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.
I'll be the first to tell you that my attention has been focused somewhere other than wrestling.
Not like the world is in a huge spasm over wars, and rumors of wars.
It is fascinating to watch the French and Russians scrabble to protect their interests in Iraq, and the rest of the world lash out, especially after 90 nations agreed to help in the war on terrorism, to appease Hussein.
However, that is not the tragedy that I wanted to talk about with you. I am a wrestling columnist, not a UN Inspector.
Not that the news running about the WWE is necessarily all good, either. Booker T getting a Title shot is good, but this angle is leaving a bad taste in my mouth, for whatever reason. Probably the thinly veiled racist overtones, which again solidify my opinion that the writers on Raw are screwed-up idiots, to be polite about it. I think that the storylines around the fed are slowly starting to coalesce.
However, the WWE has been besieged with injuries. The worst of these is the one to Kurt Angle.
I went over some of the ramifications of these injuries in the Crossface Report, and went over the inopportune injuries to Batista and Randy Orton. However, I think that the Kurt Angle situation is the worst, both personally and for the WWE.
Kurt was, heel or face, in the middle of the biggest push he has had since the middle of 2001. Then, it was because Rock, 'Taker, HHH, and others were out with injuries, movies, or other reasons. Angle had to carry the load as the top face in the fed, and he did so, working hard, and getting awarded with the WWF Title. Of course, he jobbed it away, and turned heel, but it remains that they guy has done what the WWE has asked of him.
Now, his current WWE Title run has been a showcase of how to be a heel (though I can't say I like my favorite wrestler being a cowardly wimp), complete with the running away, sneak attacks, sacrificing of his allies to his enemies' rage, and hysterical rants. He is doing everything a top heel should, in the mold of Roddy Piper and HHH. Then, he gets injured.
All the momentum he had created is suddenly beached, wallowing in the unfortunate shallows of human frailty. The characters in the WWE are, as the Wrestlemania commercial says, 'Immortals', and the injuries, when not scripted, leave us in the lurch. However, no one is going to be in the lurch more than Kurt Angle himself, who has been rewarded for his hard work with a year-long rehab schedule. Sure, he gets to spend time with his new daughter, but at what cost?
All the build-up for WrestleMania's Main Event is shot. A new challenger has to be found, or we'll have a rather unconventional Wrestlemania, won't we? Lesnar will have to find an opponent, like 'Taker, or Goldberg (?), or someone that can generate sufficient heat, while simultaneously being able to work effectively against Lesnar in that forum. Add to that the difficulties in re-constructing a salient feud in two weeks. I don't know. Angle was the best in the Smackdown fed for generating heat.....I have no idea who they can find to fill that slot.;
And, the upcoming year is in question. There is no top heel in the Smackdown group that can adequately replace Kurt Angle. He is without peer in the heel department. I'm sure Nathan Jones will be pushed against the Undertaker, then against Lesnar, but that guy needed the time to mature and gel. Rushing him to the front line might pose problems, especially if the rumors about his sub-par in-ring performance prove to be true.
However, this is what makes Vince so uncanny. He has been able, most of the time, to gather himself during times of adversity, and make lemonade, so to speak. I'll be curious to see what he can produce from this upsetting of his apple cart.
Maybe applesauce? Let's see if he let's Hogan beat him at WM19.
OK, I'm going to be gone next week, as I am in a bagpipe band, and Monday is St. Patrick's Day. As you can imagine, I'll be busier than a one-legged man in a butt-kicking contest. Suffice to say, I'll report back to you on the issues of my survival on the 24th.
See you over on bodyslam.cc.....if you know what's good for you...mwahahahahaaaa!
See you in TWO weeks, for another Connection
SmackDown! came to us on tape from the Arena at Harbor Yard in Bridgeport, Connecticut and opened with a three way dance for a shot at the Cruiserweight Title at WrestleMania. Tajiri, Jamie Noble and Rey Misterio vied for the #1 contendership. Two high-flyers and a ground based Noble. In the end, the hapless Noble was hopelessly outclassed by the two flyers. he got knocked to the floor while Rey Rey hit a roll up out of a vertical suplex and pinned Tajiri.
The larger members of the FBI (w/Nuncio at ringside) took on the Guerreros in the next match. As is their style these days, the Guerreros "cheated and stole" to win the match. Afterward, they were punked by the Eye-talians.
Backstage, Paul Heyman was understandably upset about his pending cage match against Brock Lesnar. Kurt promised to talk to Stephanie about it. After the break, Heyman burst in on Angle's meeting with Stephanie but then broke down in tears. he was ejected, then Angle tried to put his plan into action - attempting to seduce Stephanie into changing her mind. It didn't work - in fact, Steph decided to add a stip to the match. If Heyman loses, Angle has to face Lesnar for the title next week!
Billy Kidman got a chance to reclaim the Cruiserweight Title in a rematch with Matt Hardy. Of course, Shannon Moore was on hand to interfere wherever possible. It looked like Kidman was about to get the Shooting Star and win the match - but Moore dragged Hardy out of the ring just in time. A minute later, hardy came back with a Twist of Fate and retained his title.
After a Torrie Wilson - Playboy promo, Nidia was interviewed backstage. Some footage was shown of her trying to invade the grounds of the Playboy mansion. She was escorted off. Back to the interview, where Nidia proposed that she and Torrie participate in a "body challenge" during next week's Girls Gone Wild PPV. In another part of the building, Hulk Hogan sent a flunky to tell Mr. McMahon to watch Hogan's appearance in the ring later.
That appearance was next. Hogan ranted against Vince, challenging him again to a face-to-face confrontation in the ring. Mcmahon appeared on the platform and once again claimed to have no problem with facing Hogan...but since Hogan is a "mere shell of a man". In the middle of his rant, Hogan interrupted him to the wild acclaim of the crowd of certified Hulkamaniacs, to challenge the boss to "prove he's a man" by getting into the ring. McMahon then ranted about creating "Hulkamania", which Hogan disputed. Eventually this led to McMahon issuing the challenge for a match at WrestleMania, with the stip that Hogan will leave the business if (or "when" according to McMahon) he loses.
In a taped segment, the Undertaker was shown training Nathan Jones in the arena before the show.
In the next match, the Undertaker, accompanied by Jones, took on A-Train (w/The Big Show). Before too long, the Big Show started getting physically involved in the match. Jones came around the ring and menaced the big guy but declined to engage him for a while. Finally, UT was about to win the match with a Triangle Choke, when Big Show entered the ring. This brought Jones in as well and got UT DQ'd. The two faces then cleaned house.
After the break, Stephanie ejected the Big Show and A-Train from the building, "for their own safety..."
The Tag Champs came down to take on Chris Benoit and Rhino in a non-title match. Rhino looked pretty sharp despite his 16 month layoff. Of course, he never was exactly a Lou Thesz or anything... As they went to commercial, the tag champs had Rhino isolated and were working on his neck. After the break, Rhino was still in jeopardy for several minutes before Benoit got back into it and cleaned house. Rhino came back in a little later, but in the end it was Benoit who put Charlie Haas into the Crippler and forced him to submit.
Vanilla Light is still ranting at Lesnar from the sidelines - yatta, yatta, yatta...
Backstage, Kurt Angle gave his agent a pep talk, telling him, "You WILL win this cage match..." Right...
That match was next. Lesnar entered first then waited in the cage as Paul heyman, still wearing a suit" came down with Team Angle. Haas and Benjamin went into the cage first, for some reason, and the match started as if this was legal or something. Lesnar dispatched the tag champs in record time, then allowed himself to be lured out of the cage so that Angle could attack him. Eventually, he fought Angle off and dragged Heyman inside. Brock wasted a lot of time yelling at his nemesis, which gave Angle a chance to climb over the cage wall and attack from behind. he delivered an Angle slam then Heyman went for the pin. No cigar. Angle then grabbed an ankle lock as Heyman tried to crawl out, but Lesnar held his leg and wouldn't let him leave. Angle then dropped that hold and engaged lesnar in fisticuffs while Heyman tried to climb out over the top. Finally, Lesnar fought Angle off, arrested Heyman's escape, then F5'd him for the pin.
We then went to the ring for Rob Van Dam and Kane taking on Christian and Chris Jericho - a great match to start the evening...but too short. About 5 minutes in, RVD pulled off a Five Star, but Jericho then ran in and hit him with a Lionsault as RVD was still recovering from the splash. he held the tights to get the pin. He marched up the ramp, all proud of himself, then turned back to acknowledge the crowd. As he spun back around, HBK was there to play a tune on his chin!
Booker T was up next - to make a statement, first to express his disappointment that the Rock, "...wanted none of this", then went on to address HHH's allegation that Booker was an "entertainer" rather then a "competitor of Helmsley's caliber". he agreed that he is an entertainer, and he strives to entertain the fans 24/7 - but disputed the latter suggestion. He recalled his life growing up fatherless and triumphing over humble beginnings. The he mentioned HHH's suggestion that he "dance" for him - and invited him to come down so that he could "dance all over your (butt)" or words to that effect. Ric Flair showed up instead and tried to put him down, and further stated that HHH had sent him out to inform Booker that he has a choice of what to do next week in St. Louis - 1) he can meet their plane and be their chauffeur, or 2) he can get his butt kicked in a match on the program. After ascertaining that Triple H was in the locker room, he hauled off and clobbered him, then headed to the back to look for the Champ. He found HHH in the john. Booker asked Helmsley if he had something to say to him, HHH replied, "Yeah." he then brandished a dollar bill and tossed it at Booker, saying, "Give me a towel" Booker handed him his head instead, and left him lying after slamming the door on him!
After the break, Flair helped HHH to his feet and they went off in search of Booker.
Meanwhile, Jeff Hardy and Rico had a match. Much to his bully boys' chagrin, Hardy managed to avoid their tender administrations and roll up Rico for the pin.
HHH and Flair were striding through the backstage area when they encountered Maven and a stranger. We couldn't hear the conversation because the sound went out at that moment - but HHH ended up hitting the stranger - then the sound came back and Maven said, "Hey! He wasn't even on Tough Enough, numnuts!" Helmsley grabbed him by the throat and told him to get his gear on because he was going to have a match tonight...with HHH.
Backstage, the Rock strummed his guitar and sang an insulting ditty directed at the Cleveland fans. The Hurricane showed up, as usual. Tonight, Maivia welcomed him, then challenged him to a match later. He then offered his hand to shake, then hit him with a sucker punch.
Trish and Jazz were supposed to have a match for the #1 contender status next - but Victoria barged in and knocked them both out with shots using her title belt.
Bischoff went to the ring and invited Stone Cold out to accept his apology for past mistakes. He even apologized to Jim Ross! he pointed out that by firing Austin from WCW, he was somewhat responsible for his subsequent success (a dubious claim at best). He got the Rattlesnake, but no acceptance at all. The the Rock showed up. The talked some trash - with the Rock at a safe distance, until Austin accused Mavia of being chicken. The Rock thought about it, but still declined to come on down...so Austin turned around and started whaling on Bischoff. Maivia ran down and tried to slip into the ring for a sneak attack, but Austin turned back around and Maivia retreated as Stone Cold's music blared.
Next up, the HHH/Maven match. This was a slaughter, pure and simple. Maven got in about two licks of offense throughout the entire match, then was Pedigreed and unceremoniously pinned. HHH tossed him over the top rope, catching his neck in the ropes. Al Snow ran in to free him and ended up on the receiving end of a Pedigree himself.
Backstage, the madman Bischoff booked another match for himself against Austin next week!! What can he be thinking. Meanwhile, Stacy was on the phone with Test, who stayed away this week. She got a little miffed with him when she discovered that he is already at the site of the GGW PPV, which doesn't happen until Thursday night...
Terri informed Stone Cold about Bischoff's crazed decision and said he liked it. Scott Steiner, seemed to enjoy the exchange, but didn't say anything.
The Dudleys came down, thinking they had been reinstated and had a match. But then Chief Morley showed up and informed them that they were still suspended, but that they could be reinstated...if D-Von took on both Morely and Lance Storm and won the match. he didn't.
The King hosted a wet t-shirt contest. What else is there to say..?
In the main event, the Hurricane brought it to the Rock, and almost lost, but not before giving a fairly good account of himself. He even delivered a Rock Bottom!! Which JR misidentified as a chokeslam. Austin showed up at the crucial moment, and provided the distraction for Hurricane the execute a schoolboy rollup. In the end, Hurricane definitely was given a boost by this match.
At least that's the way I see it...
Editor, Solie's Wrestling Newsletter
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Copyright 2001 - Jump City Productions