Dedicated to Gordon Solie
January 29, 1929 - July 27, 2000
I just read Bill Apter's latest column on wrestleline.com and he reported that Bill Needham had past away. I live here in Knoxville, TN where Mr. Needham had host a local wrestling show on community tv along with Terry Landel for the past couple years. Bill, who correct me if I am wrong but worked for PWI (Pro Wrestling Illustrated) for many years. I had the pleasure of meeting him a few times over the past few years. He was very nice and was somewhat of a legend in these parts. Always taking time to talk with the kids at local shows. The wrestling world lost a very good ambassador for the sport. And I believe his passing should not go unnoticed.
Thanks for your time Earl, keep up the great site
On Monday, September 18th, between 8 and 9, ABC's 20/20 will be re-airing the piece featuring Shark Boy, Race Steele, and other wrestlers in the HWA. The HWA has been featured on MTV, MSNBC, the Discovery Channel, Men's Journal magazine, and has produced all three Pillman Memorial shows. In case you missed it the first time or want to see it again, here's your chance, Monday night, right before Monday Night Football on ABC.
By Dan Parker
Sure enough, next night when Yankee Rogers announced from the stage he would throw any three men who volunteered, twice each, with a half hour allowed for each match, or pay them $100, three huskies stepped up and begged for the chance. They were strangers to the home folk. The first two lasted about a minute each with the American Apollo. The third, a strapping fellow introduced as Jim Asbell, was made of sterner stuff. Yankee Rogers tried every trick on Jim, but couldn't pin his shoulders to the mat.
When promoter Bronson, who doubled as referee, looked at his watch and announced that only a minute remained, Rogers went to work and inch by inch, forced Asbell's shoulders toward the mat. As the seconds ticked off, the Apollo forced one of Jim's shoulders to the canvas, then, with a groan, grunt and burp, pinned the other one. Referee Bronson, counting three, slapped Rogers on the back as the winner. But the crowd, which had taken to the underdog, let out a roar, arose en masse and swarmed toward the ring, bent, it seemed, on making a noose out of the ring rope and slipping it over the promoter-referee's head. Just in time to save Jimmy for the golden fruits of the I.B.C. reign in boxing several decades later, Asbell, the man for whom they were ready to commit at least mayhem, shouted: "Stop! This man is the squarest referee I ever wrestled under. I was pinned fairly and he called it as he saw it. You ought to be proud of having such a sportsman in your community."
With that the local yokels' wrath was turned into civic pride and they gave both Jim's a rousing ovation. But that was nothing compared to the one Asbell got when on the second time around he stayed the limit with Rogers and was declared winner of the $100 prize. The gate for that first show was $160. After the money had been counted up, Jack Curley insisted that Bronson keep $100 as his share and said he would take care of all the other expenses, including the $100 prize, out of the $60 left. Later, Jimmy discovered how Jack was able to stretch money so far.
This was after such interest was worked up in Jim Asbell as a Joplin hero that, with the approval of the Ministerial Alliance, Promoter Bronson was permitted to arrange an open-air wrestling match on Sunday afternoon, the following summer, between Asbell and one Gus Schoelein of Baltimore, advertised as the American champion. It drew an amazing gate of $12,500. "It was such a success that I let it go to my head," said Jimmy, recalling the incident the other day. "I started to tell Curley how to do things if he wanted to be as great a success at wrestling promotion as I was."
Jack listened to Jimmy for a while and then lost his temper. "Just a minute, son," he said. "You think you've built Asbell into a big attraction. Who do you think brought him here? Who do you think is his manager? Who do you suppose coached him to come to your rescue when I helped to stir up the crowd against you that first night? Who paid him his $100 prize in stage money? Who has supplied all your wrestlers and given them their orders? I'm the guy. Furthermore, you haven't seen a single on-the-level match! Everything was arranged in advance. So snap out of it!"
That was when Jimmy Bronson decided he would stick to boxing. But he didn't know that, in 1919, when he was in charge of the AEF boxing in France at the Cirque de Paris, his assistant would sneak in a wrestling show in his absence one night. Jimmy fired the assistant by wire from Rome when he read about it -- but hired him back again when he found out it outdrew his boxing shows. Just as its doing to I.B.C. boxing at the Garden now.
The World Champion and Company makes there way to the ring at the top of the program. Jarrett has Miss Jones in tow. Nash starts out by insulting the fans, calling them marks, in effect. He then turns his attention to FallBrawl, stating that his title defense against Booker T will be in a cage. He hands the mic to Scott Steiner (Sir Pumpsalot?) who does his usual schtick then rants at Goldberg for a bit. Jarrett holds onto Miss Jone's wrist as he rants about their match on Nitro. He makes her lay down on the mat then pretends to pin her - his re-enactment. Backstage, the cat and Booker arrive in a big hurry. Jarrett is offering to hit Miss Jones with a guitar when Booker and the Cat appear on the platform and head to the ring. Booker addresses the thugs from out in the aisle, telling them they failed to get the job done on Monday night. He intends to regain his title on Sunday. Miller then addresses them, booking a match for Steiner and Nash against himself and Booker - with the Word Title going to the competitor who gets the pinfall! He then books Jarrett against Sting, who makes an appearance, thus distracting Jarrett so that Miss Jones can escape. Jarrett assuages his disappointment by beating up David Penzer. Backstage, Disco Inferno informs the Tag Champs that he has booked them into a three way dance for the title against Kronic and the Harris Boyz! He claims that if they win it will make them the top tag team in the WOW Magazine rankings...whoop de doo...
Out back, Mike Awesome Boogie Bus pulls up. Mikey isn't happy about what happened to his grill on Monday.
In the ring, Pamela Paulshock has taken over the ring announcing duties from the fallen Dave Penzer. She introduces the Natural Born Idiots. Mike Sanders introduces their newest member, Johnny the Bull. The match is Jindrak and O'Haire going up against Disco and Tigress (Disco had booked Konnan - but the latter reminded him that he doesn't have medical clearance to wrestle). Gosh - maybe J&O will win one for a change. At the table, Tenay is doing his best to assume the Bobby Heenan, heel announcer role...and not really succeeding. In the ring, Tigress actually holds her own for about 10 seconds, then she is caught and tossed back and forth between them. At this point, Disco splits - leaving her to be squashed and pinned. The other Animals run in and get punked by the Idiots.
Backstage, David Flair accosts a referee with his question of the night. The latter responds that it wasn't him, but it could have been anyone. Flair hits him with a mop. Meanwhile, Major Gunns is forced to "talk Canadian" and Mike Awesome is talking to himself.
In the Cat's office, the forces of light are strategizing. Sting interrupts the discussion to ask for a title shot from Booker, assuming he takes the title back at the PPV. In another part of the building, Disco is getting reamed for his screwy booking. Switch to the Lavalamp Lounge segment - with special guest Major Gunns. He tells her how hot she is and gives he a back rub. Team Canada shows up and threaten to shut the show down. Awesome tosses them off the stage and then Storm finds his retreat blocked by the MIA. The General wants the Major back. Storm proposes a tag match pitting the General and Hacksaw Duggan against Team Canada for the Major's services. Awesome is signing off when Jarrett, disguised as a stage hand drops him on his head then says to stay tuned next week for "Slapnuts Theater".
The MIA approach Duggan after the break and convince him to help the General out. Backstage, a fan asks Nash and Steiner to pose for a picture with his son. Nash agrees...for $60 - and then Steiner covers up the kid's face as the photo is snapped!
Shane Douglas is in the ring as we return from the break, ranting about his coming match at Fallbrawl (w/Torrie vs. Kidman/Madusa) - then suggests that they have a preview match right now. Kidman and Madusa show up and Torrie leaves the ring! She stands out on the floor while Kidman and Madusa have their way with her man. Kidman then runs after Torrie, leaving Madusa to face Douglas on her own. Douglas has an STF on Madusa when he realizes Torrie is missing. He runs after them and catches up with them up in the balcony seats. Torrie gets shoved over the railing and ends up hanging over the arena floor for a moment until Douglas gathers her up and drags her back to safety. Nice stunt, Torrie.
Mean Gene is with Billy and Madusa backstage. They plan to win the scaffold match...well duh....
Mike Tenay sits down with Ric Flair for an interview. Flair talks about his feelings toward his family, David, Vince Russo and Stacy Keebler (Miss Hancock). He feels for his son but says that David has to take care of his own problems. Tenay is still trying to put himself over as a heel announcer, citing rumors that Ric is the father of Stacy's baby. Flair denies it flatly, and warns Tenay that he is treading on this ice - give it up Mike...
David accosts Fit Finley backstage. Finley tells his to back off, and warns him he's going to get hurt if he keeps accusing people.
Jeff Jarrett comes to the ring for his match against Sting. This is a two-out-of-three falls match by order of the Cat. Jarrett takes a moment to tell Sting that there will be no title shot for him on Monday because Nash intends to retain his title and then give Jarrett the shot. Sting proposes that they make this match a #1 contender contest, regardless of who is the champ on Monday. Jarrett agrees, I think... Sting dominates the early going, his combination of speed and strength is just a bit much for Jarrett to handle. To change the pace he stalls a moment going into the next lock-up - but it does him no good. Sting is all over him. He falls out to the floor. Sting is still in his face. They head up the ramp to the platform where Sting delivers a big suplex. Back to the ring again and Jarrett finally gets clear long enough to catch Sting coming in. After a moment Sting gets some room and goes for a Stinger splash - and pulls up short when Jarrett steps aside. Jarrett finally has to use a low-blow to turn the tables. Immediately he hits the stroke and gets the pin to win the first fall. The bell sounds for the second fall immediately and Jarrett drags his opponent to the floor where he lays him out on the announce table for some punishment. Jarrett returns to the ring and poses for the crowd. Shakily, Stings returns to the ring. After a few moments of struggle, Sting gets a sudden roll-up and takes the second fall. As the third fall gets underway the two trade sleepers with Jarrett ending up in the driver's seat. Sting sinks to the mat but resists going out then fights back to his feet. He uses an elbow to escape then slaps on his own sleeper - but Jarrett escapes with a side salto. There is some more back and forth and then they collide head-to-head. Jarrett is down and Sting falls right on his mid-section. Both are up and Jarrett goes for a corner smash but Sting stops him short, then beats his chest. Moments later he gets the Stinger splash. He is ready for a second one but Jarrett hauls the referee in front of him. Sting hesitates and then throws the splash, catching the referee between them. Sting gets the Scorpion Deathlock but the referee is out on the floor. Sting points to the time keeper who rings the bell. Does that mean he won? We won't know until after the break.
Or maybe not...after the break, Jim Duggan is with the MIA and Mean Gene, saying that he is going to go for it one more time and join the General against Team Canada. Next up - the tag team three way dance. Kronic vs. the Harris Brothers vs. Juvie/Rey. Maybe the little guys will get lucky and the two big teams will too busy with each other. In fact, the Tag Champs spend the early going watching the action from the floor. They swarm in at a critical moment and deliver a double drop-kick then split up the aisle. Kronic wins the match but then Heavy D hits Brian Clarke with a chain-wrapped baseball bat (ouch!!)
David Flair comes to the ring to make a statement. He calls for Stacy to come out and tell him who the father of her baby is. He looks and sounds so much like his dad it's scary. She arrives at the ring looking very sad and refuses to meet his eye. He demands to know who the father is. She finally looks at him but won't say anything. Arn Anderson's music blares and AA comes to the ring. His advice, "...women are like buses - another one comes along every 20 minutes. Get over it!" David departs in disgust as AA turns and tells Stacy she better come clean. Backstage, Hacksaw Duggan is out cold with his flag draped over him.
Team Canada comes to the ring after the break and call for silence as the Canadian anthem plays. MIA music interrupts and General Rection runs in to face them on his own. He actually handles them pretty easily for a little while, then Lance Storm hits him with a drop-kick and the tables are turned. The Canadians have the numbers to keep the General down, if not out. He makes a comeback, but then gets hit from behind by the Canadian flag. Storm gets the half crab as Duggan finally shows up - limping toward the ring using his 2x4 as a crutch. He is too late. backstage after the break the General is livid. He calls for the Major to be on the line during the PPV match for the US Title.
Time for the big main event. Nash/Steiner vs. Booker/Cat - with the World Title up for grabs to the person who gets the pinfall. Of course, this causes a problem for the forces of darkness because Steiner would like to have the title and is likely to push Nash aside to get it. The match quickly breaks down to Booker and Steiner brawling in the ring while Nash and the Cat go at it on the floor. In the ring, Steiner is dominant with his patented suplex attack. Nash re-enters the ring while the Cat is being forced to stay outside. Nash goes back out to the floor to hit the Cat with a chair, then runs back in time to prevent a win by Steiner with the Steiner recliner. A motorcycle rolls up and the rider removes his helmet. It's Goldberg!! The rest is chaos...
The first gimmick match is an Acolytes rules tag match pitting the Acolytes against Chris Benoit/Kane - the latter takes his time getting to the ring so Benoit is stuck taking on both opponents at the start of the match. Kane finally shows up and ejects both Acolytes in a flash. Both are back immediately and Faarooq ends up taking on Benoit in the ring while Kane battles Bradshaw out on the floor. Moments later Bradshaw is back in the ring and almost gets a pin on Benoit - but Kane drags him off just in time. Benoit then splits, leaving Kane on his own to face the Acolytes...and clean house. They manage a comeback and double up on him. A double cover gets them the win. Kane chases after Benoit when it is over. Backstage, Hunter is adamant that he can't possibly be partners with Angle - his gimmick match for later. Foley tells him that he can and he will, because the Commissioner has spoken.
In a taped skit, Eddie Guerrero drives up to Hugh Hefner's mansions and demands to see the boss to talk about Chyna being in the magazine. The big guy who meets him at the door calls security when Eddie G gets belligerent. He is shut out. Backstage, back at the arena, Chyna is packing up and leaving. Kevin Kelly stops her and asks her if her relationship with Eddie is ending. She tells him, "I can't believe you..." and walks away.
The Right to Censor shows up with their newest member wearing the uniform. Steven Richards swears that they had nothing to do with Steve Austin's auto incident, then hands the mic to Val Venis, who wears white pants with his short and tie and looks like an ice cream man. He tells the crowd that he was not brainwashed, that he chose the life he is leading now. He vows to "fight the good fight" against the evils of lewd behavior and violence...yeah right... They then have a match against Too Cool and Rikishi - Richards sits it out as usual. Scotty takes the opening duty and faces all of the opponents in turn before tagging in the big guy, who sets Val up for Grand Master to splash. There is no doubt that Too Cool is the far superior team here. They clear the ring of their opponents and the Rikishi drags Richards in and stinkfaces him. The fight goes out to the floor leaving Rikishi in the ring alone. Eddie G shows up rather unexpectedly and sprays mace into the Samoan giant's eyes for some reason. I suppose he has suddenly gotten religion regarding censorship...
Next up HHH and Kurt Angle vs. T&A. Of course, Angle and HHH are a very bad team. T&A aren't much better, but at least they don't hate each other. Hunter is all for T&A beating up on his partner, which also doesn't help their tag team effort. Their clashes give their opponents the advantage through much of the match. Hunter is in with Albert and starting to get somewhere when Trish trips him and changes the balance of power. Stephanie walks out to the ringside area about this time and soon gets herself into trouble with Trish. Angle comes to her rescue, which infuriates her husband. He has to visibly restrain himself from popping Angle and thus losing his PPV match. In the end his indecision cause him to be pinned by Test. Backstage, Tazz is ready to quit the company, but Foley talks him out of it.
The Tag Team Champs make their entrance next (reeking with awfulness...er...awesomeness...) They also deny any involvement in Steve Austin's car wreak. They claim to have a time machine and use it to bring back "the Hardey Boys from the future". The imposters are old guys wearing wigs. They also bring out "Lita from the future" - a decrepit old lady in a flaming red wig. The Tag Champs are about to lay some spears on their guests when Foley shows up again and turns their PPV contest into a cage match. he then sensed the real Hardey Boyz and Lita out to get some revenge. The Champs are punked.
Saturn has a Hardcore Title challenge tonight against current Champ, Steve Blackman. Before anything happens, Tazz shows up in the crowd behind the announcers and tosses popcorn at them. Saturn bails out to the floor as Blackman arrives and they start the match out there. Blackman gains some space and grabs his fighting batons. Saturn is down and out until Terri jumps on Blackman's back and turns the tables. Meanwhile Tazz is continuing to harass the announcers (Lawler can't touch Tazz because of the "no physical contact" dictum from Foley). In the ring, Saturn makes a comeback and the match slips into see-saw mode. Eventually Blackman retains his title. Backstage, Kevin Kelly asks the Undertaker if he can keep it together as the Rock's partner. He vows to be a professional about, but warns Maivia not to piss him off.
The Tag Team Champs are back to team up with X-Pac in a six man match against Chris Jericho and the Hardey's, who sneak into the ring through the crowd to get the drop on their opponents. Later in the match they also have the advantage of Lita outside providing distraction and interference. Unfortunately for the Hardeys - they are too intent on getting payback on Edge and Christian and end up falling prey to X-Pac and the X-Factor, which puts Matt down for the count.
The Undertaker and the Rock have their gimmick match against the Dudleys - a table match, of course. The Dudleys definitely have an advantage in any tag team match against a pair like UT and Maivia - but especially their specialty match. They thwart the Rock's attempt to put Bubba through a table with a Rock Bottom, and later, UT's attempt to do the same with a chokeslam. In the end, UT is sent through one with a 3D. Afterwards, he grabs Maivia and chokeslams him through the remaining table.
After the break we get scenes from the match last week during which Whipwreak and Tajiri lost the Tag Team straps.
A few minutes before the midway point in the program, they start the main event. Steve Corino vs. Justin Credible for the ECW World Title. The competitors make it to the ring before the next commercial break.
Francine is delivering a blistering rant directed at the challenger and his companion as we return from the break. She holds a sheaf of papers in her hand and addresses Jack Victory, struggling to be heard above the spirited crowd. The paper is a fax from the network ordering Victory away from the ring at the cost to Corino of his title shot. Corino pretends to be distraught, claiming that the Champ and his girl are just too clever for him...then he unloads with a little surprise of his own. Dawn Marie! Francine doesn't happen to have a fax to cover her participation. It appears that the odds are re-evened. The match gets underway and the Champ is almost immediately tossed out to the floor, where Corino takes advantage to every trick he knows to keep control of the action. The fight spills over the railing and then back to the ring, where Credible delivers a low blow to turn the tables. The match goes into see-saw mode and then Francine tosses in a chair. Cornio is dropped face first onto it, putting the Champion back in charge. Back to the floor goes the action, where Credible props a table between the ring apron and the safety railing. Francine hits a Frankensteiner which appears to do her more harm then her target, Corino. But it is enough to keep him off balance as Credible drags him back into the ring. But Corino knocks him back out to the floor then follows him out to drag him back. Credible is swung piller-to-post then hit with a bionic elbow. Corino is firmly in charge, but Credible takes out the referee to slow his charge. Lou E Dangerously runs in and hits Corino with his phone, followed closely by Billy Corgan who tries to smash a guitar over his head. So much for that little interlude - back to the real action. Shortly thereafter, Francine and Dawn Marie get into a short catfight. Later, Francine interefered one time too many and ended up on the receiving end of a piledriver. She was out of it, but had done her job. Corino was distracted long enough to lose track of his opponent, who surprised him and got the pin.
I'll be back on Saturday. Until then...
At least that's the way I see it...
Editor, Solie's Wrestling Newsletter
Copyright 2000 - Jump City Productions