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Solie's Saturday Morning Report

Tomomi "Jumbo" Tsuruta Dead at 49

Ric Flair Does it Again!!!

Wins the World Title for the 15th Time

Flair Collapses on Thunder

His blood pressure was said to be dangerously high afterward prompting concerns over his health

Shawn Michaels Appears on RAW

Will referee the main event at the PPV Sunday

Daffney Wins the Cruiserweight Title

She and Crowbar defeat Candido/Tammy in a Mixed Tag Team match

Kronic Keep the Tag Team Titles

Defeat Douglas and the Wall after Bagwell is Suspended

Gerald Brisco takes the hardcore Title

Catches Holly napping and pins him in his sleep

The Way I See It...

Weekly Review by Earl Oliver

Xavier University To Host Pro Wrestling Event!!!

WRESTLING WITH TRAGEDY: The Von Erich Family's Sad History: Part 3

from the Dallas Observer, Nov. 20-26, 1997

Volume 5, Issue 568 - May 20, 2000

Tomomi "Jumbo" Tsuruta

03/25/1951 - 05/13/2000

Associated Press Report:

Jumbo Tsuruta

By Hisaharu Tanabe
(reprinted with permission from The Great Hisa's Puroresu Dojo)

To be honest, when I first read about his death, I didn't care at all...only because I thought it was just another one of those stupid, irresponsible rumors spreading throughout Internet. When I found out it was true, I couldn't even talk for a few minutes.

After Giant Baba stepped down from main stream in early 1980s, Tsuruta took over as the top star of All Japan Pro-Wrestling. He was the first Japanese to win the A.W.A. World Heavyweight title in mid-1980s. He was the one who unified the three prestigeous heavyweight titles of All Japan and became the first unified Triple Crown heavyweight champion. He will always be remembered as one of the toughest and strongest men in the history of puroresu. After his great wrestling career, he became an assisstant professor of a university in Portland.

Although I was always a New Japan fan (and not much of All Japan), I still hoped he would tour around the world as N.W.A. World Heavyweight champion (back in '80s. of course) to show the world that we had a great wrestler like Jumbo.

It had been years since he left the mainstream scene, but even to this day, many fans say he was the strongest Japanese wrestler ever.

It is an honor for me to grew up watching his great matches against the tough opponents such as Brody, Hansen, Tenryu, the Funks, Race, Flair, Abdullah, Bockwinkle, and of course Baba. God bless his soul.

See where it all started...

My first web page...

Editor's Note: This will be the last edition of the newsletter for two weeks as I am finally going on that Hawaiin vacation that I was forced to postpone in March after breaking my ankle. My wife and I will be flying out tomorrow night and won't return until Memorial Day. Then I will be flying to Chicago the day after that until June 1st. Although I will be around that Saturday, I won't have had a chance to check out any of the shows. So the next edition of Solie's Newsletter will appear on June 10th. The radio broadcast will not appear next week but I will be posting one the following Friday.

Since the only Earthlink internet access in Hawaii is via an 800 number (which charges by the minute!) so I am not even planning to take my laptop. Therefore I will also be closing down the Mailroom while I am gone.

We begin this edition with the third installment of an eight part series which explores the tragedies and triumphs of the legendary Von Erich wrestling family and comes to us courtesy of the WAWLI Papers and J. Michael Kenyon.


from the Dallas Observer, Nov. 20-26, 1997

By Robert Wilonsky

Part 3

Contrary to myth, Jack didn't push his boys into wrestling. It merely became their best option. Like so many young men who try to escape their father's, the Adkisson boys fell backward into the family business. And Jack, especially in his later years -- after David died of an intestinal ulcer in Japan, after Mike overdosed on painkillers, after Chris and Kerry shot themselves -- often spoke as though he wished they hadn't gotten into the sport.

"Some people say I pushed those boys into wrestling, and wrestling killed-- like I killed them," Jack said in 1993. "Killed them? I loved those boys. I didn't force them to be wrestlers. I wanted something good for them,I'd rather they had gone into one of the professions, but when they wanted to be wrestlers, I helped them. But wrestling didn't kill them. Other things killed them."

Still, had David not been wrestling in Japan when he fell gravely ill in, perhaps he would have lived.

Had Mike not been wrestling, he might not have injured his arm in 1985, had, then contracted the toxic-shock syndrome that ruined his body and caused him to committ suicide two years later.

Had Chris not wanted to wrestle so badly, he might not have shot himself in the head for being so much smaller, so much weaker, than his brothers.

Had Kerry not been wrestling, he might not have become addicted to the drugs he took to ease the pain in an ankle he wrecked in a motorcycle accident in 1986. He might not have become despondent over the prosthetic he had to wear, one that made him limp horribly as he walked into the arena. He might not have gone to his parents' ranch in 1993 and shot himself in the heart.

Then there was little Jackie. Jack often blamed himself for his first-born's problems. He was convinced that if he had been home and not out on the road, wrestling in Ohio, then he could have prevented the child's horrific death by electrocution and drowning.

Oh, yes. Wrestling made the Von Erichs famous. It made them rich. It invested them with great expanses of land. It made them household names from the U.S. to Israel to Africa to South America. But if wrestling didn't kill Jack's boys, it sure as hell didn't help them stay alive.

Kevin believes the Von Erich family story would make one hell of a movie. "You put wrestling as the backdrop, but the human story is...It's funny, and it's sad, and it's an emotional roller. I would think it's what a movie producer would be looking for. Why the heck aren't they knocking on my door?" He says this as though forgetting for the moment that it is his story he's retelling, his loss.

He already has the opening scenes of a film sketched out in his head. Before the opening credits roll, there's nothing but absolute darkness; the setting is the moment when nighttime black turns to early-morning dawn. The only you can hear is the sound of duck wings flapping and whistling in the breeze.

Then, a gruff, booming voice explodes in the foreground: Let's get 'em!. In an instant, the whistling of wings and the pitch black gives way to the crash and flash of shotgun blasts.

"There's gunfire all over," Kevin says, his voice rising in excitement. "Then The Von Erich Story pops up. I thought that sounded like a cool opening. The movie would start off with us as little kids -- we had some crazy stories -- and then go on with our lives."

It's odd to hear Adkisson use that phrase -- and then go on with our lives-- if only because his brothers really never had a chance to go on with their lives. They were all dead well before the age of 35, most dyingin their 20s.

To be continued...

Xavier University To Host Pro Wrestling Event!!!

On Thursday, May 25th, The 3rd Annual Brian Pillman Memorial Event, PILLMAN 2000, is set to take place in Cincinnati, Oh. at the Schmidt Fieldhouse (located on the campus of Xavier University). The festivities will include appearances from some of the top superstars from the World Wrestling Federation (WWF), World Championship Wrestling (WCW), and Extreme Championship Wrestling (ECW). They will be participating in wrestling matches, a photo session, and live auction to pay homage to their late colleague, Brian Pillman.

Born May 22nd, 1962, Brian William Pillman became one of the most respected athletes in the Cincinnati area. As a member of the Norwood High School football team, he became the leader for tackles in his senior year for Cincinnati high schools. He also held the record for "tackles for a loss" at Miami of Ohio where he also reached All-American status in 1994. Later that same year, he went on to play for the NFL as a linebacker for the Cincinnati Bengals. He was told however that he would never make it, as he was considered too small for pro football. His persistent nature proved those wrong, as he walked on their special teams and won the Ed Bloch Courage Award for his performance. From there he went to play for the Buffalo Bills, and the Calgary Stampeders in the CFL, before breaking into the pro wrestling world in 1986.

Pillman achieved tremendous status in the mat game. In World Championship Wrestling (WCW), he was known to fans as "Flyin' Brian" and during his stint with the World Wrestling Federation (WWF), he carried a moniker of "The Loose Cannon." During his tenure in wrestling, Pillman acquired several accolades, including a world tag team championship with one of today's most popular stars, "Stone Cold" Steve Austin, in 1993.

His career in the pro mat sport was almost ended in April of 1996, when a severe automobile accident required doctors to fuse his ankle into a walking position. His determination to excel provided him with the strength to mount a comeback and signed with Vince McMahon's World Wrestling Federation that same year. Beating the odds was a constant throughout Pillman's life, as he had endured a total of 36 throat operations for cancer before he was three years of age. However, on October 5th, 1997, the day of a scheduled WWF pay per view, he was found dead in his hotel room in Bloomington, Minnesota as a result of congestive heart failure. He was 35. All proceeds from the event will benefit The Brian Pillman Memorial Foundation. A fund created to help with the support of his children, their future education, and family, as he is survived by his wife, Melanie, and five children.

The event is being organized by local promoter, Les Thatcher, and his Evendale, Oh. - based professional wrestling group, the Heartland Wrestling Association. Networks such as MTV, ABC, and MSNBC have all aired similar pieces, featuring Thatcher's group that focused on how one becomes a professional wrestler. After his automobile accident in 1996, to prepare for his time in the WWF rings, Pillman had began to rework his skills with the group, at Les Thatcher's Main Event Pro Wrestling Camp. Industry insiders consider the event a true homecoming, as they take the time to honor one of their own.

Scheduled to appear at this year's event include: "Big Sexy" Kevin Nash, Diamond Dallas Page, "The Crippler" Chris Benoit, Raven, Justin Credible, Kidman, "The Franchise" Shane Douglas, Dean Malenko, Eddy Guerrero, D-Lo Brown, Lord Steven Regal, Perry Saturn, The Road Dogg, Chris Candido, Ricky "The Dragon" Steamboat, Torrie Wilson, Tammy Lynn Sytch, Missy Hyatt, Woman, Terry Taylor, Jim Cornette, Terry Taylor, Dr. Tom Pritchard, "White Lightning" Tim Horner. ECW's Steven DeAngelis, along with WCW's David Penzer, will be the guest ring announcers.

Some of the items that will be available for the celebrity auction will include: WCW's Nitro Girl Kimberly's dance attire, as seen on varying broadcasts of "WCW's Monday Night Nitro." WCW superstar, Diamond Dallas Page's white leather fringe jacket worn during his days as a manager from 1989-1993, a pair of WWF superstar, Chris Jericho's wrestling boots, and WCW's Kidman's jean shorts worn during the cruiserweight title victory over Juventud Guerrera. All items have been authenticated and autographed. Earlier that afternoon, at an adjoining armory next to the Schmidt Fieldhouse, fans will be able to get up close and personal with their favorite wrestling stars as a photo session with the participants of the event has been scheduled to take place from 4PM - 6PM. The prices of Poloroids are $10 a piece and you must have a ticket to the event to attend the photo session.

Some of the matches that have been configured for the event promise to be that of sure wrestling excitement. "The WWF Radicalz" (Dean Malenko, Eddie Guerrero, and Perry Saturn), pro wrestling's latest group of "bad guy's," will honor their late colleague and friend by wrestling each other in a three way dance. A matchup that consists of having three participants in the ring at the same time. The fourth member of the group, "The Crippler" Chris Benoit, will be wrestling in the main event of the show. He will be taking on Lord Steven Regal. This marks Benoit's third consecutive appearance at the event. His placement in the main event is considered a tradition and only fitting as his friendship with Pillman dated clear back to 1988 during their time in Stu Hart's Stampede Wrestling Calgary, Alberta, Canada. It has also been confirmed from their head office that the president of Extreme Championship Wrestling (ECW), Paul Heyman, has agreed to let the their world's title be defended at the show. That matchup will be between the champion, Justin Credible and challenger, Raven. The situation is considered very unique as this is the first time that a major company's world title will be defended at an independent card. In a non-title matchup, WCW Cruiserweight Champion, "Hard Knox" Chris Candido will oppose Kidman. Candido and Kidman will be accompanied by their lovely valets, Tammy Lynn Sytch and Torrie Wilson respectively. A matchup between WWF superstars' D'Lo Brown and The Road Dogg is sure to catch those in the Cincinnati area's eye. This particular matchup will feature that of Reds' relief pitcher Danny Graves and 1st baseman Sean Casey participating as special guest managers. Outfielder for the team, Dmitri Young, will be on hand as well to maintain order. He will serve as a special guest referee for a tag team encounter consisting of WCW's Harris Twins against Vampiro and David Flair.

Independent wrestling talent, or talent that doesn't work for a national wrestling promotion exclusively, will also be a part of the show. A special showcase featuring some of the best performers from around the country has been scheduled to be a part of the festivities. It begins at 5:30PM and will last until approximately 7:00PM. That will feature some of the WWF and WCW's developmental talent as well as, top talent from Les Thatcher's group, The Heartland Wrestling Association. Matches featuring the WWF, WCW, and ECW talent will begin around 7:30PM. With all the independent action, as well as the main event matchups, there should be a total of around 16 matches for this year's show. For up to the minute information leading up to this year's event, log on to the official website: Tickets for the event ($30 ringside and $20 general admission) are currently on sale and can be purchased through any Ticketmaster outlet.

Finally!! The Rock'sand Mankind's Autobiographies are now both available at Solie's Storefront! Check it out for great deals on wrestling books, records and videos. In association with

The Way I See it...

Weekley Review by Earl Oliver

Nitro was live from Biloxi, Mississippi and opened up with a video review of the Sting/Vampiro feud then right to the ring where a "House of Pain" cage awaited the entrances of the two combatants. Vampiro entered the cage and then locked himself inside and Sting out. So Sting climbed to the top and used a baseball bat to batter one of the roof panels out in order to get inside and at his nemesis. There are handcuffs attached at regular intervals around the walls of the cage. For several minutes, Vampiro dominated the action. But then Sting made his comeback and soon was attempting to shackle his opponent to the wall. He suceeded and now Vampiro was helpless as Sting pummeled him some then exited the cage as the winner. The cage started to ascend toward the rafters with Vampiro hanging by his cuffs - but then the lights went out and when they came back up - Vampiro had vanished...oooh scary, kids... Out back, Shane Douglas surprised Brian Clark as he was rummaging in the trunk of his car and roughed him up some.

Backstage Captain Rection is reviewing his troups: Major Stash (Van Hammer), Cpl. Cajun (who else), Lt. Loco (Chavo, Jr.) and then adds Colonel Gunns (the blond from Jeff Jarrett's entourage).

Kronic came to the ring to rail against Shane Douglas who came to the platform and introduced the Wall as his partner to face the Brians (replacing the suspended Buff Bagwell). He proposed a match to get his Tag belts back then the two of them advanced to the ring. But then as the fight got started - Douglas abruptly left the ring area and his partner to face Kronic on his own! The Wall held his own for a few exchanges but then succumbed to the combined might of the Brians. After the match the ring announcer declared Kronic as the winners and still Tag Team Champions...huh..? When did they win the belts? Did I miss something? I know they stole them...but when did they win them? (Unless it was just now...)

In a Hardcore comedy routine, Terry Funk came to the ring and was attacked by the Filthy Animals and Ernest Miller who knocked him out. To the rescue came the Misfits in Action who cleared the ring with the help of Booker T and then brought Major Guns to administer mouth-to-mouth rescusitation to the fallen Hardcore Champ.

Norman Smiley and Ralphus were desparate for food money (down to $1.29 between them). They applied to a popcorn vendor for employment and were given jobs selling the snack.

Backstage, Ric Flair burst into the bosses' office and demanded to talk to Vince Russo. Eric Bischoff told him that Russo was not around so Flair went looking for him. After Flair left, Bischoff told Ernest Miller to go give Russo a heads up.

Chris Candido (w/Tammy) defended his Cruiserweight Title against Crowbar (w/Daffney)in a mixed tag team match. Miss handcock came out to watch from the runway. At one point both of the girls got involved with each others' men, putting on some impressive hurtin'. In the midst of the fight, Miss Handcock decided to dance for Tony Schiavone then turned and left as the two men fought out onto the runway. Back in the ring, Daffney rolled Tammy up and pinned her! So they won the title but there was a dispute between them which one would actually wear the belt. So it would seem that there are now two titles in unclear status at the moment.

Ric Flair ran out while the argument ensued and creamed Crowbar in the corner then grabbed a mic and demanded that Russo show his face. The announcers have been telling us about a confrontation that took place at the Flair residence last Thursday afternoon involving Russo and Mrs. Flair. Apparently some footage was about to be shown - but we cut to commercial first.

In the ring, Flair was still calling for Russo while in the parking lot, Sting has exited the building to see that his car was in flames! Back in the ring, Flair was still livid as a video started playing on the big screen. Russo, Daffney and David drove up in a white Corvette and brought cameras with them into the house. Upstairs, Russo and Daffney bounced around on the Flairs' bed then they went out back and David declared that he was not allowed to swim in the backyard pool. Back inside, they invaded Flair's closet and Russo donned one of his expensive ring robes. Next they invaded Reid's room to look at his trophys then they went down to the basement and claimed that the unfinished room was David's bedroom (right...) As they returned to the ground floor, Mrs. Flair returned with her younger son and daughter. Russo insulted her to her face as she threatened to call the police.

Back at the arena, David showed up with Daffney holding Flair's title belts over her shoulders. They stalked to the ring and Ric calmly explained that to his son that come the Great American Bash, he (David) would be wrestling Ric Flair...not his dad. David said he was ready to kick Ric's butt - so Ric said, "Okay...don't talk about it!" He then demanded his title shot against Jeff Jarrett on Nitro so that he could take David on at the Bash and put up his career in the PPV match. As he was facing off with David, Jeff Jarrett came up behind him and hit him with a guitar. David screamed, "Get Up! Get Up!" as Jarrett pout a figure four on the Nature Boy.

Backstage - Russo grabbed Miss Liz and told her, "Tough love, baby..." amd implied that he had booked her into some kind of a cage match.

In the arena, Russo took Liz to the cage and then introduced her opponent...Madusa! As Chuck Palumbo guarded the door, Madusa stood by threatening Liz while Russo browbeat her verbally. As Russo ranted, Lex Luger, disguised as a tech guy, lowered himself through the hole in the roof and locked Palumbo out. For a moment Luger was beaten down by Madusa's attack but then he recovered and she went down. Liz delivered a low blow kick to Russo! R&B security guys rushed down and maced Luger then Russo hit him with his bat. Palumbo got into the ring and delivered some shots...then Kevin Nash ran down and took on the whole bunch of them while Russo split, dragging Liz with him. Nash was about to do a number on Madusa when Mike Awesome ran in and attacked Nash. Luger recovered and used a pair of bolt cutters to drive Awesome away. Nash then challenged Awesome, telling him that he would leave the building on a stretcher - he wanted an ambulance match. Awesome accepted the match, saying that he would send Nash to the hospital.

Backstage, Scott Steiner tore up the format for the program in Mean Gene's face saying he would refuse to wrestle Russo's chosen opponent. Instead, his plan was to wait out in the alley to take on his brother and Talentless Tank. After the break we saw some footage of what happened out back. Abbott and Rick Steiner beat the tar out of Scott until the Goldberg Monster truck came rushing through the parking lot, crushing cars right and left. Meanwhile, Kevin Nash was backing and ambulance into place.

The match took place right after the break. The ambulance was parked at the end of the runway like it was for the Sting/Vampiro match on Thunder. The fight got started and Awesome brought a chair into the ring almost immediately but Nash grabbed it away and used it himself. The fight went out on to the runway and they fought up to the entryway where Awesome regained the advantage. He left the platform and adjusted some tables near the ambulance. But as he was returning to the platform, Diamond Dallas Page caught up to him and put a Diamond Cutter on him!! He and the recovered Nash then dragged Awesome over to the edge of the platform and team-powerbombed him off the platform onto one of the tables, destroying it. At that point the referee declared Awesome unable to continue. Backstage, Bischoff muttered something about having to "do it" himself. Meanwhile Hulk Hogan drove up in his Dodge Charger out back and stalked into the arena.

Bischoff came to the ring after the break with Ernest Miller and Kimberley (who was carrying a little purse to match her outfit) in tow. Bischoff went into a rant, saying that when you want to get something done, you have to do it yourself. He then challenged DDP to come down and bring some backup with him. Page showed up sans backup, of course. He addressed the Cat first, telling him to back off, then he entered the ring and took them both on. Bischoff was ejected immediately while the Cat took about three seconds longer. After some floor action, Page was back in the ring fighting the Cat again. Kimberley entered the ring with a chair and knocked him down. But then Sid showed up and joined Page...or so we thought...suddenly he turned on page and chokeslammed him! This brought Hulk Hogan down to rescue Page. He cleared the ring in a matter of moments then stood side by side with Page as Bischoff shouted threats, telling Hogan to get rid of Page and just wait there.

After the break, Bischoff came back with Kidman and Horace in tow and sent them in to face Hogan in a three way dance. As the fight started, Horace stayed out of it while Kidman and Hogan went at it. At ringside, Bischoff was promising that Horace would eventually get into the match, but it certainly didn't look that way. Kidman finally grabbed the advantage for a bit by delivering a low blow. But then when he tried to leave the ring, Horace grabbed him and threw him back inside. Bischoff jumped onto the apron and slapped Horace - who then hauled off and decked Bischoff. The Filthy Animals with hangers-on Juventud Guerrera and Disco Inferno ran down on the attack. Hogan was just going down when Horace re-entered the ring with a chair and layed into his uncle's attackers. Together they laid everyone out. But then Torrie appeared on the runway and initiated some sort of non-verbal communication with Horace, who suddenly turned and hit Hulk Hogan. Hogan was being punked as the program went to commercial. During the break we saw Horace leaving the building with Torrie much to Kidman's chagrin. Bischoff told him to do what was good for the New Blood...

The main event was short and oh so sweet. David Flair and Russo joined Tony, Scott and Mark to announce the all-important title match. The Nature Boy jumped Jarrett as he came onto the stage. Flair tore into The Chosen One, beating him senseless around the ringside area. Jarrett slammed a chair repeatedly into the midsection of the challenger. Jeff applied the figure four to the Nature Boy right in the center of the ring. Flair escaped, rolled up Jarrett for the pin, becoming the 15-time champion. Russo, David and Daffney ran in and, along with Jarrett, destroyed the Nature Boy with the Statue of Liberty figurine. Kevin Nash ran in and made the save one more time, powerbombing Jarrett so hard that he collapsed into the ring on impact. Nash handed the belt to Flair as he celebrated with the Biloxi crowd.

Another great show...and a great set up for Thunder...

RAW was live from Cleveland, Ohio. Shawn Michaels made a big entrance and then announced his retirement as commisioner of the WWF. This brought Vince McMahon out with a big Cheshire Cat grin on his face. Shawn then announced that he had been invited to appear on the program by CEO Linda McMahon, and had also been appointed as the official spokesperson for the WWF...and the special referee for the Ironman match this Sunday! That took Vince back a step. He questioned Michaels' resilliancy which prompted HBK to shove Vince to the mat in response. Shawn then walked away leaving Vince smouldering. During the break, Michaels left the arena in a limo as a second one pulled up and disgorged DX. The Big Show walked up and demanded to know the whereabouts of Shane.

The Dudleys took on Al Snow and Steve Blackman (does anyone know when they got back together..? The last we saw them they were feuding and then suddenly they were partners again last week). In a backstage moment before their entrance, Snow demonstrated, to his partner's chagrin, that he could be goofy even when attempting to be serious. As the match got underway, the NewNew Age Outlaws appeared on the platform with Tori to watch the match. Snow and Blackman have proved to be a fairly good duo but they are no match for the Dudley's teamwork. After some furious back and forth, the Dudleys prevailed. DX then ran down and attacked their PPV opponents. They set up a table ringside and set Bubba on it. Road Dogg was about to splash him but Tori stopped him and asked to be allowed to do the honors. She splashed him off the top and broke the table. Afterward, backstage, Bubba was in a trance while Devon testified to their desire to destroy DX at the PPV.

Stephanie McMahon-Helmsley lauched into a rant then showed video footage of herself being crushed by Rakishi in a corner then almost being stinky-faced. She was insensed at Rakishi, to say the least. Her revenge is to book a match for Rakishi against Kirk Angel. The Olympian appeared and took the mic to deliver his own rant against his opponent then continued on to the ring. Rakishi entered and the fight was on. Angle's first attempt at a scoop slam just hurt his back. About this time Pat Patterson appeared on the platform with the Tag Team Champions.As Rakishi was about to put his disgusting move on Angle, the Tag Champs charged the ring. Rakishi fended them off then Too Cool dragged Patterson into the ring and the bad guys were vanquished. The victory dance ensued thereafter.

In the back, the Big Show was still on the lookout for Shane.

The Godfather challenged Crash Holly for the Hardcore Title bringing a covey of five garden tools with him. Crash retreived his tools out from under the ring. A stop sign, a broom or two and some other weapons. Despite his weapons it didn't look good for Crash who was run into his own scales out on the floor. Godfather went for his train wreck move but ran headlong into Crash's stop sign. D-Lo Brown then joined the frey attacking both the Godfather and Crash. It was a three way match for a moment but then one of the girls ran in and rolled up Crash for the pin! Crash immediately turned the tables and took the title back. am I going to list this in my Title Histories??

HHH and company came to the ring to rant against the Rock. Tooting his own horn as usual. He then switched his focus to HBK. He threatened Shawn with bodily harm if he fails to call the match down the middle. The Rock appeared on the platform and finally accepted HHH's challenge. He stated that he would kick HHH's butt during the PPV Ironman match this Sunday. He cited critics (like myself, I guess) who wonder about his ability to wrestle a good 60 minute match. His story was that one hour wouldn't be enough time.

Hardcore Holly and Chris Jericho went at it in Hardcore rules match after the break. As these genarally do, this match went outside and into the crowd and back to the ringside area with chairs and trash cans coming into play. They were back in the ring again when Jericho hit a trash can shot on Holly then slapped on the Walls of Jericho. Chris Benoit ran in and put a choke hold on Jericho then let Holly hit him with a chair. Holly got the pin, not surprisingly. Out back a limo pulled up and the Big Show hauled out...a stranger...

After the break, Shane McMahon went to the ring and threw out a challenge to the Big Show for a no DQ match at the PPV. This brought the giant out to fight right then and there but Shane had other ideas. He introduced the big guy's opponents for RAW - T&A. The Show took them on and dominated the proceedings dispite the numbers. Test couldn't even get in a chairshot - TBS punched it back in his face. As the Show was about to powerbomb Albert, Trish Stratus tried to intervene but was unsuccessful. He grabbed her by the throat, which brought Gerry Brisco in to save her - so he got chokslammed. Shane grabbed a chair and hightailed it up the ramp, but the Show caught him and threw him against the WWF.COM sign (that's the one that sits above the entryway arch, folks!).

Eddie G and Chyna took on the Radicalz who didn't seem to have much together for this one during the early going but as the match progressed they began to come back. In the end, Chyna accidently hit her own man and caused him to be pinned.

The tag Champs defended their titles in a triple threat match against the Hardeys and the Acolytes. This one quickly degenerated into a donnybrook when Jeff decided to attack Bradshaw on the apron. He was dragged out to the floor and assaulted while Edge and Christian doubled up to pin Matt.

Backstage we came upon Mr. McMahon in consultation with Chris Benoit. Mike Cole interrupted them to interview Benoit, who pointed out that the Rock is not known for using submission holds.

In the match itself, the Rock proved a little more adept then Benoit expected as he slapped a figure four on the Wolverine! HHH had to interefere to save Benoit's butt. This allowed Benoit to get the Crippler Crossface. Vince immediately told the time keeper to ring the bell and the ring announcer to declare Benoit the winner. The Rock fought back and managed to put both Benoit and HHH off their stride then Chris Jericho ran out to even the odds. For a bit it was a four way fight then Jericho got the Walls on HHH while the Rock rock bottomed Benoit. DX ran in followed by the Dudleys who brought a table along and set it up inthe ring. Benoit, the Dudleys,DX and Jericho battled out of the ring leaving HHH and the Rock to slug it out until Maivia rock bottomed HHH through the table.

That's two straight for Nitro...the WWF would do well not to rest on it's laurels...

Thunder was taped Tuesday in Lafayette, Louisianna. During the opening we find the New Blood getting off a bus with Shane Douglas trying to take charge of things. Konnan objected and started a fight - then the Millionaires Club ran in and the melee expanded. The New Blood was vanquished (at least temporarily) then Hulk Hogan exhibited a set of keys which Tony declared were "the keys to the bus..."

Hogan led his group to the ring holding the keys high. The announcers told us that Vince Russo and Eric Bischoff are not present for the program. Hogan announced that the Millionaires Club would be booking the show. Douglas and his group appeared on the platform and Douglas announced that he had been left in charge. Hogan first challenged Kidman to a rematch at the next PPV with a World Title shot in the offing. He then challenged Horace (who he called "Hor-a$$) to a match on the Tunder program. Jeff Jarrett interrupted the proceedings to demand "his" World Title back, calling for Ric Flair to show his face. Flair waded in from the sidelines and attacked Jarrett, leaving himself open to a punk job. But his friends ran back up to the platform and rescued him.

Back in the New Blood dressing room, Konnan and his filthy faction walked out on Douglas, saying they didn't intend to do Douglas' fighting for him.

Disco Inferno has apparently joined the New Filthy Animals along with Juventud Guerrera, Konnan and Rey Misterio, Jr. Kidman is apparently no longer a part of that group. They faced the MIA (w/Major Guns) in an 8 man tag match. In the middle of the match Sean Stasiak came out from the entryway started attacking members of the MIA, causing a DQ. Booker T ran out next to even the odds and attacked Stasiak. Lt. Loco was knocked out during the melee so Major Guns applied mouth-to-mouth to bring him back to consciousness.

Hulk Hogan came out to face Horace for the second match on the program, but couldn't help making a speech before his opponent appeared. In the back, Horace and Kidman got into a little tug-of-war over Torrie - who eventually accompanied Horace to the ring. Horace has always seemed like a pretty big guy but his uncle dwarfs him when they are toe-to-toe in the ring. Hogan dominated the action from the get-go, at one point setting up a table on the outside. Back in the ring, he used his weight belt as a weapon. At a critical moment Torrie distracted the Hulkster allowing Horace to take the advantage. But then Kidman ran in and attacked Horace after Torrie embraced her new boyfriend. Hogan knocked Horace down then threw Kidman over the top onto the table. He pinned Horace and then faced Torrie who had come into the ring. After miming that he was going to hit her, he gave a big wet one instead. Torrie collapsed to the mat and then showed by her expression that she enjoyed the smooch...

After the break, Lex Luger strode into a local gym and attacked Chuck Palumbo in the middle of his workout. Meanwhile out in the arena parking lot, Norman Smiley and Ralphus were selling bootleg FUNB t-shirts.

Terry Funk was up next throwing out a challenge to Ernest Miller to a Hardcore Title match. The Cat appeared on the platform to talk some trash - but Funk stalked right up to him and started the fight right there. Miller hit a low blow to gain the advantage and the fight went down the stairs and into the backstage area. The fought back to the internet position where Funk used a laptop as a weapon! Next Funk started emptying plastic trash cans on the Cat. He was doing all right until he got caught under a rollup door. The fight went outside where Miller got hold of a rake and used it. They fought right over and destroyed Smiley's t-shirt display - then Funk started delivering chair shots on Ralphus' car. Miller came back and they climbed on top of the car. In the middle of all this, Smiley tried to sell Miller a shirt! Miller got stuffed into the trunk of the car and pinned.

After the break a plain clothes cop arrested Smiley and Ralphus.

Mike Awesome hauled a stretcher out to the platform and then stalked to the ring. He made a little speech about crippling Chris Kanyon then announced that he and Diamond Dallas Page have an ambulance match scheduled for the Great American Bash. He then tossed out an open challenge which was promptly accepted by Scott Steiner. Steiner was all over his opponent in the early going, forcing him out of the ring. Back inside, Steiner continued to dominate the action until Awesome delivered a backward low blow. His advantage was shortlived and then BPP suplexed him out of his boots then put on the Steiner recliner. Goldberg's music played at that point...of course it was Talentless Tank doing his bad Goldberg impression. Awesome was dumped out of the ring and disappeared. Steiner met Abbott on the runway and attacked but Rick Steiner showed up and joined Abbott, and the recovered Awesome in attacking BPP. This brought the Goldberg truck right to the platform. Steiner knocked his brother and Abbott onto the truck hood - the truck backed out and drove away. Meanwhile, Awesome jumped into the cab of the waiting ambulance and drove off as well.

Shane Douglas took a phone call from Kronic who said they were coming to get him. The rest of the New Blood bailed, leaving "the Franchise" to face them on his own. After the break Kronic burst into the room and dragged Douglas to the ring for a three way dance. Obviously this turned into a handicap match. The announcers were saying, "I guess we can call them the World Tag Team Champions..." pointing out that they have had possession of the belts for some time now. Speaking of the belts, Douglas tried to walk off with them but ran into the Wall on the runway. Douglas got creamed and then tossed back into the ring to face Kronic again. He was pinned in a flash.

The new World Champ came to the ring after the break with a very satisfied smile on his face. The crowd chanted "15 Times!" Flair made an emotional speech calling Jeff Jarrett a great Champion and referring to himself as "lucky". He went on to give us his take on Vince Russo - relating a tale about how Russo grew up in New York wanting to be like the Nature Boy, rather then local wrestling hero, Bruno Sammartino. He accuses Russo of trying to live vicariously through David Flair. At that point, Jeff Jarrett appeared and came to the ring to take the belt back. He entered the ring and the fight broke out - David and Crowbar showed up to make it a punk job but then Arn Anderson ran in with a tree branch and cleared the ring. AA made a speech of his own telling David to be a wrestler he needs to first be a man. He sets up a tag match against Jarrett and a partner for himself and Flair - Horsemen style!!

Backstage, Vampiro talked trash and burned a Sting mask...

Sting was in the ring as we returned from commercial to rant a little rant on his current nemesis. He vowed to take Vampiro out on the program. Vamp appeared on the platform and proposes an Inferno match at the PPV - the winner has to light the loser on fire. Sting refused the match but Vamp said he didn't have a choice - then the ring ropes erupted in flames.

After the break, Jarrett and Douglas were shown backstage - Douglas was urging Jarrett on to kick Flair's butt. Jarrett said he would - then we adjourned to the arena where Flair made his entrance. Meanwhile, AA was getting punked in the back by David, Crowbar and other New Blood members (I hear that what actually happened was that Arn injured his foot and couldn't go on. Back to the arena where Jarrett and Flair started fighting on the platform. Back to the ring they went where the rest of the thugs joined the beat down. But then Kevin Nash ran out to lend a hand. Flair was in a figure four applied by David but he tripped Daffney and rolled her up for a pin! Jarrett split in a hurry with Nash on his trail. Back in the ring, Flair put the figure four on Daffney but then let her go, went to the corner and collapsed! Charles Robinson helped him through the ropes where he collapsed again. The story was that Flair was suffering another bout of the inner ear/equilibrium problem that took him out of action for a while back in 1991. There is a report that Flair's blood pressure was recorded as being dangerously high afterward - although Flair and WCW are claiming that he was not seriously ill. Later reports on Wednesday stressed that it was not heart attack or any life threatening situation.

Here's hoping that those pronouncements are accurate...

SmackDown saw the McMahon-Helmsley regime come to the ring to set the scene for this Sunday's PPV. Stephanie started it off then handed the mic to Shane, who showed footage from Monday night - the Big Show throwing him head first into the WWF.COM sign. He said that he's getting pumped up for their no DQ match on Sunday - and in fact he challenged Show to a match on SmackDown! HHH then showed footage of his own - the Rock rock bottoming HHH at the end of the show on Monday. He didn't like that...duh! Vince then went off on his wife for her actions over the last few months then promised that "history" would be made on the program. He booked a lumberjack, handicap, table match featuring the Dudleys against the Rock.

Backstage, Crash Holly saught a moments rest under the protection of the APA.

Scott Taylor (ne Too Hotty) took on Olympic hero Kirk Angel who sought to raise Scotty's ire by insulting his favorite move (the Worm). Scotty didn't bite and proceeded to wrestle rings around his opponent during the early going. The Olympian came back by blocking a victory role moments later and taking the pin.

Backstage, Crash...uh...crashed...and snored while the APA played cards.

Chyna came to the ring and announced a challenge match, and delivered some insults to the participants, Perry Saturn, Dean Malenko and then introduced Eddie G as the special referee for this match to determine who would be Guerrero's challenger for the PPV on Sunday. The match was pretty evenly fought with Guerrero hardly even pretending to be interested in it. Malenko used the Light Heavyweight belt to knock out Saturn then went for the pin but Eddy ignored him - grabbed his own title belt and waffled Malenko with it then declared the match a draw! So were back to the triple threat match for Judgement Day.

Christian took on Brian Christopher - a lead in to the match later on between Edge and Rakishi - and dominated the action until he ran himself into the corner buckle. From that point on it was almost all Christian until he made the mistake of giving his opponent the downward leverage by sitting him on the top corner. Grand Master Sexay came back but then took too long putting on his goggles for a flying move. Christian hauled him off the top and tried a roll up - but Christopher rolled right through it and turned the tables for the pin.

Bobcat (the garden tool who pinned Crash the other night) burst in on the APA and started to take a chair to the hardcore Champ - but his protectors warned her off with a lear...

Val Venis (who has deleted his "tear the towel off" opening of late) came down and launched into a rant against the MH Regime - saying that they have been telling him they just don't have any plans for him - so he has decided to make plans of his own. He issued a challenge to whoever holds the IC Title after Sunday. This brought Chris Benoit to the platform to toot his own horn and accept the challenge for SmackDown - which brought the Millenium Bug out to make a statement of his own. Pronouncing the Champs name "Benoyt", he declares that the "Crippler is going to become the Crippled" at the PPV. The Hardcore Holly decided to add his $.02 - saying that he should be the one challenging on Monday night. Jericho interrupted his statement to choose Val as his tag team partner for the planned match between himself and Benoit/Holly. That match got started right then and there - Val and Benoit in the ring - Holly and Jericho out on the floor. The match was pretty confusing with bodies flying all over the place. In the ring, Jericho got the Wall on Benoit but Holly ran in and hit him with a chair - then he attacked Benoit with the same chair hammering repeatedly on Benoit's knee! Benoit had to be stretchered from the arena. After the break he was shown backstage screaming as EMT's tried to treat his leg.

Before Edge's match with Rakishi, the two boobs did some posing in hockey outfits to insult the hometown crowd. Kurt Angle and Christian stuck around for the match - just as well, since Too Cool accompanied their buddy. The fight was short and ended as soon as Edge used a hockey mask to thwart the stink face. Angle and Christian ran in and caused the DQ after Rakishi donned the mask and started using it for headbutts. The bad guys split while the good guys danced - then the bad guys came back and attacked then did there own dance - until the good guys recovered and threw them out of the ring.

The Big Show came out for his match with Shane - who appeared on the platform and excused himself because he seemed to have "misplaced" his gear. Instead he announced that the Show would participate in a gauntlet match against T&A, whom TBS destroyed in a minute - then the Big Boss Man and Bull Buchanan, who got an assist from T&A who re-entered the ring making it four on one. Still not enough as the giant vanquished all four of them. So Shane sent in the NewNew Age Outlaws. TBS took them all on and was only slowed down when Shane ran in and hit him with a chair. Once the big guy was out of it, Shane then stood on the chair and delivered an assisted choke slam on the master of same.

Gerry Brisco snuck in and used stealth to get a pin on the sleeping Crash and win the Hardcore Title - but then he stumbled over something and woke the former champ, who chased him to the ring. Pat Patterson ran intereference and tried to put his version (sans the skid mark for commercial TV) of the stink face on Crash. Crash bobbed him with a club and then continued chasing Brisco.

The Rock cut a promo telling HHH to be ready to go the full hour on Sunday.

The main event was the afore mentioned handicap, lumberjack, table match (or whatever order they put that in...) with DX as the lumberjacks along with T&A, the Boss Man and Buchanan, Gerry Brisco, Pat Patterson, Shane and Vince McMahon. Talk about a stacked deck...except that the Dudleys have nothing against the Rock and all kinds of problems with the MH Regime. The first one who got tossed to the lions was Bubba Ray who was clotheslined to the outside and roughed up before being rolled back inside. Devon had a little better luck, dropping a headbutt "where the sun don't shine". But then he was ejected and pummeled. The Rock tried to interevene from the inside and was dragged out and also pummeled. Back inside the three of them decided to go on the offensive against their mutual tormentors - they attacked and beat down the lumberjacks! The Rock and HHH ended up brawling on the floor until some of Helmsley's friends recovered. Test got put through a table by the Dudleys while Maivia was crashing HHH's forehead on the announce table. In the ring, Tori low blowed Bubba then X-Pac put him through a table. HHH and the Rock continued to battle and Brisco and Patterson set more tables up in the ring. Lumberjacks continued to be put through tables until the Rock was beaten down enough that HHH could actually use Maivia's own Rick Bottom on him to end the match on a broken table.

ECW on TNN opened with "That Guy" talking about Hardcore Heaven. He mentioned that Jerry Lynn beat Rob Van Dam and a few other things then made a cheap shot crack about Eric Bischoff and Vince Russo (why are these guys so obsessed with WCW? Their almost as bad as Vince McMahon...) The scene switched to the ring where a match between Kid Cash and another jobber was just ending. The FBI ran out and punked Cash - then Mikey Whipwreak ran in and threw fire inthe face of Big Sal. This turned into an "impromptu" match between Whipwreak and Little Guido. Guido outwrestled Mikey in the ring but out on the floor he is out brawled and also outnumbered as "The Guy" got involved. Back in the ring, Mikey missed a move and was guillotined onto a chair and almost pinned. Moments later a Whipper Snapper took Guido out.

The announce team showed some clips from the PPV main event then cut to the opening montage. More clips followed interspersed with the the montage. This followed by a tease of the ECW Hotline...which, as usual, is all about WCW and the WWF.

Chris Chetti and Nova were in the ring for their match with the Baldies when Danny Doring and Roadkill attacked the latter team in the aisle. The match became a three team dance as we cut to commercial. After the break it was a little hard to follow what was happening because Steve Corino was at the announcers table and insisted on showing clips from his match with Tajiri at the PPV. In the end, Vic Grimes was smashed through a table by Nova and Chetti who had earlier been eliminated in the match. This allowed Doring and Roadkill to take the win. Then New Jack ran in and committed some of his usual mayhem on the Baldies as well.

Raven got a shot at Justin Credible and the ECW World Title. The announcers felt the need to remind us that Francine used to be with Tommy Dreamer and then was with Raven (well, duh...) Early in the match Justin was dumped out on his head on the hardwood floor. Raven followed him out into the area where he is king as we cut to commercial.

As we returned Raven was pounding on the Champ in the backstage area. He dragged Credible back to the ringside area and grabbed a microphone to use as a weapon before using it to yell at Francine. Credible was still holding his head from the bump he took earlier. Raven brought a table into the ring and propped it in the corner, then turned back toward his victim only to have a low blow put on him. Raven was put through his own table as Credible continued to feel the pain in his head. The Champ continued his assault on the now helpless Raven. Raven escaped a reverse chinlock but was caught with a knee to the gut as he came off the ropes. Next the Champ went for a sleeper but Raven used a belly-to-back suplex to escape once more. Credible went back to the sleeper but was thrown off and crashed through a ringside table. Raven was still out of it however, and Justin recovered and brought a chair back into the ring - using it as a landing place for Raven's face as he put on a drop toe hold. He tried to use the chair again but Raven kicked it back in his face. Now Raven made a comeback, running the Champ into the corner and once again and then shoving his snot rag into his face to humiliate him. Moments later Francine intervened with a cane shot and Raven was almost pinned. The match went into see-saw mode as each man traded pin attempts. Francine dropped her guard for a moment and got knocked off the apron by the Champ during a whip. The referee was also knocked down - Francine recovered and attacked Raven but was shrugged off - Justin used the distraction to regain the advantage then used the ropes to pin Raven for the tainted victory.

The program ended with an extended rant by Cyrus, talking about heading back to WWF land (yeah, they really want you back, fool...)

That's it folks. I'll be back in three weeks with the next edition of the newsletter. Until then...

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

Earl Oliver
Editor, Solie's Wrestling Newsletter

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