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Solie's Tuesday Morning Report

Dedicated to Gordon Solie
January 29, 1929 - July 27, 2000

Steve Austin Fired!!!

Right....

Goldberg Appears on RAW!

WrestleMania XIX Report

Hogan Defeats McMahon in a Bloody match

Brock Lesnar takes the WWE Title back

May have been injured during brutal match

Rock Defeats Austin in a Surprise Finish

Trish Stratus Takes the Ladies Title

Kane and RVD Win back the tag Titles

#4 for the Fiesty Blonde

The Way I See It...

by Earl Oliver

Crossface Connection

by John Cross

WrestleMania Fan Axxess Report

by Brian Westcott

This Week in World Title History

by Matt Benaka

Volume 7, Issue 729 - March 31, 2003

In this jam-packed edition of the newsletter we have the first installment of a new column by Wrestling Titles Historian, Matt Benaka. Matt is the originator oif the This issue also includes John Cross with the special Wrestlemania installment of the Crossface Connection, Brian Westcott with an exclusive WrestleMania Fan Axxess report, plus my own TV Reports and topical rants.


This Week in World Title History

by Matt Benaka

The World Heavyweight Title in wrestling has changed over the years. At the turn of the 20th century the World Title was something prestigious with only one claimant. Then wrestling boomed and every region wanted to have their own stake to the World Title. This period saw the strap as an actual athletic championship that every man wanted to win. Time moved on and wrestling was revealed to be a staged event. This hurt the World Title because fewer people saw it as a trophy or championship, but instead regarded it as a prop. During this time the showmanship of people such as Gorgeous George really stood out while the World Title meant a little less. When the WWF went national in 1984 and wrestling changed forever, it was impossible for fans and historians to not realize that the World Title had been relegated to an MVP award for the company’s top performers. Over the course of the last 6 to 8 months we’ve seen the WWE take a renewed interest in the World Title. They even went to so far as to demote their belt to a company title when they elevated Triple H to World Champion on RAW. As the World Title has morphed in importance over the years, there have been many interesting stories that developed from World Title changes or matches. As long as Earl allows me, I’ll be bringing the readers at Solie’s a This Week in World Title History Column.

With Wrestlemania just in the books, this edition will look at World Title changes at the big show that occured last weekend. I will also look at a couple of the industry’s earliest World Heavyweight Champions. So, without further delay or explanation, I hope you enjoy my first installment.

World Heavyweight Title History for the week of March 31st to April 6th

April 2nd of 1989 saw Hulk Hogan defeat Randy Savage at Wrestlemania V in Atlantic City, NJ for the WWF World Heavyweight Title. The two men had formed a tag team named The Megapowers and were the top wrestlers in the company. Tension formed between the partners and Savage turned on Hogan to set up their Wrestlemania V match. Hogan kicked out after Savage hit his flying elbow drop. Hogan went on to hit his big legdrop and win the match. Many consider Hogan to be the 2nd WWF World Heavyweight Champion with Bruno Sammartino being the first. However, the WWWF had reduced their title to a regional belt before Sammartino’s second reign. So, with this title win Hulk Hogan became the first man to hold the company’s World Title on two occasions.

April 1st of 1990 saw a title vs. title match at Wrestlemania VI in Toronto, ON, Canada’s Skydome. The Ultimate Warrior was WWF Intercontinental Heavyweight Champion and Hogan was the World Champion. It was winner take all at what as dubbed The Ultimate Showdown. The two wrestlers told a good story with very limited in ring skills. The finish saw Hogan hit his big boot and go for the legdrop, but The Ultimate Warrior moved out of the way and in turn hit a running splash for the three count. Hogan handed him the title and took a walk to the back.. Many thought it was a passing of the torch, but The Ultimate Warrior was more of a brief interlude. With his win, he was the first man since Hulkamania was born to score a clean three count on Hogan and he was also the first man to hold the World and Intercontinental Titles simultaneously.

Wrestlemania VIII came from Indianapolis, IN on April 5th of 1992. The World Champion was Ric Flair and the challenger was Randy Savage. Initially, this was supposed to be Hogan challenging Flair for the title in a match that people had waited years to see. However, the booking changed into a double main event with Hogan facing Sid Justice (Sid Vicious) and Flair facing Savage. Leading up to the match, Flair played mind games with Savage. He suggested that he had had an affair with Miss Elizabeth, who was Savage’s manager. All this did was light a fire under The Macho Man. In a match that was better than what Hogan could have put on, Savage won the World Title from Flair by grabbing a hand-full of tights on a roll up. This win made Savage the only man besides Hogan to win the WWF World Heavyweight Title on two occasions. He was also the second man to win the title twice in Wrestlemania main events.

On April 4th of 1993 Bret Hart faced his largest challenge to the World Title in the form of Yokozuna. Yokozuna weighed probably more than 400 pounds and had a sumo wrestler gimmick. He had earned the right to challenge for the World Title at Wrestlemania IX in Las Vegas, NV by winning The Royal Rumble battle royal in January. Bret seemed to have the match won as he applied his Sharpshooter the giant wrestler. It was then that Mr. Fuji tossed salt in the champion’s eyes. A few short moves later and Yokozuna had won the World Title. Hulk Hogan came to ringside to help Bret Hart to the back. Mr. Fuji grabbed the microphone and issued an impromptu challenge to Hogan. Hart gave his quick blessing and Hogan entered the ring. Fuji tried the salt trick again but Hogan ducked and Yokozuna was blinded. Hogan knocked the big man from his feet, dropped a legdrop and won his fifth WWF World Heavyweight Title. Yokozuna’s time as champion was mere minutes and that match was only seconds long. Hogan’s win was his fifth WWF World Title victory and his third at Wrestlemania. Not since that day has Hulk Hogan been World Champion of the WWF during Wrestlemania.

Exactly 7 years ago Shawn Michaels realized a boyhood dream. The date was March 31, 1996. The location was Anaheim, CA. The event was Wrestlemania XII. The match was Bret Hart defending his World Title against Shawn Michaels in an iron man match. The premise was that the man who scored the most pins in one hour would become World Champion. Michaels had earned this title shot by winning the 1996 Royal Rumble. The interesting aspect of the match was that the two men didn’t like each other at all outside of the ring. Hart wasn’t keen on losing the World Title to his top rival at the biggest show of the year. Regardless, the match happened. The one hour time limit expired without either man gaining a pinfall. Hart assumed he’d retained the title because of the draw. WWF President Gorilla Monsoon ordered the match continue under sudden death rules. The champion was irate because he had Michaels in The Sharpshooter when the time limit expired on the match and he was confident that he had the match won if not for the bell ringing and the suggestion of the end of the match. He re-entered the ring and after only one minute and fifty-two seconds, Shawn Michaels hit a superkick and scored the pinfall to win the World Title from Hart.

On April 1st of 2001 Steve Austin wrestled The Rock at Wrestlemania XVII in Houston, TX for The World Title. The Rock was the champion defending against the winner of that year’s Royal Rumble. Austin entered the match as a face and the story telling was that they were going to make Austin a heel even if he had to kill The Rock to do it. The champion took an inordinate amount of punishment from both the challenger and Vince McMahon. In the end, Austin defeated the champion to win his fifth WWF World Heavyweight Title. This was the third time that Austin had won the World Title at Wrestlemania making him the only other man besides Hulk Hogan to record that achievement.

While that is the extent of the Wrestlemania World Title changes during this time span, I’d like to include a tidbit from the USWA. On April 1st of 1989 the USWA Unified World Heavyweight Title changed hands as The Master of Pain defeated Jerry Lawler in Memphis, TN. The significance of this is that The Master of Pain would go on to be known as The Undertaker and he is still undefeated at Wrestlemania after last night. It’s interesting to think that Hulk Hogan and The Undertaker were both winning versions of The World Heavyweight Title on April 01, 1989.

With Wrestlemania history taken care of, it’s now time to look back at the origins of wrestling’s World Heavyweight Title during this time in history.

On April 3rd of 1908, the United States saw its biggest wrestling match ever as American Heavyweight Champion Frank Gotch faced World Heavyweight Champion “The Russian Lion” George Hackenschmidt in Dexter Park Pavillion in Chicago, IL before 10,000 fans. Hackenschmidt had won the title of World Champion after winning many tournaments throughout Europe and then defeating former American Champion Tom Jenkins. Gotch had established himself as the top American wrestler over a period of several years by fighting all comers and winning The American Title. The Russian Lion had assumed Gotch to be an easy opponent and a big payday. Hack had beaten his previous opponents in ten minutes or less. He was a muscular freak for the times and was accustomed to using his size and strength advantage to demolish his opposition. When they met in the middle of the ring, Gotch threw Hack’s game plan out the window by being evasive. At several points in the match Hack complained to the official that Gotch wouldn’t stop moving and wrestle. The referee told the champion that Gotch wasn’t breaking any rules by being evasive. So, Gotch drug the match out and made the big man carry his hulking body around the ring for much longer than he’d intended. Gotch used a toe hold submission as his finishing move, and he’d broken several legs in his effort to gain submission victories. Hack was well aware of this move and, at the end of the first fall, the champion was about to be caught in the feared toe hold. Rather than face the pain, the champion surrendered the fall before he could be injured after two hours and three minutes of battle. Many reports say Gotch was surprised at the champion’s actions, but a fall was a fall. After a ten minute rest period, the champion refused to continue the match and forfeited his World Heavyweight Title to a young wrestler from Humbolt, Iowa. Frank Gotch, one of the best wrestlers of the last century, wrestled the best wrestler in the world on that day and after more than two hours he was the best wrestler in the world. Hackenschmidt’s camp claimed foul play in the loss to Gotch. They claimed that Gotch won with unfair tactics such as oiling his body and rough ring tactics like gouging and punching. Lastly, the claimed that the young Iowan used verbal taunts in his win. There was never any proof of oiling, but both men fought the match rough and Gotch was a cocky talked in the ring. Apparently he taunted the champion by telling him he was going him without the championship and questioning his ability to wrestle. Sandow’s Historic Photographs of Bodybuilders site quotes Gotch as saying, “Show us those great moves you told the press boys about!” and his comment demoralized the champion and made him lose focus. The same site reports that the champ was tormented by Gotch’s “ever-present smile.” It sounds like The Russian Lion lost to a superior athlete and then found every manner of explanation except that he had underestimated the American Champion. At the end of the day, Frank Gotch was World Heavyweight Champion and would remain so until 1913 when he retired as the Undisputed World Heavyweight Champion. The significance of Gotch’s win over Hackenschmidt is that Gotch’s World Title is the one wrestling promotion such us WWE, WCW, and NWA have tried to tie their World Titles to over the years. Gotch’s win brought the World Title to America and it’s been here ever since in some form.

That concludes my first installment of World Title Flashbacks. If you have any questions or comments, sendthem to matben@swbell.net. If you would like to learn more about various World Titles, check out my World Title site.


Wrestling legends to attend the Professional Wrestling Hall of Fame 2003
Induction May 17th in Schenectady, New York

Class of 2003 Inductees the Fabulous Moolah, Nick Bockwinkel and Walter "Killer" Kowalski along with the PWHF New York State Award winner Dick "The Destroyer" Beyers will be in attendance. Joining their colleagues will be Mae Young, Francine, Ida Mae Martinez, George "the Animal" Steele, Dominic Denucci, Baron Scicluna, "Butcher" Paul Vachon, Ox Baker, "Irish" Davey O'Hannon, Doink the Clown, Hillbilly Cousin Luke, Demolition Ax, Johnny Rodz, Johnny Valiant and Billy Two Rivers with more to be added. For information on the 2003 Induction Weekend contact Tony Vellano at (518)356-3473, e-mail tvellano@msn.com or Mike Capano at (518)725-5272, mcapano@nycap.rr.com . You can also visit www.pwhf.org

Crossface Connection

by John Cross

Good PPV, don't you think?

I would tend to agree that this Wrestlemania was the best PPV since the Wrestlemania of 2001, which was a real gem. There was no slow match.

I think that the Miller Catfight part was stupid, but they have to put some time into the show for bathroom breaks. That has to come with the Terri-Torrie, I am afraid.

Just some notes from the event, in order of occurance:

So, there you go. I'm still embroiled in the War coverage, but I allowed reality to become somewhat suspended last night. If felt nice. I think I'll watch Raw, and hope it gets better.

I left a link to my weblog over at bodyslam.cc (the url is ). Come over and take a read. Of course, if you want to stick to wrestling, the news and rumors are updated every weekday at around noon at bodyslam.cc. Solie's has you covered in about every other wrestling-related subject.

See you next week for another Connection.


The Way I See It...

by Earl Oliver

SmackDown! came to us on tape from the HP Pavilion in San Jose, California and opened with a tag team match pitting Rey Misterio and Brian Kendricks against the Mattitude Boyz. Rey Rey and Kendricks lost -but i still think Misterio is going to take the title on Sunday.

Backstage, Hulk Hogan, his son Nick and Jimmy Hart arrived. Hogan sent his companions on to the locker room, saying he had something to take care of.

Hogan came to the ring in the next segment and ranted against the boss, calling him an "Evil Genius", etc. He ended up promising to show them a Hulk Hogan they've never seen before, and to leave Vince lying in a pool of his own blood...

Backstage, Vanilla Lice swore to call Brock Lesnar out tonight. In a later segment, when told of Johm Cena's boast, Lesnar shrugged it off like the gnat Cena is...

In a promo video, Vince McMahon was shown in training with Tom Pritchard and his son, Shane. Then we switched to the backstage area where Jamie Noble and Nidia came across a giant blowup of Torrie Wilson's Playboy cover. Nidia vowed to "make her ugly" in their match tonight, coming up next.

Needless to say, Nidia didn't manage to keep her promise...

Nathan Jones encountered the Big Show and A-Train backstage. They declined to start anything but tossed out an insult as they walked away.

Chris Benoit and Rhinbo took on the Big Show and A-Train in the next one. After a pretty brutal contest, Nathan Jones ran in and spoiled it. UT had to come in and save his butt...

Kurt Angle talked to Brock Lesnar in his dressing room, telling him that he knows that they are the best two wrestlers in the business, and that the match this weekend will be the greatest ever. Lesnar came back and told him he plans to walk ou tthe WWE Champ.

Los Guerreros took on the tag champs (Team Angle) and defeated them soundly. My money is on Team Angle to be the first ones eliminated on Sunday. I agree with Solie's historian Matt Benaka's comments on the Solie's Readers' Forum. It's a matter of one good team (TA) against two great teams (Guerreros and Benoit/Rhino). Once TA is out of the way, it should be a great match.

John Cena took on Rikishi and surprised this reporter by beating him with a Death Valley Driver. He then grabbed the mic and called out Lesnar. When Lesnar didn't appear, Cena took off to the back looking for him.

Cena found Lesnar out back and attacked him. While Lesnar was preoccupied, Angle hit him from behind with a 2X4. End of program folks.


WrestleMania Fan Axxess Report

by Brian Westcott

Well, the WWE’s Fan Axxess for WrestleMania XIX was, shall we say, mediocre at best. It wasn’t great, but it wasn’t bad either. I’ll give you both the highlights and the lowlights. First, the highlights. The session we went to was the 10 AM to 1PM session. Those Superstars present we saw were Ivory, Jacqueline, Rodney Mack, Teddy Long, Lillian Garcia, Howard Finkel, The Hebners, Eric Bischoff, Chief Morley, Jeff and Matt Hardy, Torrie Wilson, Ric Flair, A-Train, Test and Stacy Kiebler, Nathan Jones (he was even bigger than he appears on TV!), Hulk Hogan (his set actually fell down behind him while people were waiting in line for autographs!), and the FBI. What was there: a large merchandise display; booths for the various sponsors (24 hour fitness, Silver Dollar Casino, etc.); A ring with Wrestler Q&A; 3 autograph stations; one large video game station that had a very big screen; various other small video game stations scattered throughout; "Tough Enough" cage (which the Hardys later signed autographs at); a station where fans could do their own play-by-play; Two picture booths (one with Jacqueline and Ivory then they switched to Teddy Long, Rodney Mack, and Nathan Jones, the other with FBI [Johnny Stamboli, Nunzio, and Chuck Palumbo] then they switched to John Cena and Shannon Moore.); and an information booth. One of the best answers I heard during a Q&A session at the 24 hour fitness booth with Lilian Garcia was in response to a question which I think was in regard to which wrestler(s) she likes best to be in the ring with. Lilian stated that they are all great, but mentioned that she tries to appear to be uneasy around heels when they step into the ring. They were playing the new Divas in the Desert video on several small monitors.

Both my friend and I had the opportunity to get our pictures taken with WWE Superstars for a $10.00 donation to the American Diabetes Association (a very worthy cause!). My friend, Lee, got his picture taken with Ivory and Jacqueline. I did the same as well. I also made two other donations for pictures with John Cena and Shannon Moore and the Full Blooded Italians (picture is attached!) We also saw other Superstars such as Rodney Mack (I got his autograph. Rodney Mack is formerly known as "Redd Dogg" Begnaud of NWA Southwest, not to mention, the husband of Jazz).

On the downside, unless you were early in line to get in the door you may not have had the time to get many autographs (the lines were very long). I was told it would likely take about an hour and fifteen minutes to get Ric Flair’s autograph. By the time we noticed the Hardys were signing autographs we were told they would not allow any more people to get in line for their autographs (a large line had formed by that time.) Given that the Axxess sessions were only 3 hours long you could conceivably spend most of your time waiting in one line or another for autographs. Most of the other lines were not bad (except the line to get in the door). The venue (Seahawks Stadium) was deceptively small (it was not on the field, rather they had allocated space immediately inside the main entrance for Axxess) Thus it was very crowded, and it was sometimes difficult to determine where the autograph lines began.

On the upside all of the wrestlers were rather friendly. It was certainly fun for us to get our pictures taken with WWE superstars. It is also neat to see some of them outside of their "ring personalities." While receiving much flak on the Internet with regard to his in-ring ability Nathan Jones certainly seems to be a great guy in person. As big as he is one could be easily intimidated by him, were it not for his pleasant demeanor at the event. Jacqueline was pleasantly surprised when I mentioned that I remembered her from her days as Miss Texas in the USWA.

It was nice to get to meet some of the minor players in the company, however, it would have been great to see our particular favorite Superstars (Chris Jericho, Chris Benoit, Kurt Angle, Rey Misterio, Jr., Lance Storm, Booker T., Brock Lesnar, Nidia, Jamie Noble, Funaki, Tajiri, need I say more?) Plus, it took us forever to find the long line we waited in just to get inside the doors!

Memo to WWE Front Office: a bigger venue would be greatly appreciated by fans and wrestlers alike. More autograph stations, which given the limited number of tickets sold, would have made for shorter lines.

All in all, it was an experience we’ll never, EVER, forget. Now, onto the event itself, WrestleMania at Safeco Field!


WrestleMania XIX Report

by Earl Oliver

Wrestlemania is on the air, live in front of a crowd of over 54,000 from SAFECO Field in Seattle, Washington and opened, after too much hype, with the Cruiserweight Title match. This was a great opener but had a disappointing finish when Matt Hardy retained his title against Rey Misterio due to the interference of Shannon Moore. I see a rematch later this week...

Limp Bizkit did their thing for the next segment, doing their anthem, a part of which is the Undertaker's entrance music (Rollin', rollin', rollin'...), toward the end of which, UT rode in on his bike. As LB "limped away" the opposition team (A-Train and the Big Show) was introduced. I guess Nathan Jones was too badly injured to participate in his first WrestleMania - this was now a handicap match. The announcers said something about him being attacked by the FBI on Heat - out here on the left coast, Heat doesn't start until 7 PM - whereas this program started at 5 PM Pacific time. SAFECO Field is an outdoor arena, so we could see shots of blue sky in the background at various times during this match. UT managed to dominate this one for quite q while in the beginning, but then the numbers started to overwhelm him. About half way through the match it really looked like his 10 year winning streak was going to go the way of all flesh. But UT wasn't done yet and kept coming back again and again. Then Nathan Jones showed up! He met the Big Show as he was barreling down the aisle and dropped him with a big boot to the jaw. Back in the ring, A-Train got one more chance to put his opponent away and muffed it. Jones was in the ring and in a moment, A-Train was on the receiving end of a Tombstone. Make that 11-0 for the Dead Man.

Backstage, the Miller Cat Fight girls met up with Stacy and Torrie (who have apparently buried the hatchet from their feud of a few months ago). Stacy told them about her new PR campaign, but didn't reveal any details.

Trish made the first entrance for the Womens' Title match, a Triple Threat contest also involving current champ, Victoria, and Jazz. To start the match, Victoria was thrown out of the ring, then Jazz and Trish went at it. Moments later, as Trish went out on the apron to mount the corner, Victoria tripped her and caused her to fall on her face before hitting the floor. Jazz and Victoria seemed to agree to eliminate Trish at that point - but then they fell to fighting each other and it became a free-for-all again. Outside the ring, Steven Richards tried to direct traffic, but was ineffectual. Later in the match, he ran in with a chair but bounced it off the top rope and right back into his own face. Shortly thereafter, Trish took Victoria down with a kick to the chest and pinned her for the win and the title.

Coach interviewed the Rock backstage. He wasn't impressed by the huge crowd, but was more interested in this being his "Third Act" with Steve Austin at Wrestlemania.

In a second Triple Threat match, Los Guerreros and Chris Benoit/Rhino attempted to wrest the SmackDown Tag Team Titles from Team Angle. This was a pretty wild fight, which I really expected to end in a title change. Toward the end of the contest, Rhino delivered the gore, first to Charlie Haas then to Chavo Guerrero. Unfortunately, Benoit was out on the floor and unable to follow up. Rhino wasn't legal, so Shelton Benjamin, who was, came in and pinned Chavo to retain the titles.

Backstage, the Cat Fight Girls inspired Torrie and Stacy to argue about who was responsible for WrestleMania, Vince or Hogan. After Torrie and Stacy left, the CF Girls continued the argument.

One of the most anticipated fights of the evening was that between Chris Jericho and Shawn Michaels. Classic older master vs. young lion stuff. HBK showed up in one of his old spangled outfits, pausing at intervals as he walked down the ramp to fire off confetti guns. Jericho stood out on the floor as the "Showstoppa" commandeered the ring. Early on, Michaels was up to his old tricks, lounging on the corner ropes, for instance, to show his disdain for his opponent, etc. Generally speaking it was catch-as-catch-can, move and counter move for the first several minutes, with neither man holding any decisive advantage. Finally, jericho stopped the action with a slap to the mouth, which earned him a header over the ropes and onto the floor. From that point on, for the most part, Michaels seemed to keep just a step ahead of his opponent until Jericho caught him in the Walls of Jericho out on the floor. He held onto the hold until the count of 8 and then rushed back in to break the count before going back out to issue some more punishment. Back in the ring, Jericho continued to dominate, but as he went along, tended to get cocky and showboat a little too much. This phase ended when Michaels caught Jericho in a DDT to put things back on a more even footing. What followed was a series of near falls, with Michaels getting the majority of them. Finally, Jericho made a come back and hit the Lionsault, but couldn't take the pin. HBK went for a Frankensteiner, but Jericho caught him and turned it into the Walls again. Michaels struggled to the ropes and escaped. Jericho took him down again and then went into Michaels' classic "Sweet Chin Music" stance, stomping his foot then delivering the blow. HBK kicked out. Moments later Michaels appeared to be ready to try the Walls, but turned it into a Catapult to the corner. Next they were struggling at the top corner, Michaels went for a superplex, but HBK turned in the air and made a splash out of it. Shawn went to the top again, but Jericho knocked the referee into the ropes and upset Michaels' balance. Moments later, however, Jericho was down and Michaels went for the super kick...and missed. Jericho applied the Walls again, and Michaels crawled to the ropes and escaped...again, then followed up with another kick to the face. Finally, HBK reversed a move into a roll-up and took the pin. Afterwards, Michaels offered his hand. Jericho took it then embraced his idol...before hauling off and kicking him in the groin!

Backstage, the infamous "referee in the pocket" character, Sylvain Grenier, knocked on Vince McMahon's dressing room door. Then they went to a promo...for Goldberg! He is going to appear on the next PPV.

Limp Bizkit performed another tune (yawn - sorry they just don't ring my chimes...)

Torrie's Playboy promo was aired, the the Cat Fight Girls were introduced and started to perform a {pillow} cat fight. Then Stacy came down, followed closely by Torrie to make it into a four way fight. The Miller girls had a very tepid pillow fight on the stage bed, while Torrie and Stacy rolled around on the platform. Finally, all four girls ganged up on the MC (Coach) and exposed his underwear. Another yawner...

Triple H and Booker T were up next in a contest for the World Heavyweight Title. This match wasn't nearly as interesting as Jericho/Michaels fight. When this match started, I considered it a mistake to relegate it to the middle of the card. But a little ways into it and I began to see the logic of this placement. Frankly, watching HHH's entrance is more exciting then watching him wrestle. These two guys spent an inordinate amount of time at the beginning just standing toe-to-toe and punching each other. Every time HHH went to the top, it was a mistake - evidence that he has been mentored by the Nature Boy, I suppose. Speaking of Flair, he was right there of course, and managed to get physically involved in the match on more then one occasion. At one point, Flair punished Booker's knee out on the floor, then HHH applied an Indian Death Lock! Booker made it to the ropes to escape, but now HHH was relentless, going after the knee, as Flair shouted at Booker from the floor, "Give up you damn fool!!" A little later, after fighting off the Nature Boy again, Booker hit a somersault splash, knocking his opponent for a loop and further injuring his own leg. He made it back to his feet, but his leg couldn't support him. HHH immediately hit a Pedigree, then collapsed on top of the challenger and took the pin by default.

After a really long promo, Hulk Hogan made his way to the ring to take on the boss in a Street Fight. McMahon started things with a slap to the face. Hogan immediately tackled him and started pummeling him on the mat. Moments later, Vince reversed the field and started pummeling Hogan in the corner. He badly applied a hammerlock, and Hogan pretended to be helpless for a while. McMahon worked Hogan over to a ring post and rammed his upper arm into it a few times. In a test of strength, Hogan fought back to his feet, but was kicked back down for another go at it. Back to his feet again, then kicked back down again. Hogan forced his way to his feet, and McMahon changed his tactic and tossed Hogan out to the floor. Vince went for a chair shot, but Hogan ducked and Vince felt the agony of hitting the steel post. Vince was rammed into the post, then took a chair shot and lay still on the ring steps. Vince was bleeding like a stuck pig as Hogan dragged him back into the ring, roughed him up and tosswed him back out to the floor. Hogan hit another chair shot, on the back of his opponent this time - then went for another head strike, but missed and knocked out one of the Spanish announcers. Vince used that distraction to regain control and pulled a ladder out from under the ring. After knocking Hogan back down, he set up the ladder between the two announce tables, then whacked Hogan with a monitor. He climbed the ladder and sat on top of it, mocking Hogan by holding his hand to his ear. Hogan was sprawled on the Spanish announce table when Vince dropped a leg on him from the top of the ladder, collapsing the table. The crowd erupted into a "Holy Sh*t!" chant... Back in the ring, McMahon went for a cover but Hogan kicked out. He tried again, and failed again. Now McMahon found a steel pipe under the ring and re-entered the ring with a maniacal grin on his bloody face. Before he could strike, Hogan hit a low blow, leaving Vince writhing in pain on the mat. Suddenly Roddy Piper appeared in the ring!!! He pointed to the discarded pipe and seemed to be contemplating which man he intended to hit with it. He focused on McMahon, but then as Hogan started to come to his feet, Piper turned suddeenly and laid him out with the pipe!!! Vince crawled over for the pin...but Hogan shot his shoulder off the mat! Vince went for the pipe again, but the referee had his foot on it. Enraged, McMahon manhandled the referee out to the floor. He grabbed the pipe as his personal referee headed to the ring. Another ref tried to intervene, but the French Canadian took him out then entered the ring right after Vince hit Hogan with the pipe yet again. Both guys were busted open now. Vince dropped the pipe and tried to batter Hogan with his fists, but Hogan started Hulking Up!!! Hogan threw the referee out to the floor then ran the classic number on Vince. Boot to the face, big legdrop, 1-2-3 (the third referee was back). Hogan will continue as a wrestler. Shane McMahon walked to the ring in a suit, apparently just wanting to check on his dad. Hogan parted the ropes so Shane could enter the ring, then he left.

One more interminable promo and then it was time for the second main event - Steve Austin vs. the Rock. This was as brutal a match as any these two have had over the years. They spent a lot of time out on the floor, where the Rock's strategy seemed to be to take out Austin's bad knee. What did you say? Which one? Well, in this case the left one. Mavia went for a Sharp Shooter early on but Austin made it to the ropes. While he was out of it, Mavia took Austin's vest and put it on. After some more battering, Mavia paused to celebrate, only to turn around and walk straight into a Rock Bottom by the Rattlesnake! Moments later, the Rock came back with a Stunner!! Austin kicked out then took a few punches before delivering s Stunner of his own. Mavia kicked out! Austin tried to remove the vest, but the Rock snuck in a low blow to regain the advantage. He went for the People's Elbow...and missed when Austin rolled away. Austin went for the Stunner - no dice. Mavia hit a quickie elbow, but Austin kicked out. Maivia followed with a Rock Bottom, but Austin still kicked out. Mavia stalked his opponent, who got back to his feet and foiled another Rock Bottom attempt - but the Rock went right back too it and hit it again. Then he waited for Austin to rise and hit it once more to take the pin.

The final event was for the WWE Title. Two of the finest wrestlers ever to compete in the WWE/WWF, Kurt Angle and Brock Lesnar, vied for the belt. After several minutes of amateur moves, the gloves came off and the fight was on. This was a contest of heavy duty blows delivered with regularity by both men. At one point, Lesnar rushed the corner and flew high to ram his ribs onto the top turnbuckle. Angle went right to work on them, then grabbed a modified Bow and Arrow to stretch the area and keep the pressure on. Lesnar endured the hold for quite some time, then Angle switched to a rear chin lock. Brock got to his feet and rammed his opponent's back into two turnbuckles to shake him off. Angle came back with a big released suplex then kneed Lesnar twice to knock him to the floor. Lesnar came back with a spine buster, but was too out of it to follow up. Both men were down as the count went to 8. Back on their feet and Lesnar began to to turn the tide with a series of tackles and throws. Angle came back with a series of four German suplexes. Angle stalked for the Angle slam but missed it, Lesnar went for the F5 but also was thwarted. Angle grabbed an ankle lock then quickly switched to a half crab to put the pressure back on Lesnar's injured rib cage. Lesnar escaped but was out on his feet. Angle hit a knee from behind then went for second one, but Lesnar levered him to the floor. Angle returned to the ring and hit a released German suplex, then followed up with the Angle slam. Lesnar kicked out! Moments later Lesnar connected with the F5 - but Angle kicked out!! Angle slapped on an ankle lock. Lesnar struggled for the ropes, but Angle dragged him back to the center of the ring. Lesnar the dragged the champion back to the ropes and escaped!!! Angle went for another Angle slam but Lesnar slipped away. Lesnar came back with an F5 - then he just sat there... He went out to the apron and climbed to the top rope and went for a Shooting Star Press!!! It was a spectacular failure as Angle rolled away and Lesnar landed right on his head!!!! Somehow, Lesnar came back with yet another F5 and this time took the pin. What did Lesnar do to his neck just then? He was leaking fluid from the nose and looked to be in a lot of pain as he tried to struggle to his feet. Angle got to his feet first and then helped Lesnar to stand before embracing him.


Raw came too us live from the Key Arena in Seattle, Washington where the show opned with a WrestleMania video recap and then went right to the Rock backstage. He was refusing makeup, saying that he looked just fine, thank you very much, then he talked about it being "Rock Appreciation Night" - and maybe he could use a little makeup on the "people's pimple".

Out to the ring, where the Rattlesnake takes the stage to talk about his match with the Rock last night. He said that Maivia was the better man last night and then called him out to shake his hand. He got Eric Bischoff instead, who told Austin that he'd been checking into his medical condition and had learned that Austin has some problems with his health. He said that Austin has a spinal deformity, his cervical cord is all screwed up. According to Bischoff, Austin's doctor won't clear Steve Austin to wrestle at this time due to the possiblity of a future injury. With that Bischoff told Stone Cold he was fired and that a copy of his termination papers are on their way to his home in Texas...via FedEX...

The Hurricane took on Triple H in the next contest. As the super hero handed out his mask to a youngster ringside, Ric Flair snatched it away and crushed it under foot. This distracted the Hurricane so that HHH was able to get the drop on him immediately. Helms put up a pretty good fight, but it was two on one and eventually he went down to a Pedigree.

Backstage, Rob Van Dam informed Kane that he had negotiated a rematch for the Tag Titles, with the stipulation that if they lose they will have to join the Bischoff Administration! Kane asked him how he could make a decision like that without consulting him. RVD just said, "Dude, we're going to win..."

This was followed by a Goldberg promo, intercut with flashes of the crowds' reaction.

Chris Nowinski took his chances against Scott Steiner in the next match. Nowinski was wearing a mask to protect some kind of facial injury. he said his doctor doesn't want him taking any shots to the face. Steiner didn't care and proceeded to whip the daylights out of him. He eventually tore off the mask then defeated him with a Steiner Recliner.

Backstage, Terri asked Steve Austin if what Bischoff said was true. Austin admitted that his neck IS kind of messed up. In another part of the backstage area, the Dudleys Boys were complaining about having to be part of the Bischoff Administration. Lance Storm approched them and let them know they were going to be part of the Tag Team Title match tonight, which had been changed to a three way elimination contest. Their job was to make sure Kane and RVD were eliminated, then lay down and let Storm and Morley win.

Meanwhile, Ric Flair encountered Booker T in the halleway and couldn't resist needling him about his loss at thge PPV last night. Book shoved him up against the wall, then pushed him away.

Maven took on, and defeated Rosey in one of the worst matches ever, So many missed spots...tsk, tsk, tsk...

Chris Jericho was bitter about his defeat last night, but he thanked HBK for a great match in spite of it all. he then announced that he planned to take out his frustrations on Booker T tonight. Booker showed up and they had a pretty even match until first Ric Flair and then Triple H showed up. Booker got punked...duh... Shawn Michaels ran out to help Booker, but fell victim himself. Both were on the mat, frantically trying to tap out as the scene faded.

Jeff Hardy took on Steven Richards with Victoria on hand to interefere and otherwise provide distraction. After several minutes of this, Trish Stratus ran down to lend a hand. With Victoria thus tied up, Richards was easy pickings with a Swanton Bomb. Afterward, jeff put the move on Trish again.

Backstage, Steve Austin said his goodbyes and left. Meanwhile, Test was on the phone with Torrie Wilson talking about her Playboy spread, when Stacy walked up. Test hung up, saying it was a wrong number, then called Goldust, who was lounging nearby, over to confirm his story. Goldust spilled the beans instead and Stacy flounced off with Test trailing after her, and staring daggers at Goldust.

The Rock approached the group that said goodbye to Austin and told them that even though Austin is gone, the Rock is still here. he talked about having a party after the program, and they cheered up - but then he told them they wouldn't be invited...

Another Goldberg promo aired at this point.

The tag Team elimination match was next. As planned it was pretty much a four on two situation, with everybody ganging up on the good guys. It looked pretty grim throughout the contest, but somehow Kane and RVD pulled it out. RVD got the pin on Chief Morley via a Five Star Frog Splash, making Kane and RVD the Tag champs once again.

Backstage, Bischoff was in the phone with someone, talkking about firing Steve Austin, and saying that he had one more surprise for tonight, saying further that "...the ink is still wet."

The Rock came down for his big presentation. He ranted at the crowd, he praised Steve Austin for his performance last night, then they played a video promo. Then Maivia told the crowd that this was the end, that they weren't going to see him anymore. In the midst of this, Goldberg's musc suddenly came up, and the man himself could be seen in the backstage area headed for the ring. Goldberg went right to the ring and faced the Rock, who asked him "whose next?" Goldberg replied, "you're next..." and the speared him. He left the ring, leaving the Rock with a stunned expression on his face.

Well, that was interesting...

At least that's the way I see it...

Earl Oliver
Editor, Solie's Wrestling Newsletter


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