Dedicated to Gordon Solie
January 29, 1929 - July 27, 2000
In this edition of the newsletter we have Matt Benaka with the latest installments of This Week in World Title History, John Cross with the Crossface Connection, plus my own TV Reports and topical rants.
As we go to press this week, it was brought to my attention that our associated site, bodyslam.cc is going away. I am sorry to see that happen, but please rest assured that John Cross, who ran that site with his brother, will continue to contribute his "Crossface Connection" columns to this newsletter.
This week in World Heavyweight Title History has a lot of activity from Verne Gagne and thoughts about how great one legend may have become. I hope you enjoy it! If you have any questions, comments or corrections, e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org and please visit my web site at: http://www.geocities.com/mrbenaka/index.html
World Title History for the week of August 4th to August 10th:
Buddy Austin upended Pedro Morales on 08/05/1966 in Los Angeles, CA to win the World Wrestling Association (WWA) World Heavyweight Title.
Verne Gagne won his first Omaha World Title when he defeated Edouard Carpentier in Omaha, NE on August 9th of 1958.
Verne Gagne won his second American Wrestling Association (AWA) World Title from Gene Kiniski on August 08, 1961 in Minneapolis, MN. This was the second time that Gagne held this version of the world title.
Exactly two years later Gagne would defeat Fritz Von Erich in Amarillo, TX to win his fifth AWA World Title. It was during this reign that he unified the AWA and Omaha world titles.
August 07, 1986 saw Ric Flair defeated Dusty Rhodes in St. Louis, MO for the National Wrestling Alliance (NWA) World Heavyweight Title. This ended the last World Title reign of Dusty Rhodes and marked the fourth time that Flair had claimed the NWA strap.
Orville Brown defeated Bobby Bruns on August 08, 1946 in Kansas City, KS to win the Midwest Wrestling Association (MWA) World Heavyweight Title. This marked the eighth occasion on which Brown would hold the MWA World Title. He is the man around which the NWA was supposed to be built. He was the man who was supposed to beat Lou Thesz to unify the NWA Titles. Then he had a car accident and Lou Thesz ascended the thrown to wrestling greatness. One must wonder what Orville Brown may have accomplished.
Well, this column will be a bittersweet one.
I'm not going anywhere, but bodyslam.cc is. We are going to close down the website, and, in fact, it should be going down forever within the next week.
Sometimes, even in the world of spots, angles, and suspension of belief, real life gets in the way. Between us, my brother and I have five kids under the age of ten. Also, this little once-a-week column for us turned into a twenty-or-so page website with close to a thousand original visitors a week. It was a hobby, and it began to take up too darn much time. We couldn't keep up, and keep doing it the way we wanted without compromising the very reason we started doing this in the first place: To have fun, and enjoy the industry that we hold in such high esteem.
So, I want to thank everyone that used bodyslam.cc for their news and rumors. Also, for those of you that took the time to read the Crossface Report, I also thank you deeply and graciously. I hope you enjoyed the experience.
Now, I will still be here, at Solie's Vintage Wrestling, so don't get your hopes up TOO high; I have no thoughts to give up writing the Crossface Connection. It will be the only wrestling column that I will produce every week, and it is the solo column that I enjoy doing the most. So, if Earl will have me, I plan on staying on here as long as the site stays on the air. Or, until Earl finally has enough and cuts my pay. (Editor's Note: If I cut his pay at this point - he'd have to start paying me!)
Now, onto wrestling…after a brief 'catch-up' note.
It looks like the blood toxicology came back on Elizabeth. Her BAC (blood alcohol content) was a .29, and that isn't a typo, folks. That is the same as a 150-pound man sitting down, and drinking seven shots within an hour. I have no idea what prompts a person to do that to themselves, and I don't guess to know what was in her mind. All I can say is that it is a damned shame that she did that to herself. Along with the booze, she had a mixture of pain killers, nausea medication, and tranquilizers in her blood. It appears to me that she was on this road for a while. Luger might have been getting her what she wanted to take, but she was the one putting it in her mouth. I think that her death doesn't speak so much to wrestling (as a lot of critics would try and maintain) as it does to her own inability to cope with her own life. And, it is a sorry subject that I won't dwell upon any longer.
I like Shane McMahon. Out of all of the McMahons, he has been the most effective when his presence is concerned on the TV screen (at least for the last three or four years). His matches with Big Show, Test, and Kurt Angle are the stuff of legend, and it is almost great to see him again.
"Almost", because of the saturation I spoke of a couple weeks back with the McMahons and the bulk of the programming the WWE is broadcasting. All of those people have shown their face, and though I can understand seeing Stephanie once or twice per Smackdown, the constant intertwining of Vince and Family with the leading storylines wears me out, and makes the WWE look and feel like they are repeating all their material from 1997/8.
Can Shane-O-Mac fix this? I think so. He can come in and establish a credible presence against the newly-heelishly-insane Kane, and be accepted by the fans as a legitimate adversary. He can work the mic and put himself over as a face, with some help from Austin and Bischoff.
However, what he needs most of all is the removal of his DAD from the show.
Vince tends to dominate the McMahons when he is on the shows with them, even when he is getting embarrassed or humiliated. He can show up this week to give Shane a little push, but the man has to leave, no matter how hard it will be. Shane is going to have to become the Alpha Male on Raw, and to do that, he will have to distance himself from Vince. Sure, the name will generate heat, but he has to fortify that heat himself. Seeing his dad on the screen will only dilute whatever heat he gets, in my opinion.
Then, he has to be patient. Or, if I were to be more accurate, the bookers have to be patient. Shane is established; that is not in doubt. However, this is a great start to a storyline that could last until the next Raw PPV, with the match at Summerslam being a setup for the next 5 weeks of Raw shows. However, no matter the person opposing Kane, one more thing has to happen.
In order to be taken seriously as a character, Kane has to win clean. He has to destroy some people in the fed. He has to do some things that they haven't let him do in a long time. He has to get put over by some main-eventers. Some FACE main-eventers. Who? Booker T, for one. I see Kane destroying Goldust, and others.
No, don't get carried away...Goldberg is untouchable for a long while. Kane won't go over on Goldberg for a long, long time. Though I would like that (sorry, but I would!), it won't happen for an epoch. Either way, though, you know what I am saying. Kane has to get re-established as a monster, not in word, but in deed as well. However they do it, it needs done.
Shane will do it well, and he can, but he has to do it without Vince.
That's all I have this week. I'll tell you to come back to Solie's often for the columns, and hit up the Reader's Forum from time to time…great discussion from people who love the business.
Again, thanks for the patronage at bodyslam.cc. If you want, send me an e-mail about the old site. And, I'll see you next week for another Connection.
SmackDown! came to us on tape from World Arena in Colorado Springs, Colorado and opened with the usual fireworks then went to the ring for an appearance by the new WWE Champion, Kurt Angle. He made a speech about winning the title for the fourth time, then was interrupted by Brock Lesnar, who demanded a rematch. Kurt agreed, but Vince McMahon didn't. He came out and declined to make the match, first dumping on Angle, accusing him of stabbing his friends in the back by begging McMahon NOT to make a rematch, then turned to Lesnar and saying that he has to "earn" a rematch - by teaming with Angle in a Tag Team match later this evening against as yet unnamed opponents.
Rey Misterio (w/Billy Kidman) took on Shelton Benjamin (w/Charlie Haas) in the next match. Benjamin tossed Rey shoulder first into the corner post early on in the contest, but Rey Rey still came back and beat him with a victory roll.
The Torrie Wilson/Jamie Noble thing was handled in a series of short segments throughout the program. The first had her arriving at a hotel room to find Noble in his underwear and a cowboy hat (w/boots), laying out sex toys. Torrie headed to the bathroom to throw up...
Although his match was announced earlier as being against Rhyno, Chris Benoit defeated Doink the Clown (yawn...) Before the match, Rhyno cut a promo, saying Benoit would need a "warm up" match before facing himself - and calling him "a joke". Is this all as contrived as it seems to me..?
In the second Torrie/Noble vignette had Nidia showing up and she and Noble went at it off camera as Torrie watched in disgust.
Angle and Lesnar had a conversation backstage. Kurt told Brock that he had suggested to Vince that they have a rematch at WrestleMania.
Tajiri popped out of Eddie Guerrero's trunk to spray him with green mist before their match for the US Title. Guerrero then tried to get out of the match, but the referee forced him to compete by threatening him with forfeiture. In the end, after a good match, dominated for the most part by the challenger, Eddie retained his title, by cheating as usual...
After a replay of most of the WWE Confidential video feature on the one-legged rookie, Shannon Moore (w/Matt Hardy) took on Zach Gowen in the next match. Hardy helped his protégé win the match, then beat up on Gowen after the fight.
John Cena defeated Orlando Jones in a short contest, then challenged the Undertaker to a rematch next week.
Back at the hotel room. Nidia and Noble stepped out of the shower and suggested a threesome as Billy Gunn showed up. Noble told Gunn he hadn't touched Torrie, then he and Nidia went at it again off camera while Torrie and Billy looked on, looking a little less disgusted...
Back at the arena, Brock barged into Vince's office and challenged him to a match next week. McMahon agreed, and warned Lesnar not to turn his back on Angle tonight.
In the final Torrie/Noble/Gunn/Nidia segment, the scene opened with all four in bed together, Nidia and Noble on one side, Billy and Torrie on the other.
Sable came to the ring and told the crowd that she is now the "dominant female" on SmackDown since defeating Stephanie at the PPV, then she introduced the opponents for Angle and Lesnar - A-Train and Big Show. The match started after a commercial and was another short one. Brock hit the F5 on the Big Show, then Angle tagged himself in to take the pinfall. Lesnar ask his partner what that was all about, then they argued and he hit the F5 on Angle. Vince then made one last appearance to announce that his match with Lesnar next week will be a cage match.
The Bubba Ray Dudley faced off against the Renee Dupree with their partners in opposing corners. The other French Nerd got involved in the match almost immediately, grabbing Bubba's leg from the outside then actually entering the ring to participate in a double team maneuver. Despite that, Bubba dominated the action and won the match with a Bubba Bomb after D-Von clobbered Dupree with the French flag.
Backstage, Evolution conferred about HHH's unnamed (read, "groin") injury from last week. Eric Bischoff barged in and and was explaining a "proposition" to HHH when we cut to commercial.
A promotional video for the WWE's recent Australian tour was shown during the next segment.
Next up, Scott Steiner came out with Stacy to take on Randy Orton, who was unaccompanied, at least at the beginning of the contest. Orton made some asinine statement about the crowd coming to see his "nipples" then he was attacked by Steiner. Orton got some back, but was pretty thoroughly dominated by his massive opponent. He was reduced to delivering forehead shots and choking, when he was able to actually get in any offense. test ran out and interfered, having his head handed to him. But that provided the distraction that allowed Orton to slip in his RKO finisher and take the pin.
Meanwhile, backstage, HHH and Bischoff seemed to have come to some kind of agreement.
Hurricane was conferring with his protégé, Rosie, when Christian interrupted them to taunt Helms about their match later tonight. Christian left, then Rosie showed Hurricane his "S.H.I.T." kit. Hurricane told him he wasn't ready yet and "flew" off. Rosie turned to the camera and said, "We'll see..."
In another part of the backstage area, Bischoff was giving a few pointers to Rodney Mack when Austin showed up and confronted him. Bischoff admitted that he had made some arrangements with Evolution regarding his match against Shane tonight, but refused to provide any details.
Hurricane came to the ring for his match against Christian, followed by his opponent. Hurricane dominated the early going and almost pulled off a pinfall off of a very high splash. Moments later he went for a chokeslam, which Christian blocked, then hit a big clothesline and again nearly got the pin. Christian came back with a rollup then held the tights to get the pin. He was assaulting his vanquished opponent when Rosie came out in his ersatz Super Hero outfit and chased Christian from the ring. Hurricane and Rosie struck a Super Hero pose in the ring.
Back in the garage, a police van arrived with Kane caged inside it.
The Nature Boy came toward the ring accompanied by HHH, who turned aside and joined the broadcast team. Goldberg performed his classic "long walk" from the dressing room culminating in his standard fire breathing entrance. Flair got into his face, then they locked up and Flair was tossed off. This progressed as expected, with Flair attacking and Goldberg just swatting him away. As usual, Goldberg just no-sold everything until Flair attacked his knee. For a short while, Flair was in charge - but then he started throwing chops again and Goldberg just absorbed them, then started knocking Flair down continually. Flair used a finger gouge to the eye to recover - then made his usual stupid move, going to the top corner. Goldberg threw him to the mat then Randy Orton ran in and hit him with a chair. Orton pummeled Goldberg as Flair was DQ'd. HHH went down and pulled out his sledge hammer, using it on the monster as Flair and Orton propped him up. He was about to use it again when HBK ran in and attacked Orton and Flair. Chris Jericho ran in next and attacked Michaels, but Kevin Nash came in right behind him. As mayhem continued in the ring, Steve Austin appeared on the platform and added some stips to the main event at SummerSlam. he transformed the match from a simple no-DQ singles battle between Goldberg and HHH to an Elimination Chamber match featuring all of the wrestlers in and around the ring except for Flair. HHH, Goldberg, Michaels, Nash, Jericho and Orton will all compete for the World Title at SummerSlam.
Backstage, HHH told Bischoff he was pulling out of their deal unless Uncle Eric could change the main event at SummerSlam. he acknowledged that he can't, so HHH told him he was on his own later tonight.
A Womens' Title match between Trish and Molly broke down when Victoria came down and attacked Trish on the outside. She tossed the challenger back into the ring, where, after having a few words between them, Molly and Victoria went to work on Trish until Gail Kim ran down and rescued her. Then, after beating the heels from the ring, Kim turned around and attacked Trish herself. Ahh the irony...
In the back, Kane was still locked up. We cut to the locker room for a little comic by-play between Lance Storm and Goldust, Storm asking Goldy to help become less boring, then back to the garage, where Bischoff lured the guards away and then started to release Kane!
In the arena, Rob Van Dam made his entrance to take on Chris Jericho...but first we cut to commercial. The Millennium Bug made his entrance after the break to a fairly warm reception from the Canadian crowd. Of course, jericho has already experienced some physical stress and clearly wasn't fully on his game for this match. He eventually turned the tables when RVD went for a splash to the outside and his target side stepped him. Van Dam crashed onto the barrier and then it was all Jericho as they returned the match to the ring. Jericho proceeded to ground his opponent, who exhibited a lot of resilience, but little else. Things finally swung back the other way somewhat when Jericho attempted to suplex his opponent back into the ring from the apron - but RVD reversed the move and Jericho made that long drop to the floor. Back inside, Jericho made a slight comeback with a dropkick and the match went into see-saw mode for a while. Jericho seemed to be adjusting his attack mode to more of a flying strategy then we usually see from him, and it was beginning to pay off. Both guys, however were really sucking wind by this time. Jericho missed a Lionsault, then RVD missed a Frog Splash in quick succession. Van Dam finally hit a springboard moonsault out of the corner and took the pin.
Van Dam was celebrating up on the platform, when Jericho grabbed a mic and accused Kevin Nash of perpetrating a fraud against him. He challenged Nash to a hair vs. hair match for some unspecified time in the future.
Backstage, Uncle Eric seemed to be quite pleased with himself - meanwhile, a glance at the police van showed that Kane was on the loose.
Eric Bischoff came to the ring for his no holda barred match against Shane McMahon looking very confident and carrying some kind of demonstration pad, which he had an underling hold in the ring so he could show off some of his karate kicks before his opponent made his way to the ring. Shane showed up in street clothes and Eric attacked him as the referee was setting out the groundrules. He got in a few kicks before Shane overcame him and was beating him to the mat when Kane showed up. Shane met him in the aisle and dominated him for a while with a pummeling assault. But Kane endured it then struck back, leveling the bosses' son pretty handily. He then pulled the steel steps out of position and positioned Shane for a Tombstone on top of them. After that shot, Shane was in no shape to compete. Kane trossed him back into the ring so that Bischoff could pin him, bloody nose and all.
That was it, folks...
At least that's the way I see it...
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