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.
This week in World Heavyweight Title History saw a some title vs. title matches for Ric Flair and Lou Thesz along with some record breaking World Title wins. I hope you enjoy it! If you have any questions, comments or corrections, e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org and please visit my web site at: http://www.geocities.com/mrbenaka/index.html.
World Title History for the week of May 19th to May 25th
Don Eagle defeated Frank Sexton on May 23, 1950 in Cleveland, OH to win the Boston version of the American Wrestling Association World Heavyweight Title.
May 19th of 1969 saw Thunder Sugiyama defeat Billy Robinson in Sendai, JAPAN to win the International Wrestling Alliance World Heavyweight Title.
May 19, 1981 was the night that Nick Bockwinkel was awarded the American Wrestling Association World Heavyweight Title due to the fact that Vern Gagne had retired as World Champion. This was Bockwinkel's second run as champion, making him the fourth man to accomplish two reigns.
Ric Flair captured his fourth National Wrestling Alliance World Heavyweight Title by defeating Kerry Von Erich on May 24, 1984 in Yokosuka, JAPAN. This ended Von Erich's one, brief time as NWA World Heavyweight Champion.
Flair had another memorable moment on May 19, 1991 in St. Petersburg, FL. Flair was the reigning World Championship Wrestling World Heavyweight Champion when he faced the National Wrestling Alliance World Heavyweight and International Wrestling Grand Prix Heavyweight Champion Tatsumi Fujinami. Flair won the match and wrestled his NWA World Title back into his possession for the ninth time; that eclipsed the previous record of eight reigns co-held with Harley Race.
May 21, 1952 saw National Wrestling Alliance World Heavyweight Champion Lou Thesz defeat Baron Michele Leone, the Los Angeles Olympic Auditorium World Champion, in Los Angeles to unify the two titles. The Los Angeles title was absorbed into the NWA Title and Lou Thesz is recognized as the last Los Angeles Olympic Auditorium World Heavyweight Champion. This was one of the last World Title unifications that cemented Lou Thesz as one of the greatest ever.
Matt Benaka is Solie's original Title Historian, having compiled the first 100 Solie's Title Histories in 1997 when the site was only 2 years old.
Watched the PPV last night, and I don’t think it was too bad of a show.
I write the same column after every PPV, don’t I? "Yeah, watched the PPV, good stuff, no change in the storylines, HHH won, blah blah..."
Why do I buy the things? Well, I didn’t pay for this one, I guess.
You know, I think that I get the darn things just to have a reason to spend time with my younger brother, Mike (we run bodyslam.cc together), and commiserate about the lack of closure in the PPV’s.
There were some things that I thought were good things...the Ladder Match was a pretty good exhibition, and reminded me that Eddie Guererro is, without a doubt, one of the best wrestlers in the fed today. I think Lesnar and The Big Show worked a far better match than they had in the past. The Bikini Contest was, well, interesting...in a PG-13 sort of way, and the Intercontinental Title Battle Royal went pretty well. It had a pretty good twist.
However, there were some things that I really didn’t like:
HHH keeping the World Title—I know that Kevin Nash is probably unable to work the amount a World Title holder should, and he has four moves, but having HHH win like he has for the past several PPV’s drives me nuts. He managed to orchestrate (and I firmly believes he has that much pull in the back room) a Title-retention again, putting Nash in the same boat as Scott Steiner, Booker T, and Kane. Also, the fact that he has to resort to such an ending (the power-bomb through the table) bothers me. Is he compensating for something? I think so. Either he is using such hyperbolic means (blading is the usual suspect in his matches) to insulate him from the locker room wrath for being such a political hack, or he is trying to supplement bad in-ring performances, because most people I have spoken to think HHH has lost a step or three.
Roddy Piper wrestling—My dad will be 69 years old this year. He is a great man, but has no business in the wrestling ring. Roddy Piper is a legend in the industry, and has no business in the wrestling ring. Flair looks good for being 50 years old, and Hogan does as well. Piper looks...well, he looks like my dad does...now. Watching Piper in that match was just about too much to take. Does he need the money? What else does he want to accomplish? Give it a rest, Roddy!
No Goldberg—Why? That completely perplexed me. Why not put Goldberg in some sort of match? He is a DRWA, Vince, and he may be the reason Raw viewership has risen by 20% since he started. Huh....that makes you think. Is he that beat up that he can’t work some sort of match?
Bischoff ‘throwing up’—If I wanted to see biological functions, I would go to the ER at Doctor’s West Hospital. I have seen simulated sex, urination, and vomiting a bit much on WWE broadcasts. I think it should go away...like Bischoff’s swallow of beer he spat on the fans. What a stupid thing to see.
Commercials—a big sticking point for Earl. I hate them too, boss.
Now, I think that Auastin is doing some very, very good things in his role. He’s funny, reserved, and following his character very well. I hear that he’s truly hitting the bottle, though, but treat that as here-say. When your character drinks a lot of beer, people think the person behind the character does as well. I don’t know about that. All I know is that the character is pretty funny.
I think the Women’s Match was a great flurry of action as well, but the best part of that was Jacquiline was in the match, and the worst part was that she had to do the JOB. I think a brand new JOB Squad is being formed, and I thin that might just be a topic of another Connection.
This is short, I know, but work and duties at home took the bulk of my time this week. I’ll give my regular props to Solie’s and bodyslam.cc, and see you next time...
...for another Connection.
SmackDown! came to us on tape from the 1st Mariner Arena in Baltimore, Maryland and opened with Vince McMahon coming to the ring for yet another rant against Hogan/Mr. America, during which he called for some individual or group to take on Hogan for him and end his career ("castrate Hogan", is the way he put it). As he continued to rant, he was interrupted by the entrance of the FBI. Nuncio proceeded to introduce the group (apparently believing that McMahon doesn't know who his own employees are), then showed some video of their past "accomplishments". McMahon seemed impressed, though somewhat confused by Johnny the Bulls "Italianisms". He invited Nucio to his office for a palaver.
Johnny and Chuck stayed at the ring area for Chucks match against Rikishi - up next. Rikishi dominated despite the Bull's attempts to interfere, but Johnny DID manage to distract the big Samoan and turn the tide...for about 15 seconds. Rikishi made a comeback and the match went into see-saw mode until Brock Lesnar decided to come down and spoil the match.
Stephanie corralled Brock Lesnar backstage and congratulated him on what he did to the FBI. She urged him to bring that same kind of brutality to his Stretcher Match against the Big Show at the next PPV.
Torrie Wilson came out to a tumult of applause to talk about which bikini she intends to wear for the bikini contest on Sunday. She previewed a powder blue number - va-voom!
Vince went to Stephanie backstage and told her he would accept her apology for what happened last week. She showed him two bouquets she received - one from Hulk Hogan, who sent a card wishing her well, and a second from Mr. America, apologizing for any trouble he caused her last week. She then turned back to Vince and said, "And dad, thank YOU for accepting my apology." She walked out, leaving Vince seething. He threw the two bouquets against the wall in his fury.
After the break, Rey Misterio was shown arriving at the arena earlier today.
Next up Matt Hardy came to the ring with his disciples to defend his Cruiserweight Title (finally!) against Tajiri. Tajiri gave a great account of himself, but of course he had three people to deal with. The distraction of the two outside actors eventually spelled his downfall.
Backstage, Eddie Guerrero added a mustache and goatee to his purloined portrait of Kurt Angle.
Stephanie encountered Mr. America backstage on her way out of the arena and thanked him personally for the flowers. She then kissed him on the cheek and asked him to thank Hulk Hogan for her.
Vanilla Lice came to the ring and begged McMahon to let him take the open contract against Mr. America, then went into a rant against Chris Benoit - his opponent in the next match. Benoit stalked to the ring and the fight was on. Benoit dominated the action for several exchanges then Cena turned the tables. Moments later he shoved benoit's shoulder hard into the ring post then grabbed a submission hold on it. Benoit was screaming, but not giving up as we went to commercial. Cena was still putting the pressure on as we returned, as Benoit struggled to his feet and used an arm drag to escape. But Cena was right back on him. Suddenly the FBI ran out to interfere - but were closely followed by Rhino and Brian Kendrick (Spanky?) who cleared the ring and rescued benoit from a further beat down.
Roddy Piper and Shawn O'Haire came out for another segment of Piper's Pit - with special guest (again) Mr. America. The American One (?) entered to cheers, which bothered Piper no end. Hogan lit right into him - pointing at his kilt and calling him "sister". They jawed for a while then Piper sent his thug out to take care of a flag waving fan at ringside. Thus distracted, Hogan was ambushed by Piper - but only for a moment. Hogan put him down then was attacked from behind by O'Haire, who then pinned his arms so that Piper could hit him. Suddenly the "fan" with the flag ran in and attacked Piper with it!! Piper knocked him down and was roughing him up as security guys tried to rescue him. Pipewr jerked on his leg and it came off in his hands!! It was a prosthesis! Piper was shaken by that and left the ring area with O'Haire.
Backstage after the break, Vince had some choice words to say to Piper and O'Haire - he was concerned about a possible lawsuit. he told them to wait where they were while he went to make a decision about what to do about the two of them.
Eddie Guerrero brought his bewiskered portrait of Kurt Anglo to the ring for his one-on-one match against Shelton Benjamin. Unfortunately for Latino Heat, Charlie Haas ran out and distracted Eddie causing him to lose the match. Haas then brought a ladder into the ring and the two of them lined up to mow Guerrero down with it. But Eddie turned the tables by drop-kicking it into their faces.
Vince came back after the match and told Piper that he would be the one taking on Hogan at Judgment Day.
Atribute to Miss Liz was up next - or what initially seemed like one - actually it was an investigative piece probing her personal life in a rather superficial way. Hulk Hogan and Vince McMahon were both interviewed on the subject. McMahon seemed to imply that Miss Liz's downfall began when she left the WWF, he then expressed "disappointment" that Liz and Luger allowed themselves to fall so far. Leave to McMahon - apparently never having heard the old adage, "If you can't say something nice..."
Sable came out after the break to show off her own bikini. Hers was black. Some time was spent hyping this Sunday's PPV program.
The program ended with an interview with Rey Misterio. He made an extended speech, then the Big Show arrived to drag him to the ring and attempt to punk him again. Misterio got in a couple of shots then was overwhelmed. Brock Lesnar rescued him.
A six man tag match featuring Vanilla Lice joining with FBI members Chuck Palumbo and Johnny the Bull (w/Nuncio), against Rhino, Chris Benoit and Spanky(?) (note to my readers: Brian Kendrick, with his present moniker, will always be known here as Spanky(?) because I can't figure out why anyone would use such a stupid name...) This was a silly match - the good guys put on a good show but in the end Benoit got himself suckered into applying the crossface on an illegal opponent. While Cena was struggling in the hold, Palumbo and Stamboli took out young Kendrick.
La Resistance (the French Nerds) took on Scott Steiner and his reluctant partner, Test (w/Stacy Keibler). The Test/Steiner partnership dominated the early minutes of the match until Steiner was suckered into dumping himself onto the floor. Then one of the nerds (they look the same to me) roughed Steiner up on the floor. The good guys came back later but Stacy got between them and ended up in Steiner's arms again. Test's preoccupation with his girlfriend rendered him ineffectual while the wily Frenchmen used a double DDT to put Steiner into a spin then finish him off with a missile drop kick.
Mild mannered reporter Gregory Helms ran into Mr. America backstage. They discussed their respective secret identities. Meanwhile, Eddie Guerrero introduced Tajiri as his partner to replace his injured nephew, Chavo (I noticed that one of the announcers on Heat referred to them as "cousins").
That match was next - Team Angle against Guerrero and Tajiri in a ladder match for the SmackDown! Tag Team Titles. Tajiri took a horrendous bump early on - he slipped through the ropes upside down and speared himself right into the arena floor. He bounced right back however. Of course, Tajiri and Guerrero both are veterans of ladder matches in ECW and WWE respectively - they certainly dominated this contest early on. But Team Angle proved to be no slouches themselves, showing some innovative thinking with the ladder in offense, and taking severe bumps like veterans themselves. Tajiri used some leverage moves with the ladder wedged in the corner that I hadn't seen before - more slapstick kind of stuff actually. Eddie almost made it to the top, pausing to fight off both opponents - then decided to throw a Frog Splash from the third rung instead of finishing his climb. Moments later Haas and Guerrero clawed their way to the top only to have Eddie hit a sunset flip off the second to top rung. Finally, Tajiri used green mist to send the last contender flying off the ladder, then Eddie grabbed the titles for them both.
Up in Stone Cold's skybox, Austin was unhappy with the way Bischoff drinks beer. Terri interviewed Chris Jericho about his chances in the IC Title Contest. Jericho insisted it was no contest, but then Roddy Piper showed up to argue with him. Never did figure out what they were arguing about...
Next up - the Intercontinental Title Battle Royal with the first WWWF IC Champ, Pat Patterson, on hand to hand out the belt to the winner. Val Venis showed up, as expected, along with Goldust, Lance Storm, Rob Van Dam, Kane, Christian, Test, and Booker T (the only one who was not a former champ). Right away the whole cast jumped on Kane to try and eliminate the most likely winner. They got him out on the second try. He jumped right back into the ring and started planting people!! Booker T eliminated Test soon after that and Goldust threw Lance Storm out - in no time it was down to Booker T, Jericho, Christian and Goldust as the final four. I began to see where this was headed - a possible showdown between Booker and Goldust. And it happened - the two baddies were off their feet and Goldust invited his former partner to do the Spineroonie. As Booker rose back to his feet, Goldust tried to grab his head and propel him over the top. But Booker reversed the moved and Goldust went flying. They touched hands as Goldust headed to the back. Now that left Booker to battle the double team of partners Christian and Jericho. They took turns on him until Christian suddenly levered Jericho out of the ring and eliminated him. It looked like a lock for Booker for a while there - but then Christian knocked the referee out. The fight went on without an official - then Booker eliminated Christian. Patterson got up with the belt to award it to Booker - but Christian flattened him as well! Christian hit Booker with the title belt, then as the referee woke up - Christian tossed Booker to the floor and was declared the champion.
Sable walked up to Torrie backstage and tried to intimidate her. It didn't seem to work. This led to an extended promo that wasn't nearly as obnoxious as most WWE hype :-) and then to the Bikini Contest itself. This was preceded by an introduction of the judge, Tazz and then Torrie's entrance with vocals supplied by Lillian Garcia. Sable came down to her usual music and Tazz made the introductions. Sable showed us an amazingly brief bikini/thong in tiger stripes. Torrie's suit was less brief - in black with pink Playboy bunny logos on it. The fans voted about evenly for the two of them. Torrie then grabbed off her outer bikini to reveal one even briefer then Sable's in pink spangles. She won it hands down.
Up in the Skybox, Uncle Eric, was getting drunk on beer and was the butt of Steve's practical jokes. Backstage, Vince McMahon conferred with Piper about his coming match with Hogan/Mr. America, telling him that he is counting on Piper to help him expose Hogan.
I have a letter from a a fan in the UK, who said that he thought the "False Leg Angle" was in bad taste. I told him I agree that it seemed insensitive on the surface, but that the young man with the prosthesis probably was having the time of his life - being able to enter the ring and be part of the show in spite of his handicap.
The Piper/Mr. America challenge match was next. Hogan came out with a chair and chased Piper right out of the ring before the bell was rung, then went into a rant. He introduced his corner man as the kid who was roughed up last week, Zack Gowen. Piper used a cheap shot to put Hogan on the mat to start the match, then had Shawn O'Haire beat on his opponent while he (Piper) distracted the referee. Hogan came back and actually revealed himself as he had Piper beaten down in the corner and the referee was busy with O'Haire. Piper came back moments later and applied a sleeper to bring Hogan to the mat. But then Hogan came back and they slugged it our for a while. Hogan hit the big boot to the face...then McMahon came stalking down, distracting Hogan so Piper could hit a low blow. Vince handed O'Haire a pipe, but O'Haire accidentally hit Piper instead of Hogan. Hogan hit the leg drop and went for the pin. McMahon tried to rush in and prevent the pinfall, but the kid grabbed Vince and held him back so that Hogan won the match.
Backstage, Stephanie told her ex-husband to be careful in his match tonight.
Shawn Michaels a preceded his friend, Kevin Nash to the ring to challenge Triple H for the World Title. Ric Flair preceded his man, the champion. Before HHH got to the ring, Nash ran out and attacked him in the aisle. Flair and Michaels followed him out then got into a battle of their own and were spirited away from the arena. In the ring, Nash dominated his opponent by the skin of his teeth until HHH downed the referee then hit Nash with a savage kick to the groin. HHH unfastened one of the corner pads before going back to work on Nash, he failed in his initial attempts to run Nash's head into the exposed corner, but eventually succeeded and followed with a Pedigree - but couldn't get the pin. He hit another Pedigree then pulled a sledge hammer out from under the ring. When the referee tried to interfere, HHH hit him with the hammer and was disqualified. Nash came back and delivered snake eyes to the exposed corner then grabbed the hammer. He didn't use it though - he and HHH battled up to the RAW announcers' table then Nash powerbombed HHH through it! Officials had to come down and help Trips to his feet.
Up in the Skybox, Bischoff "lost his lunch" -spewing all over the fan in the rows just below their position.
Trish Stratus faced Jacqueline, Victoria and Womens' Champ, Jazz in the Fatal Four Way Womens' Title match up next. As usual in these types of matches, there was always someone available to break up any pinfall attempt. Early on in the match, Jazz grabbed an STF on Trish then switched it over to Victoria. A little later, Trish went for Stratusfaction on Victoria but was propelled to the floor and landed on her face. Back in the ring, Jazz pinned Jacquie and retained her title.
The finale was a Stretcher Match pitting WWE Champ Brock Lesnar against the Big Show. Big Show brought his fiberglass stretcher to the ring and tried to use it as a weapon - but Brock wrested it away from him and used it on its owner. Eventually, the big guy used his superior size to turn the tables - then he got to use the stretcher (did I mention that this is no-DQ?) He got Brock onto a wheeled stretcher and started wheeling him toward the yellow line at the entrance of the arena that designates the winner. Brock rose to early, however, and a brawl ensued in the aisle. Brock reclaimed the initiative and used a camera cable to choke out the Big Show. He then hit him another shot or two with the stretcher before attempting to load him onto the wheeled unit. He got TBS on the cart but the giant almost immediately rose up and they battled again - now about 6 feet from the line. Lesnar used the cart as a weapon, but the giant grabbed it from the other side and and ran the champion into the ring apron, then into the ringpost. The giant had the stretcher again and slapped Lesnar with it a couple more times. Lesnar got into the ring and as the giant tried to climb in, he rushed him and sent him flying onto the cart! TBS bounced to the floor. The Big Show climbed back into the ring and suddenly Misterio was there! He hit one good shot to the midsection then was smashed on his next pass. Lesnar came back into the arena driving a forklift!!! He came flying off the top of the lift and hit a flying shoulder clock that lifted the giant off his feet! He then put an F5 on him!! He drove the forklift over to the ring and put the portable stretcher on it. Then he rolled the Big Show onto the stretcher and backed the lift back across the yellow line to retain his title.
The Dudleys were up next in a tag match against Three Minute Warning (with Rico). As far as I could tell these two teams have no heat whatsoever at the moment. The crowd occasionally cheered some of the power moves, chanted "Rico Sucks!" once, but otherwise sat on their hands. The Dudleys brought in a table and things got a little more lively. In the end Rosie got a 3D while Jamal was sent through the table. Rosie was pinned. After the match, Rico declared that he was walking out on 3 Minute Warning. The crowd didn't even react.
Steve Austin grabbed Bischoff out of a chair and offered him a beer! Hair of the dog!! This time Bischoff blew chunks!! At his own picture on the wall. Down the hall, Stone Cold told Kevin Nash that he will get the winner of the HHH/Flair match. In his dressing room, HHH told Flair that he didn't really want to have a match tonight, so he picked Flair as a friend who would lay down for him. Flair was under a different impression, taking the match seriously but not being allowed to express that opinion by the overbearing World Champion. This isn't over yet...
Chris Jericho came to the ring looking pissed and disrespected - made some noises in that regard as he introduced the "Highlight Reel" segment with special guest, Christian, who he first appeared to be ready to disdain, but then he embraced the new Intercontinental Champion - birds of a feather. They jawed some more then Rob Van Dam decided to interrupt the love fest and to get the crowd to chant "Christian Sucks!" He then confronted Christian and challenged him to a match for the IC Title. Christian not only refused the match but attacked RVD immediately. Kane ran in and changed the odds. Steve Austin came on the big screen as soon as it quieted down and ordered a Tag Team Title match for tonight, with Jericho and Christian as the challengers.
As we returned from the break the match was already underway. This match seemed mostly to be a pairing of Jericho and Van Dam, with Christian occasionally getting involved and kane not at all. For quite a while, Van Dam was isolated and punished in turn by his opponents. Kane finally came in and laid waste to the opposition. He almost pinned Christian with a chokeslam, but Jericho interfered to turn the tables and Kane was isolated. Jericho brought in a couple of chairs - but Booker T ran down and broke it all apart at that point.
Backstage, HBK approached Ric Flair and told him a story about how he grew up idolizing Flair and urging him to not lay down tonight. Flair asks him if he really thinks he can do it - Shawn told him, "I know you can do it."
Old Peanuthead brought his oddly named protégé to the ring for another "white boy challenge", and admitted that the opposition in the past has been sub par - so he is going to again ask any "white boy superstar" to take the bait. He got Spike Dudley. Long sat with the announcers and provided a running commentary to punctuate JR's play-by-play. Spike meanwhile proceeded to almost outlast the 5 minutes - he tapped around the count of two seconds before the 5 minutes were up.
Austin showed up in the GMs' office paging Bischoff with a bullhorn, then banging on a trash can as Eric just held his aching head. He told Bischoff he needs a woman, or two...and brought in Moolah and May Young and left! Bischoff promptly threw them out.
Backstage, Flair was admiring himself in the mirror as he psyched himself up for the main event.
The French Nerds took on Test and Scott Steiner...again... This time Steiner was knocked to the outside and Stacy was immediately "handling him". Test was too preoccupied with the match, which he was fighting on his own, to notice. He was out numbered and put away. After the match the two big men had a tug-o-war over Stacy's body. She got angry and stalked away.
We got to see the results of an on line poll on who people thought was responsible for the incident with Goldberg and the automobile last week. Most people name the Rock (29%) as the most likely to have done it...right...
Meanwhile, Stone Cold had set up an "Interrogation Room" and put Lance Storm on the grill. He got him to admit that he was behind the wheel of the car, but Storm first contended that it was an accident, then changed his tune just slightly. Stone Cold dropped the bomb on him, telling to get out there and face...Goldberg! Meanwhile HHH is checking his rib wraps when Ric Flair walked up and confronted the Champion and demanded that he wrestle tonight for the Title! Flair wants to go for #17!
Lance Storm went to his doom against Goldberg in just a few minutes. Afterward, Goldberg forced Storm to tell him that Chris Jericho put him up to the horrible deed. In the parking lot after the break, Jericho admitted he was the culprit, then declared that Goldberg would be his next guest on the Highlight Reel next week.
The main event was the big showdown between Ric Flair and Triple H - this is something kind of like the "Arn Anderson challenges Ric Flair" angle of a few years (or decades...) ago, I guess. At any rate, there was Flair, all ready for his big run at #17 - and HHH injured, hurting from his brutal match against Kevin Nash just last night. Flair came on cocky right out of the chute, "woooing" Triple H and thumbing him in the eye. At first Helmsley swatted him off like a fly or something, but Flair kept pressing and started working the ribs and chest. Flair suplexed HHH out onm the floor. HHH went for a suplex of his own and couldn't pull it off for the pain in his ribs, so Flair punished him for a while yet before the Champion finally rallied. But then, WOW! Flair pulled off the "Flair Flip" maneuver! The entire sequence with the run up to the other side and then the ax handle blow from the second rope. Moments later the Figure 4 was on. That lasted about 30 seconds - but a painful 30 seconds for the champ. HHH escaped and left the ring to grab his Title belt - but Flair met him coming in with a poke to the eye. From there it see sawed a couple of times then HHH first missed the Pedigree, then quickly succeeded at it on the second attempt, and ended the match. Kevin Nash then came down and chased him out of the ring. HHH collapsed on the platform. Steve Austin came out and stood over him to tell him he will have Nash for the next PPV...in a Hell in the Cell match!
At least that's the way I see it...
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