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 is colorful! We have some short reigns, some final reigns, and a very odd match in Chicago. 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
My web page has been updated with the recent title defenses by WWE World Heavyweight Champion Triple H. I hope to have more pages and titles added by the end of the week.
World Title History for the week of July 21st to July 27th:
The Omaha and AWA World Heavyweight Titles were both lost to Fritz Von Erich when he defeated Verne Gagne on July 27, 1963 in Omaha, NE. This was Fritz's second run with the Omaha World Title and his only chance to hold the AWA strap.
July 25, 1962 saw Fred Blassie defeat Rikidozan in Los Angeles, CA for the World Wrestling Association (WWA) World Heavyweight Title. Blassie won the match on cuts. Two days later he lost the title to The Destroyer in San Diego. The Destroyer would nab his second reign on July 22, 1964 when he defeated Dick The Bruiser in Los Angeles, CA.
Luke Graham, who was later one half of the first World Wide Wrestling Federation (WWWF) World Tag Team Champions, won the WWA World Title from Pedro Morales on July 23, 1965 in Los Angeles, CA. To my knowledge, this was the only time that Graham held a version of the World Heavyweight Title.
The Los Angeles Olympic Auditorium's version of the World Title saw it's second champion crowned on July 24, 1935. Jim Londos had been the first champion, but Los Angeles withdrew their recognition of him as World Champion during 1935. Vincent Lopez went on to win a tournament to claim Londos' vacant crown. This was the first of two reigns for Lopez.
"The American Dream" Dusty Rhodes won his third and final National Wrestling Alliance (NWA) World Title at the expense of Ric Flair on July 26, 1986 in Greensboro, NC. I find this interesting because almost five years earlier Flair had won his first World Title from Rhodes in Kansas City, MO. After the match Dusty had less than kind things to say about The Nature Boy. Dusty essentially said the win was a fluke and Flair was a flash in the pan who would never last. Five years later, Flair loses his fourth of what would be more than twenty World Titles to Rhodes who never did win another World Title during his career.
Lou Thesz had a phenomenal run as NWA World Champion from 1949 to 1956. During this reign he unified three different versions of the World Heavyweight Title and was, generally, regarded as THE World Heavyweight Champion. On July 27, 1950, in the middle of this reign, Thesz successfully defended the NWA World Title against Gorgeous George in Chicago, IL. This is worth noting because George was the reigning American Wrestling Association (AWA) World Heavyweight Champion (Boston version) but only Thesz's title was on the line that night. Still, it took one extra step to establishing his legacy as one of the premier World Champions ever.
Speaking of Lou, he defeated Edouard Carpentier by disqualification in Montreal, QC, CANADA on July 24, 1957. One may wonder why this is worth noting. The reason begins on June 14 of the same year when Edouard Carpentier defeated Thesz in Chicago, IL. Thesz was unable to continue the match due to a back injury. Carpentier was given the belt and recognized as World Heavyweight Champion. He even put up a $10,000 dollar bond to insure the belt. Then, at an NWA Board of Directors meeting Jack Pfeiffer was invited. Pfeiffer was a notorious trouble maker when it came to promoting. He and Eddie Quinn, the Montreal promoter who Carpentier worked for, had some history and Quinn felt insulted that the other promoters would allow Pfeiffer to attend the meeting. In an act of defiance, Eddie Quinn pulled his Montreal promotion out of the NWA. This left a situation as far as the World Champion went. Thesz defeated Carpentier by disqualification on July 24, 1957 and Quinn argued that this win by Thesz brought the NWA World Title back to Thesz. The NWA ended up voiding all references to Carpentier as champion and never recognized a break in their recognition of Thesz as World Champion during this period. Interestingly, the NWA tried to hold Carpentier's bond even though he no longer had the belt. Only when Quinn threatened to sue te NWA for the money and spelled out that Thesz was champion because of his dq win did the NWA relent. This writer wonders what would have happened had there been a lawsuit between these wrestling promoters considering the fact that many still saw the matches as real and testimony given would have laid waste to that idea. Perhaps Quinn would have had to rename it Sports Entertainment at that point.
Alexis Smirnoff defeated Rusher Kimura on July 21, 1979 in Niigata, JAPAN to win the International Wrestling Enterprise (IWE) World Heavyweight Championship. His reign would stop a few days later when he lost the title back to Kimura on July 25, 1979 in Mishima, JAPAN. Kimura had been champion since July of 1976 and he must have had a lot of respect for Smirnoff to be willing to end his third reign so as to put the belt on Smirnoff, even it was just for a few days.
We have interrupted this regular broadcast of the Crossface Connection to bring you….
The McMahon Show!
Brought to you by Toad Soap Flakes and General Eccentric Appliances and Utilities. Now, introducing your host, Frank Lee Krappie!
"Thank you thank you, and welcome to our presentation of The McMahon Show, seen by millions weekly in the comfort and security of their homes. However, many many things are coming to a head…let's review, TV fans!
"Last week, Mr. McMahon had to teach silly little Stephanie another lesson, and put her in a match with Sable! Sable, that floozy that everyone loves to hate, is going to show little Steph that crossing ol' Daddy is just plain wrong! And, for heaven's sake, look out for those perfectly manicured fingernails, Stephanie! You might need another manicure!
"Now, if that wasn't enough for poor Mr. McMahon to have to deal with, he had to discipline his workers as well. Darn it, folks, that Brock just doesn't listen to the boss! Sure, he needs help from his buddy Kurt now and then, but we can't have slackers helping other slackers get out of their own messes, can we? No, no, silly Kurt! Silly Brock! Mr. McMahon had to set them straight, and he sure did that, but that darn Kurt cheated, and he didn't learn his lesson! Bad old Kurt! That will be a tough nut for Mr. McMahon to crack!
"Geez willakers! If that was just too much, along comes that pesky little Zach, that neer'do'well. Trying to take advantage of Mr. McMahon's natural love of the underdog, that Zach is trying to slide by, but you just wait and see; Mr. McMahon will take care of that little troublemaker! You just wait and see!
"All brought to you by America's best home help companies!
"You think that is something? Just wait 'till next week, when Mrs. McMahon decides to go to work herself! Make sure you tune in for that, but, first, this week's show!"
Hey, readers...is this getting old? Do you think that things around the WWE might be getting goofy when Vince gets himself involved in EVERY STINKING STORYLINE on Smackdown? How about his daughter? His wife is even getting into the act, making an appearance on Raw to push the 'General Manager' angle. I wonder how long it will be until ol' Shane-O gets his mug onto the television.
When the owner has to go onto the show to whore himself out to the masses, it means there is a problem. However, this follows a pattern of Vince going back to the well for the 'Evil Owner Vs. Top Face' angle that reached it's apex with him and Austin in, say, 1999. He's gone to it again, and it doesn't seem to garner any traction. At least with me.
See, I hope it is exactly that reason why Vince is appearing every top storyline on Smackdown. The other alternative is kinda sick, and that is that the whole family (with the exception of Shane) likes involving themselves in sicko storylines. The 'using me to get business deals' thing was just purely wrong, and for Vince to think that up with his daughter grates me in an odd way. Then, the old "Push it until it hurts, even if the fans think it's CRAP" application of the storylines (Mr. America, HLA, Sable) comes into play. Is there anyone out there that finds even the thought of Vince sending his 17 year-old daughter out to bang fellow wrestling promoters appealing and helpful to wrestling?
Um….no. However, this is what I see. Smackdown is 'The McMahon Show'. Maybe that is why I like the NWA-TNA idea more now, because that seems to be, with a few exceptions, better and more in line with what pro wrestling should be. I don't know what the WWE can do, but I know what they SHOULD do…and that is pull the friggin' plug on the McMahon pageant that Smackdown has rapidly become, and come to the conclusion that Vince's mug on the TV isn't doing anything for the sport.
Hey, thanks. Make sure you make Solie's a habit, and keep coming back for the info. A note...bodyslam.cc has been having difficulties as of the last three days, so, if you want to get to the website, click on the link at the left of Solie's page.
See you next week, for another Connection.
SmackDown! came to us on tape from Nationwide Arena in Columbus, Ohio and opened with Mr. McMahon coming to the ring to flex his pecs and then talk about his problems with his daughter and Zach Gowen, and how that drew Kurt Angle and Brock Lesnar in on the wrong side of the boss. In fact, in the middle of the rant, Lesnar showed up and demanded a match...with McMahon! Vince immediately agreed...but not tonight. Furthermore, he ordered Lesnar to take the night off, and said that Brock tried to interfere in Angle's handicap later tonight, he would be fired.
Matt Hardy and Chris Benoit competed in a US Title Tournament Semi-Final. I expected Hardy to win this one, because he just seems more like a "US Title kind of guy". In fact during the match he appeared to have gotten his nose broken - but he kept coming, bloody face and all. Toward the end he went for a benoit style headbutt off the top corner...and missed. Both men were down for an 8 count then Benoit came back with two German suplexes, then the fight went out to the floor, they came back in and Benoit went for the flying headbutt...and missed! Hardy tried to go for a Side-Effect off the second rope, but Benoit countered and reversed it into a Crippler Crossface. Hardy tapped out - Benoit is headed for the finals.
Vince was on the phone when his daughter barged in and asked where Sable was. Vince said she was in a "safe place", then pulled out a package of Midol and said it was a present from Sable for Stephanie. Steph slapped it out of his hand then stalked out.
Brock and Kurt met backstage as Lesnar was on his way out the door. He wished his friend luck, saying he wanted him at his best for their match at the next PPV
Jamie Noble walked toward the ring with Nidia at his side, looking a bit put out that he was talking non-stop about Torrie - even upping his "indecent proposal" to $25,000 for a night with her. Nidia decided not to go in the ring but instead stalked away (seems to be a lot of that going around tonight. The opponent for our hokey Romeo was the legendary Ultimo Dragon. As is not unusual with Noble's matches, this was a classic high-flyer vs. great mat wrestler contest. As Noble began to make some ground, Torrie and Billy walked out and distracted him - causing him to lose.
Meanwhile, in graveyard(?), Vanilla Lice performed one of his stupid rap-rants concerning the Undertaker, then peed on a gravestone (such class...)
Backstage, the APA invited Spanky(?) and Kanyon to compete in a "First Annual APA Bar Room Brawl" at Vengeance.
Billy Kidman and Rey Misterio took on a new team calling themselves "The Conquistadors" (couldn't possibly have been the original team by that name - too young). I am waiting for Kidman to turn on his partner - it's gotta happen - otherwise why did Kidman deliver that seemingly embittered rant a few weeks ago. Anyway, Misterio and Kidman won, and are still together...for now.
After the break, McMahon came out to rant some more about his upcoming match with Zach Gowen. This time he was interrupted by John Cena, who tried to convince him that the "real" match at Vengeance would be between himself and the Undertaker. UT came out to add his 2 cents and cleared the ring.
Rhino took on Sean O'Haire in the next match. Before he could get into the ring, Rhino attacked his opponent out on the floor. The the APA showed up and shoved invitations to their Bar Room Brawl match at both of them. Simmons got gored while O'Haire did a number on Bradshaw then split.
Billy Gunn (w/Torrie) faced Eddie Guerrero in the next contest, another US Title Tournament Semi-Final. Guerrero's intensity was a perfect foil for Gunn's slightly superior size, so this was a pretty good match. In the middle of this one, Jamie Noble came out again to hit on Torrie. he distracted the referee, while Guerrero used a chair on Gunn, then laid down next to him as if HE had been struck by the illegal weapon. After a suitable interval, Guerrero "regained consciousness", and took the pin. So the US Title Tournament final will be Benoit vs. Guerrero. Interestingly, each man held this title back in WCW.
Back in her Sky Box, Sable was being interviewed when Stephanie showed up and poured a flute of wine over head. This immediately degenerated into a cat/food fight.
It was announced just before the break that Kurt Angle's handicap match against the Big Show and "The World's Greatest Tag Team" would be a falls-count-anywhere contest.
That match was next. When the outnumbered Kurt Angle was about to be slaughtered, Zach Gowen ran (or hopped) out then interfered. The result was that Big Show was put out of action and Angle then went on defeat the other two.
Trish Stratus and Gail Kim took on Molly Holly and Victoria in the opening match. Kim blew a couple of spots, seeming to be a little clumsy tonight. A little later Victoria snatched off her top, then Trish accidentally kicked her in the head! Kim was pinned by Molly for her first loss in WWE.
Backstage, Terri explained that Kane would be brought to the arena tonight by a troop of police officers for his match later. She was interrupted by Chris Jericho who went into his usual self aggrandizing shtick. As he left, Steve Austin walked into camera frame and did a little verbal sparring with Eric Bischoff.
The next match featured Randy Orton (w/ Ric Flair and HHH). Evolution came to the ring so that Orton could toot his own horn for a bit. His opponent for this match would be Val Venis...but first we cut to commercial.
Venis came to the ring after the break, while HHH joined the broadcast team. As Helmsley was praising his young colleague, Val Venis was making mincemeat out of his boy...until Flair decided to get involved and distracted him. But Val came right back and was in control again immediately. He was going for the Money Shot when Flair jumped up on the apron and distracted him again. Val went back to finish his move, but Orton rolled out of the way then took advantage of the stunned Val Venis to win the match. HHH came in and started a rant - but was interrupted by the return of Goldberg after an absence of three weeks. Bill took a mic and grinned at HHH, addressing him as "our fine heavyweight champion", then challenged him, telling him, "you're next!" Evolution began to circle, but Goldberg didn't back up an inch - he was ready to take them all on at once. HHH called off his dogs and they left the ring to Goldberg.
Chris Jericho had his chance for revenge against Shawn Michaels in a "WrestleMania rematch". Both competitors started out cautiously, feeling each other out with hold and counter hold for a while...until HBK levered Y2J to the floor. Jericho returned to the ring and demanded a test of strength. As HBK started to take control, Jericho rolled it into a headlock. Michaels disengaged, then Jericho started with the fisticuffs. Michaels won that contest as well, so the Millennium Bugg went back to wrestling, until he saw his chance to open up again. Jericho took control with a series of elbow drops then tossed Michaels to the floor. The struggled on about the apron for a while, then Jericho went for his trademark springboard splash to the outside - and missed badly. HBK reasserted himself and was pulling ahead when Ric GFlair came running down to ringside. HBK left the ring and clobbered the Nature Boy, then returned only to immediately be pulled into the Walls of Jericho. At that point we cut to a commercial, of course...
When we returned, Jericho was still in charge, but was using a front face lock to control his opponent. Shawn escaped and delivered several punches before Jericho levered him over the top rope to the floor again. Flair immediately attacked HBK, setting him up for Jericho to deliver more punishment by driving his back into the ring post. Back in the ring, Jericho continued to dominate, as Flair continued to lurk about ringside. Moments later, HBK caught Jericho in the midsection with a drop kick. Both men were down for a 4 or 5 count. Both guys recovered but Michaels was in charge again, delivering a series of clotheslines then going for a Crab of his own. He changed tactics and catapulted Jericho to the corner. Y2J came back and got a couple of two counts, but couldn't out his nemesis away. HBK came back with a snap powerslam and almost took the pinfall. Jericho flipped Michaels onto the corner buckle and tried to go for a superplex, but Michaels knocked him away and then delivered a flying elbow ala Randy Savage. He was ready to deliver the Super Kick, but missed - Jericho kicked him in the groin, then went out for a chair. he tried to use it but HBK Super Kicked it right in his face! At this point Flair dragged the referee to the floor and kept him busy while randy orton ran out and DDT'd Michaels onto the chair!! Jericho went for the pin but Shawn kicked out again! Jericho dragged his opponent to the corner and applied the Walls of Jericho once more. Michaels tried to power out, but Jericho pressed his forehead into the corner pad to stop him. Michaels then dragged jericho back toward the center of the ring, then inched his way toward the opposite ropes. He almost made it, but couldn't quite do it, and eventually tapped out. So jericho got his revenge. What a great match!!
Lance Storm came to the ring and started trying to sell himself to Rob Reiner (who had a ringside seat) as a potential movie star. He was just comparing his own virtues to those of Brad Pitt when the scene switched to the back door where the police were bringing Kane in wearing shackles.
We came back to a video promo regarding a publicity trip over to the Persian Gulf to entertain the troops, then Booker AT came to the ring to defend his IC Title against Test. Booker had the challenger reeling in moments, but then he came back with a poke to the eye. In the back, Christian watched it all on a monitor. As soon as he found himself in control, the idiot just had to start and mock Scott Streiner with some jumping jacks and pushups. That was his undoing as Booker used the wasted time to regain his composure, then reasserted his authority. test made a brief comeback after a few exchanges then ran into a spine buster. test came right back and appeared to be gaining ground when Scott Steiner appeared on the platform and sat down on a chair. Stacy followed him out and performed a little striptease pseudo lap dance to distract Test. Booker rolled him up from behind and almost got the pin, then hit the Bookend and took the win.
Some the guys in the face locker room were discussing Kane's situation. Hurricane was making a friendly overture toward the newly "facified" Rosie, when Goldust interrupted with one of his inane observations.
Police officers escorted Kane to the ring where they released him from his shackles but left on his electronic bracelet. We went to commercial before they introduced his opponent.
We came back to a video montage of violent acts by the Big Red Machine, culminating with his torching of Jim Ross...then Rob Van Dam ran to the ring and went on the attack immediately. He controlled the action as the fight went to the floor, but Kane made his comeback and devastated his former partner, dropping him on the steps then pounding on him, forcing him up the ramp to the platform. He forced him over toward the edge, then punched the referee when he tried to interfere. A phalanx of officials, including Arn Anderson came out to try and reason with him. This distracted the monster, allowing RVD to get in couple of licks before Kane overwhelmed him again. He fought off the officials, then Linda McMahon appeared on the platform and drew Kane's attention - he began to stalk her, then grabbed her by the throat! Jerry Lawler appears on the platform and threw a few punches before he was also repelled by Kane, who then grabbed Linda again and put the Tombstone on her!!! The show ended with the officials gathering around and yelling for help. Kane had vanished.
Well that was different...
At least that's the way I see it...
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