The crew of the Space Shuttle Columbia
In this edition of the newsletter we have our weekly Crossface Connection by Solie's regular, John Cross, plus my own TV Reports and topical rants.
Sting put over the WWA and the upcoming pay per view where he will work with Lex Luger. He said its great to be back in the ring with the WWA after being out 18 months. He felt better and better as the tour went on.
Sting joked as he remembered a conversation with himself, the Ultimate Warrior and Jerry Jarrett. Back in Memphis, Jarrett told the both of them to find another line of work when they were starting out. Sting remembered how bad they were but they obviously improved and went on to have great careers.
Sting talked about the last Nitro where he worked against Ric Flair. He said that was the way to go out. He said Flair always helped him through his career. He said although Flair and him only had 8 minutes to wrestle that night, it was still Sting verses Flair. He remembered the classic match they had at the Clash of Champions where they went for 45 minutes.
Sting said the most fun time in his great career was the Sting verses the NWO angle. He loved the look with the white paint and the ball bat. He said the creative juices in WCW were at an all time high during that period. Sting gave Scott Hall the credit for the idea for the new look. He said the look reminded him of a combination of Kiss, Marilyn Manson and the Rocky Horror Picture show.
Sting said he has not closed the door on working for the WWE. He has talked to Vince McMahon over the last year and would entertain the idea. He said Wrestlemania last year was almost a done deal but it wasn't done in time. He wants to come in with a great storyline and give the fans true bang for their buck. Sting did say he will not go on the road full time. He would do TV once or twice a week and certainly a pay per view once a month.
Sting feels his greatest accomplishment in his great career was turning WCW into a huge success. He remembered WCW being second class citizens and to see them turn into what they became was a huge thrill for him.
He talked about Lex Luger being frustrated overseas with the WWA tour. Lex was sick with bronchitus and was battling a hip injury. He only had 3 weeks to get ready for the tour and Lex was 300 pounds when the tour started. With the injuries, Lex still worked and finished the tour.
Sting doesn't rule out Hollywood but would like one last hurrah to say goodbye to the fans. He said many fans come up to him and tell him they want him to come back. He said he would love to be involved in 1 last meaty storyline and then he would put over who they wanted him to put over.
Sting's favorite superstars to watch are Rob Van Dam and Jeff Hardy. He loves how they both work and could watch them all day. Log on to www.noholdsbarredwrestling.com to hear the entire interview. The No Holds Barred radio show airs Sunday nights from 9 to 11 PM on 101.5 WPDH.
To start, I wanted to share the sympathy and solidarity of myself, my brother, and the rest of us at bodyslam.cc, for the families, friends, and the rest of our Nation, at the tragedy of the Columbia Disaster. We tend to forget the exemplary bravery that each astronaut and cosmonaut displays when they are shot off into the void of space. It happens so frequently, and we tend to put a lot of faith in the technologies that get them there, and get them home; so much faith, we forget that the risks always lurk out there, always around the corner. The astronauts are protected from death by a scant three or four inches of ceramic and metal, and a thousand different things must be held at bay for them to safely get back home. Well, those brave seven sit now in the hallowed hall of our heroes, and in the House of God. Now...and I know it’s hard for some...on to wrestling.
While Mike and I were doing the Crossface Report this weekend, I was thinking about Raw, and was trying to think about what was actually working. The Austin-thing is going to drum up viewers, but probably just for the PPV, because, to me, these teasers from Bischoff are becoming irritating. Maybe they are supposed to be, and maybe he’s supposed to sound as desperate as he actually seems to. The neo-Horseman angle has some promise, but I will hold back a judgement on that. There are some good ingredients there, but the way they kick it off will be the proof in that angle’s pudding.
The angle that seems to have the most promise, to me, is Chris Jericho and HBK.
Think about this: What has HBK been doing ever since he returned? He’s been in the "Against All Odds" cycle: HHH (or whoever) tells him he can’t do it, he’s washed up, he’s unable to perform, etc., and then, like the phoenix rising from the ashes, HBK managed to get up, bleeding and triumphant, and win the match. Now, this angle started this way (Jericho came out and told HBK he was washed up about five weeks ago), but it has changed.
It seems to have slowly morphed into a much better angle than I had expected. See, HBK landed one superkick to Jericho in their first meeting, and I had thrown up my literary hands in disgust, telling everyone that Jericho shouldn’t be out there to simply put HBK over. However, the balance of power seems to have stabilized. Jericho has actually gotten in a couple licks to Mr. Born Again (THAT is another subject, for a whole other column), and now, HBK’s domination of Y2J is gone.
The big thing was the Royal Rumble. Jericho fought Shawn Michaels to a draw, and actually managed to prove himself by staying in the fray long after HBK was ejected, bleeding and beaten. That adds some credibility to Jericho, even if he didn’t pin HBK.
That is important. When the Big Show roared back to life, and stormed in to Smackdown bent on beating Brock Lesnar, everyone rolled their eyes, and said, "Oh, yeah…sure!", because Show has been beat by EVERYONE on the WWE roster….twice. He has charged up towards the Championship before, but then was placed into a ‘Jobber to the Stars’ position. The guy isn’t viewed as a serious contender, due to the way he has been portrayed. He doesn't have the credibility to be a believable foil for an opponent.
Jericho was in danger of losing credibility against HBK for a variety of reasons…the one-kick-beatdown at their first meeting was a step in that direction. However, with the Royal Rumble match, and subsequent meetings and run-ins, there is a slowly-growing belief that Jericho has a chance against HBK. That MUST be fostered and developed, because that doubt is what will draw people to this program. If it is a cakewalk for the Heartbreak Kid, no-one will care.
To that end, I believe that they should tap the talent that Jericho has. He has changed a lot since the WCW days, where he feuded with the mat-master Dean Malenko. Jericho doesn’t mat wrestle like he did; instead, he walks the WWE line, with a lot of punches, kicks, and air-action. They ought to let this guy, who wrestled in Japan and ECW, use more of his deep pool of moves. They ought to let him use his skills more, and not keep wasting his history. Doing this helps Jericho (more credibility in the ring), and helps the WWE, who is sorely in need of better in-ring product.
Also, and this may be hard to swallow, they need to allow him to beat HBK, be it dirty or clean. He HAS to get a leg up on HBK, in order to be an adversary that HBK needs to respect. Doing this will also allow the feud to continue.
It has become a promising feud for exactly that reason. It wasn’t the standard 5-week feud. It began with hitches, fits, and starts, and kinda sat on the back-burner for a while, as HBK fought HHH and Jericho worked his matches. Then, with the Stacy Keibler chair-shot, HBK was re-introduced, thus pumping the angle into full force. Now, what we need is this angle to build up for Wrestlemania. These two can feud, quarrel, and have their standard teaser matches (you know, tag-team matches against each other, etc.), until WM19. Then, they can have their match, and consummate the feud.
These two have the talent to make it work. The problem is ego. Will HBK put Jericho over?
That is a question and a half. And….time has the answer.
Come to bodyslam.cc for news, rumors, and results. Make sure to dial in Solie’s for the info and historical data on pro wrestling one needs to get through the day….
And I’ll see you next week, for another Connection.
SmackDown! came to us on tape from the Resch Center in Green Bay, Wisconsin and opened with a rematch between Rey Misterio and the A-Train. Rey Rey actually took the big guy off his feet several times and even got a two-count on him early on. Then he survived a Baldo-Bomb! Eventually he had to bow to the inevitable after an extended period in a full nelson and then a "Trainwreck" back breaker.
Paul Heyman was asked whether or not the Big Show would meet the Undertaker tonight and said, "No." In fact he said he'd given Show the night off.
Vanilla Lice and his (new) big dumb friend came down to the ring to take on Eddie Guerrero (accompanied by his nephew). Naturally, latino Heat dominated the opening moments - in fact he dominated more than the opening. His big turn around came about when he suckered Guerrero to the outside then distracted the referee so that his thug companion could get in a few licks. It was only a temporary surcease. Eddie came back with a vengeance (and a little help from his nephew to win the match with a Frog Splash.
Backstage, the Undertaker arrived. Meanwhile, Heyman approached a young protege of Shawn Michaels with a proposition. Vince McMahon confronted his daughter about bringing back Hulk Hogan. She doesn't see his point abut Hogan, reasoning that Hogan is one of the biggest stars in the business and a legend to boot. Vince seemed to take that in, then announced that he will have a "blockbuster" surprise of his own later tonight.
Shannon Moore (w/Matt Hardy v1) took on Billy Kidman in a non-title match. Moore gave the Cruiserweight Champ a run for his money but eventually succumbed. After the match, hardy attacked Kidman as Moore limped away.
Mr. McMahon made his way to the ring for his "blockbuster" announcement. He began by putting down Hogan, calling him a has been and stating that Hulkamania is "on life support". Asking how Hogan dared to challenge him to a match. He played coy with the notion of him actually facing Hogan - then announced that Hogan would get his match at "No Way Out"...against the Rock! He started to leave, but paused at the platform and presented the Rock via satellite. The Rock accepted the match.
Rikishi was next up, taking on Bill DeMott in (another) rematch. DeMott still had his arm wrapped and clearly favored the injured arm throughout the match. This one ended rather abruptly when DeMott thwarted a DDT attempt by holding the ropes then executed a (rope assisted) roll-up to take the pin. As he was leaving the arena, the Undertaker appeared suddenly on his bike and roared to the ring, causing DeMott to have to jump the barrier to avoid being run down. UT entered the ring and called out the Big Show again. We went to commercial at that moment.
When we returned, UT was sitting on the ring steps, wating for the Big Show to arrive. The Big Show's music played, but it was Paul Heyman who came out to tell UT that the giant wasn't there tonight. He then sent the Shawn Michaels protege down on a bicycle wearing a bell hop uniform to deliver a message to the Dead Man. When coaxed by the Undertaker, the kid admitted it was a "singing telegram" and proceeded to deliver what sounded like a sort of apology. UT told Heyman to tell the Big Show that he will truly be "sorry" when they meet in the ring. Turning back to the messenger, UT gave him a $100 tip! Then asked him to sing the song again. As the kid started singing, UT grabbed him and delivered the Last Ride - then fished the C-note out of the kid's pocket before leaving the ring.
Kurt Angle gave Team Angle a pep talk backstage regarding their tag team match against Edge and Chris Benoit for the #1 contender spot.
That match was next on the program. Angle accompanied his guys to the ring and then joined the announce team for the duration. It only took about two minutes for Angle to get physically involved - though it did little good and he ended up sprawled on the floor ringside. Shortly after that fiasco we went to commercial. After the break, Angle was back on his feet at ringside and urging his team mates on - but the rookies were still being handed their heads for the most part. Eventually they managed to isolate Edge for a while, working on his left leg. Angle was able to lend a hand from time to time as Benoit watched helplessly from his corner. Benoit finally got back in aganst Benjamin, but had all three of them to contend with and ended up on the receiving end as well. Then he pulled offf a series of three German Suplexes on Benjamin then hit hois flying head butt from the top corner - but Benjamin kicked out. As Benoit looked like he was going in for the kill, Angle clobbered him with his title belt and knocked him cold. Benjamin took the pin.
After the introductions, Stacy came out with Test and said she was okay, but it would be nice if Chris Jericho would apologize for his actions. Test is less forgiving and demanded that Jericho show his face. Jericho appeared on the platform and said he had already apologized - suggested Test get over it. Test gave him 5 seconds to do better, but then was sneak attacked by Christian. He dealt with that problem handily but Jericho had left the scene.
Kane and RVD were having a disagreement backstage when Chief Morley showed up and scheduled a match between them for later in the program. meanwhile, JR informed us that Bischoff was on his way to Steve Austin's house with a promise in mind to deliver the Rattlesnake to RAW tonight. In the back, Test and Stacy leave the arena.
The Dudleys took on Three Minute Warning and noticed right away that there was no referee in the ring. Chief Morley came out and said there would be a special referee - Rico! The Island Boyz took advantage of the distraction and attacked from behind - in a flash Rico had fast counted Bubba out. Afterward the Dudleys punked their opponents with the help of Spike.
Tommy Dreamer was ready for his match, but HHH and company decided to take over the ring instead. Tommy was ejected. HHH made a long, boring speech about his group being the future of wrestling. In the back, Scott Steiner told Terri that he was ready for his match against Chris Jericho in the main event tonight.
Out in Texas, Bischoff arrived at Austin's house but discovered he wasn't at home. The guy who answered the door told Bischoff that Austin was waiting for him at the Longhorn Saloon.
A match between Victoria and Molly Holly became another excuse for Jazz to run down again and punish Victoria's opponent.
In the back, Booker T and Goldust discussed their upcoming shot to regain the Tag Titles. Goldust told his partner that if they don't win tonight, he should forget about the tag team titles and go after bigger things. Booker agreed rather reluctantly.
The match turned out much as Goldust expected, and afterward, Booker and Goldust embraced and went their separate ways.
Back in the wild west, Bischoff went to the Longhorn but no Steve Austin. He was told to go to Arkie Blue's Silver Dollar. This whole deal is oddly reminiscent of Vince's bar hopping excursion in Texas a few years ago...
The Kane/RVD match was just really heating up when Jeff Hardy ran down and interfered. Kane and Van Dam cooperated to punk his butt.
In the back, Booker was looking for Goldust - he as told that the Golden One had gone back to the hotel.
As we return from the break, Jeff Hardy was still recovering when Shawn Michaels showed up for an in ring rant. he decided to give Hardy some free advice, telling him that he is at a crossroads in his career and has to make a decision about which way he wants to go. Hardy decided it was time to attack HBK, but only got some Sweet Chin Music for his trouble.
Maven took on D'Lo Brown and lost...of course. Afterward, teddy Long came down and got the crowd to chant, "Down with the Brown" which sounded oddly like a put down instead of a cheer...
Out in Texas, Uncle Eric arrived at Arkie Blue's for his meeting with Steve Austin. Of course, Austin wasn't there. Bischoff ended up assaulting a patron with his beer glass, then told everyone in the bar to screw themselves - not a great negotiating tactic.
Out back a despondent Goldust was attacked and punked by Randy Orton and Batista, then shoved into an electrical panel for good measure. EMT's showed up almost immediately as we went to commercial. Goldust was hauled away during the break.
Chris Jericho came down to face off against Big Poppa Pump for a shot at the World Title. Steiner dominated the early going then Jericho managed to knock him to the floor. Jericho took over for a while but eventually Steiner overwhelmed him again and took back control. From there it was mostly downhill for Jericho - and Scott Steiner took the pinfall to win the title shot.
Backstage, Morley was trying to talk to Bischoff on the phone again without much luck when Vince McMahon walked in and told him they better get their act together by next week or else its curtains - as they used to say in the movies.
At least that's the way I see it...
Editor, Solie's Wrestling Newsletter
for great wrestling discussion.
Copyright 2001 - Jump City Productions