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Solie's Tuesday Morning Report

Dedicated to Gordon Solie
January 29, 1929 - July 27, 2000

WWE Armegeddon Report

Triple H the World Champ Again

Defeats HBK in two out of three falls

Angle makes it #3

Defeats Big Show after Lesnar intereferes

Booker T/Goldust take Raw Tag Titles

Steiner Repudiates his Agreement
to join SmackDown!

Goes to RAW and wins a Title Shot for the Royal Rumble

The Way I See It...

by Earl Oliver

Crossface Connection

by John Cross

Return of the Piper: Part 2

A classic article from 2001 by Zach Dundas

Volume 7, Issue 714 - December 16, 2002
Editor's Note: In this edition of the newsletter we have our weekly Crossface Connection by Solie's regular, John Cross, plus my own TV Reports and topical rants. Also, with Roddy Piper so much in the news these days, it seemed like a good time to run Part 2 of the following Classic Wrestling Article from somewhere in Oregon in 2001:

Return of the Piper


Part 2


The WWF's recent buyout of WCW, its Ted Turner-founded rival, has made big-time wrestling a monopoly--ironically perhaps opening the door for independent operators with guts and drawing power to take the sport back to its grass roots.

"For a someone like Roddy Piper, now is the perfect time to flash his name," opines Rose City Rudo.

If you could have foretold the future to that snarling crowd in Winnipeg '68, young Roderick Toombs would have been the single most stunned boy/man in the house. Before facing Hennig and his Axe, he'd never so much as seen a pro-wrestling match.

After splitting home at 13, he bounced around the shady side of Canada, hitchhiking, heisting food from hotels and crashing in hostels. Somehow, he kept up with two boyhood loves: playing bagpipes (his mother was born in Belfast, his father in Glasgow) and fighting on amateur boxing and wrestling circuits.

Despite his ignorance of the sport, saying yes to pro wrestling didn't absorb a lot of thought.

"Somebody just didn't show up," he explains now. "My amateur wrestling coach at the time--a police officer--says, 'Rod, I can get you 25 bucks to fight this guy, but you'll lose your amateur status.' Well, it wasn't paying a lot."

He asked some guys from a pipe band he played with to accompany him to the ring ("They were proud I was doing something honest," he says). After Toombs' unusual entrance, Hennig clobbered the neophyte, broke his nose, slammed him and pinned him--all within 10 seconds. His face resembling the back of a butcher shop, Roderick retired to the locker room in shame.

"I'm sitting on a bench in the dressing room with my head down," he remembers. "I remember seeing the promoter's penny loafers coming over. I thought he was going to duke me out of my $25. But he said, 'Kid, you did great! How'd you like to go to Kansas City?' That night, they snuck me over the border. I was a renegade in the U.S. and Mexico 'til I was 19."

As Portland's tumescence over Benicio Del Toro reminds us, Oregon starves for celebrity. It is somewhat odd, then, that Roddy Piper, star of kitsch classics like They Live and Hell Comes to Frogtown ("I still tell people that one was my evil twin," he says), mostly flies under local radar. Dwight Jaynes used to name-check him in his old Oregonian sports column, and wrestling cognoscenti surely know he's around. Mention Piper to most Portlanders, though, and they're likely to look at you with unexpected delight: "You mean, he lives around here?"

This is probably due, in part, to a certain reticence on Piper's part. Beyond starting Piper's Pit Stop Transmission Center, an auto repair shop on Southeast Division Street, he hasn't really milked local notoriety. Piper's 10-acre spread hides way the hell back in the Hillsboro farm country. Dirt roads twist up a small mountain, past old orchards and new houses. The place with the stone gargoyle in the front yard, that's Piper's.

Kitty Toombs, Piper's wife, opens the door. Piper once described her like so: "She's 4 foot 11...and she's the only thing I'm afraid of." Kitty wears her hair cropped into a spike with one long, narrow braid trailing from the back. Next to her stands Falon, 5 years old with golden hair and a braid like her mom's. Falon radiates almost frightening maturity, polite and precisely articulate as she leads the way through the rambling house, with a detour to inspect a closet flooded with board games.

At the back of the house, there's Rod's Lodge, a cavernous study plastered with wrestling memorabilia. To the right, stairs lead up to a loft office, where Roddy Piper sits at his computer, working the phone.

The smile hits you first. The warm grin contains just a hint of the mischief that made Piper, at various stages of his career, one of wrestling's most effective villains and most charismatic heroes. His voice is a volcanic rumble.

Then you notice the ears, ham-pink and gnarled with calcium deposits.

Piper's arms and torso, while not what they were in his pumped-up prime, are massive. One wrist takes a nasty and unnatural twist, an arm bone protruding beneath the skin. Piper rises from his office chair with notice able effort.

"I was the first person ever to wrestle with a titanium hip," he says with a laugh. "Shows you how desperate a guy can get."

Wrestling's muse is notoriously fickle, and many who tether their fortunes to the sport end up flat busted. Beyond the Mat, a 1999 documentary, captured '80s star Jake "The Snake" Roberts smoking crack in a motel room; last year, Playboy Buddy Rose served 104 days in Clark County jail for unlawfully imprisoning his wife during a saga of divorce, suicide threats and alleged drug binges.

In contrast, Piper is on solid ground. He free-associates a bit, but his life's epic spills out in a weaving torrent of enthusiastic storytelling.

To be continued...

Crossface Connection

by John Cross

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.

I did not get the chance to see the PPV last night, but the above statement sums it up for me. After reading the reviews on and Solie's, one can only imagine why I feel like that phrase is germane to the PPV.

The BEST of times:

Kurt Angle winning the WWE Title: To the person who clinically observes wrestling, this guy is the entire package. I've said it before in this column. He is fast, strong, charismatic, and not afraid to do the job to further the WWE or help put over other talent. As a fan, I love this guy, from the Stars and Stripes on his outfit, to his superlative mic and in-ring work. He is the real deal, and I think the top of the top in the WWE. Big Show has yet to prove that he can maintain a main-event push, and this one was 80% Lesnar and 10% Heyman. Enter Lesnar, and the feud that many thought would occur at Wrestlemania may just start now. Add to the fact that Kurt is now a face (at least at this moment), and I am a very happy camper. Now, go figure that!

A good Women's Championship match: The thing that the WWE has been lacking in is a legitimate Women's division. It has been filled with eye candy, breasts, and shades of lesbianism (see Worst of Times), but now we see what the Division can do. Trish is the spunky novice, Jackie the fiery veteran, and Victoria the talented upstart, and all three brought this match to the level the Women's Division needs to achieve for it to gain a semblance of credibility. Good job, ladies. As I wrote in the Crossface Report this week, come January or February, the Women's Division, with Jazz, Lita, Ivory, and Molly all back, will be an entertaining venue again.

Eddie Vs. Chris: There is nothing better than seeing a good wrestling match. This was, even on paper, the best wrestling match of the show. Actually, whenever these two get into the ring for a match, it is a 'Match of the Year' candidate. Reading Earl's recount of the match makes me believe that these two put on a barnburner, as usual. Benoit, being face, got the duke, but I bet both of these guys deserve a winners purse. These guys are two of the pillars of the WWE.

Booker T/Goldust: After the nice segments on Raw where Goldust tried to withdrawl from the team, and Booker cajoled him to stay on, my feeling was that there would be new Champs on tap this weekend. I wasn't wrong, as Booker and Goldie won the Belts. Good for them, as they have been the rocky Horror Picture Show of WWE tag teams for a while. They have a chemistry together that just makes you smile when they are away from the ring, and they work hard in the ring. Good job, fellas, and go get a well-deserved Slurpee.

And...The WORST of Times:

HLA: This is stupid. I really don't understand why Vince has decided to pursue this type of thing, especially since it was repudiated after it was on Raw. All he did was re-package it in nicer wrapping, and send it to another show. All this angle is for is to give teenagers erections and make them attach said biological function to watching the WWE. If that is what Vince is after, then fine, but I think it insults all real wrestling fans, and exemplifies the difference between Professional Wrestling (Benoit/Guererro) and Sports Entertainment (this rot). I smell a boycott of Smackdown coming in the Cross household....and the astonishment that these women would allow themselves to be used in this fashion.

HHH/HBK: This is the bittersweet part of the column, because it sounds like these two put on a hell of a match. Tables, cages, and they must have given everything they could for this match...but all the crap that surrounds these two people backstage tends to ruin it for me. All the mechanizations, the politicizing, the holding down of new talent, and the sheer, overwhelming coverage of themselves that they work towards (and receive) on the Raw brand overthrow their ability to put it to rest with effort in the ring. And, what a surprise, HHH walks away with the Title, looking like Superman, and prepared to face off with an incoming Scott Steiner. I think that Shawn Michaels does deserve kudos for doing the job, and working hard, but, folks, the Belt is still in the club, and notice Flair ended up looking like the weakest player, getting thoroughly abused. Has anyone ever noticed that Flair ends up expressing all the 'weak' attributes that heels usually have, and HHH can remain the bad-guy bada$$, and show no weaknesses at all? That kinda smells, but if they allow it in the booking meetings, then they deserve a 3.3 rating.

The Best of Times, and the Worst of Times. A Tale of Two Federations, one sagging, listing, beset with strife and misguided leadership and planning, and the other one stronger, the problems fewer and farther between, and making good way. that book before, too.

If you get to Solie's Storefront, you can get your wrestling-related gifts, and support Earl's site. Sounds good, huh? In addition, come to for your news, rumors, and results.

See you next week, for another Connection.

The Way I See It...

by Earl Oliver

SmackDown! was taped Tuesday at the Philips Arena in Atlanta, Georgia and opened with a video recap of the Torrie/Dawn Marie situation then got to the ring for the first match - Rikishi vs. B-2 (w/John Cena - who else..?) This one was shaping up to be a squash from the get-go. This guy (B-2/Buchanan...whatever...) has never had anything but size going for him - against Rikishi, that means nothing. Cena tried to interfere with no immediate results. But then he distracted the referee while B-2 hit a low blow, then B-2 distracted the ref while Cena hit Rikishi with a chain wrapped around his fist.

After the break, we went to video of an autograph signing where Kurt Angle approached Brock Lesnar and proposed that Lesnar be in his (Angle's) corner at the PPV to deal with Paul Heyman. The deal will be that if Brock helps Kurt to win the title, Kurt will give Brock a shot at it. Backstage, Heyman was giving his team for tonight (Albert and Big Show) a pep talk when he was informed that Angle hopes to get Brock's suspension lifted so that the latter can be in his corner. Needless to say, Heyman was not happy about that...after the break, they showed up at Stephanie's office - but she was busy on the phone.

Bill DeMott took on Shannon Moore in the next squash... Torrie arrived to hear that Dawn Marie had been blabbing all over the arena about what they did in the hotel room last week.

After the match, Stephanie let the bad guys know that she intends to lift Lesnar suspension in time for Armageddon.

The odd pairing of Billy Kidman and Chris Benoit took on the Guerreros for the Tag Team Title next. After an initial scuffle between Eddie and Benoit, Kidman tagged in and was isolated for quite a while. Kidman finally tagged out while Eddie was a bit wobbly. Benoit came right in and slapped on a Crippler Crossface as we cut to commercial.

When we came back, Kidman was back in the ring and being isolated again! Kidman eventually got a tag to Benoit...but the referee didn't see it. Benoit then went nuts and started a free-for-all brawl. Kidman went for the Shooting Star on Eddie...and missed it. Kidman was pinned.

Torrie confronted Dawn Marie, protesting that what happened between them should be private. Dawn's response was that everything she has said is true. Frustrated, Torrie demanded that Dawn keep her part of the bargain and break off the marriage plans. Dawn agreed, I think...

After the break, Dawn went to the ring to make her announcement. She called Al Wilson to the ring and told him that everything he'd heard about her and Torrie was true - then told him that she was imagining him in her arms - that Torrie was her "connection to him". Right. And he's going to believe that, right? Right...Al told her it didn't matter and so she went back on her agreement. Torrie hit the ring and tore into her rival with a vengeance - took her to the floor and beat on her until some officials pulled them apart. At the top of the ramp, Dawn paused and looked back, yelling that she is going to show video of what happened between them in the hotel room

Jamie Noble (w/Nidia) faced Crash yet again (Crash has beaten Noble twice now - once on Sunday Night Heat and a second time last week on SmackDown). He seemed about to win again when a stranger (Cousin Nuncio?) ran in and assaulted Noble's opponent.

Backstage, Stephanie was told that Scott Steiner had arrived. She told the messenger to tell Steiner to meet her in the ring for a contract signing. After the break, Stephanie went to the ring followed by Steiner who strutted to the ring in his usual fashion. Steiner started t sign the contract, then stopped to make an speech. He accused Stephanie of leading him on - because nothing happened between them after RAW the other night, but he insisted that she really does want him. She interrupted him to say that he misunderstood what she was offering, saying that it was a signing bonus she had in mind. He tried to make a move on her, but she pushed him off, saying she is all business. He then called her a tease and asked the crowd if he could trust her. The crowd was resoundingly against Stephanie. He said that SmackDown is a great show, and he'd love to be on it, but she was the reason he wouldn't sign the contract. He then delivered his tag line, "...holler if you hear me...on RAW." and walked away. Stephanie tried to call him back, but he kept going and met Eric Bischoff on the platform as he left the arena. In the ring, Stephanie was throwing furniture...

In a video feature, Rey Misterio was shown getting knee surgery for the injury he supposedly suffered at the hands of Albert last week (trust me folks, this injury was done sometime earlier - their just using it to build heat for Albert...again...if they could just get the guy a personality...) Backstage, Edge told of his anger over what was done to his tag partner last week, then Angle showed up and told him, "...lets go do this." They are partnering tonight against the Big Show and "A-Train" (Albert) in the main event.

And that match was next. Edge took on the Big Show to start, but quickly tagged in Angle - who immediately tagged in his partner. Naturally, heel and face roles were somewhat confused in this match. As Angle took on Albert, whom everyone hates, the crowd was chanting "Angle Sucks!" Edge got back in against Albert, and before you knew it, the heels were working on his injured knee and isolating him. Edge finally got a DDT on Albert andmade the tag. Show came in at the same time so we got our preview of the SnackDown main event for Sunday...for about 5 seconds, then all four were in the ring. Edhe suffered a chair shot from Albert as the Show went back to working over Angle. Fortunately for him. Albert tried to interfere and hit his partner instead. Angle hit the Angle Slam on both Albert and the Big Show, then slapped the ankle lock on the giant. But Albert saved his partner's but and Angle was defeated, while Edge still writhed in poain out on the floor.

Next up...Armageddon...

WWE Armegeddon Report

That was interesting. They went from the Free-For-All to start the PPV and the screen went black. A voice said, "We're going to start the show now..." and more blackness. Then finally the FBI Warning screen came on and then the WWE blurb. Is that the Doors singing the theme music?

Armegeddon came to us live from Ft. Lauderdale, Florida at the Office Depot Center and opened with the Four Corners Elimination match for the Tag Team Titles (RAW version)- Booker T/Goldust vs. The Dudleys vs. Lance Storm/Willy Regal vs. Chris Jericho/Christian. Storm and Bubba started the fight, then Christian was tagged in, then D-Von. The tags were thick and fast with Regal coming in for Christian almost immediately. The highlight of the match came early, before the first elimination when Goldust and Bubba performed a duet on "Flip, Flop and Fly" - one of the signature moves of both Goldust's father and Bubba. Bubba was the first one eliminated, soon after, by the way - then Regal was eliminated, leaving Goldust and Booker to face the Tag Champs to the finish all on their own! In the end, Booker put Jericho away with the Bookend to win their first WWE Tag Title.

Edge took on "The A-Train" (Albert to you and me) in the next match. I sort of expect Albert to win this, in order to add to his push - but who knows? There were plenty of near falls, but then Albert used a chair right in front of the referee and was disqualified. Afterward, Edge got his hands on the chair and utterly destroyed his opponent.

Next, more or less a "Brother vs. Brother match as former best friends Chris Benoit and Eddie Guerrero competed in a grudge match. These guys went all out as only they can. The two most intense athletes in the federation tore each other apart for several minutes. One thing that became clear as this match progressed is that Guerrero is by far the more versatile wrestler. benoit has a few albeit spectacular moves, but Guerrero is an all around mat wrestler extraordinaire. He even traded a German Suplex series with his opponent. The two of them pretty much battled to a draw, and then Chavo ran in and cold cocked Benoit with his title belt. Back in the ring, Guerrero got a two count but no cigar. He slapped on a submission leg lock, but Benoit made it to the ropes to escape. Moments later Benoit came back with a big powerbomb, but was too weak to follow up. He went for the top corner, but first Chavo, and then Eddie tried to interfere. Benoit hit the flying headbutt. Guerrero came back with another attempt at his submission hold. Benoit countered and went to the Crippler Crossface. Guerrero tried to roll through it, but failed. Benoit cranked it on and got the submission victory.

Backstage, Paul Heyman accosted Stephanie in her office, saying that a lot of people have been questioning her business decisions, still trying to talk her out of allowing Brock Lesnar to be in Kurt Angle's corner during the WWE Title match tonight. She basically told him it was a done deal at this point.

Next segment was a promo for the Torrie/Dawn Marie situation, followed by Dawn's promised revealing of the video footage from her night with Torrie in her hotel room. The tape started with the footage we had already seen previously, Torrie arriving at the hotel room door, using the key, being accosted by Dawn, etc. Starting to leave, but then being reminded of the stakes and returning to Dawn's side. Dawn offered her champagne - Torrie drained the glass. Dawn fed her a strawberry, then started to undress her, murmuring endearments as Torrie stood like a stone. As she started to kiss Torrie - she (in the ring) called for the footage to be frozen and asked the crowd if they wanted to see more. Al objected, but Dawn persisted. She started the video again, and Al objected again and this time insisted that it stop. Dawn seemed to agree, saying that she has proved that Torrie is a "sexual predator". She invited Al back to her hotel room, and they left the ring.

Next up, Kane vs. his new archival, Batista, accompanied by Ric Flair. This was akin to two bulls meeting in the ring, but Kane clearly had the experience advantage. Batista's advantage was Flair at ringside. Flair showed his value by attacking Kane out on the floor, sacrificing himself to give his man an opening. But back in the ring, it was Kane again on the ascendancy. Later on, Flair climbed the apron to distract kane, giving his client the chance to apply a big spine buster and take the pinfall.

Backstage, Kurt Angle was looking for Brock lesnar.

John Cena made his "Rap Debut" on a PPV - but didn't actually wrestle a match (yawn...)

Victoria defended her Womens' Title in a Triple Threat match against Trish Stratus and Jacqueline. This one was pretty wild and wholly and ended when Trish was about to pin Jacquie. Victoria, who was out on the floor, used her title belt to whack Trish upside her head. Then slid into the ring and took over the cover to get the pin.

Backstage, Angle was busy trying to talk Lesnar into being in his corner tonight. Lesnar promised that Angle "wouldn't regret" getting his suspension lifted, although he didn't actually say he would be in Angle's corner. This led into a promo for the upcoming title match...and then the match itself. There was no sign of Lesnar during the introductions. The first highlight was Show tossing Angle over the top rope...and right onto Paul Heyman! Then Angle snuck around the other side of the ring, and levered the giant out to the floor. Back inside, and Angle was again tossed over the top a second time - this time landing painfully. The Big Show dragged his opponent back into the ring and began to dominate him for the first time in the match. A Tornado DDT eventually swung the advantage back to Angle, but he was nearly spent and unable to follow up effectively. Moments later, however, Angle was back into it and got several two counts. He hit the Angle Slam, but the big guy kicked out. He slapped on the ankle lock, but Show just rolled through it - so Angle slapped it on again. This time the big guy almost tapped, but then reversed it again and kicked Angle off. Both guys and the referee were out of it as Heyman finally started to stir. He tossed a chair into the ring, but Angle got hold of it and used it on the Champ. He went for the ankle lock again, but the referee was still out. Then Albert ran in and hit a vicious back breaker on Angle, then split. The Big Show put the chokeslam on Angle - then Lesnar ran in and hit the F5 on the Champ. lesnar chased Heyman away from the ring and out of the arena. Back in the ring, Angle pinned Show and became the three-time WWE Champion.

The final event was the World Title contest between Shawn Michaels and Triple H. The stips for this were three falls. Fall one was a street fight. Fall two was a cage match. If there was a thrid fall it would be a ladder match. The first call by the referee was to send Ric Flair away from the ring. The street fight commenced and HHH was the first to try and use some "plunder" in the match. Up to that point, Michaels was in charge. Things were more even from there on - then Michaels reversed a move and hit HHH with a back breaker on a chair. Now it was all Shawn again as he continued to work on the back of his opponent. But when he went for the super kick, HHH caught his foot and used a Japanese leg drag to twist it viciously. Now it was HHH working on the injured knee of his opponent relentlessly. After pounding on the knee for several minutes, Triple H slapped on a figure four. Michaels struggled for the ropes as HHH urged him to tap out. Michaels changed his tactics and started trying to reverse the h old by turning it over. He succeeded and HHH was forced to release the hold. Next, HHH hit his opponent in the head with a trash can lid. He dragged HBK out to the floor and roughed him up, heading toward the entryway. He left Michaels and disappeared backstage, only to return with a barbed wire wrapped 2X4. He started to raise it, then noticed the fire being used as part of the set decoration. He dipped the board into the flame and set it alight. But Michaels recovered enough to hit a low blow - then grabbed the board and hit HHH in the face with it! Michaels started herding HHH back toward the ring. For his part HHH was back pedaling for his life. Back in the ring, Michaels set up a chair, then swung HHH into the ropes. But Hunter caught hinm on the rebound with a drop-toe-hold onto the chair. Both guys were down for a moment. Then Hunter recovered and went for the Pedigree. HBK hit another low blow to block it. HHH came back with a chop-block and got the Pedigree and the pin to win the first fall. The second fall was the cage match, and since HHH was still on his feet, he took advantage of the lag between falls to load up the cage with weapons. This was an "escape or pinfall to win" cage match. Apparently also, "no holds barred" - although it was not announced as such. Shawn made his comeback a few minutes into the fall. Ric Flair showed up ringside again as both competitors were on top of the cage wall, slugging it out. Out on the floor, Flair started stacking tables up! Meanwhile the match returned to the inside of the cage, where HBK hit his flying elbow off the top corner. The next thing we knew, Flair was inside the cage!! Shawn battled him, pausing for a moment to prevent the Game from escaping through the door, then just destroyed both of them with chair shots. Next he loaded HHH onto a table then climbed to the top of the cage wall. He splashed HHH through the table and got the pin to win the second fall. The cage was raised back to the ceiling and it was time for a ladder match to decide the title. The title was hoisted up above the ring as Michaels was already pulling a ladder into the ring. Shawn propped the ladder up in a corner then went back to work on HHH, swinging him across and into the ladder head first. He then used the ladder to club his opponent a couple of times. He followed this with a snap suplex onto the ladder. Thjen he set the ladder upright in a corner and climbed to the top, sat there for a moment, then launched himself into a splash...but missed as HHH rolled away. Hunter went back to the Pedigree and got it. He pulled the ladder in under the belt and struggled to climb to the top. HBK recovered and was able to grab his opponent and jerk him to the mat, then hit the superkick! HHH fell to the floor, Michaels fell to the mat - then go up and staqrted to climb. he had his hand on the belt when HHH tipped the ladder over. Shawn fell outside the ring and through the stack of three tables! HHH climbed to the top and retrieved the belt to again become the World Champion.

Raw came to us live from the TD Waterhouse Centre in Orlando, Florida and went right to the ring for an inter gender tag team match pitting the unlikely team of Trish Stratus and Test against Steven Richards and Victoria. Trish was isolated during the first portion of the fight, but then Test got into the frey and cleaned house in a hurry. Richards made a comeback and came close to pinning Test - then Stacie jumped onto the apron and "displayed her assets" so to speak. Richards was distracted (to say the least) and fell prey to his opponent. So is this the start of a face push for Test and Stacie?

Backstage, Eric Bischoff announced a "Triple H Appreciation Night" - including a main event appreciation ceremony instead of a match. The only hitch was that "Chief" Morely had already promised the main event match to Scott Steiner. Bischoff told him it was his mess so he had to "fix it."

Backstage, "Goldy-clause" offered Booker T a Christmas present - the World tag Team Titles. They reaffirmed their friendship with a brotherly embrace, then were accosted by Christian, who told them to prepare to lose the Titles next week. In the meantime the individual members of the two teams will face each other on tonight's program.

Next up - Chris Nowinski vs. Maven in a one-on-one match. This was a very competitive, if somewhat pedestrian contest. Nowinski finally won on a roll up and a handful of tights.

Shawn Michaels came to the ring to address his fans, disputing the things that Ric Flair said about him last week. He then challenged Triple H to another match tonight - in fact an extension of last night's encounter - best three out of five. HHH didn't show up - instead he got Chris Jericho. After some initial self aggrandizement, Jericho purported to talk seriously, stating that Shawn was his wrestling hero when he (Jericho) started out in the business. This was basically a repeat of Flair's speech from last week. Jericho ended by saying that he could kick HBK's butt at this point. So Shawn flattened him with the big super kick.

Goldust made his entrance, on film, in letterbox format, to take on Christian one-on-one. This one had a strange ending. Goldust was counted out while he was laying in the corner, with his feet tied up in the ropes.

After the break, Bischoff tried to suggest that they do HHH's ceremony right away instead of in the main event spot. As soon as he heard the change involved Scott Steiner, Hunter laid down the law, threatening to "pull a Stone Cold" and walk out if he didn't get the main event spot.

Rob Van dam and Kane faced Three Minute Warning and Batista (w/Ric Flair) in a handicap tag match. The odds were changed about half way through the match when Batista and Flair abruptly left the ring area. kane won the match, pretty much single handed.

Backstage, Scott Steiner arrived...uh oh...

Lance Storm and Willy Regal faced the Dudleys in a grudge match of sorts. The Duds came in furious over the underhanded way they were eliminated during the Tag Title match last night. They came close to winning the match after hitting a reverse 3D on Regal, who came back a few moments later and used his brass knucks to steal another one.

Jeff Hardy made his flamboyant entrance to take on D-Lo Brown for the second time in 24 hours (they met on Heat last night as well). The move of the match was completely missed by JR - Jeff did his "run the rail" dive but D-Lo had that move scouted and just sidestepped it then added a little emphasis of his own to send Hardy crashing to the floor. back inside the ring, Brown opened up on his opponent with a vengeance. Hardy finally came back with a jaw breaker, then hit a somersault planche off the top corner. Moments later he used the referee's back as a launch pad to spring into an inside to out splash on his opponent. Back in the ring, he took an easy pin.

Backstage, Ric Flair confronted Scott Steiner, who basically ignored him as he said that tonight was HHH's night. Steiner let him finish his spiel then slammed him up against the wall, telling him that he and Hunter better get used to the idea that Steiner is the main man on RAW now. There's a clash brewing, for sure...

Out back, Stacie and Test discussed his new promo deal for Bod Man cologne. As they walked away, raven appeared from behind a truck where he had been eavesdropping on the conversation.

Chris Jericho's turn was next - he came out to wrestle Booker T in a one-on-one match. But first he went into one of his whining rants - which got cut off by a commercial...

JR guaranteed us that Jericho would still be talking when we returned...sure enough he was. Booker made his entrance, wearing the Tag Title belt, of course, and dominated the opening moments of the match. Soon, However, jericho regained his composure, then took control of the match. Booker made his come back and had things well in had when Christian showed up followed closely by Goldust. The referee DQ'd Jericho as soon as Christian hit the ring.

Backstage, Morely tried to put Steiner off until next week for his signing ceremony. Steiner pretended to agree - but we know better...

So here we were, main event time, a disaster waiting to happen. In the ring, Uncle Eric and his stooge introduced Triple H, who, accompanied by Ric Flair, strutted to the ring in what looked like an oversized Armani suit. Bischoff ran a video tribute to start the ceremony then turned the mic over to Hunter, who found it impossible to be humble (naturally). His mistake was to say that you could name anyone in the business, and he has beaten them all. That was Steiner's cue to interrupt the proceedings with an appearance of his own. He walked straight to the ring, carrying his RAW contract, and got right in HHH's face, saying, "You beat a lot of guys - but you can't beat me." He handed the contract to Eric and told him to add a World Title shot or else stick it. HHH objected to that idea, so Steiner accused him of being a coward. HHH then instructed Bischoff to go ahead and give Steiner his title match. Steiner signed the contract, then Bischoff announced that the match would take place at the Royal Rumble. Steiner came back saying he wants the shot tonight. He offered HHH the first punch. Hunter took off his coat and they went nose-to-nose - then HHH backed up and left the ring. Steiner then ended the program with his catch phrase.

That was fun...

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

Earl Oliver
Editor, Solie's Wrestling Newsletter

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