Dedicated to Gordon Solie
January 29, 1929 - July 27, 2000
Dave Meltzer reported on his web site that The Sheik (Ed Farhat) passed away at about 3:15 a.m. Central time on Saturday in a Michigan hospital. Farhat was 78 years old and had been in declining health since suffering a major heart attack several years ago.
Some of my fondest wrestling memories involve the Sheik. As a child in Los Angeles, I saw him many times, both in person and on TV, battling the likes of Fred Blasse, John Tolos, Dick the Bruiser, Johnny Valentine and Dory Funk. You could always be certain of seeing one thing in a Sheik match, blood! Buckets of it! As Denny Burkholder so aptly put it in his September 2000, Wrestleline.com articles, "Teeth. Forks. Fingernails. Barbed wire. One way or another, the Sheik made everyone juice." This was especially true when he stepped into the ring with Blasse, who was sometimes called "The Vampire of the Ring" because of his propensity to bite opponents on the forehead! Farhat was the model for every middle Eastern wrestling character that came after him. He even wrestled some of them - his 1970's Detroit area brawls with Abdullah the Butcher were the stuff of legends.
In the mid-1960s, the Sheik began working with manager Ernie Roth, who would later become known as the Grand Wizard in the late-1970s WWWF). The two were a perfct compliment to each other, as Roth’s verbal skills helped put over the Sheik while he stayed speechlessly in character. Roth, as Abdullah Farouk, wore a fez on his head and sunglasses. Sheik was later managed for a time by Eddie "The Brain" Creatchman, a despised manager with a raspy voice and shifty demeanor.
In the late 1970s, a B-movie was made documenting the Sheik’s reign of tyranny called I Like to Hurt People. It focused on the "Stop the Sheik" grass roots movement of protestors angry about the level of violence the Sheik wrought on his opponents. It featured appearances, match footage and interviews with Rhodes, the Funk brothers, Abdullah, Andre the Giant, Dick the Bruiser, and both Eddie Creatchman and Abdullah Farouk. I remember being contacted in 1998 by someone claiming to represent the group and offering an interview. It turned out to be a scam - the owner of the rights to the movie was trying to drum up publicity for a re-release.
Incredibly, the Sheik remained active until just a few years ago - well into his 70's he was still kicking butt!!
If you would like to send cards to Joyce Farhat, send them to: Big Time Wrestling - P.O. Box 123, Williamston, MI. 48895.
SmackDown! came to us on tape from the Tucson Convention Center in Tucson , Arizona and opened with a video recap of what we know so far about the Mr. and Mrs. Al Wilson scenerio. Then they showed an "R.I.P." snipe - Al Wilson is dead...then they switched to Dawn in her widow's weeds telling us that she was going to conduct a public viewing of the body...great...gosh what a fantastic feature for a wrestling show...by the way, have you seen the actor who plays Al in those battery ads on TV? He plays the old coot who beats his grandson at video games because the boy's batteries go dead.
The first match was a Tag Team Title contest - Vanilla Spice and his big goofy friend taking on the Guerreros. It was easy to see from the get-go, which is the superior team. Chavo and Eddie pretty much anticipated everything the challengers attempted to pull off. Cena and B2 gained some ground toward the middle of the match when Cena pulled down the top rope, causing Eddie to tumble to the floor. Cena got in a big suplex on the floor, which precipitated some punishment back in the ring. But as soon as Chavo got the tag, everything atarted to turn around. In the end Chavo hit a Frog Splash on B2 and pinned him. After the loss, Cena blamed B2 who got a little hot and popped him one. Immediately a stranger came out of the crowd and attacked Buchanan. He and Cena punked the big guy.
Stephanie came to the ring and announced that the Undertaker will be back foir the Rumble this weekend. She alsoi announced a tag team match for Brock Lesnar and a mystery partner against the Big Show and A-Train.
Bill DeMott stepped up to the challenge of Rikishi and put on a pretty impressive show of mat wrestling acumen, effectively grounding the big Samoan and doing some damage to his left arm. The critical moment came when DeMott ruched his opponent in the corner and was back-elbowed to the mat. Rikishi climbed up to drop the bomb - but DeMott grabbed him off the ropes and powerbombed him - then held the tights to take the pin.
A backstage interview of Billy Kidman by Funaki degenerated into a brawl when Matt Hardy and his stooge showed up and atsrted a fight.
Jamie Noble and Nidia accompanied Nuncio (aka Little Guido) to the ring for a match against Tajiri. Like his "cousin", Nuncio is an excellent mat wrestler and used that skill to keep Tajiri tied up through much of the match. But once Tajiri got his feet moving, things began to go the other way. Three seconds worth of Tarantula put Nuncio in a bad way. Noble jumped on the apron and was kicked to the floor. Then Nidia tried her luck and got a face full of green mist. The distraction did it's job, however. Tajiri turned around and walked right into an Arivederci move and was pinned.
What followed was clips from the Anniversary program. Interesting that Steve Austin was the Wrestler of the Decade - and the star of the Best RAW Moment. Afterward, in a backstage interview, John Cena introduced his new sidekick as "Red Dogg".
Dawn showed us the body. Stupid, stupid, stupid...
Backstage, Brock Lesnar told Stephanie he didn't need a tag partner - but she insisted, saying that she needs to protect her investment in him - in her words, the "biggest thing that evcer happened on SmackDown".
That match was next. The Big Show and A-Train vs. Brock Lesnar and...Rey Misterio!!! Almost immediately A-Train fell victim to the F5. The Big Show grabbed Lesnar for a chokeslam, but Lesnar broke away. Meanwhile, Rey Rey hit the 619 on A-Train - and then since they were the legal men - Misterio took the pin.
Back at the viewing, Torrie showed up.
Matt Hardy met Funaki in match brought on by the dust up backstage earlier. Matt won...duh...
The wake again...Torrie was crying at her father's casket. Dawn Marie called it "an act" and then accused Torrie of causing her father's death via a broken heart. Cat fight ensues...Dawn hit Torrie with a lamp. Torrie was knocked out and went down in a most unconvincing fashion.
Next, in a main event handicap tag team match, Kurt Angle and his gang took on Edge and Chris Benoit. The introductions were completed before we went to commercial. When we returned, the match was underway and Benoit was taking Charlie Haas apart. Moments later, Benoit was distracted by Shelton Benjamin, and Angle slipped into the ring and delivered a low blow. benoit was on the receiving end for a while, but then Edge tagged in and turned things around again. From their things were much more in see-saw mode until Edge was pulled out and clotheslined on the floor by Angle. Edge was isolated for several minutes, but they just couldn't put him away. Benoit ended up rescuing his partner illegally a few times as all three of their opponents took their turns. In the end, Benoit snapped and attacked Angle with a Crippler Crossface. Since he wasn't the legal man, his team was disqualified.
The Royal Rumble is on the air live from the FleetCenter in Boston, Massachusetts and started right off with the Big Show and Paul Heyman coming to the ring to face Brock Lesnar for a chance to compete in the Royal Rumble. Lesnar was then introduced and paced the platform like a big cat before stalking to the ring. As could be expected, the Big Show used the opening exchanges to exhibit his superior power. Lesnar countered this impression early on by delivering two belly-to-belly suplexes in a row! Moments later, Lesnar was tossed like a sack of potatoes to the floor. The giant followed him out and roughed him up some before shoving him back inside. The Big Show continued his assault with some pummeling in the corner. Lesnar broke away but then was grabbed from the outside by Heyman, distracting the "Next Big Thing" so that the giant could get a boot into his face. Big Show went for a chokeslam as Lesnar rose to his feet, but Lesnar countered it, then, moments later delivered another big suplex. Heyman entered the ring and was about to get F5'd when the giant finally got his chokeslam in. Lesnar struggled to his feet as Show went for it again. But Lesnar shrugged it off then delivered an F5 and took the pin.
Terri interviewed the Millennium Bug backstage. Jericho expects to win the Rumble...
Next up, the Tag Team Titles (RAW version) were on the line as the Dudley's challenged the Willy Regal and Lance Storm. As usual of late, the champs were searched before being allowed to enter the ring. About three minutes into the match, Bubba surprised us all by by putting an Indian Deathlock variation on Storm. What was he thinking of..? At the critical moment, Chief Morely showed up ringside, providing the distraction for Regal to pull some brass knuckles from somewhere. Unfortunately for the heels, he was immediatedly caught in a 3D - and then D-Von got the weapon and used it on Storm. D-Von took the pin and the Dudleys took the title.
The Dawn Marie vs. Torrie Wilson (Stepmother vs. Stepdaughter) match was next. Thank GOD! Maybe this will end this unfortunate storyline (but probably not). Dawn came to the ring in black - wearing a veil. Ahhhhhhhhh!!!! It was a pretty nothing fight. Torrie won...
Stephanie encountered Eric Bischoff backstage and said "goodbye" to him, assuming that Bischoff would be out of the picture in 30 days. Eric told her that he has a "bombshell" announcement coming up- and she countered that she would have one of her own.
After an interminable promo, it was time for the HHH (w/Ric Flair) vs. Scott Steiner World Heavyweight Title contest. Senior referee, earl hebner, officiated this match. Almost immediately, Steiner was pounding HHH to a pulp in the corner. Next he took the champion out to the floor and roughed him up. Back inside, he went for the first pinfall attempt of the match without success. He went for a poorly applied Boston Crab, but HHH struggled to the ropes to escape. A little later Steiner went for his Steiner Recliner submission hold - but Flair dragged his charge out to the floor and saved his butt. Shortly thereafter, HHH finally turned the tables for the first time in the match and immediately took his opponent out to the floor to batter his body against various steel ring accessories. As the match continued back in the ring, Flair became more and more physically involved, strangling Steiner with his coat at every opportunity. Steiner came back with a suplex but HHH hit a modified Diamond Cutter to regain the advantage. Steiner came back quickly this time and held onto the advantage for the next several minutes. During that period there were several attempted pins, but Steiner didn't seem to be trying very hard. Flair finally decided his man had had enough and tried to pull him away from the ring area. Steiner followed them and things got chaotic. By the time Steiner had dragged him back to the ring, HHH was bleeding from the forehead. Steiner hit another suplex and HHH left the ring again, climbing the safety rail in an attempt to get away through the crowd. Steiner followed and dragged him back again. As Steiner flailed away at the cut forehead, Flair started demanding that the match be stopped. Moments later HHH deliberately tossed the referee from the ring. Hebner came back in and was about to end the match, but changed his mind and ordered the contest to continue. HHH then slipped out and found a sledge hammer under the ring. He brought it in and used it. Hebner disqualified him, then grabbed the weapon before he could use it again. Steiner recovered and grabbed the hammer, used it to eject the Nature Boy, then threw it down and put the Steiner Recliner on HHH. Several referees came in to pull them apart, but were unsuccessful. Eric Bischoff ran down and pleaded with Steiner to release the Champion. He did. I see a WrestleMania rematch...
Kurt Angle defended the WWE Heavyweight Title against Chris Benoit in the next match. His companions, Team Angle were banned from ringsdie before the match got underway. Benoit dominated the opening moments, but Angle soon took over and controlled much of the match. It was a see-saw battle from start to finish with numerous false endings. Benoit finally got Angle into a Crippler Crossface and it looked like the end, but Angle reversed it into an ankle lock and managed to reapply it each time as Benoit escaped the hold several times. Benoit finally tapped out.
After a promo for WWE Rebellion, we returned to find Benoit standing in the ring receiving an ovation from the crowd.
Backstage, Rob Van Dam was stretching when his sometime tag team partner Kane arrived to tell him that they are friends and partners, but all that means nothing during the Rumble. RVD agreed.
The Royal Rumble itself was next, with Shawn Michaels and Chris Jericho starting the fight. Christian came out to Jericho's music and distracted HBK so that Jericho could sneak in from the crowd and deliver a low blow. He pummeled Michaels a few times then went out and grabbed a chair. He clobbered HBK, breaking open his forehead. The next combatant was Chris Nowinski, who delayed his entry into the ring to let Jericho continue his assault on Michaels. Jericho dumped Michaels out over the top, thus ending his rival's participation. Nowinski still hadn't entered the ring when Rey Misterio came in as the fourth entrant and a went right to work on Jericho. Nowinski continued to lurk around ringside. Misterio was almost thrown out, but recovered. Nowinski then entered the ring just before the fifth entrant, Edge, arrived. Jericho was knocked to the floor, but not over the top. Misterio and Edge almost eliminated each other, but neither actually hit the floor. Christian was next in and immediately tried to make up with his brother. No dice. Chavo Guerrero came in as #7 and took on Misterio while Edge continued to fight with Christian. Nowinski tried to toss Misterio out but was levered out himself. Moments later, Misterio was tossed by Jericho, who suddenly re-entered the ring. Tajiri came in next (#8) and took on both Jericho and Christian. Bill DeMott came in as #9 for his first Royal Rumble match and attacked everyone in sight. He almost eliminated Jericho, but the latter managed to save himself. Tommy Dreamer came in as #10, with a load of plunder including a trash can and a kendo stick. Together he and Edge forced DeMott out of the ring and eliminated him. Jericho and Christian then eliminated Dreamer. Tajiri went for a Tarantula on Jericho and ended up being eliminated. Bull Buchanan was next at #11, and was eliminated almost immediately by Edge, who also took Chavo out. Moments later Jericho eliminated both Edge and Christian as they struggled for position on the ropes. Rob Van Dam was #12 and faced Jericho alone in the ring. Jericho was sucking wind by now and was subjected to a beating by RVD. he was tossed over the top, but saved himself again. Matt Hardy (who strongly dislikes mustard) came in as #13 and went right to work on RVD, in a double team with Jericho. Van Dam came back with a Frog Splash on Jericho just before Eddie Guerrero came in as #14. Van dam almost eliminated Guerrero but Hardy rescued him. Then Jeff hardy arrived (#15). Matt wanted to team up - but Jeff vetoed that idea with an attack. Matt was almost eliminated, but Shannon Moore (who was not in the match) saved him. Moments later, he entered the ring and shielded his mentor from a Swanton Bomb. Rosie of 3 Minute Warning came in as #16. At this point he joined Jericho, both Hardys, RVD and Eddie Guerrero in the ring. Test came in as #17 with Stacy at his side. He attacked everybody he could lay his hands on. Shannon Moore continued to slink around ringside. Vanilla Spice (sorry...John Cena) was next, rapping his way to the ring as #18. It took him almost 2 minutes to get into the ring - in fact, RVD came out and tossed him in! Immediately Charlie Haas ran down as #19. For some unfathomable reason he decided to match up against Rosie. Jeff Hardy was eliminated next. Rikishi was #20, as JR introduced him as the man who has competed in more Royal Rumble matches than any other in the fight tonight. He and Rosie went nose to nose, and JR acknowledged their kinship (they are brothers), then Rosie turned to swat away Shannon Moore. Jamal came in next (#21) - another brother of Rikishi and Rosie. Rikishi immediately knocked him into the corner and Stink Faced him! Kane came in as #22 and soon eliminated Rosie then double chokeslammed Matt Hardy and Shannon Moore. he tried to toss Jericho out, but the Millennium Bug saved himself again. Sheldon Benjamin came in as #23 - the ring was getting pretty crowded. Booker T was #24 and ran right into Kane's chokeslam set up - but broke away and knocked the Big Red Machine with a scissors kick. He executed a Spineroonie - then eliminated Eddie Guerrero. #25 was A-Train, who rushed to the ring and powerbombed several individuals then went down under the boot of Rikishi. Suddenly Shawn Michaels ran in and attacked Jericho! Test grabbed Jericho on the rebound and eliminated him!! He and Shawn got into it outside but referees separated them. Maven came in as #26 and went right to work on Kane. Big mistake... Goldust was #27 - which has been a lucky number for three past winners, according to JR. He was eliminated moments later by Charlie Haas. Booker T was then eliminated by the combined efforts of Team Angle. #28 was trouble for everyone - Batista! He eliminated Test by ducking away from a big boot as he pulled down the top rope. Brock Lesnar came in as #29. Team Angle broke off what they were doing to attack him - but got themselves eliminated by the next big thing - then Matt Hardy was F5'd right out of the ring and onto Team Angle! #30 was the Undertaker!!! Now things really got interesting as the Dead man rode his motorcycle to the ring. He eliminated Cena and Jamal in rapid succession. maven tried to take him out (again) but failed and was chokeslammed, then eliminated. A-Train hit a Baldo Bomb on UT. Shortly thereafter, Lesnar was chokeslammed by Kane. A-Train recovered and knocked everyone down then tried to bomb Kane, but was knocked down, then eliminated with the help of RVD. Kane then threw RVD to the floor. Taker and Lesnar faced each other - but Batista attacked UT as Batista attacked Lesnar. We were down to these four giants. UT was knocked down by Batista, then he and Kane worked on Lesnar, who withstood the barrage and knocked them both down - then faced UT. They traded blows, then UT hit the Tombstone!!! Batista struggled to his feet and was eliminated by UT. UT helped his brother to his feet, then waited until he turned his back to eliminate him. Lesnar recovered and almost immediately took UT out to win the Royal Rumble!
Jeff hardy challenged Rob van Dam to a match tonight as a result of the latter eliminating him from the Royal Rumble last night. It seemed like this match was going to be over quickly as Jeff hit the Swanton early - but RVD kicked out...and then used a backslide to pin Hardy just moments later. Van Dam offered his hand after the match, but Hardy slapped it away. Then, as RVD turned away to celebrate his victory, Hardy attacked from behind and knocked him to the floor. Hardy grabbed a chair, but then changed his mind and walked away.
Backstage, Chris Nowinski and Christian were talking about the Rumble last night when Eric Bischoff walked up. Chris pointed out to Bischoff that he has only 21 days left. Eric said again that he has a big announcement to make tonight, but refused to reveal what it is.
Randy Orton made the mistake of taunting Scott Steiner backstage and paid the price. In another room, Chief Morely showed referee Nick Patrick footage of D-Von Dudley using brass knucks on Lance Storm last night and then demanded a public apology from the official. He told Patrick to follow him as we cut to commercial.
Morely led Nick Patrick to the ring as we returned. He announced that Patrick would make a formal apology, then handed the mic to Patrick, who made his apology. Morely then demanded that Patrick reverse the decision, but the referee said that company policy states that all referee decisions are final, so he couldn't do it. Morely then called the Dudleys to the ring. Bubba stopped off and high-fived the announcers before heading on down. Morely asked the Dudleys to forfeit the titles. D-Von grabbed the mic and told Morely to go to hell. Bubba pointed out that it was Regal who brought the brass knucks into the ring in the first place. Morely then claimed that he had come to the ring exactly for that purpose, to prevent Regal from using the weapon. Morely again demanded the belts, saying that they would regret it if they didn't so as he asked. Bubba told Morely that there is only one thing they regret...not taking Mr. mcMahon's advice to "...get the table!" Bubba then pummeled Morely while D-Von brought in a table. As soon as they had it set up, Regal and Storm suddenly appeared in the ring and attacked. Bubba was put through the table. Morely then announced a World Tag Team Title match for right here and right now! Bubba was still laying on the canvas among the remains of the table. Regal pulled him free and pinned him.
Hurricane/Trish took on Vistoria/Steven Richards in a mixed gender tag team match. This was a high intensity battle that ended in a hurry when Trish hit Stratusfaction on Victoria.
Bischoff was on the phone trying to reach McMahon without success. He told Vince's secretary about his "bombshell" and asked her tell Vince that it was coming up next...then we cut to commercial.
Bischoff was headed to the ring when we returned. he got on the mic and claimed that Vince was sitting at home just as excited as the rest of us to hear what his bombshell is. He recalled the 10th Anniversary show and the naming of Steve Austin as the RAW Superstar of the Decade, then asked the question, "Why wasn't Austin invited to the festivities?" Then he answered his own question, "Because Austin walked out on Vince McMahon." Then he said that we have heard McMahon's story about why Austin walked, and JR's story, but not Austin's side of it. So he announced that he has stopped the presses on RAW magazine and is offering Austin the chance to tell his side of the story. Then he went on to invite Austin to make his return to the company at the next PPV!
Next up - Goldust and Booker T taking on Three Minute Warning (w/Rico). The good guys dominated the action early on. The Island Boyz managed to hold their own, but Goldust and Booker were really on top of things tonight. The heels finally turned it around as Goldust was about to deliver Shattered Dreams on Rosie. jamal came in illegally to break that up and hand his brother the advantage. Goldust was isolated for a while, then Booker came in and cleaned house. Then he made the mistake of throwing a leg at Rico on the apron and missing. Rosie and Jamal attacked in concert, but Booker came back with a double DDT! The IB's made a comeback, but the Jamal missed a bigtime splash. Moments later Booker hit the scissors kick on Rosie and took the pin.
Chris Jericho had a grudge match against Test - another fight set up by last night's main event. Jericho stood on the platform and accused Test of "shattering his dreams" (I thought only Goldust used that move...) In the ring, Test used his superior power and size to come back again and again as Jericho continued to attack him and then began to dominate him. He was upset when he went for the Pump Handle Slam out on the floor and got shoved into the post. Jericho grabbed a chair and swung it, but Stacy got into the line of fire and went down hard. That stopped the match - even Jericho backed off, yelling that it wasn't his fault. Meanwhile officials showed up and called in the EMT's. Test was kneeling next to her - the fight forgotten as the medics fitted her with a cervical collar. In the ring, the referee sent Jericho away from ringside as he continued to protest his innocence. Test was in tears and begging the EMT's to be careful as we cut to commercial.
As we returned the scene had not changed, so they took us to a the World in New York for the announcement of the Tough Enough finale, then back to the arena for a replay of the "accident". In fact it looked pretty obvious that Jericho hit the ringpost - not Stacy, who was on the far side of the post when the chair was swung.
Backstage, Ric Flair was giving Batista a pep talk in preparation for his encounter with Scott Steiner - coming up later.
Tommy Dreamer took on D'Lo Brown in a Singapore Cane match. D'Lo showed up with old Peanut head! Teddy Long is back and is doing his race card bit (didn't he sue WCW a few years ago for supposed racial discrimination?) Long complained that his client wasn't included in the Royal Rumble, and that "The Man" put him into this very dangerous match tonight. Dreamer dominated the opening moments, but then D'Lo drew him to the floor and turned the tables. JR kept saying he had never known Brown to be so belligerent and militant, apparently forgetting that D'Lo originally came to the WWF as an enforcer for the Nation of Domination - a militant, belligerent stable of black wrestlers led by a Malcom X clone. Brown basically beat on Dreamer with his cane until the latter simply passed out.
The main event was the aforementioned match of the monsters between Scott Steiner and Batista. From the start, Steiner showed himself cagier than his rookie opponent, and well able to take his best shots. Then Randy Orton hit the ring, followed by Flair, followed by HHH. Flair then stood aside as the three younger men beat up on Steiner. Once Steiner was out of it, Flair joined back in with a low blow. HHH finally administered the coup de gras with a Pedigree just before the program faded.
So it goes...
At least that's the way I see it...
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