Dedicated to Gordon Solie
January 29, 1929 - July 27, 2000
SCHENECTADY, NEW YORK--The Professional Wrestling Hall of Fame (PWHF), a state chartered not-for-profit institution located at 123 Broadway in Schenectady, is pleased to announce the 2003 Class of Inductees.
Lillian Ellison, known in wrestling circles as "The Fabulous Moolah", will be inducted into the Women's division. Ms. Ellison has recently penned her autobiography entitled, "The Fabulous Moolah-The First Goddess of the Squared Circle". She claimed the Women's Championship for thirty straight years and has trained many other female wrestling performers. She states that she has a match booked on July 22, 2003, which is the same date as her eightieth birthday!
In the Midget division, the late Lionel Giroux, who wrestled as "Little Beaver", will be inducted. His ring antics entertained crowds for four decades. Giroux was a native of Quebec, Canada.
In the Non participant category, legendary St. Louis promoter Sam Muchnick will receive the 2003 honors. Muchnick ran a successful promotion from 1945 until his retirement in 1982. He was actively involved in the National Wrestling Alliance, which was the main governing body for professional wrestling during his period of promotion. Muchnick passed away in 1998 at the age of ninety-three.
In the Pioneer era division, which includes the years between 1898 and 1942, Martin "Farmer" Burns and Stanislaus Zbyszko will be enshrined. Burns wrestled in over six thousand matches and is well known for training Professional Wrestling Hall-of- Famer Frank Gotch, who was inducted in 2002. Burns was born in 1861 and wrestled until he was in his sixties. He died at the age of seventy-seven. Polish born Zbyszko was an intellectual as well as a wrestler. He studied music, philosophy and law in Austria and was a linguist. He had a prominent role in the movie, "Night and the City", which starred Richard Widmark. He held the World Championship after defeating Ed "Strangler" Lewis, who was a 2002 PWHF inductee. Zbyszko died in 1967 at the age of eighty-eight.
The Televsion-era division, which extends from 1942 until 1984, will have Walter "Killer" Kowalski and Antonino "Argentina" Rocca being inducted. Kowalski, who was at the PWHF's Inaugural Induction in May of 2002, had a mat career that extended thirty years. At 6' 7" tall and 260 pounds, Kowalski held versions of the World title. Many fans remember his famous "Claw" hold, which was even mentioned on a Seinfeld episode. He is an accomplished photographer and currently has a book of his photography published. Rocca, born Antonino Biasetton, was a soccer player in Argentina before being discovered by a wrestling promoter. Rocca is credited with introducing the high-flying aerial tactics in the U. S. professional wrestling rings. He passed away in 1977 but his ring techniques are still enjoyed via video releases of his matches.
The Mania-era category, which is from 1985 onward, has two former world champions being elected. Nick Bockwinkel is a second generation wrestler who held the American Wrestling Association's (AWA) title on four separate occasions. His twenty-five year long ring career saw him hold other prestigious titles and sell out many arenas throughout the world. Bockwinkel resides in Las Vegas and we hope that he will be present to accept professional wrestling's highest award. Hulk Hogan, born Terry Bollea, also was elected to the hall in this category, but will be enshrined after his official retirement.
Two new award divisions will be added to the 2003 Induction Weekend lineup. The Tag-Team division makes its debut with the induction of The Fabulous Kangaroos. This team consisted of Australians Al Costello and Roy Heffernan. The Fabulous Kangaroos dominated much of tag team wrestling in the 1950s and 1960's and they headlined shows at the famed Madison Square Garden. The team held both World and United States titles under the direction of their manager, "Wild" Red Berry. The pair used to throw cardboard boomerangs, bearing their images, out to the fans. Both wrestlers are now deceased.
The other new category will be the PWHF New York State Award, which will be given to wrestlers who have brought honor and dignity to both the State of New York and to the profession of wrestling. There will be one living and one posthumous award. Dick "The Destroyer" Beyer of Akron, New York will receive the living award for his contributions to his community and to the field of wrestling. Dick holds undergraduate and graduate degrees from Syracuse University and co-captained their football team in the early 1950's. He gained immense fame in the United States, Japan, Australia and Europe wrestling under a mask as "The Destroyer". Dick states that he plans to be present in Schenectady to accept his award. The posthumous award will be given to the late Ilio DiPaolo, a wrestling legend from Italy who settled in Blasdell, New York. DiPaolo held many titles including the Canadian Tag-Team Championship with Whipper Watson and the All-Asian Championship in Japan. He retired in 1965 due to an ankle injury and then opened a restaurant in Blasdell, New York. The restaurant, which bears his name and is managed by his family, has established itself as one of the finest dining facilities in the region. The Buffalo Bills football team frequent the restaurant on a regular basis. A line of food products bearing Ilio's name has proven to be successful. Like Beyer, DiPaolo has been the recipient of many community involvement awards. A tragic motor vehicle accident ended his life prematurely in 1965.
The inductees were voted upon by twenty-two members of the PWHF Board of Selection. A Screening Committee consisting of wrestling writer/photographer Don Laible, Chairperson of the Board of Selection, Dr. Robert Bryla, longtime wrestling collector, and Dave Meltzer, Wrestling Observer editor and well known wrestling expert, chose the wrestlers upon which the full Board of Selection voted. The PWHF Board of Directors' Chairperson Tony Vellano of Schenectady stated that these Inductions will take place on May 17, 2003. For further information, please call Tony Vellano at 518-356-3473 or Mike Capano at 518-725-5272. The PWHF maintains a website at www.pwhf.org for more details.
Ah...I feel better.
I was sick last Monday....I waited until after the Royal Rumble to write a column about it, and fell pretty darn sick...right on a vacation day, too. Figures, right? Well, Earl was very forgiving, and the man allowed me a week off.
Thanks, Earl....I needed a bit of a break.
If any of you want to read what I was going to write about, go to the Crossface Corner, and take a read. If not, stay with me...I have another topic to beat the heck out of.
I was thinking about PPV's this last week, and I looked on the WWE website for the PPV list...this is what I got: Royal Rumble, No Way Out, Wrestlemania, Backlash, Judgment Day, KOTR, Vengeance, Summerslam, Unforgiven, No Mercy, Survivor Series, and Armageddon. Add Insurrextion to the list as well, as that is a legit PPV, even though it usually isn't shown in the USA. So, 13 PPV's, one every four weeks.
And people wonder why storylines seem so hurried. However, doesn't it make sense?
Looking at the audience that Vince has been targeting for six years....18-25 year old males. Can you say, "Immediate Gratification?" And if you look at the WWE's history, you'll see the change in marketing....the fed was formed in 1963, and the Heavyweight Title has changed hands 73 times. It took 34 years for the belt to change 37 times, and 6 years for it to change another 36. You think something changed six years ago? Betcha it did, and I also betcha that the targeted marketing that Vince used to think up Attitude was the cause. The amount of Title changes lines up markedly close to one every two months. And, of those 36 Title changes, how many have occurred at PPV's? 28 of them, or, 78%
So, Vince likes to change the Title at PPV's...makes sense, doesn't it? If fans are into the storylines, they'll pay to see the event where they Title is most likely to change, right? So, to facilitate the speedy exchange of the Belt, and to further (NOT complete) storylines, we saw PPV's added to the original list.
What is the 'Original List'? Well, let's see: Wrestlemania was the first; then, if the WWE site is valid, the Survivor Series and Royal Rumble were added in 1987 and 1988, respectively. In 1988, Summerslam was added as well. The next big addition was 1993, with King of the Ring. There were PPV's here and there after those five (Remember Wrestling Classic '85, The Big Event '86, This Tuesday In Texas, One Night Only, Mayhem In Manchester, Capital Carnage, and all the "In Your House" PPV's?), but, in 1996-98, the arrangement that we know now was constructed, so we would have a PPV every month.
Of course, the promotion of the weekly shows sped up storylines as well. Gone were the days of Hogan and Warrior feuding for three or four months before their climactic meeting in the ring. Now, three whole storylines will fit into that time period, with two Title changes thrown in to boot. This seems to suit people just fine, though...I haven't heard many people bring up complaints about the speed with which Titles are passed along. I complain, but it is because wrestling is being cheapened by this trend.
Storylines begin to appear cobbled together, with many of the storylines being started with shocking, attention grabbing actions, like the Torrie-Dawn Marie debacle that is currently running. Or, if you run a storyline through several PPV's they begin to appear repetitious and boring, like Benoit-Angle, or HHH-Rock. We see the same pattern to an angle that we saw in the 80's and early 90's, but it has been squeezed into a five week timetable.
Even the great Austin-McMahon storyline got boring the third time it was rehashed, folks.
Now, the next logical step is that, with a finite roster, people will have to feud with people they had feuded with recently, like Kane-Undertaker. How many times did they have to face off with each other? How many times did they enter and leave a feud with each other? Three, four times? Then, conversely, when they join up as allies, we all sigh and say, "Not Again!". Rock and HHH is probably the best example of a feud that got so old, and so tapped, that it forced people to other programming. Think "McMahon-Helmsley Era" for that.
There is a simple way that this could be amended. Reduce the schedule of PPV's.
I know that the WWE makes $5,000,000 or more each time they have a PPV, and if they make that as a minimum, why reduce the take? However, by using the Roster Split (they have it, why not use it) to it's potential, they may be able to give the appearance of reduction, without killing six or seven PPV's.
Make the PPV's brand exclusive. Make four of the PPV's property of Raw, make four SmackDown's, and have the Big Four (Royal Rumble, Wrestlemania, Summerslam, and Survivor Series) be cross-over PPV's. Heck, make KOTR a cross-over PPV as well....that will increase the time storylines can develop, it will make character development easier, and will enrich the show as a whole, because the fans know when something is done half-assed...you know what I mean?
Just look at the HHH/Steiner match from the last PPV....the fans knew that match was junk, and they let the wrestlers know. Because of it, Steiner's face push was dealt a serious blow.
Let's see if the WWE can avoid a similar blow.
OK....You all know how good Solie's is....come over and try the news, rumors, columns, and on-time results bodyslam.cc offers to you. You'll like it, I promise.
See you next week, for another Connection.
SmackDown! came to us on tape from the Pepsi Arena in Albany, New York and opened with Stephanie McMahon announcing that the Undertaker would be back on SmackDown tonight and she also stated that there would be a huge surprise later on. We then went to the arena for the entrance of Chris Benoit. His opponent tonight was Charlie Haas (w/Shelton Benjamin). This was a hard fought, semi scientific match that ended when Benoit rolled his opponent up and pinned him rather abruptly.
Backstage, the Undertaker roared in on his motorcycle.
Rikishi had a rematch against Hugh Morrus...uh...sorry...Bill DeMott. DeMott came into the match with a weakened left arm due to an injury he suffered when he was eliminated from the Royal Rumble, and Rikishi made it his business to exploit that injury. So now they are one and one.
Backstage, Matt Hardy asked Nuncio to give his protégé, Shannon Moore, a "Mattitude" adjustment.
After the break, the Undertaker made his way to the ring riding his bike and wearing a "Big Evil" poncho and started his rant by saying he had revenge on his mind. he showed video footage of the attack on him by the Big Show that put him out of action for three months. He then invited the Big Show down to face him for a good old fashion butt-kicking. TBS answered the call, wearing street clothes. he stayed on the platform and addressed the Dead Man, saying he could go down to the ring and deliver another beating then switched gears and talked about a "contingency plan". He tore off his jacket, but didn't head down. Instead he sent A-Train down to get whipped first. We were reminded that it was the A-Train that set UT up to be eliminated on Sunday. This fight was a slugfest. The A-Train appeared to hold the size advantage, but they don't make them any tougher then the Undertaker. In minutes he had control of the match. He roughed him up from the outside on the apron, and then smashed him into the corner back inside the ring. UT walked the ropes and came crashing down on his opponent - then delivered a big chokeslam. A-Train kicked out. UT went for the Last Ride, but was back dropped instead. A-Train went for a splash...but missed. Moments later he hit the Baldo Bomb...and UT kicked out. UT came back with the TCB and A-Train submitted in a hurry.
Next up, Shelton Benjamin (w/Charlie Haas) taking on Edge. Benjamin is quite a mat wrestler and it wasn't too long into the match before he fell to toying with his less adept opponent. Lulled into a false sense of security, Benjamin walked right into a belly-to-belly suplex that turned things around. Edge missed his first spear attempt, but caught himself before crashing into the corner. He came back with a second spear moments later and won the match.
Shannon Moore's match against Nuncio was pretty one sided. The "Little" Italian is a top notch wrestler with a definite mean streak. In this match, he applied a lot of punishment holds, apparently according to his agreement with Matt Hardy, who watched from ringside. Moore countered by taking to the air and turned the tables for quite a while. Then he tried to pull off a Twist of Fate. Nuncio countered by pushing off the ropes and turning it into a DDT. After the match, Moore ran off to avoid Hardy's ire. Matt went back to the ring sand shook Nuncio's hand before he going in pursuit of his sidekick.
As we returned, Brock Lesnar was sitting and talking to the camera about his life and career and accomplishments. He spoke of his betrayal by Paul heyman and the Big Show. His next goal is to F5 Paul Heyman and then beat Kurt Angle for the WWE Title at WrestleMania.
Backstage, Rey Misterio donned his mask in preparation for his match against Kurt Angle. Meanwhile, Matt Hardy was running around looking for Shannon Moore, who his himself in a dumpster.
The Misterio/Angle match was next. Angle made the same two mistakes he always makes against Misterio. 1) He underestimated him, and 2) he turned him loose. Misterio's ascendancy was short lived, however. Angle learned his lesson (once again) and grounded his opponent for a while. Misterio eventually got loose again and Angle was on the receiving end again. he came very close to pinning the WWE Champ. Then Misterio missed a moonsault. Angle came back with an ankle lock then a belly-to-belly. He went for the Olympic Slam, but Misterio countered it with head scissors. Misterio countered several moves in a row, then Angle countered a Frankensteiner into a powerbomb and took the pin. He tried to punk his opponent after the match, but Edge ran in and put a stop to that. Then Benoit ran in and the two of them ganged up on Angle, setting him up for a 619 by Misterio. I see a six man match next week.
Backstage, Funaki tried to pry Stephanie's surprise out of her. She told him he would have to wait until after the commerical, then closed the door in his face. Hulk Hogan's picture was on the back of the door...
Sure enough, Hogan showed up and headed to the ring right after the break. The crowd went wild, and in fact, cheered him through on whole segment so that we went to commercial again before he said anything.
After the second break the crowd was still cheering. Hogan let it go a bit longer, then started his speech by announcing that he just signed a brand new contract! Hulkamania is back! He mentioned that he has a lot of unfinished business in the WWE, and some new business as well. At this point the cable started cutting out, so I missed a lot of the speech, but it seemed like the gist of it was that Hogan was back and doesn't intend to let the fans down. This declaration was followed by an appearance by Vince McMahon! Vince came to the ring as Hogan watched him warily. They faced off in the ring, then Vince began to stroll around then took a mic and declared that he is disappointed in Stephanie's "big surprise". He put Hogan down, comparing Hulkamania to Al Wilson - saying that both are dead. Hogan came back saying that he had been given an idea - he challenged Vince to a match! Vince's reaction was, "Who in the hell do you think you are?" saying that he doesn't answer to Hogan or anyone else. Hogan then hauled off and flattened the boss, then tore off his shirt and threw it at him!
Scott Steiner went to the ring after the break and called HHH out. HHH appeared on the platform in street clothes and declared himself better than Steiner - saying that he has "proved it". He then pretended to head to the ring, then stopped and waited for his three companions to join him (Flair, Batista and Randy Orton). The four of them then stalked down to ringside. Steiner waited for them in the ring. As they surrounded him, then tried to storm the ring - he drew a steel pipe out of his pants and started swinging. The bad guys backed off.
D-Lo Brown continued his winning streak in a match against the Hurricane.
Backstage, Chief Morley watched tape of Hulk Hogan's confrontation with Vince McMahon on SmackDown. He seemed to think that was a good thing for Uncle Eric, but Bischoff thought different. he explained that the thing they need least right now is A "pissed off Vince McMahon." he then said he had an idea to turn things around. Meanwhile, Terri recapped the "accident" involving Stacy Keibler last week then asked Chris Jericho if he didn;t think he should issue an apology. He said he didn't owe anyone an apology - but he intended to go to the ring and explain what happened.
After the break, Jericho went to the ring. The crowd gave him a pretty hard time - but he asked them to be quiet then launched into his "explanation". At first, he seemed to be talking about the "accident" - saying something happened that he feels bad about - then switched gears and mentioned his upcoming #1 contender match against Scott Steiner. Then he went back on it and actually apologized for what happened to Stacy. This brought Christian to the ring to tell him NOT to apologize, and laying the blame for the incident on Stacy! Jericho came back with, "You're wrong..." then went on to blame the incident on...Test! Test ducked away from the chair shot - so it was HIS fault that Stacy got hurt! He continued to rant on Test until HBK's music blared from the speakers. Shawn appeared on the platform and started his own rant by making fun of Jericho's checkered pants - then went on to say that where he comes from, a man takes responsibility for his actions. He then accused Jericho of being a sneak, for having Christian attack him from behind at the beginning of the Rumble - then he ran to the ring and cleared it of the garbage!
Backstage, Victoria beat the hell out of a trash can with Trish Stratus' picture pasted on it. Then we saw Trish taping up her hands for the next match - a Chicago Street Fight for the Womens' Title.
Trish made her entrance as we returned and was attacked on the platform from behind by her opponent. The scrappy former champ came right back and a see saw battle ensued, involving sticks and trash cans and trash can lids. Trish began to dominate after a few minutes, but then Steven Richards got involved...and turned things in Trish's direction! he sprayed a fire extinguisher in the champ's face and almost cost her the match. Trish drove him from the ring with a discarded kendo stick - then turned around and walked right into a side kick. Richards continued to interfere - even coming into the ring at one point. Eventually, the numbers told the story and Victoria retained her title. After the match, Jazz showed up and also attacked Trish. The referee stood by yelling at her while Jazz destroyed Trish, ending her assault with an STF.
The Dudleys were up next, taking on the Tag Team Champions in a Tables Match. This match seemed tailor made for the Dudleys as they completely dominated the match until the moment that Bubba yelled, "D-Von! Get the table!!" D-Von looked under the ring...and there were NO tables there! Morley had stacked the deck, making it impossible for the Dudleys to win the match! Morley appeared on the platform with a table, saying that he didn't intend for them to actually win the match. The Dudleys stalked up to the platform and were confronting Morley when Three Minute Warning attacked them from behind. They were dragged to the ring, along with a table. Bubba turned the tables (no pun intended) for a moment, but was soon overwhelmed by the numbers. Spike ran out and tried to help, but he was also put down. Finally, the Tag Champs put D-Von through the only table available and won the match.
HHH and Company barged into Bischoff's office to confront him about the upcoming Steiner/Jericho match for the #1 constendership...then HHH changed his mind, saying he wasn't worried about it after all. meanwhile, Matt and John from Tough Enough 3 discuss the fact that they are going to appear on RAW for an exhibition match. Al Snow joins them and urges them to do their best. They leave, and Chris Nowinski comes out from his place of concealment with a calculating expression on his face. In another part of the building, RVD and Kane talk about their big tag team main event against HHH and Batista. Kane ends up doing a take off on RVD's catch-phrase - pointing with his thumbs at his shoulders as he chants, "Big Red Machine".
After the break, John and Matt came to the ring with Al Snow at their side. It was a fairly tame, scientific match until Nowinski showed up and shoved Snow into a post, then entered the ring with a microphone. He accused the two of them of "rubbing it in" that he didn't win Tough Enough 1. Tommy Dreamer ran Nowinski off with his kendo stick, then congratulated the new kids...before thrashing them with his cane!
Backstage, Bischoff was seen tapping a manilla envelope, then heading for the ring.
Bischoff came to the ring after the break to announce that Steve Austin has agreed to tell "his side of the story" in RAW Magazine. He mentioned that Austin and Debra have been divorced, and said that Austin will talk about HHH and the Rock, etc. He went on for a while, urging Austin to accept his offer to return, then ran an Austin tribute video. Is there any doubt in anyone's mind that Austin is on the way back..?
The main event was the aforementioned tag team match pitting RVD and Kane against HHH and Batista (w/Flair and Orton). By the way, for all those writers who keep insisting on spelling the latter's name "Bautista", please keep in mind that this guy is named after a medieval artillery weapon...not the former president of Cuba... The two big guys started the match and Kane quickly bested his opponent. But the rookie came right back, exploding out of his corner and clotheslining the Big Red Machine. His advantage was only momentary. Kane turned the tables then tagged Van Dam in. RVD held the initiative for about 9 seconds, then was blasted out of his boots. HHH tagged in and continued the assault, effectively grounding the high flyer for a while. RVD got his feet working and got a two count on the Game, but then HHH came back with a high knee, then tagged Batista back in. As the eleven o'clock hour arrived, Van Dam was being isolated and pummeled. Van Dam finally escaped by kicking HHH...in the nose. Kane cleaned house, put Batista down then tossed RVD into a Frog Splash...that missed. Kane was pulled to the outside and unmasked! Hiding his face, he split. Van Dam was left alone and soon was overwhelmed and pinned by Batista. HHH then started punching RVD - until Steiner ran in with his pipe. The bad guys scattered, but then Jericho followed Steiner in and attacked from behind. Steiner handled Jericho with no problem, but the distraction gave HHH a chance to Pearl Harbor Steiner. The four of them attacked Freakzilla, then Flair applied a Figure Four while Orton kicked him. HHH then applied a Pedigree as the coup de gras. After the gang left the scene, Jericho re-entered the ring and first dropped an elbow, then did some push-ups to mock Steiner, then was punching the unconscious BPP in his bloody forehead as the program faded.
Something tells me that Jericho is going to be very sorry...
At least that's the way I see it...
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