Dedicated to Gordon Solie
January 29, 1929 - July 27, 2000
In this edition of the newsletter we have Matt Benaka with the latest installments of This Week in World Title History, John Cross with the Crossface Connection, plus my own TV Reports and topical rants..
This week in World Heavyweight Title History saw a some men hold multiple championships and saw a football star become wrestling's world champion. 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 June 23rd to June 29th:
Jim Londos defeated Jim Browning on June 25, 1935 in New York, NY to win the New York State Athletic Commission (NYSAC) World Heavyweight Title. He was the reigning National Wrestling Association (NWA) World Heavyweight Champion as well.
A little over a year later, on June 27th of 1935 in Boston, MA Danno O'Mahoney defeated Londos for both the NYSAC World Heavyweight and the NWA World Heavyweight Titles. It was during this run as champion that Danno would also win the American Wrestling Association (AWA) (Boston) World Heavyweight Title to gain recognition as the Undisputed Champion of the World. When O'Mahoney defeated Londos in Boston, he became the last NYSAC Commission World Champion.
Everett Marshall upended Ali Baba on June 26, 1936 in Columbus, OH to win the National Wrestling Association (NWA) World Heavyweight and Midwest Wrestling Association (MWA) (Ohio branch) World Heavyweight Champion.
In other National Wrestling Association news, Bronco Nagurski won his first NWA World Heavyweight Title at the hands of Lou Thesz in Houston, TX exactly sixty-four years before Triple H would defeat Kane in Madison Square Garden to retain the WWE version of the World Title (June 23, 1939). This was the first reign for Nagurski. It should be noted that Bronko Nagurski was a heralded football star before entering wrestling. He played for the Chicago Bears and won NFL Championships in 1932, 1933 and 1943 (he returned to football at this time because so many stars were going into WWII and they needed players.) Nagurski was a respected athlete who new about winning championships before he even stood across the ring from the great Lou Thesz.
Frank Sexton won his second AWA (Boston) World Heavyweight Title on June 27, 1945 when he defeated Steve Casey in Boston, MA. This reign lasted over five years and is most notable for the fact that Sexton would face anyone, anywhere for the title. This prompted many, many matches with other wrestling champions during the course of his reign. He was a true champion's champion.
June 25, 1942 saw Orville Brown defeat Tom Zaharias in Kansas City, KS to regain the Midwest Wrestling Association (MWA) (Kansas City branch) World Heavyweight Title. This was Brown's third run with this version of the World Title.
South of the border, Canek defeated Dos Caras for his fifth Universal Wrestling Association (UWA) World Heavyweight Title on June 24, 1968 in Mexico City, MEXICO.
Nick Bockwinkel also won his fourth World Heavyweight Title on this week in wrestling history. Bockwinkel's title was the American Wrestling Association (AWA) version and was awarded to him after Stan Hansen left the promotion after not appearing for a match on June 28, 1986 in Denver, CO. So, the title moved to Bockinkel on that date and location due to forfeit. However, Hansen still had the belt and was defending it on All Japan Cards during July of the same year.
On June 25, 1983 Bobby Colt won the World Wrestling Association (WWA) (Indianapolis branch) World Heavyweight Title by defeating Dick The Bruiser in Indianapolis, IN.
Another footnote in history was on June 24, 1972 when Abdullah The Butcher captured his first National Wrestling Federation (NWF) World Heavyweight Title at the expense of Ernie Ladd in Cleveland, OH.
I was skipping through the news and rumors from the pro wrestling world, and happened upon a pretty interesting rumor.
This rumor was that Edge (yeah, the wrestler Edge) was asked to comment on the Smackdown shows, and write down what was basically a critical analysis:
It does to me. It kind of makes me wonder if this little improvement in the Smackdown show that we have seen in the last few weeks is just a blip on the downward spiral we saw over the past few months.
I know I bitterly complain about HHH...and I admit that. I don't like the backstage politics, and the management of one's own Title run. So, people like Nash, HHH, HBK, Austin, and Goldberg bother the living heck out of me. However, now we are seeing something akin to this at Smackdown; however, instead of a wrestler working to push himself (and succeeding), a wrestler is trying to honestly say what he thinks is wrong, and is getting the beat down.
I am assuming that this rumor carries with it a chunk of truth, and, in my opinion, it does. Why? Because it is logical that HHH (marrying Stephanie) COULD push himself successfully, and Edge's criticism of Stephanie's booking would be roundly dismissed. It makes me think that the ol' nepotism, prevalent in the promoters and booking people that Freddie Blassie and Bobby Heenan speak of in their books (just read them both) is still present in our day.
Is it any wonder people are getting ticked off and turning off the wrestling? Heck, we can basically tell you what is going to happen already. HHH and Stephanie are running the show, admit it or not. It isn't the McMahon/Helmsley Angle anymore, it's for REAL! Sure, Vince is still the man in charge, but who would have his ear more, an injured wrestler, trying to do what is best for the company (which is what Vince WANTED during the Monday Night Wars), or his only daughter and her wrestling husband? You don't think that Vince and Stephanie don't debate on what should happen, and HHH's push is spoken about through the relationship that they have? Nepotism is just like that..the family can't do wrong. The best people to give the important jobs to are the people that are most like you, closest to you, and that you can trust. HHH is in that tight little circle now, and Stephanie is as well.
So, enter Edge, and he puts out an honest appraisal of the happenings at the Smackdown show. This is a threat to the happy circle, so he gets attacked for being to 'harsh'..heck, harsh is what they need! Without competition, the WWE is showing a lazy side that we all said we would eventually see, and the Powers That Be (the McMahon circle and HHH) are ignoring the real and clear problems, if only because they are inconvenient to their status quo.
That is the problem that killed WCW...Wrestlers booking their own pushes, egos, and the lack of an ability to listen to good advice. Edge stopped giving his opinion (in my opinion) because he figured it wasn't good for his career if he continued rocking the yacht. Ticking of HHH and Stephanie would tick off Vince, and that would force Edge into a position that he would probably not want to face: Leaving the WWE with his conscience intact, of letting himself be humbled a.k.a. Booker T, Heyman, and the rest.
I hope someone decides to grow a pair over in that little zoo.
Now, I told you I ordered the Heenan and Blassie books. I did it through the Solie's Storefront. After you look around the site for a while, get over there and order something or other, and support the site. And, of course, come to bodyslam.cc for all the rumors, news, and results you need, every day.
See you next week, for another Connection.
SmackDown! came to us on tape from SBC Center in San Antonio, Texas and opened with a match pitting the Undertaker vs. Nuncio (w/Chuck Palumbo and Johnny the Bull on hand to change the odds a little). The ending of this one would seem to be a foregone conclusion - except for the "FBI factor", of course - but UT won it regardless. Afterward, the two henchmen tried attacked UT and put him down hard - suddenly the APA ran in!! Nuncio and company split in a hurry.
Backstage, Zack Gowen encountered Bill DeMott and Spanky (?) backstage. They pointed him toward Stephanie's office, where he met Sable at the door and reluctantly accepted her invitation to wait inside for Steph's return.
Next up, Chris Benoit and Rhino came out for a tag match, but before they could meet their opponents, Stephanie came out and announced that it would be one-on-one, against each other, as the first round in a tournament for the new WWE United States Title (the old WCW US Title brought back, as Stephanie announced last week). Before long the two friends were punching each other out. Then we went to commercial... When we returned the fight was on fast and furious, with neither man really holding the advantage. Eventually Benoit made Rhino tap with a Crippler Crossface and held him a little longer than he needed too - which made Rhino mad.
Backstage, Sable was trying to seduce our young friend...and succeeding so it seemed...
Ray Misterio took on a rather outsized opponent in a non-title matchup when he went up against Kanyon. The K man gave Misterio a good run, but in the end Rey Rey defeated Kanyon handily.
The former Team Angle came to the ring after the break to run Kurt Angle down. Charlie Haas and Shelton Benjamin ran their mouths for a moment, challenging Kurt to some kind of match next week before Angle showed up in person to have his say about the situation. Is this the most contrived "angle" ever, or what? Kurt's point was - why not do it now? The boys conferred and decided to send Haas in against their former mentor. Of course, Haas on his own was no match for Angle, who pretty much countered every move the rookie made for the first several exchanges of what started out as a straight scientific match. Haas was tossed to the outside at one point and came back with a slap to the face. Big mistake - Angle can get rough with the best of them. So at this point, Benjamin started interfering - but the referee didn't like that - so he sent Benjamin away from the ring. Meanwhile, however, Angle had already suffered at from the illegal interference and was on the receiving end as we cut to commercial. Haas was still in control as we returned. A minute or so later, Angle used a monkey flip to turn the tables, but was too weakened to follow up - both guys were down for a moment. When the action started up again, things were a little more even - then swung Angle's way until Haas caught him in a German suplex that worked on Angle's injured neck. Angle came back almost immediately and won the match with the ankle lock - at which point Benjamin ran back in and attacked. The two of them did a number on our Olympic hero until Brock Lesnar ran out and rescued him.
Backstage, Sable ended her tease and switched to torment instead - then Vince McMahon showed up - the old "Badger Game" set-up. Zack split while Sable and Mr. McMahon had a good laugh.
Billy Gunn came to the ring with his new valet, Torrie Wilson, to take on Jamie Noble (w/Nidia). So what is Billy - about twice Noble's size? Still, Noble's a tough little guy, and soon developed a strategy of taking Gunn off his feet then working on his leg. Noble is an excellent mat wrestler, so this strategy favored him...until Billy hauled off and punched him. Nidia then tried to interfere and we ended up with a cat fight out on the floor. Billy left the ring to get between them, which prompted Noble to go for an inside-to-out splash...which he missed completely, pancaking himself on the floor. It only took a moment for Billy to finish him off.
Eddie G and Tajiri drove out to the ring in a lowrider SUV. Eddie was there to have a singles match against Sean O'Haire (w/Roddy Piper). This, of course, was the result of last week's fiasco on Piper's Pit. Sean used the combination of his superior size and his intensity to take control early on. Of course, Eddie G is no slouch in the intensity department himself. He soon worked his way free and then attacked his opponent's left knee to turn the tables. he went for the frog splash, but Piper distracted him and caused him to miss. Tajiri tried to take on Piper, but got a mouthful of tequila in the face. O'Haire followed up with his "Prophesy" slam and took the pin rather abruptly.
Back in Stephanie's office, we found out that the office was a fake - set up to lure Gowen in. The two miscreants were indulging in a little "horseplay" when Stephanie burst in and ordered Sable out. She turned on her father and told him off, telling him she was tired of being manipulated by him and challenging him to fire her if he didn't like it.
Brock Lesnar defended his title against the Big Show in a rematch from their previous encounter last week. Lesnar controlled the early going, levering his opponent out to the floor then running him onto a ring post. Show came back and tossed Lesnar back inside, only to follow him in and then again being knocked to the outside. TBS dragged the champ out to the floor and turned the tables once again. Back in the ring, the giant now knocked Lesnar to the floor. Lesnar came back on the attack, but Show put him down with a sidewalk slam. The challenger dominated the action for the next several minutes, attacking the champions previously injured ribs. This time it was the Big Show who attempted to hit a superplex on the champion, but Lesnar fought him off then went on the offensive, culminating in a massive German suplex. he went for the F5 - but Show blocked it by grabbing the top rope. Suddenly Haas and Benjamin ran in and attacked Lesnar, causing a DQ on the giant. Lesnar was chokeslammed, then Kurt Angle ran in and cleaned house - but was eventually stopped by TBS. Then Mr. America showed up! He also did some house cleaning, but was eventually overwhelmed by the numbers. Do I smell a six-man tag match for next week?
Maven took on Christopher Nowinski (accompanied by Teddy Long - strange, considering that Nowinki was the white boy in this contest) in a rematch from Tough Enough three years ago, and won it...again...in a matter of seconds.
Earlier this evening, Evolution arrived via limousine. Chris Jericho then came out for his "Highlight Reel" segment with special guest, Lance Storm, who complained bitterly about Steve Austin razzing him on the show last week. In the middle of his "prepared statement" stagehands invaded the ring and started dismantling the "Highlight Reel" set dressing. Austin appeared on the TitanTron and pronounced the segment "booooring..." then announced a match for the two of them to take place now!!
In another victory for the good guys, the Dudleys made mincemeat out of Lance Storm and Chris Jericho (punctuated by "Booooring!" chants) when D'Von pinned Storm out of a 3D. So what ever happened to Jericho's push..?
Bucking the trend, the new Tag Team Champs, the French Nerds, defeated the unlikely team of the Hurricane and Sgt. Slaughter? Boy I would love to see the Sarge win just one more for the troops - but I guess it will never happen.
At the end of the first hour, Steve Austin made his first appearance of the evening, in the ring, and officially announced the return of WrestleMania XX to Madison Square Garden. He then turned his attention to Mick Foley, who he honored with a tribute video and a special presentation (with the help of several wrestlers who made their reputations in ECW) of the old Hardcore Title, which was originally awarded to Foley as the first champ some years ago. Before Foley could express his appreciation for the honor, Mr. McMahon came strutting out, seemingly to ruin the occasion. But he ended up thanking Foley for all the great moments he had provided. Foley then ruined it for Vince by hugging him. Afterward, Foley DID get to express his feelings about the moment, got the fans to chant his name (always going for the cheap heat!!) and told the crowd how much he loved performing for them. What's funny about all this is that another, even older Hardcore Legend, Terry Funk, just won a World Title (the Pro Pain Pro Wrestling Heavyweight Title) in Philadelphia on Saturday.
The next match featured Shawn Michaels and Kevin Nash in a tag team effort against Randy Orton and Ric Flair. This was a very competitive contest with Orton showing us a lot...but not quite enough. HBK won it with the superkick. Chalk up one more for the good guys...
During the break, Mick Foley was seen signing a copy of one of his books for Mr. McMahon when Randy Orton and Ric Flair attacked and punked him in the hallway. Orton ended up knocking Foley down the stairwell. Then Vince yelled out, "Somebody, we need some help! Send a janitor..."
Teddy Long was in the ring with his man Rodney Mack with another 5 minute white boy challenge. he looked real confident until Goldberg's music fired up! RM ran up the ramp to try and cut him off, but Goldberg saw him coming and caught him with a spear!!! He dragged Rodney Mack to the ring and put him down with a Jackhammer in 26 seconds. So much for the 5 minute challenge.
Backstage, Rob Van Dam told Kane to kick some butt - declaring that he felt really good about this - "...that title is yours.", he said. Then he left. Kane looked into the mirror and then smashed it.
The much anticipated main event pitted Triple H against the Big Red Machine in a Title vs. Mask contest. Imagine what will happen if Kane has to unmask! Ohmygosh! It's...Isaac Yankem, D.D.S.!!!! I just can't see that happening so I'm pretty sure that Kane will indeed win the title tonight...or maybe that's just wishful thinking... It seemed like Kane had this one won on several occasions, but unfortunately the big guy had to contend with HHH's thuggish friends at ringside and the fact that he knocked out the referee just when he should have gotten the pin. Actually, the same thing then happened to Triple H, who got the Pedigree, but the referee was still recovering and too slow with the count. At the critical moment, Orton, who had not accompanied the Champion to ringside, came out of the crowd and ruined the match for Kane. Afterward, Eric Bischoff came to the platform and demanded that Kane unmask. Kane started to remove the mask but was attacked by HHH and Orton. Rob Van Dam came out to the rescue. Then Kane thought long and hard before taking off the mask (which was attached to his full wig) and revealing his disfigured features (a pretty horrific make-up job). He then went "postal" and took out his angst on former partner RVD.
That was disturbing. I wonder how they are going to handle this going forward.
At least that's the way I see it...
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