In a prepared statement, Brody said he's been following the situation between Hogan and WCW writer Vince Russo very closely over the past week and if it is in fact a "shoot," he would give Hogan the perfect opportunity to "really stick it to WCW" by burning the WCW title belt in a garbage can on August 15 during an NWA Florida show in Tampa.
"On August 15, the Florida division of the NWA is presenting a show in Tampa at the Fort Homer Hesterly Armory; one of the places where Hulk Hogan got his start training under the watchful eye of the late Hiro Matsuda," Brody said. "In light of recent events between the real WCW Champion and WCW writer Vince Russo, I am hereby rolling out the red carpet for Mr. Hogan, by issuing this open invitation to allow him to come to the Armory on August 15 and bring the WCW belt with him."
When asked how realistic it would be for Hogan to actually show at an NWA Florida card, Brody said: "Considering the man lives in town and that two of his best friends in B. Brian Blair and Steve Keirn will be on the card doesn't hurt. But, more importantly than that, this is pro wrestling, remember? And in pro wrestling, anything can happen."
For more on this, and other stories, visit http://www.nwa-wrestling.com
Just gotta love old Howard :-)
Editor's Note: I will be going out of town on Thursday and will not return until next Monday night, so there will be no weekend edition on Saturday, nor will I be able to report on the WWF PPV on Sunday. I will try and update the Radio program Wednesday night, and will return with the usual Monday Night Wars Edition next Tuesday Morning.
Nitro has been postponed until Tuesday night this week, so I will be running the reports in the reverse of their usual order.
This edition opens with the first installment of an article on Ric Flair that ran in the Raleigh News and Observer back in January of 1991.
By Billy Warden & Jonathan Probber
To those of you who delight in pointing at the television during a wrestling show and saying confidently, "That stuff is fake," congratulations on your razor-keen powers of perception. But if by "fake" you mean that the outcome is predetermined, well, wrestling shares that certitude with life itself, doesn't it? But in wrestling, as in life, the journey matters. And no wrestler, anywhere, anytime, has dominated the peculiar blend of sport, theater and morality play as thoroughly as Ric Flair.
He is unmistakable: The Nature Boy, with filigreed silver hair and eyes the color of gunmetal. As he enters the ring and the spotlight picks him up, the baubles and floss on his extravagant robes throw light onto the faces of the fans.
Understand that there are other wrestlers who wear robes, and worse: helmets, masks, steam-spouting spiked shoulder pads, Mohawks. But they are not Ric Flair. Ric Flair is dead cool. Out of the feathered robe he leisurely steps, folds it carefully and hands it to an attendant. Never rushes. Never dithers. He brushes his opponent with his eyes, up and down, like a painter. But he paints contempt. He knows an easy mark, and he knows the joy of performing.
And when it is time, when it is exactly time, he throws back his head ecstatically, takes in the lights and the faces and the noise, and gives a great 'WOOOOOOOOOOOO!'
His particular talent is to switch from gleeful sadism to abject surrender. First, a devastating series of open-handed blows to the chest, the smacks reverberating through the arena. Then, the sudden reversal of fortune so peculiar to wrestling: Flair backing into the corner on his knees, hands prayerfully upraised, begging for mercy. He milks every second, and he is masterful. Millions of people know this Nature Boy, seven times heavyweight champion of the National Wrestling Alliance (now called World Championship Wrestling) and owned since late 1988 by Ted Turner. They know him as a bedrock wrestler in a universe of shifting identities, loyalties, gimmicks and shtick.
He is on television, he is in magazines. But in many other respects he is the Man In The Gray Flannel Suit, an employee of a communications empire whose fate is decided by buttoned-down men in an Atlanta office building. So he sits behind curtains in arenas and worries about dwindling crowds, his place in the sport and employers who might not understand just how good he is. There is this other Ric Flair who is on the cusp of 40 and trapped, ironically, by his 17 years of round-the-calendar, round-the-world wrestling, as well as the changing tastes of the industry's promoters and fans. "When things go good, he gets the credit. When they go bad he gets the blame," says Dave Meltzer, wrestling columnist for the National, and publisher of the Wrestling Observer, the industry's leading newsletter.
"The promotion thought young fans couldn't relate to Flair, so there was a movement to phase Ric down."
This is apparent to any aficionado of wrestling. Fighters with years of experience, actual wrestling skill and great theatricality -- like Flair, Jerry "the King" Lawler, Arn Anderson and others -- are losing ground to monstrous, made-up, preternaturally muscle-bound cartoon characters who look awesome on TV but are zip in the ring. Flair's pride and his sense of craftsmanship have led him to disdain such gimmicks when he can.
Think a minute about what a professional wrestler's childhood might be like. Rough and tumble, right? Slum apartment, a boozy mom, a dad who disappeared. Ric Flair grew up in a well-to-do suburb of Minneapolis. His parents worshiped their only child. His father, Dick Fliehr, was a gynecologist and local theater director. Drama is in Flair's genes.
Flair owned a dog named Rinty, a playful black shepherd/lab.
He and a friend bought a busted old convertible when they were teens and turned it into a souped-up yellow hot-rod. Flair was not sharp in school, but he was popular. And big.
His mother, Kay, softens when she talks about how big and strong he was. In her eyes, he has become mythic. Dick and Kay Fliehr, both 72, are sitting on a wicker couch in the bright, spanking-clean kitchen of Ric Flair's red brick, three-story home in south Charlotte. At the other end of the kitchen sits Ric's second wife, Beth, a Floridian who was introduced to Ric by one of the Embers.
Two cute blond kids scurry about; Ashley is 4 and Reid is 2. Ashley finds her way back to her indulgent grandfather, who picks up the chat. "Listen," says Dr. Fliehr. "A lot of these wrestlers are very well educated."
"Yes, who was that one fellow, he used to sit and recite Shakespeare for us," says his wife. "Oh ... it was one of those bald-headed fellows ... ." "Koloff."
"Yes! Ivan Koloff, a wonderful guy."
To be continued...
Is it me, or is this stuff not really very interesting..?
After the breaks we get the Dudley Boyz (otherwise known as the New Bushwhackers) against the Hardey Boyz for a classic face vs. face match-up. This match ends rather abruptly when the Dudleys pull out a table only to have Steven Richards run down and abscond with it. Devon takes off after him - meanwhile, back in the ring the Hardey's have set up a ladder and Jeff flies into a splash on the Dudleys as Devon returns. Now T&A and Trish Stratus invade the ring and Trish quickly disables Lita then places her on a table in the ring. Trish then climbs to the very top of the ladder and prepares to hurl herself onto Lita (this is quite impressive in itself - I have trouble climbing anyhere near the top of a stepladder myself...) Lita jumps up however and Trish retreats back down the far side as Lita scrambles up to confront her. Trish gets the best of her nemesis, who tries to get a suplex off the ladder but is shoved onto the table instead. She was hauled away during the break, but then insists on getting up off the stretcher to seek revenge.
Next up, the Godfather brings his "ladies" to the ring (I hear that the WWF has decided to stop calling them by that word which I translate as garden tools - although the King does say the word during his commentary - and later the Godfather himself uses it in his standard catch phrase laden intro rant). This brings Richards out again to chide the audience for cheering for this "immoral" display. No doubt, Richards is meant to be a parody on the groups who have been trying (and largely succeeding) to drive away the WWF's advertisers. Godfather throws out a challenge for Richards to enter the ring - but he declines, so the Godfather goes after him. Richards turns tail and runs but as soon as GF starts to return to the ring he is attacked by Bull Buchanan, who has affected to dress like Richards. The Godfather is punked and Richards gathers up the girls and hustles them away.
The NewNew Age Outlaws come out and the Road Dogg runs down his usual opening rant for the first time in a little while. You could tell he was out of practice as he referred to the town as "Albany , New Nork"... Their opponents tonight are Too Cool who come to the ring without their large friend. Now I have never been a great fan of the New Age Outlaws, but it does occur to me that this new version has never been as solid a tag team as the original pairing - apparently X-Pac just isn't as capable as Billy Gunn at glossing over the inadequacies of the Road Dogg. In this one, the two of them keep tripping over each other as the collectively quicker Too Cool get out of their line of fire time after time...and yet they eventually win anyway.
In the back, Shane is giving his Canadian Team a pep talk.
The big six man tag match happens just before the start of the second hour and it is an action packed contest, as could be expected. The intensity of the Rock, Benoit and the Acolytes is...well...intense. The Tag Champs are there for comic relief, and manage to convey some measure of intensity as well. After a bit, of course, all semblence of order breaks down, the fight goes to the floor where Shane gets involved then Benoit uses a chair on Maivia's head. In the ring, the Tag Champs are taking care of Faarooq to win the match. After the break, the Rock is seen roaming the halls with a chair in search of Benoit. He finds him and uses the chair...then fights off the Tag Champs to attack Benoit again in the hall. He is forced back again by officials - so he goes back to the dressing room and grabs his chair again. He catches up with Shane and the now bloody Benoit as they are attempting to leave the building and gets in another chair shot and a rock bottom on the hood of their limo. They screach away with Maivia throwing the chair at the car and calling Benoit a "chickensh*t!"
"The Ladies Man", Light Heavyweight Champion Dean Malenko hits the ring and offers Jacqueline and Ivory a shot at his title. But he gets Chyna instead! Right away Malenko is at a disadvantage - Chyna probably outweighs him! At one point, the Ninth Wonder of the World locks Malenko in his own Texas Cloverleaf! But Malenko made it to the ropes and escapes. Suddenly, Perry Saturn comes to ringside and attacks Eddie Guerrero. Guerrero holds his own but eventually Saturn drills him on the steel rampway and then embraces Terri Runnels on the platform. Chyna leaves the ring to check on Eddie G, and is counted out.
Taz seemingly decides to explain his actions of late. Or maybe not... He recaps his actions from previous weeks, but says he won't reveal the reasons for them until someone "beats them out" of him. He expresses his intention to continue as a one man wrecking crew. Commissioner Foley tells Tazz that he won't attack anyone at Fully Loaded, since he will be in a match as soon as Mick finds a suitable opponent. That brings Al Snow to the ring to offer himself as Tazz's opponent in order to escape the torture of having to spend time with Steve Blackman. Tazz chokes out Al as Mick plugs the re-release of his book then makes the match official for this Sunday.
Rikishi (or "RAWkishi" - as JR insists on referring to him) has a grudge match against Test next on the program. Before the match we get a video recap of Foley's oriental tour. Test comes to the ring with Trish - which means this match is sure to see an appearance by Lita. Test, who is about as uninteresting wrestler as has graced the WWF ring, does surprisingly well for the first 10 seconds or so - and then he gets squashed and stink faced. Trish tries to distract him by jumping up on the apron, but Rikishi just sends her wrestler barreling into her then pins him easily. Afterward the rest of the T&A thugs attack only to be themselves attacked by Too Cool. The melee goes back and forth and up the ramp to the platform where Scotty gets tossed to the floor (which appeared to be seriously padded) by Val Venis. He is being tended to as we cut to commercial. Surprisingly - no sign of Lita...
Backstage, Val disavows his old ways for a more serious quest for the almighty dollar. Kaientai are shown at WWF New York, getting drunk it appears. Kurt Angle accosts HHH in his dressing room with his ideas about the coming tag match - HHH cuts him off and tells him to just keep up his end of the team. Angle throws a little more fuel on the fire by asking HHH if he wants to shake on that "or just hug?"
The match itself has to be short, since it starts almost exactly at 11 PM. Kane and the Undertaker enter together, saying something about their unity right off the bat. Compared to their opponents who don't even speak to each other, although Angle does rescue his partner from a pinfall early on by dragging the Undertaker off of HHH. The Scarey Brothers, on the other hand, are a well oiled machine. The bad guys manage to trap Kane in their corner for a bit. Then they go for a double suplex...but instead are double suplexed themselves. Soon UT has Angle out on the floor pummeling him while HHH tries to fend off the Big Red Machine in the ring. As HHH finally turns the tables, Chris Jericho runs in and distracts him - thus setting him up for a chokeslam and the pin. Jericho then rushes into the ring and a brawl ensues until officials get between them.
That took all of eleven minutes and beat the RAW opening all to hell...
After the break the announcers let us know that the Cat has decided to be the referee for the Goldberg/Steiner match. At that moment Jeff Jarrett runs in and delivers a guitar shot on Stevie Ray!
The first tournament match is Kanyon vs.ike Awesome. Kanyon doesn't have a wig anymore, he has bleached his hair blond. Before the match can get started, Buff, brother John, and Judy Bagwell come out. Madden reminds us that Judy Bagwell is a former tag team champion. Bagwell and Awesome shake hands, and the match starts. The match is very fast paced and neither man really dominates until Awesome hits a German suplex and then picks Kanyon up and hits a running Awesome-Bomb for the pin and win.
The second Tournament match is between Lance Storm and Buff Bagwell. But first Storm insists on ragging on the fans for disrespecting his country, then has the Canadian anthem played on the PA. Buff is totally disrespectful, of course and attacks Storm from behind. The match is fast and furious and suddenly ends when we see something going on with Bagwell's mother on the big screen. Buff is put into a rolling crab and submits just to get out of the ring and go help his mom. In the back, meanwhile, Scott Steiner is waiting by the back door to ambush Goldberg as he enters the building. Mudasia tries to talk some sense to him but he is having none of it.
Backstage, the Cat is chatting up one of the Nitro Grrrrls when he hears that Japanese music playing. One of my regular correspondents pointed out that this running gag is right out of the Pink Panther Movies. At any rate, the Cat is busy dispatching his attackers when Stevie Ray barges in and demands a match with Jeff Jarrett (surprise, surprise). The Cat agrees then goes back to his game with the Jung Dragons.
After the break we get to see what Bagwell saw on the screen - Judy is being helped into a car by her younger son when Smooth comes over and lures him away. Kanyon then runs into camera range and attacks her.
The next match is Vampiro vs. Muta - and the surprise for tonight is the reappearance of the Insane Clown Posse as Vampiro's entourage once again. We also hear that Vampiro considers Muta to be one of his heroes so that add extra interest to this match. This is another fast and furious contest, although Muts is considerably slowed from his heyday. Still he pulls off the win after a Frankensteiner followed by a whipping moonsault puts Vamp down for the count. Afterwards, Vampiro takes out his frustration on the Demon for some reason.
Backstage, Ralphus walks in the door followed by Norman Smiley. Both are assaulted by BPP.
Shane Douglas comes to the ring with Torrie for his Tournament match against Kidman (who else). Torrie is very fetching in black lace. Douglas rants at Kidman, taunting him about his relationship with Torrie, who then takes the mic and puts in her own little digs. Kidman sprints to the ring and right into Douglas' clutches and the fight is on. Torrie deigns to get physically involved in this one, choking him against the bottom rope before the match spills out to the floor. Back inside, Kidman regains the advantage with his aerial attack until Torrie reaches inside and trips him. Douglas hits the plunge - but Kidman kicks out. He then gets a roll-up but is levered off and hit with a chair shot by Torrie. There are a series of back and forth pin attempts until Kidman hits the Franchiser and takes the pin. In the back, Three Count are carrying a ladder to the ring while further in the back, Goldberg is pulling up to the arena and talking on his cell phone.
As we return from the break they are stretching out the suspense a little by having Goldberg talking to fans in the back of the arena as we see BPP still waiting on him.
In the ring, Talentless Tank is ragging on NSync and introducing his boys. Three Count come to the ring with their ladder. Tony announces that there will be a ladder match between Three Count and the Jung Dragons at the next PPV. Three Count goes into their song and then the Dragon come out to break it up and start the match. In fact this is a PPV preview. Apparently the story is that the Jung Dragons have suspended the boys' Gold Record above the ring and the ladder is just to help them retreive it. Right... About 5 minutes into the match, Evan Karragious took a fall off the ladder and appeared to jam his ankle pretty severely. The Dragons grabbed the record and split.
Backstage Goldberg finally came through the door but disarmed Steiner immediately. Security and wrestlers streamed into the frey to separate the two monsters. Moments later we see Steiner still breaking furniture as his brother and girlfriend try desparatelty to calm him down.
For our first semi-final we get Mike Awesome vs. The Great Muta. These two know each other quite well as Awesome has competed in Japan on many occasions. They put on a spirited match - in fact, except for the Bagwell/Storm debacle, all of them have been good tonight. At one point the fight goes to the floor where Muta sprays green mist right in Mark Madden's face! Madded is wearing glasses which save his eyesight. Moments later, Awesome puts his running powerbomb on Muts and takes the win. He will face the winner of the Douglas/Storm semi-final. Backstage, Kiwi makes another appearance as Mark Madden tries to get him to so something about his ruined shirt. Paisley interrupts then is hauled away by the Artist.
The two former ECW stars go at it in the final, semi-final match for the US Title. The fight goes to the floor and again Torrie gets physically involved, actually jumping onto Storm's back (Torrie can jump on me anytime, by the way...) Back in the ring Storm gradually gains ground and the match is firmly in see-saw mode. On the platform, Kidman eats popcorn and watches from afar. Meanwhile the match is still see-sawing away. Suddenly Storm rolls Douglas into a half crab (the Canadian Maple Leaf) and then uses leverage from the ropes to force Douglas to submit. That sets up Awesome vs. Storm in the finals.
As a respite from the Tournament we get Jeff Jarrett vs. Stevie Ray in the match that the latter demanded after Jarrett attacked him earlier tonight. Stevie's anger propells him into dominating this match for the most part. he hauls Jarrett out to the announce table and pounds him on top of it. Back in the ring, Jarrett takes the advantage for the first time in the match. In the middle of this match the sound suddenly goes out. Rick Steiner and Mudasia run in and double team on Stevie - she hits him with a splash off the top! This gives Jarrett his opening to take the win. Booker T runs in and together the two brothers clear the ring.
Backstage we see Goldberg stretching in preparation for his match against Scott Steiner.
In the Tournament final - Lance Storm faces another former ECW Champion, Mike Awesome. Lance reiterates that he intends to rename the US Title to the Canadian Heavyweight Title when he wins it tonight. This time it is Awesome who interrupts the playing of Storm's anthem. The match starts out on the floor where Awesonme is dominent. But then he tosses Storm indside and then throws a chair right to his opponent before entering the ring. Storm uses the chair, of course, and takes control of the contest. Awesome has always shown that he is a lightening fast reactor, thwarting moves like Frankensteiners and the like by shifting his center of gravity. He comes off the top but meets Storm's upraised knees. Somehow this doesn't phase him. Awesome goes for a powerbomb off the top, but this time Storm shifts his balance and turns it into a superplex of his own. Next Awesome goes for the Awesome Bomb - but again Storm turns the move into a Canadian Maple Leaf and earns the submission victory. Lance Storm is the new US Champ! Backstage, the Cat knocks on Booker T's dressing room door then asks to speak to the Champ.
The main event is the Steiner/Goldberg battle, which a lot of pundits are contending is too much too soon. But I have to say that since the program is taking place on a Tuesday night, this seems like a great way to draw in an audience. Plus, they can always have other matches down the road, after Goldberg makes his transition back to babyface. Booket T comes down to fill the vacant commentator's chair. Steiner comes to the ring wearing a chain mail head piece for some reason. Goldberg signals his possible face turn by making his ring entrance of old. Ernest Miller is the referee. Steiner takes the early advantage with a massive Steinerline but Goldberg comes right back with a forearm shiver and a belly-to-back suplex. As the match progresses I would swear that Goldberg has been taking lessons from Nikita Koloff. He is using a lot of Koloff's moves, including his flying tackle. The Steiner goes for the Steiner Recliner but the Cat threatens him with a DQ - so Steiner knocks Miller out of the ring! Goldberg spears Steiner - then Booker hits Goldberg with a side kick. Both are down as Kevin Nash shows up! He saunters to the ring and lays the Jack Knife on Goleberg abd Steiner in turn...then splits.
That's it until next time folks. Remember, I will be out of town this weekend so don't look for a Saturday edition. I will be back next Monday. Until then...
At least that's the way I see it...
Editor, Solie's Wrestling Newsletter
This page is a personal tribute andis in no way connected to any of the wrestling promotions mentioned on it. It is dedicated to the Dean of Wrestling announcers, Gordon Solie.
Copyright 2000 - Jump City Productions