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 title wins that weren't and the match that nearly crowned the first black 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
As always, please visit my website. The goal is to have lengths of time as champion for all the world title belts and also multiple champions club. Also, I'd like to have comprehensive title defenses for as many titles as possible. Such a feat is impossible without help from many. So, if you have any information or would like to contribute your knowledge of world titles it would be greatly appreciated. Simply e-mail at the above address.
World Title History for the week of August 18th to August 24th
Dave Levin defeated Vincent Lopez in Los Angeles, CA on August 19, 1936 to capture the Los Angeles Olympic Auditorium version of the World Heavyweight Title.
Bearcat Wright ended Fred Blassie's third World Wrestling Association (WWA in Los Angeles) World Title reign when he won the title by countout on August 23, 1963 in Los Angeles, CA.
Consejo Mundial de Lucha Libre (CMLL) crowned their second World Heavyweight Champion on August 18, 1991 in Monterey, MEXICO when Cien Caras defeated Konnan el Barbaro (Konnan).
August 21, 1965 saw Gene Kiniski defeat Dick The Bruiser to capture the World Wrestling Association (WWA in Indianapolis) World Heavyweight Title.
Al Perez won the World Class Wrestling Association (WCWA) World Heavyweight Title by forfeit on August 21, 1987 in Dallas, TX. Kevin Von Erich was the man who was to defend the title that night.
August 19, 1953 was the night that Killer Kowalski defeated Yvon Robert in to capture the Montreal Athletic Commission World Heavyweight Title.
Verne Gagne defeated Mister M (Bill Miller) on August 21, 1962 in Minneapolis, MN to win the American Wrestling Association (AWA) World Heavyweight Title. This was the third time that Gagne had captured the AWA strap.
The National Wrestling Alliance (NWA) World Title officially changed hands when Dusty Rhodes defeated Harley Race on August 21, 1979 in Tampa, FL. This was Dusty's first World Title and it's fitting that it happened in his backyard of Florida.
Dick Shikat and Jim Londos did battle on August 23, 1929 in Philadelphia, PA over the vacant National Boxing Association (NBA) World Heavyweight Title. This title became the National Wrestling Association (NWA) World Heavyweight Title a little over a year later. The title had become vacant when the first champion, Gus Sonnenberg, was stripped for failing to meet legitimate contenders. Shikat won the match and became the second NBA World Heavyweight Champion.
Exactly six years later the same title was vacant and Rube Wright defeated Swedish Angel in a tournament final to crown a new champion but the State Commission refused to recognize Wright as World Champion and instead recognized his tournament win as being for the California Heavyweight Championship. The title had been vacated because the champ, Jim Londos, left the territory in August of 1942.
The first black World Champion was kind of crowned on August 18, 1962 in Newark, NJ. Let me explain that kind of. Bobo Brazil was facing Buddy Rogers for the NWA that night and Brazil won the match when Buddy claimed he had a groin injury. Bobo refused the victory but it was still announced on September 06, 1962 that he was the new champion. The decision was made because doctors could find nothing wrong with Buddy and they were viewing it as a forfeit. Bobo Brazil never accepted the victory or title and the NWA essentially removed Brazil from the books as a champion. Instead they viewed it as though Buddy Rogers reign had been uninterrupted. Rogers faking an injury almost gave us our first official black World Champion. Instead we had to wait until 1992 when Ron Simmons won the WCW World Title.
I wrote about the uber-presence of Vince McMahon a couple of weeks ago, and I think I can say, without a shadow of a doubt, that he does not read the column.
Nope. Not a chance. If he had, he would have curbed his activity on Smackdown. However, he was there, with his little hands in the Brock-Angle program, the Stephanie program, with Spanky, John Cena (more last week than this week), and A-Train. Well, go figure. So he doesn't read my column. So what? It's his company to ruin......
So, let's forget about that. It's like banging your head against the wall.
However, the Solie's Reader's Forum caught my eyes this week, and it leaned towards the subject of Raw and HHH. Since those two items are a couple of my favorite subjects, I have no problem diving into this part of the WWE world.
If there is any doubt that Vince is letting HHH run his own Title run, or that he doesn't have pull in the locker room, read the following two items:
- Said that he enjoys the angle with Kane, but wishes there wasn't so much outside involvement and that it was just merely Kane vs. Rob Van Dam in an angle.
- He feels that he's gotten used to a WWE routine, where he'll work his ass off, only for others to take the bows.
- RVD said it's easy to see what's going on in the company, but there's nothing he can do about it. He's learned to only worry about what he can control - his in-ring performance and he tries to offer his very best each night.
- He doesn't see anything in the locker room changing anytime soon. He's just learned to deal with it and move on, although he was extremely upset around WrestleMania XIX, where he got the impression that WWE found the Miller Lite Girls more important than he.
- There were plans, back when Paul Heyman was the lead writer for SmackDown!, to move Rob Van Dam to that show. However, those plans have been scrapped now that Heyman's no longer in charge - and he's glad right now, as he feels that if Heyman were there it'd be one thing, but without him, his character just seems much better suited for RAW.
- Rob said that if HHH ended up running for California governor, he'd still vote for Arnold."
Vince McMahon reportedly told various heels backstage at a recent RAW house show (Triple H was obviously not one of them) that they really need to watch what Vince does as a heel, as he feels he's one of the few heels who gets the ideal heat from the crowd.
He told wrestlers that most everyone just cannot get the crowd highly against them, and it's becoming a problem.
Obviously, while Vince may in fact have a good point about RAW having some heels who just can't get heat, very few are pleased inside about being told that their work is not getting them over, and they should just pretty much 'do what the boss does'."
Does Vince get "ideal" heat? What about Ric Flair? I guess his heat isn't what Vince is going after, even though Ric Flair has been in the ring, getting heat from the fans, for 30 friggin' years! What about Kane? You don't think he was able to get good heel heat? No, my friends, not according to Vince. If you are not doing it like him, or HHH, you aren't doing it right. That burns me. I'll be the first to tell you that Vince DOES get good heel heat, but that isn't the point. HHH gets good heat as well, but that isn't the point. The point is nicely gift-wrapped in RVD's statements that I included with the Connection this week.
You got a guy who has basically accepted the fact that HHH rules Raw, that he will never get a push to the main event (much less the World Title), and wants to transfer to Smackdown, but feels as if he needs to stay on at Raw. RVD's motivation is now solely based on a professional work ethic, and that says volumes about the character of the man. However, when you are in a work environment that doesn't reward superlative work, why do superlative work? Why bust your hind end when you see certain people getting preferential treatment?
If there are a long-time readers of the Connection, you know I work in an interesting environment. The feeling that RVD is espousing is identical to some of the people I work with.....they won't work hard because they get the same rewards people that go through the motions get.
RVD works hard, and even though I don't think he was careful enough when he started (his reckless injuring of The Rock, Kurt Angle, etc.), he can put on an enjoyable match. However, he's stuck in a situation that must appear hopeless, and his words on the No Holds Barred show prove that out. He knows that Vince is going to hear about it, as well as the other wrestlers, and he seems to be past caring about it.
Kevin Nash had something roughly similar to say about that a few weeks back...he basically alluded to the fact that once you get into an angle with HHH, you get a quick push to the Title match, then you lose, then you get re-inserted into the mid-card. His statement wasn't that verbose, but you catch the drift. Scott Steiner, Nash, Kane, and Booker T all followed that route. It doesn't sound like RVD even wants to do that, since it would lead to him doing the job to HHH in the end.
Hence the Elimination Chamber. It allows HHH to lose the Title without losing face, or doing the job. It could end up being a situation where Orton screws something up, and causes HHH to get pinned, or HHH is injured, and can't continue. Or, and more maddening, if HHH can somehow make it through, and retain the Title. This whole construct is designed to keep either Goldberg or HHH from having to lose face. However, I expect Goldberg or HHH to win/retain the Title. I guess I feel like RVD....my spirit is broken, where HHH's selflessness is concerned.
AND, what's worse? Read this:
How the tables turn! What happened here? You have an idea, let me know. E-mail me at email@example.com and give me an idea or two.
See you next week for another Connection.
SmackDown! came to us on tape from Savvis Center in St. Louis, Missouri, and opened with Vince McMahon strutting toward the ring in a white sport coat and looking very pleased with himself, no doubt over his subversion of Brock Lesnar last week. He ranted about his coup, playing some video footage of the incident at the end of last week's program, then brought out the “Real” Brock Lesnar, who gave his own definition of friendship as being the using of acquaintances to get what you want. Vince then chimed in that regardless of Angle's physical condition, he will defend his title at SummerSlam. At that moment, Stephanie showed up - the first time we have seen her since the A-Train ran her down couple weeks ago at Vengeance. The two McMahons had words - to say the least. She called him a piece of garbage. Vince's rejoinder was that she had been a terrible disappointment to him, then insulted her mother. She tried to slap him, but Brock restrained her. Vince then booked a match pitting Stephanie against...A-Train...
Rey Misterio and Billy Kidman challenged the former Team Angle (sorry...I can't call them by that ridiculous name they are going by these days) for their titles yet again. The results were the same as the last time... Misterio and Rey Rey didn't look too happy with each other afterward.
Danny Basham defeated Billy Gunn, and then the Brothers punked him and went after Torrie. Jamie Noble and Nidia ran out to help and got creamed while Torrie and Billy just laid there in the ring. Pretty funny watching this year's Tough Enough Champ beating up on last years when Shaniqua hit a big powerbomb on Nidia.
Backstage, Bradshaw was going on about Shaniqua being a man again. He figures that she is Sheldon Benjamin in drag "...you never see them together, you know" Meanwhile, the Big Show was seen coming out of Vince McMahon's office with a big grin on his face.
The Undertaker took on the Big Show in the next match...not a good idea after what we saw in the last segment, I would imagine. This one started a bit slow as the two big men took some time to feel each other out. UT was out wrestling the big guy pretty severely for a while, then TBS started asserting his superior size. Eventually, UT turned it around again, then the referee got squashed in the corner and everything went nuts. The fight went out to the floor, then into the crowd for a while. Eventually they made it back to the ringside area...when A-Train showed up and bashed UT in the ribs with a board.
Eddie Guerrero came down to join the broadcast team for the next match, but before it could be announced, Chris Benoit came down and joined them as well! Benoit seemed to be inclined to be friendly, which raised Guerrero's suspicions. The match was between Tajiri and Rhino. The match was too short - Tajiri won it - and then Benoit tried to get Eddie to give him a ride in his...uh...ride...
Zach Gowen tried to go after the shoulder that John Cena injured during his match with the Undertaker last week, but he couldn't quite pull it off. He did managed to get a two count at one point, but then he flew off the top and was caught and FU'd.
Stephanie encountered A-Train backstage. The creep forced her to grope his hairy chest.
During the break, Zach Gowen was being helped to the back by Earl Hebner when he was attacked by Matt Hardy.
Backstage, Spanky (?) managed to squirt chocolate sauce on McMahon's white jacket. When Vince demanded that the kid pay for his jacket, Kendrick went into some complete non-sequeter about Vince's investment in the WFL. An irate Vince then booked him in a match against the “real” Brock Lesnar.
That match happened right after the break and was so much silliness... Brock hit a series of three power bombs and then went out to get a chair. After chasing the referee out with the weapon he clobbered the kid, who was a bloody mess before it was all over.
Vince came out and introduced Sable as the ring announcer. She introduced Stephanie, who went right after the ring announcer. Then A-Train came out. Stephanie stood up to him and slapped his face - then he grabbed her by the hair ands threw her across the ring. At that point the Undertaker showed up and started trashing A-Train. But the Big Show ran out and attacked the Dead Man. A-Train went back and squashed Stephanie for the win. Afterward, Vince kissed Sable as his daughter looked on in horror...
That’s all folks...
Backstage, Test confronted Staci, telling her that after he wins the match tonight (with her "services" at stake) he was going to treat her different..."like the slut you are..."
Trish got another shot at the Womens' Title tonight. In her match against Holly Molly, Trish started out on the outs, having her shoulder worked over, then later looked to be on her way to regaining the title...but then Gail Kim came out and spoiled it. First she distracted Trish, then she attacked Molly and cause a DQ.
Backstage, Evolution was confronted by Steve Austin who told them that because Orton was such a smart aleck, he would have to face Goldberg, with himself (Austin) as the "Special Enforcer".
After the break, Shane McMahon made his first appearance since being crushed by Kane a few weeks ago. First he announced that there won't be a match between him and Eric Bischoff at SummerSlam...because as soon as the co-GM shows up. Shane intends to drag him to the ring and beat the tar out of him. He contended that Bischoff won't make it to SummerSlam. Then he said that he had a special present for Kane. He disappeared backstage, then reappeared with a big gasoline can. He said that Kane isn't the only one who can play with fire.
Next up - Test vs. Scott Steiner, with Staci's "services" on the line. Steiner ran to the ring and right into a clothesline by Test - but jumped right back up and hit a powerslam. From there, he dominated the action until Test appeared to injure his knee. He started stumbling around and couldn't seem to put any weight on the joint. The referee sent for a trainer to check him out. The trainer examined his knee then several people started to help Test from the ring. Suddenly, he broke loose and delivered a kick to Steiner's face - then he pinned him. My question would be, how was that decision legal with all those people in the ring? Test led Staci away as Steiner recovered in the ring.
The French Nerds came down to the ring after the break for a joint rant in bad French accents. In the middle of their rant, they noticed an Air Force corporal at ringside and started harassing him. The Dudleys ran down and ran them off then invited the Airman into the ring with them to celebrate. They handed him their American flag and then turned their backs to exhort the crowd. The "Airman" immediately bashed them with the flag then the French Nerds ran in and finished the punk job.
Meanwhile, backstage, Chris Jericho was combing his golden tresses, getting ready for his match against kevin Nash - coming up next.
Linda McMahon, who was to be interviewed via satellite later in the program, was shown surfing the net at her home in Greenwich, CT, (notice even she was not watching RAW) then we went to the ring for Jericho's entrance. Nash, who has recently bleached his own flowing locks, came to the ring and then the match was on - Hair vs. Hair. A set of hair tools was shown at ringside. Not surprisingly, Nash dominated his opponent from the get-go, but eventually Jericho turned things around. He was in control for quite a while, then Nash began his comeback. Jericho then resorted to brass knuckles to win the match. While nash was out cold, Jericho grabbed the clippers and cut off Nash's long hair.
Next was a skit wherein Rosie, the Super Hero in Training, rescued a little girl's kitten from a tree, only to have the little beast attack him afterward. As Hurricane talked earnestly to the young lady, Rosie fought off the cat in the background by smashing it against a tree then slinging it into the next county! He then interrupted Hurricane saying, "Man! We gotta go!" Rosie's Super Hero sound is like a propeller plane flying by...
This was followed by a match between Rosie (w/Hurricane) and Rodney Mack (w/Teddy Long), which Rosie won handily.
In Greenwich, Linda was telling Lawler and Ross about her injuries suffered at the hands of Kane when the doorbell started ringing. She went to answer it, and found Eric Bischoff already in the house. Bischoff threatened her son with bodily harm then started coming on to her. When she tried to get to the phone and call security, he blocked her from it, then pinned her arms behind her. He forced a kiss on her, then let her loose as we went to commercial.
During the break, Shane was shown having a cow over what just happened. He ran out to the parking lot and grabbed a stranger's car, the tore out of the lot.
Rob Van Dam challenged Christian for the IC Title in the next match. RVD dominated the action for the most part until Christian ran his shoulder into a ring post. After that it was a much more even contest, with Christian in control through much of it. Van Dam made a big comeback when the champ brought a couple of chairs in only to get one kicked in his face before he could us them. In the end it didn't matter who was ahead when Kane ran in and attacked RVD with a chair, then dragged him from the ring to cause a no-contest decision.
Backstage, Test forced Staci to dance for him and his friends (Rico and Stevie Richards). In another room, Kane handcuffed RVD to a pie then sprinkled gasoline on him to wake him up - then doused him with the flammable liquid. He lit a couple of matches, but then told Van Dam that he wasn't going to use them because that is what "they" want...then he left.
Back in the ring, Steve Austin came to the ring to be the "Special Enforcer" for the main event, but first we went to commercial.
Triple H and Ric Flair joined the broadcasters for this match, pitting Randy Orton against Goldberg. Orton started the match by leaving the ring and leading his opponent around the ring area before diving back inside. It didn't help him as he was hit with a clothesline almost as soon as he got back inside. Moments later, however, he turned the tables and knocked Goldberg to the floor, then quickly tossed him back inside and tried to use a sleeper to slow him down. It didn't work and soon Goldberg was back in charge. Soon after that, the referee was knocked to the floor, but Austin quickly took his place. Ric Flair ran down and dragged Austin to the floor then started kicking Goldberg as Orton held him down. Austin returned to the ring and took Flair out of it. Meanwhile, Goldberg hit Orton with a spear and then finished him off with the Jack Hammer. Goldberg was concentrating on HHH when a newly shorn Kevin Nash ran in and put him down with a powerbomb. Meanwhile, HHH was posing on the platform when Shawn Michaels hit him with a super kick. He and Nash were exchanging nods when Chris Jericho ran out and clobbered HBK with a chair.
And that was that...
At least that's the way I see it...
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