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Awesome/Raven win ECW Tag Titles!

The Way I See It...

Weekly Review by Earl Oliver

Solie's Classic Reprints presents


From the Allentown Morning Call, Sept. 6, 1987

Volume 5, Issue 552 - March 11, 2000
Editor's Note: As I write this introduction (Monday, March 6) I am finally out of my cast. Fortunately the fracture in my left ankle was very minor - I wore the cast for less than three weeks. Now I am back in a splint and start physical therapy tomorrow to regain my former strength and mobility.

This morning's edition opens with a piece I hijacked from the WAWLI Papers (thanks to J. Michael Kenyon and his researchers). It presents a somewhat humorous look at what was involved in putting on an independent wrestling show at a county fair back in 1987.


Allentown Morning Call, Sept. 6, 1987

By Tim Darragh

For almost everyone, enjoying a day at the Allentown Fair is simple enough. There's plenty of parking, enough food for an army and entertainment ranging from the bizarre to the wholesome. But for Carl Brosious, the stage manager at the grandstand shows, coordinating a day's entertainment at the trackside stands is anything but simple.

Take yesterday for example. Brosious and his partner Joe Mininger had the pleasant task of coordinating a professional wrestling show and, four hours after the last body was slammed and the last eyeball gouged, turning on the stage lights for the rock group Chicago.

If you think that's easy, you've never dealt with equipment trucks that arrive early, other equipment trucks that arrive late, setting up several thousand chairs - only to take them down and reset them in another formation, and creating a band stage while a wrestling show goes on. But definitely toughest of all, tougher than coordinating all that, tougher than making all those people happy, was telling some very large wrestlers that they couldn't eat at the band's catering tent.

"The wrestlers came in" to the food tent, Brosious said, shaking his head. "I told the promoter they couldn't eat there. I wasn't going to tell them. I wasn't as big as them."

Happily, the wrestlers took the news well, he said, adding that he gave them soft drinks as a gesture of appreciation.

Before that, however, Brosious and crew had an early start to their problems. The first problem was one not usually associated with the production of rock shows. The first of Chicago's three 48-foot trailers pulled into the fairgrounds more than an hour early.

But the wrestling ring, coming up from Camden, N.J., was 90 minutes late. As the stagehands straggled in around 10:30 a.m., they began working on the band stage. That in itself, Brosious continued, created a problem because it prevented the wrestlers from making a quick exit from the ring.

"It creates a security problem," he said as the steel cage surrounding the ring was constructed. "Wrestlers don't like to be outside a restricted area." He pointed out that some fans get the urge to strike back at the "bad guys" whenever they get a chance. The seating was set up so that the wrestlers could enter and exit the ring in a quick walk accompanied by some burly security guards. None of the wrestlers, however, seemed to need security guards.

The wrestlers and their management also didn't mind the stage work the Chicago crew was doing during their performance, as long as they didn't make much noise, of course.

However, construction of the steel cage took longer than expected -- at one point, a bar fell on the head of one of the workers - and pushed back the ending time of show. That also meant less time to rearrange the several thousand seats on the track in front of the bandstand.

The delay gave a few extra minutes to Sgt. Slaughter, the star wrestler who had to be flown in to Allentown. Later in the day, a driver would return to the airport, where Chicago would be landing after a flight from Lake Placid, N.Y.

Meanwhile, chefs from Quichessentials Catering were busy preparing for the band's requested entree, black-tip mako shark.

"These guys," Brosious said, "are real laid-back." Brosious said he could not say exactly how much the day's production cost, saying no two shows are alike.

"This is my seventh year, and I've seen it go as high as $2,700 and as low as $600." He said the country music performers are easiest to please. They usually just want some good barbecued chicken or ribs, he said.

Brosious' wife Bonnie, the spokeswoman for the fair, said years ago it was easier to coordinate a couple of grandstand shows each day because the acts did not have such elaborate equipment. One band's manager was a "basket case" when he came out and saw a demolition derby going on before his band's concert.

With a wrestling show in the afternoon, fair planners had been hoping to have a rock act in the evening that would not require track seating. But Chicago, she said, insisted on it. Although it created a logistical problem, track seating is more comfortable for the audience, she noted. Such is the life of the backstage crew and producers.

An estimated 120,000 people visited the fair yesterday and last night's Chicago concert drew 7,274, according to Bonnie Brosious.

Members of the band Alabama, which was in town earlier last week, also gave Bonnie a rather unusual assessment of the 135th version of the Great Allentown Fair.

"They're at one gig after another," she said, "and they came back to the fair. They said it was a nice, nice fair. 'It doesn't even smell,' " they told her.

Of course, wrestling and rock concerts were not the only things going on at the fairgrounds. One new item at the fair this year is the newest media star, Spuds McKenzie, Budweiser beer's "party animal" mascot. Vendors at booths along the midway said the stuffed dogs wearing party hats, imitation Jams, sunglasses and party hats are big hits with the public.

"Spuds is very hot," Darren Wimmer said at the tip-the-milk-bottle booth. "I gave a lot away." And Judd Good -- himself wearing a Spuds T-shirt -- said the stuffed bull terriers are more popular at his booth than the traditional teddy bear. At other booths, vendors, apparently trying to cash in on the Spuds craze, offered Spuds look-alikes - stuffed bears wearing sunglasses and "I love you" T-shirts.

Finally!! The Rock's and Mankind's Autobiagraphies are now both available at Solie's Storefront! Check it out for great deals on wrestling books, records and videos and to help support Solie's Vintage Wrestling. All proceeds from the Storefront go into paying for upkeep on this web site and keeping our features as a free service to the Internet Wrestling Community. In association with

The Way I See It...

By Earl Oliver

Monday Nitro opened with Vampiro and Fit Finley getting into a brawl backstage. Nitro was live from Chappel Hill at the University of North Carolina. Horsemen country...

In the ring "the Juice" made one of his lame speeches to introduce his buddy Psychosis who faced Taz Hayashi of the Young Dragons. Hayashi is showing a lot of aggression these days and dominated the early going while Juventud kibbitzed from ringside. Psychosis managed to turn the tables without help from his companion and then the brawl from backstage invaded the ring. Fortunately for the combatants, Vamp and Finley rolled right through and continued their fight around ringside before disappearing into the back again. Next TAFKAPI and his lady friend decided to show up. In the ring the match had gone into see-saw mode until Psychosis hit his guillotine. But instead of going for the pin he decided to allow himself to be distracted by the antics at ringside. Kaz surprised him and got the pin. Afterward there was s short dustup between the Prince and Psychosis, who threw the Cruiserweight Champion out to the floor.

Backstage the fight was finally broken up leaving Vamp stalking around taking out his anger on inanimate objects.

Big Vito took on Big Ron Harris in a grudge match brought about because of the attack by the Harris Twins on the a Tag Team Champs last week on the program. It appeared from the opening bell that Vito was more then a match for the Harris boy but not for the two Harris Twins together. Heavy D interefered with a handy chain and the match ended rather abruptly. But then Disco got the referee to look at the replay and he reversed the decision. The Twins H-Bombed everybody in sight, including security personnel sent out to quell the melee. A police officer showed up and managed to break it up but not before he was also shoved off the apron.

Backstage after the break, the Harris Brothers were being arrested for assaulting a police officer when Jeff Jarrett and protested without any luck.

David Flair decided to take on the Wall in retaliation for what the latter did to his partner last week. Didn't seem like much punishment... This on his 21st birthday no less. Idiot! The Wall basically fell on him then dragged a couple of tables out from under the ring and stacked them up while Daffney screamed (like, what else is new..?) She did manage to distract him so that David could hit him with his crowbar. But then he turned his back to celebrate with the crowd. The Wall recovered and plastered the kid with a chokeslam through the tables. Daffney burst into tears as EMP's, Arn Anderson, Curt Hennig, Terry Funk and others came out to assist the broken David Flair. No sign of his old man, by the way...

Keep in mind that breaking through two tables is actually easier on the back then breaking through one - or hitting the floor without a table to break your fall. Elementary physics folks... Backstage, Bam Bam Bigalow took the Wall to task for his brutal actions - and got knocked down for his trouble.

Al Greene (aka The Dog) took on Three Count. Actually he was only supposed to be wrestling Evan Karagias, but these Lame Street Boys can't do anything on their own. The Dog's companions, Finley and Knobbs, eventually intervened and broke up the handicap action. Evan was thrown back into the ring and dispatched with...well...dispatch...

Backstage, Ric Flair was seemingly unconcerned about his kid, but had some insults for his opponent later - Curt Hennig.

It's nice to see the Nitro Grrrrr's back again...

In the back, Sid had talked Vampiro into coming back to be his partner against Jarrett and Heavy D later. Of course Heavy D was in jail for assaulting a police officer. Out front, Jarrett had a few choice words to say about Chappel Hill's finest... He contended that any wrestler in the back would be proud to be his partner, then introduced the Wall as his man. Backstage, Idol and Lane were playing around with the Demon's casket. Interestingly, a promo for this years Spring Breakout broadcast featured an appearance by Scott Steiner. Don't know if it means anything...

The Ric Flair/Curt Hennig match was dominated in the early going by the latter until Flair went for the eyes and turned the tables. The fight fell out to the floor where Hennig managed to reverse the momentum, laying Flair out with a chop on top of the broadcast table. Flair raked the eyes again then rolled Hennig back inside, but Hennig then caught his opponent coming in and suplexed him back into the ring. Flair then used a low blow to turn the tide once again then started working on the left leg. Hennig left the ring and tried to hobble away but Flair followed him out and continued his assault. This developed into a short lived pattern as Hennig again left and was dragged back. Flair got the figure four but Hennig turned it over and escaped. Flair then made his classic mistake - climbing to the top rope. Hennig turned the tables and that brought Lex Luger down to interfere. Hennig managed to fend them both off and git a roll-up for the pin. But then he was overwhelmed and hit with a baseball bat then whipped with Hogan's weight belt. Arn Anderson came out to intevene but couldn't stop Hennig from having his arm broken in the usual manner. Luger threatened Arn with his bat but Flair called him off and they split.

Backstage the two morons were welding the Demon's casket shut but he then turned up behind them! They ran off before he could do much damage.

Norman Smiley had a match against Lane while Idol joined the broadcast team. In the ring, Norman went into his wiggle and got kicked in the crotch. But then Lane ran up the corner and missed a moonsault. About this time, Miss Handcock showed up, climbed onto the broadcast table and started to gyrate. Lane was distracted and beaten. The Demon then ran out and attacked the two morons. Norman helped him do them in.

Backstage, Sid delivered one of his stranger rants. The Tank Abbot showed up unexpectantly (according to the anouncers - but what do they know..?)After the break he showed up in the ring saying he beat Sid last week (hmmmm...I didn't see it that way...)and vowed to stay in the ring no matter what happened. La Parka got the dubious honor of being a participant in the next match. He tried to use his chair but failed. Abbot took the mic again and spouted off some more, daring anyone to try and remove him. Meng then showed up and stalked to the ring. He was supposed to be La Parka's opponent - but JJ Dillon and security personnel got between him and the ring and forced him back. Abbot then left thus proving that he is not a man of his word...

More Nitro Grrrls after the break... Hulk Hogan delivered a strange rant of his own talking about a "Yappapai Indian Strap Match" whatever that is... Raw pink meat??? Please!!!

Kidman came down with his buxom lady to take on Stevie Ray with his manager J. Biggs. Not that this was a tag team match, mind you... The other Harlem Heat goons came down trailing their masters. Kidman started to introduce his partner but got punked rather suddenly. Booker (T?) ran out and joined the frey. Big T (aka Ahmed Johnson) is so slow he is really little threat to anyone these days. Booker ended up ion the wrong side of a doubleteam assault as Kidman recovered on the apron. Kidman rejoined the fight and almost pinned Big T - but cash dragged the referee out of the ring before he could finish his count. The three thugs then committed mayhem in the ring.

Dustin Rhodes came to the ring with a roll of barbed wire to rant at Terry Funk, internet dirt sheet writers (Hey! That's me!) and the crowd. Funk showed up with a garbage bag and a few choice phrases of his own. He claimed to have something for Rhodes in the sack. He said it was his old man's child. It was a plucked raw chicken wearing a diaper. He wanted to have Rhodes proposed barbed wire match right that moment so Rhodes threw powder in the old man's face and punked him. But knocking Funk down and keeping him down are two different things, of course. The hardcore legend recovered and chased the kid from the ring.

The main event featured Sid/Vampyro vs. Jarrett/the Wall. The match itself was short but very action packed. Vamp put up a great fight despite the beating he took earlier and the cast on his arm. Sid went for a pin early on Jarrett but the Wall broke it up. Moments later they grabbed each other by the throat. Sid would have gotten it if Jarrett hadn't clobbered him with a guitar. The Wall got the chokeslam then let Jarrett take the pin.

It was "the Rock interferes" night on RAW is WAR as the great one, still claiming he has nothing to lose, dealt our mayhem at several points during the broadcast. The other dominant theme appeared to be the power struggle between the two McMahon siblings. This all seems a bit weak to me...

Shane and his big friend opened the program with a trip to the ring for a rant. The question of the night - did the Show hit HHH with a chair on SmackDown on purpose, or was it an accident? He reveals at one point his displeasure with the match made between his sister and her husband. He then set up a non-title match for HHH against Rakishi. That brought HHH and Stephanie out to protest - and to have Steph set up a Kane vs. Big Show opening contest - and to slap her big brother across the face for his unfortunate references to her during his rant.

A video from earier in the day showed the Posse (with referee Tim White in tow)invading Crash Holly's hotel room to take him up on his vow to defend his Hardcore Title 24/7. They attacked him in his jammies...but he slipped away while they disagreed over who got to make the pin.

Sure enough, Kane vs. the Show was the first match of the program. A slow-moving, high impact contest ensued and was pretty evenly fought until both men grabbed each other in chokeholds simultaneously - then the Rock ran in and put a Rock Bottom on Wight. Kane followed that with a chokeslam on the helpless giant before he split.

Backstage, Mae Young was insisting on accompanying her man to the ring to face the Dudleys.

Coming back from a break we got the first of a series of APA Protection commercials, "...because we need beer money."

Mark Henry's opponent was Devon Dudley but that didn't keep Bubba from getting involved. So Mark brought his sweety in to deliver a bronco buster on him before he squashed Devon. In the following punk job, Mae got powerbombed onto a table. Was that predictable or what..?

X-Pac and Road Dogg are the new New Age Outlaws, apparently - since the dumped Billy Gunn last week. What is that all about, anyway? In this match they faced Too Cool, who seem destined to hold the Tag Team gold some time soon. Grand Master Sexay missed a spot. It looked like he was going for a leapfrog but got caught short and ended up just knocking X-Pac down. The fight went on for a bit with no clear advantage on either side, then Too Cool rather abruptly took control - then Kane showed up to spoil the contest.

"Kirk Angel" came out to insult the hometown crowd then the Millennium Bug followed him and laid in some insults of his own. Y2J was there to challenge for the IC Title so this was a rematch from the last PPV. Jericho was well on his way to another title reign when Bob backlund made a surprise appearance and attacked him with his Chickenwing maneuver.

HHH's non-title match against Rakishi turned out to be the Rock's second chance to come out and throw a monkeywrench into the proceedings. The contest itself was hard fought with a lot of great action. It was about to end with a chair shot on Rakishi when Maivia showed up and ended it. He then invited Rakishi to squash his erstwhile opponent...but didn;t stick around to dance...

The Hardey Boyz came to the ring while Al Snow was backstage trying to arrange a swarm of midgets carrying platters of cheese to the ring for Steve Blackman's entrance. Blackman squelched that idea in a hurry. Blackman faced Matt hardey in the match while Snow continued to puzzle over what might have happened to the midgets he ordered. In the ring, Hardey was all over his opponent and headed for a win until Blackman picked him up and dropped his face on the ring steps. The crowd's chant of "Head Cheese!" only infuriated the lethal weapon. At ringside, Snow was reduced to gossiping with Head...then he got into a dustup with Jeff Hardey while Blackman wrapped things up in the ring with a top-rope kick to the solar plexus.

Backstage the McMahon/Helmsley/Wight faction was arranging a cage match for the Rock against Chris Benoit.

Edge and Christian had a match against Perry Saturn and Dean Malenko while Terri Runnels bantered with the King at the announce table. In the ring the match was pretty evenly fought until Terri left the table to "help" and got herself knocked down. She pretended like her ankle was hurt, thus distracting Edge so that the opposition could take out Christian with an illegal assist from Eddie G.

Viscera challenged the Hardcore Champ Crash Holly is what seemed like a very one-sided matchup - at least on paper. Actually it was even one-sided in the ring...and out of the ring...and into the backstage area as Viscera used brooms, mops and other cleaning implements. The fight ended up out by the APA home office, where Viscera made the mistake of interrupting the Acolytes' card game. He was punked and Holly got the pin.

Backstage, Mark Henry was back from the hospital and invaded the Dudley's locker room only to get punked.

Benoit came to the platform with his entire Rdical troup but then told them to stay away from the ring for his cage match against the Rock. The cage is a more conventional one then we usually see in the WWF - it sits on the apron. A slugfest ensued to start the contest then changed to an exchange of heavy duty shots. Shane and the Show came sauntering down from the platform to "A$$hole!" chants and proceeded to cheer on Benoit. Then HHH and Stephanie also appeared but maintained there distance for a while. Eventually they also made it to ringside. In the ring, the Rock was dominating the action until he got tied up in the ropes. Benoit tried to climb out but Maivia escaped and thwarted him. Moments later, Benoit had a chance to leave the cage but turned back to deliver his signature flying headbutt. Maivia weathered that storm and came back with a Rock Bottom and both guys were down. Maivia recovered and started his climb but Benoit joined him there and they struggled for position. The Rock then put Benoit down decisively and climbed up only to be met by HHH who tried to prevent him leaving. HHH was shoved onto the Big Show and Rocky escaped and won - but then was punked after the match...of course. But then HHH clobbered the Show with a chair by mistake and the Rock triumphed in the end...of course.

Thunder opened with a Cruiserweight Title defense by the Artist formerly, etc., etc. Paisly is one hot chick...yesireee... The "Juice" led his buddy Psychosis to the ring to challange the champion then tried to join the announce team over the vociferous objections of Mike Tenay. Rey Misterio then showed up for the first time in weeks and we learned why Tenay was so upset - he was scheduled to provide commentary. Juvey abandoned his quest as Rey Rey told us that he plans to return to the ring in about three months. Meanwhile in the ring, TAFKAPI had injured his ankle (ouch!) and was on the receiving end from his aggressive challanger. Juvey alternatly argued with Paisly and cheered his man on - then, as Charles Robinson got knocked down, Juvy ran in and counted the Prince out! He tried to award the belt to Psychosis but Robinson recovered in time to nix that result. Psychosis was DQ'd because of Juvey's interference.

Backstage, Bam Bam Bigalow was commisserating with David Flair and Crowbar over their run-ins with his protege, the Wall. He promised to "make it right" - whatever that means. Interestingly, it was the first time we have ever seen Daffney when she wasn't screaming, or laughing her head off...

The Demon appeared for the next match (apparently he got his casket un-welded - although he did seem to have some difficulty getting it open). For this program he faced Idol, a result no doubt, of the incident on Nitro involving the afore-mentioned welding. Lane joined the broadcast team and Miss Handcock showed up as well. But Lane prevented her from dancing (damn him!) In the ring, Idol was making mincemeat out of his rookie opponent until Miss Handcock returned to distract him. She climbed onto the apron to give him a big wet one. The Demon back-jumped him and got the pin. Lane and Idol then started to punk him but Screamin' Norm ran in and saved his cookies only to be attacked himself and punked. The two of them were left laying as we cut to Curt Hennig threatening Lex Luger with bodily soon as his arm heels...

Bam Bam came to the ring to lay out his complaints against the Wall. First he invited Dave Flair and Crowbar to the ring. Both were in neck braces and moving reeeeeal slooooow....Dafney was screaming again... Bam Bam had some chairs brought in for the invalids. He again commisserated with them until the Wall showed up and punked the lot of them. Daffney screamed in terror for a change...

The Inarticulate One (aka the Maestro) came out to put Ernest Miller down in his incoherent fashion. This brought the Cat out to do the Maestro in in a flash by hitting him with his boombox. This is the first time we have seen the Cat in action since his injury last year.

In the middle of an interview, Lash LaRoux was interrupted by Dustin Rhodes who dragged him to the ring and started an impromptu match. This brought Terry Funk out to intervene. He brought his raw chicken out and used it to slap Dustin down! He then donned the carcass like a glove and punched him with it. The two of them brawled out of the ring and into the backstage area, out of sight of cameras.

Team Package made their way to the ring as we returned from the break. Flair had previously promised Luger that he would bring AA into the fold before the evening was over. So he invited Arn to the ring, and Arn came, but he seemed reluctant to join. In fact, he decided to give Flair a piece of his mind. And indeed, he delivered a heartfelt rant as only Arn Anderson can. telling the Nature Boy to stop following Luger and be his own man...and David's father. Flair ignores the plea and again insists that Arn should join the team. Luger then took the mic and told Flair that he had to deliver Arn to the team by Monday, or he would be off the team. Then he split, leaving Flair still insisting that Arn had to join the team.

Backstage, Fit Finley stalked toward the arena for a match with Meng only to be suddenly attacked by Vampyro. Security was right there to break it up but were having some difficulty with the task as we cut to commercial.

Meng arrived at the ring as we returned. Finley followed him out rather shakily. Before the match could really get going, Tank Abbot entered the ring and attacked Meng. More security guys ran in so Abbot just abandoned the ring leaving Meng and Finley to battle it out with the security forces! Backstage, Booker was giving Torrie a talking too about getting her boyfriend focused for their pending match for the Tag Team Titles. Kidman showed up and told Booker to back offf and then insisted that Torrie would be accompanying them to the ring.

The Tag Team Titles were up in an 8 man elimination match featuring the Harris Boyz, the new Harlem Heat plus the afore-mentioned team of Booker and Kidman. The Tag Champs entered first then started right in on the Harris Twins as they arrived. They were joined by Harlem Heat (w/Cash/J Biggs - who joined the broadcast team) then Booker ran down without Kidman. Apparently this is also an anything goes match because nobody is bothering to tag in and out - or even leave the ring! Eventually it shook out to a more normal 8 man match. Big (Slow) T caused the first elimination when he accidently clobbered his partner and got him pinned by Booker...then we cut to commercial.

We returned to learn that Booker had accidently hit his partner during the break and so they were eliminated as well. This left the Harris Boyz against the Eyetalian Boyz. In moments, one of the Harris twins had Johnny the Bull pinned - but Disco ran in and clocked him with one of the title belts to turn the tables. Afterward, Disco got H-Bombed - and fittingly so, I might add.

Vampyro took time out from his feud with Fit Finley to challange Jeff Jarrett for his US Title. Again Vamp's injured arm appeared to not slow him down a whit - and he is clearly a much better wrestler than Jarrett. So this was a great challenge...until the nWo thug patrol showed up to distract him. The tables were turned in a flash - Vamp might never have recovered after that, except that the Tag Champs ran down and drove the Harris Twins away from ringside. The match then settled into a quick paced see-saw contest until Nick Patrick got knocked out. Jarrett took advantage of the referee's absense to bring the title belt into play, but Vamp wrestled it away and used it himself. A second referee ran down and started the count but then Patrick recovered and pulled the second referee out to the floor. In the confusion, the Harris Boyz came back and spelled doom for Vampiro's hopes of becoming the Champion.

SmackDown came to us on tape from the Fleet Center in Boston and opened with an appearance by the World Champion and his cheap slu...huh...Stephanie... Before she could get the audience to stop their chanting - her brother showed up with his oversized friend. Shane hinted that the crowd wanted him to slap her down...but he declined - then handed the mic to HHH. This segment turned into a replay of all of the McMahon/Helmsley era openings with the four of them handing out handicap "revenge matches" to their enemies...isn't this scenerio getting just incredibly old..?

This night's Hardcore Title match took place in a laundermat. As usual the Posse attacked the Champ en masse and tripped all over each other.

The first of the previously referred to gimmick matches featured the Rock in a handicap contest against Chris Benoit and Perry Saturn. Maivia keeps telling us that he is going to WrestleMania to be in the main event and I, for one, believe him. One of my regular correspondents on the Mailroom page this week proposed a scenerio under which the Rock and Mick Foley would end up facing each other at the big event - and I liked it. This particular fight ended rather abruptly when Maivia executed a Rock Bottom on Saturn and took the pin. Of course he was punked by the Radicalz afterward.

After the break, Stephanie came out to announce yet another lame gimmick match - again featuring the Rock - this time against the Dudley Boyz in a "Table match" (yawn...) But first...

Essa Rios defended his Light Heavyweight Title against Christian. Terri Runnels showed up for some unknown reason, and as usual, Lita got physically involved. This time she threw a moonsault onto the challenger while Terri was keeping the referee occupied on the opposite side of the ring. Edge then ran in and speared Lita - which caused the referee to DQ his brother. Figure that one out...

It seemed like a good chance for Tazz to pick up his first WWF gold as he challenged Kirk Angel for his IC Title. He even got the Tazzmission in place and appeared about to win when Bob Backlund showed up and spoiled his chances. This brought Chris Jericho down to lend Tazz a hand. Did these two ever work together in ECW?

The second handicap match saw the "new" New Age Outlaws trying in vain to beat up on Kane, who came to the ring with his old man. Earlier in the evening, X-Pac expressed some misgivings about havong anything to do with his girlfriends old flame (no pun intended) but allowed the Road Dogg to cajole him into it. Bad idea...never listen to a lamer in dreadlocks who can't wrestle and his mother dresses him funny... These clowns keep pounding on the Big Red Machine only to have him come back with a single uppercut and have to start all over again. They keep trying but there is just nothing they can do to stop him. Toward the end he pulled off another of those amazing double suplexes then chokeslammed each of them in succession. Then he got his hands on Tori. He was going for the Tombstone on her when X-Pac whacked him with a chair then put on the X-Factor - also on the chair - and took the pin.

Kevin Kelly checked in on Mae Young as she was being released from the hospital. Mark Henry was in tears and unable to comment beyond a few words.

Jeff Hardey got Steve Blackman for a one-on-one. Before the match we watched Blackman do a number on a worshipful fan backstage - what a guy! The highlight was Hardey taking a header on the bare concrete outside the ring but still being able to kick out moments later in the ring. Later on Al Snow interfered to give his partner the win.

The Rock's second match of the evening pitted him against the Dudleys, whom he handled nicely throughout the early moments. They got a little offense but he came right back and they fled up the ramp. Maivia dragged them back, bashing them all the way and they finally managed to gang up on him back in the ring. But again their ascendency was only temporary and the Rock came roaring back. He was about to put the elbow drop on Devon when Bubba speared him. They set up a table in the ring but then blew their attack. Bubba was tabled. To win this one, the Rock needed to put both Dudleys through tables. He found another one under the ring and set it up inside, then went back out to manhandle Devon back inside. Unfortunately for Maivia, Bubba recovered in time to help his brother put him through the table using the 3D.

Ivory got her chance to take back the Womens' Title and started the fight with a slap to the Champion's face. They had a Keystone Kop chase around the outside then collided head-to-head in the ring. With Luna out of action again, these are the only two real female wrestlers I know of in the WWF. With Jacquie's size advantage, the result seemed almost foregone. Jacqueline retained her title.

Crash Holly had his second title defencse of the program against Prince Albert. Crash started toward tghe ring but then hid behind the entryway in order to ambush the challenger on the ramp. The fight went immediately to the backstage area and before it could really heat up the Posse ran in and went after Crash once again. PA ended up fighting with the Posse back at the ring while Crash simply disappeared.

HHH and the Big Show joined forces to take on Rakishi in the third handicap match of the evening. Doesn't it seem obvious that the WWF is not even trying to create any heat between the supposed combatants in the main event at WrestleMania? As big and tough as Mr. Phatu is, when he's going against the World Champ and the biggest guy in the promotion, it hardly seems likely that he will fare well. Too Cool finally decided to run in and help but they were ambushed as they left their dressing room by the remainder of DX. Back in the ring, the fragile cooperation between HHH and the Show was satrting to break down, thus giving Rakishi a chance to make a come back. HHH got "face buttet' if you catch my drift, and the Show was in for the same but Shane entered the ring with a chair and distracted him. The giant then recovered and got the chokeslam, followed by the Pedegree and the pin by HHH. Afterward they were working the big Samoan over with the chair when the Rock ran in carrying a steel pipe, which he dropped as he entered the ring. Shane then used the pipe on his already injured ribs, after which HHH appied it several more times before the Big Show chokeslammed him. HHH topped it off with another Pedegree. The two Samoans lay motionless on the mat as the bad guys celebrated then split.

ECW on TNN opened, not unusually, with Styles and Gertner in the ring at the ECW Arena in South Philadelphia. It only took one insult to Cyrus's mother to get the man himself to come out and attempt a censor job. For a change this time, Joe Styles stood up for his wayward partner. He called Cyrus an a$$hole and left the ring.

After the break we came back to find that Cyrus was still in the ring, demanding that Rob Van Dam come out and give him the ECW TV Title belt. Bill Alfonso came out, without the belt. Cyrus immediately declared that ECW on TNN wa cancelled, then turned to Alfonso and called Van Dam a coward. That got Van Dam to appear, on the shoulders of Scotty Riggs. RVD was acknowledging the chants of his name as we cut to commercial.

RVD introduced his friend as we return then lit into Cyrus. In the end he surrendered the title for the good of the company. As he was leaving, Alfonso and Cyrus started to square off. But then Rhino ran in and speared Alfonso, RVD turned back toward the ring and the segment ended with officials trying to keep RVD and Rhino apart.

As we return, Rhino is being restrained, RVD is being taken away, Alfonso is laying on the mat. Cyrus declares this the first quarter final of a TV Title tournament. The first match? Rhino vs. Spike Dudley. After having a little trouble getting started. Spike had the big guy reeling on the outside of the ring as we cut to yet another commercial.

Rhino had turned the tables as we returned. He had Spike out behind the bleachers and was laying into him. As they returned to the ring area, Spike dropped Rhino on his face on the ring steps to turn things back around. His creative use of a chair is not quite up to RVD's standards but effective nonetheless. Rhino roared back but Spike hit the Acid Drop on him and almost got the pin - but Steve Corino intervened and saved his cookies. Spike fought him off and Jack Victory as well but his downfall was inevitable. Rhino caught him in a DDT and took the pin to advance toward the title.

We cut to tape of a tag team match between the Impact Players and a couple of Japanese grapplers, Team No Respect - Geto and Jato. This was a "#1 contenders match" to face Dreamer and Tanaka for the Wotrld Tag Team Titles. The two furriners are quick - and slightly better wrestlers then their opponents - but not nearly devious enough to keep up with the former ECW Tag Team champs. Although one planned table shot goes badly awry for the IP, eventually guile wins out over ability and the Impact Players will go on to challenge for the titles at the PPV. Interestingly enough, there was a promo for the PPV immediately following the match which stated that the Tag Team Title matc at athe PPV would be a Three Way Dance.

Speaking of the tag Team Champs - they defended their titles against Mike Awesome and Raven (who's got his face all painted up these days). This, of course represents a clash between two sets of arch rivals. Dreamer is upset because his woman (Francine) has deserted him to second his former partner while Awesome and Tanaka have traded the World Title back an forth in the past. Before long, Dreamer was isolated and the challengers were working on his injured back. When Tanaka finally got in he was a house afire, taking on both opponents, but that could only go on so long. Moments later something I have never seen before happened. Raven dropped Dreamer onto the edge of a table and his head went through it! Amazingly he came back but it was short lived. The World Champ stood the table up in the corner and delivered an Awesome Bomb which through the table, which took Dreamer out - and won them the titles. This makes Awesome a double champ - but I have to wonder how long this Awesome/Raven combination can last...

At least that's the way I see it...

Earl Oliver
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