Wrestling-Online Newsletter #894
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/ _ \| \| | | |_ _| \| | __| Issue #894
| (_) | .` | |__ | || .` | _| Friday, March 2nd 2001
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>> OPENING WORDS FROM THE EDITORBy 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.
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>> WORLD WRESTLING FEDERATION NEWShttp://www.wrestling-online.com/newsstation
> LAWLER UPDATE- 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.
> ROSS TALKS WITH KING- 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.
> WWF OFF TV IN MOST OF THE FAR EAST HOMES- 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.
> MRS MCMAHON TO SPEAK AT A CONFERENCE- 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
> WWF & KMART TEAM UP FOR PROMOTION- 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! RATING- 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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>> WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP WRESTLING NEWShttp://www.wrestling-online.com/newsstation
> NITRO PREVIEW- 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.
> INJURY UPDATE- 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.
>> CULTURE SHOCKBy 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
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.
Editor can be reached at Editor@...
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