Wrestling-Online Newsletter #1746
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/ _ \| \| | | |_ _| \| | __| Issue #1746
| (_) | .` | |__ | || .` | _| Wednesday December 31st 2003
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>> OPENING WORDS FROM THE EDITORBy Colin Vassallo, [Editor@...]
We're just hours away for 2004. Some of us are already in the new year,
depending on which side of the world you're in. So from everyone here on
the newsletter, Happy New Year folks.
2003 wasn't that bad for wrestling. Certainly not something spectacular
but hey, we've seen worse. We had Goldberg coming in, Brock Lesnar
turned into a monster, John Cena showing he can carry the ball and
others who benefited from the split brands. We had the first brand only
PPVs this year, a spectacular WrestleMania and some memorable matches
that blew off the roof. We had some bad stuff as well, but let's try to
forget about those, shall we?
We had our 7th year anniversary this year as well, certainly a nice
point to reach. We still are the longest running and largest wrestling
newsletter on the Internet, and that's only because of you, the readers,
and all the columnists who support this newsletter taking time from
their hectic schedules to submit their columns. So from here, I want to
thank you for all your hard work, the readers who sometimes have to keep
up with our crap, and to those hundreds and hundreds of people who
submit their live event reports and other tidbits.
But enough of this, it's time to party. Where ever you're going, have
fun, enjoy and stay safe.
We'll be back next year, in the meantime, be good! ;-)
Get the 'WWE Unscripted' book for a behind the scenes look at WWE!
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>> WORLD WRESTLING ENTERTAINMENT NEWShttp://www.wrestling-online.com/news
> RATINGS- RAW did a 3.7 composite rating off hours 3.5 and 3.9 for Monday's
show. The overrun did the best rating, a 4.4. Weekend ratings have
Velocity doing a 0.9 with a 2.0 share, Confidential a 0.6 with a 1.0
share and Heat a 1.1 with a 2.0 share. The Christmas edition of
Smackdown! did a 3.0 rating, not bad considering it was on Christmas
day. (Ratings compiled by Nielsen Media Research and put online by
> SMACKDOWN! PREVIEW- Here are the matches lined up for tomorrow's Smackdown! on UPN. Rey
Mysterio vs Tajiri; Bradshaw vs Rhyno; FBI vs John Cena & Chris Benoit;
World's Greatest Tag Team vs Los Guerreros; Big Show vs Hardcore Holly.
Plus a former WWE champion returns! All this and much more on the NY's
Eve edition of Smackdown!
> GUNN RETURNING AT THE RUMBLE- During the Smackdown! tapings yesterday a promo aired for Billy Gunn,
announcing his return as a participant in the Royal Rumble. Gunn has
been out with a shoulder injury for a couple of months and was last seen
on WWE TV with Torrie Wilson as his valet. The Royal Rumble will feature
15 Superstars from RAW and 15 from Smackdown!, with the winner getting a
shot at the respective brand title at WrestleMania XX in Madison Square
> JERICHO INTERVIEW- WWE.COM caught up with Y2J Chris Jericho during RAW this past Monday
for an interview. Jericho talks about Christmas Day, how he's spending
New Year's Eve, backstage segments with Trish Stratus, his Fozzy band
and much more. Check it out at http://www.wwe.com/news/headlines/1252160
> OFF AIR NOTES FROM RAW- W-O Newsletter reader Janes Gustafson attended RAW this past Monday
and sent in these notes. After the show went off the air, Bischoff
received a second Stunner after handing him a can of beer. Austin moved
up the ramp and threw beers in the crowd, went back to the ring and
drank some more with Lilian Garcia. He then invited some people from the
crowd to sing 'Feliz Navidad' and later went solo singing 'Kumbaya.'
Austin then invited his personal trainers to the ring. After the
festivities were over, Austin went up the ramp again, got the announcers
chair, put it in the middle of the stage, sat on it and just rolled down
with the chair like a kid! Stone Cold got in the ring and thanked
everyone for coming and told everyone to give a round of applause. He
then thanked the US troops for their service and left.
> STOCKS- At time of this writing, stocks are trading at 13.22, a 0.15% increase
over the previous closing. The day's range so far is 13.18 - 13.30.
>> DON'T BLAME CANADABy Jason Clevett, [j_clevett@...]
As I sit here and reflect back on 2003 it is with a certain sense of
both joy and sadness. I graduated College and headed on a new path with
my life while saying goodbye to some people in my life that I miss
terribly. Its been an up and down year for me personally and
professionally, but wrestling-wise, Ive had a hell of a year.
Four things can basically highlight this past year for me as a writer
and a fan. First off, joining Colin Vassallo in Seattle, Washington for
Wrestlemania 19 at Safeco Field. Combining travel with wrestling always
makes for an interesting experience and this year was no different.
Meeting Colin for the first time and spending quality time with the
little Maltese runt at places like the Seattle Aquarium and the
waterfront was certainly a highlight, in addition to experiencing
Seattle nightlife (What do I do now?) and hanging out with friends
drinking and cavorting and acting foolish. Despite a pitiful excuse for
Fan Axxess, the weekend proved to be worthwhile with a fantastic
Wrestlemania and a RAW that featured the official announcement of Steve
Austins retirement as a wrestler, a brilliantly funny promo by The
Rock, the debut of Bill Goldberg and the infamous fingering of Lillian
Garcia. I can only imagine the debauchery when Ian Hamilton joins Colin
and I in the Big Apple this year for the 20th edition of the big show.
We shall see if the stereotype of heavy drinking that Brits are famous
for applies to your favorite columnist who has the word Knives in his
Then came the opportunity to expand my writing by joining the well known
Canadian website SLAM!Wrestling. SLAM folded in 2002 but relaunched
this year and saw enough talent in me to offer me a high profile
position with them. In the past year I have interviewed Jerry Lynn, AJ
Styles, Don Callis and Randy Savage as well as a plethora if independent
superstars. Ive been a frequent contributor to the site and had some
high profile stories.
Unfortunately, my commitments to SLAM! have taken up a lot of my
wrestling and writing, and my work here in Wrestling-Online hasnt been
as frequent as it has been in the past. That is one of the sacrifices I
have had to make. But in terms of my contributions to the newsletter I
feel I have done some of my best work this year. Ive always felt that
quality is more important then quantity, and some of the highlights for
me include my stories on Wrestlemania, including a story on a young
English lad whose Wrestlemania experience struck a cord with me. Judging
by the response, it did so with a lot of you as well. Paying tribute to
Stu Hart and Curt Hennig, giving reports on my house show experiences,
and just having the c! hance to interact with readers via e-mail has all
been great for me. I am still very much a part of this newsletter, and
will continue to contribute as long as a possibly can.
This year I stretched my writing skills with my series of stories on
SLAM! from Saskatoon. Pro Outlaw Wrestling at the Exhibition allowed me
the chance to have beer with Jerry Lynn and Don Callis and talk to
Sabu. My experiences on that trip resulted in some of my best work.
Finally, dealing with the difficult loss of one of my heroes, Stu Hart.
The term Legend is tossed around frequently in this business, but it
truly applies to Hart. I had the chance to pay tribute to Stu not only
in W-O but with some in depth stories for SLAM.
Death has hung like a black cloud over wrestling in 2003. Too many
people died young this year, such as Hawk, Crash Holly, Elizabeth, Curt
Hennig, Mike Lazonski and many more. In addition, we lost legends like
Hart, Freddie Blassie and The Original Sheik. This list is a very small
part of a much longer list of people in the business who have left this
earth this year.
Wrestling-wise, it was a mish-mash year. Triple-Hs stranglehold on the
RAW World Title has been harshly criticized, as has the writing of both
shows and at times the horrible angles and storylines. But there is a
silver lining. The fantastic Wrestlemania and Vengeance shows, the
elevation of John Cena, and the return of Kurt Angle, who had brilliant
performances against Chris Benoit, Brock Lesnar, Cena and the Big Show,
of all people, before and after his surgery. Shelton Benjamin and
Charlie Haus put on solid matches, Eddie Guerrero had a breakout year,
and guys like Rey Mysterio, Chris Jericho, Chris Benoit, and many more
worked hard to entertain us.
2003 marked the first full year of operation for NWA-TNA. Although the
fall saw some very weak shows, thanks in part to Dusty Rhodes wrestling
and TNA becoming The Jeff Jarrett Show. But guys like AJ Styles,
Low-Ki, Christopher Daniels, AMW, Jerry Lynn, Frankie Kazarian, Chris
Sabin, D-Lo Brown, Raven, and many more put on some of the best matches
of the past 12 months. January 7th marks the return of TNA live to the
airwaves with Ultimate X 2. If you have ever considered ordering TNA
but havent yet, I urge you to order what looks to be an extremely
strong show on the 7th. Despite some of the negative aspects of TNA, it
is important that we as fans support the product because its success
makes! winners of wrestlers trying to make a living in a business
dominated by the WWE, might actually make McMahon and Co try and be
innovative again, and benefits us the fans by giving us more fantastic
matches from some of the best wrestlers in North America.
Speaking of fantastic matches. Ring of Honor has become the talk of the
internet. Although guys like Styles and Daniels are becoming more well
known through indy work and TNA, ROH has become known for some of the
best wrestling in North America. You may not know who guys like
American Dragon, Samoa Joe, The Briscoe Brothers, Xavier and others on
the ROH roster are, but if you watch a few of their shows, trust me you
will be impressed.
I have had the privilege of watching Dave Swift, TJ Wilson and
Apocalypse of Stampede Wrestling mature and improve as athletes. Wilson
and Apoc especially are two guys I consider good friends, so I was
extremely proud of them for heading across the Pacific Ocean and having
successful tours with New Japan Pro Wrestling. Trust me, all three have
the Superstar vibe, and continued tours of the Orient can only help
them be even greater.
Finally, I want to thank the readers of Wrestling-Online for their
continued support of not only myself, but everyone who contributes to
W-O. There is a reason why we are the longest running newsletter on the
net, and the columnists are a big part of it. But of course, W-O would
not exist if it werent for our editor Colin Vassallo. Although we
often have good-natured arguments and dont always agree on things, he
has done a hell of a job not just this year but since W-O launched. I
am privileged to call you my friend Colin, heres to continued greatness
in 2004 and tearing up NYC!
Till next time.
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