Dedicated to Gordon Solie
January 29, 1929 - July 27, 2000
In this edition of the newsletter we have some Indie News, a story about the recent Pro-Wrestling Hall of fame Induction ceremonies, 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.
U.S.A. Championship Wrestling, a venture of Center Stage Sports, is planning on bringing back the family friendly, Southern wrestling tradition that in the past few years has been replaced with "Sports Entertainment". In addition to the Road Warriors, also competing at this historic event are Buff Bagwell, Raven, Konan, Disco Inferno, "Hacksaw" Jim Duggan, A.J. Styles, Kid Kash, David Flair, and Ray Gordy, son of the late "Freebird" Terry Gordy. Legends that are signed to appear include "Mr. Wonderful" Paul Orndorff, "The Mouth of the South" Jimmy Hart, Ricky Morton of the Rock & Roll Express, "Beautiful" Bobby Eaton of the Midnight Express, and former WCW/WWF Announcer, Tony Schiavone. U.S.A. Championship Wrestling is currently negotiating with many other "Superstars and Legends" and will be adding many huge names to this already incredible event in the days and weeks to come.
Tickets for this incredible event are available now at the Georgia Mountains Center Box Office or can be purchased via phone by calling (770)534-8420. A limited amount of "Golden Circle" Ringside Tickets are available and include a pre-show meet and greet with all of the talent appearing at the event. For additional information go to www.centerstagesports.com.
Northeast Championship Professional Wrestling kicked off the weekend with headliners Demolition Ax, Greg "The Hammer" Valentine, Hillbilly Cousin Luke, The Patriot and Johnny Valiant. Johnny Valiant also performed his comedy act later that evening at the Ramada Inn which gave everyone a look at the humorous side of wrestling.
The Convention opened Saturday with vendors, wrestlers and promoters. Fans had a chance to get autographs and pictures with Francine, Moolah, Mae Young, Greg Valentine, Demolition Ax, Hillbilly Cousin Luke, Butcher Vachon, Ox Baker, Dominic Denucci, Baron Scicluna, Jimmy Powers plus many more. Collectors packed the convention searching for wrestling history past and present.
Master mask maker, Stanley Sherman and creator of the "Mankind Mask", conducted a seminar on the behind scene of making Mankind's and Undertaker's mask.
Inductee Nick Bockwinkel had a chance to tee off at the golf outing. Many wrestlers were on hand for pictures and autographs during this sold out event.
A Meet & Greet was held in the afternoon for fans to get autograghs and pictures with 2003 Inductees Fabulous Moolah, Nick Bockwinkel, Killer Kowalski, NYS Award winner Dick "The Destroyer" Beyer, George "The Animal" Steele, Bert Sugar plus many more.
The Sold Out Induction Dinner was held Saturday evening. Over twenty wrestling legends were on hand to honor Moolah, Bockwinkel, Kowalski as they received their 2003 Induction ring. Little Beaver, Sam Muchnick, Martin "Farmer" Burns, Stanislaus Zbyszko, Antonino Rocca and The Fabulous Kangaroos were also inducted into the Class of 2003. The 2003 New York State Award winners were Dick "The Destroyer" Beyer and the late Ilio DiPaolo. A 12' screen was in place so everyone at the dinner had a ringside view of the ceremony.
Sunday fans and wrestlers continued to pack the Professional Wrestling Hall of Fame and Museum located at 123 Broadway in Schenectady, N.Y. The Museum hosts hundreds of displays of rarely and never before seen posters, pictures, clothing and wrestling merchandise of the past.
Reporters, wrestlers and fans from around the world attended the 2003 induction weekend. For more inforamtion on the induction weekend or the Professional Wrestling Hall of Fame & Museum contact Tony Vellano at (518)356-3473, firstname.lastname@example.org or Mike Capano at (518)725-5272, email@example.com or www.pwhf.org
This week in World Heavyweight Title History saw a little activity in Houston, a loss by Bruiser Brody, and Lou Thesz acting as guest referee. In addition to the history, this week I will briefly comment on a recent World Heavyweight Title unification that happened outside the U.S. 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 26th to June 1st
Since there is so little to report this week, I'm going to tell you all about something that happened on May 25, 2003 in Auckland, NEW ZEALAND. World Wrestling All-Stars World Heavwyeight Champion Sting faced off with National Wrestling Alliance World Heavyweight Champion in a title vs. title match that was being taped for the next WWA PPV in the U.S. After interference from Rick Steiner, Jarrett defeated Sting for the WWA World Heavyweight Title. This was one of the first times in decades, if my memory serves me right, that the NWA World Heavyweight Champion won a competitor's World Title in a unification match. What they do next will interest me since they could have Jarrett defend the WWA Title separate from the NWA Title or they could consolidate the WWA Title into the NWA Title and add credibility to Jarrett's World Title claim. Either way, yesterday was a historic day for the World Heavyweight Championship. Now onto some old history...
Gorgeous George defeated Don Eagle on May 26, 1950 in Chicago, IL to win the Boston version of the American Wrestling Association World Heavyweight Title.
May 31, 1980 saw Dick The Bruiser defeate King Kong Brody (Bruiser Brody) in Indianapolis, IN for the World Wrestling Association (Indianapolis version) World Heavyweight Title. This was Dick The Bruiser's seventh run as WWA World Heavyweight Champion.
Terry Gordy won the first ever Universal Wrestling Federation World Heavyweight Title when he defeated Jim Duggan on May 30, 1986 in a tournament final in Houston, TX.
Three years earlier there was another tournament final to crown a World Heavyweight Champion. In this case it was Adrian Adonis defeating Bob Orton, Jr. in the finals of an eight-man tournament to crown the first Southwest Championship Wrestling World Heavyweight Champion. The date was May 26, 1983 and the place was, once again, Houston, TX. The special referee was none other than Lou Thesz.
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.
Memorial Day. Remember those in the Armed Forces that have died in defense of Liberty. From 1775 to 2003, and those yet to make that ultimate sacrifice, this day is for you. It isn’t for used car sales, furniture closeouts, or to signify the beginning of summer…it is for the hundreds of thousands of American dead, in dozens of nations, that gave their lives, so that we might be free.
There is another veteran that I wanted to talk about….not an Armed Forces veteran, but an in-ring veteran... Ric Flair, the Nature Boy.
Last week...that was awesome. I have to give some credit to the booking people at the WWE for the match. They knew what the crowd wanted (for a change) and delivered a match, and a face turn, that the people wanted. Of course, as soon as Flair’s music hit, the crowd went apoplectic, thus proving the point. Also, though I hate to do it, I have to give props to HHH. Even though the guy managed to, again, walk out the winner, he worked hard against Flair, and sold what the Nature Boy threw at him in the ring.
However, the night belonged to Richard Morgan Fliehr.
The build-up through the night was done superbly. From the surprise in the ring at the beginning, when HHH seemingly trumped Austin’s dictates that had him trapped into fighting one of the Raw monsters, to the next segment, in the locker room, where HHH told Flair to ‘lie down’ for him, the tension started to build. I remember watching Flair’s reaction, and, like Earl said, I knew it "...wasn’t over yet..."
The Loyalty Vs. Dignity angle played on, with Flair seen later in the show still battling within himself. Then, the best segment of the night; the one with HBK.
See, this meant something to Ric Flair. This whole show, the plan to push him into this match, turn him face, and the like, was all laid out and known to him, yet he still knew how much it meant, and what the WWE was doing. HBK came in, and, though I don’t know how much of the segment was rehearsed, there was no mistaking Flair’s emotion. When HBK told him he was the best ever, you KNEW that Ric was close to tears, you SAW Flair close to tears….it was very hard for him to hold his emotion in. There was some honest words being exchanged, and it was a powerful time in that show, and maybe the best segment this year on Raw.
Then, the promo Flair cut on HHH before their match. Vintage Flair. "Listen to me….you’re hurt, you’re injured…well, you’re the World Champion! I wrestled a thousand times when I was injured like that, and never complained, so you get out there, and bring your best, ‘cause the Nature Boy, WOOOOOOO, is coming for that Belt!" Classic. Pure Flair, and the Greenville crowd ate it up. There was not one person in those stands that thought HHH was going to get an easy win in that match (though, sadly, not many gave FLAIR a chance in heck of winning), and they weren’t disappointed.
Flair came out and wrestled the best match he had in his entire time (during his current run) in the WWE. He worked the leg, he used technique, and he showed some strength. The vertical suplex he landed……beautiful. Then, the Flair Flip! He hit the friggin’ Flair Flip, and then, the top rope ax-handle! WOW! The crowd went bonkers at that, and they were licking up the action from this match like Irishman cleaning the Tullamore Dew off of the barroom floor. Flair worked hard, backdrop-ing out of one Pedigree, locking in the Figure Four, and managing to resurrect the image of the Profilin’, Jet Flyin’ Limosuine Ridin’….you know the rest of the litany. He was quintessential Flair.
And…then, he selflessly did the job, pushing forward the Kevin Nash/HHH storyline.
Afterward….well, here’s what Shane Helms had to say (on www.shanehelms.com):
"Flair then went on to have an awesome match against Triple H in Greenville, SC this past Monday night. And as most of you probably heard or read, an impromptu Ric Flair appreciation night took place in which most of the guys in the locker room came out just to say "Thank You" to (in my opinion) the greatest in-ring performer that's ever "walked the aisle." The hugs were real, the tears were real, and the emotion from everyone in the ring combined with everyone in the building watching proved to be a genuine special moment in wrestling history."
That is from a wrestler who was there. And, I think that is just about the greatest tribute wrestlers can give another wrestler. I am sure Flair appreciated it, probably more that I can understand.
The only way it would have been better, is if Flair had won the Belt.
Look, I know there is going to be a Hell in a Cell match between HHH and Nash, and it is going to be for the Title, but why not have Flair win the Belt, then lose it later? Is the Title the important part of the Nash/HHH angle, or is the destruction of their friendship? I don’t think that the World title is the most important part of the story, and HHH losing it to The Nature Boy wouldn’t have done anything but improve the storylines.
It would have broken Flair away from HHH, which would do nothing to HHH since he’s be working against Nash in a locked Cell. It would have given HHH motivation (that ‘angry, vengeful’ motivation), and maybe a stipulation could have been put on the match, saying that the winner would get a shot at Flair on the following Raw. Flair then could have faced off with Steiner, Test, and a lot of other Raw workers who don’t have a real storyline right now. AND, it would have stratified Flair as a face, because HHH would have been after him like cheap attorneys after a ambulance.
They could have even had Flair win it, and then lose it the next week, or before the PPV to HHH again. That would have been interesting, but, as they say, ‘shoulda-woulda-coulda’.
Good job, Ric Flair. You are the Greatest, the Michael Jordan of Professional Wrestling.
See you next time, for another Connection.
SmackDown! came to us on tape from the Greensboro Coliseum Complex in Greensboro, North Carolina and opened with an appearance by Mr. McMahon, who ranted about not being happy because Hogan is back, yatta, yatta, yatta... He declared that he was "taking over " the show tonight and vowed that he, personally, would have his hand in every match and that he intended to leave with a smile on his face later tonight.
First up, Eddie Guerrero and his new partner, Tajiri, took on the Angle Boyz in a rematch from the PPV - this time it was Guerrero and Tajiri who were defending their gold. The challengers succeeded in isolating Guerrero for most of the match. Tajiri got in and almost pinned Haas, but Benjamin broke it up. Eddie was out on the floor a little later when Benjamin was about to pin Tajiri. He ran into the ring with a chair and hit...the referee. The ref went down, Eddie tossed the weapon to Haas. The referee saw Haas with the cdhair and DQ'd his team. Eddie and Mashiro kept their titles.
Backstage, Stephanie questioned her dad's competence to run the show tonight citing his obsession with Mr. America and all. McMahon admitted he was obsessed...with mistakes - looking at his daughter pointedly. She stared right back. He then went into one of those "mentally disturbed Vince" rants that he does sooo badly...
Vince went to the ring and ranted against Mr. America yet again and then got back on that subject of "mistakes". He introduced Piper, who, we were told, was now coming to the ring to offer a public apology to Vince for screwing up at the PPV. Piper DID aplogize - but McMahon wasn't buying it. He slapped Hot Rod - a nearly fatal error - Piper and Vince almost came to blows. But then O'Haire stepped between them and said the screwup Sunday was HIS fault - he proposed a match for himself against Mr. America tonight. McMahon agreed, but told Piper that his man better win - or else he is fired.
Vanilla Spice made his oily way to the ring and addressed "Spanky"(?), accusing him of being a bad copy of himself. "Spanky"(?) ran down to the ring and went right after Cena, who basically swatted him away like a fly. The bulk of the remainder was an extended squash.
Next up, a still image recap of Brock's match against the Big Show, then to the FBI backstage, stating their principles (sort of like thug muskateers or something).
Matt Hardy took on Chris Benoit, with Hardy's henchman interering at will and Rey Misterio sitting at the announce table. It was a competitive match for sure. Actually, I think Hardy did better then he should have been able to. In the end he went down to the Crippler Crossface, as Misterio left the table and kept the two henchmen.
After the match, Hardy looked over at Misterio and offered him a title shot - IF he can defeat both of the MF'ers right now. Misterio agreed and then slipped into the ring ahead of his pursuers. After the break, the match was already in progress. Misterio was nominally in charge of things as we returned - but that changed in a wink with Misterio against the odds.
Stephanie interviewed the one-legged guy (Zack Gowen), who revealed that he has been training as a wrestler.
Backstage, McMahon challenged Mr. America to accept a stip for his match later - that if he loses, he has to take a lie detector test next week and answer the question, "Are you Hulk Hogan?" Mr. America Agreed.
Brock faced all three members of the FBI - who attacked him and beat him down before the actual match started - between Lesnar and Stamboli. Of course every FBI match is three on one - even Lesnar was having trouble with the numbers. Eventually he conquered all and was on his way to a win when the FBI came into the ring and caused a DQ. They continued their beat down and were about to use a chair on Lesnar when the Undertaker came running down and turned the tables. The FBI retreated.
Sable made her way to the ring, in black as usual...to show off her RAW Magazine cover ("NOT Torrie Wilson...") and then took on Tazz, accusing him of being unfair to her at the Bikini Contest. She got right in his face (literally - squating on the announce table in front of him!) and taunted him, then poured water over her cleavage before dumping the rest of the bottle on him. There is something incredibly unattractive about a beautiful woman who keeps telling you how sexy she is...
Backstage, McMahon threatened Roddy Piper and Sean O'Haire with more unnamed consequences if Sean doesn't win his match against Mr. America tonight.
Mr. America made his grand entrance and did all the usual Hogan things. A huge roar of boos greeted the entrance of his long time rival, Roddy Piper and his warrior, Sean O'Haire. The fight was not bad - Hogan actually was carrying the youngster pretty well when Vince suddenly interrupted the proceedings to have a phalanx of policemen arrest...the one-legged kid!! For tresspassing on Vince's "personal property" - the ringside area where he had been installed by Hogan before the match. McMahon had the "kid" - actually a pro-wrestler who calls him self "Tenacious Z" in the indies. His handicap is his gimmick - Hogan strayed out of the ring for too long and got counted out of the match - which means he lost, which means McMahon went home with a smile...
Next up - Test (w/Stacy) vs. Booker T - for a change, Test didn't have a great deal of superior size going for him. Booker is a big man in his own right, and a lot more experienced then the former bodyguard in the ins and outs of ring generalship (whaaa??)In the middle of a flurry, Test ended up out on the floor and pulled Stacy into harms way from a baseball slide. He went on to loose the match after Scott Steiner came down and carried Stacy off. Test was distracted and subdued.
Triple H attempted to beard the lion in his den, marching into Austin's office and first trying to sweet-talk him then snarling at him to get him to change his mind about the match tonight. Austin, who looked like he'd been in a fight recently, repeatedly refused to agree.
Val Venis came to the ring for a match against Stevie Richards (w/Victoria). Before the match began, he announced that he is starting his own X-Rated video production company. Trish Stratus sat at the announce table and provided completely irrelevant chatter to the play-by-play as Venis went through his standard moves, ending with the Money Shot splash. Victoria had no affect on the match as far as I could tell.
Kevin Nash told Coach that he's really enjoying Triple H's trials and tribulations. Christian then unloaded on Terri about his problems, only to be confronted first by Goldust, who babbled at him, then Booker T, who challenged him straight up to an IC Title match for the next PPV. Bischoff confronted Austin and told him that he wants some kind of competition between them at the Bad Blood PPV (not necessarily an actual wrestling match) - and that he would think about what that would be. Austin agreed.
Next up - Lillian Garcia with a Memorial Day performance of "America the Beautiful"...except that she was interrupted by the French Nerds. These guys are so out of it they don't realize that the crowds hates them because they are booooring... Their rant was interrupted by Steve Austin, who stalked to the ring and cleaned it with two stunners. La Resistance slunk away as Stone Cold went into his own rant then ordered Lillian back into the ring to sing the song with him this time. They went through it together (excruciatingly...) then they cracked some beers together and she let him pour it all over her chest. Cute...
Backstage, Ric Flair was psyching up for his match. He went into the next room. The camera lingered in the room after Flair left to reveal a figure that resembled Triple H with a black mask covering his head.
Christian came to the ring for a non-title match against Goldust, who came to the ring on film, in letterbox format. Both competitors were wearing gold lame in this one. This was a good match - both these guys are great technicians. Toward the end, Christian thwarted the Goldust's attempted assault on the "Crown Jewels" but then walked into a powerslam and was counted down, 1-2-3.
The French Nerds took on the Kane and Rob Van Dam in a flag match. The stip here was that if La Resistance could win this match they will get a Tag Team Title match at Bad Blood. From the get go it didn't look good for the continental boyz until at the very end, Van Dam knocked down the referee. Then he almost immediately got his flag. But the French Nerds attacked him as a team, beat him down, then grabbed the US flag and put it back into it's holder. The referee woke up, saw the French Nerds with their flag and awarded them the match and their title shot.
Chris Jericho arrived for his "Highlight Reel" skit and went off a rant against Goldberg, who, according to Jericho, used to be "his friend" in WCW. This brought Goldberg to the ring to be manipulated into a match. Jericho tried to walk away after the agreement was struck, but Goldberg grabbed him by the throat and hauled him back into the ring. Jericho thenh pulled out a can of Mace and sprayed it at Goldberg's face and head repeatedly. Goldberg was reduced to a gagging, weeping mess as Jericho first speared his nemesis, then high-tailed it away.
During the break, terri tried to catch him, but Jericho ran straight to his car, then ran out of camera range when he couldn't get the car started.
Triple H entered first for his match against Flair and HBK...I still think this is a set-up... Michaels and Flair entered separately. Triple H started the match by attacking HBK from behind. Michaels almost immediately turned the tables, and the fight was on. As soon as Flair got into the match he punched...Shawn Michaels. He and Trips started trhe beat down, while backstage, the mysterious masked man, who might have been Randy Orton, or Batista, took Kevin Nash out backstage...or not - the beat down continued a moment more, then Nash came running down and broke it up. But then the masked man ran in behind him and upset his applecart. It as Randy Orton, by the way...more machinations - it's too bad really, this HBK/Flair thing could have been played out a little longer to stronger effect.
At least that's the way I see it...
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