Dedicated to Gordon Solie
January 29, 1929 - July 27, 2000
You can get more of the latest news and rumors by listening to this week's Solie's Wrestling Radio report.
Well, as I write this at work, it is 12:40am in the morning. As I was working on this, I received the sad news that R&B singer Aaliyah had died in a plane crash in the Bahamas. R&B and Jazz are my favorite types of music so this comes as a big blow as I was a fan of hers.
Now, what does the death of a rising R&B star have to do with wrestling you may ask? Well, Aaliyah and Stephanie McMahon were roughly the same age (I think Steph is a few years older though) and the one thing they have in common is that they were both young stars in their chosen professions. They both came in virtually out of nowhere but Steph took a while to come to the status that she enjoys now. Remember when she first came out? She was more like the "girl next door" than the "powerbroker" that she portrays now.
While she isn't my "dream woman," Steph is attractive (I tend to favor her long brown straight hair look). In my view, she's the only one that really had to prove herself. How you may ask? Well, think about it. Women in wrestling are usually restricted to valets or being just eye candy for the male audience. Steph was out to be more than just an attrative woman in a short skirt. True, she had the inside track being a member of the McMahon family but Vince McMahon had already made a career being a color commentator even before he let it be public knowledge that he ran the WWF. Her brother, Shane McMahon, is very impressive in the ring. For a guy that's a novice and not a full time grappler, he certainly puts on entertaining bouts and memorable spots such as his elbows from the top rope on Test (SummerSlam '99) and The Rock (on a recent RAW broadcast). The two that stand out came in the year 2000 when The Undertaker choked-slammed Shane from the top rope through a table as well as that 50ft. fall he took during his bout with Steve Blackmon at SummerSlam 2000.
But, back to Steph, she's developed her character to the point that even though she can be very irritating most of the time, you can feel for her sometimes. One example was the night after Survivor Series 2000 when she confronted "Stone Cold" Steve Austin about the attack on her "husband" Triple H. Though I could, as a fan, understand Austin's rage (after all, if somebody ran over me with a car, I'd want to get his behind too), I couldn't help but feel sorry for Steph as Austin unleased a terrible tounge lashing on her. Though I wasn't a fan of either character, I really felt sorry for Steph and almost cheered for The Game to come back and kick Austin's ass! Call it the gentleman in me! LOL!
Her character is very multi-dimentional. While she is DEFINITELY better as a heel, I can see certain scenerios where she could pull of a face persona while retaining some of her bite. While not really a pro wrestler, she has put on decent bouts herself. Her two most memorable were against Lita (which she lost the WWF Women's Title) and Trish Stratus (back at WWF No Way Out 2001).
From what I've seen of her on TV out of the ring, she seems like a real sweet woman. If that's how she is, then Triple H has lucked out! Steph will be able to stand on her own whether at the side of her "husband" or not.
Still, tonight, as I mourn the loss of one female (Aaliyah) with talent, sexuality and kindness, I DO thank God that another (Steph) is still here to entertain us. I don't know why I thought of Steph during this but I thought I'd take time to recognize some of the people that are still here while they are here. I think that's a lesson all of us can learn. Well, until next time........this is Flashback!
If you have a question, comments, criticism, or just want to talk pro wrestling, e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com
Ervin Griffin Jr. is Solie's resident historian and formerly contributed to the Ringside Insider on a regular basis. Many of his previous articles are available in the
Well, the temptation is that this week's column be one of those sarcastic, 'ner-do-well' columns that will only serve to get me into trouble.
So, who am I to fight with destiny? I mean, come on.....
First off, though, I have to give my sister all due recognition, because I can, and she deserves it. A cancer survivor, she turned 35 on the 27th of October. She is a wrestling neophyte, though, and I am slowly catching her up on the world that we all know and love. I love her, and so should everyone who knows her. Dr. Mary Kathleen Cross, of St. Charles, MO, Happy Birthday. Now, go watch Smackdown.
Smackdown, the Rock's show. I would submit to you, the erudite readers, that rocky, once again, showed why he is respected within the confines of the locker room, as he did the job to RVD. I don't ever remember Rocky ever refusing to do the job, and he mentioned the reasons for this in his book. Unlike some other Texan pro wrestlers who may just have a fake Bible verse as a trademark, Rocky isn't one to obstruct another's push. The Golden Boy was put over by the Brahma Bull.
And, to all of those readers who wish to tune in to this week's version of "RVD is a Protected, Dangerous, Spot-Missing SOB" will have to be satisfied with a diluted product. Sure, he is getting pushed like a snowplow, and getting to beat Rocky and The Big Show was just another thank you from Vince and the bookers, but he has not been reluctant to do the job himself.
*whew* Now that that is over, I can bash his blatantly-protected butt.
To that end, I have to point out one small thing.....has he wrestled the Undertaker yet? NO, and the reason why is simple: UT will stretch him like the rubber band off of the Sunday paper if he missed a spot, like he did with Jericho or Angle (and that is a FACT...not an opinion). I would think that the Locker Room (the WWF Holy of Holies) would expect some sort of repercussion from more transgressions by RVD, and would be disturbed by the lack of some sort of punishment if these miscues continue. Knowing this sad fact, the Booking Committee is deathly afraid to put RVD against the Undertaker, for fear that the Van Daminator would be missed, the Undertaker would get a stiff shot to the eye, and would then go a little medieval on The Whole F'n Show.
Recognize that the Undertaker is almost royalty in the wrestling world, and RVD is a bit of a rogue. It is a good example of someone who is more old-school (pardon the pun), and someone who thinks like the 18-30 year olds of the present.
OK, off of RVD. I do have a couple more thoughts on the ol' Undertaker, thanks to Miss Pamela, and the venerable Mr. Pamela (sorry, I couldn't resist!).
I said it before, and I will say it again....who can the Undertaker feud with? No-one. He has beaten each of the main-eventers that are working right now, be it in the past or within the last year. Austin only beat him with help...I can't remember how because Earl went on vacation that week, and Solie's Tuesday Morning Newsletter was not issued.
Along those lines...is there anyone else paying a subscription fee? Earl comes to my house every month and collects $29.95. He also makes me pay $5.00/week so that he will say nice things about me. Well, that isn't so different than a lot of other people I hang around with.......
Yes, I am kidding. Earl is a true gem. I would continue, but Earl is too modest to let me...
Oh, back to UT. He is being wasted...again. Someone must not think that he can hold a main-event push...Oh, that's right...since he has COMPLETELY DOMINATED everyone in the main-event of both 'feds', why bother? People want some mystery, even if it is all scripted. Maybe the powers that be can make Undertaker hop on one foot, like the Lion in the Wizard of Oz.
What? That whole thing is starting to get over with the regular non-smark fans. I had enough of it when I went to the Columbus, Ohio RAW, and all the drunks thought they were the funniest thing since Slapstick was born when they would shout "WHAT?" at the top of their lungs. I hope those guys ruptured their scrotums doing that. (Ooh, how CRUEL, John! Why say that? Well, THEY wouldn't have noticed at the time, so I guess I can make light of it. Besides, OSU is a medical research hospital.) "What?" is about 3/4 of the way through its useful life, and I am quite ready for it to die, be cremated, and be scattered to the four winds.
And, I wouldn't shed a tear.
Well, I am going golfing tomorrow, for the last time this year. I hope I do well, as this last game will dictate my whole mental attitude towards life for the remainder of the winter....or at least until I play that first round in the spring. Maybe I can go and shoot an 87 or an 89, or at least under a 95. I would be happy then. Any golf tips can be forwarded to Earl, and he can happily delete all of them. That is what editors do, isn't it? This column was originally 75,000 words long.
See you over at bodyslam.cc, for all your wrestling needs. Do so after skimming through all the info here at Solie's. Also, since it is getting relatively close to the Christmas season, go to the Solie's Storefront and do some shopping and support the website.
See you next week with another Connection.
by Earl Oliver
SmackDown was taped Tuesday at the Omaha Civic Auditorium in Omaha, Nebraska and opened with the usual video recap of the goings on from Monday. Vince McMahon is back - and he and Linda are on the same side - and the Rock and Chris Jericho are the new Tag Champs. The one thing that puzzles me is: how believable is it that Linda would now trust her husband..? Oh wait...right...pro-wrestling...never mind.
The entire Alliance roster (absent Steve Austin) followed Shane and Stephanie to the ring at the top of the show. Shane started out with a rant against his mom and dad and worked his way around to the upcoming (and still quite mysterious) match to determine the fate of both promotions. RVD stands in the middle - the sole remaining title holding member of the Alliance. Shane called Kidman on the carpet for losing to Tajiri and then siced the troops on him. They booted him into the mat then tossed him to the floor. Chuck Palumbo protested and ended up on the business end of Stephanie's poison tongue. She told him he was nothing and then fired him! Next victim...Hurricane - harangued for losing the European Title to Bradshaw. He was also booted by the mob and tossed to the floor. Shane then turned his attention to Rhyno, who readied himself for a fight. Shane told him he was pathetic then indefinitely suspended him! Rhyno backed cautiously from the ring and split. Stephanie then singled out the Dudley Boyz. After reaming their butts she invited Shane to sic the troops on them - which he did. The Dudleys were forced from the ring but started grabbing weapons from beneath the ring. At that moment, Steve Austin showed up. He stalked to the ring and did his usual posing routine then ordered the other wrestlers to leave the ring because he had something to say to Shane and Stephanie. He expressed his displeasure with their tactics then turned to the wrestlers and told them that tonight, "...we are going to take back what is ours." He calls for volunteers to take on Chris Jericho for the WCW Title - and then switches gears and proposes that they hold an Alliance Battle Royal to determine who will take on Jericho later in the program.
The Battle Royal was in the next segment. Stevie Richards and Tazz were the first two guys eliminated, Justin Credible was next, after taking Hugh Morrus' moonsault. Then Morrus himself then Chavo Guerrero. I notice that Booker and Test kind of stood in the corner choosing their shots. Tommy Dreamer was eliminated, followed by Mike Awesome. Lance Storm was next (Mike Cole called him Justin Credible, for some reason). Kanyon was pummeled then tossed out. We were left with the Dudleys, Booker, RVD, Test and Raven. D-Von was next, then Raven, then Bubba. The crowd started chanting "RVD!!" as he battled it out with Booker - but he was eliminated, then Booker threw Test out and that was it. Booker T will have a chance to be the WCW Champ for the 6th time.
After the break, and a recap of what just transpired, we got a ladies match - Trish Stratus vs. Molly Holly, who posed in the ring, allowing Trish to toss Molly's own cape over her head then face-jam her to the mat to start the match. Molly came roaring back and, of course, she is actually a wrestler - so Trish found her self quickly on the receiving end. After taking some impressive bumps, Trish turned the tables on an error by her opponent. It looked like Molly was making a comeback, but Trish swung into a modified flying head scissors and and pulled out a surprise victory.
Backstage, Vince warned Chris Jericho that he better win his match tonight against Booker T - "...or things will never - eeeever - be the same, again..." Vince then heads out to see the Rock. Chris says, "Tell the Rock that the Champ said 'hello'." Wiseguy...
Backstage, Tazz was bullying Nidia when Al Snow arrived and told him to pick on someone his own size. They have a match later. In the locker room, Vince told the Rock that he wanted him to beat RVD for the WWF Hardcore Title. He told him that it would "mean a lot" to him. Maivia agreed to the match, but made it clear that he would do it, "for the people", and not for McMahon.
Christian took on Kurt Angle for the US Title...oh yeah, like that's going to happen. Angle proceeded to brutalize the young Canadian, who eventually purchased a turn around with a low-blow toward the middle of the match. The fight went into see-saw mode for a while but inevitably he surrendered to the ankle lock.
Backstage, Steve Austin gave Booker T a pep talk as only the Rattlesnake can.
Next up - Booker T took on Chris Jericho for the WCW World Championship. This one started out badly for Jericho. He was taken to the floor and battered unmercifully. Back in the ring, Jericho came back with a series of chops but then ran into a spin kick and was back on the receiving end. But not for long. In no time, he regained the advantage and then the match went into see-saw mode. After a protracted battle, Jericho executed a slick roll-up to a bridge and took the pin.
The Tazz vs. Al Snow match was next. Snow was fighting for "his kids", Tazz was fighting...well, just to be fighting, I guess. The match was short and sweet - and Snow won it. Back in the boss's office, Sgt. Slaughter showed up to tell Vince that his son wanted him in a street fight out in the parking lot...right now! Vince headed out as we cut to commercial.
The Rock was pacing in his dressing room as Chris Jericho came in to pretend to compliment him while taunting him at the same time. Rock replied with his now standard rejoinder, about Chris winning matches with chairs. Out in the parking lot, Vince searched for Shane, while Linda fretted back in the office. Meanwhile, Shane and Stephanie showed up...in the office to harass their mother until she slapped him across the face. In return, Shane pinned his mother's arms while Stephanie slapped her hard enough to floor her.
When Vince returned to the office he found an oddly subdued Linda, who haltingly told him what happened. He had the Sarge escort her to their car, while he stood with a puzzled yet determined look on his face.
The Dudleys took on their old enemies, the Hardeys, for the WCW Tag Team Titles in a typically hard hitting, tag team brawl. In the middle of the match, Stacy provided just enough distraction to throw the Hardeys off their game before Lita tackled her and removed the distraction. At the end, the Dudleys had won a measure of payback for the Alliance, and the Tag Team Titles for themselves. Paul Heyman took great pride in pointing out that the Dudleys are the first Tag Team to win titles in ECW, the WWF and now WCW.
The main event was Rob Van Dam vs. The Rock for the WWF Hardcore title. This match started with more then 10 minutes left in the show, so we know we were in for a barn burner. In the early moments, Van Dam was thrown to the floor. Maivia hesitated before following him out to the floor. They fought up the ramp and RVD began to gain ground until he rushed his opponent and was back dropped onto the steel. He came right back with a round kick and then started laying into the challenger. The crowd erupted into a "Rocky!" chant, demonstrating where their allegiance lay even with RVD in the match. Back in the ring area, Van Dam ran his opponent into the post then started throwing weapons into the ring. Back inside, he didn't get a chance to use them as the Rock made a comeback. But then he was downed in the corner and Van Dam executed a quick Vandaminator on him. Maivia came right back but he was staggered by the blow. He managed to slam the Champ on a trash can and flatten it, but only got a two count. Maivia then slapped on a sharpshooter and seemed to have it won...until Shane hit the ring and rescued his man with a back clothesline. Van Dam hit the Five Star Frog Splash but Rocky kicked out. Shane was chased from the ring by his father and the match continued. Van Dam went for another Vandaminator, but Maivia ducked the kick then DDT'd the champ on the chair. Now Test ran in and attacked, followed by Chris Jericho who knocked Test from the ring. Booker T ran down to get in on the action. He and Jericho battled away from the ring. As the Rock appeared ready to administer the coup de gras, Booker returned and hit Maivia with a trash can. RVD rolled him up and got the pin. Test and Jericho returned then the Alliance bullies were driven from the ring as the Rock and Jericho held the high ground in an uneasy alliance of their own.
Raw was live (on tape here on the Left coast) from Freedom Hall in Louisville, Kentucky and I can't begin to tell you how odd I feel watching and reporting on this program. Over the weekend I attended the APW King of Indies Tournament (see Issue #654 for the report) and was treated to one of the best wrestling shows I have seen in recent years. There was no promoters acting like wrestlers, no women being demeaned, nobody trying to turn a sporting event into an action-adventure TV series. Just a whole lot of great wrestling. And with great Legends of the sport in attendance, such as Nick Bockwinkle, Red Bastein, Dick Beyer (the Destroyer), Pepper Gomez and a host of others. It was so gratifying that a number of these people were actually familiar with my work, and a couple of them even told me how much they appreciate the way I emphasize the history of the business on my site. It gave me something to think about...
So here we are - Monday night on TNN - and there is Vince McMahon getting ready to participate in a street fight with his son... Well, anyway, the show started with the afore mentioned Vince McMahon, announcing his team for the coming Survivor Series PPV - where the plan apparently is to have a tag match of some sort to determine which promotion (WWF or the Alliance) will go forward as a viable entity. Gosh! Do we even have any question in our minds of how that is going to come out. Bye Bye WCW/ECW...
Anyway, he was making this announcement (and having a bit of a problem because he can't locate his most important star - the Rock) when his daughter showed up on the platform to interrupt. She started a rant about what happened on SmackDown with Linda and all, when the cable cut out for about two minutes. When it came back on, Stephanie was introducing Shane who had an announcement of his own. He declared that one of the WWF stars would be defecting to the Alliance tonight - and further implied that it would be one of the members of the just named WWF Survivor Series team (Chris Jericho, the Undertaker, Kurt Angle, Kane and the Rock - who was now in the ring).
After the break, the younger McMahons' met with Mr. and Mrs. Austin, who told them they had done great and cautioned them to not let slip, who was going to jump promotions.
Rob Van Dam came to the ring for an Intercontinental Title challenge against current champ, Edge. Van dam took the early advantage, but almost immediately was put on the defensive out on the floor. back in the ring, RVD again assumed control, but now things were firmly in see-saw mode. This one went back and forth for several minutes and then Van Dam seemed to have it wrapped up as he went for the Frog Splash...and missed. Edge rolled him up easily and retained his title.
Backstage, the APA were playing poker with Perry Saturn (who seemed to think they were playing Fish) when old peanut head came in and told them there was a big WWF meeting being organized by Chris Jericho (who gets my vote, by the way, for the member of the WWF who is going to defect).
Back out at the ring, there is a mixed tag team match getting under way, featuring Hurricane and Molly vs. Tajiri and Torrie...when the cable went out again. I have a feeling it is the TNN feed that is having problems because my other cable stations all seem to be working. Anyway, about the time we came back, Molly pinned Torrie and that was that.
Jericho's meeting gets off to a bad start when the Rock takes his time showing up. Jericho was determined to root out the traitor - Maivia, when he arrived, naturally questioned Jericho's fitness to be calling meetings, then implied that Jericho himself is the most likely candidate to jump...then he dismissed the meeting...hmmmmmm...
Willie Regal showed up in the Austin's dressing room, and thought that Austin was going to tell him who is going to join the Alliance, but Austin refused. He changed the subject and allowed as how he hoped that Regal was going to bring the United States Championship back to the Alliance. Speaking of Kurt Angle, put the word on the street that Austin wants to see that man in his dressing room, private. Meanwhile, Angle paid a visit to Vince, and picked up a 2x4 to take to the meeting.
Diamond Dallas Page made his way to the ring to accuse the Big Show of being the traitor ("...but that's a good thing.") The Show came down on short order and disabused him of that notion with a chokeslam...
The next match was a tag team battle pitting the WWF Tag Champs, Rock and Jericho against their arch rivals, Test and Booker T. Naturally, during the match, the Rock managed to clobber his own partner, causing Jericho to retaliate with a face jam, almost losing the titles, but he jumped back in and broke up Tests pinfall attempt. The Rock then tagged Jericho in and Rock Bottomed him, then left the ring. Again, Test went for the pin, and again, the partner of the man on the receiving end reconsidered and broke up the pin. Eventually the champs retained when Jericho applied a the Walls of Jericho to force Test to submit.
Kurt Angle barged into Austin's dressing room brandishing his board. Steve calmed him down then invited him to join the Alliance. Kurt refused, but then wanted to know who the traitor was going to be. Steve wouldn't tell him (of course he couldn't...with the camera right there...), so Kurt told him to go to hell.
Backstage, Mike Cole told Kurt Angle that he heard the Rock implying that he (the Rock) would be the turncoat. Maivia asked where he could find Angle's dressing room...
Next up, Stacy vs. Lita. This was a silly match. Stacy can't touch Lita's athleticism or ring experience - yet somehow she managed to hold her own. After throwing Lita to the floor, she suckered Matt Hardey into accidently hitting his girlfriend. But it wasn't enough. Lita kicked out and then almost immediately turned the tables and pinned her opponent.
After the break, the Rock and Angle had a little verbal set to in Angle's dressing room. Maivia told Angle not to ever even consider that he might be a traitor because he lives and breathes the WWF (or something like that). Over at WWF New York, Commissioner Foley pumped up the crowd using cheap heat and talked about his new book being #6 on the best seller list.
Kurt Angle defended his US Title against the challenge of Willie Regal. This was a real stand up match - both of these guys can really wrestle and are also double tough. The fight got started as soon as Angle entered the ring. Regal was waiting and attacked the champ before he had a chance to greet the fans. As could be expected, Regal made very good use of his "instant" advantage and easily dominated the opening minutes of the match. Angle eventually recovered and turned the tables with a series of suplexes, then caught Regal in the ankle lock and forced him to tap out.
Backstage, Vince showed up in the Undertaker's dressing room to wish him luck in his match. But UT didn't buy it, he figured Vince was really just worried about the possibility that the Scarey Brothers individually, or as a team, might be the traitors. I imagine he was right...
Next up - a WCW tag Team Title match - the second in a series agreed upon by the two Commissioners on Thursday. In this case, the Scarey Brothers taking on the Dudleys. Of course the only thing the Dudleys had going for them are their incumbency and their somewhat superior teamwork. This was another knock-down-drag-out match with a lot of back and forth and several false endings. Stacy got involved at one point, handing off a tag belt for Bubba to use on Kane. In the end, the Undertaker was walking the top rope, old school style, when Kane stumbled against the strands and upset UT's balance. The Dudleys hit a 3D on Kane and got the pin to retain their titles.
The main event was the much vaunted Street Fight pitting the McMahons, father and son, against each other. Always good for some good bumps, Shane was in top form tonight. Of course, with this no DQ situation, we could count on their being plenty of interference - and we were not disappointed. Before it was all over we saw Booker T and Test, Undertaker, Kane, Willie Regal, the Rock, Steve Austin and finally, Kurt Angle all get involved in the action. The big surprise came when Angle entered the ring with a chair and then proceeded to devastate the entire WWF contingent! Shane won the match and then celebrated with the newest Alliance member...Kurt Angle.
Well, the surprise was a good one...
At least that's the way I see it...
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