Dedicated to Gordon Solie
January 29, 1929 - July 27, 2000
In this edition of the newsletter we have John Cross and Matt Benaka with the latest installments of the Crossface Connection and This Week in World Title History, respectively, plus my own TV Reports and topical rants.
Next week I am going out of town on business from Monday through Thursday, so there will be no newsletter on the 28th. Solie's Newsletter will return with our regular edition on May 5.
This week there were a few notable World Title changes or matches. Jerry Lawler took a belt from a future phenom. Lou Thesz defeated Whipper Billy Watson. An actor-a real actor!-became champion. To me, the most interesting thing about this week in history is that there are multiple times that the World Title changed hands twice in one day. I hope you enjoy it! If you have any questions, comments or corrections, e-mail me at email@example.com and please visit my web site at: http://www.geocities.com/mrbenaka/index.html
World Title History for the week of April 21st to April 27th
On April 25, 1989 in Memphis, TN Jerry Lawler became a two-time USWA Unified World Heavyweight Champion at the hands of Master of Pain, a.k.a The Undertaker. This made Jerry Lawler the first person to win a World Title at the expense of Mark Callaway.
April 22nd of 2000 was unique for the ECW World Heavyweight Title. As I covered a couple weeks ago, Mike Awesome had to drop the strap to Taz because Awesome signed with WCW. At that point there wasn't someone elevated to become World Champ in his absence and Paul Heyman had to borrow Tazz from WWE. With a little extra time, Heyman found his next two champions. April 22nd saw Tommy Dreamer win the belt from Tazz in Philadelphia and turn around later in the show and lost the belt to Justin Credible. The belt had suffered some loss of prestige by being on Awesome and Tazz when they didn't work for ECW and even worse was Tazz losing in a WWE World Title match to Triple H while Tazz was ECW Champ. Regardless, ECW had their champion in the form of Justin Credible.
Speaking of two title changes in one day, the WCW World Title did the same thing on April 26, 1999. Diamond Dallas Page was the champion and he lost the title to Sting on Monday Nitro in Fargo, ND. Then Sting's first defense was at the end of Nitro that night in a four-way match involving Page, Kevin Nash and Bill Goldberg. Page survived the match and left the show with his second World Title while giving Sting the shortest World Title reign of his career.
Other notable dates for the WCW World Title were April 24, 1994. Ricky Steamboat had challenged Flair for the belt on April 17th and the match ended in a double-pin. Flair vacated the title and demanded a rematch. The rematch was April 24th and Flair walked out as a three time WCW World Champion.
Flair was involved in putting The Giant, a.k.a. The Big Show, over as World Champion on April 22, 1996 in Albany, GA. This match was built up to by several miscues between Flair and The Giant in tag team matches. With the World Title on the line, Flair cleanly put the big man over-something Hogan never did with the belt on the line-and allowed a dominant reign to begin.
The last morsel about the WCW strap happened in the year 2000 and was the worst idea ever booked for a World Title. Diamond Dallas Page started the chain of events on April 24th by defeated Jeff Jarrett for the strap in Rochester, NY for his third reign. April 25th saw Page team with actor David Arquette against Jarrett and Eric Bischoff. The stipulation was that whomever scored the winning pinfall became World Champion. Arquette pinned Bischoff and they made him World Champion. This truly made the belt nothing but a prop used to help promote Arquette's film "Ready to Rumble" which starred many of WCW's stars. I don't think the WCW belt ever completely recovered from this tragedy.
The Boston based AWA World Title had a squirrely turn of events during April. The champion, Steve Casey, had to enter the U.S. Army and Sandor Szabo won a series of elimination bouts to be recognized as champion in Casey's absence. When Casey returned he beat Szabo in what was called a consolidation match. Szabo came back on April 25, 1945 in Boston to defeat Casey to truly earn his recognition of World Champion.
April 25th of 1947 saw Lou Thesz topple Whipper Billy Watson in St. Louis, MO for the National Wrestling Association World Heavyweight Title. This was Thesz's second time to hold this version of the World Title.
April 25th of 1936 is kind of hard to explain. At the base level, Ali Baba defeated Dick Shikat to win the World Title in Detroit, MI. The complex part is that this win gave him the New York State Athletic Commission and National Wrestling Assocation World Titles along with the National Boxing Association and National Wrestling Association World Titles. The NYSAC & NWA World Title was then lost to Dave Levin a few months later when Levin won the title by disqualification. However, the NBA & NWA continued to recognize Ali Baba as champ. This is confusing to me as the NWA was a part of both titles, but the NYSAC chose to go with Levin. Only in wrestling...
The WWA based out of Los Angeles, CA had a World Title that had validitiy based off Edouard Carpentier defeated NWA World Champ Lou Thesz by DQ. The NWA ruled Thesz couldn't lose the belt by DQ, but L.A. promoters created the belt that would eventually be the WWA World Heavyweight Title. Then, on April 22, 1964 Dick The Bruiser defeated Fred Blassie to end his fourth run as champion. He would go on to lose the title to The Destroyer, but used his initial win over Blassie to create an Indianapolis, IN version of the WWA World Title with Dick The Bruiser as the first champion. On April 25th of 1981, Johnny Valiant ended The Bruiser's eight reign as WWA (Indianapolis) World Champ. A few years later, on April 24, 1982, Harley Race won the title. Race had won the belt on 02/23/1982 by pinning Bobo Brazil after using a piledriver. However, the piledriber was an illegal move and the title was held up. On April 24 Race beat Brazil in the rematch in Indianapolis.
Lastly, we will look to Japan and the IWA World Title. Rusher Kimura was enjoying his first reign as champion during 1975 and 1976 when he vacated the belt on April 13, 1976 because he was unsatisfied with a match against The Undertaker (Hans Schroeder) that took place in Sapporo. On April 22nd, the two faced off in Sendai and Kimura won his second IWA World Heavyweight Title.
Hope you had a good Easter. I did, with plenty of food, drink, merriment, and football-throwing. The kids were good in church, the wife let me sleep in, and the world spun correctly for the day.
Of course, Iím pretty sore today, but I never promised you a rose garden...
OK...I was reading up on some news and rumors at bodyslam.cc (you know, thatís a pretty cool website), when I came across this little blurb.
Um...Iím missing something here. No...really. You all need to help me here.
Maybe I am suffering from a hallucination. Maybe the moons of Saturn are in my eyes...again. Maybe this is all a dream, and I am actually a butterfly, still sleeping in itís cocoon. However, if I am not, and this faÁade of humanity is the correct reality, can someone give olí John a hand, and tell me WHY BILL GOLDBERG IS ALREADY COMPLAINING ABOUT THE STORYLINES IN THE WWE??
I think heís been with the company for, letís see, twenty-five days? Heís already frustrated? Heís that ticked off that heís not already Champion?
Let me think...heís already rumored to have turned down the idea of having the CHARACTER HE PLAYS (that kills me...that someone paid to act, refuses to act...) be on the short end of a beatdown attack from The Rock, who is as over as one can be with the fans. Heís already gotten into a backstage altercation with Chris Jericho over old WCW issues, and he is rumored to have demanded that he not job to HHH, should they meet in the ring (another rumor). Heck, people, throw the last rumor out (itís from my brother, and sometimes his rumors come from unverified sources), and it still paints a pretty nasty picture of one William Goldberg.
That picture, by the way, is colored "PRIMA-DONNA PURPLE".
What gives? I had always figured that Kevin Nash, Hulk Hogan, and Scott Hall were the biggest egos in the WCW locker room, and I thought that the rumors about Goldberg were a bit far-fetched, but, WHEW, this guy really thinks that heís that important! He thinks that he is going to come in and return to Goldberg the Invincible, the Pushed. He is acting as if he is the only paid worker on the roster.
Well, Bill, let me speak to you...short Irish columnist and conservative voter to muscle-bound gift to all that is professional wrestling. Please, take a seat and listen.
The WWF/E beat your fed, hands down, when you were there. You remember the time you beat HoganÖright? That was July 6, 1998. Your Title reign, in your precious WCW push, where you obviously developed this bit of ego, ended December 27, 1998. The last time I could find that WCW beat the WWF/E on Monday night was October 26, 1998. Mid-way through your Title reign. Day 112 of 174, to be exact. So, for the last 36% of your one and only WCW/World Title run, the fed that YOU WERE NOT IN was whipping yours in the ratings.
This should tell you something. It should tell you that you are not indispensable.
It should tell you that even with Austin and The Undertaker out with injuries, and with the McMahon/Helmsley Era storyline driving all the viewers insane, the fed you were a part of couldnít get enough viewers to re-take the ratings lead. It should show you that the ĎAttitudeí team, forged in the famed WWF Locker Room, beats the swollen egos and the Ďinmates running the asylumí-mentality that the WCW wore like a crown. You, Bill, are not the end-all, and I know that many people say that you are a great guy away from the venues of your career, but that isnít where it counts. It counts when you are a team player, and a selfless contributor at the arena, in front of the fans.
Look at The Rock, who is probably bigger than you have ever (AND THE ROCK MEANS EVER!!!) been. He is leading in movies, while you have played supporting roles (no slight...just the fact that he is more famous than you are). So, what does he do when he gets back into the squared circle? He JOBS TO BOOKER T and, more than likely, to you. The Rock isnít the most technical worker ever to grace the ring, but he works hard, and puts people over. Meaning, he LOSES when asked to. He isnít there as a simple replacement for things he finds more important, he is there because he loves it. You seem more to like the fact that you are portrayed as some indestructible forse, but that is all an ACT, Bill, not REALITY!
The fact is, BillÖ..you have to put others over, or people will get really bored with you. Ask HHH, who loathes jobbing these days. Are there many people that look with interest at him? NO...they show more disgust at his antics than anything. The backstage politics, the booking of his own Title run...the fans, and the people in the know where wrestling is concerned, think that sucks.
You have a fresh start here, Bill. Look at the truly successful people here, in the WWE, and decide what would be best.
Thanks for indulging me, my friends and readers. Had to get that off of my chest. AND...I wanted to tell all of you to go over to the bodyslam.cc wrestling page, and get a fill of news and rumors. Also, while there, check out the Bodyslam BLOG... You can get there via the button on the bodyslam.cc homepage. It isnít wrestling-related, but it isnít a boring place, either.
First duty, though, is to read the heck out of this site, otherwise known as Solieís Vintage Wrestling...the best site on the Web.
See you next week, for another Connection.
SmackDown! came to us on tape from Richmond Coliseum in Richmond, Virginia and opened with a video recap of the WWE Title contender tournament to this point. John Cena will face Chris Benoit on tonight's program for a shot at the title at BackLash.
Rey Misterio popped out of the platform floor and went to the ring for the first match of the evening with his partner, Tajiri to face A-Train and the Big Show. My, how the mighty have fallen...for A-Train and TBS, from facing off against the duo of Undertaker/Nathan Jones to going up against two of the smallest men in the promotion. This was pretty much a silly match. Oh, the little guys had their moments, but there was really never any doubt about the eventual outcome. Afterward, A-Train was ready to punk Tajiri but took a face-full of green mist. Misterio then hit a 619 on the Big Show to cap the action.
Brock Lesnar was interviewed in the ring and and was in the middle of expressing his respect for Kurt Angle after their match at WrestleMania when Vanilla Lice decided to come out and get in his face. Does anuone doubt that Cena is going to win the tounament tonight? Anyway, there was a lot of jawing about "respect", then Chris Benoit decided to get involved in the conversation. Some more discussion of respect, and then Brock ended the conversation by suggesting that they all agree to respect the wrestler who wins in the tournament final later tonight. Lesnar offered his hand in the name of sportsmanship. Cena shook it grudgingly, then Lesnar turned to Benoit. Benoit took the hand firmly and was immediately blindsided by Cena.
Los Guerreros came down for a one-on-one match pitting Eddie against Jamie Noble. As they were waiting for Noble to enter, Team Angle showed up on the platform and proceeded to distract Eddie so that Noble could slip into the ring from the other side and perpetrate a surprise attack. Nidia was there as well, and as usual, her attempts at interference were ineffectual. Eddie took it with a Frog Splash. Afterward, the Guerreros questioned their rivals' manhood, which resulted in a short brawl before Eddie and Chavo drove the tag champs from the ring.
In video shot earlier in the day, Nathan Jones menaced Nuncio in the backstage area, then caught the other members of the FBI coming in and laid them all out.
Next up, Roddy Piper came out for another edition of Piper's Pit. His guest this week, Sean O'Haire. O'Haire praised Piper as a legend and one of his heroes, then, dressed in street clothes, Jimmy Snuka showed up!! Snuka went directly to the ring as Piper cowered behind his protege. Snuka stated, "Brother, there is a problem here!" Piper told O'Haire to leave the ring, then took the mic back and went off on one of his rants as Snuka stared at him, then he extended his hand in "friendship" and suggested they "bury the hatchet". Snuka stood mute and refused the hand, then Piper tried to attack him, but Snuka caught him coming in and flattened him. O'Haire then returned and attacked Snuka, then Rikishi ran in. Rikishi ruled the ring for about 10 seconds, then he was blindsided as well. Piper and O'Haire left the ring but paused to look back as Rikishi issued challenges to both of them. O'Haire at the PPV - Piper next week on SmackDown.
Backstage, Sable accosted Torrie again and started undressing in front of her. And we all thought "HLA": was behind us...
Torrie Wilson had a match against Nidia next. Somehow, (gosh, I wonder how...) Sable managed to get herself appointed referee for this contest. Torrie's preoccupation with the appearance of his nemesis caused her to be easy picking for her opponent in the opening moments. Fortunately for Torrie, Nidia is as inept a wrestler as she is at interference. Despite her not needing any help, Sable ended up assisting Torrie in her win.
Matt Hardy (w/Shannon Moore) came down for a match against Brian Kendrick for the Cruiserweight Title. Kendrick started the match with a loit of fire and managed to dominate his opponent for about...maybe 6 seconds...then thing swung the other way for a while. After a couple of exchanges, Kendrick made a comeback and came close, at least once, to taking the pinfall. But Hardy came back with a Twist of Fate and finished the challenger off.
The next match was more or less a result of last week's loss by the Undertaker to John Cena and also the arrest of Nathan Jones. Little Guid...I mean Nuncio took on Jones, one-on-one. Of course, there is no such thing as "one-on-one" when the FBI are involved. He came to the ring on his own, but we knew that wouldn't last. Sure enough, the match wasn't underway for more then two minutes when Palumbo and Stamboli ran in to interfere and cause the DQ. Jones ended up on the business end of a punk job that saw his leg slammed between the ring steps.
The main event was the finals of the WWE Title contender tournament: Chris Benoit taking on John Cena. This was a good match. At least this time they attempted to show Cena winning the match legitamately, which makes sense coinsidering they needed to set up something that would look like a "real challenge" for Lesnar at the PPV. I haven't decided yet how that one is likely to turn out - though a win by Cena over Brock Lesnar for the WWE Title would be pretty ludicrous...
Chris Jericho brought his Millennium Butt to the ring for the opening contest against the Hurricane. This stemmed from the tag match last week wherein Helms pinned Ric Flair. This match wasn't such a tour de force for the Hurricane, who spent the majority of this match on the defensive. Helms finally stopped Jericho's progress with a flying DDT and turned the tables for a few exchanges until Jericho ducked the Overcast and came back. The match went into Hurricane territory with a couple of false endings - then MB dragged his opponent into the Walls of Jericho and made him tap. Afterward, Flair moved in and started beating up on Helms, then slapped on a figure four...four referees finally rescued the unfortunate young man.
Out back, a huge boat of a limo pulled up and out stepped the Rock, guitar in all - ready for "The Rock Concert II" later tonight.
Theodore Long brought out his usual racist rant and introduced the concept of a "beat ANY white boy in 5 minutes" for his man Reddog...uh...what's this guy's name again..? The foil was a local jobber who was never introduced to the TV audience. Long sat at the announce table and razzed Coach while his guy took the jobber apart in about 4 minutes. Yawn...
Booker confronted HBK back stage over his assumption that Michaels has it in for him because Book "mistakenly" hit him last week. He brought up a previous occasion when HBK super kicked him "accidentally", and called them even. Michaels played it cool and didn't reveal his feelings. Booker warned him to call the match "down the middle" and Michaels agreed that he could "dig that..."
Lita was introduced after the break and took the mic in the ring to talk about her recent rehabilitation regimen, and to announce her comeback, but was interrupted by Eric Bischoff who took over for Coach as the interviewer for this segment. He brought the interview to an early conclusion by citing the fact that Lita still has 2 months left on her rehab, and then suggested that Lita needs to get herself into Playboy magazine - to compete with Torrie's success over on RAW - then further suggests that Lita should "show Uncle Eric the goods..." That caused her to walk, which left Bischoff in the ring to declare that Lita is fired!
Test (and Stacy) came out to team up with Scott Steiner against the Three Minute Warning. Chris Nowinski sat in at the announce table as Steiner demonstrated in the first minute that he could beat the opposition single handed at any time before allowing them to trick him into a corner and then isolate him for several minutes. Test then came in and demonstrated that he could beat the opposition at ANY time, even tricking the opposition into hitting each other before they crushed him in his own corner. Steiner tagged himself in and finished off Jamal in one move. Duh...
Backstage, Steiner and Test had some words, which Stacy tried to ameliorate. Kevin Nash barged in on Bischoff and gave him some heat for getting him into the middle of the HHH/HBK feud. Meanwhile, the Rock was getting ready for his "concert" later tonight and told Terri so.
The Great One headed to the ring after the next break, carrying his replacement guitar for the one that was broken up by Steve Austin the last time he did this. Tonight he regaled us with "Goldberg on My Mind" to the tune of "Georgia on My Mind", of course. Mavia tried to convince the crowd that Goldberg didn't want to come to his hometown, so the Rock insisted that he come. He then introduced..."Gillberg." When Maivia tried to "interview" him - "Goldberg" was unintellable, of course. The Rock then suggested that he sing a song just for Gillberg. "The Rock Went Down to Georgia" was his final selection and he used it to insult the clown - then Goldberg pulled up in his own car out back and headed into the arena. Back in the ring, Mavia started to back away from Gillberg, figuring that Goldberg's target would be the "Goldberg impressionist" rather than himself. Meanwhile, however, he called a security detail to the ring and lined them up between himself and Goldberg's path to the ring, before he hurled a vile insult at the rookie star. Goldberg knifed through the ranks between himself and the Rock - forcing Maivia out of the ring. Gillberg then attacked the monster, distracting him from the danger returning to the ring in the person of the Rock himself, who hit the Rock Bottom on Goldberg then lit out to escape. Goldberg shook it off and headed for the garage as Maivia pulled out. Goldberg started his own sports car and then seemed to blow the clutch or something - he jumped out of the car and then took off on foot! Meanwhile, the Rock reappeared in the garage, watching his nemesis run off into the night and laughing...
Chief Morley came out to introduce the tag team that would take on Spike and Trish in an inter gender match - the Dudley Boyz..? Both Spike and Trish have had past teamings with Bubba and Devon. In this one Devon continued to balk at beating up their friends, while Bubba took the expedient course of acceding to Morley's orders. Kane and RVD ran in to rescue Trish - only they fought their opponents out to the floor while Jazz and Teddy Long entered the ring and laid Trish out.
Backstage the Rock encountered a stage hand and told him to get the ring set up for his "encore" performance. In another part of the building, HHH and Kevin Nash were observed in what appeared to be a civil conversation...
Maivia was back in the ring as we returned and launched into his version of "Nobody does it better (then me)", but then Goldberg showed up and cleaned his clock. Christian ran in and beat Goldberg down for about a 1/2 minute - but as soon as he left, Goldberg came right back on the Rock. Maivia eventually got the drop on his adversary and then worked him over with a chair for a while, before then turning and immediately taking off again before the monster could recover.
Booker T got his title shot rematch against Triple H in the main event tonight, with HBK as the special referee. In the ring, Shawn told them he was going to call it right down the middle - he would do his job, and they need to step up and do theirs'. The match started out even enough. But then Booker was tossed to the floor, where Flair attacked him - but to no affect. Booker revenged himself on Flair and still had the advantage over the Champion. Chris Jericho then joined the cast just as we went to commercial.
As we returned, Jericho was still at ringside, having been "allowed to stay" by the referee, and the momentum was swinging away from Booker back to the Champion, who dominated the challenger in his boring, methodical way. Other then cheering on the champ, Jericho stayed out of the fight. In the ring, HHH caught his opponent in a sleeper hold, forcing him to his knees. Booker withstood the "three arm lifts" but wasn't out of the woods by a shot. He fought back to feet then seemed to have things well in hand as he delivered a missile drop kick and a two count. Trips came back with a DDT but also failed to get the pinfall. Booker came back with a scissors kick and missed - but then turned around and hit it right. Two count again. Sidewalk slam then a climb to the top for Booker - only to be upset when HBK was shoved into the ropes. Finally, Flair distracted the referee while Jericho delivered a shot with the title belt. HBK didn't fall for it, however and Booker was allowed to recover and try again. Booker all but had the pin when both Flair and Jericho attacked him. HBK was knocked silly then Nash showed up and again took sides against HHH after the latter tricked him into harms way.
This Sunday should be fun...interesting that nothing worthy of a headline happened either night this week...
At least that's the way I see it...
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