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Wrestling-Online Newsletter #894

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  • Colin Vassallo
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    Message 1 of 1 , Mar 2, 2001
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      / _ \| \| | | |_ _| \| | __| Issue #894
      | (_) | .` | |__ | || .` | _| Friday, March 2nd 2001
      \___/|_|\_|____|___|_|\_|___| http://www.wrestling-online.com
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      By Colin Vassallo, [Editor@...]

      Welcome to issue #894. We're only 5 away from the 900th one. It's a
      little bit late over here, or should I say early morning, so I better
      get the heck out of here.

      BTW - Our good friends at WrestlingDotCom.com are expected to be up in a
      few days after a server mess-up. WDC and W-O will continue the cross
      promotion on their site and on our newsletter like before.

      See ya!


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      - A few days after the shocking event, and Jerry Lawler still dominates
      the wrestling news throughout the Internet. The latest story going
      around is that Lawler - although still under WWF contract - did not
      signed the extension he was presented with a few months ago. Lawler said
      that Vince McMahon promised him to give him the full release from the
      company which makes Lawler a free agent. With WCW in so much turmoil
      over the ownership deal, one has to wonder if Lawler will get signed -
      if he wants - to WCW as soon as his release is granted.

      - Several sources are reporting that on Wednesday night, Jim Ross talked
      with Jerry "The King" Lawler over the phone for a few minutes. Lawler
      didn't talk to anyone from the WWF camp besides Ross since his departure
      from the WWF earlier this week. JR only touched the issue on the Ross
      Report briefly where he said, "Very unfortunate set of circumstances
      unfolded in a day I personally will not soon forget." That was the only
      mention of the whole situation in this week's Ross Report.

      - W-O Newsletter readers Samir Joshi and 'Darkhalf143' from India
      dropped us a line regarding the latest WWF TV situation in Asia. It
      seems that many fans located in the Far East won't be able to watch
      anymore WWF programming since the TV channels Star Sports & ESPN dropped
      WWF shows and replaced them with WCW ones. RAW Is WAR, Livewire, Metal
      and Superstars where being shown on Star Sports while pay-per-views were
      shown free of charge on ESPN. 'Darkhalf143' informed us that Royal
      Rumble and No Way Out weren't transmitted on ESPN although normal
      programming continued as scheduled. However just a few days ago, WCW
      Nitro and WCW Worldwide ads started to pop up on TV with a note saying
      that they will replace all current WWF programs.

      - WWF CEO Linda McMahon will be speaking at the Bear Stearns' 14th
      Annual Media, Entertainment & Information Conference this coming Monday
      between 2:15 and 3:00PM EST. McMahon's segment will be airing live also
      on the web at the WWF's corporate site at WWFECorpBiz.com

      - The World Wrestling Federation and KMart started a promotion for
      WrestleMania X-Seven which will kick off in all KMart stores across the
      nation on March 4th. The first prize goes to a lucky individual who will
      get a total of four floor seat tickets to the WM event, airfare to
      Houston, TX., hotel accommodations, $500 in spending money and lunch
      with Kurt Angle on Saturday March 31st at WWF Axxess. Ten other lucky
      winners will get a 'home party' which includes a free airing of the live
      PPV, action figures, souvenir programs, t-shirts and hats. Other twenty
      two hundred WWF related prizes will be given out in the promotion. KMart
      customers can sign-up for the contest online as well as in-stores.

      - Smackdown! received a 4.5 rating with a 6.9 share, staying on the same
      track as last week.

      > WWF STOCKS
      - Stocks closed the day at 13.45, a 3.24% increase over the previous
      trade. The day's range was 13.41 - 13.80.


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      - A couple of matches have already been announced for Nitro this coming
      Monday. These are Dusty Rhodes vs Jeff Jarrett; Sean O'Haire vs Lex
      Luger; AJ Styles & Air Paris vs Elix Skipper & Mystery Partner; Shane
      Helms vs Chavo Jr; Lance Storm vs Konnan.

      - Here's this week injury update thanks to WCW's Chad Damiani and his
      Full Disclosure section. Former champ Goldberg is still doing rehab on
      his surgically repaired shoulder; Sid Vicious is back at the gym,
      however still using the aid of a walker. Sid has around eight more
      months to get his leg fully recovered; One half of KroniK Brian Adams is
      at his home in Florida recovering from an appendix; And finally Vampiro
      is still recovering from his concussions received late last year and is
      expected to return in the near future.


      By The King, [theking@...]

      Originally, I was going to comment on No Way Out - certainly there was
      much to be talked about there, but I feel that many people will already
      have it covered. Top performances by several people, most notably Triple
      H, The Rock, Kurt Angle, Chris Benoit, Chris Jericho and Steve Austin,
      and shockingly good (considering their past showings) outings for
      Stephanie and Trish. For the first time in about 3 years, the WWF have
      delivered two
      enjoyable supercards in a row and I certainly hope this trend continues.
      There's plenty of time to talk about the build up to Wrestlemania over
      the next few weeks, so I'll come back to this in time. For now, I'd like
      to look to the past.

      Whilst channel-surfing, I came across a programme called WWF Classics.
      It sounded interesting - when I think WWF Classics, I think Hart
      Foundation vs British Bulldogs, Rockers vs Brain Busters, Jake Roberts
      vs Rick Rude and Bret Hart vs Owen Hart. Met with the sound of bagpipes,
      the show started with Magnificent Muraco and "Ace" Bob Orton taking on
      two jobbers. The year is 1986, and entering the ring wearing a kilt to
      Roddy Piper's music apparently was good enough to constitute an angle.
      Cautiously, I continued
      to watch, wondering what the grapplers could rustle up. All that can be
      said is that Orton did nothing to warrant the name "Ace" and the only
      interesting thing that happened was Muraco planting a jobber with a tame
      looking tombstone piledriver (one handed, nonetheless) for the 3 count.
      Is this where wrestling in 2001 came from? Worlds apart, if I had not
      followed the 15 years in between, I would think I was watching a
      completely different sport. Looking back made me appreciate what we have
      now a heck of a lot more, but also showed me a few things or people that
      I miss. To wit:

      I do not miss: talentless goons in prominent positions on the roster.
      This thought comes to you courtesy of having witnessed an Hillbilly Jim
      squash match. You think that Mark Henry is bad? You think that Sid is a
      bit dodgy? Heck, Jim Duggan could have outwrestled Bumpkin Boy.
      Hillbilly was one of the more popular babyfaces on the books back then,
      and during his bout, he punched, kicked, headbutted, nailed a bodyslam,
      ropey boot to the face and then made his adversary submit to the most
      deadly of submission moves - the
      bearhug. During this, he showed a little charisma in playing to the
      audience, but it makes you wonder what sort of people made up the
      audience who would cheer this chap. WCW had a smashing time in the mid
      90s, mainly thanks to Hogan, when they brought an influx of talentless
      goons into top slots - observe Starcade 94, when Bootus The Zodiple Man
      with no cake somehow managed to get into a main event against Hogan.
      Stinking out the
      arena in the semi-final was the former Earthquake, now creatively billed
      Avalanche (if they'd have brought in Typhoon, would he have been called
      "Flood"? Oh no, hang on - they went with "Uncle Fred". Yep, that
      figures). On the undercard, the Honky Tonk Man grabbed hold of the TV
      title from Johnny B. Badd (the once promising Marc Mero - before he gave
      up drugs and pushing and started banging Sable) and Jim Duggan won the
      US title in 35
      seconds from some mid card joker called, erm, what was it? "Stunning"
      Steve Austin or something? I forget. Either way, Duggan pinned him after
      one backdrop, for those interested. Classic bout - they should have put
      that on the show.

      I do miss: Killer Heels. Right now, Triple H is the closest we have to a
      killer heel, and this makes me so very sad. Whilst "The Game" is
      certainly improving at what he does, and is the best bad guy in the
      sport right now, he's not a touch on Jake Roberts. In his prime, the
      Snake was the very embodiment of evil, yet he said everything with such
      diabolical charm and in such a machiavellian manner that you were
      hooked. He oozed menace without having to make an effort. The glint in
      his eye, the slightly crooked smile he wore when talking calmly about
      dropping a beloved face to the mat in the DDT (back then, the most
      devastating and over move in the game), all of it was tied in with the
      smooth delivery of intelligent and slightly unsettling prose. Yes sir,
      in his prime, Jake could make the hairs on the back of your neck stand
      up, just by looking at you - he'd look right through you. Hunter has to
      make a supreme effort to appear "bad" (even though he is, apparently, a
      complete asshole in real life) whereas Jake had to make none. It was
      this quality that eventually moved him across to being a babyface, as
      the crowd started to embrace the appeal this character had (much like
      they would eventually embrace the Undertaker and Stone Cold Steve Austin
      characters without them being particularly modified). In the present
      state of affairs, where too many heels are preoccupied with being "cool"
      - Kevin Nash, Scott Hall, I'm talking about you - a man like Roberts
      would be a breath of fresh air. The closest we've got to him is Scott
      Steiner, and he certainly can't talk the talk the way the Snake did.

      I don't miss: Silly gimmicks. Sure, we've got our share of them right
      now: Tiger Ali Singh and the ridiculously wasted Lo-Down, Malenko as a
      ladies man, Billy Gunn as a wrestler, but the 80s and early 90s were the
      age of the gimmick. Sadly, this thought was brought on by one of the
      all-time greats - Harley Race. Not on a par with buffoonery akin to that
      of The Goon, Doink The Clown (who I will have an interview with in the
      near future), Giant Gonzales or Kama The Ultimate Farting Machine,
      Race's stint as "The King", complete with massive crown and silly cape
      would not have been particularly upsetting if it were not for the fact
      that the man beneath the crown was so
      exceptionally uncomfortable with the whole kit and caboodle. Indeed,
      whilst Bobby Heenan did most of the talking, poor old Harley stood
      around like a spare part, looking as if he were wishing for the ground
      to swallow him up.

      I do miss: Pure atheletes. How many times have I heard Jim Ross claim
      that Billy Gunn is "possibly the best pure athelete in the WWF today"?
      Once is far too many times. How many of today's wrestlers are pure
      atheletes? Very few. When I'm talking pure, I'm talking about a chap who
      can string together a chain of 5 or 6 catch-as-catch-can wrestling moves
      and can put them together fluently, not someone who has to rely on a big
      flashy move to pop the crowd every minute (Jeff Hardy, that's you). A
      grappler who builds a
      match slowly and with psychology, involving the audience and telling a
      story rather than throwing caution to the wind and hoping that it all
      gels (Test, that's you). Wrestlers like Ricky Steamboat. The Dragon was
      one of the greats - in an age where you usually needed to be larger than
      life, Ricky came across as he is in real-life - a polite, soft-spoken
      gentleman. Granted, if he were flung into the ring with a top technician
      like Chris Benoit nowadays, he wouldn't stand a chance, but back in the
      80s, Steamboat combined solid matwork with decent aerial ability to make
      a rounded package and this was enough to make him a favourite with the
      fans. His bout with Randy Savage at WrestleMania III is still enjoyable
      after all these years. Over the years, classic athletic ability and
      understanding of ring psychology would be taken to new levels by Bret
      and Owen Hart, Shawn Michaels (before his ego took command of his body),
      Brian Pillman and "Mr. Perfect" Curt Hennig to name a few, but
      Steamboat, along with Flair, Savage and a select group of others were
      the individuals who started the movement. I don't deny that you can
      still see a good solid wrestling match (Rock vs Angle at NWO, for
      example) but I miss the days when every pay-per-view would tend to have
      at least one bona fide classic, be it Hart vs Ramon from the Rumble 93,
      Hart vs Hennig at SummerSlam 91, Michaels vs Ramon from WMX or The 123
      Kid vs Hakushi at SummerSlam 95. All of the aforementioned, I preferred
      to Rock/Angle, one of the main reasons being that they show more
      creativity. The ending sequence in each of the classics cited above was
      well crafted and flawlessly executed. Rock/Angle finished with them just
      throwing the same moves at each other over and over until one failed to
      kick out. Check out how the Rumble 93 title match between Hart and Ramon
      ends - when was the last time you saw actual wrestling like that?

      It's all very interesting when you look at the past and then look at the
      present. Next time, I'll look at the future - especially the
      none-too-thrilling prospect of a four way dance in the main event of
      WrestleMania. In closing - just a quickie - Eric, I enjoyed your article
      the other day, especially the joke about moving Billy Gunn and Raven up
      to main event status! It's good to know that people still maintain a
      sense of humour
      in this day and age.


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