Dedicated to Gordon Solie
January 29, 1929 - July 27, 2000
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.
Yeah, that thing I had to pay for (along with my brother) last night.
More specifically, I want to discuss the Rumble match itself. Even more specifically, I want to talk about one of the participants.
No, not Albert, nor Maven (oooh….sore spot for Miss Pamela), nor Austin, HHH, or even Rikishi.
I want to talk about Curt Hennig, a.k.a. Mr. Perfect.
I was deeply, deeply impressed with is performance. Were you?
He looked good, he moved good, and he had all the right looks, reactions, and attitude. I was so impressed, I asked myself, "Why is he only signed for one night?" Is this his idea? It must be, because, if I were Vincent K. McMahon, I would sign him in a New York second.
Don’t you all think that he would be an absolute perfect (pardon the pun) fit into Vince’s WWF? He is dry, smart-alecky, mocking, and arrogant. He has heat with the fans, an understated gimmick, name recognition, and is relatively young. What’s the hold-up? How is this guy different than any other popular WWF main-eventer?
I mean, other than the fact that he doesn’t use "What?" to build heat?
I remember the promos this guy did…..they were much like what the guys do now. The gum thing…..that smacks of attitude and arrogance. He moves well, he is the right size, the right look, and, heck, he has the intangibles that make a guy popular.
Did this guy part with the WWF on bad terms? Did he call Linda names, or something? Maybe there is some sort of grudge there, or something, but I think I would sign this guy, over Hulk Hogan.
Who? Oh, yeah…..Mr. Disruption.
Well, Curt Hennig made an impression on me last night, as you can see. I get the feeling (or, at least I hope) that Vince takes another look at this guy."
That was from the Crossface Connection of 1-21-2002. I would have spoken longer and sooner about Mr. Hennig, but time didn’t allow it. I wrote a pretty revealing column last week (the Crossface Corner, on bodyslam.cc) about the reasons wrestlers (under 50 years old) die, and a huge percentage are due to heart attacks. Now, Curt didn’t have one for sure, but all the pre-death descriptions of his behavior (complaints of digestive pain and problems) lend themselves to that conclusion. Sure, there is a bit of space for some other cause, but, in my opinion, I don’t think so, unless foul play was involved.
One does not have to wonder far and wide about the reason the death rate for heart attacks is almost thirty times higher for wrestlers than it is for the same demographic nationwide. It isn’t a stretch that performance-enhancing drugs, especially drugs, play a part. The pain-killers, the stimulants that these men take in order to keep their energy up for the grueling lifestyle.
In my humble opinion, I can’t hear anyone calling this to anyone else’s attention. Why are we losing these bright stars? Rick Rude, Curt Hennig, Davey Boy Smith….where is the controlling body? I know that there are some states that regulate wrestling as they do boxing, with standards, measures, and permits. I am not a fan of that, because boxing and wrestling are inherently dissimilar, and have no reason to be lumped together. I’m not a big fan of regulation.
However, this death, this loss, has changed my mind. And, really, there isn’t much more to say about it
See you next week, for another Connection
SmackDown! came to us on tape from the Centennial Garden Arena in Bakersfield, California and opened with a one-on-one match between Edge and Charlie Haas (w/Paul Heyman at his side). It was a fairly competitive match, but in the end Heyman provided the distraction which allowed his client to use a surprise roll-up to get the pin.
Backstage after the match, Kurt Angle was trying to put the move on Stephanie - giving her a rose and talking about them being a "perfect match". Stephanie was trying to tell him something, but he wasn't listening until Brock lesnar walked up. Stephanie told him he will have a 6-man tag match at No Way Out - Team Angle vs. Edge, Chris Benoit and Lesnar. Ten lesnar invited Kurt down to ringside for his match against John Cena tonight.
Down at the ring, Rikishi was getting ready for a match when he was attacked my Nuncio and his "people" - Johnny the Bull and Chuck Palumbo - so much for Palumbo's singles push on Velocity...
Next up - Rey Misterio vs. Matt Hardy (who was wearing a rubber suit to help him lose weight to qualify as a Cruiserweight). In fact, although outweighed by at least 50 lbs., Rey Rey still managed to dominate the first several minutes of the match. But then, Hardy's companion, Shannon Moore, got involved and helped turn the tables. Throughout the middle period of the match, Matt was in control. But eventually Rey came back and Hardy was on the receiving end again. Hardy came back with the Side Effect but only got two. Matt, by this time sucking wind because of his rubber outfit, set himself up for the 619 and lost the match.
Backstage, Brian (the Streaker) Kendricks had a run in with Bill DeMott and got the short end of the stick (no pun intended...well...maybe...)
A-Train took on Chris Benoit and wiped the mat with him for several minutes. Then he got caught in the Crippler Crossface and tapped out.
Out at the ring, a crane is moving a new "gift crate" for the Undertaker from the platform to the ring. Last time it was Brother Love - this time Paul Heyman n started a rant was interrupted by UT's arrival. Heyman skedaddled while the Dead man entered the ring. In the crate was a Boy George impressionist who attacked UT as soon as he turned his back in disgust. Boy George turned out to be Chris Kanyon, returning to the WWE in the first time in months. UT punked him, threw him to the floor then beat on him with a chair. Welcome back, Chris...
Backstage, Matt Hardy was working out on a stationary bike while Shannon Moore urged him yelling, "Two more pounds!" Meanwhile, the producer of the "Girls Gone Wild!" videos invited Torrie to a party...the coming Spring Break GGW PPV.
Funaki was completely confused by John Cena in a backstage interview. Come to think of it, so was I...
Eddie Guerrero took on Shelton Benjamin in the next match. This was a great match with plenty of scientific action. Of course, Benjamin's buddy, Charlie Haas, was on hand to distract Guerrero and hand his partner the win.
Next up - an extended promo video regarding Hollywood Hogan's latest comeback.
In a "Valentines Day Bra and Panties match" - the usual silliness. Oh and Torrie won it by the way... Afterward, Nidia ran out and attacked Torrie, then teamed up with Dawn to get punked and spanked.
Vanilla Lice took on the Next Big Thang in the next match. Whatta maroon... Cena was knocked to the outside where he wrapped a steel chain around his fist. Meanwhile, Lesnar was uncovering one of the corner pads. Back in the ring, Cena got in his chain shot and actually assumed control of the match for a while...but only for a while. After trouncing his opponent, Brock ran Cena headfirst into the exposed corner, then hit the F5 to get the pin. Afterward he called Kurt Angle out to the ring. When Angle didn't respond immediately, Brock grabbed the his vanquished opponent and F5'd him into a corner post. In the back, Angle told Heyman he was going, much to the agent's chagrin.
After the break, Angle came out to the platform, then down to the end of the ramp. Angle was talking like he would get in a fight Lesnar - and he did go in and face him - then he said, "...but not tonight", claiming that he had a sinus infection. Lesnar accused him of being a chicken - so Kurt offered to wrestle him next week. Brock said, "Your on!" then clobbered our Olympic hero - first in the ring, and then out on the floor. He was about to deliver an F5 out on the floor - but the Tag Champs showed up to put a stop to that. Angle slunk away as Lesnar destroyed the rookie champs. Brock went after Angle, who was slithering up the platform. Brock dropped the Title belt on his chest then walked around him and out of the arena.
In the back, Jeff hardy and Shawn Michaels were in conversation when Eric Bischoff walked by and told them they better listen up for his announcement in the ring.
Bischoff came to the ring and as his first official act, reinstated Sean Morley as Chief of Staff. Then he announced a no DQ tag match for HBK and Jeff Hardy against Christian and Chris Jericho. Next he showed video of the Dudleys being suspended and thrown out of the building - Spike is the only Dudley left and he will have to take on Three Minute Warning in a handicap match! Finally he announced that he would show off his martial artistry later tonight, to give people an idea about what he will do to Steve Austin on Sunday, in a match against...Jim Ross!!
In a ladies tag match, Victoria and Jazz took on Molly Holly and Jacqueline. This had the makings of an excellent match with two excellent wrestlers (Molly and Jacquie) and three very powerful women (Victoria, Jazz and Jacquie) involved. This one was spiced a little by the antipathy between Victoria and her thuggish partner. In fact, after Jazz won the match, the two heels came close to going at it themselves.
In a backstage interview, Booker T told Terri that Goldust is recovering from his electrocution at the hands of HHH anc Company, but may have suffered some neurological damage. Booker commented that Goldust is his friend and when you mess with his friends, you mess with him. He is looking forward to his tag team match later with Scott Steiner against HHH and Batista.
In another part of the backstage area, the villains of this story were watching on a monitor. They joked about Goldust's condition, then discussed how they plan to make sure that Scott Steiner doesn't make it to his title match this Sunday.
Back at the announce table, JR and the King aired a video tribute to the late Curt Hennig and talked about his life and career.
In a taped segment it is revealed that after his loss last week, D'Lo Brown was set up by Teddy Long and attacked by the former "Red Dawg" now known as Rodney Mack. Long has replaced Brown with this new protégé, who was here to take on Al Snow tonight - or "Whitey", as Long referred to him. The match was pretty good, but Snow lost it in the end after missing a moonsault.
In the back, Chris Jericho and Christian were happy about their upcoming match against HBK and Jeff Hardy.
That match was next and started as soon and the good guys hit the ring together. Just minutes into the match, Jericho produced a pair of handcuffs and managed to cuff Michaels to the ring ropes! This left Jeff to take on the bad guys on his own for several minutes. During this period, Michaels was also attacked and beaten with his own belt. Hardy held his own but the numbers were overwhelming him when HBK finally got hold of the key (after Jericho dangled it in his face then got super kicked!) and freed himself. He then cleaned house, hit Jericho with a second super kick (this time with a chair to his face), then left it to his partner to deliver a Swanton Bomb and take the pin.
In the back after the break, Jericho was throwing furniture around in his fury as Christian just tried to keep from getting hit.
Hurricane Helms took on Chris Nowinski in the next match and defeated him soundly after a competitive match with the Eye of the Hurricane.
Backstage, Bischoff was warming up for his "match" against JR later.
Spike Dudley was destroyed by his three opponents. 'Nuff said...
The main event was the aforementioned tag match pitting Scott Steiner/Booker T vs. HHH/Batista (w/Ric Flair and Randy Orton). The first time Steiner got into it with Triple H was what everyone was waiting for - and he didn't disappoint, manhandling the champion from pillar to post until Flair distracted him and lured him out of the ring. Steiner was then attacked and isolated, with even Orton and Flair getting into the act at various times. When Booker finally got back into it he took on Batista and stomped a mud hole into him in the corner. Then he stopped to doa Spineroonie and got clobbered. Steiner was right back in at that point and cleaned house. He chased Batista to the outside, Booker tagged back in, hit the scissors kick on HHH and pinned him!
In the "after match" Eric Bischoff took on Jim Ross. First he demonstrated (for those who might have forgotten) that he is a fairly competent martial artist, breaking boards and cinder blocks before JR came down and interrupted his demonstration to get the match started. Bischoff stated that it would be a no holds barred match - anything and anyone is legal. As his first official act, JR reached right through Bischoff's posturing and slapped him silly. That earned him an attack by the Chief, who beat him down and then positioned a cinderblock on his head! Bischoff hesitated then broke the block on JR's head!! This was too much for Lawler, who ran down and attacked Morley. Bischoff stopped the King for a moment with a kick to the ribs - then Morley finished the job with an attack from behind. Bischoff then let JR get to his feet before knocking him down again and pinning him. Afterward, he aped Steve Austin with a beer moment.
Sunday is going to be fun...
At least that's the way I see it...
Editor, Solie's Wrestling Newsletter
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Copyright 2001 - Jump City Productions