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Wrestling-Online Newsletter #1748

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  • Colin Vassallo
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    Message 1 of 1 , Jan 5, 2004
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      Exclusive wrestling news being broken around the clock at
      http://www.wrestlingdotcom.com

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      / _ \| \| | | |_ _| \| | __| Issue #1748
      | (_) | .` | |__ | || .` | _| Monday January 5th 2004
      \___/|_|\_|____|___|_|\_|___| http://www.wrestling-online.com
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      >> OPENING WORDS FROM THE EDITOR
      By Colin Vassallo, [Editor@...]

      Holiday season is over and everyone is back to normal. Kinda sucks, I
      liked my holidays - somewhat limited, but better than nothing.

      Not much news on today, slow stuff. If you're going to RAW tonight
      please drop us some notes from the show. Thanks.

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      >> WORLD WRESTLING ENTERTAINMENT NEWS
      http://www.wrestling-online.com/news

      > RAW PREVIEW
      - RAW tonight is live from Memphis, TN., the home of Jerry 'The King'
      Lawler. And when WWE comes to Memphis, 'The King' always gets some
      in-ring action! Also Stone Cold Steve Austin will decide when Shawn
      Michaels will get the rematch for the World Heavyweight Title against
      Triple H. No matches have been announced for tonight's show yet.

      > LESNAR ON COVER OF FLEX MAGAZINE
      - WWE Champion Brock Lesnar is currently on the cover of the February
      edition of Flex Magazine, a mag dedicated to bodybuilding. Lesnar is the
      only second non bodybuilder to grace the cover of the popular magazine,
      with the first one being a WWE Superstars as well Triple H. You can
      check out the cover at www.flexonline.com

      > STOCKS
      - Stocks opened the week at 13.80, a 4.62% increase over Friday's
      closing. That's the highest it closed in over a year. The day's range
      was 13.19 - 13.95.

      > LYCOS SAYS LOOK OUT FOR DAWN!
      - Lycos lists WWE Diva Dawn Marie as 'one to watch' for this year,
      saying that the searches for her are increasing. "The latest hottie of
      the wrestling world is Dawn Marie; could a Playboy pictorial be around
      the corner?" says the site. The small mention of Dawn Marie came in the
      section of the Top Women for 2003 list, which was topped by Britney
      Spears for the fifth year in a row.

      _____________________________________________________________________


      >> KNIVES OUT
      By Ian Hamilton, [ian.hamilton@...]

      Welcome to 2004! I'll start the new year by finishing my recap of the
      old year, along with a look to the year ahead, and what it may hold for
      wrestling fans - as well as the wrestling industry.

      September: Shane McMahon's feud with Kane intensified on a Raw-angle,
      where Shane had his testicles jumpstarted with a car battery (1st); Sky
      hacked out a large chunk of SmackDown, with Brock Lesnar pushing a
      wheelchair-bound Zach Gowen down a flight of steps being cut from the
      show (5th) - Gowen had been cut out of several SmackDowns prior to this;
      WWE started their lawsuit against Lewmar, as the effects from the death
      of Owen Hart continued (8th); SmackDown was cut by half an hour for the
      debut of a new show on UPN, called "The Mullets". The show bombed, and
      has since been cancelled (11th); Lita made her return to the WWE after
      more than a year out with injury, when she ran in on a post-match attack
      by Gail Kim and Molly (15th); Vince McMahon was inducted into the
      Madison Square Garden Hall of Fame (18th); The Rock's latest film, The
      Rundown, premiered in the US, and the WWE marked it with a live
      interview from the Rock at the film Premier (22nd) - the film is set to
      make it's UK debut, under another name, in early 2004; WrestleMania 20
      tickets went on pre-sale, and sold out in minutes (26th); The remaining
      tickets went on sale the next day, and sold out just as quickly (27th).
      Also, Eddie Guerrero went ballistic during a house show in Winnipeg,
      when a fan poured beer over the recovering alcoholic. After being
      smacked around a bit, the fan was ejected from the arena, and Eddie made
      an apology after the match over the house mic - but if anything, Eddie
      was more over than ever after the incident; WWE settled their case with
      Lewmar, with no settlement publically announced, although jurors in the
      case were talking about a $9m settlement (31st)

      The Big Show: Unforgiven was built around a title vs career match
      between Triple H and Bill Goldberg - with Goldberg finally capturing the
      World title (21st). The card also saw a stinker - particularly in the
      semi-final match.

      In full results: The Dudley Boyz beat La Resistance in an elimination
      table match to win the tag titles; Test pinned Scott Steiner to win
      Steiner's "services"; Randy Orton beat Shawn Michaels after using a pair
      of brass knuckles; Lita and Trish beat Gail Kim and Molly (in her first
      match back, Lita chipped a tooth and busted her lip open); Kane beat
      Shane in a Last Man Standing match, when Shane took his usual bump from
      the Titantron; Christian retained the intercontinental title over Chris
      Jericho and RVD in a triple threat match; Al Snow and The Coach beat Jim
      Ross and Jerry Lawler to win the Raw announcing job (which they held
      for, ooh, two weeks); Goldberg pinned Triple H to win the World title

      October: Hulk Hogan was on the verge of signing a deal with NWA:TNA
      (7th) - although since then, a combination of injuries and other factors
      have seen the deal fall through; Mike Chioda and Nick Patrick swapped
      shows, with Patrick moving to SmackDown as their "head referee" (8th);
      It was reported that the WWE had banned overhead belly-to-belly suplexes
      (9th); Trish Stratus won WWE.com's "Babe of the Year" poll for a third
      straight year (11th); Paul Heyman returned to WWE TV, named as
      SmackDown's new General Manager (23rd); Triple H and Stephanie McMahon
      got married in Tarrytown, NY (25th); Kevin Nash underwent neck surgery
      by Dr Jho, as the future of "Big Sexy"'s WWE career hung in the balance
      (27th); The Undertaker's custom bike, which was used during his entrance
      at WrestleMania X7, was put on eBay for auction for a second time, after
      the first winner refused to pay up for the bike, which was being sold to
      benefit the Angelus charity (30th)

      The Big Show: No Mercy wasn't really a show many people were looking
      forward to, with the WWE spending all their effort promoting Vince
      McMahon vs Stephanie in a career vs career match (19th) Yes, it was a
      stinker.

      The results, then: Tajiri retained the Cruiserweight title over Rey
      Mysterio, when "two fans" (who were later named Akio (Jimmy Yang) and
      (Ryan/Keiji) Sakoda) ran into the ring, allowing Tajiri to use the mist;
      Chris Benoit made A-Train tap out to the Sharpshooter; Zach Gowen pinned
      Matt Hardy; The Basham Brothers beat the APA; Vince beat Stephanie when
      Linda threw in the towel - thus costing Stephanie her SmackDown GM role;
      Kurt Angle beat John Cena; Big Show squashed Eddie Guerrero to win the
      US title; Brock Lesnar beat Undertaker in a Biker Chain match to retain
      the WWE title, when Vince pushed Undertaker off the ropes

      Deaths: Not a good month for wrestling, with several familiar faces
      passing away. Stu Hart died on October 16th, at the age of 88. He had
      been
      hospitalised for some time, and he passed away from complications from
      pneumonia; Road Warrior Hawk (aka Michael Hegstrand) died on the 19th,
      at the age of 45, from a heart attack.

      November: Somewhat of a quiet month - Kurt Angle discovered that he had
      reinjured his neck taking a chairshot from Brock Lesnar - and that he
      would require further surgery (11th); Matt Hardy returned to WWE TV,
      jumping to Raw - where he "broke up" with Lita on his first night in
      (17th); Angle had that surgery a few days after Survivor Series
      (18th);WWE announced that Goldust was to be released from his contract -
      less than a fortnight after they started an angle with Booker T to bring
      back Goldust (the "I still remember" note.) (22nd). Also, WWE announced
      that the long-running WWE Magazine was to be renamed "SmackDown
      Magazine", thus creating specific magazines for each brand; Ric Flair
      was lucky only to get bad cuts on his nose, after he slipped in the ring
      and ended up smashing his nose off the top rope in a Raw match (24th);
      The Ultimate Ric Flair DVD collection flew off the shelves, to the point
      where the WWE's entire first print run of the DVD was sold out in a
      matter of days (27th)

      The Big Show: Survivor Series was the last joint-PPV of 2003, and it was
      built around the futures of Stone Cold, and The Undertaker (16th)

      In full results: Tajiri beat Jamie Noble to retain the Cruiserweight
      title, in a match which was bumped down to Heat at the last minute,
      despite being promoted for the PPV; Team Angle
      (Angle/Benoit/Cena/Bradshaw/Holly) beat Team Lesnar (Lesnar/A-Train/Big
      Show/Matt Morgan/Nathan Jones) with Cena and Benoit the last men
      standing; Molly Holly retained her women's title by beating Lita; Kane
      beat Shane McMahon in a brutal ambulance match; The Basham Brothers beat
      Los Guerreros to retain the tag titles; Team Bischoff
      (Steiner/Christian/Jericho/Orton/Henry) beat Team Austin (Booker
      T/Dudley Boyz/RVD/Michaels) when Batista powerbombed Michaels, allowing
      Randy Orton to pin HBK, and become the sole survivor - thus costing
      Stone Cold his job as Raw's GM; Vince McMahon beat The Undertaker in a
      Buried Alive match, when Kane ran in on the Undertaker; Bill Goldberg
      retained the World title over Triple H

      Deaths: Two more recognisable names went in November, with the WWE
      causing outrage on one of them. Moondog Spot died on November 29th at
      the age of 61 after suffering a heart attack whilst wrestling on an indy
      show in Tennessee.

      However, it was the WWE's refusal to even recognise the death of Crash
      Holly (Mike Lockwood) on November 6th which upset a lot of people.
      Lockwood was 32, and died after apparently choking on his own vomit -
      the WWE kept away from the story, as they apparently didn't want to
      mention a third high-profile death in a matter of weeks, after Hawk and
      Stu Hart's deaths in mid-October.

      December: Mick Foley returned to the WWE, first as a "consultant", then
      he named himself Raw co-GM (1st); it was announced that WWE Armageddon
      was not going to be shown in the UK, after a contractual dispute between
      Sky and the WWE (4th); WWE announced that they were to tape the
      Christmas Day episode of SmackDown in Iraq (6th); Nathan Jones quit the
      WWE after enduring a plane ride from hell as the SmackDown crew flew to
      South Korea and Australia on a tour (7th); The Rock made a one-off
      appearance on Raw, helping Mick Foley as La Resistance threatened to
      beat up the co-GM (8th); WWE announced the release of a new CD, "WWE
      Originals" in January 2004. Can you say "WrestleMania: The Album"?
      (14th); SmackDown was taped in Baghdad (23rd) - the show was aired in
      North America and Australia, but was not shown in the United Kingdom,
      with Sky instead getting a "Best of SmackDown" show; Raw ended 2003 on a
      high note, with Shawn Michaels and Triple H finishing in a double pin,
      but Stone Cold's return to Raw as "sheriff" (God help us) saw Austin
      reinstate Michaels (after Bischoff fired HBK), then book a rematch.

      The Big Show: Armageddon was the first WWE PPV in a few months to be
      promoted without any hyped up stipulations, but it turned out to be an
      Evolution-governed show (14th)

      The full results: Booker T pinned Mark Henry; Randy Orton beat RVD for
      the Intercontinental title, with new Raw co-GM Mick Foley as special
      guest referee; Ric Flair and Batista won the tag team titles in a Tag
      Team Turmoil match, which also involved the Dudley Boyz, La Resistance
      (Rob Conway and Sylvain Dupree), Val Venis and Lance Storm, Scott
      Steiner and Test, Rosey and The Hurricane, and Garrison Cade and Mark
      Jindrak; Molly pinned Ivory to retain the women's title; Triple H pinned
      Goldberg to win the World title in a triple threat match which also
      included Kane.

      - And that's 2003 wrapped up. So, what have the last 12 months brought
      the WWE? Well, we've seen the return of "secondary" titles, we've had
      brand-specific PPVs brought in, and a lot of OVW guys have made the step
      up to the WWE.

      As title changes go, let's see what 2003 brought each strap: the Raw
      world title started 2003 in the hands of Triple H. He dropped it to
      Goldberg at Unforgiven, but won it back at Armageddon - so just the two
      title changes this year.

      The Intercontinental title returned at Judgment Day, with Christian
      winning a battle royal for the belt. He dropped the belt to Booker T,
      then regained it at a house show, before losing it to Rob Van Dam in a
      ladder match. RVD lost to Chris Jericho on an episode of Raw in October,
      before regaining it minutes later in a cage match. However, the year
      ended with Randy Orton as the champion, after he beat RVD for the belt
      at Armageddon. That made it six title changes in 2003 for the IC title.

      The women's division has certainly improved over the past year, with
      David "Fit" Finlay's influence certainly being seen on all of the
      "divas" on Raw. Victoria started the year as Women's champion, but she
      lost the title to Trish at Wrestlemania 19. Trish kept the belt until
      Backlash, when the returning Jazz got the strap, only for Jazz to get
      injured again, and drop the belt to the debuting Gail Kim in a battle
      royal on Raw in June. The Gail Kim experiment failed amidst a tonne of
      blown spots, and Molly Holly saw her return from Heat anonymity capped
      in late July, when she pinned Kim for thetitle. So, that's four title
      changes for the women's division - although the focus has shifted away
      from the title in recent months, with the main women' s angle being
      Trish/Lita and Jericho/Christian.

      Finishing it off on the Raw side, the Raw tag titles saw a lot of change
      in 2003. Booker T and Goldust started the year as champions, but dropped
      the belts to Lance Storm and William Regal when 2003 was six days old.
      They held the belts for less than a fortnight before the Dudley Boyz won
      them, only to drop the belts back to Storm and Regal 24 hours later.
      William Regal's illness saw his role as tag champion dropped, only for
      Sean/Chief Morley name himself as Regal's replacement. Kane and RVD beat
      Storm and Morley for the belts the night after WrestleMania 19. They
      stayed tag champions until June, where La Resistance (Sylvain Grenier
      and Rene Dupree) beat them for the belts at Bad Blood. The "Frenchmen"
      kept the belts until Unforgiven, where the Dudley Boyz won them for an
      eighth time, only for Ric Flair and Batista to win them at Armageddon
      with their impromptu entry in the Tag Team Turmoil match. Title Changes
      in 2003: eight.

      SmackDown's world title has been switched between just two people in
      2003. Kurt Angle started the year as WWE champion, but ended up losing
      the belt at WrestleMania to Brock Lesnar. Angle's recovery from neck
      surgery was capped off by Angle winning the belt at Vengeance, before he
      handed the belt back to Lesnar after a 60 minute iron match on SmackDown
      in September. Title changes: three.

      The United States championship was brought back in July, and Eddie
      Guerrero won the belt at a tournament final at Vengeance. Guerrero's
      reign with the title ended at No Mercy, where he dropped it to the Big
      Show, who doesn't seem to like defending the title. Which means, we've
      just seen one title change this year for the US title.

      The Cruiserweight title has been something of a sideshow for the WWE in
      recent years, with all claims of the company "developing a serious
      cruiserweight division" being nothing more than myths. The signing of
      Ultimo Dragon resulted in nought, as the Japanese legend was mis-used
      from day one. Anyway, Billy Kidman started the year as champion, before
      dropping the belt to "cruiserweight" Matt Hardy at No Way Out. Hardy
      kept the belt until June, where Rey Mysterio won the belt, only for
      Tajiri to win it in September. Mysterio won the belt on the last
      SmackDown taping of 2003 (which aired on New Year's Day), so Mysterio
      ended 2003 as Cruiserweight champion. Title changes: four.

      The SmackDown tag team titles have been dominated by two teams: Los
      Guerreros, and The World's Greatest Tag Team (aka Team Angle in early
      2003). Los Guerreros came into 2003 as tag champions, but dropped the
      belts to Team Angle in February. Eddie Guerrero and Tajiri (replacing
      the injured Chavo) won the belts in a ladder match at Judgment Day, only
      for Team Angle to regain the belts in July. Los Guerreros regained the
      belts in September, but lost them to the Basham Brothers in October, as
      the WWE started the split of Eddie and Chavo. Title changes: five.

      That's 33 title changes in 2003 - but who's really had a good year, and
      who' ll want to forget the past year? Predictable as it may be, you
      could say that Molly Holly has had a good year - her return from the
      anonymity of Heat and OVW saw her rewarded with a Women's title reign,
      which she has successfully held onto for almost six months now, seeing
      off the challenges of more popular names like Trish Stratus and Lita. A
      feud with Victoria is opening up 2004, but Molly's future as champion
      must be brought into question as soon as the current headlining angle
      involving Trish and Chris Jericho comes to an end.

      Eddie Guerrero has also had a good year, with tag team and singles
      titles runs, but the WWE's failure to capitalise on his popularity in
      the summer saw him float into the predicable programme with Chavo -
      which could drag him lower down the card.

      It's been a bad year for Chris Nowinski, whose career has come to a
      shuddering halt, thanks to a series of headaches brought on by
      post-concussion syndrome. Matt Hardy's year has also been dodgy, with a
      cruiserweight title run being the only plus, as he did the job for Zach
      Gowen's only televised win, before hopping to Raw - where he's done
      sweet FA so far.

      - What can we expect in 2004? Well, the WWE's main focus will be for
      WrestleMania 20, with a year's worth of build up looking to bring in
      record revenues for the WWE. After then - who knows? Rumours suggest
      that the young guys will be given their chance, and the older names will
      be cleared out. Who knows - but the one thing that is for sure is the
      WWE's (seemingly) annual roster cuts.

      My tips for the cut this year are: Kanyon, Sean O'Haire, Ivory, Ultimo
      Dragon and Zach Gowen.

      As for other predictions: Triple H to win at WrestleMania; WWE to
      continue to release decent profile DVDs with WCW, ECW and plenty of
      other older footage on; Hulk Hogan to make a return at some point this
      year; more mourning as the deaths in the business continue; and finally
      - at least one of the Wrestling-Online mob to stay sober during
      WrestleMania weekend (cough).

      While we're doing predictions - I might as well do some NFL Playoff
      picks. I saw the Green Bay-Seattle game on Sunday, and it was awesome.
      Looks like Hasselbeck was SOOL (something I know about as a Jets fan),
      and I've got a feeling that the Packers could go all the way this year.
      We're down to the Divisional Playoffs, so my picks are:

      St. Louis over Carolina

      New England over Tennessee

      Indianapolis over Kansas

      Green Bay over Philadelphia

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