.
Raw came to us live from the Continental Airlines Arena in East Rutherford, New Jersey and opened with a backstage meeting between the Undertaker and Paul Heyman. They discussed a tag team match booked for tonight, teaming Undertaker and Brock Lesnar to take on Ric Flair and Rob Van Dam. The conversation broke down a bit when Heyman brought up the coming title match between UT and Lesnar.
Vince McMahon came to the ring and announced that the nWo era is over! He went through the different eras of the WWF - the Buddy Rogers era, the Bruno Sammartino era, the Pedro Morales era - all the way down to the Steve Austin era. He then announced that he has hired two new General Managers for the RAW and SmackDown!, and that the new GM for RAW will be announced before the first hour ends tonight. But he didn't announce the name... Backstage, the wrestlers were shown speculating about what is going on.
Backstage, after the break, Ric Flair was asked to speculate on who the new GM might be. He wouldn't even hazard a guess.
Meanwhile, Jeff Hardy came to the ring for a 6 man tag elimination match with partners the Dudleys against William Regal, Chris Benoit and Eddie Guerrero. This sorted out to Spike in the ring against Guerrero while the other four brawled on the outside. Spike was eliminated almost immediately. Bubba then proceeded to take on everyone, and handled them all...well...handily. Hardy then came in and almost immediately gave away the advantage. As we went to a break (in the middle of the match - this seems to be happening more and more lately) - the face team was down to Jeff Hardy against Guerrero and Benoit. When we returned, Hardy was being double teamed, handicap style. Hardy managed to roll Guerrero up and pin him, but then Eddie refused to leave the ring until Hardy managed to kick him out. Guerrero hung around the ring area, continuing to assert himself physically in the match. Then distracted the referee so that Regal could run back in and nail Hardy with his brass knucks. Benoit slapped a Crippler Crossface on the practically unconscious Jeff Hardy and won the match. Guerrero and Benoit were setting up a table to do more damage when the Dudleys ran out to save their partner.
Backstage, Coach was speculating on who the new GM will be. Paul Heyman walked up and hinted that it might be him. As McMahon and Heyman were talking an intern ran in and announced that the new GM had arrived. She was told to bring him to Vince. We still didn't know who they were talking about.
After the break they tried to convince us that Shane McMahon was the new GM. But we knew right away that wasn't the case because the first words out of Vince's mouth were, "What the hell are you doing here?" Shane told his father that he had come down to make sure that Vince didn't make a big mistake. Shane declared that he knows who the new GM will be, and called the guy a parasite. Vince replied that there was nothing Shane could do about it...whatever it is...
In the locker room, Rob Van Dam and Tommy Dreamer discussed the GM situation, and agreed that they were glad that it wasn't going to be Heyman. After RVD left, Stevie Richards walked up to Dreamer and challenged him to a Singapore Cane match - then attacked him with a cane!
That match happened right after the break, and as expected, a bloodied Innovator of Violence, took the duke.
In a backstage interview with Coach, Booker T said that despite the "death of the nWO", he still has issues with the Big Show and Shawn Michaels. Booker then challenged Coach to execute a "Coacharooni". Coach's effort was laughable. Suddenly, Eric Bischoff walked up!! he told Booker it was great to see him again and then walked away. Booker and Coach were dumbfounded...
Sure enough, after the next break, Vince went to the ring and introduced Bischoff as the new General Manager of RAW! Bischoff took the mic and ran down his history with WCW, mentioning that he was the only man who ever went head to head against McMahon and won for 84 straight weeks. He declared that he was surprised when Vince called him, but then realized that he is the only man who can turn RAW around. He, quite accurately, took credit for changing the face of wrestling on TV forever. Before he finished his rant, he declared that he would make his first priority the signing of Triple H for the RAW brand. So how long will this last before this guy stabs McMahon in the back..?
Back in the locker room, some folks, like Ric Flair and Fit Finley, looked unhappy, while others, particularly the Big Show, looked like the cat who just swallowed the cream.
After the break, UT was in conversation with Bradshaw when Bischoff walked up and told him that if needed anything, just call him.
Molly Holly defended her Womens' Title against former Champ Trish Stratus. After a slow start, Molly pursued an attack on Trish's back which resulted in her retaining her title handily.
Bischoff encountered Ric Flair backstage and said that despite their hostile history, he wanted to get a fresh start with the Nature Boy. Flair just brushed past saying he has a big match coming up.
Booker T and Big Show went at it one-on-one battle. Before it was over, a chair was brought into the ring and the giant was disqualified for using it repeatedly - but that didn't faze him as he chokeslammed Booker through the announce table. This would appear to be the start of a new push for the big guy.
After the break, the announcers took a moment to mourn the passing last week of WWE concessions manager, Jimmy Miranda.
Chris Nowinski challeneged Bradshaw for the Hardcore Title, sort of. Actually, he offered to take a dive, then laid down to be pinned. He then tried to roll up the Champ but failed and was punked. The fight went to the backstage area, where Johnny the BUll ran in and pulled off a surprise pin the win the title.
Backstage after the break, the Big Show congratulated Bischoff on his new position and the asked him to make a no-DQ match at Vengeance for him against Booker. Bischoff demurred initially, then changed his mind and made the match.
Another break, and then Stamboli was talking to Bischoff in his office when Bradshaw ran in and took him out, to regain the title. In another part of the building, The Undertaker and Brock Lesnar met in a somewhat hostile atmoshere, then headed to the ring for their tag team Main Event match.
In that match, the Undertaker and Lesnar parlayed an uneasy alliance into a win over Ric Flair and Rob Van Dam - then Lesnar laid UT out with an F-5.
Backstage, Eric Bishoff called the Rock and left a message saying he was going to show up on SmackDown! and try to sign Maivia to a RAW contract...oh my...
At least that's the way I see it...
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