Dedicated to Gordon Solie
January 29, 1929 - July 27, 2000
In this edition of the newsletter we have Matt Benaka's second World Titles column and John Cross with the latest installment of the Crossface Connection, plus my own TV Reports and topical rants.
World Heavyweight Title history is a little light this week. Nonetheless, there are a few interesting stories out there. Enjoy, and as always, e-mail any questions to matben@swbell. net and please check out my World Title History page at http://www.geocities.com/mrbenaka/index.html.
World Heavyweight Title History for the week of April 7th to April 13th
April 8th of 1990 saw Larry Zybsko defeat Mr. Saito in St. Paul Minnesota for his second and last AWA World Heavyweight Title. The notable thing about this reign is that Zybsko vacated the title to join World Championship Wrestling. Shortly thereafter the AWA ceased operations and only re-started a few years ago.
April 13th of 2000 was the date Taz defeated Mike Awesome in Indianapolis, IN to win his second ECW World Heavyweight Title. This is an odd duck because Awesome had signed with World Championship Wrestling and even appeared on Monday Nitro before dropping the title. An irate Paul Heyman insisted he drop the belt ASAP, but there weren’t any true contenders around ECW to become legitimate champion. So, Heyman worked a deal with the WWF to borrow his old star Taz for the night. Taz was loaned out and became World Champion. It was the first time that the ECW World Heavyweight Champion wasn’t under contract with the promotion.
April 11th of 2000 and April 10th of 2001 are interesting as they pertain to the WCW and ECW World Titles. On April 11th, 2000, WCW stripped all its champions of their titles and created tournaments to crown new champions. This was done because the creative team of Vince Russo and Eric Bischoff wanted to wash the title slate clean and start fresh. The result was Sid Vicious’s first WCW World Title run coming to a screeching hault. April 10, 2001 was a heavy day for the ECW World Heavyweight Title. The promotion officially delcared bankrupcy and Rhyno’s time as World Heavyweight Champion ended as the title was abandoned. At the time he was wrestling for the WWF.
A true legend in the form of Antonio Inoki wrestled the UWA World Heavyweight Title away from Tiger Jeet Singh on April 13, 1980 in Mexico City, MEXICO. I don’t know the details of the match or the rivalry, but these competitors surely put on a great show.
April 10th of 1947 saw Orville Brown win his 9th MWA World Heavyweight Title from Roy Graham in Kansas City, KS. This is worth noting because when the National Wrestling Alliance was formed, the MWA was one of the charter promotions to join and Orville Brown relinquished his MWA World Title in favor of being awarded the honor of being the first NWA World Heavyweight Champion. No one had more MWA World Title reigns than Mr. Brown.
Last week we looked at the original World Heavyweight Title match between Frank Gotch and George Hackenschmidt. This week we will travel back to the night of April 9th, 1917 in the town of Omaha, NE where Earl Caddock challenged Joe Stetcher for the Heavyweight Championship of the World. Stetcher was an offensive minded champion who typically took matches in straight falls. He was known as The Scissors King due to his dangerous leg scissors finisher. Caddock lost the first fall of the match to a scissors and body hold after 01:22:05 of action. Reports say that Caddock stalled much of the first fall and Stetcher was the more offensive minded of the two. Other reports indicate that Caddock suffered a fall from the ring just before being pinned and was disoriented. Caddock came out of his shell for the second fall and went on the offensive. After 00:36:00 of wrestling, Earl Caddock pinned the champion with a head scissors and English Arm Bar, but the referee wouldn’t count the fall because he had ruled that the wrestlers feet were off the mat and he ordered they return to the center of the ring. Caddock continued to fight his match through the second fall and finally used his dreaded full nelson to secure a pinfall at 01:40:10 of effort. This pin marked the first fall ever suffered by Joe Stetcher and the crowd ate it up. As was the custom, there were breaks between the falls and the wrestlers would go to their locker rooms until the referee called them back to the ring. As the third fall was to get underway, Earl Caddock was the only wrestler in the ring. Some accounts say that Stetcher’s camp sent word that he would not wrestle the third fall. The referee then warned his people that he would forfeit the match and title, but he still wouldn’t show. So, Earl Caddock won the third fall by forfeit and became World Champion. Stetcher contended that the referee never told him to come to the ring for the third fall. Some historians speculate that this could have been one of the first screw job endings in wrestling. It is documented that Caddock and Stetcher were good friends and this match may have simply been a way for the title to change hands without anyone losing face and ensuring that the rematch would be a big money match for both men. We’ll probably never know the truth as to the booking plans because World War I saw Joe Stetcher called to the Army and World Champion Earl Caddock called to the Navy. They would face off again several years later in what many people call one of the purest nights of wrestling to ever happen, but that’s for another week; it didn’t happen on this week in World Title History.
Check out these links for more information about the early days of wrestling:
He is also not that happy with the way creative is taking his character right now. He has also been telling people that he is starting to "feel his age" (which is 38 years old) and doesn't know how much longer he can go on a full-time WWE schedule.
There was talk at the PPV that Austin may take some time off from in-ring action and play the role of a character in a storyline. At WrestleMania yesterday, they were talking about something dealing with Steve Austin playing the role of Eric Bischoff's GM spot on RAW."
OK.....now, I wrote in the Connection from 2-24-2003 that I thought Austin's departure(s) from the WWE last year were selfish, petulant moves, driven by ego. He had been asked to do the job to Brock Lesnar, and he had balked. He had left the company earlier (right after Wrestlemania) because he didn't want to do the job to Scott Hall. This would suggest a pattern. The rampant stories of his backstage politics where Jeff Jarrett, Kurt Angle, and others were concerned added to my opinion. He had begun to believe the hype, I thought. He had let his ego grow bigger than the Locker Room, and the only outcome of that would be his departure.
Though it was a long process....longer than I would have let it be. Vince, desperate for ratings, had him come back, not once, but twice. After a year off, healing and beating back his own personal demons, the Rattlesnake came back. He was over huge, performing sparingly, getting over on everyone he was facing, and generally having things handed to him. Then, Wrestlemania, and that was where I thought....THOUGHT.....that I had been wrong about the man.
He put The Rock over at the event, and did it clean. You knew it meant something important to Rocky, as he was obviously moved by the move. Rock stumbled to the back, Austin was cheered heavily by the Wrestlemania crowd, and everything seemed to be looking up. I was suitibly impressed by Austin doing the job to Rocky, and I actually told Mike that I was surprised by the move. I had predicted in every column to that point that Austin would get the duke over Rocky. I thought that Austin's ego, and Rock's selflessness, would result in austin's push being continued.
However, just as soon as I had been rejuvenated with pro-SCSA feelings, I got the beatdown. The above article, to be specific.
Listen, people, because I am going to level with you. This is not because of his injuries. If they were, he wouldn't have come back. This isn't because of his age. If they were, he would't have come back. The real reason is because he isn't 'happy'.
And why would that be? Why wouldn't he be happy?
Four reasons. HHH, HBK, Goldberg, and Kevin Nash.
HHH is the present King of The Backstage. He has managed to script his own World Title run, according to most tales coming from the WWE locker room. Kane, Scott Steiner, and Booker T have all been pushed hard against him, and their pushes ended abruptly when they came in contact with his self-promotion, more so Booker T and Kane, if only because Scotty Steiner looks to be past his prime in the ring. Austin would eventually, as a face worker, have to face HHH in the ring, and the fact is Austin, being newly back, and walking on eggshells because of his past antics.
HBK is not going to face off with Austin, either. He's a face, and just about as over as Austin is, so I can't see them getting any in-ring action against each other. also, HBK is in with HHH, and any leverage in the back halls of the WWE would belong to HBK. Here's the proof of that: Name for me the people that Shawn Michaels has jobbed to in singles action. HHH and........and.......and.....uh, get the picture? Austin's chances there are slim as well.
Kevin Nash also has the HHH-factor in his favor. He is coming back from an injury, so he's going to be pushed. He has good heat from the fans, and will possibly come back as a face worker. Austin won't be able to stand against that. In addition, Kevin Nash is a true genius at political motivation in the locker room. With his allies, his return, and the rest of the intangible nuances that accompany him, Nash will have it over Austin in the pecking over. Add to that Austin's reported dislike of Nash, and you can see why Austin wouldn't want to share spece with him.
The last person in the mix is Goldberg, who is going to take Austin's position as the #1 face away from him. Goldberg is now the face foil for The Rock, he is now the biggest thing around Raw, and he is another self-serving egoist. He will be the golden child for a while, and he will be the 'untouchable' for a while. Vince's investment in him will preclude any backstage moves to upstage Goldberg, and that removes any chance Austin has to keep his position as the #1 face.
In my humble opinion, those are the main reasons. Injuries aside, and age aside (who has that stopped before?), I think that the egos in the Raw locker room are now giving Austin pause, and are actually the motivating factors of him leaving the in-ring performances. If he stays with the WWE, then you must know that is the reason, especially if he returns later to the ring. Just stay tuned to it.
AND.....stay tuned to Solie's, and bodyslam.cc, for all the wrestling info, news,and rumors your head could possibly hold.
See you next week, for another Connection.
SmackDown! came to us on tape from the Spokane Arena in Spokane, Washington and opened with General Manager, Stephanie McMahon coming to the platform and announcing a tournament to determine the next #1 contender for the WWE Title. This led right to the first tournament match - the Undertaker vs...Rey Misterio?? Whose idea of a "matchup" was that?? Regardless, this was a silly match. rey Rey strove valiantly to make some headway...to absolutely no avail. Oh, he took the big guy off his feet once or twice, and even hit the 619. But then his attempt to hit the Frankensteiner was turned into a Last Ride and that was all she wrote... After the match, UT came back into the ring and helped Misterio to his feet.
Backstage, Mr. McMahon looked much the worse for wear from his WrestleMania match. He was sporting a big bandaid on his forehead and was limping. he instructed a stagehand to inform him immediately the moment that Hulk Hogan walked in the door.
Brian Kendricks took on Jamie Noble, and for the second week in a row...Noble lost - looks like he's on another losing streak...
A video recap of the Brock Lesnar/Kurt Angle battle at WrestleMania ended with the revelation that Angle will be out for a while and that Lesnar suffered a concussion from his botched Shooting Star Press.
The second World Title Tournament match featured Chris Benoit against the A-Train. Now this is more like it. A-Train dominated this contest via sheer power, and a strategy of attacking the smaller man's previously injured neck. A series of three German suplexes finally brought Benoit the advantage. he followed with his swan dive head butt and got a two count, then a second one. A-Train came back with a set-up for the Derailer, but Benoit turned it into the Crossface. A-Train struggled to his feet and almost escaped, but Benoit grabbed the hold again and A-Train tapped out.
Backstage, McMahon was on the phone when his daughter interrupted him. She asked him what he was doing here tonight. He replied that he was going to do something in the ring with Hogan, that he should have done a long time ago. She expressed the desire that he not do anything he would regret. He thanked her for that sentiment. She left, he started dialing his phone as we cut to commercial.
What is with Sean O'Haire? How long has this promo thing been going on now, 6 months?
Vanilla Lice came to the ring for a match against Eddie Guerrero for a shot in the tournament. Cena was all over Guerrero from the opening bell, trying to get that edge. He got a little to rushed, however, and rammed himself into the corner to pass over the advantage. Eddie dominated the next several exchanges but Cena came back with the Electric hair, then pulled a chain out of his pants. His chain shot missed and the weapon was in Guerrero's hand's as the referee got hold of it and removed it from the ring. That distraction was enough to throw Eddie off his stride. Moments later he succumbed to a Death Valley Driver.
Hulk Hogan arrived out back with his son and Jimmy Hart in tow.
Torrie Wilson came to the ring to thank the fans for making her Playboy issue a success. She teased the idea of disrobing for the crowd, then Sable showed up! Torrie stared daggers at her as the former WWF Diva approached the ring. Sable acted like she was the second coming or something, went "chest to chest" with Torrie, then kissed her lightly on the mouth before flouncing away. Sorry, folks, I don't see the comparison. Next to Torrie, Sable looks like the overblown, overly made up, surgically enhanced floozy she is. Did you ever notice how skinny her legs are? Give me Torrie any day, or even Dawn Marie...
Tajiri and Funaki took on Team Angle in a non-title match. Tajiri was really spectacular in this match, while Funaki was less impressive...and got pinned in the end.
Backstage, the FBI were headed down the hall to have a "little sit-down" with the Undertaker...huh?
Vanilla Spice admitted backstage that his chances against the Undertaker next week seem slim, but he rapped himself into thinking he will win. Why do I think that Cena will end up being the winner of this "tournament"? FBI had their talk with UT, which didn't go all that well. They tried to talk UT into backing away from his friend, Nathan Jones. The Dead Man wasn't buying it, and when Jones showed up to watch his back, the FBI were the ones who backed away...
The Big Show vs. Rhino Title Tourney match was spoiled by A-Train coming out and interfering, causing Big Show to be disqualified, and Rhino to advance in the tournament.
Vince McMahon came to the ring and talked about his loss at thge PPV, then called Hulk Hogan to the ring. Hogan came out then entered the ring cautiously and was as surprised as the rest of us when McMahon apologized to him then offered his hand in friendship. Hogan was eventually persuaded to shake Vince's hand, then, as his music welled up, he signaled for it to stop - looked McMahon in the eye and said, "Thank you." Vince returned the thanks and then changed his tune, telling Hogan and the crowd that this was going to be the last time Hogan appears in a WWE ring because he intends to buy out Hogan's contract and force him out of competition! With Hogan sitting at home, Vince contended, Hulkamania will wither and die. He then told Hogan that if he doesn't like it, they could meet in the parking lot. Hogan followed Vince out to the parking area, where a phalanx of police officer placed themselves between the two men. Hogan eventually allowed himself to be talked into getting back into his car with his son and Jimmy Hart. As they drove off, Vince yelled after them, "Stay out of my life, Hogan!!"
In the first match, Trish Stratus defended her newly won title against arch-rival Jazz. This was a pretty brutal match which saw Trish take it pretty steadily in the beginning of the contest. She made her comeback later, mostly via punches and kicks, and won it via Stratusfaction.
The Rock stormed into Eric Bischoff's office and declared that he was going to call Goldberg out tonight and whip his butt. meanwhile, Rob Van Dam and Kane talked over how awesome it is the be the Tag Team Champs, RVD telling Kane the "everything is cool when you listen to RVD". In another part of the building, Teddy Long was whispering reverse racist nothings in the disgruntled ears of Jazz.
The Rock saw Trish cooling down from her match with Jazz and decided that the real reason she was hit was because of seeing the Rock. Jeff Hardy came to Trish's defense with some disparaging words about Maivia's experience last week with Goldberg, and ended up agreeing to a match with Maivia for tonight.
RVD took on Chief Morley in a singles match, but was hampered by the presence of Lance Storm at ringside. He lost the match thanks to Storm's interference, but managed to escape the apres-match beat down.
Chris Nowinski took on Scott Steiner...again. And lost...again, this time without ever actually getting to the ring.
In the back, Goldberg arrived...
Backstage, Christian approached the Rock and asked him to autograph his Scorpion King DVD. Maivia gave him the autographed and then advised him that he needs to "seize the day" more to turn his fortunes around. Christian stated that he intends to become "Born-Again Christian" (cute...) The Rock tells him to watch what he does later tonight to Jeff Hardy and Goldberg.
In fact, Jeff gave the Rock a pretty good run for his money, even laying his own version of the People's Elbow on the People's Jerk at one point. Hardy finally went down to the Rock Bottom. Maivia then started a rant on Goldberg, who promptly appeared and came to the ring. After some initial jawing, Maivia backed off and left the ring, then Christian ran in from the crowd, and was laid out. The Rock snuck back into the ring and hit Goldberg from behind to no affect. Goldberg screamed at him, causing the Rock to back off once again.
During the break, Terri tried to get the Rock to say why he wouldn't agree to face Goldberg at the next PPV. Maivia's answer? "Because".
The Dudleys took on Kane in a handicap match and beat him with a 3D after almost losing on several occasions. Afterward, RVD ran down to prevent a punk job, which also drew Lance Storm and Chief Morley to the ring. Both tag champs were punked.
Goldust tried to lie for "his buddy" Test, but his neurological problem kept causing his to reveal the truth. He blurted out that Test had Torrie's Playboy in his duffle. Test pulled out a magazine, but it appeared to be a WWE Mag until the fake cover was removed to reveal the Playboy underneath. Strike two for Test...
Back in the arena, Steve Austin's music started up and the Rattlesnake's pickup rolled into the ring area...the door opened and Bischoff got out wearing an Austin vest. He climbed onto the platform and addressed Austin, saying he was a has-been and washed up. he then called on Jim Ross, played video of his comments on the subject then challenged him to say those things to his face. JR came up on the platform and indeed told Bischoff what he thought of him - then he told Bischoff to shove his job...he quit!!! He then walked off, leaving Bischoff sputtering and trying to regain command of the situation.
Goldust took on Steven Richards with Victoria at ringside as Jerry Lawler continued to lament what happened just now with JR quitting. A few moments into the match, the Coach joined him at the mic. Shortly thereafter, Victoria was trying to decide what to do to help her man and managed to distract Richards so that Goldust rolled him up and pinned him. After the match, Richards and Victoria had a little disagreement, which Goldust helped along by knocking their heads together.
Backstage, HHH and Jericho had a meeting of the minds and agreed to work together to bury Shawn Michaels and Booker T.
The tag team main event was a barn burner - HHH/Chris Jericho vs. Booker T/Shawn Michaels. HBK dominated the early going of this match almost single-handedly, but Jericho eventually broke through his defenses and then tagged in his partner, who promptly threw away the advantage. The Nature Boy came to the rescue of his ham-handed team, pulling down the top rope as Michaels tried to rebound and sending him sprawling to the floor. At that moment the camera switched to the back, where a black limousine pulled up.
The announcers were speculating about who was in the limo as we returned. In the ring, HBK was being isolated. Booker finally got back in and cleaned house for several exchanges. Jericho came in on a blind tag and had Booker on the ropes for a while, but then HHH tagged back in and again threw away the advantage. Booker rolled him up and pinned him!! Afterward, the three bad guys did a punk job on the good guys. They handcuffed HBK to the top rope, then Hurricane ran in to even the odds. But he was put down and about to be chaired, when Kevin Nash suddenly showed up!!! He stalked to the ring with a purpose and lit into the bad guys, hitting all three with his bog powerbomb. As HHH went for his sledge hammer, Nash turned to face him, chair in hand. HHH backed off and left the ring.
That was a hell of a show...
At least that's the way I see it...
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