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Wrestling-Online Newsletter #1746

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  • Colin Vassallo
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    Message 1 of 1 , Dec 31, 2003
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      Exclusive wrestling news being broken around the clock at

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      / _ \| \| | | |_ _| \| | __| Issue #1746
      | (_) | .` | |__ | || .` | _| Wednesday December 31st 2003
      \___/|_|\_|____|___|_|\_|___| http://www.wrestling-online.com
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      By 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! ;-)

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      > 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

      - 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!

      - 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

      - 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

      - 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.


      By 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. It’s been an up and down year for me personally and
      professionally, but wrestling-wise, I’ve 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
      Austin’s 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
      column title.

      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. I’ve 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 hasn’t 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. I’ve 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-H’s 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 haven’t 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 it’s 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 weren’t for our editor Colin Vassallo. Although we
      often have good-natured arguments and don’t 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, here’s to continued greatness
      in 2004… and tearing up NYC!

      Till next time.


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