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.
During the month of October, I am going to be moving to a new home in another city. Since I am going to be spending a lot of time working on the new house, and driving back and forth between the two locations (which are about 180 miles apart), I am concerned that I may not be able to properly monitor the wrestling scene during this period. So I have decided to suspend publication of the newsletter during the month of October. There will be two more editions, on September 22nd and 29th, then the newsletter will go off line for four weeks, to return on Monday, November 3rd.
This week in World Heavyweight Title History saw Lou Thesz lose a strap and the final straw between WCW and the NWA. I hope you enjoy it! If you have any questions, comments or corrections, e-mail me at email@example.com 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 September 15th to September 21st:
September 16, 1961 saw Verne Gane defeat Don Leo Jonathan for the Omaha version of The World Heavyweight Title in Omaha, NE. This ended Jonathan's second reign and began Gagne's second reign.
Five years later, Buddy Austin captured his second World Wrestling Association (WWA) World Heavyweight Title when he defeated Bobo Brazil in Los Angeles, CA.
Black Bart won the World Class Wrestling Association (WCWA) World Heavyweight Championship on September 15, 1986 in Los Angeles, CA at the expense of Chris Adams.
September 21, 1992 saw Junkyard Dog capture his only world title when he defeated Eddie Gilbert on Memphis, TN for the United States Wrestling Association (USWA) Unified World Title.
Jerry Lawler won his 16th USWA Unified World Title when he defeated Tatanka on September 20, 1993 in Memphis, TN.
Yvon Robert defeated Lou Thesz on September 17, 1941 in Montreal, QC, Canada to capture his sixth World Title under the banner of the Montreal Athletic Commission.
Ric Flair won his first National Wrestling Alliance (NWA) World Heavyweight Championship on September 17, 1981 in Kansas City, MO att he expense of Dusty Rhodes. The funny thing is that after the match The American Dream is on record as saying that Flair was nothing but a flash in the pan who would never last as world champion. He should've shined that crystal ball up before looking into it.
A strange set of circumstances came to a head on September 19, 1993 in Houston, TX. Ric Flair was the NWA World Heavyweight Champion and was wrestling for World Championship Wrestling (WCW). WCW booked Flair to lose the NWA strap to RIck Rude on 09/19/1993. The problem was that the NWA World Title can only be booked to change if a majority of the NWA Board of Directors votes for the booked switch. WCW opted to just book the change and hope the NWA would go along with it. Instead, the two companies ended up in court with the NWA winning. However, WCW ownced the belt that represented the NWA title. So, WCW simply went ahead with the scheduled match, but booked it as for the "World Title." Rude won the belt in Houston just as WCW had wished. The next several weeks saw the belt referred to as "The Big Gold Belt," "The World Heavyweight Title," and ,finally, the WCW International World Heavyweight TItle. So, historically, Flair became the first WCW International World Champion and Rude was the first man to win that title in the ring. This series of events also represented the final split between WCW and the NWA.
You know what?
(repeat after me) No...what!?
I havenít done a ĎTop 10í list in this column for a long time, and maybe ever. I think that would be a smashing idea, since I am completely drawing a blank on what to write in this space this week.
Bashing Vince, Goldberg, HHH, or the WWE in general passed through my mind, but I think I have done those topics before. Besides, why tell you things that you already know about? I feel that a Top 10 List is just the thing to put everything into perspective, and get me off the hook for hitting a stone wall where a topic is concerned.
Well, here it is...with explanations and the like included:
The TOP 10 wrestlers in the WWE (best being #1)
10) Shawn Michaels: He would be higher if this were 1998, but he isnít performing with the same level of exacting talent that he was between 1994-98. He works hard, but all that kind of gets neutralized by the downgrading of his skill level.
9) Undertaker: Same as Mr. Michaels. This incarnation of The Dead Man has added fans and life to his career, and his weight loss and rededication to getting fit has helped, but The Last ride is on the Horizon. He isnít the #1 that he was 4-6 years ago.
8) Christian: Watch this guy wrestle sometime, and youíll see why heís on this list. Crisp moves, dedication to the character he is playing, and the selfless way he operates in the locker room. Great talent to have in the WWE.
7) Matt Hardy: Another young star who has brought up the level of wrestling. He (and the tag team with his brother) brought extreme to the masses, and still performs at a high level today. He also made a great transition from face to heel...a hard thing to do.
6) Billy Kidman: Let this guy get going, folks, and you will agree with me. He was THE top lightweight worker in 1999 and 2000, no doubt in my mind. He isnít pretty on the mic, no doubt about that, but he is probably one of the top three lightweights in the industry. Period.
5) Lance Storm: Never misses a spot. Never. Selfless in the ring and with his character. I watched this guy turn a whole continent against him in Australia, so criticism about his mic work falls on deaf ears. He is the best pure wrestler on Raw, bar none.
4) Chris Benoit: This guy is a throwback that operates at modern-day speed. He is so quick, selfless, and focused, he makes you forget this is scripted. He is the foot-soldier of pro wrestling, and just his in-ring skills dictate his position here. He makes everyone in the ring with him look good, and that is something that few people can do. Toothless Aggression is truly a gold cap in this business.
3) Rey Mysterio: The best Luche Libre worker in the business. Period. No-one else can hold a light to him at this stage of the game. He moves with grace and, maybe more impressively for his genre of wrestling, with purpose. No hesitation or doubt can be seen in his moves. He works well with giants, mat workers, high-flyers, and any other type of wrestler you can think of. He is also the most exciting of all the workers in the WWE.
2) Eddie Guererro: Wonderful to watch in the ring, and, for that matter, out of the ring. He combines the best of the Luche Libre with the best of the WWE-mix of Punch-Kick-Throw, along with a dash of the Extreme method. No-one can work as well as he can within their gimmick, and within the ring, as Eddie Guererro...except:
1) Kurt Angle: Best on the Mic...best in the ring. He is the guide by which all pro wrestlers should be measured. Just as people used Hogan to measure wrestlers for a decade, they will use Angle for the next one. He is the best combination of speed, skill, mic talent, and presence that the WWE has had in a long time, if ever. He can be a heel, face, Ďtweener, or whatever, and it doesnít matter. He gets heat, is selfless, and Ďgets ití.
Am I biased? Well...sure. But, who isnít? Besides, this is PROFESSIONAL WRESTLING, folks...you are supposed to be biased. Itís something to enjoy, right?
OK...hope you enjoyed that. I enjoyed typing it up. Iíll have to do that again sometime...maybe do a list of faces, heels, or columnists.
Heh...guess who will be #1 on that list....
See you next week for another Connection.
SmackDown! came to us on tape from the Birmingham/Jefferson Convention Center in Birmingham, Alabama, and opened with the parking lot being prepared for the Guerrero/Cena match later in the program.
The first match of the evening featured Tajiri and Nunzio taking on Rey Misterio and Billy Kidman. I'm still waiting for Kidman's heel turn...it's coming, folks... Tajiri is really a great performer - he was one of the ones that Paul Heyman handled really well in ECW - making him into a kind of miniature monster heel. I hope WWE is going in that general direction - because he has a lot more potential then to just be other wrestlers' comic foil. Tajiri got the duke, by the way, by cleverly ducking the 619 then connecting with a super kick on Rey Rey.
Backstage, Stephanie refused to believe her father's assurances that he knew nothing about what Brock Lesnar was going to do to Zach Gowen last week - then she started to tell him that Lesnar is a liability to the business. Lesnar appeared behind her and demanded match tonight. At first he suggested Kurt Angle, the Undertaker and Zach Gowen all at once - but of course that couldn't happen - so he suggested a match against...Stephanie. Vince seconded the idea, but told her she could get out of it...by quitting as GM.
In the next match, Dawn Marie took on Shaniqua. Torrie and Nidia tried to talk her out of it before the match but Dawn was adamant that Shaniqua needed to be put in her place. Of course the match was hopeless for Dawn Marie. She got in one kick before Shaniqua started cleaning her clock. She was about to apply a chair to Dawn's back when Torrie and Nidia ran in and attacked her. She shook them off like so many bugs, but then as Shaniqua was concentrating on Nidia, Torrie grabbed the chair and whacked her good. She then hustled the other girls out of the ring and they hightailed it (no pun intended).
Chris Benoit faced Rhyno in the next match. As expected, Benoit ran away with it...again...
Next up - the Parking Lot Brawl - Eddie Guerrero and Vanilla Lice in a grudge match surrounded by cars. But first, Cena had to pace around in the circle delivering one of his rap/rants. Eddie drove up in his latest (silver) lowrider, came out of the car on the attack, and the fight was on. Fighting on top of cars, of course, is much easier on the body then fighting down on the concrete, so that is the gimmick. Before it was over, Cena had introduced a power lawn mower, which was never actually used but continued to roar in the background throughout the rest of the match. A bit later, Cena stupidly threw Eddie into the trunk of a car, then stood in front of it allowing Guerrero to knock him over as he popped the trunk back open - apparently he never heard about emergency trunk releases... Both guys had their heads shoved through windows - had to be break-away candy glass. Cena eventually got into a car and attempted to drive away. Eddie followed him in, pummeled him then pressed a lit cigarette lighter onto his chest! At the last moment, Eddie set Cena up on the hood of a car and mounted a mini-van to launch a Frog Splash. Suddenly Chavo ran in and smashed Cena with the US Title belt. Eddie completed his finisher and took the pin - then Chavo helped him back to his lowrider and they drove away. Great match!!
The APA were matched up against Matt Hardy and Shannon Moore in the next...er...squash. First, Faarooq beat them up, then Bradshaw beat them up. It was a car wreck, folks. Oh yeah, APA won... Afterward, Bruce the butler brought them beers on a silver tray.
Vince came down and introduced Lesnar for the match against his daughter. of course, he was sure that she would quit rather then face Lesnar in the ring - but we knew that wouldn't happen. Sure enough, Steph showed up dressed to wrestle and looking scared out of her wits. Vince yelled at her, calling her defiant, then she slapped him. Brock pinned her in the corner and grabbed her by the throat - no Steph kneed him in the groin!! he keeled over and she tried to escape the ring, but Vince dragged her back - so put a low blow on him as well!! Brock recovered and dragged her out to the floor. tried to hit her with the ring stairs, but she escaped up the ramp with Lesnar in pursuit. The disappeared backstage for a moment, then Brock reappeared with Stephanie over his shoulders. He was about to ram her into the post when Kurt Angle ran in and saved her. He pummeled Lesnar then chased him and Mcmahon from the arena, tossing the ring steps after them.
That was it folks - short show tonight...
Raw came too us live from the The Carolina Center in Columbia, South Carolina, and opened with a protest in the ring by Christian and Chris Jericho. Carrying placards, they were demanding that Steve Austin be fired. Austin came down and told them to shut up, he then told Christian he'd defend his IC title at Unforgiven, then made a match right now for Jericho against Rob Van Dam for the shot at the title. The match just got under way before we cut to a commercial. When we came back, jericho was in control and it remained that way fro several minutes. Then RVD got his feet working and turned things around. In the end, Christian interfered in the match and laid both guys out - so Austin came back out and made the IC Title match at the PPV into a Triple Threat contest!
Spike Dudley was forced to compete against Rob Conway, despite his horrific bump last week. All parties had there back-up for this match so there was a little brawl before the contest started. Spike was in a neck brace and Conway just attacked his neck to win in matter of seconds. Afterward, he pulled a table out from under the ring and set it up inside, then powerbombed Spike through it.
Backstage, Eric Bischoff consulted with Al Snow and Coach regarding their upcoming tag match at the PPV. He also blessed an "idea" they had for later in the program. In the midst of their conversation, a stage hand brought Bischoff a note that apparently said their were two, half-naked women waiting for him in his office. Needless to say he was headed in that direction as we went to commercial.
The two half-naked women turned out to be Moolah and Mae Young. Mae was celebrating her 80th birthday and wanted a match. This turned out to be Steve Austin's idea. The match pitted Moolah against Victoria - who came to the ring on her own tonight for the first time in quite some time. As it turned out, Moolah rolled her opponent up and pinned her in less than a minute. Victoria was in the middle of a punk job after her loss when Randy Orton ran down and told Victoria off - then named Moolah as a "legend" and himself, the "Legend Killer" - so he hit her with a neck breaker. Smooth...
Goldust and Lance Storm took on (and lost too) Rodney Mack and Mark Henry.
Randy Orton ran into Shawn Michaels backstage, and told him he was excited about meeting him at the PPV - then told him he would use HBK as a steppingstone. Michaels slapped the taste out of his mouth then told him, "If you're going to use me as a steppingstone, you better step hard..."
Backstage, Terri asked Molly Holly how she and Gail Kim planned to eliminate Trish Stratus. Molly indicated that Kim had convinced Bischoff to book a two-on-one handicap match for tonight.
The contract signing for Kane vs. Shane quickly degenerated when Kane shoved the table aside and threatened Shane. Shane came right at him and after a moment of being beaten down, delivered four low blows in quick succession then went to work on him. He ended up positioning Kane on a spare announce table then delivered a flying elbow off the top corner, smashing Kane through the table! He was able to stumble away, while Kane was left laid out.
The handicap ladies match was next, and Trish held her own in the early going, but as expected she was soon on the receiving end. Trish eventually came back with a spine buster on Molly, but was almost immediately overwhelmed again. Molly hit a forward somersault splash off the top rope to take the pin. Afterward, the two heels started to punk out their victim. Then Molly went out and grabbed a couple of folding chairs. They had her laid out for some horrible move when Lita (looking slightly undernourished) ran in and saved her butt!
Backstage, Steve Austin told Molly and Gail Kim they would have a tag match against Trish and Lita at the PPV.
back out in the arena, Al Snow and Coach came out, wearing a cowboy hat and a king's get up respectively. They took seats at the destroyed announce table and had the King and JR's microphones cut off, then proceeded to call the next match...
...which featured Val Venis taking on Test (w/Stacy). Val made the mistake of blowing a kiss to Stacy - which took his eyes off Test long enough for the old Pearl Harbor job. Sean Morely being no slouch, he soon had Test on the defensive, getting his first two-count about two minutes into the match. Moments later he went up for the money shot - but Test shoved the referee into the ropes and caused Val to crotch himself on the top rope. he would have had the pin, but Stacy dragged him out and upset the count. Test chased her around and into the ring - as he was straddling the rope, Val tried to bounce him on it - but the referee prevented it - so Stacy stepped up on the apron and took care of it herself! Val then hit a suplex and took the pin. Test was menacing Stacy after the match when Scott Steiner showed up to rescue her. In the end, Test dragged her out of the ring and sent her up the ramp ahead of him.
Meanwhile, the King had come down to the ring and demanded that Snow face him in a match tonight. Snow agreed as we cut to commercial.
Coach (cowboy hat and all) joined JR at the announce table for the match after the break. As Coach harassed JR at the table, King went ahead and won the match in the ring. Afterward, when JR turned his back, Coach hit him from behind then split with his partner.
JR was recovered when we return and vowing to give Coach a fight on Sunday. There was some strange looking painting or something on a easel in the ring - apparently a prop for Evolution's "going away party" for Goldberg. Backstage, Evolution was on their way to the ring, but Austin confronted them and reminded HHH that he would not have his companions for the match on Sunday - maybe he ought to consider holding this little "party" on his own - unless he's scared to do it alone...
HHH came to the ring after the break - alone - to conduct the "going away party" for Goldberg. He made a little speech then had a bunch of red, silver and gold balloons dropped from the ceiling then continued his self-serving rant, stating that he would end Goldberg's career. In the middle of his rant, the PA went out. We could hear him on TV, but apparently the the crowd couldn't hear him in the arena. Someone handed him a corded mic, and he continued to drone on and on. It is moments like this that really shows how little real mic talent HHH has. Anyway, he unveiled the picture and revealed a photo enlargement depicting his beat down on Goldberg in the Elimination Chamber a few weeks ago. He then had some video footage run of the same event. HHH tried to get the footage shown again in slow motion, but he got Goldberg on the screen. Mr. Bill told him to "believe the hype" then turned and headed to the ring. Goldberg ran right to the ring, ducked HHH's attack and then gorrilla pressed the Game right over his head before slamming him to the mat. Triple H slunk away up the ramp as Goldberg posed in the ring.
Sunday should be a good show...
At least that's the way I see it...
Editor, Solie's Wrestling Newsletter
for great wrestling discussion.
Copyright 2003 - Jump City Productions